Epicstream Comic Book Reviews for the Week: 11/21/2018 - Featuring Middlewest #1, Border Town #3, American Carnage #1, More!

Author Thumbnail BY Brian McCormick - - November 28, 2018

AMERICAN CARNAGE #1
Written by Bryan Edward Hill
Art by Leandro Fernandez

A disgraced FBI agent who is Black, but passes for White, is offered undercover work to infiltrate a potential White Supremacist organization disguised as a Christian charity being run by a wealthy Tycoon. American Carnage brings realism to a story that is often told with exaggerated enemies that are easily identified. It's a dark detective story full of exposition that explores contemporary social and political commentary.

Rating: 8 out of 10
 

BORDER TOWN #3
Written by Eric Esquivel
Art by Ramon Villalobos

Border Town reminds me of Stranger Things, but with Aztec mythology underneath. Our teenage cast is diverse with their own attitudes and opinions clashing from page to page. Esquivel continues to flesh out his supernatural universe. In this issue, we get an ancient history lesson and learn about the monsters and the Las Brujas who aim to protect us from them. Aimi tries to protect the school through ancient rituals but is caught by the principal. Throughout the issue, Esquivel explores discrimination and attempts to highlight misconceptions and social ignorance.

Rating: 8 out of 10

 

COLD SPOTS #4
Written by Cullen Bunn
Art by Mark Torres

Issue #4 breaks out a big reveal as we learn the true reason the mysterious family has welcomed Grace into their estate. Her mother begins to realize that she may have made a mistake entrusting them with her daughter. Cold Spots #4 brings the series closer to a resolution while increasing the stakes. I’d like to see a bit more diversity in the artwork, as some panels and pages have too many close-ups and too many washed out backgrounds. The shadows from panel to panel help set a ghastly tone, but it also gives the issue a rather bland airbrushed look.

Rating: 6 out of 10
 

COVER #3
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by David Mack

Cover is one of the better ongoing titles by Bendis. It has a unique plot and suspenseful pacing. Art and colors leave much to the imagination and at times feel like an incomplete rough draft. I was initially confused by the first 5 pages, wondering what this had to do with the comic, but it eventually explains it. Bendis is relying a lot on the conflict between Max Fields and Essad to maintain reader interest. I hope there's more to the story and that we aren't being strung through the whole series just to see what happens to Max.

Rating: 7 out of 10
 

Doctor Strange #8
Written by Mark Waid
Art by Javier Pina

Baron Mordo is back. This time to remind Doctor Strange that all magic comes at a price. A lesson which Doctor Strange attempts to be above. Issue #8 is full of unnecessary drama. It’s a bit messy and focuses on typical cliche plot points that drive Strange apart from his allies while overcoming his enemies. This is a turning point issue that sets the slate clean for Doctor Strange. It ends with him back at his Greenwich Village sanctum alone (plus a magical dog), with his full magical abilities. From here on out, the Sorcerer Supreme is back in action and anything can happen.

Rating: 5 out of 10
 

Exorsisters #2
Written by Ian Boothby
Art by Gisele Legace

We learn the secret of the Exorsisters. They aren’t actually sisters, but the soul and body of 1 person. Apparently, her mother sold her soul to the devil and ended up trading her own soul back for her daughters. Exorsisters #2 goes on to bring their mother further into the fold, as she makes more insidious deals out of self-preservation. I’d like the have seen more chaotic mayhem ensue in the story, but the character development of this issue adds depth to the series.

Rating: 8 out of 10

 

The Immortal Hulk #9
Written by Al Ewing
Art by Martin Simmonds

Al Ewing has created another smash hit of an issue as The Immortal Hulk continues to be one of the best comics of the year. This time, the Hulk faces of against the Absorbing Man, a battle which Carl is used to losing. This time though, he has a special upgrade vs the Hulk. What he thought was a special weapon, ended up being something quite catastrophic, as it causes him to absorb whatever had been haunting the Sasquatch and then the Hulk. Whatever it is, we will find out soon enough.

Rating: 10 out of 10
 

JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #5
Written by James Tynion IV
Art by Daniel Sampere

The League adventures into Myrra, which Bobo somehow broke in the past. Meanwhile, Swamp Thing and Constantine use powers they were never supposed to invoke in order to attract the attention of someone who can deal with Nabu. Justice League Dark has become my favorite ongoing mystical title. It pushes the limit of the genre without going off the edge into overpowered ridiculousness that we often see in team comics.

Rating: 9 out of 10
 

LUCIFER #2
Written by Dan Watters
Art by Max Fiumara & Sebastian Fiumara

Seeing Lucifer struggle to escape his mysterious confinement makes for an interesting story, although we don't get to see too much of that in this issue. Instead, we get a flashback to some of Lucifer's past exploits. I hope this comic doesn't keep us waiting too much longer and starts pushing the Earth subplot into the main storyline.

Rating: 7 out of 10
 

MIDDLEWEST #1
Written by Skottie Young
Art by Jorge Corona

Middlewest is wonderfully fantastical and imaginative. Every panel of this book is chock-full of character. Our main protagonist, Abel, is a kid who lives in the Midwest with a rather mundane life consisting mostly of school and his paper delivery job in the early morning. But not everything is as mundane as it appears. Weird jars of suspicious pink liquids seem to act as a power source for everything in this world. What kind of magic could this be? As we journey onward, darker and more powerful forces are unleashed as Abel discovers his father is not who he appears to be. Middlewest is the most visually explosive comic book I’ve ever read. Anyone who loves good art or fantastical stories should pick up this title.

Rating: 10 out of 10

 

THE NEW WORLD #5
Written by Ales Kot
Art by Tradd Moore

Kot and Moore conclude The New World saga with issue #5. The series has been the most visually unique comic experience since Frank Miller’s Ronin. Kot ties up loose ends and we discover the greatest secret of The New World. This series gave us a refreshingly new approach to dystopian comics that had never been seen before. I hope to see a sequel or even a prequel to The New World, as it feels like we barely touched the surface of what this universe has to offer.

Rating: 10 out of 10
 

Rick and Morty Presents: Pickle Rick #1
Written by Delilah S. Dawson
Art by CJ Cannon

The cover is a bit misleading as I was expecting a brand new Pickle Rick adventure. What I actually got was an adaptation of the original Pickle Rick TV episode with some slight changes. It’s a fun story for those who haven’t seen the episode, but I expect most readers probably have and will be disappointed that this doesn’t add anything new to the mix. We also get some fun fake commercials short stories embedded throughout the issue. If you’ve already watched the Pickle Rick TV episode, I’d skip this issue.

Rating: 5 out of 10

Pick of the Week: Middlewest #1

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Brian McCormick is a Fantasy and Science Fiction enthusiast & Co Founder of Epicstream.com