Experience the stories of the adventuring party known as Vox Machina before the smash-hit show Critical Role started! Writers Matt Mercer, Matthew Colville, and Jody Houser, along with artist Olivia Samson, colorists Chris Northrop and MSASSYK, and letterer Ariana Maher bring to life Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins Library Edition – Series I and II Collection.
What do a flirtatious bard, a clueless barbarian, a naïve druid, a pair of stealthy twins, a holy cleric, and a vengeful gunslinger all have in common? They’re not sure either, but one day they’ll become the heroes known as Vox Machina! Follow the main characters from the smash-hit series Critical Role as they team up for the first time, facing cults and curses in the revelation of their origins and the path that will lead them to glory…eventually.
Fans of the celebrated series Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins won’t want to miss this stunning, oversized hardcover collection!
Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins Library Edition – Series I and II Collectioncollects Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins Vol 1 and Vol 2. It will be in comic shops on November 11, 2020 and in bookstores on November 24, 2020. It is available for pre-order on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and at your local comic shop. This 320-page oversized library edition will retail for $39.99.
Written by L. L. McKinney Illustrated by Robyn Smith Colored by Brie Henderson Cover Colors by Bex Glendining Lettered by Ariana Maher On sale February 2, 2021 MSRP $16.99
Can you be a hero…if society doesn’t see you as a person?
Nubia has always been a little bit…different. As a baby she showcased Amazonian strength by pushing over a tree to rescue her neighbor’s cat. But, despite Nubia’s similar abilities, the world has no problem telling her that she’s no Wonder Woman. And even if she was, they wouldn’t want her. Every time she comes to the rescue, she’s reminded of how people see her: as a threat. Her moms do their best to keep her safe, but Nubia can’t deny the fire within her, even if she’s a little awkward about it sometimes. Even if it means people assume the worst.
When Nubia’s best friend, Quisha, is threatened by a boy who thinks he owns the town, Nubia will risk it all––her safety, her home, and her crush on that cute kid in English class––to become the hero society tells her she isn’t.
From the witty and powerful voice behind A Blade So Black, L. L. McKinney, and with endearing and expressive art by Robyn Smith, comes a vital story for today about equality, identity, and kicking it with your squad.
Going to the Chapel is the type of comic that when you finish, you immediately dream of it being on the big screen. It’s the type of story that’s a hell of a wild ride. Writer David Pepose delivers a story that’s Tarantino in nature with twists and turns that are off the wall on a Looney Tunes sort of way.
Going to the Chapel focuses on a wedding that’s broken up by a robbery that goes wrong. Of course, there’s more to it than that and that’s part of the fun. Over the four issues, the situation gets more out of hand as the police surround the church and the guests decide they’ve had enough. A wedding gone wrong is an understatement as to the experience.
Pepose delivers winks and nods throughout the series making sure the story never gets too serious. With some solid banter and jokes throughout, the comic will put a smile on your face. There’s absurdity throughout and so much coming out of the blue. It catches you off guard and hits the right notes. It’s a hell of a lot of fun.
Gavin Guidry nails it on the art. With colors by Liz Kramer and lettering by Ariana Maher and Colin Bell the art ups the humor of the situation. The style and art nail the moments and adds to the absurdity. Looks on faces and the body language is at times is all it takes. The situation and the visuals combine to get you to laugh. It’s the small details that really help and deliver the jokes. Pepose’s writing is solid but the art is what makes the pacing of some of the dialogue delivery. Everything is just so over the top it’s hard to not have fun and just smile at the chaos.
Going to the Chapel is a mashup between Kevin Smith and Tarantino and the result is so much entertainment. I often joke that it seems like very comic is now optioned and in this case, I want this story to be. It’s a great comic and would be a fantastic fun film. If you like the heist gone wrong genre, this is a must get. If you just like a damn good comic, you can’t go wrong with this.
Story: David Pepose Art: Gavin Guidry Color: Liz Kramer Letterer: Ariana Maher, Colin Bell Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy
Action Lab provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
Written by David Pepose Art by Gavin Guidry Colors by Elizabeth Kramer Lettering by Ariana Maher Cover by Gavin Guidry $14.99 | 108 pgs. | Action Lab: Danger Zone | T+ | On sale FEB. 19
The funniest crime romcom in comics gets collected in the trade paperback of GOING TO THE CHAPEL, from Ringo Award-nominated writer David Pepose (Spencer & Locke) and rising star artist Gavin Guidry (The Death Defying) at Action Lab: Danger Zone! Emily Anderson is a wealthy bride-to-be grappling with a serious case of cold feet — but before she can speak up, her wedding is hijacked by the bank-robbing Bad Elvis Gang. But when this smash-and-grab spirals into a full-blown standoff with the police, Emily will become the unlikely ringleader of her own hostage situation in order to decide where her happily ever after truly lies. Fans of Sex Criminals, Crowded, Assassin Nation, The Fix, and 4 Kids Walk Into A Bank will learn why love is the ultimate hostage situation in GOING TO THE CHAPEL, available in comic shops and on digital devices February 19, 2020!
Written by Maggie Stiefvater Illustrated by Morgan Beem Colored by Jeremy Lawson Lettered by Ariana Maher On Sale October 13, 2020 MSRP: $16.99
The #1 New York Times bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater (the Raven Cycle series) and artist Morgan Beem unearth the primal power of memory and how it twists the bond between two brothers.
Twins Alec and Walker Holland have a reputation around town. One is quiet and the other is the life of any party, but they are inseparable. For their last summer before college, the two leave the city to live with their rural cousins, where they find that the swamp holds far darker depths than they could have imagined.
While Walker carves their names into the new social scene, Alec recedes into a summer school laboratory, because he brought something from home on their trip—it’s an experiment that will soon consume him. This season, both brothers must confront truths ancient and familial, and as their lives diverge, tensions increase and dormant memories claw to the surface.
Swamp Thing: Twin Branches is a story of shadows literal and imagined—and those that take form and haunt us.
Thirteen-year-old Tai Pham lives in the apartment above his grandmother’s store in a room crammed with sketchpads and comic books. Tai’s youthful imagination cannot prepare him for the world he is thrown into. He must overcome his greatest obstacle in order to keep his grandmother’s legacy alive: fear.
When Tai inherits his grandmother’s jade ring, he soon finds out it’s more than it appears. Suddenly, he is inducted into a group of space cops known as the Green Lanterns, and every time he puts pen to paper, he is forced to confront his insecurity that he might not be creative or strong enough to uphold his bá’s legacy. Tai must decide what kind of hero he wants to be: Will he learn to soar above his insecurities, or will the past keep him grounded?
Green Lantern: Legacy is written by Minh Lê, with art by Andie Tong, colored by Sarah Stern, and lettering by Ariana Maher.
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White Collar was one of those shows that USA Network had on for a few years which both charmed and beguiled viewers. It followed a unique relationship between an FBI agent and a former grifter as they investigate white-collar crimes. Its starred Matt Bomer, Tim DeKay, Tiffani Thiessen, and the immortal Diahann Carroll, in a show which explored both sides of the line of the law, often referring to Bomer’s character’s past and previous proclivities. It really elevated the buddy comedy genre in ways that many shows have tried to imitate since.
What was fascinating was how the show delved deep into the criminal underworld and gave viewers a deep dive into con artist tradecraft. As a writer I often wondered about the roads not taken in stories, and one of those within the show was the backstory of Carroll’s husband, who was also a con man. I felt it would have been better to show this story than to allude to it as the show did through its entire run. The idea of a family of thieves was something I wished W.E.B. Griffin would have tackled in his prolific career. Roxane Gay and Ming Doyle’s beautifully woven The Banks gives us a family whose business is about the next big score and they live by one code, don’t get caught and don’t get greedy.
We’re taken to 1972 Evanston, Illinois, where we meet Clara Banks, a shrewd robber whose skill set as a safecracker has made one of the best in all of Chicago. She develops a family business which is far from your typical. The story weaves through the past to the present delivering an interesting family of thieves and eventually leading to a score and revenge.
Overall, an excellent and intricately told story about a family whose business is more than ill-gotten gains, as love and legacy is paramount to everything. The story by Gay is immense, heartfelt, and harrowing. The art by the creative team is beautiful. Altogether, a story that does more than add sepia tones to the crime noir genre but elevates it a new standard of storytelling.
Story: Roxane Gay Art: Ming Doyle, Jordie Bellaire, Ariana Maher, Jared K Fletcher, and Jeff Powell Story: 10 Art: 9.8 Overall: 9.9 Recommendation: Buy
The toxic culture of masculinity has lead to society swiftly blaming the victim. Media pundits and social media always focus on the “extenuating circumstances.” The sheer ignorance and closed-mindedness show how severe the degree of devaluation of women, and even more so female victims, that society at large has accepted. What makes it worse is that many of the detractors are also women. This blind devotion to the patriarchy is distressing. As was illustrated in 2016 in politics, it’s chronically symptomatic of a societal attitude, as many women voters during the last presidential election questioned whether Hillary Clinton was fit to be President. Many voters cited an outdated reason, “She would let emotions rule her decisions” as a reason to not support her.
This philosophy only aggregates the belief that women should not speak up. Progress much like the arc of justice that Dr. King spoke about is slow but sure. Platforms such as social media have continued to spotlight these atrocities. Men like Matt Lauer and Harvey Weinstein are being exposed while the actions and behaviors like those of Louis CK and Kevin Spacey are now being pronounced as unacceptable. Genre fiction like Handmaid’s Tale shows the effects of ugly patriarchal beliefs. The Twilight Zone‘s recent “Not All Men” took a horror take on how evil this behavior is. In the Simeone Brothers’ Eve Of Extinction, they make a similar take, but this time the ugliness of toxic masculinity turns men into actual monsters.
The story leans into some horror tropes as women are pursued by monsters, in this case men who turn into them. It’s an extinction type event as every man has changed attacking those around them. It’s a fight for survival in this allegorical and timely tale. It’s familiar but has a nice layered spin to it.
Overall, an outstanding entry in the dystopian horror genre, one that is unique and compelling than any in recent memory. The story by the Simeone Brothers is pulse-pounding and well developed. The art by the creative team is awe-inspiring and kudos to them for drawing a realistic description of Vitiligo, a common condition that is rarely depicted in comics. Altogether, a timely and exciting story that gives readers protagonists they would fight alongside any day.
Story: Salvatore A. Simeone and Steve Simeone Art: Isaac Goodheart, Nik Virella, Ruth Redmond, Maria Nguyen, and Ariana Maher Story: 9.7 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.6 Recommendation: Buy
With a new film on the horizon, the excitement for more James Bond is in the air and Dynamite Entertainment delivers a new direction and series kicking off with James Bond #1.
Written by Vita Ayala and Danny Lore the comic is an entertaining heist story but feels a little short when it comes to 007.
The first issue revolves around a missing painting which has been stolen with a forgery put in its place. Much of the issue is the discussion around and investigation involving that. Bond’s role is limited to an action sequence opening and a much later appearance. Instead, the issue is mainly focused on the two investigators attempting to figure out who stole the painting.
The comic is a good setup, don’t get me wrong. We get taken through the investigation and logic to figure out who the most likely thieves are. But, with a lack of Bond and lack of action, the comic feels more like The Italian Job from the police perspective than Bond. Still, the comic is good for those that enjoy that sort of story. By the end, we get at least more of a glimpse of our hero and the main attraction. Unlike recent Bond comics, this one doesn’t throw you into the action instead it gives us a slow build of the mystery.
The art by Eric Gapstur is good. Colored by Roshan Kurichiyanil and Rebecca Nalty with lettering by Ariana Maher, the comic’s art keeps the story entertaining despite the lack of action. It’s difficult to make what’s presented visually engaging but the team does a solid job. It doesn’t have the big explosions are crazy sequences but there’s something expressive about the characters that hooks you.
As a heist story, James Bond #1 is a solid start. As a Bond story, it’s a bit mixed. The issue is a lot of buildup to whatever villain awaits. It’s just a bit different in how we get there. The threat too feels a bit scaled back for a character who in the past has stopped global threats, another interesting change. There’s more to come and the debut is interesting enough to check the rest out. It just might be a disappointment for those expecting the typical Bond over the top action and threats.
Story: Vita Ayala, Danny Lore Art: Eric Gapstur Color: Roshan Kurichiyanil, Rebecca Nalty Letterer: Ariana Maher Story: 7.5 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read
Dynamite Entertainment provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review