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Review: By The Horns #2

Elodie hates unicorns. For nearly a year, she’s been hell-bent on tracking down and killing all the elusive horned creatures responsible for trampling her husband, Shintaro.

By The Horns #2 continues Elodie’s mission of revenge but first, she must deal with an evil wizard.

Story: Markisan Naso
Art/Lettering: Jason Muhr
Colors: Andrei Tabacaru

Get your copy now! To find a comic shop near you, visit http://www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Scout Comics
Zeus Comics
TFAW


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: By The Horns #2

By the Horns #2

I always try and be objective when writing a review,though how successful I am is usually debatable, especially when I’m as excited to read a book as I am By The Horns #2. I’ve made no secret of my admiration for the work from this creative team, across the three Voracious miniseries and the first issue of By The Horns, although I will also freely admit that I tend to have higher expectations from the creative team (writer Markisan Naso, artist Jason Muhr, and colorist Andrei Tabacaru) than I do other comics. And yet despite those higher standards, I am constantly astonished at what arrives in my inbox.

By The Horns #2 is no exception.

This is a book I have been waiting to read for almost four months, and it did not disappoint.

This issue finds our unicorn hating and hunting hero Elodie and her deer/wolf/pony/friend Sajen make their way to the island home of Futen, the Dark Demon Sorcerer of the Western Wind, to have a chat about unicorns. The chat… well let’s just say that it makes for a fantastic read.

The opening of this book explains why Elodie has a mad hate on for unicorns, and I have to say that there’s more emotion and heartbreak in those near silent three pages than I’ve seen in some Nicholas Sparks movies. For comparison, it’s like the opening to Up with Carl and Ellie’s love/life story, but focusing on a specific moment. Those three pages set you up for what to expect from Muhr and Tabacaru for the rest of the comic; some pretty bloody gorgeous art work.

Muhr’s visual storytelling is wonderful, and I’ll always enjoy how he lays out his pages. There’s an elegant simplicity to his panels, though the first double page spread has more of an ethereal sense to it – in part I’m sure because of the colouring. The darker hues are at odds with the brightness in the following pages which adds a layer of unease for the reader upon opening the comic.

By The Horns is a fantasy series set in a universe that’s akin to a typical steampunk setting in terms of technology; on the surface it looks like a typical fantasy setting, but one you start paying attention you’ll notice some fantastic things; I won’t lie, I obsessed over Elodie’s boat far too much for a boat in a comic.

It’s within this rich tapestry of art that Naso’s story springs to life. I swear to you, this dude knows how to write a compelling comic; he’s one of the few writers I’d pick up anything he writes because he’s incredibly consistent (well technically that’s a lie – as with Muhr and Tabacaru, Naso is a better writer now than when he first penned Voracious, but you get the point I’m making; I’ve yet to read a bad comic from this man). By The Horns #2 is so much fun; there’s an incredible amount of detail and subtle nods within the art – more than I want to specifically mention because half the fun is in seeing how the team have framed the story within the comic.

By The Horns #2 is probably the best issue to come from this creative team, which surprises me because my expectations were sky high already. Naso, Muhr and Tabacaru are one of those rare teams where everything just clicks into place, and we end up with a fantastic comic book.

Story: Markisan Naso Art/Lettering: Jason Muhr Colors: Andrei Tabacaru
Story: 9.5 Art: 9.8 Overall: 9.7 Recommendation: Buy

Scout Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: Zeus ComicsTFAWScout Comics

By the Horns #1 Gets a Second Print

Scout Comics has announced that By the Horns #1 has gone to a second printing.

Elodie hates unicorns. For nearly a year, she’s dedicated her life to tracking down and killing them all for trampling her husband, Shintaro. Now exiled from her farming village of Wayfarer for selfishly neglecting her duties, Elodie and her half wolf/half deer companion, Sajen, search the continent of Solothus for clues to the whereabouts of unicorns. When they discover a lead in the port city of Lycus, their revenge mission suddenly takes a dangerous turn.

By the Horns #1 is by Markisan Naso, Jason Muhr, and Andrei Tabacaru. You can read our reviews here and here.

By the Horns #1 2nd printing

Review: By The Horns #1

Elodie hates unicorns. For nearly a year, she’s been hell-bent on tracking down and killing all the elusive horned creatures responsible for trampling her husband, Shintaro.

By The Horns #1 kicks off a twisted, intriguing, and most importantly entertaining fantasy series.

Story: Markisan Naso
Art/Lettering: Jason Muhr
Colors: Andrei Tabacaru

Get your copy now! To find a comic shop near you, visit http://www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Scout Comics
Zeus Comics

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: By The Horns #1

By the Horns #1

Full disclosure: I am so bloody excited to have read By the Horns #1. The creative team (writer Markisan Naso, artist Jason Muhr, and colorist Andrei Tabacaru) are one of the most underrated teams I’ve ever come across – their first story, Voracious has been firmly lodged as one of my favorite comic stories since the first volume wrapped (there’s three, and each one is better than the last). Needless to say, when the first issue of By the Horns #1 arrived in my inbox far earlier than I expected, I jumped on that like an Englishman jumping for tea.

Elodie hates unicorns. For nearly a year, she’s been hell-bent on tracking down and killing all the elusive horned creatures responsible for trampling her husband, Shintaro. Now, exiled from her farming village of Wayfarer for selfishly neglecting her duties, Elodie and her half wolf/half deer steed, Sajen, search the continent of Solothus for clues to the whereabouts of unicorns.

When Elodie discovers that four ancient wind wizards are abducting unicorns and other mystical creatures so they can extract their magic, she means to go through them at any cost to exact her revenge. But she’ll need to rely on an increasingly reluctant Sajen, a floating-eyeball guide named Evelyn, and two unicorn prisoners – Zoso and Rigby – who grant her the ability to rip off their horns and combine them to form wizard-slaying weapons. Will she use their gifts to save the captured unicorns, or destroy them all?

By the Horns #1 opens with a figure standing over a unicorn, bloody axe in hand with their head out of frame. It’s a scene-setting image, and you know what you’re in for, but Naso’s words over the image hit me in a way I wasn’t expecting. Normally when I stop reading a comic, it’s not because I need to take a moment to collect myself. By The Horns #1 is not a normal comic.

Khemmis, the name of the village that our lead character is from, is a brilliant nod to one of the most played metal bands on my Spotify (coincidentally, Naso cohosts a podcast about heavy metal, and has recommended Khemmis’ Desolation album – which I highly encourage you to check out). If I’m honest, I reread the book a second time trying to find other references and nods hidden within the comic, and while I caught a few, there are probably others that I missed, but that’s the joy of Naso’s work; this shit’s like an onion – the more you peel away at things the more you’ll find below the layers.

The story weaves between emotional turmoil and a deep sense that something is missing. To be clear, there’s nothing missing in the comic, but rather than the character Elodie is missing a part of who she is after the loss of her partner. Naso doesn’t force feed you this revelation, but rather shows you through the dialogue, and the pacing of Elodie’s conversation with the village elder. It’s a powerful scene, made even more impactful because of the visuals; Muhr and Tabacaru are like poetry in motion in By The Horns #1. This has got to be one of the most beautiful books you’ll see, and a lot of the credit should go to the way Tabacaru brings Muhr’s art to life.

Muhr is good, make no mistake, but Tabacaru’s work is astounding. The warmth and emotional desolation in his colours are breath taking when taken as a whole with Muhr’s facial expressions and Naso’s dialogue.

I remember first reading about this series, though I don’t know where that was (likely social media), and after Voracious I knew I’d be all in. What I didn’t expect was to be shown such an emotional depth in the debut issue; it’s hard for me to reconcile that the creative team hasn’t been working together for far longer than they have been because the synchronicity on display is utterly breathtaking.

By The Horns #1 is another blinder of a comic by Naso, Muhr, and Tabacaru. Get to your shop and make sure to grab a copy.

Story: Markisan Naso Art/Lettering: Jason Muhr Colors: Andrei Tabacaru
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Scout Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: Zeus ComicsScout Comics

Advanced Review: By The Horns #1

By the Horns #1

Elodie hates unicorns. For nearly a year, she’s been hell-bent on tracking down and killing all the elusive horned creatures responsible for trampling her husband, Shintaro. Now, exiled from her farming village of Wayfarer for selfishly neglecting her duties, Elodie and her half wolf/half deer steed, Sajen, search the continent of Solothus for clues to the whereabouts of unicorns.

When Elodie discovers that four ancient wind wizards are abducting unicorns and other mystical creatures so they can extract their magic, she means to go through them at any cost to exact her revenge. But she’ll need to rely on an increasingly reluctant Sajen, a floating-eyeball guide named Evelyn, and two unicorn prisoners – Zoso and Rigby – who grant her the ability to rip off their horns and combine them to form wizard-slaying weapons. Will she use their gifts to save the captured unicorns, or destroy them all?

Full disclosure: I am so bloody excited to have read this comic. The creative team (writer Markisan Naso, artist Jason Muhr, and colorist Andrei Tabacaru) are one of the most underrated teams I’ve ever come across – their first story, Voracious has been firmly lodged as one of my favorite comic stories since the first volume wrapped (there’s three, and each one is better than the last). Needless to say, when the first issue of By The Horns arrived in my inbox far earlier than I expected, I jumped on that like an Englishman jumping for tea.

By the Horns #1 opens with a figure standing over a unicorn, bloody axe in hand with their head out of frame. It’s a scene-setting image, and you know what you’re in for, but Naso’s words over the image hit me in a way I wasn’t expecting. Normally when I stop reading a comic, it’s not because I need to take a moment to collect myself. By The Horns #1 is not a normal comic.

Khemmis, the name of the village that our lead character is from, is a brilliant nod to one of the most played metal bands on my Spotify (coincidentally, Naso cohosts a podcast about heavy metal, and has recommended Khemmis’ Desolation album – which I highly encourage you to check out). If I’m honest, I reread the book a second time trying to find other references and nods hidden within the comic, and while I caught a few, there are probably others that I missed, but that’s the joy of Naso’s work; this shit’s like an onion – the more you peel away at things the more you’ll find below the layers.

The story weaves between emotional turmoil and a deep sense that something is missing. To be clear, there’s nothing missing in the comic, but rather than the character Elodie is missing a part of who she is after the loss of her partner. Naso doesn’t force feed you this revelation, but rather shows you through the dialogue, and the pacing of Elodie’s conversation with the village elder. It’s a powerful scene, made even more impactful because of the visuals; Muhr and Tabacaru are like poetry in motion in By The Horns #1. This has got to be one of the most beautiful books you’ll see, and a lot of the credit should go to the way Tabacaru brings Muhr’s art to life.

Muhr is good, make no mistake, but Tabacaru’s work is astounding. The warmth and emotional desolation in his colours are breath taking when taken as a whole with Muhr’s facial expressions and Naso’s dialogue.

I remember first reading about this series, though I don’t know where that was (likely social media), and after Voracious I knew I’d be all in. What I didn’t expect was to be shown such an emotional depth in the debut issue; it’s hard for me to reconcile that the creative team hasn’t been working together for far longer than they have been because of the synchronicity on display is utterly breathtaking.

By The Horns #1 is another blinder of a comic by Naso, Muhr, and Tabacaru. Get your shop to order this for you, because you’re not going to be disappointed when you get to read it in February.

Story: Markisan Naso Art/Lettering: Jason Muhr Colors: Andrei Tabacaru
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Graphic Policy was provided with a FREE copy for review


Pre-Order: Find your local comic shop

The Epic Fantasy By the Horns Begins this Winter

From writer Markisan Naso, artist and letterer Jason Muhr, and colorist Andrei Tabacaru, the amazing team behind Voracious, come their next adventure By the Horns.

Elodie hates unicorns. For nearly a year, she’s been hell-bent on tracking down and killing all the elusive horned creatures responsible for trampling her husband, Shintaro. Now, exiled from her farming village of Wayfarer for selfishly neglecting her duties, Elodie and her half wolf/half deer steed, Sajen, search the continent of Solothus for clues to the whereabouts of unicorns.

When Elodie discovers that four ancient wind wizards are abducting unicorns and other mystical creatures so they can extract their magic, she means to go through them at any cost to exact her revenge. But she’ll need to rely on an increasingly reluctant Sajen, a floating-eyeball guide named Evelyn, and two unicorn prisoners – Zoso and Rigby – who grant her the ability to rip off their horns and combine them to form wizard-slaying weapons. Will she use their gifts to save the captured unicorns, or destroy them all?

The action fantasy adventure By the Horns begins this winter from publisher Scout Comics.

By the Horns

Review: Voracious: Feeding Time #5

voracious Feeding Time CoverI’ve been listening to a lot of Frank Carter and The Rattlesnakes lately, frequently playing the bands two albums in sequential order for hours on end through my headphones as I plug away at the Day Job and then as I walk home. I’ve described their music as akin to a pissed off Foo Fighters, but that doesn’t begin to do the chugging, fast paced groove laden songs any justice – the music has connected with me in a way that I can’t quite comprehend, and after listening to the two albums hundreds of times over the past couple of months, I’m showing no signs of fatigue. The music won’t be for everybody, and I’m well aware of that, but for me the two albums presently released represent just over an hour of the finest slice of anger and melody recorded. 

After only spending a few months with the music, I know that I’ll enjoy it for years to come.

I can just as easily say the exact same thing about Voracious.

There’s something about this series that has just clicked for me; the elevator pitch is usually enough to sell anybody on the story (time travelling chef hunts dinosaurs to serve in his diner), but after two miniseries that pitch doesn’t begin to do the story justice – and nor can I in a spoiler free review, because it’s hard for me to believe that this issue represents only the second time that Markisan Naso and Jason Muhr have finished a comic book miniseries. I don’t remember the last time that I read a story arc from either Marvel or DC that was told this well or illustrated as wonderfully as the first two chapters in the Voracious trilogy. Muhr’s layouts in the opening of this comic are wonderful; with a textless first page he tells a story that a thousand words would struggle to tell – I was genuinely in awe when reading the review copy, and were it not for a Diamond Distribution snafu with my LCS I’d have been sat staring at the comic already.

I’m always impressed when a page is laid out in an interestingly inventive way, and the first page of this comic is simple in it’s elegance – yet it’s all the stronger for it. But not only is Muhr on top form, but colourist Andrei Tabacaru brings the already great artwork into the level of sheer beauty that you don’t see as often as you’d like. I would recommend you buy this comic for the art alone, but Naso delivers another flawless issue. Honestly, at this point I’d be surprised if he didn’t.

This series has constantly impressed me over the course of it’s nine issues, and if memory serves, I don’t think I have ever rated a series as high as I have Voracious.  

Markisan Naso and Jason Muhr reminded me of why I loved comics with the first miniseries, and with Feeding Time they have reminded me of just how good sequential art can be. If this is what these men can do on their first and second story arc, then the industry can expect some bloody brilliant things from them in the future.

If I read a better series this year, then I’ll be shocked. Voracious: Feeding Time has set the bar pretty bloody high.

Story: Markisan Naso Art: Jason Muhr Colourist: Andrei Tabacaru
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Graphic Policy was provided a FREE copy for review, but I will be purchasing this issue when my LCS gets it in, as well as the trade.

Review: Voracious: Feeding Time #4

voracius feeding time 4The last issue of this comic knocked me down several times over. The creators were on the to of their game in every way; Markisan Naso‘s emotional story and character interactions gut punched me into next Thursday, only for Jason Muhr‘s art and layouts to bounce me through to the following TuesdayAndrei Tabacaru‘s coloring work was the cherry on top of an emotional thunder punch of a story that had me reeling for days afterwards. 

Voracious: Feeding Time #3 has a very real chance of remaining my favorite single issue of the year.

It therefore seems somewhat unfair to compare this issue to the last because the emotional roller coaster of issue three isn’t as immediately evident in the fourth issue, but before you start to think that makes Feeding Time #4 a lesser issue, stop. The fourth issue will still give you things to think about, albeit with a level of subtlety that requires you to give the issue some time to digest in your brain (unless you’re able to pick up on these things faster than I was).

With the fourth issue of the miniseries, Naso gives you a moment to catch your breath with a sequence that, despite the very science fiction setting and ominous overtones, evokes the same sense of innocence that Nate and Starlee’s banter does in earlier issues. Although there’s a much heavier taste of futuristic science fiction present in this issue the comic retains the distinctlyVoracious feel with it’s characterization and humanity. At first the conversations that the saurian scientists have in this issue and the earlier interactions between Nate and Starlee have very little in common with each other, but once you remove the context of each conversation the tone remains very familiar allowing the reader to gain a level of familiarity with these otherwise alien-to-us-beings on an instinctual level. 

Little touches like this are a prime reason as to why I am such a huge fan of the series; there are some brilliant moments in each issue that jump out at you the first time you read the comic, that you can sometimes miss the more subtle, but equally brilliant, moments littered throughout each comic. The fourth issue of Feeding Time was weighted toward the more subtler side of the coin, and although it did take me a second read to pick up, the comic is so much more if you give it time to percolate in your mind.

Jason Muhr and Andrei Tabacaru continue to deliver a visual treat with each issue, easily justifying the price of admission alone. Muhr is able to convey those unspoken words between characters, effortlessly moving the story along in the absence of words that showcases the synchronicity between the series creators as they continue to publish one of the most exciting books of the year.

I fucking love this book, and if you give it a chance then you will too.

Story: Markisan Naso Art: Jason Muhr Colours: Andrei Tabacaru
Story: 9.5 Art: 9.75 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Action Lab Entertainment provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review.

Review: Voracious: Feeding Time #3

PrintMy first reaction upon reading this issue was, and I quote, Bloody Hell, Markisan. Bloody fucking Hell.

When was the last time you read a genuinely amazing comic that made your jaw drop so fast it nearly dislocated? For me it was ten minutes ago when I opened the PDF review copy of creators Markisan Naso and Jason Muhr’s Voracious: Feeding Time #3. It was an issue that I have been looking forward to for some time, and yet despite my high expectations, I was utterly blown away. I just…  it’s just so bloody awesome.

Markisan Naso has got to be one of the most exciting comic book writers to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard), and this is his second miniseries. He has an uncanny ability to convey so much emotion through his narration and dialogue, and you feel like you’ve known his characters all your life when you hear them speak, but watching them come alive with Jason Muhr’s artwork is astonishing. As much as the writing gets you into the characters, it’s Muhr’s layouts, and the way he composes his pages that elevate this comic into pure brilliance. I’m aware I’m sounding overly hyperbolic here, but Naso and Muhr have created a wonder comic here; Voracious: Feeding Time #3 is like a man who has been eating gas station beef jerky finally gets to eat a fillet mignon.

These are men you need to keep your eyes on.

Out of respect for the creators, joined again by colourist Andrei Tabacaru, I won’t spoil any thing about the issue. But it’s easily the best single issue I have read in a long time, with more nuances and subtle hints than you’d ever expect in a comic book. You often hear people say that something is the culmination of everything that came before it, and that has never been more accurate than with Feeding Time #3; if you’ve read the other issues of Voracious and Voracious: Feeding Time, then you’re going to thoroughly thoroughly enjoy every page of this issue.

It’s only February, and I’m pretty sure this will be the best single issue I’ll read all year; the bar has been set pretty fucking high from here on out. Having said that, if you intend on  reading this comic based entirely on this review without reading any of the previous issues, then you’ll be doing yourself, and the story, a huge disservice. This issue is a complete and utter work of art, and one of the most astonishing comics I’ve read in some time, but without reading at least the first two issues of this series then you’ll think I’m touched if read Feeding Time #3. It’s a phenomenal comic, but it’s not the best jumping on point. There’s not enough of you reading this series, and you’re all missing out.

I have no idea how Markisan Naso and Jason Muhr will top this, but I can’t wait to find out.

Story: Markisan Naso Art: Jason Muhr Colours: Andrei Tabacaru
Story: 11 Art: 10 Overall: 11 (that’s not a typo, this review goes to eleven) Recommendation: Buy

Graphic Policy was provided a FREE copy for review. I’m also buying a print copy when the comic is released because the art looks so much better on the paper than my laptop screen.

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