Category Archives: Reviews

Review: Bloodshot Reborn #0

brs0.jpgPerhaps the most important issue in Jeff Lemire’s continuing Bloodshot epic. Don’t miss this very special story…as we unveil a shocking new revelation in the Bloodshot saga. The next chapter of Bloodshot starts here!

This zero issue of Bloodshot Reborn serves as a bridge between Bloodshot USA and the next chapter in the Bloodshot saga, Bloodshot Salvation which makes it pretty essential reading for fans of the character as it sets the direction for what comes next for our favorite red-eyed killing machine. But as much as the issue sets the scene for Bloodshot’s future, it also serves as a fantastic epilogue to the previously mentioned series, tying a bow on a couple of plot points left somewhat unresolved from that miniseries.

There’s a multitude of reasons for you to pick this up – whether you’re a new or returning reader looking for a jumping on point, or you’re already invested in the series, then you’ll find a solid comic book here. It’s not great, and honestly, it suffers a little from serving as the bridge between two series. After reading the issue it doesn’t feel like the comic has anything new to say – and yet what it does say, and this is almost contrary to my last sentence, it is said in a very complete manner.

Although there’s nothing here that fans won’t be expecting, especially if you’re aware of the premise of the upcoming Bloodshot upcoming Bloodshot Salvation series, it’s still a very good comic.

It’s just not required reading if you’re already invested in the series.

Story: Jeff Lemire Art: Renato Guedes
Story: 7.75 Art: 8.75 Overall: 8 Recommendation: Read

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review.

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Marvel Weekly Graphic Novel Review: Deadpool: Too Soon?

It’s Wednesday which means new comic book day with new releases hitting shelves, both physical and digital, all across the world. We’ve got a new volume from Marvel, Deadpool: Too Soon?.

Deadpool: Too Soon? collects issues 1 to 4 and material from Gwenpool Holiday Special: Merry Mix-Up #1 by Joshua Corin, Todd Nauck, Jim Charalampidis, Andy Troy, Chynna Clugston Flores, and Guy Major.

Find out about the trade and whether you should grab yourself a copy. You can find both in comic stores March 22 and bookstores April 4.

Get your copies 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.

Deadpool: Too Soon?
Amazon/Kindle/comiXology or TFAW

 

 

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review
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DC Weekly Graphic Novel Review: Batgirl Vol. 1 and Cyborg Vol. 1

It’s Wednesday which means new comic book day with new releases hitting shelves, both physical and digital, all across the world. We’ve got two more volume from DC Comics, the Rebirth launches of Batgirl and Cyborg!

Batgirl Vol. 1 Beyond Burnside collects issues 1 to 6 by Hope Larson and Rafael Albuquerque.

Cyborg Vol. 1 The Imitation of Life collects issues 1 to 5 and Cyborg: Rebirth by John Semper Jr., Paul Pelletier, Will Conrad, and Timothy Green II.

Find out what the trade has in store and whether you should grab yourself a copy. You can find both in comic stores March 22 and bookstores March 28.

Get your copies 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.

Batgirl Vol. 1 Beyond Burnside
Amazon/Kindle/comiXology or TFAW

Cyborg Vol. 1 The Imitation of Life
Amazon/Kindle/comiXology or TFAW

 

 

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies 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: Suicide Squad #14

Rob Williams brought the heat in this action packed issue that brings the “Burning Down the House (Hit It)” story arc to a close and starts something off even better. Williams gives us a squad in chaos that’s dealing with some of its members capture and the death of one of its own. The Squad knows they’re no heroes but, they are a team and one thing that their team of baddies gone semi good does well is revenge. The death of Hack will be avenged and now that that there are no strings on Harley, we get to see one of our favorite bad asses going hard with her infamous mallet. There was sincere joy in my heart when she whipped that thing out and headed into battle.

Suicide Squad #14 starts off with Flag and Katana confined and being held captive by Rustam and his gang of goons, including the traitor Deadshot. This issue treats us to some peak Harley savagery on her quest to find out who killed Hack and her mission to make them pay, with or without the aid of the rest of the Squad. We get to see some action, self-pity, rage, a return and some pretty hardcore violence. All of the awesomeness a comic book lover could need packed into the pages of a single issue and, it is magnificent.

Eddy Barrows and John Romita Jr., serve up some pretty well thought out lines for the pivotal issue and they feel like an extra character giving some depth and realism to the amazing tale that Williams has written. There isn’t a line wasted, a blood splatter misplaced, or a brutalized body left lacking. The facial expressions on the characters add agency to their actions and tell more than words could every say, so even when the panels are devoid of words, the images speak volumes.

This issue is a beautifully well-written end of an arc and a perfectly plotted out start of a new one. A clear line has been drawn in the sand and allegiances are solidified and destroyed. There’s a lot going on in this episode and some pretty good surprises but, one of the things that really impressed me was the degree of talent in the story telling. This is one of those issues that those who are new to the story could pick up, still know what’s going on and want to not only follow along in the next issue but, maybe play catch up just so they have something to keep them occupied while they wait, for what’ll seem like the longest two weeks ever, for the next issue.

Story: Rob Williams Art: John Romita Jr. and Eddy Barrows
Story: 9.7 Art: 9.7 Overall: 9.8 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Mother Panic #5

MotherPanicCoverMother Panic #5 is chock full of information about Violet Paige’s backstory that writer Jody Houser seeds between stake-outs, surreal and sad conversations with her mentally unstable mother, and a night at the club to keep up appearances. Houser, artist Shawn Crystal, and colorist Jean-Francois Beaulieu create a blunt contrast between Mother Panic and her new ally Pretty where she wants to take out Gather House in as few moves and words as possible while Pretty waxes poetic and quotes Lewis Carroll. The main plot inches forward, but at the end of the issue, readers will have a fuller understanding of the pain that motivates Violet Paige to become Mother Panic as well as her moral code.

In his art, Crystal melds twisted, belongs-in-a-Tim Burton film figures (Especially Pretty.) with iconic layout choices like a juxtaposition of a deer in Violet’s rifle scope when she hunted with her dad and a child sleeping in the house that she is infiltrating. Violet will do anything and kill anyone who gets in the way of her revenge on the Gather House, which tortured her and made her into a Weapon X-like lab rat under the guise of her brother sending her to boarding school. But she draws the line at killing kids, which would make her no worse than Mother Patrick and the other doctors, nuns, and teachers, who were responsible for a childhood and adolescence full of torment. This is why they pop up as sharp toothed monsters in her flashbacks, which are almost always red courtesy of Beaulieu. Mother Panic truly has some demons that need exorcising.

Along with flashbacks and a botched team-up with Pretty, Mother Panic #5 has several MotherPanicInteriorscenes of conversation between Violet and her mother. Houser’s dialogue is stylish and full of Shakespearean and Carroll-eque non sequiturs, but the bond between mother daughter shows in Crystal’s body language for them. Violet is always unmasked when she talks with her mom and looks uneasy around her constantly trying to read and play along with her moods as she goes from anger to delirium and all the places in between. However, she also uses these chats with her mom to air out some deep emotions she has like a gnawing feeling of loneliness as Violet has no friends just a mission. Sure, she sleeps with both women and men, but only to get information on her next target or keep up her image as a vapid, hard partying socialite. Without her mom, Violet would be alone with her revenge.

Writer Jim Krueger and artists Phil Hester, Ande Parks, and Trish Mulvihill “Gotham Radio” backup story takes a turn for the compelling with the appearance of a fan favorite DC Comics, whose reveals is like slowly unwrapping your favorite Christmas present. Hester’s clean art and Krueger’s sometimes deadpan comedic dialogue give the story a laidback feel until it takes a turn for the dark (and awesome) at the end. A Batman-free Gotham detective story is definitely a treat, and I look forward to reading this mystery/commentary on vigilante justice and media alarmism in one sitting when it is all finished.

Jody Houser, Shawn Crystal, and Jean-Francois Beaulieu put Violet Paige’s ultraviolent crusade in psychologically scarring context in Mother Panic #5, which will make you want to give Mother Panic a hug before she pushes you off her and tells you to “Fuck off” before disappearing into Gotham’s dark night.

Story: Jody Houser Art: Shawn Crystal Colors: Jean-Francois Beaulieu
Story: 9.5 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics/Young Animal provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Doom Patrol #5

doompatrol5aMINOR SPOILERS BELOW.

I can’t remember the last time that a comic was this bat #$%@ crazy, yet I begged for more. Doom Patrol #5 is a great example of what happens when talented creators double down on the ridiculous, and make something cohesive and beautiful within its own crazy world. I say creators because, a lot of the time, writers get more credit than artists, and with this book, it would be a crime to not treat Gerard Way and Nick Derington as equal powerhouses. Now that may be true with most comics, as the artist deserves a ton of credit since they are doing so much of the work we see on the page, but this comic marries the art and writing better than most in the entire medium.

The way Derington draws these books amazes me even more with each issue. It isn’t simply because of his super original yet instantly recognizable style, it’s because he brings them to life with every panel. The characters in this book are so zany, and feel right in line with past Doom Patrol comics. He draws  Cliff Steele punching Torminox in an iconic ode to Cap punching Hitler. It is beautiful. The entire book is filled with great moments that pop off the page and flow from panel to panel in a way not all comic books do. I am amazed that Derington finishes these issues (yes there have been some delays), but I can see why because they are packed with detail, are constantly changing locations, characters, tone, and sometimes even style. All while continuing to keep the charm that he brings to this series. Again, he is just as important as Way to this book, if not more. Tamra Bonvillain, while having one of the coolest names in comics, also colors the hell out of this comic. They bring these characters right off of the page with bright and deep tones that marry Derington’s artwork perfectly. The two work as a perfect tandem, and make each other’s work that much better.

Way nails these characters in the same way Morrison did. The tone is fun, fast, and ridiculous, and I couldn’t stop reading and flipping the page in anticipation of what would happen next, or to see if these characters that I love were okay. It takes a good writer to make me feel about characters like Robotman, The Negative Man, Casey, Ricardo, Flex, and Danny, but I do. That isn’t to say they aren’t great characters, but that I am completely buying into them as people, and that’s crazy, well because this book shouldn’t feel real. It’s nuts, but in a good way. Again, there have been some real good Doom Patrol runs, but this series so far has blown me away. I hope these two stay together on this book for a long time. There are a ton of moments that if you blink you may miss them that seem to set up things down the road. I actually went back through the issue for a second time and found things I hadn’t noticed. Whether those be details written in the background, or a moment that hints at a future cover that may or may not have to do with an awesome cat, they add to what makes this book great.

I would recommend Doom Patrol to anyone looking for something off the beaten path. Have superhero fatigue? Looking for something to make you laugh or smile? Do you want a comic that captures the heart of the wacky old comics, while bringing something new to the table? Then this book is for you. I pull Doom Patrol every month, so I put my money where my mouth is on this review. I love this weird little book, and it is just getting more fun, and wonderfully silly with each issue.

Story: Gerard Way Art: Nick Derington Color: Tamra Bonvillain
Story: 8.5 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Young Animal provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Action Comics #976

As this epic tale wraps up, Superman’s life is drastically changed…and that’s all we are saying for now – except that you won’t want to miss it!

DC Comics’ Rebirth event is interesting in that it isn’t a reboot and it doesn’t jettison everything that’s come before. Instead, it’s a merging of what came before the New 52 and the New 52 itself. Superman was a bit interesting case to this new world. In a storyline that began in Convergence and then carried over into the mini-series Superman: Lois and Clark, the Pre-52 Superman was brought into the New 52 world along with his wife Lois and their son Jonathan. Then, the New 52 Superman crumbled with his powers splintering off. So, short version, we had a displaced Superman and Lois attempting to fill in the lives of their New 52 versions. It made for some good comedy and drama at some points, but it eventually was going to wear out.

Superman Reborn” seems to have resolved that eventual problem along with some big revelations like who the imposter Clark Kent is. Playing out through Action Comics and Superman, the story has a mystery villain reveal (that it was Mister Mxyzptlk as Clark Kent all along) that has Superman and Lois forgetting their son Jonathan in a board game like obstacle course. What’s interesting is that the story takes fans through a lot of the history of Superman and Lois, it’s a best hits sort of way.

But…. SPOILER… by the end of the story, it’s true, it’s all true. The life of the pre-52 Superman has seemingly been merged into that of his New 52 counterpart. No more hiding, no more Clark Kent and Clark White. It’s all in continuity, the history is there. This storyline solves a lot of issues that were lining up for the character as well as put Superman’s alter-ego back in the bottle and the White’s no longer have to hide. It wraps things up in a nice little bow.

But, it’s not just this merging of two worlds that works, the story also ties in the bigger mystery that’s permeating throughout the DC Universe. Mister Mxyzptlk continues to reference a more powerful being, who we assume is the mysterious Oz, who then looks upon the Red Planet, the home of Doctor Manhattan from Watchmen. It brings so much together and does so in a pretty smooth way. That plotting and writing is impressive.

The art by Doug Mahnke is fantastic. This entire story has featured top notch visuals that twist and turn and overall the Superman line of comics features the most consistent and solid art of the DC comic series. There’s some really cool visuals and the art is as solid as the writing. The way the world crumbles during the battle and the subtle visual changes clue in the reader as to what’s happening and by the end you’ll find yourself going back to check everything out.

I’m blown away by the story which I can only describe as super. A fantastic ending that shows DC Comics has got a great grasp of mixing the old with the new. This is a model in how to pull it off and doing so in a fun and exciting way.

Story: Dan Jurgens Art: Doug Mahnke
Inks: Jaime Mendoza, Christian Alamy, Trevor Scott
Colors: Wil Quintana Letters: Rob Leigh
Story: 8.35 Art: 8.45 Overall: 8.40 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: X-O Manowar #1

xo2017_001_cover-a_larosa

Born under the oppressive thumb of the Roman Empire, Aric of Dacia learned warfare at an early age. It was amid such violence that he was abducted by an alien race. Forced into slavery, he survived where others perished. His escape would come from bonding with a weapon of immeasurable power: the X-O Manowar armor. With it, he returned to Earth…only to find himself stranded in the modern day.

But that was a lifetime ago.

Now, far from home on a strange and primitive new world, Aric has begun a new life. Liberated from his past, he tends to his crops. Free from war. Free from violence. Free from the armor.

But the machinery of death marches his way once again. Conscripted into an alien army and thrown into an unforgiving conflict, the fury inside him finds voice as he is forced to embrace the armor once more. With it, he will decimate armies, topple empires and incite interplanetary warfare as he rises from SOLDIER to GENERAL to EMPEROR to VISIGOTH. They wanted a weapon. He will give them war!

Full disclosure: I’m a huge fan of Valiant, something that should be evident to all who have read my reviews of their comics each week, but of all their characters X-O Manowar is arguably their flagship character having relaunched the publishers comics back in 2012. Funnily enough, despite my love of the publisher’s comics I still haven’t gotten around to reading the full 50 plus issues in the previous volume written by Robert Venditti (I started around #38), so when I say you don’t need to have read any X-O Manowar before this issue, I hope you’ll believe me.

xo2017_002_variant-icon_andrewsIn fact, if you’ve read the entire review thus far, including preview text above, then you already know more than I did before I read the comic because when I got the email with the review copy at midnight last night I jumped right into the comic like a kid in a candy store.

With the setting of the comic, you’re going to have questions – questions that may (or may) not be answered further into the series – but rather than dwell on the hows and whys of the story, strap in and enjoy what you’re holding in your hands; Matt Kindt is an incredibly talented writer who knows how to shape a story to pull you into the world he’s building, and he does that and then some with his opening chapter of Soldier.

X-O Manowar #1 opens with a double page spread that gives you a sense of where Aric is both physically and mentally. Tomas Giorello takes on his fair share of storytelling in the opening pages, as Aric’s lack of words and narrations gives us an almost silent couple of pages, which is a pretty ballsy move – opening a new series with almost no dialogue until the fourth page – but it works very well in showcasing the art. Giorello and colourist Diego Rodriguez have an almost old-school feel to the pages, whether it’s the lack of ink adding an ethereal quality, or the interplay of colours that feel less digitally done than most other comics these days and much more organic and warm despite the muted colours used at times throughout the comic.

This is an exciting, layered, and beautifully drawn and coloured comic that is the perfect jumping on point for new and old fans alike (second only to the 2012 debut). Add this to your pull list today and forget anything else from any other publisher coming out this year; based on the first issue alone  X-O Manowar is going to be THE superhero title of 2017.

Don’t miss this series.

Story: Matt Kindt Art: Tomas Giorello Colour Art: Diego Rodriguez
Story: 9.75 Art: 9.75 Overall: 9.75 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review.

Review: WWE #3

I’ve really been looking forward to this issue. With New Japan’s Cup tournament happening right now and its G1 Climax coming soon, Lucha Underground’s first two seasons are now on Netflix, and WWE’s WrestleMania in just a few weeks? There’s a lot of wrestling floating in my periphery. And the story covered in this BOOM! Studios ongoing comic series is a pretty emotional one. I had to see what would happen to fill in the kayfabe gaps of what I already knew.

The story of the rise and fall of Seth Rollins continues in WWE #3 and picks up where everything began: the dreams of a kid following the action of the ring on TV and wanting to be there. It makes what comes directly after, the lowest low of his career after having flown so high and been at the top of the game, hit even harder.

Just as before, events partly follow life and kayfabe with a little bit of invention for the bits no one could ever really know for sure. Unlike the first two issues, however, there’s a lot more to work with in terms of invention. Even then, the moments and WWE_003_PRESS_7events shown make sense within the context of kayfabe, the shown-to-be-true story of wrestling life and writer Dennis Hopeless weaves it well again.

This issue is a bit slower than the previous ones but the slower pace is what best serves the action. We see how Rollins lands on the motto of “Redesign, Rebuild, Reclaim” and picks himself up following the blues that always seems to come from recovery. We see the beginnings of Seth’s new climb and his struggles, all illustrated and emoted beautifully by Serg Acuna with colors by Doug Garbark. I’m pretty sure I fall a little more in love with it each issue.

The extra story here, “The Brawler and the Beast,” makes me want a full ongoing (or at least a short run) penned by Tini Howard. Depicting how Finn, a wrestler traveling alone through the Irish countryside late at night, gains the power of the Demon King Bálor he so often shows off in the ring. I’m not entirely sure if it was meant to but I definitely read the whole thing to the tune of “The Devil Went Down To Georgia” and it was great. It may have only been two pages, but I’m definitely craving more with this entire creative team, including the artists of the main issue.

Story: Dennis Hopeless, Tini Howard Art: Serg Acuña
Colors: Doug Garbark Letters: Jim Campbell
Story: 9.0 Art: 10 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy it if you’re into or interested in WWE pro wrestling, this one’s a doozy.

BOOM! Studios provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Elektra #2

In part two of the “Always Bet On Red story arc writer Matt Owens repairs some of the damage that the mostly Elektra-less first issue did. Elektra #2 focuses more on Elektra but thanks to the way the artist focuses mostly on her figure and the writer refuses to give her clear motivation or depth, it still isn’t really an Elektra comic yet. The title character still has no agency, no real plan, and overall isn’t very Elektra-like. The situation that she finds herself in seems unlikely and convoluted, there is no clear reason why someone itching to get a fresh start would attack a facility that sent people to kill her for helping a bartender without doing any recon first.

Most if the story seems implausible and the villain, Arcade and his henchmen/women, seem pretty boring, one note, and basic. There is a bit of a Running Man ripoff in the plot of this arc that makes little sense, even to Elektra who remarks during what should be the “oh sh**” moment in the issue that “Somewhere Bullseye is laughing at me.” She’s probably right, he got a realistic, true to character story arc in his new comic, complete with a great story, great action, and a feeling of agency.  Elektra has been relegated to a tricked, trapped, damsel in distress in her very own series. This second issue fairs slightly better than the first issue in the arc. Yes, Owens gives us more Elektra in this issue but, instead of focusing on her character development, Owens chooses to instead focus on what crazy hijinks he can put her in.

Juan Cabal adds a bit of something to the story with his art but, not much. It’s very well drawn and, Elektra’s combat outfit isn’t overtly sexualized but he does have a full panel of her showing nothing but her midriff as she puts on her underwear. I’m not sure what seeing her bare-bellied in her boxer brief boy shorts had to do with the story at hand but it was probably one of the most detailed and modernized panels in the issue. We also got to see his artistry in the hotel scenes of her fighting off attackers in her underwear and a tank top. Bad ass, yes, but it wasn’t necessary. Her skin hugging clothing was detailed and noticeable in every panel it appeared in but, you could barely make out her face, not because it was in the middle of battle but because it looked more like a quick sketch. Further proof of the elicit and unnecessary detail to Elektra’s physique are in the almost page full of panels that showcase various body parts of our heroine and nothing more. We get a glimpse of her leg, her stomach, her bare back all in perfect focus but none of these have any real information about the story. Cabal also uses a lot of up angle perspectives in the hotel scenes, so that the readers would get a nice view of the definition of Elektra’s back side. Antonio Fabela manages to make the colors pop in some places and muted in others, it’s an interesting style choice and, in some panels it seems a bit all over the place and convoluted. The art work is C-level pandering that is solely focused on the male gaze and reducing a strong powerful, kick-ass woman to literally the sum of her parts.

This issue isn’t a complete letdown but, it’s not altogether good. It seems a lot like the writer wanted to do a comic book about Las Vegas high stakes gaming using people and just threw Elektra in it. There’s a scene after Elektra’s hotel fight where she has a”moment” with the bartender, Lauren, she saved from an abusive “boyfriend” who is now staying in her room. Elektra tells her to go back to Ohio and then she says she’s going to stay and help instead. An indication as to how poor the character development and story structure is, there are a couple of panels where Elektra urges her to go again and then they hug and nothing gets resolved but immediately after Elektra decides to run into a mystery warehouse to do battle with an unknown bad guy. In my head I wonder if they’re going to try and back pedal and make the bartender in on the whole scheme but there was never anything establishing that anyone knew Elektra was in town until after she goes after the bad guy and his minions. I also am not a fan of the reductive nature of Elektra labeling the casino boss as the bartenders “boyfriend” in this issue, especially when it’s clear in the first issue that he’s her boss taking advantage of his position, using his power to sexually assault her, and the facial injuries she sustained were from her attempting to fight him off. It seems odd for a female character who attacked the scumbag the night before for assaulting the bartender in the bathroom stall would all of a sudden see that vile encounter as a lovers spat. Overall I was more annoyed at this issue and disappointed than anything else, it was sexist, reductive and, an ill-conceived look at what should have been an amazing Elektra story.

Story: Matt Owens Art: Juan Cabal Color: Antonio Fabela
Story: 6.0 Art: 6.0 Overall: 6.0 Recommendation: Read

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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