The X-Men's Inferno Burns & Scarlet Witch's Powers Level Up

Each week, CBR has your guide to navigating Wednesday's new and recent comic releases, specials, collected editions and reissues, and we're committed to helping you choose those that are worth your hard-earned cash. It's a little slice of CBR we like to call Major Issues.

If you feel so inclined, you can buy our recommendations directly on comiXology with the links provided. We'll even supply links to the books we're not so hot on, just in case you don't want to take our word for it. Don't forget to let us know what you think of the books this week in the comments! And as always, SPOILERS AHEAD!

THE DARKHOLD OMEGA #1 (MARVEL)

COMIXOLOGY

While Marvel’s Darkhold has effectively been a series of particularly dark What If..? stories, Steve Orlando, Cian Tormey, Roberto Poggi, Marc Deering, Walden Wong, Jesus Aburtov and Clayton Cowles finish up the Scarlet Witch story at the ostensible core of the event in The Darkhold Omega. This issue catches up with Scarlet Witch and Doctor Doom after the arcane power of the Darkhold unleashed the evil god Chthon and twisted several heroes into warped versions of themselves.

Although this issue only has a tenuous connection to the one-off stories that preceded it, it still has plenty of entertaining supernatural superhero action and features the surprise return of a long-lost Marvel hero. However, this comic’s greatest strength is the character work done with the Scarlet Witch. In an especially well-drawn sequence, Wanda gets a fairly dramatic, well-earned new status quo that makes this essential reading for fans of the Avengers hero.

DETECTIVE COMICS # 1047 (DC)

COMIXOLOGY

While Batman has historically been the primary star of Detective Comics, the seminal DC series has regularly shined a spotlight on several of the Bat-Family’s other heroes in recent years. With the Dark Knight currently operating outside of Gotham City, Batwoman and the other Bat-allies take center stage in Detective Comics #1047, by Mariko Tamaki, Ivan Reis, Danny Miki, Brad Anderson and Ariana Maher.

As the “Shadows of the Bat” event begins, the wider Bat-Family deals with the rise and apparent fall of Arkham Tower, Gotham’s latest attempt to replace Arkham Asylum. While this issue is built on too much recent continuity to be a truly accessible jumping-on point, it still sets up an intriguing Bat-Family epic in the style of Batman Eternal and the expansive Batman sagas of the '90s and '00s. The book's all-star art team shines on a few splash pages as the Arkham Tower looms over the chaos of Gotham City. And in the back-up story “House of Gotham,” Matthew Rosenberg, Fernando Blanco, Jordie Bellaire and Rob Leigh deliver an effectively unsettling story about one of the Joker’s youngest victims.

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BATMAN #119 (DC)

COMIXOLOGY

In Batman #119, the Dark Knight’s international adventures continue in a story by Joshua Williamson, Jorge Molina, Adriano di Benedetto, Mikel Janin, Tomeu Morey and Clayton Cowles. As Batman investigates a death where the heroes of Batman, Inc. are implicated, this issue sees Batman confront Lex Luthor and the new villain Abyss.

The core mystery at the heart of Williamson’s second Batman issue moves along well, with a tense confrontation between Bruce Wayne and Lex Luthor and a fight between Batman and Abyss hitting all the right notes. These well-drawn sequences play to the strengths of the individual members of the comic’s sizeable art team, with everyone delivering impressive work. After that, Gotham Academy’s Maps Mizoguchi returns for a delightful team-up with Batman in a story by Karl Kerschl and John Rauch that's can't-miss for fans of that beloved series.

ELEKTRA: BLACK, WHITE AND BLOOD #1 (MARVEL)

COMIXOLOGY

While Elektra has been serving as Daredevil for the past year, the mostly reformed assassin gets back to her bloody roots in Elektra: Black, White and Blood #1. Following similar anthology series spotlighting Wolverine, Carnage and Deadpool, this comic contains three monochromatic tales starring Elektra at her most brutal.

In the comic's best tale, Charles Soule, Mark Bagley, John Dell, Edgar Delgado and Joe Caramagna deliver a surprisingly evocative take on Elektra fighting vampires with some impressive visual flair. Then, Leonardo Romero and Caramagna deliver a stylish, bloody take on Elektra slicing through some of the Kingpin’s goons. Finally, Declan Shalvey, Simone D’Armini and Caramagna offer up an allegorical take on Elektra and her relationship to violence with some of the most brutal action in the comic. Like Marvel's other Black, White and Blood series, Elektra serves as a showcase for the creators involved that lets Elektra cut loose with more violence than the usual Marvel adventure.

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NOCTERRA: BLACKTOP BILL SPECIAL #1 (IMAGE)

COMIXOLOGY

After a few months off, Nocterraone of CBR’s best comics of 2021 – returns with the Nocterra Blacktop Bill Special, by Scott Snyder, Tony S. Daniel, Denys Cowan, Kent Williams, Chris Sotomayor and Andworld Design. This grim flashback special dives deep into the history of Nocterra’s deadly villain before the main series takes readers back to the eternally dark world haunted by monstrous shadows.

With their story, Snyder and Daniel paint an inhumanly ghoulish picture of Nocterra’s dark killer that’s fleeced with a few months of grim humor. While Cowan, Williams and Sotomayor’s art is a far cry from the series’ usual sleek style, its grittiness is a perfect complement to this bleak story’s most over-the-top moments.

INFERNO #4 (MARVEL)

COMIXOLOGY

With Inferno #4, writer Jonathan Hickman’s era-defining X-Men run comes to an end, along with Marvel’s latest major mutant crossover event. While Hickman, Valerio Schiti, Stefano Caselli, David Curiel and Joe Sabino’s extra-length finale wraps up some long-running subplots, Inferno #4 sets up an exciting post-Hickman future for the X-Men.

While Magneto and Professor X confront an existential threat to mutants, the heart of Inferno lies in the resolution of the long-simmering rivalry between Moira MacTaggert and Destiny and the dramatic new status quo that feud creates. Although there are still a lot of stories to be told in this era of X-Men, this issue finds a satisfying emotional resolution to Hickman's run in that relationship. Schiti, Caselli and Curiel sell the story’s existential stakes with dramatic and dynamic art, especially with a fight between Professor X, Magneto and two powerful Sentinels that spans much of the issue. With an ingenious use of X-Men lore, Inferno delivers one more dose of the smart, thrilling storytelling that has defined this era of X-Men comics while paving way for the next one.

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About The Author
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Tim Webber (623 Articles Published)

Tim Webber is a writer, journalist and content creator based out of Atlanta, GA. With over a decade of experience, Tim has written everything from news analysis to cultural criticism about comic books, film, television and music. In addition to his work for CBR, Tim has written for a number of print and digital publications including Creative Loafing and Frequency Magazine. To put his worryingly deep knowledge of comics and superheroes to good use, he also helped design and teach courses based on graphic novels at Emory University, his alma mater. He can usually be found sipping tea, hitting deadlines or trapped under a very large pile of X-Men comics from the 1990s. If he sounds mildly interesting, you can follow Tim on Twitter @MrTimWebber.

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