Tag Archives: ariana maher

Review: Knights of X #1

Knights of X #1

When Neil Gaiman wrote Marvel 1602, he re-imagined our favorite heroes during medieval times. It gave us a brand new look at how these characters would fare in a different time and different place. As the years have gone by since it was first published, fans have been clamoring for a return to that world.

As medieval sword and fantasy stories have become popular again, our favorite superheroes in these settings have been missed. You can take a show like Game Of Thrones, where magic and supernatural creatures are part of that world, and you can easily see our favorite mutants living there. In the newest event surrounding Krakoa, we find Professor X’s brood dealing with a whole new municipality where they can live free but not without its complications. In the debut issue of Tini Howard’s Knights of X, we find Betsy Braddock being the only hope to restore order in Otherworld.

We’re taken to Otherworld, which is ruled by Merlyn, King Arthur and his loyal knights, who search the land looking for what they call “witchbreed” better known as mutants to the rest of us. This doesn’t bode well for Jersey Devil, who is not of this world but from Krakoa, and if he gets killed here, he can’t be revived like he could back on Earth, but thankfully, a soldier from the Captain Britain Corps comes to his rescue. We soon find out Merlyn has taken control of Starlight Citadel, the gate that goes to Krakoa, now known as the Lunatic Citadel, and the only respite the super powered has in this world, is the kingdom of Roma, who just so happens to be Merlyn’s daughter. As we find Betsy Braddock and Roma at odds , as they can’t agree on how to wage war against Merlyn and his merciless genocide against mutants,  as they find a back way to Krakoa, which gives Betsy an idea to recruit some reinforcements with the Grimoire of Apocalypse in hand, to even the odds with a powerful sorcerer like Merlyn. By the issue’s end, Betsy brings the fight to King Arthur and his knights, recruits a different version of Morded and finally forms what Roma envisioned, the Knights Of X.

Overall, Knights of X #1 is one of the better stories from the Krakoan Age event, one which invokes high fantasy. The story by Howard is fascinating. The art by creative team is awe inspiring. Altogether, it’s a story that uses the best part of the Arthurian legend and injects it with our favorite mutants.

Story: Tini Howard Art: Bob Quinn
Color: Erick Arciniega Letterer: Ariana Maher Design: Tom Muller
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Purchase: comiXology/KindleZeus ComicsTFAW

Get a Sneak Peek at DC Pride 2022

DC Pride 2022’s storytellers have ambitious goals: to deliver new stories, highlight DC’s fan-favorite LGBTQIA+ characters, and show fans more pride than ever before. DC has released more details about DC Pride 2022, including an excerpt from Nicole Maines’ introduction, the addition of Kevin Conroy (the iconic voice of Batman in Batman: The Animated Series), J. Bone and Aditya Bidikar to an already packed roster of talent, a first look at some of the artwork coming in from the creative teams, and more. Local comic shops are taking preorders through May 1 and the 104-page Prestige format comic will publish in print and on digital platforms on May 31.

So, what’s inside DC Pride 2022? Will there be a Harley and Ivy story? Will there be a Tim Drake story? What other characters are getting a spotlight? The answers are “yes, yes, and wait and see!” but before DC reveals of the full list of talent contributing to DC Pride 2022, please take a moment to read a passage from Nicole Maines’ introduction. The author, actress and real-life superhero is on the front lines of activism and has an important message for readers:

“Representation is something that so many take for granted. But as queer people, we have always understood not only its necessity, but its power. Seeing yourself in the media you consume is validating in a way that says, “You are not alone.”

Seeing yourself in comic books, though, in your favorite superheroes, is especially powerful. It tells us that not only are there other people like us out there (something that this young trans girl growing up in rural Maine desperately needed), but that they stand alongside the very best of us.

They are the best of us.

Superheroes set the bar and they set it high. Because if you can be a superhero, you can be anything. And superheroes are categorized as such not due to their superhuman abilities, extraterrestrial origins, or truly fabulous fashion choices. They are superheroes because they stand up for what is right against any odds.

It is their courage that sets them apart.” —Nicole Maines, DC Pride 2022

DC Pride 2022

Check out all the incredible stories that DC Pride 2022 will include and the talent behind them, then scroll down for a few sneak-peek previews and more!

The DC Pride 2022 creative teams will include:

  • “Super Pride” by Devin Grayson, Nick Robles, Triona Farrell and Aditya Bidikar
  • “Confessions” by Stephanie Williams, Meghan Hetrick, Marissa Louise and Ariana Maher
  • “Special Delivery” by Travis Moore, Enrica Eren Angiolini and Ariana Maher
  • “Are You Ready for This?” by Danny Lore & Ivan Cohen, Brittney Williams, Enrica Eren Angiolini and Ariana Maher
  • “A World Kept Just For Me” by Alyssa Wong, W. Scott Forbes and Ariana Maher
  • “The Gumshoe in Green” by Tini Howard, Evan Cagle and Lucas Gattoni
  • “Think of Me” by Ted Brandt & Ro Stein and Frank Cvetkovic
  • “Public Display of the Electromagnetic Spectrum” by Greg Lockard, Giulio Macaione and Aditya Bidikar
  • “The Hunt” by Dani Fernandez, Zoe Thorogood, Jeremy Lawson and Aditya Bidikar
  • “Bat’s in the Cradle” by Stephanie Philips, Samantha Dodge, Marissa Louise and Lucas Gattoni
  • “Up at Bat” by Jadzia Axelrod, Lynne Yoshii, Tamra Bonvillain and Ariana Maher
  • and “Finding Batman,” a personal story by Kevin Conroy with art by J. Bone and Aditya Bidikar

With over 100 pages of original stories and content, DC Pride 2022 celebrates the strength and courage it takes to be a DC Super Hero. Here’s a sneak peek into what a few of the teams will be delivering:

“Confessions” by Stephanie Williams, Meghan Hetrick, Marissa Louise and Ariana Maher
“Public Display of the Electromagnetic Spectrum” by Greg Lockard, Giulio Macaione and Aditya Bidikar
“Special Delivery” by Travis Moore, Enrica Eren Angiolini and Ariana Maher
“Up at Bat” by Jadzia Axelrod, Lynne Yoshii, Tamra Bonvillain and Ariana Maher
“Are You Ready for This?” by Danny Lore & Ivan Cohen, Brittney Williams, Enrica Eren Angiolini and Ariana Maher
“Think of Me” by Ted Brandt & Ro Stein and Frank Cvetkovic

Skybound’s Sea Serpent’s Heir Book One Gets a Brand New Trailer!

Image Comics and Skybound Comet have debuted a brand-new trailer for Sea Serpent’s Heir Book One: Pirate’s Daughter, the extraordinary tale of growing up and changing your fate from acclaimed writer Mairghread Scott, artist Pablo Tunica and letterer Ariana Maher.

The mystical trailer offers an all-new sneak peek at the dazzling book and its eponymous hero (…or villain). On a faraway island, Aella longed for something more. Then soldiers came for her, and her destiny was revealed. Now, readers can join the pirate queen Aella as she saves the world…or destroys it. Sea Serpent’s Heir is the exhilarating adventure that will surely motivate all who embark on Aella’s journey to take on the world and make their own destinies.

Available everywhere books are sold October 2022, Sea Serpent’s Heir Book One marks the release of the first original graphic novel in this fantasy Young Adult trilogy from Skybound Comet, a new original graphic novel imprint aimed at Young Adult (Ages 12+) and Middle Grade (Ages 8-12) audiences, but sure to captivate readers of all ages.

Review: X-Men Red #1

X-Men Red #1

When it comes to dual X-Men teams, it often feels like one of the teams is the “also rans”. Two teams of heavy hitters has happened but even then, there feels like a bit of a rivalry between them. Too often it’s just the personalities that really define the difference. X-Men Red #1 is an intriguing entry in the “Destiny of X” line of X-Men comics in that its focus is not on the X-Men of Earth, instead it’s a terraformed Mars, dubbed Arakko. Lead by Storm, the planet features mutants from Krakoa and Amenth, a combination that opens things up to a literal world of new characters.

With a world of possibilities, writer Al Ewing does a nice balance of old and new. There’s classic X-Men characters like Sunspot and James Proudstar (aka Warpath), newer X-Men like Vulcan, and then members of Amenth, generally new to readers. But, at the center of it all is Storm and Magneto, two heavy hitters who have shaped the X-Men throughout the decades and look to do so again in X-Men Red #1.

What’s interesting is Ewing’s focus. A world so knew has lead both Storm and Magneto to reflect on their past. Infinite possibilities of what to build has caused each to think about what they’ve done, what they’ve shaped, and how they’re viewed. Magneto, going by Max, is the most interesting of all the characters. His weariness shows a man who has recognized his failures and short comings and in many ways tired of the struggle. He’s the battle hardened vet shaped by years of abuse, torture, and hate, and forged from the horrors of what mankind can do. In his journey he meets a member of the Amenth who also was forged from bars and torture. The duo together bond over their pain and suffering. Ewing presents a Magneto who’s almost poetic in his musings, far displaced from his much more focused and planned statements during his leadership of Krakoa. The debut also directly takes on the opening of House of X/Powers of X when it comes to Storm and Magneto who both showed off nationalist tendencies. Max is directly confronted about his beliefs and views by his new friend who challenges a lot of the status quo.

Stefano Caselli‘s artwork is fantastic. Along with Federico Blee on color and Ariana Maher‘s lettering, the comic is a blend of fantasy and future. It’s a strange new world that doesn’t feel too alien to connect with. A bar fight involves a simple table being smashed over an individual that looks like a normal table. But, that bar is full of characters who look like something out of a sci-fi adventure. That sits side by side as Max and his new friend talk in fields that look straight out of feudal times as Max builds a castle of his own. The juxtaposition of it all is not lost and quite nice as worlds combine to forge something new, a brotherhood.

The question going into X-Men Red #1 is whether it can be more than just “X-Men on Mars”. The debut issue sets a groundwork that’s intriguing and interesting with conflict to come and political machinations and drama to keep things interesting. It’s a solid debut that promises a bright future for the once red planet.

Story: Al Ewing Art: Stefano Caselli
Color: Federico Blee Letterer: Ariana Maher Design: Tom Muller, Jay Bowen
Story: 8.35 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.4 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Purchase: comiXology/KindleZeus ComicsTFAW

Review: Marauders #1

Marauders #1

Steve Orlando, Eleonora Carlini, and Matt Milla inject new life into the team Marauders in the first issue of their new series. With introductions out of the way, they get right to the adventure, drama, and messiness of it all as the team and their newest, most genocidal member Cassandra Nova blast into space to find the remaining members of the first generation of mutants. Along the way, Orlando continues to show his talent for excavating characters from the Big Two’s past while putting his own spin on staples like the Shi’ar Empire. Seriously, the first scene features a character that debuted in Inhumans; not the well-loved Paul Jenkins/Jae Lee series, but the Rafael Marin and Jose Ladronn one from 2000. However, Marauders #1 isn’t just cameos and throwbacks, and Steve Orlando and Carlini create an adventurous team dynamic with a bit of a dark side that sets it apart from the other current X-teams.

Eleonora Carlini’s manga-infused approach to the art in Marauders plays up the emotions and action up to 11. She combines traditional superhero figures with cartoonish faces and high energy layouts culminating to a double page splash of the Marauders’ new ship in flight. Carlini’s cartooning especially works in tense moments like a reaction shot to Kate Pryde introducing Cassandra Nova as the final Marauder. Even though it’s been obvious that she’s joining the team (Plus the justifications in the data pages.), we get to share in the surprise and even get a laugh from Somnus, who doesn’t know who she is until reading her mind and then going all glowstick on her. Along with the intense facial expressions, Milla goes big and loud with his color palette in a matter befitting a team with characters who project psychic energy into daggers, absorb it and throw it back, or phase through it to name a few. However, there’s a lot of red from Jean Grey confronting Cassandra Nova to the big finale of the issue that blows the series’ status quo up big time.

Like any good superhero book, Marauders has a lot of action from its first page to a space battle where Kate Pryde tries to phase into the mental equivalent of adamantium. However, in the gaps between missions and team construction, Steve Orlando and Eleonora Carlini continue to build up the personalities of the various Marauders. As the newbie, Cassandra Nova is the focus of Marauders #1 with everyone from psychics Jean Grey and Psylocke to team leader Kate Pryde trying to get a read on her and see if she’s actually cured. There are all kinds of panels of her looking at the reader basically saying that putting her on the team was a bad idea even if she’s connected to the mystery box that Kate found.

However, other characters get their moments in the sun like Akihiro and his relationship with his ex Somnus and current partner, Aurora, who are trying to help him overcome the pain of being tortured by Brimstone Love in the previous issue. Carlini turns in a splash showing that this torture and a desire for revenge is the first thing on Akihiro’s mind, and he plays a secondary role in the action with Psylocke and Bishop leading the way in the space fight. However, Somnus and Aurora play roles on the Marauders beyond being there Akihiro. For example, Somnus is making up for literal lost time by going on adventures with the team, and his face close-up on the glass watching Earth fall back in the distance reminds me of the first time I read a comic with the X-Men in space. Orlando also uses the data pages to add depth to the characters without detracting from the story and mystery and brewing space opera even though it would have been even more entertaining to see Dr. Nemesis and Mr. Sinister debate Cassandra Nova’s mutant-ness on panel.

Marauders #1 is full of adventures, flawed, yet badass queer characters, and also features intrigue and deep cuts from the Marvel universe in a nice action mystery package. The team has a focus, but Orlando and Carlini aren’t afraid to explore interesting rabbit trails along the way.

Story: Steve Orlando Art: Eleonora Carlini 
Colors: Matt Milla Letters: Ariana Maher
Story: 8.7 Art: 8.3 Overall: 8.5  Recommendation: Buy

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Purchase: comiXology/KindleZeus ComicsTFAW

Review: Demon Days: Blood Feud #1

Demon Days: Blood Feud #1

Nothing hurts more than a family betrayal. It hurts in ways that sometimes words cannot accurately contextualize. The only description that feels most apropos is that it s like a paper cut. In the way that you don’t see it coming and it stings long after it happens.

That is why trust is so hard to gain and re- building those bridges again between family feels like a reach. The longer those bridges remain unattached, the harder it is for those connections to mend. So what happens when death is part of that equation? I n the epic conclusion to the Demon Days Saga, Mariko Yashida faces a threat closer than she ever imagined in this one-shot issue of Demon Days: Blood Feud.

We’re taken to Kirisaki Mountain, where Ogin and Halbo( the Japanese Hulk)  and Mariko with Logan ( an actual wolf) face off in a  one final battle, as Ogin still feels Mariko is to blame for their mother’s death.  As what could easily be a show of brute force from Halbo, but Mariko outsmarts Ogin and Halbo, by using spider venom from Reina, which debilitates him instantly. The siblings are left to face each other, as they talk through their differences, and Mariko remembers her promise to her mother, to save her sister, which she tries to do with her powers. Right when Ogin could give Mariko the decisive blow, she holds back and Mariko awakens to Granny and Kuriko nursing her back to health. By the issue’s end, Mariko returns to “normal” life, while Logan has been missing since the fight and Ogin and the Yokai she saved go into hiding.

Overall, Demon Days: Blood Feud #1 is an exciting take on the Marvel Universe, one which injects the slice of life genre into this world.  The story by Peach Momoko is endearing and action packed. The art by Momoko is gorgeous. Altogether, Demon Days: Blood Feud is a story that acts as both an entry way for both comic book fans and manga fans.

Story: Peach Momoko Art: Peach Momoko
Adaptation: Zack Davisson Letterer: Ariana  Maher
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Purchase: comiXology/KindleZeus ComicsTFAW

Review: Maestro: World War M #1

Maestro: World War M #1

When people in power become comfortable, they tend to feel an air of invincibility. They start to feel like they are untouchable. That often leads them to mistreat the people under them. They often change for the worse.

When I was in the military, I saw the devolution often. The ones who would got promoted often decried the current leadership. When they got promoted, it became about self preservation, which lead them to forsaking those around them along the way. This is where they stop seeing their friends as well as their enemies. Blindspots become overwhelming. In the opening of Peter David’s final chapter the saga of Maestro, Maestro: World War M #1, unseen threats come to take the tyrant off his perch.

We are taken to a simulation within the Kremlin in Moscow where Maestro looks to settle a score with Abomination. The battle is brutal resulting in a tragic ending.  We soon find out MODOK had been keeping Abomination is stasis this whole time. They live in a world where Maestro rules over the survivors from a nuclear apocalypse. The issue takes us further into the world catching up with Doom and Namor and by the issue’s end, another hero for the Maestro to contend with. The issue is a solid set up showing us the key players of the story to come and reminding us of Maestro’s dominance.

Overall, Maestro: World War M #1 is an excellent first chapter to the ongoing saga of Maestro. The story by David is astounding. The art by Germán Peralta and Pasqual Ferry is amazing. Altogether, the debut issue proves just how formidable a villain Maestro is in this final chapter.

Story: Peter David Art: Germán Peralta, Pasqual Ferry
Color: Jesus Aburtov, Matt Hollingsworth Letterer: Ariana Maher
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus ComicsTFAW

Discover the origin of Critical Role’s Mollymauk Tealeaf

Join Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins writer Jody Houser, along with artist Hunter Bonyun, colorist Cathy Le, letterer Ariana Maher, and Critical Role’s Matthew Mercer and Taliesin Jaffe, as they reveal Mollymauk’s evolution from empty shell to vibrant individual, and the dark corners of his past that even he is afraid to examine. Dark Horse Comics and Critical Role are proud to present the next graphic novel in the Mighty Nein Origins line with Critical Role: The Mighty Nein Origins – Mollymauk Tealeaf.     

What strange events created Mollymauk Tealeaf?

Entertainer, fighter, and performer, “Molly” has a knack for hiding his true self behind the shifting color and shape of a personality he seems to wear like his singular coat. But as with every member of the Mighty Nein, his past will eventually catch up with him…and it’s a strange one indeed.

Critical Role: The Mighty Nein Origins – Mollymauk Tealeaf will be available everywhere books are sold September 14, 2022.

Critical Role: The Mighty Nein Origins – Mollymauk Tealeaf

Review: Marvel Voices: Heritage #1

Marvel Voices Heritage #1

When it comes to indigenous representation in media, it’s few and far between. I remembered growing up only seeing a handful of Native Americans represented. One of those was in the Lone Ranger and Tonto cartoon, which I used to watch every Saturday morning. The other was in the G.I. Joe which featured the character Spirit, who exhibited every stereotype that Americans saw of Native Americans.

Other than those representations, I remember watching Westerns with my grandfather and seeing a different type of representation. One that I would find out was wrought with negative portrayals infused with incorrect perceptions and lacking truth in most cases. Even today, the representation is sparse, and is now only being really seen in shows like Reservation Dogs and Rutherford Falls. It’s only a start and it still is not enough.  In the second season of Marvel Voices, we get Marvel Voices Heritage #1, where we get to see how Marvel portrays its indigenous heroes.

The issue features a nice mix of characters and creators involved. In ”The Unexpected”, Warpath and few of the Native American X-Men fight off a threat to a reservation showing the world they will go wherever they are needed. In “SnowGuard: The Tuurngait’s Song”, Snowguard calls on some long dormant guardians to fight off an ancient evil. In ”American Eagle:  Not Dead Yet”, a retired hero, finds out he still has some fight in him, when he breaks up a robbery and proves his mettle. In the last story ”River: A Friend In Need”,  River has a special power and it has to do with dead people, something that often gets him in a trouble but one that leaves a boy missing.

Overall, Marvel Voices Heritage #1 is an excellent collection of stories that shines the spotlight on these underrepresented characters. The stories by the different creators are entertaining and enlightening. The art  by the different creators is astounding. Altogether, a must buy even if you think you know these characters, you have never seen them like this before.

Story: Nyla Innuksuk , Jim Terry, Steven Paul Judd, Rebecca Roanhorse
Art: Natasha Donovan, David Cutler, Shaun Beyale
Color: Brittany Peer, Rachelle Rosenberg, Paris Alleyne, Morry Hollowell
Ink: Natasha Donovan, José Marzan Jr., Belardino Brabo
Letterer: Ariana Maher
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus ComicsTFAW

Review: Crush and Lobo #8

Crush and Lobo #8

Crush and Lobo #8 wraps the series up with mayhem-filled, fourth wall busting team-up between father and daughter Czarnian. Both Crush and Lobo are back in jail together, and they have to find some way to get out and maybe learn some life lessons along the way. Well, maybe not the life lessons part as Mariko Tamaki’s narrator voice for Crush continues to be snarky and fun as hell firmly planting her into the anti-hero category if not as scummy as her father. And, thankfully, Crush and Lobo #8 isn’t all talking heads as Amancay Nahuelpan and Tamra Bonvillain bring the property destruction and colorful aliens to wrap the storyline up with some familiar faces from earlier in the series making a return.

I love Crush and Lobo #8 goes from probing the relationship between Crush and Lobo as well as ideas like nature vs nurture, or if people (Aliens in this case) can really change to just being snarky one-liners and punching. Tamaki’s narration adds layers to what was already a fun action book, and she and Nahuelpan play with different tropes like big romantic gestures and fight first and team-up later. However, this comic ends up being about Crush taking control of her own destiny and not being the teen version of her dad although she is skilled at taking money to bring in alien criminals. But that’s not all she does as Crush still holds a torch for Katie and is still on decent terms with the Titans even though she missed a lot of Red Arrow’s texts in space. After eight issues, Mariko Tamaki and Amancay Nahuelpan have definitely forged a unique and lively personality for Lobo and leave the door open for them or other creators to craft more funny, violent, and maybe slightly heartbreaking adventures for her.

Even if Crush and Lobo end up punching a lot of robot therapists in the head with colorful blood effects from Bonvillain, Crush and Lobo #8 takes a fair and smart approach to therapy that Crush applies to her own experience with clairvoyant aliens and Katie, who goes to therapy. It’s not about being the subject of a book or science experiment or a lost cause, but about learning about yourself and coping mechanisms from an intuitive, well-trained third party aka not the robots in Lobo’s prison. Change is difficult, but still doable, especially in small ways. This applies to Crush and Lobo as Tamaki and Nahuelpan don’t make sweeping changes to Crush’s status quo (And as the more well-known of the pair, Lobo is an incredibly static character.), but have her make small changes and do-overs. For example, she’s honest about her feelings towards Katie and drinks coffee like a regular customer instead of blowing up the space coffee shop. Crush isn’t going to be a paragon of good any time soon, but her messiness and the fact that she might actually give a shit underneath the quips and cool exterior is what makes her a character that I could connect to and can definitely anchor her own series.

Crush and Lobo concludes with big splashy punches and pages from Amancay Nahuelpan seasoned with self-aware scripting from Mariko Tamaki and a color palette from Tamra Bonvillain that ranges from garish to sterile depending on if the scene is set on cool planets or in jail. It’s an entertaining series and definitely proves that Crush can stand on her own apart from her more famous father even though their interactions led to a lot of humor and a little bit of soul searching.

Story: Mariko Tamaki Art: Amancay Nahuelpan
Colors: Tamra Bonvillain Letters: Ariana Maher
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.4 Overall: 8.2 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus Comics

« Older Entries Recent Entries »