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Review: The Amazing Spider-Man #75

Amazing Spider-Man #75

I’ve never been a Spider-Man superfan. While I’ve enjoyed some stories and arcs, it’s a character (and various series) that I dip in and out of. Beyond Slott’s run, I can’t think of any long run I’ve read. He’s a character I enjoy in doses and generally feel things get redone to a point that it just doesn’t quite interest me (swing with cool image, fight bad guy, smart comment, something goes wrong, repeat). But, when a major start of a run begins, I do like to check them out and see what’s going on. Amazing Spider-Man #75 kicks off a new era for the webcrawler and it’s a start that will have me sticking around for a while.

While Amazing Spider-Man #75 is written by Zeb Wells, Spider-Man is currently being handled by the “Beyond Board” of Kelly Thompson, Cody Ziglar, Saladin Ahmed, Patrick Gleason, and Wells. The group, along with artists, will rotate arcs and issues which is needed as the comic is upping how often it’s coming out. What is “Beyond” though? That gets answered in this issue as Ben Reilly is back in the picture and donning a Spider-Man costume. He now has sponsorship by a corporation called Beyond that feels like it can do the superhero thing a bit better than it’s been done. They also have the “rights” to Spider-Man. It’s all a very intriguing twist to the series and a bit brilliant in some ways.

Amazing Spider-Man #75 dips into Spider-Man history. There’s obviously Reilly himself but the issue takes a lot from Slott’s run when Dock Ock was in Peter’s body. It’s a solid use of that arc and makes a lot of sense when presented. It’s a great way to use continuity and add some more to the history. “Additive” is a direction Marvel has been going for a while and it plays out well here. It dips back into Peter having run a company, there’s some ramifications of that which is great as that entire chapter feels like it was dumped rather quickly. There’s also some questions as to what Peter should do. He has had a lot of heavy hits lately and you can see he’s worn out. Should he let Reilly take over? Should he just go on a vacation for a bit? There’s a lot of options here now and it all feels natural. Amazing Spider-Man #75 deals with Peter’s trauma while also setting up an “out” and we the readers have to guess where it’s going to go… or do we?

The issue ends with a punch that’s been teased but what exactly is that punch? Based on some dialogue, this doesn’t feel like the usual beaten hero story we’ve seen so many times and potentially we’re going to get something very new and interesting, and hopefully relevant (if what I think is going to happen is really going to happen).

The art by Patrick Gleason is top notch. With color by Marcio Menyz and lettering by Joe Caramagna, the comic has style and pops on the page. There’s a modern classic feel to it with body bending swinging but doesn’t take that over the top like others. It’s a bit more grounded in some ways but nails the over the top action as well. What the team really delivers on is the weariness of Peter. You can feel his tiredness. This is a person who’s emotionally beat down and it shows. That sort of small detail really stands out and is impressive.

But there’s more!

Kelly Thompson, Travel Foreman, Jim Campbell, and Joe Caramagna give us a back-up story that adds a twist to everything we just read up to that point. Colleen Wing and Misty Knight!? What are they doing in the comic!? The two are kicking ass is the answer but “Love and Monsters” adds a lot to the direction the series is going as it presents a wrinkle in everything we’ve read.

And there’s more!?

“Kafka” by Wells, Ivan Fiorelli, Edgar Delgado, and Caramagna adds even more to the new direction of the series. We learn a bit more about Beyond delivering an even greater ominous feel about it all. It’s solid work that also examines Electro and some of what his powers mean. Like the main story, it’s the details and hints that are great and will suck you in.

This is a hell of a debut that feels like it’s a natural direction building off of the last two major runs and setting Peter and Spider-Man up for a new direction. It’s good, really good. And it has this on-the-fence Spider-Man reader coming back for more… and excited about it.

Story: Zeb Wells, Kelly Thompson Art: Patrick Gleason, Travel Foreman, Ivan Fiorelli
Color: Marcio Menyz, Jim Campbell, Edgar Delgado Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

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Review: X-Men: Trial of Magneto #2

X-Men: Trial of Magneto #2

I was a bit mixed on X-Men: Trial of Magneto #2. The issue was full of emotion and action but it played it’s hand a bit too much making it clear that the death of the Scarlet Witch wasn’t as clear cut as the “shocking” reveal. In a country where almost everyone has mutant powers, why would it be? The second issue continues to reveal its hand a bit too much with another issue full of conflict that makes it clear there’s some heavy manipulation going on.

Written by Leah Williams, X-Men: Trial of Magneto #2 has some really solid moments. It lays out and makes clear that Krakoa and the mutant nation aren’t “heroes”, they’re doing some downright evil. It’s been an interesting theme since this new direction for the X-Men began as they took their nationalist stance. Williams opens up the issue with a debate as to what to do about Magneto. In a nation where the truth could potentially be pulled out of someone’s mind against their will, what are the ethics surrounding that. Xavier and Hope debate the topic with the use of the word “torture” thrown about. Xavier, as he has since the relaunch, shows some ethical issues regarding the issue continuing the dark path the character began a long time ago. It’s the most interesting aspect of the comic which spends far too little time exploring the ethical dilemma.

Most of the time is spent with the Avengers who have traveled to Krakoa to retrieve the body of their murdered teammate. This again throws the X-Men in a weird spot as talk of state secrets are thrown about during the tour of the island. Again, unethical directions are debated as to what to do to protect those secrets and how far the X-Men should go to protect them. It’s an interesting contrast to that opening and again we see some glimpses of the political direction the X-Men have gone since their relaunch. But, all of that is put to the side as a battle breaks out, one that has a classic feel to it all. But, that battles tips the hat too much that there’s greater forces at work here.

A lot of the characters feel a bit… “off”. Magneto feels like a caricature of this classic self. Iron Man also feels like an extreme caricature of himself. Captain America is almost too stiff in his dealings with the X-Men. It’s all a bit choppy in some ways that makes the reader tilt their head in confusion.

The art by Lucas Werneck is good. There’s some really good action and some scenes look great. With color by Edgar Delagado and lettering by Clayton Cowles, the comic looks good. Where it hits bumps are some of the close-ups of the characters where they don’t quite look like heroes and then some visuals far away feel a bit more comedic than anything. For such a “serious” tour there’s an odd aspect to the visuals at times.

While I’m not completely sold on X-Men: Trial of Magneto #2, the issue has some intriguing moments. This feels like a miniseries where the whole will be stronger than the individual parts. There’s some odd characterizations that might be explained by the mystery going on but we’ll have to wait and see. Overall, it’s a story that needs to be told and some truths that need to be said and shown.

Story: Leah Williams Art: Lucas Werneck
Color: Edgar Delgado Letterer: Clayton Cowles Design: Tom Muller
Story: 7.5 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

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Review: X-Men: The Trial of Magneto #1

X-Men: The Trial of Magneto #1

X-Men: The Trial of Magneto #1 begins as CSI: Krakoa and then blossoms into a goddamn operatic comic book. Leah Williams and Lucas Werneck (Plus some bombastic and beautiful colors from Edgar Delgado.) structure the issue into almost three acts. There’s X-Factor (Plus babysitters, the X-Men and X-Force) investigating the Scarlet Witch’s murder, scanning the scene of the crime with Rachel Summers’ chronoskimming and Akihiro’s senses, and an autopsy and X-Ray on her body. This is followed by Magneto being treated as the key suspect of her murder, and lots of fighting and cutting dialogue. The third act is a sad, meditative one with almost poetic captions from Williams as Scarlet Witch’s old Brotherhood of Mutants teammates share a drink together before flowing into the cliffhanger for next issue. Like a good grunge song, X-Men: The Trial of Magneto #1 has a good balance of “loud” and “soft” moments, and Werneck is game for it all drawing everything from an ornate double page spread of Wanda’s body in a verdant autopsy theater to showing Polaris’ shocked expression as she realizes someone close to her might be the murderer.

The main thing I loved about The Trial of Magneto is what a meaty read it was. Leah Williams packs those 36 pages with everything from Krakoan in-fighting to bonkers battles and characters showing off their abilities in a story relevant and finally just allowing individuals to grieve. She and Lucas Werneck take break from the “fighting Magneto/mystery solving” part of the plot to cut away to Vision mourning for his ex-wife, or Kyle comforting Speed, who stands vigil alone at his mother’s body wishing Wiccan was there to help figure things out. (He’s stuck in the current “Last Annihilation” crossover.) Williams shows great range as a writer coaxing a variety of tones from characters through her dialogue and narration with the help of letterer Clayton Cowles, who uses an all-caps font to great effect when Quicksilver becomes totally consumed by grief and rage. She has spent time developing the cast of X-Factor, and they are ready to be put in a stressful situations like where Magneto saying Polaris is “unhinged and inconsistent” hurts more than any metal claws or piece of debris. Northstar’s leadership abilities (and super speed) come into play as he is sassy towards the interfering X-Force and X-Men while saving the day and preventing Quicksilver from bludgeoning his father to death. Like a proper crossover/event miniseries, The Trial of Magneto has a large cast of characters, and they all get to shine.

X-Men: The Trial of Magneto #1

Trial‘s strong characterization extends to the art where Werneck sets up some iconic panels like Laura, Logan, and Akihiro all leaping into the master of magnetism with quips and a devil-may-care attitude. I love how Wolverine doesn’t give a damn that Magneto pulled out his adamantium skeleton back in the 1990s and is just there to run interference while the next generation does the ass kicking. This bond between the claw mutants is nicely set up earlier in the comic when Laura and Logan basically finish Akihiro’s sentences as he figures out how Wanda was murdered. Edgar Delgado’s colors come in handy during the forensics sequences differentiating between the past and present using a sad red that comes back towards the end of the book where Toad, Mastermind, Blob, and Quicksilver are drinking and grieving. They’ve come a long way from the schemes and overwrought dialogue of the Silver Age and pack a real emotional punch while Leah Williams’ narration verbally captures the mood of the scene. The tiki bar has turned into a wake.

Connected to grief and emotions, The Trial of Magneto also has a lot of rage beginning with Magneto tossing his helmet to the side during a Quiet Council in an aerial panel from Werneck. He has had enough and is total unchecked id who just wants to resurrect his daughter because mutants are beyond such petty things as life and death. And getting egged on by Mystique and other members of the Quiet Council doesn’t help things. Williams’ writing for Magneto can be described as majestic and blunt as he says whatever he feels about everyone around him and fights the combined forces of X-Force, X-Factor, and X-Men featuring some big damn, wallop-packing panels. There are also some chilling panels of Krakoans celebrating her death while Magneto listlessly walks by that are probably the most disturbing scenes in a bleak comic.However, the show is almost stolen by Quicksilver, who immediately becomes this series’ beating heart and shows how much folks really cared about Wanda even though she was seen as a pariah on Krakoa.

In a truly dramatic entrance, Quicksilver arrives on the scene of The Trial of Magneto #1 almost invisibly as he startles Cyclops, and then Leah Williams and Lucas Werneck cut to the next page where Magneto’s head is being used as a punching bag with panels rocking back and forth across the page turning layout into speed lines. However, actual speed lines come into play when Northstar restrains an angry Quicksilver in a great riff on the classic speedster-on-speedster battle. Williams and Werneck know the tropes that make superhero comics so exciting and visceral and deploy them in emotionally resonant ways, which is why The Trial of Magneto #1 is such an epic read. Quicksilver also 100% lays his feelings about Wanda on the page, and Lucas Werneck draws quite a few close-ups of him crying because of his sister’s passing. He also feels guilty because he has felt responsible for her well-being since back in the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants days. (Seriously, their tender interactions are the highlight of some pretty sub-par comics, Jack Kirby art aside.) Werneck’s facial expressions do the lion’s share of showing this guilt, rage, and melancholy and even though I can’t remember the last time I saw Pietro in a Marvel comic, I want to give him a hug.

X-Men: The Trial of Magneto #1 has the melodrama, action, questionable morality, and high stakes emotions that are what make X-Men comics so great. Leah Williams, Lucas Werneck, Edgar Delgado, and Clayton Cowles craft a comic worthy of a white cape wearing anti-hero grieving his daughter (and being a little bit dodgy), who is almost beaten to death by his son. Oedipus (Re)X sans the incest bit and with more metallic manipulation.

Story: Leah Williams Art: Lucas Werneck
Colors: Edgar Delgado Letters: Clayton Cowles
Story: 8.8 Art: 8.6 Overall: 8.7 Recommendation: Buy

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Marvel Celebrates Latinx Heroes with Marvel’s Voices: Comunidades #1

This October, Marvel presents Marvel’s Voices: Comunidades #1! This latest one-shot in the Marvel’s Voices series will continue the tradition of highlighting the cultural richness of Marvel Comics and uplifting new voices in the comic book industry. The comic turns the spotlight to Latinx heroes and creators from the Marvel Universe.

These all-new stories will feature thrilling adventures of some of Marvel’s most popular heroes while celebrating the range of their cultural heritage as told by fan-favorite writers and artists and those making their Marvel Comics debut.

  • Writer Terry Blas introduces a brand-new hero in an action-packed adventure spinning out of his acclaimed Reptil series.
  • New York Times best-selling author Daniel José Older revisits the legacy of Marvel’s first super hero of Latino descent, Hector Ayala aka White Tiger, in an inspiring story rooted in real history.
  • Catch up with the current White Tiger, Ava Ayala, when author Amparo Ortiz has the young hero confront the dark nature of her powers.
  • Travel to the past with writer Juan Ponce to witness Nina the Conjuror, the Brazilian Sorcerer Supreme of the 1950s, battle the raging nature spirit known as Anhangá.
  • Plus an introduction by renowned comics scholar Frederick Luis Aldama about the history of Latinx heroes and creators in the comic book industry.

Stay tuned for information on the other stories in this collection including works by Karla Pacheco, Alex Segura, Leo Romero, Edgar Delgado, Nico Leon, and more! Announced artists include Enid Balám, Vanesa Del Ray, Adriana Melo, Leonardo Romero, Nico Leon, Alitha E. Martinez, and more. It features a main cover by Joe Quesada and variants by Mateus Manhanini, Maria Wolf and Mike Spicer, Nabetse Zitro and Jesus Aburtov, and George Pérez and Java Tartaglia.

Marvel’s first Latino super hero, White Tiger, was created by writer Bill Mantlo and artist George Pérez in 1974’s Deadly Hands of Kung Fu #19. Since then, Marvel has introduced many heroes of Latino-descent from a multitude of different backgrounds including current stars such as Miles Morales, America Chavez, and Reptil. Join us in celebrating these heroes and many more when Marvel’s Voices: Comunidades #1 hits stands on October 20th!

An All-New Bounty Hunter Enters the Fray in Star Wars: War of the Bounty Hunters – Jabba the Hutt #1

A new bounty hunter character will be making their first appearance on July 21st in Star Wars: War of the Bounty Hunters – Jabba the Hutt #1. Created by writer Justina Ireland and artist Iban Coello, Deva Lompop will be recruited by Jabba the Hutt to succeed where Boba Fett has failed and bring him Han Solo! Equipped with an array of unique weaponry and sporting a killer design, Deva is set to have a major impact on the action-packed crossover and will appear in all four upcoming War of the Bounty Hunters one-shots.

And while Deva may be new to fans, she’s been causing trouble in the Star Wars galaxy for a very long time. A member of the alien species known as the Shani, Deva’s long lifespan has allowed her to operate in the underworld since the High Republic era, and readers can expect to see her in works set during that time in the near future!

Don’t miss the debut of Deva when Star Wars: War of the Bounty Hunters – Jabba the Hutt #1 hits stands on July 21st! Star Wars: War of the Bounty Hunters – Jabba the Hutt #1 is written by Justina Ireland with art by Luca Pizzari and Ibraim Roberson, colors by Giada Marchisio and Edgar Delgado. It has variant covers by Iban Coello with colors by Jesus Aburtov and Bernard Chang.

Review: Marauders #21

Marauders #21,

The X-Books’ big summer event “Hellfire Gala” kicks off with Marauders #21, and it’s quite refreshing after the punch-ups of the last few Marvel events. Gerry Duggan, Matteo Lolli, and Edgar Delgado dive into my favorite part of the Krakoa era X-Books, and that’s the political side of things. The Hellfire Gala is an event to show that Krakoa is a country worth recognizing, but the Hellfire Trading Company also wants to go legitimate and do trade deals and not black market swaps. It’s all orchestrated by the fabulous Emma Frost, who is the throughline of the issue, playing perfect hostess. Or is she?

In the usual event comic, there may be some arguing about ideology, philosophy, or personal issues, but then the fisticuffs start. Duggan and Lolli subvert this and use the fancy gala setting plus Krakoa’s status to just focus on the conversations, whether serious, (mostly) passive aggressive, or just jokes like Thing rolling dice with some of the Marauders or Quentin Quire roasting the hell out of Tony Stark. There are visitors from space, different Earth countries (Including Latveria and Madripoor), and superhero teams like the Avengers and Fantastic Four. All have varying responses to Krakoan hospitality, which includes a telepathic violin concert and cryptically whispering in Professor X’s ear.

There are lots of characters in Marauders #21, but for the most part, Duggan connects these cameos and guest spots into gauging what the world thinks of Krakoa. Vastly different party guests make uncomfortable comparisons to Latveria (In or out of Dr. Doom’s presence), and the Shi’ar delegation acts as a tantalizing teaser for Planet-Sized X-Men. Gerry Duggan and Matteo Lolli also deal with the fallout of X-Men/Fantastic Four and the whole Franklin Richards not being a mutant incident with Kate Pryde encouraging Franklin Richards and gassing him up in some nice moments that shows they’ll still have a good relationship event if he’s not a mutant for now. As mentioned earlier, Reed Richards has a completely different reaction to this and has a chaperone vibe while the Thing almost steals the entire comic with his everyman charm and reactions to Krakoa nailed with grace and comedic timing from Lolli.

Speaking of Matteo Lolli and Edgar Delgado, the visuals of Marauders #21 do Russell Dauterman’s wonderful costume designs justice from the wardrobe swaps of Emma Frost to the golden god complex get-up of Professor X and even the smart black and white tuxes of X-Force, who are on security duty. They give everything a festive air even as ambassadors trade barbs, and awkward encounters happen. Lolli has Emma pull some hilarious faces as her perfect evening starts to go awry. I also love the ethereal color palette that Delgado gives the telepathic music performance, and the shiny touches he adds to other panels like any time Emma Frost walks into the room or a guest walks through a Krakoan gate. However, he drops these effects during the last few pages set after the party and makes it almost like staggering around with a hangover or waking up from a dream.

Not to spoil the last few pages, but Gerry Duggan structures Marauders #21 in an engaging way. It’s like Reservoir Dogs with a Cecil DeMille-sized cast starting up the players and overall mood, cutting out the big action, and wrapping up with the aftermath of the big blow-up/action/what we’ll see unfold in the other chapters of “Hellfire Gala”. Plus Duggan and Matteo Lolli don’t give up the whole game and tease us with dialogue and more great facial expressions. As a kind of cherry on top, this comic also includes a reprint of a Classic X-Men story from Chris Claremont and John Bolton showing the first Hellfire Gala that explores similar themes like mutants increasing their influence and scaring humans. It also adds context to the hollowness in wheelchair-bound Sebastian Shaw’s eye throughout the soiree.

Marauders #21 is the first chapter of a new kind of a crossover, and I, for one, welcome our fabulous mutant overlords and look forward to seeing how these powerful, flawed characters screwed it up in the upcoming issues of “Hellfire Gala”.

Story: Gerry Duggan Art: Matteo Lolli
Colors: Edgar Delgado Letters: Cory Petit
Story: 8.8 Art: 8.3 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

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Review: Heroes Reborn #2

Heroes Reborn #2

Heroes Reborn #2 is an intriguing comic. The second issue in the event, the issue feels more like a tie-in than the main event. Split between two stories, it definitely delivers some insight and teases the overall story but it doesn’t feel like much of a drawn. It’s both good and bad in a way.

Invaders From the Negative Zone” focuses on Hyperion delivering a bit of an origin in some ways but more showing us more about this “hero”. Writer Jason Aaron gives us a hyper-patriotic Superman who has no problem killing and whose philosophy seems to be “might makes right”. It’s an intriguing story that gives a good sense of who we’re dealing with as Hyperion must stop a jailbreak from the Negative Zone.

Like the debut, it also feels like the more interesting aspects are the other versions of characters we know in this world. Like the debut, all of that is surface deep. It drops hints and teases of a twisted world but doesn’t go into a whole lot of detail to really become interesting. Where the issue is most important is it teases Hyperion knows something isn’t right but is willing to fight to keep things as is.

Dale Keown provides the art with Carlos Magno. Magno also handles inks with Scott Hanna and Edgar Delgado is on color. The story is full of over the top visuals emphasizing the hyper-violence that Hyperion brings to the fight. Murdering villains is not an issue. Between the visuals and the dialogue, there’s also a lack of remorse in doing so. There’s some visuals that pop with memorable moments. There’s definitely a few that’ll get readers to pause. They do a solid job of emphasizing Hyperion’s brutality.

Welcome Home, Soldier” feels more like the continuation of the first issue. It features a veteran checking in on Hyperion with a reveal as to who it is towards the end. Aaron gives a decent story that has its moments but overall is too little of a movement on the main storyline. It also features some gaps in the story forcing readers to strain a bit to pieces of the puzzle together.

Ed McGuinness handles the art with Mark Morales on ink and Matthew Wilson on color. It’s a story that has some zing to it but whose visuals feel a bit like a throwback to the 70s and 80s at times. It generally looks good but doesn’t feature the memorable moments like the opening story. While the visuals also keeps its individual a mystery, it’s not too hard to guess who it is, which makes the whole reveal lack a punch.

Heroes Reborn #2 isn’t a bad comic at all. It just doesn’t feel like the “main event”. The stories feel like either slivers of an issue’s worth of storytelling or they feel like something that’d normally be relegated to a tie-in. It’s not bad at all but like the debut, it feels a bit like a throwback in some ways. Overall, not bad and will work when read all-together, but on its own, it’s a bit of ho-hum.

Story: Jason Aaron Art: Dale Keown, Carlos Magno, Ed McGuinness
Ink: Scott Hanna, Carlos Magno, Mark Morales Color: Edgar Delgado, Matthew Wilson Letterer: Cory Petit
Story: 7.0 Art: 7.75 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read

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Review: Strange Academy #4

Strange Academy #4

What does a game of tag look like at the Strange Academy? After a trip to the French Quarter of New Orleans, the students are still in having fun mode taking the classic game and giving it a magical spin. While chasing each other, we get to jump through worlds through magical doors allowing for an instant change of scenery and new challenges. Strange Academy #4 continues to deliver some fun before the oncoming storm.

Writer Skottie Young continues to set up the world of Strange Academy. The characters and settings are new. And with that, Young has focused on worldbuilding than throwing our characters directly into conflict. With that, the first four issues have delivered more fun than fights. That’s not a bad thing at all. We’ve gotten to know the characters and their personalities a bit more that way. It also is clear this is the set up before characters start getting off. Young is creating an attachment between the reader and the characters. With their fun personalities, we care about them more which makes upcoming threats more ominous and more likely we’ll experience greater tragedy.

Young delivers a kinetic issue full of world jumping and youthful fun. We know the shit will hit the fan soon but we can also sit back and just enjoy the fun the characters are having. And it’s chaotic. Beyond the game of tag, the issue also deals with a library run amok in a way that’s unexpected. Strange Academy #4 seems to have a goal and that’s to remind us that there’s danger everywhere and it’ll come from unexpected locations and at unexpected times.

Humberto Ramos provides the art with Edgar Delgado on color and Clayton Cowles lettering. There’s a lot to pack into the issue and it’s impressive with what’s done. Between the library setting and the different worlds presented the issue literally hops around. It delivers so many locations and “looks” but at the same time it all feels coherent and of the same world. That’s helped by the eye-popping coloring. The team also emphasizes the fun. We can see the joy so many of the kids are experiencing as they chase each other and wind up in new locations. There’s an enthusiasm mixed with energetic fun.

Strange Academy #4 is another fun issue of the series. It’s clear what the team is going for and what’s coming. The issue is the calm before the storm. That’s not a bad thing as the slow build has been a great way to introduce the characters and world. I care about these characters a bit more this way and it also hasn’t relied on shocks to keep us coming. Instead, much like the students with each other, we’re getting to know everyone and familiarize ourselves with the school. For those interested in kids attending a school for magicians, this is the one you should attend.

Story: Skottie Young Art: Humberto Ramos
Color: Humberto Ramos, Edgar Delgado Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.75 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

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Review: Strange Academy #3

Strange Academy #3

For those looking for alternatives to that other school for kid wizards, then look no further than Strange Academy. For three issues the series has introduced to this crazy world full of magic and a new generation of characters all of whom are full of energy and personality. It’s a fun, fresh series, and Strange Academy #3 continues every bit of that while setting up what’s to come.

Written by Skottie Young, the issue mainly has the students heading out into the French Quarter for some much needed fun. Of course things don’t go smoothly, though it’s not quite the over the top action one might expect. Young takes the issue in a much different route.

Strange Academy #3 is an interesting comic in that the premise could have easily had the students fighting “big bads” in a one-off issue but instead the stakes are fairly low. Instead, Young focuses on the students and their interactions. Yes, this is an issue that drops them in crap so that we can learn more about them and see them bond and interact in an environment that’s not the school. It’s all about the personalities and friendships here.

And Young nails the issue.

Every student featured feels like they get their moment, no matter how brief, that adds to the character and lets us know a little more about them. On top of all of that, the issue does some foreshadowing for what’s to come and sets up what’s clearly the first major bad for the series. It’s an issue that might feel like a throwaway in some ways but in reality it’s all about the setup and adding depth to make us know more about, and maybe care for, these characters.

Humberto Ramos‘ art with Edgar Delgado‘s colors is absolutely amazing as expected. Fantastic writing and fantastic art are the name of this series and the issue does not disappoint. Each character and moment is full of so much personality and energy as is Ramos’ style and the exaggerated nature of it all just adds to the youthful feel of the series. The lettering by Clayton Cowles is amazing as well. There’s some subtle things done depending who’s talking where the font style might change but unless you really pay attention you might not notice. It’s a small detail that adds so much to the series and characters.

Strange Academy #3 is another home run for the series and team. This is just a fun series with some great characters showing so much potential. It’s a series I look forward to with every release and a comic I can sit back and enjoy with a smile on my face. If you haven’t been reading it, you’ve been missing out.

Story: Skottie Young Art: Humberto Ramos
Color: Edgar Delgado Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Story: 8.4 Art: 8.75 Overall: 8.45 Recommendation: Buy

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