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Review: Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths #7

 Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths #7

For quite some time, it’s felt like the DC Universe has just barreled from one event to the next and at times multiple events going at the same time. Resolution is short with an almost immediate build to the next Crisis. It’s an endless cycle of birth, death, and rebirth… but on a multiverse scale. Dark Nights lead to Dark Nights: Death Metal, which eventually lead into Dark Crisis which was really Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths. But, with so many events, things have unfortunately blended together. Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths #7 wraps up the latest leaving us pretty much where we began.

Written by Joshua Williamson, Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths #7 wraps things up and delivers teases and story lines yet to come. It shakes up some characters and teams but overall doesn’t feel like the world of possibilities like previous recent events. Where Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths #7 succeeds is its focus on a few characters, Nightwing becomes much more of the center for the DC Universe that’s to come and Black Adam gets much more depth. It’s in a way a passing of a baton to the next generation of heroes and in that way succeeds in elevating some of the characters. But, as a story, it suffers from some of DC’s past mistakes. A mumbled story where things are sort of explained away, others you just go with, and in the end a status quo that’s a bit head scratching. Mostly because it doesn’t seem all that different from where things began. It was a lot of action and drama that didn’t change a whole lot. Two armies go to battle for the end result to be the same borders.

Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths #7 doesn’t so much feel like it charts its own path going forward by shaking things up. Instead, it feels like an attempt to make sense of a bunch of threads that have been weaved in the year since Death Metal ended. An attempt to get things more focused going forward. It’s not a follow up to the original Crisis on Infinite Earths, so much another sequel to recent events to get things settled that were left unanswered.

The art by Daniel Sampere, Jack Herbert, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Cam Smith, and Rafa Sandoval is really good. They’re joined by Alejandro Sanchez, Alex Guimaraes, Romulo Fajardo Jr., and Matt Herms on color, and Tom Napolitano on lettering. The main story art has some solid switches between the battle raging in the real world and the battle in the mind between Nightwing and Deathstroke. Black Adam also gets his spotlight with a single page that makes the anti-hero a much more complicated hero. Overall, there’s moments that pop but few that will live on as iconic. The teases at the end too vary with the final one really delivering a punch.

At the end of Dark Nights: Death Metal, a multiverse was born of infinite possibilities. At the end of Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths #7 a new multiverse is born of infinite possibilities. The difference? I couldn’t really say. Beyond the small details, a lot of the two events feels exactly the same. While the event sends some characters and teams in new directions, overall, it was a lot of show to get us to a spot not much further than where we began.

Story: Joshua Williamson Art: Daniel Sampere, Jack Herbert, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Cam Smith, Rafa Sandoval
Color: Alejandro Sanchez, Alex Guimaraes, Romulo Fajardo Jr., Matt Herms Letterer: Tom Napolitano
Story: 6.75 Art: 7.5 Overall: 6.75 Recommendation: Read

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: Zeus ComicscomiXology/Kindle

Prepare for the final showdown in Basilisk #12

BOOM! Studios has revealed a first look at Basilisk #12, the final issue of the acclaimed supernatural horror series from New York Times bestselling horror writer Cullen Bunn, acclaimed artist Jonas Scharf, colorist Alex Guimarães, and letterer Ed Dukeshire, unleashing an epic tale of vengeance and survival as a monstrous threat ravages the countryside and the only ones who can stop it are mortal enemies, available on October 5, 2022.

This is it—not only the final confrontation between Hannah and Vanessa, but the Chimera’s origins revealed! But who will make it out alive, and more importantly, what kind of monster will they become?

Basilisk #12 features main cover art and an unlockable variant by series artist Jonas Scharf and variant covers by acclaimed illustrator Ryan Sook.

Basilisk #12

Review: A.X.E.: Death to Mutants #2

A.X.E.: Death to Mutants #2

A.X.E.: Judgement Day has been an interesting event so far. It’s pivoted in some ways from its opening battle to become a far more interesting event story. Debates about roles, actions, judgment, and gods, have created a story that’s as much philosophy as it is action. It’s also a story that overflows. Often we get events with miniseries and one-shot tie ins that feel more like cash-ins than really enhancing the story. Here, we get something a bit different, as each tie-in so far feels more like an addendum, adding to the overall story. As if writer Kieron Gillen can’t fit everything into the main series and needs more notes to really flesh things out. A.X.E.: Death to Mutants #2 is an example of that delivering a mix of new and events we’ve seen before.

A.X.E.: Death to Mutants #2 continues the trend showing us the battle on Krakoa and the Deviants joining forces with the mutant nation. We’ve seen that asking for an alliance elsewhere, but here we get greater detail as to the motivation, adding depth and sympathy to Kro and his decisions. We also get to see how this decision impacts Kor’s judgement as well as the entire Deviant nation.

But beyond that, we see the struggle of so many to deal with the current situation. The Eternals themselves are torn in multiple ways as to what to do. They’re confronted by a new god who is here to judge them and some want to reason while others see the Eternals as a force that’s long past its use. There’s also the introduction of a new player on the board, one who should shake things up. It’s an event we’ve seen elsewhere but here we get more details about it all.

Guiu Vilanova‘s art is good. I’m not the biggest fan of the style overall but it looks generally good. With color by Alex Guimarães and lettering by Travis Lanham the team balances big battles with more subdued moments. There’s also a lot packed in with a lot of settings, dozens of characters, and just such varied situations. But, it all flows together nicely and even as different “segments,” it all works and works well.

A.X.E.: Death to Mutants #2 feels like the expanded version of A.X.E.: Judgement Day. It fleshes out characters and events giving us more depth as to what’s going on. It enhances the story, not working on its own but instead building on what’s elsewhere creating a greater tableau.

Story: Kieron Gillen Art: Guiu Vilanova
Color: Alex Guimarães Letterer: Travis Lanham
Story: 8.25 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.1 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXology/Kindle

Review: Archer & Armstrong Forever #4

Archer & Armstrong Forever #4

The Eccentric will stop at nothing to add Armstrong to his collection. Archer will stop at nothing to restore his best friend’s lost immortality. And who the heck is going to stop The Maw when he catches up with Archer and Armstrong? Only one thing is certain: Archer & Armstrong Forever #4 will change Archer & Armstrong…FOREVER!

I’ve been largely enjoying this series; the irreverent fun and pacing has often been a welcome distraction while reading the comic. Because Archer & Armstrong Forever hasn’t really picked up on the threads from the previous volumes, it has been the kind of series that new readers can use to introduce themselves to one of comics’ more unique duos. The fourth issue is the first one this series where you can’t really pick up and read without having read the previous one, as it picks up exactly where the Archer & Armstrong Forever #3 left off with the Maw having subdued Archer, Armstrong and Frig, which is exactly where we start this issue. I’ve really enjoyed how writer Steve Foxe has brought these characters to life, but this issue had a little less of the magic from the first three; the jokes didn’t quite hit the same way for me as in the past, and consequently the book fell a little flat for me. It’s still far from a bad book, and was still enjoyable, but hasn’t been as solid a comic as its predecessors.

Visually, the comic is still a triumph; Marcio Fiorito, Alex Guimaraes and Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou (artist, colourist and letterer respectively) continue to deliver a top notch book – this is visually genuinely enjoyable from start to finish.

I ended the review last month with this: “you really can’t go wrong with any book featuring Archer and Armstrong together, but when they’re written well, holy shit, is that a comic that you should be reading. Archer & Armstrong Forever is a book where the characters are written really well – don’t miss this.” Ultimately that’s still entirely true even with the falter (and you know, there’s every chance that I read this on an off day – I’ll happily admit that), this is still a comic I’ll be adding to my physical collection.

Story: Steve Foxe Artist: Marcio Fiorito
Colorist Alex Guimaraes Letters Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Story: 8.5 Art: 9.1 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXology/KindleZeus ComicsTFAW

Preview: Archer & Armstrong Forever #4

Archer & Armstrong Forever #4

Written by STEVE FOXE
Art by MARCIO FIORITO
Colors by ALEX GUIMARAES
Letters by HASSAN OTSMANE-ELHAOU
Cover A by BERNARD CHANG
Cover B by ERICA HENDERSON
Pre-order Cover by RO STEIN/TED BRANDT
On sale AUGUST 10th | 32 pages, full color | $3.99 US | T+

The Eccentric will stop at nothing to add Armstrong to his collection. Archer will stop at nothing to restore his best friend’s lost immortality. And who the heck is going to stop The Maw when he catches up with A&A? Only one thing is certain: this issue will change Archer & Armstrong…FOREVER!

Archer & Armstrong Forever #4

Review: Archer & Armstrong Forever #3

Archer and Armstrong Forever #3

A&A’s quest takes them to the snow-covered mountains of Norway, but whether or not they find the secret to restoring Armstrong’s immortality, they’ll definitely meet Frig — the sensational character find of 2022! But is she friend or foe, and what’s her connection with the Faraway…? There’s Maw that meets the eye in Archer and Armstrong Forever #3, a jam-packed issue!

Archer & Armstrong Forever is the kind of series that you can pick up and read without entirely remembering the previous issue (whether because of the fog of Covid brain, general forgetfulness, or just generally age is ultimately irrelevant). The third issue, much like the second, contains a story that takes all you know from the recap (or even the preview text copied above) and then builds a quirky, fun title that still celebrates the core relationship of Archer and Armstrong. Steve Foxe has such a brilliant way of writing this book that you can’t help but just have fun; his dialogue is brilliant, and the jokes brought to life by letterer Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou hit every single time. It’s long been a hallmark of the character that whenever Archer uses a technique learned because of his powers that a little box pops up to inform the reader as to the nature of said technique. This issue has a pop up that had me laughing out loud.

Marcio Fiorito and Alex Guimaraes (artist and colourist respectively) again hit all the right notes; the comic is bold, bright and the visual gags add another level of enjoyment for this curmudgeonly old bastard.

Archer & Armstrong Forever #3 is essentially the story of a classic comic team up; fight, friendship, fight, and it works so well because of how the creative team pull together to tell the story. There isn’t a weak link on this comic, and despite the fairly straightforward and fairly simple nature of the story on paper, there’s a lot to unpack hidden within the panels and gags that will reward multiple readings.

You really can’t go wrong with any book featuring Archer and Armstrong together, but when they’re written well, holy shit, is that a comic that you should be reading. Archer & Armstrong Forever is a book where the characters are written really well – don’t miss this.

Story: Steve Foxe Artist: Marcio Fiorito
Colorist Alex Guimaraes Letters Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.1 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXology/KindleZeus ComicsTFAW

Review: Archer & Armstrong Forever #2

Archer & Armstrong Forever #2

The triumphant return of Valiant’s best besties!

With Armstrong more mortal than ever, it’s up to Archer to find the secrets of immortality. One of history’s myths has to be true…right? Their quest will take them across the globe, from the Fountain of Youth to mythical creatures, with the deadly Maw in hot pursuit.

Archer & Armstrong Forever is quickly becoming one of my most anticipated comics each month. For two issues running, I’ve closed the PDF with a genuine smile on my face because this book is just doing everything right. Valiant’s editorial have kept the same sense of familiarity to the characters, keeping the sense of who they are consistent across the three volumes we’ve had since the relaunch a decade ago. There’s a genuine enjoyment to be taken from this series, and the comic’s humour works because of the story and how it’s implemented; rather than forcing a joke in, writer Steve Foxe allows the jokes to flow into the story in the most natural of ways.

Foxe is joined on the book by artist Marcio Fiorito, colourist Alex Guimaraes and letterer Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou – a creative team that hit all the right notes.

Archer & Armstrong Forever #2 follows, in a rather time-skippy way, the duo’s journey to try and restore Armstrong’s immortality (not quite against Armstrong’s will, but he’s certainly accepted his newfound mortality better than his best friend). You’ll get several little laughs thrown into the pages, both visual and verbal, as the duo check the boxes on their to-do list, giving the comic a not-quite-montage, not-quite-road-trip, but yet a blend of the two kind of feeling. It’s a story that excels in comic form, and I don’t think would work in any other format.

I’ve enjoyed the first two issues of this series immensely, and in more ways than one it’s like coming home to visit an old friend.

Story: Steve Foxe Artist: Marcio Fiorito
Colourist Alex Guimaraes Letters Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Story: 8.9 Art: 9.0 Overall: 8.9 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXology/KindleZeus ComicsTFAW

Preview: Archer & Armstrong Forever #2

Archer & Armstrong Forever #2

Written by STEVE FOXE
Art by MARCIO FIORITO
Colors by ALEX GUIMARAES
Letters by HASSAN OTSMANE-ELHAOU
Cover A by BERNARD CHANG
Cover B by CHRIS WILDGOOSE
Pre-order Cover by RO STEIN/TED BRANDT
On sale JUNE 8th | 32 pages, full color | $3.99 US | T+

The triumphant return of Valiant’s best besties!

With Armstrong more mortal than ever, it’s up to Archer to find the secrets of immortality. One of history’s myths has to be true…right? Their quest will take them across the globe, from the Fountain of Youth to mythical creatures, with the deadly Maw in hot pursuit.

Archer & Armstrong Forever #2

Preview: Archer & Armstrong Forever #1

ARCHER & ARMSTRONG FOREVER #1

Written by STEVE FOXE
Art by MARCIO FIORITO
Colors by ALEX GUIMARAES
Letters by HASSAN OTSMANE-ELHAOU
Cover A by BERNARD CHANG
Cover B by DAVID TALASKI
Cover C by DAN HIPP
Pre-order Cover by RO STEIN/TED BRANDT
On sale MAY 4th | 32 pages, full color | $3.99 US | T+

The triumphant return of Valiant’s best besties!

When Armstrong seemingly loses his immortality, Archer refuses to let his best buddy go gentle into that good night. But when you live for millennia, you rack up plenty of enemies who’ll be thrilled to find out you’re no longer indestructible. Archer & Armstrong’s globetrotting quest for (more) immortality begins here!

ARCHER & ARMSTRONG FOREVER #1

Review: Archer & Armstrong Forever #1

Archer & Armstrong Forever #1

The triumphant return of Valiant’s best besties with Archer & Armstrong Forever #1!

When Armstrong seemingly loses his immortality, Archer refuses to let his best buddy go gentle into that good night. But when you live for millennia, you rack up plenty of enemies who’ll be thrilled to find out you’re no longer indestructible. Archer & Armstrong’s globetrotting quest for (more) immortality begins here!

I have a lot of feelings about Archer and Armstrong in general as characters, and they’re all warm and fuzzy. These books have never not been fun, and while some will lean more into the comedic element than others, you can be sure that with an Archer and Armstrong comic, you’re going to have a good time. And so it was, with this expectation of a fun book, that I first read Archer & Armstrong Forever. The comic – written by Steve Foxe, with art by Marcio Fiorito, colours by Alex Guimaraes and letterer Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou – did not disappoint.

Archer & Armstrong Forever has one of the more unique promotional items attached to it in the form of a severed ear that doubles as a stress ball. It’s both hilarious and oddly disturbing. I love it.

The comic starts out with a fantastic chase sequence showcasing the differences between our two leads, and brings back one of my favourite parts in any Archer and Armstrong story; the little blurbs explaining what Archer is doing, because some of those explanations will elicit a little more than a stifled chortle and a head shake. Fiorito’s panel layouts and choreography is so perfectly fitting what the characters are capable of; I’m hesitant to go to far into hyperbolic territory, but this book is freaking amazing to look at. There’s so many things on the page that will catch your eye, and yet you’re never losing site of the story itself.

Whether that’s because of how Otsmane-Elhaou has laid out the letters to keep you on track, or how Guimaraes’ colours blend perfectly with Fiorito’s artwork…. man this book is just pretty to look at. It’s a lot of fun, and it’s exactly the kind of book I love to read. There’s an emotionality to the pages that hides behind the bombastic artwork, but once you notice it, the book just sings.

It’s spectacular.

One of the more interesting things to me about Armstrong was that due to the nature of how he became immortal, he always knew it would end at some time, and so it’s brilliant seeing his casual nonchalance about the potential imminent end he’s facing whereas Archer is less than thrilled. Given that a lot of the stories around the pair tend to have Armstrong acting as a damage sponge in darkly humorous ways, I’m looking forward to following the series to the conclusion of the arc.

Story: Steve Foxe Artist: Marcio Fiorito
Colourist Alex Guimaraes Letters Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Story: 8.8 Art: 8.9 Overall: 8.8 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXology/KindleZeus Comics

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