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Comic Book Reviews for This Week: 1/18/2023

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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 Nightwing #100, Wasp #1, and White Savior #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

BATGIRLS #14

Batgirls runs with a “silent” episode as Cass attempts to ascertain Steph’s location after her capture by Cluemaster. This is a great issue that uses Jonathan Case’s artwork to tell a great story, with Cass (who is usually the butt-kicker of the Batgirls) trying to use her detective skills instead. Case uses a more stylized and energetic aesthetic, with Cass’s eyes doing most of the emoting on a backdrop of a detail-light costume. It’s makes for some very cool visuals, especially a sequence involving ninjas and Cass’s mother Lady Shiva. Considering that Cass was originally mute and still only fleetingly speaks in the present day, I particularly enjoyed how the lack of dialogue represented some of what Cass misses when her best friend Steph isn’t around. — Christian Hoffer

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

BATMAN/SUPERMAN: WORLD’S FINEST #11

Boy Thunder’s story arc comes to an end with another stellar issue from the creative team of Waid and Mora, proving once again why World’s Finest should be regarded as the number one comic book DC is printing today. On the art front, Mora does some wildly experimental stuff here that works very well, especially when it comes to a Key drug scene. The MVP of the issue is Waid’s take on Superman, who is able to present a fresh bit of characterization while reveling in Clark’s status as DC’s Boy Scout and it’s one of the best takes on the Last Son of Krypton I’ve read in years. Do yourself a service and pick up this book. Here’s to hoping this team is sticking with World’s Finest for the long haul. — Evan Valentine

Rating: 5 out of 5

BATMAN: FORTRESS #8

Fortress completely cements itself as an “outside of continuity” story with its grand finale, taking some big swings for the fences when it comes to the future of this DCU. Not all the swings land however, with one involving Batman’s status quo at the end of the issue being quite the curveball to what we saw before. Whitta and Robertson made an interesting team book with this spin-off series, though a lot of that gets shuffled to the side following the revelation of the Man of Steel’s current status. While the landing was shaky, Fortress‘ last issue did find its footing in more ways than one. — Evan Valentine

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

BATMAN: ONE BAD DAY – BANE #1

Batman: One Bad Day‘s latest installment tackles not just Bane, but the decades of history that surround the character. Batman fans who have been following since Bane’s initial introduction in “Knightfall” are well aware of how unevenly he has been used and the story does a good job of trying to encapsulate all the different aspects of the character from his early days as a calculating behemoth in peak physical and mental condition to his addiction storylines with the fictional Venom drug. It even goes so far as to spell out how breaking Batman’s back has stuck around with the character no matter what other writers have attempted. Thankfully, the ending seems to finally close the loop on Bane’s seemingly eternal struggle against Batman, Venom and his own inner demons. It won’t be the last time we see Bane in a Batman comic, but it feels like a fitting end if they closed the book on him here. — Connor Casey

Rating: 4 out of 5

BLACK ADAM #7

With Black Adam sidelined by Justice League shenanigans, Black Adam returns to focus almost entirely on their unsuspecting protege, Malik, who embraces a new moniker and their role as a superhero in Black Adam #7. A shift in the art team is noticeable with many panels lying flatter than the series’ first six issues, but detail emerges in key sequences filled with engrossing locales and death traps alike. Malik’s exploration of his new abilities within a relatively straightforward adventure are balanced by the ongoing efforts of strange gods pursuing their own purposes. The cross-section of a pawn shop and God of War is particularly amusing and will fill longtime readers of Priest with anticipation for wherever that particular thread is building. Returning from a hiatus can be difficult, but Black Adam #7 handles the reintroduction of its premise and many sub-plots with aplomb in an issue that functions on its own while staging a half-dozen threads quickly weaving their way together. Black Adam remains a highlight of DC Comics’ ongoing superhero series. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 4 out of 5

FABLES #157

Fables opens the second half of its 12-issue revival with the Wolf cubs growing up and establishing themselves within their new home. The comic continues to move at its leisurely place, although it’s fun to see these characters grow from their experiences in the wood. The comic has a bit of a surprising end page, although I’m still skeptical that everything can be wrapped up in just five more issues. — Christian Hoffer

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

THE FLASH #791

The “One Minute War” continues and with it, some serious emotion is injected into the Flash family as Barry, Wally, and the rest of the speedsters potentially say goodbye to one of their own. This remains an ingenious storyline for the Flash, taking all other heroes off the table sans those who have super speed at their disposal. While the final page of the issue is a little eye-roll-inducing, with a villain that I can only describe as an antagonistic swiss army knife of tropes, it’s another solid entry for the Scarlet Speedster overall. — Evan Valentine

Rating: 4 out of 5

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DC #2

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(Photo: DC)

GCPD: THE BLUE WALL #4

GCPD: The Blue Wall reveals its bad guy, and honestly I think that it’ll be a controversial one. Without delving too deeply into spoilers, the GCPD has radicalized one of their own, only this character was radicalized by the institution’s uncaring attitude towards racism, corruption, and the human condition. It feels really weird at best, and tone deaf at worst. This comic is trying to take a long hard look at being a cop, but it ended up going off the deep end into something that’s just… implausible at best. –– Christian Hoffer

Rating: 1.5 out of 5

LAZARUS PLANET: ASSAULT ON KRYPTON #1

The latest installment in the weekly “Lazarus Planet” crossover illustrates the event’s proof of concept in spades, delivering an anthology of stories showing the weird and personal effects of the Lazarus Volcano’s eruption. While each story is well-executed, the highlights are easily the stories bookending it — a lively new story fully integrating Dreamer into the DC Universe, and a gorgeous tale involving Power Girl and Omen. There are some genuinely gorgeous narrative and aesthetic decisions being made in these pages, and you owe it to yourself to check them out. — Jenna Anderson


Rating: 4.5 out of 5

MONKEY PRINCE #10

While the first issue of the Lazarus Planet event did not wow me for how random it seemed, Monkey Prince #10 somehow manages to be both a solid tie-in issue — that actually explains a good bit of things — while also furthers the actual title’s story in an interesting and meaningful way that doesn’t sacrifice the story for the event. The issue sees stuff go awry with the whole Lazarus Rain of it all, but it’s the developments in Marcus’ life that really resonate here. He finds out a major things about his grandfather and it’s a wild development that is going to up the stakes for him as we round into the series final issues. There’s a lot here that’s done well — excellent pacing, good distribution of plot between the event and the main series, and even the art pops off very well. This is a solid one. — Nicole Drum

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

THE NEW CHAMPION OF SHAZAM! #4

Unsurprisingly, New Champion of Shazam!‘s finale manages to be as delightful and epic as the issues that preceded it. Mary’s fight to save her family and town is taken to some profound and entertaining heights, building both an intriguing mystery and a heartfelt character piece in a single swoop. The love that Josie Campbell, Doc Shaner, and company have for Mary and her world is downright infectious, and I hope this isn’t the last time we see their brilliant work on this corner of the DCU. — Jenna Anderson


Rating: 5 out of 5

NIGHTWING #100

When it comes to superhero comics, there is Nightwing and then there is the rest of the class. Throughout the past twenty-plus issues, Taylor and Redondo have combined to craft one of the best superhero tales of the best decade and then some. Not only do they understand Dick Grayson as well as the creators who created him, but they have a tight grasp on what it takes to make a genre-best. Nightwing #100 begins to tie up the last few remaining threads that have been introduced throughout this run and, over the course of the over-sized issue, shows readers a perfect sample of what lies in store for them still. This story is as good of an example as any to showcase two comic creators not only at the top of their own careers, but at the summit of the comics industry as a whole. — Adam Barnhardt

Rating: 5 out of 5

STARGIRL: THE LOST CHILDREN #3

Stargirl: The Lost Children has been such a wonderfully pleasant surprise, and issue #3 continues the book’s upward trend. Artist Todd Nauk, colorist Matt Herms, and letterer Rob Leigh have impressed over the first two issues, but this is easily my favorite of the series thus far. The colors and the action sequences leap off the page with a vintage charm that still feels modern and fresh. The premise itself also leads to so many lively characters in the mix, and yet writer Geoff Johns keeps the mystery angle moving forward with a genuinely off-putting villain and the promise of someone even worse. And that last page builds even more momentum towards what promises to be a thrilling second half. Hard to find anything to complain about with Stargirl: The Lost Children, other than the wait for issue #4. — Matthew Aguilar

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

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Marvel #1

ALIEN #5

After holding off a monstrous attack, the synths discover they might have found what they were looking for all along, even if they suffered casualties along the way. As is the nature of synths, they can have their software compromised just like humans can, with an unexpected threat complicating their return home. Fans of the Alien film franchise will start to notice how this book might not be doing anything especially groundbreaking for the mythology and instead feels like it’s remixing the series’ greatest hits, though that’s not entirely a bad thing. This latest issue introduces a character similar to an iconic figure from Aliens and also highlighting a betrayal similar to one seen in Alien, yet we can’t help but be engaged in the storyline, if even just for its camp or predictable nature. The strong suit is the narrative pacing the book is starting to establish, which opens with exciting action that resolves the cliffhanger from the last issue’s ending, some conventional sci-fi banter, and then a tease that the book could break new ground. It’s not the most ambitious formula, but it’s one that’s surely working for Alien. — Patrick Cavanaugh

Rating: 4 out of 5

AVENGERS FOREVER #13

“Avengers Assemble” part five returns Aaron to his favored wheelhouse as the story focuses primarily upon recent Thor mythology with both Thor’s three granddaughters and Old Man Phoenix sitting centerstage, and it redounds to this issue’s notable improvements. If nothing else, the scale and portrayal of narrative makes more sense when connected immediately to more familiar Marvel Comics’ stories. The endless waves of Mephisto’s and every iconic Avenger has led to a sense of meaninglessness, but the specific story of the granddaughters provides a clearer sense of fun and connects to more meaningful tales. Waves of hammers and fearsome forms, like a Mangog, provide plenty to gawk at. Yet the title “The War of Wars” can’t help but underline how deeply the entire affair is. Even as the granddaughters narrate to readers that war is terrible and alters people, the story on the page is filled with magical tricks and fun that spin war out to be a triumphant adventure. As a whole, “Avengers Assemble” hardly hangs together, but the highlights found in Avengers Forever #13 deliver some great panels and laughs along the way. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 3 out of 5

DARK WEB: X-MEN #3

I have to give all the credit to Marvel’s “Dark Web,” as the brilliance that is Dark Web: X-Men would not be possible without it. In just three issues Gerry Duggan, Rod Reis, Phil Noto, Cory Petit, Tom Muller, and Jay Bowen have crafted a superb mini-series that can’t help but compel you to read the main series while still being completely satisfying unto itself. Duggan does wonders with Madelyne Pryor, conveying an all-too-rare level of empathy and relatability for the character. After this type of spotlight, how could you not have compassion for what she’s been through and what’s been taken from her, yet this in no way diminishes Jean Grey. In fact, this is easily one of my favorite issues of Jean as well, and when both Maddie and Jean are the focus this book soars, as Reis, Noto, and Petit create a feast for the eyes with vivid purples, pinks, and yellows. There are a few lines of dialogue that come off a bit clunky, but when everything else is this good those are rather easy to ignore. Even if you’ve been missing out on “Dark Web,” do yourself a favor and do not miss the excellence that is Dark Web: X-Men. — Matthew Aguilar

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

DEADLY NEIGHBORHOOD SPIDER-MAN #4

As has been the case for the entirety of Deadly Neighborhood Spider-Man, the work by artist Juan Ferreyra is the primary selling point of the series. The moody and atmospheric work looks like nothing else being published by Marvel right now, let alone like any other Spider-Man comic in years. Issue #4 continues this trend while allowing Ferreyra the chance to really go wild with unique monsters and bad guys, plus a gangly Spider-Man that feels unique. At the end of the day though very little of this feels like a Spider-Man comic, and the writing leaves a lot to be desired. — Spencer Perry

Rating: 3 out of 5

DEADPOOL #3

Deadpool #3 has a few fun character moments and keeps gradually unveiling what Carnage Jr. (Wade Jr.? Jury is till out on that one) is and how it relates to Wade. There’s not much else, and the issue is even surprisingly light on action scenes. It’s also still unclear just how long Valentine Vuong will be sticking around given Wade’s previous experiences with relationships. — Connor Casey

Rating: 3 out of 5

HULK #11

Ryan Ottley takes over writing duties on Hulk #11 and, while the issue still suffers from a sudden shift in the series’ course, he delivers a fun array of sequences that essentially play out as superpowered sketch comedy from one of the most expressive cartoonists in the business. Some of the gags are reminiscent of the humor Ottley portrayed in Invincible, with plenty of homages and idiosyncratic sidelines, and these play so quickly as to be funny beyond the veil of nostalgia. The issue of Godball provides some excellent pages after the game’s narration, although the overall effect of increasing power levels results in an anti-climax that doesn’t even a chuckle. The presentation of so many Hulk-type figures smashing their way through a delightful day together is worth the price of admission as Hulk finds its legs with a lot of promise to be found in Ottley’s future writing assignments. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 3 out of 5

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Marvel #2

IMMORTAL X-MEN #10

This issue of Immortal X-Men is a bold one, tackling multiple complex ideas wrapped up in the X-Men mythology, from the flawed character of Professor X to the self-policing politics of the X-Men as a superhero team, to the limits of the mutant metaphor. It’ll surely spark debate among fans, but Kieron Gillen makes a compelling case for this version of the truth, as seen through Professor X’s eyes, and as makes sense within the context of the Marvel Universe. Lucas Werneck takes a noticeably more exaggerated turn with his anatomy in this issue, occasionally to awkward results, but more often to create something dramatic or slightly dreamlike, fitting with the themes of the issue. The story also sets the stage for the coming Sins of Sinister event with an “oh $#!+” ending that’ll have readers buzzing to see what happens next. The X-Men are off to a heck of a start in 2023. — Jamie Lovett

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #2

Just two issues in and Gerry Duggan has already spun a masterful whodunnit as Tony Stark and Riri Williams have a quick team-up as they work to find who’s impersonating Iron Man. The script breezes by incredibly quickly as a few share the spotlight, taking a step back from the dynamic and intense character work seen in the first issue. This time around, Duggan and Frigeri plant their feet into the weekly team-up firmly, which could do more harm than good for future issues. That said, we’re not here to predict the future, so Invincible Iron Man #2 is an alright continuation of that incredible debut. –– Adam Barnhardt

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

NAMOR THE SUB-MARINER: CONQUERED SHORES #4

With just one issue remaining, Namor the Sub-Mariner: Conquered Shores is absolutely on fire in #4 – and that’s not a Human Torch pun. In a sense, this is the most complex issue of the series as it sees not just Namor, but Luke Cake, Captain America, and even the Torch confront their own histories, their own biases, and their own mistakes in an attempt to come together in a way that will potentially move things forward to a better tomorrow for everyone. Unfortunately, something explosive happens that throws away all of that growth and progress and leaves to a dramatic twist that underscores an important concept: emotions can be the most difficult thing to master. This issue is masterfully written with great reverence to history of these characters. It’s intriguing and fresh and heartbreaking all at the same time. — Nicole Drum

Rating: 5 out of 5

PETER PARKER & MILES MORALES – SPIDER-MEN: DOUBLE TROUBLE #3

Cartoon logic and light-hearted humor bring out the big laughs in the latest issue of Spider-Men: Double Trouble. It looks like the “big threats” from last issue have been dealt with (for now), but now the duo will have to take on one of Marvel’s biggest villains in issue #4. If you’re haven’t jumped onboard for this series now is a good time to start. — Connor Casey

Rating: 4 out of 5

PUNISHER #9

I can finally see the shape of Punisher as the High Priestess recounts past flashbacks to entirely rewrite the Punisher mythos as a supervillain’s origin story. It is an astounding upending of the table, but the story doesn’t seek to retcon Frank Castle so much as it wants to redraft the character from ground one. Regardless of how fans may feel, it’s an astonishingly entertaining affair as nuance is dropped to present Frank Castle the Superhuman Killing God-Machine. Each step in the journey is delightful in the way that Fantastic Four wrapping Doctor Doom in his one true love’s skin was; it’s a horrifying affair lit up like a carnival. Both Saiz and Azaceta prove themselves perfectly suited to their distinct plot threads. The former delivers sweeping action in fast-paced and propulsively constructed spreads; the latter plays out the tragic villain’s origin and tempts an almost catastrophic decision with a perfect degree of tension. It all builds to a final few pages that really sell this entirely new take on a character that’s been walked around the same circuit of stories for decades. Aaron, Saiz, and Azaceta may not have made a better mousetrap, but they’ve definitely delivered the most engaging and enjoyable Punisher in many, many years. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

SPIDER-MAN: THE LOST HUNT #3

Things take a psychologically twisted turn in Spider-Man: The Lost Hunt #3 and it’s a fascinating exploration of Peter’s psyche tucked in a very action-packed issue. It’s pretty well-executed in terms of its pacing and the way the story twists on itself to provide a satisfying cliffhanger of sorts to propel readers into the next issue. Art wise things are still a little distorted, but the story more than makes up for it. It doesn’t feel especially original, but it’s well-written enough that that almost doesn’t matter. This is a solid issue and now that things have gone awry even further, it will be interesting to see what’s next. — Nicole Drum

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

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Marvel #3

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(Photo: Marvel Comics)

STAR WARS: BOUNTY HUNTERS #30

As Beilert Valance reunites with his former crew of bounty hunters, he’s faced with a depressing truth, though one that could prove to be his path to freedom from the grasp of Darth Vader. Given that this series has historically been a convoluted experience based on how many one-dimensional characters it has been tasked with navigating, this current storyline could potentially finally right these wrongs, as the only figure that really matters all that much is Beilert Valance, who is arguably the only character that any fans cared about in the first place. Luckily, after years of having to keep track of bland characters and expected bounty-hunting stories, we’re starting to see the series start to lean into its strengths with this story focusing on Valance and also incorporating justified spurts of exciting action. With a conflict between Valance and Vader being teased, the upcoming issue could finally redeem the overall title. — Patrick Cavanaugh

Rating: 3 out of 5

STAR WARS: HAN SOLO & CHEWBACCA #9

After a near-death experience for Chewie, Han Solo uncovers what the relic Jabba the Hutt really tasked him with saving, which only raises more questions than answers. The true source of his mission could be even more valuable or even more deadly than anyone could have even imagined, depending on whose hands it falls into. While this issue does deliver the madcap adventures of Han and Chewie, along with their beloved banter, it also teases a major plot point for the future of Star Wars comics, and while we already know it won’t change the status quo of the original trilogy, it becomes just one more clue towards a major event that all Star Wars comics readers have been looking forward to. What makes this tease so effective is that it manages to build our excitement for the franchise as a hole without detracting from what has made this series so enjoyable, and that’s the adventures of Han and Chewie. Without sacrificing the core concept, we’re also able to get some exposition about the medium as a whole, which is an unenviable task for any creator, but this book makes it look easy. — Patrick Cavanaugh

Rating: 4 out of 5

STRANGE #10

Everything about the Strange series has been leading to this issue and it delivers in every conceivable way by paying off character arcs and giving us the kind of smackdown fight we’ve been waiting on. Writer Jed MacKay’s journey through this series has been one that was not only worth it but is one of the best maxi-series out of Marvel in years. Strange #10 sees artist Marcelo Ferreira not only knock it out of the park by virtue of his paneling and action beats, but working alongside inker Roberto Poggi and colorist Java Tartaglia to create one of the best fights I’ve ever seen. — Spencer Perry

Rating: 5 out of 5

VENOM #15

Though less confusing than the previous issue’s tie-in to the “Dark Web” crossover event, Venom this month is still pushing its bigger plot into a backseat, though making sure to address it in broad strokes. Writer Ram V brings back the least interesting character of this run, Dylan Brok, into the fold in a big way this time around, but it’s at least tolerable thanks to the “Superman vs. Doomsday” levels of destruction that artist Bryan Hitch is allowed to draw. Splash pages really earn their place in the story this month with Hitch’s ability to draw amorphous muscular bodies never looking better than two symbiotes beating the snot out of each other. — Spencer Perry

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

WAKANDA #4

The new Black Panther character Tosin is the focus of this issue, and his co-creator John Ridley returns to help flesh out his heroic journey some more. Readers get to learn more about the group known as the Sisters, and the mute zones that have forsaken Wakanda’s technology to live a simpler life. I also didn’t know Tosin had chosen the hero name of “Wakandan,” so I’m hoping he sticks around for awhile, even with Ridley exiting the Black Panther series and Wakanda #4 painting a bleak future for him. — Tim Adams

Rating: 3 out of 5

WASP #1

Wasp #1 does a wonderful job of considering everything its title contains. It simultaneously looks back to Wasp’s origin printed 60 years ago and ahead to a sprawling new status quo complete with an inheritor of the Wasp legacy. While that wide scope can require a lot of reading, it’s matched by a winning distillation of styles modern and classic that capture the Wasp’s many visual charms. That appreciation of all things Wasp is rooted into every thread of the issue, even its choice of a distracting villain, making this a thrilling celebration and introduction to the character, regardless of what readers may already know of Janet van Dyne. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 4 out of 5

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Other Publishers #1

3KEYS #4

Messina’s art continues to be the star of the show in this comic focusing on a comic book store worker, a giant tiger man, and slews of Lovecraftian nightmares populating the panels. This issue tends to pull back on some of the more eye-popping creatures that allowed Messina to stretch his artistic legs, but it had plenty of surprises and was bloody fun when all was said and done. The series remains a fun romp that smashes together more than a few interesting concepts, though it could have used just a tad more meat on the bone to really make it great. –– Evan Valentine

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

ART BRUT #2

Art Brut remains very weird and colorful, although its depiction of mental illness remains distressing. The artwork of Martin Morazzo is a highlight of the issue, with the titular Art Brut explaining the strange artscape to his new boss. The series remains very rough around the edges, though, as the non-linear flashblacks are too heavily used to provide exposition to explain the present day story. I’m also just… not a fan of Brut’s seemingly hopeless schizophrenic tendencies outside of the artwork, it feels more crass and uncaring than anything, played for bizarre laughs instead of trying to make any deeper point. — Christian Hoffer

Rating: 3 out of 5

BARNSTORMERS #4

The penultimate issue of Barnstormers is here and it may be the best in the series. While I’m still not one hundred percent sure what the robot of it all is about, Bix and Tillie’s adventures—or rather, the threat of the abusive Peyton—has finally caught up with them in an explosive confrontation that sets the stage for what could be a spectacular finale. What works best here, as has been the case through the whole series, is the fantastic art, but the pacing this issue is solid. There’s also this undercurrent that we could be in for a switch of sorts in the final issue and that builds a bit of an intensity that the book has lacked in previous issues. What it lacks in depth, it makes up for in its stylistic sense. Let’s just hope it sticks its final landing. — Nicole Drum

Rating: 3 out of 5

DUNE: HOUSE HARKONNEN #1

Adaptation is a tricky business and it’s unclear how exactly the complex intrigues, long histories, and expansive cast of a series of sci-fi novels were expected to translate into the form of serialized monthly comics in Dune: House Harkonnen #1. Readers familiar with the novels will be able to recognize the characters and plots referenced, but those who may only be familiar with Dune are bound to find themselves lost in an issue that compresses and fires out highlights of House Harkonnen like a firehose. There’s no space in this issue for any degree of nuance, leaving characters often only a few panels to state their relationships or motivations before quickly moving ahead. A murder occurs, seemingly at random, and everyone in the room rushes past it because there’s insufficient space to set up or address that particular event. Even as a reader who appreciates the source material, Dune: House Harkonnen is only capable of delivering visuals for fantastical settings that would be better suited to exploration in an artbook or alternative medium. If asked why this adaptation is beneficial, the only answer seems to be that there was a quick buck to be grabbed. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 2 out of 5

EVE: CHILDREN OF THE MOON #1

While there are a lot of what feels like narrative gaps with the way the story of Eve: Children of the Moon #4 flows, this is probably the strongest issue of the series to date. The issue fleshes out a bit the backstory of the mysterious newcomer which, in turn, reveals even more about the ecological collapse that lead to the story at. hand. We also see a major turning point for Eve and her sister and a revelation that changes how Selene sees her own actions. With this being the penultimate issue in the series, there is still a lot of questions and no real set feeling that a firm direction is at hand, but the investment in terms of story is finally starting to gel and it’s a marked improvement. — Nicole Drum

Rating: 3 out of 5

GIGA #5

After many delays Giga #5 arrives to deliver a grand finale that proves to be worth the wait. Although a handful of sequences are paced in a rushed fashion to ensure the story leaves no annoying loose ends, each loop it connects is satisfying. There’s no hesitation as the invasion of the Red King brings plenty of brutality with it, and Giga never turns away from the cost of violence – it doesn’t lose its romantic streak when facing darkness, though, to the series’ credit. The final revelations found within the Red King are portrayed in terrific fashion and showcase Lê’s knack for detailing mechs and natural settings, even if human forms are sometimes inconsistent. By the time the final page arrives, Giga has doubled down on the series’ evident early strengths and crafted a powerful conclusion. This is a series from two rising stars that future readers are bound to discover as their reputations grow; I’m glad to have discovered it so early. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 4 out of 5

GROO: GODS AGAINST GROO #2

Groo: Gods Against Groo #2 steps out with another wild entry that gives our new deity more power than ever before. While Groo continues to war with the gods above, chaos reigns on Earth as more and more people find themselves worshipping the legend. And by the end, well – a segue into Lewis Carrol will take fans by surprise by way of a despotic queen. — Megan Peters

Rating: 3 out of 5

HEXWARE #2

Hexware steps out with its second issue this week, and its cyberpunk world takes some dark turns that readers won’t see coming. With a pinch of magic and some supernatural twists, Hexware puts our favorite witch on a hot trail that ends with someone’s death. And of course, the issue’s tech-centric art looks as gorgeous as ever here thanks to artist Zulema Scotto Lavina and colorist Valentina Cuomo. — Megan Peters

Rating: 4 out of 5

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Other Publishers #2

HOUSE OF SLAUGHTER #11

After a change of pace with Scarlet, Jace is back in the driver’s seat in House of Slaughter #11, and you can tell a difference right from the start. Artist Antonio Fuso, colorist Miquel Muerto, and letterer Andworld Design waste no time in hitting you in the face with a brutal sequence that quickly establishes how dangerous this world continues to be. The monsters themselves also feel like a welcome shift from the creatures we’re used to seeing in Erica Slaughter’s adventures, though the real star of the show is Jace. Jace and Aaron’s relationship and evolution were one of the series’ best shining beats initially, though Jace is far more compelling now than he ever was back then. Writer Tate Brombal utilizes their history with great effect and also finds creative ways to introduce small moments of humor throughout (courtesy of Hootie and Scar). Jace’s backstory and history with The Order is also so rich for exploration, and Brombal takes advantage with a reveal that has me wishing issue #12 was already in my hands. At times the artwork can be a bit too clunky and lacking in detail, but overall I couldn’t have been more enamored with Jace’s return, and I think you will be too. –– Matthew Aguilar

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

I HATE FAIRYLAND #3

Gert returns this week with I Hate Fairyland #3, and man – you get a good look at why our star hates this world so much. With an ally at hand, Gert sheds blood as always this week culling the masses, and the series’ tried combination of cutesy gore is as effective as ever. And by the sounds of this week’s cliffhanger, it seems Gert has made another foe who wants little else in life but revenge. — Megan Peters

Rating: 3 out of 5

IMMORTAL SERGEANT #1

Nearly a decade-and-a-half after Joe Kelly and Ken Niimura created the award-winning I Kill Giants, the duo returns here with Immortal Sergeant #1. From the leap, Immortal Sergeant fails to capture the magic of Giants, instead relying on a harsh—and sometimes gross—protagonist that’s supremely unlikable. While Niimura tries to make some lemonade out of the lemons of a character with his kinetic action pieces, Immortal Sergeant goes nowhere in its script, despite being oversized at 40 pages. — Adam Barnhardt

Rating: 3 out of 5

KROMA #3

Kroma #3 puts the series’ subtext into words, with the colorful bird man holding a knife to Kroma’s throat explaining that stories are not wielded like weapons, but used to build prisoners. Kroma’s own story, as told by the Makavi, installed the bars around her life and helped shore up the walls around the lives of all living in the pale city. Now that she’s escaped, she almost yearns for their familiarity and relative safety, but events make it clear that the path home is not open to her. The issue is as beautifully rendered as the previous two, the mood shifting with the contrasting color palettes that define the pale system and the green wilds surrounding it. The story’s shift in its pacing as Kroma makes her journey to her new destination feels unnatural given the flow of the story thus far, but it doesn’t take much away from what remains a compelling and affecting tale. –– Jamie Lovett

Rating: 4 out of 5

MIGHTY MORPHIN POWER RANGERS #104

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers has done wonders for its villains within the pages of the comics, and few have benefited from that more than Rita Repulsa. That’s why it might be easy to assume that there’s not as much left to explore with the character, but Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #104 wastes no time in putting that theory to bed. Artists Kath Lobo and Simona Di Gianfelice alongside colorists Fabi Marques and Raul Angulo and letterer Ed Dukeshire capture the arc of Rita’s journey in one page, contrasting the dazzling lights of Bandora Place with the isolation that is Rita’s lowest of lows. That journey is filled with larger-than-life characters that all feel as if they stepped right out of the show, and yet there is still so much more to them than you might expect. That’s in large credit to writer Melissas Flores as well, who crafts a Rita that is always lethal and endearingly defiant, to the point that I had to remind myself she was the villain of this story in the end. Still, the fact that it became a question is a credit to what the team has brought out of her, and if this Rita is sticking around, it can only be for the better. — Matthew Aguilar

Rating: 4 out of 5

OLD DOG #3

This far in, Old Dog is successfully striking a balance between the action-packed and the profoundly personal. This week’s issue showcases that dichotomy wholeheartedly, taking Jack and Retriever on a deadly, but emotional, detour. Declan Shalvey’s work is understated while packing an absolute emotional punch, and it’s not too late to join in on that journey. — Jenna Anderson

Rating: 4 out of 5

RESIDENT ALIEN: THE BOOK OF LOVE #3

A series of unrelated events quickly reach their boiling point as various mundane criminal conspiracies threaten the people of Patience. What’s most notable in an issue filled with violent threats and even a bit of gunplay is that there’s nothing exaggerated in the references to violence – each step forward plays out in a novelistic fashion that appreciates the banality of violent crime. The demands of plot and exposition distract somewhat from the relationships in Patience that make the threats so potent, though, preparing readers for a final chapter that’s bound to contain a few surprises by investing heavily in flashback and maneuvering here. It’s always a pleasure to watch this cast go about their daily lives and that’s no exception in The Book of Love #3, but it sets much higher expectations for the final chapter next month. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

SHIRTLESS BEAR FIGHTER! 2 #6

I did not expect to see a multiversal army of Shirtless Bear Fighters charging in as the calvary. This turned out to be a fun issue filled with surprises, family reunions, and secrets coming to the surface. Just as Shirtless is able to take out his evil clone, his doppelgängers from across the multiverse arrive as women, cyborgs, and more. Definitely a hilarious image to watch unfold. — Tim Adams

Rating: 4 out of 5

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Other Publishers #3

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(Photo: Dark Horse Comics)

SONIC THE HEDGEHOG: SCRAPNIK ISLAND #4

At the end of Scrapnik Island, Sonic fans will already want to return to this strange place filled with new wonders and its own idiosyncratic charms. Mecha Sonic’s heel turn, rather than simply driving conflict forward, creates an opportunity to examine one of Eggman’s most fearsome creations and the mind (and even soul) programmed within it. What follows is both an intense battle between the two blue speedsters in a fearsome setting and a profoundly moving scene of understanding, especially for an all ages venture like this. While the story addresses Mecha Sonic’s motivations directly, the way in which it does so is quite clever and allows readers to really emphasize with the typically cold and vicious creation. Both Mecha Sonic and the many reformed Badniks on the island are given abundant opportunities to showcase both their oddball designs and the wonderful heart revealed at the end of the first issue. Sonic the Hedgehog: Scrapnik Island lands on a wonderful final sequence that establishes this new setting as a potential hotspot for Sonic the Hedgehog in the future, and may even elicit a tear or two from readers young and old, alike. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

STAR TREK: RESURGENCE #3

There’s an unusual conflict in this Star Trek: Resurgence prequel, in that the hero ship’s captain, typically cast as the pinnacle of Starfleet values, is perhaps too close to another character, too invested in the research, to see the danger all around him clearly. This issue could stand digging deeper into this, especially with how it seems to put him at odds with his first officer, but instead focuses on something akin to back-channel negotiations and rogue plotting instead. Those beats are satisfying enough those, and seeing the effect Picard had on Jono and his hopes for his people continues to be a compelling follow-up for Star Trek: The Next Generation fans. — Jamie Lovett

Rating: 3 out of 5

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES #136

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles continues to bristle with tension as “The Armageddon Game” plot unfolds. The Utroms have come for the new Triceraton Regenta, and that puts everyone in her immediate proximity in danger. Luckily for her, that includes Donatello and Jennika. Donnie being forced to reveal his newly acquired power to Utroms could be setting the stage for stories to come. Fero Pe’s artwork remains intense, made to sizzle by Rhonda Pattinson’s colors. The issue loses a little focus as it sets up a major upcoming Armageddon Game battle by its end, but it’s still a thrilling read. — Jamie Lovett

Rating: 4 out of 5

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: THE ARMAGEDDON GAME #4

The main Armageddon Game series is still the one saddled with most of the exposition in stage-setting for the epic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles event, but here it gets to the action as well with Shredder and Leonardo finally launching their mission to rescue Cherubae’s kin. Churubae’s explanation of the Turnstone and the balance required to wield its powers is a massive lore dump that starts to sound like Coheed and Cambria lyrics before the end, but it’s positioned well enough to help build momentum to the climax rather than slowing things down. It’s another satisfying chapter of this massive TMNT tale. –– Jamie Lovett

Rating: 4 out of 5

THE VAMPIRE SLAYER #10

With The Vampire Slayer #10, writer Sarah Gailey and artist Hannah Templar take readers into Willow’s psyche as she comes close to merging with the magical energies flowing through her. The issue affects a dreamlike sensibility and tells us what the story has or should have already shown us, as is the case with too many dream sequences. Willow reflects on each of her close friends, highlighting their strengths, flaws, and internal struggles. It’s a narrative move that feels insecure as if double-checking to make sure readers have been paying attention, or that the point has come across effectively enough before moving on to the next act. The issue is thus left redundant, if not condescending, for any reader who has invested enough to stick with this iteration of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer universe for 10 issues. Luckily the issue at least leverages the ephemeral quality of the situation to visualize this internalized strife in interesting ways, leaning on Valentina Pinto and Francesco Segala’s colors to help create visualizes that vary in intensity and form from neon-tinged horror to tarot-like symbolism. — Jamie Lovett

Rating: 3 out of 5

WHAT’S THE FURTHEST PLACE FROM HERE #10

What’s the Furthest Place From Here is back to its regularly scheduled programming with issue #10. After telling some flashback stories, the newest issue dives back into its main story with multiple chapters, all continuing the same tale. Sid and her pregnant belly are also back, and she makes a valiant effort to save a dog from a terrifying fate. This mysterious map will more than likely factor into the storytelling even more as the series goes on. — Tim Adams

Rating: 3 out of 5

WHITE SAVIOR #1

White Savior is clearly establishing itself to be something interesting but its first issue spends most of its real estate explaining its lead character and his attitude in a clumsy fashion. The unique plot that Todd Parker finds himself in seems like one that could be fun in the long run of the series, perhaps if the humor can find a balancing act between crude and clever. For now though the first issue is notable for its unique visual style. Sadly this core tenet of the comic isn’t throughout, but should be a staple of its look for the foreseeable future. There’s promise here, hopefully White Savior can find that in itself too. — Spencer Perry

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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