Category Archives: Reviews

Review: Silver Surfer: Black Treasury Edition

Spinning out of Guardians of the Galaxy, Silver Surfer has been blown into a black hole. Find out what happens during his fight back from oblivion including a surprising appearance of Knull! in Silver Surfer: Black!

Silver Surfer: Black features issues #1-5

Story: Donny Cates
Art: Tradd Moore
Color: Dave Stewart
Letterer: Clayton Cowles

Get your copy now! To find a comic shop near you, visit http://www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon (Treasury Edition)
Amazon (Paperback)
Kindle
Zeus Comics
comiXology

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site

Review: Green Hornet: Solitary Sentinel #2

The Green Hornet: Solitary Sentinel #1

Keenan Ivory Wayans is one of those creators whose talents are light years beyond many of his predecessors. I’m Gonna Git You Sucka was one of those films that pushed the parody movie genre to a whole other stratosphere. He would go on to create his own show, In Living Color that would shake up television and inspire numerous other shows. The show was one of the first times when Black people saw themselves in a variety show which showcased their culture.

As successful and groundbreaking as that show was, some of his best work may be his attempts as an action hero. The movie Low Down Dirty Shame gave him new dimensions as it was a new school take on the private detective. Then there’s Most Wanted, where he played a soldier framed for murder. In the second issue of Green Hornet: Solitary Sentinel, Paul is a lone man finding his way.

We find Paul driving Black Beauty, plodding to what are the next steps, as the whole city has him as Public Enemy #1. We soon find out that the Mayor’s underlings are carrying out a smear campaign against the Reid family and Paul has to figure out how and why. We also find Diana and Kato in jail together as the Reids battle allegations against the company. By the issue’s end, Paul finds an unlikely ally but also has unearthed a new enemy,

Overall, an excellent second issue, which lives up to the legend. The story by James Van Hise is tense and exciting. The art by the creative team is stunning. Altogether, a story that feels cinematic and immense.

Story: James Van Hise Art: Andrea Albert, Ken Penders, Tony DeZuniga, and Tony Caputo
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Blake & Mortimer Vol. 8 The Voronov Plot

BLAKE & MORTIMER VOL. 8 THE VORONOV PLOT

Tom Clancy is one of those writers whose eye for detail and character development makes him one of the best. His intimate knowledge of the inner workings of how people like Jack Ryan would operate is immense. That whole series of books was as much as action as it was cerebral maneuvering.

One of his best, and probably the best film adaptation, despite who was playing the titular character, was The Sum Of All Fears. The premise dives into if someone found a nuclear warhead and the subsequent events that lead to an attempted Presidential assassination. The hard truth was Clancy was an insurance salesman before he wrote books but his imagination was immense. In Blake & Mortimer Vol. 8 The Vornov Plot, our intrepid heroes track down a weapon of mass destruction.

We are taken to Kazakhstan, where the Russians shoot a rocket into space, only for it to come back with something, which gives rise to a secret they don’t want the world to know. It is not long before our heroes; Blake and Mortimer are pulled in, as British Intelligence wants to know exactly what the Russians are hiding. As Blake and Mortimer find clues and meet acquaintances, the more the Russians attempt to thwart their motivations. By the book’s end, a defection of a new ally, the uncovering of a massive plot to kill key world individuals, and the embarrassment of a world enemy, leaves our heroes on top of the world.

Overall, Blake & Mortimer Vol. 8 The Vornov Plot is a compelling adventure which has the guys mixed in with Russians, space travel and  on the brink of war. The story by Edgar P. Jacobs is dense, and enthralling, The art by Jacobs is brilliant and flowing. Altogether, one of the best adventures from this series.

Story: Edgar P. Jacobs Art: Edgar P. Jacobs
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy


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Mini Reviews and Recommendations For The Week Ending 10/24

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. Given the lack of new comics, expect this weekly update to begin featuring comics that we think you’ll enjoy while you can’t get anything new to read – only new to you.

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews and Recommendations.


Logan

X-Men #13 (Marvel)– With Apocalypse on the verge of death, Jonathan Hickman and Mahmud Asrar go deep into his past and look into his familial connection with Arakko. It’s a lot of table-setting, magical, fantasy backstory stuff from Hickman, but it’s nice to see Apocalypse vulnerable for once, both in the past and present. It all builds to a nearly-cinematic sequence of him picking up his old, very huge blade in an Egyptian pyramid and ruminating about survival of the fittest. Having one of the X-Men’s greatest foes taking lead against their new enemy adds a general factor to both this issue and the first couple chapters of X of Swords. However, I’ll admit my eyes glazed over a little bit during the flashback sequences as X-Men #13 rounds out a middling week for X of Swords. The characters look cool and have badass names, but I don’t have an emotional connection to them yet. Overall: 6 Verdict: Pass

Tales from the Umbrella Academy: You Look Like Death #2 (Dark Horse)– Even though it features emotionally heart-rending flashbacks, the specters of Hollywood stars past, and hard drug use, You Look Like Death #2 is a bit of a comedown from the first installment of the Klaus Hargreeves solo series. Writers Gerard Way and Shaun Simon and artist INJ Culbard go down lots of rabbit holes in this issue and spend almost as much time on the chimpanzee vampire Shivers taking over the Hollywood vampire underworld as on Klaus hitting the town. There’s a kind of flat, unreality to Culbard’s art that works for a world that is a little bit, well, off. His best work comes in flashbacks of Reginald Hargreeves traumatizing Klaus to unleash his great potential, and Way and Simon find a throughline between this trauma and his current con-man ways and substance abuse. You Look Like Death #2 doesn’t have the high-wire energy of the first issue of the series, but Way, Simon, and Culbard start to develop the character who would be the most charismatic member of the Umbrella Academy cast even if the Shivers sequences aren’t as exciting. Overall: 7.9 Verdict: Buy

King Tank Girl #1 (Albatross)**- Tank Girl’s move to Albatross Funnybooks (Home of Eric Powell’s Goon) has writer Alan Martin and artist Brett Parson channeling her Deadline days with a series of funny pop culture riff stories. The lead story, which has Booga looking for a rare, treasured action figure (Based on the Kenner Boba Fett) and Tank Girl accidentally being King of England, is the best of the bunch with lots of visual and verbal humor. Another favorite is a one-off story about a shoe sale, and Martin and Parson also make fun of surf culture turning a straightforward action story into something utterly absurd. Filled with silly puns, faces, and even some explosions, King Tank Girl #1 is just a general good time. Overall: 8.5 Verdict: Buy

Iron Man #2 (Marvel)– Christopher Cantwell and Cafu really seem to be having a good time putting retro-suit wearing Tony Stark through the wringer in Iron Man #2 while giving a glimpse at the legit Big Bad behind the scenes. Tony’s death wish is on display this whole comic as he lets Arcade capture him so he can get his ass kicked by Absorbing Man and then breaks almost every bone in his body rescuing some Stark Unlimited employees. Cafu’s art is slick and fluid, especially during the action sequences, but he also nails how out of sorts Tony is and the total snark and contempt that Hellcat has for him. Her calling out Tony’s behavior and the lack of any romantic element in their relationship is definitely the best part of Cantwell and Cafu’s Iron Man so far. Overall: 8.0 Verdict: Buy

Edgar Allan Poe’s Snifter of Blood #1 (Ahoy)– Ahoy’s all-star horror anthology with an inebriated American author host is back with Paul Cornell and Russ Braun doing an adaptation of Poe’s “Black Cat” (But with a dog). There’s also Dean Motter spinning a yarn about Poe’s fictional paleontologist buddy Atlas that turns into a battle between science and faith, truth and con artistry, and eventually, good versus evil. Thankfully, a hammered Poe is there to break the tension between stories, but “Black Dog” is fairly traumatizing thanks to Cornell telling the story from the dog’s POV and Braun’s straightforward, even-keeled art. “Atlas Shrugged” is a little more complex, but Motter’s eye for design and ability to draw shifty figures suits a story with a cast of characters that includes luminaries like Poe and PT Barnum as well earnest scientists and overbearing fire and brimstone preaching. Motter letters the story too and adds to the accusatory tone of some of the cast with intense use of fonts. In addition to these two comics, there are also some interesting illustrated prose stories to make this worth your purchase, especially during the Halloween season. Overall: 8.5 Verdict: Buy

Brett

Werewolf By Night #1 (Marvel) – I’d had some high hopes for this debut and direction for the classic series/character. The overall concept has some good ideas but the end overall product falls short. The comic feels like a forgettable release from the 90s. It’s not bad but also doesn’t excite. It’d be a comic I’d have read in 15 minutes, shrugged my shoulders then moved on to the next comic in the pile. The interesting aspect is the tie-in to the Outlawed storyline but the dialogue is a bit cheesy at moments and some art makes little sense. There’s a lot of potential with the direction of the series to start but the end result feels like a story we’ve seen too many times before and doesn’t take advantage of the potentially interesting perspective and views of the writers and artists. Lots of potential not taken advantage of. Overall Rating: 6.5 Recommendation: Read


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: History Comics: The Challenger Disaster

First Second is taking you throughout history with their new line of “History Comics“! The Challenger Disaster: Tragedy in the Skies takes us through the ill-fated NASA shuttle mission of 1986.

We turn the clock back to January 28, 1986. Seven astronauts boarded the space shuttle Challenger on what would be a routine mission. All eyes and cameras were on crew member Christa McAuliffe, a high school teacher, who was set to become the first private citizen in space. Excitement filled the air as the clock counted down to liftoff. But at T-plus seventy-three seconds after launch, the unthinkable happened . . .

What caused the midair explosion? In Pranas T. Naujokaitis’s imaginative tale, set in a far-off future, a group of curious kids investigate the hard questions surrounding the Challenger explosion. Inspired by the legacy and sacrifice of the Challenger seven, they continue in their footsteps, setting out toward the stars and into the great unknown!

Story: Pranas T. Naujokaitis
Art: Pranas T. Naujokaitis
Color: Cassie Hart

Get your copy of The Challenger Disaster now! To find a comic shop near you, visit http://www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon
Kindle

First Second provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site

Review: Werewolf by Night #1

Werewolf By Night #1
Werewolf by Night

The origins of Marvel’s cult favorite Werewolf by Night, which was published in the early seventies as its own series, is a particularly interesting one when compared with the new series that just launched this year. Creators Roy Thomas, Jane Thomas, Gerry Conway, and Mike Ploog (who also illustrated Marvel’s version of Frankenstein) saw in the original comic a refreshing break from superhero stories. It was an escape into horror. The latest version of the lycanthrope, though, forgoes horror for super-heroics. So much so that it might’ve been more appropriate to call the comic Super-Werewolf by Night.

This new take on the character replaces the Transylvanian-born Jack Russell with a young man from the Hopi tribe known as Jake Gomez. He lives in a reservation with his grandmother Rora and is helped by a young woman called Molly.

The creative team of Taboo (from the Black Eyed Peas), Benjamin Jackendoff, and Scott Eaton establish these three characters as a tight unit, where the loss of one them would prove catastrophic to their own sense of identity. Granny Rora is the group’s storyteller, the source of the myths and legends that explain Jake’s relationship with his hairier side, if only metaphorically.

The story follows Jake as he protects the reservation and its surrounding area. Unfortunately for him, word of a wolf-like creature has reached certain parties that are interested in hunting the creature down. Elsewhere, an experiment gone wrong promises to shake the foundations of Jake’s life as he fights the wolf within and comes to terms with his existence.

Werewolf By Night #1
Werewolf by Night

While the story is nothing like the 1970’s version, it does borrow a lot from that decade’s more socially aware brand of comics. The new werewolf scares white hunters away from tribal lands, faces the results of an experiment gone wrong, and ultimately finds evil in the form of a giant corporation submerged in unethical practices.

While these problems are worthy of their own comic book series, they end up traversing well-trodden territory here and there doesn’t seem to be much of an intention to go the extra mile in terms of inventiveness. As a result, the comic comes off as far too simple for its own good. It’s not a particularly fresh take on the classic monster either, nor the superhero world it very much wants to be a part of.

In fact, the new superhero-like identity forced upon the werewolf seems to be more interested in incorporating the character into the larger Marvel universe rather than carving its own unique space within it. There’s space for horror in the Marvel universe and Werewolf by Night can still help make that happen, but it has to do more in the coming issues.

Werewolf By Night #1
Werewolf by Night

Scott Eaton’s art, on the other hand, does a great job at world building and produces an especially vicious werewolf design. Every scene involving the werewolf carries a ton of violence in it, albeit more figuratively than literally. There’s a force behind it that captures the sheer monstrosity that is a werewolf. Unfortunately, the wolf also has moments when he looks like he’s presenting himself as a viable option for a future Champions or Young Avengers comic. I wouldn’t mind that happening, especially because Native character are still in short supply in mainstream media, but I’d hope they make the character somewhat more unique and compelling in this regard.

The comic is not without its charm and it does have heart. There’s a chance future issues complicate things well enough to take our werewolf into uncharted territory. The first issue of Werewolf by Night is no indication of this, but there’s enough here to build on.

Story: Taboo, Benjamin Jackendoff Art: Scott Eaton
Inks: Scott Hanna Color: Miroslav Mrva
Story: 6.0 Art: 8.0
Recommendation: Wait for the compendium and buy some wolfsbane while you’re at it.


Purchase: comiXologyKindle

Review: American Carnage #6

AMERICAN CARNAGE #6

Omar Epps is one of those actors, whose sheer magnetism makes for must-watch television. Everything he usually is in is well written and typically showcases his characters in a strong light. The first I remembered seeing him was in the 90s classic, Juice. It starred a burgeoning actor/rapper, named Tupac Shakur and Epps played the protagonist in that film.

Epps would go on to star in many other features. He’d occasionally work in television, as his run on House, was as long as the main star. One of my favorite movies, by him, was the severely underrated In Too Deep. He played an undercover cop, whose work would blur the lines of reality, leading him on an unexpected path. In the brilliantly crafted American Carnage #6, Wright is also ensnared in this criminal enterprise, and the only way he can destroy it is from within.

We open up on Morgan, espousing his philosophy to Richard, trying t show why he thinks how he does and why his organization is the future of America. We also find Richard trying to stave off any rumblings of a civil war, by carefully making those who are disgruntled, know their place. Richard eventually comes to the realization that he must cross a line that pushes the legality of the case. By the issue‘s end, Richard finally tells Jennifer, the truth, a decision that may lead to deadly consequences.

Overall, American Carnage #6 is an exceptional issue, which adds a layer of danger for our protagonist. The story by Bryan Edward Hill is brilliant. The art by the creative team is amazing. Altogether, a story that is too close to our reality, which is why this a must-read.

Story: Bryan Edward Hill Art: Leandro Fernandez, Dean White, and Ben Oliver
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy


Purchase: comiXology – Amazon – Kindle

Review: Rock and Roll Terrorist: The Graphic Life of Shock Rocker GG Allin

Shock rocker GG Allin was a rapist, abuser, and criminal. His life and over the top performances are explored in this graphic novel from writer/artist Reid Chancellor.

Rock and Roll Terrorist: The Graphic Life of Shock Rocker GG Allin is a solid introduction to the musician whose life was full of controversy from early on.

Story: Reid Chancellor
Art: Reid Chancellor

Get your copy now! To find a comic shop near you, visit http://www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Microcosm Publishing
Bookshop
Amazon

Microcosm Publishing provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site

Review: Excalibur #13

Excalibur #13

In Excalibur #13, the “X of Swords” event is back in fetch quest mode, but writer Tini Howard, artist R.B. Silva, and colorist Nolan Woodard bring not one, but two swords to the party along with a lot of Braddock family drama. There’s betrayals, reversals, and it’s a merry old time like an Errol Flynn film with interdimensional doppelgangers and energy blasts. The rivalry between Betsy Braddock and Brian Braddock for the mantle of Captain Britain takes center stage in this issue, and Howard connects the role the Sword of Might plays in selecting a Captain Britain (If you pick it instead of the amulet, you’re too angry and impetuous for the position.) to the story of “X of Swords”. She and Silva show that even with Krakoa/the universe threatened, there is still time for petty disputes and self-doubt.

Other than the two opening issues (X of Swords: Creation, X-Factor #4) and Hellions, most of the chapters of “X of Swords” have followed a formula of a mutant taking possession of a sword that they’ll used to fight the Arakko aka Apocalypse’s kids and having to give up something or learn something about themselves in the issue (Or two for Wolverine) about their quest. Tini Howard and R.B. Silva adhere to this formula, but throw in an Otherworld twist and connect their story to the Captain Britain mythos as well as Opal Saturnyne’s machinations.

Whether or not you’ll like this comic depends on how invested you are in the Braddock family dynamic as well as the Captain Britain mythos in general even though Howard’s data pages do a decent job providing adequate background information on both the Captain Britain Corps and how one becomes Captain Britain. (It’s all a basically riff on the classic choice between Excalibur and its scabbard, which could protect the bearer from all wounds in some of the Arthurian legends.)

As she has done throughout her run on Excalibur, Howard does a wonderful job nailing the bickering sibling dynamic between Brian, Betsy, and Jamie Braddock. Before they end up swinging swords at members of the new Captain Britain Corps and hatching plots against Opal Saturnyne, Betsy and Brian spar a bit about the mantle of Captain Britain. Howard gives Brian a dry wit, and he makes some zingers about Betsy not even living in the U.K. as well as if she even wants the mantle. Betsy fires back with his hesitance to draw a sword even in a good cause like protecting the Earth from Arakko, and Brian’s relationship with combat and swords is a big throughline in Excalibur.

Excalibur #13

As far as art, R.B. Silva’s action scenes lack a sense of flow, but his facial expressions, cartooning, and use of grids help drive home the dynamic between the Braddocks with Jamie Braddock as a chaotic Omega mutant monarch wild card. He also gets a bit of visual comedy out of Betsy’s strategy to get the Starlight Sword from Saturnyne.

Nolan Woodard uses a pretty intense color palette whenever Betsy Braddock goes into action with her big-ass sword and contributes to the mystical vibe of everything. He also adds some interesting touches that make a Excalibur #13 richer storylike using a glowing, almost whiter-than-white color tone for Saturnyne that symbolizes that she is kind of above it all. Add Tini Howard’s foreboding narration for Betsy, and just like Ed Brisson and Rod Reis did with Douglas Ramsey in New Mutants #13, there’s a feeling that she might not make it out of the tournament despite her considerable skills.

I’m definitely on the fence as far as my opinion of Excalibur #13. It’s not my favorite issue of “X of Swords”, but it’s considerably better than, say Wolverine #6 and X-Force #13. Some highlights are Tini Howard and R.B. Silva’s portrayal of the relationship between Betsy, Brian, and Jamie Braddock as well as the legacy of the Captain Britain Corps, and Nolan Woodard’s heavy metal color palette. Some not-so-great parts are the battle between the Braddocks and the Excalibur doppelgangers even though the character designs are quite fun. It has all the trappings of a “mandatory fight scene”, and I felt less emotionally connected to it than when Betsy and Brian almost came to blows. With their deep personal connection to Otherworld, I’m interested to see how Captain Britain (Betsy Braddock) and the newly-minted Captain Avalon (Brian Braddock) fare in the “tournament” part of “X of Swords”.

Story: Tini Howard Art: RB Silva
Colors: Nolan Woodard Letters: Ariana Maher
Story: 7.8 Art: 7.2 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus Comics

Review: The Scumbag #1

The Scumbag #1

Everyone wants to be a hero. Or at the very least, everyone loves to root for the hero. They’re good looking and they’re tough. They’re smooth and they’re smart. They may have a troubled past, but they always have a chance for redemption. Plus, they always get the girl. Ernie Ray Clementine, the hero of The Scumbag #1, is none of these things. Yet, he’s the only thing that can save the world from Armageddon in this new ongoing series from Image Comics.

This series, penned by Rick Remender, takes a crass, illiterate, drug addict, injects him with an experimental super serum, and throws him into the world of high stakes espionage. The first issue introduces us to Ernie and sets the stakes for the first arc. Unfortunately, it doesn’t go much further than set up. Which wouldn’t be a bad thing, except that everything in this first issue, and some of the best lines within the issue for that matter, were laid out in the synopsis to the comic book.

A character profile and introductory letter to the reader, written by Remender and included at the end of the issue, actually give us more of Ernie’s background than the comic does. Full disclosure, if you buy the first issue, maybe flip to the back and read the letter, as it gave me more of an appreciation for the type of character Ernie is supposed to be than the actual comic did.

The story does have a science-fiction element that I found surprising. Though, outrageous and fantastical as this comic’s premise is, the sci-fi element just seems like one story element too many. For a comic where the plot doesn’t move forward beyond the synopsis, there’s almost too much going on in this first issue. That all being said, one thing I did love about this issue was that the background characters break the fourth wall. As the narrator’s voice is introducing us to Ernie, these characters affirm or add to the details being shared.

Each issue of this series will be drawn by a different artist. In The Scumbag #1, Lewis LaRosa gets first dibs. LaRosa’s art style is like a cross between an impressionist painting and street graffiti. His line work is sparse, yet the images in each panel are always clear. The artwork really sells the locations of each scene and makes the one fight sequence in this first issue look amazing. The colors used by Moreno Dinisio are bright, but were obviously applied digitally. I’m not sure either of these details act as the best compliment to LaRosa’s illustrations. In addition to a rotation of main artists, each issue of this series will have will have multiple variant covers drawn by a string of A-List artists.

The Scumbag #1 is not for everyone. The first issue alone has blood, gore, diarrhea, masturbation, and heavy drug use. Fans of action movies and anti-heroes will surely find something to like about this series. Those who enjoy character development and complex plots should probably choose a different title. Honestly, considering the string of artists slated to draw covers for each issue, this might be the type of series a person buys just for the cover art. In any case, give this one a browse before you commit to purchasing it.

Story: Rick Remender Art: Lewis LaRosa
Colors: Moreno Dinisio Letters: Rus Wooton
Story: 3.0 Art: 8.5 Overall: 5.8 Recommendation: Read

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus Comics

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