Category Archives: Reviews

Review: Dark Ark: Arc One

We know the story of Noah but did you know there was another boat commanded by a sorcerer named Shrae? He too had a mission and animals… well, more monsters.

Dark Ark: Arc One collects issues #1-15.

Story: Cullen Bunn
Art: Juan Doe
Letterer: Ryane Hill, Dave Sharpe

Get your copy in comic shops now in bookstores 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
comiXology

AfterShock 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: The Last Space Race Vol. 1 Pale Blue Dot

A mysterious object is spotted deep in space and the United States scrambles to put together a mission to intercept it.

The Last Space Race Vol. 1 Pale Blue Dot collects issues #1-5

Story: Peter Calloway
Art: Alex Shibao
Color: Natália Marques
Letterer: Marshall Dillon

Get your copy in comic shops now in bookstores 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
comiXology
TFAW: https://shrsl.com/26zgq
Zeus Comics: https://www.zeuscomics.com/search?q=last%20space%20race?tag=graphicpolicy

AfterShock 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: Killer Groove

It’s 1970s Los Angeles and a tale of music and murder as a struggling musician gets mixed up with a local mob hitman.

Killer Groove collects issues #1-5.

Story: Ollie Masters
Art: Eoin Marron
Color: Jordie Bellaire
Letterer: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou

Get your copy in comic shops now in bookstores 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
comiXology
TFAW
Zeus Comics

AfterShock 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: Dark Red Vol. 1 The Forgotten Man

The vampire genre comes to MAGA country in this layered horror series.

Dark Red Vol. 1 collects issues #1-5.

Story: Tim Seeley
Art: Corin Howell
Color: Mark Englert
Letterer: Marshall Dillon

Get your copy in comic shops now in bookstores 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/comiXology
TFAW
Zeus Comics

AfterShock 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

Movie Review: Bloodshot

The very first feature-length film based on a Valiant property was released on digital this weekend after spending a short time in theaters; Sony PicturesBloodshot starring Vin Diesel as the title character. I was able to get to the cinema a few days ago to check out the film, and have been thinking about it on and off for a few days. I wanted the film to sit with me so that I could really mull my thoughts about the movie.

Before we get anywhere, there won’t be any plot specific spoilers in the below review assuming you’ve watched the trailers released.

The character originated in the 90’s, created by Kevin Van Hook, Don Perlin and Bob Layton, is a recently deceased man brought back by a shady weapons tech corporation for their own use by the use of billions of tiny robots in his bloodstream. it’s these little machines that give him an ability to heal from pretty much anything, enhanced physical attributes, the ability to “talk” to other machines and ghost-white skin with a never healing open wound on his chest.

Bloodshot takes the core concept of the character and throws in an equal blend of Vin Diesel, an A to B plot with a twist that’s revealed in the international trailers (or, you know, is in the comics), of well-paced action. And humor – most intentional, some not. But that’s as far as the movie uses its comic book inspiration. For the most part, this is a straight action movie that just happens to be based on a comic book. It’s a break from the MCU movies we’ve seen over the last few years and their somewhat formulaic (but no less enjoyable) superhero stories. Bloodshot is more Terminator and Pitch Black that it is Iron Man.

Bloodshot movie poster

It’s refreshing in its simplicity, and while I saw the twist coming long before my arse was in the chair, there’s a chance that those who aren’t readers will be taken by surprise. It’s a very well-orchestrated film.

It feels disingenuous to say that this movie is a pretty straight forward action film, but it really is. Despite the potential to really explore the themes of a man being manipulated by technology and corporations to do things he’s barely aware of, the film requires less of your grey matter than it could have. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it does mean that Bloodshot needs to stand on its own as a competent action movie, and it does just that. There’s no real Easter Eggs in the movie that’ll alienate moviegoers, and there’s absolutely nothing here other than Bloodshot. The film doesn’t try to introduce characters for the next movie in a potential Valiant Cinematic Universe. I get the sense that if that happens, then this was a good starting point. If it doesn’t, then we still get a solid action flick.

The only issue I had with the comic book adaptation part of the movie was honestly an aesthetic choice. Bloodshot’s two most defining aspects are his white skin and the bloody circle on his chest. Neither of which are present for any great length of time in the movie and certainly not long enough to make a lasting impression. Other than that, though, I’ve no real complaints about the movie. It took a comic book I enjoyed, honored the core concept of the character and touched on a couple of themes that could have been explored further. Which brings me to this; letting go of the past to embrace the future and the manipulation of humanity by technology and corporations are great backdrops to this film and fit the source material very well.

Bloodshot isn’t on par with Endgame, but then to compare the two is like comparing a tomato with Stonehenge. They’re just two totally different things. What Bloodshot does incredibly well is telling a story that translates very well as a comic book adaptation to the big screen (or to a streaming service near you now that the movie has been released digitally already). It never strays too far from an action movie formula, which isn’t a bad thing. I enjoyed the hell out of this movie as a fan of the comics and the character when I saw it in theaters, and I’m enjoying it again now.

Bloodshot isn’t a perfect movie, but it’s damn fun. And that’s what matters.

Review: Knights Temporal

Auguste de Riviere is a knight during the Crusades who ventures into a dark forest and emerges into the modern world.

Knights Temporal collects issues #1-5.

Story: Cullen Bunn
Art: Frank Galán
Letterer: Dave Sharpe

Get your copy in comic shops now in bookstores 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/comiXology
TFAW
Zeus Comics

AfterShock 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: RedFlower #1

RedFlower

Kung fu movies were one of my favorite film genres growing up. These films, gave kids like me, a way to escape what was going in our lives. Whether it is our neighborhood, school or family, they provided the ultimate respite. As this why icons like Bruce Lee, Sammo Hung, Hackie Chan, and Donnie Yen are international superstars but in America, were known by their first names, to the kids who grew up watching them.

As we usually found these movies to be reflections in small ways, as we normally found the truth in what the filmmakers were saying. The Chinese Connection spoke of Japanese occupation and discrimination when many children of color faced these same obstacles in America. As the truth can also be found in The 36th Chamber Of Shaolin, starring the venerable Gordon Liu, where a young man finds himself through the tests his school imposes.  In the debut chapter of RedFlower, we find a protagonist like Liu’s San Te, who must undergo certain trials to become the warrior he always meant to be.

We meet Keli, a young warrior,  who visits his Grandmother who just so happens to be a Witchdoctor, where he seeks guidance on his path forward. As he is training to be part of his tribe’s guards and learning a martial art known as Katafali, but his temper and immaturity under serves his potential, something his teacher is quick to acknowledge. As his blind rage becomes a point of contention, causing him to push everyone he loves away, this comes to the forefront when in a fight with his friend and sometimes rival, Naana, to join the King’s Guard, one that he loses with honor. By issue’s end, his affection for his loved ones outweigh his want to join the King’s Guard, showing him another path, the one he was always meant for.

Overall, an engaging tale that provides for a new protagonist and world to become immersed in. The story by Just Loui is well-paced and well developed. The art by Loui is gorgeous. Altogether, a coming of age story that examines the measure of a man.

Story: Just Loui Art: Just Loui
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Arms of the Dragon #1

Arms of the Dragon Vol. 1

As a fan of the show Man in the High Castle, I was sad to see it end. The book the series was based on mesmerized me as a preteen. Philip K. Dick’s classic imagined a world where evil won and factions of good souls fought against the dying of the light. Fast forward, to today, where dystopia is no longer a farfetched concept but a relevant reflection of today’s ills.

Even something considered high fantasy like Game Of Thrones tends to speak the inextricable complexities of the human condition. This is why the show’s finale gave us a complex view of a morally bankrupt world where the lines of morality are no longer blurred but simply ignored. In today’s world this seems more reality than fiction. In one of Noir Cessar’s first offerings, we get the debut chapter of Arms Of The Dragon, where a pair of street orphans must adapt or overcome.

We meet Shou, a young kid, who is exploring life through comics, ones he got from his big brother, and whose home life seems normal, as his parents own a restaurant, where a local gang leader is trying shake his father down for protection, something, his family feeds they don’t require. We also meet his best friend, Jun, who feels more like another sibling than a friend. Things change for the family one night when the same gang looking to shake the restaurant for protection money, kills Shou’s big brother. By the issue’s end, Shou confronts the gang leader, leading to a standoff that forces Shou to grow up in an instance.

Overall, an engaging crime noir story that gives us another epic to follow. The story by Marcus Johnson and John Lawrence is well developed and harrowing. The art by Chris Krady is beautiful. Altogether, a story that separates itself from other crime stories in its first chapter.

Story: Marcus Johnson and John Lawrence Art: Chris Krady
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 3/28

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

Once and Future #7 (BOOM!)– Kieron Gillen, Dan Mora, and Tamra Bonvillain provide some more thrills and delve into other parts of British legends/folklore in Once and Future #7. The tension between Duncan and his grandmother continues to be the big elephant in the room, but Mora and Bonvillain still have the opportunity to draw some badass fight scenes set in the picturesque British Museum. Duncan is still in that middle area between total nerd and action hero so it’s fun to watch him check out the exhibits and then caught in a fight against a skeleton knight that he’s totally unprepared for. But the final few pages are where Gillen and Mora truly shift this comic’s status quo, widen its mythical scopes, and provide a bit of fanservice for anyone who took a History of the English Language course. Once and Future continues to be the gold standard as far as old school-style adventures stories go. Overall: 8.7 Verdict: Buy

Amethyst #2 (DC/Wonder Comics)– Amethyst #2 is all about our perception of things as a kid not being reality beginning with a hazily colored flashback from Amy Reeder showing Gemworld as a utopia before a jarring cut into the present where Lord Sapphire scoffs at Amethyst and basically saying it’s a realm of nothingness. As far as form goes, Reeder continues to play with space and draws on cartoon physics to craft a wonderful chase and escape scene. She also uses this issue to deepen the lore of the series and make Amethyst’s quest a little bit more on the epic side. But there’s also time for fun interactions and comedy too like Amethyst and Phoss roasting Earth for using electricity for everything and being unable to harness the crystals. (Except for the New Agers.) I love how Reeder never forgets that Amethyst is an awkward teenager even while raising the stakes of the series and doing visually inventive things like showing the world from the inside of a crystal. Overall: 8.5 Verdict: Buy

Eve Stranger #5 (IDW/Black Crown)– David Barnett and Philip Bond close the door on the Black Crown print in the big reveal-filled Eve Stranger #5. The central plot point is Eve finding a cure for her amnesia, and there’s lots of running around and flashbacks. Bond’s art is sublime as usual, especially in the action scenes and dramatic reaction shots. And Barnett even adds a little sweetness to the proceedings with Eve basically having a found family at the end. Because it has to wrap up so many plot threads, Eve Stranger isn’t as clean or elegant as previous issues, but it’s still a lot of fun. Overall: 8 Verdict: Buy

Fantastic Four: Marvels Snapshot #1 (Marvel)– Evan Dorkin, Sarah Dyer, Benjamin Dewey, and Jordie Bellaire serve up an homage to the Human Torch’s solo days as defender of Glenville, New York in Fantastic Four: Marvels Snapshot #1. They tell the story from the POV of Johnny’s first girlfriend, Dorrie, and it’s a sweet meditation on celebrity, growing up in a small town, and the idiosyncrasies of Silver Age comics. (Whatever happened to Asbestos Man?) Dorkin and Dewey flesh out Johnny Storm and reveal that he’s really a good guy, and the whole hothead celebrity thing is just an act so he can basically hang out with his old friends incognito. Benjamin Dewey’s art is photorealistic without being stiff, and the flashback scenes are Jack Kirby meets old yearbook photographs. With this tale of Johnny Storm looking back and not forgetting his roots, the Marvel Snapshots series is 2 for 2. Overall: 9.0 Verdict: Buy

X-Men/Fantastic Four #3 (Marvel)– I think the greatest part of this crossover is that it casts the X-Men’s activities and the founding of Krakoa in the light of a third party. Chip Zdarsky and the Dodsons cast the Invisible Woman and Dr. Doom of all people as moral arbiters with Sue telling Magneto that she helps people because it’s the right thing to do and not just because they’re mutants before they attempt to rescue Latverian mutants being held against their will. X-Men/Fantastic Four #3 has a loud/soft, action/science structure. For example, we get a Cyclops vs. Ben Grimm dog fight, and then we get a heart rending conversation between Doom and Reed Richards that he’s failed his son by not actively looking for a cure for his dwindling powers. Zdarsky understands these character’s voices, puts them in an increasingly stressful situation, and lets the magic work. I like his take on Dr. Doom and how it organically flows from his criminally underrated Marvel Two-in-One run, and how he treats him as a character who plays both sides instead of just being a heavy for the X-Men and FF to team up and fight. That might still end up happening as the concluding events of issue 3 come across as a classic crossover comic fake out, but the ride has been enjoyable so far. Overall: 8.2 Verdict: Buy

Giant-Size X-Men: Nightcrawler #1 (Marvel)– Giant-Size X-Men: Nightcrawler #1 is less a Nightcrawler and more of an Alan Davis showcase as from what I can tell, he plotted out the story and drew it while Jonathan Hickman added dialogue. He basically answers a burning question for some fans: what has the X-Mansion been up to since Krakoa? And the answer includes alien bounty hunter hordes, telepathic manipulation, and a surprise guest star. But, fanservice aside, this comic functions as an entertaining haunted house story with marvelous layouts from Davis and some trippy art once things get extraterrestrial. It’s also a bit of a deconstruction of the old X-Men standby, the mansion blows up, with Kurt, Magik, Cypher, and Eye-Boy sometimes accepting that the past’s past, and it’s time to move on from old ways and try something new. And all this is happening while Davis draws in an very “old school” art style. But, honestly, I’d argue it’s timeless like the techniques and layouts he uses to tell this story. Lockheed going all flame-on on aliens, Nightcrawler teleporting between the gutters while his friends watch, and Magik swinging a big sword will always be cool. Overall: 8.8 Verdict: Buy

Hellions #1 (Marvel)– With X-Force as basically the CIA, there’s room for some black ops activity on Krakoa, and that lot has fallen to the Hellions. Zeb Wells and Stephen Segovia create a team of B-list X-Villains plus Havok, Psylocke, and Mr. Sinister, who are allowed to take a violent approach to various missions. Most of Hellions #1 is vignettes introducing readers to the team from Empathy creating chaos with his X-gene induced sociopathy to Havok taking things a little too far going after anti-mutant activists and even Scalphunter viciously defending himself from Morlocks, who are out to avenge the Mutant Massacre. Wells makes sure that these are mutants, who really have no place in a society like Krakoa, and uses the Hellions team as an outlet for them to be themselves. But with Mr. Sinister involved, is this really a good idea? Segovia’s art is nothing unique, but he’s upped the violence showing that maybe these characters really do need to be on the Krakoan suicide squad. The idea is a little derivative, but Hellions #1 does a good job highlighting underutilized mutant characters and their personalities. Overall: 7.6 Verdict: Read

Wolverine #2 (Marvel)-Benjamin Percy’s captions and dialogue and Adam Kubert’s artwork sing in Wolverine #2 as they explorer the animalistic side of Logan’s psyche. He’s chasing an enemy that can’t really be caught, but can seriously fuck with both mutants and humanity’s mind. And bodies are starting to pile up. Percy and Kubert have effectively whittled down Wolverine’s list of allies with both X-Force and Marauders being taken out as well as his unlikely FBI team-up. The brutality of the raging ocean wave backdrop that Kubert draws in the narrative matches the starkness and matter of fact nature of Percy’s prose, and both creators have done a good job ramping up the ol’ threat level in issue two. And this is all while not going to the Resurrection protocols bag for once. Overall: 8.4 Verdict: Buy

X-Men #9 (Marvel)-Jonathan Hickman and Leinil Yu have turned enemies that originated as a ripoff of the Xenomorphs in Alien into the centerpiece of a damn good space saga in X-Men #9. (They’re also a metaphor for predatory capitalism too.) They go full Prometheus in the prologue of the issue and cast the Brood as yet another weapon in the Kree’s goal to overpower their rivals and rule the galaxy. This hubris gets some immediate comeuppance later in the issue as Hickman is in full Infinity/New Mutants form with Gladiator punching things to impress his son, who he is sadly distant from. Fathers and sons are present in the both the foreground and background of this comic with the conflict between the Kree, Shi’ar, and mutants smashing together with a Summers family reunion. This issue nicely balances the space opera politics and action with Yu and colorist Sunny Gho providing a cascade of colorful explosions, parasite-eaten space whales, and an ending featuring one of the most underrated X-Men supporting characters that turns this book on 180. As a title, Hickman and company’s X-Men has been either super entertaining and thought provoking or high on concept, low on entertainment value, but luckily issue nine is the first! Overall: 9.0 Verdict: Buy


Well, there you have it, folks. The reviews we didn’t quite get a chance to write. See you next week!

Please note that with some of the above comics, Graphic Policy was provided FREE copies for review. Where we purchased the comics, you’ll see an asterisk (*). If you don’t see that, you can infer the comic was a review copy. In cases where we were provided a review copy and we also purchased the comic you’ll see two asterisks (**).

Review: Allure #1

Allure

Scarlett Johansson is one of those actors whose very presence onscreen is both polarizing and enigmatic. Her movies early on were of the girl next door as was seen in The Man Who Wasn’t There and An American Rhapsody. Of course, as she grew older and appeared in more movies, her roles became more centered and eventually, the camera could not elude her gaze. Her real star turn for most came in the severely underrated Ghost World which showed teenage angst in its most realistic reflection.

Of course these days, she is more known for another classic iconic character, Black Widow, who was last seen in the Avenger films but will be in her own film. Movie fans will appreciate her more complicated roles like what she played in Jojo Rabbit. Then there are the somewhat convoluted but fun stories like Lucy, where she plays a drug mule, who turns on her bosses due to the illegal narcotic she smuggles. In the debut chapter of Noir Ceasar’s action-packed series, Allure- The Evening Primrose, we find another stoic protagonist whose circumstances are beyond her control until now.

We meet Akane Koizumi, a Yakuza assassin in Tokyo, who ponders about her future and gets a bit sentimental, wondering how she got to this point. As we find out that she is more than your typical assassin, learning a skill known as Allure, which makes her a Death bringer, an assassin whose eyes change to unleashed their heightened abilities which only a few have, and can get anyone out of any situation. Which the reader sees first hand on the job she is on in this issue, quickly taking out a pair of twin sister guards. By the issue’s end, her normal temperament reassumes her consciousness, as she looks to kill one of the guards, as her conscience barely holds her back up as weighs on the decision.

Overall, an engaging story that feels like it was birthed in the world of Kill Bill but with a much more intriguing protagonist. The story by Nathan Peters is fun and bloody. The art by Reb Pierre is awe-inspiring. Altogether, a tale which palpitates with a world the reader will want more of.

Story: Nathan “ Sinitus Tempo” Peters Art: Reb Pierre
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

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