Tag Archives: allen passalaqua

Review: A&A: The Adventures Of Archer And Armstrong #7

A&A_007_COVER-A_KANOThe hunt for Armstrong’s estranged wife is taking a strange turn through America’s most bizarre traveling circus…and it’s no laughing matter! Besieged by a deranged troupe of malformed Armstrong clones, the world’s hardest-traveling adventurers may have finally met a match more dysfunctional than they are! And if that wasn’t enough absurdity for one day, a Russian science bear is about to come barreling through the big top with grave news for Archer & Armstrong!

Archer and Armstrong start the issue out by punching a few scientists, as they lament during the fight that nobody will explain what’s happening to them. I kind of hope that they don’t find out because watching them run through a circus trying and failing to reason with people is fantastic.

This is a series that’s quite possibly one of the most consistently entertaining comics on the racks month to month, and it’s also a criminally under-read series. Rafer Roberts script, Mike Norton‘s art and Allen Passalaqua‘s colours flow together to create such a brilliantly irreverent story that thinks nothing of throwing some completely unexpected things at both the two lead characters and the people reading the comic (I won’t give you an example because that’ll take away a little of the magic). I ended the last issue’s review by  saying “the entire issue is a fantastic middle finger to the type of by the numbers story telling that can be commonplace in comics, but it’s a bird that’s flipped with love – and I enjoyed every page.” The same is equally as true here, and it’s just as fun.

There isn’t much more for me to say about this issue (but there is a talking bear!), other than I really hope you go out and start reading this series. Whether you begin with this arc or not, when you pick up A&A be prepared to find your new favourite comic.

Story: Rafer Roberts Art Mike Norton Colourist: Allen Passalaqua
Story: 9 Art: 9 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy  a FREE copy for review.

Review: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #1

BGBOP_Cv1_dsSomeone has stolen the name Oracle right out of Barbara Gordon’s past! Hot on this false Oracle’s trail, Batgirl, Black Canary, and Huntress are all tracking the same mafia capo…so it makes sense to team up, right? Problem is, Barbara and Dinah need the secrets locked up in Oracle’s brain…and Helena Bertinelli would rather put a crossbow bolt right through it!

While Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #1 is good, the comic written by Shawna Benson and Julie Benson feels very paint by numbers in how it plays out storywise. The story follows that rather common trope of superheroes fighting each other before teaming up to stop the real bad guy (in fact it’s so common another DC comics has this same trope this week, but recognizes it and skips the fight). In this issue, which continues the Rebirth launch, we see Batgirl and Dinah trying to figure out who Oracle is while Huntress is hunting down the individuals who murdered her family. Of course their paths cross and they battle a bit until they are forced to team up. It’s very predictable in that way.

But what Benson and Benson get down really well is the interaction through all of that. The back and forth between Barbara and Dinah is really good. Barbara’s reactions at time gives the comic some humor in between the action. It reminds me a little of the previous Batgirl volume, though her reactions at time have her working at some points on emotion rather than her logic, a bit of a switch.

The art by Claire Roe is pretty good and there’s some fun expressions by Barbara and good action sequences. I think there’s a slight issue with the art showing off a more comedic vibe, but most of the comic is not. There’s definitely a mix of tone throughout the comic, and maybe that’s just first issue jitters by the team that’ll get worked out over time.

The first issue isn’t bad in any way, it just is a bit predictable and the tone and interaction between the characters is a bit uneven. There’s potential with these three characters, so we’ll see where it all goes, but the first issue doesn’t knock it out of the park unfortunately.

Story: Shawna Benson, Julie Benson Art: Claire Roe Colors: Allen Passalaqua
Story: 6.95 Art: 7.3 Overall: 7.15 Recommendation: Read

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: A&A: The Adventures Of Archer And Armstrong #6

A&A_006_COVER-C-ROBERTSONThere’s something endearing about Archer and Armstrong. The two polar opposite characters have a friendship that doesn’t need explaining (although it is worth noting that Archer was hired to kill the immortal Armstrong), and the comic opens with a brilliant sequence that will tell new readers all they need to know about the pair: Armstrong farts in Archer‘s face while Archer is meditating.

It’s an absolutely hilariously juvenile moment made even better by the way that Mike Norton‘s art and Allen Passalaqua‘s colours come together to create the visuals for the sequence.

Rafer Roberts seems to delight in having the two title characters poke fun at existing comic book tropes, before knowingly going along with them leading to some fantastic self-aware moments between the two. I’ve said many times before that this series is one of the most entertaining comics from any publisher, and it’s certainly one of Valiant‘s best comics, but when you see Archer ask he and Armstrong can’t try and talk their way out of the next scrap that will inevitably come their way only to be met with “our enemies are a bunch of idiots. You can’t reason with stupid,” you just know what’s coming.

The entire issue is a fantastic middle finger to the type of by the numbers storytelling that can be commonplace in comics, but it’s a bird that’s flipped with love – and I enjoyed every page.

Story: Rafer Roberts Art: Mike Norton Colourist: Allen Passalaqua
Story: 9 Art: 9 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review.

Review: A&A: The Adventures Of Archer And Armstrong #5

A&A_005_COVER-B_LAFUENTEA&A’s whirlwind ongoing series is hitting the town with the one and only FAITH! With Armstrong on the road, Archer is taking some much-needed personal time…and bringing his long-distance Romance with Los Angeles’s number-one superhero off of FaceTime and into the real world! As these friends take their relationship to the next level, will romance conquer all?

There aren’t many comics coming out that are as fun as A&A: The Adventures of Archer And Armstrong these days, although Valiant did just debut another comic this week, coincidentally starring this month’s guest star: Faith #1.

This issue of A&A  has Armstrong  leaving Archer to his own devices for a few days for a legitimate story reason, although the slightly more jaded among us may see it as Rafer Roberts just setting up Archer as having the time to go to LA to meet his long distance girlfriend. But when the resultant story is this entertaining, who cares where Armstrong went?

This is the second comic featuring Faith  to hit the shelves this week, and although it’s certainly going to be receiving a lower profile than the debut of Faith #1 (that we reviewed here), A&A The Adventures Of Archer And Armstrong #5 centers around the first actual date between Obadiah Archer, the sheltered young ninja that could give Nightwing a run for his money, andFaith Herbert, the relentlessly upbeat hero known to the world at large as Zephyr. In a ridiculously charming series of events, we see the influence of Faith on the sheltered Archer as the evening progresses, and their talk of pop culture is interspersed with brief snippets of recent (and perhaps not so recent) adventures that took place in various different  series – but don’t think you’ll be lost if you’re oblivious of those adventures; the dialogue is so effortlessly done that the details we are given are more than enough to enjoy the scenes.

Actually, the story probably works better if you don’t know exactly what has happened in previous issues (although since that’s the boat I’m in, I may be biased), and just allow the comic to bring you along for the ride. This wouldn’t be an Archer and Armstrong comic if something wasn’t punched, and the build up to the inevitable confrontation is incredibly well done, and the resultant fight is genuinely funny; the art is fluid, smooth,  and very easy to follow throughout the issue, but it’s the text-planations of Archer‘s fighting abilities (among other things) that are the cherry on top. In an already fun comic, it was often these that had me laughing out loud.

A&A: The Adventures Of Archer And Armstrong #5 may not move the overall story along too much, but it’s an absolutely fantastic read. This is a comic that can easily be read as a one shot comic, so whether you’re just getting into Faith and want a double dose this week, or you’ve always wanted to jump into the series proper this is an ideal place to begin.

Pick this up before you leave your local comic shop next time you’re in. you’ll not regret it.

Writer: Rafer Roberts Penciller: Mike Norton Colourist: Allen Passalaqua
Story: 8.75 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.7 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy a FREE copy for review.

Preview: Mighty Crusaders: The Lost Crusade


Script: Ian Flynn, Chuck Dixon, Scott & David Tipton, Howard Mackie, Vito Delsante, Dean Haspiel, Tom Defalco
Art: Mike Norton, Ken Hooper, Sergio Cariello, Vicente Alcazar, Chrischross, Dean Haspiel, Ron Frenz, Terry Austin, Rick Bryant, Jim Amash, Thomas Mason, Allen Passalaqua, Tom Smith, John Workman
Cover: Ron Frenz, Jim Amash, Tom Smith
On Sale Date: 9/18
44-page, full color comic

The Mighty Crusaders return in an all new lost tale, featuring a stellar cast of talent. With the New Crusaders facing an uncertain future and the truth about their parents slowly being revealed, one man searches for answers. But will the answers he finds be worth reliving the pain of his own past?


Review: Book Of Death: The Fall Of Ninjak #1

BOD-NINJAK_001_COVER-A_KANOSo let it be written, so let it be done…

In the ruins of his mansion, Colin King hunkers down as the last living member of Unity after the Third Armor Hunt – or so he thinks. A visit from an old friend and a peace offering present the chance for Ninjak to break the cycle of death and escape the horrible fate foretold in the Book of the Geomancer. Will he betray his dead friends or will The Fall Of Ninjak come to pass?

Valiant’s Book Of Death has become one of the best event story lines from any publisher this summer, and it’s definitely my favourite, but is this tie-in standalone worth reading?

Well first of all, Book Of Death: The Fall Of Ninjak is not required reading in terms of understanding the over arching story of the event that it ties into; you can easily skip this comic and you won’t harm your enjoyment of the main Book Of Death series. If you do that, however, you’ll miss out on a tie-in comic that has a deeper reach than just the main Book Of Death story line that it will be primarily associated with. There are hints in this comic that may answer some questions from other series that readers may have, but then again maybe that’s just me.

In terms of the characterization within this comic, Matt Kindt gives us a look at a much more experienced, and a much more mature, Ninjak in this comic. This older version of Ninjak may be unfamiliar to those used to the character in his usual setting, but you can still feel echoes of that younger man in this issue. That is to say that the character presented here really feels as if he’s had sigificant life experience, and has grown a lot from the younger incarnation in the comics.; although the older Ninjak may be unfamiliar, Matt Kindt has given us a story that undoubtedly stars everybody’s favourite purple clad ninja (from the Valiant Universe).

The three artists on this book, penciler Trevor Hairsine, inker Ryan Wynn and colourist Allen Passalaqua, work together in such a way that the art work feels incredibly in sync.  Ryan Wynn‘s inks never swallow Trevor Hairsine‘s original pencil work; indeed for the first few pages I was wondering whether the pencils and inks were done by the same person. Allen Passalaqua gives us some truly fantastic final pages, really bringing the scenes to life, giving a soft beauty to the final moments in the Book Of Death: The Fall Of Ninjak.

You don’t need to read this comic book in order to follow along with the main Book Of Death story arc, but by skipping this comic you’ll miss out on a great standalone story that takes place far into Ninjak‘s future.

And you wouldn’t want to do that, would you?

Story: Matt Kindt Art: Trevor Hairsine, Ryan Wynn, Allen Passalaqua
Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8 Recomendation: Read

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review.

Preview: The Fox #5


Plot: Dean Haspiel
Art: Dean Haspiel, Rachel Deering and Allen Passalaqua
Script: Mark Waid
Cover: Dean Haspiel
Variants: Robert Hack, David Mack, Eli Powell, Bill Sienkiewicz
On Sale Date: 8/5
32 page, full-color comic

The FOX HUNT reaches its cataclysmic conclusion with the biggest brawl in Dark Circle history!

“Fox Hunt, Part 5”: The Fox and She-Fox have invaded Mr. Smile’s evil headquarters and are on the attack against the final five deadly villains that stand between them and their son! As parents do battle for the fate of their son, blood, sweat tears and money are on the line—but the freak magnet and his super family are far from finished! This arc may be ending, but the Fox’s adventures continue on—if he can survive the final showdown with the dreaded IRON FOX! Featuring story, art and covers from the biggest names in comics, including variant art from Robert Hack, David Mack, Eli Powell and Bill Sienkiewicz!


Preview: The Fox #4


Plot: Dean Haspiel
Art: Dean Haspiel, Rachel Deering and Allen Passalaqua
Script: Mark Waid
The Fox #4 CVR A Reg: Dean Haspiel
The Fox #4 CVR B Variant: Irvin Rodriguez
The Fox #4 CVR C Variant: Dirk Shearer
The Fox #4 CVR D Variant: Jay Shaw
On Sale Date: 7/8
32-page, full color comic
$3.99 U.S.


“Fox Hunt, Part 4”

The FOX has been punched, thrown, stabbed, crushed, shot at and smothered by a virtual army of super villains—but nothing is stopping Paul Patton, Jr. from finding his son! But that was just for starters—get ready for intense action and psychedelic paranoia as The Fox straddles the line between reality and a world of NIGHTMARE! Who is behind all of this madness? Will Fox’s son, the Ghost Fox, make it out of the city alive? Find out as the hunt continues! Featuring cover art from Dean Haspiel, Irvin Rodriguez, Dirk Shearer and Jay Shaw!


Preview: The Fox #1


Plot/Art: Dean Haspiel
Script: Mark Waid
Art: Dean Haspiel, Allen Passalaqua, and John Workman
Cover: Dean Haspiel
Variant Cover 1: Chris Samnee and Matt Wilson
Variant Cover 2: David Mack
Variant Cover 3: Ulises Farinas and Ryan Hill
Variant Cover 4: Thomas Pitilli
On Sale Date: 4/15
32-page, full color comic
$3.99 U.S.


Emmy Award winning writer/artist Dean Haspiel (Billy Dogma, HBO’s Bored to Death) is once again united with Eisner award-winning writer Mark Waid (Daredevil, Thrillbent) for FOX HUNT: Part One “The Situation”: When a billionaire philanthropist prepares Paul Patton Jr’s home town for demolition, our hero is sent on assignment to photograph the event. But what strange force lurks in the shadows, and why will it take Paul’s alter-ego, THE FOX, to stop it? The answer is the beginning of a deadly FOX HUNT and you won’t believe what happens next!

Don’t miss the debut issue from the critically-acclaimed team that brought you THE FOX: FREAK MAGNET, featuring FOUR all-new variant covers! With art from Dean Haspiel, David Mack, Thomas Pitilli, Ulises Farinas and Chris Samnee!


Preview: The Fox: Freak Magnet


Script: Mark Waid, J.M. DeMatteis
Plot/Art: Dean Haspiel, Allen Passalaqua, Mike Cavallaro, Terry Austin, John Workman
Cover: Dean Haspiel
$14.99/$16.99 CAN
6 5/8 x 10 3/16”
Trade Paperback
144 pp, Full Color
Direct Market On-sale: 7/2

It’s the critically acclaimed debut of the high-flying FOX! Emmy Award-winning writer/artist Dean Haspiel (BILLY DOGMA, HBO’S BORED TO DEATH) and Eisner Award-winning writer Mark Waid (DAREDEVIL, THRILLBENT) bring the legendary, pulp-style hero The Fox to life in FREAK MAGNET! When photojournalist Paul Patton, Jr. donned a superhero costume, he thought it would be a quick way to make some news–now the strange and unusual just can’t help but be drawn to the freak-magnetism of the fabulous fighting Fox! Then, go back in time for an all-new story featuring the world’s first patriotic superhero, THE SHIELD from acclaimed writer J.M. DeMatteis (ABADAZAD, JUSTICE LEAGUE 3000) and Eisner Award-nominated artist Mike Cavallaro (PARADE WITH FIREWORKS, THE LIFE AND TIMES OF SAVIOR 28). What connection does the Shield’s top-secret mission in the Arctic have to do with the Fox’s diamond-studded adventure? And what ultra-powerful villains have arrived to wreak havoc?? Read on, dear reader–The Fox and the Shield have their work cut out for them! The Fox: Freak Magnet collects the five-part comic book series of the same name.


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