Category Archives: Comics

Review: Love Letters to Jane’s World

Love Letters to Jane's World

Growing up in the generation I did, though we thought of ourselves as progressive, we harbored some old-fashioned views. My generation grew up in the 1980s where crack cocaine was king and AIDS was still a taboo.  Time and education have done their best to dispel some of that ignorance but many long-held beliefs endure. One of those myths was that anybody who belonged to the LGBTQ community was the most at risk to such health concerns.

As we know I now these views are both dangerous and untrue. Stories told by Armistead Maupin and Ilene Chaikin made their way onto television and eventually into the mainstream where the world watched their stories serializations as they were both eye-opening and contained excellent storytelling. Many writers before them and since them have created a bird’s eye view of worlds they did not know that was right in front of them. One of those creators, Paige Braddock did it with her Jane’s World comic and the good people at Lion Forge has found a way to combine Braddock’s fan mail with some of her best comic strips in Love Letters to Jane’s World.

In the introduction by Howard Cruse, he gloriously fanboys Braddock’s impact on the LGBT community and comics as a medium. In “Amazon Island,” a boat trip leads our protagonist, Jane, and her friend Michelle, to an island full of women, where it turns out to be one fevered dream. In “Close Encounters,” Jane decides to ditch work for a road trip to Memphis, which leads to them out of all places, an alien ship. In “Camp Disaster,” Jane, Ethan and Dixie who has been turned into a chimp, go on a camping trip, one where the band of friends endures one mishap after another. “The Great Trailer Escape,” sees Ethan flies with Jane to pick up a Jeep she purchased on eBay, a trip that makes hers and Ethan’s bond stronger and sparks a possible romance. In “Road Trip,” faces some long lying demons about her current existence, and where she wants to be. In “Quest For Love,” Jane feels the need to find a romantic connection, as her escapades in love leaves her both hopeless and hopeful.  In “New Frontier,” Ethan and Jane have a break in their relationship, a respite that proves to be fruitful for both. In the last story I’ll highlight “Fools Rush In,”  Jane gives an earnest effort in pouring out of her heart to her one true love, Dorothy, one that leaves these two lovebirds in harmony.

Overall, an important and entertaining collection of stories from a landmark series that not only made an instant impact when it debuted but has earned more fans as time has gone by. The stories by Braddock are funny, heartfelt, true to life, and immensely enjoyable. The art by Braddock is captivating. Altogether, a treasure trove of stories that will make you fall in love with this protagonist and her lovable group of friends.

Story: Paige Braddock Art: Paige Braddock
Story: 10 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.7 Recommendation: Buy

Your First Look at Gabby Rivera and Royal Dunlap’s b.b. free #1

BOOM! Studios has revealed a first look at b.b. free #1, the premiere issue of the all-new original series from acclaimed author Gabby Rivera and debut artist Royal Dunlap, an adventure about finding your strength and your truth when the whole world is against you, available in November 6, 2019.

Years after the Plague That Ate Greed wiped out the ultra rich, b.b. free and her dad live in a small, close-knit community in the Florida Islands, where everything is shared and everyone’s got each other’s backs. b.b. is getting to be a teenager, though, and she’s starting to get more and more interested in the world beyond her swamp. For now, her only tie to the outside world is her underground radio show. But when she discovers a secret so large it could tear her family and entire community apart, b.b. realizes that there’s a lot her father isn’t telling her… and she might just have to head out into the world on her own to find the truth.

b.b. free #1

Review: Vigilance #3

Vigilance #3

One of the best things to come of the Krypton television show’s short run is an expansion on some key canon characters. We got a different look at Zodd and saw just how connected his family is to Superman’s. Then there’s the evil genius of Brainiac and how he ruled over the power structure on Krypton. The one character that gave Superman fits and appears on the show, Doomsday, is a bit more realized here.

It’s true that the character had more of an arc on Smallville. It’s one which in the end, became quite a quandary rather than a cool entry into the show’s canon. At least in Krypton we find out exactly what Superman had to fear. In the third issue of Vigilance, our hero finds out what type of toll, physically and mentally, a defeat can impose on most.

We find Vigilance in Columbus, Ohio, where she’s fighting a new villain who goes the name Void. It’s a challenge and villain which actually overpowers our hero. As Void informs her of their connection, her stigma to the title of Destroyer is exposed as if there was something that Justice was holding back in his training. We rapidly find out Queen Ma’la had used her guilt and memories against to gain an unfair advantage in beating her. By the issue’s end, Vigilance tells her psychologist of the mental dismay this battle caused her, a fight she was never ready for.

Overall, probably the best issue in the series so far. It offers readers a deeper dive into what makes a superhero tick. The story by Alverne Bell is well characterized and evenly paced. The art by the creative team is engaging. Altogether, a story that seeks to push the definition of the superhero genre.

Story: Alverne Bell
Art: Eder Messias, Matt Keltner, Veronica Smith,
and Danny Cooper
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

The World’s Best Dog Goes on the Adventure of a Lifetime in Bear by Ben Queen and Joe Todd-Stanton

BOOM! Studios has announced the new original graphic novel Bear—from Ben Queen, writer of Pixar’s Cars 2 and Cars 3 and creator of NBC television show A to Z, and children’s book author and illustrator Joe Todd-Stanton, comes an all new adventure about making your way in the world with a little help from your friends.

Bear is a guide dog who loves looking out for his owner, Patrick. When they’re together, they make a great team, and Patrick feels like he can do anything! But one day, Bear’s vision suddenly vanishes and he also becomes blind. If he wants to stay by Patrick’s side, he feels he must do the impossible—find a way to regain his eyesight. When Bear hears about a magical spirit in the forest who could help, he embarks on an epic adventure that takes him from wild woodlands to busy city streets, where he meets new friends and learns to navigate new challenges, all while searching for his way back to his best friend. 

Bear comes to shelves August 2020.

Bear

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 10/5

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.


Joe Hesh

Event Leviathan #5 (DC Comics) This series has been a fantastic thriller from the beginning but that all has come to an abrupt halt as of this issue. I really dug the two teams of detective’s (Batman’s and Lois’ secret group) but this one had me scratching my head for sure. I know in an event that is large in scope you don’t want the identity to be easily guessed but this one is either going to be so left field that I’m not sure the breadcrumbs lead you there properly OR it will be someone so obscure that “Who cares anyways?” I had a lot of high hopes for this series and thought it would be a resurrected hero or someone who really needed a A list bump up but at this moment my interest has certainly waned. Alex Maleev does a great job on art and I have enjoyed his work since his run with Bendis on Daredevil many moons back. This time though with all the build up, unless Bendis can pull an ace out, this one is an utter dud. Score: 5 (mostly for the art) Recommendation: Pass

Logan

Die #8 (Image)- Die #8 focuses on the Matt the Grief Knight and Ash   the Dictator in the hierarchical land of Angria. Kieron Gillen and Stephanie Hans’ story isn’t as fun and interesting as last issue’s saga of drinking with hobbit type people and the male gaze applied to the fantasy genre. However, the deep dive into Matt is refreshing as he’s been happy the past 20 years and has a hate hate relationship with the grief blade he chose decades ago. This relationship changes in his big battle against the Knights of Joy when he realize home and family isn’t what it used to be and will be very different if he ever gets out of Die. The fight in the cave has a wonderful sense of atmosphere and a scarlet palette from Stephanie Hans. This isn’t my favorite issue of Die, but the bits focusing on Ash and Matt’s family dynamics both in the real world and Die ring true and a few mysteries are happened upon. Overall: 7.6 Verdict: Read

Ryan C

Detective Comics #1013 (DC) **– Another rather insubstantial script from Peter Tomasi that moves his pervy Mr. Freeze storyline forward just a nudge until a big last-page cliffhanger, at least Doug Mahnke’s art is as sharp as ever, but when that’s all you can say in a comic’s defense, well — that ain’t a whole lot, is it? Not when these things have a $3.99 cover price. Overall: 4 Recommendation: Pass

Ice Cream Man #15 (Image)** – Well, this one was creepy AF — -even by this series’ standards. How much we get stuck with by means of genetic inheritance is the question W. Maxwell Prince’s story asks — and the answer, not to give too much away, appears to be “more than we’d probably like.” Martin Morazzo’s art is, as always, crisp, expressive, and pitch-perfect for the material. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Oliver #4 (Image)** – Did you forget about this series? I forgot about this series — and so, apparently, did writer Gary Whitta, who wraps things up (for the arc or for the series? No telling either way)in slapdash and easy fashion — fortunately, Darick Robertson draws the hell out of every line, loads up every panel with stuff worth looking at, and just plain delivers the goods, plus interest. Am I really going to tell you to buy this comic just for the art? Oh, yes I am. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

 Batman Vs. Ra’s Al Ghul #2 (DC) **– The most gonzo book in the “Big Two” publishing schedule ups its game with more nonsensical dialogue, more pointless “talking head” scenes, more lame and uninvolving mystery, more way-off-base characterization, and more weird perspective shots and page layouts that make you realize Neal Adams isn’t just past his prime — he’s gone and left any memories of it in the dust. In other words, this comic will blow your mind, and you pass on it at your peril. Overall: 0 Recommendation: Buy. That’s not a typo.


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 (**).

Head to Monster Island with Deadpool in November

DEADPOOL #1

Written by KELLY THOMPSON
Art by CHRIS BACHALO
Teaser Variant by JOHN TYLER CHRISTOPHER

Deadpool’s newest mercenary job has him going after the King of Monsters, who has claimed a new kingdom for his monstrous subjects…on Staten Island! But you know what they say, when you come at the king, you better not miss! The Merc with a Mouth finds himself neck deep in political intrigue, monster law, and a monster hunter out for blood! It’s like The Crown but with even more swords and monsters! Can Deadpool’s smooth charisma and deft diplomacy allow him to keep his head, or will he be royally screwed?

Deadpool #1

Review: G-Raver Vol. 1

G-Raver Vol. 1

When it comes to television shows that have a rabid fan following, some can make you wonder exactly why? I never quite understood why so many people went down the rabbit hole with Lost. Especially since so many of the fans couldn’t explain it. Then there is the epic Whedonverse, which comprised initially of Buffy The Vampire Slayer. It went on to include its spinoff Angel. It can all seem weird to an outsider who doesn’t know or have ever watched either of these franchises.

It wasn’t until I sat and watched Lost and every series Joss Whedon brought to television that I understood exactly why their fans were as obsessed. It’s because it was very well written. One of those devoted franchises that is sadly ending with the upcoming season is Supernatural. Even with that show, I had to be coaxed into it and went on to become full-on obsessed myself. These series speak to a part of ourselves that is both skeptical and believes in these supernatural myths. In the first volume of G-Raver, we find a protagonist like the Winchesters, who hunt monsters but whose alter ego would make you think different.

We meet G-Raver, a professional wrestler on the XWW Extreme Wrestling circuit and who is the current champion. He’s secretly what those in the monster-hunting business refer to as a “cleanser,” someone who vanquishes anomalies on a human plane. Through the comic, he battles the supernatural like vampires, gargoyle type creates, the undead, and more. But why is this happening and what, or who is behind it all?

Overall, an action-packed book which travails the urban fantasy genre with probably its coolest protagonist. The story by Eric Watkins, is entertaining and well characterized. The art by the creative team is vivid and breathtaking. Altogether, a story which brings a new mythology and protagonist which will give readers another hero to root for.

Story: Eric Watkins
Art: Nick Wentland, Landon Franklin, Brandon Franklin,
and Justin Birch
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Preview: Herald: Lovecraft & Telsa – Bundles of Joy #3

HERALD: LOVECRAFT & TESLA – BUNDLES OF JOY #3

Writer(s): John Reilly
Artist Name(s): Tom Rogers (pencils), Dexter Weeks (color, letters)
Cover Artist(s): Tom Rogers (pencils), Dexter Weeks (color)
24 pgs./ T / FC
$3.99

Crowley’s Scarlet Women find a new target in Tesla. Hitler finds Rasputin to be a difficult ward to manage. Howard and Sonia’s curse enters a new stage of development.

HERALD: LOVECRAFT & TESLA - BUNDLES OF JOY #3

Preview: Princeless: Raven, the Pirate Princess Year 3 #8

RAVEN THE PIRATE PRINCESS YEAR 3 #8

Writer(s): Jeremy Whitley
Artist Name(s): Telenia Albuquerque (pencils), Xenia Pamfil (pencils), Pocket Owl (inks), JB Fuller (inks), Lexillo (colors), Valentina Pinto (colors)
Cover Artist(s): Telenia Albuquerque
27 pgs./ T / FC
$2.99
Digital Only

When Ananda woke up after the wreck, she found herself on a magical island with a mystical healer who helped her get back on her feet. But The Queen of the Sea is coming to retrieve her and she’s bringing her murderous mermaids. Will Ananda end up back in the hands of the woman who tried to drown her?

And back at their temporary camp, Ximena is still doing her best to keep the comatose Raven alive, but they’ve been discovered and things are about to get much more dangerous. Can the pacifist navigator do what it takes to protect her captain and girlfriend?

RAVEN THE PIRATE PRINCESS YEAR 3 #8

Preview: Killers #4 (of 5)

KILLERS #4 (of 5)

Written by B. CLAY MOORE
Art by FERNANDO DAGNINO
Cover A by JONBOY MEYERS
Cover B by DAVID NAKAYAMA
Cover C by RICK LEONARDI
Cover D by VERONICA FISH
Pre-Order Edition Cover by WHILCE PORTACIO
$3.99 | 32 pages | T+ | On Sale OCTOBER 16th

It’s kill or be killed as the superninjas meet face to face!

What are they all trying to slaughter each other for? The reason behind the deadly race revealed!

It’s all-out action as the Killers face off against deadly Arctic assassins!

KILLERS #4 (of 5)
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