Author Archives: Brett

Review: Northguard #1

Northguard #1 CoverLeaping from the pages of Captain Canuck comes Northguard, Canada’s newest super-hero! His first mission: Track down The Aurora Dawn, a mysterious cult hoping to bring about the end of the world! Chapterhouse Comics‘ Captain Canuck reboot has garnered praise and critical acclaim, now see our take on another classic Canadian superhero, Marc Shainblum and Gabriel Morrisette’s Northguard!

Written by Anthony Falcone with art by Ron Salas, Northguard #1 is exactly what I expected and hoped for, a nice fun throwback in a similar vein as Captain Canuck. The comic is full of action as we’re quickly introduced to the mysteruous Aurora Dawn and Agent Wise, aka Northguard.

While each comic features Canadians in super suits, the two comics have a very different feel to them, though share very similar qualities. This comic too has action and avoids dark and gritty, but it’s also a bit darker in the beginning, and dealing with an cult it has a bit more of a horror vibe to it in some ways (especially that opening page).

What’s also missing is the Canadian factor. One thing I find really interesting with Captain Canuck is the use of French throughout the comic without translation. Northguard has a few French words thrown in, but lacks entire speech bubbles or characters that are specifically Canadian. Agent Wise is a pretty generic guy overall, which isn’t a bad thing, and so far there’s not enough of a supporting cast to really make things stand out with a distinct Canadian voice. The first issue also has the main character flying solo and working for the CIA, so that may be a reason why.

The art by Ron Salas is solid and fun. It keeps a consistent style with Captain Canuck, which helps create a coherent look to the world. The action is good and scenes are set up nicely, though some have a lot of empty space. It’s not bad in any way, I’d just have visually set some of the fight differently as opposed to panned out shots. There’s nothing that detracts and the art fits the tone of the comic.

I’ve been looking forward to Northguard #1 and had high hopes going in. The comic didn’t disappoint me at all and continues the solid work began in Captain Canuck. Chapterhouse Comics looks to have another fun series on its hands.

Story: Anthony Falcone Art: Ron Salas
Story: 7.75 Art: 7 Overall: 7.75 Recommendation: Read

Review: Titans #2

TNS_Cv2_dsAs the Titans prepare to do the unthinkable in order to defeat the intergalactic demon that stole time itself from the DC Universe, enter the Fearsome Five! But are the sinister quintet acting of their own accord…or are greater forces at work?

“Action.” That’s the word that really describes Titans #2 from beginning to end. The comic is one gigantic battle scene as Kadabra makes a move to take on the Titans and that involves creating other versions of the Titans for them to fight.

But beyond the fighting, writer Dan Abnett peppers the issue with interesting hints as to who or what stole all the time and rewrote the DC Universe. While most seem to think it’s Doc Manhattan from the Watchmen, I’m convinced it’s someone or something else. This issue focuses on some of the messed up time with Kadabra making comments about things happening out of order or to early timewise. It’s all really interesting and adds to the greater mystery as to what’s going on.

There’s one particular statement that Kadabra makes:

He must have broken history already.

That to me is a big hint or revelation that what we think is the case, might not be. We know it’s a “he,” but I’m betting based on this issue the “he” may be Wally West himself.

And that’s some of the fun of the series itself. Abnett allows us to play the guessing game through this series as to what happened to the DC Universe, something that’ll play out over the next year or more. He seems to know that’s why people may read the series, and is running with it.

And the art team makes that running fun. Brett Booth on pencils, Norm Rapmund on ink and the color handled by Andrew Dalhouse and Carrie Strachan, it all looks fantastic. The sense of motion from the characters is top notch adding to the action and excitement of it all. It just looks great and they knock it out of the park of Kadabra whose actions and reactions are fantastic. The angles taken on the characters, and especially that one, and the way some of the panels are laid out, it just looks fantastic. Add in the kinetic fun of two Wally Wests racing each other and it’s an issue that flys by in so many ways.

The series is an interesting one. I don’t know the interaction of these characters really well, so I’m not invested in that. I am invested in the time mystery. But, Abnett and the art team have made me really interested in the villain and the battle. The look of the comic has me hooked and looking forward to reading more.

Story: Dan Abnett Art: Brett Booth
Ink: Norm Rapmund Color: Andrew Dalhouse, Carrie Strachan
Story: 8.25 Art: 8.4 Overall: 8.35 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Detective Comics #939

DTC_Cv939_dsThe full scope of the Colony’s plans, and their mysterious leader, have all been revealed…so what’s it going to take to stop them? Believe us, you are not prepared for the last scene!

The teaser for Detective Comics #939 says you won’t be prepared for the last scene and while it’s not super shocking in a break the internet sort of way, it is a climactic ending that has me pumped for the next issue.

Writer James T Tynion IV masterfully builds tension throughout the issue to that last panel as team Batman scrambles to take on Kane and the Colony and do what they can to stop their plan and most importantly save lives. There’s one silly moment involving a phone call, but the dramatic tension is really awesome and handled well. The only knock I’ll give is that some things are foreshadowed early on in a trope-ish sort of way, and we’ll see how it all plays out next issue.

There is also some humor among that tension. Clayface continues to impress me with a character who is more than just a shapeshifting villain. This issue he has one of the most comedic moments so far and brings some levity to an issue filled with seriousness. It also takes a scene that seems really out of character and makes it really funny.

Even a scene between two hackers is presented in dramatic fashion that doesn’t use fancy words and phrases to make use think the characters are really smart and dueling through computers. It’s kept simple and by doing so realistic in some ways.

The art team of Eddy Barrows on pencils, Eber Ferreira on ink, and Adriano Lucas on color adds to Tynion’s tension with a look and coloring that enhances the mood. The use of some framing and panels helps with the focus and gives up close reactions by characters adding to the drama. It’s a good combination of art and story where one plays off the other.

The issue didn’t have the “holy shit” moment I expected from the teaser, but it does have an ending that’s really cool and not exactly where I thought things were going. Luckily we don’t have too long until the next issue and I can’t wait.

Story: James T Tynion IV Art: Eddy Barrows Ink: Eber Ferreira Color: Adriano Lucas
Story: 8.15 Art: 8.1 Overall: 8.15 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Action Comics #962

AC_Cv962_dsIn the epic conclusion, the mystery of Black Zero deepens just as the Man of Steel makes a fateful decision that may stop Doomsday, but also risks the lives of those he loves most.

The battle with Doomsday rages on in Action Comics #962 which devotes about 3/4 of the issue to the fight between Superman and his deadliest foe. But, with all of that punching, writer Dan Jurgens does his usual smart focus by making sure that there’s a lot of character focus too, it’s not all fighting.

Some of that character development involves Superman and Wonder Woman’s situation. There’s also a solid moment between Superman and Lex Luthor. Even Jonathan gets his moments. It all adds to the comic being so much more than it should be. Lets face it, if this was the 90s, there’d be a good chance this would be all punching and nothing else. But, Jurgens has clearly looked back and figured out what worked and what didn’t and has given us this much improved take on something we’ve seen again and again.

Jurgens also gives us mystery! He lets us see the mysterious being watching everything and we get a better sense of the plan, or at least one piece of the puzzle. Out of everthing this has me really entranced as I really want to find out what’s going on and expect it to be a solid reveal.

The art by Stephen Segovia, ink by Art Thibert, and color by Ulises Arreola continues to impress me for the series. It’s a good consistent and solid look for the comic from the start and between this and its sister Superman series, the two comics have a common style that makes them feel like they’re part of the same comic family. It’s really great and the switch between lots of action and quieter more dramatic moments works well. There’s some panels of Superman where the look on his face gives as much as to what he’s thinking as the words he says.

The only bad about the comic is that there’s a bit of an echo with the Eradicator story in Superman’s other comic and the need to protect Lois and Jonathan. They spin out in different ways, but it’s similar in plot.

Overall though, Action Comics continues to live up to its title and continues to also focus on heart which allows the series to sore.

Story: Dan Jurgens Art: Stephen Segovia Ink: Art Thibert Color: Ulises Arreola
Story: 7.8 Art: 7.8 Overall: 7.8 Recommendation: Read

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Deathstroke #1

DS_Cv1_dsDeathstroke’s latest contract takes him to a war-torn African country, where he finds himself caught in the middle of a disintegrating alliance between a ruthless dictator and a deadly super-villain. With an entire nation at stake, Slade Wilson must choose between fulfilling his contract and saving an old friend.

Christopher Priest continues is adventures of Slade Wilson in Deathstroke #1 in an interesting style I go back and forth about. The story is a bit choppy as the issue is broken up into chapters and bounces around in some ways. By the end of the issue, it all makes a lot more sense and comes together, but as I began the issue I found it a bit offputting.

The issue is also a continuation of Deathstroke: Rebirth. It’s really important you read that and if you haven’t you’ll want to start there. This issue doesn’t hold on its own without it, so do yourself a favor and start with Rebirth.

Priest is really focused on Wilson the man, much like he was in Rebirth. It’s a solid move to differentiate this run in many ways and add a lot more depth to a character that has been twisted and turned in many ways. It’s back to basics in some ways and focusing on more than action in many others. An interesting take overall that really lets us get a sense of who Deathstroke is and why he’s more than an anti-hero or straight up villain.

The art by Carlo Pagulayan, inks by Jason Praz, and color by Jeromy Cox is a solid combination that looks great. It isn’t the testosterone fused version that launched with the New 52, and feels more grounded in some ways. There’s still lots of action and sex, but it’s not as over the top as we’ve seen in the past.

The issue is an interesting first issue as it doesn’t stand on its own and really relies on the Rebirth issue, which is good in some ways and bad in others. What it does is set up some potentially interesting things in the future and Priest is giving us something more than a badass with big guns.

Story: Christopher Priest Art: Carlo Pagulayan Inks: Jason Paz Color: Jeromy Cox
Story: 7.5 Art: 7.6 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Blue Beetle: Rebirth #1

BLUEREB_Cv1_dsI’m not one who really knows a lot about Blue Beetle, whether it’s Jaime Reyes or Ted Kord. And for those that do that I talk to, they seem to either want one character to be Blue Beetle or the other. Blue Beetle: Rebirth, written by Keith Giffen, seems to have a bit for both fans as the two characters come together to figure things out.

This “first issue” drops you right into the action in many ways laying out the tone for what we can expect and having more than enough to catch up new readers as to what’s going on. Giffen sets up a mentor and mentee dynamic between the two, one the older scientist and the other the young kid just trying to get some answers.

That tone is what I really came to appreciate in the comic. It’s fun and light in a good way with humor that reminds me a lot of Spider-Man in many ways and even a touch of Batman Beyond. It’s a great introduction and even better it acts as a one-shot comic you can pick up and put down if you choose. It’s a win in many ways.

There’s solid twists too, especially towards the end when another character shows up and I don’t want to give things away. But, from what I know it seems to shift some of the things we know about Reyes and his power as Blue Beetle.

Scott Kolins art is decent with a style that feels a bit like a throwback in ways. It’s hard to describe why I think that, but the art style is something I’d expect geared towards younger readers (probably teens) and also might have found in the 90s or 00s. That’s not a bad thing at all as the art style really fits the comic’s tone. It’s a solid match that works really well.

I didn’t have many expectations going into the comic, but coming out of it, I’m pretty impressed. It’s fun in so many ways and has a great positive and fun tone that’ll be a major draw for me of the series. Can’t wait for the first issue of the main series to come and see where this all goes.

Story: Keith Giffen Art: Scott Kolins
Story: 7.9 Art: 7.8 Overall: 7.9 Recommendation: Read

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Captain America: Steve Rogers #4

Captain America Steve Rogers #4 CoverWhile Captain America: Steve Rogers #4 is billed as a Civil War II tie-in and Steve attempting to broker a truce between Iron Man and Captain Marvel, the interior is nothing of the sorts and between the teaser text and the interior, I was so confused I actually checked the text in the small print at the beginning to make sure this was issue four.

The comic is really a recap of things, so if you haven’t read the first three issues of this series, then you can catch up here. Even with a recap page, the issue is really devoted to laying where things are out. It’s a bit odd actually.

Now, there is some things that are new. Things involving Steve’s mother as well as Elisa are explored a bit. There’s a moment of Steve where he goes super villian and clearly lays out what his plan and goals are. And there’s lots of foreshadowing of the fact that Steve’s deep cover as a Hydra agent is tenuous and there’s lots of open ended things that can get him caught. Kobik, Jack Flagg, the crashed jet that Zemo died in. All of these things poke holes into Rogers’ plans and actions. The trial of Maria Hill also moves forward.

Basically, this issue feels a lot like a recap issue looking back at events and also setting things in motion with a lot of foreshadowing. It’s a bit frustrating due to that and feels like a wasted issue by writer Nick Spencer. What this has been solicited as is also completely baffling as it’s nothing of the sorts. There’s some mentions of what will be happening/is happening in Civil War II, but that takes up a few panels.

There is some good.

Captain America lays out his philosophy and plan and mixed with what S.H.I.E.L.D. is asking for, it all seems rather original Civil War. Spencer touches upon real world issues like surveillance by the state and increased powers to police, but that also is a bit shallow, an issue that also plagues the writing of the main Civil War II series. There is also an emphasis on Steve’s more brutal take on things, something that’s emphasized by his actions which aren’t very Captain America like. This is a new Captain America who would be ok with Black Sites and torture, not the one who stood up to the Super Human Registration Act. The emphasis is clear with this issue as this fact is stated and shown in various ways throughout the issue. Getting the philosophy and outlook of this new Captain America is a good thing and gives us some more insight than picturing him as a puppet of the Red Skull, but it also doesn’t feel new, just a retread of speeches we’ve heard from the classic character Nuke (in his various forms).

The highlight of the issue really is seeing the new Quasar. Where this character goes and what the plan is, I couldn’t tell you. But, to see something put a smile on my face.

Javier Pina and Miguel Sepulveda handle the art duties and it still holds up. The scenes in the past are what really stand out with their use of limited color, the art looks fantastic. I think the flashback sequences have been the strongest thing of these four issues, and would love to see an entire comic series done this way. The “modern” art is still good, but something is lost. Some of the scenes are brutal really showing off the new Steve, but some of the character art is a bit miss. Still, it’s a good comic to look at during the read and the use of the two distinct styles is a great choice.

The issue continues a rather middling series. Captain America: Steve Rogers #4 isn’t bad, but it’s also not really worth your dollars either. As an issue it feels like its job is to recap everything that has happened in just three issues and do some foreshadowing, it’s just not enough, nor is anything vital that it’s a comic you have to have to understand what’s going on or what’s to come.

Story: Nick Spencer Art: Javier Pina, Miguel Sepulveda
Story: 5 Art: 7.5 Overall: 5.25 Recommendation: Pass

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Unboxing: Batman Unlimited and Batman v Superman Mighty Mini’s Plus a Trick to Prevent Doubles!

I crack open two packs from the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Mystery Mini’s Series 2 and six packs of Batman Unlimited Mystery Mins Series 1.

Plus, I reveal how we purchase mystery blind packs and prevent getting doubles, saving money!

For those wondering about the codes mentioned:

Batman v Superman:
05360B.P – Batman
05460B.R – Aquaman

Batman Unlimited:
14760B.A – Batman
14760B.B – Batman Beyond
14760B.C – ?
14760B.D – ?
14760B.E – Robin
14760B.F – Green Arrow
14760B.G – The Flash
14760B.H – Cyborg

Riri Williams Isn’t Iron Man, She’s…

Last Month, Marvel announced that Riri Williams would be stepping into the role of Iron Man, taking over for Tony Stark. There were lots of differing opinions on the change and you can read two here and here. A big question was left hanging, would she be known as Iron Man? Well, Marvel has announced not only is who’s in the armor changing, but the name is too when Riri takes flight in November.

While the debut is Invincible Iron Man #1, Williams will be known as Ironheart.

Creator and writer Brian Michael Bendis said the name came from a discussion about what Williams should be called. In talking to Wired, Bendis recounted:

Iron Woman seemed old fashioned to some. Iron Maiden looked like a legal nightmare. And Ironheart, coined by Joe Quesada, after I told him my planned story for Riri, speaks not only to the soul of the character but to the Iron Man franchise as a whole. Tony first put on the armor to save his heart. Riri puts it on for different reasons altogether but still heart-related. When people see her story, you’ll be amazed at how simple and brilliant Joe’s suggestion was.

For those that don’t know the character, Riri Williams is a 15-year-old MIT student who reverse-engineered a suit of armor in her dorm room. Her armor A.I. will be based on Tony’s personality.

The change in character is one of numerous changes Marvel has made over the years diversifying their line-up of characters. It’s a shift that has sped up after the success of Miles Morales as Spider-Man and Kamala Khan as Ms. Marvel. Changes include Asian-American Amadeus Cho as the Hulk, and long time Thor ally Jane Foster as the new Thor.

Invincible Iron Man #1 1 Invincible Iron Man #1 2

The Marvel Universe Miniature Game Adds the Dark Avengers, Dr. Doom, and the Thing!

It’s been around a little over two months since Knight Model‘s last release for the Marvel Universe Miniature Game. The game publisher has announced three new releases today and two are pretty shocking! The game gets some more much-needed villains and one of the members of the Fantastic Four, a whole lot of support for the Avengers faction!

It should be no surprise that Dr. Doom is coming to the game, and at level 11 he will likely have entire teams built around him. With abilities to prevent ranged attacks, teleport, and more, he’s every bit the powerful villain he should be.

Marvel Universe Miniature Game Dr. Doom

What’s Dr. Doom without the Fantastic Four to stop him? The Thing is now available to bring to your team. He’s as tough as you’d expect. Can the rest of the FF be far behind?

Marvel Universe Miniature Game The Thing

The Dark Avengers are ready to take on all comers! Composing of Iron Patriot (Norman Osborn), Ares, Sentry, and Ms. Marvel, this is a superhero team made up of villains. Not one I expected to see in the game, and definitely not this early.

Marvel Universe Miniature Game Dark Avengers

All of the models are available for order now!

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