Iron Man (2020-) #8 by Christopher Cantwell

Iron Man (2020-) #8Iron Man (2020-) #8 by Christopher Cantwell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Moondragon shows up and takes us on a roller coaster ride through Patsy Walker’s psyche in this Iron Man free issues of Iron Man.

And given that this issue contains exactly 0% Tony Stark and eff all Iron Man, it’s still pretty damn good. Although I do kinda’ have a soft spot for Hellcat, so maybe that explains it. It just fascinates me that despite being a fairly minor character she actually has one of the longest histories of all the characters in the Marvel Universe, outside of Captain America and the Sub-Mariner. She’s been around since the Golden Age. Seriously, look it up, she first appeared in 1944!

So, I appreciate it when stories draw on her history in Golden Age teen comics. And that’s exactly what this comic does.

Of course, it’s worth noting that we still don’t know where Tony is…and neither does he…but hopefully we’ll get back to him in the next issue.

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Power Pack (2020-) #5 by Ryan North

Power Pack (2020-) #5 (of 5)Power Pack (2020-) #5 by Ryan North
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Let’s just cut to the chase here – Ryan North and Nico Leon need to be given an ongoing Power Pack series and they need to be given it now. This whole series was superb from start to finish.

And did they stick the landing? Yes. Yes, they did.

This has to have been the best Wolverine cameo in history. The way he worked with the Power kids to lure out Wizard was just…so…much…fun.

More comics like this. More of this specific comic. Give it to me, Marvel. Now.

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Serial #3 by Terry Moore

Serial #3Serial #3 by Terry Moore
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Everything’s starting to come together now.

A young woman is perpetrating a series of murders, although most of her killings could be described as being fairly justified. Meanwhile, Zoe…a woman trapped in the body of a child…is on her trail.

Everything is beautifully illustrated and perfectly paced…because it’s Terry Moore and that’s what Terry Moore does.

The only negative thing I have to say is that these single issues are always too damn short.

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Star Wars: Bounty Hunters (2020-) #11 by Ethan Sacks

Star Wars: Bounty Hunters (2020-) #11Star Wars: Bounty Hunters (2020-) #11 by Ethan Sacks
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Well, it’s taken eleven issues, but Ethan Sacks has finally written an issue of Bounty Hunters that I actually liked!

What’s the secret? Just leave Valance out of it and write about Bossk. Because Bossk is great. Yeah, he’s not as cool as Boba Fett…but he’s Bossk. He’s, like, a dinosaur man bounty hunter…and that would probably be cooler than Boba Fett if Boba Fett wasn’t Boba Fett, you know?

This issue also has Bib Fortuna in it, who isn’t cool, but it’s neat to have Jabba’s major domo woven into the narrative pre-RotJ.

This is leading into the upcoming War of the Bounty Hunters which looks like it’s going to be a lot of fun. And this series has found its feet just in time!

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Wolverine (2020-) #11 by Benjamin Percy

Wolverine (2020-) #11Wolverine (2020-) #11 by Benjamin Percy
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book has been consistently gorgeous for a while now, first with art by the superlative Vik Bogdanovic and then by the legendary Adam Kubert, who provides the jaw dropping cover for this issue. However, Scott Eaton’s internal art is just…okay. And after a veritable smorgasbord of outstanding art, okay is a little disappointing.

This issue continues the ongoing vampire/Omega Red story arc, that’s been repeatedly interrupted by crossovers and anniversary shenanigans…so you’d be forgiven for being a little lost. It also pretty heavily relies on you reading Percy’s other X-book, X-Force…which I am…but if you’re just reading Wolverine you’d definitely be forgiven for thinking that you’re missing something.

It’s definitely not a bad comic be any means, it’s just…well, good…but when a book’s been consistently outstanding, good doesn’t quite feel good enough,

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Children Of The Atom (2021-) #2 by Vita Ayala

Children Of The Atom (2021-) #2Children Of The Atom (2021-) #2 by Vita Ayala
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Some of this is really, really good…particularly the character work with Gabe. I feel like we know tis guy now, we know what makes him tick.

Where it falls down is in the confusing fight with Hell’s Belles. It’s never clear what’s actually happening, and that really lets the book down.

It also disappointed me that the team never actually made it to the Dazzler concert. It was such a big thing for them all to go see Dazzler, and a huge part of the start of this book was taken up with Gabe convincing his mother to let him go…and then they all just blow off the gig to go fight Hell’s Belles, despite them saying that they want to get there before the Avengers show up…so it’s not like Hell’s Belles will get away if they go to the gig.

Ultimately, I’m feeling a little frustrated that we still don’t really know what’s going on. Once again the Children of the Atom are invited to Krakoa, and once again they make their excuses…and the book, once again, ends with them preparing to attempt to go through a gate on their own. If they believe they’re mutants then why don’t they accept the invitation and have the X-Men help them figure out why they can’t use the gates? If they know they’re not, why do they keep trying to get to Krakoa?

I’m sure all will be revealed in time, but I’m just impatient, I guess.

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King In Black (2020-) #5 by Donny Cates

King In Black (2020-) #5 (of 5)King In Black (2020-) #5 by Donny Cates
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

King In Black comes to an end and, while I warmed to it and kinda’ got into it by the end…this really wasn’t for me.

It’s still a good comic, though. Well written and with excellent art, but I just have no real connection to any of these characters…which is a me problem, I know.

I’m honestly not sure why I read this, other than a desire to find out in what way the X-Men would be involved. The answer being that some of them were just…there…included in the action, but never really the focus of it. Cates, inevitably, focuses on the characters he knows, and actually has some control over.

So, stuff happens, I’ll not spoil the ending, but Venom fans should be suitably pleased with it all.

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Star Wars: The High Republic #4 by Cavan Scott

Star Wars: The High Republic #4Star Wars: The High Republic #4 by Cavan Scott
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This series continues to be excellent, with outstanding writing and art.

The Drengir are a genuinely new, and very creepy, addition to the Star Wars universe, and there’s a feeling that literally anything could happen. Jedi could turn…could fall to the Dark Side…characters could die… Which makes a change from the main Star Wars comics, which are set between existing films, so you know that nobody of any importance is going to suffer any major life altering events.

It was also great to see Vernestra and Imri, as I’m currently rereading A Test Of Courage, which rather prominently features them. I like the fact that you don’t have to be reading everything in the High Republic, but there are little Easter eggs for those of us who are at least trying to keep up with it all!

Looking forward to the next issue…and the introduction of the Hutt Cartel!

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America Chavez: Made In The USA (2021-) #2 by Kalinda Vázquez

America Chavez: Made In The USA (2021-) #2 (of 5)America Chavez: Made In The USA (2021-) #2 by Kalinda Vázquez
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This continues to be a really solid comic, weaving America Chavez’s origin story in with a story of her past coming back to haunt her.

So far, everything’s still very much a mystery, but from the way tis issue ended, I think we’re about to get some answers.

The writing still feels a little clunky and disjointed in places, but that’s more than made up for by the overall quality. And, of course, Carlos Gomez’ art is as outstanding as ever.

I’ve liked this character since I first encountered her in the pages of Young Avengers, and I hope that we’ll be seeing her a lot more in future.

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Avengers (2018-) #44 by Jason Aaron

Avengers (2018-) #44Avengers (2018-) #44 by Jason Aaron
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Enter the Phoenix finally reaches its finale and Jason Aaron sticks the landing…mostly.

I say mostly because the character who ends up as Phoenix is…surprising, and you certainly don’t find yourself thinking, “Oh, yes, that makes perfect sense.” But, rather, “Ok, that’s interesting, where are you going with this…?2

And that’s my big issue with this series, we’re forty four issues in and, yes, I am still interested in where Aaron is is going with all this, but after forty four issue it would be nice to think an end might be in sight. If only because a change of creative team and a new number one feels like an inevitability in today’s comic market, and I’d like to think that Aaron will get a chance to tie everything up before we get there.

Or maybe he won’t, and maybe he doesn’t have an endgame mapped out, but is just having fun creating a wealth of new lore, much as Roy Thomas did. Only time will tell.

But this is good stuff, both artistically and in terms of the writing, and, at least, delivers a satisfying conclusion to this arc.

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