Category Archives: Reviews

Review: Imagine Wanting Only This

Life is so fleeting, you never know where your next turn will send you, and what surprises lay ahead. I believe that relationships are what makes you who you are. As the people who come into your life tend to shape who you are, and how you treat others and what you consider your scruples, make up the components of your own moral compass. It reminds me of a quote from a Heath Ledger movie, a remake of Four Feathers, where Djimon Hounsou’s character reminds Heath more than once, “God put you in my way. I have no choice.

It might sound crude in the fashion he delivers the lines, but I think of friends but also family pretty much come into your life as such. That is why when we must say goodbye to people in our lives, we tend to explore in our minds who they are to us and what imprint they have left on us. That is why when why I first read Imagine Wanting Only This, immediately a wave of emotions overcame me, as it is deeply personal in the best way and reminds of Langston Hughes poem, “A Dream Deferred.”

What happens to a dream deferred? /Does it dry up Like a raisin in the sun? /Or fester like a sore-/And then run? /Does it stink like rotten meat? /Or crust and sugar over-/like a syrupy sweet? /Maybe it just sags/like a heavy load. /Or does it explode? – Langston Hughes

In the book, we meet the author shortly after finding out her uncle Dan, has passed away, and immediately she flashes back to their lives together. We are also introduced to her longtime boyfriend, Andrew, as they meet each other and fall in love, and as time always does, their love eradicates. Eventually, they rekindle their love and explore what becomes probably the most dominant theme other than the cycle of life, ruins, as she visits ones in the Midwest, in the Philippines, in Italy, and even Thailand. By book’s end, the reader goes on an exploration of life, as the author’s journey is more than her relationships with her uncle Dan and her boyfriend, Andrew, but how life is truly like the seasons as she tackles her own mortality head on, knowing we live life one breath at a time.

Overall, an immensely entertaining and beautiful book that tugs at your heart strings in ways that you never could be moved. The story by Kristen Radtke, is heartfelt, personal, and asks the readers to live their best life now. The art by Radtke is simply alluring and at times, reminds of the movie, A Scanner Darkly. Altogether, a beautiful book that the reader will want to read more than once, as the roads you take in life are important, but how you get there is even more important.

Story: Kristen Radtke Art: Kristen Radtke
Story:10 Art:10 Overall:10 Recommendation: Buy

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Review: Is’Nana: The Were-Spider Vol. 1

Growing up, reading comics back home n Queens, New York, I never quite caught on to Spider-Man. I know that may be a controversial statement, considering how many Spidey fans there are out there, but his stories never interested me and no, this not a diatribe against Spider-Man, as his canon amongst the other Marvel superheroes is prolific and for good reason. His story about growing up in Queens, New York, saving civilians, never caught fire with me, as I never felt the angst and struggle that Peter Parker went through. Then when I found out that the origins of Spider-Man, not only came from Stan Lee’s imagination but also from African folklore.

As the story of Anansi, well known to only through West Africa but also throughout the Caribbean, as he is the spirit of all knowledge and stories. I remember my grandfather telling me the story when I was 7 when I lived in Trinidad. Growing up reading comic books, I read about Thor and his brother Loki, and their father, Odin, and always thought why were stories about people who looked like me never like this. Enter writer Greg Anderson-Elysee, who from what I just read, probably thought, and wished the same exact thing.

Enter, Is’Nana: The Were-Spider, which starts off with the reader meeting Roger Stine, a lonely old man, whose children do not have time for him, as he suffers nightmares of a leopard chasing him. Little does he know, supernatural forces are at play, as a dark force is haunting him, it being another figure from African folklore, Osebo the Leopard, who not only haunts him but takes over Roger’s body. Is’Nana just so happens to be on the hunt for him, at which point, Is’Nana with the help of his father, Anansi, fights Osebo to save Roger’s life. The story ends with Is’Nana defeating Osebo and becoming friends with Roger and as a bonus the reader gets introduced to Is ‘Nana’s journey form his world to ours as well as why his father, Anansi was brought here as well.

Overall, a strong introduction to a character and a world that I want to know more about and one which is more relatable than Peter Parker’s. The story by Greg Anderson-Elysee, by at first glance may seem like one we have heard before, but once the reader digs in, is an even denser and intricate story and one whose origins have deeper roots than one would imagine. The art by Walter Ostlie, Lee Milewski, Walt Msonza Barna, and Joshua Cozine, is beautiful and reminds me of the work Frank Miller did on Ronin. Altogether, a strong first book by this team, and a story that I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Story: Greg Anderson-Elysee
Art: Walter Ostlie, Lee Milewski, Walt Msonza Barna and Joshua Cozine
Story:10 Art:10 Overall:10 Recommendation:Buy

Gotham Weekly With Alex And Joe: Episode Three And A Half

Neal Adams Batman TMNT Adventures #6 ExclusiveWelcome to Gotham Weekly’s first unscheduled recording!

Our hosts were chatting over messenger about a couple of Batman related things, and decided to just stop and record the conversation. Among the topic of conversation was the announcement of the Titans series, the exclusive C2E2 Batman #21 and Salt City Comic Con Batman/TMNT Adventures #6 (left) variant covers, the recent Bruins/Senators Stanley Cup Playoff series, and the upcoming Hulu documentary Batman And Bill, because Alex finally watched the trailer (included below). This comic strip by Ty Templeton, this book by Marc Tyler Nobleman. 

There was also a bit of chatter about the upcoming SSSC guest Graham Nolan and his co-creation Bane… honestly, we were all over the place. There was no agenda.

We may have forgot we were recording at times.

For links to the interviews and features mentioned in the podcast scroll past the trailer.

 

SUPERMEGAFEST 2016: Interview With Graham Nolan

RHODE ISLAND COMIC CON 2015: Interview With Kevin Conroy

Marc Tyler Nobleman Talks To Us About His Work In Getting Bill Finger’s Name Recognized

I Hate Bob Kane

And as a bonus, the first article Alex ever wrote: Bill Who?

 

Review: Ben Reilly: The Scarlet Spider #1

One of the most controversial characters in comics has returned – and the controversy has only BEGUN! In the aftermath of The Clone Conspiracy, Ben has a new take on life…and he’s not the same Scarlet Spider he was before. Come witness what will be the most talked about comic of the year!

I wasn’t much of a Spider-Man fan growing up only reading issues here and there around events, but I even knew to skip the original Clone Saga so missed the original Ben Reilly stories. That might be the reason why the reveal of Reilly as the big bad in the previous event didn’t really have a big impact for me. Instead, I found an interesting character who could easily have given Norman Osborn a run for his money as a brilliant villain to challenge Peter in the future.

Instead, we get Ben Reilly off on his own thinking he’s a hero and going off on an adventure to prove it. He’s wanted so trying to fly under the radar and that has him asking his rescues for money… which has some potential.

But, what’s odd in writer Peter David‘s take on Reilly is that he’s generally lost his mind. Instead of the smart aleck or quick quips like Peter Parker instead we get Reilly being somewhat mean and talking to phantoms. This isn’t the Jackal we’ve seen for an event, the put together villain who has a big vision for the world and how he’ll save it. Here, he’s broken and has more in common with Deadpool than he does in Spider-Man. It’s a weird take that feels like it diverges from the character we saw just a month ago. And, it’s ok to bring these elements in, but they’re there without much of an explanation. It’s an odd addition that I think is supposed to make the character stand out but instead it feels like it’s out of left field.

The art stands out in some ways with Mark Bagley on pencils, John Dell on inks and Jason Keith handling colors. Joe Carmagna needs a shout-out as the letterer as there’s a lot of dialogue on some of the pages, but he makes it work with the art team. Bagley’s pencils are decent though don’t quite stand out like I usually expect from his art. What I did notice is Keith’s use of greens in the coloring, a color I associate with Spider-Man villains. There’s some interesting stuff there, but it doesn’t quite have the punch and excitement as the main Spider-Man series or even Miles Morales’ run.

The first issue is decent with a vibe in some ways back to the 90s when this character was swinging around. I’m not completely sold on this series but intrigued enough to see where it all goes from here.

Story: Peter David Art: Mark Bagley, John Dell
Story: 7.0 Art: 7.60 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: The Few #4

After the attack on the Few’s headquarters by Herrod, Edan Hale escapes into the woods along with the remaining guerillas, including Peter, Davey, and their father, leader of the Few. They’re not just licking their wounds though. The Few have a plan for revenge on Herrod. But there will be consequences, and Captain Jariks is right behind with the Palace forces. They now know of Edan’s desertion and plan on taking her in dead or alive. Will Edan finally see the error of her ways and change sides? More importantly, is it too late to atone for her sins?

The cover for The Few #4 might be the best in the series. Herrod and his Ragers are in full gear, posed intimidatingly, and colored in red which looks like they swam through a river of blood. The emotion one feels is fear, which is exactly the response these guys want while in their presence. I found this to be the most visceral response I’ve had to The Few’s cover so far, and also visually represent the focus of this issue, Herrod and his indulgent violence.

The opening quote comes courtesy of Nicollo Machiavelli:

Men ought to be indulged or utterly destroyed.

I do not know what line this comes from (probably Machiavelli’s classic book The Prince) or the original context in which it is written, but here it implies to Herrod and the Ragers, men who indulge in violence.

Throughout the series, Herrod and the Ragers appearance in a scene almost always ended in grandiose acts of violence. They kill in high numbers and in the bloodiest of fashions, leaving behind a grotesque crime scene. But why do they act this way? It was revealed in a previous issue that Herrod had been driven insane by hunger and a lack of oxygen due to the Palace’s theft of resources. One could assume Herrod’s extremism is revenge and, possibly, justified. However, that doesn’t take in account the sadistic glee he and his men demonstrate. Their introduction in issue #1 used a man’s failure to retrieve promised information as an excuse to slaughter an entire community, the back of issue #3 contains a Herrod newsletter (wait, what?) advertising the opportunity to rape women for new members, and this issue contains a scene of Davey confronted by Ragers as they talk to him with uncomfortably sexual and cannibal-toned dialogue.

For Herrod and the Ragers, the Machiavelli quote can be seen as nothing but negative. Indulgence in this series is bloodshed and cruelty. However, given Machiavelli’s questionable views (many say he taught despotism), Herrod is simply doing what is normal in a world where it’s survive or die. I have mentioned this in my previous reviews, how in a world without order and balance, morality becomes relative. So, in a twisted sense, Herrod’s actions, his indulgence, makes perfect sense. Same goes for the Palace. They indulge in resources stolen from outside states, but it’s fine because the world requires cruelty in order to survive. However, it is hard to argue this point when the demonstrations of cruelty or so brutal.

I believe, as characters, Herrod and the Ragers succeed as a cautionary tale of the survive or die philosophy. At what point does making traditionally immoral choices reverse back to just being that? When do you stop being a survivor and become a monster?

This question becomes the dramatic high point for Edan Hale. After three issues of struggling with her conditioning in the Palace to see the Few as nothing but the enemy, her ongoing struggle with reconciling the anti-Few sediment, one that allowed Edan to commit despicable acts for “the greater good”, comes to a dramatic climax, literally causing her to break down crying at one point. It is a satisfying, poignant moment topped by only the subsequent moment where Edan’s past catches up to her, hinting at an even greater conflict in the next issue.

For me, these dramatic character developments are the strongest points of this issue. So much build up from the past three issues has coalesced and cascaded into a great climax. It helps that Hayden Sherman continues to bring his A-game in art, this time with some of the most explosive, stylized action scenes so far in this series. He accomplishes this with very little, using a series of white lines for gunfire and explosion clouds surrounded by dark or medium colors to emphasize their intensity. My favorite piece of action was a splash page of a single man being gun downed. He is placed in the bottom center of a white page, orange gunfire events surrounding him in a downward direction accompanied by a barrage of bullets. It’s both a beautiful and emotionally devastating piece of art.

The color of blood changes in one scene from the experimental pastel red to a more typical darker shade. I believe this was made to emphasize the amount of dead bodies in the scene. It’s impressive, but also slightly annoyed by the sudden change to standard blood color that doesn’t go along with the rest of the unique pastel color scheme of the series. Finally, before the major showdown between Herrod and the Few, there are two pages utilizing the 9-panel grid for a scene of stealth. It is expertly used, slowly building up the tension before unleashing hell.

As for how this issue plays into the bigger themes of the series, I already mentioned how it further examines the danger of committing horrible acts out of necessity, namely that it is dangerous when rationalizing horrible acts on another side through dehumanization. This becomes harder when one spends time with the other side, seeing their humanity and realizing they are just like you trying to survive in a world that has gone insane. On the other hand, this issue justifies dehumanization, namely when a side proves to be truly awful. Herrod and the Ragers are so cruel and monstrous, no amount of understanding where they’re coming from can excuse or promote kindness toward them. I find this relevant to modern America where arguments are made to show the new crop of Neo-Nazis and fascists coming out of the woodwork under feeling empowered by Trump compassion. But how can that argument be made when their intentions are solely to cause harm to the marginalized? Turn the other cheek, and you quickly run out of cheeks. Sometimes there is no other option than to fight back.

There is no ideal, straight cut way of resolving conflict in The Few. Like Hayden Sherman with his art, Sean Lewis shades the moral landscape with an overwhelming gray tone. It often feels like there are no answers or at least none that will always be the right one. The story is deeply complex, always challenging, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Story: Sean Lewis Art: Hayden Sherman
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat #17

Like a cinnamon sugar pretzel for Auntie Ann’s, Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat #17 is a sweet treat of a comic book and a hell of a bit of icing on the cupcake that was Kate Leth, Brittney Williams, and (for the second half of the series) Rachelle Rosenberg’s run on the title. Patsy has finally come into some money thanks to getting back to the book rights to the romance novels and has decided to treat her friends to a nice shopping spree. (Color me jealous.) Cue a bevy of montages, food court scenes, and a celebration of friendship, queerness, and even a touch of fandom at the end.

I really like that Leth and Williams focused on the core cast of Patsy, Jubilee, Ian Soo, and Tom Hale in Hellcat #17. Before the shopping action even starts, we get some playful banter between Patsy and Ian, and it’s hard to believe that they were hero and villain sixteen issues ago until bonding over musicals. The bonds and interactions between characters have been my favorite part of Hellcat so far, and Leth indulges this by going full slice of life in the series finale. Williams counters with some wonderful (and wearable) fashion and adorable set dressing like Patsy’s cat themed cover set and slippers on the first page with a touch of Brooklyn sunlight from Rosenberg to show this is a perfect day. While also being a celebration of fun and friendship, Hellcat #17 also embraces body positivity with the diverse body types of its main cast, and an any outfit can look cool/cute attitude. (Someone needs to show me where Ian got his.)

Hellcat is still a superhero comic, and there is a “villain”, but Leth and Williams have a couple twists up their sleeves as the “Somnambulisters” transform from Z-list villains to vampires and finally big fans of Hellcat and queer teens. Williams uses choppy panels with simple backgrounds, puffs of smoke, and punching when it seems like Hellcat is fighting some of Jubilee’s vampire frenemies. However, she opens it up when it’s revealed that Stevie and Danica are Patsy’s biggest fans, and that fact ends up being facepalm-worthy thanks to dialogue from their very friendly villainous dialogue. (Also, one of the pair sits out during the brawl to take pictures like the other is visiting Patsy’s booth at a convention.) Speaking of dialogue, Kate Leth writes fast-paced, melodramatic teen dialogue and can cut to the core of the subtext behind the banter, which is that Stevie and Danica love each other. It’s a super cute touch to Marvel’s most queer-friendly book that featured a gay bookstore as a hangout/place to meet attractive gingers, like Tom Hale.

In its first issue, Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat set out to be a comic book about super-powered individuals who just wanted to make ends meet, have a good, and not fight costumed villains or have run-ins with the authorities. Sure, there were fights against the Black Cat and journeys to hell along the way, but Hellcat #17 recaptures the spirit of Kate Leth and Brittney Williams’ original thesis for the series. Patsy doesn’t knock out the Somnabulisisters, but instead listens to them and finds out they have a passionate for Hellcat and each other. She doesn’t send them to jail, but helps them return their costumes to “Goth Topic” and even recommends they visit Tom’s LGBTQ bookstore to help them with their feelings for each other. This is just like Patsy helping Ian find work moving books at Tom’s store in Hellcat #1 instead of throwing him in jail for badly attempting to steal an armored car as Telekinian.

Even though it has quirky jokes and fierce style thanks to the dialogue of Kate Leth, the facial expressions and costume design of Brittney Williams, and a palette that uses just the right amount of pink from Rachelle Rosenberg, Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat is a comic all about community building through organic friendships. It’s great to see characters go from awkward half-strangers or acquaintances from days past, like Tom who was in the Patsy Walker romance comic many moons ago, to friends in arms and finally, in shopping. That’s why it’s fitting that Hellcat #17 doesn’t end in a cliffhanger or final battle, but an overhead shot of friends spending time together.

P.S. Marvel editorial and future creators better not forget about Ian Soo, who will always be my bi bae and had a great arc throughout the series, and his backstory even tied into some of the villain fights.

P.P.S. This comic pair wells with “Safety Dance” by Men without Hats.

Story: Kate Leth Art: Brittney Williams Colors: Rachelle Rosenberg
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Big Moose #1

Big Moose one-shot introduces three new short stories about the one and only Moose, each created by separate teams, giving various takes on the character.

“Moose vs. The Vending Machine” gives into the stereotypical airheaded Moose, who willingly trades Jughead a week of his lunches for a single dollar, just to get something from the vending machine. While Sean Ryan’s story felt predictable, it still had the familiar humor of Archie Comics past, and that’s okay with me.

“Have It All” follows a week in the life as Moose, his thought process narrates the story, and we are able to get a glimpse into the interiority that makes the man. It touches on the stereotypes about the character from previous Archie Comics variations, such as Moose’s temper and lack of intelligence. It’s essentially the “there’s more than meets the eye” story. Ryan Cady’s take on Moose is interesting because he’s given more depth than what most fans are used to. It’s well done given how much information we get in just a few pages.

In “The Big Difference” Moose is placed back into the jock stereotype immediately. While I love meeting new Archie Comics characters, I do not love an overly blatant moral message. This piece had the same classic comic feeling as the first, but for whatever reason, it didn’t quite do it for me. I hope to see more of this “Freshie” character though.

As charming as Big Moose as a series has potential to be, I don’t see it surviving as anything more than a one-shot, unless the writers decided to explore his sexuality more (which seems to be in question from the hit show Riverdale) or give him more depth in general. The jock-stereotype story is played out and I found myself wanting to read the Midge one-shot instead. #TeamMidge

Script: Sean Ryan, Ryan Cady, Gorf
Art: Thomas Pitilli, Cory Smith, Ryan Jampole, Matt Herms, Glenn Whitmore, Kelly Fitzpatrick, Jack Morelli
Cover: Thomas Pitilli
Variant Covers: Cory Smith, Wilfredo Torres

Review: Hostage

In the middle of the night in 1997, Doctors Without Borders administrator Christophe André was kidnapped by armed men and taken away to an unknown destination in the Caucasus region. For three months, André was kept handcuffed in solitary confinement, with little to survive on and almost no contact with the outside world.

Artist and writer Guy Delisle recounts André’s experience in Hostage the new graphic novel from Drawn & Quarterly that’s one of the most fascinating graphic novels I’ve read this year. Delisle recounts André’s experience in an almost 500 page book that goes over the details no matter how mundaine it may seem. And I think that’s what’s most fascinating about it all. This isn’t a story where André is being taken out and his life threatened, that experience comes from his head. Instead, the graphic novel is actually almost ordinary in a way. Day in and day out André is handcuffed in his setting given soup and bread to eat and recounting the days. How he spent the three months and what was occuring on his side is the interesting part.

This isn’t a story about negotiations and failed transfers. Instead, this story focuses on what André imagines is going on, or just straight up ponders. Why was a photo taken? Why did he have to provide a phone numbers? Telling the story only from André’s perspective provides us the reader a confinement that reflects what André experienced. For pages and pages the book devotes itself to the soup André eats and how his wrist deals with the handcuffs. Because, that’s what André experienced. We see how André stayed alert during his time, how he counted the days, and his general thoughts. In reality though, we only see and experience what André did.

Delisle conveys the psychological effects of solitary confinement, compelling us to ask ourselves some difficult questions regarding the repercussions of negotiating with kidnappers and what it really means to be free. For those in the nonprofit sector or want to see the power of graphic journalist, Hostage is a fascinating read.

But, what struck me most, and Delisle enhances with his art is how far from an action movie it all is. Seriously, I want to go pack and see how much is devoted to discussing soup. But, the way it’s all presented is in a way so that we the reader who are unfamiliar with André’s experience don’t know what’s happening next. So, through the mundane tension increases as the story goes on.

Hostage is one of the most fascinating releases this year in both its story, attention to detail, and how it’s laid out. For a slice of real life through graphic journalism, this is a must get.

Story: Guy Delisle Art: Guy Delisle
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Elektra #3

STL039922“Are you not entertained?!” is an actual line spoken by the Riddler-esque “master villain” Arcade in this third installment of Elektra. Let that sink in for a moment, we’ve got an unoriginal villain speaking an unoriginal line and that’s one of the most interesting things about this issue.

Writer Matt Owens somehow manages to make his run of Elektra more tragic than the Greek play that the title character gets her name from. The sole black character, a stereotypical ethnic MMA champ gives us another great throwaway line by calling Elektra “Furiosa” and somehow the way the character says it, makes it sound more like an insult than a compliment. The other female character seems utterly useless and spends most of her time crying or forgetting how to hide, which I suppose was Owens’ way of showing us how strong Elektra is by contrast.

We are already three issues into this hot trash fire of a story arc and this solo Elektra series shows no signs of giving our character any dignity, agency, autonomy or actual story. Owens seems content to relegate our hero to a supporting role in her own comic book and by having her stroll around like the Assassin edition of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl he is now having her stay under the thumb of the wackest villain of all time. To recap, Elektra is wearing a barely there outfit and still manages to be the last one standing in the Battle Royal that Arcade set up. The other female on her team was pretty much a trope wrapped in a prop. The other POC dies while quipping. In Elektra’s saddest moments unable to draw strength from her own badassery, she conjures up an image of Daredevil to be her spirit guide to lead her to safety and when it’s all said and done, Arcade informs her as they stand face to face that he’s keeping her because she makes him a lot of money.

Juan Cabal was tasked with illustrating this train wreck and, to his credit there was less male gaze and body hugging in his panels than we saw in the last issue. Antonio Fabela and Jordan Boyd provided the color for this issue and, depending on what was happening it looked like an old 80’s cartoon, Arcade looked like Rainbow Brite’s older brother, with the color scheme to match or like a throwaway episode of Archer. Overall the artwork was cheesy but it matched the ridiculousness of the story being told. There’s a lot of “Stab” and “Splurt” used in the panel, which would be necessary if we didn’t actually see the people being stabbed or the blood spurting out. I can only assume that there was a word count and since there was so little talking or storytelling done with the dialogue, they had to do something to fill in the gaps. There’s also no sense of time change in present vs past or in dream world vs reality in the artwork. It all looks pretty much the same, down to Elektra’s permanently annoyed facial expression.

The cover should let you know everything you need to know about where this story is headed. Arcade stands above Elektra as a puppetmaster, while Elektra sticks her bottom out like a video vixen in a house of mirrors so that the reader can get multiple views of her backside. The cover alone reminds us that this is issue, like the ones that came before it, are not about Elektra, it’s about the men in control of her story. This issue was just as convoluted, Elektra devoid, and uneventful as the two issues that proceeded it. I keep expecting the next issue to be the one where we get a real Elektra comic but, Owens seems incapable of providing one. We get loads of insight into the bad guys and supporting characters, even the mob of people betting on the outcome of the death dome that Elektra is stuck in seem more interesting and better developed than she does. Owens doesn’t know how to write women and his lack of interest in his subject matter shows in his writing and in the world he created for his title character to exist in.

The whole point of this arc seems to be rooted in making Elektra fight for other people but, not to save them, she is not in control of her body or actions and is trapped in a storyline that makes her a slave to others, under the thumb of her male enslaver and at the mercy of a mob who takes delight in using her body as entertainment. It’s lazy storytelling and it’s not even interesting or complex enough to be an actual story. To answer the question posed by Arcade early on in this issue, NO! I am not entertained.

Story: Matt Owens Art: Juan Cabal, Antonio Fabela & Jordan Boyd
Story: 5.4 Art: 7 Overall: 5.8 Recommendation: Read (if it’s rainy & you’re bored)

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Night Owl Society #1

We’ve all seen this story before and some of us have written it ourselves: teens see the ills of the world and want to do something about it. It’s been in Gotham Academy, Runaways, and Young Avengers. To a lesser extent, there’s also Suburban Glamour, the Wicked + the Divine, and Morning Glories. Beyond comics, the same story appears over and over again in media like Power Rangers. So what makes IDW Publishing‘s Night Owl Society different? So far, absolutely nothing. In fact, it doesn’t have the little twists and nuances those other titles offer.

So what does Night Owl Society offer? This is the story of a boy who saw a kingpin trying to take over the whole town. And he’s barely there in photographs but you’ll… probably not like him at all. There’s nothing intriguing about David that’s been shown so far. He’s such a blank slate and so unattached, ostensibly so the readers can step into his shoes, that he becomes like a Persona main character: a vessel with choices fed into them. But the reader doesn’t feed in the choices in a comic and we’re left with little to invest in. To be fair, things can improve and start looking up but this, for me, is an off-putting start.

More than that, the dialogue and writing of this ragtag group of teenagers is stilted and uncomfortable. Everyone speaks incredibly formally and with none of the colloquialisms or speech patterns one would expect from any group of people under 30 who are around each other at least five days a week. Writer James Venhaus could use a reminder of what it’s like being under 18. Pius Bak’s art and Marshall Dillon’s lettering work for the most part but aren’t memorable for me.

Story: James Venhaus Art: Pius Bak
Story: 5.0 Art: 5.0 Overall: 6.0 Recommendation: Pass

IDW Publishing provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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