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The Flash #47 (DC Comics)

Joshua Williamson’s run on the Flash has really been building on one crescendo after another, and this week he’s joined by legendary Flash artist Howard Porter on his biggest storyline yet- The Flash War.

Wally West and Barry Allen have been struggling with seeing eye to eye for a while now, and it comes to a head when the Renegades- time travelling cops based on the Rogues- appear to arrest Iris for the death of Eobard Thawne. Wally tries to save Iris. Barry wants to talk it out. Wally doesn’t hear him out though and takes off, resulting in an unnecessary fight, until Iris steps in. The Flashes travel with the Renegades to the future, but Wally is diverted and confronted by his greatest foe- ZOOM.

The Flash has long been the most Rebirth-y title since the event, with much of Williamson’s plot dedicated to the mysteries of the event in a good way. This continues that, furthering the concept that the current DC universe is an altered version of the pre-Flashpoint timeline, rather than a totally new timeline. In that way, this title has been enriching the line as a whole. However, Williamson tells an incredibly entertaining story throughout, which keeps the title engaging.

Howard Porter is one of the best artists in DC’s stable, and simply put, he knocks this out of the park. It’s energetic, light and engaging. Porter knows these character intimately, and uses that to his advantage to wring the drama out of the story. It also means that certain characters and moments have a lot more impact.

This is a series that DCU fans need to be reading.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10

The Verdict: Subscribe

 

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Urban Legends #1 (IDW Publishing)

For a brief moment in the history of the Ninja Turtles, Image had the license to publish a series starring the foursome. It started and was a huge departure for the TMNT franchise, but it never finished. This week, IDW launched the series, reprinting the first few issues and finally bringing the story to a conclusion with the original creative team.

The Turtles are celebrating their eighteenth birthday when a mysterious group of brutal mercenaries attack. They critically wound Donatello and kidnap Donnie and Splinter before escaping. The remaining three Turtles try to regroup to discover who this new enemy is to rescue their family.

Gary Carlson crafts an absolutely brutal story here. This is a dark and violent take on the Turtles, but it’s well crafted. Each Turtle is perfectly in character, and the fight isn’t just extreme for the sake of it. Terrible things happen to the team, but it’s given its proper weight.

Frank Fosco, Erik Larsen and Chance Wolf’s line art gives the story the feel it deserves. This doesn’t feel like a modern book, but a more classic indie book from the 90’s. Considering it was published by Image in the 90’s, it fits right in there. If you’re an early Image fan, you’ll definitely enjoy this. Adam Guzowski’s color art compliments the line art wonderfully. The attack on Donatello is washed out, a escape in a helicopter is over a dazzling cityscape. It’s well done.

This story isn’t going to be for everyone, but if you like a more brutal take on classic characters, this may be for you.

Rating: 7 out of 10

The Verdict: This is a tricky one. If you’re a big TMNT fan, give it a try, and subscribe if you like this issue.

 

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Regression #10 (Image Comics)

It’s been a while since I checked out this horror series by Cullen Bunn, Danny Luckert and Marie Enger. So what have I missed?

In a flash forward, Dara and Hal are on the run from the Valgeroti. In the present day, Molly, Anton and Carmen try to delve more into Molly’s past lives. And Gregory uses his new body to rally his followers.

So here’s the interesting thing about an issue like this. This is an issue that rewards having followed along so far, but it’s not completely inaccessible. Cullen makes this a story that immediately makes you want to go back and catch up. It’s disjointed and unsettling, but in a purposeful way. Multiple threads are being woven into a larger tapestry, and since I’m so far behind, I immediately wanted to go catch up. That’s hard for a writer to engage in that way in the middle of an arc.

Luckert and Enger keep the story engaging and driven. Luckert’s line art is fairly straightforward, which makes the grotesque unsettling and shocking. Enger meanwhile, sets the tone of the story with her color art, using the palate to ramp up the horror of the situation.

This is not an issue to start with, but it’s an issue that makes me watch to catch up and figure out what horrible things are happening, and fast.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10

The Verdict: Buy… along with the rest of the issues in this arc so far.

 

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Adventure Time: Beginning of the End #1 (BOOM! Studios/kaBOOM!)

The Adventure Time saga is coming to an end, so it’s only fitting that Kaboom! wraps up their version of the franchise in a big way. This three issue mini series is that goodbye, and it’s a fitting farewell to this wonderful franchise.

Finn wakes up in an unsettling version of the tree fort, trying to figure out why he’s seeing ghosts of his past. He’s stunned to discover that the god of time has decreed that he broke an oath to him. Finn now has little time to try to free himself and undo what’s happened, before he’s erased from time and imprisoned in Vanishing Point.

Ted Anderson has created a great plot here in a really unique way. Unlike many licensed comics, Adventure Time feels like it fits with the series. Here Anderson has created a plot that feels like it could be a series finale, but also won’t break the series while it happens. Will Finn, Jake and PB figure a way out of this? Obviously. But will it be a fun story along the way? Absolutely.

Marina Julia and Whitney Cogar give us fantastic visuals. Julia’s line art is a bit more stylized, which gives the story a bit of a dreamlike quality. Her version of Princess Bubblegum is fantastic, and my favorite part of the issue. Cogar’s color art is very painterly, and adds so much to the surreal feeling of FInn’s predicament.

An absolute must for Adventure Time fans!

Rating: 7.5 out of 10

The Verdict: Buy if a fan of the franchise.

 

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X-Men Red #4 (Marvel Comics)

I am a huge X-Men fan. While I’m not a historian, I could sit and chat about characters, concepts and stories in the X-Universe forever. So I was excited about X-Men Red, especially with All-New Wolverine writer Tom Taylor and superstar artist in the making Mahmud Asrar working on it. Now, about ⅔ through their first arc, I get to sit back and ask if this is the series I’d hoped it would be.

The X-Men are fugitives, after Jean Grey was framed for murder, and they broke an unjustly imprisoned mutant from prison. They’ve taken refuge in Wakanda, but their opponent, Cassandra Nova isn’t making it easy on them. She’s taken control of the mind of one of their most powerful allies- Storm- and is manipulating world leaders across the globe.

Taylor’s story here is grand, epic and radical all in the same measure. He’s taken a small group of X-Men and quickly thrust them together as a believable family. Those two elements together make this one of my favorite X-Men books in years. Jean Grey is a character I have seldom connected with, but Taylor proves that her return from the dead was worthwhile, and also makes her a capable leader for the team.

I have liked Asrar’s work since I was introduced to him back with Image’s Dynamo 5. He’s continued to grow since then, and this series proves how great he is. He captures the characters perfectly. Even when mind-controlled, Storm is majestic. Jean is a dominant presence on each page. It works incredibly well, in big and grand moments, and smaller, quieter moments (Gabby and Laura talking about meeting a mermaid is perfect).

If you’re a lapsed X-Men fan, you should be coming back to the franchise with this book.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10

The Verdict: Subscribe.

 

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