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The Flash #40 (DC Comics)

Josh WIlliamson and Carmine Di Giandomenico have been crafting an epic Flash run since DC’s Rebirth started, and it definite feels like it’s all paying off. Grodd has taken over Central City, using Black Hole’s technology to freeze much of the city in place. Barry battles to free the city, while Kid Flash, Avery Ho, and Wally West all enter the fray.

One of the few things I disliked about the New 52 Flash run was Grodd’s obsession with the Speed Force, and his attempts to steal it. It felt like an unnecessary retcon to the already fearsome villain. Williamson however gives Grodd good reason for attempting to steal the Speed Force, and also captures his voice in such a fantastic way. He also creates a thrilling conflict between the two. The last page is also a great payoff for fans who have been hoping for that payoff since Rebirth began.

Di Giandomenico and color artist Ivan Plascencia pour a lot into the page. For a character whose entire existence is devoted to motion, a comic book page is not the best place for him to exist. The duo create kinetic energy on the page though, with the characters clearly leaping across the page. It looks great.

The Flash continues to be one of DC’s most consistently enjoyable books, and you should definitely pick it up.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10

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Mech Cadet Yu #6 (BOOM! Studios)

Greg Pak and Takeshi Miyazawa have quickly crafted a vibrant universe here, and are escalating the stakes of the universe. It’s a very fun and energetic take on the kaiju versus giant robot genre.

The Sky Corps Academy is facing threats on two fronts. On one side, General Park has learned that the Academy is being shut down. On the other, a group of Sharg eggs have hatched and are invading the Academy. Both of those threats are resolved by the end of the issue- one heroically and the other unexpectedly.

Pak takes the alien invasion to a more intimate level here. The fight against the Shargs is tense, and gives all of the cadets great moments. He even incorporates the mechs in a creative way. The issue really belongs to Miyazawa though. He draws the fights, the chases and the enclosed spaces all so well. It’s a chase scene from beginning to end, and it looks great.

Rating: 8 out of 10

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Daredevil #598 (Marvel Comics)

Charles Soule and Ron Garney continue their absolutely epic Daredevil run with the latest part of the Mayor Fisk saga. I really wasn’t thrilled with the opening of this run, but once Soule caught his footing, he’s really made this story as epic as past celebrated DD runs.

Matt Murdock has begun digging into what Fisk is truly up to, both as Deputy Mayor and Daredevil. He comes to learn that Fisk is offering deals to various supercriminals across the city, essentially letting them run city departments. Meanwhile Muse is running an anti-Fisk campaign, with street art in favor of New York’s various heroes.

Soule is setting up chess pieces here, something he’s come to excel at. There’s a lot going on, but it’s all engrossing. Meanwhile, Muse continues to be one of the most frightening new villains Marvel’s introduced in years. Soule has made him unsettling and just plain scary.

Garney is a master. He’s changed his style throughout this run to evoke Daredevil legends past like Frank Miller and John Romita Jr, but kept it distinctly his own. The Daredevil splashes themselves are stellar and overall it’s one of the best runs the series has ever had.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10

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Armstrong and the Vault of Spirits #1 (Valiant Comics)

It’s about time Valiant’s third immortal brother got his due. In this one shot, we get a deep dive into Armstrong’s history as some of his closest friends descend into a literal vault of spirits- his wine cellar.

Fred Van Lente’s return to Armstrong is welcome. He does include some of the trademark absurdity of his original run on Archer & Armstrong, but he mostly plays the story straight. He pays off multiple emotional beats from his past Valiant work (including Ivar, Timewalker), and tells a lost story of Armstrong’s past. It’s funny and heartbreaking in equal parts.

Cafu and Darick Robertson (for the present and past scenes respectively) show off some excellent craft. Robertson’s side of the story fits so well because his exaggerated style plays up the ridiculousness of the insane version of Noah (yes, of the “and the ark”) Van Lente created. Cafu meanwhile gets to pay off the emotional beats. He really puts the emotion on the page here.

For any Valiant fan, this is a great treat.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10

The Verdict: Buy if a Valiant universe fan

 

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Advance Review: Eternal Empire #7 (Image Comics)

Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn’s fantasy epic continues into it’s second arc. Tair and Rion arrive in Nifaal to begin training for the battle ahead of them. The duo train for weeks with a defected soldier, until the Empress arrives at gates of Nifaal.

This story is relatively simple, but Vaughn and Luna use the plot to deliver some important weight to the central struggle. They also build the characters’ bonds in small and simple ways. It’s very organic, which really strengthened the issue as a whole.

Luna’s art remains great. He draws the combat and quiet moments equally well. The training really comes across with a natural progression in the character’s body language and facial expressions. It’s a subt;e change that Luna sells extremely well.

This series has flown under the radar, but I think it’s becoming a jewel in Image’s portfolio.

Rating: 8 out of 10

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