Tag Archives: angela: queen of hel

Review: Angela Queen of Hel #7

Angela_Queen_of_Hel_Vol_1_7_TextlessMarguerite Bennett’s 17 issue run writing everyone’s favorite deal-making, ginger, lesbian angel bounty hunter and her hilarious, multi-instrumentalist, trans woman lover comes to a close in Angela Queen of Hel #7, which ties up the love story of Angela and Sera as well as the story arc of Leah, who begin as a literal “hand” maiden of Hela and now has her own life and adventures with more just waiting to be told by another enterprising creative team. Bennett and artist Kim Jacinto also tie up some loose ends from the 1602 Angela Witch Hunter series with the Angela from that comic showing up as Faustia, the ultimate deal maker. Also, there are pages upon pages of gorgeous Stephanie Hans art telling the story of Leah and also hinting at possible future story arcs if the comic wasn’t unfortunately cancelled.

The nine page Hans drawn montage in the middle of the comic depicts the seven years that Leah, Angela, and Sera are all together while Leah sets up Faustia’s release from the Faerie Curse and most of all, her reunion with Serah. If I recall correctly, this is the first time in a Big Two comic that a same gender couple has been depicted with an adopted child even if the circumstance for Leah being Angela and Sera’s daughter are quite “fantastical”. Angela‘s depiction of a loving queer relationship will definitely be missed in years to come, but Bennett gets in some last quips and sweet nothings while Hans gets to draw everything from Loki and Leah facing off in a kind of reunion to another fun team up with the Guardians of the Galaxy and even a restructuring of Heven’s caste system, which is pretty complicated and definitely needed at least an issue to But equality is cool, and Bennett and Hans show the almost limitless storytelling potential of the world that they, Kieron Gillen, and other artists have created over the past couple years for Angela and Sera.

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In her art style, Hans is a rare talent that can find the happy medium between cartooning and painted style art while also coloring her own work in an evocative manner. Even though Angela and Sera are the main characters in Angela Queen of Hel, Leah is the star of Bennett and Hans’ sub-story. Hans gives her a great range of expressions from sad and listless to cheerful when she gets a big lick from her Hellhound Thori and super serious when Angela, Sera, and the Guardians of the Galaxy. She can do adorable too like when Sera gets the present of a flute from Angela so she can play more than “Scarborough Fair”. Honestly, a family sitcom starring Angela, Sera, and Leah would make an excellent comic, and luckily the past few issues have given readers a glimpse at their “domestic” life. But when she isn’t drawing them having ramen or talking about Leah’s day at school, Hans makes their lives downright epic through mood capturing colors, like splashes of paint for Sera’s bard attack on a dragon near L.A., faded cream colors when Leah feels sad, and a scarlet red gold when Heven decides to invade that in a happy alternative universe would be a linewide crossover. Israel Silva uses a similar palette in his work with dark reds when Faustia threatens Angela, Sera, Thor, and Leah to a softer hue of red when all of the Angelas and Seras find their happy ending.

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Throughout its run, Angela Queen of Hel has actually been one of Marvel’s funniest books between all the Shakespearean drama of Hel, Heven, and the places in between. (No one likes to spell things correctly in this book.) There’s everything from witty barbs to references both highbrow and what white dudes in ivory towers would call lowbrow as well as some timely fourth wall breaking and even good old fashioned slapstick. The characters bounce off each other really well and even the guest stars have an easy rapport, like Sera inviting Star-Lord to sing “Bring Me to Life” by Evanescence during their next excursion to a karaoke singing planet. (Who knew this lover of 70s pop hits had a mall Goth side?) And Leah has her dry wit intact from Kieron Gillen’s run on Journey into Mystery as the literally eternal sulking teenager. Angela Queen of Hel is stealthily Marvel’s finest contribution to the romantic comedy genre, especially with the way Jacinto draws the final pages with Angela and Sera with plenty of close-ups of them holding hands concluding in a final page spread of the Brooklyn Bridge at twilight as Bennett ties together Angela’s main theme of making deals and bargains in an apt final line of dialogue.

Angela Queen of Hel #7 gives Angela and Sera the beautiful and well-earned happy ending that Marguerite Bennett has been building up during her entire run on the title. She and artists Kim Jacinto and Stephanie Hans also round off Leah’s character nicely, especially in the sub story, which acts as a glimpse of possible storylines if the Angela Queen of Hel will be missed not only for having Marvel’s best example of a same gender relationship and LGBT representation, but also for being one of its funniest and gravitas filled books.

Story: Marguerite Bennett Art: Kim Jacinto and Stephanie Hans Colors: Israel Silva and Stephanie Hans
Story: 9 Art: 9 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Around the Tubes

The Ultimates #5 variantIt’s new comic book day tomorrow! What are folks looking forward to? Any comics that have you really excited? Sound off in the comments.

While you decide on that, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web in our morning roundup.

Around the Tubes

iO9 – The Most Jaw-Dropping Cosplay From Wondercon 2016 – Some awesome cosplay.

The Beat – The Battle of 2017 Could Be Disney v Comic-Con – Let the con wars begin!

Alex De Campi – Do Not Let This World Cause Your Steps to Falter – Well worth a read.

 

Around the Tubes Reviews

CBR – Angela: Queen of Hel #6

CBR – Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10 #25

CBR – Dept. H #1

BlogCritics – Persia Blues Vol. 1 and 2

CBR – The Ultimates #5

Angela: Queen of Hel is Marvel’s Best Kept Secret

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Sera at Left, Angela at Right

Sera of Heven is the best new character at Marvel or DC since Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel, and it’s about time she’s recognized as such.

Angela: Queen of Hel began as Angela: Asgard’s Assassin, then during Marvel’s recently wrapped event Secret Wars it became 1602: Witch Hunter Angela (one of the best comics to come out of the event) and now in its post-Secret Wars iteration Angela and Sera are in Asgardian Hel to fight Hela, its Queen. While technically a “Thor Family” title it can truly stand on it’s own and on it’s own extensive merits which include the breathtaking art of Stephanie Hans and intelligent writing from Marguerite Bennett  .

These comics feature Marvel’s strongest queer lady couple: Sera, the aforementioned irreverent fourth-wall breaking bard, and Angela the noble and fierce badass who’s the series’ namesake. They’re Xena and Gabrielle (Sera even says so) but better– because it’s not another case of queerbaiting. The characters are women in love. They say it, show it, and it propels all of their stories.

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Flashback sequence by Stephanie Hans

Sera is our wise cracking, brown-skinned, transgender, lesbian Virgil guiding Angela on a quest to save her from Hel. Sera is the best fourth-wall breaking character in ages, even as the tool has become increasingly overused in comics. Her answer to “why do you know so much about everything” is essentially “because Bardic Knowledge +30”– which is the best answer.

I hesitate to call Angela: Queen of Hel a superhero comic. They don’t go around saving the world a lot. They go around saving each other. Rescuing others is almost incidental. It’s a chivalric romance and a modern romance too. Our heroines Sera and Angela are all about their love for each other. Their love is why they are starting a slave rebellion in Hel. Every test in their quest that they’ve passed thus far has been a test of their love for each other. Angela even calls her love a weapon.

The prolific and wonderful Marguerite Bennett writes here with laugh-out-loud humor and wisdom that establishes her as the heir to fan-favorite writer Kieron Gillen (who also happens to be my favorite comics writer of my generation). She was Gillen’s co-writer on these characters before the series’ relaunched, and Gillen’s mark on the cast continues with ongoing pop culture jokes and wordplay as well as a Neil Gaimen-esque fascination with storytelling as an act and memory as a narrative tool. Her moments of social commentary are truly funny and also correct. Basically, Bennett has all the best influences and she’s running with them incredibly well.

sera's first appearance

Sera’s original appearance. Drawn by Phil Jimenez

One highlight of issues 3 and 4 is the return of a favorite Gillen creation, Leah the Handmaiden (who was literally Hela’s hand). The jaded beyond her years teen character is back and snarking. She’s also into ladies as we first learned from Gillen in his Secret Wars comic Siege. With Secret Wars over it would have been easy to just say “oh that alternative universe version of her was a lesbian but this one is straight.” But because Bennett is awesome she’s keeping Leah as romantically attracted to women. Especially women in “space bikinis” as she jokes in issue 3, perhaps inspired by her armored bikini wearing paramour in Secret Wars, Magik of the X-Men.

But Sera herself is the real gift in this series. I’m not brown or trans or magical (though we share a fondness for metal guitar solos) but I do identify with Sera more than any other Marvel heroine. From her first appearances in which she is drawn by Phil Jimenez in Angela: Asgard’s Assassin she’s been drawn with a somewhat stocky body, a round chin, brown skin and a distinctive sloping nose. She’s got character.

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Kim Jacinto’s version

However since the comic’s relaunch, penciler Kim Jacinto has been drawing the character with the exact same willowy body as her other female characters and with the exact same generic features. In the first two issues Sera’s skin even colored as Caucasian. This problem has been raised online and writer Bennett had said on Twitter that it was an error that would be corrected in subsequent issues. In issue 3 & 4 Sera’s skin is browner but not quite as dark as it had been.

A lighter skinned and still generic bodied Sera is a loss. For some great insight into colorists and editors selecting characters’ skin-tone in comics, read artist Ron Wimberly’s webcomic.

Critic Mad Mol Green spells out the problems with how Sera has been drawn in the new series:

“But Sera wasn’t only a trans character or a dark-skinned character or a full-figured character. She was all those things. And now she’s not. And if you thought that there weren’t many trans or lesbian or dark-skinned or chubby women in superhero comics, then characters like Sera are essentially non-existent. If Sera’s been summarily slimmed-down and whitened-up, it narrows down the totality of who and what she is, and who and what she represents.”

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Stephanie Hans

Thankfully, for many reasons, flashback sequences throughout the series are painted by Stephanie Hans, an artist who’s been with Angela comics since the beginning of Angela’s Marvel solo titles. Hans is at the top of her game and the sequences included impressive panel layouts, brilliant atmospheric color pallets, with reds unlike any I have ever seen. She paints beautiful clothes and emotive faces. I buy literally every comic she’s worked on. Hans’ beautiful paintings influenced by Renaissance religious art, Impressionism and fairytales continues to give the story and its distinctive characters their due. Her art is among the best in comics today. Portraying a brown woman with distinction isn’t just the right thing to do it also makes the art more interesting. And her painting chops are second to none.

In each issue now we have Jacinto’s thin, generic Sera juxtaposed with Hans’ stout and dark skinned Sera. The editor really need to step in and right this. My criticism of the post Secret Wars run comes from a place of love and concern. The series is excellent but I’m sure Jacinto can be doing more to elevate it.

I keep buying Angela because I have faith in her. And Sera.

27th Annual GLAAD Media Awards Comic Nominess Announced

The GLAAD Media Awards recognize and honor media for their fair, accurate and inclusive representations of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and the issues that affect their lives. The awards cover movies, television, music, comics, and more.

This year’s nominees for “Outstanding Comic Book” include:

  • Angela: Queen of Hel by Marguerite Bennett, Kim Jacinto, Israel Silva, Stephanie Hans, and Marvel
  • Harley Quinn by Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti, Chad Hardin, John Timms, Jed Dougherty, and DC Comics
  • Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson, Shannon Watters, Kat Leyh, Carolyn Nowak, Brooke Allen, and BOOM! Studios
  • Midnighter by Steve Orlando, Aco, Hugh Petrus, Alec Morgan, Stephen Mooney, and DC Comics
  • The Wicked + The Divine by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Kate Brown, Tula Lotay, and Image Comics

Also comic related, Alison Bechdel‘s appearance on Late Night with Seth Meyers was nominated as “Outstanding Talk Show Episode.” Also nominated for “Outstanding Drama Series” was Arrow.

Rat Queens won for “Outstanding Comic Book” last year.

The 27th Annual GlAAD Media Awards will be held in in Los Angels on April 2 and New York on May 14.

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Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Monstress03_coverWednesdays are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

We’re bringing back something we haven’t done for a while, what the team thinks. Our contributors are choosing up to five books each week and why they’re choosing the books.

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this Wednesday.

Alex

Top Pick: Old Man Logan #1 (Marvel) – To say I’m looking forward to this book would be like saying Thanos isn’t a nice person. Aside from All-New Wolverine #1, which was a great first issue (although the series quickly lost my interest after that) it’s been a long time since I’ve picked up a comic featuring one of my all time favourite characters. I’m excited to see what’s in store for the old coot now that Secret Wars has brought him back around (although I’m still not convinced we won’t see the younger version back sooner or later), and I have been counting down the days until this debut issue is going to be released. Can. Not. Bloody. Wait.

Bloodshot Reborn #10 (Valiant) – Thirty years from now, something apocalyptic has happened, and water is a precious commodity. The beginning of  new arc is always touted by Valiant as a new jumping on point, and they’re not wrong here. If you’ve ever been curious about the nanite infested super soldier, this is as good a place as any to jump onto the ongoing series.

Faith #1 (Valiant) – If you had superpowers you’d enjoy them, right? Faith does. She’s a brilliant, fun character that originated in another Valiant series (that I haven’t read yet), and despite her backstory you don’t need to know it all. Valiant are extremely good about giving you only what you need to know to get to know the character and nothing more (so when you read that other series it won’t be spoiled for you). A superb comic. Why isn’t it on your pull list?

Negative Space #3 (Dark Horse) – This series has been on my radar since I got the first issue in a Comic Block some months ago. It’s a beautifully crushing look into the effects of depression, and a very compelling story. You NEED to read this book – honestly in any other week this would be my top pick, but my inner Wolverine fanboy wouldn’t shut up.

 

Benjamin

Top Pick: Prophet Earth War #1 (Image Comics) – From Brandon Graham and his crew,  loved the relaunch of prophet when it started and still do. This book makes me feel like singing Sinead O’Connor, Nothing  compares 2 U, when prophet is on a hiatus, or Brandon is doing other projects i count the days it is missing. The harmony between writers and artists is such a relief, they all on the same page with this and it’s fantastic.

Hip Hop Family Tree #6 (Fantagraphics) – Ed Piskor has basically perfected his style here, the fact that this resonates with the individuals portrayed is testament to its greatness. Do you really need more reason to pick up the best hip hop inspired comic on the stands?

Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #3 (Marvel) – I really want this book to succeed and then DD take over the marvel cinematic universe. Also my kids love dinosaurs, as they should.

Old Man Logan #1 (Marvel) – I can’t follow why this version of Wolverine is now in the main universe and Jeff Lemire can be hit or miss but with Andrea Sorrentino art? Gotta check it out and see what the story is.

Saga #33 (Image Comics) – I’m not a regular reader, just love looking at Fiona Staples artwork from time to time, but I don’t care for her Archie comics thing at all.

 

Brett

Top Pick: Faith #1 (Valiant) – This first issue is fantastic as Valiant’s breakout star gets her own ongoing series. Faith as a character is positive and finding her place in the world, and that’s on top of the fact she’s not the skinny unrealistic shape of so many other comic characters. Relateable in so many ways, Faith is going to be huge in 2016.

Dreaming Eagles #2 (Aftershock Comics) – Garth Ennis’ latest war comic just caught me by total surprise. It’s was so high quality, and really looking forward to seeing what the second issue is like.

Old Man Logan #1 (Marvel) – I loved the original “Old Man Logan” storyline. The return was kind of meh. Now, this older version of Wolverine gets his own series. His inclusion in the new Marvel U doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but the character itself captures the broken down western hero that fits the character so well.

Southern Bastards #13 (Image Comics) – The best comic on the stands, hands down.

Superman: Lois and Clark #4 (DC Comics) – If you want the look and feel of a more classic Superman, here you go. This comic has delivered with every issue and it’s one of the comics I look forward to the most each month from DC.

 

Elana

Top Pick: Monstress #3 (Image Comics) – Few comics have made a major artistic statement as quickly as Monstress has. Dense, lush, beautiful, terrifying and bloody– it is the best fantasy comic of the year. In it, a young woman wrestles with both the monster within her and the monstrous society she faces. Hear our interview with writer Marjorie Liu.

Angela Queen of Hel #4 (Marvel) – One of Marvel’s best. Painted art by Stephanie Hans is the most beautiful on the stands. Our narrator Sera is worldly, funny, fourth-wall breaking but not at all in the Deadpool way we’ve grown bored of and she’s a trans woman of color and in love with Angela. Sera is the best new Marvel character since Kamala Khan.

Black Magick #4 (Image Comics) – They call it a Witch Noir. Rucka is an ace writer of complex female detectives. The art is Nicola Scott’s best and the story stands very well on its own as an interesting mystery. Here’s what I said about issue 1.

Cry Havoc #1 (Image Comics) – I’m not usually in to war comics. But lesbian werewolf musician war comics?! That’s at least worth a first issue.

Ryan Kelly is a really accomplished comics artist and the kids seem to like Simon Spurrier too. The buzz has been strong.

Faith #1 (Valiant) – Meet the first plus-sized super-heroine to star in her own comic! And it’s a lot of fun! Even if you’ve never read a Valiant comic book before this is a welcoming read. This mini-series works great on it’s own and stars a comics geek. Fantasy sequences drawn by Marguerite Sauvage are especially beautiful. It’s great to see a character who is drawn as big and beautiful. Listen to our interview with writer Jody Houser.

 

Jason

Island #6 (Image Comics) – Even with the ever so slightly reduced page count, you can still count on Island to be the greatest anthology out there in terms of casting its net far and wide to bring attention to new and unheard of comics talent on a monthly basis. The highlight this month is the story “Badge of Pride” featuring a group of young anthropomorphic guys as they navigate the social minefield of their local Pride event. Having followed his work on and off for years now it’s thrilling to see Onta’s work shown to a more mainstream audience and I was fortunate enough that he had time to answer a few of my questions last week about his new, more personal and story driven outing for Island.

This month also presents work from Gael B as well as a recolored, reprinted sci-fi classic in the form of Fil Barlow’s Zooniverse.

Saga #33 (Image Comics) – Thirty Three issues in and Vaughan and Staples sci-fi epic shows no signs of slowing down as it continues to shock, thrill and delight in equal measures. Staples beautiful cover shows that the adorable journalistic couple Upsher and Doff are back after being warned off reporting on the story of Marko and Alana way back in the books second arc. While only briefly touched upon I look forward to seeing how Vaughan develops the relationship between the pair as they become embroiled deeper in conflict and conspiracy. It’s been briefly hinted that the pairs society doesn’t look kindly on same sex couples and it will be fascinating to see what the writer has to say on the subject in a series that really pulls no punches with its social commentary.

 

Javier

Top Pick: Southern Bastards #13 (Image Comics) – I love southern fried chicken, so it’s no surprise I’ve taken a liking to Jason Aaron’s and Jason Latour’s complex, bleak, and brutal self proclaimed “Southern Fried Comic.”  The writers are taking their sweet tea time fleshing out each installment.

Cry Havoc #1 (Image Comics) – With a tagline that reads … “this is not the tale of a lesbian werewolf who goes to war. Except it kind of is” … you have to check out what it’s about.

Deadly Class #18 (Image Comics)– It’s finals week at Kings Dominion School for the Deadly Arts. Rick Remender’s dark depressive writing pulls you in deep into the violence.

Six #3 (451 Media) – In the last issue we took a step back to get the background story on Sarah’s coffee business, so I’m excited to hopefully see the team in action in this issue. The tension is building up slowly.

Wild’s End: Enemy Within #5 (BOOM! Studios) – I really hope they make this into an animated sci-fi feature. It’s H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds in a Watership Down bucolic setting, with a wide cast of animal characters.

 

Madison

Top Pick: Monstress #3 (Image Comics) – If you, like me, are trying to diversify your reading this year, Monstress would be a great start. Image’s website describes it as “steampunk meets kaiju,” and both the story and the art are absolutely beautiful.

Black Canary #7 (DC Comics) – I absolutely adore Annie Wu’s art, and I’m always here for kick-butt lady characters. Black Canary is always one of the first comics I read on Wednesdays.

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #4 (Marvel) – I love Unbeatable Squirrel Girl partially because her narrative voice is very similar to how I speak in real life. I also love Unbeatable Squirrel Girl because it’s adorable (I mean have you seen Erica Henderson’s art? Have you seen it.), upbeat, and hilarious.

 

Mr. H

Top Pick: Superman: Lois and Clark #4 (DC Comics) – Out of all the post Convergence titles, this one has been the sleeper for me. An in continuity tale with the REAL Superman. Good to see the marriage in tact and not magically wished away to a demon. I like the idea of Clark working from the shadows but can’t wait till he meets the New 52 Kal-El at some point. For now a very fun book that has long time fans buzzing.

Old Man Logan #1 (Marvel Comics) – The old (literally now) Canucklehead gets his own series. He’s trying to write the wrongs of his past. It’s Logan channeling Clint Eastwood. Ummm count me in!

Superman #48 (DC Comics) – The journey for Superman to get his powers back continues. This time he resorts to.. kryptonite? Ok I’ll bite but Vandalia Savage has been the highlight here so far. Guess I need to see where it’s going. So it’s time to up up and glow?

 

Paul

Top Pick: Extraordinary X-Men #6 (Marvel) – Been loving this title from issue #1; great team, great art and a great ride so far.  This issue has the team responding to a distress call from Weirdworld….sure ok.  I only know of this Weirdworld from seeing solicits for the book, so this will be an interesting read.

All-New Inhumans #3 (Marvel) – I am liking this title; a ship of volunteers traveling the world offering inhumanitarian aid (clever, I know) to those affected by the terrigen cloud released by Black Bolt.  The current storyline is a rehash; government taking advantage of the situation and using inhumans as weapons for their cause, but it works for this new climate.  And I am really enjoying Crystal in this leadership role. I always thought she could be more bad ass, and she’s really showing it here, but also showing some of it is a front and she needs her family.

Mini Reviews for the week ending 12/12/15

Sometimes, the staff at Graphic Policy read more comics than we’re able to get reviewed. When that happens you’ll see a weekly feature compiling short reviews from the staff of the comics, or graphic novels, we just didn’t get a chance to write a full review for. These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Alex

Batman #47Batman #47* I could do with less Jim Gordon and more Bruce Wayne, if I’m being honest, but this was a solid comic. There’s certainly a crescendo we’re building toward here, and it’s gong to be glorious when it breaks. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

The Shadow #5 was a fairly decent ending to a story that, for the most part was pretty good. And I think that’s the problem here; the story arc was good, but it could have been better.Overall: 8 Recommendation: Read

The Precinct #1. Steam punk, cops and magic. It’s a great combination. Overall 8.75 Recommendation Buy

Heroes Vengeance #3 Yeah, it’s okay. I’m losing more interest issue by issue, which is a shame because this started off very strongly. Still, it’s worth a read – for now. Overall: 6.75 Recommendation: Read

The Troop #1 was an entertaining read. Starting a new superhero universe largely from scratch is never easy, but this one shows promise. It’s got the feel of early X-Men comics, but much less innocent, and in a much darker setting. Well worth checking out. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Read

 

Brett

Street Fighter Unlimited #1 (Udon Entertainment) – I haven’t read a Street Fighter comic in a long time, and appreciate the video game series (though wasn’t very good at it). This comic series feels like an extension of the video games series in a good way, a great adaptation, which is something that completely caught me off guard. You usually don’t see this quality in a video game comic adaptation. The story is solid, focusing on Ryo and the dark energy within him. You don’t need to know the greater Street Fighter world, again a good thing, to enjoy this first comic, everything is laid out perfectly for new and old fans alike. An absolute must get, can’t wait to see what comes down the road. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

 

Elana

Monstress_02Gotham Academy #13*: I miss Karl Kerschl’s art a lot. Adam Archer’s art style is cartoony but I find it unattractive but I will give him this: the characters of color are clearly drawn with distinctive features. Colorist Serge LaPointe does a great job with skin tones in particular. In a medium where everyone ends up looking white, even when they aren’t, touches like this are really important. Interesting character development here too. Overall 8 Recommendation: Buy

Angela Queen of Hel #2*: It just keeps getting better. I love how the comic is handling the romantic relationship between our two female leads. The jokes are killer. Sera (who is the best) insults Alanis Morissette’s song “Ironic”, quotes Pat Benatar and air guitars to Norse Metal. Her answer to “why do you know so much about everything” is essentially “because Bardic Knowledge +20”. Like I said, she’s the best. While the colorist is still making Sera too pale and Kim Jacinto draws her too thin Stephanie Hans nails it every time and her art is always stunning across the board. I’ve also heard that in the future, Sera’s skin-tone will be recolored to be brown as it’s supposed to be. Overall 9 Recommendation: Buy

Monstress #2: The best high fantasy series in ages. Beautiful and disturbing. A fantasy series for grown-ups. Issue 2 fleshes out the world and characters just the right amount and is full of unsettling revelations that feel “earned”. The 25 pages are absolutely packed with story and images you won’t find anywhere else. The costumes in this issue are outstanding. Overall 9.5 Recommendation: Buy


Well, there you have it, folks. The reviews we didn’t quite get a chance to write.

Please note that with some of the above comics, Graphic Policy was provided FREE copies for review. Where we purchased the comics, you’ll see an asterisk (*). If you don’t see that, you can infer the comic was a review copy. In cases where we were provided a review copy and we also purchased the comic you’ll see two asterisks (**).

Mini Reviews For Week Ending 11/29

Sometimes, the staff at Graphic Policy read more comics than we’re able to get reviewed. When that happens you’ll see a weekly feature compiling short reviews from the staff of the comics, or graphic novels, we just didn’t get a chance to write a full review for. These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Alex

all new wolverine 2All-New Wolverine #2* wasn’t as captivating for me as the first issue. It did advance the story a fair bit, perhaps more so than the first issue, and there was some nice glimpses into Laura’s life away from the X-Men and her skill set. But it just felt… lacking to me. Perhaps a victim of my own high expectations? If you read this comic, I genuinely hope you enjoy it more than I did. Overall Rating: 7 Recommendation: Read

Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #1* – Yeah, this series is going to be amazing. The set up this issue is fantastic. Overall Rating: 8.25 Recommendation: Buy now so you don’t have to play catch up later

Tempered Steele #1 looks like it came straight out of the 90’s. It probably could have stayed there. Overall Rating: 6 Recommendation: Pass

 

Brett

Angela: Queen of Hel #2 * The comic has fantastic art, which is generally better than the story which feels a little plodding. It has some of the narrative issues that I found irritating in The Mighty Thor in its last run. Still, the concept is interesting and I want to see what a Hel is like with Angela in charge. I’m just not sure I’ll stick around to actually see that. Overall Rating: 7.4 Recommendation: Read

All-New Wolverine #2* – I wasn’t blown away by the first issue and the second doesn’t quite do it for me either. Again, the comic feels like its cribbed a bit from Orphan Black, but missing what makes that show fun. Overall Rating: 6.5 Recommendation: Pass

howling commandos 2

Batman: Endgame #1 Director’s Cut – The comic initially was a solid read, so to be able to check it out again, this time with notes from the creators and a look at the pencils is really cool. I’d love to see more of these types of releases especially in trades and graphic novels. The pencils especially are amazing to look at. Overall Rating: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Howling Commandos of S.H.I.E.L.D. #2 * – The second issue feels a lot like Ghostbusters in many ways. In fact dump Egon, Ray, Peter, and Winston and it’d totally be exactly that. It’s not a bad thing, and that type of comic is missing from the Marvel line-up. The comic is decent fun, didn’t quite blow me away, but the concept is interesting. I’d maybe prefer a more hardcore horror vibe and look, but I’m interested in still seeing where the series goes. Overall Rating: 7 Recommendation: Read

 

Superman #46* – I can see what writer Gene Luen Yang is going for in the current arc. There’s an attempt to talk about the mythology of the superhero through a fight club. It’s an interesting concept, but the execution doesn’t quite work for me. Also Superman’s return is being choreographed a bit too much. Just not clicking. Overall Rating: 6.5 Recommendation: Pass

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #2 * – The comic continues to be very cute and fun. It continues to find humor in the small things, and the writing is top notch when it comes to that. Just a solid fun comic that pulls of its goal of entertaining through humor. Overall Rating: 7.8 Recommendation: Read

 

 

Elana
kaptara 5

The Fadeout #11 – The best noir comic. One point that needs to be repeated is that frequently when watching film noir or reading crime fiction there is a certain sense of alienation that the reader experiences from the subject matter. Here that’s not the case. I really care about the characters, the screenwriter protagonist, his friend the blacklisted screenwriter. But especially the women– both living and dead. It makes the cliffhanger at the end of this issue really hard! Stunning period perfect art too. Overall Rating: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Kaptara #5 – Super fun He-Man on acid with a queer sensibility. The art reveals more and more the longer you look at it. Seriously, go back and look over former issues to see funny and inventive details you missed. The final two page spread presents a cast of villain characters that’s quite something to behold! Overall Rating: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #1 – Funny and emotional too. I’m sure many kids in comic reading demographics will identify with Lunella’s problems at school (“too smart for her own good”). I’m glad to see key aspects of Kirby’s original designs and worldbuilding are still there. And boy do we need more protagonists like Lunella. I’d give it an 8.5 for kids.

 

Mr H

DKIII promo image SDCCDark Knight III: The Master Race #1* – Wow. All I could think while reading this is, why couldn’t this be what the Dark Knight Strikes Again have been? The art by Kuburt fantastically channels Miller in many shots (especially the long ones) I enjoyed seeing Diana and Lara again too. I liked the use of texting and social media in a stylized manner to tell the story’s introduction. I won’t spoil the ending but the cliffhanger was epic. The back up story drawn by Miller featuring The Atom was great too. This book was worth the wait. Only problem is I have another wait until the next one! Overall Rating: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

 

Shean

Andre The Giant: Closer to Heaven TPB – I was a huge fan of wrestling when I was a child so definitely was hyped about this trade. Read the TPB by First Second, which was great , so was not sure how good this was going to be, in my opinion it surpassed it. Excellent overview of Andre’s life by Brandon Easton. Remarkable illustrations by Denis Medri.
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Definitely Buy

 


Well, there you have it, folks. The reviews we didn’t quite get a chance to write.

Please note that with some of the above comics, Graphic Policy was provided FREE copies for review. Where we purchased the comics, you’ll see an asterisk (*). If you don’t see that, you can infer the comic was a review copy. In cases where we were provided a review copy and we also purchased the comic you’ll see two asterisks (**).

Review: Angela: Queen of Hel #1

Angela_Queen_of_Hel_1_CoverHel hath a new fury. Stolen from Asgard, exiled from Heven, and robbed of Sera, her greatest companion – Angela plunges into the depths of blackest Hel to save her friend…and once there, the lost princess of Asgard will carve out a realm of her very own. All hail Angela, The New Queen of Hel!

Angela has been an interesting character that for me hasn’t quite carved out her own niche since she joined the Marvel universe. In space with the Guardians of the Galaxy, or learning of her Asgardian heritage she was an interesting character, but never one that really jumped out to me (though her own series has special in its own way for the diversity within).

With Marvel‘s relaunch, Angela seems to be finally getting the special something courtesy of writer Marguerite Bennett, who is taking Angela on a journey to Hel. Angela: Queen of Hel #1 takes us through important moments of Angela’s life playing catch-up for the complicated character. For those who might have not been keeping up, in an interesting narrative Bennett catches you up in what you need to know, but she also does something impressive for previous followers of the character as well, she teases a new status-quo we’re building to. “Then,” “Now,” “Eight Months Ago,” time is thrown around to help us out as to who Angela the character is, and why Sera matters, but it’s that “Now” that’s most interesting to me, and has me wanting to come back. That “Queen of Hel” aspect is a new niche for the character, and a new concept for a series from Marvel, and it has me interested in seeing where things go.

Bennett does a great job of mixing something for the new and old readers, and also allowing us to spiral out of control and dive into Hel with Angela. As she makes her way through the depths, I feel the narrative conveys that quite well, as if things are out of control for her.

Bennett is helped to convey that with the help of Kim Jacinto and Stephanie Hans who handle art for the main story and substory. Their styles compliment each other while also delineating what’s happening. It also helps it’s just beautiful to look at, some of my favorite so far of the All-New, All-Different Marvel. Israel Silva provides the colors, and the combination of it all has a bit of a Liefeld feel to it all (and I do mean that as a compliment. I admit, I enjoy his style at times). There’s an almost 90s Image vibe to it for me. I know that’ll make some wince, but I enjoy the vibe. It feels appropriate for an epic over the top action swords and sorcery type of story, which I think this falls under.

I was intrigued by the concept when this series was launched, and the first issue has me beyond interested now. The combination of writing and art is entertaining and has a very “Marvel” feel about it all. It also gives us something new, which as a reader I appreciate and enjoy. So far, it’s one of my favorite debuts of All-New, All-Different, and feels like it’s actually worthy of that moniker.

Story: Marguerite Bennett Art: Stephanie Hans, Kim Jacinto
Story: 8.25 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.25 Recommendation: Read

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

BlackMagick01_CoverAWednesdays are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

We’re bringing back something we haven’t done for a while, what the team thinks. Our contributors are choosing up to five books each week and why they’re choosing the books.

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this Wednesday.

Alex

Top Pick: Book Of Death #4 (Valiant Entertainment) – This has been one of the most entertaining series I’ve read over the past few months, and this issue is somewhat bitter sweet; I don’t want it to end, but I really want to see how it ends… if you haven’t read this series, then grab the trade.

The Black Hood #6 (Dark Circle Comics) – A drug addicted cop and a brutal vigilante. The Black Hood is both of those, struggling to take the fight beyond the law as he battles his own demons. Duane Swierczynski has been praised for his portrayal of addiction with this series, and I can’t wait to find out why.

 

Brett

Top Pick: Howling Commandos of S.H.I.E.L.D. #1 (Marvel) – One of the most intriguing All-New, All-Different Marvel releases, what’s drawing me is a group of of characters that make me smile (Hit-Monkey!) being written by Frank Barbiere with art by Brent Schoonover. Comics are supposed to be fun, and that’s exactly what this one seems like it’ll be to me.

Black Magick #1 (Image Comics) – Greg Rucka writing, Nicola Scott on art. Ruck doing a gothic-noir series with a female lead? Yeah, this is a no-brainer for me.

The Black Hood #6 (Dark Circle Comics) – This darker line of superhero comics from Archie have been knocking it out of the park. A dark noirish hero, this comic begins a new story arc. Every issue has been entertaining mixing a modern sensibility with its pulp roots.

Cyborg #4 (DC Comics) – One of DC’s best recent releases, each issue mixes superhero antics, but also has given me thought about the character of Cyborg himself and how reflects upon me and my life. Entertainment as a reflection of ourselves, a definite read.

Prez #5 (DC Comics) – I love my politics, and of course this is on my list. The satire series hits WAY too close to home, and the 2016 Presidential election doesn’t feel that far off from this political send-up set in the future.

 

Elana

Top Pick: Black Magick #1 (Image Comics) – The first ever “witch noir”! A new series from Greg Rucka and Nicola Scott. Both excel at writing and drawing (respectively), fascinating, believable female characters. This dream team is can’t miss and the genre sounds like fun.

Angela Queen of Hel #1 (Marvel) – Look at these beautiful queens! Look at the adorable queer women in flawlessly painted art by Stephanie Hans! The best new couple in Marvel is back in black. In hell.

Batgirl #45 (DC Comics) – Big Queer Wedding Issue! This is a comics first: an Asian-American bisexual trans woman marrying her redheaded activist fiancée. And Dick Grayson will show up. Get ready to throw rice and munch on popcorn at the same time.

Captain America: Sam Wilson #2 (Marvel) – Captain America has always been a progressive hero (listen to our podcast for more on that) and this new series has African-American war vet superhero Sam Wilson in the drivers seat making his own political statements. Good.

Cyborg #4 (DC Comics) – The surprise hit comic full of socially aware sci-fi. Can Vic make peace with the people who KILLED him? Why does society always expect black men to make piece with their oppressors? Also, the highly silver-age and adorable Metal Men showed up last issue.

Island #4 (Image Comics) – Out there art. Multiple Warheads. A new story about a city kid with wings that kinda made me cry.

 

Kenny

Top Pick: Colder: Toss the Bones #2 (Dark Horse Comics) – I don’t like scary things but, this comic is so good I keep coming back to it. The psychological horror of Nimble Jack keeps has me peeking through my blanket to see what he’s going to do next. If you like horror, this is one of the better comics out today.

Justice League: Darkseid War Batman #1 (DC Comics) – I’m not normally a fan of spin-offs for large crossover events like the Darkseid War. But, I’ve enjoyed the main series a lot and Batman as the god of knowledge is a concept I am really excited to see fully play out.

Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #1 (Marvel) – There is no real logic behind why I am excited for the new Squirrel Girl comic. It could be it’s very self aware cover claiming this is only it’s second #1 so far this year (well played Marvel), or it could be that I am excited to take a flyer on a quirky and fun looking new story. Sometimes, the latter is all you need.

 

Mr. H

Top Pick: Justice League: Darkseid War Batman #1 (DC Comics) – The true itteration of the almighty Bat-God is here. I couldn’t be more pumped for this. An all knowing and stubborn Batman on Metron’s chair. I think I just squeaked. Hopefully we get good use of the ultimate knowledge and maybe even the Joker’s real name. Just coolness x2.

Batman and Robin Eternal #4 (DC Comics) – Hoping this is the week we get an answer to that cliffhanger bomb from issue #1. At the very least I want to see bearded Bruce Wayne kick some ass. I know it’s going to be a slow burn for this epic but I want some good stuff on the plate now.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #51 (IDW Publishing) – New era. New Direction. What awaits our half-shelled heroes going forward? Well I can’t wait to find out. Gonna read this one with a hot pie!

 

 

Hel Hath a New Fury – A Look at Angela: Queen of Hel #1!

This October, there’s a new queen in town. And she’s taking over the underworld in Angela: Queen of Hel #1 – the brand new ongoing series from Marguerite Bennett, Kim Jacinto and Stephanie Hans!

Stolen from Asgard, exiled from Heven and robbed of Sera, her greatest companion – Angela is out for revenge. Plunging deep into the blackest depths of Hel to recover her friend, she’ll come face-to-face with the worst the underworld has to offer. Once there, the lost princess of Asgard will carve out a realm of her very own – as its new Queen! But in her attempt to save her friend, has she lost herself? All hail the new ruler of the underworld!

ANGELA: QUEEN OF HEL #1 (AUG150715)
Written by MARGUERITE BENNETT
Art by KIM JACINTO & STEPHANIE HANS
Cover by JULIAN TOTINO TEDESCO
Variant Cover by STEPHANIE HANS (AUG150716)
Hip-Hop Variant by ANNIE WU (AUG150717)
FOC – 10/05/15, On-Sale 10/28/15

Angela_Queen_of_Hel_1_Cover