Author Archives: Alex K Cossa

A Trip to Prince Edward Island for Island Comic Con 2017

I was in Canada’s smallest province this week for non Graphic Policy related reasons, when I found out that there was a small, single evening convention with a handful of local creators held at the Confederation library. Being the comics fan I am, and with rain and drizzle threatening all day, I decided to kill two birds with one stone and seek refuge from the weather within the small con whilst getting a brief glimpse into the local comics scene.island con.jpg

The third iteration of the convention was scheduled to last for about two and a half hours, although I did hear the doors opened a half hour early (possibly due to the rain, but I’m not sure). Once I’d made my way inside, I noticed there was a relatively small vendor presence, with the artists having tables for their wares and a local comic shop (Lightning Bolt Comics) selling a few trades and giving away free comics to help promote Free Comic Book Day. But, as with any con I get to, I still picked up a handful of comics from the artists dotted around the library, which I’m sure I’ll get around to talking about at some point soon.

icc1.PNGThe main draw of Island Comic Con was a panel with Brenda Hickey, Troy Little, Sandy Carruthers, Tyler Landry, and Ramon Sierra talking about their processes, how they got started in comics, and any advice for folks looking to make the jump. I enjoyed the panel quite a bit, with each of the artists giving some fascinating insight into the early stages of their careers. The difference in experience for longtime industry veteran Sandy Carruthers verses the relative newcomer Tyler Landry was interesting,  especially with the advances in the digital age (specifically Tumblr and webcomics) that gave Landry an entirely different beginning than some of the other panelists.icc2.PNG

Perhaps one of my favourite quotes of  the night came from Carruthers when asked whether comics were important; “they’re not,” he said before laughing. “No, comics are so important,” he continued, pointing to Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics as an example of the unique way comics and graphic novels can be used to tell a story. Once the floor was opened to audience questions, a Clark Kent cosplayer did ask the panelists about the man currently flying around in Metropolis, which got almost as many laughs as the “isn’t he dead again?” reply.

img_1086Overall, it was a great panel to watch, and I wish that I’d had more time to scribble notes about what was said (or I’d thought to bring a recorder with me), but that’s neither here nor there now.

Once the panel had concluded, there was a cosplay contest with some pretty awesome entries – though I didn’t snap any pictures as there were minors who had entered and I didn’t get permission from every entrant, so other than the Clark Kent image to the left, there aren’t any pictures of the cosplayers.

Toward the end of the evening I found myself needing to brave the weather again to get some food, so after making one last round of the artists’ tables (I also grabbed a 24 Hour Comic from Troy Little that I’ll talk about at a later date), I pulled my hood up and went looking for a cup of tea.

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Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 4/30

Alex

Batman The ShadowBatman/Shadow #1 (DC/Dynamite) I’ve always been partial to the Shadow, and his influence on Bill Finger’s early Batman stories can be felt heavily to this day, so whenever I get a chance to read stories featuring the two characters it’s always a treat. Especially when Scott Snyder has a hand in the story. Overall: 9.25 Recommendation: Buy

Ben Reilly: The Scarlet Spider#1 (Marvel) I don’t know what I was expecting, but it wasn’t this. I gave up on the newest Clone saga-like story (the actual name escapes me), so I’m not as aware as perhaps I could be as to Ben’s mental state, but it seems quite fractured. While this issue was interesting, I don’t know how well it’ll translate into a long term series. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

Kill Or Be Killed #8 (Image) If you’re reading this series, you’ll love this issue. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Old Man Logan #23 (Marvel) My LCS got shorted by Diamond and never received any copies of this, which is neither here nor there, because the flow to this issue is fantastic – having recently reread Wolverine’s debut, I love how Lemire has woven the original (at least it feels original) dialogue into the scenes. This is a brilliant nod to Old Man Logan’s past, and I am loving every page. Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

X-Men Blue #2 (Marvel) While I’m still not sure why Angel has fire wings, I am enjoying the dynamic of the Young X-Men working with Magneto. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Read

X-Men Gold #2 (Marvel) I’m loving the classic X-Men feel of this comic, and the mutant/human tensions haven’t felt this relevant in almost ten years. Just when I’d started to give up on Marvel completely, this series comes and reminds me why I used to love them so much.  Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Weapon X #2 (Marvel) There’s a little plot, some frenemy interactions between Logan and Sabretooth, and a fair amount of fighting. Popcorn comics at it’s finest. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

George

24Legacy_01_cvrREGBatman/Shadow #1 (DC/Dynamite)  Written by Scott Snyder & Steve Orlando Art by Riley Rossmo – If you like stories that show how badass the Shadow is here’s a book for you. Mostly told from the perspective of Batman chasing leads on case that connects to the Shadows alter ego Lamont Cranston, we see how the Shadow is always 3-4 steps ahead of Bats. A great nod to one of my favorite Bat stories with the use of the character Henri Ducard, Batman Shadow is a solid read with great art, and would be a great addition to the proper Bat mythos. And if you’ve never heard of the Shadow, he’s one of the influences for Bob Kane when he created Bats way back when. Definite recommend.

24 Legacy: Rules Of Engagemenr #1 (IDW) Written by Christopher Farnsworth with art by Antonio Fuso – On the heels of the season finale of the tv reboot, we get to see the “spider bite” of our new main character Eric Carter. If you haven’t seen the show it’s cool, all you need to know is that before he became the new go to guy at CTU, Carter was an Army Ranger, taking on classified missions not for the faint of heart. This prequel comic takes us to his early days as a Ranger interwoven with the events that showcase his time before that as a drug dealer. 24 is a solid read, the gritty art makes for a very moody book, the comic doesn’t exactly feel like the show, but it does give us a sense of the character. If you’re a fan of the show and like these origin type stories, buy it.

Logan

BigMoose-OneShot-0Big Moose #1 (Archie) Except for his role as the “antagonist” of Reggie and Me, Moose Mason is one of the characters in the Archie Universe that hasn’t been fleshed out beyond not being too bright and love his girlfriend, Midge. The three stories in the Big Moose one-shot set out to change that. Sean Ryan and Cory Smith’s first story is slapstick-y fun for anyone who has had issues getting an old, wrinkly dollar to work at the vending machine or has random, midday food cravings. Ryan Cady and Thomas Pitilli’s story is a standout as it shows there is more to Moose than his stereotypical portrayal, and he is another high school student struggling to balance school, relationships, and extracurricular activities. Pitilli has a gorgeous wavy line that works for both romance and football action. Gorf and Ryan Jampole’s final story is all about a young freshman who looks up to Moose and is determined to be just like him. Even tertiary Archie characters deserve to be heroes for one day… Overall Rating: 8.6 Recommendation: Buy

Supergirl Being Super #3 (DC) Mariko Tamaki, Joelle Jones, and Kelly Fitzpatrick get into the weird alien stuff in Supergirl Being Super #3 as Kara starts to understand her extraterrestrial origin. But Tamaki doesn’t neglect her humanity spending time on Kara and her friend Dolly’s grief and reaction to their best friend’s death. It’s powerful to see a superhuman have such a human reaction to loss, which is one of the mini’s strong points. The plot also starts to pick up with a pair of small twists towards the end, and a bit of a conspiracy as Kara slowly begins to understand who she is. Joelle Jones’ big, open page layouts and attention to detail when characters emote is the beating heart of this beautiful series that shows the potential of superhero comics. Rating: 9 Recommendation: Buy

BEN REILLY SCARLET SPIDER #1Joe

Ben Reilly: The Scarlet Spider #1 (Marvel) – I will admit I expected this book to be much different than it was, but I will also admit that is a good thing. The story was original enough and keeps Ben on the dark side of things, so don’t expect a full redemption story just yet, or ever. The art was solid and I could see myself continuing this, as I found it pretty interesting as a starting point. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

Patrick

Stray Bullets #23 (Image/El Capitan) – Growing up watching hockey and football, and as the son of a nurse, it always disturbed me when people in comics got knocked out. I understood that it was just comics, but still – being knocked out by a punch (or, in Annie’s case here, by a pot) has serious consequences. Those consequences are what drives David Lapham’s latest issue. Annie is a mess: her house has been wrecked, her boyfriend got shot in the face, Monster is on the loose, she has no makeup, and her daughter Beth just dumps her into it, blackouts, headaches and all, to try and sort it out. This goes about as well as can be expected from Annie. And then Spanish Scott shows up. Another stellar issue. Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

KillOrBeKilled_08-1The Old Guard #3 (Image) – Where did Greg Rucka dig up this Leandro Fernandez guy? ‘Cause he really draws the hell out of this story, which veers from Napoleon in Russia (with what was, to this prairie boy, a quite convincing depiction of snot freezing) to the back stairs of contemporary Paris. And I don’t know if this is really a thing, or if Rucka has just basically invented the genre of paramilitary action-romance, but whatever, I’m down. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Kill Or Be Killed #8 (Image) – After a couple of issues off, demon-driven vigilante Dylan is back in the spotlight. The depiction of New York under police lockdown is excellent, in that the situation is clearly not normal, but everyone is just trying to go about their business as normally as possible. Including Dylan. But – and here’s where Brubaker’s skill shines – the net of unintended consequences draws slowly tighter. Nothing is out of place and, like in a horror movie, you just want to shout, “Don’t go in there!” Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Bitch Planet #10 (Image) – Hard to know what to make of this issue. As ever, the plot is the least interesting part of this series, and this one – as the prson riot continues – is mostly plot. I’m not sold on the revolution yet, but I look forward to next issue, when we get the story of the High Father’s blonde daughter Kylie. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: buy. The backmatter is truly worth the price of admission.

 

Ryan C

Hillbilly #6 (Albatross)** Far and away the most enjoyable issue of Eric Powell’s hillbilly 6inconsistently-released series to date, this yarn spun by our protagonist is of a more personal nature and tugs at the heartstrings while delivering plenty of the same artistic awesomeness we’re used to from this book — and all things Powell, for that matter. All kinds of back-country fun and goodness. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Black Road #9 (Image)** With one installment to go, Brian Wood and Garry Brown set Magnus The Black up for what looks to be an epilogue-style conclusion, given that his remaining foes (of a physical nature, at any rate) are dispatched with brutality and ease (those two don’t often go together) this time out. More sumptuous and atmospheric illustration from Brown is the highlight of this issue, but the story’s not too shabby, either. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

Doom Patrol #6 (DC/ Young Animal)**  Gerard Way and Nick Derington put the wraps on their first story arc with a chapter that re-introduces a beloved character from the Grant Morrison/Richard Case era that’s sure to make old-time fans like me happy — but in all honesty events here will likely only confuse the hell out of newer readers given that the main storyline is left dangling in service of an admittedly fun nostalgia romp that got dropped on us more or less out of nowhere on the last page of the previous issue. All in all DP is feeling pretty disjointed at this point, but it’s the kind of disjointed I find intriguing and rather engrossing. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

The Flash #21 (DC)** Joshua Williamson is joined by ever-serviceable guest artist Howard Porter on this one, presumably to give “The Button” a uniform look across the board, but the story remains uniformly mediocre and seems to be dovetailing more with “Flashpoint” than it does with “Watchmen” — which, hey, is probably not such a bad thing given what a lousy idea bringing the Moore/Gibbons characters into the DCU has been from the outset. The two best words to sum this up, it seems to me, are “nothing special.” Overall: 4 Recommendation: Pass

Shean

DEADPOOL VS. PUNISHER #2Deadpool Vs Punisher #2 (Marvel) In the second installment of this dark comedy, we find our protagonists on the hunt for the Mariana. As the Accountant’s clients are now coming for him and the key to everything is Mariana and her son. So Don Of the Dead and his crew accept a contract to capture her. By issue’s end, the titular heroes are at odds again, even though thy are more aligned than either would believe. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Batman Shadow #1 (DC) Definitely a great story,a perfect blend of inspiration and offshoot. As we see Batman as a true detective tracking down both incarnations of the Shadow. It starts with a murder, which leads Bruce to question what is real. This leads Bruce to Henri Ducard,the original Shadow. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Gotham Weekly With Alex And Joe: Episode Four

This week on Gotham Weekly, our hosts debate a name change before catching up on All-Star Batman, Nightwing and the last arc or two of Batman. Plus, a little hockey?

Underrated: X-Men Origins: 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: X-Men Origins: Wolverine.



This week on Underrated, I wanted to take a look at one of the most reviled movies in the X-Men Franchise, not because I’m going to convince you it’s secretly a great movie that has been unfairly shat on for nearly ten years, but because I want to highlight some of the things that it actually did right. Do they out weight the bad to redeem the movie? Personally, I think so. Although X-Men Origins: Wolverine will never be thought of as a shining example of the character in cinema, and nor should it be, it isn’t the catastrophic mess that we remember it being.

Before you start raging at me (and you’re more than welcome to do so on twitter @karcossa) ask yourself when was the last time you saw this movie? I watched it on the 21st of March this year with the intention of tearing it to pieces in an article, but I actually kind of enjoyed it, so I wrote this instead [note, this article was written on March 23rd, so the movie was quite fresh in my mind]. So before you fire up those angry fingers, give the movie a quick watch and remember I’m not claiming it’s great, just that it isn’t bad.

  • The Opening Sequence
    Honestly, you give me a movie with Wolverine and Sabretooth fighting their way through history based on this opening credit montage and I will throw my money at you. This is a prime example of a movie blowing it’s load too early, if you’ll pardon the expression. We get one of the best opening sequences in the franchise before one of the worst movies. No wonder it got flattened by fans.
  • Liev Schreiber And Hugh Jackman
    Say what you want about the script, plot choices, and pointless cameos, but I will not hear a bad word said about either Schreiber or Jackman’s performances in this movie. It remains a great tragedy that we only got one movie with Liev Schreiber playing Sabretooth opposite Hugh Jackman, and that it was this one. Having watched the movie recently, the two men are almost able to save the movie with their acting chops alone – without them it wouldn’t be worth watching past the title sequence.
  • Most Action Sequences
    Strangely enough, the action sequences in the movie are actually pretty good; Logan and Creed fighting in the bar is awesome, and even the final battle is pretty entertaining (despite the character mutilation of Deadpool). The only downside to the sequence where Team X attacks a compound is that the individual use of the soldier’s abilities makes little sense as a tactical strike, but as a showcase of the individual powers at play it’s pretty good. As is the helicopter fight – right up until the cliched walking away from the explosion end point.
  • The One Liners
    X-Men Origins: Wolverine isn’t a comedy, but there’s quite a few one liners that will at the very least elicit a chuckle from you. Plus, you can also laugh at the so-bad-it’s-good moments.
  • Wolverine Uses All His Powers
    Funnily enough, one of the things this movie gets right is how many other abilities Logan has. At different points in the movie you see him use his enhanced senses of smell, vision and hearing to locate Creed, Zero and Kayla. You don’t see him using his other powers as often as you do his healing and claws (for obvious reasons, I’m sure).

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, or how it treats certain characters, but if you look at it as a standalone movie that just happens to feature Wolverine… it’s actually not that bad; truth be told, I enjoyed it more than I thought I would, and that’s why it’s the subject of this week’s Underrated.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gotham Weekly With Alex And Joe: Episode Three And A Half

Neal Adams Batman TMNT Adventures #6 ExclusiveWelcome to Gotham Weekly’s first unscheduled recording!

Our hosts were chatting over messenger about a couple of Batman related things, and decided to just stop and record the conversation. Among the topic of conversation was the announcement of the Titans series, the exclusive C2E2 Batman #21 and Salt City Comic Con Batman/TMNT Adventures #6 (left) variant covers, the recent Bruins/Senators Stanley Cup Playoff series, and the upcoming Hulu documentary Batman And Bill, because Alex finally watched the trailer (included below). This comic strip by Ty Templeton, this book by Marc Tyler Nobleman. 

There was also a bit of chatter about the upcoming SSSC guest Graham Nolan and his co-creation Bane… honestly, we were all over the place. There was no agenda.

We may have forgot we were recording at times.

For links to the interviews and features mentioned in the podcast scroll past the trailer.

 

SUPERMEGAFEST 2016: Interview With Graham Nolan

RHODE ISLAND COMIC CON 2015: Interview With Kevin Conroy

Marc Tyler Nobleman Talks To Us About His Work In Getting Bill Finger’s Name Recognized

I Hate Bob Kane

And as a bonus, the first article Alex ever wrote: Bill Who?

 

Review: X-O Manowar #2

XO2017_002_VARIANT-ICON_ANDREWSThey asked for war. He’ll give them death.

Deep within the far reaches of space, the dogs of war have found Aric of Dacia. Conscripted into an alien army and forced into combat, Aric must enter an alien battlefield unlike any he’s faced before. His only hope for survival is also the source of his greatest rage – the living suit of armor known as X-O Manowar.

Without a doubt X-O Manowar is Valiant‘s flagship character and with this second volume taking the time-displaced visigoth back to his space bound origins in a story that takes place on a world that blends the high tech equipment you tend to expect with story set in space with the close-quarters combat that you’d expect from a series set 1500 years ago. The combination makes for some seriously brutal encounters throughout the comic from artist Tomas Giorello that go a long way toward reminding you of what Aric of Dacia Earth is capable of when he isn’t wearing the most powerful weapon in the galaxy.

There’s something genuinely exciting with what Matt Kindt is doing here; the retired warrior reluctantly being drawn back into the life he (or she) has left behind is an old trope, but it’s done very well here – and if it’s a story style you enjoy reading then you’re going to love this one.

I really don’t have too much to say about this issue, especially whilst keeping out of spoiler country, other than that I really enjoyed the comic. I expect a lot out of Valiant, and often judge their comics harder than I do those from Marvel and DC because the Big Two have a habit of disappointing me almost as often as they barely meet my expectations, but Valiant deliver a great product far more often than they don’t. This is relevant because when I give a Valiant comic a higher grade it’s because it’s genuinely a brilliant comic.

And X-O Manowar #2 is really quite brilliant.

Story: Matt Kindt Art: Tomas Giorello Colourist: Diego Rodriguez
Story: 9.0 Art: 10 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided a FREE copy for review, but this comic is still on my pull list at my LCS

Review: Britannia: We Who Are About To Die #1

BRITANNIA2_001_COVER-A_NORDFifty thousand Romans stand on their feet, watching from the rafters of the coliseum with captured breath as Achillia, a gladiator unlike any that Rome has seen before, faces incredible odds – one lone warrior against five of Rome’s greatest. Such is the tradition, when a female gladiator enters the fray. When the carnage is complete, the coliseum roars its approval as Achillia stands victorious. Now, only one match away from winning her freedom, she has begun to gain renown. The women of Rome, suppressed by their husbands and fathers, have noticed. The men of Rome, husbands and fathers to a growing horde of women entertaining ideas of independence, have noticed as well.

On the other side of Rome, a strange mystery swirls through the Palatine Hill. In the dead of night, down winding alleys, Rome’s elite swear that they see visions of a blood-soaked Apollo walking the city…visions that are driving them mad. Even more are becoming sick with weird fever god-dreams. Panic ensues in the city. The Chief Vestal, Rubria, is arrested by Emperor Nero and threatened with crucifixion unless the deadly curse that’s fallen on Rome is lifted. She asks Antonius Axia, hero of Britannia and Rome’s only detective, for help. She offers only one clue…the gladiator Achillia.

The first Britannia series received some mixed feelings from those who read it; some, like myself, thoroughly enjoyed it while others felt that it was at best a good set up for the next story, and not a truly self-contained arc in and of itself. While I can understand where that line of thinking comes from, it didn’t lessen my enjoyment of the first four issues in any way, and I’ve been looking forward to the beginning of the sequel since it was announced.

So does the first issue of We Who Are About To Die take a step forward from the first volume, or a step back?

I’m quite happy to say that not only does it take a good step forward, but if you’ve read the previous series then you’ll have an inkling of what to expect thematically; this isn’t a strictly historical story, as evidenced by the demons appearing last series. The first issue of We Who Are About To Die kicks off a few months after the events of the previous miniseries with another a particularly gruesome scene that will inevitably draw Antonius Axa, the Detectioner, into a web of lies and intrigue – and possibly more demonic influence – this issue reads more like a true crime story set around two thousand years ago than it does anything else.

Although Peter Milligan delivers a really solid story, the highlight of the comic for me is the art of Juan Jose Ryp. His hyper-detailed style fits the period, effortlessly captures the Roman citizens in the civilized brutality that we often associate with the time period (and especially the Colosseum), but the way in which Ryp captures Nero’s facial expressions hints toward a level of madness and paranoia not seen before in the series. As good as Miligan’s story and Ryp’s art are separately, the combination of the two elevates this into a must buy comic, whether you’ve read the first volume or not.

I can’t wait for the second issue.

Story: Peter Milligan  Artist: Juan Jose Ryp Colourist: Frankie D’Armata
Story: 8.25 Art: 9 Overall: 8.75 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy a FREE copy for review, I will be purchasing this comic on my next visit to my LCS.

DC Rebirth: Recap & Review For Comics Released 4/19

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

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

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

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



ASBM_Cv9_Burnam_varAll-Star Batman #9 
With both the main story and the back up concluding this issue it’s Unfriendly. Hold off until the next issue.

Aquaman #21 There’s a sea-demon thing that attacked and probably murdered a bunch of people, but it was also possibly transformed from one of those people by some weird water stuff called H2.0 that Arthur Curry can’t breath in. So obviously Aquaman and Mera have gone into that weird water stuff, and their radio signal just vanished, which probably isn’t good. Unlike this Friendly issue.

Batman #21 The genesis of this comic goes all the way back to DC Rebirth #1, in which Batman found a conspicuous yellow button with a bloodstain. This is going to be a huge story event for the Rebirth branded comics, likely introducing some form of the Watchmen into the core DC Universe… and it’s almost Friendly

Batwoman #2 I honestly don’t remember much about the last issue other than Batwoman isn’t in Gotham anymore… So that being said, surprisingly, this is still Friendly enough for you to enjoy.

Green Arrow #21 Part one of the Rise Of Star City arc, and it’s about as Friendly as you can expect. Green Arrow sorta-kinda recounts his recent adventures throughout the issue, which allows the reader to get into his perspective.

Green Lanterns #21 A supervillain with what seems to be some form of dissociative identity disorder, Doctor Polaris is trying to use his electromagnetic super powers to cure a loved one’s cancer, and the Green Lanterns are trying to stop him because he’s a villain with questionable motives and regard for collateral damage. It isn’t going well for them, but the issue is Friendly.

GLS_Cv21_dsJustice League #19 Uh… the current arc is confusing enough if you’re reading it (at least, I’m having a time following it), so jumping in here will be tough. But basically, some weird dude decided to remove Earth from the time stream and drop it at the edge of the universe, and to stop him the Justice League split up throughout time to fight their own personal battles. They won, but then all his power went to a potentially evil person… and I’m still confused. But I’m pretty sure the arc is over with this issue, so that’s a bonus.

.Nightwing #19 The previous events are sorta explained during this comic, and the way they’ve been presented make them only mildly confusing. For that reason I won’t recap the comic in case it twists everything back to front for you, but the issue is hovering between Friendly and Unfriendly, and I’m not gonna choose a side of the fence this week.

Superman #21 Batman and Robin are investigating why Superboys powers aren’t emerging as Batman believes they should be… and just as Batman makes a discovery that could unveil the truth, he vanishes. Although I’m not fond of the art, the comic is actually pretty Friendly and quite good.

SUPSO_Cv3_varSuper Sons #3 Robin and Superboy have been attacked by Batman and Superman! This madcap Friendly issue flies along at one hell of a pace, and really doesn’t need much of a recap.

Superwoman #9 Lana Lang is sick, so Superman put her within a Kryptonian suit of armour to heal her. That’s about all I remember, and should make the issue Friendly – especially since there’s a bit of a recap at the beginning.

Trinity #8 This issue takes place after the Superman Reborn story arc in which the New 52 and Pre-52 Supermen merged into one character. – that may sound confusing, and the way in which it happened was, but that’s not all that relevant to this comic (thankfully). Other than that, you’ll be pleased to know it’s a Friendly issue.

HER: An Interview With Malachi Bailey

malb2.jpgI first met Malachi Bailey nearly sixteen years ago through the magic of the internet, and he quickly became one of my closest friends; we’d sit up through the night talking about comics, life, the mysteries of the universe and, more often than not, writing fan fiction together. Although we did lose touch for almost a decade, through the magic of the internet our paths crossed again. I tell you this in the interest of full disclosure because Malachi Bailey has a way with words that will leave your jaw firmly on the floor. I’m not saying this because he’s an old friend, but because he’s a fantastic writer who has just published his debut novel Her.

And it’s good.

Graphic Policy: First things first, tell us a little about yourself?

Malachi Bailey: Hello, I’ve always had a passion for reading and writing. I was that kid reading novels and comics up in trees. I loved reading about science fiction and fantasy, but it was the X-Men cartoon and comic book that would set me on the course. Their action-packed stories made me want to write. My siblings encouraged. So I’ve been writing since I was 9. I haven’t stopped and don’t plan to!

GP: I hope you don’t! What can you tell us about HER without giving too much away?

herMB: I am afraid you guys are stuck with me. But yes if you love sci-fi and fantasy, if you are into action and self-empowerment, then HER is your story! What is it about? Imagine an immortal woman with so much to learn, has reincarnated for a millennia. A new face, new skillset, and sometimes a special power. But when she Awakens in her new life, her memory is scrambled. The thing is her memory holds incredible power. She must remember who she is because there is an ancient evil that is tracking her through time…

GP: Where did the inspiration for the book come from?

MB: My siblings and I have always had the most fertile imagination growing up. We’d weave these engaging, dramatic stories involving our toys.  Then we fell in love with the X-Men from Marvel Comics. I became utterly obsessed with Storm. Strong. Black. In charge. A true Nubian queen.  She was the genesis for Her. I wanted a superheroine to have those qualities and attributes.

GP: How long had you been thinking of HER before you put pen to paper?

MB: Would you believe my mentor put the idea in my head?  I was her editorial assistant intern and she told me that I would be published so think of a book idea by the next time we had a meeting. The next time, I gave her rough breakdown of the HER novel. Hr face lit up. She was beyond excited.  She told me to have it finished by October 31st 2015. Um, I was given the assignment in May! But I did it. I put pen to paper on Memorial Day and finished the manuscript two months ahead of schedule!

motherone.jpgGP: That’s awesome. You self-published the novel initially; what made you decide to take that path?

MB: Originally I was going to publish through Brown Girls Books. I’d been interning with them at the time. But after much thought and soul-searching, I felt it was beneficial for me to self-publish my first novel. So I did.  Also, I created my own publishing house, Mother One Publications.

GP: Well you certainly jumped in at the deep end, eh?

MB: You could say that. It’s all or nothing. And HER deserves everything I’ve got!

GP: Which brings me to me to the Indiegogo campaign. You’re relaunching the book? 

MB: Yup! I am re-releasing HER through a crowdfunding website called Indiegogo. Frankly, I wasn’t thrilled with the typos I found in the book and, well, also I’ve been itching to showcase a new cover. Doing all this isn’t cheap.  So a month into it, I’ve been blessed to have donations after the campaign launch.

GP: After the relaunch, what’s next for Mal Bailey and Mother One?

MB: I’m just getting started! HER is only the beginning of a series I’m working on. I’m thinking right now there will about 5 books.  I’m also publishing other books through Mother One Publications. I have two different novel ideas floating around in my head that NEED to come out!

GP: Anything else you want to add before I let you go?

MB: I just want to thank you for taking the time to interview me. It truly means a lot. Also, I am very glad the campaign has been going well and I cannot wait until HER is back on the shelves. Still touched by the overwhelming wave of support.  This is only the beginning and I don’t intend to stop writing!

GP: Any time!


You can find Malachi on Facebook @MalachiTheWriter.

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 4/22

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

ASBM_Cv9All-Star Batman #7 (DC) A solid finale to the current arc that has a couple of cool sequences that are mire down with the godlike Batman moments that seem a little too Deus Ex Machina for me. It’s good, but it’s not the best comic from Scott Snyder you’ll ever read. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

Batman #21 (DC) Well this is a turn up for the books; Tom King delivers a brilliant issue of Batman. The… ironic thing is that the things he did that I didn’t like over the last arc were repeated here, but in a much more compressed manor… and it works very well. The first issue of the four part Batman/Flash crossover is well worth read – especially if you read DC Rebirth #1Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Moon Knight #13 (Marvel) I have a love hate relationship with the series; I love the aesthetic, and at times the story, but I’m certainly not always fond of the overall direction Lemire is taking the series. This issue, however, was a solid win. If you like your comics to make you think, then this is for you. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Read

Secret Empire #0 (Marvel) While I’m not fond of having Steve Rogers as an undercover Hydra agent, the zero issue itself isn’t horrible. It sets up the event nicely, framing Rogers as a very effective villain, but whether Secret Empire will follow Marvel’s recent pattern of a strong start with a weak ending only time will tell. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

Venom #6 (Marvel) Although a decent comic, the outcome of this issue felt a little rushed after the previous five issues exploring the relationship between Lee and the symbiote as Marvel sets up the number jumping Venom #150. Does this issue suffer because of that? A little, but if you’re invested in the series it’s still worth a read. Overall: 6.75 Recommendation: Read

George

Secret_Empire_0_CoverSecret Empire #0 (Marvel) – For the past year or so Nick Spencer has been getting a ton of heat for making Steve Rogers/Captain America, a secret Hydra agent. Secret Empire is the culmination of this event and it starts with the Heroes taking one on the nose, as Spencer and Daniel Acuna take us on a tour of the hot spots of Earth-616 created by Rogers and sets us up for another Marvel roller coaster of suspense. Hopefully they can bring it all home in 9 issues. Recommend if you like the big event stuff.

Joe

Secret Empire #0 (Marvel)  I was actually surprised that I liked this comic. Now don’t think that’s saying this comic isn’t without its flaws, because the entire premise of what Spencer is doing has those, but for what this was, I did enjoy it. We still don’t get a lot of depth here for Cap’s intentions, but they are doubling down as him being a big bad. I had fun in a big action movie kind of way. I was shocked at some of the things he’s done in this and in his title, and am curious to where this takes us. I’m still betting this leads to a “Rebirth” for Marvel. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

Monsters Unleashed #1 (Marvel)  The event never grabbed me, and this comic, understandably is more of that. It features Kid Kaiju, Elsa Bloodstone and a group of talking monsters that I do think many kids will love. It felt very much like the first Transformers film where they play around outside waiting for the human boy to play or to give them something to do. I don’t think this is a bad idea to have this series, and I do think it could develop into a fun story for anyone, especially kids. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Read

Venom #5 (Marvel)  Brock has returned, and with him comes Spidey. This was a decent issue, and Brock returning to the suit is interesting, and as a big Peter Parker fan, this is exciting to have his biggest foe of my childhood returning to his prime version. I didn’t enjoy Lee much as the lead character, so it is good the title quickly changed who wears the suit. Will the suit still hold onto Flash’s good intentions, or resort back to the comfort of the monster that it was with Eddie? Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

Patrick

IHateFairyland_06-1I Hate Fairyland #12 (Image)**  Skottie Young and company bring us Lone Gert and Grub, in which Gert performs sweet ninja – sorry, samurai – moves and confronts the entire City of the Shiitake. This is a visual idea that I cannot believe I’ve never seen before and Skottie Young of course pulls it off with brio and grossness. Spoiler alert: Gert trying to do good deeds doesn’t exactly pan out. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Sex Criminals #18 (Image)** Confirming my personal theory of recent comics, Fraction & Zdarsky go mostly off-plot for this issue, get back to exploring relationships, and it’s the best issue in a long time. It is so rare to see an adult comic that actually involves adult characters that that is all I need. Unfortunately, this looks like it’s only an interlude. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Descender #21 (Image)  In theatre school, one of the most valuable lessons I learned was that there’s a difference between dramatic action and mere activity. Although there’s plenty of activity in the conclusion of this book, there is not much action going on at all. Dustin Nguyen’s art is gorgeous as ever, but Jeff Lemire is just connecting dots and the characters are all just following their programming. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Skip.

Curse Words #4 (Image)  If this issue had started on page 12 and finished on page 18, I would have loved it! I’m not sure what the hell was going on before, and bored with what was going on after, but those 8 pages where Wizord goes to the Magic Castle to get his magic back is pure delight. Overall: 4, then 9, then 4 Recommendation: Read the middle part.

Ryan C

RoyalCity_02-1.pngRoyal City #2 (Image)** – I wasn’t necessarily sold on Jeff Lemire’s latest solo series after the first issue, but with this one, it’s safe to say I’m all in. Events unfold at a languid, almost dreamlike pace that perfectly suits the material, the interpersonal relationships and various tribulations of our main protagonist and his family are deepened, and everything just intuitively feels right. A truly superb comic. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Batman #21 (DC)** – Tom King does some transparently clever things with tying the events of a televised hockey game in with the main Batman vs. Reverse-Flash fight that takes up the bulk of this issue, but it’s not enough to make the first part of this cross-over feel like yet another massive time-waster, Jason Fabok’s illustrations are the epitome of the dull, “New 52”-era “house style” at DC, and nothing that happens in these pages goes any way towards alleviating the concerns myself and many other readers have that bringing the so-called “Watchmen Universe” into the DCU “proper” is anything other than a cynical cash-grab. Overall: 3 Recommendation: Pass

Black #5 (Black Mask)** – Writer Kwanza Osajyefo continues to waste what is undoubtedly one of the cooler premises in comics right now with yet another clumsily-scripted, info-dumping issue that manages to both overload the reader with too much backstory while somehow doing nothing to deepen our understanding of what’s really going on, much less develop any of the characters in a meaningful way. Jamal Igle’s illustration continues to be nice, and Khary Randolph’s cover is another stunner, but beyond that, there’s not much here to justify your $3.99 expenditure. Overall: 3.5 Recommendation: Pass

Black Hammer #8 (Dark Horse)** – I’m running out of reasons for why I love this comic, suffice to say if you’re as enamored with it as I am, this issue is certain to leave you gasping a bit at the end, with plenty of the sterling storytelling we’ve come to expect (and, frankly, become spoiled by) from Jeff Lemire and Dean Ormston in the pages leading up to the jaw-dropping conclusion. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Shean

BLACK_PANTHER__WORLD_OF_WAKANDA__6Odyssey Of The Amazons #4 (DC) In what has been an excellent series so far,this installment may be it’s most weakest. The Amazons find themselves in Valhalla, meeting Odin and Thor. As soon for them know this could not be real,they struggle to find a way out. By issue’s end, all will understand the true meaning of “Ragnarok”
Overall: 9 Recommendation: Read

Black Panther: World of Wakanda #6 (Marvel) I was pretty bummed out when I found out that they were moving on from Ayo’s storyline as Roxane Gay no longer was working on the book.I didn’t think that they could top what they did already and I am so glad to be so wrong. As an avid fan of Christopher Priest’s run on the main character, I was excited to see that they brought back Kasper Coles White Tiger.Within this issue, we see him struggle with his day job as a NYPD detective, his struggle of helping his sickly mother and pregnant girlfriend as well as his idealistic crusade as the White Tiger.
Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Nick Fury #1 (Marvel) Being one of the most undeserved members of the Marvel Universe before the movies became tantamount to everything,Nick Fury has become increasingly popular mostly due to Samuel L Jackson’s portrayal.In what is his first solo series in a while, we find a younger version of the grissled veteran operator the world has come to know. In the first issue, he infiltrates a resort being ran by HYDRA, a la Casino Royale.Definitely a throwback to the fun of the original Bond movies somewhere between George Lazenby and Roger Moore. Overall: 10 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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