Author Archives: Alex K Cossa

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 12/10

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.

 


Logan

No1WithABullet_02-1.pngIceman #8 (Marvel) Having not one, but two Icemen spices up Sina Grace’s banter starting with a hilarious scene where they talk about boys while an unnamed Pyro spouts off banal dialogue about mutant rights. Artist Robert Gill really sells the scene by having ice golems beat the bad guy up in the background while young and old Iceman have a heart to heart. Speaking of heart to heart, the tension between Iceman and his parents continues as they see young Iceman as a chance to get things “right”. It’s emotionally difficult, but bolstered by plenty of jokes, boy drama, and Gill’s beefcake take on Daken, who is likely going to play a role in future issues. Overall: 8.1 Verdict: Buy

No. 1 with a Bullet #2 (Image) Jacob Semahn, Jorge Corona, and Jen Hickman really hit their stride in No. 1 with a Bullet #2 by exploring the emotional fallout of a sex video of protagonist Nash Huang and her boss leaking via high tech contact lens cameras. Corona uses close-ups and Hickman uses clashing colors to show Nash’s feelings of sadness and rage in a character driven issue that deals with the real life problem that men think they’re entitled to women’s bodies. In light of the sexual abuse of men like Harvey Weinstein and more, this is tough, yet important read and looks at real world issues in an empathetic way through the lens of the horror and sci-fi genres. It also has a hell of a cliffhanger. Overall: 8.9 Verdict: Buy

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Iron Fist #75 (Marvel) As the battle Royale rages on, Choshin, Constructor as well as Sabretooth kick heads, as it is every man for himself.As Sabretooth and Iron Fist catches up with Constrictor, they find someone else wearing his costume, who has a whole separate agenda. Choshin unfortunately gts his hands on the Book of the Iron Fist and unleashes some ungodly evil.By issue’s end, our heroes and Choshin’s goons arrive in KunLun, making it one step closer to taking down the Iron Fist once and for all. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Spirits of Vengeance #3 (Marvel) Right from the onset of this issue, we feel an origin story for “Blood Money”, as it goes all the way back to Judah and his thirty pieces of silver.This issue also serves as an introduction to our villain, Nacrodamus, which is the most powerful evil the Spirits of Vengeance has ever seen. Our heroes venture into the underworld through an ancient gateway, Port Brimstone.By issues end, they enter a barlooking much like the Most Eisley Cantina, except with demons galore in place of aliens, finding the very person who Judas the silver pieces. Overall: 9.3 Recommendation: Buy

Ryan C

GravediggersUnion_02-1The Fix #10 (Image)**  Nick Spencer and Steve Lieber return after a long hiatus with an issue that, frankly, shows plenty of rust. There’s a few laughs, but the overall tone and tenor of the book seems a shadow of its former self, scripting and art both seem a little lazy, and the cliffhanger is bog-standard “let’s see how he gets out of this one” stuff. Overall: 4 Recommendation: Pass

The Gravediggers Union #2 (Image)** Wes Craig and Toby Cypress continue to impress with their nascent series, as this second issue serves up more eye-popping art, original concepts, sharp and concise dialogue, and smart “world-building.” These guys are building something kinda special here, and the growing cast of characters is uniformly interesting and compelling. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Violent Love #10 (Image)**  Frank J. Barbieri and Victor Santos put the wraps on their “Badlands/””Natural Born Killers”-inspired crime series with a terrific final issue that wraps up every loose thread and serves up a deliciously cold little bit of revenge at the very end. Terrific art has been a hallmark of this book throughout, and this one pulls out all the stops on the visual front, as well. The back-up feature by Ryan Ferrier and Jamie Jones closes out in thoroughly satisfying fashion, as well. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Batman #36 (DC)  Whaddya know, I actually liked this one! Tom King’s dialogue is still overly-stylized and frankly somewhat interchangeable from one character to the next, but he “gets” the dynamic of the Batman/Superman friendship, the simple plot manages to stay on the right side of the clever/cliche divide (albeit just barely), and the art by brothers Clay and Seth Mann is superb and dynamic. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Christopher

Dept H #21 (Dark Horse) Mia gets a powerful gift from Roger that reveals a lot. Not only about Roger and Hari’s relationship, but the lives of Mia’s parents. The one Roger saw in person, and through film. Revealing how he loved and disposed the happiness Hari found. Showing the final moment of Hari’s life in splendid and grainy black and white footage that really stands out in this issue. Contrasting vastly with the rest of the panels in this issue. Overall: 9 


Well, there you have it, folks. The reviews we didn’t quite get a chance to write. See you next week!

Please note that with some of the above comics, Graphic Policy was provided FREE copies for review. Where we purchased the comics, you’ll see an asterisk (*). If you don’t see that, you can infer the comic was a review copy. In cases where we were provided a review copy and we also purchased the comic you’ll see two asterisks (**).

Underrated: Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace

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: Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace



Star_Wars_Phantom_Menace_poster.jpgReleased in 1999, Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace was written and directed by George Lucas, produced by Lucasfilm and distributed by 20th Century Fox. It is the first installment in the Star Wars prequel trilogy and stars Liam Neeson, Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Jake Lloyd, Ian McDiarmid, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Ahmed Best, Pernilla August, Brian Blessed, Ray Park, and Frank Oz. It  is also widely known for being a stonking pile of manure.

Released sixteen years after Return Of The JediThe Phantom Menace was set 32 years before Star Wars, and follows Jedi Knight Qui-Gon Jinn and his apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi as they protect Queen Amidala, in hopes of securing a peaceful end to a large-scale interplanetary trade dispute. Joined by Anakin Skywalker—a young slave with unusually strong natural powers of the Force—they simultaneously contend with the mysterious return of the Sith.

Now that you’ve read (basically) the first two paragraphs of the Wikipedia entry, allow me to tell you why this movie is underrated.

Look, I’m not claiming it’s good, just that it isn’t (quite) as bad as you think it is. And it does have good moments. If I can’t convince you, maybe I’ll make you laugh…?

Anyway.

If you’re of a certain age, or your parents are, then you would have been beyond excited to see this movie when it hit the theaters in 1999. I remember watching the lines on the local news back in England being in awe that anybody would care about a movie that much, but nearly twenty years later I can begin understand the level of excitement people would feel surrounding the return of such a beloved franchise – indeed, as I type this I am already planning to line up for the latest Star Wars flick, The Last Jedi, two hours before the screen doors open. But that’s after having two good movies released in the last two years, so can you imagine the excite fans of the franchise would have had in the weeks and months (hell, years) leading up to May 19th, 1999 when the movie finally opened for the masses. It would have been incredible! In the years before the widespread usage of the Internet (in comparison to what we see now), there were conversations in schools, at the water cooler and frankly anywhere fans would gather. The excitement was palpable wherever nerds and fans gathered. It’s hard to overstate how much hype was in the air surrounding the first Star Wars movie in sixteen years.

And then the movie was released.

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If you’ve never seen this movie, then you should check it out. It’s a great send up of nerd culture circa 1998 with a touching heart. Rumour has it the movie is based on real events – whether that’s true or not I’m unsure.

Look, without beating around the bush, it’s safe to say that it didn’t live up to expectations. At all. The movie is widely regarded as the worst live action entry into the saga, and rightly so, and fans have often said that the movie is best left forgotten in the deep recesses of history. Which is a touch harsh, but I understand where they’re coming from. But here’s the thing; despite the movie’s obvious flaws, I still feel like it gets the short end of the stick quite a bit.

Why? Well let me break out the bullet points…

  • Firstly, it was the first Star Wars movie in a generation, and as such it was the first time that many of us were able to sit in a chair and experience that title sequence – next time you see a Star Wars movie in the theatre and those titles start to roll with that music… you tell me that isn’t an incredible moment. Almost makes what came after those titles worth watching.
  •  Secondly, you can’t tell me you weren’t grinning from ear to ear with the extensive lightsaber duels. Everything is better with lightsabers.
  •  Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, there were people for whom this was the first Star Wars movie they’d experienced and as such it served, for those folks at least, as a gateway into the franchise.
  •  How many of you who did see, and loath, this movie in the cinema rushed out to see Episode II – Attack Of The Clones opening night because it couldn’t have been as band as this one, right? It wasn’t, was it? If nothing else, that the first movie was the worst in the new trilogy should be seen as a bright spot.
  • Dual lightsaber! Darth Maul’s dual blades were the first time we had seen a break from the standard style lightsaber from the original trilogy, which opened up a breadth of on-screen options for the iconic weapon going forward.darth maul.jpeg

Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace was always doomed to fail. No movie with as much hype as this one will ever meet expectations. But eighteen years on, while the movie may not hold up visually any more with the advances in digital technology, and Jar Jar Binks is still an annoying fuckwit, I came to realize that the movie isn’t as bad as you would think. Aside from Jar Jar, and a little too much time spent on the pod racing subplot, the movie isn’t bad. Could it have been better? Absolutely – I won’t argue that. But it wasn’t as  bad as you’ve heard, certainly not as bad as its reputation would have you believe.



Next week we’ll return to a more comic themed Underrated. Until next time!

DC Rebirth: Recap and Review Comics Released 11/29

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.


It’s annual week this week, with five of the six offerings being annuals. Where relevant there’ll be a recap, but otherwise I’ll just give you a quick heads up as to how the annual blends with the main series – and whether you should pick it up as an accurate reflection of said series.

Aquaman Annual #1 While this doesn’t tie into the current series at all, it is a really interesting, and complete, story in it’s own right. Granted you won’t learn anything about the characters you didn’t already know, nor is this ever likely to be an important comic, there is a first appearance you may want to be aware of. For the sake of consistency, this is Friendly7/10

Batman Annual #2 Well holy shit. This annual details various meetings of Batman and Catwoman through the years in a touching standalone story that doesn’t explicitly tie into Tom King’s run on Batman, but it is a nice companion piece to said series. Absolutely worth reading. As to the annual’ accessibility? Assuming you’re aware that Batman and Catwoman recently got engaged, you’ll find this Friendly8/10

Green Arrow Annual #1 As a standalone tale that takes place sometime before issue 25, this does give you a decent idea about what the series is about, but it’s not immediately a Friendly comic. Stick with it, though, and you’ll figure out what I mean; the story is interesting and rewards a second read through. 7.25/10

super sons annual 1Hal Jordan And The Green Lantern Corps #33 The only non-annual this week is also the first part of a new arc which has historically meant that the comic has been quite easy to pick up, especially post Rebirth. Once again, this is no exception, even if you don’t quite follow everything that happens this issue. Friendly, and worth reading. 7/10

Justice League Of America Annual #1 A spotlight on two characters in the series, Lobo and Black Canary, sees them heading to space. The issue is Friendly, it does give you a taste of the main series, and just like the main series it wasn’t really that great. 6/10

Super Sons Annual #1 This is almost entirely a silent comic staring the Super Pets that has only a tenuous link to the main series (despite it being Friendly). Ultimately not a bad comic, in fact it is quite enjoyable, but you can read it incredibly quickly; had we gotten an annual evenly split between the Super Pets and the Super Sons I’d probably have enjoyed this more. But maybe the focus on the Pets in a largely irrelevant story is exactly the point… 7/10



That’s a wrap for this week folks. I’ll see you next time!

Underrated: Green Valley

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 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.green valley interior.jpg

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.

DC Rebirth: Recap and Review Comics Released 11/22

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 AC_Cv992_dsyou 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.


 

Action Comics #992  This is a really well put together issue that explores the fragility of Superman’s psyche after having found out the evil Mr. Oz is also his biological father Jor El. As far as jumping on points go this is a solid, and Friendly, issue that lays the groundwork for what comes next. 8/10

Batman Beyond #14 A new arc kicks off here, and as with most new arcs post Rebirth, it’s pretty Friendly.

Demon: Hell Is Earth #1 The first of a six issue miniseries, so there’ll be no recap (nor will I include this in future DC: R&R editions) for this because I don’t recall the last time I saw Etrigan, but that being said the opening of this miniseries is Friendly enough to enjoy. 7/10

Detective Comics #969 A new arc, The Fall Of The Batmen starts here, and seeing as the DTC_Cv969_dsfirst part of an arc is often the best place to jump on board, it should come as no surprise to find out that this is also a decent jumping on point to the Bat-family’s activity in Gotham. It’s Friendly and worth reading. 7.75/10

The Flash #35 Last issue Flash was cured of his Negative Speed Force infection that he came down with after Reverse Flash died by Meena Dhawan former pupil, also a speedster, who wanted the destructive power for herself. That’s your nutshell recap – so the question remains as to whether this issue is easy to pick up, to which the answer is that The Flash #35 is just about Friendly. Sadly it’s not the best DC comic this week. 6.25/10

Justice League Of America #19 So this series is 19 issues deep and still doesn’t feel like there’s been anything more than quick, disposable comics given to us. Anyway, the last issue saw the JLA attacked in their open-to-the-public HQ by Prometheus and a couple of others. The comic is Friendly, but it isn’t all that enjoyable. 6/10

Suicide Squad #30 Yeah, I missed the last issue or two so I’m utterly lost here in terms of a recap. It’s not a bad issue, but it is a tad Unfriendly6.75/10

TT_Cv14_dsTeen Titans #14 Robin fired Kid Flash from the Teen Titans, and realizing they’re down a member, Robin has gone to Seattle to recruit Emi Queen, the Red Arrow, while the rest of the Teen Titans try and convince Kid Flash to come back. In Seattle, the supervillain Onomatopoeia has just unleashed a tidal wave aimed at the city… this is a Friendly, and enjoyable comic. 7.5/10

Wonder Woman #35 Darksied’s daughter is hunting the children of the Old Gods (those of the Greek pantheon to you and I) to feed their life energies to her father. Wonder Woman’s brother, yes she has a brother who she met last issue, has betrayed her and is working with the daughter of Darksied (and I still can’t remember her name). The comic is an origin story for her brother, and as such is Friendly6.75/10


That’s a wrap for this week folks. I’ll see you next time!

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 11/25

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 PUNISHER PLATOON #3 1the comics, or graphic novels, we just didn’t get a chance to write a full review for.

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Shean

Punisher Platoon #3 (Marvel) Frank Castle is one of those characters you can tell he is a born natural at what he does. This issue shows a man with no previous combat experience, taking to killing, like riding a horse. As he uses political savvy to get an upper hand on the Vietcong. By issue’s end, his plan pays off as his men gets a decisive advantage as the other side has their own version of the Punisher, readying to pounce. Overall: 9.3 Recommendation: Buy

Logan

TDEMONHE_Cv1_dsThe Demon Hell on Earth #1 (DC) The Demon #1 is a riff off the relationship between Jason Blood and Etrigan in this new miniseries set in Death Valley of all places. There are some solid moving pieces in this issue like Jason Blood trying to use alcohol to weaken his connection to the demon, or Madame Xanadu beating the crap out of some creepy redneck bikers, but they never cohere. Brad Walker’s layouts and Chris Sotomayor’s colors for the big transformation scene are truly hellish though. Recommendation: 6.8 Recommendation: Read

Ryan C

Eleanor & The Egret #5 (Aftershock)** John Layman and Sam Kieth put their rather hum-drum series to bed with a superbly illustrated issue that nevertheless fails to wrap things up in an overly satisfactory, or even logical, manner. Gorgeous to look at, but an entirely forgettable read. Overall: 5 Recommendation: Pass.

THANOS #13 1 Underwinter: A Field Of Feathers #2 (Image)**  Ray Fawkes’ mysterious, abstract, interpretive horror tale isn’t for all tastes, but it’s certainly right up my alley. Nearly communicated entirely by visual means, the gorgeous watercolor-style art has a lot to say if you take the time to pay attention. The plot’s chugging along nicely on a purely liminal level, as well. Lots to admire here. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Thanos #13 (Marvel)**  The “God Country” team of Donny Cates and Geoff Shaw could prove to be an inspired choice to take over this title, but they’ll have to deliver a little more than they do here. Shaw’s art is cosmic, sweeping, and more than easy on the eye, but Cates’ script seems, so far, derivative of every other Thanos story ever told. Not bad, but not worth four bucks. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Read

The Unsound #6 (Boom! Studios)** Not a bad wrap-up to Cullen Bunn and Jack T. Cole’s otherworldly “hospital horror,” but not an entirely satisfying one either as our protagonist finds herself able to escape her dire situation merely because the chief “baddie” changes his mind about letting her go literally a page after he prevents her from doing so — and the final third (or thereabouts) of the book is pure set-up for a sequel that, in all likelihood, won’t be happening any time soon. Absolutely jaw-dropping art makes this comic worth a look, but not a buy. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Read



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 Eleven

Alex and Joe are back and stay on topic for once (kinda)!

On the docket this week: Thor Ragnorak, a few comics ranging from Captain America to Batman, and whether the two geeks are excited for Justice League.

As always, the Alex and Joe can be found on twitter respectively @karcossa and @jc_hesh if you feel the need to tell them they’re wrong. Thanks for listening, and we’ll see you next week!

With More People Trade-Waiting More Often, What Can Publishers Do To Encourage A Return To Floppies?

The comics industry isn’t what it was in it’s heyday – but then you knew that. Gone are the days where single issues were the primary way in which we read our comics; indeed as I write this, the next thing I intend to read is a hardcover collection. With a growing number of people forgoing floppies in favour of trades, one has to wonder what a publisher can do to encourage people to return to buying the individual floppies instead of trade waiting. Below you’ll find a few ideas that I think are actually viable (whether they’re good or not, I leave to you).

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  • Reduce the price of the floppies. Yeah, it’s obvious. No it likely won’t happen…. unless publishers follow Alterna’s example and return to newsprint comics. Alterna have proven that a $1.50 price point for newsprint comics is a sustainable price point, and from the buzz I’ve been hearing, it would seem that the price point has done wonders in pulling new customers into the Alterna fold.
  • Don’t collect every possible comic into a trade paperback. If there’s a couple of one-shot stories in the series, then leave them out of the inevitable trade; reward those buying the floppies with a little extra content that you’d be producing anyway.

valiant preorder

  • Include content that won’t be found elsewhere. Whether this is going to be something along the lines of a short interview with the creators, or a few pages that show the progress of a page from pencils to inks to a fully coloured piece of art; adding a few pages to the comic with something simple such as this is going to be appreciated. A great example of this is Valiant’s Pre-Order editions are a prime example of this; a large number of people (I don’t have exact numbers) went the pre-order route which gave them bonus content that wasn’t in the regular comic – and won’t be found elsewhere.

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  • A different digital comic! Not a digital copy of the comic you’ve just brought, because, frankly why do you want a copy of the same comic, but rather a digital version of an earlier trade that’s slightly related to the story at hand. You’re reading Old Man Logan? How about the first two issues of Origin? If done digitally then there’s really no cost to the publisher (assuming the has already adopted a digital distribution model), and it could encourage folks to delve into some stories they might not have read. The downside is that there’s a decent chance the reader has already read the free bonus – but it’s still free.
  • Give away a free digital thing. Rather than a digital comic that some of the audience may have read, how about an exclusive wallpaper for your phone, computer or iPad.
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Absolutely not the kind of coupon I mean.

  • Coupons! Not the physical kind you clip from a comic that are the bane of a collector’s existence, but a single use code that you enter on the publisher’s site in order to unlock a free comic/merch item after you’ve brought a certain number of them. This could be anything from accruing points to redeem against a publisher’s online store, or even unlocking a bonus Annual or Zero issue that will add to the enjoyment of a future series. The hidden benefit of this for publishers is that they’d be able to gather some valuable data on who reads their comics, and depending on if it’s a physical reward, where and by whom their comics are being read.

Obviously some of the benefits of reading trades will never fully be overcome by floppies. The ability to get a full story in one sitting without waiting weeks in between issues is always a benefit, but the way the deluxe hardcovers look on the shelf is also a plus over the stacks of long boxes – and those hardcovers are much easier to reread with the added long box navigation.

Underrated: Batman Vs Superman: Dawn Of Justice Ultimate Edition

With Justice League having just been released, I felt it was an ideal time to rerun this older post. This has nothing to do with me going on vacation without preparing a column in advance. Nope.



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: Batman Vs Superman: Dawn Of Justice Ultimate Edition.


 

Batman v Superman Dawn of JusticeLet’s not beat around the bush here: the theatrical cut of Batman Vs Superman: Dawn Of Justice wasn’t the greatest superhero movie of last year and while it wasn’t the worst comic book movie of the year, it was perhaps one of the most disappointing – for me at least. I had expected so much from the movie, because it was fucking Batman and Superman on the big screen together. And… well we got an average movie. There were parts that were great (Ben Affleck and Gal Gadot), and parts that were pretty good (Henry Cavil), and… some less than savoury parts. I left the theatre feeling quite unsure of how I felt; did the good outweigh the bad, or did it balance it out? What didn’t click for me? Could the movie had been better?

Shortly after seeing the movie I found out that there would be an R rated extended cut of the film released for home media, and I wondered whether that would do anything to set the film right.

As it turns out, it did.

Almost every problem I had with the pacing, plot and direction of the movie was made better by the extended cut. I still wasn’t happy that the entire movie had effectively been told in short form in the trailers, but there wasn’t much I could do about that other than not watching the trailer in the first palace. Since that wasn’t an option…

Look, I get that Warner Brothers probably had concerns about audiences sitting for an extended period of time… I mean the near two and a half hour run time of the theatrical cut was the longest movie in recent memory, and understandably Warner’s were concerned about audiences attention spans. It’s not like we’d ever sit patiently during Lord Of The Rings, or binge watch five hours of Daredevil in one sitting. That’s just not who we are. And to think we’d rather have  a great long movie longer than a slightly shorter average one would never cross their minds. 

It’s okay, though.

Whether it’s thanks to the success of Deadpool, or the critical slamming early on, or both, the Extended cut of the movie is a much better story in every way. The plot holes that resulted from the opening sequence are fixed because of the additional footage showing the soldiers using flame throwers to incinerate bodies to mimic Superman’s heat vision, if you wrote the movie off based on the theatrical cut then you’re missing one of the better superhero movies of last year.

Yeah, I said it.

The Extended edition is a better move than Civil War is, but because the real version of the film was never released in theaters, the movie as a whole got quite an unfair reputation – albeit fairly earned based on the expectations people had for this supposed juggernaut of a film, and what was initially delivered. If you’ve only seen the theatrical cut of the movie, then give the Extended edition a shot. The additional scenes add significantly to the overall experience, delivering a much better experience than anything you’d have expected from the theatrical experience.

Review: X-O Manowar #9

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“With his throne attained and his enemies defeated, Aric of Dacia is not only the undisputed emperor of the war-shattered world of Gorin… He is one of the most feared warlords in the known galaxy! But as this former hero of Earth grows more confident with each brutal campaign, he’ll soon discover that his greatest enemy is…himself. Can Aric and the ultra-powerful X-O Manowar armor that he wields peacefully sustain such unyielding amounts of power…or will the thirst for war inside him consume everything he’s fought for?”

Aright, let’s talk about this comic. Or rather, why don’t I talk about it and because you’re (hopefully) curious, why don’t you keep reading?  Yeah, look I clearly blew my intro. I’m sorry. I was a mite distracted by how fucking gorgeous the opening double page spread is, but it’s okay now. I’m good. I promise.

Okay, I’m not. Why don’t you just spend a minute ogling this with me? Seriously, look at it below!

Imagine this is print. It’s going to be so awesome. But now my eyes are back in my skull and my jaw is no longer on the floor, it’s time to get into the review proper.

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X-O Manowar #9 finds Aric as the defacto emperor of a planet in the far reaches of the galaxy after having recently overthrown the former ruler, but in a rather interesting move Matt Kindt focuses the story less on the title character and more on the results of his actions over the past eight issues as told by those affected. It’s a point of view you seldom see in comics, the fallout of the big victory, and Kindt shines a light on the struggles faced by the three factions impacted. Just because the war is won, doesn’t mean the struggle to survive is over.

Clayton Crain (with special thanks to Khari Evans) delivers a comic  that is nothing short of jaw droppingly beautiful (but you already knew my thoughts on the art). The pages are darkly atmospheric, giving you as much a sense of the planet’s situation as Kindt’s words do – and much faster if you’re paying attention to the art as a story telling device.

Ultimately, while X-O Manowar #9 is a powerful look at the effects war has on people, cultures, and their way of life, this issue is a bridge from the previous three arcs (Soldier, General and Emperor) to the upcoming Bounty Hunters. And while one could say that Lemire could have made that bridge with a paragraph (hell, even a sentence) in the first few pages of that arc, had he done so we would have missed out on an incredibly dark comic that deserves to be read by anybody who visits a comic shop (or digital storefront) this Wednesday.

Story: Matt Kindt Art: Clayton Crain with special thanks to Khari Evans
Story: 8.5 Art: 9.75 Overall: 9.25 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review, but I’ll be buying this Wednesday anyway.

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