Author Archives: Alex K Cossa

Review: X-O Manowar #1

xo2017_001_cover-a_larosa

Born under the oppressive thumb of the Roman Empire, Aric of Dacia learned warfare at an early age. It was amid such violence that he was abducted by an alien race. Forced into slavery, he survived where others perished. His escape would come from bonding with a weapon of immeasurable power: the X-O Manowar armor. With it, he returned to Earth…only to find himself stranded in the modern day.

But that was a lifetime ago.

Now, far from home on a strange and primitive new world, Aric has begun a new life. Liberated from his past, he tends to his crops. Free from war. Free from violence. Free from the armor.

But the machinery of death marches his way once again. Conscripted into an alien army and thrown into an unforgiving conflict, the fury inside him finds voice as he is forced to embrace the armor once more. With it, he will decimate armies, topple empires and incite interplanetary warfare as he rises from SOLDIER to GENERAL to EMPEROR to VISIGOTH. They wanted a weapon. He will give them war!

Full disclosure: I’m a huge fan of Valiant, something that should be evident to all who have read my reviews of their comics each week, but of all their characters X-O Manowar is arguably their flagship character having relaunched the publishers comics back in 2012. Funnily enough, despite my love of the publisher’s comics I still haven’t gotten around to reading the full 50 plus issues in the previous volume written by Robert Venditti (I started around #38), so when I say you don’t need to have read any X-O Manowar before this issue, I hope you’ll believe me.

xo2017_002_variant-icon_andrewsIn fact, if you’ve read the entire review thus far, including preview text above, then you already know more than I did before I read the comic because when I got the email with the review copy at midnight last night I jumped right into the comic like a kid in a candy store.

With the setting of the comic, you’re going to have questions – questions that may (or may) not be answered further into the series – but rather than dwell on the hows and whys of the story, strap in and enjoy what you’re holding in your hands; Matt Kindt is an incredibly talented writer who knows how to shape a story to pull you into the world he’s building, and he does that and then some with his opening chapter of Soldier.

X-O Manowar #1 opens with a double page spread that gives you a sense of where Aric is both physically and mentally. Tomas Giorello takes on his fair share of storytelling in the opening pages, as Aric’s lack of words and narrations gives us an almost silent couple of pages, which is a pretty ballsy move – opening a new series with almost no dialogue until the fourth page – but it works very well in showcasing the art. Giorello and colourist Diego Rodriguez have an almost old-school feel to the pages, whether it’s the lack of ink adding an ethereal quality, or the interplay of colours that feel less digitally done than most other comics these days and much more organic and warm despite the muted colours used at times throughout the comic.

This is an exciting, layered, and beautifully drawn and coloured comic that is the perfect jumping on point for new and old fans alike (second only to the 2012 debut). Add this to your pull list today and forget anything else from any other publisher coming out this year; based on the first issue alone  X-O Manowar is going to be THE superhero title of 2017.

Don’t miss this series.

Story: Matt Kindt Art: Tomas Giorello Colour Art: Diego Rodriguez
Story: 9.75 Art: 9.75 Overall: 9.75 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review.

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DC Rebirth Recap & Review: Comics Released 3/15

Welcome to Graphic Policy’s DC Rebirth: Recap And Review where we take a look at the comics released under DC‘s Rebirth banner and try to work out just how accessible they are for new readers – we’ll also be providing  recap of sorts for the relevant story beats up until the issue in question in order to help you figure out if the series is something you’re interested in.

Each comic will receive a rating of Friendly or Unfriendly based on how easy it was for

new readers to pick them up; the ratings are based solely on the issues released in the post-Rebirth ongoing series. More consideration regarding the comic’s accessibility will be given for the specific issue being read rather than the series overall, but if reading a back issue will help, then that will be mentioned. Generally, the quality of an issue won’t be discussed unless it directly impacts a new reader’s enjoyment of the series.

You may notice that not every comic is covered week to week, and that’s because I  sometimes forget to read them  (although that doesn’t happen often). If I have missed an issue, typically I won’t go looking for back issues to catch up on events – this feature is all about accessibility for new readers, after all.

 


 

AQM_Cv19_dsAll-Star Batman #9 Batman is globetrotting in order to save some land from further decay as a result of some bacteria that Mr. Freeze released. This issue sees him going after another in his rogues gallery in a mostly prose and art form that’s both Friendly and really quite good.

Aquaman #19 Part one in a new story arc… which is a good thing because I honestly don’t remember the previous issue in anyway shape or form. Luckily, this is a Friendly place to start if you want to delve into the series and characters, even if does refer back to the New 52.

Batman #19 Bane is attacking Arkham and for some reason the inmates are trying to defend Batman. This story refers back to elements from the first (and only decent arc in the series) and while I could do an in depth, or even brief, recap for you.

Batwoman #1 Spinning out of Detective Comics, this series has a little throw back to the best forgotten monster story crossover that I can never remember the name of (because it was awful) before moving into a more interesting direction. It’s also Friendly.

Green Arrow #19 Last issue Roy Harper, Ollie’s former partner, punched Green Arrow square in the face. Despite the tension, this Friendly issue is about Arsenal and Green Arrow working together to defend a peaceful protest from a group of gun toting madmen.

Green Lanterns #19 Another new arc in one of the most consistently Friendly series thanks to Sam Humphries tendency to give some form of recap or introduction at the outset of every issue… which isn’t present here. That said, it’s still an accessible comic for new readers; if you don’t know who Doctor Polaris is, think a DC version of Magneto (basically).

NTW_Cv17_dsJustice League #17 Time is being erased, and the League has been sent to different time periods to stop it. I think. It’s not the best story, honestly, but I don’t know if my lack of enjoyment is clouding my ability to follow along or not so I’m not marking it as friendly or unfriendly.

Nightwing #17 Dick Grayson’s pregnant girlfriend has been kidnapped, and Damian Wayne has decided to confront Dick about who will be the next Batman. There were some brilliant moments between the two last issue, and the inevitable team up is a fantastic, and Friendly, reminder of just how fun these two were as Batman and Robin before the New 52 came along.

Superman #19 Although I’m far from a fan of the artwork, there’s something happening that’s erasing Jon, and Superman’s life from existence in the current timeline (because this Superman is from before the New 52). The comic itself is somewhat Friendly, although the story itself isn’t the easiest to follow.

Super Sons #2 Damian Wayne and Jon Kent are breaking into Lex Corp to look for … I honestly didn’t remember until I put it together about half way through this comic. I’d say that makes it pretty Friendly.

 

 

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 3/18

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

All-Star Batman #9 (DC) Written with an almost prose style, this comic is easily the better of the two Batman books this week, giving us an interesting look at the Mad Hatter as Snyder continues his out-of-Gotham tour of Batman’s Rogues Gallery. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Read

american gods 1.jpgAmerican Gods #1 (Dark Horse) I have never read the prose version of this story before, although I have a vague idea as to what the basic premise is from conversations with a friend, but I wasn’t prepared for how quickly the story went from hinting at something just beneath the surface to throwing it into your face. I liked it, however. Quite a lot. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Batman #19 (DC) ….. it took me four minutes to read this, and that was four minutes I could have spent watching paint dry instead. Overall: 3 Recommendation: Pass

Deadpool The Duck #5 (Marvel) Stupid, yet fun. Overall: 7.25 Recommendation: Read

Venom #5 (Marvel) Despite the fast pace it feels like there’s not been too much happening yet in this series, and yet I’ve been enjoying it nonetheless. There’s some great art sequences here that more than make up for the comparative lack  of substance. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

Elana

BW_Cv1_dsBatwoman #1 (DC)– The Rucka / J.H. Williams III run of this character is the stuff of legends. I’ve eagerly awaiting the new creative team and this first issue is a promising start that should excite fans of the modern classic. Marguerite Bennett is the first queer woman to write Batwoman (and her cowriter for this, James Tynion IV is bi too). I’m relieved to have their perspectives on DC’s premiere lesbian heroine. The art from Steve Epting and Ben Oliver shares the striking noir glamor of of J.H. Williams’ original figures though their layouts are more traditional. Seeing a comic cover with 3 mysterious women of color on it is just what I needed. Recommendation: Buy

Patrick

I Hate Fairyland #11 (Image)** – Welcome back, muffin fluffers! Now that Skottie Young
has liberated himself from the useless encumbrance of things like “story arcs” and “plot”, he can get on with what this series does best: pure mayhem. In this issue, Gert goes fangirl on Gwag the Barbarian and in return is subjected to the fannish attentions of Gert cosplayer Maddie. The usual fun. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: buy

Casanova: Acedia #8 (Image)** – And into flashback, with art this time by Gabriel Bà. This is an absolutely paint-by-numbers assassin’s-daughter story, you know the one: assassin tries to shield daughter from The Life but she embraces it anyway. Nary a note of the originality and twist I expect and deserve from a Matt Fraction story. This story is stuck in neutral and needs a swift kick. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Skip

Sex Criminals #17 (Image)** – In this issue, Fraction & Zdarsky do their best Brubaker & Island_15-1Phillips… and really made me wish that Brubaker & Phillips had in fact done this issue. In fact, “The Skell” would be a great start to a series where we really dig into the m.o.’s of the various other sex criminals that are being hunted by Myrtle Spurge and her sex cops. In short, this would have been great if Fraction would just have run with it instead of backing off. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

Kill of Be Killed #7 (Image)** – And speaking of Brubaker and Phillips and Breitweiser, and issues that deviate from the main plot to focus on a secondary character… Now this is how it’s done. “What Kira Sees” takes us into the world of vigilante Dylan’s ex in a series of
family photos and therapy sessions, which leads her into Dylan’s closet and a very good, totally sensible, and really terrible decision. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Island #15 (Image)** – Sadly, this is the final issue of Brandon Graham and Emma Rios’ anthology series. We open with Grim Wilkins’ wordless “Mirenda”, a very nice fantasy piece with animation-like drawing. Not really my thing, but well done. Farel Dalrymple follows with a new installment of “Pop Gun War,” which is really my thing: freewheeling rock n’ roll urban crime whmsy. Where can I get more of this? Oh, here: http://fareldalrymple.com/ (trade collection in June!) Next up: this issue’s stunning highlight, Dilraj Mann’s “January”, a starkly-drawn meditation on young fame and the lies we tell to be pop. And then the series peaces out with Brandon Graham hisself in a delightfully surreal installment of “Multiple Warheads”. All I can do is quote the closing lines: “Good dream.” “… Hope so…” I have really loved this series and would happily take more of this sort of thing. Thanks, Brandon and Emma, you guys are the best. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

 

Ryan C

Dead Inside #4 (Dark Horse)** – In the best crime/mystery story fashion, John Arcudi ramps up the unanswered questions just prior to wrapping things up next month, while continuing the strong characterization that’s been a hallmark of this series from the outset., and Toni Fejzula’s Wrightson-esque art drives home the dark atmospherics in a dead inside 4 coverway that can only be described as “pitch perfect.” Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Batman #19 (DC)** – Is this story actually going anywhere? We get it, Batman and Bane are gonna fight, but this is the second straight installment comprised more or less entirely of build-up, and it leaves us off, bizarrely, further back than we were last issue, when at least the fisticuffs had already gotten underway. I wouldn’t mind at all if the characterization and backstory were enlightening or shed something new on the proceedings, but Tom King so far hasn’t managed to do that. Oh, and David Finch’s art is still lousy. Overall: 3 Recommendation: Pass

Batwoman #1 (DC)** – Writers Marguerite Bennett and James Tynion IV deliver a reasonably intriguing spy/noir thriller that suits artist Steve Epting’s considerable talents to a “T,” but it’s also fair to say it’s not exactly earth-shattering stuff and covers ground that’s very well-trod indeed. I liked it fine, but it was certainly predictable in the extreme. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Read

Black Panther: World Of Wakanda #5 (Marvel)** – Roxane Gay and Alitha E. Martinez put the wraps on their five-part story arc, which I loved at the beginning, with an issue that continues the sad trend of each installment getting progressively worse than the last. Granted, this is essentially a prequel and, as such, is hamstrung by the same problem all prequels are — namely, you know how it’s going to end — but Gay, who is a very skilled author, never really fleshed out her two intriguing lead characters beyond their very broadly-defined internal struggles, and the art is bog-standard stuff. All in all, a woefully wasted opportunity. Overall: 2.5 Recommendation: Pass

 

Shean

Black Panther: World Of Wakanda #5 (Marvel) The cliffhanger on the last issue, had hankering for what will happen next, and the creative team somewhat . We find Wakanda dead inside 4 coverin the throes of an awakening amongst the country’s women, as everyone has heard by this point what Aneka has done , and want retribution as well. What the Dora Milaje doesn’t see coming is one of their own seeking revenge. By issue’s end, you do realize it’s a prequel, one much like a recent show, leaves you an unsatisfactory ending. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

Odyssey Of The Amazons #3 (DC)– We catch-up with the Amazons as they meet the Valkyries. Their resolve tested and possibly new allies by their side, they are still searching for their lost sisters. Trolls and Jojins continue to battle them at every front , Tgemyra’s leadership continues to wane and the ship’s crew unity begins to dissipate.By issue’s end, it seems the Amazons have been dealt a fatal blow. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Batwoman#1 (DC)– Definitely one of the better reboots from The Big Two, as this spy thriller felt a little Iron Man/ James Bond -Ish as this has all the workings that one would expect of either character but as this gender switch deftly proves, it is even more interesting with a woman in this position. One should buy if you are enjoying Brubaker and Phillips “Velvet”, as Kate Kane is one smooth operator to be watched.
Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

 

 


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 (**).

Review: Divinity III: Escape From Gulag 396 #1

Gulag 396 coverIn the Soviet-controlled world of the Stalinverse, there is a place where liberty is sentenced to die…and it’s Gulag 396. A maximum-security prison where the only escape is through death, the gulag is the final stop for all enemies and detractors of the world’s oppressive authority. But when public enemy Obadiah Archer is admitted as the latest inmate, could his gospel of goodwill and optimism be the spark that ignites a new faith in the prison’s population…including the immortal undesirable known as Aram Addi-Padda?

There will be two types of Valiant fans interested in this story; those following Divinity III and those who follow the adventures of Archer and Armstrong. I’ll tackle the latter camp first, because if you’re not reading Divinity III but are a fan of Archer and Armstrong, then you’re going to enjoy this standalone alternate reality style take on the two characters.

When I say that this is a standalone  story, I genuinely mean that the main story has nothing to do with the overarching Divinity III events, which is ideal if you’re not reading that story, but less so if you’re looking for a comic that sheds a little more light on the main miniseries – the backup story by Matt Kindt (writer) and Juan Hose Ryp (artist) does give us a little bit of background on The Pioneer, but it’s not nearly enough to make buying the comic worth it if you don’t care about either Archer or Armstrong.

You may be thinking at this point that I don’t care for the comic, but nothing could be further from the truth.

With Escape From Gulag 396 Eliot Rahal tells a story that captures the essence of both Archer and Armstrong and their relationship that we’ve come to know and love over the years, while simultaneously showing their first meeting in the Stalinverse. There’s also some fun little Easter eggs for their fans scattered throughout the pages, but if you don’t catch them then it’s not make or break.

As a tie-in comic this is pretty good, but when you read this as an Archer and Armstrong comic then it will reinforce everything you thought you knew about the characters in a story that’ll make you want to read it several times over. Rahal‘s understanding of the two unlikely heroes is awesome, and really comes across in the story – if he were given a shot at an ongoing series featuring Archer and Armstrong then I’d be all over that like sprinkles on a donut.

Story: Eliot Rahal Art: Francis Portela Colour Art: Andrew Dalhouse
Story: 9.5 Art: 8 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

DC Rebirth Recap & Review: Comics Released 3/8

Welcome to Graphic Policy’s DC Rebirth: Recap And Review where we take a look at the comics released under DC‘s Rebirth banner and try to work out just how accessible they are for new readers – we’ll also be providing  recap of sorts for the relevant story beats up until the issue in question in order to help you figure out if the series is something you’re interested in.

Each comic will receive a rating of Friendly or Unfriendly based on how easy it was for

new readers to pick them up; the ratings are based solely on the issues released in the post-Rebirth ongoing series. More consideration regarding the comic’s accessibility will be given for the specific issue being read rather than the series overall, but if reading a back issue will help, then that will be mentioned. Generally, the quality of an issue won’t be discussed unless it directly impacts a new reader’s enjoyment of the series.

You may notice that not every comic is covered week to week, and that’s because I  sometimes forget to read them  (although that doesn’t happen often). If I have missed an issue, typically I won’t go looking for back issues to catch up on events – this feature is all about accessibility for new readers, after all.

 


 

DTC_Cv952_ds

Batgirl And The Birds Of Prey #8 Of the two Batgirl comics DC are currently publishing, this is my favourite. This issue features Nightwing for some new-reader-Friendly fun with a new arc that also starts this issue.

Deathstroke #14 I’ve said for awhile that this would be best read in trade as the complex nature of the story can be hard to follow – and pick up – for new readers. But it’s so good, though.

Detective Comics #952 Lady Shiva, the world’s most deadly assassin has set her sights on Gotham… this is a Friendly issue as the first chapter spent a lot of time setting the scene,    so there wasn’t a whole whack of story progression for you to miss out on.

Hal Jordan And The Green Lantern Corps #16 If you want to read a brutal tale of a stubborn man punching way above his weight the look no further. If you want to know what’s going on? The Green and Yellow Lanterns have, for the most part, decided to work together to protect the universe, and are pulling in the errant Yellows. Guy Gardner decided to go off solo and challenge an alien to a fist fight. That’s about the gist of things. Friendly.

Justice League Of America #2 I have a lot of problems with this issue, chief of which (and the only one relevant to this post) is that it’s Unfriendly.

New Super-Man #9 I was going to write a recap of prior events in the series, but then I read the first page where Kenan Kong does exactly that. If you’re curious about this series, then this is a Friendly place to start (and it’s also a great series to pick up, too).

NSM_Cv9_dsRed Hood And The Outlaws #9 A prologue to the next arc…  it’s as Friendly a place to start with the series.

Suicide Squad #13 Amanda Waller was murdered two issues ago, and Rustam, one of the first members of the Squad captured Katanna and Flag… I think. I don’t really remember it all, to be totally honest, but you can follow the story easily enough if you start here.

Supergirl #7  I don’t recall what happened in the last issue that I read (and because I said I wouldn’t go back and reread an issue for this feature I don’t know if I missed an issue), but I still found this Friendly.

Superwoman #8 Taking a break from the regularly scheduled programming, we get a Superman Reborn tie-in. This is a wordy issue that will end up being a Friendly  read… but you need to give it some time, and several pages, before it reaches that point.

The Flash #18 A new story starts here, which is generally a decent place to start reading the floppies, and this issue is no exception. This Friendly issue also really doesn’t need a recap, either, which is fantastic for new readers.

Titans #9 The team has just moved to Manhattan, and a former member (I think) has sought them out because he thinks his wife is in danger… but at the end of the last issue she seemed to be quite okay. So okay, in fact, she’s Bumble Bee! She may or may not have been tricked into working for a supervillain team under the guise of training (or curing) those with metahuman powers. I’m not sure and it’s been awhile since I read the last issue, but this one should be Friendly enough for you.

Wonder Woman #18 The dual story set up of this comic does make it hard to keep track of what’s going on when and in which of the two stories running in alternating issues (especially when the two stories take place within a similar time setting), almost to the point where even after having read every issue so far, I’d point you toward the trades rather than the single issues.

 

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 3/11

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

man_thing__1-9Man Thing #1 (Marvel) So… yeah. This is not what I expected it to be in any way shape or form – although I’ve never really read any Man Thing before. R.L Stine has an almost throwback style to his comic writing that I really enjoyed, although there are a couple stumbles, for the mot part this is worth a read at the very least.  Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

Redline #1 (Oni Press) Although I tend to avoid space comics, the preview text led me to believe that this first issue would be right up my alley, so I figured I’d check it out – and I wasn’t disappointed. Although this isn’t strictly a comedy there are some pretty funny one liners and character interactions throughout the comic, and the art is suitably dusty and dry feeling, which is perfect for the Mars setting. Story wise, there’s a lot of interesting things here beneath the copious amount of F-bombs, and more than enough for genre fans to come back next issue. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Read

The Unbelievable Gwenpool#13 (Marvel) I think this is a love it or hate it comic. I didn’t love it… Overall: 5 Recommendation: Pass

Joe

Inhumans vs X-Men #6 (Marvel) – We finally come to a close to the end of the inhumans_vs__x_men__6Inhuman/Mutant war. I will say this could have been better, but it also could have been worse. The story definitely felt tighter and more organic than Death of X, but I still felt with the talent involved, a lot was left on the table. There are some cool set ups for future villains, the status quo of the earth Inhumans vs the Royals going to space, and the new X-teams, but I wanted more. Still, this was a decent event, especially when I am usually let down lately by Marvel’s events. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

Justice League / Power Rangers #3 (BOOM!). This is another fun and light issue that works much like the first two. This book takes itself just seriously enough to pull off its premise. While it comes off more of a Power Rangers tone than Justice League, the Justice League characters fit right into the story. No one felt out of character to me and Tom Taylor juggles a lot of personalities including the villains. A really fun comic that is accessible to anyone. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Man-Thing #1 (Marvel) – RL Stine has come to Marvel Comics! This was a really fun story, and a perfect piece for Stine to write. It never apologizes for its old school horror feel, which is mixed with an interesting fish out of water (beast out of swamp?) plot. We see Man-Thing (aka Ted) in Hollywood with a failing career as an actor, and a theme of being mocked and not accepted by “normal” people. The comic ends with a cool cliffhanger that kept me interested. The art is fantastic, and I look forward not only to the rest of the miniseries, but more comic books from Stine as well. Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

Patrick

The Dregs #2 (Black Mask)** – I am loving this series. Writers Zac Thompson & Lonnie Nadler give us a take on the private eye story we’ve never seen: a homeless Marlowe navigating the underworld of derelict Vancouver. Artist Eric Zawadski gives us bold dreggs 2 coverdrawings and effortless storytelling that also lets us into the cracks of Marlowe’s mind. Just great stuff. Overall: 9.5. Recommendation: Buy

Cinema Purgatorio (Avatar)** – Moore and O’Neill continue their history of the underside of American cinema with a cartoon that turns Chuck Jones’ classic “Duck Amok” idea pitch black. Doesn’t quite hold together, though. In “Code Pru,” Garth Ennis and Raulo Caceres continue their ghostbusting EMT series with an actual ghost – one who happens to get off on watching other ghosts get it on in a haunted orgy. I am not making this one up. And other series as well. Overall: 6 (but I give Code Pru a 7.5). Recommendation: Skip

Lady Killer #4 (Dark Horse)** – It seems like forever since last issue but if that’s how long it takes for Joêlle Jones to draw this gorgeously, it’s worth the wait. The care that goes into every single panel, both in terms of writing and art, makes this series a must for me. That Josie herself is not conflicted about her dual roles as killer and housewife, but has that conflict imposed on her by an old man, is pure genius. Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

The Old Guard #1 (Image)** – I had no idea we were getting a new Greg Rucka military fantasy series, and was delighted to spot this one. Basically: a crew of immortal warriors led by your now-typical Rucka female messed-up protagonist takes on a mercenary gig they come to regret. Nice to see an action comic that, despite its fantastial elements, is firmly grounded in the present-day realities of armed conflict. Leandro Fernandez draws a chiaroscuro world that borders on cartooniness but uses it to draw us in and blow us away – kind of the way Eduardo Risso does it. Nothing super new here, but it’s a fun ride. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys: The Big Lie #1 (Dynamite) – I was a huge Hardy Boys reader as a kid, so I was really looking forward to this series by writer Anthony Del Col and artist Werther Dell’Edera. But I felt the whole “let’s show the ugly underside of Bayport and its crooked cops” approach lazy and generic – unlike the Hardy Boys novels themselves, which at least made the effort to use authentic (for the 1930’s) police and detection methods. And where the hell is Chet? Overall: 6 Recommendation: Skip

Ryan C

Jessica Jones #6 (Marvel)** – Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos wrap up the CopperHead_11-1“major” part of their first story arc while leaving some relatively massive subplots dangling, and you can’t help but feel we’ve been down this road a thousand times before — Bendis, after all, is the master of “decompressed” storytelling, and while you can’t point to anything too overtly “bad” on an issue-by-issue basis, by the time all is said and done the whole thing feels like a cheat when you realize it could just as easily (indeed, quite likely more effectively) been told in two or three parts rather than six. Overall: 4.0 Recommendation: Pass

Copperhead #11 (Image)** – My excitement at seeing this series return from a way-too-long hiatus is somewhat tempered by an art change : exit Scott Godlewski and enter Drew Moss, who does a reasonable enough approximation, but yeah — it’s just not the same. That being said, Jay Faerber’s story hasn’t missed a beat ,and there is some intriguing ramped-up tension between our two leads that should make things even more addictive as events progress. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Mother Panic #4 (DC/Young Animal)** – I guess this is the start of the second story arc, but so many subplots are held over that maybe that designation is effectively meaningless. Jody Houser continues to build on Violet Paige’s extremely fascinating and tragic backstory to an even greater extent this time out, and a new foe makes an entrance every bit as bizarre as that of a new ally a few pages earlier. Shawn Crystal fills in on art, and while his a more detailed look than that of series regular Tommy Lee Edwards, it’s no less effective. And there’s a huge surprise for old-school Ditko fans waiting in the back-up strip. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Earth 2: Society #22 (DC)** – I know, I know — I’m not sure how this series managed to last this long into the “Rebirth” era, either, but Dan Abnett and Vicente Cifuentes (one of about a half-dozen artists who have worked on this run, none of them appearing consistently enough to be called a “regular”) give what few fans are left in the building a canned and predictable “happily ever after” that at least wraps up all loose ends. Still, as the saying goes, not with a bang, but a whimper, is the order of the day here. Overall: 4 Recommendation: Pass, unless you’ve been following from the outset, in which case you may as well see it through to the end.

Shean

The Unbelievable Gwenpool#13 (Marvel)– In this issue of Gwenpool, she accidentally meets her off the wall inspiration, Deadpool. As they both get stuck in a real time RPG , with an lost boy 6interesting set of characters. Eventually, they face off , damn near killing each other . By issue’s end, they find out it is all for entertainment by a game executive. Overall: 9.8
Recommendation: Buy

The Lost Boys #6 (DC)- In the final issue of this incredible follow up to the movies, the Frog Brothers finally figure out who is carrying out the recent vampire threat. This leads The to a retirement home, where they battle some geriatric vampires. The Frog Brothers end up victorious but another threat rises by sea. By issue’s end, this was a fun trip back to the characters from the movie. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Guardians Of The Galaxy:MU #1 (Marvel)– Soon after losing their ship, the team finds themselves in a quandary as Gamora finds that Peter knew Thanos was on Earth. To pile on that, Leviathans have been rampaging on Earth since they landed and the GOTG have been pulled into the fight.In the midst of battle, Groot, fights a Kaiju sized match against another alien. By issue’s end, the team finds themselves at a crossroads. Overall: 8.4
Recommendation: Buy



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 (**).

Underrated: DC Rebirth Comics

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: the DC Comics that fall under the Rebirth banner.

This week on Underrated, I wanted to take a look at some of DC’s ongoing series post Rebirth. These are all series that I’ve been enjoying more than I expected, but haven’t been selling as much as the other series. While the sales numbers are still higher than a lot of other non Big Two series, these are the series that either don’t have as much buzz surrounding them as they should, or that have simply surprised me the most in a positive way since Rebirth began.  I’ve indicated the sales numbers as reported by Comichron, as well as whether I think the series is likely to be cancelled  (based purely on my interpretation of the Comichron sales data for February and no basis whatsoever on rumours or solicitations). Where a book double shipped, I went with the highest numbered issue.

Let’s get to it, shall we?

REDHOOD04-COVDWRed Hood And The Outlaws 
February Rank / Sales Numbers: 82 / 28,753
Cancellation Chance: Slim To None

I’ve never been fond of the idea behind Red Hood, or at least my concept of the idea as a cross between Batman and Punisher. But this series has thrown a dash of Green Hornet into the mix and has really delved into the conflicted nature of the character whilst surrounding him with a fantastic supporting cast in Artemis and Bizarro. Even with a line up of strong Batbooks post Rebirth, Red Hood And The Outlaws has been consistent in it’s solidness for the eight issues we’ve had so far.

Aquaman
February Rank / Sales Numbers: 76 / 30,584
Cancellation Chance: Pretty Unlikely with a movie in the not too distant future.

Had you told me a year ago that I would end up liking Aquaman, I’d have called you a liar. Then I started reading it for the weekly Rebirth Recap & Review feature for Graphic Policy and I haven’t looked back since. Why is it on the list? Because it’s an Aquaman comic.

new super-man 1 coverNew Super-Man
February Rank / Sales Numbers: 131 /
16,962
Cancellation Chance: Uh… if the sales numbers drop below 10,000, then maybe.

On the surface, this is about the Chinese equivalent of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, and how the young adults given the abilities of these heroes struggle to live up to their Western counterparts. On top of that, there’s also the angle of the New Super-Man being a jerk who is growing beyond his earlier prejudices and becoming the hero he wants to be.

Gotham Academy: Second Semester
February Rank / Sales Numbers: 198 / 8,624
Cancellation Chance: It’s the lowest selling Rebirth comic right now.

This is an interesting choice for this list, as I’m not as big a fan of this comic as I am some of the others on the list. So why is it included? Because those who do read this series love the innocent charm of this series set in a boarding school in Gotham, and the students in the detective club. I may not be a huge fan, but I bet there’s more of you out there who would be if you gave it a chance.

That’s about it for this week. Next week we’ll be looking at February’s Underrated Comics not in the top 100 for sales according to Diamond.

 

Review: Old Man Logan #19

A failure from the past haunts Logan…and to correct his mistakes, he’ll need magical assistance. But when he faces opposition, Logan will turn to an unlikely — and potentially treacherous — ally!

In the last arc, Logan was faced with the possibility that in his past/this world’s potential future Bruce Banner’s grandchild would grow into a despotic warlord when Jean Grey – under the control of the Brood – forced him to return to the Wastelands in a vision that took place years (decades?) after he left. Now, in an effort to prevent that vision from coming true, Old Man Logan aims to go back to the future.

Jeff Lemire continues his run on Old  Man Logan with the first of  two-part story that has a unique premise as far as time travelling superheroes go; Old Man Logan #19 takes place over a week and change and has Logan trying to find a way back to the Wastelands resulting in some short, well written, scenes throughout the issue. Lemire also seems to take a moment for an almost meta-message about midway through the comic as Logan comes across a certain guest star. It’s a moment that works both in the general flow of the story, and yet also echoes how many of us are feeling about certain big name publisher’s favorite (or one of their favorite) tricks they’ve been pulling over the last few years.

As good as Lemire is here, unfortunately, Filipe Andrade‘s art wasn’t what I hoped it would be – although it’s perfectly serviceable (and better than anything I could do), it just didn’t click for me after the last few issues. Your mileage may vary, however, but I’m not a fan of how some panels feel line heavy without any real detail – again it’s a style that’s just not my cup of tea.

At the end of the day Old Man Logan #19 is a solid entry in the series thus far – it’s just not one of my favorites.

Story: Jeff Lemire Art: Filipe Andrade Colours: Jordan Boyd
Story: 8.5 Art: 6.5 Overall: 7.75 Recommendation: Read

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

DC Rebirth Recap & Review: Comics Released 3/1

Welcome to Graphic Policy’s DC Rebirth: Recap And Review where we take a look at the comics released under DC‘s Rebirth banner and try to work out just how accessible they are for new readers – we’ll also be providing  recap of sorts for the relevant story beats up until the issue in question in order to help you figure out if the series is something you’re interested in.

Each comic will receive a rating of Friendly or Unfriendly based on how easy it was for

new readers to pick them up; the ratings are based solely on the issues released in the post-Rebirth ongoing series. More consideration regarding the comic’s accessibility will be given for the specific issue being read rather than the series overall, but if reading a back issue will help, then that will be mentioned. Generally, the quality of an issue won’t be discussed unless it directly impacts a new reader’s enjoyment of the series.

You may notice that not every comic is covered week to week, and that’s because I  sometimes forget to read them  (although that doesn’t happen often). If I have missed an issue, typically I won’t go looking for back issues to catch up on events – this feature is all about accessibility for new readers, after all.

 


 

bm_cv18_dsBatman #18 Batman verses Bane! Bane is in Gotham to retrieve the Psycho Pirate  so the Pirate can use his mental powers to make Bane brave, or something like that. Batman needs the Pirate so he can reverse what he did to Gotham Girl, so he stole him from Bane in Santa Prisca and returned to Gotham. I honestly had to reread the last issue to remember what was going on here, so I’m calling it Unfriendly for that reason.

Cyborg #10 After the exhaustive nine part epic The Imitation Of Life concluded last issue we start things off with a new arc here. Everything you need to know about the story so far is provided at the beginning of the issue, although sometimes it feels more like forced explanation than natural story exposition, it does make for the Friendliest place to start reading the series we’ve had in months.

Green Arrow #18 Roy Harper returns to Seattle! This is actually a really Friendly issue for readers looking to learn a little more about Arsenal, and Green Arrow. Following Arsenal as he returns to his former home, we get an insight into the former mentor/protege relationship, and where they stand now… there’s a bit of background info not included in the comic (yet) but it all boils down to the fact that Oliver Queen is at rock bottom with no money, no control over his company, and is living in a forest because he has no home.

Nightwing15CoverGreen Lanterns #18 This issue is a Friendly one only in that it provides an origin story for Volthoom – the First Lantern – who has been terrorizing the two Green Lanterns in this title on and off over the last fifteen or less issues.

Harley Quinn #15  Having missed the last couple of issues, I have no idea what’s going on here, but it’s kinda entertaining and Friendly enough for you to just jump right in.

Justice League #16 I was going to write a recap of this before I started reading the comic, but then I opened it and right there bang on the front page is a very brief, but effective, recap for you. I still don’t really know what’s going on, but then neither do the Justice League, so while this issue may not seem Friendly, you’ve been given as much information as those who read the last issue by the end of it.

Nightwing #16 Now that Nightwing is back in Bludhaven and somewhat established, we find the series about to take him on a new story arc that, so far at least, is a Friendly place to jump into the best Batfamily book this week.

Superman #18 The other Clark Kent discovered that Lois Lane was already married to Superman (currently going by Clark Smith) in Action Comics #974 last week. This issue continues on from that with the Smith’s celebrating their anniversary. The Smith’s are the Pre-New 52 Lois and Clark, incidentally, with a son – Jon. Although this won’t the same impact on you if you’re just starting here, it is pretty Friendly.

A Short, Spoiler Free Logan Review

loganIt should be no surprise to you by this point that I’m a huge Wolverine fan, so when I realized I could watch the movie on my birthday I jumped at the chance to get to go see it.

But before I say anything else, if you want an in-depth critical review with no real plot spoilers then you can read Brett’s review over here, because that’s not what this is going to be. This is going to be some quick impressions from a twenty-five-year fan of Wolverine who has been desperate for a half way decent movie starring the clawed Canadian. I went into the movie with the critic part of my brain turned off (somehow), so this is being written from a fan’s perspective before anything else.

On the quality: After sitting through the film on opening night, it’s safe to say that I was not disappointed, and I have every intention to see this movie again very soon. Logan earns the R rating several times over, and as fun as it is to see the movie do that, that’s not why I loved the film. Or at least not the whole reason.

On the action: This is the Wolverine movie fans have been waiting seventeen years for. Remember the scene in X2 when Wolverine defends the X-Mansion? It’s like that, but R-rated, and with much better choreography.

On the acting: While I doubt there’ll be any Oscar talk around this movie, Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart are fantastic. As is Dafne Keen who is able to hold her own when sharing the screen with the two veterans as they deliver their best performances as these characters to date.

Overall: I saw somewhere that somebody had compared this to the Dark Knight of the X-Men movies, and I don’t disagree with them. After a single viewing, this is easily the best movie in the franchise right now – whether that’ll change once I’ve rewatched it… I doubt it, but you never know. The performances of the three leads was phenomenal, the story everything I hoped it’d be. I can’t wait to watch this again – and I will. Very soon.

And no, if you’re wondering, there’s no post-credits scene.

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