Long Con #4 manages to make jokes about the convention scene without being mean to the subjects of those jokes and has engaging, crisp artwork. Unfortunately the plot is ponderous, so it's like ... well, like standing in line for autographs at the DC booth, really. It's taking a while to get anywhere. RATING: HONORABLE MENTION.
KISS Blood And Stardust #1 is a perfectly fine mash up of genre conventions presented with a top notch application of craft. The antagonists are well presented, the premise is established quickly and effectively, the stakes are crystal clear. Unfortunately, from antagonist to arguable leads, everybody's pretty dull. Everyone on the playing field leads lack agency, tools in struggles of others. This is probably the best, most coherent KISS comic made in recent memory, but only Gene has any real characterization to differentiate him from the rest of the band. Not bad, though. RATING: HONORABLE MENTION.
Punisher #3 had fantastic artwork and a few good lines as Daredevil gets determined to bring Frank Castle to justice. There's a lot of predictable bloodshed but it's played in a way that could be considered entertaining. If every note in this issue hadn't been played the exact same way in stories across the years, this might have been a little more remarkable. RATING: HONORABLE MENTION
The self-contained Star Trek The Next Generation Terra Incognita #4 told a tale of a challenged negotiation with a world petitioning for Federation membership. It was cut short by an unfortunate (yet seemingly irrelevant) interaction with a semi-hostile party. The core ideas discussed here were deep in the tradition of Aldous Huxley but the examination of them was cursory in the tradition of The Today Show. For Trekkers, this issue will likely satisfy but it doesn't quite hit the mark if you're not dyed in the wool for The Next Generation. RATING: HONORABLE MENTION.
What If? Thor #1 is an interesting if frivolous thought exercise that changed very little about Thor and very much for his perhaps not so cold blooded brother. This sympathy for the devil again cast doubt that Asgard really is a home of heroes but doesn't do enough to distinguish anyone that you'd need to take this home. RATING: HONORABLE MENTION.
Action Comics #1004 felt like a soft reboot of the old Lois and Clark days as responsibilities are abdicated (for good reasons, of course) and explanations are garnered (they aight) but the biggest happenings here are far from "action," emotional beats that lurched haltingly around. Not bad, no, but it surely could be better. RATING: MEH.
In its favor, Black Panther vs. Deadpool #1 has a good fight scene and some half-decent chuckles (don't ask about elephants). Unfortunately, its somewhat cartoony artwork was not crisp enough for the story, its central conceit cut short the characterization on both leads (T'challa is more circumspect, Deadpool is less likely to ask). This issue is a mixed bag that could have been a contender. RATING: MEH.
Batgirl #28 took a swing at a clever kind of plot twist but only hit it with a glancing blow. The emotional core of a confrontation with the commissioner likewise almost hit, but like an AC too high, just glanced off the armor. RATING: MEH.