BOOKS OF MAGIC #3Written by Kat HowardArt by Tom Fowler
Timothy Hunter finally turns his yo-yo into an owl, his magical companion. Other than that, there isn't much going on this issue. Howard explores Timothy's restlessness and school life. This issue might read better in trade format, but for a single issue, it's a bit thin.
Rating: 5 out of 10
CONAN THE BARBARIAN #1Written by Jason AaronArt by Mahmud Asrar
The rights to Conan have finally returned back to Marvel! Conan the Barbarian represents the first new Conan comic from the publisher in almost 20 years. Jason Aaron begins the series with a thrilling gladiator fight with the title character pitted against a formidable warrior who outclasses him in gear. After he fights his way to victory he is captured by a mysterious witch who intends to kill him in some sort of dark ritual. Asrar's artwork is impressive. It captures the essence of battle and torment of both Conan and his enemies as they fight to the death. Jason Aaron and Mahmud Asrar have put together a spectacular comic that should excite old fans and new readers alike.
Rating: 9 out of 10
CROWDED #6Written by Christopher SebelaArt by Ro Stein
Charlie and Vita attempt to escape an elaborate reality video spectacle finale to the Reapr campaign on her life. Will it succeed? Crowded ends the first arc of the comic, but don't worry, the series doesn't complete here. Crowded #6 gives us some interesting revelations that make us question why Charlie has such a large Reapr campaign on her head. For instance, bots are making a large sum of the Reapr donations instead of actual people. And then, there's a mysterious hitwoman following Vita and Charlie's trail from a distance. I'm beginning to wonder if Charlie was ever the target all along, or if somehow Vita is the one that someone is trying to nab?
Rating: 7 out of 10
DEADPOOL #8Written by Skottie YoungArt by Nic Klein
Just when you think Deadpool can't get any weirder, it does. The merc with a mouth journeys into an animal farm-themed amusement park. This time he has been contracted to kill a cute little pig who has been running drugs and guns on location. Someone gets in Deadpool's way through and prevents him from carrying out his mission. Deadpool #8 brings the outrageousness and ridiculousness you could only ever read in a Deadpool comic.
Rating: 7 out of 10
HEROES IN CRISIS #4Written by Tom King Art by Clay Mann
Clay Mann continues to deliver some of the best artwork in the industry with Heroes in Crisis, although he does use some paneling tricks that result in less art actually being drawn. King distracts readers a bit by letting Mann's artwork tell most of the story, which results in a quick read, but with sparse relevance. I'd like to see King turn up the pace a bit and deliver a crisis instead of empty panels. There are 20 panels in this issue with absolutely no caption at all!
Rating: 6 out of 10
IMMORTAL HULK #11Written by Al Ewing Art by Joe Bennett
Eleven issues in and Al Ewing is on track to write one of the best modern Hulk stories of all time. The Hulk arrives "below" to a landscape of lost souls and rubble cityscape where he comes across an old friend. Meanwhile, a stranger approaches Creel and tells him he is the key to closing the gate of "below". Colorist Paul Mounts does a fantastic job bringing this hellscape to life with the perfect palette that resonates with an eerie horror to it. This is the Hulk that we all deserve! If you've ever wanted to jump back into a Hulk comic, you won't want to miss this run!
Rating: 10 out of 10
MARVEL KNIGHTS #5Written by Matthew Rosenberg Art by Niko Henrichon
Rosenberg and Henrichon create some great frictional chemistry between the Kingpin and Doctor Doom, but how could these egotistical maniacs possible work together? The answer is, they can't, and the Kingpin and Doom get into an altercation that results in potentially the demise of one of them. That demise seems highly questionable and if there isn't more to this story in a future issue, it is rather out of character and beyond belief. Artwork by Henrichon is a mixed bag. We get some great action sequences, but some scenes are awkward. For example, Elektra's face looks proportioned strangely throughout the book. Rosenberg gives us an unexpected twist ending that might upset some who aren't patient enough to see where the story leads.
Rating: 6 out of 10
TONY STARK, IRON MAN #7Written by Dan Slott with Jeremy Whitley Art by Valerio Schiti
Dan Slott has created a unique run on Iron Man that showcases the engineering and high tech endeavors of Tony Stark and his company rather than the typical military industrial approach. In Issue 7, Tony Stark finds the eScape in mortal peril, as innocent civilians become trapped inside for the highest stakes game of their lives. Will Tony save the day, or will his company and reputation lie in ruin as a result? Schiti continues to create a jam-packed sensation of colorful artwork that compliments the playfulness of the eScape and Tony's digital escapades.
Rating: 8 out of 10
WINTER SOLDIER #2Written by Kyle Higgins Art by Rod Reis
Thanks to not paying attention to dates, I thought I was getting a retconned version of the Winter Soldier's childhood that didn't make sense, which I later learned was the introduction of a completely new assassin. As the story flashforwards, this assassin attempts to take down Bucky and does so with incredible efficiency, but the Winter Soldier has more experience and ultimately wins. By the end of the issue, this assassin turns into Bucky's own sidekick or at least alludes to such with the next issues cover reveal. The sidekick story is cliche and too convenient. I found the characters flat and uninteresting with a vague and dreamy art style that is unmemorable.
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pick of the Week: Immortal Hulk #11