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Review: X-O Manowar #13

XO2017_013_COVER-A_LAROSA“This means war!

The alien-armored warrior called X-O Manowar once commanded the most formidable army the alien world of Gorin had ever known. Now, his comrades have been forsaken, his crown has been commandeered, and his power has been rejected by the very subjects he once ruled. But he still has his sword…and a never-ending furnace of fury drawn from deep within…”

If you have been reading the solicitations, then you’ll know where Aric will be heading by the end of this issue. If you haven’t, then I’m not going to tell you here. This is only relevant because X-O Manowar caps off the series first year; a year in which we have seen some phenomenal story telling in the sequential arts. It hasn’t always been consistent, some have been merely really good as opposed to great, but without a doubt I have never felt as though I wasted my money in buying these issues (yes, I did read a review copy, but I still buy the individual comics in print).

The last issue saw Aric fully embracing the sacred armour of Shanhara as his world comes crashing down around him, There is, somewhat predictably, a series of fantastic action sequences with Aric and the armour working together in a  harmony we haven’t seen this series. Ryan Bodenheim has a style that enables you to easily follow the more action heavy scenes with the speed that they’re happening within the story. You don’t need to do this, and upon absorbing the art after reading the story there will be visual queues that may have been missed the first time through. Bodenheim’s art is given a unique flavour by the colouring work of Andrew Dalhouse, and you’re often reminded that this isn’t Earth.

With X-O Manowar #13Matt Kindt finally explains why Aric left Earth in some subtle yet powerful flashbacks. I won’t reveal the details of said flashbacks because the reason is a doozy and you need to experience it without it being spoiled online. Suffice to say that a lot of the loose end and questions are answered without anything being forced or unnaturally handed to you. As the series brings a close to the current multi-part story arc, Kindt leaves us with a very complete story that stands above the vast majority of other superhero comics being published today.

X-O Manowar is a space epic with a deeply personal story about a man finding himself, and, thankfully, the final issue is a nigh on perfect cap on a great first year. We’ve had thirteen issues, four story arcs and one amazing story. I can’t wait to see what’s next.

Story: Matt Kindt Art: Ryan Bodenheim
Colourist: Andrew Dalhouse Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Story: 9.0 Art: 8.8 Overall: 8.9 Recommendation: Buy

Preview: X-O Manowar (2017) #13

X-O MANOWAR (2017) #13 

Story: Matt Kindt Art: Ryan Bodenheim
Color: Andrew Dalhouse Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Cover A by Lewis Larosa (JAN182024)
Cover B by Giuseppe Camuncoli (JAN182025)
Interlocking Variant by Ariel Olivetti (JAN182026)
X-O Manowar Icon Variant by Howard Chaykin (JAN182027)
Pre-Order Edition by Ryan Bodenheim (OCT171928)
Editor: Warren Simons Assitant Editor: David Menchel
$3.99 | 32 pgs. | T+ | VALIANT PREMIUM | On Sale MARCH 28th

This means war!

The alien-armored warrior called X-O Manowar once commanded the most formidable army the alien world of Gorin had ever known. Now, his comrades have been forsaken, his crown has been commandeered, and his power has been rejected by the very subjects he once ruled. But he still has his sword…and a never-ending furnace of fury drawn from deep within…

The end of X-O Manowar’s year-long conquest at the farthest reaches of the Valiant Universe draws near – and a powerful new beginning awaits – as New York Times best-selling writer Matt Kindt (ETERNITY) and astonishing artist Ryan Bodenheim (The Dying & The Dead) unleash the final reckoning of “VISIGOTH”!

Review: Action Comics #999

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.

Action Comics #999 is by Dan Jurgens, Will Conrad, Ivan Nunes, Rob Leigh, Brett Booth, Norm Rapmund, Andrew Dalhouse, Kaare Andrews, Andrea Shea, and Paul Kaminski.

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 TFW


DC Comics​ provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review
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Review: The Legend of the Mantamaji: Bloodlines Book One

I love when heroes over come unconquerable odds, I love it even more when they fail. This is where” the journey” comes into play, most of us cannot see the forest through the trees. I personally struggle with this, especially when I am going to through some turbulent times in my life, and wonder what is the purpose? This question, becomes even more pertinent once one gets through their “personal hell to the other side, as you do become wiser, from the lessons you learned and you know your strength of will as you realize what you can endure.

We love even more when these heroes suffer some self-injury, when they are far from perfect, and when they adjust so they can survive another day. This what has fans loving and hating characters like Daredevil and Black Panther, as they symbolize this symmetry between perfection and imperfection. AS we all fall down, but what matters most is what we do next, as licking your wounds has never solved anything but fighting back has.  In the newest storyline of Eric Dean Seaton’s epic series, The Legend Of Mantamaji,  the series follow Elijah as he faces a new threat in the first book of Bloodlines.

We find Elijah months later, still fighting injustice in his hero life but finding losses in his professional life and still reeling from the loss of his mother.  Not sure of how to get out of this slump, he gets an invite from an old, or shall I say an ex-girlfriend, who just so happens, to be the princess of a small but powerful Afrikan nation, who holds secrets, that if exposed, may be dangerous to outsiders. If that I not enough, a new threat emerges, one that is slowly taking over New York, one more sinister than he could have ever imagined. By book’s end, much more is revealed of who his old girlfriend, Yola really is and just how this new threat and her enemies might mean doom for all involved.

Overall, this book is probably one of the best installments out of this series thus far. It feels more personal and just as action packed. The story Eric Dean Seaton and David Ellis Dickerson is intricate, balanced and exciting. The art by Brandon Palas, Andrew Dalhouse and Deron Bennett is gorgeous and vibrant. Altogether, an entertaining new series that proves this hero is here to stay and deserves as much light as any hero from the big two.

Story: Eric Dean Seaton and David Ellis Dickerson
Art: Brandon Palas, Andrew Dalhouse and Deron Bennett

Story: 10 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.7 Recommendation: Buy

Review: X-O Manowar #12

XO2017_012_COVER-A_LAROSABehold the untamed fury of Earth’s last Visigoth!

Left for dead by a mercenary band of bounty hunters far more twisted and devious than any enemy he’s faced before, Aric of Dacia has managed to cling to life…and a thirst for revenge. Now, his campaign of retribution against those who have wronged him can begin in full force…and, when the dust settles, the alien world of Gorin will rue the day it ever brought the savage sword of X-O Manowar crashing down upon it…

When X-O Manowar #12 opens we find Aric unclothed and weaponless in the wastelands having a little snack. Ryan Bodenheim (art) and Andrew Dalhouse (colors) produce a sweeping desolate vista that wastes scant time in letting the reader know just how deadly, yet incredibly beautiful all the same, the landscape of this planet actually is. While the story set against this vista equally as well written, I’ll get to that in a moment, because I wanted to spend a moment more on the exquisite art within the comic that has a very distinct “comic book” sense about it, and yet wouldn’t look out of place on the poster to a science fiction movie in your theater. The action, figures and motion within the panels are easy to read and seamless in their presentation as the story progresses from the wastelands to the capital.

Matt Kindt brings the comic along at a steady pace, alternating between violently elegant confrontations and equally tense verbal confrontations that surround our hero as he brings a truth that none had previously considered. There’s a character moment or two in X-O #12 that will play into Aric’s role in the coming months as Harbinger Wars 2 approaches, and he comes to an understanding of just who – and what – he is.

When you break down this comic into it’s most basic of themes, it’s that of communication, or the lack there of. Had those who usurped Aric not taken to the most extreme avenue before taking the simplest then one could surmise that this arc would have been significantly shorter. But that would have meant we wouldn’t get this issue in its current form – and that would have been a shame.

Story: Matt Kindt Art: Ryan Bodenheim Color: Andrew Dalhouse
Story: 8.8 Art: 8.7 Overall: 8.8 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Quantum And Woody #3


“If you add them all up, this would be Quantum and Woody’s 50th issue! What better time to answer the eternal question: “Whatever happened to the Goat, anyway?” At last, the whole saga of Dr. Derek Henderson’s transformation from brilliant physicist and beloved father into a barnyard animal of unimaginable power can finally be told…and all of his secrets revealed, beginning with the long-awaited birth of the Goat’s baby!”

Alright so this issue essentially breaks the story that had been running in the series’ first two issues with what is essentially an enjoyable, yet largely irrelevant one shot that has a surprisingly emotional undertone (there’s a chance this may pay off own the road eventually, but on face value…?). That’s not to say that this isn’t worth your time i you’re only interested in the story from the first two issues, because the essence of the characters that you love is still present even as the story takes place an unspecified amount of time before the events of Quantum And Woody #1. The world’s worst superhero team haven’t fractured their relationship into nothingness just yet, but the signs are present that it’ll happen. This means we get to see Daniel Kibblesmith’s take on their relationship when they don’t hate each other.

Because this story does break the ongoing arc in the series it’s not a bad place to start reading the series if you want to get a sense of the characters, but in terms of getting a sense of what had gone before and where we’ll be heading next… not so much.

That being said, Francis Portella and Andrew Dalhouse provide some great visual accompaniment to the story, and the switch between the two time periods is visually obvious as the page layouts shift from full page art to a panel layout that feels as though you’re looking into the past. Of course Dave Sharpe‘s lettering spells it out in no uncertain terms, and the unobtrusive yet visually striking work he contributes to the comics he works on goes unmentioned far too often because it’s so damn good (yours truly is guilty of this).

Quantum And Woody #3 is an interesting comic that should appeal to those already reading the series, but may not be a great place for new readers to hop into the story itself – even if the comic itself is more than accessible to anybody picking it up, and the quality is certainly there. As an introduction to these characters, you can’t go wrong with this touching exploration of what happens when you get a little bit longer with a formerly deceased family member – the brother’s reactions give you a great feel for who they are, and it’s that feeling that will help you understand where they’re coming from in the issues ahead.

Story: Daniel Kibblesmith Art: Francis Portella
Colourist: Andrew Dalhouse Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Uh….

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Ninja-K #4


At the height of 1970s Britain, MI-6’s covert “Ninja Programme” has just activated its first female agent: NINJA-G! As financial instability grips the nation and anarchy brews in the streets, can MI-6’s newest ninja recruit counter a steady tide of double agents, double crosses, and dueling nation states that will take her from the leather-padded corridors of London to the most severe corners of the Soviet Bloc? The life expectancy of a ninja agent is never long…but just how and why are NINJA-G’s missions still impacting Ninjak’s deadly manhunt in the modern day? And could her legacy hold the secret to decoding the murders of the Ninja Programme’s last surviving members – before Colin King is scratched off the list once and for all?

Now that Ninja-K has been told that MI6 has been manipulating his life, and the lives of all previous Ninja Programme operatives, he’s doing what anyone should before reacting with the lethal effectiveness he is known for; obtaining proof. Enter the reclusive Ninja-G and her seventies-set story. Although you’ll want to be familiar with the previous three issues for Ninja-K’s story, you’re still able to pick up and enjoy this issue if you want to read about a capable, kick ass former ninja.

There’s not a whole lot to talk about with the comic itself, honestly. Ninja-K #4 is a solid entry into the series, and meets the high standards set by the first three issues; the main story is a slowly burning flame that rewards patience with an intelligently written script that has refused to rush from action scene to action scene needlessly. Christos Gage knows how to tease a story along without prolonging it needlessly – I’m enjoying the first arc and almost don’t want to see the arc come to a close.

Ninja-K #4 is, to borrow a sports analogy, a solid scoring triple. A few seconds from a home run, but damn close (I don’t do sports much – was that right?)

Story: Christos Gage Juan Jose Ryp Colourist: Andrew Dalhouse
Back Up Story Artist: Ariel Olivetti
Story: 8.25 Art: 8.8 Overall: 8.7 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Armstrong And The Vault Of Spirits #1


“Deep beneath New York City’s seediest dive bar, Armstrong – the hard-hitting, harder-partying immortal veteran of history’s greatest escapades – is hosting an invitation-only affair for his most beloved friends and allies! Archer… Ivar, Timewalker… Faith… Quantum and Woody… And special guests from across the Valiant Universe… All have been offered a seat at the table for a personally guided tour of Armstrong’s most valuable and tightly guarded treasure… From the Great Flood to ancient Greece to the height of the Crusades, raise a glass as Armstrong recounts the true stories of his wine-soaked path down through the ages and the artifacts that reside within his own secret archive!”

I have been partial to stories about the Anni Padda brothers ever since I started reading Valiant comics a few years ago, and there was always something about Armstrong that fascinated me so it should go without saying I was intrigued in this book (it doesn’t hurt that Fred Van Lente is writing it, either).

Armstrong And The Vault Of Spirits is a one shot story that reads as a love letter to the Valiant Universe; while Armstrong opens his vault for an hour each year, the various nefarious elements of the whom Armstrong has run afoul of over the last thousand or  so years are waiting to break into the vault for various purposes that are brilliantly comic-booky, and perfectly explained in their simplicity. Van Lente deftly balances the tender, heartbreaking moments with a comedic infusion that’s never quite too much, but occasionally just subtle enough to be overlooked. This one shot will reward fans of Van Lente’s previous work for Valiant – specifically Ivar, Timewalker and Archer And Armstrong – but familiarity with those series isn’t required to enjoy this. Armstrong’s interactions with the biblical  Noah alone are worth the price of admission alone, and provide an interesting Valiant fueled twist on the story as biblical verses are used, albeit sparsely, throughout the sections.

Artistically the comic is solid, if a little ink-heavy in places (all personal preference), depicting the action with all the aplomb you could hope for in a comic, but the selling point here for Valiant fans is Van Lente’s return to a character (or three) that he wove some utterly fantastic stories with.

Everything else is just the cherry on top of a wonderful sundae.

Story: Fred Van Lente Art: Cafu with Darrick Robertson
Colourists: Andrew Dalhouse with Diego Rodriguez
Story: 8.8 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: X-O Manowar #11

XO2017_011_COVER-A_LAROSA“Aric of Dacia’s bone-crushing climb to the throne of an alien world earned him scores of allies…and a legion of scorned enemies. Now, stripped of his crown and cast out of his kingdom, the man known as X-O Manowar must return to his roots as a sword-wielding warrior of Earth if he is to survive the relentless band of intergalactic bounty hunters that have been hired to kill him cold. But with few places left to turn, could the last Visigoth’s best hope be the all-powerful…but insidious…weapon he once swore away: the X-O Manowar armor?”

Usually when a hero saves the world and wins a war we don’t get to see the fallout of the victory, we tend to move on after a happy ending and a nondescript amount of time. But with X-O Manowar #11, Matt Kindt explores what happens when a man entirely unqualified to rule a planet ends up as said planet’s emperor, and for all his good intentions, Aric’s rule is beset by very legitimate problems that, being the conquering hero, he had never thought of. Couple this with his refusal to rely on the sacred armour of Shanhara, the sentient and incredibly knowledgeable armour in almost any capacity other than as a tool, and you have a man who knows he is running out of time to unite the peoples of the planet Gorin, but is seemingly incapable of moving past his own stubborn belief he doesn’t need any help.

Needless to say, some of the people Aric rules over have had enough of his chaos, and have hire bounty hunters to remove him. Last issue introduced those bounty hunters to the reader, and with X-O Manowar #11 we see them being introduced to our hero in a remarkably well written book. 


Ryan Bodenhiem brings a different aesthetic to the comic than the previous artistic team, and his depiction of Aric’s beaten and  scarred body against a stark, desert like landscape has an odd sense of poetry about it; coupled with this, the page layouts also have an elegance to them that balances the harsh, yet oddly beautiful palnet Gorin (fans of desert vistas will know exactly what I mean by this). Bodenheim may not be an artist I’m as overly familiar with as some of the others previously attached to this series, but I love the differences in visuals he brings to the comic. In doesn’t hurt that the colouring work of Andrew Dalhouse is, as ever utterly fantastic.

Without stepping into spoiler territory too far, there’s a moment in the comic that has echoes of a scene a few issues ago, only with somewhat different results. Kindt’s not-so-subtle reference to the earlier issue is made all the better by the subversion of your expectations; just because something has happened before, doesn’t mean it will again. And by shifting your expectations, he also gives you a glimpse into the other side (again, this is a vague statement to avoid the spoiler hammer) of the coin. Although if you’ve read the solicitations, you’ve probably got an idea as to where the outcome of this three part story is heading, I can’t wait to see the political journey that sets Aric up for X-O Manowar #14.

Story: Matt Kindt Art: Ryan Bodenhiem Colourist: Andrew Dalhouse
Story: 9 Art: 9 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided a FREE copy for review, but I’ll be buying this anyway.

The Occultist Omnibus in April 2018

Rob Bailey is acquiring another magical book with The Occultist Omnibus! In 2010, writer Tim Seeley brought his rare mix of humor, horror, and heroes to Dark Horse’s own Mike Richardson’s magical creation in a popular one-shot, which soon transformed into a popular ten issue, two volume series! Artists Victor Drujiniu, Mike Norton, and Jason Gorder brought Rob Bailey’s adventure to life while colorists Andrew Dalhouse and Allen Passalaqua provide their supernaturally gorgeous coloring skills to the series. The Occultist Omnibus cover is by artist Steve Morris.

The Occultist Omnibus collects The Occultist #1-#5 and The Occultist Volume 2: At Death’s Door #1-#5. The Occultist Omnibus follows college student Rob Bailey after he stumbles upon a magical book that gives him supernatural powers; he gets not only new occult abilities, but also dangerous problems that come with them. A gang of hitman mages are sent by a sorcerer who wants the book for himself, and Rob has to learn the ropes of his new powers fast before they can get to him.

The Occultist Omnibus goes on sale April 25, 2018. The 256-page trade paperback retails for $24.99.

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