Author Archives: Alex K Cossa

Review: Rai #7

Rai #7

A mysterious supernatural storm has trapped Rai and Raijin with their enemies… who will live to see daylight in Rai #7?

There’s no question in my mind anymore that Rai is one of the absolute best series from any publisher currently being published. It is unquestionably Valiant’s best. The first volume of the series has been collected in trade, and you can find my reviews of the first, second, third, and fourth issues at those links. Initially, the series took me by surprise after how much I loved the precursor, Fallen World, I wasn’t expecting to enjoy Rai as much as I have. Every issue has been near perfection. The theme of the series has the inclusion of technology in our lives and the potential future we face with an over reliance on the devices in our hands, pockets and on our wrists. One could argue I’m reading too much into the comics, but I’d like to counter that. After all, what a reader takes from a book can be different depending on their perspective, and I know there’s too much technology in my life already.

The core concept of the series has been remarkably simple in that Rai and his younger brother figure who is also an older model android, Raijin (it’s not actually as confusing as it sounds, but to fully understand it you may want to circle back through the first volume of Rai written by Matt Kindt), are searching for Offspirng. Pieces of artificially intelligent code that when returned to Bloodfather will make him nigh unstoppable. Each issue centers around Rai and Raijin and their search for more Offspring, giving the series it’s overarching plot line while allowing Dan Abnett to have each issue effectively tell either a whole story or the first (or second) half of one. It’s in these single issues that Abnett explores the various subtexts that lend themselves so well to science fiction.

Rai #7 is yet another brilliant entry into the series. At this point I’ve stopped waiting for the rug to come out from under me and am so excited to see each issue hit my inbox, and I have yet to be disappointed. Abnett’s story in this issue is a slower paced one, with Rai’s humanity (or lack thereof) being explored as Raijin points out and helps Rai understand the damage his quest is having on the very people he is trying to save.

Juan Jose Ryp‘s artwork… oh man. Ryps’ art is once again coloured by Andrew Dalhouse, the visual presentation of the book is near flawless. I’ve been a huge fan of both Ryp and Dalhouse ever since I first saw their work in a Valiant book, and I have never been disappointed by either man’s work; Rai #7 is no exception. Ryps’s hyper detailed style is on full display here, and the way the facial expressions are used elevates the words in the way only great art can, with Dalhouse working his magic with colours that will take you from the starkness of Rai’s emotional position to the warmth of the environment. It’s a fantastic looking book, but again, I’d expect nothing less.

Rai #7 is, if you haven’t guessed, a really good comic. It may not be the key issue everybody will be hunting in one, three or seven years, but that doesn’t mean that this isn’t a book that demands attention. If you buy comics for good stories, then this is a series you need to be reading.

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

Story: 9.8 Art: 9.8 Overall: 9.8 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus Comics

Mini Reviews and Recommendations For The Week Ending 9/19

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. Given the lack of new comics, expect this weekly update to begin featuring comics that we think you’ll enjoy while you can’t get anything new to read – only new to you.

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews and Recommendations.


Logan

Iron Man #1 (Marvel)– Color me interested in an Iron Man comic for the first time since Matt Fraction left the title. Christopher Cantwell and Cafu craft a comic that is both vintage and forward-thinking with Tony Stark leaving the Stark Unlimited, selling his penthouse, moving to New York, and street racing and fighting Silver Age villains with Hellcat in tow. Cantwell cleverly uses social media as a snarky Greek chorus to dog all of Tony’s moves in this comic as he tries to be humble and reinvent himself, but ends up falling back on his old tricks. With the help of Hellcat’s snark and take no bullshit attitude, Cantwell pushes back on Tony’s privilege and usually way of doing things. We’ll see if he ends up breaking the mold with his run. Finally, Cafu’s visuals makes everything look sleek and old school like a classic car show and makes Alex Ross’ redesign/throwback design look gorgeous in action. Overall: 8.8 Verdict: Buy.

Overwatch-Tracer: London Calling #1 (Dark Horse)– I’ve played Overwatch once, but this digital comic from writer Mariko Tamaki and artists Babs Tarr, Heather Danforth, and Hunter Clark is more punk rock than video game with a simple, yet charming tale of human/robot conflict. With Overwatch disbanded, Tracer is getting restless stopping petty crime in England having noodles with her girlfriend. However, Tamaki lobs an obstacle in the forms of the Omnics, who are in conflict with humanity, but they both like old punk bands? Tarr’s art brings maximum cuteness for the smooching and finding common ground in tunes while Clark sets up her nicely for the zippy fast action scenes that are capture the speed of the multiplayer video game. But more cartooning. Tracer London Calling isn’t a masterpiece, but it’s a charming licensed comic with top-notch visuals. Overall: 7.8 Verdict: Read

Excalibur #12 (Marvel)– Tini Howard does some big moves on the ol’ plot board, and Marcus To gets to draw better versions of characters envisioned by Rob Liefeld, namely, the Externals in this issue of Excalibur. Most of the focus is on Apocalypse and his coven and the sacrifices they make while Rogue and Gambit have to deal with the consequences. Betsy Braddock is also out here trying to prove that she is the real Captain Britain to Saturnyne, and yes, Excalibur #12 has a lot of plots. But mostly it’s nice to see Apocalypse go back to his own ways, albeit, in a more magical/paving the way for a big crossover event way. Overall: 7.5 Verdict: Read

Brett

Batman #99 (DC Comics) – The best issue of the “Joker War” so far as Batman finally assembles his crew to take things on. It’s a bit slow as far as action but it’s that key moment when Batman gets his head out of his ass building off last issues “get up Rock” moment. It’s a piece of the bigger puzzle but a vast improvement on an event that has been relatively underwhelming. Overall Rating: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

Hellions #4 (Marvel) – While it’s gotten away from the concept of restorative justice, this is still one of my favorite two X-books right now. The series has nailed a nice action/horror vibe to it but also underneath the action there’s some great concepts of society’s abuse of “criminals” and their being exploited. It’s surface might be more of the classic X-Men but it also has the heart of exploring real world issues underneath the kick-ass visuals and fun dialogue. Overall Rating: 8.45 Recommendation: Buy

Seven Secrets #2 (BOOM! Studios) -The second issue of the series is an interesting one as it kind of feels like a first issue. While the debut focused on Caspar’s parents, this issue now shifts things to Caspar. It’s a very different start of a comic and very unexpected as you’d expect the second issue to really pick up from the action of the first issue. The playing with that expectation makes this an intriguing series just for that but it’s a good story, interesting characters and world, and great art… all of that helps too. Overall Rating: 8.6 Recommendation: Buy

Slaughterhouse-Five (BOOM! Studios/Archaia) – I’m not much of a prose reader by Kurt Vonnegut is a writer who I have read multiple of his books and enjoyed them all. Sadly, it’s been over 20 years since I’ve done that… so I don’t remember this one at all beyond the war and time travel. How it compares to the classic book, I couldn’t say, but I thoroughly enjoyed this graphic novel adaptation which is full of the humor I remember and the interesting anti-war message. Add is some great visuals which adds to the laughs, it’s a solid read no matter how close they got to the original material. Overall Rating: 8.25 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 (**).

Those Two Geeks Episode Eighty Two: The Boys

Join Alex and Joe as they start your day with a look at the first season and a half of The Boys.

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: Green Valley

Did you read this book yet? Allow us to remind you why you should with a rerun of a column from last year.


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: Green Valley


Published by Image, Green Valley was written by Max Landis and features art by Giuseppe Camuncoli, inks by Cliff Rathburn and colours by Jean Francois Beaulieu. The wonderful hardcover collection in my hands collects nine issues and will set you back $29.99 (I paid for this out of my own pocket, and happily so, even though I probably had access to the single issue review copies).

So what’s the story about?

GreenValleyHC.jpg

The knights of Kelodia are the finest in the land, but they’ve never faced a POWER like the one that resides in the Green Valley. Now they’re about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime—to stop a wizard and slay his dragons—but there’s no such thing as magic or dragons…is there? 

You may have noticed by reading this column that I tend to enjoy stories set in and around medieval times, even though I don’t tend to read that many comics set in that era (or at least I didn’t until this year). So when my LCS suggested I pick this up (it was on the counter and the owner told me I’d like it) I did so without question because sometimes I don’t want to read superhero comics.

One of the first things I noticed was that the hardcover itself just feels utterly wonderful in your hands.  The above image is of the hardcover, with the comic art inset slightly into the gold and green cover of the book itself in an effect that really doesn’t translate as well in the image as it does in person, but it does give you a hint about the nature of the story, which aside from the cover and text on the back I entered utterly blindly – and I fell in love.

green valley interior 2.jpg
green valley interior.jpg

Green Valley is the kind of book that you will want to read in a single sitting – it grabs you right from the start as you’re introduced to the legendary Knights of Kelodia (all four of them) as they face down a barbarian horde in a brilliant sequence that’s full of dry humour, a genuine feeling camaraderie from the knights  and tense knightly masculinity all wrapped up in some beautiful visuals that are some of the nicest pure-comic pages I’ve seen in quite some time. Were I reviewing this here, I’d be giving this at least 9’s across the board and telling you to buy this without question – the story and art genuinely took me by surprise and had me forget that I really should be doing a bunch of other stuff for the hour or so I sat enraptured in this story.

Without spoiling anything, it’s tough to explain why I loved this story, but that won’t stop me from trying. Green Valley is a very intelligently written book, with dialogue that is, at times, so sharp you could loose a finger. There are moments that span the gamut of human emotion for the characters, and will have you laughing out loud and pumping your fist as the story goes on – just as you’ll feel gut-punched at certain other moment. Max Landis has written one hell of a story that deserves a very special place on your shelf.

Now excuse me while I go reread it (no, I’m not saying that for effect – I’m actually going to reread it now).


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

Review: Heavy #1

Heavy #1

Bill may be dead, but he’s got a job to do. Welcome to the Big Wait, where folks who don’t quite make the cut go to work off their debt. Everyone in the Wait’s got a job. Bill is a Heavy, whose job is policing the multiverse, making sure bad eggs get what’s coming to them. He’s on track to earn his Climb and reunite with the woman he loves… Heavy is The Punisher for neurotics; Inception for the impatient; Preacher for…well, it’s a lot like Preacher. Max Bemis and Eryk Donavan bring you a story about the existential purpose of dumb boys with big guns in Heavy #1.

Max Bemis is one of those writers that I don’t tend to follow from comic to comic, but I always seem to enjoy the comics he writes to the point where I was on the fence about reading Heavy #1 until I saw Bemis’ name attached to the project. His dry sense of humor is evident throughout the pages of the comic as Bill’s snide and sarcastic comments drive his narrative through some spectacularly violent moments. This is a comic that opens with a middle-aged man breaking a teenager’s nose because we can only assume based on the knowledge we get a little further on, he deserved it on a cosmic scale of justice.

In fairness, compared to some of the other folks Bill encounters, the teenager got pretty lucky.

Comparisons to the Punisher are inevitable given that this is a character killing and otherwise injuring those who are guilty of some crime against the space/time continuum, but that’s where the similarities end (though it is really useful to be able to say “start with the thought of it’s like the Punisher meets Preacher, but its far more fun”). Whereas Frank Castle is a grim, determined guy with no shits to give who can stop his mission at any time (but won’t), Bill has a clearly defined end goal, a whole lot of self-pity, and a wry appreciation of what he has to do if he is going to finally move on with his (after)life.

Artistically, Eryk Donovan and Cris Peter are really solid. There are some suitably eclectic pages in the comic when it comes to the odd page (but what would you expect from a book whose main character has killed 14 different versions of the same person), and it helps to make the comic one of the more visually exciting reads on the racks. There’s an energy to the art that really encourages you to read the book at an equivalent pace to match what you’re seeing on the page, which can make you miss some of the details in the art itself. It’s an odd conflict, and one that may have been specific to me, but if nothing else it encourages you to read the book twice before you put it down.

Fortunately, it’s a book that’s more than good enough to read twice anyway.

Vault Comics have been publishing some absolute corkers recently, and Heavy #1 is another on a growing list of Must Read comics.

Writer: Max Bemis Art: Eryk Donovan
Colorist: Cris Peter Letterer: Taylor Esposito

Story: 8.5 Art: 8.2 Overall: 8.4 Recommendation: Buy

Vault provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Pre-order: comiXologyKindleZeus Comics

Review: Sun Eater #1

Sun Eater #1

Ninth century Norway is a land of bloody and civil strife, fanatical religious upheaval, and exploration. At its center is the warrior Kveldulf Bjalfisson, a drug addict and father willing to become a monster in order to save his son from his sworn enemy – King Harald Fairhair. 

I don’t know what I expected when I picked up a comic written by Dylan Sprouse with Joe Harris. It wasn’t a story with dialogue that reads like a Shakespearian play. At first, I felt the character’s conversations were like it was being written in a blend of the traditional pirate style of speech and the English version of Latin from the AMC show Spartacus. It’s slightly off-putting after you realize that it isn’t just being used for the sacrifice that opens the comic. Instead, it’s a conscious choice throughout the book, and then you fall into it. The speech patterns of the characters mean that you have to actively read every word so that you’re not missing the meaning of the words on the page, which helps you understand the story a touch more.

The first issue of SunEater doesn’t do a whole lot more than establishing the ground rules for the story; we learn who the major players are, get an idea what Kveldulf Bjalfisson is motivated by and what he’s aiming to do. And behind it all we see Woten, or Odin, is playing a game entirely his own. You’ll also see a large number of hard to pronounce names that look authentically Norse and are subsequently hard to pronounce (I say look authentic because I’m not well versed in historical Norse names and so won’t pretend that I am), but add another layer of immersion to the comic.

Sun Eater #1 is brought to life by Diego Yapur and D.C. Alonso, responsible for the line work and colors respectively. Yapur’s artwork is decisive and striking; detailed where it needs to be, and barren when you need to focus on something specific. The facial expressions are without a doubt some of the most honest and realistic I’ve seen in a while; it also helps that most characters wouldn’t be seen on a runway – these characters look like a snapshot of the Norse people of yesteryear; grubby, angry, ugly… it’s a grimy looking comic, but Alonso makes it look beautiful. Frankly, the art is some of the best sequential work I’ve seen in a while.

I won’t lie; I picked Sun Eater #1 up because I was morbidly curious what a story created by Dylan Sprouse would be like, and I’m more than happy to say that it left me impressed. As the first issue in a longer miniseries (it was originally billed as nine, but I think it may have increased to twelve now), the creative team has delivered exactly what you want in the opening chapter of a story. Sun Eater #1, published by Heavy Metal, is a fantastic read. Whether you’re just into capes and cowls, or you like to dabble in fantasy, this is a comic you really need to check out.

Story: Dylan Sprouse with Joe Harris Art: Diego Yapur
Colorist: D.C. Alonso Letterer: Saida Temofonte

Story: 8.9 Art: 9.4 Overall: 9.2 Recommendation: Buy

Heavy Metal provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyHeavy MetalZeus Comics

Review: Bloodshot #8

Bloodshot #8

In Bloodshot #8, unthinkable monsters are unleashing Hell on Earth! Surrounded by enemies, who can Bloodshot trust?

It has been a long time since the previous issue was released, although there was an expanded edition with some bonus features released last month under the guise of Bloodshot #7 Fully Loaded Edition, but there wasn’t any new story content in that comic. On the off chance you didn’t pick that one up just for the bonus features, and I understand why you may not have, the good news is that you don’t need to remember Bloodshot #7 all that much to be able to enjoy this book because writer Tim Seeley has structured the comic in such a way that a chunk of time has passed between issues seven and eight. It’s not explicitly stated how much time, and whether this was an incredible stroke of luck given the break between issues because of Covid 19, or Seeley was able to adjust the dialogue just enough to convey a longer chunk of time passing than he originally intended, I’m not sure.

Frankly, as far as my enjoyment of the comic goes, I don’t particularly care which it was because the story and dialogue flow so well across every page (but I am genuinely curious as to whether he needed to adjust the text at all).

The story finds Bloodshot atoning for releasing a horde of formerly imprisoned enemies that all have some form of super powers, and may or may not have been used by their respective governments. Granted, he wasn’t in control of himself when he did it, but still he feels responsible for unleashing what he has.

Bloodshot has been one fast-paced and frenetic issue after another. It has been a great ride for the last seven issues. I’ve certainly enjoyed the series for what it is; a popcorn comic that has a depth to it that’s revealed further with each issue. Tim Seeley gives you a little more of his plan with each release. There are moments in this issue that change or enhance your idea of the characterizations of some characters inbetween the action. It’s this balance that allows you to fly through the book while still feeling like you’ve read more than the twenty-odd pages.

Seeley is joined by artist Marc Laming, 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.

If the above paragraph or two feel familiar to you it’s because I copied it from the review of the last issue. It was as true then as it is for this issue, and I didn’t feel like I should try and craftily rewrite the same thing when my feelings on the books hasn’t changed. Personally, I love how this book looks. The lines are clean and it’s very easy to discern what’s happening on every page. It’s an awesome book that consistently surprises me.

Every time I open an issue of Seeley’s Bloodshot, it reminds me why I love reading comics; it’s fun, looks great, and there’s always more meat to the story on the second and third read through as you pick up on the subtleties of Seeley’s dialogue and the details in the art. You can’t go wrong with this book – it’s a must-read for all the right reasons.

Story: Tim Seeley Art: Marc Laming
Ink: Adelso Corona Color: Andrew Dalhouse Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.2 Overall: 9.2 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review.


Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus Comics

Valiant’s Marketing and Publicity Manager Gregg Katzman Helps Us Understand What Goes Into Getting A Comic Into your Hands

Gregg Katzman

I’ve always wondered what happens to a comic between the time it has been finished and when I finally get it in my hands – especially one I’ve been salivating over since I first caught that glimpse of a teaser image on social media, and so I spoke to Valiant’s Marketing & Publicity Manager Gregg Katzman about what his job entails when it comes to getting some of my favorite comics into my hands.

Gregg has been with Valiant since November 2018, joining the publisher as a marketing coordinator before working his way up to his current position in August of 2020. He’s also a super nice guy.

Graphic Policy: We all (hopefully) know the role that writers, artists and editors play in getting comics to the shelves, but what do your duties entail?

Gregg Katzman: Before joining Valiant Entertainment, I was a big fan of the company and have lots of history as comics/entertainment press (Comic Vine, Screen Rant, CBR, IGN, UGO Entertainment, About.com’s Marvel expert, plus coordinating signings as the Marketing & Events Manager at Midtown Comics). So, I spent years promoting Valiant before ever actually joining the team. Now, being the Marketing & Publicity Manager is sincerely a dream job because it’s all about bringing the perspective of a press person and someone who’s legitimately passionate about the Valiant Universe.

A lot of my time is spent working with press, and I’d certainly hope you can vouch for that, Alex!

GP: I absolutely can!

GK:  Since I bring the perspective of someone who has worked for several outlets, I always strive to build a legitimate relationship before pitching anything. If I’m reaching out to a site, YouTube channel, or podcast, I don’t want to waste their time by offering something that isn’t a good fit. After all, every site, channel, and show covers the industry in different ways. Because of that, I’m always trying my best to make sure the experience is mutually beneficial. Is this opportunity a good fit for the outlet and its fans? If not, what would be? Will this be interesting to current Valiant fans? Will it potentially create new Valiant fans? Knowing is half the battle. Pitching and coordinating everything is the other half.

I’m fortunate enough to have a ton of creative freedom when it comes to working with press, building announcement strategies, and how we’re working with creators to help promote their projects. I also do my best to engage with fans as much as possible since… well, I am one. 

There’s a lot of other stuff I do on a daily basis, but I won’t bore you with the details. Let’s just say I do a lot of juggling and keep very productive. 

GP: At what point in a comic’s development are you usually involved from a marketing perspective?

GK: I’m very lucky to work at a company that embraces having very open and honest conversations about everything we’re doing. Usually, editors and directors talk about the projects first, and then they’re circulated to me and some other people for our feedback. Assuming the pitch moves forward, my boss, Matthew Klein, and I will meet with the book’s editor to pick their brain. Why are they excited about it? Why should current fans be excited about it? Why will this bring in new fans?  I will also send a creator questionnaire document to the book’s creative team to better understand their views on the project and their comfortability and preferences with promoting the book.

All of this will help Matthew and I build the announcement campaign and additional opportunities to promote the book. After the announcement and follow-up coverage is made, there should be an aggressive push to capitalize on the issue’s IOD (initial orders deadline), FOC (final order cutoff), on-sale date, and the “now on sale” angle. Then you have to think of ways to keep promoting the next issues. At the time of writing these answers, I can say we have an announcement about a month away and there’s a full week of coverage lined up on different outlets and even at a virtual event… This entire process is legitimately fun to me and every time I love thinking of new ways to promote our books.

GP: How reactive is your role? I know you juggle a lot of plates, but does anything ever happen that makes you switch gears and take a campaign in an entirely different direction?

GK: Yeah, it’s entirely possible that things can change at the last minute, and I wouldn’t be doing my job properly if I panicked instead of thinking about the best way to adapt and move forward. It’s important to remember that everything is a learning experience, nothing ever goes 100% according to plan, and there’s never just one path forward.

GP: Valiant have been known to give away some really fun promo items (the only baseball I own is the Doctor Tomorrow one). Do you get to come up with those?

GK: I can’t take any credit for those. Those are called POP (point of purchase) items and they’re created by the Sales team which consists of former retailers. Those items are sent to retailers (and sometimes select press and fans) to either utilize (like signage, pens, etc) or give to their Valiant shoppers. 

GP: When it comes to marketing comics, do you ever find it hard not to reveal things?

GK: All the time. Again, I was a big fan of Valiant before joining the company, so being able to get an early look at everything and plan so far in advance is something I’ll never take for granted. That said, I may or may not have off the record conversations with some fans and press that I trust…

GP: Do you have a favorite market campaign that you’ve been involved in?

GK: I sincerely love working on every single announcement campaign (each one is carefully crafted to complement the book), but I’ve always had a soft spot for building press tours and coordinating interviews. As a former press guy and someone who built signing events at Midtown Comics, getting creators to interact directly with press and fans is always fun. It’s a lot of work, but it’s totally worth it.

GP: I probably already know the answer to this, but is there any character you’re a little more excited to talk about, and if so why is it Ninjak?

GK: Oh, it’s definitely Ninjak but also X-O Manowar. They’re easily my favorites. Fitzy is my favorite “lesser-known” character from the Valiant Universe. I think that guy has a lot of potential.

GP: As you know, I completely agree with you regarding Ninjak. Thanks for your time!

Mini Reviews and Recommendations For The Week Ending 9/12

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. Given the lack of new comics, expect this weekly update to begin featuring comics that we think you’ll enjoy while you can’t get anything new to read – only new to you.

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews and Recommendations.


Joe Hesh

Amazing Spider-Man #48 (Marvel) It doesn’t matter how many issues or how many volumes, one thing remains: Peter Parker is still Peter Parker. That means Peter Parker is Spider-Man. This issue dealt with Peter frontline and all his tremendous guilt and weight he carries with him. He is in constant battle between his wants and his morals. He wants to make the right choice always but the right choice is never easy. His conundrum? Does he let his old foe The Sin Eater who has returned from the dead with a holy crusade using new powers to clear sins away, cleanse Peter’s greatest enemy: The Green Goblin aka Iron Patriot aka Director of SWORD aka The Red Goblin aka Norman Osborn, or does he save Norman from this fate? Issues like this make me love Spider-Man so much. He really is the worlds most altruistic hero. No matter how much pain you put him through or what you take from him, he is always unwaivering in his principles. Peter leans on his web friends for some internal guidance and it is here the issue shines. Miles, Gwen, Spider-Woman all take a stab at the Parker psyche and we get some very cool and fun moments. If you’re a long time reader you have a good idea on what Peter’s choice is and thats where the fun begins leading us right into the big 850th issue next. Art chores were done by the amazing Mark Bagley and the scribe was Nick Spencer who is finally making Spidey something worth reading again. All the while here I’m waiting for something Goblin to come. Next issue should be a blast. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Batman: Three Jokers #1 (DC) We’ve waited so long for this one and wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. It did not disappoint. I wasn’t sure how this was going to work with three possible Jokers and what not. I thought some multiverse shenanigans or such but after reading this, I think not. The story plays out brilliantly pacing all kinds of lush character developments at the same time as a jog down memory lane. The Joker has always been so fascinating as there is so many interpretations of him. I’ve always been a fan of Grant Morrisons metamorphosis portrayal where he amps up to meet whatever Batman is putting out at the time. In other words the better Batman is, the worse Joker becomes. However after reading this and a very different direction my thoughts might change. I know we are only on issue one but this could be the story of the year for me. An all around gorgeous presentation. Speaking of which, the art. The freaking art man. It’s breathtaking.  I know Jason Fabok might have started as a Jim Lee clone but to me, he has surpassed Lee. The line work, the difference of character design, the bombastic large fight scenes, it is really too impressive to quantify. Now Geoff Johns the man who has brought us the best and worst DC has to offer (I.E. Green Lantern and Infinite Crisis) he crushes it this time. Right out the gate, grand slam on first pitch. I don’t know where he is going with this yet, but I cannot wait. Not only does he handle the mystery well but he gives Jason and Barbara some of the best character work they’ve had in years. I loved it. So if you weren’t planning to read this book, you better change that. Canon or no canon this is an amazing story. Don’t sleep on it, lest a stray crowbar wake you to your senses. Score: 9.8 Reccomendation: Buy

Logan

Vampire the Masquerade #2 (Vault)- In Tim Seeley and Devmalya Pramanik’s A-story, most of the big plot points are dashed out via exposition, but the real draw is the relationship between Cecilia and her vampire “childe” (She was sired and left for dead actually) Ali. They demonstrate that the life of a vampire in this world is full of moral dilemmas and bureaucracy in contrast with the pure survival instincts of the Anarchs in Tini Howard, Blake Howard, and Nathan Gooden’s backup story. Pramanik’s art and Addison Duke’s soul-searing color really get into Ali’s head as she makes her first kill while Seeley’s dry, clinical dialogue for Cecilia nicely unwraps the moral implications of her action. Vampire Masquerade is definitely a slow burner, but Cecilia and Ali are a great duo to build this story around. Overall: 8.0 Verdict: Buy

Aggretsuko #6 (Oni Press)– The first volume of Aggretsuko wraps up with a competition-driven story from Black Mage’s Daniel Barnes and DJ Kirkland with the employees at Retsuko’s office competing for 1 day of PTO in various sports. Kirkland’s video game and manga influences come to the forefront especially in a couple climactic events straight out of Slam Dunk or Mario Kart. He does this all while staying on-model and pumping up the energy and emotion. Barnes’ script is creative and full of trash talk, and he throws in some fun moments featuring the fan-favorite relationship between Retsuko and Haida making it integral to the main story. Aggretsuko #6 is an enjoyable supplement to the Netflix anime series and kind of is a vision of the show if it was a 22 episode American-style sitcom instead of a tightly focused 10 episode one. Overall: 8.6 Verdict: Buy

Marauders #12 (Marvel)– After all the shit she’s gone through, Marauders #12 is a pure celebration of Kitty Pryde, her friendships and relationships with various X-Men, her revenge, and also her finally coming out as bisexual via smooching a tattoo artis tafter decades of speculation and subtext. Writer Gerry Duggan takes a beat in his “Kill Shaw” plot to have Kitty enjoy life with Lockheed permanently snuggled up on her neck, and artist Matteo Lolli’s old school art style that reminded me of Paul Smith or Howard Chaykin is perfect for this kind of character-driven story. They deal with the implications of the resurrection process while also showing Kitty’s comfort with certain characters like Magik, Storm, and Nightcrawler and discomfort with being the belle of the ball when all she wants to get is knuckle tats and vengeance. Marauders #12 re-establishes Kitty Pryde as the lead and heart of this series, and I’m rejuvenated and ready to see her take down Sebastian Shaw. Overall: 8.7 Verdict: Buy

Brett

Dryfoot #1 (Mad Cave Studios) – The debut issue is interesting and fun about a bunch of kids who decide to rob a drug dealer in 1980s Miami. It’d be a bit more interesting if 4 Kids Walk Into a Bank hadn’t already tackled a similar idea and done it with a far better debut. Still, a nice diversion from other things out there. Overall Rating: 7.0 Recommendation: Read

Empyre: Aftermath Avengers #1 (Marvel) – The wedding celebration has a lot of solid moments and drama. But, the comic feels like it could have been a few pages in an expanded final issue. Its really goal is to set up the next major story arc and never quite feels completely satisfying for some reason. Overall Rating: 7.0 Recommendation: Read

Empyre: Fallout Fantastic Four #1 (Marvel) – The issue is very cute and potentially sets up a lot for the Fantastic Four. Out of the two Empyre follow up issues, this is the one to really pay attention to. It really feels like much more of an ending than the Avengers version. Overall Rating: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

Marauders #12 (Marvel) – The art isn’t for me and I don’t get the tension at all. You know who killed Kate… so? It’d be one thing if it was a mystery but much like the whole concept of resurrection, the real drama is no longer there. Overall Rating: 5.0 Recommendation: Pass

Rise of Ultraman (Marvel) – I don’t know the classic property at all so was excited to dive into the series. The first issue is fun and a nice build into the world. It also feels a little generic though. An entertaining comic and one I want to read the second issue but it’s not one I’m super excited about anymore. Overall Rating: 7.75 Recommendation: Read

Transformers: Galaxies #9 (IDW Publishing) – The series wraps up its latest arc delivering a nice morality tale. The focus is on self-determination and free will, a concept a bit deeper than robots than change into things. As usual the comic is more than meets the eye. Overall Rating: 8.0 Recommendation: Read

Vampire: The Masquerade #2 (Vault Comics) – The comic series continues to impress though might be a bit more enjoyable for those who really know the world. The exploration of choice when it comes to vampirism is an interesting one and there’s a bit of a Training Day vibe about the issue. This is a series to keep an eye on. Overall Rating: 8.25 Recommendation: Buy

Web of Venom: Wraith #1 (Marvel) – There’s a solid western vibe about the issue. It also dives into Wraith’s history a bit which is nice for those who don’t know the character like myself. Still, it’s really a comic to just warn Eddie Brock that Knull is coming and set up King in Black. A must-read? No. But, an entertaining one. Overall Rating: 7.75 Recommendation: Read

X-Factor #3 (Marvel) – The series continues to be a hell of a lot of fun and the return of Shatterstar has so much potential. This is an X comic that’s just full of winks, nods, and laughs and quickly rising to be the best of that corner of the Marvel Universe. Overall Rating: 8.5 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 (**).

Those Two Geeks Episode Eighty One: Plans? Where we’re going we don’t need plans!

Join Alex and Joe as they star your day without a topic or plan of any kind. Where do they end up? The Boys.

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.

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