I was really happy with the characterization of Black Cat in the previous issue, so naturally they go ahead and mess it up here. I freely admit that this will sound nerdy, but here it is: she sold a vial of Spidey’s radioactive crazy power blood to some vampire fetishists. That’s insane, right? Other than the fact that the premise to kick off the adventure is, you know, insane, the rest of the story is pretty good. They play with a bunch of vampire conventions while poking fun at Twilight fans, and Morbius returning is handled really well. The bad guy dies in a classic “Spider-Man’s fault but not really” scenario, a long time strategy for keeping Spidey’s gloves bloodless — I kind of thought we’d moved beyond that kind of device, but okay, we’re playing things up 70s style. There’s an okay Flash Thompson back up, I just wish they hadn’t narrated the story as “going through the stages of grief backwards” it’s a clumsy and annoying way of telling it. An okay filler issue, but way too expensive. — Isaac Mills
Isaac’s rating: 3 out of 5
I’m going to level with you — I haven’t read this series post-Secret Invasion. Besides this issue and the one I reviewed last month, I mean. And in the meantime a lot has happened and I’m pretty lost now. I’m glad stuff happened, but I’m finding it hard to break back in. Most of the characters I really liked are gone, and the ones I don’t know have taken centre stage. But the issue is well executed so I can’t pan it, but I’m not moved to extol its virtues either. — Miles Baker
Miles’ rating: 2.5 out of 5. Crossover rating: take it or leave it.
It seems like everyone is trying to bring back dead superheroes. This used to be one of my top series, but slowly I’ve started to dislike it. It’s not that it’s terrible, it just that it just doesn’t have that same draw factor that it once had one me. The arc is true to Morrison’s wacky nature, but it just doesn’t click with me. I chuckled when Batman was shot down by Batwoman, with a simple, “Don’t get your hopes up”, but that about all this issue did for me. — Sandra Yao
Sandra’s rating: 2.5 out of 5
Blackest Night #7
Geoff Johns (w), Ivan Reis (p), Oclair Albert, Joe Prado (i), Alex Sinclair (c). DC Comics.
There are two amazing things which make this book worth the price of admission. There’s the very first page where the big bad guy Nekron asks one of the Guardians of the Universe, the oldest beings in existence, why they guard said universe he answers with a tear running down his face “I do not remember.” That answer fits so perfectly with the history of those Guardians but I’m blown away by it. The other piece of awesomeness is the very last page so I can’t actually tell you that one, sorry. The rest of the comic has some cool Geoff Johns moments as usual, but they don’t stand out in comparison. That and I’m kind of tired of all the different coloured corps fighting between each other — there are something like three hundred thousand billion evil zombie guys to fight, I’d pay attention to those guys if I were there. It’s crunch time people! — Isaac Mills
Isaac’s rating: 4 out of 5. Crossover rating: Essential. And awesome.
Owen’s rating: 4 out of 5. Crossover rating: Essential
Blackest Night: JSA #3
Tony Bedard, James Robinson (w), Eddy Barrows, Marcos Marz, Eduardo Pansica (p), Eddy Barrows, Luciana Del Negro, Wayne Faucher, Eber Ferreira, Sandro Ribeiro (i), Rod Reis (c). DC Comics.
Well, I’m tired from typing out those credits. It isn’t a good sign when a single story has that many people working on it and we know that because of comics like this. The art is pretty inconsistent, but let’s forget that. These guys pull out every cliché they can, which normally I’m okay with — but these were all the bad clichés. The super powerful bad guy is coming, quick team — go fight him! No, not you strongest allies, I need you at my side for some reason. I can see where you’d have gotten confused there. Oh sweet, I got this super weapon that takes care of all the bad zombie guys in the city. Great! Can you make another one because that would help solve this problem in the future? “Negative, those components were unique. This was strictly a one-time thing.” — Isaac Mills
Isaac’s rating: 1.5 out of 5. Crossover rating: Stupid
Fantastic Four #576
Jonathan Hickman (w), Dale Eaglesham (a), Paul Mounts (c). Marvel Comics.
Mark my words, Hickman and Eaglesham’s run on this title will be one of the greats. You can see the seeds of a great run scattered throughout these early issues. I love what’s being done here, especially the way Hickman is building a storytelling tapestry through one-shots and short storylines rather than the now all-too-common six-issue arc. Eaglesham and Hickman work perfectly together, especially in the moment where a talkative scene suddenly turns silent as the characters go underwater. Seriously, everyone, this is a great book. A hardcover collecting the beginning of this run just came out, I suggest you get it. – Owen Craig
Owen’s rating: 4 out of 5
Here’s the thing: I wouldn’t say that I loved this miniseries. The balance between untangling continuity and focusing on character that made Green Lantern: Rebirth work so well wasn’t quite here and whole pages were near-unreadable due to excessive pseudo-science. This issue, however, was rather fun. In fact, this issue got me really excited for the new Flash series. In that sense, I suppose you could declare this mini a success. In fact, for all its faults I would say I liked this series as a whole, but especially this issue. All of the epilogues were really cool, and I can’t wait to see them play out. I guess my feelings are that this series was good, but not great. This issue, however, was very good (still not great, though). – Owen Craig
Owen’s rating: 3.5 out of 5 (would be a 3 if not for those epilogues)
The crazy story train just keeps on rolling here. Every superhero has secrets and Bette’s been keeping a pretty dangerous one. As the focus is changed from the Plutonian to the other members of the Paradigm, Mark Waid still ensures to keep within the issue a few pages that further help to reveal the Plutonian’s past. What really helps the story move along is the use of the past to explain the present. Little by little, layers are peeled away that help to further develop the story. Also, considering that there were two artists working on the single issue, the transition in the art from the first section to the second was pretty seamless and Peter Krause’s work keeps improving for sure. — Sandra Yao
Sandra’s rating: 4 out of 5
Adorable. Simply Adorable. There is little about this issue that doesn’t just capture my heart. Actually, on second thought, there is nothing in this issue that doesn’t capture my heart. The odd-looking group of Tip, Scarecrow, Pumpkinhead and Saw-Horse arrive in the kingdom of the Winkies preparing to ask for the Tinman’s help in trying to get Genera Jinjur and her girls out of Emerald City. Agreeing to help, together they set off on their way back to Emerald City only to meet a curious anomaly, a woggle-bug. My only disappointment with the series is that it’s only a short and I would have loved to see become something bigger, but regardless of that, I enjoyed every issue thus far. — Sandra Yao
Sandra’s rating: 4.5 out of 5
I’ve read a couple reviews that talk about the amazing art that Epting puts into this issue of The Marvels Project, and of the fine accomplishments of Dave Stewart in rendering it in beautiful colours. But what is the most impressive is how far this creative team has come. Where they know each other so well they create the kind of moments that you can only create comics. Moments like Jim Hammond, the android Human Torch flying away from the Raymond house — in a flash of flame — with this perfect piece of text, “But the night he met Toro Raymond, he flew fast and far… full of fear. Like a rocket trying to escape itself.” What a wonderful image. — Miles Baker
Miles’ rating: 4.5 out of 5
I’m not really shocked that everything went from so-bad-you-can’t-fathom-what-you’d-do-in-that-situation to well-fuck. It is a Brian Wood series after all. His one-shots like Local or Demo might have a happy ending here or there but in the world of Northlanders or DMZ it’s a train ride straight to hell and I got a round-trip ticket. — Miles Baker
Miles’ rating: 4 out of 5
Hey, so that Hickman guy is pretty great, huh? I feel like I’ve been repeating myself a lot here, beating the Hickman and Aaron drums a lot, but there’s a good reason for it. These guys are the future of great comics at Marvel. This is one of the quieter issues of Secret Warriors and that’s not a bad thing. After all, if it weren’t for issues like this one the big explosive issues wouldn’t have much impact. In understanding that, Hickman helps us care about the characters that will later be involved in the big battles. And how about that last page, huh? If you’ve ever been annoyed that cliffhangers are too often limited to the “look who showed up” or “oh man, they may be dead” endings then Hickman is the writer for you. – Owen Craig
Owen’s rating: 3.5 out of 5
Here it is, the final issue — and as a send off it has got just about the coolest cover ever (done by Chris Cross with John Rauch). I’ve been willing Todd Nauck to keep up the good work on pencils since the third issue when he started to show some cracks. He does a great job but this is definitely the weakest penciled issue of the miniseries with some crazy shoulders and angles happening. We made it buddy! It’s funny that this series has been bittersweet for me, because I knew how it’d finish going in — it was going to be sad for Ben Reilly fans (me). But then… THEY TOTALLY CHANGED THE ENDING! The writers totally surprised me and let Ben ride his motorcycle off into the sunset. They probably should have said why he was leaving New York. But who cares. Let’s face it, New York is a death trap for Ben Reilly’s. Get out while the getting’s good, man! — Isaac Mills
Isaac’s rating: 3.5 out of 5
The only thing worse than Billy Tan is someone trying to draw like Billy Tan. Actually, that’s not fair, because the cohesive art keeps the flow together and I respect that. But I really don’t like Tan’s small heads on giant bodies approach to characters. As for the story in this issue, the part I found the most interesting was the shortest part of this issue. I would have been a lot more interested in seeing the Asgardian council debating what the human reaction would be to Volstagg’s mistake. But I’m probably the only person interested in Norse god politics.
Miles’ rating: 3 out of 5. Crossover rating: unessential.
Nah, I just gotta cop to it — I’m not feeling Jeff Parker’s Thunderbolts. A book full of dudes trying to out-man each other is not my thing. It’s a psycho sausage party that’s kinda tame. It’s a whole lot of posturing, not enough character. It reminds me of WWF wrestling from when I was a kid. The costumes are about as bad as that too. Parker does, however, pick a really cool place for the Thunderbolts to go to tie-into Siege. It’s a side story but could be pretty important. See how that turns out. — Miles Baker
Miles’ rating: 2 out of 5. Crossover rating: tangential.
Looks like the children of Ares are continuing to wreak havoc, but it’s nothing some good ol’ fashioned discipline can’t fix. This issue was pretty good. The banter between Power Girl and Wonder Woman is done pretty well and the art is pretty spot on as well. It always fun to see two powerful women duke it out and still look good doing it There wasn’t anything exceptionally special about the issue. Every issue has at most kept the series on my pull, but haven’t really done much to move it up my favourites list. —Sandra Yao
Sandra’s rating: 3 out of 5
This issue made me realize how much I missed David writing Madrox’s captions. They tie the books themes together so beautifully while giving us more time with Madrox’s character. This issues exploration of good/evil had some heavy-handed moments, but the insights into Madrox are worth it. Solid issue that wraps up the Fantastic Four storyline really well. And Cansino’s art grew on me over the last three issues, so that’s good too. — Miles Baker
Miles’ rating: 4 out of 5
I don’t have a lot new to say about this title. Carey is still writing the best X-Men book in the line. I probably haven’t talked a lot about Mann’s art in this arc, which I thought got better and better. There are some awkward poses, and sometimes he draws his men’s chests a little too broad, but I love how he draws Rogue’s face. She has really great, subtle expressions all issue. I also like that he keeps her top zipped up properly. It’s classy, yo. — Miles Baker
Miles’ rating: 4 out of 5