Tag Archives: aftershock comics

Review: Join the Future #1

Join the Future #1

Aftershock Comics has been producing stories with a kind of metaphorical vision not unlike the one seen in 2000AD comics. The publisher has taken to pushing series that focus on large scale concepts, on changes and shifts that threaten to alter status quos and established orders (think Harlem Heroesor Judge Dredd). Join the Future #1 is one such comic as it contemplates and worries about a future where technology becomes even more imperialistic in scope and thirsts for utopia under the false pretenses of progress. That the comic goes about this concept in the guise of a Western makes it a series that demands attention.

Zac Kaplan and Piotr Kowalski approach Join the Future as a kind of frontier story where humanity has separated into high-tech megacities that are entirely dependent on technology and Midwestern rural communities that renounce technology altogether, living like farmers and depending on nature’s own bounty to survive. It’s a play on extremes. Tech life vs. organic life.

Owning up to the comic’s title, the story takes it time to show us just how these megacities (maybe a wink to Judge Dredd fans out there) send out representatives—or salesmen, more like—to convince people to sell their lands and integrate into their tech utopias. The idea is that rural life is insufficient when megacities have developed cures for cancer and have unlocked the secrets to limitless food supplies.

In that regard, Join the Future reminded me quite a bit of Neill Blomkamp’s Elysium, where the poor live in a state of extreme poverty on Earth while the privileged social classes live in a space habitat complete with advanced med-bays that cure all kinds of diseases and illnesses. This reflection on two entirely opposite ways of life is as effective here as it was on Elysium (although Kaplan and Kowalski’s comic has a better sense of narrative).

The use of Western archetypes on a visual level elevates the narrative wonderfully as it makes the differences between the megacities and the rural communities stand out in glaring detail. Kowalski does a great job of landing an old-school take on both the cowboy aesthetics of the Midwest and the classic sci-fi look and feel of the cities. The worldbuilding is familiar but dense, doing a lot of the heavy lifting as Kaplan builds up to an eventual clash between tech followers and cowboy traditionalists.

On the book’s approach to character development, we get just enough to establish a conflict that feels like a slow burn towards a long fight against the tech utopias. We follow Clementine Libbey, daughter of the town’s Mayor and big sister to Owen Libbey. Clementine carries herself like a character that will be forced into a leadership role yet to be revealed, a voice that she’ll have no choice but to use in upcoming issues.

There’s a strong YA feel behind Clementine, akin to characters seen in books such as The Hunger Games and The Maze Runner, but she’s also more mature. We get a sense our heroine will dip her toes in both the pro-tech and anti-tech worlds for some time before revealing all of her cards. I’m not entirely sure Kaplan and Kowalski want to paint Clementine as a country hero in its entirety.

On the book’s colors, Brad Simpson does an outstanding job of keeping Kowalski’s old-school Western/sci-fi approach in line with the traditions it uses as inspiration. The megacity setting is bright and crisp, looking like a brand new car straight out of the factory (which says a lot about the city’s identity). Simpson captures every building, every drone, and every surface perfectly and coats it with that high-tech shine. Conversely, the Midwestern setting offers an interesting contrast in colors, with more muted tones that make the town of Franklin and its surroundings seem past their prime. It serves the story quite well.

Join the Future is a comic in no rush to reveal all its cards. In its first issue, we get a compelling situation with several moving parts that are sure to result in some very interesting looks at what the future will be and whether it’s in our best interest to join it.

Join the Future #1 has a March 4, 2020 release date.

Script: Zack Kaplan, Art: Piotr Kowalski, Colors: Brad Simpson
Story: 10.0 Art: 10.0 Overall: 10.0 Recommendation: Buy

Aftershock provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Godkillers #1

Godkillers #1

I wasn’t expecting to read Godkillers #1 until the preview text caught my eye. The concept sounded interesting so I decided to give it a read.

Abdul Alhazred is an Arab-American folklore professor turned soldier whose fear of death stems from uncertainty about the existence of an afterlife. He joins The Godkillers, a special forces unit tasked with fighting insurgents who use mythological creatures as weapons of mass destruction. Now that he knows the supernatural exists, he’ll have to decide which is worse—death or the nightmarish monsters he thought were mere legends.

Now in all honesty Godkillers #1 wasn’t a book I enjoyed all that much. Th that’s largely because I’m not exactly a fan of the setting. But, I understand why the story has to be framed the way it is. I wanted to like this book, and some aspects I genuinely enjoyed, but it’s just not a comic for me. It’s not a comic I’d typically pick up or review. I am trying to keep that in mind as I write this review.

Because I want to be as fair to the book as I can be, I’m going to break with a typical review style and just give you a set of bullet points.

Pros

  • The art is gritty, dark and moody when it needs to be. It never quite lets you get comfortable, which fits the story’s style very well.
  • Abdul Alhazred feels like a fully fleshed-out character who we’re only seeing glimpses of. His narration bubbles really flesh out his thoughts on the world. The gradual reveal of his motivations makes me want to learn more about the character. His lack of understanding of the events coincides nicely with the lack of information given in the book itself. You really feel like you’re in this with him.

Cons

  • Without having read the preview text I probably wouldn’t have known what the hell was going on in the comic.
  • The art made it a little difficult at times to decipher what was going on on the page. The caveat here is that for some reason the review PDF didn’t scroll as well as others which also played a part in my difficulty in reading the book.
  • There’s a lot of vagueness as to the events of the book, which is mostly a good thing until you realize that without the preview text you’d have been totally lost.

Conclusion
Godkillers #1 really wasn’t my cup of tea. At the same time, I know that just because it didn’t resonate with me doesn’t mean it’s a bad comic. The opposite is also true sometimes, as well. It just means it didn’t strike a chord. I can still appreciate the art, and the idea behind the story without being unfairly harsh to the comic. Objectively, there isn’t anything bad about the book as far as I can tell, and I hope that if you read it then you’re going to enjoy it more than I did. I won’t be scoring the story because I don’t think I can do it objectively or fairly.

If nothing else, I think you need to read this book.

Story: Mark Sable Artist: Maan House
Colorist: Hernan Cabrera Letterer: Thomas Mauer

Story: (N/A) Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Read

Aftershock provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Advance Review: Join the Future #1

Join the Future #1

Aftershock Comics has been producing stories with a kind of metaphorical vision not unlike the one seen in 2000AD comics. The publisher has taken to pushing series that focus on large scale concepts, on changes and shifts that threaten to alter status quos and established orders (think Harlem Heroesor Judge Dredd). Join the Future #1 is one such comic as it contemplates and worries about a future where technology becomes even more imperialistic in scope and thirsts for utopia under the false pretenses of progress. That the comic goes about this concept in the guise of a Western makes it a series that demands attention.

Zac Kaplan and Piotr Kowalski approach Join the Future as a kind of frontier story where humanity has separated into high-tech megacities that are entirely dependent on technology and Midwestern rural communities that renounce technology altogether, living like farmers and depending on nature’s own bounty to survive. It’s a play on extremes. Tech life vs. organic life.

Owning up to the comic’s title, the story takes it time to show us just how these megacities (maybe a wink to Judge Dredd fans out there) send out representatives—or salesmen, more like—to convince people to sell their lands and integrate into their tech utopias. The idea is that rural life is insufficient when megacities have developed cures for cancer and have unlocked the secrets to limitless food supplies.

In that regard, Join the Future reminded me quite a bit of Neill Blomkamp’s Elysium, where the poor live in a state of extreme poverty on Earth while the privileged social classes live in a space habitat complete with advanced med-bays that cure all kinds of diseases and illnesses. This reflection on two entirely opposite ways of life is as effective here as it was on Elysium (although Kaplan and Kowalski’s comic has a better sense of narrative).

The use of Western archetypes on a visual level elevates the narrative wonderfully as it makes the differences between the megacities and the rural communities stand out in glaring detail. Kowalski does a great job of landing an old-school take on both the cowboy aesthetics of the Midwest and the classic sci-fi look and feel of the cities. The worldbuilding is familiar but dense, doing a lot of the heavy lifting as Kaplan builds up to an eventual clash between tech followers and cowboy traditionalists.

On the book’s approach to character development, we get just enough to establish a conflict that feels like a slow burn towards a long fight against the tech utopias. We follow Clementine Libbey, daughter of the town’s Mayor and big sister to Owen Libbey. Clementine carries herself like a character that will be forced into a leadership role yet to be revealed, a voice that she’ll have no choice but to use in upcoming issues.

There’s a strong YA feel behind Clementine, akin to characters seen in books such as The Hunger Games and The Maze Runner, but she’s also more mature. We get a sense our heroine will dip her toes in both the pro-tech and anti-tech worlds for some time before revealing all of her cards. I’m not entirely sure Kaplan and Kowalski want to paint Clementine as a country hero in its entirety.

On the book’s colors, Brad Simpson does an outstanding job of keeping Kowalski’s old-school Western/sci-fi approach in line with the traditions it uses as inspiration. The megacity setting is bright and crisp, looking like a brand new car straight out of the factory (which says a lot about the city’s identity). Simpson captures every building, every drone, and every surface perfectly and coats it with that high-tech shine. Conversely, the Midwestern setting offers an interesting contrast in colors, with more muted tones that make the town of Franklin and its surroundings seem past their prime. It serves the story quite well.

Join the Future is a comic in no rush to reveal all its cards. In its first issue, we get a compelling situation with several moving parts that are sure to result in some very interesting looks at what the future will be and whether it’s in our best interest to join it.

Join the Future #1 has a March 4, 2020 release date.

Script: Zack Kaplan, Art: Piotr Kowalski, Colors: Brad Simpson
Story: 10.0 Art: 10.0 Overall: 10.0 Recommendation: Buy

Aftershock provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Undone By Blood Or The Shadow Of A Wanted Man #1

Undone By Blood Or The Shadow Of A Wanted Man #1

In the early 1970s, Ethel Grady Lane returns to her hometown of Sweetheart, Arizona. She has one thing on her mind: killing the man who murdered her family. But first, she’ll have to find him. As Ethel navigates the eccentric town and its inhabitants, she learns that the quaint veneer hides a brewing darkness. She has no choice but to descend into a ring of depravity and violence. Her only ally is an Old West novel that follows famed gunslinger Solomon Eaton. As Undone By Blood Or The Shadow Of A Wanted Man #1 unfolds, a love of fiction informs choices in reality, for better or worse. 

I didn’t know what to expect when I opened the lengthily titled debut. I’ll shorten the title to UbBotSoaWM going forward because I really don’t want to keep typing that out. Written by the duo of Lonnie Nadler and Zac B. Thompson and brought to life by artist Sami Kivela, colorist Jason Wordie and letterer Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou, the comic uses the Old West novel as a story within a story. That mirrors the journey Ethel is taking -though not literally.

The comic opens on the third chapter of the novel, which threw me off for a hot second as I wondered if UbBotSoaWM #1 was a sequel of sorts to another project that Nadler and Thompson had worked together on in the past. Although I did realize what was going on, the comic never quite let me get my footing while reading it. Every teased moment of Ethel’s history and Solomon’s story seemed to hit just as I was getting comfortable in the comic. It was a refreshing and entirely unexpected experience when reading a book I had no expectation of reading. Honestly, I picked it up after a conversation about lengthy names on movies, books, etc and whether they’re detrimental to the success of said media. I don’t think they are so long as it’s an accurate title – but the timing was too perfect for me.

I’m glad that I did get this book.

Kivela and Wordie produce a visual style that is very consistent throughout the book, but the use of color and a more sepia tone allows you to differentiate between the novel and the real events pretty easily. If you don’t catch that, though, Otsmane-Elhaou’s lettering takes the form of excerpts from the novel. It’s a nice touch, and one I had to make a point of mentioning because I find too often good lettering isn’t noticed. More often than not you notice when it’s bad.

Undone By Blood Or The Shadow Of A Wanted Man #1 uses the two stories to mirror each other. It fills in missing details from Sol’s story with what you’re seeing in Ethel’s. They aren’t explicitly stated and you need to pay attention, but the hints are there if you pay attention. Speaking of paying attention, part of me wonders if the villain in Sol’s story is named after a writer of the same name? Thompson and he are from roughly the same area in eastern Canada. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the nod. It could also be a coincidence because the name does fit the time period very well, too.

I didn’t expect to read this comic, honestly, but I am happy that I did. The use of the two tales to highlight and emphasize aspects of the other is a nice touch and I’m a big fan of the visual presentation that left me feeling as though I was on location. I’ll be back for issue two. You should, as well.

Story: Lonnie Nadler and Zac B. Thompson Art: Sami Kivela
Colors: Jason Wordie Letters: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Aftershock provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

NYCC 2019: AfterShock Announces Signings, Q&As, and Variants

AfterShock Comics returns to New York Comic Con (NYCC), October 3-6, for four full days of fan engagement activities and exclusive, never-before-seen content for comic enthusiasts.

Located at Booth #2242 at the Javits Center, AfterShock Comics team members in attendance will include Editor-in-Chief Mike Marts; Publisher/Chief Creative Officer Joe Pruett; President Lee Kramer; Managing Editor Christina Harrington; SVP Sales & Marketing Steve Rotterdam; Senior Retailer Relations Manager RuthAnn Thompson; Senior Retail Sales Development Manager Marc Hammond, and some of the most exciting creative stars in the comics industry.

AfterShock’s stellar signing schedule at our booth will include Steve Orlando (Dead Kings) on Sunday from 1p-2p. Other confirmed creators include Stephanie Phillips (Descendent), Juan Doe (American Monster, Bad Reception), Frank Tieri (Pestilence), Leila Leiz, and Adam Glass (Rough Riders, Lollipop Kids, The Normals, Mary Shelley: Monster Hunter). Fans are encouraged to check the AfterShock Comics website for details on signings and other creator appearances.

Exclusive variants created specifically for NYCC and only available at Booth #2242 include Dark Ark: After the Flood #1 with cover by Nat Jones and lenticular cover by Mike Rooth; original graphic novel Horde with cover by Leila Leiz and A Walk Through Hell, Volume 2 with cover by Andy Clarke.  

On Saturday, October 5, from 5:15pm – 6:15pm in Room 1C03, AfterShock Comics presents One-on-One with Cullen Bunn as we delve into the career and process of one of the most prolific writers in comics. In a conversation hosted by AfterShock Publisher Joe Pruett (B.E.K, Negative Burn), attendees will get firsthand insight into how Cullen creates some of AfterShock’s most popular series and graphic novels such as DARK ARK, UNHOLY GRAIL, WITCH HAMMER, KNIGHTS TEMPORAL, BROTHERS DRACUL and the just-launched DARK ARK: AFTER THE FLOOD. The discussion will also cover series he is well known for at other publishers – from his creator-owned titles like Cold SpotsManor Black and Sixth Gun to his Marvel work on DeadpoolVenom and more. Get to hear incredible stories from one of the industry’s most sought-after storytellers. 

Fans will also have a rare opportunity to take home a limited edition, one-of-a-kind AfterShock Mystery Box, a value of close to $200, for only $75.

Contents may include graded comics, signed comics, rare variants, complete series runs and surprise items every comic enthusiast will enjoy.

Underrated: Comics Not In Diamond’s Top 100 For August ’19

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: Comics not in Diamond’s top 100 sellers for August 2019


This week we’re going to be looking at a list of comics that are all pretty good, but don’t get the attention that they deserve. Now I’m not even going to pretend to have a definitively exhaustive list of underrated comics here, because we’re hoping  that you decide to check at least one of these series out next time you’re looking for something new either online or at your LCS, and giving you a huge list to check out would be counter productive to that. Instead, you’ll find four to six comics that are worth your attention that failed to crack the top 100 in sales. The only hard stipulation for this week: not one of the comics made it into the top 400 (yeah, I went for books that hardly any of you have read for whatever reason) for this month’s comic sales, according to Comichron, which is why they’re Underrated.


Banjax #3 (Action Lab)
Sales Rank/Units Sold: 426/996
Why You Should Read It:
Selling less than a thousand copies is a criminal shame for this comic. Telling the story of a disgraced hero on a last quest to clear up crime in his city before his body succumbs to the cancer that resulted from the use of his powers, Banjax isn’t a comic with a happy ending, and writer Rylend Grant always seems to have another twisted angle on what could be a straight forward story to keep you guessing.

Grumble #9 (Albatross)
Sales Rank/Units Sold: 396/1,285
Why You Should Read It: 
I feel like I’ve talked about this series quite a bit over the last few months… but it still remains (to my mind) one of the most underrated books out there. The mix of magic, dark humour and the underdog story just ticks every box for me.

Livewire #9 (Valiant)
Sales Rank/Units Sold: 289/3,843
Why You Should Read It: 
Although we’re nine issues in, this comic kicks off a new arc that finds the titular hero address her PR problems (I mean accidentally killing hundred and thousands of people is more than a PR problem, but go with me here) in much the same way those running for public office tend to do. Making this a topical, and very interesting book.

The Life And Death Of Toyo Harada #6 (Valiant)
Sales Rank/Units Sold: 271/4,558
Why You Should Read It:
I usually try and avoid two series from the same publisher in the same column of sales numbers, but The Life and Death of Toyo Harada was the culmination of Joshua Dysart’s work with the character across multiple series and around 50(ish) issues of story. It’s a phenomenal miniseries, and while you don’t need to read the build up, it certainly helps (especially with how good those books are). .

Image Firsts: Oblivion Song #1 (Image)
Sales Rank/Units Sold: 240/5,949
Why You Should Read It:
Oblivion Song‘s setting is brilliant, a post apocalyptic world mixed with a near future’s reaction to such an event. If you were ever curious about the series, this $1 comic is an ideal place to sate your curiosity.

.


Unless the comics industry ceases any and all publication look for a future installment of Underrated to cover more comics that aren’t cracking the top 100.

Underrated: Comics Not In Diamond’s Top 100 For July ’19

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: Comics not in Diamond’s top 400 sellers for July 2019


This week we’re going to be looking at a list of comics that are all pretty good, but don’t get the attention that they deserve. Now I’m not even going to pretend to have a definitively exhaustive list of underrated comics here, because we’re hoping  that you decide to check at least one of these series out next time you’re looking for something new either online or at your LCS, and giving you a huge list to check out would be counter productive to that. Instead, you’ll find four to six comics that are worth your attention that failed to crack the top 100 in sales. The only hard stipulation for this week: not one of the comics made it into the top 400 (yeah, I went for books that hardly any of you have read for whatever reason) for this month’s comic sales, according to Comichron, which is why they’re Underrated.


Knights Temporal #1 (Aftershock)
Sales Rank/Units Sold: 201/9,789
Why You Should Read It:
Time travelling knight fights across the years. It’s got great art, and a really interesting hook that this blurb does no justice to (but seeing as how the entire first issue is dedicated to setting that up, I refuse to give it away here). You missed out if you missed this.

Killers #1 (Valiant)
Sales Rank/Units Sold: 264/7,949
Why You Should Read It: 
Former British spies are being hunted. That these spies are also super powered ninjas is irrelevant. As engaging a read as you’d hope for, this book is utterly wonderful.

Crow Hack Slash #2 (IDW)
Sales Rank/Units Sold: 279/5,330
Why You Should Read It: 
An unabashed love of James O’Barr’s original story and the movie it spawned means I’ll generally check out anything Crow related. More often than not I’m left a touch disappointed. Not in this case.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarves #2 (Dark Horse)
Sales Rank/Units Sold: 357/2,704
Why You Should Read It:
Although it’s no secret I enjoy Disney comics, or it shouldn’t be, even I was surprised at how much I’m enjoying this classic Disney story in comic book form.

Grumble #8 (Albatross)
Sales Rank/Units Sold: 430/1,489
Why You Should Read It:
Perhaps arguably my favourite comic on this list, the mix of magic, dark humour and the underdog story just ticks every box for me.

.


Unless the comics industry ceases any and all publication look for a future installment of Underrated to cover more comics that aren’t cracking the top 100.

Preview: Babyteeth #15

BABYTEETH #15

Writer: Donny Cates
Artist: Garry Brown
Colorist: Mark Englert
Letterer: Taylor Esposito
Cover Artist: Garry Brown
$3.99 / 32 pages / Full Color / ON SALE 08.07.19

Clark’s father has been revealed and he’s…great? Wait, that can’t be right. Right? Well, only one way to find out, friends! “Cradle” ends here with one of the biggest moments in BABYTEETH history!

From Donny Cates, the writer of BuzzkillPaybacksRedneck and the breakout hit God Country, comes a pulse-pounding new series with art from THE REVISIONIST’s Garry Brown!

Shoplifters Will Be Liquidated by Patrick Kindlon and Stefano Simeone

AfterShock Comics has announced Shoplifters Will be Liquidated, a new series from writer Patrick Kindlon and art by Stefano Simeone. The series features lettering by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou and the first issue has a main cover by Simeone and incentive cover by Antonio Fuso.

Out October 9, the series is about the “best-trained loss prevention staff” for the largest retailer in the world. It’s the second series by Kindlon published by AfterShock.

The largest retailer in the world requires the best-trained loss prevention staff, and Security Officer Nussbaum defends the company interests at any cost. Life, human rights, rational thought are all secondary concerns. But his world is upended when he finds a society living under the retail outlet – a culture that challenges his notions about consumerism and sense of self. Is he ready for the message? Imagine Judge Dredd working for Amazon, and you’ve got a hint of what you’re in for. 

From Patrick Kindlon (PATIENCE! CONVICTION! REVENGE!) and Stefano Simeone (CLANKILLERS) comes SHOPLIFTERS WILL BE LIQUIDATED—a satirical take on the consumer society.

Exclusive Preview: Babyteeth #15

BABYTEETH #15

Writer: Donny Cates
Artist: Garry Brown
Colorist: Mark Englert
Letterer: Taylor Esposito
Cover Artist: Garry Brown
$3.99 / 32 pages / Full Color / ON SALE 08.07.19

Clark’s father has been revealed and he’s…great? Wait, that can’t be right. Right? Well, only one way to find out, friends! “Cradle” ends here with one of the biggest moments in BABYTEETH history!

From Donny Cates, the writer of BuzzkillPaybacksRedneck and the breakout hit God Country, comes a pulse-pounding new series with art from THE REVISIONIST’s Garry Brown!

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