Author Archives: Alex K Cossa

Review: Roku #4

Roku #4

Roku faces her sharpest enemy ever, the Minister of Blades, in the epic final battle in Roku #4! Who lives? Who dies? Find out here!

If you’ve read the previous three issues of Roku then you’ll know roughly what to expect. While not a bad book, Roku #4 isn’t going to convince anybody to read the series. But, it does wrap the story up nicely.

Cullen Bunn has set up a confrontation between frenemies Roku and Ember-1 with a host of assassins over the fate of the human information depository/internet Marybeth. There’s time and space for both Roku and Ember-1 to shine in their own bloody way during the scrap. Whether it’s the strangely deadly hair of the titular character or Ember-1’s more traditional fighting skills, they each bring something different to the comic. It’s a confrontation brought to life by Ramon F. Bachs and colorist Stephane Paitreau.

The art is solid and, although it won’t make or break the book, it’s clean in the way you want action to be. You can follow every knife thrust, slash and cut with ease. There were moments where I had to look twice as my eyes made sense of the character’s actions from one panel to the next, but nothing game breaking.

At this point, nothing I can say about this comic is going to make you want to read the series. I’ve enjoyed every issue myself, but I’m not going to claim that it’s a book for everybody. Roku is an interesting antagonist for one of the publisher’s more well-known characters. This book hasn’t really done a lot to make this a must-read for any but the most dedicated of Valiant fans. Those looking to read an action story about a strong female lead with a little depth will enjoy it too. You don’t need any prior knowledge which makes this a great introduction, but less so other established characters.

When it comes down to brass tacks, Roku hasn’t been a groundbreaking series. It has been somewhat predictable and hasn’t done much beyond setting up Roku for the future. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it; the introduction of Ember-1, the Minister of Blades and Marybeth and their journey across Europe was a fun read. Is it essential reading? No; but skipping it will deprive you of a solid four issue story.

Story: Cullen Bunn Art: Ramon F. Bachs
Colors: Stephane Paitreau Letters: Dace Sharpe

Story: 7.5 Art: 8.0 Overall: 7.8 Recommendation: Read

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: The Visitor #2

The Visitor #2

Chaos strikes the Big Apple as The Visitor targets a group of revolutionary international scientists in The Visitor #2!

After having read two issues in the series I’m still not sure if the Visitor is the protagonist or antagonist. To be honest I’m really enjoying that side of the comic. Leaving the title character with an air of mystique regarding his motivations, and whether we want him stopped or not, is a refreshing change of pace. It also adds to the re-readability of the comic. Once you know what the Visitor is trying to do, what he’s trying to stop, it’ll add another layer to the comic’s story. A story that beings to reveal more layers in the back half of the second issue.

The Visitor #2 penned by Paul Levitz follows the titular character as he’s trying to eliminate something that the Japanese scientists he’s hunting are working on and the UN Security agent Dauber assigned to protect them. Levitz keeps things entirely believable when the scientists keep frustrating Dauber’s efforts to keep them safe by insisting on their secrecy as they all underestimate the Visitor.

I feel like Levitz has something to say here regarding our own assumptions of government agencies, the police or any other group of people who are supposed to protect us – but can only do so much when they only have half, or less, of the full picture. I could be wrong, of course, but it’s an interesting subtext within the comic that I’m enjoying.

It’s one more thing that’s got me wanting to come back to the comic next month.

Over the course of this book, from the first page to the last, MJ Kim‘s artwork is great. There’s controlled energy where there needs to be and a quiet stillness in certain parts. It’s often through Kim’s artwork that we get most of our insights on the Visitor’s character, several pages before Levitz starts to peel back the layers. Kim’s body language, the way the Visitor hangs his head or the shape of his hands will speak to you in ways you won’t necessarily expect until you read the following pages and you realize that nothing is quite as surprising because Kim’s geared you up for it. But the revelations are never spoiled because of the art, merely enhanced by it.

Whenever it comes to introducing a new character who shares the name of a much older one like the Visitor, there’s always the fine line to walk between homage and facsimile. Levitz has balanced the character on the knife’s edge. For those who have read and are familiar with the 90’s character then you’ll find a little bit of the old character still within the new, but there’s already more than enough here for the new Visitor to stand alone as his own person.

Of course, if you never read the original, then the above is a moot point, and all you need to worry about is that this is a cracking yarn from start to finish.

Story: Paul Levitz Art: MJ Kim
Color: Diego Rodriguez Letterer: Simon Bowland
Story: 8.9 Art: 9.1 Overall: 9.2 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 1/18

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.


Joe Hesh

Batman #86 (DC) It is always darkest before the dawn. After the up and down fest that was Tom King’s historic Batman run we get a much welcomed change of pace here. James Tynion IV does not waste any time getting Bruce into costume again. This is a good thing because Tony Daniel draws such a great Batman. I am loving the Bruce and Lucius dynamic ala The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight rises movies. Bruce is still very much touched by his grief over losing Alfred and is not on all cylinders yet (something I can very much relate to having lost my father last year) I like how Deathstroke knows this and chooses to strike when Bruce is off his game. In addition to drawing an awesome Batman, Daniel draws one hell of a Slade and I always enjoy these two at each other more and more. Seeing the other side characters was cool but just fodder. We get new bat vehicle and gadgets and lots of cool toys this issue and Lucius is very much the Q to Bruce’s James and I want much more of it. So only a first outting but Tynion studied under the tutelage of Scott Snyder and if he keeps this up we are in good hands for short term. For the love of God though, no more fucking BANE. Let that character languish for a long while. I’d like to see what Slades bigger plan is. We all know he has one.
Score: 8.6 Recommendation: Buy 

Logan

 Excalibur #5 (Marvel)– Excalibur #5 is an up and down comic for me. I love how Tini Howard writes Rogue so powerfully and Southern and Marcus To’s clean linework when she is trapped in Otherworld. However, the majority of the comic is a mess of explosions, crystals, magic, and Apocalypse being more of an overt villain. There is definitely something primal cooking in Howard’s overarching story, but at this point, I don’t know if I’m interested in as she and To switch characters perspectives and juggle plots each issue. Basically, Excalibur #5 has some entertaining moments (And it’s nice to see Rogue play an active role in the proceedings.), but doesn’t work together as a coherent unit of story. Overall: 5.8 Verdict: Pass

New Mutants #5 (Marvel)– Jonathan Hickman and Rod Reis are back with the “old school” New Mutants in space on a mission that’s, well, complicated by Shi’ar politics. This issue balances space and superpowered action with humor, characterization, and a dash of political intrigue. Hickman gives each New Mutant something to do whether it’s Chamber and Mondo sharing a toast to pacifism while their teammates fight the shit out of some Shi’ar Death Commandos, or Magik showing off her leadership (and flirting) skills with the Death Commando boarding party. Reis has been my favorite artist on the Dawn of X books, and he’s back with more expressive faces, lush colors, and Heavy Metal-inspired spaceships and stations meets Bob McLeod’s classic character designs. He’s also an economic storyteller. For example, one panel with a flatline tells more about Magik’s ruthless and combat abilities than five pages of protracted action. I didn’t mind the Ed Brisson/check with some underutilized mutants from Grant Morrison’s New X-Men interlude, but New Mutants #5 returns this book to elite status. A must read for anyone who likes their mutants in space and flirtatious. Overall: 8 Verdict: Buy

 X-Force #5 (Marvel)– Benjamin Percy and Joshua Cassara’s X-Force #5 brings the gory and gruesome black ops action while also considering of the implications of these battles on the team and their antagonists. With Wolverine mostly out of commission, Domino takes center stage in the fight against Xeno, the organization that blew up a Krakoa gate and assassinated Charles Xavier. Percy and Cassara drive home the effects of the torture Xeno unleashed on her, and she returns it on kind. Percy also takes a moment to humanize a member of the team they’re fighting against, but not too much as he pivots to Beast undermining the utopian world of Krakoa through very human things like mental and physical torture and off the books operatives. X-Force is a book about the secret sins that nations commit to preserve themselves and shows this through words as well as sometimes revolting, sometimes stylish action. Overall: 8.4 Verdict: Buy

 Tank Girl Full Color Classics #3.1 (Titan)– The numbering is weird, but Tank Girl Full Color Classics #3.1 presents some absolutely bonkers Tank Girl, Jet Girl, and Sub Girl stories from the early 1990s by creators Alan Martin and Jamie Hewlett with some stories drawn by artists Glyn Dillon and Philip Bond. Hewlett’s character design is fantastic, but he’s a great storyteller too as evidenced in the first story where he homages different film genres when Tank Girl and Booga take on every bounty hunter in Australia. His panels are crammed full of fun litle details and background jokes while Martin’s dialogue is easygoing and filled to the brim with double entendres. One thing I liked about this comic is that it also focused on Tank Girl’s supporting cast like a story where her kangaroo boyfriend Booga’s dad is a yeti, or a MAD-meets-Behind the Music parody of Morrissey and The Smiths that Sub Girl narrates. (Dillon draws a hilarious Morrissey Fat Elvis caricature.) Along with the original strips, this comic is packed full with photos of the creators and pinups from Hewlett, Bond, and Dillon and provides a window into the creativity of British comics and Deadline in the early 1990s. Overall: 8 Verdict: Buy

SFSX #5 (Image)– Jen Hickman joins SFSX as both artist and colorist, and they and Tina Horn tell an exciting heist story as Avory and her crew of sex workers from Dirty Mind try to break out her husband George from the Party’s reeducation camp. This comic is a bullet in the head of purity culture as Horn and Hickman systematically dismantle kink shaming. (Chasten Buttigieg would be appalled ;) ) Hickman’s character acting is amazing, and they add some clever touches like having characters’ knowledge of rope bondage and harnesses get them through vents and air ducts like some kind of BDSM John McClane. Add one incredibly (and actually) monstrous bad guy that has an emotional connection to the main characters, and SFSX #5 is another great chapter in this series. Overall: 8.6 Verdict: Buy

Steeple #5 (Dark Horse)– Billie finds her inner darkness in the conclusion of John Allison and Sarah Stern’s miniseries. Allison sets the tone hilariously by Billie finding Satan a bit buff and attractive and hanging up a John Wick poster in the rectory. This issue is compelling because it’s centered around the relationship between Billie and Maggie as they basically swap places/religions. A heart to heart at a coffee shop reveals that Maggie is a good person with a sensitive conscience who joined the Church of Satan so that she could forget about her activism and thirst for justice through hedonism. And Billie just wants to be “bad”. Allison goes the ending with a big character change route while leaving the door ajar for more stories in the Steeple world. His art continues to be a delightful treat as he makes possessed vacuum cleaners and the extinction of the water vole hilarious. Overall: 8.5 Verdict: Buy

Shean

Rising Sun#1 (IDW)– In a feudal tale of Ninjas fighting monsters, we get this comic book serialization of the popular video game, as someone who has never played the game, I felt lost for a good part of the issue, something that should never happen to any comic book reader. Hopefully, a second issue will do more to give more back story. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Borrow

Black Widow Prelude #1 (Marvel)– An adequate primer, nothing more, nothing less. Overall: 6.7 Recommendation: Borrow


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 (**).

Those Two Geeks Episode Fifty: Without A Topic

Alex and Joe talk about DC movies and a bit of comic stuff. And probably other stuff, too – I’m writing this a week after we recorded, and I’ve forgotten what we said.

As always, Alex and Joe can be found on twitter respectively @karcossa and @jcb_smark if you feel the need to tell them they’re wrong individually, or @those2geeks if you want to yell at them together on twitter, or by email at ItsThose2Geeks@gmail.com.

Underrated: Freaks Of The Heartland

We’re rerunning an older column this week. I may have gotten to obsessed with Westworld and may have forgotten to write a new column for the week.


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:  Freaks Of the Heartland

foth.jpg

This is another book in the “well this looks interesting” series that usually results in me grabbing, seemingly at random, a trade paperback from the shelves at my LCS. Freaks of the Heartland was originally published as a six issue miniseries around 2004/2005. The series was written by Steve Niles and Greg Ruth handled the art and lettering.

Freaks Of The Heartland is set in the 50’s or 60’s, based on the visual clues throughout the book, and tells the story of young Trevor Owen and his mysterious younger brother Will, a mysterious child who is condemned to live in the barn behind the house. 

When I first cracked the cover, I was struck at how wonderful the art was – which feels like an odd statement given the subject of the book. Ruth’s work is frankly astounding. He is able to give you all you need to know about the characters within a panel or two at the very most – whether this is a facial expression, a gesture or their body language, this is a book where the words are almost unnecessary for your understanding of the story and the journey the characters are on. 

Niles is known for his horror comics, and the story of Freaks of the Heartland has its origins in the horror genre. There is the hidden threat and ominous sense of foreboding are very present throughout this book, and right up until the very end you’re never quite sure how the cards will fall in the conclusion. Nothing is telegraphed, nothing is given away, and the ending is all the more powerful for that. I went into this book without any idea of the plot – I never bothered to read the back of the book, and so I won’t give you anymore plot details here than I have because there are moments and revelations that hit me as I turned each page that I don’t think would have had the same impact upon me had I been more cognizant of the plot when opening the book.

Instead, I hope you’ll take my word for it that this is an utterly fantastic non-superhero story that will make you rethink the power of sequential art as a story telling medium. I genuinely believe that this story, a story that is told in its entirety in one volume, is an example of what comics are truly capable of when you look past the cyclical nature of superhero stories.

I devoured this book in a single sitting and knew immediately that had it been released this year then there is no question it would have made an appearance on my Best Of 2018 list. At this point, I’m thinking I’m going to add some kind of “Best thing I read this year that wasn’t from 2018” category just so I can highlight the book once again.

I usually end this column with a recommendation to check out the book or series or movie in question, but I genuinely can’t recommend this graphic novel to you highly enough If you don’t grab this with both hands when you see then you’ll miss an Underrated gem.


Join us next week when we look at something else that is, for whatever reason, Underrated.

Review: Bloodshot #5

Bloodshot #5

Bloodshot goes on his scariest — and most personal — mission yet… at a horror movie convention?! A whole new era of Bloodshot is here in Bloodshot #5!

I’m not gonna lie to you. I don’t think I’ve had as much fun reading an action comic as I have Bloodshot in a long time. Yes, I’ve read some great books over the years, but there’s something fun about this book that you can’t ignore. Although the themes of freedom and enforced service are very present focal points in the comic, there’s a levity here. Bloodshot attending a horror convention and the scenes with him reacting to certain cosplayers and commenting on what he sees are a great balance to the darker sides of the comic.

What I found most impressive was how well Tim Seeley has geared the issue to new people. There’s enough exposition and background between the recap page and the dialogue to catch new readers up with what they have to know. It doesn’t give it all away should they decide to check out any of the collected editions of yore. Nor does it feel in any way forced or heavy-handed for long term readers.

Seeley is joined once again by artist Brett Booth, inker Adelso Corona, colorist Andrew Dalhouse, and letterer Dave Sharpe. All of whom combine for an aesthetic that appeals enormously to me. The style gives me a sense of nostalgia for the comic art I read growing up; it’s dynamic, clean and yet full of life and vibrancy.

Tim Seeley’s Bloodshot is a story about redemption for a man trying to atone for wrongs he had little choice in making. Watching the writer explore Bloodshot’s psyche and reintroduce him as a slightly more straightforward hero with a deeply troubled past is interesting because it feels like a natural evolution after what we’ve seen him go through over the previous series from Valiant – most recently Jeff Lemire’s acclaimed run.

I said last week that you really can’t go wrong with the series if you’re looking for a fun action-based comic – and I stand by that. This isn’t a revolutionary book, and there are arguably deeper comics out there – some even from the same publisher – but there are very few books on the racks that are as much fun as this one.

Bloodshot comes highly recommended from me.

Story: Tim Seeley Art: Brett Booth
Ink: Adelso Corona Color: Andrew Dalhouse Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Story: 9.2 Art: 9.1 Overall: 9.2 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review. I’ve also got a copy set aside to pick up tomorrow.

Review: Rai #3

Rai #3

The cyborg samurai Rai’s consciousness becomes trapped in cyberspace in Rai #3! Will he find his way back before being obliterated from existence?

I absolutely loved the first issue of the current volume of Rai. I was quite taken with the second issue, too. Hoping I’d enjoy this series after how much I loved 80% of the five issues of Fallen World, I wasn’t expecting to enjoy it as much as I have.

The series overarching plot has Rai and Raijin search for more pieces of Father. Father’s the AI who ran New Japan like a god before Rai brought the floating nation down to Earth in a catastrophic confrontation in an attempt to kill him. You can read about in the 4001 A.D. miniseries. Rai failed to kill Father, who took control of Bloodshot’s body and needs only a small number of the Offspring to remake himself entirely. It’s a situation that holds a level of menace in the background. It’s just out of sight for the most part, but always within reach, as you read.

The first issue had Rai and his older/younger brother Raijin confront a semi stereotypical group of post-apocalyptic enemies in a roving gang of gear heads and dinosaurs. It was a mere backdrop to the more interesting exploration of the evolution of machines, and what it means to be human. The second issue saw Rai and Raijin continue their hunt for an Offspring. That took them through a sector of New Japan that fell to Earth. It bore a strong resemblance to a derelict North American city circa the turn of the 21st century. It was here the duo came across an idyllic looking model home that felt like an incredibly advanced Alexa or Google Home.

The first two issues have been stellar comics. It’s also worth praising each issue for the different angle that they take. The series has touched upon how reliant we’re becoming on technology and whether we’re losing sight of who we are without it.

Rai #3, somehow, lived up to my expectations.

We find Rai effectively comatose with no explanation. Raijin’s trying to make sense of why his companion is nonresponsive to any stimuli. Without wanting to get into spoiler territory, it’s difficult to explain why this comic met my expectations. Doing so in any great detail will probably reveal far more than I’d like to regarding the story. Suffice to say that the comic made me think about personal security in the digital age. This may also be in part because of my day job and the training I’ve been doing at work. As seems to be the case, I’ll probably touch more on this in the review for the next issue.

Dan Abnett has woven a compelling story. It features some real-world commentary that has never been more relevant nor timeless when it comes to the use of technology. But my love of the between-the-lines story isn’t at the expense of the comic itself; Abnett has delivered an incredible story in every way.

Rai #3 is rounded out by one of the finest artists in comics in Juan Jose Ryp along with the versatility of colorist Andrew Dalhouse. The futuristic visual style in the comic must be somewhere between a dream and a nightmare for an artist; depending on the comic, Ryp has had to draw flying cars, dinosaurs, and a perfect house. To say that I have yet to be tired or bored by the art would be an understatement because I can’t remember a time when I have been as excited as I have been to scroll down in the review copy just to see the art. And then when reading it again in print to see the art without a watermark.

Usually when you get writing or artwork of this caliber then the other tends to be a little overshadowed, but that’s not the case here. The comic is as visually exciting as the story is deep.

As a series, Rai has transcended any expectation I had for it; this is a gem of science fiction storytelling and a damn fine comic. Please, don’t miss this series.

Writer: Dan Abnett Artist: Juan Jose Ryp
Colorist: Andrew Dalhouse Letter: Dave Sharpe

Story: 9.7 Art: 9.9 Overall: 9.8 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Underrated:Bedlam

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:  Bedlam


I had stopped into my LCS in the middle of a bit of a winter storm on my way home (depending on where you’re from will depend on how bad you’d have found it. I’m in Eastern Canada, and it wasn’t too bad; I could still see across the street and the snow wasn’t super deep), and my friend had just finished reading the first volume of Bedlam written by Nick Spencer with art by Riley Rossmo and colours by Frazier Irving. He suggested I check it out, so I did and started the trek home.

Bedlam was published by Image beginning in 2012 and ran for 11 issues – which was not enough to tell a complete story, but if you stop reading after the first volume you get a solid open-ended thriller comic.

The book focuses on a villain who is essentially the Joker named Madder Red as he tries to navigate the world after being cured of his evil and sadistic desires. We also get to see how the city of Bedlam has moved on since Madder Red’s three year reign of terror, and we join the story just as a new killer begins to haunt the city. Spencer divides the time between revealing more about who Madder Red was whilst also showing who Fillmore Press is now as he tries to help the police capture a killer by using intuition honed by years of being a homicidal maniac himself.

It’s an interesting story that doesn’t shy away from who Fillmore used to be; Spencer never once tries to make Madder Red sympathetic, though we never see Madder Red without his mask during hiss reign of terror or his rehabilitation which left me wondering whether Fillmore was “cured” of the evil, or if he had simply locked it away.

As with any story about a Joker analogue, there is a Batman-like character here called the First (of many) who actually takes a back seat to the police detective Ramirez and Fillmore Press as they attempt to get ahead of the maniac murdering his way across Bedlam. It’s the lack of focus on the superhero that I enjoyed the most, with Ramirez and Press being the focus of the book that gives us a peek behind the curtain of what it would be like working with a reformed villain.

Riley Rossmo and Frazier Irving give the book a haunted horror style presentation, the world shown primarily in monotones or flat grays with only flashes of red standing as the vibrancy on the pages. Almost as if the comic is insinuating that Fillmore Press was only truly alive before his reformation.

It’s an interesting book, and I read both volumes of the trades in one sitting. For me, it certainly started stronger than it ended – but that’s only because I felt it ended in the middle of the story. But such is often the way with comics.

If you see this book when you’re at your LCS, give it a go. It’s a solid read, and I don’t regret the $15 on the buy one get one sale. It’s certainly worth $10 for the first volume alone, so don’t be afraid to grab this when you see it on the shelf if you’re looking for something to read; if you skip it, then you’ll miss an Underrated gem.


Join us next week when we look at something else that is, for whatever reason, Underrated.

Review: Psi-Lords #8

Psi-Lords #8

Our cosmic heroes face a terrible choice… as one of the Quartet pays the ultimate price in Psi-Lords #8!

Psi-Lords #8 is the final issue (for now, hopefully) of this eight-issue run that may or may not have ended before it’s time. A shame, because this was a great read across each issue.

So what’s the series about? It opens up with four humans in a prison of sorts. As they come to awareness, they’ve seemingly have lost all sense of themselves. They discover they have superpowers and escaped with the help of a mysterious stranger. They find themselves among some pacifist cat-like aliens and defended them against another alien, a Widower, by killing him. Somehow they gain the incredible team name of The Astro Friends. Now, they’re about to face the consequences of those actions in what they assume to be a court of law. That basically amounts to a trial by combat. They fight for control of the asteroid hurtling toward the Earth that also happens to be the prison of a potentially horrific space god.

Psi-Lords #8 dedicates almost the entire comic to whether the Astro Friends are able to complete the mission they were sent on prior to losing their memory. That’s to divert the asteroid from hitting Earth in a cataclysmic event. Fred Van Lente wraps the story up in such a way that unless you’re specifically told that Psi-Lords was to be an ongoing series, you’d always have expected it to end as an eight-issue mini. Maybe I’m wrong, and it was always going to be a mini, but regardless Van Lente’s pacing is perfectly balanced. He’s able to add weight to the story that despite us knowing the outcome, there isn’t any less tension. Yes, we know Earth will (more than likely) be saved, but how and at what cost?

Throughout the series, much has been made about the lack of memory for the Astro Friends. Van Lente caps that thread off with a question I’ve been pondering since finishing the story; is who you were indicative of who you are? The Astro Friends probably aren’t the same people they were when they left Earth. They’re able to forge an entirely new path for themselves. I think the question is every bit as potent in the real world as it is in comics. I’m not going to delve into the question here, because it’s neither the time nor the place, but any time a comic leaves me with a thought that lingers like that, I know I’ll be reading it several times.

At this point, it should come as no surprise that Renato Guedes‘ art is simply stunning. This is another visual delight spread across the surprisingly colorful vastness of space. This comic never once feels like you’re not getting your money’s worth from the art alone.

Psi-Lords #8 has the task of closing out the series after eight issues whilst still leaving enough for readers to want more. That makes it feel more like the end of the second chapter to an as yet untold story than an actual ending. It does leave off at a satisfying place, which is all I can hope for in a series that ended earlier than I hoped it would.

Story: Fred Van Lente Art: Renato Guedes Letters: Dave Sharpe
Story: 8.9 Art: 9.9 Overall: 9.2 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Advanced Review: Quantum and Woody #1

Quantum and Woody #1

Quantum & Woody are the worst superhero duo in the world. They’re also Earth’s LAST hope against stopping a coalition of mad scientists from destroying the planet! The world’s worst team is back with all new adventures and volume in Quantum and Woody #1.

I’ve never really thought of myself as a big fan of either Quantum or Woody. Which is funny because I’ve enjoyed every comic of theirs that I’ve read. Some more than others; Eliot Rahal’s run to close out the most recent volume resonated with me in a way I didn’t expect. When I got an advanced copy of Valiant’s newest volume of Quantum and Woody written by Christopher Hastings with art by Ryan Browne and colors by Ruth Redmond, I was hoping I’d enjoy it. Having never knowingly read anything by Hastings before I wasn’t impatiently waiting for the series to start.

After reading the first issue, it is fair to say I’m impatiently waiting for the second.

Hasting’s Quantum and Woody is the breath of fresh air in comics that I didn’t know I needed. He packs a lot of story into the comic’s twenty odd pages. The issue reinforces the relationship between the two would-be-heroes seamlessly with the swift pace of the book.

I’ve recently started to read Judge Dredd Megazine from the same folks who publish 2000AD because I was able to find it on the Diamond ordering system at work/my LCS (which are one and the same). There’s a distinct style to British comics that I don’t often see in the stuff I read that originates across the pond. I find that somewhat odd because a lot of writers whose comics I read are from the UK. I bring this up because as I was reading the book, I got a sense that I was reading something that could have originated in 2000AD. For me, that’s a very good thing.

The comic itself finds the adoptive brothers trying to redeem themselves in the eyes of the public – for what reason… well it isn’t a huge deal breaker if you don’t know because other than a general sense that the brothers have screwed something up, it isn’t really mentioned a whole lot (says the person who probably read the comic it happened in and can’t remember). Instead there is a lot of fantastic dialogue across the comic, regardless of who is on the page. It is a brilliantly witty book, with some one-liners in the context of the comic that are laugh out loud funny.

There’s also a manic quality to Ryan Browne‘s artwork that exudes a love of his craft; I couldn’t think of anybody else I would rather see drawing these two after reading this issue. Browne is superb. Without heaping on the hyperbole, I love his style. There’s an expressiveness to the character’s faces, a smoothness to the choreography, and the page layouts and paneling as exciting as they are impressive. Visually, Quantum and Woody #1 is an absolute hit. Ruth Redmond‘s work only serves to highlight the positives in Browne’s work. The vibrancy of her color choice contrasts with the events of the comic as the story unfolds.

I didn’t expect to be so thoroughly taken with Quantum and Woody #1, but here we are. An almost complete story in one issue, but with enough left open that you’ll want to come back. With a creative team like this how could you not want to come back? I’m already excited for the end of this month – because then I get to reread this in print. Join me, won’t you?

Writer: Christopher Hastings Art: Ryan Browne
Colors: Ruth Redmond Letters: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou

Story: 8.9 Art: 9.3 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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