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New Comics Review (Week of 1/11)

1) Ghost Rider #10 - Story by Benjamin Percy, art by Cory Smith with David Cutler, colors by Oren Junior and Bryan Valenza, edited by Darren Shan

And an incredible arc comes to an end. Ghost Rider has been one of my favorite new consistent series of 2022, and it ends its first arc it triumphant fashion. Percy wrote an excellent redemption story for Blaze, culminating in a chainsaw showdown in the sewers. The story is exciting, and the art is even better (sorry Ben). Smith and Cutler did an incredible job drawing Ghost Rider's battle in the sewers, and there are SO many panels I'd love to hang on my wall (I'll take a signed "But I've got the chainsaw" print thanks). This creative team gave new life to a character that Marvel didn't really know what to do with in the last decade, so kudos to them and I hope to see more of Ghost Rider in 2023!

2) Punisher #9 - Story by Jason Aaron, Jesus Saiz, and Paul Azaceta, colors by Matt Hollingsworth, edited by Tom Brevoort

It's a beautiful thing when comic arcs all end in the same week. The Punisher arc has been WILD so far and such a far departure from the character's usually murder shenanigans. Last issue saw Frank embrace his new powers as the Fist of the Hand, and this issue sees Frank vs Ares in a spectacular bloodbath. The fight is well worth the wait, and we get to see God vs God play out only as Jason Aaron and team can do at this point. It's brutal, senseless, and is the very embodiment of war. This issue also cuts away several times to various heroes talking about what to do about Frank and his new position, so that new arc should be good, just like Punisher War Journal was when Spider-Man tried to do the same. Nothing has come close to touching that story for me (Thor vs. Punisher was insane), but I have hopes for this go around. Marvel's A Lister stories (Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Spider-Man) have nothing on these grittier heroes who seem to have stolen all the spotlight lately (Daredevil, Punisher, Moon Knight, Ghost Rider). Keep 'em coming!

3) Daredevil #7 - Story by Chip Zdarsky, art by Rafael De Latorre and Marco Checchetto, ink by Elisabeta D'Amico, colors by Matthew Wilson (still the perfect name for a Daredevil colorist), edited by Devin Lewis

Well this one isn't quite in it's final issue of the arc yet, but we are getting close. This issue is mostly about Matt taking his new "converts" for lack of a better term on a mission into the city. It's a good story about injustice and the failures of prison rehabilitation for inmates. My biggest complaint is Goldy, it's a weird character and Matt's obsession with him is taking attention away from the main conflict. Like you already hit a homerun with Matt going over to the Fist completely, having this weird Goldy is God thing just doesn't really feel like it belongs. But beyond that, Chip and team have created an incredible run on DD, and this issue perfectly sets up the upcoming conflict between Daredevil and Punisher. Latorre and Checchetto really know how to draw a gritty DD style comic, and I'm here for it. Looking forward to seeing what they can do with a whole issue dedicated to war!

4) X-Men #18 - Story by Gerry Duggan, art by C.F. Villa, colors by Matt Willa, edited by Jordan D. White

If the three issues I mentioned above are examples of Marvel's best story telling teams, the current X-Men run is the prime example of Marvel creativity. It seems like every two weeks Duggan has another colorful and creative adventure up his sleeve for the X-Men to go on. It's rare to not even care about the main plot (whatever it seems to be) for a series, but I really don't care about the X-Men's main plot, if they even have one. I'm content following Duggan's brain around as he carefully puts together lovable characters, exciting storylines, and random pregnancy shots. Seriously, I could have done without that last page, won't be sleeping for weeks. X-Men has been on the upswing since the meh ending of X of Swords, so jump on while you can and enjoy the ride before Marvel resets the X-Men yet again. The magic of this series is also due to Villa and Willa, they are a great team who really know how to make each page pop, like I'm back in my childhood home watching the X-Men Animated Series again.

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