Comic Book Reviews for This Week: 10/6/2021 – ComicBook.com

By Chase Magnett – October 6, 2021 11:00 am EDT
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 Soul Plumber #1, The Amazing Spider-Man #75, and Star Trek: Year Five #25.
Also, in case you were curious, our ratings are simple: we give a whole number out of five; that’s it! If you’d like to check out our previous reviews, they are all available here.
There is nothing better than a solid scary story as spooky season gets into full swing and Are You Afraid of Darkseid? #1 offers up eight in this anthology issue. The overall issue is set up as scary stories told around the campfire as the Teen Titans are camping to do a bit of team building. Because camping itself doesn’t really seem to do it, they each take turns telling scary stories, which is where the issues eight tales (including the “frame” story) come in. Each of the stories told in the issue is solid so this is a rare instance of an anthology issue being good cover to cover, but there are some standouts. “Escape the Dark Fortress” written by Dave Wielgosz with art by Pablo M Collar is an especially great story featuring John Stewart while “Bloody Mary” written by Kenny Porter with art by Max Dunbar that features Harley Quinn and Darkseid is just a bit silly and still a ton of fun. The only real “miss” if you can call it that is the very intellectual “The Endless Staircase” by Collin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing with art by Jesus Hervas. It’s a bit long and a bit dense, but even at that it’s still a good tale. Overall, this anthology has something for everyone and is very well-done. It’s easily one of DC’s better spooky anthologies. — Nicole Drum
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Arkham City: The Order of the World has a sinister and somber appeal to it that’s not found as often in the bigger Gotham series. By focusing on the people of Gotham—both those who lived inside and outside of Arkham Asylum—we’re able to see characters and their environments from totally new perspectives. Those perspectives shine through not only in the way people address each other but also the smart framing of scenes through camera lenses, silhouettes, shadows, and other crafty stagings. — Tanner Dedmon
Rating: 4 out of 5
Allegedly, Batman #114 is “Fear State” part three, but honestly, everything about this issue and pretty much every issue before it just feels like prelude and not even good prelude. Or even just a very weird form of stasis. Whatever it is, Gotham has been in this weird pointless holding pattern for as long as I can remember now, a city constantly on the verge of collapse. Tynion’s “Joker War,” King’s “City of Bane,” now Tynion’s “Fear State” – there’s just nothing here beyond a bad cycle of super big villain holding the city hostage so he can stick it to the Batman, tools used to stick it to the Batman may vary. In Batman #114, Simon Saint is continuing to try to corral Peacekeeper-01 to protect his plans to screw over Batman/control Gotham while Scarecrow is still trying to test his weird college theory on the population, and Batman just runs around grunting ineffectually. The only thing that works at all this issue—and frankly, this run at all—is Miracle Molly, who seems to have a plan. At this point, Batman as a title just feels like biding time until this whole arc and run is put out of its misery of mediocrity. — Nicole Drum
Rating: 2 out of 5
The conclusion of this prequel to The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It is merely that, a conclusion. It might not offer any new insight into the series that we hadn’t seen in the previous four issues, but it helps solidify how this storyline connects to that film and offers an organic and earned finale. In this regard, we could see how the overall storyline could have been condensed to four or even three issues, but the extended time we spent with our main characters earlier on made you invested in their journey, building to its creepy and tragic finale. The backup story about the chalice is entertaining enough, though the item’s lack of overall significance in the franchise means it lacks as much impact as previous tales, even if it is still somewhat entertaining. The overall The Lover series ends up being a worthwhile endeavor for any The Conjuring fans to embark upon, as it manages to blend the horror and heart of the series in an effective way, which also ends up strengthening the events of The Devil Made Me Do It. — Patrick Cavanaugh
Rating: 4 out of 5
Crush & Lobo takes a turn for the weird(er) in its fifth issue, somehow turning this chapter into a riff on fairy tales, Hansel & Gretel in particular. It’s an odd choice, but it maintains the clever, reader-facing writing, brilliant penciling, and neon coloring that have defined the book’s aesthetic from the start. On the strength of those elements, Crush & Lobo #5 can take this strange detour as Crush races against the clock to find Lobo, depicted as the perfect manifestation of a deadbeat dad, but in space. It also highlights Crush’s internal struggle as she recognizes everything she hates about her dad and wonders how anything good can come from it, including herself. Another stellar issue from a fantastic series. — Jamie Lovett
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
For as rapid of a pace Justice League Infinity carries, Beavers line art makes you stop and smell the roses. Though that causes the story to cannibalize itself in a way, the art here gets even more stunning as the plot begins to weave a bonkers inter-dimensional tale. Sometimes the style has faltered this title but here, it’s probably at its best. — Adam Barnhardt
Rating: 4 out of 5
The first 4 issues of The Nice House On The Lake spent time laying out a wide array of clues and mysteries for readers to ponder alongside the surviving guests; The Nice House On The Lake #5 adds more layers to the investigation while drawing together the many prior threads into a thrilling issue. There’s never a page that fails to draw readers ever deeper into conspiracy; this fast-paced exploration is supported well by many spreads. Wide page compositions provide ample space to showcase the entire cast and embed quick reactions amongst larger revelations. The overall experience is a constant build that does not disappoint on the final page. This focus on plot also leaves the character-orientation of issue #5 somewhat lacking. Veronica is positioned as “the smart one,” which ties nicely into active problem solving although her knowledge of astronomy provides the most engaging new wrinkles, as well. Yet there isn’t much to tell about Veronica compared to earlier installments. Whatever comes next, The Nice House On The Lake continues to increase the stakes and never disappoints with its mini-mysteries, it seems assured that future discoveries will be worth every moment of anticipation. — Chase Magnett
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
It seems a little strange to call a horror comic rooted in religion and populated by uncomfortable characters with art and colors that make one feel like they need to wash their hands after reading them a masterpiece, especially after only one issue, but that’s what Soul Plumber is. With a combination of existential questions, pitiable yet identifiable characters, and building scares that work on multiple levels, it’s a comic that will make readers think, question their own approach to the spiritual unknown, and maybe even sit uncomfortably with their biases about the freaks and weirdoes among us. It is absolutely brilliant. — Nicole Drum
Rating: 5 out of 5
The Swamp Thing is building to its climax and I already have an appetite for more. Levi Kamel’s interactions with each villain on the Suicide Squad reveals a bit about both characters with surprising interactions with both Peacemaker and Parasite shown here. These antagonists, as well as Chemo, provide Mike Perkins with fantastic creature feature fare with splashes and spreads filled with monsters defined by body horror. This focus on the nastiest invaders still standing rings additional pathos from a long story featuring Amanda Waller’s team. As the showdown with the Suicide Squad in Kaziranga draws to a close the series reorients itself for answers and resolution. From the very beginning the question of what happened when Levi was home has loomed large, and each step of his journey becoming Swamp Thing has revealed it in a natural fashion. Now with his familial status quo clarified and his past sins revealed, the focus rests on who exactly Levi will choose to be and how that reflects the definition of “humanity.” The answers to that question may be uncomfortable, but The Swamp Thing continues to address them in both compelling and thrilling fashion. — Chase Magnett
Rating: 4 out of 5
It’s Wonder Woman’s turn to celebrate 80 years this year and Wonder Woman 80th Anniversary 100 Page Super Spectacular #1 manages to celebrate the iconic character in a way that reminds fans what makes Wonder Woman so loved but also sets the tone for future adventures and challenges. The issue is comprised of nine total stories from some of the best creators currently working in comics and while there are no “bad” stories in the bunch, there are a few clear standouts. The opening story from Michael W. Conrad and Becky Cloonan, “In Memoriam” ties directly into the current run of Wonder Woman, but is a beautiful love letter to Diana through the eyes of the person who loves her most – Steve. Tom King’s “Dated” takes readers into Diana’s fun, 70s era highlighting her human side. The real standout story, however, might be “Fresh Catch”. Amy Reeder leans into the Golden Age Wonder Woman – complete with Etta Candy and the Holliday Girls and it’s pure fun. Even the less exciting stories – namely G. Willow Wilson’s “Low Orbit” and Steve Orlando’s “Saturn Rising”, still highlight important aspects of this beloved character. Overall, this is a very solid tribute to and celebration of Wonder Woman. — Nicole Drum
Rating: 4 out of 5
The Amazing Spider-Man is approaching #900 in its legacy numbering, which is enough to educate even the least informed passerby that delivering a new take on Spider-Man is no easy feat. However, that’s exactly what artist Patrick Gleason, writer Zeb Wells, and other members of the new “writers room” set out to do beginning with The Amazing Spider-Man #75—a new jumping-on point as the series goes to thrice monthly publication. The debut delivers a comfortable tone for fans of comics and movies alike while introducing a new wrinkle to Peter Parker’s already complicated life in one of the best looking Spidey magazines published this year. — Chase Magnett
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Avengers: Tech-On continues to disappoint on every level, even where it should excel. The third issue opens with a sequence that sees some of the Avengers suiting up in their new armors while in motion, but Chamba’s bland framing and Jim Zub’s rote dialog have all of the energy of a toy ad. This issue’s plot sees the Avengers taking on Red Skull faux-Loki mech. It’s all told like a kid playing with action figures, with characters just pointlessly posturing at each other until the deus ex machina arrives. Given the pitch of this series, that might be intentional, but that doesn’t make it any more enjoyable to read. It’s all another parade of cliches, including Tony Stark’s pandering, jingoistic rebranding of Japanese superheroes. Avengers: Tech-On remains an idea in search of a story worth telling. — Jamie Lovett
Rating: 1 out of 5
“The Last of the Marvels” hit the ground running, and Captain Marvel #33 keeps the story moving at breakneck speed. There’s no time for Carol or the reader to catch their breaths, and that allows the tension to build and stay considerably high throughout the issue, even into the issue’s closing moments. In fact, it makes those last two pages hit even harder, as the rare quiet moment for Carol is far from what she envisioned and leaves you with a hopeless feeling that is hard to come by when you’re dealing with characters this powerful. It’s a credit to Kelly Thompson that the stakes feel this high, and Carol remains the ever-confident hero on the outside while fielding all the self-doubt and questions on the inside that make her so relatable. The issue doesn’t work without the stellar artwork by Sergio Davila and colorist Jesus Aburtov, who lends the action sequences a cinematic flair and lend each power blast and Embiggen punch the weight and impact they require. VOX Supreme is still not exactly the most in-depth villain, but he is an actual threat to Carol, and that’s not an easy feat. So far “The Last of the Marvels” is hitting on all cylinders, and the next issue can’t get here soon enough. — Matthew Aguilar
Rating: 4 out of 5
“The Killer App” arc comes to a close and with It the “Outlawed” storyline coming to a thankful conclusion, the Champions can finally stretch out their legs and get into some light hearted, breezy adventures. Vecchio particularly shines in this latest issue, really able to capture the energy of our young heroes as they take on some faceless robots. While the antagonists in Roxxon, and the “post-credit scene” don’t quite have enough of a punch to make them worthy opponents, they do their job well enough. Champions hasn’t been the best title in Marvel’s roster, but this latest issue definitely is one of the better examples of the ten issue series to date. — Evan Valentine
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Dark Ages presents a concept that may flourish in future miniseries and spinoffs, but for the moment there is too much exposition to allow any space for characters to exert themselves. The first half of Dark Ages #2 presents a compelling new vision of the world; it handwaves the extraordinary efforts required to build a society with superpowers, but the ultimate destination is a fascinating setting. It tempts readers to spend more time considering how this world functions and what was really lost or gained in the upheaval, but quickly moves past this peaceful new status quo to establish a much more familiar arrangement of “good guys protect status quo against revolutionary villains.” Once this begins, it’s clear that characters are being moved between camps like pieces in a game with their abilities defining them far more than any aspect of personality or motivation. That makes for a dull story no matter how exciting the underlying ideas might be. Dark Ages is rushing past the most interesting ideas on the page to deliver something we have all read before and that is a dreadfully dull decision. — Chase Magnett
Rating: 2 out of 5
Deadpool is back with three new over-the-top adventures in Deadpool: Black, White, & Red #3, though despite the stellar talent involved in all three stories, the second one is the story that runs away with the top prize. “The Bet” by Frank Tieri, Takashi Okazaki, and Joe Sabino features a contest for the target involving Deadpool and Bullseye, and they play off of each other immensely well. Seeing how Deadpool and Bullseye navigate the larger-than-life traps is hilarious and keeps a quick pace, and Okazaki’s art is wonderful throughout. While the first story had its moments, it was the artwork that shined brightest, and the same can be said for the third story (“The Perfect Ones”), which features the brilliant art of Stan Sakai and Rachelle Rosenberg, though falls short in the narrative. This is the weakest issue of the series so far, but that second story is still well worth your time. — Matthew Aguilar
Rating: 2.5 out of 5
When reading reprints of Silver Age Defenders comics, it was the oddity that most attracted me and Defenders #3 delivers oddity in spades as the team combats an eldritch sorcerer from ancient ages before discovering new, even stranger vistas. That each member of the team is defined in their own way in the midst of such spectacle is a testament to Rodriguez’s layouts and design. He delivers Ewing concepts of magic—aligning with character statements—with plenty of flair utilizing inset panels to track reactions and minor moments amidst epic clashes. Those clashes live up to the expectations for a Defenders story with unbelievably high stakes and very few limits. Each page of Defenders #3 delivers a dynamic odyssey that pulls from Marvel Comics’ potent lore and, with each team member revealing themselves in the midst of such action, this series establishes itself as a worthy addition to the Defenders canon. Wherever Defenders goes next, you can bet it’s a journey worth taking. — Chase Magnett
Rating: 4 out of 5
For the second-straight month, the main Eternals storyline takes a detour. With Celestia, fans of the eponymous group get a one-shot fleshing out more of this never-ending reimagined world from Kieron Gillen and company. Complete with even more Hickman-esque graphs and designed layouts, Eternals: Celestia #1 focus on Ajak and her quest to reach out to the Celestials once again. Here, it’s more apparent than ever those in publishing are transforming the comic characters to look and act like those on the film studio side of things. Outside of that, Celestia proves just how angry and unhinged Ajak really is without furthering the overall plot. It does, however, tease a major impending conflict—one that could be one of Marvel’s next major events between the Avengers and Eternals. — Adam Barnhardt
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Since the conclusion of “X of Swords,” Excalibur has seemed unsure of its footing as an individual series and part of the larger X-line, which is why it’s a thrill to see so many disparate pieces click together in a climactic issue like this. Early sequences slowly draw the team together from across Otherworld, and each one reminds readers of a key element or figure set to play a part in the battle to come. It’s a deft plot structure that does not reveal its ultimate purpose until the final few pages, and those pages are an absolute thrill. When all of these individuals are assembled and the nature of their fight (and Otherworld’s) is made clear, it’s an absolute thrill. The power and forces on display rise to the Arthurian lore used to craft this tale, and what’s more is the impressive parallels between those classic tales and the stories developed across Excalibur. After months of fence-sitting on this series, I cannot wait to see what Excalbiur #25 brings as the stakes have never been higher and Excalibur has never been better. — Chase Magnett
Rating: 4 out of 5
Hellions manages to build upon the stunning events of its last issue in a denouement that manages to be both heartbreaking and riveting in equal measures. Every member of the team bears a cost for what they have done over the course of the series, and the differences between them expose the flaws of their Krakoan society. Promised an opportunity for redemption, many of Marvel’s most traumatized mutants are only given new scars. Given the absurd nature of characters like Nanny and Orphan-Maker, the pathos displayed here is nothing short of miraculous as they (and all of their comrades) are allowed to grow in ways more mainstream characters are never permitted. Even after the fireworks of Sinister’s exploding clone facility are cleared away, each conversation holds tremendous weight and hurts every bit as bad. Yet sorting through the wreckage, it’s made clear that these individuals are too intertwined to be done in one another’s lives and so the stage is set for the finale. As both epilogue and prologue, Hellions #16 reminds readers that character has driven everything excellent about this series and the results continue to be nothing short of superb superhero comics. Hellions, you truly were the best of the “Reign of X.” While the series will be missed, I simply cannot wait to see how it all ends. — Chase Magnett
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
While character voices in this issue again verge on the unbelievably measured, New Mutants #22 brings the overarching themes of Vita Ayala’s run writing the title into focus. While Scout and her peer make peace after a series of traumatizing events, the old New Mutants converse with the Shadow King about his machinations. Though they both seem to want what’s best for mutants, they have two different views of the world. The New Mutants wish to break the cycle of oppression and violence. The Shadow King believes that it is inescapable. Instead, he wants to ensure mutants are capable of being predators instead of prey the next time around, thinking living in Krakoa’s paradise will make mutants soft and weak, an unfortunate echo of some true-to-life political sentiments. It’s all much less academic than it sounds thanks to Rod Reis’ consistently stunning artwork, through which he channels Bill Sienkiewicz but with his signature painterly touches. — Jamie Lovett
Rating: 4 out of 5
Say what you want about Savage Avengers, but one thing’s for certain—Duggan and Zircher couldn’t give two craps about whether or not you want a happy ending. This team makes the best story at hand with each issue, regardless of how it will leave audiences. Half the time I find myself on the verge of tears or balled up in the fetus position because of where this creative team often leaves issue, and Savage Avengers #25 is no different. Life isn’t always fair, and that’s the creed this team lives by to the T. If you’re hoping to go into Savage Avengers feeling good about yourself, I hate to burst your bubble—but this book will leave you feeling dirty. And I mean that in the best way possible. — Adam Barnhardt
Rating: 4 out of 5
Symbiote Spider-Man: Crossroads #4 really does feel like the “everything and the kitchen sink” of comic books and I mean that in the best way possible. This issue sees the Eternals get involved, Black Cat have the easiest task ever in getting a norn stone, the departure of Guilt Hulk, and the “bad” guy—or girl if you will—seeming get ahead all of it done in a wild and chaotic manner that is kind of hard to follow, but also extremely fitting for just how bonkers this whole story has been thus far. This issue, however, finally lets readers (and Peter) in on just how much of a problem the stone falling into the wrong hands can be which ups the ante as we round into the next issue. This may not be the most coherent of stories but it’s a lot of fun and this issue is a wild, wild ride. — Nicole Drum
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Almost American delivers a dramatic improvement in its second issue by establishing a clear foundation for the story ahead. A review of Alex’s career in Soviet espionage quickly reveals his value as a money man capable of explaining and exposing corrupt financial systems. In a series of spreads, a tremendous amount of information is summarized with the use of a collage effect to inflect the exposition all over the page. However, it’s the character notes at the start and finish of the issue that really improve upon a dull debut. It’s here that readers can begin to see the people beneath these spies with touches of family history (which play into later developments very well) and sympathetic expressions of anxiety and fear. It’s in the final few pages where Alex and Victorya begin to resemble characters that the story finally embeds its hook and I suddenly find myself anticipating whatever can be built upon Almost American #2. — Chase Magnett
Rating: 3 out of 5
There’s a lot going on in Apex Legends: Overtime #3, and not in a good way. While it’s meant to show chaos on the streets of Solace and the ways different Legends’ personalities clash, it reads as a crowded overlapping of disjointed storylines. During the times the Legends communicate with each other, the dialogue rarely feels like something these characters would actually say. There’s no clarity offered through the visuals either with readers being pulled towards the next scene before being able to process the previous one. — Tanner Dedmon
Rating: 1 out of 5
Bad Karma #5 brings big “out of the frying pan and into the fire” vibes, which is impressive considering it begins with a firefight and plenty of literal fire. As the plan is enacted, every character is placed into increasingly high-pressure situations that, in turn, expose more about who these individuals are. Bad Karma has always been a character-driven drama and this approach pays dividends here. That’s not to say that explosive getaways and realistic modern spycraft don’t thrill—they absolutely do—but that their impact rests on the consequences for the sympathetic killers at their center. For all of their faults and failings, Sully and Ethan reflect complex individuals wrapped up in deeply inhumane (and similarly complex) systems resulting in a compelling drama that also casts a harsh light on the United States’ military-industrial complex. Wherever it goes from here is bound to hurt, but it will be impossible to quit reading at this point. — Chase Magnett
Rating: 4 out of 5
Boom Studios’ Buffy the Vampire Slayer series has felt stuck in perpetual prologue mode for a while now, constantly building up to a big moment that never comes. Buffy the Vampire Slayer #30 is no different, with the Scoobies running around chasing their tails as Silas hovers about being vaguely threatening, and we all wait for the multiverse crossover story we know is coming to begin finally. With a listless plot and clumsy visual storytelling, this issue of Buffy the Vampire Slayer is another that doesn’t justify its existence. — Jamie Lovett
Rating: 2 out of 5
By The Horns goes with a “silent” issue to highlight the history between Elodie and her husband Shintaro. Shintaro is shown to be a compassionate soul with an intense and loving relationship with Elodie. We also get a bit of context about how unicorns factor into Shintaro’s coma – as we suspected, it seems to have been very accidental. There’s a lot of strong storytelling here that excellently displays very visceral emotions. While the actual inciting incident that leads directly into By The Horns‘ main storyline is a bit of a letdown, I think it’s more than made up for by some great art and an interesting one-off gimmick. — Christian Hoffer
Rating: 4 out of 5
Cherry Blackbird pushes forward with another wild chapter filled with swears, succubi, and sex. As Cherry finds herself hunted by more demons, the heroine finds herself fighting for her life to piece together the person hunting her. And by the end, fans will be rooting in her corner as Cherry takes on another confident foe from the shadows. — Megan Peters
Rating: 3 out of 5
When you hear the title Chicken Devil, you might have a lot of different story ideas running through your head, with me, it revolved around some sort of monstrous fowl running amok in a small town. What you get is a black comedy crime thriller that definitely paints a convincing picture of why you should stick around for the whole story. Brian Buccellato and Hayden Sherman do a solid job of introducing the story of Mitchell Moss and how everything goes so horribly wrong in his life thanks to his shady business partner. I have no idea where Chicken Devil is headed, but I’m anxious to find out following this thousand-mile-per-minute opening salvo. — Evan Valentine
Rating: 4 out of 5
Just when I thought I knew where the debut issue of Dirtbag Rapture was going, it subverted my expectations in a quietly brilliant way—and I love it for that. This issue introduces readers to the story of Kat, a young woman with a unique and complicated tie to the ghosts of the afterlife. In the span of twenty-five pages, the issue lays out its world pretty excellently, all while teeing up a conflict that will make me eager to read future issues. Compared to his work on the delightful social satire Crowded, Christopher Sebela’s high-concept script feels a bit more intimate, but still unbelievably rewarding and compelling. Kendall Goode’s expressive art ties it all together into a debut that you definitely won’t want to miss out on. — Jenna Anderson
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Jennifer Blood is back and it’s one of those books that probably requires readers to have some familiarity with the first volume in order to appreciate this new incarnation and while Jennifer Blood #1 tries to establish a connection between the first series and this one, it’s not as effective as it could be. The nuts and bolts is that there was once femme fatale vigilante named Jennifer Blood who took out criminals connected to her own past until she herself was killed. Now, people in Bountiful, Utah are dropping like flies and those folks just so happen to be undercover mobsters making people wonder if Jennifer is back. There’s nothing necessarily bad about Jennifer Blood #1, but it’s nothing to write home about either, mostly just setting the stage and introducing some of the characters and the kills as everyone tries to figure out what is going on and if Jennifer truly is back or not while also introducing another femme fatale who is hunting her. The art is pretty good and the premise itself is interesting. The issue is just a lot of set up which isn’t bad and tends to be just enough make the reader curious for more – even without having much knowledge about the original. — Nicole Drum
Rating: 3 out of 5
Last Flight Out pushes forward with issue two this week, and the tense issue breaks down the fallout of a father and daughter in crisis. As the world burns around our heroes, readers will discover how this family fell apart in spectacular fashion under the weight of deadlines. In its final moments, the issue turns everything we knew about Sara on its head, leaving fans to wonder whether the father or daughter stands as this story’s hero. — Megan Peters
Rating: 4 out of 5
Lucky Devil #3 assures its readers that, despite the last issue being fairly bloodless, this series is far from finished with its ultraviolent gorefest sequences. Stanley now finds himself higher up in the Church of Satan but has managed to enrage a lot of powerful figures in Hell, ones that aren’t too impressed with the abilities he’s shown so far. The cliffhanger indicates next issue will include navigating the political landscape of Hell, which is always a great opportunity for writers and artists alike to stretch their creative muscles. — Connor Casey
Rating: 4 out of 5
The big battle between the guilds of Ravnica and the cult of Marit Lage begins in Magic: The Gathering #7. As such, the issue is devoted almost entirely to depicting this clash, abandoning the class themes that Jed McKay has peppered into previous issues for pure spectacle. It’s unfortunate then that the art cannot compellingly convey the battle’s scale. Ig Guara has continually offered artwork unanchored in space or place. That continues here as Guara and McKay offer a thin montage of Ravnica’s guilds that reads with all of the excitement of scanning a checklist. As a climax to this story’s first act—with much more teased by the ending—Magic: The Gathering #7 fails to deliver. — Jamie Lovett
Rating: 2 out of 5
The Me You Love in The Dark #3 is another absolutely outstanding issue. While we’re now crossing the halfway point, the series still feels like it’s on its same steady pace, just divided up a bit differently. The issue takes place over a few months as we start to dive into Ro’s relationship with the entity in the house and it begins to turn from companionship to a dark romance with Ro and the ghost consummating their relationship by issue’s end. While there’s still that darkness all around the edges, Jorge Corona and Skottie Young through the words and the art still keep the focus on this deep humanity. Everything here is beautiful and moving and even with the darker elements, there’s something warm here. This series just keeps getting better and it’s very clear here that it’s something truly special. — Nicole Drum
Rating: 5 out of 5
“The Eltarian War” has been looming for a minute, but it’s heading into overdrive in Mighty Morphin #12, so you better buckle in now. Ryan Parrott delivers some truly compelling exchanges and revelations amongst the book’s core cast, so much so that you won’t even care that the issue lacks much in the way of action. Whether it’s Kimberly absolutely roasting Zordon’s approach to leadership, Matt putting Tommy in his place, or the long-awaited Zedd and Zordon confrontation, there’s just so much for longtime Ranger fans to sink their teeth into, and by the time the issue concludes the stakes have risen immeasurably and jaws will understandably drop. I’m still not in love with the art style of this current arc, and while it doesn’t necessarily drag the book down, it also doesn’t exactly lift it up either. Regardless, the war has officially begun, and Ranger fans are in for quite the adventure. — Matthew Aguilar
Rating: 4 out of 5
Out is an intriguing horror comic set in World War II. The series follows the POW Nocona, a Comanche language expert, as he is sent to a remote castle/prison during the waning days of the war. Of course, the Nazis have a terrifying weapon in their pocket, which readers can probably guess in the first couple pages of the comic. Honestly, despite the fact that it sticks to pretty well-worn territory, I enjoyed the comic. Strong writing and art by Rob Williams and Will Conrad make up for what felt like a pretty uninventive story. The series description hints that Nocona’s story will only get more inventive from here, so I recommend jumping into the series and giving it a few issues. — Christian Hoffer
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
After an entertaining and promising debut issue, Mirka Andolfo and company’s take on Red Sonja is back for more, in an installment that’s slightly more understated, but nevertheless rewarding. This issue takes the fallout of Sonja and Sitha’s journey and expands upon it, introducing new allies and adversaries before bringing everything into a new territory. Even when the script occasionally gets a little predictable, the choices made on the art are not, with an aesthetic for the world that feels vibrant, and just the right mix of grounded and otherworldly. This Red Sonja run continues to be off to a good start. — Jenna Anderson
Rating: 4 out of 5
H.S.Tak and Bren McKee’s sci-fi series continues to have a fun spin on hard-sci-fi concepts, even opening itself up to new readers despite already being three issues deep. The atmosphere and environment of the ship itself and the void of space do a lot of the talking here with McKee’s work of the visual aesthetics making up the entire mood of the narrative. Some weird moments in the art do stick out as off or strange but they don’t bring anything down in a series that is engaging and fun throughout. — Spencer Perry
Rating: 4 out of 5
Rick and Morty presents a new issue this week that explores what happens when super-intelligent dogs and squirrels go to war. The blazing chapter feels comfortable as readers dodge quips from Rick, and things go haywire in all the best ways. And by the end, an emotional gut-punch from Morty will make fans beg for more Snuffles. — Megan Peters
Rating: 4 out of 5
Rick and Morty: Rick’s New Hat #4 is the most asinine so far—and that’s saying something. More so than the issues that came before, this latest installment moves at a mile a minute, which continues to be my biggest problem with the series as a whole. Still, the visual gags and the way in which writer Alex Firer incorporates commentary on the comic book medium as a whole makes this likely the best entry in the series so far. We’ll have to see if it can be topped in the final chapter next month. — Logan Moore
Rating: 4 out of 5
Writer Rick Remender and artist André Lima Araújo have crafted one of the best first issues of the year with A Righteous Thirst for Vengeance #1. Presented with minimal dialogue throughout we get to know the lead character of the series through his actions and not his inner thoughts as tiny boxes, we see who the man is when everything around him challenges his existence. Though minimal “plot” is to be found, the mystery itself of what’s happening here is a huge driving force and clearly enough to keep the ball rolling moving forward. André’s artwork, with colors by Chris O’Halloran, are immaculate with the tiniest details popping in each panel and demanding you inspect them to be sure they might be relevant later, and some of them are. — Spencer Perry
Rating: 5 out of 5
A group of literary heroes executes a heist mission on The Vatican. It’s exactly as much fun as you’d think! — Connor Casey
Rating: 4 out of 5
Star Trek: Year Five is a remarkable achievement for a licensed comic. Often, these titles have little new or exciting to offer fans of their source material and even less for those who aren’t familiar, ultimately feeling redundant or vestigial. Star Trek: Year Five is neither. It set out on a mission to tell an essential missing chapter in the lives of these characters, and it succeeded. While no Star Trek comic or novel is considered canon, anyone who reads Star Trek: Year Five will likely find it lives up to the television shows and films that bookend it and that its 25 issues fit well into their next Star Trek marathon. Star Trek: Year Five #25 is a fond farewell to a series that went harder than it had to and, by doing so, carved a place for itself into Star Trek’s mythology. — Jamie Lovett
Rating: 4 out of 5
Unfolding mostly as a flashback, Hudd recalls a time he visited Dagobah with Luke Skywalker after the events of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, only to witness the remains of Yoda’s hutt. When Hudd finds himself alone, he experiences a number of ghastly visions, even coming face to face with one of the planet’s more frightening visitors. From a narrative standpoint, readers likely aren’t entirely invested in Hudd’s journey, though his adventure is amplified in excitement with the inclusion of Luke. The true standout of the book, however, is the art from Francesco Francavilla and Robert Hack, as they deliver multiple creepy panels, whether they be depicting the decayed corpses of fallen heroes or merely create an eerie atmosphere through Dagobah’s landscape, making the overall experience of this installment being just as enjoyable without having to even read the dialogue. — Patrick Cavanaugh
Rating: 4 out of 5
RIt’s really nice to spend some time with Maz Kanata, maybe one of the most underutilized side characters in the sequel trilogy. And it’s great to get some backstory regarding one of most puzzling characters in this series. But all in all this issue is just meant to get from one place to another. Serviceable and well-written, yes, but doesn’t leave you with a lot to remember when you’re done. — Charlie Ridgely
Rating: 3 out of 5
The Worst Dudes continues its Greek God Pantheon by way of Aqua Teen Hunger Force theme for its final issue. If you’ve been good with that so far, you’ll enjoy how it all wraps up. I can’t say that I have, but I could at least appreciate the happy ending. — Connor Casey
Rating: 3 out of 5
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