Author Archives: Alex K Cossa

Review: Secret Weapons #3

SW_003_COVER-A_ALLEN“Class is in session, and Amanda McKee – the machine-wielding hero codenamed Livewire – is here to show her unconventional class of recruits what it really takes to master power. And lesson number-one is…teamwork! But as these once-abandoned psiot castaways put their pain behind them to become a fully functioning unit, an even deadlier set of challenges will soon rise to meet them…”

If you haven’t read the first two issues in this four issue miniseries, and you’re thinking of starting here, don’t. I mean, you could, but why bother? Eric Heisserer has written such a compelling story that it would be a shame to start here.

Secret Weapons feels like an updated version of the X-Men, a comic that truly focuses on the trials and tribulations of a group of young misfits with some almost useless powers, only they’re not called mutants here, but psiots; one can talk to birds, one can conjure things (with no control over what he conjures) and one can turn into pure marble. Only he can’t move when he does so. The series thus far has gone from strength to strength as we’ve been introduced to the misfit central characters, had a cameo or two from the wider Valiant universe (which you don’t need to  be familiar with to enjoy the series), as well as slowly introducing the villain proper last issue.
SW_003_005This issue sees Avichal Malakar, the statue powered psiot, trying to live his life way from the others only to face hostility from the public – not because as a Sikh he wears a turban, but because he’s a psiot. Without giving too much regarding the content of the comic away, things turn from bad to worse for Avi in a reflection of some of the recent real world issues without ever slapping you in the face with the comparison. Heisserer is a newcomer to comics, but you wouldn’t think it reading this issue – it is quite simply one of the best issues I’ve read all year, and incredibly relevant.

The art, by Raul Allen with Patricia Martin (who also letters the comic), is visually arresting. Allen’s use of the grid shows a level of visual story telling that perfectly complements the writing. I am a huge fan of Allen and Martin’s work, even though I was only introduced to their art with Wrath Of The Eternal Warrior (I say “they” because I’m not quite sure where one’s contribution ends and the other begins with the art. Ultimately, when it looks this good, I’m not as worried as I should be), and to get to see them firing on all cylinders with this issue is a complete treat.

I honestly thought that the best comic I’d read all week would be Divinity #0. I am happy to say that I was wrong in thinking that. Heisserer, Allen and Martin are one issue away from giving us a multi layered story that will stand among the best of the year.

This is where I add a cliched “if you’re not reading this…” statement where I try and push you into reading Valiant comics. But honestly? You don’t need to be familiar with Valiant to appreciate just how good this is. Don’t ignore this series – it’s absolutely fantastic.

Story: Eric Heissera Art: Raul Allen with Patricia Martin
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommedation: Buy

Although Valiant provided a FREE copy to review, I read the issue I picked up from my LCS.

Review: Divinity #0

DIVINITY_ZERO_COVER-A_RYP“DIVINITY, a lost Russian cosmonaut newly returned to Earth with god-like powers, has successfully restored the world to order after the reality-altering event known as the Stalinverse. But how can a man – even one with near-divine abilities – know for certain that the planet has been truly restored in full? To make sure, Divinity must bear witness to the world as it now stands – heroes, villains, gods, and all – to ensure the rightful order of the Valiant Universe!”

One of the most exciting new characters to come out of any publisher in the last few years is Valiant’s Divinity. A Russian cosmonaut, real name Abram Adams, who ended up with reality warping powers that make gods look like ants, all Divinity wants is to be left alone in peace. There have been twelve issues of Divinity released so far divided into three separate miniseries (I, II and III), with each telling a beautiful and compelling story that, for the most part stood alone in the Valiant universe up until III reimagined the world as we know it for four issues at the hands of another god like Russian cosmonaut (there were three on the initial mission).

Which brings us to Divinity #0. Written by Matt Kindt with art by Renato Guedes, the comic genuinely does provide a fantastic introduction into the Divinity story without giving too much away should you decide to pick up the collected editions if you haven’t read the previous issues, but the zero issue also provides a very interesting direction for the future, and where Kindt will be taking the story next.

Without beating around the bush, this comic is absolutely beautiful. Guedes fully painted each page, and oh boy does it pay off. I could spend three or four hundred words describing it… but why bother when I won’t do the art any justice, and Valiant have provided us with some preview images?

DIVINITY_ZERO_002See what I mean? The entire comic looks just like this, and Dave Lanphear‘s lettering brings out the very best in the art, whilst allowing Kindt’s words to flow seamlessly from the page in what has to be the finest example of a single issue comic from Valiant this year. When each page is a work of art that brings a genuinely excellent story to life you can’t ask for more from a creative team.

This is an utterly brilliant comic in every way.

Story: Matt Kindt Art: Renato Guedes Letters: Dave Lanphear
Story: 9.0 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review. I’ll be buying this Wednesday as well.

DC Rebirth Recap And Review For Comics Released 8/9

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_Cv962_open_order_varAction Comics #985 If you’re reading this, and you don’t know the basic history between Superman and Lex Luthor then no recap is going to help you. If you’re dimly aware, but have missed a lot recently, Lex is now a hero – a Superman (or Super Lex), and this issue is Friendly enough to jump into. 6.75/10

Detective Comics #962 Azreal’s former bosses, the Order of St. Dumas are trying to wipe dissident factions within themselves out, and Azreal who was once a programmed killing machine before breaking free has fallen once again under their control (though he’s mentally fighting back against the embodiment of that control, Ascalon, which currently looks like a child in his mind – and a murderous killing robot in real life. Yes there’s two of them). In order to break that control Batwing has created an armour that’s got a very familiar look for those who’ve read the Knightfall story… Unfortunately this is an Unfriendly place for new readers to jump on, but it’s a good comic. 8/10

Hal Jordan And The Green Lantern Corps #26 As Friendly as this issue is, you don’t need a recap in order to get some enjoyment from this issue. 6.75/10

Justice League of America #12 You can get all you need from this comic from the comic itself – with it being the first part of a new story (that kinda follows on from Atom’s introduction issue) you’ll find this Friendly enough. 7/10

MisterMiracleCoverMister Miracle #1 I have no idea who this dude is, so I can’t give you a recap – but then this is the first issue and there isn’t much to recap post Rebirth. What I can tell you is that this Friendly comic is pretty damn fantastic cerebral tale. 8/10

Red Hood And The Outlaws #13 Last issue Bizarro died saving his friends, Red Him and Red Her. It was quite emotional. Then Lex Luthor arrived… This issue is Friendly, and very good. 8/10

Supergirl #12 It has been a long time since I remember to pick up  an issue in this series, but I figured this first part of a new arc should be a decent jumping on point. It almost is, but it’s not a great issue. 6.25/10

The Flash #28 Barry Allen has somehow gained the power of the Negative Speed Force, probably when he went into the future to save Iris from the Reverse Flash  (who died). There’s a solid recap within the issue itself, which has the aded bonus of making the issue Friendly. 7.25/10

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 8/6

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

Redlands_01-1Redlands #1 (Image)** – Not sure what to make of this one yet. On the one hand, Vanessa R. Del Rey’s free-flowing and expressive artwork is gorgeous, and Jordie Bellaire’s colors are always top-notch. It’s as a writer, however, that Bellaire clearly has something of a learning curve ahead of her — plunging us into the middle of the action right off the bat, we never learn many of the characters’ names, have no clue as to their motivations, and frankly, beyond some sort of siege on a redneck sheriff’s station, we don’t even get much of an idea of what’s going on, never mind why. The creators seem to have an admirable agenda that they’re working towards here, but they have a long way to go to get readers invested in it and at $3.99 a pop, I simply wasn’t given a clear enough idea of the basic premise of this comic to justify sticking with it. Overall: 4. Recommendation: Pass.

 The Divided States Of Hysteria #3 (Image)** – Whoever’s still left reading Howard Chaykin’s latest will find this installment to be something of a bummer as very little happens by means of plot progression, and all we get is a re-hash of the few particulars we already know. Okay, everyone’s a bastard — we get that much. Beyond that, all this issue does is run in place. Still love Chaykin’s art and Ken Bruzenak’s one-of-a-kind lettering and effects, though. Overall: 5. Recommendation: Buy if you’ve come this far, pass if you haven’t.

Unholy Grail #2 (Aftershock)** – I’m really digging Cullen Bunn and Mirko Colak’s revisionist take on the Arthurian legend, and like the first issue, this one successfully “time-jumps” around to fill us in on all the particulars in a breezy, rapid-fire manner. Colak’s lavish artwork is definitely the star of the show here, but the script does what it needs to in order to maintain your interest, as well. Overall: 7.5. Recommendation: Buy.

Grass Kings #6 (Boom! Studios)** – Matt Kindt and Tyler Jenkins wrap up the first arc of their series in fine style as the showdown between our drop-outs and local law enforcement comes to a head, with potentially far-reaching consequences for all parties involved. There’s some great character development in this issue, and Kindt delivers at least one genuinely touching moment, all aided and abetted by Jenkins’ gorgeous and moody watercolor art. Overall: 8. Recommendation: Buy.

Patrick

 Kill Or Be Killed #11 (Image)** – And here we are, right back where we came in, with the fight in #1. Although our guy Dylan is trying to get his life back together, get back on his meds, catch up on his schoolwork, go to a party with his ex, his demon just won’t let him be. Nothing spectacular, just a solid issue that sets up the third arc quite nicely. Overall: 8 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 (**).

So You’ve Made A Comic? Now What? A Reviewer’s Guide To Getting Our Attention.

So you’ve made a comic? Now what? Well now you’ve put in the hard work creating your comic, graphic novel or anthology you probably want to get some coverage, but how do you do that?

There are a couple of options, and what works for you may not work for another, just as there’s also a chance that you’ve thought of something I haven’t – I’m not claiming to be an expert in this because I’ve never reached out for coverage for a comic I have created simply because I’ve never created a comic. But that said, I have done my best to promote as many independent comics as I can so any and all tips from here on out are going to be based on what to do in order to garner the attention of the websites and the folks writing for them based primarily (but not exclusively) on my own experiences.


We’re often quite busy. I’m not saying this to sound important, but one of the first things you’ll want to be aware of is that a lot of reviewers don’t get paid for doing what we do. What this means is that we’re often balancing a full time job, school of some level and/or a part time job as well as our typical duties for the website. Personally, for me that looks like two columns a week (one of which requires between eight to twelve comics being read), between one to four reviews as well as a couple of other features on top of a day job. The reason I want to make you aware of this is that unless our main source of income is from the site we write for, there’s an excellent chance that our time is quite limited. What that means for you is that if we don’t cover your comic it isn’t because we don’t like you or your work, it’s because we just don’t have time and, unfortunately, it didn’t jump out at us so you’ll want to spend some time…

Crafting your pitch. What that means is that you’re going to want to make your pitch stand out. Whether that’s with a deep synopsis that gives an accurate, largely spoiler free overview of your comic or a two line elevator pitch; if you’re able to make an impression then you’re ahead of the game. One of the best pitches I’ve ever heard came from Markisan Naso for Voracious: “Time travelling chef hunts dinosaurs.” It may be very short, but it drew me right in without the need to see any art whatsoever because if you can grab me with a brief synopsis then I’m yours. However, in talking to other contributors, I’ve come to learn that some are more likely to ignore a pitch because there isn’t any art included – something to keep in mind when writing your emails. Make us want to read your comic. 

Do more than the bare minimum when contacting sites. While many sites have a “Contact Us” form that encourages you send submissions through this way (and honestly, it’s a great option), some contributors tend to gravitate toward covering comics from those they have a preexisting relationship with, whether digitally or in person. For the sake of this guide, I’m going to assume you don’t have a friend or acquaintance writing about comics. So what can you do? First, spend a bit of time finding reviewers who tend to cover a similar style of comic than the one you have to offer, and try to approach them directly; for example whereas I’ve got a fondness for steampunk, fantasy, and vigilante stories I don’t tend to read as many horror comics as other folks, so am I the best person to cover your reinvention of Dracula? Take some time and figure out who you want to read your comic (but don’t put all your eggs in one basket).

Food for thought: Speaking from experience I’m more likely to cover a comic from a person who has contacted me directly than from a Contact Us form (I have a much higher rate of return on those because I tend to see less), but I’ve covered more comics that have come to me from such a form than I’ve been sent directly.

Reach out to a reviewer directly. However your comic ends up getting coverage, once it does, reach out to those who took the time to do so – you can usually find our names somewhere on the article byline – and offer some form of (purely verbal) appreciation. It’s a simple step, and often overlooked, but it can pay off in the future simply because once a dialogue is established between yourself and a reviewer then it’s easier to keep the flaky reviewer engaged. Once you’ve got their attention, then there’s  greater chance that they’ll cover your next project. I say that from personal experience, but it was also a common theme with the contributors I spoke with.

Take advantage of our laziness. A review is great, but what about a preview? This is where a press release comes in super handy. Have you ever noticed how most previews are exactly the same across multiple different sites? There’s a reason for that; most sites will just rewrite the press release (if they even bother to do that) so that it fits the style of the website publishing the preview. So if you want additional coverage other than a review or interview, provide a press release.

Help us help you. It’s corny, but something as simple as a link to where people can buy your comic. I’ll always include it if it’s provided, and sometimes I’ll track it down if it isn’t, but not always. This is especially crucial for digital only comics.

Don’t be discouraged if we don’t cover your comic right away. Sometimes we genuinely are very busy. If you get a quick turnaround, great, but be prepared to wait at least a week, if not closer to a month before you see a review (personally I consider two weeks to be a good turnaround for myself, so take that into consideration). We don’t always get the time to cover what we want to cover right away – for example there are two issues that sat on my desk top that have been there for nearly a month that I haven’t read yet.


Hopefully the above tips will help you out a little once you’re ready to send your comic around. Thank you to Ben Howard, Patrick Goddard and Elana Levin who also contributed to this guide.

So Who Are The Best Spider-Man Movie Villains?

We’re taking a break from Underrated this week because sometimes a thought comes to you that you can’t quite shake, and this is one of them. Was Topher Grace as shitty as a shitty thing? Has Michael Keaton stolen his way to the top spot? Join me as I take a completely unobjective look back at the last twenty odd years of Spider-Man movies and proceed to rank the villains in a completely serious and professional manner.

Yeah, I’m being a wee bit sarcastic. This entire list is based on my opinion and nothing more.

Anyway. These villains have all appeared in one of the live action movies from Spider-Man right up until Spider-Man Homecoming, and this post will contain spoilers for all of these movies to some degree (though I’ll try to limit the  Homecoming specific ones). I’ve deliberately avoided villains that appear as cameo appearances (such as Rhino is ASM2 because they’re not exactly fleshed out enough to be more than scenery).

In reverse order:

venom_grace.jpgNine: Topher Grace as Venom (Spider-Man 3)
Did you really expect anybody else to hover around here? I mean… I’m already willing to say that Tom Hardy is a better Venom than Topher Grace – and they haven’t started filming that movie yet. If you’ve seen the movie, you know exactly what I mean. If you haven’t, save yourself the trouble. Grace was horribly miscast, and  has taken some serious flack for his role in what is widely considered the weakest movie in the franchise.

franco goblin.jpgEight: James Franco as New Goblin (Spider-Man 3)
What was the point? Honestly? What was the bloody point. If even you want to see a film waste the potential of an actor who could have carried the movie as the main villain, then this is it. Harry Osborne’s arc seems to have a rushed conclusion as he the butler confesses the truth after years of watching Harry tear himself apart… the potential for a great showdown was wasted in the same movie that turned Venom into a joke. The New Goblin could have been a fantastic foil to Spider-Man, as evidenced by the rooftop fight, and their verbal sparring throughout… but alas it was not to be.

dehaan goblin.gifSeven: Dane Dehaan as Green Goblin (Amazing Spider-Man 2)
It’s not that Dane Dehaan was a bad actor, but his Green Goblin paled in comparison to Willem Dafoe’s, and every bugger who saw the movie was painfully aware of that. The threat level seemed forced, and the character was much more sinister as Harry Osborne just before he cracked into the Goblin than at any point after the transformation – which is why he edged Franco here.

Electro-Spider-ManSix: Jamie Foxx as Electro (Amazing Spider-Man 2)
Another character where the actor wasn’t bad, indeed Foxx’s performance was really interesting, and by having the character’s insecurities play off against Spider-Man’s confidence allowed the hero/villain relationship to take a direction that we hadn’t seen in a Spider-Man movie before. Personally, I wasn’t fond of the look of the character, but I enjoyed Foxx’s performance.

Thomas_Haden_Church_Spider-Man_3.jpgFive: Thomas Haden Church as Sandman (Spider-Man 3)
Perhaps  the one redeeming villainous performance in this movie came at the gritty hands of Flint Marko, played by Thoma Haden Church. Sandman became an oddly sympathetic character doing the wrong things for the right reasons who ended up a victim of the plot more than the performance; it was a decent, almost Batman 66 style  performance in a movie that was trying to be too edgy. The two just didn’t quite go together.

rhys-ifans-the-lizard.jpgFour: Rhys Ifans as The Lizard (Amazing Spider-Man) Alright so the computer generated face wasn’t exactly as comic accurate as a lot of us would hope, and the sense of menace wasn’t exactly there, but Ifans’ Lizard isn’t bad… but it’s not great either.

dafoe goblin.PNGThree: Willem Dafoe as Green Goblin (Spider-Man) And here’s where the jump from the fourth spot to the third spot seems to be an image and a text break, but in reality it’s a lot larger. Willem Dafoe embodied everything you could ever want in a comic book movie villain, from his elastic facial expressions to the genuinely psychopathic gleam in his eyes. Whether he was Norman Osborne or the Green Goblin, Dafoe exuded a sense of menace that left viewers at the time feeling a genuine sense of unease. Shame about the costume, though.

vulture keaton.jpgTwo: Michael Keaton as the Vulture (Spider-Man: Homecoming)
If you haven’t seen this movie, then this won’t spoil anything. Keaton does the unthinable and makes the Vulture feel like a genuine, credible threat; he’s sinister when he needs to be, charming when he needs to be and has a screen dominating presence that will have you wanting so much more from Keaton and his Vulture. After only seeing this movie once, I was stunned that I was watching a performance as rich as I was, and I think there’s a genuine possibility that in a couple of years the Vulture will have stolen the top spot – as it is, he’s easily one of the best comic book movie villains, but he just wasn’t quite as good as….

molina doc ock.jpgOne: Alfred Molina as Doctor Octopus (Spider-Man 2)
For my money, this is not only the definitive portrayal of Doc Ock, but also one of the best antagonists in any superhero movie. Molina was able to make you care about Octavious, by giving a phenomenal performance as a sympathetic accidental villain that has yet to be equaled in any Spider-Man movie since.

raimi spiderman.jpgBonus: Sam Raimi as The Director (Spider-Man 3)
The only explanation I can think of for the massive drop off in quality from Spider-Man 2 to Spider-Man 3 is that Sam Raimi had cast himself in an absurdly meta role where,  at the behest of his evil employers, The Studio (also under the control of the symbiote, possibly?) he created the antithesis of his Spider-Man 2 masterpiece: a movie of such horrifically bad scenes that weren’t bad enough for the movie to become a cult classic Bad Movie, and instead they took a middling movie that had some bright spots down into the nether regions of the franchise. This was a well-played joke, right? Right…?


Underrated will return next week!

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.

Review: Harbinger Renegade #6

Harbinger Renegade #6 Cover A LarosaIn Harbinger Renegade #6, at the height of the Dark Ages, one of the world’s first psiots has made a terrible discovery: he’s not alone. Lurking in the shadows, a mind as sadistic as it is powerful waits. A predator with a darkness so great, it will consume any rivals that dare reveal themselves. How will the secret of these legendary figures come to bear on the modern day? How will it shape the catastrophic Harbinger War that is to come?!”

After the chaotic battle that resulted in the death of major somewhat known Valiant characters last issue, Harbinger Renegade #6 provides an interlude. Also, it makes us wait another month before reading about the consequences of the death filled fifth issue. And it does so by whisking the audience back nearly a thousand years.

The advantage to this is that those unfamiliar with the series can read a standalone story set around the time of the Crusades. The cost is that this issue has nothing obvious to do with any previous issues of Harbinger Renegade. That may not be ideal for new readers carrying on with the series. If you’re already reading the series, then you’ll be pleased to hear that this seemingly standalone interlude story delivers. Juan Jose Ryp has a talent for depicting the savageness of war waged with bladed weapons. When the basic premise of this issue is an army besieging a castle, then you know you’re in for a visual treat.

Rafer Roberts handles the interlude issue well. It gives us an issue that tells a compelling one shot story that has little impact on previous events. But, it’s bound to set a lot up in the future, Roberts makes you forget about the fact that it’ll be another month before we see the aftermath of the events of Massacre. Sir Gerald Of Catalonia is the issue’s narrator and the commander of the force supplied by an ancient order dedicated to wiping out a demon, the Brotherhood Of Cuth. The story is well paced and feels neither padded nor rushed. We get what is an incredibly solid story that has minimal ties to the larger Harbinger story. At least until this issue’s story progesses over the coming months.

I enjoyed this issue far more than I expected. I suspect that those more invested in the Valiant universe will find a few nods to other mysterious factions. Some even from Roberts’ own stories. Whether those factions are one and the same with a thousand year gap…. I’ll leave that to you to decide.

My only complaint with Harbinger Renegade #6 is that because it’s an interlude story, we probably won’t revisit the time period again.

Story: Rafer Roberts Art: Juan Jose Ryp Colours: Andrew Dalhouse
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.25 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

DC Rebirth Recap And Review For Comics Released 8/2

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 #28Batman #28 Joker and Riddler are at war in this story set in the second year of Batman’s career, with Bruce telling the story to Selina Kyle in the present. It’s not exactly the easiest (read borderline Unfriendly) place to jump on board if I’m being completely honest, but you should be fine. 7/10

Cyborg #15 It has been a long, long time since I read a Cyborg comic so there’ll be no recap here. The issue itself is kinda Friendly, and quite entertaining in a roundabout way. 7/10

Green Arrow #28 Green Arrow has lost everything at the hands of the evil Ninth Circle; his alter ego has been framed for murder, and while Ollie Queen is facing trial, Green Arrow is travelling across the country looking for something. currently he’s in Metropolis. The issue is Friendly enough on its own without the recap, assuming you just want to read a good comic. 8/10

Green Lantern #28 Jessica Cruz and Simon Baz have been sent back a couple billion years into Earth’s past after the First Lantern, Volthoom, tried to return home (he’s from an alternate reality and wanted to rebuild his dimensional travel Lantern that, surprise surprise, was used to create  the first seven Green rings that were needed to combat a crisis. Two guesses what that crisis turned out to be…). Oh, and Simon’s ring has exploded, with fragments lodged in his arm, which means only Jess has a working ring. Every now and then you’ll also see a short page or so origin for each of the original seven Greens. Friendly. 8/10

Justice League #26 A brand new arc which is  actually a very Friendly place to jump on because almost nothing in previous issues has any relevance to this issue. 7.5/10

Nightwing #26 Nightwing is living in Bludhaven now, and this first part of a new story arc is Friendly. You’ll not need to know as much about Nightwing’s past as you’d think with  story that harks back to his Spyral days, but the interspersed scenes with Shawn Tsang may give you pause. The former villain is Dick’s ex girlfriend who ended things when Dick reacted poorly to a pregnancy scare. Nightwing #26 is a Friendly issue, and as good  jumping on point as any right now. 7.25/10

Superman #28 The Kent’s are on a road trip to visit historical places in the USA. It’s a Friendly and very interesting look at American history. 7.75/10

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 8/6

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

Generations Banner Hulk & Totally Awesome Hulk #1 (Marvel) If this is how the rest of the Generations series goes, I’ll happily continue to ignore it. An utterly pointless comic that either suffers from Secret Empire not actually being over or from being the beginning of a poor emulation of DC’s Rebirth. Save yourself some money and walk away from this – I’d have been furious if I’d have plonked down money for this, but instead I’m merely miffed that I’ve wasted my time reading a review copy. Overall: 4 Recommendation: Pass

Ryan C

HadriansWall_08-1Hadrian’s Wall #8 (Image)** – Having wrapped up the “whodunnit?” portion of their story in this series’ penultimate issue, Kyle Higgins, Alec Siegel, and Bill Sienkiew — sorry, Rod Reis — focus on the personal side of things for their highly satisfying, lavishly-illustrated conclusion. The result? A comic that definitely exits on a very high note indeed. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Black Bolt #4 (Marvel)** – Saladin Ahmed and Christian Ward take a side-step with this issue into the backstory of Crusher Creel, as told from his point of view, and it’s absolutely awesome. Gorgeous art, compelling characterization, razor-sharp dialogue, and a gut-punch of an ending that shows just how much of a bastard our ostensible “hero” can be. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Batman #28 (DC)** – You knew the good times wouldn’t last, and with this segment of “The War Of Jokes And Riddles,” Tom King slides back into the kind of rudderless, slipshod writing that’s characterized far too much of his run on this book to date. Gorgeous art from Mikel Janin with innovative layouts and stirring action sequences aren’t enough to save this sorry installment of a storyline that suddenly seems in danger of completely going off the rails. Overall: 4 Recommendation: Pass

Elsewhere #1 (Image)** – Jay Faerber and Sumeyye Kesgin appear to have a winner on their hands if the first issue of their immediately-charming “Amelia Earhart washes up in cosmic fantasyland” story is anything to go by. Quick, pacy,and fun storytelling with spot-on characterization and lushly-rendered art makes for a very compelling opening salvo indeed, and I can’t wait to see where this one goes from here. Killer cliffhanger, too! Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

nick fury 5 comic.jpgShean

Nick Fury #5 (Marvel)– Vacation time is usually a signal to most people for some respite and relaxation. Not so much for spies, as their minds stay working most rooms as is the case with Fury in this issue. As he is ordered to take a vacation, everything is not what it seems. As his bosses have sent him to a town where everyone, and I mean everyone is an assassin, even the little kids, as this issue proves despite the faults that Marvel has enacted on other books and characters, they know exactly what to do with Fury and how to do it right. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Patrick

Stray Bullets #26 (Image/El Capitan)** – Just like clockwork, when you think that a) things can’t get any worse and b) you can never like these horrible characters, David Lapham comes up with the goods. It never feels forced; Kretchmeyer and Annie really are the worst, but their characters are so clear and they are so obviously in way over their heads that a crazy humanity shines through. Kretch: “I always have this nagging feeling… that I’m doing something wrong.” Annie: “I never feel that way.” OH, DAMN. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

StrayBulletsSNR_26-1Sex Criminals #20 (Image)** – Even when they don’t succeed, Fraction & Zdarsky are always trying something. But I think two things are getting in my way these days: their formal experiments and their plotting. I have the feeling that both of these things are being laid on top of what are very strong and interesting characters and a very necessary theme. What Dr. Kincaid says is, I think, true of this book as well: the creators are spending so much time chasing a “that” when all I really want is for it to be about “us”. When Matt and Chip just spend time with the actual human beings in the book, they are really brilliant. But they can’t seem to resist undercutting their own humanity with corny jokes and their need for “plot” and “action”. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

 Love and Rockets #3 (Fantagraphics)** – And here I thought Jaime had nothing more to say about the old punk days in Hoppers, and now all I want is more stories about Del Chimney and the Island of Lost Souls. His take on superheroes in “Animus” is breathtaking, like old black and white Mara Corday movies. There’s something so weird and pure about it, just moving from one strange confrontation to the next – but his figure drawing is so grounded, his characters have such actual weight, that what could be just cartoonish becomes really horrific. On the Beto side, it looks like all of his Baby and Fritz stories are leading us back to Palomar, and none too soon for my tastes. Where Jaime’s characters are grounded, Beto’s seem to be floating; but that’s not exactly a weakness, either. It feels to me like there’s a cord that’s been cut, that the characters are bereft and mournful – and that the last panel in this issue, Baby and Rosario in silhouette, holding hands and walking away, is the most real thing Beto’s drawn in a while. Overall: 8 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 (**).

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