Comic Book Reviews for This Week: 5/25/2022

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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 Batman: Fortress #1, Legion of X #1, and Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: Night of the Cyclops #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

ACTION COMICS #1043

I’ve mentioned a few times how the Warworld-related stories haven’t been my favorite Superman tales, but Action Comics #1043 might be the issue that sways me. The issue comes after Superman and the Phaelosians have taken a major first victory and thus begun the Warworld Rebellion, but rebellions and revolutions are never one shot deals. It’s soon revealed that Mongul is more monstrous than ever and has even bigger plans. What makes this issue such a turning point is that it’s a mix of action, mythology, and the politics of war. Phillip Kennedy Johnson takes the story to the next level not by having the heroes neatly win or by dragging things out for the sake of issue numbers. Instead, he’s crafted a natural progression of war where even victories can feel like defeat. The art in the issue is top notch, especially as Superman starts to consider his next steps. The backup story, “Myth of the Mongul” is quite good as well. — Nicole Drum

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

AQUAMEN #4

Aquamen #4 is finally bringing the band together, and unsurprisingly, the book is one of if not the strongest entry in the series because of it. To this point, Aquamen has spent more time moving the pieces around the chessboard than it has delivering a compelling reason why they don’t just all talk to each other and get on the same page, but writers Chuck Brown and Brandon Thomas deliver some welcome movement forward on that front, including one amazing group sequence that you can’t help but wish wasn’t relegated to the series’ fourth issue. The antagonist also took a tumble from issue #3, where they felt like a legitimate threat, but here they feel like a B player at most and one that the Aquamen team should be able to take down without a sweat. That said, when this group is all together and communicating, it’s magic (with Tula being a clear MVP), and Brown and Thomas have also succeeded in bringing a wealth of welcome complexity to Jackson and Manta’s father-son relationship. The team of artist Sami Basri and colorist Adriano Lucas also impress throughout the issue, including that aforementioned team sequence and pretty much every scene Jackson happens to be featured in, though we’ll also give a special shout-out to Andy’s mean face, which is beyond fantastic. Aquamen got off to a slow start, but it feels as if it’s finally picking up pace and closing in on its premise and destination. Here’s hoping it doesn’t slow down from here on out. — Matthew Aguilar

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

BATMAN: BEYOND THE WHITE KNIGHT #3

Sean Murphy’s willingness to take chances with the world of Batman: White Knight has led to one of my favorite corners of DC’s ever-growing comics universe, and the risks continue to pay off in Batman: Beyond the White Knight #3. Murphy’s artwork consistently stuns in both the blockbuster battles and the more emotionally charged conflicts that pepper the issue, and Dave Stewart’s colors and tiny flourishes allow it all to leap off the page. Oh, and the Beyond suit has never looked this sleek, though the team’s array of costume designs impresses across the board, including one reveal I truly did not see coming. Meanwhile once again Harley steals every scene she’s in, and Jack and Bruce’s banter acts as the book’s unexpected heartbeat. If anything sticks out as a negative, it’s that to this point Terry is probably the least developed character in the series that does feature his Beyond namesake in the title. That said, the movement of his overall dynamic with Powers and the more endearing moments seen in issue #3 are both welcome and hopefully, issue #4 pushes those twice as far. It’s honestly hard to complain though. Batman: Beyond the White Knight is one of my absolute favorite DC stories at the moment, and despite the admittedly high bar it finds a way to deliver each and every time. — Matthew Aguilar

Rating: 5 out of 5

BATMAN: FORTRESS #1

Batman: Fortress doesn’t break the wheel in terms of revealing new hidden truths about Bruce Wayne or unforeseen secrets about the history of Gotham City, but what it does do is tell an enjoyable story of the Dark Knight facing a problem that isn’t usually in his wheelhouse and sometimes, that can be enough. — Evan Valentine

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

DC VS. VAMPIRES: HUNTERS #1

DC Vs. Vampires has been a guilty pleasure that, in some ways, has been able to surpass DCeased, the outside-of-continuity zombie tale of the end of the DC Universe. Rosenberg and Googe are able to tell a solid enough story with this spin-off that falls under the weight of some of its continuity issues. Despite being a creature of the night, Damian Wayne is working as a double agent to get close enough to Dick Grayson to end the supernatural plague, but it’s a status quo that raises far more questions than it answers. Damien is the only one to break the vampiric spell, whereas heroes like Wonder Woman, Hal Jordan, and more couldn’t? Googe is able to do some wild action scenes here that help elevate the issue as a whole, but it barely manages to not buckle beneath itself. — Evan Valentine

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

DEATHSTROKE INC. #9

Paolo Pantalena certainly brings a fun air to the action and chaos found in “Shadow War” – his figures exude a raw 90s energy with plenty of bravado and bluster packed into explosive sequences. This mood saves Deathstroke Inc. #9 from being submerged in the doldrums of an uncaptivating crossover. Deaths are predictable and packaged within new characters with limited marketability. As a result they have little impact, especially within the inconsistent characterization of Slade Wilson across this series so far (and a significant contrast from the previous Deathstroke series). That fault runs across the board with Batman and others all speaking in essentially the same manner and all motivated to drive the plot forward. Explosions and big moments create a fun effect in the panels in which they are delivered before being quickly forgotten. “Shadow War” certainly hasn’t done any favors for a series that was already leaning far too heavily on stylistic embellishments. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 2 out of 5

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DC #2

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(Photo: DC Comics)

DETECTIVE COMICS #1060

Detective Comics is laying out a real mystery for Batman to solve, one that seems to be roping in both allies and enemies. I appreciate that after the chaotic nonsense of the tower, the new arc remains focused on Bruce Wayne trying to solve one of his most iconic villain’s new and intriguing riddles. The B-plot with Gotham Girl is also very solid, which presents this long absent character in a very relatable light. — Christian Hoffer

Rating: 4 out of 5

HARLEY QUINN #15

Harley Quinn #15 is something of an unexpected entry in the series to date, but unfortunately it doesn’t really work. The issue is presented as a fairly straightforward detective story with Batwoman and Harley teaming up, but while Batwoman is competent and skilled, Phillips somehow seems to forget all of the work she’s put into Harley and the character spends the issue with all of her more negative qualities dialed up to 11. She’s goofy, weird, unfocused, childish, and more of a hindrance than a help, coming off less and less like a capable anti-hero who just so happens to also be bonkers, to be the cartoon equivalent of a bad manic pixie dream girl trope on acid in just about every terrible way possible. The issue practically infantilizes Harley and without any real purpose for it only to quickly shift to a big fight scene that is supposed to set up the “big reveal” about “The Verdict.” On top of that, Rossmo’s art is always an acquired taste, but it’s pretty inconsistent here giving the book an overall feeling of just being a directionless mess. — Nicole Drum

Rating: 1.5 out of 5

ROBIN #14

It will be interesting to see how Robin #15 recovers from the series being thrust into a crossover that requires readers to have read nearly everything touched by “Shadow War” writer Joshua Williamson and some others over the past couple of years. While Batman and Damian receive a few key moments of focus, those moments are composed of blunt dialogue directly addressing conflicts that were allowed to simmer in earlier issues. It’s a dissatisfying conclusion to some of what made the series appealing and rushed around characters like Ghost-Maker and Angel Breaker who essentially admit their knock off natures. There’s plenty of implied chaos, but the battle set up in Deathstroke Inc. #9 is largely maintained as background static so this issue can establish what is necessary for Shadow War: Omega next, but it’s hard to imagine that issue seeming necessary to any but the most dedicated of DC Comics readers. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 2 out of 5

THE SWAMP THING #13

Levi Kamel’s exploration of manifesting ideas across the globe continues in The Swamp Thing #13 as he battles the gears of industry in Detroit and far stranger threats emerge from the desert and space. The portrayal of these concepts is fascinating and provides far greater depth than readers would anticipate in the span of a single issue. While a spread portraying the emergence of a new Parliament centered on soulless, human creations will garner much attention, it’s Trinity’s interactions with the world that inspire the most complex fear. These walking metaphors address conflicts that naturally connect themselves to the great struggles of our era, but still wear colorful garments allowing for the inclusion of aliens, super-battles, and costumed guest stars. It makes the bitter medicine go down more easily with some sugar, and has left me eagerly anticipating the point to which this collection of idea-based gods are all slowly striding towards. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 4 out of 5

TASK FORCE Z #8

It’s a Batfamily reunion in Task Force Z #8, one of the title’s best issues of late. Rosenberg writes each member of the family from Nightwing to Batgirl exceptionally well, and creates an interesting premise that keeps Batman on his toes, even making the Caped Crusader sweat a little. The plot drives forward at an exceptional rate, even though little happens in contrast. The ensemble of artists do a great job putting the set pieces together despite having little scenery to work it. All and all, it’s a real solid issue that fires on all fronts. — Adam Barnhardt

Rating: 4 out of 5

TEEN TITANS ACADEMY #15

After a chaotic (but entertaining) past couple of issues, Teen Titans Academy sticks the landing with a heartfelt and wide-ranging, but somewhat understated, conclusion. At the end of the day, the epic battle the new crop of Titans Academy students are thrown into pales in comparison to the more smaller-scale, emotional moments between characters. These include reevaluations of relationships (romantic, platonic, or otherwise), an array of cameos, and an unbelievably endearing tributes to George Perez. While I’m bummed to see this particular incarnation of Teen Titans Academy go, Tim Sheridan, Tom Derenick, and company craft a finale that feels fitting for the series, as well as a good foundation for future stories to be told in the DC universe. — Jenna Anderson



Rating: 4 out of 5

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Marvel #1

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #2

Peter Parker’s new soap opera status quo proves to be every bit as rewarding as its introduction promised with Osborn family issues intruding on an already busy day with Manhattan’s newest gang war erupting in colorful fashion. Each new sequence keeps Peter Parker on his back foot in ways sometimes charming and more often frightening. All of it adds up to a story that feels true to the character with plenty of twists and intrigue to keep readers anticipating the next page with bated breath. Romita Jr.’s depiction of comedic and dark moments alike elevate minor characters into something notable within the familiar rhythms of Amazing Spider-Man, so even the familiar feels fresh. It’s another great step in the most promising new era for the series in many years. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 4 out of 5

THE AVENGERS #56

Jane Foster, one of the Avenger’s newest recruits, receives a spotlight in Avengers #56 as she is tempted by Mephisto much like Tony Stark was in Avengers #31. It’s a colorful, if familiar parable in which Jane is confronted with what she may want and must overcome her desire to have a peaceful life with her love Thor. Any reader of Aaron’s past decade of comics will perceive the cracks in this fantasy, but it runs through the story quickly enough they are not bothersome at the moment. It also provides a hint at what’s to come as the Avengers prepare to confront ever-greater rivals. While it’s a perfectly fine one-shot, what’s added to the series makes this singular installment seem largely trivial, especially given the scope and definition previously provided to this specific character. — Chase Magnett


Rating: 3 out of 5

CAPTAIN CARTER #3

Captain Carter comes into its stride this week with issue three, and it reminds the world while Peggy Carter has no equal at her job. After foiling an attempted hit, Captain Carter’s closest ally begins uncovering a secret plot at the highest tips of British government. A game of cat-and-mouse ensues as Captain Carter comes head to head with modern society’s worst betrayals. But when a surprise ally with ties to her past appears, Peggy finds herself pitted against a mysterious threat with ties to an organization Captain Carter is ready to see destroyed. — Megan Peters

Rating: 4 out of 5

DEVIL’S REIGN: OMEGA #1

Devil’s Reign brought forth many big ideas to the Marvel Universe, upsetting the status quo for many street-level characters in a single storyline. The comic’s Omega issue sets out to answer many of the loose ends left over by the main storyline and does a pretty adequate job on the front. What’s more obvious, however, is that this issue serves much more like a #0 issue than part of the previous tale. There are many teases to be had in regards to upcoming books, and that’s ultimately the purpose of these stories at hand. — Adam Barnhardt

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

HULK #7

Hulk #7 has only big moments, none small, though that’s to be expected when you’re dealing with a Hulk, a god or two, and Celestial suits. It manages to somehow pack this grandiose moments into a surprisingly compact issue, too, with a cliffhanger that feels earned and enticing rather than coming off as a cheap cutoff point. It’s full of towering imagery and devoid of distractions when it needs to be, and towards the end, there’s a noticeable palette shift to foreshadow what’s to come. The creators understand that superhero bouts within groups like the Avengers have been played out time and time again, and to raise the stakes, Hulk #7 attempts something different and drastic and succeeds in doing so. — Tanner Dedmon

Rating: 5 out of 5

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Marvel #2

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(Photo: Marvel Comics)

LEGION OF X #1

Minor technical challenges stem from the abundant ambition on display in Legion of X #1 – an issue that introduces some of Marvel’s strangest characters and settings with aplomb in a plot intended to interrogate how an ethical peacekeeping force might exist. It takes the spark that made Top 10 one of the most memorable comics of its era, then goes so far as to redefine the underlying police procedural elements. The result is a fascinating first issue filled with humor, intrigue, and big ideas bound to keep readers thinking for the month-long stretches between each new installment. This return exceeds the already high expectations garnered from Way of X and promises readers a new vision of what life can be in such a wonderful world. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

MOON KNIGHT #11

It’s not hyperbole when something is simply a fact, meaning it’s not hyperbole to say that Moon Knight is one of the most stunning series in comics. The work Allesandro Cappuccio, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Cory Petit continue to do in this series is beyond impressive, both in how attuned it is to the character and his grittier world and how massive key moments feel despite without losing the more personal and conflicted aspects of them in the process. Jed MacKay also knows how to play to a character’s strengths, with each person in Moony’s crew feeling distinct and additive as their individual stories move forward or resolve in satisfying ways. As for Zodiac and his new squad, they continue to feel like a genuine threat, even if Hunter’s Moon had to take the L to make them feel like a bigger deal. Moon Knight is taking the character to new heights while respecting the history and mythos that so many creators have built over the years, and I couldn’t recommend it more. — Matthew Aguilar

Rating: 5 out of 5

PUNISHER #3

Punisher #3 continues to follow Frank’s role as the high priest of a ninja cult devoted to mass murder in one of the strangest and most unsavory take ever provided for the character. That plot is primarily devoted to revealing his earliest murders – outside of some torture and additional slaughter intended to move the superhero plot along. However, it’s the shift in style to Paul Azaceta’s depiction of Frank’s childhood that merits focus. What’s deeply disturbing here is that Frank’s murderous ambitions as a 10-year-old are treated as a special calling, as it child soldiers and other horrificly twisted childhoods are not commonplace on the globe today. He is made out to be special because one young white man perceives an injustice and “corrects” it in the most horrific fashion imaginable. This thread of the story is steeped in the same fascist culture and terrible narratives that transform children into school shooters. Regardless of the justifications placed on the page, it is a comic that attempts to justify the creation or existence of a child soldier and it is truly repugnant to behold on the page. Perhaps there are other plans to subvert these early issues in the future, but given everything available to readers in the moment Punisher #3 is an ill-considered and repugnant comic without redeeming values. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 1 out of 5

SAVAGE SPIDER-MAN #3

Savage Spider-Man is a series that has Spider-Man at the center of its story, but it hardly feels that way. Instead, most of the characters that are pivotal to this Spidey spin-off are uninteresting and have unusual motivations. Seeing Spider-Man himself leap across the pages of issue #3 in his mutant form makes for some fun, but this series is largely devoid of any intrigue due to its central plot. — Logan Moore

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

SPIDER-MAN 2099: EXODUS #1

This issue is almost entirely about Winter Soldier 13, not Spider-Man, but that’s totally fine because it rules from start to finish. Steve Orlando creates a wonderful new character in 13 and knows how to balance an advancing story and jaw-dropping action perfectly. It’s a wonderful blend. The true hero, however, is artist Dave Watcher. The action between 13 and Crossbones is beyond gnarly, and one of the most enjoyable hand-to-hand fights we’ve seen in a Marvel comic in some time; brutal in the very best way. — Charlie Ridgely

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

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Other Publishers #1

ADVENTUREMAN #9

Flirtation and a budding romance persist as the central hook of Adventureman as the most exciting bit of action in issue #9 centers on an ice rink and lacks any violence whatsoever. The characters—plagued by sufficient self-doubt to just undermine their obviously pleasant personalities, handsome builds, and immense power—are a charming force and it’s that general charm which makes the increasingly slow build of this mystery bearable. There are plenty of distinct sequences within Adventureman #9, but each seems to add just slightly to the pulpy homage it’s telling. That pacing is a problem regardless of all the other strengths on display. No matter how engaging and fun these settings remain, readers have already seen the Dodsons deliver these buoyant concepts repeatedly and, at this point, some novelty is needed. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 3 out of 5

ALL-NEW FIREFLY #4

All-New Firefly #4 is a more solemn issue as the Serenity crew takes time to mourn the young monk they failed to save. There’s an intriguing structure here as two consecutive double-page splashes set the stage, followed by multiple pages of repeated panel framing intimate conversations between the cast. The composition could be better—it’s making the characters look small to hint at the emptiness, loneliness, and fleeting mortality they’re all struggling with, but not going quite far enough—but the cartooning is strong. The issue frames the story again by focusing on Jayne, first with another flashback and then with a surprising ending that could go in a few different directions but will unavoidably change the character. Is Jayne Cobb ready to grow up? That seems to be the question All-New Firefly is looking to answer, which could lead to either a frustrating or delightful new status quo. — Jamie Lovett

Rating: 3 out of 5

ARROWSMITH: BEHIND ENEMY LINES #5

Arrowsmith: Behind Enemy Lines #5 is stuffed with world-building exposition that hinders the book’s pacing compared to previous issues. But, like just about everything else involved in the story, the writing is solid. — Connor Casey

Rating: 4 out of 5

BLOOD-STAINED TEETH #2

Christian Ward and Patric Reynolds’ gothic epic continues here as. the title’s vampiric world continues to unfold with each passing page. Because that world-building takes center stage, the plot progresses to a crawl. Despite that, it does bounce around to a few different scenes, introducing new characters and ideas along the way. Reynolds’ art still brings across some neon-soaked horror goodness, and that’s always an exceptional part to the comic. — Adam Barnhardt

Rating: 4 out of 5

THE BRITISH PARANORMAL SOCIETY: TIME OUT OF MIND #2

I have to give Chris Roberson credit, I’ve been critical of his overly-wordy writing style across Hellboy comics but he manages to rein himself in for the most part in The British Paranormal Society. The series continues to dig its own niche corner in the world of Hellboy, embodying a classic folk-horror aesthetic that feels like it’s ripped from a 1960s from Hammer or Ammicus. Artist Andrea Mutti is given the chance to delve into grizzly action beats, plus a fun stealthy sequence, the standouts from a series that has quite a bit of people talking over tea. The unique playground this series is exploring is making it a very original chapter across the franchise and Mutti’s artwork only amplifies that. — Spencer Perry

Rating: 4 out of 5

THE COLLECTOR: UNIT 731 #2

As the curtain is pulled back in issue #2, The Collector definitely becomes more enjoyable, though that wasn’t a high bar in the first place. This feels like one long origin story for someone we haven’t ben given any reason to care about, and it needs to hurry up a bit if it wants to keep anyone’s interest. — Charlie Ridgely

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

DEPARTMENT OF TRUTH #18

The Department of Truth seems to be picking up. With the premise of the series firmly beaten into our heads over the last 17 issues, the series can more fully get into a meatier plot beyond “conspiracy theory has far more sinister connotations that can impact reality.” A world-bending confrontation is coming, and hopefully the pages and pages of exposition we’ve gotten over past year and a half pays off. — Christian Hoffer

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

ELVIRA IN HORRORLAND #1

Elvira in Horrorland #1 isn’t exactly a book I would have picked up on my own. I like Elvira well enough (she’s great!) but there’s a level of kitsch there that I don’t usually go towards in comics so when I say that I was pleasantly surprised here, I mean it. The issue has a lot going for it: it doesn’t take itself terribly seriously and we start out right away with some very helpful and fun breaking of the fourth wall, but more than that there’s just a lot of movie related fun here. The idea that every movie makes its own pocket dimension is clever and the idea of Elvira being trapped in one is fun, too. That she ends up in a pocket dimension patterned off of Psycho is a hoot. The way the book is constructed is honestly just a lot of fun and the art is crisp, clean, and sort of a treat for fans of classic horror and thriller films. The only real “problem” if you could call it that is that it’s very crowded in terms of narrative and dialogue. Elvira does a lot of talking and it takes up a lot of the page where the book might be better served with some showing rather than telling. But even with that, it’s a fun little romp of a book. — Nicole Drum

Rating: 3 out of 5

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Other Publishers #2

GODZILLA VS. MIGHTY MORPHIN POWER RANGERS #3

Godzilla vs. Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #2 was just a bit too campy and didn’t seem as aware of itself as the series’ debut issue. Thankfully, issue #3 is an entertaining return to form, with writer Cullen Bunn capturing that nostalgic tone and style in the dialogue without leaning too far in. The tone is vintage Mighty Morphin but some of Finster and Rita’s lines are hilarious, and you find yourself soon immersed in the larger-than-life monster fights that artist Freddie Williams and colorist Andrew Dalhouse bring effortlessly to life on each and every page. These are some of my favorite Megazord fights by far, especially when Godzilla also happens to be in the mix, though I will say I was not prepared for how disturbed I would be at Scorpina’s monster form in this style. I knew what I was getting, don’t get me wrong, but… it pierced my soul… Godzilla and the Power Rangers have made an unexpectedly formidable team, and no fan of either franchise should miss out on all the fun. — Matthew Aguilar

Rating: 4 out of 5

GUNSLINGER SPAWN #8

McFarlane and Booth have crafted what is probably the best issue of this series to date with Gunslinger Spawn #8, which is to say that it will really impress franchise fans and likely not make any new ones. Structured in that classic back-and-forth dynamic that Todd loves, Booth gets the chance to show off his ability at capturing action beats throughout while also giving us all the details of a quiet dialogue scene that holds the entire issue together. It’s frankly a miracle that a comic that feels so stuck in the mid-1990s is as readable and fun as Gunslinger Spawn. — 
Spencer Perry

Rating: 4 out of 5

THE HARBINGER #8

The Harbinger #8 certainly circumvents expectations if nothing else. You’d expect superhero conventions to present readers with an epic fight here in this latest issue, but the chapter takes a much more diplomatic route which, even if it’s an admirable breakaway from the norm, does downplay Peter’s phoenix-like return to a degree. It’s stylish, at least, even in its quieter, more talkative moments, but one can’t help but feel it to be a bit anti-climactic. — Tanner Dedmon

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

HELLBOY AND THE B.P.R.D.: NIGHT OF THE CYCLOPS #1

Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: Night of the Cyclops is one of the best new stories featuring the character in some time, channeling the best aspects of early Mignola work and adding a new flair to the franchise that makes it unique and memorable. In true Hellboy fashion it dives into a realm of mythology and lore that feels like it has always been a part of the narrative, and also manages to end on a hilarious punchline that, despite being set up, you won’t see coming. It’s a shame that this story isn’t collected in one of the gigantic Library Editions alongside the other classic shorts. — Spencer Perry

Rating: 5 out of 5

ICE CREAM MAN #30

The twists embedded in Ice Cream Man #30 won’t disappoint. There’s plenty of insect-infused horror imagery and some nasty insights into the mundane cruelties of everyday life in middle-class America, but these elements are also the table stakes for any new issue of Ice Cream Man. Issue #30 focuses on a double-blind experiment of sorts testing hallucinogenic drugs on a variety of patients with the sort of results readers might expect. There are twists embedded into the story, but those changes are rarely unexpected and barely revealing. It’s the sort of dashed off idea that makes for some intriguing sequences, some of which might even make readers squirm, but none of which will leave thoughts to linger. Ice Cream Man #30 is still a step above much contemporary comics horror fare, but it’s far from the cutting edge of satire that the series has shown itself capable of delivering. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 3 out of 5

IMAGE! #2

The second Image! anthology is once again a mixed bag. There’s some legitimately great stuff in here, particularly “Shift,” “Hopeless,” and an Ice Cream Man one-shot, and a few more that show potential, namely “Blizzard,” but the rest miss the mark. Still, the highlights outweigh the misfires. — Connor Casey

Rating: 4 out of 5

KILLADELPHIA #22

Killadelphia #22 is perfect. Barnes picks up the story from the previous issue deftly and furthers the narrative in a way that is both deeply engaging—the pacing in this issue is just masterful—but he also does it while revealing even deeper pockets of history and mythology in a way that further enriches this already incredibly detailed story. What is especially fantastic is that somehow he leverages both the current story and the history in a way that builds real tension through the issue only to catch you entirely off guard in the final page. Alexander’s art here is flat out some of the best of the series to date. Killadelphia as a series is phenomenal, but this issue is easily a series best to date. — Nicole Drum

Rating: 5 out of 5

THE KILLER: AFFAIRS OF THE STATE #4

The latest issue of The Killer: Affairs of the State focuses on exposing a snitch and the ramifications of that action. Trust is hard to come by when you’re involved in dirty-handed dealings, because you could be one moment away from being killed by association. We also get more of the inner workings of the protagonist’s mind and how he views certain things like the extermination of entire societies. It’s times like this that remind us that The Killer isn’t necessarily someone to root for. Honestly, there aren’t many characters to get behind in the series, but it’s a grim reminder of how the world works. — Tim Adams

Rating: 3 out of 5

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Other Publishers #3

MAGIC: THE HIDDEN PLANESWALKER #4

For an issue primarily comprised of people doing research in a school library, Magic: The Hidden Planeswalker #2 is an engaging read. That’s largely thanks to the delicate line work and iridescent colors. There’s not much to this chapter’s narrative beyond the basic plot beats necessary to put Liliana Vess on the trailer of the mysterious planeswalker at the center of Tezzet’s scheme. But the dialogue is light and playful enough that the issue doesn’t get bogged down, amounting to a pleasant if light read. — Jamie Lovett

Rating: 3 out of 5

MONSTRESS #40

Monstress #40 is bonkers, if you can call anything in Monstress that. For several issues we’ve been dealing with a nearly dead and incapacitated Maika and the agendas of pretty much everyone around her. Meanwhile Kippa believes that she can wake Maika and assembles a pretty unlikely group of allies in order to make it happen. What makes this wild ride work so well as Kippa enacts her plan is that Liu does a really great job of giving the reader little glimpses of the various players and what they’re doing, revealing agendas and also rooting some characters further in humanity. All of this is done in conjunction with Takeda’s incredible art that never seems to lose its freshness. And the whole issue is rooted around Kippa and Ren, what feels like a wild Hail Mary pass, and this little gem of boundless optimism in a world growing ever bleaker. This deep into a story, it would be easy to slip on the emotional stakes, but Monstress #40 simply doubles down on it. — Nicole Drum

Rating: 5 out of 5

NEWBURN #7

After six issues delivering delicious one-and-done mysteries, Newburn pivots to a serialized story based on the revelations made in Newburn #6. This transition doesn’t cost the series any of its core charms. Both of its cypher-like detectives maintain their mysterious charm; there’s an organized crime murder in desperate need of solving; each moment of suspense or action is delivered with an uninflected eye that makes it all the more intense. Yet investing the two detectives at the center of this series into their own debacle, especially after a poignant moment shared between them, makes for a sharp turn that makes it clear the story as readers have come to appreciate it is about to change. What’s best to behold here is how well the foundations for this pivot have been laid – not only the explicit plot elements from issue #6, but how the characters and mysteries have established the nature of this world. Whatever comes next is bound to be a gut-wrenching thrill. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 4 out of 5

PEARL III #1

This third installment in the Pearl series gets off to a pretty slow start. While the artwork from Michael Gaydos here is highly stylized and a constant joy to take in, the story doesn’t feel like it really picks up until the final moments of this issue. Still, much of the groundwork has now been laid for how Pearl will develop from here. It just remains to be seen where Brian Michael Bendis decides to take the story this time around. — Logan Moore

Rating: 3 out of 5

POWER RANGERS UNIVERSE #6

It’s all been building to this, and Power Rangers Universe #6 thankfully sticks the landing. The creative team of Nicole Andelfinger, Simone Ragazzoni, Mattia Iacono, and Ed Dukeshire knew the assignment and they delivered an action-packed finale that captured the heart, charm, and hope that has so often been one of Power Rangers’ calling cards. Those who adore learning about the lore and history of the Morphin Grid and the Phantom Ranger will find a lot to love here, as well as those who enjoy the larger than life aspects of the Rangers, including a splash page that just begs to get some shine on a billboard or movie poster. Fans of the franchise will enjoy how many core concepts are woven into the finale, sending out the series on a high note. — Matthew Aguilar

Rating: 4 out of 5

RADIANT RED #3

Radiant Red #3 is quite the balancing act, as it looks to push forward a heist-like adventure as its main thread while also delving into Satomi’s relationships with her boyfriend, the Radiant, and her new crew. There’s a welcome Oceans 11 vibe to the heist itself, and while a few of the characters haven’t quite shown what their capable of, writer Cherish Chen has already started to push Shift and his dynamic with Satomi further forward. Meanwhile, Satomi’s own story and the entity that powers her also gets some shine, and artist David Lafuente and colorist Miquel Muerto knock these sequences out of the park. The heist itself should be fantastic if the trial run is any indication, and Radiant Red is off to a stellar three-issue start. — Matthew Aguilar

Rating: 4 out of 5

RED SONJA #9

Red Sonja and Sitha’s adventure is continuing to twist and turn in a wide array of ways, and the way that manifests in this week’s issue is nothing short of a delight. After an inventive and bloody battle, the journey gets taken into a surreal and emotionally-dire territory, one that is profoundly boosted by Giuseppe Cafaro’s fluid art and Chiara di Francia’s brilliant colors. While this is clearly a bridge to even more surprising things for this Red Sonja run, it is still a profoundly entertaining one. — Jenna Anderson

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

ROGUE SUN #4

Parrott and Abel turn it up to 11 in Rogue Sun #4, with the story pushing the pedal to the metal and never letting up. Page after page, Abel’s kinetic artwork weaves together Parrott’s script with ease, taking fans on an adrenaline-filled adventure equally full of horror and promise. And though its been teased in the previous three issues, #4 dives fully into a Hughesian coming-of-age tale putting a delightful spotlight on the thing we all dread most: growing up. — Adam Barnhardt

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

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Other Publishers #4

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(Photo: Dark Horse Comics)

SOMETHING IS KILLING THE CHILDREN #23

Something is Killing the Children‘s “The Road to Tribulation” continues to be one of the series’ strongest chapters, finding that evasive but potent balance between small-town mystery and mythological thriller. Issue #23 is no exception, as writer James Tynion IV fleshes out this adventure’s supporting cast and main antagonist without Erica getting lost in the shuffle. In fact, with the help of one particular familiar face, the character still finds room to grow and evolve in the midst of all the other moving parts, and artist Werther Dell’Edera and colorist Miquel Muerto don’t even need a monster to show its face to maintain the persistent creepiness and tension that the series has encapsulated so well. Plus, every hero needs a villain, and this villain in just a few issues is quite convincing as a credible threat, so one can only hope the eventual throwdown lives up to the hype. If it does, this could be one of the greats. — Matthew Aguilar

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

STEP BY BLOODY STEP #4

What do we say to our children when there are no words? It’s a constant question in the 21st century for parents, teachers, and others as they confront a collapsing climate, increasingly predatory economy, and the decline of liberal democracies into fascism. Step By Bloody Step strives to address that question and provides a remarkable parable that requires no words to reveal some truth. The final issue of this saga reveals some of the essential metaphors at play—the giant and child’s relationship and the impermeable wall that compels them forward—and in doing so clarifies its meaning. Those revelations play out amidst the immense turmoil and emotional stakes delivered in issue #3 and, even as they focus more on action than the radiant settings that defined the series, provide visual wonders. Those wonders serve a clear purpose and elevate themselves beyond spectacle to become something unforgettable. Considerations of memory, kindness, and the essence of action instill both characters with a meaning far greater than any one-to-one allegory. Step By Bloody Step refuses to serve up cliched pablum or comforting answers, but instead chooses to confront its essential question directly with eyes wide open. How do we persist in this world? Words cannot suffice, but our actions might. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 5 out of 5

STILLWATER #13

Stillwater enters its endgame as one minor miracle unleashes a terrible new force on the town and its surrounding communities. From its start the series has questioned what keeps a community bound together and how those forces shape individuals. Stillwater #13 posits two very different answers in the midst of a crisis and it’s unclear whether either offers any possibility of salvation for the demented citizens of this place. After a sometimes confusing introductory action sequence, the issue quickly shifts to focus on what comes after this half-started revolt and there’s far more suspense to be found in those slow conversations given the absolute lack of physical consequences inside Stillwater’s borders. The back half of the issue frames the final arc of Stillwater with plenty of allegorical power; it seems that there’s a potent climax approaching. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 4 out of 5

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES #129

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles continues to balance the ongoing plot involving the introduction of Venus back into the TMNT mythos, the Turtles’ rivalry with the Punk Frogs, and beats for the characters’ interpersonal relationships. In this issue, Casey and Raph’s tension comes to a head. The art style here is heavy on the blacks, both in linework and shadows. It’s a fitting style for a turf war between two rival teen factions, even if some of the figures are a bit off. The stakes continue to rise on the path to “Armageddon Game,” and the quality of each issue getting there remains high. — Jamie Lovett

Rating: 4 out of 5

TRANSFORMERS: WAR’S END #4

It’s interesting to contrast this issue of Transformers: War’s End to the most recent issue of the main Transformers series. Both are hurtling this version of the Transformers comics franchise towards their conclusion. However, the main Transformers title created a palpable sense of desperation as the Autobots stood against seemingly insurmountable odds. War’s End does not. The mythical villain Exarchon is much less intimidating in person than his reputation as the Three-Fold Spark, that mad conqueror that both Autobots and Deceptions spoke of in hushed tones would have implied. He comes off here as a generic baddie and not an intimidating one, as his plans seem to unravel in a confusing sequence of underground drilling action. It’s a shame that this installment couldn’t rise to the bar set by its companion series. — Jamie Lovett

Rating: 2 out of 5

UNNATURAL: BLUE BLOOD #1

After several years away, the world of Mirka Andolfo’s Unnatural is back with this sequel series, and the first issue of Blue Blood immediately picks up the playful, but emotional energy of the series. Part of the fun is popping back in on the lives of the series’ original ragtag ensemble, now that the Reproduction Program has been done away with. But where Mirka Andolfo’s script really shines is in setting up new mysteries, ones that will surely take the mythos of this fully-realized world into some unique places. Sure, the tone is a little jarring going from sequence to sequence, but there’s enough here to compel fans of the original series – especially with Ivan Bigarella perfectly capturing the cartoony essence of Andolfo’s world. — Jenna Anderson


Rating: 4 out of 5

THE VAMPIRE SLAYER #2

This issue of The Vampire Slayer feels like something entirely different than the first or the story from the anniversary special. The Willow Rosenberg here is a far cry from the confident, perhaps overconfident, Slayer that burst into Buffy’s therapy session, and the art style feels like a throwback, with lots of straight, starchy hatching. It works well at the start when Willow is envisioning death, adding a decrepit, horror-tinged atmosphere to the book. Some characters, mostly Giles, seem a bit off, but otherwise, it’s a fascinating departure from what readers have likely come to expect from a BOOM! Studios title. By contrast, the story feels overfamiliar. It again goes to the familiar “the Slayer is made to suffer and defined by her trauma” theme without offering much new to say about it. It’s a curious comic that feels like a reset for the concept. Hopefully, it will explore some new territory going forward. — Jamie Lovett

Rating: 3 out of 5

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