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Comic Book Reviews for This Week: 3/9/2022 – ComicBook.com

By Chase Magnett – March 9, 2022 11:00 am EST
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 Naomi: Season Two #1, Punisher #1, and The Kill Lock: The Artisan Wraith #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.
Barbara Gordon and I seem to be in sync. In this issue of Batgirls, Gordon points out the problem I’ve had with this comic since the very beginning – the titular Batgirls are spread too thin, with too many problems to solve. So, Gordon proposes dealing with the Tutor, the mind-controlling artist who seems to have an inside track on Steph’s brain. While the many other threats and potential plot threads continue to circle around the heroes, I appreciated that the comic actually picked a plot and “resolved” it, which provided some much needed focus to what’s been a very disorganized comic so far. — Christian Hoffer
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Batman: Urban Legends continues to be one of the most underrated Batman books in DC’s arsenal for its sheer variety and scope, and Urban Legends #13 follows suit with a bevy of styles and approaches that keep you immersed in the everyday struggle that is living in Gotham. All four stories stand out in their own way, though “Bound To Our Will,” “Hounded,” and “Wight Witch” are the most compelling offerings in this particular issue. That’s not to say that Mohale Mashigo and Arist Deyn’s “Eternity in Gotham” is disappointing, but it ends rather abruptly, feeling as if there was another issue and things got cut down. That might not be the case, but even so, the three-part series was so different and paired well with the more supernatural tints of Batman and Zatanna’s adventure, which by the way benefits from the absurd charm of Vita Ayala’s John Constantine (and looks gorgeous courtesy of Nikola Cizmesija and Nick Filardi to boot). Meanwhile, Ram V and Anand RK’s “Stigma” also ends, but it feels as if it captures the spirit and tone of the story thus far and leaves an indelible impression on the reader before bidding farewell. As for Mark Russell, Karl Mostert, and Trish Mulvihill’s “Hounded,” well, it’s as if Homeward Bound met The Dark Knight and then told a story together, and yes, I’m 100% in. Lots to love this time around, so if you’re not adding this to your pull list every month, just know you’re missing out on some wonderful tales of the Dark Knight.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
“The Tower” continues to build up steam, as the Bat-Family attempts to retake control of Arkham Tower from Scarecrow and multiple other factions. I appreciate how… frantic everything seems to be in the Tower. While Batman always brought a facade of control with him, his allies can barely keep their heads above water. I also loved the “twist” reveal that Harley Quinn also infiltrated the Tower, by posing as an inmate who thought she was Harley Quinn. “The House of Gotham” brings back Batman for a confrontation with that arc’s main protagonist, and gives Batman a much more… mistaken-prone side. For the most part, this comic is exactly what you’d expect if you’ve been reading the weekly issues for the last two months. — Christian Hoffer
Rating: 3 out of 5
There’s a lot going on in Future State: Gotham and while this issue, #11, does a better job than most of the preceding ones at keeping things tight an organized fashion, the different stories just don’t really do much. There’s a fight over Tobias Whale, Nightwing doing something that just seems random—though the sudden use of color is pretty interesting regarding that—and on top of that the art in the issue goes back and forth between decent and amateurish. While I get that the issue and indeed the whole title is supposed to have a manga-like feel, it never really hits that mark, both in terms of visual and story. — Nicole Drum
Rating: 2.5 out of 5
I Am Batman #7 is starting to re-find its footing, thanks in part to a more polished art style. Christian Duce is the artist for this issue, and his work just feels a lot more in sync with the tone and style with Ridley’s story. As Batman and the NYPD learn to work with each other, we see how the NYPD has set up Batman to fail. It’s an interesting take on the police/Batman dynamic, and I enjoyed Batman’s reluctance to take on a strange murder case that seems to be more up his alley than gun-runners. That beat alone speaks volumes about the new Batman, and gave him much more characterization than the past few issues. — Christian Hoffer
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
The Joker as a comic series is at its pinnacle when the Clown Prince of Crime is the shark from Jaws, wading beneath the surface. While this latest issue doesn’t lean into the series’ strengths, there’s still plenty to like here. Vengeance is certainly living up to her name and Joker is as deliciously evil as he’s been throughout the comic, though the story once again suffers from the faux-Texas Chainsaw Massacre family, who are taken off the board so hilariously quickly, that you have to question their involvement at all. With the final page certain to bring in readers for the conclusion of this arc, let’s hope that Tynion and Carmuncoli are able to stick the landing and get back to what made the series so special in the beginning. — Evan Valentine
Rating: 3 out of 5
Most of Justice League vs. Legion of Super-Heroes #2 is devoted to unpacking the cliffhanger from issue #1, which isn’t nearly as exciting as it first seemed. Instead, it’s a simple shift in setting as characters are moved about without any immediate effect. There’s very little to be reassessed between the introductory issues besides the introduction of an origin for Gold Lantern. Even that origin is somewhat lacking in substance as each nod at the establishment and purpose of the Gold Lanterns is presented as a nod and wink without much for readers to actually consider. It’s clear that the Green Lantern Corp. was reevaluated, but that much has been clear since Gold Lantern first appeared in Legion of Super-Heroes. Some humor and new encounters combined with additional outstanding design work by Scott Godlewski offer enough to keep treading water, but there’s very little in the way of new information or points of interest to be found here. That’s far too little after a two-month wait. — Chase Magnett
Rating: 2.5 out of 5
While Naomi has made a handful of high profile appearances in other DC comics, her solo title requires little pre-reading to jump into. You can enjoy her first arc or start with this issue. You’ll be getting the same quality of comic either way, with a solid blend of superheroics and family angst that make for a very compelling DC Comics story. — Christian Hoffer
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
As both the final issue (for now) of the overall series and the second installment in the “Trial of the Amazons” event, this issue arguably had quite a lot to cover – and it did so with an unsurprising ease. While readers who had not read Trial of the Amazons #1 will probably see this as a surprising and slightly-jarring detour (in part because the opening pages of this issue spoils the biggest twist from Trial #1 ), the installment manages to still provide some meaningful character moments for the book’s main ensemble. Stephanie Williams’ script balances a roster of newer and familiar faces while creating a lot of narrative tension, and Alitha Martinez and Mark Morales’ art beautifully renders every character on display. This is definitely an essential issue for anyone wanting to catch up with the larger Trial event – or just experience the full breadth of the Amazons’ universe. — Jenna Anderson
Rating: 4 out of 5
If you want to sit down with a comic that is genuinely one of the finest examples of the medium, Superman: Son of Kal-El #9 is it. To be fair, Tom Taylor doesn’t really miss on this title, but this issue’s team-up with Nightwing is everything you could ask for. There’s plenty of incredible action, great dialogue, and there is so much emotion on every page. Going beyond this incredibly well written issue, however, is the art. Redondo, Von Grawbadger, and Lucas working together create a stunning issue. There is one page in particular where you see Jon flying with Nightwing just off to the side that not only feels like a perfect World’s Finest moment, but also is just so thrilling while also keeping tied to the main story at play. This book is magnificent. — Nicole Drum
Rating: 5 out of 5
The plot was never the point of Superman vs. Lobo—it seems to have been mostly humor and aesthetics, never rising to the standards of satire—but one would hope it could at least string together a finale issue. That’s not the case in a story that pivots between settings and reality as quickly as the attention of a second grader. Whether the focus is on DC Comics’ mix of last surviving sons or whatever garbled metaphor for cancel culture is found on these pages, the issue jumps between ideas so quickly as to never say anything about any of them. This wouldn’t be a problem if the Black Label miniseries functioned on a superficial level, but it suffers from many problems there, too. Despite its pitch as a comedic series, Superman vs. Lobo lacks any sense of humor besides quips that are as underwritten as the story they accompany. As a result it’s difficult to pay attention to a third issue that barely holds onto any ongoing threads. The only uniting element of this miniseries is the only redeeming factor in its finale – Mirka Andolfo’s depiction of DC characters. There’s a spring and bounce to all of these forms, especially the multiversal tardigrade, and it’s still fun to witness her exaggerated depictions on the page here. However, it’s hardly enough to justify the price on the cover as readers would be far better served picking up Andolfo’s far superior original work elsewhere. — Chase Magnett
Rating: 1.5 out of 5
There will be those who look at the lack of action in Trial of the Amazons #1 and decide that’s a problem and somehow a negative, but I disagree. By kicking off this event by dealing with what I can only call political and cultural issues among the three Amazon tribes before delivering a shocking death on the issue’s final pages, Becky Cloonan, Michael W. Conrad, Joelle Jones, Vita Ayala, and Stephanie Williams have set the stage for a high stakes story with something in it not just for every Wonder Woman fan, but fan of the Amazons more broadly. The book is well-paced, full of details, and the character dynamics are top notch. The art is also excellent and the whole issue has a really fascinating energy to it that makes it a page turner without having to rely on fists. It’s a solid issue and a great kickoff. — Nicole Drum
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Beyond’s mutated version of the Lizard proves to be a fearsome force on the page, especially once it’s revealed what led to this new winged iteration. Watching Spider-Man and his allies bounce around the beast is a thrill on the page and introduces a new artist to the “Beyond era” who proves an excellent fit for bombastic action. While The Amazing Spider-Man rotates its artistic team, each member is focused on different elements of the plot and strike an excellent balance. While much of the issue is spent moving the story forward with the finale just weeks away, the chase to get there is plenty enjoyable, especially given how those battles and reunions are portrayed. — Chase Magnett
Rating: 4 out of 5
Captain Carter #1 brings Peggy to life in a colorful wash that highlights her strength of character. After being woken from the sea eighty years after World War II, our heroine is left to assimilate into modern society while thinking through her legacy from decades ago. Her brawn and strength is tested even further when a rogue terror cell targets Peggy no matter the collateral damage. And when the world discovers of her existence, well – her return to war is sealed. — Megan Peters
Rating: 4 out of 5
With just one issue left in this event, Devil’s Reign can go in any number of ways. There’s been a certain sense of tricky on the part of Marvel with this issue and the news cycle this week, which partially took away from any type of suspense. The story itself continues to be fine, despite Kingpin’s motivations changing with each issue. As it stands now, Fisk’s motivations will surely be his downfall, and it feels like that’s something we’ve seen one too many times before. — Adam Barnhardt
Rating: 4 out of 5
“Devil’s Reign” as a crossover has fired on all cylinders, for me, when it focuses on the players that aren’t in the spotlight. Elektra as the new Woman Without Fear made for a worthwhile mini-series, exploring the ninja seeking redemption in Hell’s Kitchen. With Moon Knight, we are given a far different story but one that truly works at showing how deranged and scary Marc Spector can be. While Jed MacKay has proved himself to have an excellent handle on Mr. Knight, Sabbatini on art feels somewhat misplaced in a story that is meant to be grim and gritty within a maximum-security prison. It’s a minor quibble considering that the story really works here, but giving this tale a darker approach when it came to the art would have elevated it to new heights. — Evan Valentine
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Superior Four is the most inessential of event tie-ins. It intersects with the plot and themes of Devil’s Reign barely, when it does at all, opting instead to take a neat visual concept from one cliffhanger and turn it into a 3-issue Marvel mutiversal romp. Some readers may get a kick from this, but the presentation of that romp is so devoid of purpose or depth that I never discovered a hook for these bland Octopus knock-offs or the action surrounding them. The inclusion of a Man-Thing riff in Superior Four #3 offers something idiosyncratic and original, but its vine-climbing path through the issue is hardly enough to hold attention for a story with stakes and characters that are both ill-defined at best. Failing to find the emotional gravitas of Superior Spider-Man or the slick, noir aesthetic of Devil’s Reign, Superior Four simply shows readers reimagined iterations of Doctor Octopus that would have been better suited to a sketchbook and background panels elsewhere. — Chase Magnett
Rating: 2 out of 5
Another Eternals issue in, and Gillen’s lore expands even further in this certain corner of the Marvel universe. As you likely know by now, this title is leading directly into Marvel’s event of the year and that’s more evident than ever with Eternals #10. The story itself is still largely focused on the eponymous heroes, but the presence of others is felt strongly. Gillen’s script for this issue is much more comedic than the issues that have come before it, and it’s clear the House of Ideas really let him swing for the fences with certain ideas. At some points, this run as been a bit difficult to get through and Eternals #10 isn’t an exception. This comic is overhauling a certain part of an expansive world and there’s no way around it. — Adam Barnhardt
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Hawkeye: Kate Bishop #5 brings out a full cast to welcome its heroine home as she and her sister tie the loose ends of their vacation. America Chavez and Cassie Lang are roped into a winding battle that sadly sweeps them to the side more often than not. A few zingers keep the action going, and in the end, Kate finds herself more at peace with her sister than before. But with one villain having gone rogue, there’s no doubt Kate and her family aren’t done with their crazy circus nemeses. — Megan Peters
Rating: 3 out of 5
Punisher #1 purports itself to be another in a long line of Punisher comics displaying a tortured soul enacting violence upon a violent world. There is no place in this tale for supernatural deities or colorful saviors; it’s tangentially related to the superhero genre at most. And the opening of the story says just as much. However, the story inside of Punisher #1 is the most banal form of superhero story imaginable. It features ancient conspiracies, sci-fi weaponry, impossible physical feats, and miraculous resurrections. There is a dark tinge to all of this, but the facts of the story make comparisons to the goofiest forms of the Punisher the most appropriate. Its insistence on taking itself so seriously ensures that no fun can even be found in the reading of this preposterous plot as with other reimaginings. Punisher #1 is a joyless slog that only serves to encourage readers to seek out Saiz and Azaceta’s work elsewhere. — Chase Magnett
Rating: 1.5 out of 5
The Pit as the mutant prison expands with the addition of new prisoners joining Sabretooth. Their arrival helps to clarify the psychic odyssey experienced in Sabretooth #1 as the killer reshaped his void into a hell of his own making. This issue clarifies exactly what it is that Victor Creed has built and how it relates to reality. There’s a slow development of his new supporting cast of mutant also-rans who even dedicated X-readers may not entirely recognize. They provide a useful blend of perspectives, powers, and mysteries to keep readers hooked. However, it’s clear this series is still all about the man in its title and how society chooses to deal with him. This take on incarceration and its impact on those incarcerated as well as the society that steals their freedom is made all the more impressive because of its dedication to an unredeemed killer at its core. The violence and madness provide a sheen of fun, but once that fades there’s still plenty to contemplate as Sabretooth battles one of the greatest horrors found in modern America. — Chase Magnett
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Gwen Stacy is the perfect character to send into a multiversal journey where she consistently faces different versions of herself. With all of the best qualities of Peter Parker, an always intriguing non-super life, and a unique personality, Gwen is tailor-made to this kind of story. The entire end-of-time event being kicked off by someone trying to become a “living meme” is a little too on the nose and comes off as a little cheap, but it’s far from the most important aspect of the story. — Charlie Ridgely
Rating: 4 out of 5
Shifting focus away from the main Crimson Reign storyline, this issue focuses on Qi’ra enlisting the help of the Archivist for a special mission. Similar to what we’ve seen in a series like Doctor Aphra, we witness how, while it’s easy to consider the Jedi good and the Sith bad, there are some shades of gray in the middle where a number of Star Wars characters exist. Despite the main character of this issue feeling largely irrelevant to the overall Star Wars franchise, their quest to find Yoda and their findings is some of the best storytelling possible when it comes to comic book series; we get to see how obscure characters come right up to the edge of impacting the canon that has existed for decades yet doesn’t contradict it. More specifically, this issue adds interesting insight into Yoda’s isolation on Dagobah in ways that makes the original trilogy more interesting, yet does so without shifting the entire perspective of the events of those films. Were this chapter also able to add some narrative momentum to the Crimson Reign event, it would have been a standout issue, though this installment will surely delight longtime fans of the franchise. — Patrick Cavanaugh
Rating: 4 out of 5
Set between the events of Solo: A Star Wars Story and Star Wars: A New Hope, this debut issue of Han Solo & Chewbacca gives us the humorous banter and exciting escapades we’d expect from such a series, with the beloved duo embarking on a mission for Jabba the Hutt. Adding even more excitement to the issue is that Han must team up with Greedo to pull it off, a rewarding experience for audiences who wondered how the pair had such animosity. There’s not much about this book that reinvents the wheel, as it effectively captures the overall sense of humor and swagger we’d want from a book about Han Solo in his “prime,” and while it’s still early in the overall adventure, our interests are piqued by what future installments could continue to explore. It strikes the right balance between honoring the original characters while not merely going through the motions of their expected behaviors, feeling like an organic story as opposed to merely fan fiction. The final page also includes a potentially revelatory reveal, or it could ultimately be a misdirect, but either way, it has us excited for what’s to come in future installments. — Patrick Cavanaugh
Rating: 4 out of 5
Strange Academy barrels toward its end, and the pieces are beginning to fall apart. The best part of this entire series has been Young’s character work on a fresh, new ensemble and Strange Academy #17 may be the best example of that yet. Equal pats mystical wonder and coming-of-age dramedy, this issue sets a massive stage for its finale. It’s just a wonder why one of the book’s biggest shifts in the status quo came so close to the end. — Adam Barnhardt
Rating: 4 out of 5
“The God of Hammers” ultimately became a story about a father and son, and in that regard it was delightful. Some of the actual hammer bits didn’t exactly bring the thunder, and Cates delivers a heavy dose of deus ex machina to bring the finale home, but it’s an overall enjoyable cap to the arc. — Charlie Ridgely
Rating: 3 out of 5
A new arc of Ram V and Bryan Hitch’s take on Venom begins and with it a great jumping on point for any new readers that may be eager to take the leap. Though the last issue was the pinnacle of the entire series so far, Venom #6 is a fine entry point and a continuation as new readers can get the full story and those that have already punched their ticket get even more out of the story. Hitch’s artwork remains at its best when the titular symbiote (hilariously misspoken by someone in this issue) is able to get down and dirty, which he does more than a few times here. — Spencer Perry
Rating: 4 out of 5
Marvel’s celebration of women and nonbinary individuals—both on the page and working behind-the-scenes—is back once again, and it’s every bit as delightful as one would expect. Highlights from the one-shot include the clever Scarlet Witch-adjacent story “Real Witches”, and an unlikely and excellent team-up between Silver Sable and Shanna the She-Devil in “Cry of the Jungle.” If that wasn’t enough, there’s also an unbelievably heartfelt opening introduction penned by Gail Simone, and additional back matter spotlighting the history of Marvel’s female editors and creators. While the momentum of the issue’s events does fluctuate occasionally (particularly with the Black Cat story scattered across the issue, which might prompt fans to flip back and forth to get context), the talent and charm that’s on display is impossible to resist. — Jenna Anderson

Rating: 4.5 out of 5
X Deaths of Wolverine #4 turns itself entirely into a Krakoa-era riff on the classic X-Men story “Days of Future Past” with the revelation of Omega Wolverine’s origin. Robots dominate a dystopian future, and a mutant comes back in time to set things right, hijinks ensue. It’s a darker take, to be sure, as the stakes are all life on Earth, and the mission isn’t to save a life but to take one. The art flows much better in this issue than in previous ones. While pages are still heavy on the panel count to depict lots of action at a condensed pace, the layouts are more straightforward, avoiding the odd angles and overlaps that cluttered previous issues. This penultimate issue feels like the series is finally operating on all cylinders. — Jamie Lovett
Rating: 3 out of 5
Joshua Cassara should be comics’ next breakout artistic star, and X Lives of Wolverine #4 proves that. While Cassara has provided plenty of stunning visuals over the course of the series, there’s a riff on Barry Windsor-Smith’s “Weapon X” work here that’s particularly beautiful and benefits from Frank Martin’s jaundiced coloring of Wolverine’s past lives more than most other scenes. The rest of the issue is more of the same as previous issues of the series, as it plays highlight reels from Wolverine’s history spread thin over too many different periods. However, this installment does add some thematic cohesion as Logan muses on memory and trauma. The story is passable, but the artwork is the star. — Jamie Lovett
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Chris Claremont is back in his element in X-Men: Legends #12, teaming with Scot Eaton to tell a tale set during his original X-Men run. Unburdened by the pressures of continuity or any desire to the mutant metaphor bell, Claremont shows how good he is at crafting a simple superhero adventure story, harping on the determination that makes such characters heroic and reveling in the tight action sequences. Eaton brings a classic style that fits the tone and pace well, and Rachelle Rosenberg colors them in a way that enhances them, avoiding some of the mismatched pitfalls that previous issues have suffered. It’s a simple story but a successful one that will delight classic X-Men fans, especially those with a soft spot for Nightcrawler. — Jamie Lovett
Rating: 4 out of 5
Sobrat’s true nature and intentions are made exceedingly clear by the end of Apache Delivery Service #3 and each step towards their revelation places Ernie in an increasingly impossible scenario. It’s a survival story to start as the two men find themselves captured but closer than ever to their destination. As they extricate themselves from their initial predicament, it proves to be an “out of the frying pan and into the fire” sort of scenario. Each solution leads to a new problem and Tyler Jenkins’ thin lines combine perfectly with Hilary Jenkins’ ever-darkening colors to create a uniquely oppressive atmosphere. Readers can feel Ernie’s thoughts as the hunter stalks the Vietnam jungles to confirm all of his worst suspicions. Apache Delivery Service #3 is the most thrilling and frightening issue yet, while promising far more (or far worse) for the final chapter which can’t come soon enough. — Chase Magnett
Rating: 4 out of 5
Buffy the Last Vampire Slayer #4 is a two-fold climax. The first part is about the physical showdown pitting Buffy and her allies against a horde of vampires. It’s a messy affair, as the art and layouts struggle to properly lead the reader’s eyes and give the blows much impact. It’s followed by a more successful emotional finale, as Buffy, on the edge of death, gets to have a conversation with her mother that brings much of this series and the original TV show’s themes full circle, in a way feeling like a follow-up to the standout episode “The Body.” The issue asks what happens to a Slayer after their slaying days are over, becoming a fitting coda to the Buffy the Vampire Slayer saga fans know and love. — Jamie Lovett
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Cowboy Bebop #2 digs deeper into Spike’s time with the Syndicate while giving his crew the chance to laze about on a backwater party planet. With everyone but Jet Black out of touch, one stranger’s debut leads the Bebop crew on a wild chase for noodles, but their departure sets up room for an unfortunate ambush. — Megan Peters
Rating: 4 out of 5
Critical Role‘s first Tales of Exandria miniseries ends with the revelation of the Spider Queen’s awful revenge against the Bright Queen and how it fractured her relationship. It’s an interesting twist, but the use of the cycle of death and rebirth made this comic feel much more ambiguous than what was intended. Even in the last issue, the comic shows a young drow unsure of who they are, with their true identity left ambiguous. While that cycle is key to the Luxon religion, I felt like it was poorly used in the comic and ultimately detracted from the story. This has been the weakest Critical Role comic released by Dark Horse so far. — Christian Hoffer
Rating: 2.5 out of 5
Daisy just doesn’t have enough time to breathe. This is a story and world that I’ve found interesting from the jump, but the five-issue nature of this series has just led to things feeling far too sped up in order to adequately explain what is happening. Daisy #4 is quite literally just a lore and backstory dump from beginning to end that sets the stage for what’s to come in the final chapter. Although parts of this backstory are intriguing, the way in which this story is being told at this point is just proof that this series needed to be padded out a bit more to slowly unravel and convey this information in a way that is more engaging. — Logan Moore
Rating: 2 out of 5
The Good Asian sets itself up for the finale, as Edison and his new “partner” Lucy continue to do the legwork to figure out the mysteries surrounding Edison’s adopted family. While the duo seemingly piece together much of the puzzle, there’s one remaining piece remaining, and it involves the death of Edison’s mother. Bringing in Lucy for the final chapters was a good step, not only because it gives Edison someone who doesn’t put up with his constant self-loathing, but also because it shows him the value of having someone he can trust. I can’t wait to see how Edison’s story ends next month. — Christian Hoffer
Rating: 5 out of 5
Ramondelli brings an incredible amount of depth, personality and humanity to these new characters despite their metallic, jagged designs. The pair bicker like an old married couple at first, until you realize one is suffering from a form of Alzheimer’s while the other is dead set on finding a cure. The brief fight scene the pair experiences in a bar also displays how Ramondelli never lets the unique robotic designs hinder his storytelling as emotions like anger, confusion and concern all still flash across unmoving faces. It’s far too early to say where The Kill Lock will go from here, but The Artisan Wraith was able to produce an excellent issue without its titular (and best) character present for 98% of the story. One issue in and this series is every bit as excellent as its predecessor. — Connor Casey
Rating: 5 out of 5
The penultimate issue of Last Flight Out is honestly surprisingly good. While going into the issue I expected there to be some significant ground covered, what I didn’t fully expect was that as time runs out before the last flight off Earth, everything would really come together narratively and still manage to leave readers with an edge of the seat cliffhanger. Yes, where the issue ends up is pretty predictable, but it was still really engaging. Guggenheim has managed to pull off some really solid pacing here, cover a lot of territory, and still leave quite a bit of meat on the bone for the finale. The art was also really consistent throughout which gave everything a sense of cohesion that just worked. It’s a solid issue. — Nicole Drum
Rating: 4 out of 5
Little Monsters has a special way of revealing its secrets that’s appreciated best at the end of the first issue where most everything falls into place. Past comments and actions take on different meanings in a clever “duh” moment of realization that was spaced out well without being too overt. With such a sparing usage of colors in Little Monsters, everything looks profoundly clean with the moments that pop even more impactful. — Tanner Dedmon
Rating: 4 out of 5
A new Mighty Morphin era has officially begun, as writer Mat Groom takes over the reins on the series and looks to carve a new path as the Eltarian War fallout continues. So far the series is off to a quality start, as Groom, artist Moises Hidalgo, colorist Raul Angulo, and letterer Ed Dukeshire craft a version of Mighty Morphin that still feels tethered to what came before but also with an eye to some of the more unexplored nooks and crannies of the world. That mostly comes in the form of Rocky, who gets quite a bit of the spotlight as the issue plays out, bringing a welcome level of depth and charm to the character that should only benefit the Rangers as a whole moving forward. There’s still plenty of more traditional Ranger interactions and upbeat action to compliment Rocky’s story of course, and Hidalgo and Angulo’s work shines brightest when the fists start flying. Making it all the better is the switch-up in antagonists, which I won’t spoil here but let me just say fans of future Power Rangers seasons will be quite happy with the results. Mighty Morphin #17 feels like a natural step forward in the book’s evolution and expands the world in intriguing ways, and it would seem the future is quite bright indeed. — Matthew Aguilar
Rating: 4 out of 5
The newest issue of Monkey Meat takes an entertaining detour to tell the tale of a young delivery boy on the island. Juni Ba’s artwork comes through a lot more clearer than in the previous issue, which allows the art to essentially tell the story itself. The lore of a bridge troll is explored also, allowing more of the delivery boy’s origin story to be told. You can’t help but root for the mute delivery boy, especially after he’s finally unmasked and the plot comes full circle. — Tim Adams
Rating: 4 out of 5
After an issue of setup, New Masters #2 perfectly fleshes out the plot, explaining how key characters are connected to each other. Our protagonist Ola is still front and center, but instead of focusing squarely on her, we get more background on others in her inner circle. Creators Shobo and Shof introduce readers to the inner workings of a blended family you could only find in a comic book. However, the problems they face are similar to the issues families from all over the world can relate to: the need to do what’s best for your family, money troubles, and more. The back matter also does an excellent job of providing more insight into the world of New Masters. — Tim Adams
Rating: 4 out of 5
David Rubin finishes his take on “Hymir’s Fishing Expedition” here, the folksiest of folk tales with the exceptional art to boot. Then Colleen Doran takes over for “The Death of Balder,” arguably the stronger of the two tales here. There’s something about a story in which someone like a god fears death, and Doran illustrates that perfectly. — Adam Barnhardt
Rating: 4 out of 5
Those who have kept up with Radiant Black know that from the very first moment Radiant Red arrived on the scene the series has been better for it, and now she has her very own series. Satomi is more than worthy of that additional spotlight, and writer Cherish Chen, artist David Lafuente, colorist Miquel Muerto, and letterer Diego Sanches set up the character nicely in a stellar debut. Chen paints a picture of a conflicted powerhouse just trying to carve out a more fulfilling life for her and her family, yet life continually seeks to plant new obstacles in her path. Just as she was in Radiant Black, Satomi’s decisions and the ripples they create are continually compelling, and Lafuente and Muerto’s stylized visuals are a brilliant complement to her world and power set. Thing is Satomi is just as captivating outside of the suit as she is powered-up, a testament to the character and internal and external conflicts she attempts to overcome, so if the rest of the series meets the high bar of Radiant Red‘s debut, fans are in for one hell of an adventure. — Matthew Aguilar
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Monochrome anthologies like these are usually something of a mixed bag, but this latest installment of Red Sonja: Black, White, Red might be among the most compelling yet. The issue’s first story, “Last Words,” not only provides a clever and well-executed story, but provides one of the most creative uses of the red color palette that the series has had thus far. The momentum is kept up on both “Fifteen Men on the Sleeper Chest” and “Cursed,” both of which tackle the legend of Sonja to scrappy and compelling degrees. This series, and particularly this issue, are a gift to fans of Red Sonja. — Jenna Anderson
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Rick and Morty has often mocked Star Wars across its five seasons, while always implying (and finally showing in season 5) that Rick took part in plenty of galaxy-saving adventures as a younger man. Infinity Hour tackles that time period with Rick first meeting Birdperson and beginning his fight with the Galactic Empire. It’s not quite clear yet if this is Rick C-137 from the show, but it’s nice to spend some time with a Rick who hasn’t been beaten down by his signature nihilism or affected by Diane’s death. It’s also not trying to simply copy Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland’s humor, which often hurts other Rick and Morty comic series. — Connor Casey
Rating: 4 out of 5
Seven Secrets #15 showcases an understanding of style and action its creators are obviously well-versed in. It’s reminiscent of the climax of an anime arc you’ve been watching each week with just the right amount of banter and twists to avoid any slow-downs except when absolutely necessary. Perhaps most impressive of all is how readable the combat is—especially with weather raging in the background, too—when fights like these so often become a blur of words and blows. — Tanner Dedmon
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Dr. Starline’s nefarious plans are revealed as Surge and Kit’s suspicions mount in Imposter Syndrome #3. The split narratives are divided between video recordings of Starline’s past work and his minion’s reactions when learning what has been done to them. The degree of Starline’s crimes is shocking, especially for a young reader’s text, given how far Starline goes in violating individual will and autonomy. It establishes Surge and Kit as the clear protagonists of this miniseries, even as the former seeks to still eliminate Sonic. The back-and-forth in this narrative invests readers in these newer villains, regardless of their intents, and grounds the series so far before its finale. It also serves to tie a number of disparate threads from throughout the past couple of years together with new maniacal machinations. Imposter Syndrome #3 makes this mini matter for Sonic the Hedgehog as it moves forward and clarifies that this story might matter a great deal for the entire franchise’s future. — Chase Magnett
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Spawn writer Rory McConville makes a decent mark on Spawn with the latest issue, pushing the narrative into a unique place even if he does so by evoking modern political rhetoric that feels antithetical to the larger themes of the series. Carol Barberi’s work remains the high point of the series though as the artist is able to make even back-and-forth dialogue between two symbiote clad hellspawns engaging on a visual level. Though there’s a lot of downtime in this issue compared to what fans may desire, the final sequence might be the best from this series in ages. — Spencer Perry
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Like in any classic love story, the offbeat but no less endearing couple of Paprika and Dill doesn’t have an altogether smooth path towards devoted bliss, but ultimately that’s why the final payoffs are so rewarding. Writer and artist Mirka Andolfo took that to heart it seems, as Sweet Paprika #8 could’ve rivals most romantic comedy journeys in the course of just one issue. It’s an impressive feat to be sure, and the rollercoaster that is Paprika, Dill, and Za’atar’s love entanglement was as enchanting as it was heartbreaking. The more meta comments on cliches and how they can serve a purpose are effective because Paprika finds ways to honor those traditions and yet spin them into something wholly its own, and that uniqueness extends to the gorgeous artwork and vivid colors by Andolofo and colorist Simon Tessuto. You’ve got lovebirds, innocent hearts, villains, and adorable sidekicks all in the mix of a classic love story that is anything but traditional, and it’s absolutely delightful. — Matthew Aguilar
Rating: 5 out of 5
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