Spencer & Locke 2 #4 reaches a point in the plot that never even remotely seemed possible. Writer David Pepose carefully crafts the conclusion to the second story arc of this amazing series with dominoes falling until the last one blows your mind.

Quick recap of the new arc so far: Xander has been sired… or not quite sired? In the equivalent of a magical Hail Mary, the Scoobies are trying to find a Soul Tie that may just fix the problem. For those who’ve read the Free Comic Book Day short, you already know how Buffy gets the map to the McGuffin. All caught up? Shiny!

I first came across Jason Aaron’s name from his run on Thor, and, oh my, what a run it has been. He really knows how to spin a yarn, so when I saw his name on a science fiction series, a small portion of me shrieked for joy. Here, he’s writing with Dennis Hallum who has been working with Marvel for just shy of ten years. I don’t know his work as well, but so far so good.

Malaka Gharib is an artist, a journalist, and a writer based in Washington, D.C., with her husband and 9-year-old rice cooker. Her autobiographical graphic novel, I Was Their American Dream, details her life growing up in a mixed-race family and the culture shock that arose from it. Through the use of her simplistically unique and varied illustrations and the relatable dialogue and prose detailed throughout, Gharib showcases a story that’s all too common for many of us.

“Love Town is a city built upon a foundation of corruption, violence, and greed, where millionaire celebrities rub shoulders with ruthless gangsters and scheming politicians, where the figurative magic of the silver screen competes with the literal magic of the streets.

Inspired by The Wizard of Oz, in Canto, we enter Arcadia, a land of tin slaves whose hearts are stolen from them and replaced with clocks. The goal? To chop wood and keep the fire burning until their clocks stop ticking. They are forbidden to do anything else, including having names and loving. But, one tin man has a name and loves others. His name is Canto, and this is the story of how he goes out to brave the unknown to save the person he loves and discover the truth of their lives.

Hit-Girl has a score to settle in the city of angels. A Hollywood studio is making a movie about her life, and the pre-teen queen of carnage is determined to stop it by any means necessary. Hit-Girl Volume 4 collects all four issues of the eponymous anti-hero's trip to tinseltown from writer Kevin Smith and artist Pernille Ørum.

We're back for round three of the Japanese ghost story known as Ghost Tree. I reviewed issues #1 and #2 a while back. Going in, I knew nothing about the series, only picking it up because of the appealing cover. I’ve since grown to love this series for its brilliant use of color and sincere look at Japanese culture. Ghost Tree #2 ramped up the intrigue and pacing, so Ghost Tree #3 needed to keep that momentum going if it was going to live up to the first half of this story.

A quick recap of Angel #1: After losing his human protégé, Helen, in Los Angeles, Angel finds himself in Sunnydale. In a flashback, we learn that Angel(us?) used to be the leader of a marauding gang of vampires known as “The Riders.” In a fateful encounter, a young female warrior (Possibly a slayer?) known as Mara falls under his thrall and is sired. As half the issue is dedicated to this dark moment of Angel’s past, it’s very likely that Mara and the rest of the Riders will feature in his story moving forward. In the present, Angel meets up with an old friend, Francis (A nod to Doyle?), and the intriguing Lilith, presumably the mother of demons as per most pop-culture mythology. Lilith warns Angel of a dark force that “feeds on the living,” presumably on human narcissism, envy, and insecurities, driving its victims to do terrible things in return for instant validation. Interspersed with that reveal is the fact that the latest victim is none other than Francis’ daughter who sets her family on fire, killing them all. Pretty dark first issue, huh?

What a man can do, and what a man can't do.

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