Category Archives: Comics

Preview: God Hates Astronauts #1

God Hates Astronauts #1

Story By: Ryan Browne
Art By: Ryan Browne
Cover By: Ryan Browne
Variant Cover By: Geof Darrow
Cover Price: $3.50
Digital Price: $2.99
Diamond ID: JUL140440
Published: September 3, 2014

RYAN BROWNE’S (MANHATTAN PROJECTS, BEDLAM) farcical cult-sensation returns with a new story: perfect for new readers! A NASA funded group of arrogant “super people” must stop a rash of farmers that have been using rocket-powered silos to launch themselves into outer space! As these Astro-Farmers fire themselves all over the galaxy, NASA must utilize their every resource (A guy with a ghost-cow head, a bunch of magic bears, and a Chicago cop with robot arms) to avoid an intergalactic incident!

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Review: The Woods #5

Woods_005_coverJames Tynion IV has grown a lot as a writer, from the former student of Scott Snyder who wrote backups on Batman to a distinguished individual writing solid, original comics. The Woods from BOOM! Studios has been a lovely fantasy/teen-drama ever since it debuted back in May. In the fifth issue, Tynion continues his warm exploration of adolescence within the aesthetically-wild, fantastical woodland setting he’s crafted with his great artist Michael Dialynas. The Woods #5 takes advantage of effective flashback to display the importance of the relationship among characters Maria, Karen, and Sanami, delivering another compelling chunk of this tale.

The pages of The Woods have been filled with scary, otherworldly critters, vistas and violence, so it’s refreshing to see things how they used to be for parts of this issue. Readers are treated to a glimpse at a time when one of the characters, Sanami, went missing, offering thematic connection to the present, in which that same character is lost. The flashback reveals the troubled relationship this lost teen has with her parents, and the contrastively strong, loving relationship she has with her best friend, Karen. It’s more complicated than that, though, because a third party, Maria, butts heads with Karen but adores Sanami, leading to deep envy for the relationship they have. The pain and comfort that comes along with all of this feels palpable and easily relatable. Tynion’s expertise blatantly seems to be writing youthful characters, making his book The Woods perfectly suited for him.

The art of Dialynas, conveniently enough, fits this book wonderfully as well. He is simultaneously able to make both cute, highly-emotive human figures and grotesque monsters while still maintaining a consistent, light-hearted look that isn’t without bite. Colors are varied, while still maintaining a creepy, light-horror atmosphere. One character, a large, most-likely closeted black teen, is a constant delight in this series, this issue being no exception. Other issues have delved into his ongoing dilemma of convincing peers and adults that he doesn’t want to play football, but in this issue, he’s just seen timidly asking for two play tickets, one apparently for his “girlfriend,” and then later sheepishly telling someone he isn’t a very capable runner. The characterization is perfect, but it’s not just the writing that sells it, but also the great art. His drawn mannerisms and expressions work effortlessly. The imposing creatures and antagonistic brutes, like this issue’s vikings-like fellows, look visually interesting in an obvious, visceral fashion, but the more regular characters can often be more impressive.

This isn’t the most entertaining issue of The Woods so far, considering the mute, slow pace. Sure, this switch in gears away from the quick, eventfulness of past issues is perhaps necessary for the overall story and works well, but it does come across as less enjoyable. With that noted, The Woods #5 is a great issue that continues to cement this as a special, note-worthy comic book series.

Story: James Tynion IV Art: Michael Dialynas
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

To check out Matt’s about.me, click here

BOOM! Studios provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Carpe Diem

Carpe Diem

Writer: W.H. Rauf, Artist: Rhoald Marcellius
Colorist: Sakti Yuwono, Letterer: Imam E. Wibowo
104pg – HC – FC – $19.99 – On sale: September 3

Get ready to meet Carpe DIEm: the world’s seven greatest, color-coded secret agents (one for each day of the week, though everybody hates Mondays)!

When danger rears its ugly head, it’s up to this motely band of super spies to issue the bloody-knuckled makeover.

Whether they’re dishing out justice to satanic chefs, kicking giant kaiju butt, or saving the world from killer clowns, it’s all just other day’s work for these half-baked hired heroes.

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Colorists, Inkers, and Wes Craig’s Art

I was a big fan of Deadly Class as soon as I started reading the first issue when it came out. I adored that first issue, actually. The blunt, rough writing and solid storytelling from Rick Remender was fantastic, but Wes Craig’s art is what made the most noticeable first impression. His sharp, frantic and slightly twisted pencils looked fantastic, along with the finely done inks and contrastive coloring. The art really blew me away.

Forgive the blunt transition…

Fresh off of seeing Guardians of the Galaxy in theaters, I was on a Guardians kick, so I hopped on comiXology and splurged on the obligatory sale. I bought an old Rocket Raccoon miniseries along with Abnett and Lanning’s entire 25-issue run. The Rocket Raccoon miniseries was decent, but I have really been loving the Abnett/Lanning stuff. Today, I got to issues #11 and #12, featuring a switch-up in art. Personally, I found the art to be just fine, and a step-down from the series regular art.

And then I saw that Wes Craig did the art.

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Left: “Deadly Class” (Image Comics) #1; Right: “Guardians of the Galaxy” (Marvel Comics) #11

This was a shocking revelation for me.

This most likely speaks predominantly to the importance of colorists and inkers, but perhaps also to what time can do for an artist. Craig’s GotG #11 and #12 work, with coloring from Will Quintana, looks more clean, and much less striking, dynamic, and interesting. The coloring is very standard, unlike the super-stylized look of Deadly Class, which alternatively has coloring from Lee Loughridge. Craig happens to do the inking himself, it seems. The pencils are quite good in the GotG issues, but the coloring makes it look less appealing, at least to me.

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Left: “Deadly Class” (Image Comics) #2; Right: “Guardians of the Galaxy” (Marvel Comics) #11

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Left: “Deadly Class” (Image Comics) #1; Right: “Guardians of the Galaxy” (Marvel Comics) #11

 

 

 

I’ve written about the lack of appreciation for comics colorists in the past. Readers must understand how much of a difference colorists and, even though it’s not relevant in this specific case, inkers, have.

Maybe you disagree with me, and find the coloring/inking of GotG more striking than that of Deadly Class, but surely you notice a difference?

To check out Matt’s about.me, click here

Comic-Graphics: Weekly Facebook Page Stats

It’s Monday which means a new Marketing Monday and checking out how the various Facebook fanpages have grown or shrunk over the past week.

Overall, the pages continued to grow, this week gaining 367,486 individuals total, a 1.06% increase. That’s pretty close to last week. Changed from last week also is the inclusion of a new “comics” page that’s much greater than the previous one listed.

There was very little movement as far as ranks this week. I’ve added arrows next to what has increased in ranking.

facebook page growth 9.1.14Marvel was bumped from the top spot by ComicBook.com which continues to purchase likes. ComicBook.com is doing so by running ads, as I’ve seen the ads myself, and the page continues to not generate much reach, indicating their results are poor, and likely not worth the money being spent.

facebook new likes 9.1.14There’s been some shake up at the top spot. Valiant has moved into first, followed by ComicBook.com. Third is publisher 12 gauge Comics, in fourth place is the digital app ComicBlitz, and fifth is the store Big Planet Comics.

facebook percentage growth 9.1.14

 

Preview: Cloaks #1 (of 4)

Cloaks #1 (of 4)

Writers: David Henrie, Caleb Monroe
Artist: Mariano Navarro

In the Big Apple, a highly skilled street illusionist named Adam blows the minds of crowds with logic-defying acts, while surreptitiously using his artistry to steal from corrupt Wall Street investment bankers and re-distribute their ill-begotten wealth to those in need. He’s a modern-day Robin Hood, but his travails garner the attention of the local authorities. While evading their pursuit, Adam is confronted by three suits and quickly ascertains that freedom has a cost—in order to maintain his liberty, he must join this clandestine Black Ops organization simply known as CLOAKS.

Caleb Monroe (STEED AND MRS. PEEL, Batman) and artist Mariano Navarro (PROTOCOL: ORPHANS) bring you the Robin Hood of Wall Street, combining street magicians with a spy-fi thriller.

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Review: Sally of the Wasteland #2

sally02Sally of the Wasteland is a relatively new series from Titan Comics, so far only on its second issue. The story follows Sally and a group of survivors of some unknown apocalypse as they try to enter New Orleans to re-establish some kind of civilization by way of a quasi-magical device. Titan advertises this a grindhouse genre, while also claiming that it is “Tarantino meet Mad Max!” Before giving my thoughts on the story though, it is maybe interesting to look into some of the meanings of those claims.

Grindhouse is a relatively new concept in terms of being a specific sub-genre. Though it is based on the sex, violence and gore fueled B-movies of the 1970s, most of which have never been seen since, there is no better personification of the genre than Quentin Tarantino. Strangely though, it is not because Tarantino has really ever created a grindhouse movie, aside from a singular homage to the genre which he released with Robert Rodriguez in 2007.  Even in terms of the actual genre, this was not really grindhouse exactly, more like a campy version of it, as it was relatively well-budgeted with recognizable actors. Grindhouse isn’t really a specific genre, as there is too much leeway allowed in what qualifies. There has to be a lot of sex, or a lot of violent action, or a lot of gory horror, but not necessarily more than one of those three.  In those respects, grindhouse really resembles a lot of movies, even modern ones. The realm of comics never really escaped from grindhouse either, at least not completely, as some degree of sex, violence and gore has always been available (though maybe not under the Comics Code).

The connection of Tarantino to the genre of grindhouse is a little tenuous, and so too is the claim that this book is “Tarantino meets Mad Max!” Tarantino is not exactly a style unto himself, except in some of the subject matter which he chooses for his stories. His stories are often undoubtedly violent, but this violence almost always serves a purpose of some kind. It is not there solely for gratuity, but moves either the story along or develops a character. To be honest, I am not even a particularly big fan of Tarantino, but I have seen both an episode of ER and an episode of CSI that he has directed, and they were both more exciting than the typical episodes of those shows.  When he is outside of his own favorite genres, there is still something evident about him in his own work, which film critics label as being an auteur. The problem with being an auteur is that it is rare that someone can replicate the work of that individual, and even sometimes the individual themselves have a hard time grasping what it is that makes audiences love them so much.

Thus outside of the somewhat generic post-apocalyptic landscape this story doesn’t really have much to tie itself to – a hard-to-define genre and a hard-to-copy auteur. That having been said, even within the somewhat generic setting there is still ample ground to profit here. I have discussed with other writers of creative fiction that a story needs either an interesting premise or interesting characters. Though ideally a story has both, it can survive with only one of these, and this is where the writer here could make the characters something grab onto.  Unfortunately they are not that either. They are mostly shallow typecasts that speak under their breaths in parody-like commentary which is meant to be funny but mostly falls flat. There is also an alarming amount of references to rape (including anal rape) in this title, which are likely to turn off some people as well. On the whole, I can see where the creative team might have gone here, but that they lost their way early on and didn’t find their way back. It is a shame too, because the covers for both the first and second issue are actually really enticing, it would be nice in this case if I could judge a book by its cover, but I cannot.

Story: Victor Gischler Art: Tazio Bettin
Story: 4.0 Art: 5.0 (bonus marks for the cover) Overall: 4.5  Recommendation: Pass

 Titan Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for revewi

Review: Inhuman # 3

inhuman 3 coverI must admit, I have a soft spot for Marvel‘s minority communities. I think they serve as an interesting metaphor for real world minority issues, and both their stories and complex histories offer an interesting juxtaposition between the real and fictional where oppression and integration is concerned. The new Inhumans volume puts that community in center stage following the ground breaking aftermath of the recent Infinity mega event.

Inhuman #3 follows the current  exploits of earth’s inhuman population, which has grown considerably following Black Bolt’s decision to release Terrigen into the global atmosphere. The lynchpin of this current volume, the revelation of the existence of multiple Inhuman tribes  (previously hidden among earths human population) offers a fresh and interesting status-quo for the Inhuman community, one that was previously monolithic , scarce, and reclusive.

This new tribal nuance to the inhuman state of affairs has already begun to reflect multiple and completing ideologies. Lash of Orollan appears to take a merit based view towards terrigenesis, holding to the view that only those who are “worthy” should be allowed to enjoy the benefits of terrigenesis. On the other hand, New Attilan currently ruled by Queen Medusa, holds to a more egalitarian ethos, where the free dispensing of terrigenesis has been a staple of their culture for centuries.

This is an interesting point to ponder, as it seems that the affordances of culture are directly tied to abundance of  given resources (or the lack thereof). In issue 3 we learn that Orollan only possessed 3 terrigen crystals. We know from past volumes that Attilan has always had an abundance of Terrigen. I have always wondered if Wakanda would have been as xenophobic and isolationist as it is if it didn’t enjoy all the economic and geopolitic clout that its vibranium deposits had blessed it with. We see here how history and circumstance  indelibly marks certain cultures in the Marvel U, Attilan and its emerging sister tribes appear to be no exception

Orrollan and Attilan’s forces come to a violent conflict in this issue,  a conflict  quickly  calmed by revelations of the former King Black Bolt’s overarching plan. This reveal has implications for every Inhuman on the globe and could potentially unite them all as a result.

This has been interesting series so far that as placed the inhumans on a bold new footing. It will be very interesting to see how all the Inhumans resolve their issues and their place amongst each other as well as the greater Marvel U. It will also be interesting to see where the power of balance falls between the various Inhuman tribes. There is a lot of dust to settle that should make for a very engaging series.

Story: Charles Soule Art: Joe Madureira
Story: 8.0 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.5  Recommendation: Read

 

 

Final Thoughts

The Infinity event mentioned six locales/tribes where hidden Inhumans reside, it would be interesting to see if more show up later on.

Medusa’s statement to the rest of the world and the new emerging Inhumans was very reminiscent of Cyclops’ during the founding of Utopia in Dark Avengers #8.

The multi-tribal status of the Inhumans is very similar to the post schism state of the X-men

The notion of “Inhuman sovereignty” will be a tricky one to unpackage, given the now global reach of the Inhuman population and the multitude of tribes available for them to identify with.

I just have to say Medusa is so badass….I love her especially when Black Bolt is not in the picture, she really takes to the throne well, and shines.

Memorable Quotes

“Not Everyone with potential deserves it” – Lash (Inhuman #1)

“There are other tribes..You have a choice ” – Lash (Inhuman #1)

“They’re scared & they’re a powerbase, people will try to use that power “- Captain America (Inhuman #2)

“My Enemies all have one thing in common Lash….they fall ” – Medusa  (Inhuman #3)

Preview: Hyperion Takes Center Stage in Your First Look at Avengers #34.1!

This September, the supremely powerful Hyperion takes center stage in the oversized Avengers #34.1 – an exciting new solo story from critically acclaimed creators Al Ewing and Dale Keown! Last son of a dead utopia and sole survivor of a world decimated by Incursions. Father figure to a new species of life thriving in the Savage Land. He is an Avenger, and so much more. Now, the Man From Nowhere seeks justice upon an unhinged cop killer, the safe return of a kidnapped child – and perhaps answers to the questions that haunt him deep inside. Why was he brought here? What purpose does he serve in our universe? The answers can be found this September in the Hyperion-centric Avengers #34.1!

AVENGERS #34.1 (JUL140624)
Written by AL EWING
Art & Cover by DALE KEOWN
Variant Cover by CHRIS BACHALO (JUL140625)
FOC 8/18/14, ON-SALE 09/10/14

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Explore the Origins of the Marvel Universe with Marvel Famous Firsts: 75th Anniversary Masterworks Slipcase Set

In celebration of Marvel Comics’ 75th Anniversary, Marvel proudly presents a deluxe collection of its 10 mightiest Masterworks hardcovers – plus the all-new, long-in-demand Not Brand Echh Vol. 1 and the Avengers 75th Anniversary by Alex Ross Poster signed by none other than Stan “The Man” Lee!

Each titanic tome in this limited-edition boxed set features a newly designed cover treatment and interlocking spine artwork, and the slipcase itself is patterned after stately Avengers Mansion!

Marvel Famous Firsts: 75th Anniversary Masterworks Slipcase Set arrives in local comic book retailers September 3rd.

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Check out all of the contents below the jump.

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