Teen Titans Academy #4 – Tim Sheridan, Writer; Steve Lieber, Artist; Dave Stewart, Colorist
Ray – 7/10
Ray: The wildly talented Steve Lieber jumps on this series for a one-issue engagement, as the search for Red X takes an interesting turn. This done-in-one—of sorts—focuses on the trio of Gotham vigilantes who enrolled in the school—Chupacabra, Bratgirl, and Negabat. Like the rest of the cast, they haven’t been fleshed out too much, but this issue gives them a spotlight as amateur detectives. They’re hot on the trail of Red X, and that mostly involves kidnapping and interrogating innocent students. Their faux-noir dialogue is pretty funny, but overall this trio hasn’t given us too much to go on yet, and it doesn’t help that most of their targets are ciphers too. The one exception? Billy Batson, whose status quo at the Academy becomes clearer this issue. This is one of the better issues of the series so far, mostly due to the unique point of view and some excellent art by one of DC’s best artists, but the whole package still has a lot of holes.
Mister Miracle: The Source of Freedom #2 – Brandon Easton, Writer; Fico Ossio, Artist; Rico Renzi, Colorist
Ray – 7.5/10
Ray: Last issue dropped a bomb into this series with the cliffhanger, which revealed that the daughter of Scott Free and Big Barda was out to hunt Shiloh Norman for stealing her parents’ legacy. Now, the last time we saw their daughter she was a baby—which the evil N’vir Free is definitely not. This could be a multiverse thing and have nothing to do with that acclaimed miniseries, but it definitely pulls a bit of focus from the relatively compelling story of Shiloh Norman here. Not only does he have a New God-powered maniac chasing his energy, but his secret identity may have been compromised—exposing not his name, but the fact that the beloved celebrity is a black man. It feels like there are two different stories going on here, and the more compelling one deals with the complex balancing act Norman is constantly pulling off. The action scenes look good, but don’t have the same punch yet.
The Dreaming: Waking Hours #11 – G. Willow Wilson, Writer; Nick Robles, MK Perker, Artists; Matheus Lopes, Chris Sotomayor, Colorists
Ray – 8.5/10
Ray: It’s the penultimate issue of the final Sandman Universe book for now, and what began as a pitched battle to escape the land of the Faerie has turned into something else entirely. As Ruin gets the freedom he’s seeking from Dream and Jophiel and Heather scheme their way out of captivity, the focus shifts to what shape the Faerie is going to be in when they leave. The realm has been subject to a complex series of coups in coups, and this issue turns into a tense negotiation to try to restore the rightful power to the throne. But mixed in that is a pretty compelling story as Heather finally takes control of her own power. The pages leading up to the final scene might be a devastating gut punch for some trans readers, but the final cliffhanger turns it on its head and look like they’re going to leave us with a satisfying finish. But there is a LOT to wrap up here in only one issue.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.