Author Archives: pharoahmiles

Review: Green Lantern Mosaic #12

Green Lantern Mosaic #12

When it comes to one’s morals, sometimes holding the line can be the most difficult thing you can ever do. Life will show you, just like in that movie Training Day, people are either sheep or wolves. People who are sheep tend to be meek, quite ordinary, and will bend towards whatever direction those in power lean. People who are wolves, usually stand their ground and will persevere no matter the consequences.

What happens when your morals and your convictions are at a crossroads? Take for example when people support free speech. What happens when that same argument is used to defend hate speech? Can the argument outlive the situation? In the twelfth issue of Green Lantern: Mosaic, we find Jon defending an unworthy enemy, one which shows what kind of hero he really is.

We find a KKK leader espousing how Jon’s hopes for an interspecies utopia is fruitless furthering the division between the inhabitants of the Mosaic. Jon intercedes as the KKK’s efforts become unfortunately increasingly effective, but also united against these usurpers, who Jon soon realizes he has to defend, despite the hate they spread. As he soon dreams about what would the different Lanterns of the Corps would react. By issue’s end, as Jon looks to intercept another attack by the KKK, the tables turn to Jon’s surprise, ending this issue both ironically and hysterically.

Overall, an issue that shows just how sophisticated and progressive Jones’ writing has come over the course of the book.  The story by Jones is entertaining. The art by the creative team is elaborate and beautiful. Altogether, an issue that tackles a real-life issue but instantly pushes the story even more.

Story: Gerard Jones Art: Cully Hamner and Danny Panosian
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Zindan #4

Zindan #4

When you have no options left, what do you do? Where do you turn? How do you go forward? These are the questions when it seems there’s no hope, that you must answer for yourself. When it seems as though you have no light guiding your dark days. If you grew up in a religious family, you would hear sayings that stoked your faith. From my Roman Catholic Filipino mother, I would hear “God will only put us through those things that make us better”.

From my Trinidadian Muslim father, I would hear “And He will provide him from he never could imagine. And whosoever puts his trust in Allah, then He will suffice him. Verily, Allah will accomplish his purpose. Indeed, Allah has set a measure for all things.” Faith gives us a vision where our eyes cannot guide us as we cannot see the future, but we can ask for a greater being to look out for us. We must remember these things when life throws us those curve balls we never saw coming. In the fourth issue of Zindan, Timur and Zain are still trying to pickup the pieces after an unfathomable betrayal.

We find the Shah of Punjab returning to his palace in Lahore, with this capital brimming with intrigue and hungry peoples lining the streets, as they revel in the victory, they had over the Ansaars, not knowing Zain and Timur are waiting in the shadows. We also find Tara and her companions fighting their way through the Shah’s men in the desert, trying to equalize the damage his men unleashed on the Ansaars. We also are taken to Herat, where Zain and Timur are being hunted by Tatar soldiers, as the betrayal they suffered in the last issue has left the brothers with few options. By issue’s end, as Timur finds a moment of solace only for it to be interrupted by the Tatar soldiers who are there to end the Last of the Ansaars.

Overall, an excellent issue that gives fans a complex world where the heroes look like the people of color this mythology is built on. The story by Omar Mirza is well developed and well characterized. The art by the creative team is gorgeous. Altogether, an installment that proves Mirza is an expert storyteller.

Story: Omar Mirza
Art: Sajad Shah, Adelso Corona, Mostafa Moussa, La Beau Underwood, Bryan Valenza, Jessica Jimerson, Alonso Espinosa, Roberto Vargas,
and Joe Weems
Story: 10 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.6 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Unpublished

Unpublished

In a world where we’re interested in creators, the director’s cut of any work has become an inevitability. Petitions launched screaming for creators to release their own original intended product has become commonplace. One of the most recent campaigns included Zack Snyder’s cut of Justice League. The movie which probably would have been much more fulfilling than what was released was probably the 6-hour version of Watchmen, as the new series shows just how dense this world is.

Another good example of a story enriched by cut scenes is Avengers: Endgame a movie that was an emotional rollercoaster but became even more endearing with the added scenes. Anyone who has ventured into the special features of a Blu-ray can tell you deleted scenes can be the best scenes in a film. The audience can see the many different directions one story can go or what certain scenes may have alluded to. Unpublished is a collection by the burgeoning creator Michael Lee Harris showcasing this rising star’s works in progress.

In “Tug,” a tugboat crew deals with the advancement of technology and how it affects their livelihood. In “Metro Litan,” Harris takes us to a dystopian future where books are a commodity and zombies grow like weeds. In the final story, “Beaver In Chief,” we find a young beaver looking to be chief of his tribe but doesn’t want all of the trials and tribulations. By the book’s end, there are definitely reasons why each story wasn’t picked, but not because of a lack of talent.

Overall, a trio of stories which proves that Harris is a talent that should be on everyone’s radars. The stories by Harris are well developed and well characterized. The art by Harris is beautiful. Altogether, a set of stories both magnetic and full of heart, which makes Harris a creator to watch out for.

Story: Michael Lee Harris Art: Michael Lee Harris
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Review: F.E.R.R.A.R.I. Boyz

F.E.R.R.A.R.I. Boyz

As a child of the 1980s, Saturday Morning Cartoons were my jam. I remember waking up earlier on Saturdays than on school days so that I wouldn’t miss my favorite shows. As I grew older, this type of programming started to dissipate year after year. But decades later, some of the cartoons from that era still feel fresh in people’s minds.

In the latter years before the premise’s demise, it started to “jump the shark” and use different celebrity fueled cartoons. I remember one of the first ones being Mr. T’s cartoon which was running the same time The A-Team was on the air and made for an interesting comparison. Then there was Kid N Play’s cartoon which was mediocre at best, but I always wondered if they sprinkled in some of their more interesting elements of the rest of the Saturday Morning Cartoons in it, what kind of show it would be? In the F.E.R.R.A.R.I. Boyz , we find the rappers Gucci Mane and Waka Flocka Flame in a fantastic fanfiction that has the two rappers eluding shadowing organizations and saving the world.

We’re taken to a secret meeting in DC, where President Barack Obama is holding court with a scientist advising the president that an asteroid is headed to Earth. This prompts POTUS to call the FERRARI Boyz into action. Waka Flocka Flame and Gucci Mane, after a few hilarious missteps, blast off into space to find things are more hopeless than expected as they walk into a trap. The two are endlessly tortured by the story’s villain, the Canadian rapper, Drake, who lured both of them to get rid of his competition. From there it’s superpowered villains and Nikki Minaj robots as the two rappers attempt to destroy the asteroid and save the planet.

Overall, a more than enjoyable fanfiction adventure with some famous figures that will have you laughing hard at both the material. The story by Kenny Keil is very funny and is worthy of more love from the industry. The art by Keil is gorgeous. Altogether, a comic that more than deserves to be included with all the great adventures included in Saturday Morning Cartoons.

Story: Kenny Keil Art: Kenny Keil
Story: 10 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Rhyme Travelers #1

Rhyme Travelers #1

Anybody who was alive during the 1990s can remember the travesty known as the WB Network. This what eventually became UPN and what turned into its present form, the CW Network. The network has more mainstream fare than it has in previous years but definitely invests in genre programming. When the network initially started in 1995 it had some very problematic shows that they decided to air.

The shows tried to cater to the African American community, where they showed programming like The Game and Girlfriends. They also showed funny yet forgettable shows like The Jamie Foxx Show and The Wayan Bros.  They also presented shows, which makes me still cringe like Homeboys In Outer Space. In the debut issue of Rhyme Travelers, we meet some protagonists which remind me of the latter, with a few exceptions.

Meet the Rhyme Travelers as they look for their next gig. They’re running out of gas traveling the universe where they find a job working a mall known as The Floating Gardens Of Baubelon. As they start working their new job, they soon find themselves embroiled in the same trap, the customers of the mall do, debt. As they look to find out who is behind all of this, they run into the mall’s security, the S.H.A.R.C.S., which they destroy and find the why the cards were issued in the first place. By issue’s end, the Rhyme Travelers uncover a mind control scheme and save the day.

Overall, the book seems to a bit stereotypical and dated despite its publication date. The story by Gustavo Alberto Garcia Vaca is funny but contains a ton of overused story tropes. The art by Kenny Keil is the best part of the book. Altogether, I would tell readers to borrow it, as the issue isn’t worth the price of admission.

Story: Gustavo Alberto Garcia Vaca Art: Kenny Keil
Story: 5.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 6.4 Recommendation: Read

Review: The Dark Gun #3

The Dark Gun #3

We all carry a burden of some sort. Some heavier than others. We’re shaped by our experiences. What we endure throughout our lives becomes the bar by which we are tested. When it comes to “trials and tribulations” everyone’s definitions differ. What brings stress to some people is everyday fare to others. Take, for instance, the strange bedfellow success is to some people.

When one revels in success it can be a moment to pause and smell the flowers. For others, there’s no rest for the wicked as there is too much to do. Is there such a thing as success making someone mad? It definitely can be seen in some celebrities who found it to be too much at one point. In the third issue of The Dark Gun, the pistol finds it ways to its newest owner, a lawman who will soon find out exactly what this weapon is about.

We meet Cole Rollins, a Pinkerton agent, whose former life was a soldier during the Civil War, an experience which shapes him to the present, and which leads him to seek care from a psychologist who instantly recognizes that he has PTSD. He recounts to his doctor,  the series of events that led him to the Dark Gun, where he shot the suspect dead tot right, only to see him two days later, standing alive in front of him, only for it be his mind playing tricks on him. This sidelines him for a bit, where he gets assigned an elusive jewel thief, one which prompts visions of the gun’s previous owner all over again. By the issue’s end, Rollins finds absolute serenity in the only way he can.

Overall, an engaging and mind-bending issue of this innovative series which is part drama, part horror, and part psychological thriller. The story by Matt Durand is immense and impactful. The art by Taylan Kurtulus is simply breathtaking. Altogether, an excellent chapter in this time jumping epic that shows the power objects can have us supernatural or not.

Story: Matt Durand Art: Taylan Kurtulus
Story: 10 Art: 9.7 Overall: 9.6 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Delegates #9

Delegates #9

When the going gets tough, sometimes uneasy alliances are a way for us to move forward. We may find ourselves reaching for people we would not normally be aligned with. They also can be more manageable relationships, as you can be more objective than actual friendships. In my experience, the ones where everyone has their own agendas are usually the strongest.

Most uneasy alliances also can be tender as they may be hanging on a string. An episode of Mayans MC shows what happens when your connection is not easily aligned. One thing can offset what could be a fruitful partnership. In the ninth issue of Delegates, we find two characters with opposite agendas forging a coalition.

We catch up with our heroes shortly after the events of the last issue where they were attacked at their temporary refuge. They looked to rebuild by reaching out to the local warlord Tau. Aminah’s advisors plead for her to think of alternative means. They eventually hold court with Tau looking for safe passage. Aminah offers him a favor if they retake the capital. By the issue’s end, Amina and her associates fall into a trap.

Overall, an exhilarating chapter in this tense dogmatic thriller, that gets into the layers of negotiation leaders go through. The story by Bin Lee is intellectual and fast-paced. The art by the creative team is stunning. Altogether, a story that shows anything can tip the scales in a delicate sociopolitical climate.

Story: Bin Lee
Art: Kendal Gates, Rebecca Harris, Heather Breckel,
and Taylor Esposito
Story: 10 Art: 9.6 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Review: One Minute to Wonderland

One Minute to Wonderland

The immortal Eddie Money was one of those singers whose voice was emblematic of a time and his music was just as syncopated to the current temperature of the world. His song “Take Me Home Tonight” was one of those songs that no matter when you hear it, it’s still as good as the first time. Of course, his career was filled with even more songs that made him an icon. One of those songs just so happen to be “Two Tickets To Paradise,” a which showed his versatility as a musical virtuoso.

It’s something about music from the 1980s that felt as if it spoke to not only a certain aesthetic but to how you wanted to feel. Living in the city is a whole other experience that most do not ever really know about. The place I grew up in made me more open-minded than the people I would end up getting to know. In the articulately woven tales told by Karl Christian Krumpholz, he offers the world yet another masterpiece in One Minute To Wonderland.

In a series of panels, Krumpholz examines the city through its inhabitants and extrapolating what he sees who they are. “In the striking “He Embraced his loneliness”, we see how one man accepts his lot in life. In” He Just Wanted To Be Acknowledged”, a homeless wallows in his existence, as he denunciation to most people is far too transparent. In “And She Was Ready”, one woman whose life is under duress from an abusive relationship has seen its last days. In “Though She Left years Ago”, one woman reminisces of the city she left an what she loves about it most. In “Through Drunken Eyes”, one lush finds the beauty in city lights. In “ Away From the City”, one woman is finally able to see the world is bigger than the city she lives in. In “ She Could Never Stand The Sirens”, one woman’s disdain for the noises of the city drives her to madness. In the final story I will highlight, “ He Wasn’t Ready To Say Goodbye”,  one man finds letting go to be the hardest thing he ever had to do.

Overall, another engaging collection by Krumpholz, but one that has the audacity to challenge the medium in convention and thought. The stories by Krumpholz is brilliant and well developed. The art by Krumpholz is captivating. Altogether, a set of stories that pushes the reader to infer and to derive more from one panel than most creators do, making what Krumpholz is doing here, revolutionary.

Story: Karl Christian Krumpholz Art: Karl Christian Krumpholz
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Review: R!de #1

R!de #1

As a father, you sometimes get sucked into watching shows that your kids love. Even though my daughters are now teenagers, they still are massive fans of Spongebob Squarepants. It was never something I could watch on my own. The one show that they did watch which I did love was Gumball as it contained jokes that everyone could laugh at.

Then there was the anime shows like Naruto and depending on who you talked to, Avatar: The Last Airbender, which my kids loved and I did too. One show which I found exceedingly progressive was El Tigre: The Adventures Of Manny Rivera, where the protagonist was both hero and villain. Which is far more realistic than any of us are willing to admit. In the first issue of R!DE, we find one such protagonist whose life is far too complicated for any one teenager to endure.

We meet Rolando Mayes, a young man who is on a cross country trip with his grandmother and protege, with no destination in mind. As they reach Crystal City, a nearby metropolis, they settle in for the night while Rolando looks to get into some excitement. Meanwhile, his grandmother and protégé practice sword fighting, as his grandmother worries about his whereabouts. Despite Rolando’s pursuit of some fun, his whereabout catches the attention of a demon king and his hoards, looking to capture him. By issue’s end, he eludes their capture for now, but brings the demonic hoard back to where they camped out, setting the stage for a huge battle.

Overall, a fun mashup of Easy Rider and Blue Exorcist, that brings something unique to the genre. The story by Kevin Michael Roberts and Magdalene Visaggio is funny, and entertaining. The art by Roberts is very much Anime inspired and looks great on the page. Altogether, an enjoyable debut which introduces readers to this world and these characters.

Story: Kevin Michael Roberts and Magdalene Visaggio
Art: Kevin Michael Roberts
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Everborn: Prince of Arcadia #1

Everborn: Prince of Arcadia #1

As a fan of history, I tend to be a harsh critic when it comes to historical dramas, especially when it’s a subject I’ve read a great deal about. My interest in history ranges from medieval Europe to pre-Meiji Era Japan. There are parts of history that I knew nothing about until someone decided to make a television show or movie about it. One such era and subject is King Henry VIII and the show was Tudors.

Before the show, my knowledge of this regent was purely cursory. He was the father of Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary and his most famous phot was him in his later years, past his prime. What the show spotlighted was his genius as a visionary and his rather prolific love life interspersed with the shaping of a country. One of the biggest plot points was the rift between the royal houses and who has the true claim to the Throne Of England. In the debut issue of Everborn: Prince Of Arcadia, we find one such rivalry that pushes a kingdom to the brink.

We meet Prince Baldemar, the next in line to be King Of Arcadia, and a ruthless military leader, whose father, King Eirik, looks for peace to reign over his land. He confers with his advisors over strategy in their oncoming battle with Prince Godwin, whose father used to be king and looks to reclaim his birthright. We also meet Prince Godwin, an aging royal, who holds his men’s respect and is poised to take back the kingdom, don’t fight for money but because Baldemar and his men have wronged each of them. By issue’s end, both armies towards each other with a taste for equability that can only be satisfied by the spilling of blood.

Overall, an engaging and well-written narrative that shows where sleeping dogs lie so does long-held feuds. The story by Stephen A.M. Johnson is impressive and well characterized. The art by the creative team is truly breathtaking. Altogether, a story that will have readers itching to see how this fantasy epic with modern sensibilities continues.

Story: Stephen A.M. Johnson
Art: Francis Martelino, Nimesh Morarji, Philip Johnson,
and Nikki Foxrobot
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

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