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Review: Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files: Welcome to the Jungle #3

Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files: Welcome to the Jungle #3

Emilio Estevez is one of those creatives most closely associated with an era and his famous family. His father and brother have much more celebrated careers than he but Emilio has shown more talent than both. He is both a director and actor whose resume proves how gifted his vision as each movie he directs is, is markedly different from the other. A feat neither of his famous family members have been able to accomplish.

I love his work in both Young Guns movies and his start in Breakfast Club remains iconic. It is some of his other movies like Judgement Night, that despite its B movie formula is both fun and tense. As I always wondered if someone injected some supernatural elements into that movie, how much better it would have been?  In the third issue of Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files: Welcome to the Jungle, the timetable gets tighter as the body count rises, and Harry is running out of options on how to stop this evil.

We find Harry and Will running from a possessed devil dog, one that causes carnage throughout downtown Chicago, and one that Harry has to put down before it causes any more damage as he uses his wand to take it down. As they go back to Will’s lab, they find a few of her coworkers killed by one of the gorillas who were under the control of Watson, as Harry uses his memory powers to uncover how the massacre occurred. As we soon find out just how Watson has amassed her powers and just how dark is her black magic. By the end of the issue, Harry gets caught in a trap by Watson, one which he regrets not seeing.

Overall, an issue with wall to wall action which leaves readers on the edge of their seat. The story by Jim Butcher is well-paced and intelligent. The art by Ardian Syaf is gorgeous. Altogether, an issue that proves that sometimes when you think you are on top of your game, you may still be a few steps off.

Story: Jim Butcher Art: Ardian Syaf
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files: Welcome to the Jungle #2

Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files: Welcome to the Jungle #2

As a child, I remember the first time I saw Cujo. I’d heard from an older cousin just how scary Stephen King’s books were and how it would stay with you for days. I remember how she told me how Salem’s Lot was the scariest book she read. She had her own misgivings about the movie and the miniseries, but she said they were pretty much the same.

 Then I watched Cujo and the way me and my cousins saw stray animals became something completely different for our adolescent minds. We were instantly scared of strange animals, even if they were domesticated. That movie has left such an imprint on our minds 36 years later, that when I do see a dog, the name, “ Cujo” comes to mind every time. In the second issue of Dresden Files: Welcome To The Jungle, we find Harry fighting a whole zoo who’s being controlled by an evil entity.

We find Harry and Will running from a pack of leopards, who back them in a corner and where Harry notices something mystical emanating from their eyes. His instincts lead him to the zoo’s veterinarian’s office, Dr. Watson, where he uncovers traces of blood magic, something he doesn’t hold the knowledge of. He eventually returns to his abode and discovers through speaking with Bob, his spectral guide, exactly what Watson is. By the issue’s end, Harry and Will, armed with this new knowledge, depart to confront her.

Overall, an engaging issue which displays Jim Butcher’s innate skill to blend genres as the heat gets turned on this issue. The story by Butcher is intense and well characterized. The art by Adrian Syaf is gorgeous. Altogether, an issue that proves Butcher’s genius and Syaf’s brilliance.

Story: Jim Butcher Art: Adrian Syaf
Story: 9.6 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Dresden Files: Welcome to the Jungle #1

DRESDEN FILES WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE#1

In today’s popular media, the mainstreaming of geek culture has made the world more wondrous and open-minded. For a time, JK Rowling’s name and books captured the world’s imagination. Never has a series of books in my time been celebrated more than these epic tomes that Rowling produced at a rapid pace. So, when the Harry Potter books ended, the world came to a collective hush momentarily.

She eventually continued her work in this world by taking it stateside when she wrote Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. It took the world she introduced in Harry Potter and put in an urban setting, leading many to believe this had been the first-time audiences got to see wizards in a city landscape. But as most avid urban fantasy readers like myself have known, writers like Jim Butcher have been putting wizards in this world for years and much better than Rowling could ever do. In the first issue of the graphic adaptation of Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files: Welcome To The Jungle, we find our protagonist in the midst of a city on the edge and magic is the reason for all the chaos.

We’re taken to the Chicago Zoo, where a murder under bizarre circumstances, has the police on high alert because of who the victim is connected to. As we meet Harry Dresden, an outcast wizard who’s also a private detective and has a penchant for finding the supernatural sources of his client’s aggrievements. Before long, Harry is called to the crime scene, one where we see the Chicago PD has both its skeptics and believers when it comes to magic,  and it just so happens, his biggest champion is Lt Murphy, who has seen firsthand what Harry’s abilities can yield. Harry begins his investigation, where he sees that many things about this case is very odd and reminds him of a previous battle he had with a once close confidant. By issue’s end, whatever black magic has powers over the animals at the zoo come for Harry.

Overall, an excellent debut issue of this smoldering detective whose keen ability to discern is what makes him both brilliant and powerful. The story by Butcher is action-packed, smart, and penetrative. The art by Adrian Syaf is simply breathtaking. Altogether, a story that proves that urban fantasy has always been in good hands, especially with Butcher’s deft touch.

Story: Jim Butcher Art: Adrian Syaf
Story: 10 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.3 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel Reveals X-Men Prime and Inhumans Prime

This Spring, the X-Men and Inhumans explode onto the scene with new comics, new characters and new status quos. Before diving head in with all the highly anticipated new titles, get ready for two can’t-miss one-shots setting the stage for RessurXion! Marvel has announced X-Men Prime #1 and Inhumans Prime #1 – two oversized specials coming in March!

First, incoming X-Men Gold scribe Marc Guggenheim and artist Ken Lashley bring you X-Men Prime #1! In the wake of Inhumans vs. X-Men, who will pick up the pieces? Where do they go from here? Professor Xavier’s dream comes full circle as Kitty Pryde returns home, ready to lead her people. To take the X-Men to new heights with new teams, new missions and a new school. To move forward and protect the world that hates and fears them. The next chapter of X-Men begins here!

Then, a new day dawns for the Inhumans as Royals writer Al Ewing and artist Ryan Sook bring you Inhumans Prime #1! Maximus stands trial! Witness the arrival of Marvel Boy! What dark secret is Black Bolt silently hiding? Their throne shaken by recent events, the Royal Family heads for the stars while the next generation of Inhumans – Ms. Marvel, Moon Girl, Quake and more – remain on Earth to take charge of their own destiny! The Inhumans look to their past and charge headlong into the future – on Earth and in the depths of space!

ResurrXion begin here!

X-Men Prime features a cover by Adrian Syaf while Inhumans Prime features a cover by Jonboy Meyers.

inhumans_prime_1_cover x-men_prime_1_cover royals_designs_by_jonboy_meyers x-men_gold_designs_2_by_ardian_syaf x-men_gold_designs_by_ardian_syaf

Inhumans vs. X-Men Gets a Launch Party

Marvel has announced they’re throwing a party for Inhumans vs. X-Men #1 which comes out this December. Not only is your local retailer the place to be on December 14th for the release of the first issue, but you’ll also be able get your hands on some special items exclusive to these launch parties!

Each participating retailer will get a kit containing the below:

IVX Invitational Postcard
Deep Ordering Discounts
Access to Exclusive First Looks & Previews
IVX 2017 Calendar Promotional Item
IVX Leinil Yu Lithographs
IVX Chip Zdarsky Party Sketch Variant
Downloadable Cake Toppers

But that’s not all! Retailers who qualify will also be eligible to order the Inhumans vs. X-Men #1 Zdarsky Party Variant! From Eisner Award-winning artist Chip Zdarsky brings Inhumans and X-Men together for a can’t-miss cover!

Inhumans vs. X-Men is written by Charles Soule and Jeff Lemire with art by Leinil Yu. Variants include covers by John Tyler Christopher, Mike Del Mundo, Michael Cho, Kenneth Rocafort, Chip Zdarsky, Wilfred Santiago, Terry Dodson, Leinil Francis Yu, and Adrian Syaf.

Review: The Dresden Files Omnibus Vol. 1

Pages from DresdenOmniVol1TPWhen criminal investigations take a weird turn, the officers of the Chicago Police Department call in Harry Dresden! A wizard and private investigator with formidable yet unrefined skills, the young Dresden is more than capable of tracking down and facing the perps, whether they be black magic practitioners, blood-hungry werewolves, or worse! This first volume of The Dresden Files Omnibus collects three complete comic book story arcs, including the exclusive-for-comics tale, Welcome to the Jungle, the adaptations of the universe-defining Storm Front and Fool Moon novels, plus additional content set within official continuity of Jim Butcher’s beloved magic noir universe.

Unlike most genre fans, I did not become a fan of Jim Butcher through his books, but actually through his short-lived TV show on SyFy, about the uncanny wizard/private detective, living in Chicago dealing with weird cases and wizard council politics. I thought it was a brilliant show, whose life burnt out too soon before it captured its core audience, but what it did for me was got me sold on who Harry Dresden is and his very cool world. So when I heard that Jim Butcher was bringing his world to Dynamite, I wanted to see just how well it translated to comic books. This omnibus collects adaptations of three previously published Harry Dresden novels and an original story just for the comics, providing a perfect way to check out what’s been released.

In the first adapted novel, Welcome to the Jungle, we find our hero on the case of solving a mysterious murder of a local politician’s son at a zoo. Harry’s often CPD partner, Lt. Karrin Murphy, asks for Harry’s help on. What draws so many readers to this character is on full display here as Butcher’s mastery of urban fantasy is on full strength. He combines the best elements of crime noir and high fantasy. Harry has to pay bills just like a regular Joe, he’s considered a joke in the real world and the wizard world and always down on his luck, pretty much the archetype Dashiell Hammett originated. But he also has to deal with the “White Council” on this one, he has enough of sense of humor to charm his way out of things but can turn his “Badass-ness” on like a switch harnessing his powers through his runic staff, which makes Butcher’s character, an archetype all his own. This story is a great introduction, as it takes place before any of the novels that fans have come to love, basically who they were, before we knew them” book.

The next story, Storm Front, focuses on a double murder that reeks of black magic and a case of a missing husband who incidentally was messing with sorcery. This story has him dealing with all types of unsavory folks: vampires, junkies, fairies, mobsters, demons, and every type of hell only the mean streets of Chicago could descend on him. Ardian Syaf’s art on this story is beautiful with the right amount of pulp, which would only exceed the visuals that the average Dresden fan would have. A great story, that got the graphic representation it deserved.

The third book, Fool Moon, finds Harry’s life in a catastrophe, everyone seems to be mad at him, Murphy does not trust him, everyone think he is mobster Marcone’s supernatural weapon, and the White Council has their suspicions about his activity, while Harry protects the city against werewolves. A great story, which is probably the strongest out of all the novels that so far have been adapted.

The final story that is collected in the omnibus is Restoration of Faith, which was part of Free Comic Book Day a few years ago, and delivers in the same vein as the rest of stories, but not quite as satisfying.

As this is an omnibus, I can see why they put these stories together; I kind of wished they put War Cry with this collection, but maybe next volume, otherwise, solid storytelling and excellent art.

Story: Jim Butcher, Mark Powers, Grant Alter Art: Ardian Syaf, Brett Booth, Chase Conley, Kevin Mellon
Story: 10 Art:  9 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Dynamite Entertainment provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Earth 2: World’s End #1

E2_WE_1Earth 2: World’s End #1 kicks off DC Comics third weekly series, taking us to Earth 2 which features heroes and villains that are familiar, but different. Daniel H Wilson, Marguerite Bennett, and Mike Johnson provide writing duty, while Adrian Syaf, Sandra Hope, Danny Miki, Jorge Jimenez, Eddy Barrows, Eber Ferreira, Paolo Siqueira and Cam Smith provide art.

Earth 2 has already seen its greatest heroes sacrifice themselves – and has had new ones take their place. It’s a world where Superman became its greatest villain and a man named Val-Zod seeks to save it. Huntress and Power Girl have returned to their home to help battle the ever-present threat of Apokolips, and you’ll never know who will live and who will die!

This double sized issue is a fantastic primer to catch you up with what you might have missed in the various series taking place on Earth 2. It shows how Earth 2 became occupied by nefarious forces of Apokolips, and also ties together long-lingering questions and mysteries for longtime Earth 2 and World’s Finest readers.

I stopped reading the various Earth 2 set series a while ago. They were always solid, but I only had so much time to read, and something had to give. So, with a new weekly series, I got a chance to check out what I’ve been missing, and the answer is…. some awesomeness.

This first issue packs a lot in one single issue. Not only does it catch up new readers on everything that’s happened, but also sets the coming story into motion. It’s a great entry point for folks who might not be familiar with what’s happened, and for those who are long time fans, there’s probably enough here for them too. Cramming that all in is impressive to do, and very smart of everyone involved.

That packed in story is backed up by some awesome art. The duties here are split up among many but the style is awesome, with some fantastic visuals that really keeps the pace going and is a feast for the eyes. It’s a great combo of the two.

Death and destruction, invasion and war will follow each week, and whether you’re a hardcore Earth 2 regular or not, you won’t want to miss this fantastic new series.

Story: Daniel H Wilson, Marguerite Bennett, and Mike Johnson Art: Adrian Syaf, Sandra Hope, Danny Miki, Jorge Jimenez, Eddy Barrows, Eber Ferreira, Paolo Siqueira and Cam Smith
Story: 8 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

This Week in the DC 52

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DC comics is undergoing the biggest shift in it’s line ever, relaunching 52 comic books with brand new number 1 issues and updating the characters for modern times.  It’s the prefect starting off point for new readers, but there’s numerous series and characters I could tell you anything about.  This is a breakdown each week of that week’s releases as well as suggestions on previous arcs that’ll get you introduced to the characters.

ACTION COMICS #1Writer: Grant Morrison, Art: Rags Morales and Rick Bryant

The one and only Grant Morrison (ALL-STAR SUPERMAN) returns to Superman, joined by sensational artist Rags Morales (IDENTITY CRISIS), to bring you tales of The Man of Steel unlike any you’ve ever read! This extra-sized debut issue is the cornerstone of the entire DC Universe!

This is year 0 of the DC universe.  It chronicles the first hero and the public’s reaction to him.  I’ll admit I’m nervous about this one, as I didn’t dig Morrison’s work on Batman, but this is a pillar of the DC universe and it’s Superman.  He’s an iconic character who hopefully won’t be updated too much.

Key reads: All Star Superman, Vol. 1, All Star Superman, Vol. 2

ANIMAL MAN #1 – Writer: Jeff Lemire, Art: Travel Foreman and Dan Green

Buddy Baker has gone from “super” man to family man – but is he strong enough to hold his family together when Maxine, his young daughter, starts to manifest her own dangerous powers? Find out in this dramatic new series from writer Jeff Lemire (SWEET TOOTH) and artist Travel Foreman (The Immortal Iron Fist).

This is one of the series I know nothing about.  Jeff Lemire can write, but as a whole that first issue better really draw me in.  This is one of the series I put of there as a good chance to be cancelled.  That description does nothing to introduce me to the character who is able to borrow the abilities of animals around him.  It has potential, but who knows.  Grant Morrison had a well respected run on the character.

Key reads: Animal Man, Book 1 – Animal Man, Animal Man, Book 2 – Origin of the Species, Animal Man, Book 3 – Deus Ex Machina

BATGIRL #1 – Writer: Gail Simone, Art: Adrian Syaf and Vicente Cifuentes

Barbara Gordon is back as Batgirl – and she’s going to have to face the city’s most horrifying new villains as well as the dark secrets from her past. You won’t want to miss this stunning debut issue from fan-favorite BIRDS OF PREY writer Gail Simone!

Barbara Gordon is back as Batgirl, which is odd since last we saw, Barbara was in a wheelchair.  But in the hands of Gail Simone, I expect a solid series that puts the once former Batgirl right back into the uniform.  I’d want it in the hands of no one else.  The drastic change in the character brought a lot of news with it, and a lot of criticism, here’s hoping Simone puts all of that to rest.

Key reads: Batman: The Killing Joke, Batgirl: The Greatest Stories Ever Told, Batgirl: Year One (Batman)

BATWING #1 –  Writer: Judd Winick, Art: Ben Oliver

Africa, a land of beauty – and of great horror. A land of creation and conflict. It is in desperate need of a defender, and from the ranks of Batman Incorporated comes a soldier to carry on the legacy of The Dark Knight in the most tumultuous region on Earth. Meet Batwing, the Batman of Africa!

There’s a lot of unknowns here and I’m pulling for the series to do well.  Winick is going to be tip-toeing a line with the latest franchisee in Batman Inc., this one centered in Africa.  It’ll either come off as completely missing the mark on African issues, being overly preachy or balance activism and story telling.

Key reads: Batman Incorporated, Vol. 1

DETECTIVE COMICS #1Writer: Tony S. Daniel, Art: Tony S. Daniel and Ryan Winn

A killer called The Gotham Ripper is on the loose on Batman’s home turf – leading The Dark Knight on a deadly game of cat and mouse.

I’m not quite sure where in Batman’s life this is taking place.  Is it in the beginning, where he’s a bit more inexperienced?  Is this post Batman, Inc.?  Batman is an iconic character like Superman, so a lot will be riding on this series.

Key reads: Batman: Year One, Batman R.I.P.

GREEN ARROW #1 – Writer : J.T. Krul, Art: Dan Jurgens and George Perez

Green Arrow is on the hunt. Driven by inner demons, Ollie Queen travels the world and brings outlaws to justice…by breaking every law.

Now, armed with cutting-edge weaponry and illegally gained intel (courtesy of his team at QCore), Green Arrow is shooting first and asking questions later.

Green Arrow is the liberal ying to the Green Lantern’s conservative yang.  Billionaire Ollie Queen is the bow wielding hero who is out to stop crime and hopefully espousing his liberal views.

Key reads: Green Arrow Vol. 1: Into the Woods (Green Arrow (Graphic Novels)), Green Arrow: Year One, Green Arrow: Quiver (Book 1)

HAWK AND DOVE #1Writer: Sterling Gates, Art: Rob Liefeld

Hank Hall is not happy. He’s not happy to have Dawn Granger as a new partner in his war on crime. He’s not happy that she’s dating the ghostly Super Hero, Deadman. He’s not happy to learn that someone is trying to plunge the United States into a new civil war! Now it’s up to Hawk and Dove to root out the forces behind this conflict and stop them before they turn the U.S. into a wasteland!

And who is the monster lurking in the shadows, watching Hawk and Dove from afar? Find out in this new series from Sterling Gates (FLASHPOINT: KID FLASH LOST) and artist Rob Liefeld (X-Force, Youngblood)!

Brightest Day set up a decent dynamic between Hawk and Dove with Dove’s interest in Deadman, and it looks like that’s carrying over.  There series will hopefully have a good buddy aspect to it, my worry is the art by Liefeld, which I’m not a fan of.

Key reads: Hawk and Dove, Brightest Day, Vol. 1, Brightest Day, Vol. 2, Brightest Day Vol. 3

JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL #1Writer: Dan Jurgens, Art: Aaron Lopresti and Matt Ryan

With the growing presence of super beings around the world, the United Nations resolves to create a new group called Justice League International.

Batman, Booster Gold, Green Lantern Guy Gardner, August General in Iron, Fire, Ice, Vixen and Rocket Red are charged with promoting unity and trust – but can they reach that goal without killing each other first?

Not sure my thought about this series.  With Justice League and Stormwatch, I’m not sure if another major team like this is needed.  The roster seems interesting enough, but I’m not totally convinced.  The concept of a UN backed team though has me interested though.

Key reads: Justice League International, Vol. 1, Justice League International, Vol. 2, Justice League International, Vol. 3, Justice League International Vol. 4, Justice League International Vol. 5. (Justice League 5), Justice League International Vol. 6

MEN OF WAR #1Writer: Ivan Brandon, Art: Tom Derenick

On the ground and on the front lines, a young, headstrong soldier known as Joe Rock assumes command of Easy Company – a team of ex-military men turned contractors. Will they survive the battle-scarred landscape carved by the DCU’s Super-Villains? Find out in this explosive new series from Ivan Brandon (Viking, DOC SAVAGE) and Tom Derenick (JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA)!

This is the updated Sgt. Rock taking the war comic and updating it to modern times.  I’m pulling for this one to do well, mostly because I want to see a cool war comic on the shelves.

Key reads: The Sgt. Rock Archives, Vol. 1 (DC Archive Editions), The Sgt. Rock Archives, Vol. 2 (DC Archive Editions), The Sgt. Rock Archives, Vol. 3 (DC Archive Editions)

O.M.A.C. #1Writer: Dan Didio and Keith Giffen, Art: Keith Giffen and Scott Koblish

The all-seeing Brother Eye satellite has unleashed a new beast upon the DC Universe in this smashing new series! Kevin Kho has become an unwilling participant in a war between Checkmate and Brother Eye as he is transformed into the One Machine Army Corp known only as O.M.A.C.!

This is the series this week I’m most iffy about.  Keith Giffen is likely what will save it, but it reminds me of the numerous Kirby ideas that DC is grasping on to.

Key reads: Jack Kirby’s O.M.A.C., Checkmate Vol. 1: A King’s Game (DC Comics), Checkmate Vol. 2: Pawn Breaks (DC Comics), Checkmate Vol. 3: Fall of the Wall (DC Comics)

STATIC SHOCK #1Writer: Scott McDaniel and John Rozum, Art: Scott McDaniel and Jonathan Glapion and LeBeau Underwood

The brilliant, slightly awkward high school student Virgil Hawkins transforms into the cocky electromagnetic hero Static!

A mysterious tragedy forces the Hawkins family to relocate from Dakota to New York City! Virgil embarks upon new adventures in a new high school and a new internship at S.T.A.R. Labs!

As Static, he dons a new uniform and establishes a new secret headquarters! But is he ready to take on the new villains who lurk in New York City’s underworld?

The most successful of Dwayne McDuffie’s Milestone comics, I’m cheering for the character and hope he does well.  This is a young character that has a following and has a good chance of being a new generation character that goes the distance and builds into something bigger.  I’m not holding my breath though.

Key reads: Static Shock Vol. 1: Rebirth of the Cool

STORMWATCH #1Writer: Paul Cornell, Art: Miguel Sepulveda

They are Stormwatch, a dangerous super human police force whose existence is kept secret from the world Directly following the ominous events of SUPERMAN #1, Adam One leads half the Stormwatch team to recover the [INFORMATION REDACTED] from deep in the Himalayas. Meanwhile, Jack Hawksmoor and the rest of the Stormwatch crew look to recruit two of the deadliest super humans on the planet: Midnighter and Apollo! And if they say no? Perhaps the Martian Manhunter can change their minds…

This series is going to be one of the bigger ones in the long run, putting together a secret group that’ll eventually lock horns with the Justice League.  It’s been hinted that the next major event will come out of whatever happens in this book, which makes it that much more important.

Key reads: StormWatch, Vol. 1: Force of Nature, Stormwatch: Team Achilles, Vol. 2, StormWatch Vol. 3: Change or Die, StormWatch Vol. 4: A Finer World, StormWatch Vol. 5: Final Orbit, The Authority Vol. 1: Relentless, The Authority Book 2: Under New Management

SWAMP THING #1Writer: Scott Snyder, Art: Yanick Paquette

One of the world’s most iconic characters has returned to the heart of the DC Universe, and every step he takes will shake the foundations of the Earth!

Alec Holland has his life back…but the Green has plans for it. A monstrous evil is rising in the desert, and it’ll take a monster of another kind to defend life as we know it!

It’s clear Swamp Thing is going to be a big deal in the new DCU.  Scott Snyder can do horror and hopefully the series keeps up a gothic horror feel to it.  If Snyder keeps it up and brings his “A” game, there’s a good chance we’ll see a modern day classic run of the series, but it’s got Alan Moore’s classic run hovering over it for comparison.

Key reads: Saga of the Swamp Thing Book One, Saga of the Swamp Thing, Book 2, Saga of the Swamp Thing Book Three, Saga of the Swamp Thing Book 4, Swamp Thing Vol. 5: Earth to Earth, Swamp Thing Vol. 6: Reunion