Category Archives: Reviews

Returning To The X-Men: House Of X #5

It’s been nearly six years since I last picked up a new X-Men comic with any real consistency. The last series I read with any regularity featuring the merry mutants was Jason Aaron‘s Wolverine and the X-Men. Which apparently ended around six years ago. It’s fair to say that I’m a little out of touch with that side of the Marvel Universe (though I have been following both Old Man Logan and Dead Man Logan, but those series didn’t really involve the X-Men as much as a team book would). More than a little, honestly. A lot has happened in the six years I’ve been away, and since I barely pay attention to solicitations I have missed most of it.

But with Johnathan Hickman steering the X-Men in a new direction with both House and Powers Of X, I thought this might be a good time to start reading X-Men comics again.

But how easy is it to jump back in relatively blind after more than half a decade away?


Expect spoilers as I try to make sense of the comic.


Well House Of X #4 was… well let’s just say it had some finality to it. Especially for a certain group of mutants. After the heavy death toll last issue, I was curious how Hickman was going to reverse the body count; especially with said mutants being featured in October’s relaunch of the X-Books, you knew the deaths wouldn’t stick. I wasn’t expecting to see the solution revealed in House Of X #5.

I’ve been really enjoying the House/Powers Of X event thus far, it has been an interesting reintroduction to the X-Men for me, and is an event that isn’t using huge set piece fight scenes to sell comics. No, the appeal of this event for me is that we’re getting a a story that’s going to reframe how we look at the X-Men in the Marvel Universe, an event that is more of a beginning than a culmination of several years worth of preplanning and build up.

It is perhaps the most accessible event Marvel have had in years.

But despite the eight issues we’ve had so far, I’m still not overly sure how happy I am with this comic as a whole.

The solution to the death of an entire team of X-Men last issue feels… strangely cheap. It removes the value of their sacrifice, and even with Xavier’s “a piece of me dies each time you do” line to the newly resurrected Cyclops, the resurrection process really removes almost any threat of death to the mutants going forward.

Because whenever they die, a team of mutants can just regrow a clone body for Xavier to imprint a copy of said mutant’s mind into. Which gives the term comic book death an entirely new meaning. It also makes every mutant functionally immortal.

House Of X #5 does gives us several ground rules surrounding the mutant team’s resurrection ability, justifying (or limiting) their use as a story device, but it rings oddly hollow.

Especially when you add in the oddly fanatical scenes that proceed the resurrections. There are some uncomfortable connotations with how those scenes play out, and it’ll be interesting to see whether that line of fanaticism is carried on for the finale of House Of X and beyond (and if it is, how exactly will there be a compelling reason for the X-Men to leave Krakoa?

And then you have to wander about Wolverine’s adamantium. Does the new copy/clone/whatever have the metal bones? And if so how? These are the burning questions that detail obsessed nerds will want to know.

When it comes to the point of this column, exploring whether a new reader can effectively just jump in with the current X-Event with only enough X-Men knowledge to recognize a few characters, well the answer is a clear and obvious yes – if you start at the beginning. This issue… will leave you thoroughly confused if you start here, but then what would you expect starting a twelve issue story as it nears the end?

“You see I know how you humans love your symbolism, almost as much as you love you religion. And I wanted you – I needed you – to understand… you have new gods now.”

Magneto, House Of X, #1 p.47.
I keep leaving this image and quote in the column because, for me, it’s emblematic of the series as a whole. It’s Hickman, through Magneto, setting the stage for the future of the X-Men.

Will I understand next week’s installment in the saga, Powers Of X #5? Do I regret skipping six years of X-Books? Am I ever going to find out how Xavier is walking again*? Did I get the right release schedule?

We might find out next week. We might not.

Marvel provided a FREE copy for review purposes, but I read the comic in print from my LCS.

*The answer is yes, but it made no sense when two of my friends told me individually last week, but it basically boils down to “comics being comics” which I’ve kind of accepted with an air of nonchalance.

Review: Killers #3

Killers #3

The unstoppable marksman, Sights, joins the carnage in Killers #3! But where does his allegiance lie?

Can you trust a superninja with a mind broken by MI6? Just ask the Undisciple.

The high-octane battle royale continues as the Killers tear each other apart in a competition like no other!

For the first time since I began this series, I’ve read an issue with next to no idea what was going to happen. It was an oddly liberating experience. I’ve read the outline to the entire series in preparation for an interview with B. Clay Moore. Graphic Policy also published an interview with artist Fernando Dagnino which you can check out here.

Not knowing, really not remembering, what was going to happen in this book left me able to read it with fresh eyes. The comic was still every bit as exciting as the previous two issue. Perhaps more so since it was an unknown for me.

Killers #3 reveals a touch more about the cast of former ninja operatives. It also introduces a fifth – Ninja E. Moore’s characters are wonderfully colorful. Their personality pulses from the pages despite him giving us only a little information as to who they are. Credit for that should also go to Dagnino’s art. The way he has choreographed the panels and action combined with the body language of the ninja’s themselves helps to build your relationship with characters who may not have said all that much over the course of the series.

The artists deliver an atmospheric book that immerses you into the story with every page turn; there’s something about their work that’s just damn impressive. There are little bells and whistles here, and the comic is all the stronger for it.

Killers #3 is another solid issue in the miniseries that spins off from the revelations in Ninja-K. Though reading that series is absolutely not required to enjoy this one. Moore has left himself two comics to bring the story to a close, and at the rate he’s going I have no doubt that he’ll be able to close this out with a bang. Though I suppose it would be more appropriate to make a ninja related statement there… so I have no doubt that he’ll be able to close this out with a bang of smoke? Yeah, I don’t know either. What I do know is that I am thoroughly enjoying this story and that I cannot wait for the next chapters.

This deserves to be on the pull list of anybody wanting a change from spandex and superheroes.

Story: B. Clay Moore Art: Fernando Dagnino Colours: Jose Villarrubia
Story: 8.8 Art: 9.4 Overall: 9.3 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Flash Forward #1

Flash Forward #1

Wally West is in jail awaiting trial and wallowing in his misery. That’s where Flash Forward #1 begins before taking us on a cosmic journey.

The first issue sets up the next step in Wally West’s journey in an interesting way, though, the concept falls short for me.

Written by Scott Lobdell the comic focuses a lot on what’s gotten West to this point in his life. A lot of it is wallowing and there’s one too many times of his stating he killed a bunch of heroes. Any sympathy is gone and it’s turned to annoyance by issue’s end.

Then there’s the next step for Wally. He has to save the multiverse by stopping the dark multiverse. There’s some solid use of this recent concept and in theory the concept is intriguing but something feels off. The new role reminds me of failed reinventions of characters in the past. It’s hard to judge it all on one issue but something again feels off about it all. This isn’t the right way to go about Wally’s redemption. But, it also seems to tie into the meta story going on in the DC Universe going back to Rebirth.

The art by Brett Booth is nice. With ink by Norm Rapmund, color by Luis Guerrero, and letters by Troy Peteri, the comic has lots of moments that’ll keep you lingering on the page. The scenes involving the multiverse have you looking for details and clues. The fights in prison have a nice swift action about them. The imagery works on the macro and micro level.

Flash Forward #1 is an interesting start to this miniseries. It feels like it’s a story you need the whole picture before truly judging. Unfortunately, we have to do that one issue at a time. With that, this feels like one that’s worth a read but maybe hold out for the trade.

Story: Scott Lobdell Art: Brett Booth
Ink: Norm Rapmund Color: Luis Guerrero Letters: Troy Peteri
Story: 7.0 Art: 8.15 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Psi-Lords #4

Psi-Lords #4

Are the Psi-Lords real? Or are they just a myth? Get a first glimpse at the world beyond our own in Psi-Lords #4!

After suffering a dramatic loss, the cosmic Quartet continues on with their mission to honor the memory of a fallen ally.

The ultimate enemy revealed!

It was the third issue that sold me on this series after having some misgivings early on. Now I wonder what the hell I was smoking when reading the first couple issues that made me not enjoy them as much as I did after rereading them earlier this week. The answer is nothing, by the way – nor was I drinking anything. With the issue, Fred Van Lente reminded me why I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. The man knows what he’s doing. It’s far better to trust him than to dismiss a series under his direction after only an issue or two.

But where this comic truly blew me away was in the art. The first panel is one of the most detailed images I’ve seen in a comic. Honestly, it set the bar incredibly high, and Renato Guedes never once stumbles.

The art style in the comic sits perfectly alongside the story. Guedes brings to life the fantastical science fiction elements of Van Lente’s story with exquisite detail. The style that pays homage to the sci-fi movie posters in the 50’s and 60’s. It’s something to behold.

Van Lente blends story exposition into the comic effortlessly with a pace that left me wondering if the comic was at once too short and not long enough. There’s a lot of story in this issue, but I didn’t get enough to satisfy my need to keep reading… I can only see that as a good sign at this point, given how unsure I was after the first issue. The time spent getting to know the characters last issue lends additional weight to the events of Psi-Lords #4. That means that Van Lente can bring a solid action sequence back to the story. Which further means that Guedes can really let loose.

Psi-Lords #4 was easily the best issue so far, finally establishing this series as a sci-fi epic.

Story: Fred Van Lente
Art: Renato Guedes Letters: Dave Sharpe
Story: 9.2 Art: 9.9 Overall: 9.6 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Spider-Man #1

Spider-Man #1

I went into reading Spider-Man #1 trying to know as little as possible. I’m glad I did as I came out of it not only surprised but immediately wanting to see what’s next.

Written by the father/son duo of J.J. Abrams and Henry Abrams, the comic is a “new” but familiar take on Spider-Man.

Not set in continuity, I think, the comic has shocking moments that’ll catch you off guard if you’re like me and avoiding spoilers as much as possible.

But, to give a review as to why this comic is so good, we have to go the spoiler route.

A father and son duo are telling a story about a father a son. In this version of Spider-Man, MJ has been murdered during a battle. Twelve years later and we find out Peter and MJ had a son, Ben. Ben lives with Aunt May as Peter is a bit of an absentee father. Ben also has the spirit of justice as his father and some of his father’s abilities. From there, the story is pretty clear.

What the Abrams do is explore a relationship they have. It’s unknown how much of their own life they’ve poured into this but the inclusion of Henry Abrams as a co-writer feels vital as it brings a sense of authenticity. This isn’t a story told from a father’s perspective but both father and son.

Yes, the comic has another fridging which gets old but it’s difficult to explore the aspect the comic seems to be doing without it.

The art Sara Pichelli is fantastic. The ink by Elisabetta D’Amico, the coloring of Dave Stewart, and lettering by Joe Caramagna all come together for a hell of a visual treat. There’s a slight shift in style as the comic jumps ahead which helps with the break. It also sets up an art style that feels rare in comics these day. There’s an almost water color aspect to it all. It just looks beautiful.

I figured the comic would be entertaining but this goes beyond that. This may be the surprise of the week.

Story: J.J. Abrams, Henry Abrams Art: Sara Pichelli
Ink: Elisabetta D’Amico Color: Dave Stewart Letters: Joe Caramagna
Story: 8.65 Art: 8.75 Overall: 8.7 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: House of X #5

House of X #5

House of X #5 is a ghoulish issue in numerous ways. You’ll finish it and question who the villains truly are. The issue focuses on two key plot points. There’s the “death” of so many key individuals in the previous issue. There’s also the recognition of the mutant nation through the United Nations.

It’s difficult to really give this a deep review without spoilers.

Ready?

Spoiler time.

The revelation is that Charles and Magneto have put together a system to resurrect any mutant who has died. Through a combination of mutant powers and the previously known storing of mutant DNA, they’re able to bring back anyone. All of those characters that died in the assault on Mother Mold? They’re back. The process is a key focus of the issue with so many different aspects to focus on.

The religious aspects of it are interesting introducing a cult-like experience in the new mutant homeland. That makes Charles and his five mutants gods with the ability to bring life back.

But, while a cool concept, there’s issues. Numerous of them.

The reality is, our heroes are copies. The soul and excitement of them are sucked out in a way making them cheap facsimiles. There’s also the removal of any aspect of possible death. Unless the system is destroyed, there’s no risk involved in anything. You might as well go in with a blunt instrument every time because you’ll be returned. There’s also the discussion of bringing back those murdered in Genosha, taking away the fact that maybe some don’t want to return. It’s a horror story level of weird.

There’s also the implication of manipulation in the nation recognition vote. The two concepts combined make Charles and his followers out to not finding their place for equality but instead looking for a position of dominance. The aspects are concerning and continue to change what once were stand-ins for those attacked and downtrodden to their opposit. Mutants are now nationalists who have more in common with Maga than Malcolm.

The art is fantastic as usual. The comic is beautiful to look at which makes the reading experience all the more interesting. The color, lettering, line art, all pop on the page with fantastic reinvention in design for characters we haven’t seen in some time. Perspective is used to really drive home scenes in ways that will have you debating. The comic also has so much source material that the extra design feels like something out of a roleplaying book.

The comic is an interesting one continuing to change the X-Men in ways I’m torn about. The characters continue at times in uncharacteristic ways. As if they’ve been brainwashed into the cult of Charles. They’re no longer students, they’re kool-aid drinkers. There’s an amazing story here but House of X #5 continues the shift from minority heroes to the terror of the minority.

Story: Jonathan Hickman Art: Pepe Larraz
Color: Marte Gracia Letterer: Clayton Cowles Design: Tom Muller
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Obeah

Obeah

When it comes to the fantasy and horror genre both fiction types tend to be overwhelmingly monochromatic. Some of my favorite books by some of my favorite authors that write fantasy and horror tend to marginalize people that look like me. Normally when they include people of color they’re the best friend or the villain, never the protagonist. When Netflix had the opportunity to do something revolutionary and make Sabrina The Teenage Witch someone of color they chose the same safe docile excuse that has always been used “They have it done it this way all the time.”

Witches who aren’t melanin deficient have been written about for centuries. The fact that this history was not explored in such a wide medium is deplorable. One of the first witches in North America, written in the fictional account I Tituba: Black Witch Of Salem by Maryse Conde, is one of the first purveyors of Black Magic in the colonies. That presence was underwhelmingly highlighted in the show Salem. As a son of a West Indian, I’ve heard about these women who can heal any ailment and can make any trouble go away all my life, and go by a certain name. In Jordan Clark’s monumental Obeah, one runaway slave meets one such group of women who may save her life.

We’re taken to 1691 where meet Ade, a runaway slave who has escaped to Salem, Massachusetts, and who has come down with an enigmatic malady, one that no one knows how to cure. This causes distress amongst the family who saved her. They found her tired and hungry with her daughter. As her sickness takes holder of her she starts having fever dreams. It connects to a world in a nocturnal state presided over by a coven of witches.

Overall, an invigorating take on the supernatural witch genre. It’s one which will get under your skin while remembering everything has an origin most don’t know of. The story by Clark is stimulating, smart and eerie. The art by Clark is sophisticated and sharply drawn. Altogether, this is exactly what creepy stories are made of.

Story: Jordan Clark Art: Jordan Clark
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Review: BTTM FDRS

BTTM FDRS

I remembered the very first time I saw Candyman. The movie not only was good, but it was far too relatable. Tony Todd as the titular character exhibited something both frightful and had a clear connection to America’s past. Where others saw purely a horror film, I saw how much society devalued black lives.

The movie followed a graduate student doing a thesis on urban myths when her path leads her to Southside Chicago. She discovers the legend of Candyman, the ghost of an artist and son of a slave who was murdered in the late 19th century. The movie was terrifying and so true to life. I’ve had friends who have died, like those in the movie, where deaths were thought of as common and the police and medical response were slow to respond. It’s a reality which people in wealthier neighborhoods know nothing about. As cities have grown, so has everything with it. That includes the number of residents seeing the rising trend of urban redevelopment, gentrification, over the last 30 years. That brings its own complications. In Ezra Clayton Daniels and Ben Passmore’s exquisitely crafted BTTM FDRS, these creators examine an antagonist much like Candyman, but this time through the prism of gentrification.

The comic takes to a different part of Candyman’s Southside Chicago. A place called “ The Bottomyards” a highly gentrified area. A pair of city workers have a strange encounter with something hiding inside the apartment building where they’re working. As the city worker who got attacked goes into a frenzy, he runs into two friends moving in, Darla and Cynthia. Even though they’re excited to start a new part of their life, they’re not sure what to think of the building. Even their apartment has a inexplicable surprise waiting for them. Darla becomes conflicted. This is the same neighborhood her Dad grew up in, but it’s nothing she knows about. Something is very strange and utterly apparent to her and Cynthia.

Overall, both a powerful and enigmatic tome that at its size feels as though this story could go even longer. These two creators are at the top of their game. The story by Daniels is well developed and masterfully told. The art by Passmore is both endearing and captivating. Altogether, a story that feels like where Sorry To Bother You left off but peels even more layers than that iconic film did.

Story: Ezra Clayton Daniels Art: Ben Passmore
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 9/14

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

Spawn #300 (Image Comics) Ok so everyone knows I’m a sucker for anniversary issues. It just always gets me. As I open the pages I am flashed back to 1992 when I cracked open Spawn #1. It was so so different than everything I’ve currently read other than Spawn looked and suspiciously posed a lot like Spider-Man. However given that the hottest artist to have touched that character at that point was helming this i shouldn’t have been surprised. Now it wasn’t ground breaking like The Maxx was, but it was pretty awesome. Awesome enough that I came back for 100 consecutive issues straight. At that point i had been worn down and exposed to the awful 1997 live action movie and the superb HBO animated series. However after the beheading of Malebolgia I thought there really wasn’t much more to explore.
Wow was I wrong because well here we are. Also this is a humongous accomplishment for an independent property. Other than Dave Sims Cerebus, I can’t think of another character that had achieved this number. Spawn is certainly worthy despite the up and down of quality through the decades. 
With that said, here we are #300. I shamelessly joined back here on issue 299. Now having been absent for so long I was still able to pick up and not feel totally lost. I don’t know if that’s a detriment or a compliment. I know Spawn is Spawn and war is war and Al Simmons is still in the middle. 
However I really like that he’s much more assertive and even without the uniform he’s still Spawn and he’s still fucken badass.  The basics haven’t changed. It’s not Shakespeare but it is a very provocative take on philosophy and something that i am glad I invested my time in. 300 issues a lot has changed but the basics are still there. I believe that is the hallmark of all the greats. 600,700,800 and so forth, the adventures might have changed but the spirit is still the same. It’s instantly recognizable and pleasing the moment you pick it up. I for one am very glad that Spawn has made it here. I think he’s stood the test of time and will continue on. Now did it blow me away? No. But it certainly reminded me why I love demonic imagery and semi religious ambiguous storytelling in the first place. Like 1992. I felt that little jolt and now I’m back again. I can’t wait for #301 and #600 years from now. Kudos team. Here I am. Thanks for welcoming me back. Good job Todd. You did it. However it wouldn’t have happened without Greg. EVER.
See you next month. Score 9: Recommendation: Buy. Either way guys,  it’s history.  Well deserved

Elana

Dr. Mirage #1 (Valiant) This story plays to Nick Robles’ strengths: drawing beautiful, realistic figures in beautiful psychedelic environments that break the waking world into a kaleidoscope—- which famed colorist Jordie Bellaire explodes into beautiful color. I’m generally not a Valiant reader and my unfamiliarity with that world wasn’t a problem. Magdalene Visaggio’s narration gives you what you need to know. The reality tv framing she uses is promising and her character’s internal monologue feels real. Color me intrigued!

Shean

Star Wars Age of Rebellion: Supreme Leader Snoke #1 (Marvel)– As much as I wanted a like this particular book, this felt like filler more than a prequel as it is merely a showing of how sadistic Snoke was but not how he came to be. Leaving much to be desired. Overall: 6.7 Recommendation: Borrow

Age of Conan Valeria #2 (Marvel) In what feels like a Western, Valeria starts asking questions about her brother’s sword and gets wrong type of attention. As someone looking to silence her, underestimates he skills, leaving him to answer her questions. She gets closer to finding out how her brother got his sword in the first place. By issue’s end, her trail leads her to a temple but not without running into trouble from some mercenaries, as she barely makes it out alive. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Ryan C

Batman #78 (DC)** – Let’s just call it like it is : Tom King has had 78 issues to make the Batman/Catwoman relationship compelling, and still hasn’t managed to do so. He’s back to trying again with this one — and back to failing. Clay Mann’s art is cheesecake crap. A pretty damn lame comic, all in all. Overall: 0. Recommendation: Pass

Detective Comics #1011 (DC)** – This book has been quietly ticking up after a disastrous start for the new creative team, and this issue is probably the strongest yet. The Batman/Deadshot confrontation is pretty standard stuff, but there’s some nice supporting-cast interaction, and damn, is it nice to see Batman smile for once!Christian Duce’s art is fairly generic “New 52”-ish stuff, but it’s not actively bad so much as it is just bland. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

Silver Surfer: Black #4 (Marvel) **- I threw in the towel on Donny Cates’ lackluster scripting for this book after issue 1, but who gives a shit? Tradd Moore’s cosmic phantasmagorias are this series’ raison d’etre, and damn if he doesn’t deliver some breathtaking ones here. The best-looking “Big Two” comic on the racks, bar none. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Daredevil #11 (Marvel) **– The first arc of this new run didn’t do much to grab me, but Chip Zdarsky’s got a healthy head of steam under him with the character now, and seems to take real delight in messing up Matt Murdock’s life. An uneasy alliance with the cop who was out to bust him, an affair with a woman married to a mobster, an out-of-control Owl, and a bunch of copycat Daredevils all happening at once? Sign me up for that shit! Marco Checchetto’s moody, gritty art is a nice complement to the “street-level” scripting. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy 

Logan

Ghosted in LA #3 (BOOM!)– The cutest, spookiest comic continues to chug along as Sina Grace and Siobhan Keenan explore Daphne’s relationship with her ex-boyfriend, Ronnie, who comes to terms with his own sexuality while chatting with Bernard, a closeted gay entertainment lawyer from the 1980s. However, Maurice, who is a ghoul and the de facto caretaker of Rycroft Manor, become increasingly tired with the mortal world’s interference with their privacy. Grace and Keenan ramp up the tension a lot while still having the fun character interactions, vivid cartooning, and amazing styles of the previous two issues. They also deal with two characters “opening up” their sexuality in a very natural, non after school special way and make Ronnie a round character and not just a one dimensional ex. Overall: 8 Verdict: Buy

 Gotham City Monsters #1 (DC)- Set in the Monstertown created several years ago in the Steve Orlando co-written “Night of the Monsters” crossover, Gotham City Monsters #1 brings back characters and situations from Grant Morrison’s Seven Soldiers of Victory in a kind of creature commando way. And along the way there’s puns on cancelled New 52 series, an opera adaptation of a 19th century Irish Gothic novel, and fantastic character studies of various “monster” characters. Plus Amancay Nahuelpan going balls out with his artwork for vampire attacks, monster transformations, and a Gothic take on Gotham that makes the rest of the city look normal, or well, Christopher Nolan-esque. Gotham City Monsters isn’t an “assembling team” issue, but more of a set the tone issue, and I’m excited to see more of Orlando and Nahuelpan’s monstrous vision of Gotham. Overall: 8.4 Verdict: 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: Some Strange Disturbances

Some Strange Disturbances

When the words “Victorian England” are usually uttered, visions of Sherlock Holmes and Jane Austen period pieces often cloud the mind. Rarely, in any iteration of these stories, are the existence of other cultures acknowledged, the different portrayal of gender types presented, or even something as commonplace now as sexual orientation mentioned. It’s true that there were shades of progressive thinking in Doyle’s portrayal of Irene Adler and Isadora Klein. Those two are close to contemporary archetypes as Doyle and his famous character can come to modern thinking. In Austen’s stories, she often made strides in portrayals of the complexities of being a woman but didn’t portray queer women or women of color in her stories.

It makes you wonder if England was strictly made up of cisgender Caucasians but history portrays a different story, one that shows a brutal reality for most who is a bearer of either category. Movies and books in recent years have sought to tell a truer picture than what has been historically been shown. As was shown in Amma Asante’s Belle, the true story of mulatto women whose fame spawned from the popularity of a famous painting. The film showcased a complicated story of race, gender roles, and freedom of thought. In Craig Hurd-McKinney, Gervasio, and Carlos Aon’s brilliant Some Strange Disturbances, we get a fine blend of horror, historical fiction, and progressive storytelling which seeks to remix how we look at the era.

We’re taken to 1870 Baltimore, where a young man’s mother has just been deemed insane, because she can see ghosts. 5 years later, we are taken to England, where that young man, Mr. Mayfair, a professional spiritualist, who is grown up and is partaking in a seance, one which threatens the well being of a patron, and which turns out all to be a hoax to lure connoisseurs of this “parlor trick” out of their money. Everything changes when one of the patrons asks for his professional help in finding out whether their son is possessed by the devil, which leads to a different client dying from a freak rodent related incident. As he visits Lord Duncan, it reminds him of his mother, before she died, and the demons that haunted her until she died. This is where Ms. Quinton, who is part of a choir but doesn’t feel like she belongs, as her family’s upbringing in Africa and connection to her roots, gives her a knowledge of self and identity, but because of gender roles shackles her to the time’s reality. As we find out that what possesses Lord Duncan is the Madwoman Of Chaillot. Mayfair has another threat is the form of Ms. Maylie, who just happens to be the Rat King, and who has been killing anyone who has come close to spoiling her plot.

Overall, an engaging and enthralling story that expertly mixes historical fiction and horror into something devastatingly beautiful. The story by Hurd-McKinney is harrowing, smart, and diverse. The art by the creative team is awe-inspiring. Altogether, a story that probably more accurate to life than any Doyle, Austen or Dickens book can ever depict.

Story: Craig Hurd-McKenney Art: Gervasio and Carlos Aon
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

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