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Comic Book Reviews

Featured Comic Book Review
Ultimate Spider-Man #160 review

by Donna Jackson

Unless you've been living under a rock, you know that Marvel has been touting that Death of Ultimate Spider-Man for months now, closing a chapter on one of the most consistently entertaining superhero comic book runs of the last few decades. At some points, no matter what the general consensus was with Bendis' work in Marvel, one could always say "At least Ultimate Spider-Man is top notch." Much more often than not, it was. The final issue of Ultimate Spider-Man continues that tradition of quality writing, gorgeous art by longtime Bendis collaborator Mark Bagley (so happy to see him drawing USM where he belongs), and a fitting end to teenager Peter Parker's life and career as a superhero. Yes, he really does die in this issue.

Even before his final battle, Peter Parker is already seriously injured, having taken a bullet from Frank Castle meant for Captain America. Norman Osborn, in full monster goblin mode, has discovered where Peter Parker lives, and in one frantic issue, Spider-Man, completely unmasked, goes blow-to-blow against a hyper-powered, almost delusional Green Goblin. Throughout the fight, he will say his final goodbyes to his friends, his true love, and even his Aunt May, as if he has already accepted his fate and is almost embracing it. ..

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DC Comic Reviews
Batman #681

reviewed by Armeka Jackson

After seven long months, we have arrived at the conclusion of Batman R.I.P. After reading and rereading all seven issues, it's clear that if there is one thing Grant Morrison does not do, it's spoon-feed his readers. R.I.P. has been possibly the most talked about DC storyline of the last year, and though the conclusion may leave as many questions as answers, few writers would dare to include so much history, controversy, and still find a way to let readers draw their own conclusions on what really happened to Batman. Morrison teased that the identity of the main villain would be someone so close to Batman, it would shatter Bruce Wayne to pieces. Though that may not be the case anymore, he made good on his promise to change the scope of Batman forever. ..

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Joker

reviewed by Armeka Jackson

I once was asked what comic book universe I would prefer to live in, Marvel or DC. I immediately answered Marvel. Not because I prefer Marvel over DC, but because there is no way I could ever live in a universe with the Joker in it. Brian Azzarello's new graphic novel, simply titled Joker, reinforces my answer in a way that only the best Joker stories are able to do so. Joker is a deep-layered introspective tale that doesn't just give you a glimpse of Clown Prince of Crime's Gotham City. It takes you deep in her darkest, vilest corners, dragging you by the neck and making you witness every inch of her. It leaves you feeling dirty after every page, as if you've just witnessed something that you will pay dearly for later on...

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Justice League of America #27

reviewed by Armeka Jackson

In 1993, Milestone Comics were founded by a coalition of African-American comic book writers and artists who believed minorities had been underrepresented in American comic books. Today, Milestone Media is primarily a licensing company, but many of its comic book heroes are faint memories of the Nineties. Earlier this year, DC Comics executive editor Dan Didio announced that the characters of Milestone would be brought back and merged into DC continuity and current writer of Justice League of America (and one of Milestone Comics' founders) Dwayne McDuffie is re-introducing these characters to a new generation of readers. ..

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Superman/Batman Annual #3

reviewed by Armeka Jackson

Superman/Batman is somewhat of a guilty comic book pleasure for me. Sometimes the storylines are so over-the-top that I can't take it seriously, but other times it works very well as an escapist series for the DC Universe, similar to Frank Miller's All-Star Batman and Robin. Supes/Bats has for the most part kept away from touching any current continuity ever since Jeph Loeb left the book, and instead has done updates for characters and events associated with the duo. We've seen retellings of characters such as Supernova, Kara Zor-El, the Metal Men, and even a new story (hated by many, loved by me) in the 50th issue of the series where we learned that Jor-El and Thomas Wayne actually met years before either of their future superhero sons was born, and how that chance encounter shaped the destiny of DC's greatest heroes...

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Supergirl #36

reviewed by Armeka Jackson

About six months ago, Supergirl was one of DC's monthly books that served little to no purpose. It seemed to lack direction, without even a set origin for its main character. In fact, I can't remember when I really had any interest in Kara Zor-El, aside from her first appearances in Superman/Batman, and the one issue where she went against Batgirl Cassandra Cain (and that was purely for fanboy enjoyment). That's all changed now, thanks to a young writer by the name of Sterling Gates...

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Nightwing #152

reviewed by Armeka Jackson

After "The Resurrection of Ra's Al Ghul", I never thought I would want to read another comic book featuring the Demon's Head. As talented as Grant Morrison is, the whole story felt like unnecessary filler before the death of Batman, which every fan knew was what Morrison truly wanted to work on. However, Tomasi is a completely different story. I can't stress enough what an asset this former editor is to DC as a writer. Just like he provides a broader perspective of the Green Lantern world in the GL Corps book, his Dick Grayson is probably the best written in the Bat family apart from the boss's own...

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Batman: Cacophony #1

reviewed by Armeka Jackson

As talented a filmmaker Kevin Smith is, around comic book circles he is infamously known as one of the most chronically late writers in either company. His runs on Spider-Man have been either completed by other writers, or never started at all. His Daredevil/Bullseye story was put on hold indefinitely after issue one. Over at DC, his status is somewhat more positive. He kicked off a 15-issue run of Green Arrow, bringing Ollie Queen back from the dead and introducing his new female sidekick, Mia Dearden...

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Batman: Confidential #22

reviewed by Armeka Jackson

Batman: Confidential has carved a nice little, if slightly unnecessary, niche in DC, visiting different events in the Batman’s history and rewriting them for a new generation. The book’s quality has been dictated by the ever-changing lineup of writers and artists. The last storyline, recalling the first encounter between Batgirl Barbara Gordon and Catwoman, was a treat in both writing and artwork, but the arc before it, drastically rewriting the origin of the Joker, took some liberties to the fan-approved Alan Moore origin that might have rubbed longtime readers the wrong way...

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Final Crisis: Rage of the Red Lanterns

reviewed by Armeka Jackson

There’s something really great about seeing Geoff Johns writing Green Lantern, and DC has been smart to keep him on it for so long. Of all the characters he’s written, he seems to understand the GL Corps and its members better than any other (which is saying a lot, since he’s doing wonderful work with Superman and the Justice Society of America). Starting with Hal Jordan’s Rebirth back in 2004, John’s influence on the Green Lantern can be compared to Frank Miller’s influence on Batman in the late 80s. ..

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Superman #680

reviewed by Armeka Jackson

We’ve seen small bursts of Krypto’s powers in the last few years, usually involving him going against Superboy Prime in the Infinite Crisis and the Sinestro Corps war. There is also supposedly an excellent one-shot issue hiding in Kurt Busiek’s house about Krypto dealing with the death of Superboy Connor Kent, which may never see the light of day thanks to a messy lawsuit regarding the name Superboy. But here, we see the Dog of Steel in all his lunging, biting glory, bravely picking up the slack while Superman takes a beating he hasn’t endured since Doomsday...

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New Krypton #1

reviewed by Armeka Jackson

The writers of Superman, Actions Comics, and Supergirl team up to write the first chapter to New Krypton #1, the mandatory one-shot issue before a big DC event. Despite some mildly confusing character twists, it’s a fine set-up to what may be the biggest Superman story in years...

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All-Star Superman #12

reviewed by Armeka Jackson

It was revealed early on that Superman was going to die, due to his body absorbing too much energy from the sun. I would not dare spoil if he does or not, but by the end of the series, Superman’s fate is exactly what it should be. The last shot of him is exactly where he belongs. But before that, we witness one final fight with his arch-enemy Lex Luthor, who has taken Superman’s powers for himself...

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Nightwing #147

reviewed by Armeka Jackson

The Great Leap begins much like his last one did, with Grayson skydiving right when Harvey Dent shines Nightwing's unofficial logo in the NYC sky. The highlight of the book is a scene and coversation between Grayson and Dent that elevates the book from good to great. It reminds us that Tomasi is not afraid to bring in some Batman A-Listers into Dick Grayson's world...

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Superman/Batman #51

reviewed by Armeka Jackson

In a book known (and sometimes criticized for) outrageous concepts and adventures for DC's most famous duo, "The Lil' Leaguers" combines superb humor and detailed art to give us one of the most fun and accessible storylines the series has seen. This isn't the first time we've seen kiddie versions of Batman and Superman, but it's definitely the most fun. Co-writers Michael Greene and Mike Johnson let their creativity run wild with the concept, and artist Rafael Albuquerque meets them halfway with character designs that could work just as well in any medium...

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Batgirl #2

reviewed by Armeka Jackson

Though not as popular as the Robins or the Gordons, Cassandra Cain is an integral, if unofficial, part of the Bat-family. Making her debut in the Batman crossover No Man's Land, she is the daughter of David Cain and Lady Shiva, two of the most skilled combatants in the DC Universe. Raised by Cain through violent and abusive methods without being taught how to speak, she instead learned to read her opponent's body language in accordance to fighting methods...

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Final Crisis: Requiem

reviewed by Armeka Jackson

As we saw in Final Crisis #1, the Martian Manhunter met his end when the Human Flame requested that Libra kill the hero that had ruined his life. Though MM's death was limited to one panel and a final call to his late wife, Grant Morrison and DC knew that a hero of J'onn J'onnz caliber deserved a fitting send off and eulogy. Final Crisis: Requiem takes us to his last minutes, his friend's mourning, and a celebration of the life of one of the most famous characters in comics...

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Robin #175

reviewed by Armeka Jackson

. Tim Drake has been a contender to be the next Batman ever since Infinite Crisis, and the cover of Robin 175 gives a cool foreshadowing of the using the classic "Death in the Family" cover as inspiration. It's clear that Robin will be affected by the outcome of Batman R.I.P. in a big way, and this issue is a new beginning for the Teen Wonder...

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Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam! #1

reviewed by Armeka Jackson

Captain Marvel fans may have been disappointed to hear that his newest adventures would be a kid-friendly retelling through DC's Johnny DC line of children books. However, they would be wise to give Mike Kunkel's new series a chance. The creator of Herobear and animator for Cartoon Network's My Gym Partner is a Monkey has given us one of the most unique look at the Marvels in a long time...

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Justice League of America #21

reviewed by Hugo Bravo

What may seem boring and forced with any other writer, McDuffie makes enjoyable by giving his characters a sense of wit and playfulness hardly ever seen in them. Particularly amusing is Batman, who uncharacteristically teases Superman on why exactly he was caught sharing a kiss with fellow team member Vixen...

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Titans #2

reviewed by Hugo Bravo

The original 1960s Teen Titans were Robin, Wonder Girl Donna Troy, Kid Flash, Speedy, and Aqualad. The junior Justice League of DC set examples for other teens and stopped villainy that seemed too minor league for the real heroes of DC to handle. In the 1980s, Marv Wolfman and George Perez revived the New Teen Titans franchise to great success...

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Batman #676

reviewed by Hugo Bravo

Grant Morrison (Arkham Asylum, JLA) kicks off what is easily the most anticipated Batman story since Knightfall, and from the looks of it, it's setting up to make Batman's back being broken look like a fairy tale. Batman R.I.P is the culmination of Morrison's run which started in July of 2006 on arguably DC's most famous character. Since then, we have learned that Batman now has two sons: an adopted step-son in Tim Drake, and a nine-year old assassin brat named Damian, who was raised by the League of Shadows...

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Catwoman #79

reviewed by Hugo Bravo

Thanks to Pfeifer, Selina Kyle has had one of the most interesting changes since 2005's Infinite Crisis. During 52, she teamed up and conceived a child with police officer Sam Bradley Jr., son of detective (and one of DC Comics' oldest characters) Slam Bradley. Tragically, Sam met his demise before he could ever meet his daughter Helena Kyle...

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Action Comics # 865

reviewed by Hugo Bravo

Geoff Johns has been on an incredible streak for the last year. After wrapping up his much delayed Last Son of Krypton arc and his visit to the year 3000 with the Legion of Superheroes, Johns is once again ready to revisit classic Superman mythos within the pages of Action Comics...

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Image Comic Reviews
wanted review Wanted

reviewed by Hugo Bravo

From the first page to the last, Wanted is a big "Screw You" to your life, your job, your belongings, your relationships, and you. Before or after you check out the film, you owe it yourself to read it in all its graphic novel glory. It's violent, funny as hell, and one of the best, most successful creator-owned comic book series of the 2000s...

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Marvel Comic Reviews
New Avengers #48

reviewed by Donna Jackson

The best thing that can be said about this issue is that it’s extremely new-reader friendly. It’s a good place to start for anyone curious about Marvel comics, and there will be a good amount of such readers, seeing as the Secret Invasion got a decent amount of mainstream coverage outside of the comic book realms. My previous complaints about stories such as World War Hulk that it did not truly change the landscape of the Marvel Universe will definitely not hold up post-SI...

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The Wonderful Wizard of Oz #1

reviewed by Donna Jackson

Classic literature occasionally gets the comic book treatment and creates a whole new fanbase, such as with Stephen King's Dark Tower. In 1975, DC and Marvel worked on their first collaboration, not as a story for their respective superheroes, but in an adaptation of the L. Frank Baum's classic children's tale The Wizard of Oz. Now Marvel has again published a new 8-part miniseries on the classic story, with the same charm and wonder of the original, but with amazing new dreamlike visuals for a new generation of readers...

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Punisher: War Zone #6

reviewed by Donna Jackson

At the conclusion of ‘Welcome Back Frank", Frank Castle had burnt and blown away quadruple amputee and leader of the Gnucci crime family Ma Gnucci, as well as gotten rid of any wanna-be vigilantes trying to do what the Punisher does. One of those victim's son has taken up the identity of his father and now goes as the white-masked murderer Elite. This final issue of the aptly named mini-series "The Resurrection of Ma Gnucci" finds the Punisher cornered in the house of his snitch, Charlie Schitti, who's not much help anymore after taking a dart filled with sedative to the head...

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Thunderbolts #126

reviewed by Donna Jackson

Under the guidance of Norman Osborne, the Thunderbolts have been crucial in the ongoing battle against the Skrulls. Knowing of team member's Swordsman rage and how useful it would be in battle, Osborne makes Bullseye murder Swordsman's cloned sister, Andrea, and blames it on the Skrulls. Osborn is invited to Washington D.C. to be commended for his team's valiant effort against the shapeshifter army. But after receiving his accolades, he nonchalantly reminds the U.S. Senate that thanks to his in-depth screening and top of the line technology, his Thunderbolts are the only major team of superhumans that were not secretly infiltrated by the alien race...

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Invincible Iron Man #8

reviewed by Donna Jackson

Though the Invasion ended and the Skrulls were defeated, public opinion for Stark Industries is at an all-time low. Tony is having trouble managing the suit, no longer being able to control it with the Extremis conduit, because unfortunately, that had Stark technology in it as well. Worse of all, he has to relinquish all S.H.I.E.L.D. duties to Norman Osborn, who has now renamed the organization H.A.M.M.E.R. After being televised as the man who dared to put a bullet through a Skrull's head...

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Uncanny X-Men Annual #2

reviewed by Donna Jackson

In many ways, the White Queen's whole persona since her reinvention by Grant Morrison reflects the state of Marvel today. It's not just good vs. evil anymore. It is about those with power and those without. Emma intends to be on the former. This issue shows how she manipulates not one, but two of the most powerful men in Marvel into doing her bidding...

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Deadpool #4

reviewed by Donna Jackson

Take Spider-Man's wisecracks, Wolverine's healing ability, and Deathstroke the Terminator's killing skills (and almost his real name), and you get Wade Wilson, better known as Deadpool, one of Marvel's most pooular anti-heroes. Even though I was never a huge fan of his previous series with Cable, I can appreciate the character for being a refreshing, humor-action oriented alternative to the heroes of the Marvel Universe. The typical Deadpool book is filled with zany jokes about the state of Marvel, slapstick, pop culture references, a lot of breaking the fourth wall, and of course, his beloved little yellow text balloons...

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She-Hulk #37

reviewed by Donna Jackson

Jennifer Walters, known to comic fans as She-Hulk, will soon find her book canceled. What was under Dan Slott one of Marvel's best, most original series only a few years ago, is now being put to rest because to avoid confusion with the Hulk,s book, where Shulkie is displaying characteristics that completely go against her character in her own book. I can understand Marvel siding with Jeph Loeb and his Hulk, since after all, it is one of their best-sellers. But is it necessary to outright cancel a book that has been canceled before, only to be brought back by popular demand? Clearly fans love the green lady. Catch her now and enjoy an entertaining run with some great art, because it's very possible that She-Hulk may be limited to only random appearances in her cousin's book from now on...

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Wolverine: Manifest Destiny #1

reviewed by Donna Jackson

A while back I said that no one was really asking for a retelling of Eddie Brock’s origin. I stand firmly by that statement, all while acknowledging that sometimes an origin of a popular character we don’t expect can be a very good thing. This is the case in Greg Pak’s latest series X-Men: Magneto – Testament...

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Vigilante #1

reviewed by Donna Jackson

Remember back in the early nineties, when there were a dozen or so gun-happy archetypes in comic books? It seemed like any character with a costume had the ambition to be the next Charles Bronson. The first and most well-known Vigilante was a D.A. named Adrian Chase whose family was killed by the mafia, turning Chase into a revenge-seeking mask armed to the teeth. Sound familiar. It should...

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X-Men: Magneto – Testament #1

reviewed by Donna Jackson

A while back I said that no one was really asking for a retelling of Eddie Brock’s origin. I stand firmly by that statement, all while acknowledging that sometimes an origin of a popular character we don’t expect can be a very good thing. This is the case in Greg Pak’s latest series X-Men: Magneto – Testament...

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Daredevil #111

reviewed by Donna Jackson

There has been a new wave of gender reversal of villains in the Marvel Universe, with names like Miss Sinister and Kraven’s daughter. Lady Bullseye makes her debut in the latest issue of Daredevil, bringing along an interesting backstory and the possibility of some great future guest stars for the series, which is strangely enough, all but being ignored by the Secret Invasion. She’s clearly the star of this story, and presented with enough mystery and deadly beauty to ensure her place in the Daredevil book. If the original is too busy with the Thunderbolts, The Lady will make a fine replacement for now. ..

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Ultimate Spider-Man Annual #3

reviewed by Donna Jackson

Ultimate Spider-Man is the perfect alternative to the current version in the Marvel Universe, where Parker’s female and unemployment problems come off as depressing and kind of pathetic. In the Ultimate Universe, Peter Parker is still 16, dealing with all the turmoil of high school life, and unlike 616 Spider-Man, this one is still loved by Mary Jane Watson. They may not have had a marriage to be taken away by the Devil, but they are together in love in the way only teenage kids can be. In this third Annual issue, MJ and Peter discuss whether they’re ready to take their relationship to the next level. Not an easy topic to tackle, especially for the company’s flagship hero...

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Ultimate Spider-Man #126

reviewed by Donna Jackson

Had enough Venom in your comic book intake? If you answered yes, then you may want to skip this arc of Ultimate Spider-Man, where the symbiote takes a starring role as it seems to be doing in all Spidey books these days. Granted, in an issue where Venom is the main focus, there’s little Brock to be seen. Instead, it’s Peter Parker as the host of the hungry, hungry symbiote, with Nick Fury and the Ultimates possibly giving the series a new M.O., which may both thrill and scare loyal fans of the series...

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Captain America: White #0

reviewed by Donna Jackson

No matter what you think of Jeph Loeb's writing (and ask any Marvel fan, they'll give you an honest opinion on the Ultimates 3), you have to admit one thing: when he teams up with artist Tim Sale, the result is always something memorable. Following up on his color-themed Marvel stories, Captain America: White is a retelling of Bucky's first adventure with Steve Rogers, who has already been given the Serum, serving in the military by day and as America's Hero by night...

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Venom: Dark Origin #1

reviewed by Donna Jackson

We learn that from childhood, Edward Allan Brock is deeply disturbed. He's a pathological liar, and does it so often, he develops the ability to tell when others are lying as well. He has problems making friends, going so far as to steal a neighborhood girl's pet cat just to personally return it to her himself. His behavior around the fairer sex may be rooted in the fact his own mother died while giving birth to him, something which his father harbors a quiet resentment towards his son for...

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Hulk #5

reviewed by Donna Jackson

A mysterious, and extremely powerful, Red Hulk has appeared in the Marvel Universe. He carries a gun which he used to kill the Abomination. He's thrown the Hulk to the bottom of the ocean, left Tony Stark and She-Hulk a battered mess, and even punched the Watcher in the jaw (yes, THAT Watcher.)...

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Amazing Spider-Man #568

reviewed by Donna Jackson

If you're like me and have stayed away from anything Spider-Man because of the confusion brought upon by J. Michael Straczynski and his One More Day storyline, now is a good time to see what the book has been up to. To my surprise, it's pretty good. Sure, there's nothing particularly groundbreaking about Dan Slott's "New Ways to Die". It uses known Spider-Man foes as its main antagonists, and new villains introduced in Brand New Day only play a minor roll. Maybe this is how it should've been from the beginning...

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Secret Invasion #4

reviewed by Hugo Bravo

Marvel's biggest event of the year is now four issues deep, and at its halfway point, it seems that it finally brought its biggest guns to the fight against the shapeshifting alien army of the Skrulls. The issue begins with Reed Richards captured, being probed and stretched to torturous lengths (Yu's artwork looks especially good in this scene) by the invaders. An unnamed Skrull narrates on how what they are doing to Earth is no different than what man has been doing since the beginning of time: taking what they want, no matter who stands in their way...

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Wolverine #66

reviewed by Hugo Bravo

Mark Millar takes us 50 years into the future, where the heroes have all mysteriously disappeared, and the country is divided into territories owned by Doom, the Kingpin, and others. Living in the desert of Sacramento, Logan is now a family man, and has denounced his past life, lying to his children when they inquire about his days as Wolverine...

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Punisher: Max #58

reviewed by Hugo Bravo

Garth has saved his best Punisher story, "Valley Forge, Valley Forge", for last, and ironically, it's less about the violence that the Max series is known for. A group of corrupt, high-ranking army officials ponder what can be done to take down the Punisher. Castle has damning evidence of army abuse on a video that could send them all to jail...

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Marvel 1985 #1

reviewed by Hugo Bravo

Nineteen-eighty-five was a magical year. Mike Tyson, WrestleMania, and Nintendo all made their debut to America, "We Are The World" sang non-stop on radios across the country, and MacGyver was saving the day with a toothpick and some chewed bubble gum. In the comic book pages, Marvel was in its finishing stages of Secret Wars, its company-wide crossover that among other things, gave Spider-Man his black suit and made She-Hulk part of the Fantastic Four...

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Kick-Ass #3

reviewed by Hugo Bravo

The third issue of his debut begins with Kick-Ass having just saved a stranger from a violent attack. The scene quickly goes where all events go these days: to the World Wide Web. The YouTube video is seen by thousands, and just like any star of the internet, he becomes somewhat of a celebrity to the masses...

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