Author Archives: Alex K Cossa

Review: War Mother #3

WM_003_COVER-B_GORHAM“As the only force standing between her tribe and total extinction, War Mother must protect every man, woman, and child…no matter the cost…as she braves the long journey across the mutant-infested jungles and irradiated steppes once known as South America. But when this sworn guardian discovers that the new homeland she seeks might not be the haven it was promised to be, she’ll have to save her people from the one thing she never could have anticipated: themselves!”

Having been sat staring at my screen for the last ten minutes without any idea how to start this review, I figured I’d just start writing and see where we end up. The thing I’m having trouble with is that while I enjoyed the comic, quite a lot actually, there was nothing that stood out to me about it.

War Mother #3 is a brilliant example of the creative team pulling together a really solid book, with everything from the art to the words being on point. The theme of the issue, without revealing too much, is oddly poignant as Ana and her sentient gun Falco share some genuinely well written moments within the panels which is also set to some really wonderful set pieces.

As a four issue miniseries this story has been quite enjoyable – more so than I ever expected – and War Mother #3 continues the quality shown in the last two issues that puts the series on pace to go out with a bang. I just wish I had more to say about this comic.

Story: Fred Van Lente
Art: Stephen Segovia and Roberto De La Torre Colourist: Andrew Dalhouse
Story: 8 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided a FREE copy for review, but I based this review off the print version I purchased.

Review: Faith And The Future Force #4

FFF_004_VARIANT_CHEUNG“Bloodshot was a bust… Divinity didn’t work… Ninjak was nixed… No matter which of the Valiant Universe’s greatest heroes she recruits to her aid, Faith still can’t save the time stream! With time literally running out all around her, does L.A.’s sky-soaring superhero have what it takes to defend the entire universe…or will the secret key to saving existence itself come from the most darkest and most unexplored avenue of all?”

Well  this was an unexpected conclusion. When the combined might of the Valiant universe fails to save history, Faith, Neela Sethi and Ank try one last hail Mary – and it’s not exactly what you’d expect.

Faith And The Future Force has been a subtly intelligent series that subverts the industry established conventions that bigger and stronger heroes are needed as things get worse and the damage worsens. By having three comics in the four issue miniseries essentially tell the same story Jody Houser both pokes a little fun at the yearly summer events from the “Big Two” publishers while providing her own unique solution in the fourth issue; at some point we’ve got to learn that doing the same damn thing all the time just doesn’t work. To borrow a famous slogan, sometimes we need to think different.

To drive home the shift in thinking from the first three issues to the fourth, the art of Cary Nord (with Brian Thies) brings a different style to the story that is a little noticeable after the relative consistency of the first three issues, but that’s the entire point isn’t it? Although there is a scrappy feeling to the  artwork, it’s still very easy to follow the story –  it won’t leave your jaw on the floor, but there’s nothing inherently bad about the visuals this issue.

Where the comic does stumble is actually in some of the believability of the characters actions as they seem to just accept things without thinking too much about the whys. Granted this could be Houser making a clever point that I’m too dense to follow.

Ultimately the comic, and series as a whole, triumphs over the flaws in this issue – and while this could have easily been another arc within the ongoing Faith series, you’re not going to be lost if you’ve never touched the previous material as Faith And The Future Force stands alone as an entertaining story with a meta message.

Story: Jody Houser Art: Cary Nord with Brian Thies Colourist: Ulises Arreola
Story: 8.0 Art: 7.5 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy (the trade)

Valiant provided Graphic Policy a FREE copy for review – but I’m still buying this.

Review: InferNoct #1

Infernoct-1Sometimes a comic comes across your proverbial desk that you have no sweet clue what it’s about other than who it was published by and the issue number. Such is the case with InferNoct #1, published by Scout Comics and written by Mina Elwell who’s join by artist Eli Powell, colourist Tristan Elwell and letterer Marshall Dillon. At this point you now know more about this issue than I did when I picked it up, and in some ways that’s the best way to go into this comic, so I won’t talk about specific plot points or story aspects in this review.

InferNoct exudes atmospheric mood so thick that you can feel it seeping into your nose and down into your gullet where it swirls around for a bit before you’re able to catch a breath… and the cycle continues once again. This is a very good thing, especially for a comic that hovers somewhere around the horror tinged thriller corner of comics (which also feels like a gross over simplification of the comic).  The story telling is fantastically well paced, and reveals just enough to invest you in the story as you question just what the frag is going on. Believe me when I say this requires multiple reads.

This is an incredibly interesting and entertaining issue that has me more excited for the next issue than a lot of other, uh, generational comics that are also coming out at the moment. In fact, I made the comparison to a friend recently that InferNoct #1 would be the museum full of comic book art and history compared to the blank wall of the other comic. This has a unique freshness about it that pulls me in like no comic has since I read my first Valiant comic some three years ago. I’m all in for this series.

Story: Mina Elwell Art: Eli Powell
Colours: Tristan Elwell Letterer: Marshall Dillon
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5

Scout Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review.

DC Rebirth: Recap and Review Comics Released 10/11

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. You’ll also notice that each comic will get a rating that falls on Graphic Policy’s typical ten point scale, which is there to help you pick between issues if you only want to check out one or two.

Not every comic is covered week to week, and that’s because I  sometimes forget to read them  (although that doesn’t happen often), or I really can’t bring myself to pic up the issue. 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_Cv966_dsAction Comics #989 Mr. Oz was revealed as Jor El last issue, and like all good villain fathers he want’s Clark to team up and take over the world! Or maybe not. It’s been a couple weeks since I read any comics and I don’t really remember much, which ultimately doesn’t matter – the comic is Friendly, but it’s nothing spectacular. 6.5/10

Detective Comics #966 Yeah, I got nothing for this. Wait. Maybe I do… Pretty sure Tim Drake has escaped from the prison cell that Mr. Oz was keeping him in, and in the process freed an uncomfortably familiar Batman… and Doomsday.  The issue is remarkably Friendly given the level of future/past blended time weaving magic, and is a pretty solid issue to boot. 8/10

Hal Jordan And The Green Lantern Corps #30 A few issues ago in Action Comics Superman was possessed by the fear entity Parallax, but he was saved partly by Sinestro and partly by himself as he ended up trapping Parallax in a yellow ring. This issue picks up from where that story left off, and is Friendly enough for you to dive into. 6.5/10

Justice League Of America #16 After following a distress signal from Ray Palmer into the microverse, the Justice League have finally traced the signal to it’s source – and by doing so have brought the villain right back to where he needs to be. Expect an origin of sorts for the villain in this otherwise Unfriendly issue. 6.25/10

New Super Man #16 While I could give you a recap, the opening to the comic actually covers about what I remembered anyway – oddly enough, this is a Friendly comic all by its lonesome. 7/10

Ragman-1-2017Ragman #1 A miniseries starring a character that I’ve only ever seen in the Arrowverse on TV – so we’re in this blind together. The comic is Friendly enough, and not  bad read – though it has nothing to do with the Arrowverse character. 7/10

Red Hood And The Outlaws #15 Bizarro died and came back with an intellect to rival that of Batman – although it’s only a temporary thing, the Outlaws have been making the most of this and have been cleaning up Gotham City in the most effective of ways – which may or may not be a good thing where the Bat family are concerned… 7.25/10 (the issue is also Friendly).

Suicide Squad #27 If you know who the Suicide Squad are, then there’s a good chance you’ll find this Friendly7/10

Supergirl #14 Friendly comic that is essentially a one shot story where Supergirl tries to control her amplified powers (that she got a few issues ago and are more dangerous than she’d like to admit) with the help of the New Super-Man. 6.25/10

The Flash #32 There’s a recap as the issue begins that’ll get you up to speed with the relevant bits and pieces with the series… but it’s not the best comic, truth be told. 5/10

Wonder Woman #32 Hercules was murdered, and Wonder Woman is his beneficiary. Meanwhile his murderer gave Hercules’ life force to her father – Darksied! Ultimately this is a Friendly enough comic for those who have at least see Wonder Woman on the big screen. 7/10

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 10/14

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.


Ryan C

FALCON_LEGACY_CVRThe Falcon #1 (Marvel)** – I didn’t think anything could be clumsier and more heavy-handed than Nick Spencer’s take on Sam Wilson, but new scribe Rodney Barnes is giving him a run for his money. Dour, humorless, and personality-free Sam? No thanks. I’m all for the timely and topical in my funnybooks, and generally agree with the points Barnes is making about economic disparity and lack of opportunity leading to the gang “crisis,” but I guess I prefer a subtle narrative to a heavy-handed polemic. Joshua Cassara’s art is fine, on the whole, if unexceptional, but I don’t see any particular reason being put forth to stick around for more of this. Overall: 4 Recommendation: Pass

 Action Comics #989 (DC)** – Dan Jurgens and Viktor Bogdanovic serve up another mediocre installment of “The Oz Effect” complete with the heavily-expository dialogue and dull “continuity porn” that we’re quickly becoming used to here. The art’s fine as far as it goes, but it doesn’t go very far : clunky pages laden with backstory followed by fight, followed by crisis that hits home, followed by more clunky pages laden with backstory. Rinse and repeat as necessary. This is assembly-line stuff all the way. Overall: 3 Recommendation: Pass

The Wild Storm: Michael Cray #1 (DC/WildStorm)** – The surprise hit of the week, Bryan Hill (who’s been killing it on “Postal”) comes on over to “The Big Two” and makes a splash with this story (apparently plotted by Warren Ellis) that sees his protagonist taking aim at the “Earth-WS” (or whatever it’s called) version of Green Arrow. I suppose the idea of analogues to characters we’re familiar with existing on this alternate Earth is kind of an obvious tack to take, but it really works here, probably because Hill spends near-equal time filling in the blanks of both Cray’s and Ollie Queen’s pasts. Nice, clean, crisp art from N. Steven Harris adds to the overall professionalism of the package, and if this creative team remains together for the duration, this should be a very memorable 12-issue run indeed. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Ragman #1 (DC)** – A confused, lackluster, and contrived “re-imagining” of a little-used but interesting character from Ray Fawkes and Inaki Miranda that sure looks cool, but reads like a lame and unnecessary “re-vamp” because, hey, that’s exactly — and all — MMIR_Cv3_open_order_varthat it is. Can’t think of any compelling reason to ride this one out for five more issues. Overall: 3 Recommendation: Pass

Logan

Mister Miracle #3 (DC) Tom King and Mitch Gerads make Orion one seriously disturbed individual in Mister Miracle #3 while also showing Scott pull off one of his signature escape routines in a classic, yet dream-like use of the grid layout that evokes Winsor McCay’s work. Mister Miracle is ostensibly a cosmic war comic, but King and Gerads continue to keep the focus on Scott’s emotions, fears, and his relationship with Big Barda. This, along with the delicious surrealism and formalism of Gerads’ art, is what makes this book one of DC’s most intriguing. Overall: 8.4 Recommendation: Buy

Defenders #6 (Marvel) Brian Michael Bendis can still write the heck out of a street level superhero story, and his Jessica Jones is way more powerfully written in this book than her solo title. This issue is mostly table setting for the upcoming New York/Kingpin gang war, but action seems to be on the way with the appearances of characters like Wilson Fisk and Deadpool. Finally, Dave Marquez has added a grittier sensiblity to his wide screen, blockbuster art and really shines when Luke and Jessica get in the trenches and beat the crap out of Diamondback. Overall: 7.3 Recommendation: Read

Joe

Dark Nights: Metal #3 (DC) – What a fun and crazy event. It walks a razor-thin line between ridiculous and awesome. If you described this in an elevator pitch, or to your friends, it sounds absurd, and that’s because it is. Yet it is also the reason it is so good. It just works. I have to give props to Snyder and Capullo as a creative team, because they are proving once again they know how to write one hell of a fun, silly, and wonderful page turner. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Mister Miracle #3 (DC) – Tom King and Mitch Gerads continue to tell an interesting and dark tale of the possible mental breakdown of a classic Kirby character. Scott Free’s spiral is something that is hard to look away from, because I found myself rooting for him, and for Barda, and their desire for happiness together. They are soldiers, and Ragman-1-2017Generals, and they are being used. It’s an excellent series so far, with some shocking moments in just three issues. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Ragman #1 (DC) – An interesting character that isn’t new, but has a cool look and a horror vibe that meshes well with the Halloween season. There isn’t anything groundbreaking or spectacular here, and really I would describe it as “Okay”. If you are unfamiliar with the character, I would describe it as a cross between The Mummy and Venom. Overall: 5 Recommendation: Pass

 


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: Comics Not In Diamond’s Top 100 For September

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: Comics not in Diamonds top 100 sellers for September.


This week we’re going to be looking at a list of comics that are all fantastic, but don’t get the attention that they deserve. Now I’m not even going to pretend to have a definitively exhaustive list of underrated comics here, because we’re hoping  that you decide to check at least one of these series out next time you’re looking for something new either online or at your LCS, and giving you a huge list to check out would be counter productive to that. Instead, you’ll find four to six comics that are worth your attention that failed to crack the top 100 in sales. You’ll notice that there’s only one comic from a publisher featured – this was done to try and spread the love around, rather than focus exclusively on one publisher.

Where possible, I’ve also avoided comics that have appeared on the last version of this list, but the only hard stipulation for this week: not one of the comics made it into the top 100 for September’s comic sales, according to Comichron, which is why they’re Underrated.

pestilence 4 coverPestilence #4 (Aftershock)
September Sales Rank/Comics Sold: 270 /5,112
What if the Black Death wasn’t the bubonic plague? What if something else was responsible for the mass death of almost a third of Europe in the 1300’s wasn’t a disease, but zombies? Imagine a zombie outbreak where the fastest method of land transportation was a horse, and there weren’t any guns. Frank Tieri’s story is brutal and brilliant and perfect for those who like a bit of sword play with their zombies.

Duck Tales #1 (IDW)
September Sales Rank/Comics Sold: 178 /10,958
Sometimes all you want in a comic is for it to be a trip down nostalgia avenue whilst having a good laugh, and that’s exactly what this is. If, like me, you loved the cartoon in the 90’s, then you’ll enjoy reading this.

XO2017_010_PRE-ORDER-GUEDESX-O Manowar #7 (Valiant)
September Sales Rank/Comics Sold: 168 /11,777
Set in the far reaches of space this gorgeously illustrated series about a reluctant warrior brought into a war that was never his, while struggling to discover if he is more than the sentient armour he wears. I’ve said it numerous times that this is one of  my favourite series currently on the racks, and if you want to check it out then despite the character’s rich history the first issue (or trade) is a great jumping on point.

New Super-Man #14 (DC)
September Sales Rank/Comics Sold: 164 /12,431
The brilliance of this series is that while you need familiarity with the bare bones of Superman’s mythology, the comic has taken on a life of it’s own with the Chinese versions of the Justice League being so much more than the cheap knock-offs that you would expect. New Super-Man is so much more than the Superman-lite story you’d expect, and with Super-Man starting out as an arrogant braggart and bully before gradually becoming the hero whose name he shares, the comic is as rewarding as it is enjoyable.


Unless the comics industry ceases any and all publication look for a future installment of Underrated to cover more comics that aren’t cracking the top 100.

Review: Harbinger Renegade #8

As “MASSACRE” continues to tear the Harbinger Renegades apart, the battle lines reveal themselves… On one side, the fugitive psiot named Alexander Solomon and the concussive killers of the H.A.R.D. Corps…and on the other, the Harbinger Renegades and a growing army of newly activated recruits – untrained, unpredictable and potentially unstable. As their paths converge toward an inescapable confrontation, Peter Stanchek will be forced to make an impossible decision that will change the destiny of everyone in the Valiant Universe…and lay the fault lines for HARBINGER WARS 2!

Here’s the thing with this comic – and I apologize for derailing the review right off the bat – I read this comic when I needed a distraction from some personal events (that had a positive outcome), and as a result of that my views on this issue may be a little rose coloured. However despite that I still feel comfortable in saying that Harbinger Renegade #8 is one of the better issues in Rafer Roberts run on the series.

After the events of issue five’s Massacre, we got to see a little fall out last issue among the Renegades, but Harbinger Renegade #8 really seems to kick into gear regarding the story as the young psiots start doing more than just talking about reacting to the events in Rook. Although it feels like a long time coming (especially with issue six’s interlude), the pacing actually feels very right. I may have complained about the pacing before (possibly in the last review, maybe just online), but I’m happy to say that I was quite wrong – Rafer Roberts clearly had a plan and I should have had more faith (pun unintended); he’s certainly earned that from his previous work.

Although I’m still not overly fond of Darrick Robertson‘s art style (which is entirely personal preference), it seems a bit more fluid and less phoned in this issue than in the previous one – the question should be asked whether I dislike his art less because Roberts story, pacing and dialogue are much stronger in comparison to Harbinger Renegade #7, or whether Robertson is simply having a better showing the eighth issue.

Whether you read this series in trade form or in single issues, we’re starting to see a nice build up toward Valiant’s 2018 mega event Harbinger Wars 2, and if you’re a Valiant fan then I’d highly advise you to be keeping tabs on the events in this series.

Overall this is a really enjoyable read that builds upon the catastrophic events of issue five in a very natural way; nothing seems forced or out of the natural flow of the story, and while I’m still not completely on board with with art it has improved. A better comic than the previous issue, and a perfect distraction when I needed one the most – and isn’t that what comics should do? Help us forget the real world for twenty or thirty minutes?

Story: Rafer Roberts Art: Darrick Robertson
Inker: Tom Palmer Colourist: Diego Rodriguez
Story: 8.0 Art: 7.0 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a Free copy for review

DC Rebirth: Recap and Review Comics Released 10/4

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. You’ll also notice that each comic will get a rating that falls on Graphic Policy’s typical ten point scale, which is there to help you pick between issues if you only want to check out one or two.

Not every comic is covered week to week, and that’s because I  sometimes forget to read them  (although that doesn’t happen often), or I really can’t bring myself to pic up the issue. 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.


batman wkBatman: White Knight #1 This standalone series is Friendly assuming you know who Batman, his supporting cast, and the Joker are. Once you know that, then imagine Joker using the law to fight Batman – this is a really unique premise and I’m super excited to see where it goes. Because it’s a miniseries don’t expect to see this returning next month, but I hope you read this. It’s great. 8.25/10

Batman #32 So this is it; the conclusion to a story that’s had it’s ups and not-so-ups that can basically get boiled down to Joker verses Riddler with Batman in the middle. Last issue the Riddler won the War of Jokes and Riddles and his soldiers turned on Batman… until Kiteman turned on the Riddler. Yes, Kiteman. By the time you open the comic, only Batman, Joker and Riddler are left standing, and we’re finally going to find out what Bruce is trying to tell Selina before she answers his proposal. It’s a Friendly issue, and well done. 7/10

Cyborg #17  The aftermath of some story or another that is very digitally orientated. Honestly if you want a unique battle then you can’t go wrong, but even after reading the previous issue I’m still a little lost. It’s a touch Unfriendly, but visually interesting. 6.25/10

Deathstroke #24 After turning over a new leaf (quote/unqoute) Deathstroke formed a new team to help atone for his past sins, but the team are starting to question whether or not Slade’s motives are entirely pure. This series is always best read in chunks, trades are a great option, as it can be a little impenetrable when you only read each issue once green lanterns 32(such as for a feature like this when you’re judging accessibility of a series). That said, it’s always very good and would reward multiple reads. This is a barely Friendly issue, but you can read it. 8/10

Green Arrow #32 This is the fourth part of a Dark Nights: Metal tie in that ran across Teen Titans, Nightwing and Suicide Squad. If you’re reading that story you’ll pick this up… if not, then you can skip the issue and start with issue #33

Green Lanterns #32 After the crazy events of the last few issues (which is quickly referred to in the beginning and never again) we get a really enjoyable comic that has our heroes facing some oddly normal issues – it’s a lower key issue, but very Friendly7.75/10

Justice League #30 The kids of the current League members have come from the future to kill the League. Future Aquaman (wearing Future Cyborg’s body as armour) has come back to kill the kids. Simon Baz has literally just been corrupted by an evil black oil of some kind. If none of that makes sense… then don’t read this. However if you’re curious, this is a touch Unfriendly, but an interesting read nonetheless. 7/10

Nightwing #30 A new arc that is also a pretty Friendly starting point for the series. Obviously there’ll be things you won’t quite know right away, but there’s nothing that you’ll find utterly ruinous if you’re unaware of  the finer details. Plus, this is also a retty good read. 7.75/10

Superman #32 Lois Lane was doing an exposé on Deathstroke, and in the course of said story he saved her life a few times as she was caught in the cross fire from assassins looking to kill Deathstroke. But things are never that simple, and by the end of last issue it turned out that after the story ran, Deathstroke took a new job – to kill Lois Lane! Both Friendly and enjoyable. 8/10

Underrated: The Wolverine

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 Wolverine.



thewolverineA little while ago on Underrated, I took a look at one of the most reviled movies in the X-Men Franchise, X-Men Origins: Wolverine. This week I wanted to take a look at the sequel to that movie because, ending aside, I think it’s a pretty good movie – no, really, take that cyborg thing out of the equation, and I’d give the movie a sold 8.5 or so out of 10. Obviously the cyborg drops the rating some, but I still really enjoyed the movie. And yes, I did see the movie recently.

The funny thing about The Wolverine, at least for me, is that I only recently realized that people weren’t quite as fond of it as I was. Whether that’s because I was so desperate for a great Wolverine movie that I overlooked a lot of the flaws when I first saw it, or that I just simply enjoyed it more than the folks who had a bone to pick with the film. Obviously, I watched this after having seen Logan, which was exactly the Wolverine movie that I, and many others, have always wanted. Does The Wolverine still hold up after the sequel, or is it really as average as people have been saying?

I genuinely don’t think it is, so allow me to give you a few reasons why.

  • The Opening Sequence
    In this case I’m talking about the entire sequence set in the Canadian wilderness. Hugh Jackman pulls off the broken former hero role incredibly well, and much like the prequel I could have happily watched an entire movie centered around a broken Logan on the outskirts of society. Wait.
  • It’s a great homage to Wolverine’s first solo series
    Look I know that the ending is butchered almost entirely by the mechanized Silver Samurai, but once you get beyond that The Wolverine is a brilliant homage and reinterpretation of the Claremont/Miller series from the 80’s with an updated twist. The hallmarks of the series are there, albeit in a slightly modified form in most cases, as the movie does its level best to pay tribute to that classic four issue miniseries.
  • The choreography
    With this movie having a softer rating than its sequel, you’d be forgiven for wanting more of the brutality from that movie to show up in The Wolverine, but considering the rating I think the choreography of the fight scenes is done very well – yes, a lot is left to your imagination regarding the results of said action, but this is still a movie about a violent mutant and you do get a sense of that… even if it is done in a PG13 way.
  • The story 
    Despite struggling at the final hurdle, the movie’s plot is actually better than a lot of popcorn action flicks. It’s certainly no Logan but it’s a better overall product than both of its immediate prequels.

the-Wolverine-2.jpg

Yes, the movie has its problems, especially with how it fits (or used to fit depending on who you’re talking to) into the X-Men movie franchise, and how it treats certain characters, but when you look at it as a standalone movie that follows one character after the events of X-Men: The Last Stand… it’s actually pretty good; like I said, I’ve always enjoyed this movie, and that’s why it’s the subject of this week’s Underrated. Plus, without this movie then we’d never have had James Mangold back for the sequel

Review: Shadowman/Rae Sremmurd #1

SM_RS_001_COVER-A_GUEDESThe comics crossover event of 2017! Valiant’s superhero icon meets Rae Sremmurd, the multiplatinum hip-hop superstars behind the #1 hit “Black Beatles,” for an unforgettable showdown at the crossroads of life and death!

Before they were dominating the music charts and selling out stages worldwide, Slim Jxmmi and Swae Lee were just a pair of talented, but otherwise ordinary, brothers…until a twist of fate delivered them fame and wealth beyond their wildest imagination. Now, years later as hip-hop duo Rae Sremmurd, the brothers are bound for New Orleans…and an otherworldly encounter with the supernatural guardian called Shadowman, the lone line of the defense between our world and the Deadside that lies beyond…

In the interest of fairness, I wanted to let you know that I’m not a hip hop fan. In fact hip hop is one of the last genres of music I would ever willingly listen to, coming out ahead of dance music (and all its incessant variations). No, give me a metal band any day of the week (or a Disney soundtrack – don’t judge me). I tell you this so you’ll understand that when I opened this comic I did so without any frame of reference for who Rae Sremmurd actually are – indeed, up until I read the above preview text above I had no idea this was a crossover, I had assumed that Rae Sremmurd were Valiant characters, and this was just a one shot story.

Anyway.

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The comic, written by Eliot Rahal with some wonderfully painted artwork courtesy of Renato Guedes, is more than enjoyable if you, like me, are utterly oblivious to who Rae Sremmurd are. I’d imagine that it’d be more so if you’re a fan of both Valiant and the hip hop  duo.

The basis for the story is an age-old music story fable, and is set out within the first few pages; that of selling your soul for rock ‘n’ roll (or musical greatness, but rock ‘n’ roll sounds better). Although you can probably tell where the story heads with this being a Shadowman comic, the visual journey is utterly fantastic to witness – the double page spread above is one of the many great looking pieces of art that make up this otherwise predictable comic.

Unfortunately, as great as the artwork is in this comic, the story doesn’t quite measure up to the visuals. However I think that’s more of a result of the constraints of the nature of a oneshot crossover story than any shortcomings on Rahal’s behalf as he gives each character a distinct voice within the comic – including the surprising and unexpected guest star that will leave non Valiant fans befuddled. For all that, the comic is still very enjoyable; although I assume fans of Rae Sremmurd will enjoy the issue, those who follow both the musical duo and Valiant – specifically Shadowman – will get the most from this issue.

Although Shadowman Rae Sremmurd #1 is a fun diversion it doesn’t add a whole lot to Shadowman’s story post Rapture, so whether this is a must buy is up to you – but the art more than justifies you reading this book.

Story: Eliot Rahal Art: Renato Guedes
Story: 7.0 Art: 10 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Read

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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