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Preview: Rorschach #5

Rorschach #5

Written by: Tom King
Art by: Jorge Fornes

Rorschach tried to kill the leading contender to unseat President Redford, a governor by the name of Turley who has a lot to say. Turley believes the Redford people were behind the hit, but the detective investigating the case isn’t so sure. To prove Turley wrong, he has to figure out how Rorschach and Laura got so close to actually doing the job, and the answer to that might be deep in the Turley campaign itself, including the governor’s past with a masked man called the Comedian.

Rorschach #5

Review: Rorschach #4

Rorschach #4

Rorschach as a whole has been an interesting series so far. While it’s draw is its tie-in to Watchmen, remove that, you have a pretty solid political thriller. With an attempted Presidential assassination having been stopped, a detective does what he can to uncover the why of it all and the individuals who were stopped, one being Rorschach. The other is the focus of Rorschach #4. Who was the person behind the domino mask? Rorschach #4 attempts to answer some of that.

Writer Tom King uses the issue to shed some light on Rorschach’s partner in crime. He uses the rather common framing of a police interrogation. Laura’s story is told from the perspective of a friend with whom she spent time in a circus.

Rorschach #4 sheds some light on the mysterious character though leaving a lot to open. It’s a very smart dive into characters and their motivations. But, more importantly, the issue is an examination of falling into a fantasy. How easy it is to be propped up and manipulated. How easy it is to be disconnected from reality. The issue is an examination in some ways of our modern times and how easy it is to commit horrific acts when in the enthrall of another.

There’s also a nice examination of conspiracies and how easy it is to fall into and believe, “fake news”. We get a new theory as to what happened to the heroes at the end of Watchmen and why. Mixed in with the television series, it’s all very interesting together.

King also throws in a lot to muddy up what we’ve been told before by what’s revealed. What’s really going on with Rorschach? Who was the person under the mask in the first issue? Is what we’ve been told true? Things are a bit up in the air right now.

Jorge Fornés‘ art continues to impress. Though the clothing and style still screams 70s, there’s so much here to take in. This is a psychological comic. There’s not tons of action. But Fornés keeps the visuals engaging and interesting. With Dave Stewart‘s colors and lettering by Clayton Cowles, Rorschach #4 is muted in some way. It’s not dour but a bit sad as we learn about an individual who was in love and led down a dark path by someone not attached to reality.

Rorschach #4 is an interesting comic. It’s a piece of a bigger puzzle that teases the bigger picture. It’s also a hell of a compact story taking place in an interrogation room. The team has put together what feels like a two-person play in comic form.

Story: Tom King Art: Jorge Fornés
Color: Dave Stewart Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Preview: Rorschach #4

Rorschach #4

Written by: Tom King
Art by: Jorge Fornes

At last, it’s time for Laura’s story. The detective following Rorschach’s trail turns his eyes toward the vigilante’s female companion. Who is behind that domino mask, and what led her to team up with an old comic book creator to try to assassinate a controversial presidential candidate? These are the threads the detective must unravel-and they lead him to a circus side show and the strong man she once convinced to kill for her.

Rorschach #4

Brett’s Favorite Comics of 2020 and a Reflection on the Past Year

The Recount #1

It feels weird writing a “best of” list for the past year since it’s been so difficult for so many. Writer Ron Marz Tweeted something like any comic that helped to get you through it is a favorite, and deep down I agree with that. It’s been a rough year for so many and it’s one where the comic industry was forced to mature and face reality in many ways.

Things shifted for everyone.

Publishers canceled projects, shifted schedules, and looked to go directly to the consumer. Creators looked for new ways to earn money and also go directly to the consumer. Stores were forced to market more taking to video, email, and social media to keep customers aware of the latest offerings and remind them of classics they might have missed. Some stores didn’t make it through the year. Others expanded. New ones joined the industry. Consumers had more choices than ever before that made it easier to escape the world burning around them and find enjoyment in make-believe worlds where justice prevails in the end.

In the end, though 2020 looked bleak, it left the comic industry as a whole stronger than ever before.

It feels weird doing this “best of” but at the same time I feel like I want to “honor” and spotlight the comics that got me through the year and had me excited to read the next issues. This is what I’ve read so if you don’t see something mentioned it’s not that I didn’t enjoy it, I just might not have read it. Sorry, I can’t read everything (there was a massive glut in webcomics and manga for me).

So, in a bit different spin I’ve split this list into three sections.

  1. Comics where I’ve only read one issue so far, because that’s what’s been released, but am excited to see what comes in the new year.
  2. Comics I enjoyed each month and are kind of a “silver medal” for me. I wanted to acknowledge them but also didn’t want this to be an overwhelming essay. They’ll get more of a nod when I do a video of this.
  3. The ones I was excited to read each month or had an impact on me. These are the ones that go into my regular suggestions of comics to read down the road. The art, the stories, the presentation, they’re all at that “top of the game” level.

All of these are listed in no particular order (hell it’ll probably just be in alphabetical). Enough with the rambling… lets get on with some comics!

2020 gave us one, here’s ones I’m excited to read their second issues in 2021!

  • Batman: Black & White #1 – The first issue had some solid stories but it’s the art that really stood out. It was mind-blowing and one of the best comics visually released this year. Almost every story broke away from standard panels and was just amazing to look at. I have no idea if future issues will be like this but here’s hoping.
  • Black Cat #1 – The last volume was a lot of fun to read and this first issue continued that. Despite being a King in Black tie-in, the issue kept the focus on what Black Cat does best, steal things as everything collapses around her. There’s just a certain style and attitude that the creative team nails with this. It was a fun debut that you could just sit back, laugh while reading, and enjoy.
  • M.O.D.O.K.: Head Games #1 – Marvel’s trying to make M.O.D.O.K. a thing. It’s kind of been his year between an upcoming HULU series, a popular miniature in Marvel: Crisis Protocol, and this comic. The first issue had me laughing and I’m hoping that continues.
  • The Other History of the DC Universe #1 – John Ridley is one of my favorite creators out there. His work in film and television have blown me away. It looks like DC has given him the opportunity to deliver a brutally honest take about the DC Universe from the perspective of people of color and the first issue is one of the best things I read all year. I can’t wait until the second and this man should be allowed to do whatever he wants.
  • The Recount #1 – The issue hit a bit close to reality. The President is a crook and assassinated and there’s an uprising to purge the country of everyone who supported him, from the Vice President down to voters. It was a hell of an opening issue and one that was chilling in so many ways.
Shang-Chi #1

Comics to check out…

These were all great reads and should go on your reading pile. These are ones I made sure to read every month and jumped at reading as soon as they crossed my desk. They’ll all get more love in my video version of this.

The comics that really stood out for the year.

All of these comics were ones that kept me thinking well after I read them and I’d be happy to read them again. Many are still ongoing while others have wrapped up their runs. Each stands out in its own special way.

Ginseng Roots #3
  • Black Widow – Kelly Thompson, Elena Casagrande, Jordie Bellaire, and Cory Petit are the main creators on what’s been released so far and every issue has been amazing. Black Widow has been captured and brainwashed into believing a domestic life is real and hers. There’s been a great mix of humor, action, in this spy thriller and it’s sure to ramp up now based on the latest issue’s final moments. This is a great mix of storytelling and visual coolness.
  • Dead Day – Man, I really want this to be done as a television series and absolutely need more comics. Ryan Parrot, Evgeniy Bornyakov, Juancho!, and Charles Pritchett deliver a masterclass in world-building. Not only do they deliver an interesting story but have crafted a bigger world. For one night, the dead return, and while the comic really told the story of one family, each issue fleshed out enough of what this event’s impact would be elsewhere to get you to think and imagine.
  • Far Sector – N.K. Jemisin, Jamal Campbell, and Deron Bennett have breathed a breath of fresh air into the Green Lanterns with this series. We’re taken to an alien world where a new Lantern named Jo must solve a murder which takes her deep into a corrupt society. It does what science fiction does best, explore our real world. The visuals are stunning as well in what is a comic that’s timely capturing the current zeitgeist.
  • Ginseng Roots – Craig Thompson explores his childhood in what’s one of the most original comics this year. In a small format and with minimal colors, the comic tells us the history of ginseng and Thompson’s childhood.
  • Harley Quinn Black + White + Red – DC really shook things up this year and one way was a greater focus on digital releases. This series was an anthology that delivered a different creative team with every chapter. We got to see over a dozen different takes on Harley Quinn each of which was entertaining. If you want to see how much the creators matter when it comes to the storytelling, here you go. This is also a perfect example of where digital comics should be going from major publishers.
  • Kill a Man – This story focused on a gay man’s battles within the world of MMA was an updated take on the Rocky formula and done so well. You can come at it as a fan of MMA, as someone who’s LGBTQ, both, or just wanting good storytelling. Emotional with great action, it’s a home run from the team of Steve Orlando, Phillip Kennedy Johnson, Al Morgan, and Jim Campbell.
  • Superman Smashes the Klan – The miniseries was collected and it’s amazing. Gene Luen Yang, Gurihiru, and Janice Chiang deliver a comic that captures the heart of Superman. Based on the groundbreaking radio play where Superman takes on the KKK, this comic is amazing in every aspect, from the story to the visuals. Add in some extra material from Yang about his own experiences and it becomes a comic everyone should read and one that helps define Superman in one of his best depictions ever.
  • Vlad Dracul – Matteo Strukul, Andrea Mutti, Vladimir Popov, and Joel Rodriguez tell us the story about the very real Vlad, the inspiration for Dracula. I learned a hell of a lot and would love to see more comics like this. It’s a crazy read that can be enjoyed for the history and education and/or the brutal story itself that would fit any fantasy world.
  • We Live – The first issue was perfection and got me to choke up. Each subsequent issue has built upon the world. In this story humanity is almost over but a mysterious entity from space will save 5,000 children but first they must get to extraction points. This is a few kids’ stories and their journey of survival. By Inaki Miranda, Roy Miranda, Eva De La Cruz, and Dave Sharpe each issue is visually amazing plus there’s some awesome bonus music you can listen to while reading.
  • Yasmeen – Talk about an emotional gut-punch with each issue. Saif A. Ahmed, Fabiana Mascolo, and Robin Jones tell the story of Yasmeen who was captured and tortured by Isis and her attempt to deal with the PTSD while settling after in the United States. Just an amazing blend of storytelling and real recent history.

Preview: Rorschach #3

Rorschach #3

Written by: Tom King
Art by: Jorge Fornes

In an instant, 15 million people are dead! What happens when the human psyche is forced to accept such a devastating truth? Follow the story of “the Kid,” a radicalized, gun-toting performer and the right-hand woman of the new Rorschach. See how this masked woman grows from an innocent child to the would-be cold-blooded assassin of a presidential candidate. This detective thriller will unravel the mysteries behind the assassination attempt and reveal how the struggles of these killers connect to larger turmoils of the world. Eisner Award-winning writer Tom King delves into the desperation that leads to radicalization and the questions that can lead a person into violence. Featuring art by new sensation Jorge Fornes with acclaimed colorist Dave Stewart.

Rorschach #3

Review: Rorschach #2

Rorschach #2

The debut of Rorschach was an interesting one. As a political thriller and crime comic, it works quite well. As a follow-up to Watchmen, the comic is a bit mixed. Its connection feels like it could easily be swapped out for other random characters. It’s currently tenuous at best. Rorschach #2 dives further into the mystery of the attempted assassination. The investigation, and issue, focuses on Wil Myerson, a reclusive artist known for his pirate comics.

As far as a “crime” comic focused on the investigation, it’s a fine entry. Writer Tom King has shown in the first two issues he has a deft handling of the genre. It’s one it’d be interesting to see him do more of. The comic as a tie-in to Watchmen is a bit looser and in that way, it stumbles a bit. Still, like many of King’s works, this is a series that’ll be best measured on its whole than individual parts.

And part of that stumbling is what feels like an attempt to shoe-horn in some concepts. The fact that Myerson is a creator on pirate comics, tiptoeing around the pirate story within a story of the original, doesn’t come off so much as a wink and no as it does a replay of part of what made the original work so well. Here too sees a story within a story. It’s full of morality and deeper messaging begging to be examined and dissected. While the execution is impressive the inclusion feels a little pretentious and a rehash of what was done before.

Jorge Fornés‘ art is commendable though. Along with color by Dave Stewart and lettering by Clayton Cowles, the comic within a comic in Rorschach #2 is impressive. That alone makes the comic worth checking out. From the design of those pages to the details of the dialogue, the section of the comic pops and stands out as the best thing from the first two issues. There’s still an issue where the design of the characters and world doesn’t fit the time period. While it matches the first issue, it’s in contrast with the television shows’ more modern style, even though they both are in the same world. Rorschach #2 continues to look like the 1970s in style and design.

As far as a sequel to Watchmen, Rorschach #2 falls a little short and feels like it’s connection is currently shoehorned in. But, as a crime comic, Rorschach #2 is a solid entry taking us through a detective attempting to figure out a puzzle and piecing together what’s presented before him. Like the first issue, I’m enjoying more for that aspect than anything having to do with the world it takes place in. In that way, Rorschach has its own duality in the story, whether that’s intended or not.

Story: Tom King Art: Jorge Fornés
Color: Dave Stewart Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Story: 7.95 Art: 9.0 Overall: 7.99 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyAmazonKindleZeus Comics

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

The Recount #1

Wednesdays (and now Tuesdays) are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

Each week our contributors choose what they can’t wait to read this week or just sounds interesting. In other words, this is what we’re looking forward to and think you should be taking a look at!

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this week.

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night #1 (Behemoth Comics) – Bad City is an Iranian ghost town filled with prostitutes, junkies, and pimps, and other sordid souls. A lonely vampire, The Girl, stalks the town’s inhabitants. The concept and unique location have us intrigued to find out more.

Children of the Grave #1 (Scout Comics) – Earth has been reset and the populace lives in bliss receiving all they need from “Providers”. One person wants to find out the truth.

Dead Day #5 (AfterShock) – The series has been amazing at building its world where the dead return for a night.

Frank At Home On the Farm #1 (Scout Comics) – Frank returns from World War I to find his family missing and only the animals waiting for him.

Ginseng Roots #7 (Uncivilized Comics) – Craig Thompson’s exploration of his childhood and ginseng continues. Absolutely amazing work.

Legacy of Mandrake the Magician #2 (Red 5 Comics) – The debut really surprised us and has us excited to read more. It’s a great update to the classic character while honoring what has come before.

The Recount #1 (Scout Comics) – A President is assassinated and the conspirators turn their sites into those who helped get him into power… and that includes ordinary citizens who got him elected. The nation is on the brink of chaos and civil war.

Rorschach #2 (DC Comics/DC Black Label) – The Watchmen follow up had an intriguing start and works better as a straight-up crime/noir/political mystery than Watchmen. We want to see where it goes from its debut and how it all unravels.

Snowpiercer: The Prequel Part 2: Apocalypse (Titan Comics) – The story of how the world plunged into a frozen tundra is revealed.

We Live #2 (AfterShock) – The debut had us in literal tears and we’re excited to dive into more of this world. It’s the end of humanity and children are heading to a pick up point to get off the planet and hopefully survive.

Preview: Rorschach #2

Rorschach #2

Story: Tom King
Art: Jorge Fornes

What’s the connection between an aging comic book artist and Rorschach? That’s the question the detective investigating the attempted assassination of a presidential candidate must answer. Wil Myerson, a reclusive artist known for his pirate comics, went from drawing the adventures of Pontius Pirate and the Citizen to working with a mysterious young woman hellbent on making sense of a post-Watchmen world. Somewhere in the life of Wil Myerson lies the key to learning more about Rorschach. Eisner Award-winning writer Tom King teams with rising star artist Jorge Fornés to delve into backroom maneuvering and political corruption in a story that asks how far a man with ideals will go to make them a reality.

Rorschach #2

Around the Tubes

Rorschach #1

It’s new comic book day! What’s everyone getting? What are you excited for? Sound off in the comments below! While you wait for shops to open, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web in our morning roundup.

ICv2 – AMC Theaters Warns Investors That It Might Run Out of Money By Late 2020 or Early 2021 – This isn’t too surprising.

Review

Talking Comics – Buffy the Vampire Slayer Vol. 4
The Beat – The Devil’s Red Bride #1
The Beat – The Magic Fish
The Beat – Rorschach #1

Review: Rorschach #1

Rorschach #1

Rorschach #1 is a fascinating start to the already controversial series. Set in the world of Watchmen, what you think of that might already be swayed one way or another. But, as we’ve seen from the television series, we can get quality continuations and other stories told in that world. It looks like Rorschach #1 might be another example of a quality story being told. It’s just set in that controversial modern classic comic world.

Written by Tom King, Rorschach #1 is a political thriller. The comic, so far, hasn’t felt like it needed to be set in the world of Watchmen. But, it’s been just one issue. The story revolves around the attempted assassination of a Presidential candidate. From there an investigation begins as to what happens which opens so many questions and a lot of mystery.

Rorschach #1 might be set in the world of Watchmen but its heart is squarely set in the political thrillers and noir films of the 1960s and 1970s. From the tone to the look, this is a crime comic that just so happens to feature someone dressed as Rorschach.

Someone wearing a Rorschach mask has attempted to assassinate the candidate running against President Robert Redford. Taking place 35 years after the events of Watchmen, we’re left with questions. Who? Why? And, what the hell!? There’s a lot set up in this issue and for those who love a good crime story, it’s a solid read. Really solid read.

Now, here’s where I have some issues, the art. The comic takes its queues from thrillers from the 60s and 70s and looks like the 70s early 80s… but it’s 2020!? There’s a slight disconnect for me with the visuals where the most shocking thing was finding out it was 2020 at the end. There’s a reference to “Oklahoma” which clued me in the television show is cannon, but the clothes, a beeper, the comic looks very early Dirty Harry.

Despite that, the art by Jorge Fornés is fantastic. Fornés doesn’t attempt to put his own spin on the “Watchmen style” like Doomsday Clock did. Instead, this comic is its own thing with a clear voice in its pacing and style. Dave Stewart‘s colors add to the visuals of the comics delivering a coloring that just fits perfectly for its noir/crime story roots. While the outfits and haircuts might betray when the comic takes place the visuals are still fantastic and the combo of them with King’s dialogue and pacing is damn near perfect.

As a fan of this type of story, Rorschach #1 is a home run for me. I found myself going back to count shots and matching up blood spurts. I looked for clues as I went along. It sucked me in attempting to unravel the mystery as the comic progressed. I’m a crime/noir comic fan and this is up there. For those who might be turned off because it involves Rorschach and/or Watchmen, you’re missing out on a hell of a debut and a comic I’m dying to read the second issue of.

Story: Tom King Art: Jorge Fornés Color: Dave Stewart
Story: 9.5 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyAmazonKindleZeus Comics

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