Comic Book Reviews for This Week: 5/27/2020

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Welcome to this week in comic book reviews! Typically, the staff comes together to read and review nearly everything released on a Wednesday. However, due to the impact of coronavirus on the comics market, that hasn't been the case for most of March and April. This week we are excited to continue our coverage as comic book stores begin receiving new releases once more—including new issues from DC, Marvel, Image, Boom, and more.

The review blurbs you'll find contained herein are typically supplemented in part by longform individual reviews for significant issues. This week that includes Bog Bodies, Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #1, and Dead Day #1.

Also, in case you were curious, our ratings are simple: we give a whole number out of five; that's it! If you'd like to check out our previous reviews, they are all available here.

And with that, on to the reviews -- which are listed entirely in alphabetical order this week.

20XX #4

20XX comes back with a dark chapter this week which changes the way Meredith sees the underground world of gangsters. With her cousin captured for a deal he shouldn't have made, Meredith is forced to help negotiate his safety while war brews between the East and West sides. But when a rogue gangster decides to take things into their own hands, it seems war is all but inevitable as Meredith finds herself on a madman's radar. -- Megan Peters

Rating: 3 out of 5

ALIENATED #3

Alienated #3 taps into the power fantasies of adolescence as Chip offers each of the Sams, particularly Samantha, the ability to manipulate the emotional landscape of their world, as well as the physical one. Samantha’s story is not far from the ordinary, but the flashes of memory and their presentation via Chip’s abilities in Wildgoose’s artwork transforms it into something specific and personal. Even as the larger mysteries surrounding this premise are pushed ahead, Alienated #3 emphasizes the narrative of one individual struggling with trauma and encapsulates that story wonderfully in a single issue. This nuanced, well-paced exploration outpaces a clunky introduction and some familiar tropes to make the issue read as something exceptional. -- Chase Magnett

Rating: 4 out of 5

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #43

Dogs and cats are too good for this world, and Amazing Spider-Man #43 proves why that is the case. The new issue follows Peter and Boomerang as they try to bring down Gog peacefully, and it turns out the lug wants nothing more than to play fetch. After learning about the creature's tragic past, fans find there is more in common between Gog and Peter than either can admit, and the end of this issue gives the pair a chance to learn about healing moving forward. -- Megan Peters

Rating: 4 out of 5

AQUAMAN #59

The players haven’t changed, but that doesn’t mean Aquaman lacks for intrigue. Writer Kelly Sue DeConnick set the parameters of this aquatic playground in previous issues, and now she gets to have some fun in it, spinning age old rivalries in fresh ways while also expanding the presence of more recent additions to the cast. This goes for both the old Gods and characters like Dolphin, and it’s wonderful to see them develop into 3-dimensional beings. It’s also a delight to see Aquaman appear as the unstoppable badass he can be when let loose, something we get all too rarely these days. Artist Robson Rocha and colorist Romulo Fajardo Jr. are owed quite a bit of gratitude for that as well, as one particular sequence towards the beginning of the issue perfect showcases how deadly Arthur Curry can be when a fire is lit within. The duo also excels at highlighting the beautifully and ancient architecture of the world underneath the water, though they also draw a mean… well, that would be a spoiler. It’s been a delight seeing this team breathe new life into the Aquaman mythos and cast, and it’s only getting better from here. -- Matthew Aguilar

Rating: 5 out of 5

AVENGERS #33

Anticipation has been high for Avengers’ "Age of Khonshu," but even with a high bar, writer Jason Aaron and artist Javier Garron clear it with ease. From Spector’s first encounter Aaron makes it clear this isn’t a Moon Knight to be trifled with, but it’s how Spector adapts to and dissects his foes that really stands out, and that Iron Fist sequence is one hell of a way to kick things off. Aaron finds new and novel ways to to show just how powerful Moon Knight can be when the limits are gone, and Garron and colorist Jason Keith make these sequences sing, especially on a Ghost Rider-inspired section that you’ll wish was on a poster. Aaron has a reputation for making revelations like these mean something in the long run, and if that’s the case once gain in the "Age of Khonshu," Moon Knight fans are in for one amazing ride. -- Matthew Aguilar

Rating: 4 out of 5

BASKETFUL OF HEADS #7

Finishing Basketful of Heads, I’m left with the impression that it wasn’t originally developed for comics. Whether or not that’s accurate, this remains a story that would have been better suited to prose. After two issues of excessive exposition, the finale delivers more of the same albeit in slightly more manageable chunks. Every step along the way readers are left to question why a story with so little interest in visual narrative would requisition the immensely talented Leomacs. Page after page is filled with (sometimes literal) talking heads and the same dull colors as the storm finally passes. It’s a slog of an experience, even with a plot filled with human cruelty, betrayals, and ironic misunderstandings. There may be a better form of this story to be told, but the story here explains most of its best elements without a moment for reflection and the result is a comic capable of luring readers in with style, but incapable of delivering much excitement. -- Chase Magnett

Rating: 2 out of 5

BATMAN BEYOND #43

After a woefully disappointing "Batwoman Beyond" arc, it looks like Dan Jurgens is getting back into some interesting territory with the return of Damian Wayne, Goliath and the League of Assassins in Batman Beyond #43. Damian’s relationship with Terry and Bruce was one of the most interesting things about this series earlier in its run, and I’m glad that they’re gearing up for it again here. This issue by itself isn’t much, but it’s a nice little start to what could be a fun arc. -- Connor Casey

Rating: 3 out of 5

BLACKWOOD: THE MOURNING AFTER #3

Blackwood returns with another thrilling chapter, as various forces make their move against the occult college as the faculty tries to put Dean Ogden to rest. The artwork in Blackwood remains fantastic, as Veronica Fish continues to bring the world of the comic to life with her vivid art painted with a mix of gloomy technicolors. At times, the disparate elements that inspired Blackwood threaten to overwhelm it—there's a dash of Men in Black here, a hint of Lovecraft there, and more than a few pulp horror influences. However, Dorkin holds it together and crafts a pretty satisfying story, one that sets up a deadly finale next month. -- Christian Hoffer

Rating: 4 out of 5

BOG BODIES

[READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE]

It’s the surprising depth of this slim volume that makes it easy to recommend. Readers seeking out crime comics will certainly find plenty to love in this story’s sudden violence and relatively realistic approach to terrible acts. Yet the development of both Killian and Keano in these pages offers something far beyond the attractions of genre fare. Together they construct a portrait of loneliness and regret that lingers longer than any action sequence. Combined with a final twist that makes a second reading seem mandatory, they give Bog Bodies a soul that’s difficult to deny. In spite of all their terrible mistakes and misjudgments, they are undeniably human and infuse this dark portrait of the Irish countryside with a spectral spark of sympathy. -- Chase Magnett

Rating: 4 out of 5

BOOKS OF MAGIC #19

Books of Magic takes a detour with the first part of a two-part fill-in story from guest writer David Barnett. He and artist Tom Fowler turn their attention to the 1990s, the era that birthed Tim Hunter and The Books of Magic. We get a textual reference to "meet-cute" moments from romantic comedies of the period and the introduction of a new character verging into manic pixie dreamgirl trope territory. The subtlest '90s callback is a sequence in which Barnett and Fowler recast Tim as the misanthropic lead of a '90s alternative comics series. Fowler's depiction of Tim in profile stomping down a crowded city sidewalk while repeating a single word over and over is ripped straight from the genre. Todd Klein's bouncing word balloons complete the pastiche with panache. Readers will have to wait until the next issue to learn whether Barnett has anything interesting to say about this era or its storytelling tics. Still, this issue in a vacuum is a delightful dose of wry nostalgia. -- Jamie Lovett

Rating: 5 out of 5

THE BUTCHER OF PARIS #5

The final chapter of The Butcher of Paris offers the most satisfying serialized reading experience of the miniseries with a courtroom narrative that delivers conclusions for both of its most prominent characters. However, it’s weighed down by the many minor issues that have plagued this retelling of a gruesome historical drama. Many significant details are rushed and the final moments fail to offer much closure. The visuals that instill the opening sequence with deranged color also give way to a courtroom that’s rarely engaging. While the subject matter remains interesting and this issue manages to wrap up the story effectively, it’s too truncated a version of events to offer a truly satisfying experience. -- Chase Magnett

Rating: 3 out of 5

DEAD DAY #1

[READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE]

Dead Day #1—created by writer Ryan Parrott and artist Evgeniy Bornyakov—gives the classic zombie tale a slick new spin, mixing it up as a The Purge-style event injected with a bit of mystery while still keeping the horror vibe humming just below the surface. Dead Day isn't a straightforward story in the sense that it does not explain much about the event from which it takes its title. However, the sense of being dropped into this story in media res is a real strength. There's a strong sense that Dead Day isn't the innocuous event it's initially made out to be. Bornyakov's artwork enhances all of this. It's all clean, crisp, and realistic, so even the risen dead in this first issue aren't absurdly gruesome. Dead Day #1 is an outstanding comic. -- Nicole Drum

Rating: 5 out of 5

EXORSISTERS #6

It's been a while since the last issue of Exorsisters—well over a year, to be more precise—but while the wait has been long, the timing of the return Ian Boothby's supernatural sister act couldn't be better. Exorsisters #6 finds Cate and Kate Harrow in Heaven of all places, while the world below is pretty much going to Hell. With a bit of humor, some irreverence, and a healthy dose of bad choices all around, it's an issue that offers up a fun escape even in the context of a pretty grim story, and goodness knows we all need a little of that right now. The only real challenge here is that the issue feels abrupt and the "resolution" to the sister's predicament happens a bit too quickly. There's also a little humor that falls a touch flat. Overall, though, Exorsisters #6 is a fun read and here's to hoping we don't have to wait so long to see what's next for the Harrow sisters. -- Nicole Drum

Rating: 3 out of 5

FARMHAND #15

The first half of this issue provides a proper climax in flashback—offering some much-desired answers while maintaining the throughline of the narrative. It builds to some of the most violent moments in Farmhand so far in an escalation that clearly draws the battle lines for the story ahead. Guillory balances the genuine familial emotions with comedic carnage in a fine fashion. Yet the final moments of Farmhand #15 cannot help but offer disappointment as the climax is delayed and that delay in turn isn’t earned. These high stakes, built so well, are simply pushed back by necessity of this not being the end. It’s a moment that stings given how well the series has built to this turning point otherwise and leaves a sour note on the tongue as the series reenters hiatus. -- Chase Magnett

Rating: 3 out of 5

THE FLASH #754

The latest issue that continues Barry's war against Paradox has the added benefit of giving us the most unlikely of team ups as the Flash partners up with Eobard Thawne, The Reverse Flash. Williamson and Sandoval weave a story that will hopefully be seen as one of the best Flash stories of the modern Rebirth-Era of DC Comics. -- Evan Valentine

Rating: 4 out of 5

FRANKENSTEIN UNDONE #2

Despite Frankenstein having met someone with nearly as monstrous a past as he, this partnership doesn't last long, with the monster instead encountering a sea-faring vessel seeking a long-lost city. With Frank's help, the crew traverses snowy mountains in search of the mythical location, though discovering it means something quite different from plundering it. Have you ever wanted to see Frankenstein battle a wolf in the middle of a blizzard or break ice with an ax? Well, then this issue's got your covered, as artist Ben Stenbeck delivers the Victorian horrors Frankenstein fans have been dreaming of, while writer Mike Mignola waxes poetic about Frankenstein's true lot in life. The art in the book is so strong, in fact, that we'd gladly read such a book without any dialogue at all, with Mignola's contribution only heightening the joys of the gothic adventure. This installment might be a step down from its debut issue due to its expository nature, putting necessary figures on their own trajectories, though this is the necessity of the ambitious story that still has a lot to love. -- Patrick Cavanaugh

Rating: 4 out of 5

G.I. JOE #6

Allors and Evenhuis continue their story of a world ruled by COBRA. This issue makes for a solid explanation into this world, giving us a worthwhile soldier story, but doesn't do anything to break the wheel and differentiate itself from other stories of this sort. While there is one heck of a finale that gives us the arrival of one of the biggest "Joes" in the franchise's history, it's not enough to make this latest installment reach new heights such as the previous issue focused on the Dreadnoks! -- Evan Valentine

Rating: 3 out of 5

GO GO POWER RANGERS #31

Go Go Power Rangers is nearing the end of its sensational run, and while we’re sad to see it go, it’s probably happening at the perfect time. When Go Go is at its best, the series balances bombastic action with the more grounded personal lives of the people in the suits and helmets, and when writers Ryan Parrott and Sina Grace hit those notes this issue sings. Jason and his Father, Trini and Kiya, and the White Ranger’s Megazord maneuver are all perfect examples of this, but between those moments the book bounces back and forth in the timeline a bit too much, coming off at best a little cluttered and at worst genuinely confusing. Other parts seek to fill in the blanks a bit, but with where we are in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers at this point, those blanks just don’t seem as necessary as they once were, and the ever decreasing gap in time means more and more of it can feel a little like filler. Those standout moments though are lifted even higher courtesy of artist Francesco Mortarino, inker Simona Di Gianfelice, and colorist Raul Angulo, who deliver genuinely poignant moments (Jason and his dad) and electric action (that Kiya scene, good Lord), and don’t get us started on that last page. There’s still a lot to like in Go Go Power Rangers, but but it’s probably best to go out on top rather than stay too long. -- Matthew Aguilar

Rating: 3 out of 5

HE-MAN AND THE MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE #6

And there it is—the massive ending that has been a long-time coming. While some may be weary about licensed reading, Seeley and company have crafted an epic tale using classic Masters of the Universe characters from all corners of the mythos. Though it takes a minute to get churning, it eventually hits the ground running before an explosive finale that's well worth the wait. Fan cameos and Easter eggs are to be had aplenty with this mind-bending interdimensional roadtrip. Despite the general "corniness" of 80s cartoons found within, He-Man and the Masters of the Multiverse is a very on-brand, worthwhile read for fans of Prince Adam and company. -- Adam Barnhardt

Rating: 4 out of 5

JUSTICE LEAGUE #45

After being assaulted by titans of myth, the Justice League finds themselves battling the Spectre and themselves as their rage becomes uncontrollable. Barrows' art work here is firing on all cylinders and this issue feels like a solid super hero story that would give kids a nice "Civil War" moment as the Leaguers battle one another. The premise is an interesting one and this issue is a prime example of some good old fashioned super hero fare. -- Evan Valentine

Rating: 3 out of 5

KING OF NOWHERE #2

King of Nowhere is a weird comic. Sure, that's to be expected of a comic about a town inhabited by animal/man hybrids and other strange creatures, but the comic also suffers from a bit of an identity crisis. Is it a surreal comic that pushes the limits of storytelling, or is it a mystery about a plain protagonist and the equally unassuming killer that's hunting him? King of Nowhere tries to straddle the line between both, but neither is really compelling enough in half measures to keep the reader invested. -- Christian Hoffer

Rating: 2 out of 5

THE LOW, LOW WOODS #5

This issue is laid out in a familiar format: exposure of all dark secrets and origins to establish the stakes (and do away with any more exposition) before the story’s climax. It’s a story told by one character to others in a generally unremarkable fashion, but Dani Strips work in building tension between the visual and verbal narratives elevates the work significantly. The issue develops multiple questions, some very personal and others related to the obvious monstrosities, and delivers answers for both in an excellent fashion. One splash of the local wildlife offers an eerie tone that lingers long after the issue is read. The Low, Low Woods #5 blends its Greek influences with a story and style that make everything seem even darker than before, and that sets up the next chapter well without needing to sacrifice anything in this one. -- Chase Magnett

Rating: 4 out of 5

MARAUDERS #10

Marauders has become the flagship X-Book for a variety of reasons, though if we had to single out one particular reason to explain its success, it would be its ability to maneuver between various tones with ease. There’s a lighthearted wit to even the most serious of undertakings and conversations, and writer Gerry Duggan’s infusion of charm doesn’t diminish the stakes at play, which is saying something when you have an actual UFO in the picture. Forge, Emma Frost, Iceman, and Sebastian Shaw are pitch perfect in Duggan’s hands, and Bishop is starting to come into his own as well. Despite being out of play at the moment, Kate Pryde still impressively feels like a huge part of the series, and it’s a testament to what letters and journals can do in the right hands. Speaking of the right hands, artist Stefano Caselli and colorist Edgar Delgado seem to be having a ball with this crew as well.Things like the enjoys her job way too much grin of Calisto or much appreciated power showcase for Iceman are just two of this book’s visual highlights, not to mention anytime Forge and Storm share a panel together. Marauders continues to set a high bar for "Dawn of X," and it hasn’t missed a step yet. -- Matthew Aguilar

Rating: 5 out of 5

MERCY #2

Mirka Andolfo's Victorian gothic horror continues in Mercy #2 and, if you're looking for something that both cuts right to the chase with the action but also manages to keep the real story simmering, this issue is it. Andolfo takes readers even deeper into the mystery of Lady Hellaine as well as what horror she actually is while offering compelling, complex complications that will keep the reader wondering exactly what is going on in the best way. It's also just a damn beautiful book, art-wise, something that works well with the creeping horror of the whole story. Overall, the issue is a bit complex and requires a few reads to truly let the horror of it all sink in, but it's a fantastic book and I can't wait for more. -- Nicole Drum

Rating: 4 out of 5

STAR WARS: DOCTOR APHRA #1

[READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE]

In the wake of burning bridges with her father and her Imperial-turned-Rebel love interest Magna Tolvan, Aphra is back to doing what she does best and is seeking ancient relics. After a chance encounter with figures from her past, Aphra is presented with the opportunity to obtain a supposedly "cursed" relic with the help of explorers who all have different motivations for finding the item, potentially presenting a truly equal partnership for the rogue. Sadly, these beneficial figures aren't the only ones from her past who emerge. Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #1 lacks a certain magic that prevents it from being a must-read, but the seeds have been planted that the book's upcoming adventures could surpass its predecessors, due in large part to the fact that overly complex storylines have been put in the rearview mirror and the character's future looks brighter than ever. -- Patrick Cavanaugh

Rating: 3 out of 5

SUICIDE SQUAD #5

This volume of Suicide Squad has already displayed a willingness to reimagine itself that provides some much-needed energy not only for the Suicide Squad concept, but mainstream superhero comics altogether. Suicide Squad #5 is the most energized issue yet, and that’s really saying something after such an explosive debut. It’s also the sort of comic you want to experience for yourself as the surprises offer some genuine delight, even in a story that holds up quite well to a second reading with plenty of well-designed action and character beats. It’s unfortunate the issue takes readers out of such a compelling narrative stream by slapping a sticker over some violence in order to wink at the reader. Why try reminding us that this stuff is for kids when the comic you’re developing so very well is clearly not intended for anyone outside of mature audiences? -- Chase Magnett

Rating: 4 out of 5

TEEN TITANS #41

Teen Titans finds itself at a crossroads, but before things change completely our favorite dysfunctional team gets one last day in the sun. Several long-running threads are tied in a bow here, as writers Adam Glass and Robbie Thompson payoff Djinn’s long-running storyline and the many tethers she has to the team. It doesn’t exactly go as you initially expect, though that’s a positive, as there are several points towards the end where it feels like we’re rehashing the same points and ideas. That said, that’s what makes the ending work, as it is the perfect place to change things up and give this book the refresh it needs. Artist Eduardo Panic and colorist Marcelo Maiolo have some fun with the current squad, however, with a balance of poignant moments and magic-feud mayhem, and those action sequences are spectacular, full of brutal hits and vibrant colors worthy of a battle full of genies, demons, and angels. Teen Titans brings "Djinn Wars" to an action-packed conclusion, but if the series wants to stay relevant, it needs to blaze a bold new trail from here. -- Matthew Aguilar

Rating: 3 out of 5

THE TERRIFICS #27

The Terrifics continues to be absolutely perfect in nearly every way. This issue further expands on the team’s train-related problem, while also bringing in a who's-who of underappreciated characters in the DC Comics universe. The art is kinetic and endearing, and there are some genuinely great and emotional plot points. The Terrifics has crafted a series that is unique and bizarre, but truly worth celebrating. -- Jenna Anderson

Rating: 4 out of 5

VENOM #25

Venom #1 kicked the doors off the hinges of a franchise bogged down with an abundance of easily forgotten continuity, telling a fast-paced, stylish story that delivered plenty of action each issue. So that makes me want to ask how it managed to return to the starting point it appeared to disrupt after only 24 issues. It takes almost 10 pages for Venom #25 to arrive at its point—a poorly framed and obviously truncated plot wedged between far too many pages of Eddie Brock asking questions no adult human bothers with when facing a real crisis. It’s primarily an advertisement for another big event that offers a chance for readers to catch up on everything that has happened so far. The problem here is that it’s not much fun playing catch up at the expense of the energy and momentum that made Venom enjoyable in the first place. -- Chase Magnett

Rating: 2 out of 5

YOUTH #3

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After the relative calm of Youth #2, the series roars back to life with the panic and the chaos one might expect when a group of teens unexpectedly get superpowers they can't really control while also dealing with the strain and stress and irrationality of being young. What works so well in Youth #3 is that the impulsiveness of the complex situation really shines in how the story is written. Best laid plans go horribly awry, relationships get even more complicated, and absolutely no one is thining clearly. It's messy and beautiful and raw, something emphasized with by the pitch perfect art and colors that heighten everything even as the stakes become even higher for the characters. It's a masterpiece of an issue. -- Nicole Drum

Rating: 5 out of 5