Author Archives: Alfie Erin

The Avengers Assemble In Avengers #1

Avengers #1

There is a question at the heart of Avengers #1 by Jed MacKay and C.F. Villa, the core of the question is this, why be an Avenger? It’s a good question that varies from character to character. In asking that fundamental question we get some interesting answers. Avengers #1 sets out to be a mission statement for the team and this new run more largely.

Avengers #1 is about as good of a jumping-on-point as you can find. It’s an entirely new story with a fresh status quo for the team. The issue focuses on a battle between the Avengers and a giant foe intercut with flashbacks to days before when Captain Marvel — the new leader of the Avengers — assembles her team. That team being Iron Man, Thor, Black Panther, Captain America (Sam Wilson), The Vision, The Scarlet Witch, and Captain Marvel herself. It’s a good lineup of solid players, all extremely well-written. There is an underlying feeling of hope to the whole issue, the Avengers are Earth’s best heroes and Mackay is intent on showing you that fact. 

The art’s no slouch either. Villa with colorist Federico Blee and letterer Cory Petit brings lively and energetic art. The Panel layouts are dynamic and the action fierce. There are times when the art comes together to create breathtaking pages. I mentioned an underlying feeling of hope within the writing of the issue earlier, that same feeling can be found in the art. Something about Villa’s bright, expressive faces strikes me with this feeling of fun and joy. 

It’s a fantastic first issue that establishes a good team and sets out a mission statement for what the Avengers mean as a whole and as individuals. This run is partly spinning out of the events of Timeless (2022) #1, how that one shot will affect this story isn’t entirely clear yet but part of me does worry it’ll become necessary reading to understand the following issues. With that being said It’s still a great first issue which I can highly recommend.

Story: Jed MacKay Art: C.F. Villa
Color: Federico Blee Letterer: Cory Petit
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE issue for review

Purchase – Zeus ComicsKindle

Prepare For The Fall Of X In X-Men #22

X-Men #22

When the X-Men’s greatest foes assemble, will they be able to withstand the onslaught? For the last few issues, the X-Men were up in space fighting the Brood, a conflict that has driven a wedge between Jean Grey and Cyclops. In X-Men #22 by Gerry Duggan and Joshua Cassara, we change focus to a more terrestrial but no less deadly threat, the anti-Mutant organization Orchis. Orchis has it out for the X-Men and mutantkind as a whole. With the upcoming Fall Of X event, things aren’t looking good for the merry Mutants. 

Much of the issue concerns the rising threats to X-Men. Orchis is making moves that we will surely come to term in full during this year’s Hellfire Gala. Like in a game of Dominos Duggan is carefully lining each threat up while we are left to watch in horror and anticipation. It’s good tension-building and it’s interesting to see in which ways the various threats are manifesting. The meat of the issue is an engaging standoff between the X-Men and Orchis agents who are kidnapping Mutants. It’s a fun fight with a lot of good little character moments.

Duggan’s writing is great but what made me want to do this review was the art. Cassara’s work is gorgeous as always. The action is extremely well choreographed and sequenced. The lettering by Clayton Cowles gives a meaty impact to each hit or move. When Free Comic Book Day 2023: Avengers/X-Men (2023) #1 came out. I wrote on my personal Tumblr how I was struck by the creative team of Cassara and colorist Marte Gracia. Gracia is perhaps one of the best colorists working today and he brings his A-game here. The colors are vibrant and bring a unique kind of life to Cassara’s pencils. I think what I wrote in my Tumblr post still rings true so I’ll quote from it here. 

“It’s interesting to see Marte Gracia color Joshua Cassara. When I first learned Cassara would be taking on X-Men I wondered if his style would fit. I was mostly familiar with Cassara’s work in books like X-Force or X Lives of Wolverine by color artists like Guru-eFX or Frank Martin. Who both have dark, moody styles. However, Gracia brings his characteristic flair. There is an almost Saturday-morning sensibility to the art. Cassara’s thick bulky men are perfect for this bright action. It’s tapping into the same vein of design as John Romita Jr’s art. It’s also notable how VC’s Clayton Cowles’s lettering works concurrently with the art. Each punch alongside sound effects feels weighty and impactful. It’s a combination of creatives I’d like to see more of on X-Men”

X-Men #22 is an interesting issue in the lead-up to the Fall Of X. It sets up plot threads while also delivering a satisfying single-issue story within that larger picture. With great art, it’s certainly an issue you’ll want to pick up if you have any interest in the ongoing X-Men narrative.

Story: Gerry Duggan Art: Joshua Cassara
Color: Marte Gracia Letterer: Clayton Cowles Design: Tom Muller w/ Jay Bowen
Story: 8.5 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Purchase: TFAWZeus ComicsKindle

Mini Reviews: X-Men Red, Iron Man, Wolverine, and The Nasty

Wolverine #33

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 reviews of the comics, or graphic novels, we just didn’t get a chance to write a full one for.

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews and Recommendations.


X-Men Red #11 (Marvel) – From the ashes of Sins Of Sinister arise the calm before the storm! War is coming! X-Men Red #11 by Al Ewing, Jacopo Camagni, and Stefano Caselli is the series’ triumphant return after a three-month hiatus. Even though the series went on break, the aftermath of the intervening Sins Of Sinister event and Storm & the Brotherhood of Mutants carries on in this issue. It’s an issue entirely of conversations with no action scenes. Luckily Al Ewing deftly navigates this with precision cutting dialogue filled with tension and excitement. The art is no slouch either. The scenes are well-crafted and filled with interesting back-and-forth layouts. Of particular note is one amazing spread toward the end of the issue. This issue is the rising tension before the much-teased Genesis War storyline coming up in the following issues. Even with that being said it’s still a great issue filled with moments readers won’t want to miss! Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Invincible Iron Man #6 (Marvel) – Tony Stark is broke and destitute, relapsed into drinking, and worst of all he’s lost his company to the ruthless Feilong who is mass producing Mutant hunting Stark Sentinels. But none of that matters since Invincible Iron Man #6 by Gerry Duggan and Andrea Di Vito is an 80s throwback. It’s a fun issue but ultimately unimportant to the ongoing narrative. The cover would lead you to assume the issue is a fight between Iron Man and the West Coast Avengers. However as has been the case a few times with this series, the cover lies! The real meat of the issue is a fight between Iron Man and the villainous White Queen, Emma Frost! It’s a fun brawl. Di Vito brings real joy with fast and frenetic action. Emma gets a lot of opportunities to use her telepathy in fun and creative ways against the Bullet-Head. The unabashed homage to the marvel universe of the 80s is a wonderful little thing to behold, sliding timescale be damned. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

Wolverine #33 (Marvel) – Beast is on a warpath and the only man who can stop him is Wolverine! with a little help from some friends. Wolverine #33 by Benjamin Percy and Juan Jose Ryp is the latest installment of the Weapons of X arc. The issue largely focuses on gathering Wolverine’s various allies as they all converge on Beast. It’s a good issue but it’s certainly the build-up for the end game of this arc. The art by Ryp is colored by Frank D’Armata, normally I’m not a fan of D’Armata’s coloring work but with Ryp’s pencils, it fits. The art is detailed and gloriously grotesque in a way befitting a Wolverine story. Ryp can draw some of the most visceral gore you’ll find in big two comics. The issue also contains a backup story by Gene Luen Yang and Peter Nguyen. It’s a fine little backup with good art focusing on Wolverine and the little sister of Shang-Chi taking on a monster. It has cute expressive art but it’s a pretty throwaway story, but hey it’s an extra story for the same price, so you won’t see me complaining! Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Read


The Nasty #2 (Vault Comics) – The kids are trying to figure out what to do and if they can actually create a horror movie before a major festival comes to town. Then, there’s that whole slasher that’s hanging around and only one of them can see? The second issue feels a bit like Clerks III with the crew coming together and figuring out how to make a movie but it’s the ending that really made us take notice. There’s an intriguing direction for all of this to go from here. The art continues to be solid with a style that balances its humor, horror, and heart. Overall, an intriguing series that’s delivering something new with the horror genre. Overall: 7.95 Recommendation: Read

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

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 (**).

Spirit World #1 Is An Exciting Window Into The World Beyond!

Spirit World #1

I am not typically a DC Comics reader, but when I heard that Alyssia Wong, writer of Doctor Aphra and Deadpool was going to write a new book over at DC starring an entirely new character well, my interest was piqued. So here we are! Spirit World #1 is by Alyssa Wong, artist Haining, colorist Sebastian Cheng, and letterer Janice Chiang. Spinning out of Lazarus Planet: Dark Fate #1 the book stars the new nonbinary hero Xanthe Zhou, who has the uncanny ability to turn paper origami into tangible objects with the snap of their fingers!

As mentioned above Spirit World #1 is picking up the story from Lazarus Planet: Dark Fate #1. The issue gives the necessary context but ends up a little disjointed if you haven’t read the preceding issue. Ideally, Number #1’s are supposed to be a jumping-on point. It’s disappointing to see this issue assume you’ve read an entirely different comic that sets up this one. One of my favorite aspects of Wong’s work on Doctor Aphra was how queer the main cast is. So it’s exciting to see this book starring a non-binary hero. The issue features Cassandra Kane aka Batgirl and John Constantine alongside Xanthe. Batgirl is trapped in the Spirit World while Xanthe and Constantine work to rescue her. 

In my eyes, the real draw of the issue comes with the art. Wong and Haining craft the wonderfully vibrant spirit world. It’s simply breathtaking, it feels vibrant and alive. Alive is the best word for the art of Spirit World #1. Every background is so detailed and gives off a lived-in sense. The action sequencing is dynamic and well presented as Batgirl runs around the Spirit World. 

Spirit World #1 is an exciting first issue with amazing art and a somewhat rocky narrative. Luckily the issue ends on an interesting hook which I’m excited to see play out as this series unfolds.

Story:  Alyssa Wong Art: Haining
Color: Sebastian Cheng Letterer: Janice Chiang
Story: 8.5 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Purchase: TFAWZeus ComicsKindle

Mini Reviews: Sons of X and Free Comic Book Day!

X-Men: Before the Fall - Sons of X #1

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 reviews of the comics, or graphic novels, we just didn’t get a chance to write a full one for.

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews and Recommendations.


X-Men: Before the Fall – Sons of X #1 (Marvel) – I was originally planning on writing a full review of X-Men: Before the Fall – Sons of X #1 by Si Spurrier and Phil Noto but frankly I don’t think there is enough to this 35-page comic to give me the material for a longer review. It’s not a bad comic, but the whole affair does feel rushed and done with little enthusiasm. If the book itself isn’t excited, why should the reader be? The art is fine, It’s some of Noto’s less exciting works. It fails to deliver on certain aspects of the story where another artist may have been a better fit. X-Men: Before the Fall – Sons of X #1 reads like a necessary epilogue to the overstuffed Legion Of X that exists solely to set the groundwork for the next chapter of Nightcrawler’s story. Hopefully, that next chapter is more self-excited than this somewhat flat epilogue. Overall: 6.7 Verdict: Read


FCBD 2023: Avengers/X-Men #1 (Marvel) – Free Comic Book Day has turned into an opportunity for comic publishers to promote what’s coming next in hopes of getting readers excited and coming back for more. This years’ Avengers/X-Men release from Marvel attempts to do that teasing the upcoming “Fall of X” storyline and the mysterious G.O.D.S. In the issue, we get the opening salvo of the false flag operation to turn the world against Krakoa. Overall, the concept is good and interesting but there’s so much that leaves me scratching my head. The stolen Captain Krakoa suit, the attack on Captain America by Orchis, it’s all a little too obvious and easy to refute. There’s just too much surveillance and ways to refute the operation, especially the attack on Captain America. But, it has me intrigued. The latter story is just too little and relies and knowledge of who the character is at the end to really care what is teased. While I’m sure the upcoming series will be good, what’s teased is void of anything to make me want to read it. Overall: 7.75 Verdict: Buy (it is free after all)

FCBD 2023: Spider-Man/Venom #1 (Marvel) – I honestly remember so little about reading this the day after which is not a good sign at all. Spider-Man fights a monkey and we find out who’s behind it and then there’s some history of symbiotes as well. The former is entertaining enough and the latter has something there but again, had to go look at the comic again to remember any of that. The art though is great and worth checking this out alone. Overall: 7.0. Verdict: Buy (it is free after all)

FCBD 2023: Fishflies (Image Comics) – A new comic from Jeff Lemire has me scratching my head and grossed out. There seems to be a lot of bugs and dead bodies in this one and I have no idea what any of it is about beyond just making me skeeved. But, it’s Jeff Lemire and his art is always great and stories pan out in the end. While the issue didn’t tell me a lot, I’m still looking forward to whatever he has cooking in the future. Overall: 7.0 Verdict: Buy (it is free after all)

FCBD 2023: Dawn of DC Knight Terrors (DC Comics) – DC teases their Knight Terrors event which has something to do with dreams and some villain who’s out for revenge. The issue focuses on Damian and the things that haunt him and the dream within a dream within a dream is a great one-shot that teases what’s to come. Overall, there is a good nightmare aspect to it and the art is fantastic with amazing page layouts, but I still generally have no idea what’s to come. But, between the issue and the concept art in the back, the issue has me more excited for what’s to come. Overall: 8.0 Verdict Buy (it is free after all)

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

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 (**).

Sins Of Sinister Dominion #1 Caps Off The Event With A Bang

Sins of Sinister: Dominion

I’ve been unsure of my feelings toward the Sins of Sinister event. It has been an intriguing experiment in comic book storytelling. Three sets of issues focused on three distinct eras, year 10, year 100, and finally, year 1,000. Sins of Sinister: Dominion #1 by Kieron Gillen, Paco Medina, and Lucas Werneck is the final issue to this eleven-part saga, and by god what an issue it is. Whatever my opinions on the rest of the event, you have to hand it to the creative team for nailing this issue in every conceivable way possible

Sins of Sinister: Dominion #1 opens with the final battle for the Moria engine, Sinister’s creation which allows him to create save points in time that he can infinitely reset to. Functionally this means he can save scum as you would in an RPG, trying over and over again to get the result you want. Earlier in the event the engine was stolen. It’s the MacGuffin at the heart of the event. So the final battle begins with various players all vying for control of the engine for their sinister ends.  

Gillen crafts a fun issue, One that comes with a whole heap of startling and exciting revelations and developments. It’s a real page-turner that will keep the reader on their toes. You can feel the scale of what is being played here. There is some epic utilization of various powers. Sins of Sinister: Dominion #1 honestly has dizzying implications for the future of the X line. So often events can feel like big nothing burgers where everything goes back to a status quo with nothing changed. Not here, we get a lot of change which offers exciting new avenues for the next chapter of the X-Men’s story. Wrapping up an event is never an easy thing to do, but here Gillen succeeds by leaps and bounds.

I was a little apprehensive of Paco Medina’s art at first. To me, it didn’t quite fit the grim dark tone established for the one-thousandth year of the sinister era. However, upon further reading, it all clicked. Medina’s art has a manic energy, which perfectly fits this desperate scramble at the end of time. It reflects the desperation and panic of our leading characters. Medina also delivers on the big bombastic moments befit of a riff on Warhammer 40k. 

Similarly, everyone else is doing an exceptional job, Lucas Werneck’s work is amazing as ever and helps tie the event in further with his work on Immortal X-Men. The coloring by Bryan Valenza and lettering by VC’s Clayton Cowles is dynamic and perfectly fits the tone and story of the issue, helping bridge the gap between the two artists.

I’m blown away by this issue. It’s Gillen and co at their very best, truly delivering an exciting installment in this ongoing narrative that will send shockwaves throughout the line. Personally, I can’t wait to see where these creatives take the story next!

Story: Kieron Gillen Art: Paco Medina, Lucas Werneck
Color: Bryan Valenza Letterer: Clayton Cowles Design: Tom Muller, Jay Bowen
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Read

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Purchase: TFAW – Zeus Comics – Kindle

Invincible Iron Man #5 builds new threats for both Iron Man and Mutants

Invincible Iron Man #5

I’ve written before on my personal Tumblr how Invincible Iron Man by Gerry Duggan and Juan Frigeri opened to a somewhat rocky start. However, the last couple of issues have only improved in quality. Invincible Iron Man #5 continues that trend with flying colors. Tony Stark has lost his company to his new mutant-hating nemesis, Feilong. With his back against the wall, he goes to the enemy of his enemy, asking for the aid of Krakoa’s one and only Emma Frost! 

The cover of Invincible Iron Man #5 prominently features Emma Frost, but that’s a bit misleading (as covers often are). Emma does feature in the issue, but her page time, while sweet, is brief. That’s not the only reason X fans might want to check out the issue though. Feilong debuted in Duggan’s X-Men series and has ties to the anti-mutant organization Orchis. The issue continues to build the threat of Feilong in interesting and compelling ways while also laying seeds for the upcoming X-Men Hellfire Gala 2023.

A complaint I had with the last issue was the fight between Tony and Feilong. The fight felt pretty one-sided. For a new threat, Feilong got rocked by Tony. It failed to set him up as a good physical threat to Tony. Luckily in this issue, it’s rectified. The action sets Feilong up as much more of a threat not only physically but in terms of mechanical power as well!

Frigeri’s art aided by colorist Bryan Valenza and letterer Joe Caramagna continues to shine when the action hits. One of the best parts of the art is how it depicts the mechanic structure of Stark technology. There is a tactile sense from the images on display that elevates the scenes. The art isn’t out of this world but it shines where it counts. 

Invincible Iron Man continues to walk a fine line of working as a standalone book while also being part of a larger story Duggan is telling across his books. The issue does a good job filling in readers on the relevant events from X-Men and it never feels like you need to have read the book, but it certainly improves both if you have.

Story: Gerry Duggan Art: Juan Frigeri
Color: Bryan Valenza Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Purchase: Zeus ComicsKindle

X-Force #39 ushers in a bright new age for the team

X-Force #39

The fallout of the Beast’s crimes! A new X-force! And a new Wolverine? All this and more in X-Force #39! Benjamin Percy and Robert Gill bring their A-game in X-Force #39, the latest issue in Percy’s epic ushers in a new chapter for the titular X-Force.

X-Force #39 comes off the heels of the “Beast Agenda” arc of Wolverine. When Beast’s crimes finally catch up to him, he goes on the run, abandoning X-Force. The team is left to pick up the pieces and redefine what X-Force means in the wake of these events. X-Force #39 firmly expects you to have been keeping up with Wolverine, also by Percy. X-Force and Wolverine are two sides of the same coin. They are two books heavily intertwined in plot. I can’t recommend reading one without the other.

X-Force #39 is mostly set up, but Percy and Gill keep it lively and fun. Much of the issue is spent on the politicking of the governing body of Krakoa, The Quiet Council, over Beast’s vile machinations. It’s a surprising and engaging dialogue that gets to questioning the utility of his actions. Percy uses the Quiet Council as an analog to real-world governments and how they justify the crimes of agencies like the CIA.

Gill brings spectacular art aided by the always wonderful coloring of Guru-eFX and the lettering of VC’s Joe Caramagna. The art is bright and colorful but has an undeniable edge to it. That edge is on display when it comes time for Gill to deliver a gloriously gorey action sequence.

X-Force #39 is a great first chapter to a new age. It gives closure to Beast’s plot (for now!) while establishing the foundations for a bright new future. Overall, I’m excited to see where Percy and Gill take the book next!

Story: Benjamin Percy Art: Robert Gill
Color: Guru-eFX Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna Design:  Tom Muller w/ Jay Bowen
Story: 9.0 Art: 8.5 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy 

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Purchase: TFAWZeus ComicscomiXology/Kindle

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