Tag Archives: alex sinclair

Review: Man of Steel #6

Out for a few weeks now, we do a video review of The Man of Steel #6, the finale to Brian Michael Bendis‘ miniseries that kicks off his Superman run!

Man of Steel #6 is by Brian Michael Bendis, Jason Fabok, Alex Sinclair, Josh Reed, Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, Jessica Chen, Michael Cotton, and Brian Cunningham.

Get your copy in comic shops today. To find a comic shop near you, visit www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon/Kindle/comiXology

 

 

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site

Review: Superman #1

After upending Superman’s status quo by showing the real reason why Krypton was destroyed and blasting Lois Lane and his son Jon into space, writer Brian Michael Bendis returns everything to normal in Superman #1. Not really. Bendis and majestic artists Ivan Reis and Joe Prado with blockbuster colorist Alex Sinclair show that even idealistic heroes get the blues in the proper beginning to Bendis’ Superman run. There is plenty of saving the day, but also sadness over the departure of his wife and son, whose communicator is broken as well as one hell of a final page hook.

In a single image of Superman shooting off into space to find his family, Reis and Prado show that they can handle both emotions and wide screen action. Superman #1 is a comic where the Man of Steel defeats a Dominator armada before they can even come close to invading Earth and also one where Clark Kent sits alone at home and reminisces about Lex Luthor expose related pillow talk with Lois and misses convincing his son to go to school even though he can fly, has freeze breath, and heat vision. Sinclair’s colors are really what sets the tone from explosions offset by the primary colors of Superman’s costume to the bleak darkness of the Fortress of Solitude’s new location at the Bermuda Triangle and the sheer eeriness of the final pages. Blue, yellow, and red are a constant, but the amount of light that shines on the crest of the House of El varies depending on the scene. It’s like a visual thermometer for hope.

Bendis’ gift for dialogue is what helped him stand out in the comics scene for better or worse, and it serves him well as Superman has one extended, pivotal conversation with the Martian Manhunter plus a couple small, yet great interactions with the Justice League and “himself” in Superman #1. For example, in a single page, Bendis and Reis nail the humility of Clark Kent as a slightly, self-congratulatory piece about the Fortress of Solitude moving location gets deleted, and Kent decides to write something that helps someone by following up on the ongoing, still unresolved arson subplot. Journalism isn’t just a day job disguise for Superman; it’s a powerful weapon in his fight for truth and justice even if it could be tempting to use his byline at the Daily Planet as PR. Reis and Prado do a close up on Clark touching the frame of his glasses to really sell the humility.

The conversation between Superman and J’onn is probably Bendis’ strongest scene yet as a DC Comics writer. Past writers have made the fairly obvious connection between Superman being the Last Son of Krypton and Martian Manhunter as the Last Son of Mars. However, Bendis goes a little deeper and has J’onn show empathy for Superman after he found out that Krypton wasn’t destroyed by natural causes, but by the genocide of Rogol Zaar. He writes J’onn with empathy, nobility, and patience as Superman keeps interrupting their conversation to help people and then creates a little bit of a gap between them when J’onn suggests that Superman play a more active role as a world leader instead of just a superpowered volunteer firefighter. Openly placing himself as superior to humans goes against Superman’s code so he declines J’onn’s idea while still listening to him. It might seem like a good idea, but remember Injustice Gods Among Us. 

Superman #1 is a full showcase for the talents of Brian Michael Bendis, Ivan Reis with Joe Prado, and Alex Sinclair on both a macro and micro level as they show while also show him emotionally coping with missing Lois and Jon and the loss of his Fortress of Solitude while also dealing with an extremely powerful threat connected to the events of Man of Steel. The book succeeds as both a character study and superhero blockbuster, and Bendis and Reis continue to seamlessly weave in Superman and Clark’s “co-workers” in the Justice League and Daily Planet to enhance the narrative.

Story: Brian Michael Bendis Pencils: Ivan Reis Inks: Joe Prado
 Colors: Alex Sinclair Letters: Josh Reed
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.2 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Superman #1

The fallout from the Man of Steel miniseries has Clark Kent looking at the world through new eyes… with new ideas about what Superman could and should do for the city of Metropolis and the planet Earth.

Writer Brian Michael Bendis kicks off his ongoing run with Superman #1 picking up directly from the miniseries The Man of Steel. And that’s part of the issue with this number one, without reading that miniseries, you may be lost. Superman #1 doesn’t feel like a fresh start as much as the diverging point of a story split between it and Action Comics. It feels like many of the key moments of the issue directly tie into the miniseries and without knowing the details, the moments would be a bit confusing.

But, beyond the issue if this “first issue” not being easy to dive into for new readers, the comic itself delivers such a different tone and direction from the previous Rebirth run. Up to this point, Superman has been focused on action with a lot of hope and positivity. It was a perfect example of a “bright” superhero comic. This one is a somewhat brooding Superman and Clark who are left alone in Metropolis while his son and wife are off in space with Jor-El. This is both good and bad.

Bendis has a talent of delivering heart to the character and that’s where a lot of this has been focused so far, getting the character down right. You can feel the emotion, and feel bad for Clark. We’ve all been there so it’s an easy thing to relate to. But, even though I can relate to it, it’s not something that has me excited to read more of. Those brooding moments are mixed with a lot of action and this is where things get a bit better. There’s some interesting concepts like Superman having to dart off quickly to save the day. But, even then, we’re presented with one of the oddest coversations with Martian Manhunter which challenges Superman’s role but feels like such an odd thing for Martian Manhunter to say (you’ll need to read the comic, no spoilers here).

The art is pretty good with a look that feels like a mix of retro and modern. Ivan Reis is joined by Joe Prado on inks, Alex Sinclair on colors, and Josh Reed‘s lettering. There’s a good mix of the action and the sadder moments. The scenes in space and Earth flow effortlessly and don’t feel like they’re two different stories. The characters themselves all look good with some good detail. There’s also some interesting page and panel layouts. There are some small details that are a little odd as far as facial expressions, for instance when Superman rebuilds his Fortress of Solitude, his face looks kind of evil, not so happy.

There’s nothing particularly bad about Superman #1. It brings the emotional moments but delivers such a different tone from the previous creators it feels dour, a departure from the “happier” direction of Rebirth. It’s not that this direction is a bad idea, it’s the tone of it all that makes it a bit of a chore to read. The fun has been sucked out of the series. It’s not enough for me to tap out but the series has gone down a few notches in my excitement to read what’s to come.

Story: Brian Michael Bendis Art: Ivan Reis
Ink: Joe Prado Color: Alex Sinclair Letterer: Josh Reed
Story: 6.75 Art: 7.75 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Batman #50

It’s the wedding you never thought you’d see! The Batrimony is real as Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle are set to tie the knot in a can’t-miss, extra-length milestone issue that will reshape Gotham City. All their friends (and a few enemies?) will be party to a comic book coupling for the ages.

The build up has been coming for a while now and with Batman #50 writer Tom King answers the question as to whether Batman and Catwoman tie the knot.

The issue is done in an interesting way with what amounts to two page spreads with generally half dedicated to Batman’s preparation for the day and the other half for Catwoman’s. In between these normal panel pages, there’s full page images by some top art talent on top of which we’re presented the two’s thoughts about their meeting and what they’re about to do.

While the “will they or won’t they” has been spoiled the comic is interesting as it delves into the thought process of two individuals who are clearly nervous about tying the knot and if they do what it means.

Catwoman isn’t a hero, she’s a criminal.

Batman is a hero. He’s a hero driven by his pain.

If they were to get married, what does that mean for each of them? Can Batman be happy? These are the types of thoughts that run throughout the comic as the two characters explore their love for each other. And that’s the impressive thing, Tom King convinces you that these two love each other. By the end, you’re convinced there’s no one else for these two.

And that spoiling? Well, not quite. There’s a twist but you’ll have to read the comic yourself and go elsewhere.

The issues with the comic is the hype and a build up that doesn’t pay off. The quality of the narrative is excellent, it all just doesn’t quite live up to the lead up and the end result is rather predictable. A single panel does not make a comic and this one relies heavily on that final panel.

The art duties are mainly handled by Mikel Janin with colors by June Chung and lettering by Clayton Cowles. The art is solid and there’s some fantastic page layouts. The way some of these pages are laid out is impressive with very creative visual storytelling. What’s also interesting is the use of pin-ups to tell the story as well. There was a similar thing done in Action Comics #1000 and here it sort of works. The artwork is fantastic, there’s some talent. But, it breaks up the story a bit and after a while becomes a little tedious. When the big picture comes in to focus, the choice is an interesting one and adds a poetic aspect, somewhat appropriate considering what’s happening.

This is a chapter in King’s larger story. There’s much more to come as things weave together and that final panel indicates we’ve got a hell of a lot of excitement to come. As a single issue, this one has its good and its bad but as a piece of the larger puzzle it fits like a perfectly crafted piece of the larger picture.

Story: Tom King Art: Mikel Janín
Pin-up Art: David Finch, Joëlle Jones, Mitch Gerads, Rafael Albuquerque, Neal Adams, Andy Kubert, Becky Cloonan, Ty Templeton, José Luis Garcia-Lopez, Frank Miller, Lee Bermejo, trish Mulvihill, Jason Fabok, Brad Anderson, Alex Sinclair, Hi-Fi, Tony S. Daniel, Tomeu Morey, Amanda Conner, Paul Mounts, Tim Sale, José Villarrubia, Paul Pope, Clay Mann, Jordie Bellaire, Jim Lee, Scott Williams, Greg Capullo, FCO Plascencia, Lee Weeks
Color: June Chung Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Story: 7.5 Art: 9.0 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Man of Steel #5

It’s Wednesday which means it’s new comic book day with new releases hitting shelves, both physical and digital, all across the world. This week we’ve got Superman!

Man of Steel #5 is by Brian Michael Bendis, Adam Hughes, Jason Fabok, Alex Sinclair, Josh Reed, Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, Jessica Chen, Michael Cotton, and Brian Cunningham.

Get your copy in comic shops today. To find a comic shop near you, visit www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon/Kindle/comiXology or TFAW

 

 

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site

Review: Justice League #2

It’s Wednesday which means it’s new comic book day with new releases hitting shelves, both physical and digital, all across the world. This week we’ve got the Justice League!

Justice League #2 is by Scott Snyder, Jorge Jimenez, Alejandro Sanchez, Tom Napolitano, Jim Lee, Scott Williams, Alex Sinclair, Andrew Marino, Rebecca Taylor, and Marie Javins.

Get your copy in comic shops today. To find a comic shop near you, visit www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon/Kindle/comiXology

 

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site

Review: Man of Steel #4

It’s Wednesday which means it’s new comic book day with new releases hitting shelves, both physical and digital, all across the world. This week we’ve got Superman!

Man of Steel #4 is by Brian Michael Bendis, Kevin Maguire, Jason Fabok, Alex Sinclair, Josh Reed, Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, Jessica Chen, Michael Cotton, and Brian Cunningham.

Get your copy in comic shops today. To find a comic shop near you, visit www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon/Kindle/comiXology

 

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site

Review: Hawkman #1

It’s Wednesday which means it’s new comic book day with new releases hitting shelves, both physical and digital, all across the world. This week we’ve got the return of Hawkman!

Hawkman #1 is by Robert Venditti, Bryan Hitch, Andrew Currie, Alex Sinclair, Starkings & Comicraft, Stejpan Sejic, Andrew Marino, and Marie Javins.

Get your copy in comic shops today. To find a comic shop near you, visit www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon/Kindle/comiXology or TFAW

 

 

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site

Review: Man of Steel #3

While the previous issue focused on Clark Kent’s relationship to his co-workers at the Daily Planet, Brian Michael Bendis makes Man of Steel # about Kal-El’s connection to his Kryptonian heritage beginning with a tragic, nearly silent opening sequence drawn by Ryan Sook and Alex Sinclair of Rogol-Zaar wrecking the Fortress of Solitude, including the Bottle City of Kandor making its first substantial appearance in the DC Rebirth era. There’s also a Batman cameo that goes nowhere (Except for inspiring Superman to think more like a detective.), and the shadowy Jay Fabok drawn figure slowly emerges from the shadows in the Clark and Jon flashback. So, like most of this miniseries so far, it’s a visually stunning mixed bag as Bendis and Sook finally catch up to the story in Action Comics #1000 timeline-wise.

Man of Steel has been a mini filled with great artists like Ivan Reis, Jay Fabok, Evan Shaner, and Steve Rude, but Ryan Sook proves that he has the best storytelling chops of the bunch. He is equally adept at big, bombastic moments like Rogol-Zaar crashing into Earth’s orbit and the smaller, human ones like Superman politely waving to Melody while he and Batman investigate another arson in Metropolis, or Supergirl comforting her cousin while he mourns the lost Kryptonians of Kandor. The pages where Superman and Supergirl are in the Fortress is a master class in emotional progression that starts by the cousins walking around their Arctic shelter and surveying the damage before bursting into pure anguish when they see the destroyed Bottle and then flight. Then, in another double page spread, Superman uses his flight, super hearing, and X-Ray vision to check on his apartment, co-workers, and then focus on the thread at hand. Hey, Batman isn’t the only one with “detective vision”. And Sook’s few pages of action really pack a wallop with yellows and reds from Sinclair showing that Rogol Zaar packs a real physical threat to Superman.

Brian Michael Bendis’ use of Supergirl and Batman in Man of Steel #3 is a very quick study is how and how not to use guest stars in a comic book. First of all, their appearances both make logical sense. Batman is helping Superman investigate a mystery that is bothering, namely, how are all these fires happening under his practically omniscient and omnipresent nose? Because she is Kryptonian, Supergirl can hear the unique frequency of the Fortress of Solitude’s alarm and quickly sees if the place that is the last sanctuary and repository of her home culture is under attack. However, with Batman, it seems like Bendis is just checking off writing DC’s other big hero instead of using him in a meaningful way. Of course, his first line of dialogue is “I’m Batman” to slightly freaked out/fangirling Melody Moore, and then he spouts off something about patterns and something respectful about Superman because that’s the kind of relationship Bendis lets them have, which is cool. But Batman doesn’t add a set of fresh eyes to any of Man of Steel’s mysteries, including the arson, and definitely not the missing Lois and Jon one. In fact, Superman comes off as the better detective as he quickly finds and engages Rogol-Zaar after cutting a swath of destruction through the Fortress.

On the other hand, Supergirl’s guest turn adds more layers of emotional poignancy to the destruction of the Bottle City of Kandor, a place that Kara may have even remembered visiting, because she came to Earth much older than Kal-El. Her appearance in Action Comics #1000 isn’t just a random cameo, but as a friend, family member, and Kryptonian fighting against an enemy that wants to obliterate all remnants of her and Kal’s culture. Bendis and Sook lean into the Kryptonians as immigrant metaphor with the items in the Fortress of Solitude representing memories and heritage of the homeland. Even if he barely speaks in this issue and is still mostly a one dimensional force of destruction and genocide,  Bendis and Sook position Rogol-Zaar as an anti-immigrant villain. To go along with this, Kara even gets a great action moment swooping up a faltering Superman with some Sook speed lines and delivering a one-liner before the brawl begins. Rogol-Zaar thought he had to fight one last of son of Krypton, but there’s a last daughter too.

The mystery parts of Man of Steel #3 barely progress (I have a fairly obvious theory about who the mysterious attacker is in the Lois and Jon flashbacks.), but Brian Michael Bendis and Ryan Sook hit a strong emotional beat with Superman and Supergirl’s reactions to the destruction of the Fortress of Solitude and the Bottle City of Kandor. Rogol-Zaar’s motivation is wholly tied to Krypton so this is line with his character and shows that Bendis understands Superman’s alien and human heritage. A pity that the Batman subplot went nowhere.

Story: Brian Michael Bendis Art: Ryan Sook, Jay Fabok Inks: Wade von Grawbadger
 Colors: Alex Sinclair Letters: Josh Reed
Story: 6.8 Art: 9.2 Overall: 7.7 Recommendation: Read

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Man of Steel #2

In a wise move, Brian Michael Bendis pivots from focusing on Rogol Zaar, the villain of the Man of the Steel to the even juicier mystery: where is Lois Lane (and Jon Kent)? Most of Man of Steel #2, and the man who wrote an ongoing series based on the investigative reporting branch of The Daily Bugle (RIP The Pulse) is in his element writing Sorkin-esque speeches from Perry White about truth and journalism between his frustration with Jimmy Olsen or juicy newsroom gossip. And he’s helped by some fantastic art from Doc Shaner, Jay Fabok, and Steve Rude, who brings an old school flair to the second half of the comic and turns in possibly the best Perry White page yet.

If anything, Man of Steel has been a showcase for some fantastic artwork, and we get the one-two punch of Shaner and Rude in issue two. After an overly edgy prologue where two fellows named Lord Gandelo and Appa Ali Apsa do some literal damage control on Krypton, Shaner demonstrates why he’s one of the most wholesome artists in the business as Superman dismantles one of Toyman’s robots and smiles when Hal Jordan makes a surprise cameo. (Alex Sinclair is a master at coloring intense, intergalactic situations though.) There’s a Saturday morning cartoon vibe to Superman taking out the wannabe Gundam and providing notes on Toyman’s less than stellar villainous banter game, and Shaner systematically shows each big moment with a clear use of angles and perspective. But, then, Superman rebuffs a “check-in” with Hal and flies into red and yellow watercolors showcasing his speed and desire to save as many people as possible.

Even though it’s not integral to the overarching mystery of Man of Steel , the moment where Superman brushes off Hal is probably Bendis, Shaner, and Rude’s best work in the comic. First, even Superman needs someone to ask him how’s he doing, and it was cool to see Bendis include that in the hullabaloo of a supervillain battle. But, then he flies off back to the Planet so he can quickly file his story as Clark Kent. Having a secret identity isn’t great for social graces or responsibilities, and Superman that it’s easier for him to rebuff niceties in costume than in his civilian guise. As Superman, he’s an icon and constantly on call so it’s easy for him to get back to saving the world and not behave like a human being/good friend. It’s kind of like the Pope, the pre-2016 President of the United States, or any highly visible public figure not having time to grab a beer or catch up with an old college roommate because they have to board a plane or somewhere or have a briefing. This is contrast with the more approachable and harried Clark Kent, who would probably get called an asshole for pulling that stunt so he leaves that move for Superman.

This great moment is bookended by some not so great ones like Rogol Zaar finally arriving in Metropolis after being teased months ago in Action Comics #1000 as the cliffhanger ending and yet another blinding light moment of vagueness from Bendis and Fabok featuring Lois and Jon’s whereabouts that plays like a rerun of the ending of Man of Steel #1. Even at DC, Bendis’ plots still work better at a trade paperback versus single issue level, but this is offset by the energy he brings to the Daily Planet. I’ve really only mentioned Shaner and Rude’s skill at action and showing Superman’s power and heart, but they also draw the hell out of a bustling newsroom crowd sequence along with gestures and facial expressions that give a little extra “oomph” to their sparring about publishing an article on Lois Lane going MIA and the conflict between being a hard hitting journalistic institution and a gossip rag. Because unlike his Marvel Comics newspaper editor counterpart, Perry White actually gives a damn about truth, justice, and all that stuff, and it comes across in his passion and frustration about the current state of the Planet.

Bendis has yet to hit a home run at DC Comics, but Man of Steel #2 is a solid base hit that continues to look at how Superman/Clark Kent feel about the world around them and their relationships while digging a little bit more into the Lois Lane mystery on both an earthbound and intergalactic level. Also, the Daily Planet has never felt so vibrant, and Doc Shaner seriously needs to draw a Superman/Green Lantern team-up miniseries.

Story: Brian Michael Bendis Art: Doc Shaner, Steve Rude Jay Fabok
 Colors: Alex Sinclair Letters: Josh Reed
Story: 7 Art: 9 Overall: 8 Recommendation: Read

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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