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Review: Translucid #1

Translucid_01_coverAThe Horse has been the arch-enemy of The Navigator for years. But The Horse feels The Navigator’s moral compass slipping, and even a villain can’t let that happen. The Horse decides to get a closer look into The Navigator’s past that he’s buried deep in his subconscious and find out what drives a person to make the right choice, and what propels someone to make a selfish one. Thus begins an exploration of why a young man would take the mantle of a superhero.

What is a superhero without their villain(s)? That’s the question the new series Translucid from the writing duo of Chondra Echert and Claudio Sanchez attempts to explore. At leas that’s where I think the series is going. The first issue is but a piece of the bigger puzzle, of which I can’t tell you exactly what the picture is. That I think sums up the first issue. It has a lot of great moments, and some choppy flashbacks, that form the beginning of what potentially will be an interesting narrative. The idea of choice, and how these two characters got where they are is peppered throughout the issue. Seeing the reveal of that will be the highlight, what really drove each of the characters into the direction of good or evil.

In the promotion we’re told the series explores the thin line between heroes and villains, and the space between childhood hope and loss. That’s a topic that’s been tread a few times before, and a new take it always welcome and interesting. The issue has a solid build introducing us to the various players and building to one hell of an ending, one I have no idea where the series goes from here.

I think the gripe I have with the issue is that it is just one issue. Reading it front to back, I’m left feeling that it’s possible the story might read better as a trade or if it were released in one shot as a graphic novel.  There’s a lot in this issue though. The feeling I have stems from the flashbacks, while hinting at things, don’t quite have enough of a pay off, or impact the story of the first issue enough to really make sense, or not feel choppy.

The art is solid, and Daniel Bayliss‘ addition adds a kinetic energy that fits the vibe of the characters and world. The character design is interesting and how The Navigator’s gear works, and how that’s presented, definitely has me intrigued.

Overall, the first issue takes a concept we’ve seen before, and presents it in an interesting way to start. It’s just a sliver of the bigger picture and larger story, and I finished the first issue wishing I could just read it all at once. That being said, Echert and Sanchez have produced some epic series in the past, and I expect no less of this one. Add in Bayliss’ art, and you’ve got an intriguing series that I’m looking forward to seeing how it plays out.

 

Story: Chondra Echert and Claudio Sanchez Art: Daniel Bayliss
Story: 7.5 Art: 7.75 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

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

Review: Superior Spider-Man #31

SSMCOV31“I was wrong. For me to even be here–someone had to die.
– Peter Parker (the real one)

Superior Spider-Man has finally come to an end. The thirty-one issue superhero story is one of the best of I have ever read and will definitely be remembered as a very important moment in the timeline of our favorite web-slinger. I was surprised to learn that quite a few people I spoke to about the series were a little confused by what transpired in issue #30 and how Peter took back his body from Doc Ock. Before I summarize and review #31 let’s go back and I’ll explain what exactly happened in the last issue real quick. Dan Slott did a fantastic job with this thirty-one issue Spider-Man story and it would be a shame to not understand the little nuances that made it so…well…superior.

Issue #30 confused a lot of folks and left people wondering if it was Doc Ock who did the valiant thing and gave up his seat of power as the Superior Spider-Man or if it was Peter Parker’s doing and he duped the brilliant scientist Dr. Octopus? Well, in my opinion, it was a harmony of both of those. If you remember back in Amazing Spider-Man #700, Peter/Ock died and Peter’s fans and followers let out a unanimous “gasp” that one of their favorite Avengers finally succumbed to Doc’s evil plan. However, We learn later on that a part of Peter still lived on the brain of Doc/Spidey. Then in the infamous issue #9, it appeared as though the tiny remnant of Peter that we desperately wanted to cling to for hope vanished as Doc went into his brain and defeated Peter for good. I know, this is going to get a little confusing, but it will be worth it.

We all thought Peter was gone for good (most of us, anyway) until he showed up back in Doc/Spidey’s brain, during The Darkest Hours arc, to help take care of Venom because things were getting a little too crazy for Doc as Superior. And the world rejoiced. Which brings us to issue #30 and the part that confused a lot of people. If you look closely Peter’s plan all along was to hold onto the key moments in his life as Spider-Man, the parts that really defined him. Their are actually 31 of those moments, which, is why Slott made Superior 31 issues long. So, what Peter planned to do was go through Doc’s timeline, but, not lose himself by remembering the key moments he held onto as ASM; he’s fighting all the memories that are not his – we can clearly see that. Note that Doc is fighting this from happening, also. When Peter gets to the point on Doc’s timeline where we reach ASM #700 Peter doesn’t fight anymore and lets it all in realizing that those are his memories. This is why I say the FINAL switch was a harmonious result of both Doc and Peter. Doc finally decides that he is not the hero Peter is and Peter does what he planned to get his memories back. It was a perfect resolution by Slott. If this is still a little confusing, please comment below and I would love to clarify any questions you might have

This brings us to the heroic tale of Issue #31 and Peter back in his original body. The final issue of Superior Spider-Man is basically a cleaning up and restart for the much anticipated ASM #1 that will be released in a few weeks. Peter’s first task is to find out how the Goblin became so powerful so quickly. Carlie tells him that he hacked Doc Ock’s Spider-bots to not recognize anything with a Goblin mask or logo on. Peter immediately gets to work to get his city back and save the people he loves and the people that love him. In brilliant fashion, Peter goes to save Miguel O’Hara from the Spider Slayers, so he can have someone like himself fighting with him to take down the Goblin. They take down Menace and Peter injects her with the serum that Doc created to reverse the effects of what makes her a Goblin. Peter attempts the same with the Goblin, who is in fact Norman Osborn, but he admits to changing his face to become unrecognizable. The spider-bots were reprogrammed and fitted with Goblin-serum and attacked Osborn. Just like that there is no more Goblin.

The issue does a great job at setting up the next arc in the franchise and resetting things for Peter to take the reigns once again. It will be nice to have him back, but I will admit that Doc Ock as Spidey will be missed. We will definitely keep an eye out for him in the future as well as Stone, Liz Allan and Norman. I really enjoyed Doc’s time as Spider-Man and I had hoped that there would room enough in this city for both of them. That would have been really neat to see and, who know, maybe Doc Ock will make another superior outfit and challenge Peter once again. One thing is for sure, however, the next time these two meet will be one superior…amazing…awesome issue.

It goes without saying that fine lines and perfect colors are a perfect match for Slott’s unique writing skills. Giuseppe Camuncoli draws the most incredible Spider-Man issues and every issue is a treat to look at. John Dell and Terry Pallot are amazing on ink and, well, everything about this team is awesome. When I find myself staring at each page in awe I tell myself that this has to be one of the best teams in comics today. All of that would be nothing colors by Antonio Fabela and letters by Chir Eliopolous.

And lastly, Anna Maria Marconi does get saved by Peter and her confession of love for Doc/Spider really touches him. He realizes that Doc did a good job even if he couldn’t complete it. Maybe people can change? He understands the sacrifice Doc had to make to save the people he loved and Peter contemplate that someone had to die in order for him to become the Amazing Spider-Man again. That someone was the Superior Spider-Man, but in the end, it’s Peter who was Superior all along. Welcome back Peter. Welcome home.

Thoughts and Discussion

– Where is Doc Ock? Will he be a villain fighting Peter again? Will he be a good guy for now?

– What will happen with the Goblin now? Will he turn back the effects of the serum that Parker injected him with?

– What are J. Jonah Jameson’s plans? Will he hold a grudge against Spidey and be a new antagonist?

– Will Peter put a fail-safe in place so the brain-swap won’t happen again?

Thanks for checking

Story: Dan Slott – Script: Christos Gage – Art/Cover: Giuseppe Camuncoli – Ink: John Dell & Terry Pallot – Color: Antonio Fabela – Letters: Chris Eliopoulos
Story: 9.5 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Toy Review: Dillon, you son of a bitch! A review of NECA’s Jungle Disguise Dutch from Predator

I want to welcome Garry who will be taking on the challenge of expanding Graphic Policy’s toy coverage! You can find him regularly blogging at The Tell Tale Mind. Welcome Garry! – Brett

With that line, we were all introduced to one of the greatest bromances in movie history. To honor this relationship, movie, and franchise let’s take a look at NECA’s Jungle Disguise Dutch from the Predator series.

Dutchpack

The packaging on this particular figure had seen better days. It was sitting in back of a storeroom at my local comic store for a while before hitting the shelves. I had seen this in the store before but didn’t have the means to pick It up (*cough* money *cough*). I thought I had missed my chance until I walked in and saw this dinged package calling my name. The front and back feature some nice close-up shots of the figure and the series line-up is also shown. A plot synopsis for the movie is on the reverse but you’ve all seen Predator right? If not, why? Go watch it then come back. This review will still be here.

DutchFB

LOOK AT IT!!!!!!! JUST LOOK AT IT!!!!!!!! This is a 6” scale action figure. This is not a Hot Toys or Sideshow Collectibles release. This isn’t even a NECA Quarter scale figure. This is a 6” INCH action figure that is available at mass market retail. I was blown away when I picked up this figure. I couldn’t believe that NECA was able to produce a sculpt this detailed on such a scale. Even if you ignore the muscle structure and texturing on the torso (which you shouldn’t), LOOK AT HIS FACE! This has got to be one of the absolute best Arnold likeness made in any scale, ever. NECA has some talented sculptors on staff and this figure is a showpiece for that talent. The muscle definition is outstanding. Arnie wasn’t Conan-sized in Predator and this figure captures his veiny, lean, and muscular physique very nicely. The layers of mud present on the torso also help create a sense of depth. The lower torso features a great army pant design that is full of belts, pockets, buckles, stitching, and seams. On a whole, the sculpt is as near perfect as one could ever ask for. Dutch comes loaded with accessories too. You get a bow, arrows, grenade staffs, spear, pouch and torch. The value packed into this figure is leaps and bounds above others in this scale. NECA is one of the few toy makes who haven’t forgotten that accessories are an important part of an action figure.

DutchFrame

Over the years, NECA has improved greatly on the articulation of its figures. Dutch continues that fine endeavour. Human figures are always hard to articulate while maintaining the integrity of the sculpt. Shitless and muscular figures are even more difficult. The lower half has great rocker ankles, hinged and rotating knees, and ball joint hips. Tight joints allow Dutch to be posed very easily and stay standing without any external support. This is something NECA has had issues with in the past. Thankfully, Dutch stays right were you put him. The upper body has waist swivel, rocker ab, socket shoulders, hinge/rotating elbows and rotating wrists with a slight hinge to them. There is no cut bicep on this figure. A joint that I assume was left out in order to preserve the sculpt. The elbow joint may end up looking a little unusual, depending on how the figure is posed. At a right angle, the top half of the arm creates a small lip between the lower half. This may have been unavoidable given the design of figure. I played around with varies poses for Dutch holding his weapons and settled on the one you see in the pictures. All of the possible display options looked great and there is no wrong way to display this figure.

DutchDetail

Dat face! To cap everything off Dutch features a beautiful paint job. The camouflage pants have a great forest/jungle deco on them. Although given the part of the movie this figure is from, some mud paint applications on the pants could have been added. One issue I’ve had with NECA’s other Predator figures is the unpainted hip joints. The ball joints are left in the casting colour and do stand out when posed in such a way as to expose them. Hopefully NECA may start painting these or casting them in a more suitable colour for the figure. The torso and head are outstanding. Just look at the photo! The layering of browns, greys, and coppers create a deep and complex appearance. Re-creating the look of layers upon layers of mud and jungle is achieved without a single sloppy brush stroke or any colour bleeding. How the folks at NECA achieve this is beyond me. All the accessories feature great paint apps as well. The twine used to hold the knife on the spear has a nice metallic look and the pouch is a nice contrasting green. Once you look closely at the face you’ll notice even more incredible paint work. Arnie’s intense eyes were always a prominent feature in the movie and this figure does a great job capturing that intensity. The contrast between the mud on the face and the whites of the eyes really make them pop. The small bit of blood trickling from his lip is a great touch that shows off NECA’s attention to detail.

There really isn’t much more to say. This truly is an incredible action figure. The likeness of the character is near perfect, it comes loaded with accessories, features a rich paint scheme, and solid articulation. What else could you ask for? Jungle Disguise Dutch was released last year and had I picked it up then, it would have been my figure of the year (and I got quite a few great figures last year). As it stands though, it’ll probably be my pick for best figure of this year. There are plenty of great figures coming out but I can’t imagine anything coming together so perfectly as to challenge Dutch here. I have no idea how the artists (and they are artists) at NECA keep making such incredible figures. If I ever get the chance to meet Randy Falk I want to shake his hand and say thank you for everyone’s incredible work. This figure exemplifies all the things I love about this hobby and it is a welcome addition to my collection.

TV Review: Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Ep. 18 – Providence

Warning Spoilers Ahead

Agents_of_SHIELD_logoWith the end of last week’s episode still ringing this week’s episode opens with S.H.I.E.L.D. still weakened and battered. Coulson seems to be in charge and is assessing where the organization stands, and what assets they still have. The answer is very few. The organization has also now been branded a “terrorist” organization, on the run, and off fighting Hydra. This drives the team to go underground and on the run, erasing their identities.

With Colonel Glenn Talbot now on their trail, Coulson and his team seek refuge in the last place anyone would look, where they begin to uncover S.H.I.E.L.D.’S most dangerous secrets — secrets that could destroy them all.

What’s also nice is we get to follow up with Grant and Garrett where it’s confirmed that Garrett is indeed the Clairvoyant. Some of the earlier plot lines, and individuals captured, is revisited, now with a fully active and in charge Hydra backing them up. With S.H.I.E.L.D. broke, Garrett decides to not only free some folks, but also go shopping and grab loose weapons and various S.H.I.E.L.D. facilities.

With Coulson’s S.H.I.E.L.D. team on the run, a cryptic message is sent, sending the team to an unknown location. Who sent the coordinates? We’re not quite sure, but Coulson is convinced they’re from Fury himself. This leads them to a snowy location in the middle of nowhere.

Coulson learns the truth about Fury when he meets an isolated S.H.I.E.L.D. agent in the location they stumble upon.

While last week’s episode was an improvement, this week’s writing, acting, everything is leaps and bounds above what’s come before. It’s night and day from what we saw here and what came before. There was more than enough moments to make this episode satisfying, and the highlight of the season so far.

Writer: Joss Whedon, Jed Whedon, Maurissa Tancharoen, Brent Fletcher
Overall Score: 8.25

Review: Flash Gordon #1

Flash01-Cov-ShalveyFlash Gordon never fit in on Earth. But on the bizarre planet Mongo, Flash’s thirst for thrills and daring danger makes him the perfect weapon against world-breaking Ming the Merciless and his awful inter-planetary swarms of terror! Can the cocksure Man From Earth funnel his overconfidence into saving worlds, or will the universe fall to Ming?

I’m a Flash Gordon fan, ever since I read the old pulp comics from back in the day and seeing the campy 80s movie. After all, he did save every one of us…. how could you night like him? Going into this first issue, my expectations were high, as I had hopes we’d see some pulp action fun. The results though, are a bit mixed. There are lots of it I like and some I didn’t.

This isn’t quite a throwback comic. Flash Gordon himself is updated as an extreme sports, death-defying character, which is fine, but in the glimpse we see of him from Earth, it doesn’t quite explain his ability to deftly maneuver a plane. Dale is still a reporter, and Zarkov is still a mad scientist. As far as characters, Flash’s change as far as how he spends his time seems to be about all that’s changed. For long time fans, writer Jeff Parker quickly goes through our three main protagonists on Earth, before throwing them into being chased on Mongo. What happened that they got there? Why are they being chased? What the hell happened!? We’re not really outright told. There’s a break in time and we’re left as readers to imagine and fill in the gaps, and that’s my complaint with the issue. There’s lots of “pulp” action, but by getting us there, the progression of the story is a bit choppy.

But, Parker through all of that action, shows us the various worlds of Mongo and how they fit together in this vision of the Gordon adventure. Portals take you from world to world, which works quite well, and gives our three characters a solid goal, to find or open a portal to Earth and return.

The vision of those worlds, and the beings that inhabit them, is brought to us by Evan Shaner, which gives us a modern pulp feel. Shaner doesn’t attempt to mimic a classic style, instead the comic is given a solid update, but it still fits its pulp roots. Overall, the look is fun so far. The design of the three main characters though are classic and for those who are long time fans, they are instantly recognizable.

Overall, this debut is decent. It didn’t quite blow me away, but as an opening scene before the movie credits, it gives us some fun and excitement. For new readers, I can’t imagine they’ll be hooked, but for those who are fans of classic Flash Gordon tales, it looks like Parker is more than up for the challenge to give us a new spin on an old classic.

Story: Jeff Parker Art: Evan Shaner
Story: 7.25 Art: 7.75 Overall: 7.25 Recommendation: Read

Dynamite Entertainment provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Transformers: Windblade #1 (of 4)

TF_Windblade01_cvrADark Cybertron is over, now begins the Dawn of the Autobots! IDW‘s fantastic Transformers event is over, and now we get the explore the aftermath. It’s been six months, and Cybertron is attempting to recover. At the center of it is Metroplex, barely surviving the battle that’s taken place. Taking care of the titan is Windblade, a mysterious female Transformer acting as a “Cityspeaker” the voice of Metroplex, who at this point has none.

But, who is Windblade!? Where did she come from—and what does her secret mean to the future of the Transformers?

Dark Cybertron brought us so much, including three “female” Transformers, of which we know little. This first issue slowly begins to give us the answers to all of those questions we have, at the same time moving the Transformers mythology into the next chapter. There’s something fitting that this chapter begins with the introduction of this new character in her own mini-series. It opens the doors in so many ways.

I can go on how it’s awesome to see the spotlight shone on the character fans voted for. I can say it’s awesome how we get some diversity in gender for this take on the Transformers universe. But, writer Mairghread Scott has made all of that so natural that none of it feels forced. The introduction of Windblade, and her companions, was effortlessly slid into the past mega-event. But, the history presented here in this first issue opens up the possibilities, and gives us hints at even more Transformers history. It all blends in well, and doesn’t come off as a forced ret-con.

Artist Sarah Stone‘s style is a departure from what we’ve seen for quite a while when it comes to IDW’s Transformers comics, and it too is a welcome change. The style, plus the coloring creates beautiful pages I found myself lingering on. It’s reminds me more of what we’ve seen in the Transformers Prime television show, but it works, and works well.

A powerful new chapter in the Transformers saga begins here! This is a comic no Transformers fan should miss!

Story: Mairghread Scott Art: Sarah Stone
Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

IDW Publishing provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Lumberjanes #1

Lumberjanes_001_coverAJo, April, Mal, Molly and Ripley are five best pals determined to have an awesome summer together…and they’re not gonna let any insane quest or an array of supernatural critters get in their way! Five best friends spending the summer at Lumberjane scout camp…defeating yetis, three-eyed wolves, and giant falcons…what’s not to love?!

Lumberjanes is the second title launching from the new BOOM! Box imprint of BOOM! Studios. The comic is one of those punk rock, love-everything-about-it stories that appeals to fans of basically all excellent things.

Take a bit of the kick-ass women from Buffy, mix it with a feel of Scooby Doo and give it the look of a hit Cartoon Network show and you have the first issue of Lumberjanes, a fun and entertaining debute.

The comic features five butt-kicking, rad teenage girls wailing on monsters and solving a mystery with the whole world at stake, set in a camp. There’s something really fun about the issue. It drops you right into the action, only slowing down the pace for the reader to figure out what’s going on well after… and even then, not really.

That kinetic energy that kicks off the story is expressed perfectly in the artistic style that reminds me of the renaissance of cartoons that are hitting the airwaves and entertaining adults and kids alike.

I can go on and focus that fact that this is a female heavy comic, a rarity, and that alone is why it deserves your cash, but in reality, the story, the art, everything about it is quality and fun. This is a fantastic debut, and along with The Midas Touch, is placing BOOM! Box near the top of the list of one of the best imprints out there. It’s all quality.

With the talent of acclaimed cartoonist Noelle Stevenson, talented newcomer Grace Ellis writing, and Brooke Allen on art, this is going to be a spectacular series that you won’t want to miss.

Story: Grace Ellis and Noelle Stevenson Art: Brooke Allen
Story: Art: Overall: Recommendation:

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

Review: Manifest Destiny #6

ManifestDestiny-06“We had won the battle. But not without cost.”
– Captain Meriwether Lewis

Manifest Destiny #6 wraps up the wonderfully creative first arc of the alternative reality tale of Lewis & Clark’s journey through the American West of the early 1800′s. The story is filled with supernatural beasts and even zombie-like vine people to suggest that our heroes, Lewis & Clark, came across more than just raging rivers and mountainous terrain in their quest to map out the uncharted west. Chris Dingess’s story comes to life seamlessly when combined with the beautiful art and color by Matthew Roberts and Owen Gieni, respectively. The infested animals and ‘floral’ people appear to jump out of the page with how realistic it all is. It was difficult to continuously read the remarkable story when I all I could was stare at each character and marvel at how well drawn every page is. Manifest Destiny is really a work of art and, combined with a unique take on an important historical event, needs to at or near the top of everyone’s comic book pile.

Manifest Destiny #6 continues immediately after the events of Issue #5 with Lewis, Clark and York running from the ‘floral’ infested bear. I love how the book can be serious most of the time and with one perfectly placed panel, make me laugh. It was funny to see York knocked aside by the bear in the midst of them trying to fight it off. Lewis and Clark manage to set the animal ablaze and the bear quickly runs off. Our heroes think the best course of action is to follow it, not realizing how far they have strayed from the rest of their group. While they chase the animal their crew mates are busy batting other ‘floral’ infected beings with a few losses and some members becoming infected themselves.

Lewis and Clark are standing over their kill when all of a sudden an infected carnivorous flower (I am not sure what to call it, but it looks like a large flowering vine) emerges from the forest floor and attacks them, placing Lewis and Clark inside its floral maw. The neat part about all this is the fact that the flowering vine is sentient. It speaks to Captain Lewis and says in its land it is considered a lord or godlike. Immediately after their conversation, Lewis and Clark succumb to its hallucinatory drug effects released by its tongue (does this sound at all strange yet? Trust me, it’s a great comic book). With our fearless leaders incapacitated and helpless Sacagawea leaps to the rescue and saves them from being swallowed up and forgotten forever. The panel sequences of Sacagawea fighting off the evil plant are some of the best drawn in the entire series. It was interspersed with the dream images of Lewis and Clark and made for some really great art.

The issue ends with the crew cleansing to rid themselves of the infestation. The final page was drawn superbly with symbolic meaning. The river they travel down is getting redder as they progress. This, of course, hints at the treacherous journey that lay before our heroic team. One of my favorite parts of Manifest Destiny is the spin they put on Sacagawea. They make her out to be this being with super strength and keen hunting skills. She is a great character and they did a wonderful job of building her up.

Alternative reality stories are some of my favorite kinds of comic books to read and get lost in. It’s so interesting to experience a different take on a story you are already familiar with and enjoy that I often find myself day-dreaming about “what if” scenarios all the time. Isn’t that the beauty of most of the tales we immerse ourselves in any way; a series of “what-if” events that lead to something unique and fascinating? Even if you do not know the story of Captain Meriwether Lewis and Second Lieutenant William Clark’s perilous journey in the early 1800′s to explore and map the newly acquired Louisiana Territory, Manifest Destiny is a comic book worth delving into. You do not need a degree in American history to know that Lewis & Clark did not come across strange vine monsters or rabid floral-infected animals on their trek, but the alternative reality that Chris Dingess conjures up suggests that they came into contact with that and a whole lot more.

Thoughts and Discussion

– What happened to the Minotaurs? Will we see them again?

– Are the “floral” people and animals all gone? Did any of them survive the final burning of the forest area?

– What did Lewis mean when he said Sacagawea doesn’t know why she is really there? What is her real purpose?

Thank You for checking out my Review! Please comment below so we can discuss this book and issue further!

Story: Chris Dingess – Art/Cover: Matthew Roberts – Colors/Cover: Owen Gieni – Letterer: Pat Brosseau
Story: 9 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Lola XOXO #1

LOLA-01a-Reg-Siya-OUMIn the “Wasteland”, Lola, a young woman with a resolve fortified by a lifetime of survival on her own, must journey across the nuclear-decimated United States in order to find the family that was taken from her! As her quest for the truth begins, Lola uncovers the true inhumanity of the Apocalypse, as those who seek to hold power in a new frontier, will do so at all bloody costs‹including her life!

Aspen‘s first new series in 2014, Lola XOXO, first got on my radar last year when it was first shown off by the publisher. When I saw the solicitation some months back I immediately got excited. The concept of a girl wandering across a nuclear-decimated United States sounded cool, but when I saw writer/artist Siya Oum‘s art, I immediately got excited.

Check out this cover and tell me you’re not immediately interested. Yes, the art is a bit pinup-ish/sexual at times and outfits don’t quite make sense in a nuclear wasteland, but the art design, and style are impressive. Oum is massively talented.

So I dove into the first issue and immediately I was hooked. The story starts just before the disaster as Lola sets out on a cross-country adventure without her parents, then the “event” happens forcing this young girl to trust a stranger who clearly raises her. Lola though wants to head out and find her parents. It’s clearly what drives her, but she has no idea what awaits in her adventure. It’s a world her new family is shielding her from, in a weird Three Men and a Baby meets Mad Max sort of way.

What we quickly learn in the comic is that Lola can protect herself, no matter what is out there. Though her shorts might be a bit too short, or top a bit too revealing (no nuclear winter?), she’s not a girl in need of a guy to protect her. She shows off her strength, both physically, and mentally in the comic. This is a head strong, and physically strong female lead.

The first issue has a wild west vibe in a post apocalyptic United States. Lola’s journey is just beginning, and I’m ready to see where it goes.

Story and Art: Siya Oum
­Story: 7.75 Art: 8.75 Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Aspen Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Batman: Eternal #1

Batman_Eternal_Vol_1-1_Cover-1_TeaserThe Batman corner of the DC universe is filled with some of the most colorful and iconic characters in all of comics. Batman’s rogues gallery and allies flesh out a world adding interesting flavor and color to it all. With the launch of Batman: Eternal we’re promised a greater exploration of that world, instead of revolving around and focusing on the center that is the Dark Knight. A massive cast of Gotham City’s best (and worst) examines the relationship between Batman, his allies and his city. That’s a pretty grand promise and high hopes for this, a new weekly series, so does it hold up to the expectations?

In this debut issue, Commissioner James Gordon is caught on the wrong side of the law! Kicking off in an interesting way, cementing the idea this first story isn’t Batman centric, we’re introduced to a new Gotham PD officer, fresh off the train, almost a reflection of the early days of Jim Gordon. The new officer, Bard, is talked to that there are sides to choose within the Gotham PD and that things won’t always be great for Gordon, a foreshadowing of what to expect in the first issue, instead of letting the story itself just play out.

The story is pretty good though, setting itself up like the beginning of a police procedural television show just before the credits role. What’s solid though is an interesting mystery being set up. There’s not only the issue with Gordon that finds him on the other side of the law, but also something in the beginning that’s has a nice bookend in the issue about it. The interaction of all of the characters is fantastic as well. The verbal jousting and patter is realistic and flows nicely.

Fabok’s art is fantastic for the issue. Each character looks unique and is identifiable, but the art style fits the gritty setting that is Gotham and Batman’s world.

I can’t say I’m totally blown away by the first issue, but it’s nice to see the Batman universe fleshed out to give us more than a man dressed as a bat. A good start that is best to see how it plays out.

Story: Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Ray Fawkes, John Layman, Tim Seeley Art: Jason Fabok
Story: 7 Art: 8 Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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