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The Master

Every comic you've read in 2018

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Sidekick: By J. Michael Straczynski and Tom Mandrake: 12-part series about a kid sidekick who becomes a loser after his mentor and partner is assassinated. But as his life is turned around by one of their femme fatale villains, all is not as it seems as dark revelations bubble out from the surface of the past!

JMS is a good writer. He's done a lot of things people don't like, but on a technical level I think he's really very good. This is a story that's almost typical in a post-2000s Image era. The whole deconstructing sidekicks and shredding the squeaky-clean image was done back during Miracleman, and has been redone with The Boys, the Pro, and honestly even DC with Post-Crisis Jason Todd and Roy Harper. So this story comes off way less introspective and original than it thinks it is. That said, this is some of the most solid Tom Mandrake art I've ever seen, and that kept me reading. I kind of like how much of the plot consists of the Catwoman-analogue being pretty much unstoppable. The ending is also interesting, but at the same time - for me - it reads like I've seen all this before. Every story's worth telling if it tries to be original, I guess, but while this wasn't bad it's really late to the party in terms of subversiveness. 

Trade Paperbacks: 13

Single Issues: 118

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Ben Reilly: Scarlet Spider #18 : I don't think I knew Quentin Beck had a daughter. This was a solid comic book ish.

Batman #47 (2016): Tony Daniel's artwork was good, but this three parter was so whatever for me. 

Harley Loves Joker #1-#2: By Paul Dini and Bret Blevins. This was a pretty decent two-parter. It's basically a one-off but seems to share continuity with the animated series as well as Paul Dini's Detective Comics run. The Wonderland Gang from that era returns, but Dr. Dorian from the B:TAS episode "Tyger Tyger" is included in a flashback, and the designs are all from the animated series. Part 2 has Harley go against the current cotton-candy designed version of her in her mind, arguing about her own agency and love of the Joker. There are so many Harley comics and appearances out there and have been for a while, but this is a rare one that felt like it was worth my time.

 

Trade Paperbacks: 13

Single Issues: 122

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Mystik U #2: I see where they're going with this. It's kind of a TV miniseries. Hogwarts in the DCU but more sophisticated. Interesting. 

Old Man Logan #34: consistently so good.

Phoenix Resurrection The Return of Jean Grey #5: interesting ending. Interested to check out X-Men Red

Songs for the Dead #1: no thanks.

Tales of Suspense #101: I'm digging this.

The Beautiful Death #5: why the fuck did I pick this up? Weird place to start. Not a particularly good story. But I had zero invested. So...whatever.

The Realm #5: fun.

The Silencer #1: cool start. I'm in for an other.

Tarot Witch of the Black Rose #1, 2: I gave these a spin because 1, it's Jim Balent and 2, it's so long-running, I thought there must be something to it. Nope. 

Armstrong and the Vault of Spirits #1: Really fun.

Avengers #679: really good.

Batman #40: this was ok. I'm not sure why this story needed to be told. 

Daredevil #598: solid.

Comics: 587

Trades: 17

Graphic Novels: 7

Omnibus: 9

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Detective Comics #981: With a great misleading cover, Tynion ends his run which was in many ways definitive. Beautiful artwork, great characterization as always, and a happy ending. My only hope is that this won't get squandered away and ruined by future writers, but I'm looking forward to Bryan Edward Hill. Nevertheless, this was the best Batman Family comic since Gates of Gotham back in 2011, as it was the only run that genuinely cared about the Bat Family.

Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #45: I find these are usually quick reads, but this was a busy issue. I'm hoping Guy's turn to the Darkstars is  a trick because it was such a drop-of-the-hat decision that I couldn't buy it any other way. Ethan Van Sciver's artwork brings be back to the days of 2010.

Batgirl #23: Hope Larson's run comes to a quiet close, announced by no one but predicted by everyone, if everyone only means me. It's a decent issue. Honestly her era was very average, with my favorite story being the 4-part Nightwing team-up, and even that wasn't the best. Larson's a competent writer, but she never seemed to feel comfortable writing Batgirl. Eventually she began chasing the original Burnside run, and everything just felt very lukewarm. It's nowhere near bad, the Gail Simone run is still one of the worst comic runs ever, but coming after Brendan Fletcher and Babs Tarr, this just never matched that and suffered as a result because it was constantly trying to be that. I contend that aside the Team Burnside, no one knows what to do with Barbara Gordon despite insisting that she has to be Batgirl. Practically every single story post-new 52 is her trying to "find" herself, which, as said by Gail Simone herself, is a sexist cliche for female characters.

The Incredible Hulk #717: Greg Pak's Amadeus Cho run comes to an end, having started in Totally Awesome Hulk three years ago. Not being much of a Hulk reader, I thoroughly enjoyed this run. Ammy's a fun protagonist, and honestly the Civil War II tie-ins involving him and the fallout from Bruce Banner's death were some of the most compelling Marvel Comics I've read in a while. Like Kamala Khan and Miles Morales, Amadeus is a great legacy character who's difference really makes him worthy to keep around. The actual ending the World War Hulk II read a tiny bit rushed, (I wish we saw the three months of prison he went through in a panel), but it's all fine in the end.

Trade Paperbacks: 13

Single Issues: 126

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Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles #2: solid. 

Iceman #10: not sure where this fits into continuity based on what's going on over in All-New Wolverine, but this was decent. The worst issue of the run so far.

Infinity Countdown Adam Warlock #1: not as good as I'd hoped. I have found little to enjoy in Allred's recent work, but it never has to do with the art.

Iron Fist #77: ok, I'm out. This was completely unremarkable.

Mother Panic/Batman Special #1: more Morrison fanfic wankfest.

Rogue & Gambit #2: fun. Interesting take on the old Quicksilver in therapy issue. Couples therapy where one of them can't remember when they first kissed because they were mind-controlled at the time. Loved it.

She-Hulk #162: pretty much a slide in quality in this book, but there's only one more.

Spirits of Vengeance #5: had I knew this series was coming beforehand this would have been a huge disappointment. But I was surprised when it debuted, so it just sucks overall.

Swamp Thing Winter Special #1: beautiful. I don't usually like Kelley Jones' art, but his work on the silent Len Wein issue included here was pretty beautiful.

Shadow Batman #5: not very good.

Twister Romance #1: holy shit, this was terrible. Officially a "fuck this book."

VS #1: Ivan Brandon writes Esad Ribic into doing a future gladiators in space book and it's so much Metal Hurling worship, that all my alarm bells are going off. Loved it.

X-Men Gold #21: really good.

X-Men Red #1: I loved this.

Young Monster In Love #1: this was ok. Some stories better than  others. None of them were great.

Comics: 602

Trades: 17

Graphic Novels: 7

Omnibus: 9

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2 hours ago, Venneh said:

What do you have against Twisted Romance, @Dread?

Just purely obnoxious storytelling, terrible art and an excessive amount of pages.

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It’s a romance anthology and they’re all oneshots? *shrug*

Ether: The Copper Golems 1: Interesting to see the world back home expand, and to see a fantasy jail bust. Rubín does gorgeous work as always. Will probably catch up on this on the trade. 

MW: I originally thought this was done by Tezuka in the early 00s, and had an elaborate thing about how this was a response to Aum and the crash in Japan. As it turns out, it was published in 78, so, whooops. It does predict a lot of the political issues of the 90s, and it does have a lot to say about religion, crime, and is a hell of a story besides. There is a bit of weirdness around the gay relationship that the story centers around, but for the time/culture, not that surprising. Definitely worth a read - I got through it in an afternoon in the bath. 

Goldie Vance v 1-2: I picked this up from Sava’s annual comics sale, and I’m interested in reading more of this. It’s a Nancy Drew esque story, but with a queer POC lead, the mysteries involve space and the Cold War, and it’s still a fun, light hearted read. 

Red Handed: Kindt does a GN about a series of seemingly unrelated crimes in a small city, but slowly unfold to be all connected. It’s a homage to classic detective novels, but actually turns the lens on the detective as much as the mastermind. Hell of a read. 

Previews: 2
Single Issues: 73
Trades/Tankobon/Graphic Novels/Anthologies: 44
Omnibuses: 1

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New MGMT 1 (aka final Mind MGMT issue): Still a fantastic wrap up to the series that leaves it open to continuation, if Kindt would want to come back to it. 

Dodge City 1-2: Boom appears to be getting into the sports anime genre. McGee's style is perfect for this, the story is great as snack food; not anything that's gonna win awards anytime soon, but I'll probably find a way to follow it cheap on the trade. 

Generation Gone 1-5: Hey guys, did you know that Ales Kot knows the words emotional labor? And that he named his black guy BALDWIN??  I've seen this summed up as Akira for our generation, and I would agree with that, but also with a fuckboy emotional abuser, a guy who thinks he's a Nice Guy but mostly ends up as a plot hook for a continuation and as a deux ex machina (literally), and the woman who I am genuinely surprised didn't throw most of the men in this comic into the sun sooner. (Spoilers. Whoops.) Carmen Maria Machado tweeted about how we accept women's pain as collateral damage in men's self-discovery, and man, this comic feels like a real strong example of that to me at this precise moment. I am also coming from a very specific place of grief in this reading right now, so that's probably influencing me real strongly, ngl. Andre Lima Arauljo does a fantastic job on the art, unsurprisingly. 

Prism Stalker 1: Reread the physical copy of this that we got at ECCC. Still goddamn amazing and combines the enculturation process and how immigration fits into all that along with some good old fashioned biological horror. Again: if you haven't read this yet, go do that. 

Twisted Romance 4: Again, reread this mainly for the comfort food aspect. The Sailor Moon inspired backup is a sentimental favorite, and I finally read the prose part, which is very up my alley. The main story still is one that continues to destroy me though, mainly for emotional abuse recovery reasons. 

Previews: 2
Single Issues: 81 (not counting rereads from this year)
Trades/Tankobon/Graphic Novels/Anthologies: 44
Omnibuses: 1

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Talk Dirty: a crazy ass Eros graphic novel with completely incredible art and storytelling. It gets a little rapey, but it's European and almost all Euro comics are rapey.

Superman #40: I'm tiring of this series, to be honest, but this is an interesting take, this arc.

Action Comics #997: goddamn...what an inversion on prior storytelling techniques and quality. The conspiracy theorist in me almost wants to say they're tanking Action to make it look better when Bendis gets his hands on it. Ugh.

Archie #28: pretty close to jumping off the Archie train here. Nothing outstanding, but just tiring of it.

Avengers #680: the worst issue of this arc, but still halfway decent.

Babyteeth #8: this was really fucking great,

Captain America #698: ok, this is alright.

Death of Love #1: interesting. Not great, but I'll give it another.

Detective Comics #974: pretty solid.

Hack/Slash vs Vampirella #5: fun. Good ending.

Kick-Ass #1: nawww....I'm good thanks.

Ninja-K #4: the best issue of the series so far. This is great.

Old Man Hawkeye #2: this is really solid.

Old Man Logan #35: this was ok.

Red Hood and the Outlaws #19: really fun.

Shade the Changing Girl Wonder Woman Special #1: fuck...why am I putting myself through this nonsense?

Sideways #1: nowhere near as solid as Silencer's first issue, but I'm interested to see how they tie this to DC.

Comics: 618

Trades: 17

Graphic Novels: 8

Omnibus: 9

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Super Son Dynomutt Special #1: This was a fun comic. Dynomutt the Dog Wonder was before my time, so I'm mainly familiar with his and Blue Falcon's appearance on Dexter's Lab. But I dug the fair-handed relation to Batman in this. How they were a member of the International League of Batman for a time, how Big City is not far from Gotham City, and how Damina respected the hell out of them. It's a innately goofy comic, and the super detailed artwork may've made the tone a bit too serious, but it was a good deal of fun. And I fell out of Supersons over a year ago, but I really like Jon and Damian's friendship. It reminded me of how Conner and Tim started off not liking each other, but grew to be BFFs.

Man of Steel #1 (2018): It's a little weird hearing Bendis-speak out of DC characters, let alone Superman characters. But I don't dislike Bendis, so this one worked for me. Ivan Reis carries it though.

Batman - Prelude to the Wedding: Robin vs. Ra's Al Ghul: A decent one-shot. Ra's didn't need to be in here despite the premise, but I really liked Damian and Selina's interactions, and Damian's thoughts on her marrying Bruce. That made it worth reading.

Bane: CONQUEST #11: Pretty cool issue. Love seeing Bane in his classic costume. But I guess

Spoiler

King Faraday is dead?

Oh wells.

Doomsday Clock #5: This is an interesting book to read. Geoff Johns and Gary Frank are trying their hardest. But it's taken me this long to realize what a wannabe imitation of Watchmen this is with the DC world turning on the Superheroes. It also reads with scenes really clipped together like a Grant Morrison story. And I have no idea where the continuity it as, with Bronze Age heroes like Firestorm mixing with Kenan Kong. I'm moderately entertained but I've given up on this story meaning anything.

Amazing Spider-Man #800: A lot happens in this that are straight from a fanboy's dreams. Peter in the symbiote again. Dock Ock vs. Norman Osborn. Venom vs. Carnage. Spider-Man vs. the Green Goblin. Theoretically it should've been awesome. But Dan Slott's writing makes it all feel so superficial, so weightless. The artwork, done by all the artist he's worked with over the course of his run, was decent at best. Even Humberto Ramos, who I enjoy and defend, is usually better than his effort in this. And the death of a major supporting character felt like a waste. This wasn't awful, but for a century issue it felt like it tried too hard but wasn't done with enough conviction to make it worth remembering. 

Ms. Marvel #30 (2015): Good as usual, but the last couple of pages felt hella rushed.

Savage Dragon #234: Wild. I liked the wacky twists with what happened to Maxine. The nudity stays gratuitous tho.

Trade Paperbacks: 13

Single Issues: 135

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Moon Knight #195: Not sure what's going on here, but I enjoyed it. The opening pages felt like a post-Preacher Vertigo book.

The Flash #47: The start of Flash War, in which the original Wally West begins to remember that pre-Flashpoint / New 52 / Rebirth, he had a wife and kids. He's not happy with Barry. This was very good, and I cannot wait for the remaining issues.

The Man of Steel #1: Kinda average Superman comic. Nothing about this felt like Bendis or special or like it will reshape the Superman corner of the DC Universe.

Justice League: No Justice 1-4: So the DC heroes broke The Source Wall during Dark Nights: Metal, leading to the return of four universe-shattering titans. To save everything, Brainiac puts together new Justice League teams. Then Amanda Waller fucks it all up. While it looks great, this didn't make me want to read the new, forthcoming JLA books.

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Marvel 2-in-One #1-6: As with the classic Marvel Two-in-One, the current Marvel 2-in-One is a Thing comic at its core. And as with the classic series, Ben stumbles his way into adventures with other heroes: Spider-Man, Johnny, Doom, Hercules, and alternate reality versions of Reed, Sue, and others. Also at its core, it is a family book. Ben misses his Sue and Reed so much, that he concocts a lie to keep himself and Johnny tethered together. And in the alternate universe, we see how badly Reed and Sue react to the lose of their Johnny and Ben. No matter the universe, the original Fantastic Four need each other, emotionally and (non-spoiler) for other reasons. Everyone's voice is pitch perfect, especially Ben and Doom's. What's amazing about Doom is that even though he's trying so damn hard to be a hero, he still sounds and acts like Doom. It's a very fine line to walk, but Zdarsky nails it.

Jim Cheung (#1-2, 6) and Valerio Schiti (#3-5) truly bring this book to life. While their styles are vastly different, the color palette and overall design of the book remain a constant -- thus easing the artistic switch after a few pages. By the end of issue four, Valerio Schiti made me a fan-for-life. The pure joy-turned-sadness on Ben and Reed's faces, as well as the two HOLY SHIT~! final images of the issue prove he's capable of the epic and human moments needed for this medium.

An annual is next, then the series moves forward with issue seven. When the Fantastic Four series returns, I truly hope this book doesn't get shoved aside. There's plenty of room for a Thing team-up book in the Marvel Universe.

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Star-Lord #1-6: This is the Chip Zdarsky / Kris Anka series, and it is great. After a major falling out with his team and the destruction of their ship, Peter and the rest of the Guardians of the Galaxy are grounded on Earth. With no friends (everyone hates him and this is just after he and Kitty Pryde broke up), no money, no job, and very little understanding of Earth culture and laws, Peter is lost, angry, sad, and wallowing in self-pity. He then runs afoul of the law and winds up doing 100 hours of community service. This leads to a job as a bartender, run-ins with (old man) Logan and Daredevil, and a heist. While that all might sound action-packed -- and it is -- it's Zdarsky's ability to both humanize Peter and make him feel like an alien on Earth that sets this book above so many others. The writing is absolutely brilliant, especially his interactions with Logan. They go from Logan threatening Peter when he antagonizes Kitty to them sharing a beer over lost friends to Logan (dressed in a fur-lined silk robe) giving Quill a much-needed hug. This is a very sensitive, inward looking book that gets every action beat right and pulls no punches when it comes to breaking hearts.

Kris Anka's sense of design, fashion, storytelling, and pacing are pitch perfect for the series and characters. And it's sexy as hell! (There's a running gag where Peter cannot keep his shirts from being torn to shreds or ripped completely off. It's very Shatner-ish.) Agent Brand, for example, has so many outfits, and they all work for her. Getting past the design and outfits, one scene sticks out particularly. Logan and Peter are in the middle of a 20-on-two barroom brawl. When the guns come out, Peter comments that Logan should throw himself in front of the bullets. To which Logan replies he's too old for that shit; he plays it safer in his old age, even if he doesn't need to. A beat later, they witness an innocent bystander get shot thanks to their brawl. Peter's face goes from "this is fun" to "OH SHIT!" Whereas Logan, who just said he's too old to get shot, goes full berserker rage. He transforms from man to beast in one panel and it is fucking frighting to see such an animalistic Logan. With his claws out, he jumps into the fray with a roar and not even half a dozen bullets faze him. For a book that gets a lot of attention for its artistic sexiness, Star-Lord is also filled with amazing action and tender moments.

This is an absolute must-read from first to last.

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Nightwing #45: I liked this quite a bit. Percy's voice for Dick is great. It's more confident and less wannabe young guy. The artwork evoked John Romita Jr. in a good way. And the plot was interesting.

Batman #48: This was really lame. Every writer wants to have their super intriguing take on the Joker, but there's nothing interesting or insightful in King's version. His whole monologue throughout the issue I found to be SUPER pretentious. I'm ready for this wedding story to end now.

Batman-Prelude to the Wedding-Nightwing vs Hush #1: This issue wasn't perfect, but it had a lot going for it I liked. The Silver Age-yness of Superman and Nightwing taking Batman on a bachelor's party in costume was hilarious. I liked that Bruce was totally up for it too. Bringing in Hush as a jealous villain did not work at all. He's entire motivation is that he hates Bruce Wayne, to a T. He would never be jealous of Nightwing for anything, and nothing he did made a lick of sense (also his logo belt was cheesy in a dumb way). 

Spoiler

The issue ends with Bruce saying that Clark will be his best man over Dick, which Dick is rightly hurt by and Bruce is somewhat embarrassed over. I could buy Clark as the best man, but it seriously should be Dick. But Tom King said that the matter wasn't finished and that it would be resolved in Batman #50, so I guess we'll see if anything changes then.

Man of Steel #2: This was a really busy issue, in a way I'm not used to seeing from Bendis. But I liked it all the same. His voice for Clark is different, a touch less Dudely Do-Right, but not too much to be bad. I wish they didn't have artist changes so soon in the run, but Steve Rude and Doc Shaner are great, so it's not big deal.

Smut Peddler vols.1-2: A very sex positive, LGBT friendly collection of stories from various writers and artists, some better than others. While I liked some stories and wasn't interested in others, I really enjoyed the reading experience. The stories ranged from fantasy to body positivity to BDSM and everything else under the sun, and, except for the very first story oddly enough, they all were feel-good, affirming done-in-ones. These also went a long way for me in terms of insight into the Trans community, which I appreciated. Some of the artwork just isn't that good in the second volume, but overall I recommended it.

Trade Paperbacks: 15

Single Issues: 139

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Skybourne #5: I really enjoyed this. A blockbuster version of the stuff I like to write.

The Mighty Crusaders #3: Jesus...why can't anyone ever get this shit right? It's not fucking hard.

Punisher #221: fuck, this is great. If you've ever liked a Punisher comic and aren't reading this, you're missing out.

Weapon X #14: pretty solid.

X-Men Blue #21: if you'd asked me even a year and a half ago that one of my favourite stories of the year involves a team-up between the time-traveling teenage versions of the original X-Men and Venom, then I would have probably punched you in the nose.

Xena Warrior Princess #1: Well, that's a shame.

Giants #2,3: Hmmm...went from kind of ambivalent, to really enjoying the world of this series.

Justice League of America #24: oof, this was exhaustively bad.

Marvel Two-In-One #3: really damned good.

Suicide Squad #35: really solid.

Avengers #681: still good.

Batman #41: the cavalcade of girls Bruce has banged continues. God...

Damage #2: a little early to be jumping into a crossover with the Suicide Squad. Seems desperate.

Daredevil #599: solid.

Deadpool vs Old Man Logan #5: really powerful ending to this. Did not expect that.

Death Bed #1: holy shit. This is bonkers and I love it.

Evolution #4: grotesque. Really good.

Hellboy and the BPRD 1955 Burning Season #1: weird. I would have liked three issues for this. Seems too truncated for the ending to have any impact. Wonder why they didn't when they've clearly given six issues to far thinner storylines.

Hit-Girl #1: this was fun.

Ice Cream Man #2: is this just a horror anthology series? I'm intrigued.

Incredible Hulk #713: really fun.

Comics: 640

Trades: 17

Graphic Novels: 8

Omnibus: 9

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Batman # 48: What Donovan said.

Deadpool vs. Old Man Logan #1-5: Rather solid. I hope we see Maddie again.

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1 hour ago, Dread said:

Batman #41: the cavalcade of girls Bruce has banged continues. God...

 

What?

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16 minutes ago, Donomark said:

What?

Poison Ivy. Before that it was Wonder Woman. Then Talia before that. I expect fucking Silver St. Cloud to pop up before the wedding by this point.

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2 hours ago, Koete said:

wg03.jpg

Hahaha! God! Tell me this hasn't been in a Batman issue in the past six issues!

Also: real talk. Bruce Wayne is not a generous lover. If it's double digits it's because he can't ejaculate because all he can think about it his mother's pearls hitting pavement.

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9 hours ago, Dread said:

Also: real talk. Bruce Wayne is not a generous lover. If it's double digits it's because he can't ejaculate because all he can think about it his mother's pearls hitting pavement.

Post of the Day! :bowdown:

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2 hours ago, The Master said:

Post of the Day! :bowdown:

Pretty sure that was a POTD contender when I posted it, TBH.

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Weapon X #17-19: Dialogue is sometimes clunky, especially Warpath's, but otherwise this is a fun look at how Sabretooth would run the team while (old man) Logan is recuperating.

Cloak & Dagger #1: Something has driven the duo apart, and, to make matters worse, it looks like Cloak might be murdering people. It's okay. I'll give the next a try.

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