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Review: The Life And Death Of Toyo Harada #5

The Life And Death Of Toyo Harada #5

In The Life And Death Of Toyo Harada #5, Toyo Harada is dead! 

The long-lost secret of Harada’s estranged son revealed! Harada’s final allies stand strong as they protect their master’s vision!

The penultimate issue of Valiant’s The Life And Death Of Toyo Harada shows how the members of Harada’s team are dealing with his demise and the fall of his dream. That Toyo Harada could be seen as a villain is a fairly obvious statement; he was the antagonist of much of the Harbinger series, after all. The opposite can also be said. Harada’s primary goal has always been to create a Utopian society. One where the problems and issues stemming from current governing systems can be avoided or corrected. One has to ask, in the face of this utopia, which he will do anything to achieve, is the world justified in declaring war against Harada?

Who is the villain in this story that has more grey areas than a certain book series.

Toyo Harada is the kind of character that doesn’t come around often, and when they do, they’re always divisively popular as they begin to make one question whether they are truly villainous or merely driven by their goals. Harada was often framed as the villain in Harbinger, though one can argue that was simply because of the side of the story we were following, rather than the character being evil (again, there’s the divisive aspect of the man – there are more times than not that I find myself agreeing with his goals, but not always his methods). As Alan Moore wrote in Watchmen “I understand. Without condoning or condemning, I understand.”

I wrote this in the review of the second issue, and felt it needed repeating. This is a book that lives in the moral grey areas, and I love it.

The Life and Death of Toyo Harada #5 opens with some poignant and at times heartbreaking moments. It features Harada’s allies as they each come to terms with his death in their own way. Stronghold’s thread reveals a little more about Harada’s past through the eyes of a young Stronghold. Sunlight On Snow’s scenes are an absolute highlight of the comic. They’re beautifully presented and are one highlight among a comic full of wonder.

I’ve already mentioned that artistically, The Life And Death Of Toyo Harada #5 is freaking awesome. With the talent of Cafu and Kano, who are joined by colourist Andrew Dalhouse, the expectations are obviously going to be high – and they’re more than met. When a series has so much potential as this one has, it’s easy to assume that maybe there’d be a fault to find – either with the art or with Joshua Dysart‘s writing. There isn’t. This book, indeed the entire series, is nigh on perfect.

It’s actually kinda hard to explain in words just how awesome this series is; both as a capstone to Dysart’s run with the character, but also as a standalone series about a man who knows he’s destined for greatness. The series as a whole has risen from strength to strength, and with one issue left, I’m already earmarking this as being an early favorite for my top comic of 2019.

Story: Joshua Dysart Art: Cafu and Diego Yapur
Colours: Andrew Dalhouse
and Diego Rodriguez Letters: Dave Sharpe
Story: 9.5 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided a FREE copy for review, but this is a book I’ll be buying when it hits the racks.

Review: Collapser #1

Collapser #1

What if that empty feeling you have inside was a literal black hole? That’s the premise of Collapser #1, a new comic from writers Mikey Way and Shaun Simon, artist Ilias Kyriazis, and colorist Cris Peter. The book starts with a cosmic cold open before spending most of the issue in slice of life mode. It shows the life of Liam James. James works at an old folks’ home during the day. At night, he’s a DJ with a penchant for songs by Mancunian musicians like Morrissey and The Chemical Brothers. He’s also insecure and freaks out a lot. This is known thanks to Way and Simon’s internal captions. It intensifies as the book gets weirder ramping up to a fantastic final page.

Collapser #1 succeeds as a first issue because it focuses on establishing Liam as a protagonist and keeps the space stuff on the backburner for the most part. After the rush of the first few pages, Way, Simon, and Kyriazis slowly introduce more hazy cosmic jive into the story when it needs mystery or tension. Kyriazis and Peter equally excel at drawing the effects of the black hole and Liam going through his daily life. A nine-panel grid to shows the mundane nature of his day job although Liam genuinely cares for one of his patients, Mr. Edgar, and is sad that they don’t get to play chess together.

However, Collapser #1 has plenty of flash too. Peter adds some gorgeous pinks and Ben-Day dot effects when Liam kisses and interacts with his girlfriend. Her color palette intensifies when Liam’s DJ set begins. Way and Simon’s musical background shine through in this sequence. Liam is totally in his element and it’s my favorite sequence of the comic. There are no thought bubbles; just him, his headphones, his records, and a crowd that is dancing, drinking, and making out into the night.

Of course, it all goes wrong because of the whole blackhole thing. Ilias Kyriazis’ art style flips from Phonogram to a fucked-up take on Silver Surfer almost instantaneously. Time and space lose their meaning, and Liam witnesses all his worldly possessions becoming sucked away. He’s become part of something bigger. Way, Simon, and Kyriazis show this in a jarring way with powerful, horror-tinged imagery as Liam doesn’t recognize the world around him any more. However, the weirdness works on a narrative level because Way, Simon, and Kyriazis do a good job of introducing Liam and his everyday life as well as his passions and flaws.

Collapser #1 is characterization meets strong visuals and colors with a side dish of trippy worldbuilding to literally suck you into the story. Mikey Way and Shaun Simon make Liam a little bit of an asshole; he’s not the greatest towards his girlfriend and is a little insensitive at times. However, Liam’s passion for music and fear of failure are all too relatable. He makes a great POV character for this wild space odyssey of which Collapser #1 is a solid first few steps.

Story: Mikey Way, Shaun Simon Art: Ilias Kyriazis 
Colors: Cris Peter Letters: Simon Bowland
Story: 8.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 7/13

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.


Logan

Second Coming #1 (Ahoy)**- Some might find Mark Russell and Richard Pace’s portrayal of the Old Testament God as a wine swilling, fried chicken devouring misanthrope blasphemous. But I find his ideas both funny and profound beginning with the Garden of Eden’s “forbidden fruit” being shaped like genitals. There’s a lot of ideas in Second Coming #1, but his portrayal of Jesus is as a man full of empathy, who genuinely cares about his father’s creation. For now, his interactions with the violent superhero Sunstar comes across like an old Hawk and Dove comic, but Russell gives Sunstar a sensitive side because he can’t have kids with his girlfriend and keeps missing adoption consultations because of his life as a hero. On the other hand, Russell’s Jesus is the most emotionally captivating and likable comics protagonist of 2019 thanks to Pace’s roughly inked flashback story about him and his friend Shimon, who he takes in and teaches him carpentry. Second Coming #1 is a wonderful exploration of perceptions of Jesus Christ, organized religion, and belief with a side of the superhero genre and is a great conversation starter to boot. Overall: 9.5 Verdict: Buy

Event Leviathan #2 (DC)– In true drawing room detective fashion, we get our red herring, who happens to be the Red Hood. (And maybe throws a little shade on the Arkham Knight video game.) Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev continue to rehash the events of previous issues, but at least, there is some forward momentum thanks to the Question, Plastic Man, and most surprisingly, Sam Lane. I love the way the fight scene between Question and the Leviathan goon with plenty of cut up panels, dark shadows, and one hell of a final move. The scene with Plastic Man has some soul searching dialogue as Leviathan preys on the stretchy jokester’s insecurities. Bendis has a biting skill with dialogues, and he and Maleev can pace a conversation like a fight scene which comes in handy with Batman and Red Hood. There’s a lot of summarizing and the final page is obviously foreshadowed on like page 3, but overall this a pretty good comic especially in the art department. Overall: 7.6 Verdict: Read

Invisible Woman #1 (Marvel)– With sleek Phil Noto-esque art from Mattia De Iulis, Mark Waid tries his hardest to differentiate the Invisible Woman solo from Fantastic Four beginning with a cold open set in a fictional Eastern European country. This is a straight up spy book, and it’s fun to see De Iulis showcase Sue’s powers for all kinds of stealth moves and takedowns. Honestly, it’s like Incredibles 2 without the pesky husband and kids, and that was a decent movie so Invisible Woman #1 is a decent comic and a final page guest star/setting shift set up an intriguing team-up for issue two. Overall: 8 Verdict: Buy

Invisible Woman #1 (Marvel)– With sleek Phil Noto-esque art from Mattia De Iulis, Mark Waid tries his hardest to differentiate the Invisible Woman solo from Fantastic Four beginning with a cold open set in a fictional Eastern European country. This is a straight up spy book, and it’s fun to see De Iulis showcase Sue’s powers for all kinds of stealth moves and takedowns. Honestly, it’s like Incredibles 2 without the pesky husband and kids, and that was a decent movie so Invisible Woman #1 is a decent comic and a final page guest star/setting shift set up an intriguing team-up for issue two. Overall: 8 Verdict: Buy

Avengers #21 (Marvel)– In the first post-War of the Realms Avengers issue, Jason Aaron and Jason Masters tell the story of most of the Avengers hanging out in a hot tub and talking about their feelings while Black Panther deals with Phil Coulson and his nationalist hit team aka the Squadron Supreme of America. Honestly, these kind of issues are my favorite parts of superhero stories, and it’s not just because a lot of this comic is Tony Stark making, er, Mjolnir jokes at Thor while they’re both naked in a hot tub. Except for the Squadron bits, which are really tense and move the team to the top of the Avengers; current baddies, Aaron uses the issue to take stock on how this team has started to bond in an unlikely way. I mean, Ghost Rider and Captain Marvel are fishing for fire sharks, and Blade and She-Hulk are flirting clumsily with each other. This issue is a lot of fun, and it’s nice to chill out with the Avengers Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and take a break from the punching and a villain that is a kiss of death for superheroes. (See One More Day) Overall: 8.2 Verdict: Buy

Thor #15 (Marvel)– Jason Aaron and Mike Del Mundo spend this issue rounding off some of the character arcs they’ve constructed in the latest volume of the series. Thor spends most of the issue struggling with if he feels worthy enough to be All-Father,and Del Mundo’s big compositions are perfect for soul searching. However, he realizes that by working hard to earn his status as a god and the respect of his people that he will stay worthy. This issue also features some scenes with Freyja and Odin, who have been written well recently by Aaron, and their reactions to the redemption of Loki and the rise of Thor. There’s one scene featuring a hug that is one of the finest of Aaron’s full run even though Del Mundo’s strength is epic battles and layouts and not subtle emotion. And while this is happening, Hela devises a fate for Malekith in the afterlife that are similar to the contrapassos (poetic justice) that Dante gaves his sinners in Inferno as he gets a painfully fitting fate for a character whose only character trait is starting war. Although, this is a “clean up” issue and the visuals aren’t perfect, Aaron’s arc with Thor Odinson continues to be a delight. Overall: 7.8 Verdict: Buy

Venom #16 (Marvel)– After a War of the Realms interlude, Donny Cates is back on Venom with a fill-in artist Juan Gedeon. This issue is about a broke, symbiote-less Eddie Brock trying to get some money for food/medicine for his son. Cates and Gedeon give readers a glimpse of Eddie’s old life as a reporter at the Daily Globe, but then they dive back into the old ultraviolence. Even though he doesn’t have a symbiote, Eddie sees Venom every time he throws a punch or bites a guys arm off, and it’s kind of a shorthand for a fight scene. Venom #16 is a lethal protector-type one off story, but it’s really just a palate cleanser before Absolute Carnage and doesn’t add much beyond some freaky imagery and a reminder that Eddie actually had a life before Venom or going on the run as a fugitive. Overall: 6 Verdict: Pass


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: In Place of Honor #2

In Place of Honor #2

I remember the first time I watched An American Werewolf in London. The movie made by the great John Landis was one of those campy horror movies that was both fun and scary. What stayed with me all these years from that celluloid classic was that it was the first time that I saw a Werewolf transformation on screen. I’ve seen many more since.

Probably the most disturbing transformations can be found in The Howling movies where we saw every type of transformation even from birth. The world of Lycans seemed to never be as cool as Vampires, that was until shows like Being Human and movies like Underworld. The mythology laid out by the latter gave us a world where it mirrored our own. It’s one divided by class and misunderstanding. In the second issue of the epic In Place Of Honor, we delve into a world where there are the Hunters and the Hunted.

The series is a dystopian retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, in which the Big Bad Wolf and Red join forces to save their people from themselves. In the second issue, we find Bennett awake from her transformation back to human form, in a place unknown to her, as she attempts to deal with events of the last few hours. We also catch up with Ryder, whose friend worries about her empathy for the Lycans outweighs her duty and loyalty to the Hoods.

Overall, an engaging story that elevates the genre, and feels like a cross between Twilight, Lost Girl, and Underworld, in something even better. The story by Kimberly Moss is exciting, well-characterized and layered. The art by Digo Salazar is truly breathtaking. Altogether, a story which will draw you in with its characters and leave you wanting more of this world.

Story: Kimberly Moss Art: Digo Salazar
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Afterburn: Crossfire #2

Afterburn: Crossfire #2

Nicholas Cage is one of those actors who inhabit the screen and takes over the scene. I remember the first movie I watched him in was Moonstruck, where he played Danny Aiello’s brother and Cher’s love interest. His portrayal showed me and the world how serious an actor he was. Little did the world know that he came from Hollywood royalty at the time, being the nephew of Francis Ford Coppola and Talia Shire.

His other movies became iconic if not bizarre. For example Raising Arizona. In one of his most mainstream movies which would spawn a sequel, National Treasure, a series where his character would search for American relics. The movies captured just how much we cherish finding those hidden gems in the most obscure places. In the second issue of Afterburn: Crossfire, the story ramps up the action much like the Nicholas Cage gem, as we hope our heroes get to the treasure first.

We open up on a mysterious stranger who knows Andrea. She has no idea of their connection. The moment is quickly broken up as Jake’s team takes heavy suppression fire from Hidinger’s team. This recent exploit meant them losing another relic, which pushes Jake to split the team in order to cover more ground. But it may be a move that costs him dearly as they encounter a mutant threat never seen before.

Overall, an excellent second issue that gives readers a deeper dive into this world and all its intricacies. The story by Scott Chitwood is complex and exciting. The art by the creative team is gorgeous. Altogether, a story that only gets better with each issue.

Story: Scott Chitwood Art: Rod Thornton and Sean Lee
Story: 9.6 Art: 9.4 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Review: War of the Realms Omega #1

War of the Realms Omega #1

War of the Realms: Omega #1 is not so much a full epilogue story to the “War of the Realms” event as a tasting menu for the various spinoffs that come after it. Kudos to Marvel for putting these in their own comic instead of stepping on Jason Aaron, Russell Dauterman, and Matthew Wilson’s literal thunder as they hit the high point of Aaron’s Thor epic. With one last omniscient conversation between Daredevil and Heimdall as a framing narrative, Omega #1 tells the story of Jane Foster, Loki, and Punisher while setting up Jane Foster Valkyrie #1, Loki #1, and Punisher Kill Krew #1.

Even if it’s mostly just a conversation between Daredevil and Heimdall, the framing narrative of Omega #1 is a fantastic conclusion to Daredevil’s struggles with godhood that Jason Aaron penned in War Scrolls. It’s also reunion of one of my favorite recent Daredevil art teams of Ron Garney and Matt Milla, who transform the look of their framing narrative from fantasy to street level as Daredevil goes from talking about gods, prayers, and Valhalla to stopping a mugger with the help of some Yggdrasil forged fighting sticks. Aaron also brings up some interesting ideas like Daredevil’s guilt about his own faith and beliefs making him a good God of Fear that protected Midgard in their direst need. It connects to his recent writing of Thor that the best god isn’t one that fights for the mantle, but acknowledges the responsibility that is thrust upon him.

The first story in Omega #1 features Jane Foster and the Valkyries in a morgue where she hopes to help find them some peace and is written by Aaron and Al Ewing with art from Cafu and Jesus Aburtov. Jane interacts with Lisa, who used to date the superhero America Chavez, and they both can empathize on what it’s like to be connected to someone with so much power and be ordinary. It’s a nice human interaction before a beautiful transformation sequence where Jane takes on the responsibility of reopening Valhalla and finding rest for the Asgardians. Cafu’s art is clean and photorealistic, but not too stiff while Aburtov’s colors are bright, glossy, but a little sad. Jane played a major role in “War of the Realms”, and it’ll be nice to see her as headliner for a little bit in her own series that looks to continue to play on Aaron’s themes of faith and belief that he has explored throughout his Thor comics.

On the more mischievous side, there is a story starring Loki and his undersized Frost Giant buddy Drrf from Daniel Kibblesmith, Oscar Bazaldua, and David Curiel. As evidenced by his work on Valiant High, Lockjaw, and Deadpool vs. Black Panther, Kibblesmith excels at combining comics continuity with funny and genuinely heartfelt moments. And there are a few of those in this short story as Loki takes a young Frost Giant under his wing after he spots the little guy using a stew pot lid as a sled. Bazaldua’s cartoon-y style visuals are a good fit for this book and capture Loki’s every smirk and glint of mischief in his eye. He earned the role of king of Frost Giants by killing his father, but it will be difficult to keep the respect of this murderous and cannibalistic realm. However, adding Drrf to the equation keeps the tone of the story light and not super serious in a Game of Thrones kind of way.

The final Omega #1 short story is a Punisher one, from Gerry Duggan and the fantastic Juan Ferreyra that shows that the War of the Realms never really ended for one person: Frank Castle. Castle is barbecuing stray Helhounds with a flamethrower, breaking up Asgardian revelry with semi-automatic gun fire, and making sure the inhabitants of Midgard don’t loot in the post-War chaos. His mission of vengeance towards criminals has expanded from mortals to fantasy beings thanks to the losses suffered by the people, and especially the children of New York, during the War. However, the real star of the Punisher story isn’t the brooding revenge or monster becomes monster hunter narrative book, but Ferreyra’s art, which he colors himself and has a Steve Dillon meets Heavy Metal vibe. The combination of melodramatic dialogue and captions and over the top violence is a winner.

War of the Realms Omega #1 accomplished what it set out do, which is to pique my interest in the upcoming Jane Foster, Loki, and Punisher comic book series that are spinning out of the event. The artists for these books are especially well-cast, and Cafu’s beautiful take on Jane Foster’s transformation from mortal to Valkyrie was the highlight of this entire one-shot. Also, Juan Ferreyra is such an underrated artist, and I’m excited to see his take on creative fantasy monster executions.

Story: Jason Aaron, Al Ewing, Daniel Kibblesmith, Gerry Duggan
 Art: Ron Garney, Cafu, Oscar Bazaldua, Juan Ferreyra
 Colors: Matt Milla, Jesus Aburtov, David Curiel
Letters: Joe Sabino, Clayton Cowles, Cory Petit
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: No’madd the Unconquerable: The City of Empty Towers #1

Nomadd the Unconquerable The City of Empty Towers #1

I, like anyone who loves reading stories, loves a good surprise, especially when it is a twist ending. The writer has you going one way making their audience believe the story will go the same way it always does. Then, the predictable instance betrays itself and there’s a moment when the audience feels both astonished and gratified.

More often these days, writers are employing this device to mixed results.  One of the first times, I remembered being both swindled but amazed was when I read Beowulf. The creature our protagonist is brought to destroy was the architect of everything going on in that kingdom. Not too many times has an author expertly weaved a narrative to only pull the rug from the audience’s feet. In the debut issue of No’Madd: The City Of Empty Towers, we meet a new protagonist, whose fierce loyalty leads him down a dark path, where the truth may be more than he can handle.

We are taken to the lands of Ith, where our protagonist, No’Madd , who works for the Goddess, Tyon, looks to prove his devotion, by fleeing his home, wife, and son to find invaders, intent on wreaking havoc on Tyon’s domain. So, he travels to an old citadel, where one of Tyon’s ancient enemies, the warlords who chose to defy her, where their ghosts haunt this fortress in what is called The Steep. A he waits out the horde of invaders to see what their next move is, he revisits in his mind, everything that leads him to this moment, when the first invaders crashed in his village, how his family reluctantly let him go and how his fealty to Tyon made him the best weapon against these invaders. As he looks to gain better ground, he soon realizes he has an enemy hiding in plain sight, looking to secure his demise, where an arrow is sent his direction, he soon realizes it was to draw the invaders to him and unleash a horde onto. By issue’s end, he eludes the invaders but is faced soon with a heartbreaking betrayal and more questions than he could ever imagine.

Overall, a great introduction to a new hero. One whose devotion, much Ned Stark in Game Of Thrones, may be his cardinal sin. The story by Andrew Kafoury is dense, well-characterized, and intelligent. The art by the creative team is stunning. Altogether, an exceptional debut that gives comics fans a new hope for an entertaining adventure.

Story: Andrew Kafoury
Art: Aaron McConnell, Lee Moyer, and Tom Orzechowski
Story: 10 Art: 9.6 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Review: John Carpenter’s Tales of Science Fiction: Surviving Nuclear Attack #2

John Carpenter's Tales of Science Fiction: Surviving Nuclear Attack #2

One of the few movies that I believe is completely underrated, but is definitely one of those rare unsung gems is Idiocracy. Creator Mike Judge created a dystopian movie that’s rooted in reality. The story revolves around a soldier who volunteers for a hibernation program and awakens to a world where stupidity is commonplace and greed rules everything. Many viewers saw it as pure fantasy. Many others, like me, saw the movie as a mirror to our reality.

The movie always made me wonder how many different ways our future can lead. What is considered a threat today may be considered nonsense tomorrow. Just like when the country was wary of the Cold War and the Arms Race. The movie made me wonder what it’d be like if he woke up to something grimmer and colder. In the second of John Carpenter’s Tales Of Science Fiction: Surviving Nuclear Attack, we find our protagonists trapped and in an unforgiving situation that they soon will regret.

Int he second issu, the five friends stand in the same room where the corpses of the Kutter family sits, they wonder first, will they get out alive and second what happened to them? Donnie, the most curious of the five friends, finds out that through a flyer on one of the bodies. It’s a clue which leads him to why they were there in the first place. Meanwhile, the rest of Jimmy’s friends look for medical supplies and rations. He starts to have visions of what seems to be the Kutter children as they play. His friends initially believe that he is in shock. The issue features the first fatality and a reveal as to what exactly is going on, both upping the tension of the series.

Overall, an engrossing chapter to this already captivating tale. The story by Joe Harris is layered, well developed, and knows how to make the reader jump at the most uneasy points. The art by Cat Staggs is more than a compliment to Harris’s story. It truly is a canvas of fine art. Altogether, a story you won’t be able to put down. It’ll put you on the edge of your seat wanting to know if our protagonists can survive.

Story: Joe Harris Art: Cat Staggs
Story: 10 Art: 9.6 Overall: 9.8 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Ghosted in L.A. #1

Image result for ghosted in l.a. #1 cover

Wow, Ghosted in L.A. #1 was incredibly and painfully relatable for me. Like our heroine Daphne, I went to my first year of college thousands of miles away in L.A. I kind of flamed out mostly because I didn’t have a car. And maybe a conservative bible college wasn’t the best choice for a flaming bisexual and progressive. Like Daphne, who found her own otherworldly tribe, I got into comic books, podcasts, and even criticism big time. I don’t have as many regrets as I used of my “lost year” as an Angeleno.

But enough of me. Sina Grace, Siobhan Keenan, and Cathy Le put a cute, wholesome spin on the mysterious, paranormal side of L.A in Ghosted in L.A. #1. The empty mansions, swimming pools, and things that make David Lynch crack a smile. However, we’re seeing this side of L.A. from the POV of a college freshman, Daphne, who is in that critical identity forging stage of her life. She gets her music taste from her (Currently estranged) friend Kristi and her college choice from her (now ex) boyfriend. Daphne is trying to develop her own personality. It’s not working out until she takes a dip in an abandoned pool and then cries against a wall after interacting with the house and pool’s ghostly denizens.

Le uses soft colors to show the weightlessness of Daphne floating. Keenan eases up on the hyperactive facial expressions that drew me into the story for a second to give her a moment of peace. Grace even gives her a “cool” and steady inner dialogue for two panels until the cartoonish facial expressions and anxiety are back with a side of a young ghost woman. Throughout Ghosted in L.A., he has crafted a signature voice for Daphne. She is desperate to fit in and wary to share her feelings, hence, all the text messages saved in drafts.

However, Daphne is no pushover and confronts her boyfriend when he breaks up with him to spend more on “self-discovery”. Cathy Le punctuates her rage with red backgrounds. Sina Grace adds a great line about how she doesn’t like the bicycle he gave her. Letterer DC Hopkins accentuates Grace’s dialogue by making the words in Daphne’s balloons smaller after her douchebag of boyfriend makes his breakup excuse.

Ghosted in L.A.‘s creative team fires on all cylinders in this issue. The book is a wonderful fusion of memorable character designs and facial expressions, well-paced plotting (Daphne discovers the ghosts after she hits rock bottom.), and a protagonist that is easy to connect to. Sina Grace and Siobhan Keenan explore the universal themes of loneliness and belonging through Daphne’s specific trials and tribulations with L.A. and a (mostly) kind family of ghosts as the backdrop. It’s what I want out of a good magical realism story. I can’t wait to learn more about Daphne and the world, no, the community that she has joined in this adorable comic.

Story: Sina Grace Art: Siobhan Keenan with Sina Grace
Colors: Cathy Le Letters: DC Hopkins
Story: 8.9 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.2 Recommendation: Buy

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

Review: Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man Vol. 1 Secrets and Rumors

Spider-Man swings in to a brand new series that keeps things a bit more grounded and local. Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man Vol. 1 Secrets and Rumors collects issues #1-6 of the series.

Story: Tom Taylor
Art: Juann Cabal, Yildiray Cinar, Marcelo Ferreira
Color: Nolan Woodard, Federico Blee, Jim Campbell
Ink: Douglas Franchin, Roberto Poggi
Letterer: Travis Lanham

Get your copy in comic shops now and book stores on July 23! To find a comic shop near you, visit www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon
Kindle & comiXology
TFAW

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
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