The Verdict #36

Sometimes it’s hard to pick what to review. Sometimes there is just so many GOOD books you need to talk about them. I’d definitely say that’s this week. What do I mean, well take a look…



Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #25 (BOOM! Studios)

I’ve talked in the past about BOOM!’s Power Rangers comics transforming the concept from a kid’s show to a great superhero story. This issue furthers that by starting a time-honored superhero tradition- the mega event!

The issue starts with the Time Force Rangers facing a rift in the timestream. As they watch similar rifts endangering other Ranger teams, the rift begins to tear their Megazord apart. Pink Ranger Jen Scott breaks away, and enters the time stream hoping to stop this threat before it spreads. Meanwhile, Lord Drakkon is attempting to regain his power. The Rangers try to locate him, while Tommy and Kimberly go to a movie to try to take their mind of things. It’s not a good choice, as Drakkon attacks them and apparently kills Tommy, just as Jen arrives in the present day.

Every event needs a set up issue, and Kyle Higgins does a great job with it here. He puts the pieces in place, and has some fun character moments as he does so. It’s a lot of fun, but there’s also a great sense of overwhelming dread as well. Drakkon is written particularly well, as he’s familiar, but has a frightening edge.

Daniele Di Nicuolo, Simona Di Gianfelice and Walter Baiamonte’s work on the art is great. They nail the character’s looks, without feeling referenced. The Ranger suits feel a lot more natural than they look onscreen. Even a somewhat silly design like Ninjor works a lot better here.

Any superhero fan should pick this book up. It’s that good.

Rating: 8 out of 10

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The Mighty Thor #705 (Marvel Comics)

Jason Aaron’s run on Thor is iconic at this point, particularly Jane Foster’s tenure as the hero with Russell Dauterman and Matt Wilson’s astonishing artwork. The trio hits the penultimate chapter of Jane’s story in this issue, which is just breathtaking.

Asgard is in danger thanks to Mangog, and Jane Foster picks up Mjolnir for what she knows will be the last time to stop it. The two engage in a violent and bloody battle until Jane sacrifices her companion, Mjolnir, knowing she will die soon after. And her longtime love, the Odinson rushes to her side just before she transforms back to her dying mortal form for one last goodbye…

Aaron simply steps out of Dauterman and Wilson’s way here. Somehow though, he still fills this story with emotion. The farewell between Jane and Odinson in particular is a highlight of the entire run.

Dauterman and Wilson meanwhile create one of the best issues of comics I’ve seen in a very long time. The fight is phenomenal. The character acting is superb. The effects on the page look amazing. This is their best issue to date, and I am so disappointed to see their Thor run end.

Rating: 9 out of 10

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Shadowman #1 (Valiant Comics)

Andy Diggle and Stephen Segovia bring Jack Boniface back into his own series. Valiant’s supernatural hero has been in the background for a long time now, and it’s great to have him back.

Jack has returned from the Deadside. He teams up with his former love, Alyssa Miles, to figure out his place in the world, and what he needs to do to fight the supernatural threats that have popped up in his time away.

Diggle does some very smart things here. The opening action sequence with Alyssa is a lot of fun, and sets up Jack’s return perfectly. He also shifts the narrative by asking questions about Jack’s lineage and the shadow Loa that haven’t been asked before. It’s moving the narrative forward in some really smart ways.

Segovia shifts into a slightly more gritty style here that works really great. It makes the world feel darker, and fits in with the horror themes the story is exploring. I really like Jack’s redesign too.

This is a great book for fans of John Constantine or Blade. If you’re a horror fan, check it out.

Rating: 8 out of 10

The Verdict: Buy



The Flash #43 (DC Comics)

Josh Williamson and Carmine Di Giandomenico continue their Flash run here with a major confrontation between Barry Allen and Grodd.

Grodd controls the Flashes. Barry stands alone. So he takes a step back and uses something other than his speed to fight the monster- he uses his brains. Not only does he defeat Grodd, but he heals him as well. But it doesn’t end things, as Grodd throws Barry’s gift back in his face and prepares to destroy Central City.

Williamson does some great things. The first few pages, as Barry is assaulted by his family and friends, are disorienting. Then he pulls the back the curtain to show that Barry has been several steps ahead of Grodd all along. He also twists the knife by exploiting Grodd’s most despicable character traits and using them perfectly. He knows his characters well and really takes advantage of that.

Di Giandomenico’s art continues to be great. He’s really grown with this title. I always judge Flash artists on how well they depict speed, and Carmine does it several different, distinct ways in these 21 pages. His Grodd is also the most powerful presence on the page every time he appears, which works so well.

This book is one of DC’s most consistently good, and also one of its most underappreciated. This arc has been proof of that.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10

The Verdict: Buy



Manifest Destiny #34 (Image Comics/Skybound)

Image’s long-running weird western takes a turn for the not-weird, and it works remarkably well.

Lewis and Clark find themselves in the midst of a mutiny. Several of their men follow a zealous Lieutenant, who claims to have reclaimed the mission for God. The duo and several still loyal to them fight off the mutineers but find themselves ultimately outnumbered and cast out.

Chris Dingess creates a great story here, shying away from the supernatural happenings at the series’ heart to give us this story. It’s very effective, and gives us some good moments with Lewis and Clark both, and setting up that things are clearly about to go bad.

Matthew Roberts, Tony Akins and Owen Gieni depict the story wonderfully. Roberts and Akins do a lot to build tension, even when characters are just hiding. One of the most effective things they do is experiment a bit with camera angles. Gieni’s palate takes the winter setting and really makes it feel real.

This is a book more people should be reading.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10

The Verdict: Buy



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