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Review: Reaver #11

REAVER #11

Reaver is an absolute treat for those looking for a very violent fantasy book. Reaver #11, part five of “The Grim After” takes a look back at Essen Breaker and how he and Bren became connected. For those not in the know, he’s a giant of a man who kills just about anything in his path. They call him the Devil’s Son.  In typical fashion, there’s strife and fighting and in the end, a whole lot of blood has been spilled. You do read Reaver, right?

Reaver is my favorite thing that Image Comics is putting out. Hard-edge fantasy with quite a few likeable characters to boot. I feel like this is definitely one of Justin Jordan’s best books that he’s done and he’s done quite a few great comics worth reading. Over the course of this storyline, and the entire series in general, I love what his “Hell’s Half-Dozen” as gone through. If there’s one critique to throw out about the writing, it’s that the usage of the F-word is so commonplace that for me, it makes the dialogue feel very unnatural.

For the most part, I have enjoyed Niko Henichon’s art but there were a few pages that seemed a bit rushed. That said, Niko has a style suited for a book like Reaver. There are some rather cool splash pages at the front of this that are a real treat, pages which highlight The Devil’s Son. Becky Cloonan’s covers continue to be eye-catching.

It’s the end of “The Grim After” but what comes after should be another epic story for Reaver. If you are looking for an adult fantasy story, I feel there’s none better. To me, Reaver is a total breath of fresh air and comes off wholly original. If you want something different in the genre that’s high quality, then it’s definitely Reaver that you are after.

Story: Justin Jordan Art: Niko Henrichon
Letterer: Clayton Cowles Editor: John Moisan Cover Artist: Becky Cloonan
Story: 8.0 Art: 7.0 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Review: Dark Nights: Death Metal Guidebook #1

DARK NIGHTS: DEATH METAL GUIDEBOOK #1

I remember “guidebooks” from back in the day. They’d be a lot of text that were more like roleplaying game supplements than comic books. And that’s what I expected with Dark Nights: Death Metal Guidebook #1. I was also really wrong about that as well. The Dark Nights: Death Metal tie-in is full of standalone stories and tales that shed more light on what has happened. It’s also a perfect guide for those that skipped “Year of the Villain” and want to catch up.

Dark Nights: Death Metal Guidebook #1 featured five stories from various creative teams and in between it has one-page guides/sketches that I was expected more of. As with all anthologies, the quality varies in story and art but this is the rare case where everything is at least good if not great. The story subjects, tones, and focus are all different delivering insight into the event.

The main chunk of the comic is made up of the “Fall of Earth”. The story goes into detail exactly what happened. While it skips some of the lead up it’s the perfect read for those who want to know what they missed. In goes into so much detail it spoils the first three issues of Dark Nights: Death Metal as well. It’s the Cliff’s Notes version of the event and when I got to the end, I felt like I had a good grasp as to what was going on and the why. None of it was Earth-shattering (pun intended) but I feel like I have a bit more of a grasp as to what’s going on now.

The other four stories focus on various heroes and villains and where they stand.

Harley Quinn gets a spotlight as she explores the irradiated wastelands and it answers some questions as to what has happened to some villains while raising questions as well. Aquaman is the most intriguing of the stories as it shows a former King subjugated and folded to protect his people. We learn more about Wonder Woman and her jail of villains. The story is the highlight of the comic delivering an emotional punch. Wrapping it up is a story featuring Batman, Jonah Hex, and the Joker Dragon. While the overall story is the weakest of the bunch it also has some key details that will impact the main story. There’s a reason Hex was chosen by Batman and something he must do if things go sideways.

The art is pretty solid all around. The styles vary a bit but none of it varies too much from each other. It’s unique but cohesive at the same time. All of it is good across the board and each has its moments that’ll leave you lingering. With a limited amount of pages to work with, the art is key to tell the story and bring emotion.

Dark Nights: Death Metal Guidebook #1 is a one-shot tie-in that really works. While it feels like it should have come out earlier in the event, it does a great job of acting as a starting point for those who missed the first three issues. It answers a lot of questions and also drops some key hints for the main story as well. It’s a spin-off that feels as vital as any main event issue.

Story: Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Joshua Williamson, Chip Zdarsky, Becky Cloonan, Vita Ayala, Christopher Priest
Art: Doug Mahnke, Khary Randolph, Becky Cloonan, Dan Panosian, Eduardo Risso
Ink: Jamie Mendoza
Color: David Baron, Emilio Lopez, Tamra Bonvillain, Luis Guerrero, Eduardo Risso
Lettering: Tom Napolitano, Dave Sharpe, Steve Wands, Ferran Delgado, Willie Schubert
Story: 8.15 Art: 8.15 Overall: 8.15 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Dark Nights: Death Metal Lobo-tomizes November with a Multiversal Last Stand!

Dark Nights: Death Metal #3 has hit shelves, taking the Justice League to the sun to rescue Jarro (and Superman!) and introducing a Darkseid-infused Batman called Darkfather! This in-demand third issue sold out ahead of release, but copies are available at your local comic book store and more supply will be delivered August 25!

In November, Dark Nights: Death Metal #5 will reveal the Darkest Knight’s true goal of remaking the Multiverse in his image—can Earth’s heroes rally together to make a last stand? And in two tie-in one-shot issues, the blood and guts and gratuitous violence of Lobo takes main stage while a world of evil Super Pets, and more, shows a glimpse into the nightmare realities that the Batman Who Laughs has created!

Take a look below at November’s lineup for Dark Nights: Death Metal!

Dark Nights: Death Metal Infinite Hours Exxxtreme! #1

It’s storytime with Lobo. And it’s not going to be pretty!

Pull up a chair, ya bastiches—it’s time for Uncle Lobo’s Infinite Hour! It’s your chance to let the Main Man Lobo-tomize you with familiar yet freaky stories of the DC Universe, exactly as he remembers them: with blood and guts and exxxtreme gratuitous violence! Tell yer comics guy to put you down for alllll the copies!

Dark Nights: Death Metal Infinite Hours Exxxtreme! #1, written by Frank Tieri, Becky Cloonan, and others, art by Dale Eaglesham and others, cover by Kyle Hotz, 1:25 card stock variant cover by Rafael Grampá, on sale November 10.

Dark Nights: Death Metal Infinite Hours Exxxtreme! #1

Dark Nights: Death Metal #5

The Darkest Knight has won—and the multiverse will pay the price!

The Darkest Knight has won. With absolute power at the villain’s fingertips, Wonder Woman and the rest of the DC heroes are nothing to him. As the Darkest Knight turns his sights to his true goal, remaking the Multiverse in his image, can Earth’s heroes rally together to make a last stand?

Dark Nights: Death Metal #5, written by Scott Snyder, art and cover by Greg Capullo and Jonathan Glapion, Swamp Thing variant cover by David Finch, Perpetua variant cover by Stanley “Artgerm” Lau, B. Rex variant cover by Lucio Parrillo, 1:25 variant cover by Doug Mahnke, 1:100 black and white variant cover by Greg Capullo and Jonathan Glapion, on sale November 17.

Dark Nights: Death Metal #5

Dark Nights: Death Metal The Multiverse Who Laughs #1

With the multiverse is destroyed, the worlds of the DC universe are nightmares!

The DC Multiverse is a collection of alternate-reality worlds where anything is possible. Each world tells the tale of a possible split in reality, or shows how lives vary depending on a single, solitary decision. But now that the Multiverse has been destroyed, the Batman Who Laughs has used his god like power to create a new Dark Multiverse…a collection of 52 evil worlds, each more terrifying than the last. This one-shot offers the curious—and the brave—a glimpse into the nightmare realities that the Batman Who Laughs has created in tales by creators who know what it means to have a truly twisted sense of misfit humor. An Arkham Asylum even more terrifying than what we know? A world of evil Super Pets? All that and more in these new tales of the Multiverse Who Laughs!

Dark Nights: Death Metal The Multiverse Who Laughs #1, written by Amanda Conner, Patton Oswalt, Jimmy Palmiotti, Scott Snyder, Brandon Thomas, James Tynion IV, and Joshua Williamson, art by Chad Hardin and others, cover by Chris Burnham, 1:25 card stock variant cover by Simone Bianchi, on sale November 24.

Dark Nights: Death Metal The Multiverse Who Laughs #1

Preview: Dark Nights: Death Metal Guidebook #1

Dark Nights: Death Metal Guidebook #1

Written by: Scott Snyder, Vita Ayala, Becky Cloonan, Chip Zdarsky, Joshua Williamson
Art by: Doug Mahnke, Eduardo Risso, Dan Panosian, Khary Randolph, Becky Cloonan

Earth is turned upside down, shrouded in a realm of darkness after the Justice League’s defeat by the cosmic goddess Perpetua. Now the Batman Who Laughs and his army of Dark Knights rule the planet, wreaking havoc on humanity and raining destruction on the world. As Wonder Woman, Superman, Batman, and other heroes fight to survive in this strange new landscape, one cloaked figure has been observing from the sidelines, creating a guidebook to this new world and its evil leaders in the hope of forming a plan of justice… and penance. This issue showcases the new factions of Earth and explores the mystery of what happened to our heroes after their battle with Perpetua. How did Wonder Woman become the queen of Hell? How did Batman find the Black Lantern ring? And what happens when Harley Quinn takes charge of the Wasteland, and finds love in the process? All this and more in this jam-issue exploring the new world order.

Dark Nights: Death Metal Guidebook #1

Turn On. Tune In. Drop Out. With The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys: National Anthem

Forget everything you already knew about The Fabulous Killjoys! Writers Gerard Way and Shaun Simon, along with illustrator Leonardo Romero, colorist Jordie Bellaire, and letterer Nate Piekos team up to present an all-new modern-day Killjoys series as Way and Simon take it all the way back to the original story that inspired My Chemical Romance’s concept album Danger Days and its dystopian comic book series in The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys: National Anthem. 

The Fabulous Killjoys, once a group of teenage exterminators determined to save reality, have lost their way—and their memories. After a period of mental confinement, former Killjoys leader Mike Milligram gets de-programmed and hits the road to bring the gang back together for a final showdown against an evil pharmaceutical corporation, their monstrous hitman, and savage gang rivals.

The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys: National Anthem #1 (of six) goes on sale October 14, 2020. The first issue has a standard cover illustrated by Leonardo Romero and variant covers by Becky Cloonan and Paul Rentler. This over-sized issue sits at 44 story pages for the standard price of $3.99!

The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys: National Anthem #1

Dark Nights: Death Metal Expands with More Issues and One-Shots

DC has revealed some big Dark Nights: Death Metal news today! The anticipated series begins on June 16 and is now seven issues! But, it’s expanding further! The series is getting two one-shots, Dark Nights: Death Metal Guidebook #1 and Dark Nights: Death Metal Legends of the Dark Knights #1!

Ahead of September’s skip month for Dark Nights: Death Metal, DC turns up the volume and calls in reinforcements to give fans more than they ever bargained for! A week after Dark Nights: Death Metal #3 publishes on August 11, the world of Dark Nights: Metal expands with Dark Nights: Death Metal Guidebook to include stories by Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Joshua Williamson, Becky Cloonan, Vita Ayala, Chip Zdarsky, Christopher Priest, Doug Mahnke, Dan Panosian, Eduardo Risso, and Khary Randolph! Collected in Dark Nights: Death Metal Guidebook #1 on August 18 with a cover by Yasmine Putri, the stories in this one-shot showcase the new factions of Earth and explore the mystery of what happened to the Justice League after their battle with Perpetua.

Dark Nights: Death Metal Guideboo

As Wonder Woman, Superman, Batman, and other heroes fight to survive in the strange new landscape of an Earth turned upside down and shrouded in a realm of darkness, one cloaked figure has been observing from the sidelines, creating a guidebook to this new world and its evil leaders. Find out how Wonder Woman became the queen of Hell! Discover how Batman finds the Black Lantern ring! And see what happens when Harley Quinn takes charge of the Wasteland, finding love in the process! All this and more in this jam-packed issue exploring the new world order.

And then, because every legendary performance needs a bigger, bolder second act, Dark Nights: Death Metal Legends of the Dark Knights #1 drops on August 25 with a cover by Tony S. Daniel! This one-shot features stories from DC’s Dark Multiverse by Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Joshua Williamson, Peter J. Tomasi, Warren Ellis, Garth Ennis, Daniel Warren Johnson, Frank Tieri, Tony S. Daniel, Jim Cheung, Joëlle Jones, Riley Rossmo, and Francesco Francavilla.

Dark Nights: Death Metal Legends of the Dark Knights #1

In this collection of short tales where demons dwell and reality is overrun by monstrous versions of the Dark Knight, learn the terrifying secrets of the new Bats Out of Hell and other creatures of the night like Robin King, whose origin is unimaginable! Plus, read about the secret buried beneath Castle Bat, the sentient Batmobile, and…how did Batman turn into a killer robot dinosaur?

August is metal as hell with Dark Nights: Death Metal #3 on 8/11, Dark Nights: Death Metal Guidebook #1 on 8/18, and Dark Nights: Death Metal Legends of the Dark Knights #1 on 8/25!

The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys Gets a Hardcover Library Edition

The direct tie-in to the My Chemical Romance album Danger Days is being collected as an over-sized hardcover in The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys: California Library Edition! Written by Gerard Way and Shaun Simon, illustrated by Becky Cloonan, colored by Dan Jackson, and lettered by Nate PiekosThe True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys: California Library Edition will feature an all new cover by Becky Cloonan.

Years ago, the Killjoys fought against the tyrannical megacorporation Better Living Industries, costing them their lives, save for one—the mysterious Girl. Today, the followers of the original Killjoys languish in the Desert while BLI systematically strips citizens of their individuality. As the fight for freedom fades, it’s left to the Girl to take up the mantle and bring down the fearsome BLI!

This new The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys: California Library Edition collects the 2014 series The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys: California and the short story “Dead Satellites,”along with an expanded sketchbook section.

This oversized hardcover is a collection of over 200-pages of material and will retail at $39.99. The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys: California goes on sale September 2, 2020.

The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys: California

Preview: Robert E. Howard’s Dark Agnes #2 (of 5)

Robert E. Howard’s Dark Agnes #2 (of 5)

(W) Becky Cloonan (A) Luca Pizzari (CA) Stephanie Hans
Parental Advisory
In Shops: Mar 04, 2020
SRP: $3.99

MAYHEM, A MASKED BALL, AND MURDER MOST FOUL!

AGNES and ETIENNE enter the lair of the beast-sneaking into the palace of DUKE D’ALENCON, even as his agents hunt for them!

But when a murder victim turns up in the court, will they escape notice or be drawn deeper into the labyrinth of disaster forming around them?
All this and the return of a ghost from Agnes’ past!

Robert E. Howard's Dark Agnes #2 (of 5)

Becky Cloonan Makes Her Baltimore Comic-Con Debut in 2020

Becky Cloonan

The Baltimore Comic-Con will return to the Inner Harbor’s Baltimore Convention Center on October 23-25, 2020. The convention has announced the addition of Becky Cloonan, making her Baltimore Comic-Con debut! Tickets for the show are now available.

Becky Cloonan began her career making minicomics as part of the Meathaus collective. Since then, she’s gone on to write and draw on titles like Dark AgnesConan the BarbarianThe PunisherTrue Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys,Gotham AcademyDetective Comics, and Batman, and working on creator-owned books like Southern Cross and the critically acclaimed collection of short stories, By Chance or Providence.

When she’s not making comics, she illustrates album art, and gig and movie posters for My Chemical Romance, Black Sabbath, Adult Swim, and Mondo. She enjoys old movies, true crime podcasts, and still tries to self-publish new minicomics when she can. Becky currently lives in Austin with her partner Michael, two weird cats, and a couple dozen plants.


In addition to on-site CGC grading, this year’s confirmed guests for the show include: Marty Baumann (Disney/Pixar), John Beatty (Secret Wars), Brian Michael Bendis (Action Comics), Brett Breeding (Superman), Howard Chaykin (Hey Kids! Comics!), Cliff Chiang (Paper Girls), Frank Cho (Harley Quinn), Becky Cloonan (Dark Agnes), Steve Conley (The Middle Age), Katie Cook (Nothing Special), Alan Davis (Tarot, courtesy of Hero Initiative), Shane Davis (Metal Men), Kristina Deak-Linsner (Vampirella: Roses for the Dead), Mitch Gerads (Mr. Miracle), Joe Giella (Green Lantern), Greg Hildebrandt (Wolverine), Jamal Igle (Wrong Earth), Tom King (Batman), Scott Kolins (The Flash, courtesy of Hero Initiative), Joseph Michael Linsner (Red Sonja), Bob McLeod (New Mutants), Carla Speed McNeil (Finder), Terry Moore (Strangers in Paradise), Richard Pace (Second Coming), James Pascoe (Azrael), David Petersen (Mouse Guard), Brandon Peterson (Sinestro: Year of the Villain), Amy Reeder (Amethyst), Afua Richardson (Omni), Louise Simonson (Power Pack), Walter Simonson (Ragnarok: The Breaking of Helheim), John K. Snyder III (Killers), Jill Thompson (Scary Godmother), Timothy Truman (Grimjack), Gus Vazquez (Scooby Apocalypse), Robert Venditti (Hawkman), Mark Waid (Dr. Strange), Gene Luen Yang (Superman Smashes the Klan), and Thom Zahler (Love and Capes).

Review: Dark Agnes #1 is a not-so-great pulp yarn

Dark Agnes #1

Dark Anges #1 is based on a more obscure Robert E. Howard creation that may have been one of the inspirations for Red Sonja. Agnes de la Ferre aka Dark Agnes is a French woman, who killed the disgusting man she was going to be forced to marry and became a great swordswoman and adventurer. Writer Becky Cloonan, artist Luca Pizzari, and colorist Jay David Ramos definitely understand the swashbuckling, pulpy tone of a Howard story. Even if the execution is lacking in times in the parts of the story that aren’t dialogue. The characters, Dark Agnes and her sidekick Etienne, are more stock than three dimensional. Cloonan writes some witty dialogue and places them in settings that would be out of place in a capital “R” French Romantic novel written in the 19th century, but set centuries before.

However, Dark Agnes #1’s chief weakness isn’t with its prose, but with the visuals. This comic seems to suffer from the “Dynamite problem”, which is having a fantastic, inviting cover and incomprehensible-to-above average (At times) interior art. If it wasn’t for Cloonan’s shout-y dialogue, the initial scene of Dark Agnes rescuing Etienne would have zero suspense. Luca Pizzari handles the big reactions, or flashback dreams, but not the little things that make a set piece great in Dark Agnes #1. There are too many moving parts in his action sequences, and a scene that should be epic (Aka Dark Agnes kicking ass with a sword in her mouth.) falls flat because the focal point on the panel is off center. However, Jay David Ramos does a decent job emphasizing Agnes’ flame red mane as well as using a muddy palette to evoke the stench of stereotypical “Dark Ages” France. He uses brighter colors when Etienne and Dark Agnes take on a rich woman and her nun companion to protect towards the end of the first issue.

One thing that these modern Robert E. Howard adaptations can do is add interiority and shading to pulp archetypes. However, Dark Agnes #1 doesn’t do that, for better or worse. I hate to say it, but Becky Cloonan and Luca Pizzari basically transpose the story of Red Sonja to medieval France. And it’s not intrigued, well-researched medieval France, but just a backdrop for swashbuckling adventures and interspersed French dialogue. The Duke of Alencon seems to be the bad guy, but he could easily be substituted by the Duke of Burgundy or the Sheriff of Nottingham or any such mustache twirler. Hopefully, his real menace is shown down the road.

I do like the basic premise for the character of Dark Agnes, and that she is a woman in an incredibly oppressive time period, who overcomes trauma to be a badass. Even though the storytelling around her is wooden, Cloonan, Pizzari, and Ramos give her true energy to match her flame red hair beginning with the opening of Dark Agnes #1 where she rescues the “damsel in distress” Etienne from execution in a scene that is actually pretty funny. Her sheer swagger coupled with the foreboding images of her dreams sow the seeds of a potentially interesting pulp heroine, and the final pages definitely up the stakes. In video game terms, think “fast travel”.

I definitely wish that Becky Cloonan had the opportunity to both write and draw Dark Agnes because her work on Dark Horse’s Conan shows that she is a natural fit for high energy, bloody adventures. However, that is not the case, and the visuals of Dark Agnes #1 make the book seem more sluggish than exciting. The writing and plotting isn’t pristine either with a generic sense of setting and several cliches even though Cloonan’s dialogue is musical and humorous sometimes. It’s a comic to definitely trade wait for

Story: Becky Cloonan Art: Luca Pizzari
Colors: Jay David Ramos Letters: Travis Lanham
Story: 7.3 Art: 5.8 Overall: 6.0 Recommendation: Pass

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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