Category Archives: Reviews

TV Review: Constantine S1E5 Danse Vaudou

CONSTANTINE-First-Official-Image1In New Orleans, Constantine’s unusual knowledge of a string of crimes gets him into trouble with Detective Jim Corrigan. He must form an unholy alliance with Papa Midnite when a voodoo ritual to help people communicate with their dead loved ones takes a deadly turn.

Its taken about five episodes, but Constantine I think has finally found its groove. This episode has a really solid mix of paranormal ghost busters, but wrapped in that is a bigger story, and direction for the series. That comes at the end of the episode where Constantine asks Papa Midnite for some help to figure out about a “rising darkness.” All of that sets some tension, as Constantine gets a hint at some of the adversity he’ll face. But bigger about the episode, is the sense of world building.

The first four episodes can all really stand on their own, but with the introduction of Papa Midnite, and now Jim Corrigan, we’ve got characters we can expect to see multiple times, and an ongoing narrative, other than the mystery that is Zed.

The series is getting much stronger, and that’s actually pretty impressive since it stumbled so much from the start. I’m crossing my fingers that the series gets the chance to show us what its fully capable of.

Overall rating: 8

 

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Review: Storm #5

storm005-covSo far in this series, the writing team has failed to find one unifying direction for the character, and although this is the second half of a two-part story arc, the same lack of direction continues here.  In the last issue, Storm visited Yukio and found her involved in a strange setup controlling a part of the underworld.  In order to resolve differences among the groups, champions from each group fight against each other.  With this as the setup to this issue, the two champions face off against each other, in a conflict which takes up most of the story here.

Perhaps as the basis for a very rudimentary comic this might work, but this fails to be engaging in any practical way, and really doesn’t do Storm any justice.  The only reason that Storm is here at all is because of a debt to Wolverine, whose death she is still grieving.  While perhaps this is a logical outcome for the character in the story, it makes little sense to the reader, as this grieving ends up with a battle royale with characters that were only recently introduced, and thus ones which the reader has little connection to.  Certain parts are handled well, such as Storm’s characterization and her refusal to bow to Wolverine’s legacy, but this ends up being somewhat off the mark.  After all when any story too closely resembles that of Zombie Tramp in a given month (a battle to the death in the desert outside of Vegas) then there are probably some inherent problems with the concept behind the story.

While the series has been doing a routinely adequate job with the titular character, there have not really been many “Wow!” moments so far in this series, and while it seems to be trying to tell a more organic day-by-day rendition of  Storm, this issue highlights perhaps a need for a balance between the two approaches, with maybe a broader story arc to shake things up a bit and to put some tension in this series.

Story: Greg Pak Art: Victor Ibanez
Story: 5.5 Art: 8 Overall: 5.5 Recommendation: Pass

 

Loot Crate Vs. Nerd Block: November 2014 Edition

We compare this month’s Loot Crate and Nerd Block. Both boxes were packed with items, literally bulging. Loot Create’s theme was “Battle” while Nerd Block had a bunch for comic fans.

Which one was the best this month? Find out!

Unboxing Loot Crate’s November 2014 Mystery Box

Loot Crate‘s November 2014 release has arrived and here’s what you can find inside. The theme for this month is “battle.” It features a lot of items for fans of video games.

You can sign up for the service too http://mbsy.co/lootcrate/1600623

 

 

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site.

Unboxing Nerd Block’s November 2014 Mystery Box

We open up and show off this month’s Nerd Block blind box. Some toys, a t-shirt, and more! It’s a packed box to the point the box actually bulged!

Check out what this service has for folks who subscribe! You can subscribe for next month’s Nerd Block here.

 

 

 

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site.

Review: Grimm Fairy Tales 2014 Holiday Special

GrimmFairyTales2014HolidaySpecial-coverOne of the common problems with the Grimm Fairy Tales Universe.  When it focuses on stories other than ones that it has tried to incorporate from a variety of fairy tales, literature and mythological pantheons, it tends to get a bit bogged down.  That is not to say though that original stories from this company are all bad, only they tend to do better whenever they come in a format which more closely resembles fairy tales.  That is the case here as once again Sela is forced to deal with Krampus at Christmas time instead of just being able to sit back and enjoy some egg nog and candy canes.

Over the past few years, it has been a common theme of Sela to intervene from Krampus attempting to kill as many people as he can over the holidays.  Usually this is a play on one of the good aspects of the holiday being distorted.  That is to say that Krampus has acted as an agent that punishes those that use (or misuse) Christmas traditions for their own interests.  While these previous issues have been of variable quality, the stories generally fit closer to the profile of what should be expected from this universe’s specials – a tale of morality usually involving a bit of gore.  This year’s story is a little different as instead of it focusing on those that Krampus wishes to punish, it focuses on the character’s background.  The effect of this is a story which is a lot more fairy tale like than most in the past specials, and it works well enough, especially with Sela trying to teach her disciples how to enjoy Christmas.

The end result is not amazing, but this fits better into the sequence of holiday specials than most of them have, for instance the relatively recent 2014 Halloween special.   Fans of the main series will probably find enough here to keep them happy, but this issue stands alone as enough of a creepy Christmas story for any readers interested in a little gore mixed in with their mistletoes.

Story: Anne Toole Art: Butch Mapa
Story: 7.8 Art: 8 Overall: 7.8 Recommendation: Read

TV Review: Arrow S3E7 Draw Back Your Bow

arrowOn this episode of Arrow Oliver must stop an Arrow-obsessed serial killer, Carrie Cutter, who is convinced that The Arrow is her one true love and will stop at nothing to get his attention. Unfortunately, her way of getting his attention is to kill people. Meanwhile, Ray asks Felicity to be his date for a work dinner with important clients. Thea auditions new DJs for Verdant and meets Chase, a brash DJ with whom she immediately clashes.

I’ve never heard of Carrie Cutter/Cupid before this episode, but watching the episode had me want to check out the character more and see the comic portrayal.

Amy Gumenick, the actress who plays Cutter/Cupid, does a fantastic job playing the Arrow obsessed nutter than a loon character. She’s pretty fun to watch, and takes what could easily be a goofy character and makes a little something of her. I’m kind of hoping we’ll see more of her down the road, especially since where she winds up.

The bigger story and theme of the episode is the relationships of a few characters, especially the triangle that is Ray Palmer/Felicity/Oliver. Who’s interested in who, and who will admit what is mixed around a bunch. Oliver is still struggling with his feelings towards Felicity, and to see things not going perfectly for him is actually really nice.

As usual the last moments of the episode is where it’s at. Not only do we get to see a bit of the rendering of Ray Palmer’s Atom suit, but also our first look at Captain Boomerang, the Flash’s Rogue, who’s debuting here instead, further intertwining the two series.

Overall rating: 7.75

Review: Wonder Woman #36

ww0036covThe Wonder Woman series takes a different turn starting with this issue.  So far since the new 52, the character has been controlled by Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang, but with this issue the new team of married couple David and Meredith Finch, the series is undergoing a change.  Since the launch of the new 52, the series has been one of the standouts for DC Comics, and many fans of the character list the previous 35 issues as some of the favorites in the character’s long publication history, rivaling those of George Peres and Gail Simone.  If there had been one criticism of the new series, it is that it was mostly as a standalone from the remainder of the DC Universe.  There was the occasional cameo by others, but mostly the series kept to itself and told its own story.  With the new creative team, the emphasis is now on how to balance what is now comic canon from the previous run in regards to her modified origin and history, while also trying to reintegrate the character into the mainstream DC Universe.

This doesn’t take long, after a nearly poetic entrance, and a short interlude by the Amazons, Diana is shown immediately surrounded by her allies from the Justice League.  No sooner is she appraised of the situation than she is off to investigate the disappearance of numerous villages around the globe.  This gives a chance for a short (and possibly out-of-place) fight scene, but the character of Wonder Woman is handled well throughout, as her true nature is shown versus the other characters.  She may be the Goddess of War, but as the Futures End series demonstrated, she is probably better suited to be the Goddess of Peace.  Seemingly the creative team didn’t want to thrust the character back into the DC Universe entirely, and so by the end of the issue she is back to Themyscira for a problem now rooted back into those of the mythology from which she is born.

Overall the issue does what it needs to have done.  Wonder Woman is thrown back into the main DC Universe with careful intention, and yet the ties to her stories so far in the new 52 are not simply forgotten.  Much was made about David Finch’s comment about the character and feminism, but those were apparently taken out of context, and really he does a great job drawing female characters (though I might point out that his male characters tend to be a bit boxy).  Focusing on the feminine is not a bad thing for this book, as long as it is not exploitative, and with one issue into this new direction, the creative team seems to at least be on the right track.

Story: Meredith Finch Art: David Finch
Story: 9 Art: 9 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Supergirl #36

supergirl coverAs one of the outliers in the Superman titles, Supergirl often gets the worst treatment of them all.  Throughout 35 issues the character has struggled to find a singular direction in its stories and character development, instead often getting caught up in the Superman crossovers.  While the initial issues were going along well enough, it eventually got stopped in its tracks by the H’el story arc, and once the series seemed to have recovered from that it was thrown into the Doomed story line.

Below it all is an engaging character that all too often has her character development thrown out the window for the sake of some easy cross-coverage.  While that is not exactly the case here, it is clear that the Superman titles cannot just leave the character alone, which is evident here even in the words of Supergirl, asking to be left alone as she addresses Kal.  There is incidentally relatively few moments in comics where reality imitates art as well as this.  Much as with Batgirl in the Bat-titles, the character of Supergirl really needs some space in order to grow into something more than just another tie-in to bigger Superman stories.  By the end of this issue that starts to take shape, but it is at the expense of other recent developments (such as her budding romance from the other recent issues.)  What happens here at the end is to throw Supergirl into yet another offshoot of her own story lines, once again drawn into space beyond her control, but this story arc at least looks to be engaging (including re-introducing Maxima.)

What happens is that the series once again seems to have some promise to stand on its own, something that it didn’t have since the first year of its stories.  While readers and fans of the character might be waiting a long time for some eventual stability within this title as opposed to outside interference, it would appear that this might be that issue where it starts, even if Superman is here for about two pages.  As one of the few titles featuring a female superhero, this title could definitely use the attention which it deserves from both the fans and the creators, but it is to the creators to make that happen, and hopefully this will be the first step.

Story: K. Perkins and Mike Johnson Art: Emanuela Lupacchino
Story: 8.5 Art: 9 Overall: 8.6 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Spider-Woman #1

spider woman coverAfter much controversy and word-of-mouth, the new Spider-Woman series finally arrives.  It has now been a few years since Spider Woman headlined her own series, and a few decades since her first and most successful run in comics, and so a lot of fans are excited about the chance to be re-introduced to the character on a monthly basis.  The story follows Spider Woman as she jumps through various universes in the multiverse, trying to keep the newly introduced Silk alive.  As an introduction to the character this is one of the strangest that I have seen.  Comic book crossovers are an inescapable truth in comics, but this is one of the few times that I have seen the first issue of an ongoing series which incorporates in a large crossover, in this case Spider-verse.  It is a strange mix, because the series hits the ground running, and for the curious fans that might have wanted to pick up this issue because of all of the buzz, they might come in here feeling a little blind if they have at least not been exposed to anything else Spider-Verse related.

Because of that this issue faces a bit of an uphill battle in order to succeed, but it manages to do so, and on the strength of its characters.  Silk is a brand new character, but is immediately likeable.  Spider Woman, as the veteran superhero provides an anchor for the various comings-and-goings of other Spider characters in this book (of which there are three) which incidentally show three of the other “Spider-Women” (missing only a couple.)  This was a nice touch, to include so many versions of the titular character in one place and at least pays better homage to what has come before than many first issues manage to do.

The end result is a decent issue with some fun moments and fun dialogue.  It is maybe not the best start that this series could have gotten off to, but it was sort of forced into the larger story arc and forced to adapt, which it does well.  At the very least, with an ongoing series featuring Spider Woman, with Silk as her ally/sidekick, this series should be interesting, and without the crossover into Spider-Verse the future looks bright for it finding its own identity.

Story: Dennis Hopeless Art: Greg Land
Story: 8.5 Art: 9 Overall: 8.6 Recommendation: Buy

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