Comic Book Reviews for This Week: 18/4/2018

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, Dark Horse, and more.

This week, that includes Action Comics #1000, Black Panther #172, and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #26. The links to those are also included with a snippet from the review in the following slides.

And with that, on to the reviews -- which are listed first by DC, Marvel, and the rest of the publishers and then in alphabetical order.

ACTION COMICS #1000

If sales figures are any indication, more comic book readers will be picking up Action Comics than almost any comic book in recent memory -- especially one at its hefty price point. That is as it should be, as there is a lot to love in this volume. It is not perfect, however -- and what's frustrating is that you can't really add "...but not for lack of trying" to that sentence. -- Russ Burlingame

Rating: 4 out of 5

AQUAMAN #35

Aquaman’s latest issue is full of action, but that isn’t necessarily a good thing. Sure those action sequences by Robson Rocha and Sunny Gho are electrifying for the most part, but Dan Abnet’s Aquaman shines most when it balances the superhero fare with the mattes of state and royal backstabbing. There’s some of that here, but much of it is inconsequential or rather unbelievable -- sure, some guards with rifles was all you were going to need to unseat the king. The issue is an entertaining read, but is lacking a bit of what’s made the series great in the past. -- Matthew Mueller

Rating: 3 out of 5

BATMAN #45

There are two things one doesn't expect in an issue of Batman: Booster Gold and fart jokes, but here we are. Batman #45 is an issue that you will either love or hate. Tom King's story here is solid. Well-written and well-paced, it is slow to dawn on the reader the major twist the story takes at the end. However, despite being written well, there's some mild character assassination with Booster Gold. The character isn't quite as much of a doofus as King writes him to be, which makes the issue a little difficult to get through. That being said. if you can get past the Booster issue (and the fart joke), you're in for an intriguing story that ends with one heck of a cliffhanger. -- Nicole Drum

Rating: 3 out of 5

BATMAN CREATURE OF THE NIGHT #3

Creature of the Night blows past any preconceived notions of Batman you might have, delivering an altogether different sort of Batman tale. Kurt Busiek finds new ways to explore this surreal relationship between Bruce and his alter-ego, and John Paul Leon creates a landscape that feels as gray and conflicted as its main lead. At times there is a bit too much going on from panel to panel, muddying up the page as a result, but that is extreme nitpicking, and honestly, you won’t want to miss out on this one of a kind Batman adventure. -- Matthew Mueller

Rating: 5 out of 5

BATMAN SINS OF THE FATHER #3

Up to this point I've felt that Batman: Sins of the Father was standard at best, but mostly pretty mundane. Issue #3 broke that trend and actually delivered an interesting comic, one that long-time Batman fans are sure to enjoy. This issue dove into the connected past of Batman and Floyd Lawton, telling a story that readers have yet to hear, and giving Batman's investigations, as well as the book's antagonist, some kind of purpose and direction. The art was still fairly bland, but certainly passable, and it didn't take anything away from the story being told. Now I'm not saying this is the best Batman comic you'll read this week, but it's most certainly a step up from what it's been in the past. I'd actually consider recommending this issue, which is a vastly different position than the one I held last month. -- Charlie Ridgely

Rating: 3 out of 5

BATMAN TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES II #6

The latest Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles crossover ends on a feel-good (and predictable) beat. In the finale, the Batman and TMNT families have their big team-up to take down the Bane-led Foot Clan once and for all. Donatello, who was the main focus of this miniseries, gets a few minutes to shine, but really this comic was all about good guys beating bad guys and putting smiles on readers' faces. Even this old curmudgeon had to smile when Splinter, Batman, and the Shredder faced off against a Venom-powered Bane, or when Robin complained that Donatello didn't make more lethal anti-Venom devices. While I thought Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II's plot was convoluted at times and had inconsistent art, it did deliver a fluffy and fun adventure on par with their first crossover. -- Christian Hoffer

Rating: 3 out of 5

BATWOMAN #14

Like the rest of this story, Batwoman #14 continues to weave a complex tale of family, heroics, and regret. It's the perfect kind of story for this character, and the issue does a great job of continuing to establish her as a fantastic detective. This comic did become problematic from time to time however. The story got lost within itself on a couple of occasions, making it difficult to follow along as it shifted between settings. All-in-all, Batwoman #14 is a solid entry to the series, but not nearly as strong as some of the issues that have come before. -- Charlie Ridgely

Rating: 3 out of 5

BOMBSHELLS UNITED #16

“The Black Island” arc finally reaches its peak, and the end result is actually a pleasant surprise. The issue doesn’t completely soar, but the vast majority of it feels pretty cinematic, bringing this arc’s roster of Bombshells -- and some new faces -- together in a touching way. The art of this arc also finds its stride for the most part, with certain panels feeling absolutely visceral and colorful. Come for the butt-kicking ladies, stay for the heartfelt reunions, the amazing introduction of one fan-favorite, and the promise of what comes next. -- Jenna Anderson

Rating: 4 out of 5

BRAVE & THE BOLD BATMAN & WONDER WOMAN #3

The beauty of Brave & the Bold is easily evident, and ultimately we wish the narrative was as easy to recognize. The centerpiece is a murder mystery, and when the book follows that path directly it shines. Batman adapting his scientific methods to a realm of magic is innately interesting, but the book spends so long fleshing out aspects of the world that have no bearing on that core plot, and thus are just window dressing that slows the story down. The story does move forward by issue’s end, if ever so slowly, but you just end up wishing it could get to its destination that much faster. -- Matthew Mueller

Rating: 3 out of 5

CAVE CARSON HAS AN INTERSTELLAR EYE #2

The second volume of this series continues to be impeccably well designed. That obviously applies to the layouts that make every element of the page address the story at hand. An example in this issue literally puts readers in Cave’s headspace as he fails to pay attention to someone else speaking. Design is also present in the conflict itself as opposing forces stand as much for ideas as individual beings. Everything about this comic remains wild and unpredictable. It’s difficult to know where it’s going or whether there’s a pay off, but the ride is worth taking for its own pleasures. -- Chase Magnett

Rating: 4 out of 5

DAMAGE #4

Just when Damage seems to jump the shark, Venditti pulls the reigns back in a bit and delivers another well-written affair. The dynamic between Damage and Ethan is one of the book's strengths, as it points out the kind of inner struggle we always wished to see from Hulk in years past. It's fun to read as the human trapped in the beast's body audibly struggles for control and vice versa. This issue adds a group of villains that feel like fantastic fits for this series, and Poison Ivy's appearance makes for a good bit of fun, and a decent cliffhanger heading into the next issue. Definitely an exciting ride that's worth the read. -- Charlie Ridgely

Rating: 4 out of 5

DEADMAN #6

An intense journey of discovery for Boston Brand, Deadman #6 gets the ball rolling faster with each page. Just as things peak interest levels, Deadman's adventure is put on hold for the next issue, but a few unexpected reveals and Deadman's newfound dedication make Deadman #6 an important and thrilling read. -- Brandon Davis

Rating: 4 out of 5

DEATHBED #3

The epic and fun journey of Antonio Luna takes a step in the expansive direction. The mythology of his extravagant life and his intellect are built upon with strokes both colorful and dark. Another hilarious and tense thrill ride, Joshua Williamson might have a home run series on his hands. -- Brandon Davis

Rating: 5 out of 5

FUTURE QUEST PRESENTS #9

In a classic and fast-paced tale of be-careful-what-you-wish-for, Dorno's life comes at him fast. A sudden invasion of his home planet quickly launches what should be a fun adventure loaded with tests for the young man, with a foe capable of anything he can imagine. Rob Williams makes quick work of his characters to give the world a sharp hook, in a vibrant world sparking childhood imaginations. -- Brandon Davis

Rating: 5 out of 5

GREEN LANTERNS #45

Green Lanterns is already spinning a gripping story on its own, but it gets even better when Constantine is thrown into the mix. Jessica Cruz’s traumatic past is the key focus here and provides some interesting areas for Tim Seeley and Ronan Cliquet to play in. That exploration into Cruz’s psyche makes Singularity Jain shine even more, and Constantine’s involvement tops the story off with the perfect amount of oddball flavor, all wrapped up in an emerald green bow. -- Matthew Mueller

Rating: 4 out of 5

HARLEY QUINN #42

"Old Lady Harley" could have been an incredible, humorous take on Marvel's Old Man Logan, one that kept Harley Quinn's humor and made good use of her character agency for some witty satire. Instead, Harley Quinn #42 is an embarrassing, messy, distracting book that barely manages to elevate from cheap Deadpool ripoff jokes and pointless Mad Max references. There's nothing to like here, which is really unfortunate considering how much fun the rest of this book has been lately. This story is just bad and makes zero sense. That's really all there is to say. -- Nicole Drum

Rating: 1 out of 5

JUSTICE LEAGUE #43

"Justice Lost" receives a mostly satisfying finale, with a few notable exceptions. Priest’s comfort with Deathstroke is quickly apparent, and the issue doesn’t land near as well without him in the mix. He sums up the League’s naiveté in this sort of issue exquisitely, and Wonder Woman’s own struggles through this storyline are also deftly handled. Cruz and Baz provide much needed comic relief amidst the heavier issues, but there is a big issue with how it closes out The Fan. For a story point that was so heavily spotlighted throughout Priest’s run, it does seem odd that it would all end with a simple gunshot. It ends up being a footnote in all this and leads to questions about why we spent so much time on it in the first place. That said, this issue has way more high points than low and is a fitting way to kick off the League’s next chapter. -- Matthew Mueller

Rating: 4 out of 5

INJUSTICE 2 #24

Injustice 2 #24 marks the conclusion of Amazo's devastating attack on Delhi and his overwhelming assault on Earth's remaining superheroes. We get a small payoff to the build up of the relationship between Damien and Kara, as the former inspires the latter to finally enter the fray and save the day. I'm a bit surprised that this issue didn't have more bloodshed -- Amazo wiped out thousands of people but only one DC character met their end in this issue, unless we also count Amazo. It strains credibility that a super-android devoted to destroying mankind couldn't kill a single superhero during its brutal assault. Otherwise, this is a solid issue and continues Injustice 2's solid overall run. -- Christian Hoffer

Rating: 4 out of 5

MISTER MIRACLE #8

Mister Miracle #8 explores Scott Free's life as a working parent, as he juggles being a new parent and managing a never-ending war against the forces of Apokolips. This issue does a wonderful job of capturing the grind that many parents struggle with, moving between work and caring for an infant with little relief. Scott has it even tougher than most parents, as he and Barda switch off time on Apokolips, which means he's functionally acting as a single parent and a general without his best warrior. While the scenes on Earth are largely fantastic, the comic struggles a bit when Scott heads to Apokolips. It's clear that none of this is real, and that Scott's caught in a trap of some kind, but the deliberate vagueness about the conflict between New Genesis and Apokolips cheapens the gravity of the choices Scott makes as head of the New Genesis army. While still a solid issue, Mister Miracle #8 is a step back from last month's more complete chapter. -- Christian Hoffer

Rating: 3 out of 5

NIGHTWING #43

Nightwing #43 is the second of two filler issues bridging the gap between story arcs and creative overhauls. While issue #42 was two shades past awful, this edition is actually quite the opposite. Much to my surprise, this is a really fun comic! Dick Grayson tries to balance having some semblance of a personal life while also being a good friend/brother to Speedy and Robin. The three characters end up teaming up for the night, and we get to go along for the ride. Sharp writing and exciting colors help Nightwing #43 dive into the mind of Dick, really exploring how the themes of trust, expectation, and brotherhood truly affect his psyche. This is one of the rare cases where I wish a one-off comic story would get the chance to expand. I think there's a lot of good to work with here. -- Charlie Ridgely

Rating: 4 out of 5

SUPERMAN #45

“Nothing gold can stay,” Superman tells his son in Superman #45, quoting Robert Frost. When Jonathan Kent tells him it sounds sad, Clark responds, “more like…bittersweet.”

And so it is, seeing Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason wrap up their run on the title in the perfect way: a story in which Clark and Jon barely suit up, the Kent family (and the farm in Hamilton County) plays a significant role, and Lois Lane is center stage. Beautifully written and emotionally effective, the issue also sees Gleason’s art at its best, with strong support from colorist Stephen Downer. This issue is probably better than their story in Action Comics #1000 in some ways, and an absolute must to celebrate 80 years of Lois Lane and Superman. -- Russ Burlingame

Rating: 5 out of 5

SUPER SONS #15

Letterer Dave Sharpe deserves a lot of credit for Super Sons #15, which feels for the most part like a bottle episode of a TV show, and which manages to break through that claustrophobic sensibility in part because of his work.

That is not to say the rest of the issue is bad: Carloe Barberi’s pencils are solid with moments of brilliance (and a couple of noticeably wonky panels), Art Thibert’s inks are predictably good and Protobunker’s colors are gorgeous and make several scenes pop in a way that the line work alone may not have in other hands.

Peter J. Tomasi’s script is sharp and he has managed to soften Damian Wayne and make him more likable without losing the core of what makes Damian, Damian. he also set up a solid (if a little predictable) cliffhanger for the next issue.

Leaving the Tomasi/Gleason/Jurgens era and moving into the age of Bendis, the loss of Super Sons is one of the things that will be most dramatically felt by Superman fans. -- Russ Burlingame

Rating: 4 out of 5

TEEN TITANS GO #27

If you're judging Teen Titans GO on the basis that you judge every single other comic in the world, it certainly isn't one of the best out there. However, if you're a fan of TTG, this book is a hell of a lot of fun. At least, that's the case in the first half of the issue.

The first story of the issue sees Robin find out exactly what insurance is a la Chris Pratt's Andy on Parks and Recreation, and he eventually winds up trying to take down the entire industry. Not only is it laugh-out-loud funny throughout, but the story actually has some somber moments that remind you how fragile these characters can be. It's kind of brilliant, actually. Props to Matthew K. Manning.

The second part of the issue is about spring cleaning and sees the dirt in the tower turn itself into living dust versions of the Titans. The premise is fine, but the execution with this story is subpar, especially in its conclusion. Fittingly, its just a mess. If I could rate these individually I'd give Part 1 a 5/5, and Part 2 a 2/5. But it doesn't really work that way, so I'm going to meet somewhere in the middle for the book as a whole. -- Charlie Ridgely

Rating: 3 out of 5

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #799

This issue is all fireworks. Every Spider-Man ally and friend you expected to see are here and then some as the Red Goblin threatens to destroy everyone Peter Parker loves. With Peter out of commission, it’s a great opportunity to showcase his extended family and the enormous threat posed by Norman Osborn. The battle is fast and furious, delivering plenty of impressive panels in short succession. What’s even more delightful is how this all serves as a build to Amazing Spider-Man #800, ratcheting up tension and delivering a last page that will leave fans chewing their nails until next month. This is how you craft a penultimate issue. -- Chase Magnett

Rating: 4 out of 5

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN RENEW YOUR VOWS #18

Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows wraps up its latest arc by showing that not every superhuman arc needs to be solved with violence. Annie Parker has finally found a niche to call her own after two of her schoolmates suddenly develop superhuman powers. But when one of her new friends targets Normie Osborn for revenge, Annie uses the empathy that her parents taught her to save her old friend from her new one. Jody Houser does a fantastic job of capturing the Parker family dynamic and depicting Annie as a true teenage superhero: someone who understands the responsibility of powers, but still has bouts of teenage rebellion. I thought Nathan Stockman's art took a step back this issue; one of the character's weight fluctuates dramatically and the faces in too many panels seem to be afterthoughts. He still knows how to depict nuanced body language though, which almost makes up for the terrible face shots. -- Christian Hoffer

Rating: 3 out of 5

AVENGERS #689

The penultimate issue of "No Surrender" tries to be a rousing treatise on what it mean to be a hero, but doesn’t quite stick the landing. Where it succeeds is in giving most of the key Avengers a moment to shine in the final battle with the Challenger. Where it fans is in the wrap up, which ends up feeling a bit too easy. The art follows a similar arc, where Larraz’s work is strong towards the beginning but becomes muddy towards the end. It isn’t bad, but it feels like it doesn’t quite meet its full potential. -- Jamie Lovett

Rating: 3 out of 5

BLACK PANTHER #172

Black Panther remains one of the standout series at Marvel Comics, but Black Panther #172 is far from the series’ best outing. Striking the balance between thoughtful consideration and big superhero adventure has delivered some outstanding moments in the past, but this installment steers far too deep into the latter half of the equation. There is no deep connection between the literal and metaphorical battles; the actual fighting contains little meaning and the meaning is summarized. All of the essential elements of a superhero comic are in place and executed well enough, but this has proven to be a superhero comic capable of far more than monthly updates. -- Chase Magnett

Rating: 3 out of 5

CABLE #156

The "Past Fears" story continues to revolve around Nathan Summers’ relationship to his daughter, Hope, with a second issue that is entirely a flashback to when Cable was raising Hope in the future and on the run from Bishop. By moving backward in time this way, a pattern that seems like it will continue into the next issue, the shadow following Cable seems to extend further back into previous eras of his life. Thompson and Nadler's story keeps a tight focus, embracing continuity as a way to establish the story's setting without getting mired in it, and German Peralta's artwork, aided by Jesus Aburtov’s colors, makes Cable’s world feel worn and haunted. There's still a ways to go, but so far this is the best Cable story since the era this issue is set in. -- Jamie Lovett

Rating: 4 out of 5

DAREDEVIL #601

Charles Soule teams with Mike Henderson for the next arc of Daredevil, which picks up where "Mayor Fisk" left off. Henderson’s square-jawed, broad-shouldered heroes are reminiscent of Greg Capullo’s, which isn’t a bad fit for Daredevil. Unfortunately, Matt Milla’s colors seem mismatched with Henderson’s artwork, particularly when dealing with character out-of-costume. With Matt Murdock now Mayor of New York, this story gains some of the climactic speed that seemed lacking in issue #600 as Matt sends his allies out to battle the Hand head-on while he tries to hold “his city” together. It’s a solid start, setting up a story with a lot of potential for superhero action and fun. -- Jamie Lovett

Rating: 3 out of 5

INCREDIBLE HULK #715

Hulk continues his stubborn rage in a fun little page-turner, as his allies might not be that anymore, and his enemies remain intimidated. Though nothing of substantial impact happens until the final pages, Cho's continued reign as an aggressive and determined rage monster is a little bit of fun. -- Brandon Davis

Rating: 3 out of 5

INFINITY COUNTDOWN #2

Marvel Comics has not featured a cosmic event this good since the pages of Annihilation. Throughout the course of this issue, plots converge and emerge as the story remains in constant motion. No matter where you look something is changing, giving meaning to ongoing battles. Just as one battle is resolved another becomes far more treacherous. Amidst it all the Guardians are the most charming they have been in years, with plenty of humor to balance out the bloodshed. Whether it’s a small moment or the biggest explosions caused by spaceships (or driveable Galactus vehicles), this miniseries is delivering on all fronts. -- Chase Magnett

Rating: 4 out of 5

IRON FIST #80

Cause and effect means that actions have consequences. Iron Fist #80 is primarily driven by establishing predetermined outcomes. The events of “Damnation” have left the laws of reality loose, but the tournament setup created to resurrect characters here reads like a deus ex machina in which editors decided who should come back to life. There’s no real tension in the battle as the stakes or flow of combat are never entirely clear. Sacrifices don’t mean much from people already living in hell. To top it all off, this is a martial arts comic in which the action is hardly coherent outside of captions naming specific moves. It’s a bad look. -- Chase Magnett

Rating: 2 out of 5

MS MARVEL #29

One of the best things about Ms. Marvel is how G. Willow Wilson tells real life stories first and foremost that just so happen to have superhero stories woven into them. This issue is no exception. We see Kamala, in the course of a day, undergo a full spectrum of life experiences -- the joy of becoming an aunt, the thrill of a kiss, and the deep, painful feeling of being torn in two directions when it comes to matters of the heart. But even as Kamala tries to make her way through her own human experience, something is definitely up with a new student at school. Even though the issue is setting up a bigger story, there's no lacking in depth and meaning. Kamala's growth as a person is every bit as important as her heroics. No issue makes that more clear than this one. -- Nicole Drum

Rating: 5 out of 5

MSH ADVENTURES SPIDER-MAN VIBRANIUM #1

The Marvel Super Hero Adventures series is focused much more on young readers than an all-ages audience. That having been said, it would make for a delightful read aloud experience with a young person just learning to string words together. While some narration may seem redundant, the story does a good job of always moving forward and delivering plenty of action and jokes -- some of which are funny at any age. The oddest element of the series is its visual framing with a properly proportioned Spider-Man having a flashback to the toylike figures of the line. While they make for fun collectibles, the oversized heads look absurd on the page and undermine a generally good introduction point for young fans. -- Chase Magnett

Rating: 3 out of 5

STAR WARS POE DAMERON #26

Kicking off an all-new arc, Poe Dameron jumps forward in time from before The Force Awakens to immediately after the events of The Last Jedi, giving readers our first interactions between Poe, Finn, and Rey. The pilot explains for his allies, and audiences, how he escaped the TIE Fighter on Jakku and made it to the Resistance base D'Qar. For both longtime readers of this series and fans looking for a good place to jump in, this issue of Poe Dameron is a great place for anyone to pick up the book. In addition to teasing some of the first story elements of what happens after The Last Jedi, this issue specifically helped flesh out the relationship between him and Leia, confirming that he is far from the hotshot pilot some fans have assumed he was. Despite the issue mostly being a recap, we look forward to seeing more of Dameron's journey in the aftermath of the Battle of Crait. -- Patrick Cavanaugh

Rating: 4 out of 5

TALES OF SUSPENSE #104

The ending of this miniseries is hardly an ending, especially when you take its final panel into account. Everything that you would expect to happen does as it chugs along the rails of a plot intended primarily to reframe the status quo in continuity. That may be useful for future stories, but it leaves this one feeling dispensable. A climactic battle is rendered inert in sequences that leave charges and leaps suspended in time, incapable of conveying motion. The banter between Bucky and Hawkeye, the series primary redemptive point, has never been more clearly a cheapened take on Fraction’s Hawkeye dialogue to the point of parody here. This story accomplished its goal of resurrecting the Black Widow, but at what cost? It certainly wasn’t worth the cover price. -- Chase Magnett

Rating: 2 out of 5

VENOMIZED #3

Venomized is still just... a lot. If you’re a fan of Cullen Bunn’s Marvel work, then this is definitely a book you should look at as he seems to be finding ways to bring together every corner of the Marvel Universe that he has touched. If you like clean, stylishly-posed superhero action scenes, Iban Coello is an artist worth looking at. His pages are cluttered and hard to follow, the price paid for having so many characters involved, but it’s hard to argue with the awe factor of his large shots. That said, telling the heroes apart is a challenge since their symbiote or Poison looks are different from their usual appearances and all fairly similar. It’s difficult to stay interested when the Poison villains are talking among themselves, but that’s reined in here compared to past issues, and Bunn at least writes a pretty solid field leader Captain America. Venomized remains hard to recommend, but at least it's pretty and the plot seems to be going somewhere in this issue. -- Jamie Lovett

Rating: 2 out of 5

WEAPON H #2

To put it plainly, Weapon H is absolute madness, and I love every second of it. I never thought it possible for a comic to jump the shark in a way that makes it even better, but that's exactly what Greg Pak does in this second issue. Doctor Strange appears in the story (in a way that actually makes sense) and Weapon H fights an overgrown, diseased Wendigo. Amidst the chaos, there is a very human simplicity to certain moments in this book, which are completely unexpected but rope you in almost as much as the action does. It's an odd balancing act that Pak pulls off to perfection, and Cory Smith's art only makes things better. Weapon H is weird, wild, and wonderful all at the same time, making for one of the most fun comics you'll read this month. -- Charlie Ridgely

Rating: 5 out of 5

WEAPON X #16

Largely a repeat of the previous issue, Weapon X #16 continues the fight between Old Man Logan and Sabretooth. The issue is largely made of the pair fighting each other and then the horrible monsters they end up releasing in the process. There's even a little flashback/flash forward scene where Logan tries to tell Sabretooth about how things are in his timeline. It's all meant to set up the idea that there's hope for Sabretooth to sort of have a redemption of sorts, but it more or less falls flat when the issue takes the easy way out by simply having time run out. Here's to hoping the next arc actually has a story to tell. -- Nicole Drum

Rating: 2 out of 5

X-MEN GOLD #26

The road to the wedding of Kitty Pryde and Colossus begins here, with a flashback drawn by David Marquez. It’s beautiful, but given the problematic elements of the early days of Kitty and Peter’s relationships, one wonders if reminding fans of those early days is a wise choice. From there, Marc Guggenheim provides us with a solid “let’s check in with the team” issue that establishes where each of the X-Men’s heads are at and shows them enjoying some non-superhero shenanigans. Michele Badini does a solid job drawing the rest of the issue, though he seems to employ certain layout tricks at random, like cutting a single panel shot into two with no apparent narrative purpose or repeating a panel to emphasize a beat in a way that takes up more space without effectively emphasizing anything, and there are places where Arif Prianto’s colors seem to be going for a naturalistic look but ends up distracting by making the character’s skin look splotchy. Put it together and you end up with a flawed but not terrible first step towards “The Wedding of the Century.” -- Jamie Lovett

Rating: 3 out of 5

30 DAYS OF NIGHT #5

In the final days of the month of darkness, our survivors are tired, starving, and desperate. In an unexpected wrinkle, seeing that they only have a few more days of free reign, tensions begin to mount among the vampires, as their entire approach could be jeopardized if even one survivor remains. Before the issue's close, another development presents itself that could threaten the vampires which deviates from the original storyline. Much like a horror movie remake confirms the potential of the original concept, Steve Niles continues to show the strength of his original book's concept, making the familiar territory somehow feel fresh. Piotr Kowalski's art also adds an interesting depth to the disaster of Barrow, Alaska, setting the stage for a gruesome conclusion. -- Patrick Cavanaugh

Rating: 4 out of 5

ASSASSINISTAS #4

The Assassinistas continue their pursuit on Blood Diamond in hopes of retrieving Kyler, with hordes of robots in their path, in addition to supposed landmines. The issue sheds some enlightening backstory on Blood Diamond's backstory with the group and her complicated relationships with kids in hopes of informing the reader that maybe she isn't so bad after all. Like a cross between Kill Bill and Bob's Burgers, Assassinistas has seemingly settled into its groove, delivering readers both a humorous and at time heartwarming story of hired killers having to reunite after attempting to put the past behind them. -- Patrick Cavanaugh

Rating: 4 out of 5

BALLAD OF SANG #2

After only a single issue Ballad of Sang loses any semblance of consistency. The story’s tone fluctuates wildly from moment to moment as the plot wanders in different directions like some sort of extended improv sketch. Unlike that scenario there are no jokes that land, and it’s impossible to discern what is happening. Panels barely connect as action is pushed forward at a frenetic pace leaving the story without tension or stakes. It’s ultimately impossible to tell whether a decapitation should be tragic or hilarious in this story and there’s no reason to puzzle it out. This issue is a mess from start to finish. Keep it. -- Chase Magnett

Rating: 1 out of 5

BLACK HAMMER AGE OF DOOM #1

The new series in the Black Hammer universe is billed as a first issue, but really it's just the next chapter in an ongoing saga. Instead of organically catching the reader up through exposition, the lengthy recap page details what occurred in the first series. And then there's a lengthy section that's nothing but exposition, but that seems like it's recapping the nuances, the clues that could help guide the narrative. As a newcomer to the series, I have no idea what's going on. Fans of the series might find this issue perfectly fine. Dean Ormston and Dave Stewart are an amazing pair, evocative of Jeff Lemire's weird sensibilities, but this comic is not something I'm excited to read, demon Ramones not withstanding. -- JK Schmidt

Rating: 2 out of 5

COSMO #4

Cosmo is a bright, high-energy, super fun space adventure totally suitable for not only younger readers, but for anyone who just wants a brightly colored straightforward space story. In Cosmo#4, our heroes go up against the vicious and formidable Venusian Cleo, but instead of defeating her by brute force, they use their intelligence to come up with a clever solution to save the day. This title is simply a breath of fresh air and while it may not pack any major punch, it's just a delight to read and you won't be able stop yourself from wondering what the evil queen of Venus is up to next. -- Nicole Drum

Rating: 4 out of 5

CROW: MEMENTO MORI #2

The story unfolding in The Crow: Memento Mori is one you simply do not want to miss. The main tale, that of a boy who did not get to live his life fully before he was killed, continues to unfold in the most exquisite manner. Each panel pulls at the heart and is absolutely haunting. This issue also has a perfect callback to the soundtrack of the original The Crow movie, and between that and the art, this book is nearly perfect. Absolutely stunningly done. There's no other words for it. -- Nicole Drum

Rating: 5 out of 5

CURSE WORDS #13

Curse Words is not particularly focused on plotting or characters, which makes middle chapters like this one less intriguing. It does the leg work of providing exposition and repositioning the players, but those acts are not interesting by themselves. The mean-spirited humor of this issue is what really carries it along. Despite some lingering sweetness between the three central protagonists, it’s the cruelty exhibited on random spellcrafters and Jacques Zacques that really make this installment fun. Body horror runs rampant and a general lack of caring about even the most horrific circumstances provides the entire affair with some great (but not good) laughs. -- Chase Magnett

Rating: 3 out of 5

DEATH OF LOVE #3

Justin Jordan and Donal Delay's Death of Love is the heartwarming story about a total loser named Philo who kills a cupidae, one of those adorable cherubs you see on Valentine's Day cards and Renaissance art. Of course, that causes the other cupidae to gang together and embark on a violent vendetta against Philo and eventually his friends. I really enjoyed that Jordan establishes Philo as a toxic presence in the lives of his friends - a selfish self-absorbed man who doesn't consider his only two friends to be anything more than an extension of his desires and feelings. Philo sits on that thin line of being both relatable and detestable -- someone who tries to handwave away the repeated murders of the cupidae as unfortunate side effects of whatever bizarre problem he's having. This is a comically ultra-violent comic, but one that also uses extra-normal circumstances to examine the toxic effects we can have on our lives. -- Christian Hoffer

Rating: 4 out of 5

DESCENDER #29

There is an incredible sense of momentum surrounding this series, and Descender #29 manages to carry that between all of its many divided plots and characters. Small scenes between a handful of characters in claustrophobic quarters are made to matter through personal investment and a beautifully realized two-page splash of a hologram. The universal fare is even more impressive, rendered with some of the best watercolors in the series to date as literally and figuratively big revelations are shown. No matter which characters or ideas grab your attention, this issue manages to touch on almost every important element of Descender in some way. It’s very good to return to the main story of this impressive series. -- Chase Magnett

Rating: 4 out of 5

DIABLO HOUSE #4

Less is more, which makes the excesses of Diablo House cringeworthy after only a few pages. Each twist in these horror story seems only to highlight obvious deviancy and comparisons. In the first story gore is served for its own sake without any hint of a theme or consequence. Terrible people do terrible things, and it lacks the creativity to make it resonate on a purely visceral or visually challenging level. A backup tale pointing to the most obvious flaws in Donald Trump’s character is as pointless as it seems. What purpose does this comic serve? Even if that question is answered in #5, it’s probably not worth finding out. -- Chase Magnett

Rating: 2 out of 5

ENCOUNTER #2

At two issues in, Encounter seems to be a colorful slice-of-life superhero story that puts puns over action. Its latest issue shines in its comedy as Kayla and Cerentuno experiencing the surprisingly thrilling world of fishing. Things get wonky when an icy hot shark comes searching for their hidden alien treasure, but the superhero Encounter comes in to save the day. At points, the second issue drags since the alien hero and his talking dog dig into gags upon gags. But, if you like brisk humor, then Encounter #2 will definitely make you chuckle. -- Megan Peters

Rating: 3 out of 5

EVOLUTION #6

At the conclusion of its first arc, Evolution dishes up all of the twists and surprises a reader might expect from a horror B-movie. Mad science is the order to the day and it’s playing out in the chaotic, sprawling manner that will leave plenty of moments to make readers cringe or hoot. None of it is particularly gripping, but at least there’s plenty there. The overly rendered linework distracts from the evolutionary cycle at the heart of the story and transforms many key character moments into cyphers though. There is charm to this series, but it’s often left muddled upon the page. -- Chase Magnett

Rating: 3 out of 5

FENCE #5

With its fifth issue, Fence continues to show readers they made the right decision in following its publication. The series has already drawn mighty comparisons to heralded sports manga like Haikyu!! — and for good reason. Fence’s latest chapter sets aside plenty of time for competitive fencing, but it also delves deeper into the minds of Nicholas and Seiji. After a crushing loss, Nicholas is unsure if his unpolished skill is enough to make him a champion. Seiji also finds himself struggling as the prodigal athlete tastes a rare defeat at the hands of Aiden. By the issue’s end, readers begin to see where Nathan and Seiji overlap, and Fence #5 leaves everyone wanting another guard check. -- Megan Peters

Rating: 4 out of 5

FURTHER ADV OF NICK WILSON #4

Nick Wilson has a strong art style thanks to Ian Churchill, who is filling in for Stephan Sadowski. The dialogue is crisp due, and Hi-Fi's colors are — as usual — top notch. The series takes a different approach at superheroics, examining commodification and how corporate greed affects the deed, and also takes a look at loneliness and how certain acts can affect people's lives. It's effective in what's trying to accomplish, providing a different take on superheroes, even if it's not particularly exciting. -- JK Schmidt

Rating: 2 out of 5

GHOSTBUSTERS: CROSSING OVER #2

This is a comic designed entirely for people who are very into the Ghostbusters in literally all of their iterations. It is a plot made to bring them together and reward knowledge in the franchise. Outside of that there’s little purpose for the plot contrivances. Attitudes and dialogue are generally reflective of the characters crafted on film, but they are still a simulacrum of the real thing. Only a loose, cartooning style grounds this comic as being more than an imitation. It’s comfortable and fun for the right crowd, but doesn’t have much more to offer than the reignition of very specific memories. -- Chase Magnett

Rating: 3 out of 5

GIANTS #5

With one panel, Giants returned to form, and I’ve never enjoyed a punch more. Gogi redeems himself aplenty here, and the book’s action keeps the momentum thriving. There’s a cinematic quality to Carlos and Miguel Valderrama’s artwork, and the two deliver some truly thrilling sequences that utilize sense of scale incredibly well. It’s not all happy endings, but this issue definitely left one eager to return to the land of Giants. -- Matthew Mueller

Rating: 4 out of 5

JAMES BOND: THE BODY #4

A slower installment to James Bond's adventure than the previous Nazi-slaughtering issue, The Body #4 takes a more personal approach through genuine conversation. James learns about a new friends but also learns about himself in a welcome edition provided more grounded development than previous issues. -- Brandon Davis

Rating: 4 out of 5

JUGHEAD: THE HUNGER #5

It’s not entirely clear what this series is trying to accomplish, but it doesn’t succeed on any substantial level. There’s tonal whiplash created as the most obvious visual gags are juxtaposed with gore. Neither laughter nor horror is evoked as well as the question of why any of this is happening. Characters explain their plots and motives as bluntly as possible, which leaves them resembling plot devices more than actual people. The comic itself is more than happy to call out its influences like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which further exposes the disparity in charm between it and other teenage horror stories. It’s not clear who this comic is for, but the only thing there is to root for by the final page is an end to it all. -- Chase Magnett

Rating: 1 out of 5

KICK-ASS #3

It’s not unusual to see any issue of Kick-Ass packed with stereotypes, but this is an especially egregious example. The series continues to caricature race and class in America, defining crime in the most simplistic of terms and diminishing black families to the most common clichés. Even the hero and villain of this piece are reduced to oft-repeated characteristics. A bad guy that goes to villain and breaks out at the moment of his choosing, in a supposedly realistic setting no less, is worth only of a scoff. The visual depictions of all these elements embrace those same troublesome elements. No matter how clean or brutal the linework may be, it’s actively servicing something degrading and not worthy of attention. Keep it. -- Chase Magnett

Rating: 1 out of 5

NINJAK VS. THE VALIANT UNIVERSE #4

Comfortable is OK, and that’s exactly what this conclusion is. Things turn out just as any experienced reader of superhero comics might expect. The good guys remain good and get the job done. There’s a great bit of plane-bound action that provides the same level of fun as a corny action film like Air Force One. Beyond that there’s not much to change opinions on Ninjak of Valiant Comics in general. It delivers exactly what is promised with little room for variation. A few splash pages of the superstars in this line help make the finale a bit bigger, but there’s nothing that make it a must read. Like I said, it’s comfortable. -- Chase Magnett

Rating: 3 out of 5

WARFRAME #4

Top Cow's Warframe comic is a comic adaptation of the popular free-to-play shooter video game. Written by Top Cow head honcho Matt Hawkins, Ryan Cady, Cam Rogers, and Ryan Mole and illustrated by the Studio Hive team, Warframe follows a trio of explorers as they shoot their way through an ancient Orokin Empire spaceship.

In this issue, the group attempts to find the conveniently named Arogya Medica device to heal one of their party after she's poisoned by an Infected alien. This issue suffers from a problem shared by other comic adaptations of "shoot-em-up" games - it fails to translate the shooting gameplay into sequential panels. While showing multiple pages of characters standing around and shooting anything that moves might be an accurate depiction of the Warframe game, it makes for a very boring comic. It doesn't help that two of the protagonists lack faces and the third has bandages over her eyes, so we can't actually see how any of the characters react to being attacked by giant quadruped monsters. Studio Hive's art is all right in that "clearly drawn on a computer" style that Top Cow likes to use, especially for those comics fans who feel that comic panels don't deserve backgrounds. -- Christian Hoffer

Rating: 2 out of 5

WWE #16

WWE pumps out another impressive issue thanks to the genuine likability of its star and the struggles she attempts to overcome. Stories about determination and grit aren’t uncommon, but few have a star as generally endearing as Bayley, causing every hurdle she encounters to feel like some kind of personal affront. Dennis Hopeless just gets this character, and Serg Acuna shows a knack for highlighting not only the physicality of the sport but also in showing the more comedic side of these larger than life superstars. At some point it would be great to get some of the other Horsewomen more involved (more Becky Lynch is always welcome), but not at the expense of Bayley, who has proved she’s worthy of the spotlight. -- Matthew Mueller

Rating: 4 out of 5

XENA #3

Xena is now finding its stride, and at times feels like a lost episode of the show. Meredith Finch has found Xena and Gabrielle’s voice rather quickly, and the banter between the two is authentic and sports a comedic flavor that the series also maintained, even in the darker episodes. Vicente Cifuentes’ art impresses for the most part, though there are some visual oddities here and there (the lead solider’s pronounced breast armor for example). Still, his Xena and Gabrielle are pitch perfect, and more than make up for it. Welcome home, Xena. -- Matthew Mueller

Rating: 4 out of 5

[DISCLAIMER] The reviews are written my the staff of comicbook.com and is published here to stand as an example of what the magazine would aim to achieve with a full staff behind it to cover the weekly published comics.The original article can be found here: http://comicbook.com/comics/2018/04/18/comic-book-reviews-april-18/#15