Author Archives: pharoahmiles

Review: Acursian Chapter 4


50 Cent is one of those actors who has translated his music career into a profitable career as a TV producer. Many rappers go the route of actor instead. Method Man carved a very nice recurring role in The Wire when it was on. Common had an even more successful run in Hell On Wheels. 50 Cent even had his own turn as an actor on a movie based on his own life.

He really came into his own in the creation of Power, a show he helped create and would eventually star in. He has had his hand in a few other shows but his most prominent after the Power franchise was For Life. The show was about the true story of a man who was wrongfully imprisoned and how he fought to get out. In Acursian Chapter 4, Charlie has been wrongly imprisoned and we find out why everything was set in motion so that would be.

We find Charlie in processing into county lockup and on the phone trying t convince Allison that he did not do what he has been accused of. We are also taken to the Isle Of Shadows, where a young prince sits imprisoned and he just has been informed that Jock has found the dagger. Nate eventually bails out Charlie but not before being visited by someone looking for Jock. By the chapter’s end, we start to see just how the prince became imprisoned.

Overall, an excellent episode that adds another protagonist. The story by the creative team is fun. The art by the creative team is incandescent. Altogether, a chapter which adds another storyline, one that upends the stakes.

Story: John Barrowman, Carole Barrowman, and Erika Lewis Art: Beni Lobel and  Tommy Lee Edwards
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Review: American Carnage #9

American Carnage #9

Everything has a cost and the choices you make in life yield unknown future results. Everybody wants something. But, one doesn’t really understand until you get that something what all that it comes with. There are many analogies that are used when talking about this. The most popular being “the grass is greener on the other side”. What it really is, is called ennui.

As the reality sets in that you don’t know everything a sense of regret sets in. Then you also decide what you need to do to get what you want. Sometimes, the cost may be too much. In American Carnage #9, the final issue of the relevant series, Richard sits on the precipice of good and evil, and his next steps will show what he will do for good.

We open up on Richard warning Jennifer of the coup within her father’s organization. We also find the masked man attempting to trap Sheila, leaving him dead and, Sheila injured. Richard shows up to the Morgan Mansion when he realizes that she was part of the problem, as he kills her, knowing that is the only thing that may bring balance. By the issue‘s end, Sheila makes a fateful decision, one that leaves everyone in a different place.

Overall, American Carnage #9 is a shocking final issue that gives us a resolution. It’s an ending that won’t sit right with those looking for happy endings. The story by Bryan Edward Hill is exceptional. The art by the creative team is stunning. Altogether, a story that shows just how divided America really is.

Story: Bryan Edward Hill Art: Leandro Fernandez, Dean White, and Ben Oliver
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Purchase: comiXology – Amazon – Kindle

Review: American Carnage #8

American Carnage (2018-2019) #8

The thing about plans is that they normally don’t work out the way we want them to. Sometimes it turns out better than we expected. Then there are the ones that go sideways, the worst-case scenario times ten, and we feel we underestimated the situation. Sometimes that worst-case scenario is someone dying.

When I was in the military this was more than a common occurrence. It was a fact of life. We would go into missions trying to predict every single outcome. It was practically a crapshoot. There are always unpredictable variables. In the brilliantly crafted American Carnage #8, Wright’s plan quickly goes awry.

We open up on Richard with the masked man as they break up a drug deal. That finds him ultimately giving Jennifer’s friend over to Sheila. We also find Sheila, with her boss George, who is trying to find out how she is getting her intel prompting him to ask for a meet with Richard. Jennifer, struggling with who her father is and who Richard is, is at a crossroads. That crossroads pushes her to make a timely decision. By the issue‘s end, Sheila reaches out to the masked man to move a piece off the chessboard.

Overall, American Carnage #8 is an astonishing entry that serves as a great penultimate issue. The story by Bryan Edward Hill is excellent. The art by the creative team is beautiful. Altogether, a story that puts everything on edge in this installment.

Story: Bryan Edward Hill Art: Leandro Fernandez, Dean White, and Ben Oliver
Story: 9 Art: 9 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Purchase: comiXology – Amazon – Kindle

Review: Blake & Mortimer Vol. 9: The Sarcophagi of the Sixth Continent Part 1

Blake & Mortimer Vol. 9

India is one of those countries that is both revered and speculated. The British have been there for years to the point that one of the UK’s most popular food is Chicken Tikka Masala. My father was born and grew up in one of Britain’s colonies, I can see their influence everywhere when I go back. Even my Dad still talks about how you don’t need a passport to go from Trinidad to England.

From where it started to now what it is, has been a long journey between India and England. It has never been completely cordial, as much of the long seeded hate and discontent also has existed just as long. Can there ever be true harmony between the once colonized and the colonizer? In the ninth volume of Blake & Mortimer, our intrepid heroes solve a mystery while revisiting his past in India.

We’re taken to Simla, the former capital of British India, where a gathering of the Maharajas is taking place at the former Viceroy palace, where we meet a shadowy figure known as Emperor Ashoka. As we soon find out Blake and Mortimer has a long strange history within the country, as this was the place where they met. We soon find out that Mortimer had grown up there, even saving an Indian princess and he had encountered Ashoka once before, whose stance was against the British foreign occupation. Years later Ashoka has his agenda against Mortimer and enlists the duo’s favorite villain, Olrik into his scheme against our protagonists. That is just when Blake and Mortimer find out that Ashoka has a plot to use uranium to cause a major catastrophe which leads them to Brussels. By Blake & Mortimer Vol. 9’s end, an Indian Government agent joins their ranks, and our intrepid duo heads to South Afrika to reckon with Ashoka and Olrik.

Overall, the ninth volume of Blake & Mortimer is a gripping adventure that has the guys deal with the sins of colonization. The story by Yves Sente is exciting. The art by André Juillard is stirring. Altogether, an excellent globe trotting adventure..

Story: Yves Sente Art: André Juillard
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

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Review: Acursian Chapter 3

Acursian Chapter 3

In the movies when characters conspire against either the protagonist or antagonist, it is something to watch. Avengers: Endgame gave a satisfying if not tear heavy end to this chapter of the MCU. We found our heroes defeating Thanos in what had to feel like a thousand actors on one set. It would move most people to defeat someone who was both evil and tragic.

Then are those stories where the protagonist gets attacked from all corners. Like in the recently concluded Sticks and Stones, which revolves around workplace racist harassment. The story gave a sobering if not painful look at how being “black” can also be seen as otherism. In the third issue of Acursian Chapter 3, John gets strategically attacked much like Thomas in Sticks and Stones.

We find Charlie starting to realize the birds following him are the witches, but before he can fully put it together, they distract him by inducing a childhood memory which causes him to cry. They would eventually follow him and his father, who is now a baby because of them, and unleash the rest of the curse, which means certain doom for him. Then the police discover some illegal activities the day before his court case. By Acursian Chapter 3‘s end, the witches have left his life in ruins, unleashing this ancient knell of doom.

Overall, Acursian Chapter 3 is an excellent chapter that propels the story along. The story by the creative team is action-packed The art by the creative team is luminous. Altogether, a story that doesn’t let up on what makes this story so great.

Story: John Barrowman, Carole Barrowman, Erika Lewis Art: Beni Lobel and Tommy Lee Edwards
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Chronin Volume 1: The Knife at Your Back

Chronin Vol. 1

Anyone that knows me, knows that I love reading/watching Outlander. I like it is not so much for what they do, but for how Diana Gabaldon employs the device of time travel. She puts her characters in places that the moral compass is weighed on and how love never really is different no matter what time you are in.

It is what keeps them going day to day, and not necessarily looking for a way back home. This thread is what endears you to the characters. I always wondered how it would be for a person of color to travel back in time, much like Claire, only to times which are no place of comfort. This is what happens to our protagonist in Chronin Vol. 1, where her choices can mean the chance that lives may be changed.

We are taken to 1864 Japan, on the cusp of a revolution, as the country laid in turmoil as the Tokugawa clan had lost power and foreign powers like England had begun their immersion into Japanese society, leaving Samurai, knights without title. We are taken back 4 years earlier in Edo, where we meet Mirai Yoshida, a simple Samurai, who has taken on menial tasks to make living but is asked by a woman, Hatsu,  he befriends at a tea garden to be a bodyguard on a trip. As the road is perilous, they stop at an inn for the night, where Mirai’s secret comes out in the open, that Mirai is actually a woman. We also meet Kuji, someone who Mirai lost track of and is more than an acquaintance but someone who came from the same time as she did, as we find both Mirai and Kuji are from 2043 New York. We find out that they have perfected time travel through the use of a device called Beacon, but unfortunately for Mirai, she lost hers in a battle with some Ronin and Kuji destroyed his so he would not be tempted to use, leaving both stranded in feudal Japan. Soon Mirai and Hatsu start to get to know each other and Mirai finds out everything that was written in the history books tells the whole truth, as what happened after the Tokugawas fell from power, was a state of chaos. As they continue to their travels, they intervene in an attack against a foreigner, Gilbert Latimer, who is writing a book about the country for western audiences, and who asks the two to escort him to his destination. By Chronin Vol. 1‘s end, our heroes almost intervene in a historical event, and it seems as though there are more than two time travelers.

Overall, Chronin Vol. 1 is an excellent first volume that drops us in the midst of a world in a state of change and chaos. It’s one that changes our protagonists forever. The story by Alison Wilgus is action-packed and affecting. The art by Wilgus is beautiful. Altogether, a story which shows that sometimes time travel has some dire consequences.

Story: Alison Wilgus Art: Alison Wilgus
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

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Review: American Carnage #7

American Carnage #7

There is power in telling the stories of those afflicted by vices like drugs. I remember reading the classic Iron Man story “Demon in a Bottle” as a kid, and not quite grasping why Tony Stark struggled. That was until I saw how addiction ravaged my neighborhood and how it transformed regular human beings into shadows of themselves. Then I saw how alcoholism destroyed not only lives but families.

It is always admirable when one recovers from addiction. The road back is never easy but can be attained. What most people don’t realize is that anything can trigger them. The pain of temptation beckons them without no warning. In the brilliantly crafted American Carnage #7, Wright risks everything to stop one addict from falling abandon but might trigger himself in the process.

We open up on Richard meeting Jennifer at Wynn’s house where she asks him for a favor. It’s a favor which may be too much for him. We also find Sheila getting caught with Richard where she reminds him that helping Jennifer is not part of the assignment. Richard decides to help anyway but someone got to her friend first leading to another encounter with Wynn’s muscle man. By the issue‘s end, Sheila is dealing with new attention that may derail the case.

Overall, American Carnage #7 is an extraordinary issue that adds another dimension to the story. The story by Bryan Edward Hill is shining. The art by the creative team is incredible. Altogether, a story that adds a few crime noir elements to this issue.

Story: Bryan Edward Hill Art: Leandro Fernandez, Dean White, and Ben Oliver
Story: 9 Art: 9 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Purchase: comiXology – Amazon – Kindle

Review: The Incapable Trump #4


In the age of social media, never have politicians been more outspoken. This has proven to be a double-edged sword, where some have said things that are outright outrageous. Then there are some poignant moments as in the recent passing of John Lewis where we saw the personal side of many of them. President Obama and first lady Michelle showed just how effective it was to get to their constituents through the platform, offering another way to speak and hear from the couple.

Unfortunately, the man who currently sits in the highest seat in the land also uses this platform. Offering quite a lot of histrionic thoughts and even dangerous ideas into the world. This has created an endless cycle of everyone gasping at what he has said and afraid of what would be said next. The fact that he’s not intelligent is not lost on anyone even his most impassioned sycophants. In The Incapable Trump #4, the creative team behind this brilliant book, show us just what kind of mayhem he can cause in this alternate take in hilarious tales.

In “The Monster and the Wall”, we’re taken to Dilley, Texas, where the wall that Trump wants to build is laying the ground. We meet Sophia Sayed, a young lawyer, and Jennifer who have both come to protest along with hundreds of other lawyers, students, paralegals, and interpreters. Sophia and Jennifer visit one of the family detention centers where they are holding immigrants, they meet Maria, a woman who fled with her family from El Salvador because of gang violence. We find Trump at one of his “super-spreader rallies” and his insecurities turn him into the Incapable Trump were Sophia uses him to help their cause.

In “Mueller-the Counsel Special”, Robert Mueller testifies before Congress on the fitness of the president. We find him later that night having a secret meeting at the Jefferson Memorial where he and a few senators discuss the reason why he hadn’t gotten sick to that point making Mueller deduct that Trump has immunity because of his ability to transform into the Incapable Trump. In Tulsa, at one of his rallies, Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez triggers Trump, causing him to wreak havoc on the stadium.

Overall, The Incapable Trump #4 is more than a relevant book but an indictment of the nonsensicality of the conservative platform of ideas. The stories by Omar Mirza are funny, biting, and pertinent. The art by the creative team is gorgeous. Altogether, a set of stories that you will read and re-read to make sure you catch all the ”humdingers”.

Story: Omar Mirza Art: Joao Marreiro and Alex Genaro
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Green Hornet: Solitary Sentinel #2

The Green Hornet: Solitary Sentinel #1

Keenan Ivory Wayans is one of those creators whose talents are light years beyond many of his predecessors. I’m Gonna Git You Sucka was one of those films that pushed the parody movie genre to a whole other stratosphere. He would go on to create his own show, In Living Color that would shake up television and inspire numerous other shows. The show was one of the first times when Black people saw themselves in a variety show which showcased their culture.

As successful and groundbreaking as that show was, some of his best work may be his attempts as an action hero. The movie Low Down Dirty Shame gave him new dimensions as it was a new school take on the private detective. Then there’s Most Wanted, where he played a soldier framed for murder. In the second issue of Green Hornet: Solitary Sentinel, Paul is a lone man finding his way.

We find Paul driving Black Beauty, plodding to what are the next steps, as the whole city has him as Public Enemy #1. We soon find out that the Mayor’s underlings are carrying out a smear campaign against the Reid family and Paul has to figure out how and why. We also find Diana and Kato in jail together as the Reids battle allegations against the company. By the issue’s end, Paul finds an unlikely ally but also has unearthed a new enemy,

Overall, an excellent second issue, which lives up to the legend. The story by James Van Hise is tense and exciting. The art by the creative team is stunning. Altogether, a story that feels cinematic and immense.

Story: James Van Hise Art: Andrea Albert, Ken Penders, Tony DeZuniga, and Tony Caputo
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Blake & Mortimer Vol. 8 The Voronov Plot


Tom Clancy is one of those writers whose eye for detail and character development makes him one of the best. His intimate knowledge of the inner workings of how people like Jack Ryan would operate is immense. That whole series of books was as much as action as it was cerebral maneuvering.

One of his best, and probably the best film adaptation, despite who was playing the titular character, was The Sum Of All Fears. The premise dives into if someone found a nuclear warhead and the subsequent events that lead to an attempted Presidential assassination. The hard truth was Clancy was an insurance salesman before he wrote books but his imagination was immense. In Blake & Mortimer Vol. 8 The Vornov Plot, our intrepid heroes track down a weapon of mass destruction.

We are taken to Kazakhstan, where the Russians shoot a rocket into space, only for it to come back with something, which gives rise to a secret they don’t want the world to know. It is not long before our heroes; Blake and Mortimer are pulled in, as British Intelligence wants to know exactly what the Russians are hiding. As Blake and Mortimer find clues and meet acquaintances, the more the Russians attempt to thwart their motivations. By the book’s end, a defection of a new ally, the uncovering of a massive plot to kill key world individuals, and the embarrassment of a world enemy, leaves our heroes on top of the world.

Overall, Blake & Mortimer Vol. 8 The Vornov Plot is a compelling adventure which has the guys mixed in with Russians, space travel and  on the brink of war. The story by Edgar P. Jacobs is dense, and enthralling, The art by Jacobs is brilliant and flowing. Altogether, one of the best adventures from this series.

Story: Edgar P. Jacobs Art: Edgar P. Jacobs
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

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