Author Archives: pharoahmiles

Review: Green Lantern: Mosaic #2

Green Lantern: Mosaic #2

If you ever had a friend die unexpectedly it hits you like a ton of bricks. I’ve had a few friends from my childhood and my time in the military die. Some we saw coming, others came unexpected. I was recently reminded by one of my friends on Facebook why we’re having a reunion this June as she posted a picture of the classmates we lost.  It was quite sobering to know that they were gone.

My first reaction when I saw their pictures, was to the last memory I had of each of them. I wasn’t close to all of them but two of them I was. Nothing is ever as good as you remembered it which is what makes memories so sweet. In the second issue of Green Lantern Mosaic, John loses a friend who visits. It’s a loss which only fuels his focus in stopping this evil.

We find John having nightmares of his friend, Ch’p, as lately he has been restless dreaming about the road that runs through Mosaic World. We also find Ch’p struggling with who he is and his role in the Green Lantern Corps, as he visits John, to see how his old friend is doing, and how he has kept all these different societies living peaceful together. As Ch’p travels this alternate reality, he discovers an uncomfortable truth and the reason behind John’s nightmares.

Overall, an interesting exploration of both characters, one which delve deeper into how complicated their lives are. The story by Gerard Jones is smart and creative. The art by the creative team is simple yet elegant. Altogether, a story which ends with more questions which propels this story forward.

Story: Gerard Jones
Art: Albert De Guzman, Dan Panosian, Cully Hamner
and Steve Mattsson
Story: 9.7 Art: 9.4 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Battlescars

Battle Scars #1 Cover

When it comes to movies that do conspiracies right, not too many measure up to the Manchurian Candidate. It’s a movie and a book about the son of a prominent American family running for office but has been secretly brainwashed into being an assassin in a wide-reaching communist conspiracy. The story was so good that it was remade a few years ago starring the venerable Denzel Washington. Many movies have tried to emulate the level of tension within the story, but none has succeeded including the remake.

That was until I saw The Guest starring Dan Stevens in the titular role, where he portrays himself as a soldier, a friend of the son of one family whose son died in action. As with most stories that seem ordinary, this one takes a turn for the worst, as he is government trained killer, who the government ends up looking for. These type of stories usually become good the slower the mystery unravels. This is the case in the Fear Itself book, Battle Scars, one which finds our protagonist, not your typical solider as he has everyone looking for him, including every superhero in the Marvel Universe.

We meet Marcus Johnson, an Army Ranger, whose mere presence is a threat to some and not knowing exactly why, as he has become public enemy number one. As his mother is killed in what looks like a robbery, he comes from Afghanistan, to attend her funeral, and to only discover someone looking to take him out, Taskmaster. This is when Captain America comes to rescue him, where he gets into SHIELD custody, which he soon finds out is a prison. Johnson eventually breaks out, finds an old Army buddy, and hunts down Taskmaster to get some answers, which unfortunately runs him right into the path of Deadpool. As we soon find out the reason he was being hunted, and that his DNA is the secret to our villain’s long life.

Overall, an interesting origin story to a beloved character wrapped in a mystery leading to pulse pounding thriller. The story by the creative team is action packed and intense. The art by Eaton is beautiful. Altogether, an excellent story which is definitely more than meets the eye.

Story: Cullen Bunn, Matt Fraction and Christopher Yost
Art: Scot Eaton
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Atlantis Chronicles #3

When it comes to the subject of civil war, it is an especially tough issue to speak of in light of the current political climate. The rest of the world tends to look at our Civil War as residual effects of slavery. As anyone who has read about the events that lead to that point can see war was inevitable. Lincoln became the last straw for most southern states. It is this buildup to war, which is where many can find the root cause before the battles began.

In the third issue of The Atlantis Chronicles, we find a war brewing between the two peoples of Atlantis, one that may change the kingdom forever.

We are taken to a time when all Atlantians have been more than familiar with their very different living conditions. As a feud between the two dominant tribes, Poseidonis and Tritonis over land and fish, has caused a rift within the kingdom. King Orin, now an old man, keeps the uneasy truce together by a string of promises and political appointments. Everything changes, when Dardanus, Shalako’s long lost son reappears in court, it fuels long gestating hate between the two groups, as the Tritonites, become emboldened by his reappearance.  By issue’s end, a forbidden romance plants the seed of a dark secret that will alter the people of Atlantis.

Overall, an engaging installment where past sins become the undoing of a family. The story by Peter David is intense, intellectual, and full of twists. The art by the creative team is beautiful. Altogether, a powerful tale that gives readers a complex rich history of this dense mythology.

Story: Peter David
Art: Esteban Maroto, Gaspar Saladino
and Eric Kachelhofer
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Dragonsblood #1

Dragonsblood #1

The films of Mathew McConaughey can definitely be a mixed bag, as not all his films are great. Some of his movies are just plain dumb fun like Failure To Launch. As the movie played into his personality and what makes him charming. Then there are movies like Dallas Buyers Club which was essentially two pronged, as it showed his serious side and talked about a serious underserved issue. Then there those movies which are pretty horrible like The Beach Bum which made no sense and felt like a waste of time.

Then there are those movies that depending on who you talk to, will either gets an enthusiastic thumbs up or have someone say it was no good at all. One of those movies for me was How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days, as it was both funny and rewatchable. Another one of those movies that I personally enjoyed was Reign Of Fire, a postapocalyptic movie where we live in a world where humans live in fear of dragons. In the debut issue of Dragonsblood, we meet the last dragon slayer in a mighty family line, as he must rise against his family’s ancient foe.

We meet Sigurd, of the Volsung clan, as he gives the reader a rundown of how his family got decimated. As he searches a dragon’s lair, for Fafnir, the dragon responsible for the deaths of many of his family, he is reminded of those he lost as their corpses scattered through the catacomb. As he begins his battle with Fafnir, t was all but certain he had met his doom, as the weapon he brought was not enough. By issue’s end, he finally defeats the dragon that killed his family, but is fate lies ahead, one that no one including him sees coming.

Overall, a thrilling debut issue that shows how important legacy is and correcting past wrongs can be. The story by Nick Bermel is heartfelt and action packed. The art by the creative team is alluring and vivid. Altogether, a story which shows that there is more to stories about dragon than fire and ice.

Story: Nick Bermel Art: Jason Muhr and Maxflan Araujo
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Luke Cage Noir

Luke Cage Noir

The first time I heard about Chester Himes was not in a bookstore but in the movies. When most kids were only into climbing the high school hierarchy or finding themselves I was a fan of cinema. To give you an idea of how much a cinephile I was, I used to read Premiere magazine religiously when it was in publication strictly because I loved movies and everything about them. One of those movies that I watched in high school was A Rage In Harlem.

The movie revolved around a gangster’s moll (Robin Givens) who flees to Harlem with a trunk of gold and has every greedy hand looking for her. I was completely enthralled with the movie, and that is when I found out that it was based on a book by Chester Himes. That lead me to rest of his books. This story gave me and the rest of its audience a view of the world during that time which involved people that looked like me. In Luke Cage Noir we get a different look at the titular character one that thrives in the Jazz Age.

We meet Luke, shortly after he gets out of jail , as he returns to Harlem , with the world fully aware of his powers, he reaches out to old friend ,Stryker, and gets hired by a rich businessman to find out who killed his wife in Harlem.  Which leads Cage to his old nemesis, Tombstone, and to his old moll, Josephine, who faked her ow death and has been in hiding since he went to jail. As he digs deeper into why Josephine went into hiding and who killed the rich man’s wife, he finds out that old cohort and his nemesis have plenty to hide ad were looking to double cross him. By book’s end, the motive behind the rich man’s wife was that her pregnancy would have exposed a deep secret, one that is both shocking and speaks to today’s issues.

Overall, an exciting comic which very much lives in that age. It’s further amplified with the echoes of Walter Mosley’s Devil In A Blue Dress. The story by Mike Benson and Adam Glass is entertaining, action packed and seeping with intrigue. The art by Shawn Martinborough and Tim Bradstreet is captivating. Altogether, a story that the reader will have the reader searching for Donald Goines and Chester Himes in their local bookstore.

Story: Mike Benson and Adam Glass
Art: Shawn Martinborough and Tim Bradstreet
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Review: X-Men: LifeDeath

X-Men: LifeDeath

As someone who has served, I know someone and have been someone who has lost something of themselves. I remember the first time I came home after I joined, my family and friends saw a change and after a few times even more changes. It was not until I saw loss while serving. I saw loss growing up but it was not the same.

Environment and people around you make a difference on how you experience loss. Some of the men and women I served with were not the same. After they suffered a traumatic injury, they felt they lost a part of themselves. This is why I was surprised that within comics this issue had not been really explored until one of comics’ greatest auteurs Chris Claremont sought to do this with one of Marvel’s greatest characters, Storm. In X-Men: LifeDeath, Claremont, along with Barry Windsor-Smith, explores how it is for a superhero once they have lost the powers, which in her case made her godlike.

We find Storm and Forge living together, sometime after she lost her powers by the mistake of Forge, who has become her caretaker, as her loss of powers has sent her on a downward spiral of depression. Meanwhile, we find Rogue living off the grid while still stopping evil mutants before they can do harm. We also find Professor Xavier and Nightcrawler looking for both women, via Cerebro, with no such luck. As Storm returns to Africa, where she goes home to her village, to not only connect with her people, she finds more about herself without her powers than she ever did, with them. We also catch up with Wolverine, as Lady Deathstrike looks to lop off his head during a blizzard. In the final story, we find out exactly how Dazzler became an X-Men in a battle with Malice.

Overall, an excellent set of stories which proves why Claremont is the one true voice when it comes to writing the X-Men. The story by Claremont, is smart, introspective, and action packed. The art by Windsor-Smith feels like a painting. Altogether, a story you soon won’t forget.

Story: Chris Claremont Art: Barry Windsor-Smith
Story: 10 Art: 9.9 Overall: 9.8 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Atlantis Chronicles #1

Atlantis Chronicles #1

There is a level of attraction for readers of high fantasy which usually draws them to Terry Brooks in the first place. His books are usually steeped in lore and imagined worlds shaped by the past. Each story carefully taking the reader on a journey through eyes of a few narrators, each possessing an attribute that his audience can empathize with. Take for instance his Shannara Chronicles books, which spans over hundreds of years and literally feels like it has a cast of thousands. Of

As one of the first books that introduces readers to the Sword of Shannara, gave readers a ground floor view of what his world yielded.  The book that often got many readers including me enveloped into this mythology was First King of Shannara, the prequel to Genesis of Shannara book series. I often wondered if this could apply to many of the superheroes that occupies the current pantheon within comics? We get one such story that begin in the first issue, “The Deluge” of Atlantis Chronicles, as we find out how the mighty kingdom of Atlantis rose up those many years ago before Aquaman.

We meet Albart of Ancinor, a historian, who has seen enough of the royal family to understand that his current appointment does not dismiss the disarray the royal court has been in since King Orin has been in power and his contentious relationship with his brother, Prince Shalako. As one of the many mistakes he carries out is sharing the realm’s weapons with neighboring city-states which causes one sovereign to invade the kingdom’s borders, further causing dissention amongst the court including Shalako who believes in the worst of people, leading to a major disagreement between the brothers. As Orin orders the building of a dome to protect all Atlanteans, something which Shalako doesn’t think will be enough. As the dome s completed the warring city state who had invaded them, requested a truce between their two realms, one that Shalako sought the power of The Dark Gods to intervene where he felt his brother failed. As this would have a price, as a meteoroid strikes Earth, it would also affect Atlantis. As Orin sends his emissary, Rajar, the neighboring city state takes their revenge, killing Orin’s old guard. By issue’s end, Orin comes around to Shalako’s way of thinking, in what goes into far reaching consequences, and what might mean the destruction of Atlantis.

Overall, a dense history that feels almost biblical in its telling while reminding readers that these were the descendants of Aquaman. The story by Peter David is engrossing and heartbreaking. The art by the creative team is gorgeous. Altogether, a fascinating prequel that makes Atlantis even more epic than it does with Aquaman included.

Story: Peter David Art: Esteban Maroto and Eric Kachelhofer
Story: 10 Art: 9.7 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Review: John Wick Volume 1

John Wick Volume 1

Who doesn’t love a great origin story? Especially when it comes to a beloved character! One such character is John Wick. His film debut should have been just another movie about assassins but was so much more. It was both sophisticated and action packed. A rare combination in action movies, it worked so well that it has spawned sequels with a third coming this year. The most alluring part of the story is the mythology that is introduced. It’s like none ever seen in any story about assassins.

As the vernacular, the rules they live by, the world that is built inside these movies has made Keanu Reeves a second life as an action movie star. The protagonist is as interesting as any that could be onscreen these days, both complex and heartfelt. I always wondered how did he get into his world in the first place? How did he get familiar? How was his experience? In the first volume of John Wick we find out just how he got into this world and how he became who he is.

We find in El Paso, Texas, on a job where he deals with antagonizers and we get a glimpse of who John was when he was a kid. This is where we find out this particular job was personal, as we also meet a younger Charron, were it was a professional job for him. We also find that there is more than one Hotel Continental, this one being in El Paso, as he finds out about the rules that every assassin lives by, and what can and cannot go down within hotel walls.

Overall, an interesting origin story for a well-liked movie character, one that lives in infamy and legend. The story by Greg Pak is explosive and innovative. The art by Giovanni Valletta is alluring. Altogether, an engaging story that does more to introduce the audience to this world than the movies.

Story: Greg Pak Art: Giovanni Valletta
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Green Lantern: Mosaic #1

Green Lantern: Mosaic #1

When it comes to comics, the big two usually makes carbon copies of each other’s characters with slight tweaking. Look at the actual names of Deadpool and Deathstroke, two characters who are universally loved by everyone who follows them. They both have the same occupation but their personalities are where the differences begin to splinter. Eventually, comic fans make their own mind up on which version is superior.

Another such “coincidence” is the Green Lantern Corps and the Nova Corps. Both are galactic space forces ensuring the safety of the universe. I never quite caught on to the allure of the Nova Corps but definitely loved the Green Lantern Corps and the various men and women who wielded the Lantern Ring. One of my favorite Green Lanterns is John Stewart, a daunting hero in his own right and one which I wished had his own book. Fortunately, he did have a series back in 1992, Green Lantern: Mosaic.

We find John Stewart as he introduces the reader to the wonders of the Mosaic world, where everything is and is not what it seems. As John protects this world, he is also very much part of it, as he reveals that his also an alien within these confines. As we find out a bit of history behind the character and the struggles he endured while on Earth. By issue’s end, this new world of his own making is more than he could ever have dreamt of.

Overall, a fascinating almost psychotropic trip that both the reader and the character go on to understand what we have stepped into. The story by Gerard Jones is enigmatic and captivating. The art by the creative team is alluring. Altogether, an excellent story which feels like Star Trek with superheroes.

Story: Gerard Jones
Art: Brian Stelfreeze, Albert De Guzman, Cully Hamner, Dan Panosian, and Steve Mattson
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Blossoms 666 #1

Blossoms 666 #1

When it comes to teens and supernatural stories there’s few films that are much better than The Craft. The movie was more than ahead of its time in terms of characterization. The themes it dealt with and how it portrayed teens overall stands out. I was around the same age as the characters in the movie and was tired of seeing the tropes of the John Hughes era being recycled.  So, when I when watched the film, I joined in the collective sigh of finally seeing something close to what the high school experience had been for most of us.

Fast forward to today. Some of those same lessons learned from the movie have been used in today’s portrayal of teens. Many echoes from the film can be seen in shows like Pretty Little Liars and the Archie Comics based Riverdale. Both shows, even though they did not employ any genre themes, have inklings bubbling underneath. In the debut issue of Blossoms 666, we find two classic Archie characters taking a horror turn.

We are reintroduced to Cheryl and Jason Blossom, a pair of wealthy kids living in Riverdale, the same town as Archie and Jughead, and who is throwing a party where everyone from school is invited. Although everything seems normal, these two harbor some duplicitous intentions. As the siblings force a game of truth or dare, one where they to get the gang to do evil deeds to each other. By issue’s end, Cheryl pushes Dilton to exact revenge on Reggie for all the evil that he does.

Overall, an excellent beginning to an alternate take on an already established world. The story by Cullen Bunn is captivating and smart. The art by Laura Braga is beautiful. Altogether, another stalwart book added to the stellar pantheon of horror comics that Archie Comics has set a new standard to.

Story: Cullen Bunn Art: Laura Braga
Story: 10 Art: 9.7 Overall: 9.8 Recommendation: Buy

Archie Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

« Older Entries Recent Entries »