Several big releases hit the stands today, most notably the debut issue of DC’s sales juggernaut The Dark Knight Returns III: The Master Race. Marvel added several new titles to the growing All-New, All-Different Marvel lineup, including Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, Venom: Space Knight and the relaunched Silk.

DC COMICS

Batman and Robin Eternal #8

STK688827

Written by Genevieve Valentine | Drawn by Alvaro Martinez & Scot Eaton

Issue #7’s creative team stick around for this follow-up chapter, which is fitting given how closely this issue builds on last week’s events. Genevieve Valentine and Alvaro Martinez deliver another great collaboration as they explore Dick Grayson’s first encounter with Mother. Valentine’s snappy dialogue makes the most of this showdown, especially when it comes to painting Mother as a sinister figure despite her relatively innocuous appearance. Martinez’s art enhances the story nicely. As with last week’s chapter, he weaves the extended battle scenes into a graceful ballet of movement. Sandra Molina’s use of contrasting warm and cool tones helps distinguish the past and present-day sections or add variety to specific scenes.

Final Score:

8.6

The Dark Knight III: The Master Race #1

STK688727

Written by Frank Miller & Brian Azzarello | Drawn by Any Kubert & Frank Miller

Frank Miller’s Dark Knight saga has quite a bit in common with Star Wars. Their initial efforts were universally acclaimed successes that changed their respective mediums forever, while their follow-ups left quite a lot to be desired. Now, they are both poised to make a comeback with new talent involved. The Dark Knight III: The Master Race #1 hits almost a month before Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and if they are going to maintain similar levels of quality, then that’s good news for Star Wars fans, because the third entry into the Dark Knight saga does everything right.

Final Score:

9.5

 

Superman #46

STK688707Written by Gene Luen Yang | Drawn by Howard Porter

Gene Luen Yang’s Superman run has taken an interesting swerve in the last couple months as the series digs deeper into Superman’s post-Clark Kent life. The fallen Man of Steel find a strange satisfaction and even happiness in being reduced to an amateur wrestler. Howard Porter brings a great deal of energy to these scenes, aided a great deal by the vibrant colors of Hi-Fi. Losing John Romita, Jr. was a blow to this book, but those two have helped lessen the impact. The issue lags a bit once it returns focus to the ongoing conflict with HORDR, however. This villain has never been well developed, and as such his latest attack on Clark’s life lacks the impact it should have.

Final Score:

6.8

MARVEL COMICS

All-New Wolverine #2

STK688366

Written by Tom Taylor | Drawn by David Lopez

Tom Taylor isn’t wasting time before getting to the good stuff with this series. As with the first issue, this chapter drops readers right into the middle of the conflict. Laura’s search for answers about her clones puts her in the path of Alchemax and a quickly deepening conspiracy. There’s a real momentum to this series even so early into its lifespan. Taylor’s pacing is quick, but not to the point where he does the characters or conflict a disservice. He simply shows a willingness to skip past the boring, unnecessary parts of the plot. David Lopez brings a slick visual style to the book as well. His art has a strong noir influence, but he’s more than capable of rendering stylish fight sequences or subtle facial work as well.

Final Score:

8.8

Guardians of the Galaxy #2

STK687574Written by Brian Michael Bendis | Drawn by Valerio Schiti

The creative team might be the same, but enough has changed with the status quo for this Guardians comic to feel “all-new.” Brian Bendis delves deeper into that status quo this month, exploring Peter Quill’s reluctant position as king of Spartax, the dysfunctional new team lineup and the emergence of a powerful new Kree villain. While the general pace in this issue is a bit slow (dwelling a bit too long on Hala’s reminiscence about her dead culture) it still offers an exciting look at the dangerous state of affairs in Marvel’s cosmic sector. As usual, artist Valerio Schiti and colorist Richard Isanove bring a sleek, vibrant look to the Guardians and their cosmic conflicts.

Final Score:

8.5

Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #1

STK688382

Written by Amy Reeder & Brandon Montclare | Drawn by Natacha Bustos

Moon Boy and Devil Dinosaur may not rank among Jack Kirby’s most famous Marvel creations, but they’ve certainly endured over the decades. And now this partnership is taking a radically different form as Devil Dinosaur is dragged into the present-day Marvel Universe to form an alliance with a preteen girl named Lunella Lafayette.

There’s a lot to like in this charming first issue, though the Moon Boy/Devil Dinosaur mythology actually proves to be the weak link.

Final Score:

7.6

Silk #1

STK688286

Written by Robbie Thompson | Drawn by Stacey Lee

Robbie Thompson and Stacey Lee barely had time to establish Silk as a solo heroine before Marvel’s relaunch necessitated a new series and a new status quo. However unnecessary this fresh start might be, at least the creators make the most of it. Silk’s hunt for the mysterious new Goblin King gives the book ample dramatic weight, though it’s really the more lighthearted qualities that help it thrive. It’s fun to see all the ways Thompson draws parallels between Cindy’s life and the early years of Peter Parker while also shaking up the formula quite a bit. Through it all, Lee’s art is a huge asset to the book. It’s colorful, dynamic and stylish without being too cartoonish.

Final Score:

8.9

Venom: Space Knight #1

STK688350

Written by Robbie Thompson | Drawn by Ariel Olivetti

This isn’t the first time former Spider-Man villain Venom has starred in his own ongoing solo series. It’s not even the first book to feature Flash Thompson in the lead role. But this new series is certainly unique in that it focuses on the symbiote-powered hero as an intergalactic adventurer rather than a grim and gritty defender of the common man.

This shift in focus results in a fun new platform for Flash. But like most of the Guardians of the Galaxy spinoff comics, Venom: Space Knight is a bit lacking in depth.

Final Score:

7.1

ARCHIE COMICS

Archie #4

STK686665

Written by Mark Waid | Drawn by Annie Wu

Mark Waid and Fiona Staples well and truly reinvigorated the Archie franchise with the first three issues of this reboot series. It wasn’t about drastically revamping the characters or the Riverdale setting, but merely sprucing things up for a more contemporary audience and allowing a little more drama into Archie’s world. This issue finally delves into the infamous “Lipstick Incident” and just what drove former power couple Archie Andrews and Betty Cooper apart. Waid deftly blends humor and bittersweet tragedy as he sheds light on the incident.  Meanwhile, Annie Wu deftly steps in for Staples. She brings a similar visual sensibility to the series, but with a slightly more angular, energetic approach.

Final Score:

9.0

 

IDW PUBLISHING

Transformers: Sins of the Wreckers #1

STK687462

Written by Nick Roche | Drawn by Nick Roche

Last Stand of the Wreckers easily ranks among the best Transformers comics ever. With that in mind, writer/artist Nick Roche faces a tall order in living up to that legacy with this sequel, especially without Last Stand co-writer James Roberts at his side. To his credit, Roche doesn’t merely try to recycle the old approach. This is less a harsh war comic than an exploration of what happens when the war is over and the survivors are struggling to move forward. Roche’s art certainly impresses even when the plot merely chugs along. He and colorist Josh Burcham bring a very muted, textured vibe to a normally colorful and flamboyant franchise.

Final Score:

7.3

 

 

Information and images sourced from ign.com