Category Archives: Reviews

Early Review: ApocalyptiGirl: An Aria For the End Times

Apocalypti Girl An Aria for the End TimesOut May 20, Andrew MacLean‘s ApocalyptiGirl: An Aria For the End Times is a fascinating graphic tale of a girl and her cat in a beautiful, damaged, deadly post-apocalyptic world. The story focuses on a woman and her cat trying to survive in this world, caught between to battling factions. At the same time she’s attempting to maintain her sanity after being abandoned in a scouting mission, she battles loneliness. Finally the story really focuses on what “home” means, and that even the worst situations and places can still be home.

The first thing that’s noticeable is the art. MacLean has an a style I’d associate more with European graphic novelists than what we’d find here in the US. It’s simple and beautiful to look at, adding just the right amount of detail, and at the same time not cluttering the page. The sparing use of colors enhances the look. It’s just beautiful to look at, there’s no other way to put it. You linger on each page checking out every small detail that’s been added, as if every line enhances to storytelling.

The story itself is fun and interesting with a twist towards the end I didn’t see coming at all. The comic is a layered morality tale, focusing on human nature, its propensity for destruction and through all of that, we still call each other a people and Earth home. There’s morals in there, but it’s a bit deeper than a normal comic, challenging the reader a bit. Even if you reject that sort of story, it’s still a fun, action packed comic with some fine twists and turns. I came out of it thinking a bit more about its deeper meaning. It’s a great read for a graphic novel club, perfect for debating it’s themes after.

There’s also a recurring references to opera and music. I’m sure there’s many more out there who are much more intelligent than I that can explain the significance (if any) of each of the choices of music. Again, it adds to that post reading examination that I enjoy in a comic. It’s there, but not explained for the reader, forcing us to do a bit more research and put more thought into the inclusion of the music.

The graphic novel is beautiful, and priced for a steal at $9.99. I highly recommend checking it out when it hits shelves in late May.

Story: Andrew MacLean Art: Andrew MacLean
Story: 8 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.25 Recommendation: Buy

Dark Horse provided Graphic Policy with an FREE copy for review

TV Review: Arrow S3E20 The Fallen

arrowRa’s al Ghul finally makes Oliver an offer he can’t refuse. The team joins Oliver on his journey to Nanda Parbat where a heartbroken Felicity decides to take matters into her own hands.

This episode of Arrow twists and turns as team Arrow attempts to save Thea using something comic fans will know well, Lazarus Pits. But, to save Thea, Oliver has to join the League of Assassins and take over as their new leader. The episode is full of “will he or won’t he” moments and characters attempting to sway him one way or another.

The episode is really solid other than one thing, we’ve seen this before. How many times now has Oliver left Starling City only to come back episodes later. Hell, the season started off with this exact same plot! You know it’s not going to last.

So that’s the question of this episode, where does the series go from here? The ending is pretty cool, I’ll give them that, but anyone that thinks this is a permanent thing hasn’t been paying attention. The series is heading back in an interesting direction as this season begins to wind down. Looks like it’ll be an interesting, darker, ride.

Overall rating: 7.75

TV Review: Powers S1E9 Level 13

Powers March 10In the penultimate episode written by the Powers comic co-creator Brian Michael Bendis, Walker (Sharlto Copley) decides how far he is willing to go to regain his powers as Johnny Royalle (Noah Taylor) sets the plan in motion to kill Wolfe (Eddie Izzard). Meanwhile the Powers Division sets a plan to catch Royalle in the act and discover where Walker’s true allegiance lies.

The series has gotten better the last couple of episodes, but has flattened out in quality in this episode which still includes horrible acting, and so many twists and turns as far as which side people were on that it became a mockery of itself by the end.

The episode continues to dance around good material, that’d make an excellent television show. Walker and Royalle keep debating and talking about their sins of the past, and wanting to make up for it as well as what it means to be a hero. That theme alone could have been drawn out the entire season and been the real focus. Instead, its lines every couple of episodes. There’s also Walker being torn as to whether or not he wants his powers back, and where his loyalty actually is. That is a focus of this episode, but that’s only shallow deep, as when we get to a juicy part, the episode and characters veer as if everything was not big deal. It also might be the fact no one can act like something is a big deal.

Powers Cast PhotoThere’s only one more episode left in the series, and there’s still lots to explore and wrap up, including Wolfe and the potential of an anti-powers movement. Either of those could be done over a bunch of episodes on their own, and both are prime for good material to come out of them. But, I’m expecting much of the same as the series wraps up.

To say this experiment by Sony and the Playstation was a failure in my eyes is an understatement. It fails on almost every single episode, never creating a voice of its own, unless B-Movie quality is its voice. With so many other choices out there, there’s many other shows featuring powers I’d choose before this series. It’s a shame because this one has so much potential as far as what can be done, it just isn’t quite using its powers right.

Overall Score: 6.85





TV Review: iZombie S1E6 Virtual Reality Bites

normal_izombietv_s01promo_001-1~0Liv inherits agoraphobia — and computer gaming skills — after eating a hacker’s brain.

iZombie has Liv diving into the world of computers and video games to solve a murder. The episode has a lot of amusing moments, and there’s also some pretty gruesome ones as well. The episode really kicks off with a bloated gross corpse, which might be the grossest of the series so far. There’s also a couple of murders, in rather creative ways. Finally, there’s also a lot of geek references.

That’s part of the fun of the episode. Liv gets sucked into a rather stereotypical computer nerd world, including copious amounts of Mountain Dew, never going outside, and lots of cyberbullying. It’s a little over the top, but taken as meant to be, it goes into comical territory. There’s also some slip-ups like how she says SQL, but those are made up for by geek references such as a quote from Conan the Barbarian.

The Candyman mystery is moved along quite nicely too with Major doing a lot of sleuthing. This is a very good thing, because that plot has dragged on a bit.

Finally Liv’s personal life gets some movement as well post being turned into a zombie.

As usual, the episode is charming and fun and most of that is due to Rose McIver as Liv. The series continues to be a treat with every episode, even with a similar formula played over and over.

Overall Rating: 8

TV Review: Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. S2E18 The Frenemy of My Enemy

Agents_of_SHIELD_logoA dangerous new alliance is formed as Coulson and Hunter turn to the last person anyone would expect, Grant Ward! As the war between S.H.I.E.L.D. factions continues, Skye and Lincoln will find themselves drawn into this conflict.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is daughter/daddy night as Skye and her father get to know each other. They still haven’t quite explained who Calvin is for non-comic fans (ie what makes him special), so watching actor Kyle MacLachlan is pretty entertaining as he bounces around his mood.

But really, the episode is about bringing storylines together. Coulson decides he has to make a deal with the devil to figure out what’s going on and get closer to take on Hydra. That involves recruiting Grant, and of course things go wrong and there’s double-crossing, and Skye gets whisked away. The episode was just a way to get a lot of major players together to lead into the end of the season.

There’s also a lot of advertising tying in the episode to Avengers: Age of Ultron. I haven’t seen the movie, so can’t say how well it does that, but it definitely doesn’t have the connection we saw in the first season, and feels a bit more forced.

Overall, the episode just is. There’s lots of action. The acting isn’t as horrible as it has been the last few episodes. It told a somewhat entertaining story. It just…. was.

Overall Score: 7.25

TV Review: The Flash S1E19 Who Is Harrison Wells?

theflash_full_costumeJoe and Cisco visit Starling City and ask Captain Lance for help with their investigation into Dr. Wells; Laurel asks Cisco for a favor; Barry faces a new foe who can disguise himself into anyone he touches.

The Flash ramps it up with a very fun episode that sees the Flash and his team fight a metahuman that can shape-shift into anyone. It’s a fun villain in that you get to see many of the characters that we’ve come to love act in totally different ways. We Iris fighting Barry, an evil version of Barry, it’s an episode that’s completely expected and we’ve seen before, but it’s still a hell of a lot of fun.

But also, the episode focuses on the mystery that is Dr. Wells. Part of team Flash heads to Starling City to look into the accident that killed Wells’ wife. It leads to some revelations that helps them put the puzzle together.

What’s really kills is that finale which has Barry, Cisco, and Caitlin stumble upon some info that really opens their eyes. Fans of the comic series should be so excited to see all of this, and it’s setting up what should be one hell of a season finale.

The last couple of episodes have been ok, but this one slingshots right back into that awesome category. It’s a fun episode that moves the mythos along, but also provides us a fun villain too.

Overall rating: 8.5

TV Review: Gotham S1E20 Under the Knife

gotham cast The episode continues the story of Gordon tracking down the Ogre, Bruce figuring out what’s up at Wayne Enterprises, the Penguin wanting to start a war, and finally the real birth of the Riddler.

Gotham is ending the series in a rather random way, with a mult-part story involving the serial killer, something that should have come much sooner in the series I think. It all feels a bit rushed.

There’s also the issue that the Ogre just feels like a 50 Shades rip-off. It’s not necessarily bad, but with a secret room, some S&M hints, it all just feels like a bad cash-in and attempt to connect with that audience. What I do think is interesting is that actor Milo Ventimiglia, who plays the character, actually channels some Bruce Wayne in the depiction, and I could see him taking on the role at some point.

The better part of the episode is the Penguin’s decision to amp up the war with a certain crimeboss. That is much better and more interesting as far as all of the plotlines.

There’s also a nice twist with the Riddler that I didn’t see coming.

The episode was ok to me. Not bad, not good, and a piece of the season finale. There’s some intriguing things of where they might take some characters, but overall, things seem a bit rushed to me. For once, I wish things were spread out across more episodes.

Overall Score: 7.25

Review: LoveRunKill #1

RunLoveKill01_CoverSought after by elements from her violent past, fugitive and assassin Rain Oshiro has just 24 hours to escape a barricaded city while trying to evade a military force determined to either capture or kill her.

The first issue of RunLoveKill, written by Jonathan Tsuei and Eric Canete with art by Canete is interesting. I really wanted to like it, but there’s also something that was holding me back from gushing over it.

The story is very simple, a mysterious woman is attempting to escape a totalitarian city-state in a world that we don’t know a whole lot about. The concept is entertaining enough and the characters are likeable. The mystery held my interest, and I wanted to learn more. That’s all good and primarily what the comic has going for it.

The art I think is what has me on the fence as to whether this is a “read” or a “buy,” and it’s very much on the fence. The art at times is visually striking and beautiful to look at. It reminded me a lot of some anime, and the world is really cool and interesting. The issue I had is some of the visuals are a bit muddy, and it’s hard to make out what’s going on and what things are. They look potentially cool, but I couldn’t quite make everything out. That’s the bad really, and what held me back from being completely pumped about the series.

The first issue is absolutely interesting, and has a lot of potential. Hopefully some of the visuals are a bit clearer in future issues, which will help put the series over the top for me.

Story: Jonathan Tsuei, Eric Canete Art: Eric Canete
Story: 7.25 Art: 7 Overall: 7.25 Recommendation: Read

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Convergence #2

convergence #2 coverAs Telos, the Planet Incarnate, easily defeats the survivors of Earth 2, Thomas Wayne and Dick Grayson set off to find help in the pre-Flashpoint Gotham City. The emotional implication of these worlds colliding comes crashing down when Thomas Wayne confronts this world’s Batman, as father meets son!

Plus, Alan Scott’s attempts to connect with The Green yield unexpected results, setting our team on a quest to escape the planet. And the cyborgs of Futures End engage in a battle to the death against the reimagined heroes of the Just Imagine Universe, while the city of Superman Red and Blue takes on the opposing forces from GENERATIONS!

The second issue of Convergence focuses in on the viewpoint of Dick Grayson and his views of what’s happened and what’s happening. This would be an interesting “everyman” point of view, but Grayson isn’t very likeable. After a brief intro to Grayson’s experience, we’re quickly pivoted to mostly a fight between the Earth 2 heroes and Telos. The fight is somewhat lame, and entire segment rather boring, but you need to get these heroes off on their mission. That involves exploring the world and trying to get some allies to help them.

The big emotional punch is supposed to be the meeting between Thomas Wayne and a version of Bruce Wayne. What should have been an incredible emotional punch comes off as cold, distant, and about as touching as a wet fart.

Convergence so far has a feel of a cheap event, thrown together from ideas we’ve seen before in previous comics and other media. The story so far is just not interesting or entertaining, it’s just rather bland and recycled. What has succeeded is some of the tie-ins, so it might be best for those interested to start there.

The second issue gets the comic moving, but it’s not enough to get me excited to see what happens next. Generally the characters aren’t likeable, and the villain is so detached, I just don’t care about him.

For a hyped event, Convergence has me waiting for it to be over to get back to our regularly scheduled program.

Story: Jeff King Art: Jason Paz, Carlo Pagulayan
Story: 6.5 Art: 7 Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Pass

Review: Nutmeg #1

NUTMEG1_CVRPoppy Pepper just wants to survive junior high and avoid her rich rival, Saffron Longfellow, and her brownie-baking minions, The Lady Rangers. But when mysterious new girl Cassia Caraway arrives, she teams up with Poppy and together they plot to bring Saffron and crew down.

Nutmeg is the latest in the line of comics featuring young women focusing on their everyday lives. Written by James F. Wright with art by Jackie Crofts. This one has a new girl quickly make a friend and learn all about the cliques in her school. It’s a simple story and something we can all relate to growing up. That’s the brilliance of the comic, it really is just a slice of life. It’s a relatable comic, and no matter if you’re a man or women, you’ve probably experienced at least one thing in the comic directly and if you haven’t you probably know someone who has. All of this is helped with Wright’s writing which sounds real and what teenagers sound like. It doesn’t come off as forced or trying to be hip, it’s just real.

The fantastic and fun writing is helped by Crofts’ art which is absolutely beautiful to look at. I fully expect Crofts to be snatched up by one of the big two rather soon as the style is perfect for the broadened demographic they’re now going after. Absolutely fun and fantastic work.

Nutmeg is exactly what we need more of in the comic industry, and hopefully this series becomes the hit it deserves to be. One of the most fun comics released this week.

Story: James F. Wright Art: Jackie Crofts
Story: 8.5 Art: 9 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Action Lab Entertainment provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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