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Review: InfeStation #1

InfeStation #1

As a fan of Disney movies growing up, I had my favorites> But they were not what most people tend to gravitate to.  I was a fan of the standards like Aladdin and Mulan but I was also a fan of the lesser celebrated works. Disney movies, tend to have a common thread that still exists today, heart. As complicated as Walt Disney the man was, his love for stories shined through. His need to leave his audiences somewhat touched is emblematic in all of their movies.

One of my all-time favorite movies was the Great Mouse Detective. It was Disney’s foray into the Sherlock Holmes canon. It’s also a very worthy addition. The plot circles Basil the mouse counterpart of the great Sherlock Holmes who just so happens to reside on the infamous Baker Street as well. He investigates the disappearance of a toymaker and the incident’s link to his arch nemesis Professor Ratigan. The charm of the movie has rarely been replicated until I read Shelby Leets and Eduardo Orozco’s debut issue of InfeStation, where a cockroach detective investigates why the Mayor’s cat went missing.

We ae taken to Brooklyn, New York, where an exterminator known as El Tigre is hired for the job and kills all the roaches in one apartment, except for one, Clarence Crumb. He would go no to survive and become a detective, whose latest case a was chasing down a jewel thief, one that befuddles everyone except for Clarence. AS he gets closer to who the jewel thief, is an emergency takes hold of the precinct, the mayor’ cat, Mr. President has been kidnapped.

Overall, an interesting debut issue for a story that both feels fun and out of place making for an entertaining introduction to this world. The story by Leets is suspenseful, fun, and hilarious at times. The art by the Leets and Orozco is beautiful. Altogether, a story that is both tongue in cheek and serious making for a book that is simply an enjoyable escape with some unique characters.

Story: Shelby Leets Art: Shelby Leets and Eduardo Orozco
Story: 9.0Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Maggie X, Bitch With A Chainsaw #1

Maggie X Bitch With A Chainsaw #1

As a child born in 1970s but really raised in 1980s, the movies I grew up watching what are now considered cinematic classics. The movies of Dennis Hopper and George Lucas showed two different sides of growing up in this era. Easy Rider gave birth to a generation of filmmakers whose love for storytelling gave new and exciting visions. Then there are those films made by Roger Corman and Henry Hill, which some looked at as “B” movies while others saw them as simple exploitation films.

As someone who fell in love with movies, these films entertained and kept my eyes glued to the screen. These movies, now affectionally referred to as, “Grindhouse,” were everything everyone had said about them but actually so much more. They showed fearlessness that few film auteurs dare to show today. The stories told were outrageous but fun and enjoyable. In the debut issue of Maggie X, Bitch With A Chainsaw #1, we’re taken to a post-apocalyptic world and a woman with an extraordinary skill set for taking out zombies.

Meet Maggie X, a zombie killing agent, who is going through her routine psych debrief. She’s forced to talk about all her feelings. One would think with all the blood and gore she has seen she’d be traumatized. She’s instead resolute. This world is a reality where zombies outnumber humans and the agency Maggie X works for is one with its own share of secrets. Maggie X has to take on a new partner Jed, an agent who she has had a contentious relationship within the past. They’re soon dispatched to a strip club where their intel suggests a zombie infection has spread amongst the strippers. What they discover is far worse than what they ever expected.

Overall, the debut issue is an engaging story that is both fun and gory. The comic is a must for exploitation film fans. The story by Bryce Raffle is funny, contains well-written dialogue, and is action packed. The art by the creative team is vivid and realistically drawn. Altogether, a story that gives a dose of fun into the zombie genre.

Story: Bryce Raffle Art: Beth Varni, Rodrigo Ramos, and Lettersquids
Story: 10 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.7 Recommendation: Buy

Review: 30 Miles of Crazy #7

30 Miles of Crazy! #7

Armistead Maupin is one of those writers whose work spoke to many people and whose stories felt so visceral. His books made certain individuals who felt so alone for so long feel instantly connected to a larger tapestry. 30 Miles of Crazy #7 evokes a similar feeling.

I remembered the first time I heard about Maupin. It was in the television adaptation of one of his books for Showtime. The series starred some well-known actors and their lives in and around the city of San Francisco.

I watched the series as a lover of great stories and was not disappointed at all. The series was a godsend. It made me ravage his books. Though it was a world unfamiliar to me, his tactile penchant for pacing, his endearing structure of his characters, and his layered world building made his books both worthwhile and magnetic. Very few writers since his entry into the literary world can compare. Karl Christian Krumpholz is one who does. Krumpholz has set his own standards, giving the world a modern masterpiece in 30 Miles Of Crazy #7.

In “The City,” a man marvels at how much his city has changed around him, and though he lived there for years he still feels like an outsider. In “The Mugger,” an unlikely snowfall gives way to some very strange circumstances, ones that lead to a mugger walking his would-be victim home safely. In “A Gesture,” one man gets a love branch from someone in a crisis which puts his whole place in life in perspective. In “My Uncle,” one man finds out more about a long deceased relative in his death more than when he was alive. In “Darkness,” one bargoer reminisces about a friend who was the life of the party and how those missed connections, were the only chances we have before someone is gone from this life. In “My Only Stan Lee Story,” the author replays his wife’s encounter with the iconoclast, which though truncated, is both funny and very much is within his personality. In the last story I will highlight, “Agoraphobia,” one woman’s issues with her family haunts her long after they pass away, leaving her to question what she fears now?

Overall, a beautiful collection of vignettes that both ring true and is somewhat fantastical at times. The stories by Krumpholz are funny, brilliant, and heartfelt. The art by Krumpholz is gorgeous. Altogether, stories that will make you feel as though those bricks are beneath your feet.

Story: Karl Christian Krumpholz Art: Karl Christian Krumpholz
Story: 10 Art: 9.6 Overall: 9.8 Recommendation: Buy

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 6/15

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.


Ryan C

Silver Surfer: Black #1 (Marvel) **– There’s no sadder statement on the current state of comics than the fact that more readers seemed excited by the prospect of Donny Cates WRITING the Silver Surfer than they were about Tradd Moore DRAWING the Silver Surfer. Well, this first issue should shovel dirt on the notion that the writer is the “star” of this book, because Cates serves up an absolute go-nowhere mediocrity of a script, while Moore absolutely kills it with his mind-boggling, phantasmagoric art. A visual feast and a literary snooze that loses two full points for Cates’ nauseating postscript page where he says than the Surfer was “Stan Lee’s favorite of all his creations.” News flash, “company man” Cates : Lee had nothing to do with creating the Surfer and even said he was surprised to first see him inserted into a story and wondered who he was and how and why Jack Kirby came up with him — then, of course, he went on to take credit for creating him anyway. Confused overall score for this one: 3. Recommendation: Buy it anyway, but solely for the art. And fuck anyone who says Jack Kirby didn’t create the Silver Surfer — or pretty much the rest of the entire Marvel universe, for that matter.

The King

The Immortal Hulk #19 (Marvel) ** – I have no idea how Al Ewing and Joe Bennett are managing to maintain such a high standard on a book that comes out twice a month, but damn if they aren’t doing precisely that, and this issue sees more of the horrific transformation of Betty Ross counter-balanced with a hell of a fight between the big green guy and the latest iteration of The Abomination. Solid script, spectacular art, consistently one of the best “Big Two” comics around. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Detective Comics #1005 (DC) ** – About the best you can say for the poorly-conceived and incompetently-scripted “Medieval” storyline is that, hey, at least as of this issue it’s finally over. Brad Walker’s art remains nice, but Peter J. Tomasi just embarrassed himself with this arc, and ends it with his most poorly-written issue yet, loaded with cumbersome expository dialogue, wooden characterization, and the most dull-as-dry-toast “climax” you’ll ever see. Overall: 1 Recommendation: Pass

Event Leviathan #1 (DC) ** – I guess in order to understand what the fuck is going on here, you need to have purchased that absurd 10 dollar “Superman” lead-in book a few weeks back, and since I didn’t — I was extremely hard pressed to find any reason to buy into the proceedings in this book. Alex Maleev’s art is nice, but Brian Michael Bendis writes his DC characters just like he wrote his Marvel characters, which is to say — not very well at all, and interchangeably. No need to ride out this one, as it seems exceptionally lousy even by the low standards we all have for these “crossover” events. Overall: 3 Recommendation: Pass

Logan

Jughead’s Time Police #1 (Archie)– Sina Grace and Derek Charm remind readers that Archie isn’t just a horror publisher in Jughead’s Time Police, which features the wacky humor of the late, great Jughead ongoing with a sci-fi twist. The premise is that Jughead wants to go back in time to add a special ingredient to his lemon meringue pie so he isn’t disqualified from the contest. Of course, it goes horribly wrong. (That’s what you get when your dog ends up doing all the math/physics part.) Charm continues to show why he’s one of the most underrated comics artists with his aesthetically pleasing, cartoonish art style, and Grace nails the brisk slice of life pace of the first issue. This is probably the first Archie comic to mention Jenny Lewis. Overall: 8.5 Verdict: Buy

Shean

Silver Surfer Black #1( Marvel) I will keep this one sweet and short. For the most part, this book really feels Blah. This script reads like an acid trip with Silver Surfer doing a crap load of brooding. The art by Moore is a gem though, as every character looks new especially Beta Ray Bill and definitely Silver Surfer whose look got the gloss finish that you would think he would have in real life. Overall, I would wait for the TPB. Overall: 5 Recommendation: Wait for the Trade

Star Wars Age of Rebellion Luke Skywalker #1 (Marvel) In a tale where Luke Skywalker’s path as a Jedi is tested, he becomes who we see in The Last Jedi. As he is sent on a mission where the Emperor sees it as prime opportunity to turn him to the dark side. As he leans into the same rage as Anakin more than a few times but never gives in completely. By issue’s end, he and his commanding officer save a colony and he gives all the credit to him. Overall: 8.8 Recommendation: Buy

Joe Ryan

Silver Surfer Black #1 (Marvel) – When you give me Donny Cates and Tradd Moore, you’ve got my interest. Add Silver Surfer, and you’ve raised my interest. This book is a crazy yet beautiful psychedelic trip through space with the usual Donny Cates tense cliffhangers that makes you want the next issue right away. The way this book connects to another book of his by the end is exciting. Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

The Immortal Hulk #19 (Marvel) – Ewing and Bennett keep raising the bar on the insane story between the covers of this comic. This book steps on the gas even harder and by the end crashes and burns in the best way. The final page had my eyes wide and my mouth opened in shock. Another must buy. Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

The Batman Who Laughs #6 (DC) – Snyder had one of my favorite Batman runs on his New 52 run. This continues his over the top “the world is going to end”, destroy everything style in great fashion. This is straight out of Snyder’s Metal event, and follows that craziness with the fantastic artist who did Black Mirror with him, Jock. One more issue to go! Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy


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 (**).

Review: The Catalyst #1

The Catalyst #1

When it comes to the characters who make you invested in a story, there are some general types. There’s the antagonist, which is the main reason for the existence of the hero. This character usually is the source of evil acts, making them a villain. Then there’s the protagonist, the character whose inherent goodness makes them the eyes and ears of the audience, thus making them the hero. Of course, every story can have multiples of these character types. An example of this is in Game Of Thrones.

Then there are those characters that feel like a hurricane. The moment they enter the scene no one can take their eyes off of them. Daenerys Targaryen was one such character. Her arc felt like she went through the gauntlet. Her turn as the Mad Queen was not really surprising for most of us who watched and read this story. Her family history and the events that lead her to that point became a catalyst for her turn. Every character in that story eventually became a catalyst to push the story and other characters forward. In the one shot, The Catalyst, we find one character who jumps into different stories in different genres moving each plot.

We meet The Catalyst, a robot. As he enters Universe #1945, his entrance allows for characters to change their destinies. In Universe #1006 The Catalyst finds himself sent to a medieval setting as a Friar. He does his job but not without being burned by a dragon. In just about every universe (story/genre) he jumps to, though his efforts keep the story on track, it comes at great harm to him. By story’s end, The Catalyst has done better than he will ever know. The reader is also treated to an additional adventure of the Bravest Warriors, an equally entertaining story that will have the reader in stitches.

Overall, an excellent one-shot comic that will remind readers of Quantum Leap but with robots. The story by Nick Bryan is brilliant, funny, and heartfelt. The art by the creative team is beautiful and endearing. Altogether, a great story that has made this reviewer a fan of this creative team.

Story: Nick Bryan
Art: Robert Ahmad, David B. Cooper, Emily Brady, Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
and DC Hopkins
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Kismet, Man of Fate

Kismet, Man of Fate

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has closed its latest chapter and introduced probably its most powerful superhero, Captain Marvel. As we said goodbye to Iron Man and Black Widow, we were introduced to Carol Danvers.  By the time she showed up in Avengers: Endgame, she had been gone from Earth for at least two decades.

Heroes like Danvers are truly one in a million as their inherent goodness makes her, and Captain America, magnetic to so many fans In a world where bigotry, hate, and greed have become the new normal, it’s almost hard to believe that anyone can actually be good at their core. Even more so, religious freedom is being challenged all the time, where normal people are scared to practice their religion in fear of persecution. In the latest offering from A Wave Blue World, we find a long-dormant hero from World War II, who just so happens to be Muslim, in Kismet, Man Of Fate.

We meet Kismet, an ordinary civilian, as he soon learns about the tragedy at Pulse Nightclub. He wonders what he could have done. We are taken to Boston where an old foe has unleashed a plan to kill a ballroom full of people the same night Trump gets elected to President, leaving one of Kismet’s compatriots’ brother dead. The pain of the loss has made Kismet a recluse while his sister, Rabia and friend Deena attempts to coax him out of his funk to do some good in the world, but instead decides to retire. In his heart, he feels he can do no more good in the world. He decides to start a nonprofit organization that actually helps people, who has faced bigotry since Trump was elected, this is where Kismet finds internal conflict. His apparent retirement coupled with his celebrity has made him a target.

We also get three bonus stories, the first one being “The Fiction Of Free Will.” In it we find Kismet in 1944 France, inside of enemy territory, where he discovers a traitor on the Allied side. In “My First Act Of Free Will,” Qadar and Kismet have their own “Freaky Friday,” In the last bonus story, “Moving Through This World is Supposed to Feel Like Free Will,” Kismet tells viewers worldwide how it was after the war and what has kept him fighting.

Overall, an exhilarating story with a long-forgotten hero. Much like the Green Turtle he needs to be revived in our lost times. The story by A. David Lewis is smart, layered, and well developed. The art by Noel Tuazon and color by Rob Croonenborghs is sophisticated. Altogether, a hero that everyone can get behind especially in this world where intolerance is at the forefront and hope has become a precious commodity.

Story: A. David Lewis
Art: Noel Tuazon Color: Rob Croonenborghs
Story: 10 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.6 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Trust Fall #1

Trust Fall #1

Who doesn’t love heist movies? They usually have some “team getting together” montage which does character introduction and gives the audience a feel of what the story is about.

One of my favorite movies is The Italian Job, both the original and the remake. Both movies tell an elaborate story and have more than its share of cheeky moments.

These type of stories give their audiences an escapade in a world foreign to most. The type of gusto required to pull off some of these antics is more than the average civilian has.

Which is why when I saw the movie Jumper I was surprised they didn’t try to make it a heist movie. Hayden Christiansen’s character has the power to jump in and out of places miles and even countries apart. The opportunist would ask why didn’t he steal anything? In Christopher Sebela and Chris VisionsTrust Fall #1, we meet one crime family whose life work for thievery recently has led to some fatal consequences.

We meet Ash Parsons, the mastermind in a family whose main business is crime. We meet her in the middle of a job where she walks in nonchalantly and robs her victims right in front of them without blinking. She escapes the police and joins the family for dinner where we meet an unsavory collection of shady figures. These are the members of Ash’s family as she gathers them there to give them the good news. Her latest heist has them set for life.

Overall, Trust Fall #1 is a nice origin story to this character and the world she commands. The story by Sebela is relatable, funny, and action-packed. The art by the creative team is unique and stellar. Altogether, you’ll love this story if you like crime noir books and love it even more if you always root for the underdog.

Story: Christopher Sebela
Art: Chris Visions, Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou, Claire Roe
and Dylan Todd
Story: 10 Art: 9.6 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Messages from Midgard #11 – Thank You, Frost

Endings seem to be a recurring theme for this week’s “War of the Realms” books with Giant-Man being the first tie-in miniseries to reach the finish line thanks to some incredible weirdness and a wonderful father/daughter team-up from Leah Williams, Marco Castiello, and Rachelle Rosenberg. There’s also the bittersweet end to Cullen Bunn’s work on the Asgardians of the Galaxy series even after it was name-dropped in the second highest grossing movie of all time. Thankfully, Tini Howard and German Peralta’s recently announced Strikeforce will continue Angela’s journey.

In addition to these titles, Bunn and Iban Coello’s short Venom arc wraps up just in time for “Absolute Carnage”, Superior Spider-Man is way too funny and meta, Champions seems determined to feature every teen Marvel hero, and Ryan North and Derek Charm’s Unbeatable Squirrel Girl is still a wonderful gift with Ariana Grande karaoke and Frost Giants talking shop about, well, frost.


Giant-Man #3

My feelings on the conclusion of Leah Williams, Marco Castiello, and Rachelle Rosenberg’s Giant-Man are definitely mixed. What has been a fairly straightforward adventure yarn set in Florida and featuring Marvel’s size changing heroes gets pretty freaking weird. Apparently, former Thunderbolt/Master of Evil Moonstone has been enslaving the women of Florida to forcibly harvest ice from Ymir to make Ice Giants. It’s definitely a twist and throws a wrench into the whole Ymir assassination mission. The scene where Cassie Lang rescues the slaves and teams up with her dad are heartwarming as well as Raz’s empathy for Ymir, who is in pain and being held against his will. Ymir being a victim and more of a primal force of nature than a baddie is more nuanced and memorable than the team punching him to death.

However, Williams and Castiello do less of a good job introducing and telling the story of Moonstone, the miniseries’ Big Bad. Her powers and motivation fluctuate depending on this scene as she goes from slave master to force of nature and even a redemptive figure depending on the scene. It’s like Williams and Castiello reached the end of miniseries and realized they needed a final boss that wasn’t Ymir and used her past connection with Atlas as a shorthand reason to feature her. Throw in visuals that are hard to follow when the characters change size, and unfortunately, Giant-Man #3 earns an Overall Verdict of Pass.


Asgardians of the Galaxy #10

Asgardians of the Galaxy #10 is a bittersweet comic for many reasons. It features the quirky cast of this book kicking ass together one last time as well as Angela using the MacGuffin from the book’s first arc to get revenge on the Angels of Heven, who abused and tortured her. Writer Cullen Bunn and sharp artists Luca Maresca and Federico Blee give each character a couple of fantastic moments before signing off on a series that had an interesting cast of characters, a fun morally ambiguous space-faring tone, fantastic LGBTQ representation, and was mostly forced to be an event tie-in.

But the fact that it’s a tie-in doesn’t negate Skurge earning redemption as a hero in Valhalla, Angela saving Nairobi, Kenya and finding revenge by beheading her evil adoptive mother, and Ren and Annabelle Riggs being cute while getting cool weapons from the dwarf Urzuul. Maresca’s art has a cartoonish lyricism to him with slash shaped panels when Angela and an army of undead gods lay waste to Heven, or when Okoye gives Annabelle tips on using a Valkyrie spear. He and Bunn do an excellent job wrapping up Angela, Skurge, and Annabelle’s arc while letting this team kick ass in various and sundry ways. Asgardians of the Galaxy #10 earns an Overall Verdict of Buy, and hopefully, it’ll get a revival once Chris Hemsworth signs a deal to be in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.


Champions #6

Jim Zub, Juanan Ramirez, and Marco Menyz bust out the Disir, the cursed ghosts of Odin’s father Bor’s Valkyries, in their Champions “War of the Realms” tie-in. First appearing in Kieron Gillen’s run on Journey into Mystery, they’re a formidable foe for this team of teen heroes that almost seems to double in membership each issue. Zub and Ramirez are constantly cutting from character to character throughout this issue in different action scenes. However, a few beats land like Power Man realizing the full potential of his “chi”-based powers and basically hulking out and save the team’s asses when he is stabbed in the heart by a magical, undead Asgardian artifact. There is also Kamala Khan, who gets a vision of her dead in a parallel universe and starts to realize that leadership of the Champions may be too much for her.

These two strong character moments stand out in what is mostly a loud, action-driven issue where the Champions are driven up a wall, and it’s hard to get a read on any character personalities between the explosions. Zub does hit on a few cool concepts like Hummingbird joining the team because she saw a distress call on a message board and using her empathy-driven, telepathic abilities to calm the team down. With the exception of the loose cartooning and cool moment where Power Man gets to wreak havoc, Champions #6 pales in comparison to the previous issue’s Cyclops and Kamala-centric tale and reduces powerful enemies to “monster of the week” status. Therefore, it earns an Overall Verdict of Pass.


Superior Spider-Man #7

I haven’t read the previous issues of Superior Spider-Man, but Christos Gage, Lan Medina, Cam Smith, and Andy Troy’s work on this story definitely made me want to pick up the previous six issues. The series has a similar premise to Dan Slott’s Superior Spider-Man, but without the weird mind swap plot devices and is more about a bad guy trying to do good and use the power of science and his intellect to be a better hero than Spider-Man. The first half of this issue is filled with precise storytelling and illustrations from Medina and Smith as Spider-Ock evacuates San Francisco and turns his brain to the cause of Frost Giants invading North America and not just the symptom. As Gwenpool later states, he’s a core miniseries hero stuck in a tie-in.

Oh yeah, and to pile awesomeness on more awesomeness, Gage, and Medina pair Spider-Ock with the West Coast Avengers because he wants to use America’s star portal abilities to shut down the one letting Frost Giants onto Earth. This plan doesn’t work out, but we get fun team-up fights, Gwenpool doing running commentary on event comic structure, and Spider-Ock and Quentin Quire bonding over their shared interest in arrogance. I love how the other characters think she’s raving mad, but the always curious Spider-Ock is out here asking questions about “legacy characters”. For its strong visuals, heavy dose of meta-humor, fun guest stars, and interesting characterization of Spider-Ock, Superior Spider-Man earns an Overall Verdict of Buy.


Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #45

The search for the Frost Giants’ secret base continues in Ryan North, Derek Charm, and Rico Renzi’s Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #45, but due to irreconcilable ethical differences, Squirrel Girl and Ratatoskr break up as teammates fairly early in the story. The split-up and reunion leads to great comedy, pathos, and later, adventure using the power of Frost Giant-induced fast travel. Ratatoskr doesn’t want to save the world; she only wants to create chaos and use her mind control abilities to get whatever the heck she wants. This includes go-kart video games, on command Frost Giant-friendly performances of “Thank U, Next” by Ariana Grande, and even psychological therapy.

However, the therapy part (Done by a mind-controlled Frost Giant.) named Daisy reveals that Squirrel Girl’s words about Ratatoskr never creating and only destroying have gotten under her skin. (Charm and Renzi draw moment of truth Ratatoskr quite adorable.) This leads to forgiveness and working together to stop the Frost Giant in an ethical, non-mind controlling way. But, there’s one last pit stop before the HQ as Charm and Renzi capture the beauty of snowfall and nature with the help of the (Newly in the public domain) poems of Robert Frost. (Also, North can’t help himself with puns.) It’s a singular moment in a very silly comic with a tongue in cheek ending. For showing that beauty and humor can co-exist with sneaking around a Frost Giant camp, Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #45 earns an Overall Verdict of Buy.


Venom #15

In the conclusion to their Venom “War of the Realms” arc, Cullen Bunn, Iban Coello, Alberto Albuquerque, Roberto Poggi, and Andres Mossa realize that Jack’o’Lantern is kind of a lame villain and pivot to Eddie Brock battling his own anger with a side of Dreamstone magic. The interplay between Bunn’s narration and the chaotic line art of Coello and Albuquerque creates heavy metal alchemy as Eddie wanders around New York and channels his anger again to remember that he is a “lethal” protector of the innocent, especially his son Dylan. He genuinely cares about the regular people who are caught in the crossfire of the War of the Realms and comes up with a new spin on “We are Venom” to protect them in a fist-bumping moment.

Venom #15, and Bunn and Coello’s overall work on this storyline has been a fantastic marriage of deep emotional turmoil and fun symbiote-meet-dark magic action. This issue is no exception as Eddie has his big moment and the returns to the bunker to protect Dylan and continue their journey to survive. What could have been filler while Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman were prepping “Absolute Carnage” end up telling a tale about Eddie and his son trying to survive in a world without his symbiote and featured memorable visual mash-ups of Asgardian and symbiote iconography. Because of this, Venom #15 earns an Overall Verdict of Buy.

This was truly “War of the Realms'” week of the underdog as characters, like Skurge the Executioner, Squirrel Girl, Gwenpool, Spider-Ock, Annabelle Riggs, and the West Coast Avengers, who get their books canceled or a relegated to second stringers lit up the comics pages thanks to the passion of creators like Cullen Bunn, Ryan North, Christos Gage, Luca Maresca, Derek Charm, and Lan Medina. In particular, Bunn’s letter at the end of Asgardians of the Galaxy #10 about how he wanted to do a story with these characters back in 2015 and then had to shoehorn them into two events shows the pitfalls of having an original spirit in corporate comics. But, hey, we’ll have those ten majestic issues than honestly work whether or not you read “Infinity Wars” or “War of the Realms”.


Panel of the Week

I really hope someone in the Ariana Grande camp reads comics. (From Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #45, Art by Derek Charm and Rico Renzi)

Review: Silver Surfer: Black #1

Silver Surfer: Black #1

I had no idea what to expect going into Silver Surfer: Black #1. With the creative team of writer Donny Cates and artist Tradd Moore, I had no doubt what I was going to read was going to be good.

Silver Surfer: Black #1 spins out of Guardians of the Galaxy #1. The galaxy’s defenders have been sent into a black hole and this is the story of Silver Surfer’s journey.

Spinning out of a comic, there’s always the worry you may need to know what happened before. Cates has done a masterful job of catching new readers up and allowing them to enjoy the journey. The comic really is about that journey and not the past. Silver Surfer is taken to an alien world… and where it goes from there, I’d rather not say.

Cates has delivered a comic that’s a must for anyone interested in the epic tale he’s telling in the cosmic side of the Marvel Universe. From Guardians of the Galaxy to Venom, Silver Surfer: Black fits right in and then some.

The issue has that philosophical feel about it as Surfer reflects on his history and the situation he’s in. It’s a different kind of comic with a more laid back feel about it embracing the comics of the past.

That’s helped by Tradd Moore‘s art. Moore has a unique style and here it works to enhance the feel of the comic. Dave Stewart provides the color and together they create an aesthetic that hearkens back to classic Kirby without trying to copy him. There are homages to the classic style he brought to Marvel’s cosmic, especially in the backgrounds. But, Moore sticks to his own style enhanced by Stewart’s vibrant colors. Clayton Cowles‘ lettering stands out as well with the alien language he brings. It begs you to attempt to decipher it and see what’s said.

If the issue isn’t on your radar, it should be. As someone who has never liked the Silver Surfer as a character, this debut issue has me wanting to read more immediately. Add in that this is a chapter in Cates’ bigger plan makes it a must.

Story: Donny Cates Art: Tradd Moore
Color: Dave Stewart Letters: Clayton Cowles
Story: 8.65 Art: 8.65 Overall: 8.65 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Hulkverines!

A soldier infused with the DNA of the Hulk and Wolverine? It might sound silly but it works really well! Hulkverines collects the three issue series and brings Weapon H, the Hulk, and Wolverine together for the first time!

Story: Greg Pak
Art: Ario Anindito, Guiu Vilanova
Color: Morry Hollowell, Andrew Crossley, Chris Sotomayor
Letterer: Joe Caramagna

Get your copy in comic shops now and in book stores on June 25! To find a comic shop near you, visit www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon
Kindle/comiXology
TFAW

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
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