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Review: Deathbed #2


Dearest Friends,

It is with a heavy heart that we inform you of the passing of Margaret Mars, philanthropist, globetrotter and onetime lover of Antonio Luna. Her noble pursuit of humanitarian causes dates back to the first word she ever spoke (“Peace”), which is juxtaposed with the seven words she uttered right before being assassinated (“Who let these ninjas into my house?!”). Indeed, these seven words paint an inexplicably bizarre, yet accurate, picture of her final moments on earth. Who let these ninjas into her house, and why were they there to begin with? What business did a pack of inhuman zombie-mummy-ninjas have with Ms. Mars, and why did they murder her? Fascinating questions, none of which we have the answers to. But Ms. Mars would not want us to grieve! Ms. Mars’ will states her desire that we celebrate her life and not mourn her death (as horrific and gruesome as it may have been)! So come! Be merry and help us send off the great Maggie Mars in a way that honors her remarkable life!


Just be sure not to invite Antonio Luna.

The adventurous and odd life of Antonio Luna continues to be revealed in Deathbed #2. Someone is killing off everyone Antonio Luna has come into contact with and that includes one of his greatest loves, Ms. Mars. That’s the set up of this issue as Luna heads to the wake leading to hilarious and sad results.

Writer Joshua Williamson continues to hold nothing back in this issue that’s both funny and offensive. And through the cringeworthy humor, we also get a glimpse of Luna the man and how egocentric he truly is. It’s a fascinating character and way to allow us to dive further into his world and experiences. We might not like Luna but we understand him.

The art by Riley Rossmo with colors by Ivan Plascencia continues to drop subtle hints and reveal the life of Antonia Luna. The scenes and situations vary from the streets of Paris to the desert with mutants and a funeral. Every one important in telling Luna’s life and adding to his story that’s being told. The art in this case may be more important than the dialogue as it not only tells so much of Luna’s history but also delivers much of the humor that the dialogue sets up. The lettering by Deron Bennett is important too as it sets each scene and emotional punch and in some cases helps land the joke.

The issue continues the inappropriateness that is the exploration of Luna’s life and when you think it can’t get anymore cringeworthy funny, you’re proven wrong. A fantastic series that delivers laughs with some heart underneath.

Story: Joshua Williamson Art: Riley Rossmo
Color: Ivan Plascencia Letterer: Deron Bennett
Executive Edits: Mark Doyle Edits: Amedeo Turturro
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.25 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: The Wilds #1

After a cataclysmic plague sweeps across America, survivors come together to form citystate-like communities for safety.

Daisy Walker is a Runner for The Compound, a mix of post-apocalyptic postal service and black market salvaging operation. It is a Runner’s job to ferry items and people between settlements, and on occasion scavenge through the ruins of the old world. Daisy is the best there is at what she does.

Out beyond the settlement walls are innumerable dangers: feral animals, crumbling structures, and Abominations — those that were touched by the plague and became something other. After a decade of surviving, Daisy isn’t phased by any of it — until her lover, another Runner named Heather, goes missing on a job. Desperate to find her, Daisy begins to see that there may be little difference between the world inside the walls and the horrors beyond.

Writer Vita Ayala manages to create an interesting post-apocalyptic story of love, and survival with The Wilds. The first issue doesn’t just focus on the bleak now but balances things by showing us a brief glimpse of the world before and a grander glimpse at the world that follows. Humanity survives in walled-in settlements trying to protect itself as it sends Runners out to gather supplies, messages, and trade and the main character Daisy seems to be one the best runners at her compound. It’s an interesting focus in that it feels like it puts the weight of the story on one person’s shoulders as opposed to a group. The stakes feel a bit higher in that way. And when her lover Heather questions her commitment, things get interesting. The fact Daisy is the best there is at what she does, her retiring makes it a bit more dire. If she quits, will this community fall apart? There’s a nice metaphor about society being built on the backs of hard laborer.

The art by Emily Pearson with color by Marissa Louise possesses an interesting offset balance of the falling apart world and the semblance of normality humanity fights to posses inside the compounds. The art also is the reveal about some of the creatures they call Abominations. Which seem to have flowers and other plant life growing out of thier skin, despite possessing human bodies. And that detail is about what we know of the affliction that has impacted humanity. It’s also enough to tell a story unto itself. The detail is subtle and the color helps that detail stand out.

The first issue is a good one diving into a familiar genre but delivering something that feels new and different.

Story: Vita Ayala Art: Emily Pearson Colors: Marissa Louise Covers: Natasha Alterici
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Black Mask Studio provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Advance Review: Oblivion Song #1

A decade ago, 300,000 citizens of Philadelphia were suddenly lost in Oblivion. The government made every attempt to recover them, but after many years, they gave up. Nathan Cole…won’t. He makes daily trips, risking his life to try and rescue those still living in the apocalyptic hellscape of Oblivion. But maybe…Nathan is looking for something else? Why can’t he resist the siren call of the Oblivion Song?

Oblivion Song is an interesting new tale from the mind of Robert Kirkman. The first issue introduces us to the world splitting time between the Oblivion world of Philadelphia and the real world equivalent. The story’s heart revolves around the character Nathan searching for survivors as well as his brother, before the various monsters and creatures can consume him. But that’s not the only challenge, in the real world, Nathan and a few other fight to get proper funding for their project that the government yanked. Will Nathan find his brother, or will he be lost to the Oblivion? That seems to be the main focus in a series whose first issue also touches upon PTSD and a world dealing with the aftermath.

The art by Lorenzo De Felici and colorist Annalisa Leoni manages to capture the strange duality of this series in a superb manner. It brings to life strange monstrous and frequently ugly creatures in the Oblivion and the consumed landscape of Philadelphia. There’s contrast of the unusual landscape of Oblivion with things and items not yet consumed by it. That detail extends to the real world where small details like names on a memorial and news crawl deliver as much story as the monsters within.

The first issue is hyped and delivers an experience that entertains and creates a world we both do and don’t want to visit.

Story: Robert Kirkman Art: Lorenzo De Felici Color: Annalisa Leoni
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Deathbed #1


Myth, hack, sex symbol, stark raving lunatic—all of these words have been used to describe Antonio Luna, the world’s greatest living adventurer. Or at least he was until 20 years ago, when he mysteriously vanished from the public eye. Now the ninety-year-old has returned and claims to be on his deathbed. Which is where Valentine Richards, a failed novelist turned reporter, comes in. Val is hired to travel to Luna’s remote castle home and uncover where the old star has been all these years, and just how much of what he says is actually true. But once Val starts to hear Luna’s tale, she finds herself entering into an insane world of psychedelic violence and explosive supernatural adventure.

In Deathbed #1, what starts out relatively normal quickly takes a hard right into strange territory. Val reluctantly agrees to ghostwrite the life story of mysterious Antonio Luna, that seems simple enough. What happens next is not what was expected. Writer Joshua Williamson delivers a story that you think will go one way but then surprises you. What was thought to be an adventurer recounting his life turns into something completely else.

The art by Riley Rossmo is interesting and intriguing simultaneously. The first issue shows the diverse capabilities of Rossmo as he not only creates scenes of action but also puts in numerous details to give depth to the characters. The art hints at the great spectacle of odd things and adventure that Luna has had throughout his life with Williamson spelling it out. All of it leads to a specter of slaughter that helps deliver the punchline of the first issue.

The first issue is a fun one delivering lots of mystery and action and does so in a way that is unexpected.

Story: Joshua Williamson Art: Riley Rossmo
Ink: Riley Rossmo Color: Ivan Plascencia
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Koshchei the Deathless #1

Sent to kill Hellboy by the Baba Yaga in Darkness Calls, Koshchei the Deathless hinted at a long and tragic life before being enslaved to the Russian witch. Now Koshchei relives every horrible act on his road to immortality and beyond, with none other than Hellboy himself–in Hell.

Mike Mignola returns to Hell and to the bizarre folklore that’s filled some of his greatest books, reuniting with one of his favorite collaborators, Ben Stenbeck.

The history of Koshchei begins to be revealed in Koshchei the Deathless #1. The first issue shows the bloody and violent nature of his life as an unkillable soldier and how that came to be. We also get glimpses of his brief happy moments as the husband of a princess, of a land unknown. The happiness is brief as he is killed but that also emphasizes the tragedy of it all. The tragedy leads to the tragedy and bloody path of his future actions.

Like most things set in the Mignola-verse, there is a proper sense of darkness in the story, that is reflected in the art by Ben Stenbeck. Stenbeck mixes in some images to hint at the historical aspect of it all along with the fantastical elements of the Mingola Hellboy world.

The first issue is a fantastic one adding another layer to the Hellboy universe and as usual mixes the fantastical and the grounded for a perfect mix.

Story: Mike Mignola Art: Ben Stenbeck
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Dark Horse Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Monstro Mechanica #1

A new series starring Leonardo da Vinci, his female apprentice, Isabel, and their wooden robot!

At the height of the Renaissance, warring factions vie for control of Leonardo da Vinci’s destructive arsenal. The only thing standing in their way is Leonardo’s young apprentice and her nine-foot tall mechanical bodyguard. Together, they navigate a world of wicked men and war machines, determined to save Leonardo from the world—and the world from Leonardo.

“Poor is the pupil who does not surpass his master.” – Leonardo da Vinci

Nothing says Renaissance quiet, like political and religious power struggles colliding against each other and writer Paul Allor delivers that and more in Monstro Mechanica #1. As possibly the very definition of a Renaissance man, Leonardo DaVinci is thrown into the mix of it all bringing his genius and interesting mechanical creations. Everyone wants his services to gain power and then there’s the mystery of his mechanical monster and his ass-kicking assistant.

The art by Chris Evenhuis has a lot of forced perspective. It helps create numerous superb views of Florence from the streets to the roofs. There’s also a vibrant color palette to match and creates the necessary shift from day to night. There’s also some great detail like period accurate clothing to make everything almost believable.

Story: Paul Allor Art: Chris Evenhuis
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

Aftershock Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review Black Hammer #9


In the golden age of space exploration, Colonel Randall Weird was on the frontlines. In his interstellar travels he encountered many strange worlds and alien civilizations, but none more curious than the technological marvel that became his best friend: Talky-Walky! Guest artist David Rubin reveals her robotic backstory in this special issue of Black Hammer!

Writer Jeff Lemire manages to throw a few curveballs into things with Black Hammer #9. This issue also reveals how Colonel Weird met Talky-Walky, so check off one of the many mysteries of the series. The series is always interesting and this issue has an almost pulp sci-fi tale style. That’s especially present given how the tale is told as the past and present collide.

The art style by David Rubin continues to shine in this odd superhero mystery. We finally get to view Talky-Walky’s home world in this issue and Rubin delivers visuals that’ll get you to linger with some series vibrant alien landscapes. Not to mention some interesting looking robots.

As always, Black Hammer is one of the best superhero comics out there.

Story: Jeff Lemire Art: David Rubin
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Dark Horse Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Riftworld Legends #1-#4

In the Age of Discovery, explorers searching for India stumble on the mythical lost continent of Hy-Breasal. When two seamen are marooned on its hostile and uncharted shores, their struggle for survival triggers an epic, sprawling adventure. This is the secret history of Earth’s collision with a fantastical realm of monsters and magic at the dawn of the Renaissance. It is the story of the ordinary men and women who cross between worlds, destined to become heroes.

Riftworld Legends is an unexpected adventure or misadventure of forbidden history. The series reveals what the current ruling religious doesn’t want the public to know. The point of view the story is told from changes as past and present switch on and off. The series manages to balance both without becoming overwhelming as they lead to each other and plotlines converge.

The art is colorful and brings in a proper sense of danger and fantasy to the story. There’s the standard fantasy of giant monsters, Orc-like creatures, undead skeletons, and lush tropical jungles.  The series also features some well done if brief fight scenes as the two main characters in the story try to survive.

Story: Jonathan Williams Art: Daniel Wong
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.25 Recommendation: Buy

Joe Books LTD provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review

Review: Grimm Fairy Tales: Dance of the Dead #3

There is no safe haven in the Shadowlands! As Mystere and Jasmine escape each threat they find another more deadly one waiting for them. Every danger they encounter seems to be pushing them deeper into the cursed land and towards a foreboding structure called The Tower…a place where legends say no one has ever returned from alive.

The cave of ice has more danger in it they initially believed in Grimm Fairy Tales: Dance of the Dead #3. With sheer dumb luck, they manage to escape the cave, finding themselves on the outskirts of a desert city. Yet, with more danger then they know on their tale. How long will they survive in the Shadowlands? Writer Anne Toole ups the action for this entry in the series.

The art by Marcio Abreu does a solid job of rendering the magic in this issue, along with bringing in the past with the sepia color scheme seen in previous issues.

Story: Anne Toole Art: Marcio Abreu
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

Zenescope provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Aquaman Annual #1

Aquaman’s dream of unity between surface and sea has come true! A utopia of human and Atlantean ingenuity, and a symbol of harmony between the two cultures, the city of Crownspire is Arthur Curry’s greatest achievement. There Aquaman, Mera, and Tom Curry live in content. But who built Crownspire? Where is Murk? And what exactly is Tom Curry?

Something is very wrong with Aquaman’s world, and if he doesn’t find out soon he may never live to see another day.

Writer Phillip Kennedy Johnson gives us an impressive and dark annual for the king of the seas. Johnson manages to work in an aged Superman, and Hal Jordon, leaving Wonder Woman untouched by time’s passing, a solid detail that gets you to ponder about DC’s various superheroes. Johnson also creates a solid mystery as this idyllic world is not as it seems. For the brightness of the Crownspire, hides the darkest truth about it.

The art by Max Fiumara is superb. Bringing a great deal of contrast between what is real and what isn’t. Fiumara manages to change that at the end of the annual, as grief clouds Arthur and Mera’s minds. We also get to see a more golden age Atlantis renamed Crownspire.

It’s a great addition to the world of Aquaman, some of which I want to see more of from these two talents.

Story: Phillip Kennedy Johnson Art: Max Fiumara Cover: Max Fiumara
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.25 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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