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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #76 (IDW Publishing)

Jumping into a book that’s run this long can sometimes be an intimidating task. When an issue #76 is not just a decent entry point but also a good story on its own, the creative team deserves a lot of credit, and that’s exactly what Tom Waltz, Kevin Eastman, Bobby Curnow and Damian Courceiro do wonderfully here.

The Turtles return home after an adventure in Dimension X. Before they’re able to take a breath though, they’re thrust into a city in chaos. The action then steps back an indeterminate amount of time when a squad of Triceratons arrive on Earth and declare their peaceful intentions… only to be attacked.

Waltz, Eastman and Curnow created an interesting conflict here, with Earth acting as the agressor. Waltz’s script sparkles, with great interaction among the Turtles, fascinating new characters in the Triceratons, and a great conflict. It’s instantly engaging and interesting.

Courceiro’s art is great. He is able to make a group of anthropmorphic Triceratops into distinct individuals, with their own body language and personalities. It was fairly easy to follow who was who. The action looked great. When the Triceratons engaged the Earth Protection Force, it was chaotic and frantic in a good way.

Overall, if you’ve ever been a Ninja Turtles fan, it’s well worth giving this story a try.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10

The Verdict: Buy.

 

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Bloodshot Salvation #3 (Valiant Comics)

Jeff Lemire’s continuation of his Bloodshot epic to date has been stellar so far. Normally telling two different stories in two different timelines can become laborous, but Lemire, alongside his artistic partners Mico Suayan and Lewis Larosa, are crafting a fascinating story, with two branches that are so different I can’t wait to see how they eventually intersect.

In the present day, Ray is confronting Magic’s father (who claims to be over 300 years old), while Magic is facing a medical crisis with baby Jessie, which is closely tied to the Bloodshot legacy. Meanwhile in the future, the past Bloodshots rescue Magic and Jessie, bringing them to the only person who can reunite them with Ray- the magician Punk Mambo.

The only potential downside to the story is what I mentioned a paragraph ago. With two separate timelines the reader always hopes for a convergence in some way. However, Lemire’s two stories are so interesting that as the reader, I’m willing to give him leeway on that. Otherwise, the characters are hit the right notes, the stakes are high, and the action is great.

Suayan and Larosa’s art is just gorgeous. They’re different enough to set them apart, but similar enough that the change between each isn’t jarring. They just look amazing. Diego Rodriguez and Brian Reber’s work on color art is fantastic too, really bringing the world to life.

Rating: 8 out of 10

The Verdict: Subscribe.

 

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Super Sons #10 (DC Comics)

The pairing of Damian Wayne and Jon Kent continues to be one of the best parts of DC’s Rebirth era.

In this issue Superman and Batman introduce their sons to their new headquarters (which Jon promptly dubs the “Fortress of Attitude”). The adults lay down some ground rules, and the boys bicker. Then after the Super-Dads leave, they spot Chemo in their monitors and jump into action.

It is a remarkably simple plot, but it is a delight of an issue. It’s 100% thanks to the interactions of its characters. Peter Tomasi continues to write these two as one of the best relationships in comics. They are typical pre-/early-teens, who are still figuring themselves out. It’s very realistic and fantastically done.

Jose Luis and Scott Hanna step in with guest art this issue for Jorge Jimenez and Alejando Sanchez. Though the line art is a bit more stiff than Jimenez and Sanchez’s typical work, the duo do some absolutely wonderful facial expressions and body language- a must for a talky issue like this.

Rating: 7 out of 10

The Verdict: Subscribe.

 

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Mech Cadet Yu #4 (BOOM! Studios)

Greg Pak and Takeshi Miyazawa continue their giant monster versus mech epic with this fun new issue.

Stanford Yu and his fellow new mech pilots combat their first Shargs– a giant crab-like being- threatening civilians. The four pilots find themselves overwhelmed but fight heroically until backup arrives. They squad then find themselves facing discipline for disobeying orders, but clearly something big is on the horizon, whether top brass likes it or not.

Although this is a big action issue, Pak still is able to fit in plenty of character work. At several points in the action, Stanford is able to show not just his personal courage but also some unexpected technical skill. The pilots’ bonds with their mech are also built in brief but important moments. But for the most part, Pak gets out of Miyazawa’s way and lets him put the action on the screen.

And what action it is. The monsters are threatening. The mechs are powerful. The fight truly has weight. It’s fantastic work by a skilled industry veteran. Miyazawa is amazing here. His work is complemented wonderfully by color artist Triona Farrell.

In all, it’s a fantastic package. One of my favorite new books on the stands.

Rating: 8 out of 10

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Doctor Strange #381 (Marvel Comics)

Marvel Legacy hits the sorcerer supreme… but it’s not the title character. So what do Donny Cates, Gabriel Walta and Jordie Bellaire have in store for Marvel’s world of magic?

Loki has taken the role of sorcerer supreme from Stephen Strange via an unseen tournament of some sort. How isn’t important, the story makes clear. What is important is how things will be different with Loki in the role. But where’s Stephen? Well, he uses his magic to become a doctor again… a veterinarian.

Cates does a great job of establishing that things with Loki as the sorcerer supreme will be different. He has a lot of fun playing that up. He plays with Loki’s nature as the god of mischief- both as an immortal and his specific role as a deity. But he also makes Loki remarkably earnest. You can believe that he’s sincerely trying to help… but you also feel like another shoe is about to drop.

Walta’s work is beautiful. While in the Vision, he drew a domestic thriller, here he steps into the fantastic ably. The monsters are horrific, the magic is fantastic, and the characters are very real. Walta does a fabulous job with acting, swinging Loki from sincere, to scheming, to smarmy all in the course of the issue. Jordie’s colors look great, swinging from muted and mundane, to bright and glowing.

This is a full package and has its hooks in me right away.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10

The Verdict: Subscribe.

 

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