Tag Archives: image comics

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Jonesy_001_A_MainWednesdays are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

We’re bringing back something we haven’t done for a while, what the team thinks. Our contributors are choosing up to five books each week and why they’re choosing the books.

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this Wednesday.

Javier

Top Pick: Sunflower #4 (451 Media) – The visuals are amazing, but the luminescence is in stark contrast to the dark cult ridden story. CJ will do anything for her daughter. Or at least we are going to find out?

Descender #10 (Image Comics) – The space adventures of Tim 21 continue on the Robot Resistance’s Machine Moon home world. A new group (‘The Between’) and character (‘Queen Between’) are to be introduced in this issue.

The Last Contract #2 (BOOM! Studios) – The assassin Old Man with No Name is on the hunt for the rat bastard who exposed his kill list. And he ain’t taking no prisoners.

Last Sons of America (BOOM! Studios) – Don Carlo is about to open a Mexican Can of Whoop’ Ass on Jackie and Julian.  I guess they shouldn’t have gotten involved with the Don’s Star Wars quoting daughter.

Snow Blind #3 (BOOM! Studios) – Trent is one messed up kid, and now he knows everything about the WITSEC program and his family.

 

Elana

Top Pick: Constantine The Hellblazer TP Volume 1 (DC Comics)Constantine is DC’s best comic and this is the place to start for fans both new and old. It holds the blend of dark humor, self destructive lust, creepy magic and relatable melancholy that’s required in a Constantine comic. Yet the stories and creative art feel all new. And hurray, one of the writers is a bisexual man writing a bisexual male lead.

Top Pick: Jonesy #1 (of 4) (BOOM! Studios/BOOM! Box) – Love is dumb! Thus spaketh many a young rebel such as Jonesy, the protagonist of this new all-ages miniseries. She has the superpower to make people fall in love, but not with her. While she revels in being unique and an outsider she also wants to be accepted– in-spite of herself. Cute and bold art that’s half punk/half cartoon feels very contemporary and young.  This is writer Sam Humphries’s second latina teen protagonist (the other stars in Marvel’s Weirdworld which you should also be buying).

All-New Wolverine #5 (Marvel) – Laura Kinney teams up with The Wasp! I love this series’ character development and consistent feminist awesomeness. Laura is a complex female superhero and we’ve been hungry for that.

Black Canary #8 (DC Comics) – A mysterious ninja is stalking Dinah. I think I know who it is. Fantastic rock and roll art and interesting stories featuring a great female cast make this series easy to love.

No Mercy #7 (Image Comics) – After last issue’s climax how are you not reading this?! Completely suspenseful, realistic and accessible to non-comics readers. It’s sort of the HBO of comics.

Zodiac Starforce #4 (Dark Horse) – The Final issue of a magical girl series I wish I had as a kid (and I never did read Sailor Moon). A charming and inventive all ages comic with a kick-ass diverse and distinctive cast. You’re sure to find a character to identify with. Feels a bit like a technicolor Buffy for kids.

 

Logan

Top Pick: Batman #49 (DC Comics) –  After Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo rewrote the Batman mythos last week to have Bruce Wayne not be motivated by his parents’ death to pick up the cape and cowl, I am interested in how Snyder and guest artist Yanick Paquette put him back in the middle of the action against Mr. Bloom.

Jem and the Holograms Valentine’s Day Special (IDW Publishing) – My favorite part of the Jem and the Holograms series hasn’t been the plots, but the fun characters, art, and romance. This is why I enjoy the various annual and special issues, which can focus on the characters, their interactions, and antics without having to progress the overall plot. Hoping for some Kimber/Stormer adorableness.

Jonesy #1 (of 4) (BOOM! Studios/BOOM! Box) – The BOOM! Box imprint has a strong track record of fun, relatable all ages comics with great cartoonish art, like Lumberjanes and Giant Days. And Jonesy is different with its focus on romance. Also, there can never be enough comics starring members of fandoms.

Jughead #4 (Archie Comics) – Chip Zdarsky and Erica Henderson make for an excellent comedy team, and Jughead is one of the funniest current comics. Each issue, I anticipate the weird and wacky dream sequences in the middle of the comic. Also, Jughead is revealed to be asexual this issue.

Ms. Marvel #4 (Marvel) – I’m really enjoying the new volume of Ms. Marvel, and how Ms. Marvel has to balance being a regular high school student, Avenger, and superhero while also dealing with her name being used by an evil corporation that wants to level her city for expensive condos. Talk about a full course load.

 

Brett

Top Pick: Shaft: Imitation of Life #1 (Dynamite) – David Walker’s first volume for the classic character was fantastic, and this second one is a comic that I’ve been waiting to read since I found out about it many months ago. Walker mastered getting to the basics of John Shaft, what makes the character great, and I’m expecting more of the same.

Descender #10 (Image Comics) – One of my favorite comics out right now. This sci-fi series is as great to read as it is to stare at it’s beautiful pages.

Legend of Wonder Woman #2 (DC Comics) – The Wonder Woman we need. It’s a back to basics take on the character and is right now the best depiction of the character in comics. The first issue was great and shows you can easily do the character right with a solid creative team.

Old Man Logan #2 (Marvel) – The first issue was fantastic, the best debut of any All-New, All-Different Marvel comic. It perfectly captured the “Western” feel of the original story mixed in with a good revenge tale. So good that I don’t care this issue is out just a few weeks later.

Sunflower #4 (451 Media) – This series is just beautiful to look at, and the story rather haunting. A mother trying to get her kid back from a cult, yes please!

Previews Releases Top 100 Graphic Novels for January 2016

Previews has released the top 100 graphic novels for January 2016. Marvel had success with Star Wars. The company had nine of the month’s top ten graphic novels and of those nine four are Star Wars.

Oni Press had success with Invader Zim‘s first volume which came in at #7. Image, which usually dominates graphic novels, had Lazarus Vol. 4: Poison as their top item at #11. DC Comic‘s best-selling graphic novel for January was The Flash Vol. 6: Out of Time at #20. Dark Horse ComicsThe Savage Sword of Conan Vol. 21 was their best at #56. IDW Publishing‘s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Vol. 13: Vengeance Part 2 was their top at #63.

TOP 100 GRAPHIC NOVELS
Based on Total Unit Sales of Products Invoiced in January 2016

QTY
RANK
DESCRIPTION PRICE ITEM CODE VENDOR
1 STAR WARS DARTH VADER TP VOL 02 SHADOWS AND SECRETS $19.99 OCT150987 MAR
2 STAR WARS TP VOL 02 SHOWDOWN ON THE SMUGGLERS MOON $19.99 OCT150986 MAR
3 COLOR YOUR OWN DEADPOOL TP $9.99 NOV150950 MAR
4 DEATH OF WOLVERINE TP $19.99 JUN150829 MAR
5 STAR WARS TP LANDO $16.99 OCT150988 MAR
6 DEADPOOLS SECRET SECRET WARS TP $15.99 OCT150977 MAR
7 INVADER ZIM TP VOL 01 $19.99 OCT151564 ONI
8 THOR TP VOL 01 GODDESS OF THUNDER $19.99 OCT150985 MAR
9 STAR WARS DARTH VADER TP VOL 01 VADER $19.99 JUL150827 MAR
10 CIVIL WAR TP $24.99 JAN072436 MAR
11 LAZARUS TP VOL 4 POISON (MR) $14.99 NOV150672 IMA
12 SAGA TP VOL 05 (MR) $14.99 JUL150565 IMA
13 DEADPOOL FLASHBACKS TP $19.99 MAY150835 MAR
14 SUPERIOR IRON MAN TP VOL 01 INFAMOUS $19.99 OCT150982 MAR
15 STAR WARS TP JOURNEY TO SW FORCE AWAKENS SHATTER EMPIRE $16.99 AUG150915 MAR
16 STAR WARS TP VOL 01 SKYWALKER STRIKES $19.99 MAY150811 MAR
17 SAGA TP VOL 01 (MR) $9.99 AUG120491 IMA
18 WALKING DEAD TP VOL 01 DAYS GONE BYE $14.99 NOV128157-M IMA
19 RAI TP VOL 01 WELCOME TO NEW JAPAN $9.99 AUG141740 VAL
20 FLASH TP VOL 06 OUT OF TIME $16.99 OCT150257 DC
21 DEADPOOL VS THANOS TP $16.99 SEP150876 MAR
22 GRAYSON TP VOL 01 AGENTS OF SPYRAL TP $14.99 OCT150253 DC
23 GRAYSON TP VOL 02 WE ALL DIE AT DAWN $14.99 OCT150254 DC
24 BATMAN BY ED BRUBAKER TP VOL 01 $19.99 OCT150242 DC
25 AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE TP VOL 01 ESCAPE FROM RIVERDALE $17.99 FEB140918-M ARC
26 SOUTHERN CROSS TP VOL 01 (MR) $9.99 AUG150495 IMA
27 STARVE TP VOL 01 (MR) $9.99 OCT150605 IMA
28 ULTIMATE END TP $16.99 SEP150866 MAR
29 BATMAN ARKHAM KNIGHT TP VOL 01 $14.99 OCT150245 DC
30 ONE PUNCH MAN GN VOL 01 $9.99 JUN158141 VIZ
31 BATMAN DETECTIVE COMICS TP VOL 06 ICARUS $16.99 OCT150247 DC
32 SUPERGIRL TP VOL 01 THE GIRL OF STEEL $16.99 OCT150252 DC
33 HELLBLAZER TP VOL 12 HOW TO PLAY WITH FIRE (MR) $19.99 OCT150281 DC
34 BATGIRL TP VOL 01 SILENT KNIGHT $19.99 OCT150244 DC
35 SILVER SURFER TP VOL 03 LAST DAYS $17.99 AUG150886 MAR
36 PUNISHER MAX TP VOL 01 COMPLETE COLLECTION (MR) $34.99 OCT150993 MAR
37 BATMAN THE JIRO KUWATA BATMANGA TP VOL 03 (OF 3) $14.99 OCT150250 DC
38 ONE PUNCH MAN GN VOL 04 $9.99 NOV151742 VIZ
39 RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS TP VOL 07 LAST CALL $14.99 OCT150260 DC
40 NEW TEEN TITANS TP VOL 04 $19.99 OCT150259 DC
41 BATMAN DETECTIVE COMICS HC VOL 07 ANARKY $24.99 SEP150289 DC
42 ALL NEW X-MEN TP VOL 07 UTOPIANS $19.99 OCT150983 MAR
43 BATMAN THE KILLING JOKE SPECIAL ED HC $17.99 NOV070226 DC
44 FLASH HC VOL 07 SAVAGE WORLD $22.99 SEP150296 DC
45 AVENGERS TIME RUNS OUT TP VOL 03 $19.99 OCT150979 MAR
46 BEE AND PUPPYCAT TP VOL 02 $14.99 NOV151159 BOO
47 JESSICA JONES TP VOL 01 ALIAS (MR) $24.99 JUN150831 MAR
48 SWAMP THING TP VOL 07 SEASONS END $16.99 OCT150262 DC
49 SHOWCASE PRESENTS BATMAN TP VOL 06 $19.99 OCT150261 DC
50 SAGA TP VOL 04 (MR) $14.99 OCT140644 IMA
51 WALKING DEAD TP VOL 02 MILES BEHIND US (NEW PTG) $14.99 SEP088204 IMA
52 SAGA TP VOL 02 (MR) $14.99 APR130443 IMA
53 HOUSE OF M TP WARZONES $15.99 OCT150975 MAR
54 SPIDER-WOMAN TP VOL 02 NEW DUDS $17.99 NOV150946 MAR
55 SANDMAN OVERTURE DELUXE ED HC (MR) $24.99 JUL150333 DC
56 SAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN TP VOL 21 $19.99 SEP150097 DAR
57 DEADPOOL AND CABLE OMNIBUS HC $125.00 JUL140716 MAR
58 BITCH PLANET TP VOL 01 EXTRAORDINARY MACHINE (MR) $9.99 MAY150482 IMA
59 X-MEN TP VOL 01 INFERNO $34.99 OCT150984 MAR
60 SHIELD TP VOL 02 MAN CALLED DEATH $17.99 NOV150945 MAR
61 SONIC MEGA MAN WORLDS COLLIDE COMPLETE EPIC TP $29.99 FEB150982-M ARC
61 GUARDIANS OF GALAXY HC VOL 02 $34.99 JUL150826 MAR
63 TMNT ONGOING TP VOL 13 VENGEANCE PT 2 $17.99 NOV150369 IDW
64 AMAZING SPIDER-MAN HC VOL 01 $34.99 OCT150969 MAR
65 INHUMANS TP ATTILAN RISING $16.99 NOV150941 MAR
66 SAGA TP VOL 03 (MR) $14.99 JAN140556 IMA
67 DAREDEVIL EPIC COLLECTION TP TOUCH OF TYPHOID $39.99 OCT150991 MAR
67 DOCTOR WHO 2015 FOUR DOCTORS HC $19.99 AUG151715 TTN
69 DEADPOOL KILLS MARVEL UNIVERSE TP $14.99 AUG120709 MAR
70 BATMAN TP VOL 01 THE COURT OF OWLS (N52) $16.99 DEC120323 DC
71 WALKING DEAD TP VOL 24 LIFE AND DEATH (MR) $14.99 JUN150590 IMA
72 MY LITTLE PONY EQUESTRIA GIRLS TP $17.99 NOV150426 IDW
73 BATMAN SUPERMAN WONDER WOMAN TRINITY DLX ED HC $29.99 SEP150286 DC
74 MMW SUB MARINER HC VOL 07 $75.00 JUL150824-M MAR
75 SHUTTER TP VOL 03 QUO VADIS (MR) $14.99 OCT150609 IMA
75 DEADPOOL TP VOL 01 DEAD PRESIDENTS NOW $15.99 MAR130727 MAR
77 RICK & MORTY TP VOL 01 $19.99 JUL151482 ONI
78 ONE PUNCH MAN GN VOL 03 $9.99 SEP151697 VIZ
79 GUARDIANS TEAM-UP TP VOL 02 UNLIKELY STORY $16.99 OCT150980 MAR
80 SEX TP VOL 04 DAISY CHAINS (MR) $14.99 NOV150692 IMA
81 DEADPOOL CLASSIC OMNIBUS HC VOL 01 $125.00 SEP150859 MAR
82 MIND MGMT HC VOL 06 THE IMMORTALS $19.99 SEP150068 DAR
82 RASPUTIN TP VOL 02 (MR) $14.99 NOV150688 IMA
84 ASTONISHING SPIDER-MAN AND WOLVERINE PREM HC $24.99 MAY110733 MAR
85 ONE PUNCH MAN GN VOL 02 $9.99 JUN158140 VIZ
86 GROOT PREM HC $24.99 NOV150925 MAR
87 BATMAN HUSH COMPLETE TP $24.99 MAY090178 DC
88 WALKING DEAD COMPENDIUM TP VOL 01 (MR) $59.99 MAR092419 IMA
89 BOOK OF DEATH TP $14.99 NOV151724 VAL
90 BATMAN DARK KNIGHT RETURNS TP $19.99 NOV118095 DC
91 AGE OF REPTILES ANCIENT EGYPTIANS TP $14.99 SEP150062 DAR
92 SHADOWLAND PREM HC BLOOD ON STREETS $19.99 JAN110835 MAR
93 X-MEN BY CLAREMONT AND LEE OMNIBUS HC VOL 02 $125.00 AUG110684 MAR
94 100 BULLETS TP BOOK 04 (MR) $24.99 OCT150272 DC
95 MS MARVEL TP VOL 01 NO NORMAL $15.99 JUN140725 MAR
96 WHAT IF TP INFINITY $14.99 NOV150944 MAR
97 WICKED & DIVINE TP VOL 01 THE FAUST ACT (MR) $9.99 SEP140684 IMA
98 ARMOR WARS WARZONES TP $16.99 NOV150937 MAR
99 DESCENDER TP VOL 01 TIN STARS (MR) $9.99 JUL150554 IMA
100 STAR WARS PRINCESS LEIA TP $16.99 JUN150822 MAR

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 6/2/16

Sometimes, the staff at Graphic Policy read more comics than we’re able to get reviewed. When that happens you’ll see a weekly feature compiling short reviews from the staff of the comics, or graphic novels, we just didn’t get a chance to write a full review for. These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Alex

johnnyred4Johnny Red #4 (Titan)** I love this series; it’s a fantastic WWII era story about a British fighter ace fighting for Russia (but do the Russian brass really want him there?) that tugs on my fondness for war comics, my respect for those who fought in the war, and my love of high quality stories. That this just happens to be one of my top two comics released this week, is just a happy accident. While this isn’t an ideal point for new readers to jump on – what with it being right in the middle of the series – it’s worth hunting the back issues down. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Surviving Megalopolis #2 (Dark Horse) I was surprised by this series. It has a slight flavour of Irredeemable but with enough of an original twist to the “Justice League’s gone bad” that it should pique your interest, because it’s well worth reading. Overall: 8.75 Recommendation: Buy

Cry Havoc #1 (Image) I finally got around to reading a couple of the last week or two’s comics, and this was fantastic. I should have read this when it came out, because the mix of the supernatural, an awesome lead character (or two) and some brilliant art make this a must read. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

europa 3Batman: Europa #2, #3 & #4 (DC)* I found the differences in the art style issue to issue jarring – at first. Then I realized that whether intentional or not (and I think it was) it absolutely makes sense given the nature of the story. I devoured the three remaining issues that I hadn’t picked up in less than an hour. Truly great stuff. Overall: 8.75 Recommendation: Buy

Amazing Forest #1 & #2 (IDW) Are a pair of fantastic anthology comics. You don’t need to read the first to enjoy the second, but both issues have some brilliant short comic stories within them that are – at times – out of this world, but are all fantastically entertaining. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Doc Savage: The Spider’s Web #3 (Dynamite) Meh. It’s okay, but just doesn’t do it for me. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Read, maybe?

The Precinct #3 (Dynamite) I wasn’t that impressed with the last issue, but this one was a lot better. It definitely drew my interest much better, and felt like a much more complete installment in this story. Plus, the steam punk aspects are fantastically understated. This comic would be just as good without them, but why would you want that? Overall: 8 Recommendation: Read

Cage Hero #4 (Dynamite) While I have enjoyed the issues so far, I’ve enjoyed them as I would the Sharknado movies; Cage Hero is good because it knows exactly what it is, and it celebrates it with every cheesy bit of dialogue, every been-there-read-that scene. The thing is, it does those things almost well enough to be worth buying, but does fall a lttle short. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Buy

 

Mr H

Spider-Man_1_CoverSpider-Man #1 (Marvel Comics)* Whooo Miles is finally here in the Prime Universe! This issue was great. I didn’t enjoy an issue like this from Bendis since his first story arc on Ultimate Spider-Man. Miles is having trouble balancing hero life and school responsibilities. What makes the issue though is when he swings into action. Spidey takes it right to Blackheart and even wields Captain America’s shield! Just a whole lot of fun and it ends with a great cliffhanger. Bendis and Pichelli have another win. I already can’t wait for the next issue. Overall: 9 

 

Patrick

Vision #4 (Marvel) * – This is the best book about robots that needlessly stars robots. There’s really nothing about the book so far that would prevent an editor from taking out the fact that it stars androids and replacing them with a racial or religious minority family and telling the same story. If the point of the story was to humanize the Vision, why is it being injected with this daytime soap plot? I was so glad they acknowledged the Vision had previously been married to the Scarlet Witch because the whole book began to feel like it took place in a pocket universe. Tom King is amazing and I keep reading to see what he’ll do. Gabriel Hernandez Walta is a tremendous talent and I’ll often by a book just because I enjoy his dark tones and the way he captures human emotion. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy this book. The characters just haven’t meshed with the story yet. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

PaperGirls_05-1Paper Girls #5 (Image)– It saddens me to only be writing a shortened review but I don’t want to spend the time being negative about one of my favorite writers in a luscious and gorgeous book. The issue mostly resolves its own tangential distraction this issue and writes two characters who we didn’t really know super well in the first place. I have re-read every issue since it came out and I still have to go back and figure out the names of the four central characters. I like that this issue ends with them literally somewhere else (as it’s beginning to feel like they have just been bouncing back and forth between the same locations accomplishing nothing). The story… I like to start with a summary of what’s happened. You can usually tell how good a book is by how much the summary changes from review to review. I’d be writing the same summary if I did a full review.  Overall: 7 Recomendation: Read

Detective Comics #49 (DC)*– The best part of Jim Gordon-Batman is still just watching him roll with the punches and really do his best. Bruce Wayne-Batman is always treated like a dark god that somehow stands toe-to-toe with everyone from Darkseid to street-pushers. Jim Gordon’s Batman wakes up the whole neighborhood with a blimp spotlight trying to conduct an investigation and fails to get anyone turn it off before just breaking it. I also like some of the darker imagery (for a mainstream DC comic) which helps me balance out the idea that all Batman and his team are doing is watching statues. Seriously, someone’s probably being assaulted in the alleyway adjacent to one of the statues, Batman. Can you think big-picture for a second? Overall: 5.5 Recommendation: Pass

Spider-Man #1 (Marvel)* – This book follows Miles Morales integration into the mainstream universe following the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths (right? I didn’t read Secret Wars, I already had the trade for the original Crisis so I just read that). Honestly, Miles Morales is far more like Peter Parker than Peter Parker has been for a very long time which helps me to understand why this issue ended with me thinking, “Oh, yeah… it’s that red-and-blue rip-off Spider-Man! Oh, red-suit Venom!” Bendis’s best work comes when he is not writing every book with the Marvel logo printed on it (so, essentially everything from before ten years ago), however Sara Pichelli and Justin Ponsor own Miles Morales as far as I’m concerned. There’s something about Pichelli’s angles that make the formerly ultimate Spider-Man so dynamic. I’ve seen static shots of Spider-Man web-slinging for years, but Pichelli’s renditions always make me stop and admire her work. Overall: 6.5 Recommedation: Read

Uncanny X-Men #3 (Marvel)– I miss this book when it was drawn by Rob Liefeld. I miss this book when it was drawn by Mike Allred. I miss this when it was written by Rick Remender. Am I making my point? I struggle with subtly. My point is that it’s sacrilege to have the Uncanny X-Men title be a clone of one of its own spin-off. (I also struggle with perspective.) Overall: 6 Recommendation: Pass

 

Paul

vision 4Vision #4 (Marvel) * Still, in my opinion, the best All New All Different title that I’m reading. Vision still has no idea what his wife has been up to and what she’s hiding; and Virgina comes face to face with her blackmailer and the meeting does not end well. I could feel for her in this issue, and her situation; feeling helpless and things spinning out of control, thanks to King’s writing and complemented beautifully by Walta’s dark tones in the art. I look forward to this title every month and you should be too. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy 

Uncanny Avengers #5 (Marvel)* Well here’s a surprise…I didn’t hate it! Rogue, Deadpool, Human Torch and (briefly) Cable are on the hunt for the Red Skull, or more accurately, Professor X’s brain in Red Skull’s head. They do some good cop/bad cop and get a lead on where to find him. The trio (no Cable) break into where they are told they will find Skull and instead find none other then Gambit. He and Rogue have a brief litte reunion and Red Skull slips right past the team…literally. This isn’t a bad stand alone issue coming off the end of the debut story arc. The action was good and I’m sure the search for Red Skull will be explored in more depth as the series goes on.  Overall: 6.75 Recommendation: Read 

 

Ryan C

Providence #7 (Avatar Press) *: The best book on the stands by a country effing mile keeps getting better as hapless protagonist Robert Black finds himself thrown into the Lovecraftian underbelly of America’s physical and psychological horror-show and constructs the most bizarrely effective means for rationalizing his experiences, and coming out the other side more cheerful and optimistic, that I’ve ever witnessed. Thrown in themes of class division, loneliness and isolation, and the terrible burden of keeping secrets and this is “Pickman’s Model” as you’ve never seen it before. Alan Moore’s most compelling “major work” in decades combined with Jacen Burrows’ flat-out breathtaking art makes me feel genuine pity for the folks out there who aren’t reading this. Much as I love any number of current comics series, the simple fact is that right now there is “Providence” — and there is everything else.  Overall: 10. Recommendation: Buy

unfollow 4Unfollow #4 (DC/Vertigo) *: Rob Williams’ fiendishly clever social-darwinism-disguised-as-charity premise goes from “gettign warmer” to “heating up” with this issue, and I can only imagine what “boiling” is going to be like. Somebody we’ve gotten to “know” a bit dies in this issue, and it appears we’re going to get a murder mystery added to the mix here, as well. On art, Mike Dowling seems to be stepping out of his self-imposed Frank Quitely shadow and developing his own, more organic style, so that’s good to see, as well.  Overall: 7.5. Recommendation: Buy

The Sheriff Of Babylon #3 (DC/Vertigo) *: Another strong and compelling series of wrinkles is added to our layer-cake of corruption and rat-fuckery in Occupied Iraq — and speaking of fucking it turns out that two of our protagonists are doing just that — but while Mitch Gerads’ art continues to impress with its grittiness and authenticity, the script by “ex-” CIA operative Tom King (yeah, lots of folks quit the CIA and go into low-paying freelance writing) is taking on a more blatant neo-colonialist tone that seems very much of a piece with the right-wing themes on display in the author’s other high-profile works such as “Grayson” and “The Omega Men.” King hasn’t earned the right to be compared to Ditko, but both are examples of people in comics whose work I admire despite finding their politics anywhere from questionable to downright nauseating. If there’s any doubt in your mind as to where King stands, I’ve seen him say that he’s “proud” of the work he did in Iraq. I’m sure his “former” bosses are proud of the work he’s doing, supposedly of his own volition, to spread their worldview in our entertainment media. Troubling material to say the least, but I can’t deny its quality.  Overall: 7. Recommendation: Buy, but know the writer is probably supplementing his income with a check from Langley.

Swamp Thing #2 (DC)*: Len Wein and Kelly Jones’ “back-to-basics” take on the character continues to showcase both the best and worst aspects of 1970s horror comics — the best being Wein’s deliriously OTT purple prose and Jones’ heartfelt stylistic homage to the art of Bernie Wrightson, the worst being the lame-ass, easily-resolved plot (that could, I suppose, work as a one-or two-parter in a monthly ongoing, but feels downright bizarre in a six-issue mini-series) and the shoe-horning in of guest stars for no apparent reason. The Phantom Stranger I could see, sure — but what possible point does plugging Shade from “Starman” into this story serve? Nice little epilogue/cliffhanger at the end, though, and I’m still loving the ride for the most part. Overall: 7. Recommendation: Buy.

 

Shean

Shaft: Imitation of Life#1 (Dynamite Ent.): The adventures of John Shaft continues in this new miniseries as we catchup with him right before he becomes a successful private investigator. All it took was one case of a mobster’s missing daughter to propel his business. As he enjoys the fruit of his success, David Walker proves that it has not changed the man, as he takes on another missing person’s case , finding trouble at every turn. Altogether, a strong first issue to an already entertaining series. Overall:9.4 Recommendation: Buy


Well, there you have it, folks. The reviews we didn’t quite get a chance to write.

Please note that with some of the above comics, Graphic Policy was provided FREE copies for review. Where we purchased the comics, you’ll see an asterisk (*). If you don’t see that, you can infer the comic was a review copy. In cases where we were provided a review copy and we also purchased the comic you’ll see two asterisks (**).

Aloha, Hawaiin Dick Takes a Darker Turn

ALOHA, HAWAIIAN DICK #1The critically-acclaimed Hawaiin Dick noir begins an all-new, five-issue miniseries by fan-favorites B. Clay Moore and Jacob Wyatt in Aloha, Hawaiin Dick #1, which launches from Image Comics this April.

While Byrd remains in 1954 Hawaii, in Aloha, Hawaiin Dick #1 we meet another Byrd back in the States, and his impending arrival on the scene is destined to change the landscape of Hawaiin Dick forever.

Aloha, Hawaiin Dick #1 (Diamond Code FEB160483) will hit comic book stores on Wednesday, April 20th. The final order cutoff deadline for comic book retailers is Monday, March 28th.

Review: The Walking Dead #151

Twd151he Walking Dead no longer describes the survivors infected by a virus which will turn them into zombies when they die. The Walking Dead seems to describe characters who no longer have an interest in appearing in this book.

Rick Grimes has led the community of Alexandria to relative peace in the years following his all-out war with Negan. Tension has been growing with The Whispers, an animalistic society that wears the skins of the dead in order to coexist with the Walkers. After their leader, Alpha, butchered members of Alexandria and the neighboring communities, the call for war has come again. Rick has now begun to militarize Alexandria to prepare them for all-out war… though no one is likely to call it “all-out war”. That’s the story they just did. (Are they dragging their feet across these issues hoping we’ll forget?)

At this point, Rick has become the man dressed as Mickey Mouse in Disneyland. He’s little more than a figurehead, always present but not really what anyone came to see. Instead, you pass him by looking for the characters you haven’t begun to outgrow. In this case, we’re looking at people like Carl or Michonne. Rick himself acknowledges to the degree to which he’s no longer relevant. Of course, there’s no reason Rick couldn’t be as engaging and as interesting as he’s always been. It just feels at this point that maybe Robert Kirkman himself has grown a bit tired of him. It might explain why his best moments these days (for example, ripping people apart an attacker with his teeth last issue) are just repeats of his glory days (for example… oh, man, that was years ago, don’t make me look up the issue number).

Sadly, even the characters you’re looking for seem disinterested with the story. Michonne’s appearances are so sparse, if this were the television show you would expect she was only making the minimum appearances according to her contract. She actively wants to leave to join characters we saw briefly almost two years ago. She’s not standing with Rick or Alexandria against the Whispers. She’s literally napping on the couch. Meanwhile, other mainstays like Carl and Andrea make no appearance at all.

Dwight’s appearance in Alexandria seems to be a desperate attempt at this point try to bring new life into the series. Rick says, “You obviously have some military training…” in explaining why Dwight should be leading people in his stead. Well, does he or doesn’t he? You’ve known him for years at this point, Rick. Did you ever ask? Or do you simply not care because you’re just done with all this?

In fact, to revisit the television show analogy, it’s hard to escape that fatigued feeling you see in later seasons, just before the show goes off the air. The actors have unexplained absences while they film movies and think about the future of their careers, the writing team clearly begins to run out of ideas and every story is not just familiar, it’s directly taken from a few seasons before. Every issue since “All Out War” has just been building up to another “All Out War” scenario. The only difference is… the bad guys are different.

The bad guys are different! So, yes… The Walking Dead has a chance to breathe new life into its pages by showing us more of the Whispers and Alpha, by establishing new characters there instead of focusing on the extras in Alexandria. We’re getting training scenes with characters who either won’t die or who will die to the great indifference of the reader.

Does anyone care if Gabriel decides he wants to train? This is a genuine question becomes it seems any reader-interest in Gabriel died many years ago. Was anyone surprised that Eugene made contact with someone on his radio? The wide-eyed ending at someone actually responding to him via the radio is ridiculous. We know there are other people in the world, we’ve been seeing new communities show up for years. Eugene knows there are other people. And if he didn’t know it, why is he so surprised? He was clearly using the radio because he expected he could get in touch with someone.

The hardest part of the series is being one hundred and fifty-one issues in and wondering at what point to give up and walk away. Every issue is discouraging and it forces even the most die-hard fans to ask at what point are you are simply dead with no interest in coming back?

Story: Robert Kirkman Art: Charlie Adlard
Story: 5 Art: 7 Overall: 6 Recommendation: Pass

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Roche Limit Rings in a New Story Arc

The bestselling team of writer Michael Moreci and artist Kyle Charles will launch the final story arc in their ongoing dark sci-fi series Roche Limit this March.

Previously in Roche Limit, the Roche Limit colony, and consequently most of Earth itself, crumbled under the onslaught of the insidious Black Sun.

Following the fan-and-critic-favorite Clandestiny, Roche Limit: Monadic #1 kicks off the final chapter in the Roche Limit trilogy. Earth is in ruins after the Black Sun’s annihilation of the planet. Now, in the last remaining human city, its inhabitants fight for survival while a chosen few realize that their world may not be what it seems.

Roche Limit: Monadic #1 (Diamond code: JAN160550) hits stores Wednesday, March 16th. Final order cutoff deadline for retailers is Monday, February 22nd.

ROCHE LIMIT MONADIC #1 Cover

Review: Paper Girls #5

papergirls05-cover-webPaper Girls #5 dropped on Wednesday, and while certain things are becoming clearer, my overall interest is starting to wane. I think I’ve held out hope longer than other folks, based on some of the reviews I’ve read of previous issues, but I’ve finally caught up with the “Get on with it, already” chorus.

*Spoilers ahead*

We pick up in a ‘Whenhouse’ (time travel humor, ha!) where Heck and Naldo are treating Erin’s gunshot wound with a swarm of stolen insects. As it happens, Heck and Naldo are scavengers, because sometimes “yesterday’s trash is tomorrow’s treasure!” They explain how they have to utilize a spaceship in order to time travel since the Earth is always moving, and that they’re working to get Erin fixed up and back to her friends. Erin dismisses her fellow paper girls as “just some people that shot me” so clearly she’s not feeling too kindly towards a reunion. Heck and Naldo become increasingly endearing in this scene but the elders attempt to interfere with their ship and things don’t exactly go well for them, so don’t get too attached.

Speaking of Earth, back on Erin’s home planet Tiffany, Mac, and KJ are still standing in the woods where we last saw them. KJ has a “Eureka!” moment where she remembers the spaceship they discovered in the basement in Issue #1 and pieces together that they may be one and the same. As they decide to head back that way they’re intercepted by Cardinal, the female warrior fighting for the elders. Tiffany whips out the gun, which readers know from the previous issue in unloaded, and effectively disarms Cardinal with an empty threat to shoot her pterodactyl. It’s a clever bluff, and another great display of artist Cliff Chiang’s knack for drawing sneers. Unfortunately for Cardinal, Mac is the one to take away her weapon and winds up inadvertently using it against her, much the same way she accidentally shot Erin. The girls take off and when Cardinal regains her senses she places a call to Grandfather, reporting that the girls are now armed and should be tried as adults. Grandfather decides to step in and take care of business himself.

As Erin starts to come to her senses back on the spaceship we see that Heck and Naldo aren’t doing too well, and they appear to die just before landing. Erin makes her grand entrance, emerging out of the spacepod and into the basement where the other girls are waiting for her. Her earlier bitterness towards them has worn off, and apologies are exchanged as Grandfather calls to them from outside. As he tries to explain that Heck and Naldo were juvenile delinquents and that the girls have unfortunately waded into the middle of a complicated generational conflict, the house folds in on itself, transporting the girls into the future where they are met with a very familiar face.

One of the things I like about the series so far is that neither the elders nor Heck and Naldo seem to qualify as legit bad guys outside of their own conflict. Both sides seem to have a genuine interest in preventing harm to the girls, which I’m guessing means the girls will ultimately lead to some form of peacemaking between the generational factions. I also like the little snarky exchanges that pepper the Paper Girls world with humor and add personality to the characters, but I’d really like to know what pre-existing bonds KJ, Mac, and Tiffany share. It also would have been more interesting to this particular reader if Erin had been holding more of an active grudge upon reuniting with them.

While there’s a lot of action through these first five issues, I don’t actually feel like there’s a whole lot at stake while reading it. Although characters I’ve liked have died, I didn’t get to spend enough time with them to really feel the loss. The characters that are still plugging along are entertaining and interesting, but not what I’d call solid. Each issue is a fun read, but at this point I’d expect a deeper emotional investment which has yet to come to fruition.

Story: Brian K. Vaughan Art: Cliff Chiang, Matt Wilson
Story: 6 Art: 9 Overall: 6 Recommendation: Buy in Trade

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Circuit-Breaker is an Electric Read

CIRCUIT-BREAKER #1Bestselling writer Kevin McCarthy and artist Kyle Baker team up for an all-new series, Circuit-Breaker, launching from Image Comics this March.

Circuit-Breaker #1 is set in the aftermath of World War IV, where the heroic robots that saved Japan during war are outlawed. Now they’re turning against mankind, waging a campaign of terror across the last city on Earth.

Meanwhile the vengeful robots’ original creator builds one more soldier—disguised as his teenaged granddaughter—and tasks her with dismantling the marauding mechanical militia. But as she begins to question her programming, will she be the last hope for humanity, or the final nail in our coffin?

Circuit-Breaker #1 (Diamond Code JAN160521) will hit comic book stores on Wednesday, March 16. The final order cutoff deadline for comic book retailers is Monday, February 22.

Review: Shutter #18

shutter_18-1Joe Keatinge and Leila Del Duca’s Shutter returns this week in its first issue since November. The third volume was released in trade paperback form last month, and hopefully readers are all caught up because this issue isn’t one to miss.

So far, Shutter has been incredibly action-heavy, even though that action is necessary to the plot. Keatinge is a master in carrot and stick, teasing the readers with enough information to keep the story on the right side of line between “still incredibly intriguing” and “frustrating.” Until now, many, many questions have gone unanswered because the reader learns information as Kate learns it, though this changes when she “learns everything” from her grandfather. While Shutter #17 did bring the arc to a dramatic climax, the reader learned almost nothing about what Kate’s grandfather showed her. Shutter #18 doesn’t leave the reader entirely in the dark, revealing just enough to answer a few burning questions.

In terms of pace, this issue is something of a necessary pause. It slows the action enough to delve into Kate’s history, namely the unaddressed ten-year gap between her father’s “death” and the present story. Shutter #18 gives depth to the relationship between Kate and Alain and Kate and Huckleberry, and begins to explain Alain’s resentment toward Huckleberry.

Kate doesn’t back down from her decision to “end the world,” and together with the sinister turn of heart that Cassius/Alarm Cat has taken and the life-changing information Kate has learned from her grandfather, this issue gives the sense of being  the calm before the storm.

If seeing more of Kate’s past was a highlight of the issue, Leila Del Duca’s art was the other, equally awesome highlight, as she continues to totally nail the art. The characters are livened with dynamic facial expression and movement, never seeming too stiff or still on the page.

Though the beginning of the arc may seem somewhat slow, the tension in this issue has a chance to simmer and build, suggesting that Kate and company will truly have some rough storms to weather before Shutter sees its end.

Story: Joe Keatinge Art: Leila Del Duca
Story: 8 Art: 9.7 Overall: 8.8 Recommendation: Read

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Pretty Deadly #8

PrettyDeadly_08-1“The needs of the bear are not the same as the needs of a bee.”

This quote from Bones Bunny opens Pretty Deadly #8 as he and Butterfly watch a bear steal from a hive in the world garden. Not only does it inform the issue as a whole, but what the arc has been working towards as well. When you see the Reaper of War, it’s not hard to imagine why this giant imposing figure of blood red mist is the bear to Sissy’s figurative network of bees.

As the focus shifts to the battlefield, it ends up being one of Pretty Deadly’s most brutal issues yet. With a sickening color palette of green and red courtesy of Jordie Bellaire, the violence in the trenches grows as Ginny and Alice watch War, a reaper with no face that feeds off of fear and “will consume all that remains” once that is gone.

War is probably one of the most terrifying designs that Emma Ríos has come up with. A rider on a giant red horse, he seems to be created of tendrils taken from the spirits of these men, shaping himself into the rough approximation of a man. When Ginny confronts him and we see his form for the first time, I felt ill looking at his “face.” It’s more like veins bundled together into a shape. This is also building a bit more of the lore of Pretty Deadly. If there are reapers out there who are less human looking than Ginny and Alice, just what kind of shapes do they take?

This issue blends the battlefield with the world of War in mind-bending ways. These kind of concepts often sit on a razor’s edge, easily falling into incomprehensible if one is not careful. However, Kelly Sue Deconnick and Ríos handle it gracefully as the issue ebbs and flows between those two worlds. The backmatter of this issue goes into just the kind of process the two go through to make that balance work, specifically focused on the scene where Alice is talking to Cyrus as his commander barks orders at him. Ginny and Alice are essentially ghosts to everyone else in this issue and striking that balance was essential. It feels morbid to say “how the sausage gets made” in an issue with multiple headshots, dismemberments and blood splashes, but it’s a definite read if you’re interested in the behind the scenes stuff in comics.

Speaking of those headshots and dismemberments, the way Pretty Deadly handles that extreme amount of violence is something I haven’t seen done in comics or most media for that matter. It’s extreme, but it has weight. It isn’t there to build up how gritty and dark the story is, but to show the reality of World War I. It’s senseless, but in the way war is senseless. This isn’t violence to be excited about, it is disgusting and cruel. The way the team of Deconnick, Ríos and Bellaire work in tandem to show this is part of why Pretty Deadly works so well as a book.

Much like the midpoint of the first arc, the buildup and the climax of this particular part of the arc revolves around a story, this time one Molly Raven tells Johnny Coyote as the walk the battlefield to find Cyrus. As French and American soldiers alike accept their death on a soil that grows Frenchmen, Molly tells the tale of the Lucky Farmer, which echoes through the battlefield. The construction of this scene both in writing and art is lovely and heart-wrenching as the tension builds further towards the final page. The matching of a more Chinese style of art and coloring with the dark and dingy settings of the western front is disconcerting, but it blends well as it rides into the last page, which might just be the darkest page of all. If everything up to that final declaration of “Good luck, bad luck, I don’t know” was like the climb on a roller coaster, that last page is the split second before the drop off, where the world goes silent, the breath escapes your lungs and your body prepares for the drop.

And of course, the moon is full. Time is up in more ways than one in this part of the story, but it’s a question now of how everything will land. The first instinct is to think “not well,” but perhaps we as readers can take a lesson from The Lucky Farmer. Is this all good or bad? I don’t know.

Story: Kelly Sue Deconnick Art: Emma Ríos and Jordie Bellaire
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation:  Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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