31 Jan 2010

Mini Reviews 31/01/2010

While we may not always have the time to review all the comics we get every week, we do try and provide a snapshot of the latest releases, mixing the good with the not so good.

This week also includes the next issue in Matt C's Byrne FF project.

Writer: Ed Brubaker
Art: Bryan Hitch & Butch Guice
Marvel $3.99

Matt C: And finally, Steve Rogers returns to the Marvel Universe. Well, we kind of knew that already seeing as how he's been appearing in every other book for the last month, but here we get to discover what exactly facilitated his return. It's all very predictable, something I hate have to accuse Brubaker of being, but it's well handled in a blockbuster type fashion, allowing Hitch to do his trademark 'widescreen' shtick (which he does very well indeed). As the regular Captain America title has now reappeared (as well as the Who Will Wield The Shield? one-shot), it's hardly worth commenting on what's in store for Rogers and Bucky following this tale since we've already been shown the direction these characters will be taking over the next few months. Amid all the high-octane action, the scene that really stood out was Rogers recalling what potential futures he’d seen as he was flung through the timestream. A quiet moment of contemplation, it reminded me how well Brubaker can write this character, and - as much as I enjoy Bucky Cap - I hope he gets the chance to put Steve Rogers back in his rightful place soon. 6/10

Tom P: So we get to the final issue of a mini which was so good they had to add this issue just to fit it all in. Um, why? Over Christmas I read the #1-42 of Brubaker’s Captain America epic. It was a shining example of a truly brilliant, exciting, and well-written work of comic book goodness. I enjoyed bits of Reborn, but this just leaves me feeling a bit sour. It all boils down to a giant Red Skull shouting “FOOLS!”. C’mon, this is rubbish. Also what’s happened to Hitch? After reading this I looked at some of his work on The Ultimates and The Authority - now that’s Hitch! This guy that’s been drawing Fantastic Four and Reborn must be some cheap clone. The characters just look sketchy and awkwardly posed - when was Rogers so oddly double jointed? Captain America is back! Shame it was so mishandled. 4/10

Matt T: Finally. Few titles have tested my allegiance to Brubaker, Cap and Marvel in general as Reborn, which switched between pointless reprints, stretched-out plot points and, occasionally, some decent action. The final issue of the series, which was spoilt three or four times in other titles, was a return to 'Classic Cap' writing for me, even if Roger's reappearance felt rushed and far-fetched. Timing aside, this is one of the few issues that would of easily sat within the normal run, with Bucky and Cap teaming back up to destroy the Red Skull while chaos reigns around them, and provides a satisfying conclusion to an unsatisfying mini. I'm glad that Bucky gets to establish himself for a bit longer, but I can't foresee it being permanent unless Steve is otherwise utilised in another position within the Marvel U (*ahem* SHIELD *ahem*). 8/10

Writer: Geoff Johns
Art: Doug Manke & Various
DC $3.99

Stewart R: So Ganthet has initialised a 24-hour deputisation for all of the various Lantern Corps and we now have some new and interesting players taking down Black Lanterns in Coast City. It’s a great and fun idea and allows Doug Mahnke to deliver some terrific pages as the likes of Mera and Wonder Woman get quickly accustomed to their newfound powers. Mahnke knows how to display pure, unadulterated spectacle and he’s given ample opportunity to produce some exquisite double splash pages. I’ve only been getting the GL title since Blackest Night began so I’ve had to go back and do some reading on the Spectre and Parallax, and I’m not sure if maybe this ‘epic encounter’ will essentially become non-consequential filler once the main Blackest Night story is wrapped up. This is Johns we’re talking about here though, so I’m guessing the events here will more likely be far-reaching. 8/10

Writer: Brian Micheal Bendis
Art: Rafa Sandoval
Marvel $3.99

Tom P: Out of all the Ultimate comics post-Ultimatum, Bendis’s Spider-Man has been a solid, standout read. Being a big fan of the Ultimate line, which it’s fair to say - like regular Marvel comics - has had it ups and downs, I was keen as mustard to try out this mini. Bendis has a clear hold on this world and I feel he works best with these characters he’s shaped. This is a wonderful fast paced and exciting read setting this new threat up in terrific fashion. Sandoval’s art is emotive and Matthew Wilson’s bright colouring makes it all pop with spectacle. It’s also great to catch up with all but one of the Fantastic Four and see how they are after the Loeb suck-fest that was Ultimatum. Don’t let that comic put you off getting back into this corner of Marvel. This 'Enemy' is bad to the bone - watch out Nick Fury. 9/10

Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Art: Dale Eaglesham
Marvel $2.99

Matt C: I really, really want to love this comic. I think Hickman's an excellent writer, I love the characters that make up the team, and the ideas being bandied around are generally exciting. Take this issue as a case in point: the FF hook up with Mole Man to investigate underground shenanigans involving a 'Darwin bubble' city, abandoned by the High Evolutionary. How cool does that sound? It's the kind of thing I want from my FF comics, but while Hickman conjures up these tremendous concepts, he seems to skirt around them, never really sinking his teeth into them. Here, it seems like huge chunks of plot are overlooked in an effort to get the city up to the surface, and we barely get a sense of what's going on inside it, or who its inhabitants are. It seems to be a pacing issue, with Hickman only skimming the surface of the idea's potential. Eaglesham's certainly the man for the job, which is blatantly apparent when you get to see some of the tremendous subterranean vistas he presents, and I really believe Hickman is the guy to make the magic happen too. He's got the family dynamics down, he just needs to find his own voice with regards to the team. I'll persevere in the hopes he gets there sooner rather than later. 6/10

Tom P: I love Hickman’s Fantastic Four, this issue is a prime example of why. He stuffs this comic to the brim with great sci-fi tales and concepts that lesser writers would stretch out to a three-to-six part arc. Eaglesham is also on good form and provides some great artwork full of creepiness and spectacle; it took me a while to get used to his chunky Reed but now he fits Marvels First Family like an Infinity Gauntlet. The story continues to build up, with a larger tale slowly and carefully appearing in the background, and I still feel anyone could pick this off the stand and enjoy it. That’s a hard thing to pull off. It even has an FF iPad, old news to Reed. The letters page is also an interesting read making some controversial points about the last issue along with Hickman’s feelings about his writing. 9/10

James R: I have a huge amount of time for Jonathan Hickman, and I thought giving him the gig on Fantastic Four was an inspired choice (and I can't wait for his forthcoming SHIELD series) but at the moment, I feel the title is misfiring a little. All the elements are in place (from last month, I loved the 'Franklin from the future' idea, which echoed Byrne's run) and the title has got suitably high-concept ideas and big visuals (here, the Mole Man's arrival in the Baxter Building, and the team passing over the corpse of the future Galactus were suitably awesome, and brilliantly rendered by Eaglesham) but the problem lies with the pacing of the book. Hickman's first arc, featuring the 'Legion of Reeds', seemed to be tied up way to quickly, and the destruction of Nu Earth (yay!) could have used another issue. This month's story is the first part of an arc, but again everything is wrapped up in 28 pages, and we're given a 'now here's what happened next' page to end it with! It reminded me of the animated Lord Of The Rings movie which ends with a similar 'Well, that's all we've got... bye!' I'm hoping that it's just teething problems at the moment as this title really does have the potential to be awesome. Maybe Tom Breevort needs to spend less time slagging off DC and more time actually editing this book. 6/10

Writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Art: Brad Walker & Andrew Hennessy
Marvel $2.99

Stewart R: Wowsers, what a treat this is! Abnett and Lanning have already proven that they do the whole ‘cosmic’ thing to a very high standard but when they give us something this good it makes me wonder how this title doesn’t do better in the sales rankings. This time out the Guardians are jetting off on a daring-do rescue of Moondragon who has been captured by the wacko followers of the Universal Church of Truth. We’ve all seen rescue missions before but DnA use the various talents of this team so well that you can never be sure just what harebrained - but certainly well realised - plan they will come up with. These writers take former one-dimensional powerhouses like Drax and eek out every possible amount of character they can find and then come up with some more of their own. And, when you’ve got someone with the skills of Brad Walker on pencils… well, what can I say? The man is a truly exceptional talent. There’s a terrific feeling of scale and his character design for the Luminals and UCT followers really give a galactic feel to proceedings. Top, top stuff. 9/10

Writer: Marc Guggenheim
Art: Justin Greenwood
Oni Press $3.99

Matt C: I’m still enjoying this post alien invasion/apocalypse series (any book that has President Clinton as a cast member and makes it work has got be doing something right!), I just wish Guggenheim would allow his story more than sixteen pages per issue, instead of giving the rest over to a related back-up feature. Just when things start to get juicy we reach ‘To be continued’, and I really wish we could a get a little more considering the price we’re paying. Having said that, the back-up story this month is really good, focusing on an individual who was subjected to experimentation during the occupation. It’s well written by Aubrey Sitterson, has a nifty twist, and the art from Brett Weldele is nice and spooky. So I can’t complain too much… this time, at least. 7/10

Writer: Greg Rucka
Art: Jock & Cully Hamner
DC $3.99

Matt C: It’s always going to be tough temporarily filling the shoes of an artist of the calibre of JH Willians III, but Jock acquits himself well, bringing a cool and creepy vibe to the proceedings, particularly when it comes to the scenes with the Dark Knight. Rucka cleverly displays both the differences and the similarities between the two Batpeople, and while there’s no clear indication what will tie their cases together, I’m looking forward to finding out. The Question backup is okay again, not something I’d go out of my way to pick up if it was in its own title, but I don’t mind paying the extra dollar for it. 7/10

Writer: Mark Waid
Art: Minck Oosterveer
Boom! Studios $3.99

Matt C: The second mini of what is possibly Boom!’s best title reaches its conclusion, and while it speeds through things a bit too rapidly, it continues on from last issue’s big reveal rather well, and nicely ties into the original four-part series. The art’s simple but effective, and Waid is obviously relishing playing with these supernatural/pseudo-religious high concepts. I have to say that Catherine Alligham wasn’t quite the forceful personality she was first time round, so hopefully, now things have been cleared up a tad, we’ll see her reassert herself in the next volume (and I’m assuming here that there will be one). Boom! continue to impress with the diversity of their titles, and if you like what they’ve been doing elsewhere you’d be well advised to give this a try. 7/10

Writer: Mark Millar
Art: John Romita Jr & Tom Palmer
Marvel/Icon $2.99

Matt C: Fortunately the final issue of this series has arrived before the movie hits the cinema screens, and it's fair to say that the pre-release buzz on the film adaptation has been so huge that it's kind of taken the spotlight off the comic, as though it's only an adjunct to the main product. The delays to the publication schedule didn't help matters, and I think this is another one of those stories that would benefit greatly from the trade format (I think I may have to read the whole thing in one go prior to the movie's release). Overall it's been a memorably anarchic tale, packed with ultraviolence, some generally astute satire on the notion of dressing up in a costume to beat the crap out of bad guys, all exquisitely presented by the art combo of Romita Jr and Palmer. I can't say the suggestion of a sequel fills me with great enthusiasm, as this works well as a standalone tale, but I guess we'll wait and see how well the film does at the box office before we can count on Millar coming up with further adventures for Kick-As and Hit Girl. 7/10

James R: These are strange days were living in – geek culture has finally triumphed, and comics are no longer in a cultural ghetto, and Kick-Ass is a great example: a smart title immediately readied for the big screen and generating huge buzz before the comic has even finished? We comic’s fans are in uncharted territory. This was the first thing I read this week, and that is testament to the creative team here. So what do we get? Well, more of the same – Romita Jr's art is brilliant and he's clearly had a blast letting loose on this title, and Millar rounds things off without resorting to his tiring 'aren't comics fans losers?' line. For my money, it wasn't as good as 1985, but I'm sure that as a springboard for a great movie, it's done its job. But that's also the annoyance – with his head turned by Hollywood, Millar almost forgets that first and foremost he's a comics writer. This book should have been done and dusted in a year... it goes without saying it's taken rather longer to get finished. Why, you could almost make a film in the time it took to produce this com... oh. 7/10

Matt T: There are only so many times you can get punched in the gut before you stop getting winded. Or, at least, that's the way this last issue of Kick-Ass felt to me. There were no major dramatic shocks, no surprising turns and very few panels with that take-your-breath-away factor that the other seven issues provided. Instead, Millar ended Kick-Ass in much the same way that he ended Wanted: a little misdirection but ultimately more of a peter-out than a big crescendo. The final fight was wonderfully bloody, and JR Jr does some stellar work, but Kick-Ass is the kind of mini that almost feels like it was written for the arc rather than individual issues or, more worryingly, as the impending movie script. The mini was superb in places, even if the initial promise and hype wasn't quite matched by the end product. 8/10

Writer: John Layman
Art: Rob Guillory
Image $2.99

Matt T: This really is an odd little book, but within its own little world it works really well. That mix of ridiculous comedy, stomach-churning horror and insane action exists in very few other comics, especially when Guillory's art is added to the mix. All the better is that Layman isn't running out of ideas, leaving some plot points to one side to revisit later, and the sudden injection of sci-fi elements isn't out of place. For a comic in which the title character eats people to gain their psychic resonance, Chew really does keep you guessing issue to issue. 9/10

Stewart R: The International Flavour arc is shaping up nicely as Tony finds himself over his head again and pretty clueless as to everyone’s motives and agendas. We, like him, can pretty much sit back and watch the madness unfold as prize chickens and alien fruits start spilling out of the woodwork and it’s terrifically goofy. Layman is still getting decent comedy mileage out of Chu’s cibopathic abilities and is slowly showing us a shift in Tony’s emotional state as he grows continually weary and frustrated by his investigations. Guillory keeps things wonderfully consistent and the neat trick with the TV in the safe house is a small touch of genius. 7/10

Writers: Craig Kyle & Christopher Yost
Art: Clayton Crain
Marvel $2.99

Stewart R: I really want to enjoy the Necrosha event but I have to say that it’s really not doing anything for me. Not only is the premise ill-timed considering what DC are pounding our brains and eyeballs with currently, but it’s also not terribly exciting. X-event lethargy instantly tells me that even when lesser-members of the X-family are ‘buying the farm’ the core players are probably safe enough, and by not involving the Uncanny title in this story ensures that no drastic changes to the world are likely to come out of this. The fact that Selene’s hordes cannot (at this point at least) be destroyed has been drummed home over and over for the past few issues and it’s growing tiresome. The far more worrying thing is that Clayton Crain, an artist who has created some sumptuous work on this title in months gone by, is producing a page of wonder and then a page of pure unreadable pap on a regular basis these days, and all in all I’m starting to weigh up how much I want to keep getting this title. 4/10

Writer: Geoff Johns
Art: Gary Frank & Jon Sibal
DC $3.99

Matt C: I'm wary of using the word 'definitive', because in the comics game, with it's constant retconning and updating, the word can never really apply for any great length of time, but for now at least this is continuing to look like it'll be the 'definitive' telling of the Man Of Steel's origin for the 21st century. Really - it's that good. If you love the character and the iconography but haven't really been that invested in his adventures of late, I would thoroughly recommend getting onboard with this series. The combined creative skills of Johns and Frank dive right into the core of what makes these set of characters so great: Clark invokes the right mix of Christopher Reeve and the classic comic book archetype; Lois is just as feisty and irresistible and you'd want her to be; Luthor is a cold, calculating bastard; and Jimmy's slightly innocent but with a heart of gold, something Superman spots instantly. On top of that is the kind of action you want to see Supes involved in, beautifully rendered by Frank and Sibal, and lovingly coloured by Brad Anderson, and you've got an all round excellent package (worth every penny of the $3.99). If only the regular Superman books could be this good. 8/10

Writer: Mark Waid
Art: Peter Krause
BOOM! Studios $3.99

Matt T: This is the first issue of Irredeemable that felt like like an obvious filler, as very little to move the story on occurred, other than an interesting flashback involving the Plutonian. Quite how the team of superheroes managed to survive this long is a mystery as they seem unable to beat most villains even to a draw, and the moments of light in the dark from the last issue have taken a decidedly depressing turn. It's difficult to 'enjoy' this book per se - it’s more a case of appreciating the way Waid has been crafting the tale up to this point. As I'm in for the long haul I'm looking forward to a few gaps being filled in, but the pace needs to pick up somewhat to avoid it fizzling out. 5/10

THOR #606
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Art: Billy Tan & Batt
Marvel $2.99

Matt C: After being less than thrilled with Gillen’s last couple of issues of Thor, this one felt like he’d finally clicked with the character. There’s a pleasing lack of the kind of clumsy, wince-inducing Asgardian dialogue we’ve seen recently, and the characters seem a lot more like themselves rather than one-dimensional facsimiles. Tan’s art has shifted up gear too, far more impactful and exciting than before (and that cover is fantastic). I’m still looking forward to Matt Fraction taking over the reigns of this title, but in the meantime I’m kind of pleased I stuck around. 7/10

Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Art: Steffano Caselli
Marvel $2.99

Stewart R: Things just seem to be getting more and more complicated and convoluted in this title but I suppose when things have been turned completely on their head with the reveals about SHIELD and HYDRA events were never likely to be straightforward. Here Hickman introduces another element to the mix, bringing out the Soviet-era organisation Leviathan who seem to have strange and secretive machinations of their own which pose a threat to both Nick Fury and Baron Von Strucker’s plans. It seems that there’s a lot of backstory being filled in here and as a result the pace seems a little plodding, but it’s probably a necessary sacrifice for the inevitable action-packed events in months and issues to come. The journey with Yo-Yo and Jerry visiting their respective pasts is certainly interesting with a neat twist that might also develop into something down the line but the three pages they're given here is simply not enough. It’s merely OK at the moment but certainly has the potential to get back on track. 6/10

Writer: Robert Kirkman
Art: Joe Benitez & Victor Llamas
Top Cowl $2.99

Matt T: Much like the Murderer, this Pilot Season comic is all grimaces and brooding with the occasional bout of crimson-covered ultra-violence. The plot points hinted at in the Previews (the demoniacally-possessed main character having the entire episode in his head) didn't come to fruition and the whole thing felt decidedly rushed, trying to force home twists and turns that didn't sit particularly well. The central character was annoyingly bland outside of his apparent supernatural issues, with the hyper-kinetic action being the only real saving grace. Not anything new, and not as good as it could have been, especially with the excellent art. 4/10

Stewart R: Top Cow’s slightly altered format for Pilot Season this year sees Robert Kirkman – he of Haunt, Waking Dead and Invincible fame – writing all of the involved titles while a different artist is used for each interior. It sounds like a decent enough idea in this volatile and ever-changing market but it relies heavily on Kirkman having plenty of great - and more importantly here, kids - varied ideas to put on paper. Demonic, a story of a man who must provide souls to a demonic entity that only he can see – he ‘chooses’ to kill villains releasing only tainted souls - in order to keep his wife and child safe from himself is reasonable enough but by no means spectacular. Truth be told this is a mash-up of ideas seen before in various forms and the uncertainty of whether the protagonist is cursed or just insane certainly wouldn’t keep me buying this – if it wins – to find out. The art’s passable for the gore and action required but I still feel I could have spent the $2.99 on something far more worthy. 4/10

Writer: Christos N.Gage
Art: Mahmud Asrar & Rebecca Buchman
Marvel $2.99

Stewart R: Well, that’s it; Siege is underway whether we like it or not and now we just have to hunker down and see what titles emerge from the wreckage. It already appears that this title is for the chop as the Marvel Universe adjusts once the dust has settled from ‘the seven years in the making’ story (Pah!) and that for me is a great, great shame. Gage has excelled himself by showing us the difference between ‘super’ villains and the lower bit players and he’s used Taskmaster and Constrictor to great effect to do that. In this issue he shows us that Asgard, while filled with some heavy hitters, admittedly does just rely on a strengthened army and that the Initiative can hold their own against these forces for a while at least. He plays around with a neat parallel story devise, interweaving Taskmaster and Diamondback’s perspectives of events nicely to show that this is the one Avengers title out there presently with both heart and brains in abundance. The artwork by Asrar is not up to the usual standard seen on this title but if you’re going to bring a comic like this to an end you might as well let a new face have a go with the pencils. 8/10

Writer: James Robinson
Art: Scott Clark
DC $3.99

Matt T: This man Robinson knows how to craft a story. Given the open canvas of a slew of DC characters and the chance to re-craft the JLA as we know it James Robinson hasn't let us down, creating a superb story involving a second-tier villain and a group of forgotten heroes. This mini has had just about everything great in terms of superheroics too, with huge flash-bang fights and some excellent characterization (especially in the case of the Atom, Green Arrow and Green Lantern) and, in Prometheus, a villain that has more than just physical menace. The only really let-down is Scott Clark's art, which is often overly cartoony and lacking in detail, making some of the action scenes extremely frustrating. 7/10

Writer: Grant Morrison
Art: Cameron Stewart
DC $2.99

James R: The last story arc on Batman And Robin had me worried a little – after the brilliant start to this title, it seemed that without Frank Quietly it lost a little of its mojo, and the Red Hood plot was... well, ok. Had the old problem of Morrison and his maddening inconsistency returned? We had to wait for this issue to find out, but we needn't have worried. This issue is a corker, with Batman here in dear old Blighty on the case of a missing Lazarus pit, while Damien gets the Luke Skywalker Bacta Tank treatment. Morrison continues to sow the seeds of his larger Bat-narrative (with Dick yet again running into someone holding dominoes) and referring back to the RIP storyline. The art of Cameron Stewart is a revelation – I loved his work on Seaguy but here it is up another notch, handling both action and character work with aplomb. Even a speech bubble mishap between Batman and Batwoman didn't diminish the blast I got from this issue! 8/10

Tom P: Batman brings his services to London, God ‘elp us. Damian is out of action and in the care of his Mother, so Squire is drafted in for this story arc and it’s a great opening. I like the fact you don’t see one shot of Big Ben or a red phone/post box and what a terribly British affair this all is. Morrison continues to impress, and it’s nice to see Batwoman join the fun. One panel did confuse me quite a bit. I guess explosives in a confined space affect the reader also. But I see Stewart released a statement about this muddle. Some of the dialogue is cheesy but its part of the fun, the last few panels and teaser leave me keen to read the next issue. Watch your “Davinas”, Dick. Ahem. 7/10

Matt T: Cor blimey guv'nor, Grant Morrison 'as decided all English blokes and birds need to talk like Dick fucking Van Dyke. Nothing annoys me more than a writer turning out the kind of lazy, stereotypical dialogue that Morrison shits out onto the page here. It ruins the story for me, and makes it all seem utterly ridiculous. I've got no doubt that this will be an entertaining little distraction before Bats gets back to the comfort of Gotham, but moving away from the cookie-cutter characters spewed out here would be appreciated sooner rather than later. 4/10

Writer: Peter David
Art: Bing Cansino
Marvel $2.99

Matt T: Long ago I stopped doubting the David, and learned to trust the way in which he twists X-Factor with the kind of plots that you both don't see coming and can't believe are on the page. The man must have three brains, and the latest issue proves that. What seems pointless and meandering bears significance later in the issue, and the manner in which the Richards kids are being utilised shows he should be given a 'bigger' title to take control of. Still, the current storyline looks set to be a stunner, even if the M subplot feels a bit tacked on at the moment. I still trust the David though, so now wouldn't be a good time to start proving me wrong... 8/10

Writer: James Robinson
Art: Mark Bagley, Rob Hunter, Marlo Alquiza & Walden Wong
DC $3.99

Stewart R: Well, it’s been a nice enough ride but I’m getting off here. Not only is this issue set a good while after Blackest Night, it’s also set after the finale of Justice League: Cry For Justice which I believe has one more issue to go. I’d highly recommend not reading this issue yet if you happen to be picking up that title as well as it’ll give a fair amount away. Here the JLA sees yet another recruiting drive take place as certain characters call time on their membership and others find their voyage of discovery has led them to this point. It’s been done time and time again in the 41-issue course of this title and the team that DC are putting together now really doesn’t interest me. You can see that DC are trying to find a balance of old and new in here but the importance of this title appears to have been lost quite some time ago and I don’t think they know how to write and promote this as a comic that really matters to their fictional universe. Bagley may have jumped on at the wrong time but his work is up to his usual high standard. Might I also add that his portrayal of Donna Troy deserves a ‘hubba-hubba’ mark of excellence! 5/10

Writer: John Byrne
Art: John Byrne & Al Gordon
Marvel $0.75

Matt C: The most bonkers cover Byrne ever illustrated during his run on Fantastic Four, no question! The contents are pleasingly crazed too, with a time-displaced Nick Fury hotfooting it to Berlin to take out ’Der Fuhrer’ and thus avert WWII. It’s a nice homage to all those old Howling Commandos comics, setting Fury against the Nazis, but this time he has three members of the FF on his tail attempting to stop him triggering a collapse of the space-time continuum (only in comics!). Gordon’s inks are a little more solid on Byrne’s pencils this time, making for a more satisfying visual experience. 8/10

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