Comic Book Reviews for This Week: 6/9/2021

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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 DC Pride #1, X-Men #21, The Six Sidekicks of Trigger Keaton #1, and Roofstompers #1.

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.

DC #1

It’s not that my core criticisms of American Vampire 1976 (i.e. convenience-driven storytelling) are addressed in issue #9 so much as the good bits shine brightly enough to make the flaws far less noticeable. This is one last, desperate ride in the mode of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and it absolutely nails that tone. Readers are given neat character moments for most of the series’ heroes and they crackle with energy delivering lines and moments that meet the saga-like build to this confrontation. In the face of death, there is a lot of fun to be had and part of that fun is the very face of death. Albuquerque, when not quickly shuffling characters around in the midst of action, summons a hellish form for The Beast which dominates each page it occupies. As plans change and readers are treated to surprises driven by character (specifically one character) rather than plot, it becomes clear that the endgame may be worth the wait. American Vampire 1976 #9 sets up an epic conclusion for the last great Vertigo series ever—I’m hoping it delivers the same sense of momentum and style shown here. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 4 out of 5

Every issue in a 6-issue miniseries is precious real estate, so to spend an entire one investigating the origins of a character sets expectations for how their past story connects to the present very high. This look at Henri Ducard and Bruce Wayne’s stories does not rise to the occasion. It’s a fine narrative in its own right and one that leaves me wanting to see more of Ducard in future Bat-books as a “frenemy” with both a useful skill set and justifiable counterpoint to Wayne’s worldview. However, that digression adds very little of the ongoing mystery or many other characters present in Batman: The Detective. Both the white-cloaked killers and Bruce’s ally Squire are entirely absent from these pages and it’s unclear how this issue connects to readers’ focus over the past 2 issues. It’s that lack of connection that leaves this perfectly functional one-shot as something of a head scratcher. Of course, Kubert’s depiction of the French manhunter and his misadventures with both Bruce and Batman are excellent, but they would have been far better if they amounted to much more than a seeming distraction here. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 3 out of 5

The four stories that make up Batman: Urban Legends #4 couldn’t be more different in theme and in tone, and as a result, the issue is likely to be a bit hit and miss for most fans. In my case, 3 out of 4 worked on some level, which is pretty impressive actually, though there was one clear standout. That happened to be the book’s first star, party 4 of Cheer by Chip Zdarsky, Eddy Barrows, and Eber Ferreira. Perhaps it’s because Jason Todd’s Death in the Family arc still remains captivating to this day, but it’s more than just nostalgia, as Zdarsky also uses the story to analyze Batman and Robin’s unique partnership and the bond between Bruce and Jason in a way we haven’t quite seen before, and I enjoyed it immensely. Tim Drake’s story by Meghan Fitzmartin and Belen Ortega also stood out, and the wit and humor of Matthew Rosenberg and Ryan Benjamin’s Grifter story was delightful. The Batwing story didn’t really clock with me on any level, but 3 out of 4 is certainly impressive, and frankly, it’s worth it for the first story alone. — Matthew Aguilar

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

DC Pride delivers on absolutely every level, simultaneously honoring the LGBTQ+ characters within its stories, the creators bringing them to life, and the fans who have been following the fictional universe. It might not capture every single aspect of the queer experience, but it normalizes a profound amount of it, all while executing stories that are a narrative and artistic joy to experience. Getting to see DC Comics’ LGBTQ+ characters and creators take up space and thrive in such a profound, entertaining way is a gift—one that is both perfect for Pride Month and anyone looking for an outstanding collection of comics. To put it simply, DC Pride is something I—and so many other LGBTQ+ readers—would have loved to read growing up, which makes its arrival in 2021 a source of celebration and pride. — Jenna Anderson

Rating: 5 out of 5

Detective Comics #1037 shows how Bruce Wayne is clearly being set up by forces in and among the elite of Gotham City. Now that Wayne is no longer a billionaire, we’ve seen a surprising street-level approach to Batman. However, Wayne is also surprisingly vulnerable, as he’s pinned for a series of strange murders and is then targeted for a explosive assassination. Props to Mariko Tamaki for trying something different with Batman, as this storyline has been a hoot. The back-ups (one by Tamaki and another by John Ridley) are also great reads that add some more context to the new Gotham atmosphere being built by DC Comics. — Christian Hoffer

Rating: 4 out of 5

Sadly, the final issue of Far Sector is here, and as I attempt to deal with the disappointment of not being immersed in this world every month, that disappointment isn’t keeping me from appreciating how the series sticks its landing. Writer N.K. Jemisin and Jamal Campbell are on their A-game once again for the big finale, and this might be one of Campbell’s most impressive issues to date. The sheer amount of color filling every page is just jaw-dropping, with vibrant purples, pinks, reds, blues, and of course greens just dazzling the eye in every panel. The battles themselves are impressive as well, not to mention all the creative constructs coming from Jo’s ring. Even with all that style and visual splendor, the heart of this book has always been and continues to be Jo and her content ability to adapt and put the people she’s protecting above everything else. It’s apt that the final battle, as it were, comes down not to a physical conflict but one of words and reason, as that is always Jo’s preferred battlefield. In some cases, this approach would be a letdown in a final issue, but here it works because it’s already been established as one of Jo’s strengths, and because of that you buy in. Fans of the series get several lovely payoffs by issue’s end, and while I would’ve loved to have more pages to really dive into all of the book’s best aspects even more, it delivered even with a standard page count. While I hope this isn’t the last we’ve seen of Far Sector, it is a fitting and satisfying end to one of my favorite Lantern tales ever and will be a series I recommend to anyone who will listen. — Matthew Aguilar

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

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DC #2

Comic Reviews - DC Pride #1
(Photo: DC Entertainment)

Future State: Gotham #1 is a book that no one asked for and that remains true this week. Also remaining true is the solid grasp on Jason Todd by the writers and honestly, that’s what makes the book readable despite there not being really any “there” there. The story doesn’t really have the punch that a mystery should have and some of the action just doesn’t gel, but the characterization is solid. It’s a weird mix to have. The art is solid, but the lack of color that was novel in the first issue already is wearing out its welcome in the second. Ultimately, Future State: Gotham #2 is just okay. — Nicole Drum

Rating: 3 out of 5

I think that this final issue of the first arc in Joker’s own series tends to lose the impact and weight of its predecessors, mostly due to a weakness with Joker in general, wherein creators can often make the Clown Prince of Crime a bit too long in the tooth. While Joker and Gordon having a heated argument was a foregone conclusion, the conversation itself goes on a bit too long and heads into the dull area. While it’s still a solid issue, it feels like the weakest of the series to date which started off like a rocket. — Evan Valentine

Rating: 3 out of 5

Last Ride wisely divides its attention between the past and present starting in issue #2. The first half of this installment looks at the chaos Darkseid brought to the galaxy, which led to the Justice League’s fractured state. This action-packed flashback creates space for characters in the present moment to define themselves and establish tension surrounding their capture of Lobo. Every page of this comic can be defined as solid work—the dialogue and choices feel true to these characters and the mounting darkness offers a sweeping scope. There’s nothing outstanding on those pages, either, as they don’t surprise or offer anything wholly original. All of which is to say, readers who appreciate good Justice League stories will almost certainly continue to enjoy Last Ride. Perhaps it’s wise to just not set expectations too high, though. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

At this point, Rorschach #9 provides readers with more of the same, as the unnamed protagonist continues his plodding investigation of two would-be assassins. This issue sets up a pretty big “twist” in the investigation, although it remains to be seen whether it’s a set-up or a genuine revelation. If you’re a fan of this series, I’m sure that you’re enjoying the slow burn pace. If you’re a skeptic that’s made it 9 issues, I’m sure you’re wondering when the comic will start picking up steam towards some sort of conclusion. The one “interesting” part of the comic is that the protagonist seems to be adopting more and more of Rorschach’s mannerisms, which is likely setting up some sort of big adoption of that persona and is seems more and more likely to be the end-game of this comic. — Christian Hoffer

Rating: 2 out of 5

The final chapter of Wonder Woman’s adventures in Valhalla is here and like the first parts of this story arc, it’s a satisfying read. We find out exactly what the situation is with the Valkyries and it actually makes for an interesting bit of commentary about the wide gulf between the division of labor between men and women. While that seems like a heavy thing to take on, the book also does well with some humor as well as real stakes. After all, Ragnarok is on the line. Conrad and Cloonan absolutely nail Wonder Woman in this issue. On top of that, the art is absolutely fantastic and even the backup story of Young Diana is a piece of superior comics work. This is a knockout issue. — Nicole Drum

Rating: 5 out of 5

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Marvel #1

The Amazing Spider-Man hits up a new issue this week that explains one character’s revival before another is put into grave danger. As Peter tries to uncover the truth of the Catalyst, he finds himself pitted against tons of long-lost enemies, and Spider-Man isn’t confident he can handle the whole thing. — Megan Peters

Rating: 3 out of 5

Children of the Atom continues to improve in the one X-comic from this month that doesn’t focus on the Hellfire Gala. The event is mentioned, but the focus remains on these mysterious mutant wannabes and that’s to the series benefit as it pushes the entire crew forward. This installment focuses on Benny a.k.a. Marvel Guy. While the captions fall into the same routine of telling readers what makes this person unique, they’re trimmed to read much more efficiently and play off what’s occurring on the page. That includes expanding upon the team dynamics of these five thoroughly considered individuals and the newest shape of their plans to join mutantdom on Krakoa. The issue provides a number of interesting new threads and utilizes its text pages to suggest even more. That provides this concept with a sense of momentum for the first time and that, in turn, offers some risk and clearer stakes for everyone involved. Let’s just hope that Children of the Atom maintains the strengths it displayed this month and continues to carve out a niche for this very odd addition to the Krakoa era of X-Men comics. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 4 out of 5

Just when I was starting to think that this arc had run out of steam, Jim Zub and company found a way to keep me intrigued. This issue places Conan slightly out of his element, arriving at a lavish village in hopes of returning the Tooth of the Nightstar. What unfolds from there has every element you’d want out of a Conan story—action, unpredictable fantasy elements, and political intrigue. While there are occasional moments where the issue lags or the art looks a little uncanny, the payoff is so worth it. — Jenna Anderson

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Excalibur #21 is the first entry to the Hellfire Gala that feels like a misfire. Things continue to happen and that’s largely the problem. Since its inception Excalibur has functioned as a plot-driven narrative in which characters are left to respond to events. There are several notable changes to Excalibur’s status quo that unfold in the course of one night, but each occurrence reads as a discrete event. While it’s enjoyable to see so many characters and outfits on display, the pleasure of this particular mix has been showcased better elsewhere and Excalibur’s outfits leave something to be desired when compared to more ambitious designs. There is a highlight in Rictor and Shatterstar’s reunion as a natural moment of characterization given room to breathe, one that’s easy to see because of how rare they are within Excalibur’s pages. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

Heroes Reborn #6 suffers the same weaknesses that its preceding issues suffer and while it’s interesting to read these takes on the Squadron Supreme characters, the fancy one-shot format doesn’t really feel especially satisfying or like it’s driving any larger story. This week, that’s compounded with a story and art that feels like a badly done bootleg of DC’s Wonder Woman so much so that I had to remind myself repeatedly that this was Marvel. If the issue was intended to be just a one shot, it would probably be better, but as part of a larger series—and a major event at that—it just feels like filler. — Nicole Drum

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

Heroes Reborn: Night-Gwen gives a gritty reimagining of Gwen Stacy’s origin as a superhero. Having grown up admiring her mother, Gwen becomes a therapist to the most deranged villains, but things take a turn when a surfaced villain begins targeting Gwen obsessively. A last-minute twist reveals the baddie’s true identity, but things only get more complicated for Gwen as she must balance her personal and professional life. — Megan Peters

Rating: 4 out of 5

“Heroes Reborn” is a Marvel event that I find really fascinating on its own, but this Squadron Savage one-shot proved to be more fun than I was expecting. The book takes a bunch of Marvel’s most deadly characters and throws them onto one team in the pursuit of accomplishing a mission that isn’t made clear until the conclusion. Seeing many of these characters simply interact with one another makes Squadron Savage worth the read, with some additional cameos really bringing it all home by the end. If you’re being selective when it comes to the Heroes Reborn offshoots that you’re looking to read, this is one you can feel comfortable adding to your pull list. — Logan Moore

Rating: 4 out of 5

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Marvel #2

Comic Reviews - X-Men #21
(Photo: Marvel Entertainment)

This run of Iron Man has already proved that it can deliver meaningful, exhilarating storytelling for any character in its path—which makes this week’s focus on Korvac a must-read occasion. This issue weaves a thorny web of Korvac’s past, present, and future, with cameos from a surprising amount of Marvel characters, as well as an in-depth approach to the motivation behind his current evil scheme. Christopher Cantwell’s narrative approaches the controversial villain with the weight he deserves—never truly redeeming him or begging viewers to empathize with him, but adding new shades to his role in the larger arc of the series, in a detour that still manages to be as entertaining as the issues that proceeded it. It’s also worth acknowledging Cafu’s art as well, which tackles a surprising array of Marvel elements with a stunning ease. Seriously, I cannot overstate how great this book is. — Jenna Anderson


Rating: 5 out of 5

Somehow Spider-Man: Spider’s Shadow gets better each week. This week the story has it all. There’s loads of action as Spider-Man faces off with the villains he hasn’t taken out just yet. There’s also a ton of emotion and heart when that battle doesn’t quite go as planned. Chip Zdarsky has mastered not only the various facets of Peter Parker, but of other characters in his orbit as well giving what could be a black and white “what if” story a real pulse that has major stakes and feels utterly fresh and original. This issue is honestly one of the best Spider-Man stories I’ve ever read. It’s perfect. — Nicole Drum

Rating: 5 out of 5

In pursuit of Han Solo, Valance and Dengar encounter Chewbacca and C-3PO, a collision that doesn’t entirely excite any of the parties involved, with glimpses of Crimson Dawn’s plans starting to manifest. After the promising preludes to the “War of the Bounty Hunters” event, as well as the debut issue of the proper series, Bounty Hunters returns to its own form of being an underwhelming experience. There’s a lot of running and yelling and a handful of splash pages, some of which are mildly engaging, but it’s ultimately a cliche experience full of tropes instead of being anything resembling a remotely compelling narrative. It’s possible that the hints about Crimson Dawn will start to make the overall arc for the event become clear, but it’s also possible we can get those pertinent details in a much more engaging Star Wars title, once again making Bounty Hunters an inconsequential storyline. — Patrick Cavanaugh

Rating: 2 out of 5

Issues of Strange Academy are few and far between these days, but when they land—they land hard. After the title killed off one of the students (only to resurrect them in the next issue), it looks like it’s already recycling the storyline just a few issues later. Though this plot is awfully close to that of Doyle Dormammu’s untimely death a few months back, at least this focuses on different characters and thrusts them into the unknown. This is where that stellar character work comes into play, and that’s more apparent than ever here. It’s just unfortunate that couldn’t have come with a new scenario fresh to this title. — Adam Barnhardt

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

This new take on the life of Peter Parker isn’t exactly breaking the wheel when it comes to the stakes but it does offer a new status quo that blends the characters of Marvel’s comics and films well enough. Ultimately, W.E.B. feels a bit too breezy for its own good, blasting through the new program set up for Spidey that has him join the next generation of Marvel scientists. If you’re looking for a light and fun read to give to a new reader of Marvel looking to make the transition from movies to comics, this opening salvo certainly is able to bridge the gap, but don’t expect much else. — Evan Valentine

Rating: 3 out of 5

As a single issue, X-Men #21 feels like a coda to the intense stories that preceded it. It’s a series of interludes allowing Hickman to reflect on why he wanted to write the X-Men in the first place and why readers continue to be fascinated with these characters despite the concept’s narrative imperfections. At the same time, it tidies up this chapter in a larger saga neatly and poses the question of whether the idea of Krakoa is still worth dreaming. — Jamie Lovett

Rating: 4 out of 5

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Other Publishers #1

The end of Birthright is here, and it’s a fitting end for where the story has gone. Mikey’s final loose-end has been tied up, and Joshua Williamson managed to bring this fantasy story full circle. One could probably argue this final arc existed solely to bring the title to the 50-issue benchmark, and it’s a worthy argument to make. The past few issues gave this finale an uphill battle but luckily, it did a good job at making that climb. Birthright ends exactly how it should have, and that’s the most reassuring thing of all. — Adam Barnhardt

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Patrick Foreman & Brian Hawkins’ series continues to be a fun read but three issues deep Black Cotton hasn’t yet moved beyond the initial elevator pitch of its world of reversed racial dynamics. The final pages offer an interesting twist into the larger narrative but its inclusion seems drawn from a hat and almost out of place, but you can’t fault that curveball entirely as it’s still enough to pick up the next one. Artist Marco Perugini continues to do tremendous work with the monochrome visuals and some ambitious panel layouts in issue #3. — Spencer Perry

Rating: 3 out of 5

The Black Hammer anthology continues with this world’s most brutal character yet. Kelly Thompson and Leonardo Romero team up to take on a street-level story featuring Skulldigger and a new character named Bijou. I don’t want to say this one-shot is “peak Black Hammer,” but it does include the typical benchmarks that always sets this indie superhero world apart from other cape books. With Bijou, you have a clear amalgamation of characters like Black Cat and Catwoman, yet with some tweaks and spins that make it fresh and interesting. Tonally, this story is somewhere between The Punisher and a James Bond spy-thriller, and Romero’s linework is perfect for the tale at hand. Using shadows to its advantage, Jordie Bellaire’s moody coloring is an exceptional pairing. — Adam Barnhardt

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

After mysteriously escaping the clutches of a madman who forced them to uncover a bizarre series of caves, a burgeoning artist and a child welfare investigator find an unexpected connection in how a figure known as “Bunny Mask” has both haunted their subconscious, forcing them to uncover whether this is a mystical entity or merely a haunting memory. This debut issue sets the stage for a truly vexing and eerie mystery, the strengths of which exist in its ambiguity. While this makes for a promising premise, those vagueries make for a conflicted debut issue, which makes a number of macabre teases but ultimately leaves the reader bewildered. Visually and narratively, the book walks the line of unsettling and engaging, making for an evocative and disturbing tease of what could become a truly horrifying adventure. — Patrick Cavanaugh

Rating: 3 out of 5

Cherry Blackbird begins with a shocking debut issue filled with demons and occult drama. As our heroine finds herself stuck in a difficult deal, the devil comes calling when seven gnarly sins make their way back into the world. Now it is up to Cherry and her closest friend to set things right, but the devil never promised an easy path to repayment. — Megan Peters

Rating: 3 out of 5

Die #17 is an amazing fever dream of a comic, one that brilliantly reverses the Cthulhu mythos in a way that only Kieron Gillen and Stephanie Hans could. Everything about this issue is a masterful mind-bender, to the point where I called the creators mad geniuses out loud multiple times while reading. If you have a relationship with tabletop games or the Cthulhu mythos, this is a must-read comic. — Christian Hoffer

Rating: 5 out of 5

Only two issues in, Eve is beginning to develop a post-apocalyptic tale that feels genuinely unique—and incredibly relevant. This installment dives into multiple essential elements of the series: Eve and Wexler’s quest into the unknown, Eve’s father’s work prior to the apocalypse, and exactly how the cataclysm of the series took root. Victor LaValle’s narrative feels socially conscious without ever getting preachy, with more of a focus on creating surprising moments and crafting a heartfelt story. With Jo Mi-Gyeong’s art, which feels cinematic but understated, it all combines into a story that readers will be eager to want to further explore. — Jenna Anderson

Rating: 4 out of 5

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Other Publishers #2

The third issue of Geiger is artist Gary Frank and colorist Brad Anderson’s time to shine. Light on the exposition and word balloons, the pair get the chance to show off why they’re so adept at making action work in comics and how they can sell movement in the collective of static panels. These enhanced visuals only elevate what is mostly a pedestrian narrative from Johns, which seems to be content in being modeled after every other post-apocalyptic style fiction that preceded it. Geiger #3 does finally bring the series to a potential new path but we’ll see where the trail leads. — Spencer Perry

Rating: 3 out of 5

The Good Asian #2 continues on a strong first issue with another lurid look into San Francisco during the 1930s. This comic really showcases Edison Hark’s personality. To be frank, Edison is a bit of a scumbag, albeit one created out of the circumstances of his upbringing and era. The comic shows him as a tortured soul caught in between two worlds, who isn’t afraid to rat out anyone in order to secure his own safety. I’m impressed that The Good Asian keeps Edison feel sympathetic while not shying away from his destructive tendencies. He’s not necessarily a good person, but he’s a very solid noir protagonist. — Christian Hoffer

Rating: 5 out of 5

Karmen #4 steps out with an emotional update that leaves will leave fans gasping for breath. The series checks in on our heroine as she learns a devastating truth about her friend and the love they once shared. Now, the series is pushing forward with a rollercoaster cliffhanger filled with angst, and fans aren’t sure how Karmen will bring our heroine’s afterlife to a close. — Megan Peters

Rating: 5 out of 5

Magic: The Gathering #3 sees writer Jed McKay slowing the pace to spend some time fleshing out the Planeswalkers’ backstories. Unfortunately, it’s an exercise in telling instead of showing. The background flashbacks serve as interludes while Ral, Kaya, and Vraska trudge through Ravnica’s underground searching for the Dimir and ultimately feel disconnected from the story at hand. Ig Guara’s art and Arianna Consonni’s color have many of the same strengths and weaknesses as they did in previous issues. It’s energetic and expressive, fitting for moments like Ral unleashing his storm powers on a horde of zombies. But panels continually lack grounding, with bland, blank colors serving as backgrounds. What’s worse is that the bright colors, and broad expressions prevent this tale, nominally a conspiracy thriller, from establishing the mysterious or tense atmosphere it seems to be trying to establish. — Jamie Lovett

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

I’ve been pretty critical of Maniac of New York from the jump and nothing changed in this final issue. This last chapter (for now)opts to set aside many of the characters and their overarching plotlines and instead injects a bit more social commentary into the mix. And while this might sound interesting on paper, the result feels disjointed, especially when looking at everything that came in the series previously. Maniac of New York was never something that clicked with me, sadly, and I can’t recommend picking up this five-issue arc when there are so many other great comics available at the moment. — Logan Moore

Rating: 2 out of 5

In case the first issue wasn’t enough to turn off anyone uninterested with his trademark humor, Garth Ennis ramps it up to 11 in the second issue of the series which also manages to expand on its still-in-progress lore in a unique way. Artist Goran Sudžuka continues to impress as well, channeling the layouts and panel gags that the late Steve Dillon brought to his many Ennis collaborations. That said, two issues in and it’s still not entirely clear what the endgame is even aiming for, let along what it might be, so the guessing game of where this is headed might be tedious. — Spencer Perry

Rating: 3 out of 5

The fraying of trust in Mighty Morphin continues to chip away at not only the somewhat rigid and narrow views of heroism from Zordon but also the blind trust that Zordon puts in his Rangers and subsequently the trust the Rangers put in him. Those trust issues continue to come into the light in issue #8, but it’s the way they are presented that impressed me the most, as writer Ryan Parrott finds creative ways to unravel that trust that creates necessary and compelling conflict but also retains the beloved family dynamic Power Rangers excels at. The issues of trust don’t just exist within Zordon though, as we continue to see each of the Rangers face their own struggles and some continue to grow from them while others seem to regress, but it all feels especially human. Artist Marco Renna and colorists Walter Baiamonte, Katia Ranalli, and Sara Antonellini deliver some stylish Ranger battles to boot, especially regarding the Dragonzord, and while not every scene hits the same high mark, most do. The relationships between the Rangers and Zordon have never been more complex or strained, but that’s what makes this story so rich and unexpected, and I cannot wait to see where we go from here. — Matthew Aguilar

Rating: 4 out of 5

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Other Publishers #3

The last issue of Orcs definitely slowed things down quite a bit, and that slower pace has continued here in issue #5. I’m still finding that this series is in need of a larger goal at this point in time. There are some larger narrative threads that keep getting teased, but nothing has come from them so far making things feel a bit stilted. Still, the fact that Orcs isn’t moving so briskly has allowed for more character moments to come about. I’m still interested in this series moving forward, but the next issue feels pivotal if it’s going to pull me in with where things are heading in the future. — Logan Moore

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

Naomi Franquiz becomes the superstar of what’s the best issue of Proctor Valley Road yet, diving head first into the strange and bizarre. Franquiz does grand work with the evil forces that preoccupy the series and its lead antagonist finally takes the center stage, albeit still subtly. Alex Child & Grant Morrison’s work on this Satanic Panic style story remains a fun read even if hairpin turns in the narrative might seem to come out of nowhere, especially with just pages remaining in each issue. Colorist Tamra Bonvillain remains the secret weapon of the series, continuously making its environments and characters pop. — Spencer Perry

Rating: 4 out of 5

Red Sonja 1982 is every bit as goofy as you might expect. A time-traveling robot attempts to kill Sonja only for the pair to get trapped in 1980s Hollywood. From there we get the usual references—early computers, arcade games, fashion, the mall and a whole bunch of movie references—before what is admittedly a pretty lackluster fight. Still, it did a better job of using the 80s setting than Wonder Woman 84 so points for that! — Connor Casey

Rating: 3 out of 5

TKO’s River of Sin is near perfection. The story sees a group of grieving and worried parents descend upon an old woman who local legend has as witch as they believe her to be responsible for the horrific deaths of their children. However, everything is not as it seems and Kelly Williams crafts in both word and art a story that packs both some sizeable surprises, as well as a rich cultural tapestry. While the twist isn’t exactly something you won’t see coming, how it wraps up is still dazzling and chilling and stunning. Truly, this is a fantastic comic from start to finish. — Nicole Drum

Rating: 5 out of 5

Despite clocking in at a slim 17 pages of story, Roofstompers still contains enough surprises to merit a spoiler warning for anyone discussing it past the first few pages. It’s a twisted bit of sci-fi that begins in a series of very human moments as Dr. Carrie Thurston heads to the Rockies to clear her head after a traumatic incident in her operating room. Following a bear attack, she finds herself in the care of an elderly couple living deep in the woods and that’s when things get strange. To go further would require removing the mystery that makes exploring this comic book as much fun as it is. Despite some missteps in pacing and exposition, Roofstompers still serves up a terribly twisted tale worth discovering on one’s own. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

A period piece taking you back to the days immediately following the Second World War, The Secret Land is — on the surface — a tale we’ve seen before. The story of Nazi remnants doing whatever it is in their power to bring about the rule of the Reich once again. This story doesn’t really upset the status quo, only teasing ever-so-slightly some real deviations from how we’ve seen these stories play out before. Maybe there’s a zombie element to it or some super spy-level of espionage. Either way, the book’s pace moves at a crawl, and the two lead characters are only slightly interesting. — Adam Barnhardt

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

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Other Publishers #4

Comic Reviews - Six Sidekicks of Trigger Keaton #1
(Photo: Image Comics)

Readers familiar with Kyle Starks’ other original work—SexcastleAssassin NationRock Candy Mountain—already know exactly what sort of story they’ll find in the pages of The Six Sidekicks of Trigger Keaton. That’s not to say the comic is predictable or iterative; this is the story of a cruel Hollywood action star who’s burned every bridge he’s ever crossed, found dead and the six no-longer-young child stars he burned in life left to investigate his death. It’s a weird comic, to say the least, but in the best possible way. That’s the part which returning fans are bound to recognize: A bizarre premise stuffed with colorful characters, gut busting humor, a deep appreciation of American pop culture, and a surprising degree of depth amidst all the tawdry details. The uninitiated can rest assured they’re in for one heckuva ride here. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Mr. Tinker was one of the most intriguing new facets of the relaunched Sonic the Hedgehog and, while the character appears to be gone for good, issue #40 establishes a worthy legacy in Belle the Tinkerer who seizes the spotlight here. Amidst a team of Sonic’s most capable companions, the conclusion of this space-time warping adventure provides her with a heroic arc that’s bound to keep fans’ attention. Balanced against this excellent character definition is a climax that fails to meet the expectations set early in this reality warping challenging by ending the threat in the most straightforward fashion possible. What’s more is that the opening sequence is drawn with no variation in line weight leaving an impression of cheapness before the best panels arrive in better fashioned pages later. Sonic the Hedgehog is a mixed bag that will, luckily, leave all of its flaws in this issue, but keep the best parts (specifically, Belle) going forward. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 3 out of 5

It’s a little disappointing that the big Battle of the Bands teased throughout this story arc of Sophie Campbell’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles turned out to be leading toward an anticlimax. It seemed like an opportunity for Campbell to showcase her skills, but instead, the event resolves quickly that this issue may spend most of its time on the denouement. As young Lita returns home to her time, the readers and the book’s main characters catch a glimpse of a brighter (literally) tomorrow where they are all seemingly living peacefully in a radically different New York City. It’s a taste of the future that these characters are in the process of building with the nascent Mutant Town community. As readers have likely come to expect, Campbell’s focus is on interpersonal conflicts in community building. The resolutions of those conflicts set the stage for multiple subplots critical to determining whether Lita’s idyllic future becomes a reality. Campbell’s brings a punk rock, DIY aesthetic to her character designs. It fits well with the story’s focus on building an outsider community. Despite the battle of the bands being a bit of a letdown, the series continues to be stellar. — Jamie Lovett

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Transformers Annual 2021 proves to have many of the same strengths and flaws as the ongoing Transformers series. That’s not hugely surprising as ongoing series writer Brian Ruckley scripts the annual. As is typical of his work, the story flirts with intriguing themes and ideas. The relationships between the massive Titans and the city-speakers that live within them, providing these godlike entities a connection to the average Transformers that live on Cybertron, is fascinating. Equally compelling is how Ruckley positions both the rogue Titan called VIgilem and station commander Thunderwing as bred for war and then exiled to the fringes when their governments no longer needed them. Unfortunately, the issue bogs down these ideas with scenes of indistinguishable robots delivering impenetrable dialogue. Alex Milne and colorist John-Paul Bove’s visuals are weightier than what the ongoing series usually offers. There’s more attention to detail, which strengthens the idea that these characters are metallic beings rather than plastic toys, but there are scenes that struggle with awkward perspective. There are seeds of interest here, but they go mostly squandered, as is the recurring theme for the current Transformers line. — Jamie Lovett

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

The Walk smartly speeds through trope-like horror setups and environmental grandstanding to arrive at its story—we’ve seen horror movies to understand the group dynamic, and it doesn’t take much convincing to pitch a story of saving the environment through the exploration of uncharted waters. Environmental preservation and human obstruction are by no means just themes and instead permeate the whole story, but they’re handled in a way that returns the focus to the limited cast instead of dangling guilt over any one person’s head. The murky black of the deep waters delicately rides the line between showing too much and too little, but while it’s typically the opposite in most stories, I would’ve preferred to see just a bit more of the fate of the cast. Still, its brevity manages to keep The Walk a tense, compact, cautionary tale. — Tanner Dedmon

Rating: 4 out of 5

Wynd continues to keep its light jog of a pace rolling with issue #7. The Vampyres quickly attack our heroes’ boat, Thorn is left badly injured and Wynd is left to fly ahead to try and find help. We’re definitely hitting that mid-Two Towers/most-of-Game of Thrones period where the main characters are all splintering off into groups heading in various directions. If you don’t mind that storytelling structure this is a pretty fun read. — Connor Casey

Rating: 4 out of 5

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