Tag Archives: Boom

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 6/8

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.


Ryan C

Meet The Skrulls #5 (Marvel)** – A thorough and satisfying conclusion to Robbie Thompson and Niko Henrichon’s superb mini-series that leaves open some possibilities for the future while delivering that rarest of things in mainstream comics — a genuine self-contained story. Great art, smart and emotive writing, you really can’t ask for much more than this. Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Savage Avengers #2 (Marvel)** – Terrific art from Mike Deodato, Jr. still can’t manage to do much to elevate Gerry Duggan’s lazy script. By the end of the second issue we’re really no further along than we were after the first, and that’s just plain inexcusable. Let’s just call it like it is : this book is predicated on a gimmicky premise that’s already running out of gas. Overall: 2 Recommendation: Pass 

Batman #72 (DC)** – Gotta love the Mike Golden variant cover to this one — and the interior art by Jorge Fornes and Mikel Janin is a pleasing one-two punch — but dear God, is this script a mess. It’s meant to be one long “Eureka!” moment that reveals all of Tim King’s run to have been a long-form master plan engineered by Bane, but seriously : it all falls completely flat, and I think that’s true even for the VERY few readers out there who have emotionally “bought into” this inept run. Overall: 2 Recommendation: Pass

Female Furies #5 (DC)** – The Scott Free/Big Barda relationship as portrayed in this book is a bit too “Cliff’s Notes” for my taste and fails to resonate much for that reason, but apart from that, writer Cecil Castellucci is hitting all the right notes in her “Fourth World as feminist parable” story, which finally starts to deliver some richly-deserved comeuppances here, and Adriana Melo’s Perez-inspired art continues to impress. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Logan

Buffy the Vampire Slayer #5 (BOOM!) Jordie Bellaire and David Lopez definitely “zag” when it comes to the often criticized “nice guy” character of Xander in Buffy #5, who some critics/fans have read as an author avatar for his creator Joss Whedon. Even if it doesn’t stick, the glimpse we get of vampire Xander as an entitled, misogynistic loser is a wonderfully dark bit of subtext becoming text that lands visually thanks to Lopez’s heavy inks and Raul Angulo’s palette that is more noir and last pastel than the previous issues. Lopez’s take on Willow and Buffy are weirdly malformed compared to Dan Mora’s stylish art in the previous issues, but he definitely nails an air of psychological unease as Drusilla’s threat to Sunnydale continues to ramp up. Buffy #5 has plenty of snarky dialogue, Jenny Calendar/Giles cuteness, and mystical objects for fans with nostalgia for Buffy Seasons 2 and 3, but its smarter writing of Buffy, Willow, and Xander are what keep it fresh and worth reading. Overall: 8.2 Verdict: Buy

Giant Days #51 (BOOM!) John Allison and Max Sarin deal with the fallout of McGraw’s father’s untimely passing coupled with Esther finding luck through winning a writing prize for an essay completely typed on her phone and getting an interview at bank because they have money. Allison and Sarin take a nuanced approach to grieving that’s in-step with the stoic character McGraw, who tries to avoid conversation and talking about his dad until he has one powerful emotional moment after playing checkers with Ed’s girlfriend. For this scene, Sarin uses a rush of extra lines and Whitney Cogar greys out her color palette to emphasize McGraw’s words about how moving away from his dad made him think that he was immortal. Giant Days #51 earns its pathos and shows the comic can look at the sad as well as the funny side of being a twentysomething in Sheffield, UK. Overall: 8.7 Verdict: Buy

Fallen World #2 (Valiant) I didn’t read 4001 AD and am not super steeped into the Valiant Universe, but I found Dan Abnett and Adam Mollina’s Fallen World #2 a fairly enjoyable post-apocalyptic tale of cults, archetypes, and ruthless AI. It’s more action-driven than cerebral although Abnett makes a smart move by centering the narrative around the father/son relationship between the evil Father (Who is in the body of Bloodshot) and his son, the pacifist/Messianic figure Rai. Underneath the weighty lore, there is a core of a survival story at Fallen World’s heart, and I enjoyed Mollina’s creative, fluid visuals for the Father’s different form like the red pteranodons he morphs into to purse the main characters. If you have a tolerance for dense worldbuilding with a side of futurism, Fallen World #2 is a fairly okay read. Overall: 7 Verdict: Read

Shazam #6 (DC) Geoff Johns’ plotting in Shazam is the opposite of decompressed as he and artists Santucci, Dale Eaglesham, and Scott Kolins juggle four plots and one flashback this issue. Splitting up the Shazam family was a smart idea because we get to know Gene and Pedro a little bit more as they try to get out of the Ready Player One-esque realm, The GameLands. Gene using his skills at video games to escape the “real world” is sad, yet resonant and connects to the overall theme of escapism and fantasy that pervades the Captain Marvel mythos. Even though Johns hasn’t resolved the plots featuring King Kid and a fight between Sivana and Mr. Mind and Black Adam, he dumps another one featuring Billy and his real dad C.C. Batson that is beautiful and realistic compared to the New 52-esque over rendering of the Black Adam fight. Honestly, Johns really needed a Shazam and a Shazam family book to tell all these stories and do this kind of world building, but I’d rather having a book full of content than a threadbare one. Overall: 7.7 Verdict: Read


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

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 The Week Ending 3/23

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.


Ryan C

High Level #2 (DC/Vertigo) **– Another slice of solid science fiction “world-building” from writer Rob Sheridan and artist Barnaby Bagenda firms up the relationship between our two main protagonists, fleshes out the unique socio-political-economic statusof the “city” of Onida, and throws in some brisk action near the end before leaving this on a very agreeable cliffhanger. Superb art and colors elevates the proceedings a good few notches, cementing this as a series well worth following. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy 

American Carnage #5 (DC/Vertigo) **– The tangled web being woven by writer Bryan Hill and artist Leandro Fernandez becomes even more labyrinthine here, with intrigues aplenty brewing between all the major characters just as the stakes are raised for the American electorate at large. The art and colors continue to improve with each issue, and here approach genuinely “amazing” status, more than making up for the occasional foray into overly-expository or “preachy” dialogue. One of the most interesting monthlies out there right now. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

The Wild Storm #21 (DC/WildStorm) **– As we near the conclusion of Warren Ellis and Jon Davis-Hunt’s “reimagining” of the WildStorm universe, the chess pieces are all in place, the last few secrets remain tantalizingly out of reach, and the art gets more and more cinematic and breathtaking. You could ask for more from a monthly comic, but you’d be hard-pressed to find it anywhere. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Batman #67 (DC) **-Thank goodness for the sensational artwork of both Lee Weeks and Jorge Fornes, because Tom King’s script for this fifth installment of “Knightmares” is simply a lazy-ass Batman/Joker run-around with little to recommend in its favor apart from a late-inning connection between it and the (much better) “Batman/Elmer Fudd Special” #1. Pretty much a total waste, barring the very pretty pictures. Overall: 4 Recommendation: Look at it, but there’s hardly anything to read

Logan

Spider-Man: Life Story #1 (Marvel)– Chip Zdarsky turns in some of the smartest and most emotionally resonant work of his career in Spider-Man: Life Story #1, the first chapter of a miniseries in which Spider-Man ages in real time. Mark Bagley, John Dell, and Frank D’Armata handle the art chores and excel at both intense conversation sequences between Peter and Captain America, Peter and Norman Osborn, and especially Peter and Gwen Stacy as well as setpieces like a classic showdown between Spidey and the Green Goblin and something more subversive set in Vietnam. In fact, one of the many internal conflicts that Spidey has in this issue is if he’s going to Vietnam or not, especially when he finds out that Flash Thompson’s inspiration for volunteering was Spider-Man. The miniseries format allows Zdarsky and Bagley to introduce stakes and consequences that wouldn’t fit in an ongoing comic as they use the 1960s and Vietnam era not as psychedelic window dressing, but as a source of tension and growth for Peter Parker. And, wow, Zdarsky writes one hell of a Cap. He’s a larger than life figure, but also has extremely mixed feelings about the Vietnam War, especially after what he lost in WWII that still feels recent to him. Overall: 9 Verdict: Buy

Firefly: Bad Company #1 (BOOM!)– Josh Lee Gordon, Francesco Mortarino, and Gabriel Cassata finally tell the “origin” story of Saffron, the artist formerly known as Mrs. Reynolds and also Christina Hendricks’ breakout role. Her life story might be completely made up, but it’s still a tragic story of class warfare, patriarchy, and how the one percenters don’t give a shit about how many they trample on their way to wealth and power. Gordon and Mortarino also do a fair bit of worldbuilding and showing the relationship between the Companions Guild and the Alliance. Mortarino’s art is also bright, expressive, if a little melodramatic at times. If you’re not already a Browncoat, then this one-shot would be a little dense , but it’s worth picking up for the initiated. Overall: 7.7 Verdict: Read

Shean

Spider-Man: City At War #1 (Marvel)– In what looks to be a one do those game interpretation comics, we get quite surprisingly a fun read. We get a world weary Peter Parker and Spider-Man. As his world has been more than hectic and we also get a different origin story for Doctor Octopus. We also see how a post relationship friendship between Peter and MJ is, which also quite mature. Overall, a great read for fans of the game but an excellent story for the rest of the Marvel fans. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy


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

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 (**).

Underrated: Brit: Old Soldiers

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: Brit: Old Soldier.


I’m going to assume you know who Robert Kirkman is, and what his two most well known properties are. But before he became known as the creator of The Walking Dead and Invincible, or even after, Kirkman created comics that haven’t garnered the same raving obsession as TWD. One of these is a comic about an indestructible octogenarian who has been the secret weapon of the US government for decades. Set in the same world as Invincible and Wolfman (though the latter is also an underrated book, and you likely haven’t had chance to read it). I’m talking about Brit: Old Soldier.

I picked up the trade from my LCS on a whim. It looked kinda cool, almost had an Old Man Logan vibe to the character, and I was curious about a guy who may or may not be immortal (whether Brit is or isn’t immortal, he’s certainly indestructible), and seeing how Kirkman handled the guy. Plus, this specific volume looked like it was a standalone story as I flipped through it quickly, which is always a good thing when you’re looking to pick up a trade paperback just for the sake of reading. I’ve since realized that Brit has also seen a continuation of the original miniseries, but that’s not what we’re talking about today.

No today, we’re talking about the first trade, a complete story in and of itself that stands alone as a violently humorous and at time darkly funny comic.

Brit: Old Soldier is a comic set in the same world as another of Kirkman’s creations, but you don’t need to be overly familiar with Invincible to enjoy the subject of today’s column. It’ll give you an additional layer to peel away, but the story doesn’t hinge on you knowing Everything.

Like I said, this is a standalone book. A complete story in and of itself.

Brit: Old Soldier is one of those comics that takes you entirely by surprise. You have reasonable expectations going in based on the creative team and the synopsis, but the end result proves to be a sum greater than its parts. There’s an oddly funny and heartwarming soul to this story that rears its head between the other blood drenched pages depicting Brit in action.

Interestingly, we see Brit use his ability in some unique ways; for despite being indestructible, he doesn’t have super strength (although he isn’t constrained by his muscles or bones tearing if he punches and lifts things). This leads to at least one fight where Brit emerges victorious using some rather unconventional tactics that wouldn’t work for most other comic book characters.

Brit is the subject of this weeks’ Underrated because when stacked next to The Walking Dead and Invincible it’s easy to overlook this book on the shelves of your LCS. If it’s even there. Do yourself a favour, the next time you’re looking for a popcorn action comic with heart, look for Brit.


Join us next week when we look at something else that is, for whatever reason, Underrated.

Underrated: Warhammer: Crown Of Destruction

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: Warhammer: Crown Of Destruction.


It’s often easy to discount Games Workshop based comics as little more than a generic cash in with little appeal beyond those who already play Games Workshop games such as Warhammer. As you may have guessed by this collection featuring in Underrated, that’s not always the case. 

Although I found this in a thrift shop for $2, I was utterly captivated by it from start to finish. I tell you the price I paid more to give an indication of what I was willing to pay based on the cover and blurb on the back, not because I want to brag about my find. Any higher a price and I probably would have left it on the shelf – though seeing as how it was with the kids books I may have at least moved it to the adult section. 

As I may have indicated, I went into this book with pretty low expectations on the story (though oddly I would have been surprised if the art wasn’t at the very least “pretty damn good”). But given that this four issue collection was written by Kieron Gillen, I probably should have had higher expectations than I did. Yes, it’s the third book in the series, no that didn’t bother me any.

Gillen’s story about disgrace, honour and cowardice is pure escapist fantasy, but it is solid and more than enjoyable. I loved the artistic direction of the book. Dwayne Harris, while not to everybody’s taste, encapsulates the visual feel I expected from a gritty comic that had some very loud 2000AD  echoes.

A lot of the folks I talk to at my LCS generally discount these comics as not being worth reading; and while they may not always be the best things you’ll ever read, they’re far better than most (including myself) give them credit for. That’s why I think these stories are Underrated. Next time a Warhammer comic looks interesting to you, check it out. You may find yourself enjoying it more than expected.


Join us next week when we look at something else that is, for whatever reason, Underrated.

Underrated: Comics Not In Diamond’s Top 100 For December ’18

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: Comics not in Diamond’s top 100 sellers for December


This week we’re going to be looking at a list of comics that are all pretty good, but don’t get the attention that they deserve. Now I’m not even going to pretend to have a definitively exhaustive list of underrated comics here, because we’re hoping  that you decide to check at least one of these series out next time you’re looking for something new either online or at your LCS, and giving you a huge list to check out would be counter productive to that. Instead, you’ll find four to six comics that are worth your attention that failed to crack the top 100 in sales. The only hard stipulation for this week: not one of the comics made it into the top 100 for July’s comic sales, according to Comichron, which is why they’re Underrated.


Grumble #1 (Albatross)
December Sales Rank/Units Sold: 304/2,547*
Why You Should Read It:
Think Constantine mixed with Howard the Duck. The first issue was good, but the next ones have been batter. At only around 2,500* (reported to Diamond) sales, this book has been criminally under read. 

*I had originally noticed this book in the rankings at #429 with 763 sales. It turns out that was a second, more expensive, version of this book, but since I had already set the top of the column up, I decided to break the descending format and leave Grumble at the top.

Canadian Vark #1 (Aardvark-Vanaheim)
December Sales Rank/Units Sold: 343/1,709
Why You Should Read It: 
 I may be slightly biased toward this book, living in Canada and all, but I thoroughly enjoyed my first introduction into Cerberus. I dare say that if you’re a Dave Sim fan then you’re going to enjoy this all-in-one comic. 

Mickey and Donald Christmas Parade (IDW)
December Sales Rank/Units Sold:320/2,146
Why You Should Read It:
It should come as no surprise to you by now that I harbour a (not so secret) love for Disney comics, and while the time has passed for this book, it’ll be a great pick up to read in December this year.

Black Badge #5 (Boom)
December Sales Rank/Units Sold: 265/3,814
Why You Should Read It: 
Boy scouts trained as assassins. That’s what sold me on the comic (and I think I started with the sixth issue before circling back), although finding out Matt Kindt wrote it would have had the same effect. As with any Matt Kindt book, there’s more layers to this than a tiramisu, and part of the excellence here is that you get to slowly unpack all of the details on multiple readings.

Ducktales #15 (IDW)
December Sales Rank/Units Sold: 244/4,880
Why You Should Read It:
Because it’s frigging Ducktales. Woohoo!

Witcher: Of Fire and Flame #1 (Dark Horse)
December Sales Rank/Units Sold: 227/5,510
Why You Should Read It:
I’ve become a big fan of The Witcher books over the past few months, and so getting to read a story in comic form for the first time was pretty cool.

.



Unless the comics industry ceases any and all publication look for a future installment of Underrated to cover more comics that aren’t cracking the top 100.

Alex’s Best Comics of 2018

Now that 2018 is in the history books, it’s time to have a look back at some of the comics, movies and events that really stood out for me during the year. Remember that this is all based on what I’ve read, and if your favourite comic isn’t here, it may be because I may not have read it, not because I didn’t like it.

Now that 2018 is in the history books, it’s time to have a look back at some of the comics, movies and events that really stood out for me during the year. Remember that this is all based on what I’ve read, and if your favourite comic isn’t here, it may be because I may not have read it, not because I didn’t like it.

In a break from last year, we’re just looking at comics (ongoing or miniseries). Eight of them in fact, that for one reason or another rocked my socks off.

 Eight

Black Badge (Boom) The only reason that this book is number eight and not higher is because I’m trying to be cautious of Recency Bias – that phenomenon where the most recent thing you’ve read swiftly becomes the best thing you’ve read. Although this series is six issues deep, I only started reading after the end of 2018 (which puts this in a grey area anyway, but the majority of the issues out thus far were released in 2018, so I’m counting it). In short, the two things that sold me on this was the short blurb from Brett “boy scouts being trained as assassins” and the fact that Matt Kindt is the writer.

Seven

Grumble (Albatross Funny Books) Although only a relatively new series, Grumble has captured my imagination and numbers highly on my anticipation list each month. Whether it’s the talking pug, the urban magic or the brilliant visual and verbal humour I don’t know. But I do know I can’t get enough of it.

 Six

Ninja-K (Valiant) The easiest way to describe this series is as a blending of James Bond and Batman with a liberal dose of ninja flavouring (which should be obvious by the title). Christos Gage’s run on this series delved into the back story of MI6’s Ninja Programme and exposed the manipulation and programming the agents (Ninjas A through J) had been subject too; often in the most subtle of ways, all to keep them as more effective weapons. Ninja-K, or Ninjak, gets thrown through the emotional gamut, and it’s fascinating reading.

 Five

The Immortal Hulk  (Marvel) I’m not generally a horror fan, nor do I regularly read Hulk comics with any real regularity, but there’s something about this series that struck a chord with me. This is how Hulk should be handled. As a monster barely constrained, ever deadly and with a massive presence.

 Four

X-O Manowar  (Valiant) A series that was really good in 2017, but swiftly became the best thing I was reading. Even with Valiant’s stumble with Harbinger Wars II didn’t affect the series despite the character featuring heavily in the story, and the series returned with a pair of arcs that went from strength to strength as Matt Kindt redefined what it means to be a hero and a superhuman (emphasis on human).

 Three

Old Man Logan (Marvel)  Old Man Logan was never going to live forever, especially not with the younger Wolverine returning at some point in the next year or so. We’ve known for awhile that there wouldn’t be much chance Marvel would keep both around (aside from an interesting interaction or two, I’m hoping there was a lesson learned from bringing the Original Six X-Men to the future), which has meant that the battles Old Man Logan has found himself in have been genuinely tense – a rarity these days in comic books.

 Two

The Highest House (IDW) Were it not for the fact that my top pick also had my favourite issue of the year, then The Highest House would have been much more likely to peak. A book about slavery, and how one’s circumstances don’t have to stay one’s circumstances, this is a hauntingly beautiful book that doesn’t shy away from the darker side of the high middle ages. The collected edition is one of those books that I’ll recommend to people over and over as an example of what comics are capable of, and will in time, I believe, be held in (almost) as high esteem as Maus and Watchmen.

 One

Quantum And Woody (Valiant) When Daniel Kibblesmith was writing this book it was good, but when Eliot Rahal took over with issue 6 it was like the lights had come on. His take on the brothers was funny without ever feeling forced; I have never read a better take on Quantum and Woody. Plus, this series had my absolute favourite issue of the year. Which was also the final one. The series was continually, and consistently, of a high quality in every aspect every issue, but it’s the third that was the high point with a superb interview sequence interspersed with one of the greatest two page spreads of the year, only to culminate in perhaps the most emotional scene in any comic as one character talks to another about  his fears that due to the altered timeline he may forget his wife ever existed. Without the context of the preceding issues, one would expect that the emotional impact of the scene would be lost. I assure you, it isn’t. 

Review: Deep State #5

deepstate005For those that thought that the first story arc was a one hit wonder, they might find some satisfaction in that critique throughout much of this issue.  The series is after all stuck with the association to the X-Files ven if it likes it or not, and the first story arc could be said to be simply a minor change of the format which made the television series so successful.  Those that choose to write off this series do so at the risk of missing something pretty spectacular though, and that is as much the case here with the beginning of the second story arc as it was during the first four issue.

The plot follows a basic enough story, that of a gun that can shoot but the bullets also travel through time.  Thus an assassin can pull the trigger and walk away without ever having to worry about being discovered.  Much of this issue follows the action of this assassin and the duo of investigators as they try to get tto the bottom of what seems like a fairly routine case.  In fact as it is presented here the story at times almost feels like a one shot of a semi-paranormal concept which seems like it will be wrapped up quickly.  It is actually that feeling that there is only the surface story that makes this story all the more compelling with the plot twist at the end.  It is like Jack Ruby and Lee Harvey Oswald in a sense, but with a twist that would make conspiracy theorists drool.

Once again the creative team proves that they have what it takes to use what seems like an exhausted concept, excpet that they manage to breathe new life into it.  There are a few shortcuts taken here for the movement of the plot, and the discovery of the powers of the gun is one which could have been expanded on, but in the end the story doesn’t need it.  Instead it relies on some complacency before the shock value of the ending.  It reminds the reader once again not to underestimate the twists and turns of this series and that each issue is carefully plotted for what is to come next.

Story: Justin Jordan  Art: Ariela Kristantina
Story: 8.8  Art: 8.8 Overall: 8.8 Recommendation: Buy

Boom Studios provided Graphic Policy with a free copy for review.

 

Review: Suicide Risk #23

sr23covIt would seem as though the creative team behind this series heard the phrase “go big or go home” and thought to themselves that they can do better than that.  At the previous set of circumstances from the last issue, Terza is dead and dissected, the other heroes are on the verge of death and there are four Earth sized planets on a trajectory with Earth that will result in the death of billions.  It would seem that across the board that the heroes are outnumbered and against impossible odds, but that is equally the setting for a great story to be told.

There are a lot of good parts to this issue and not really any bad ones.  The way in which Leo deals with the threat of Minus-i is inventive, even by the otherworldly application of superhero powers and his might be the most comprehensive death in comic book history.  So too is it pretty notable what is done with Terza’s remains, as she is dead but, as a being of ultimate power, that might not stop her.  What this issue really comes down to though is the destruction of the Earth and the heroes that are scrambling to do something about it.  Some developments occur which might not exactly make things better either as perhaps it is not only Earth that is threatened any more.

This series which has been notable for its ability to surprise and to lead into interesting tangents does the same here.  This issue might in fact be the best so far in the entire series, a series which is notable for many issues which could have been called “the best so far”.  Really the only problem with this issue is that it read so quickly because it was so engaging.  The pacing of the storytelling was excellent, and the characterizations were excellent, and the series continued to surprise, even after having done so many times before.

Story: Mike Carey  Art: Elena Casagrande
Story: 9.5  Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

 BOOM! Studios provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Burning Fields #3

burningfields003covSo far this series has kept its hand fairly close, only revealing bits and pieces as the plot needed, but this third issue finally lays down a deeper framework for the direction which this series will be taking.  Up until this point this murder-mystery involving a serial killer could have gone in a few different directions, with even a purely supernatural terror not being ruled out.  This is no longer the case as the story unfolds to explain a probable link to the murders.  As one of the characters explains, it is something which would be easily described as a cult, even if its rituals are far more elaborate and ingrained.

While this potentially sets up the antagonist of the series as a misguided cult-like follower, there are a lot of other things going on.  For the first time Dana is forced to face Decker, even though it is across a crowd, yet it reveals the complexities of her character.  Her past is tied to Decker in a way which she could not escape and although she wants to find he is targeting oil field workers, she also craves some resolution to the demons that haunt her.

This series had taken a new look at the War in Iraq and through its new perspective revisited some of the underlying problems involved with the conflict, some of which are wounds which are not yet closed in the national psyche.  This series deserves credit for not tiptoeing around the facts and instead dives straight into them, providing a sense of reality even when the world around them is populated with something more fantastical.  This is a well written series, and is more difficult to read than most series, but only because the setting and concept are so divisive in terms of ethics and power.

Story: Michael Moreci & Tim Daniel Art: Colin Lorimer
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

BOOM! Studios provided Graphic Policy with a free copy for review.  

Review: Cluster #2

cluster002The prison planet is often an overlooked setting for science fiction adventures.  Although well established within the genre as a place to launch some heroics, it is one which arguably has never had a standout or famous story told within its confines.  Somewhat surprisingly therefore there are at the moment two separate titles set on prison planets, both Cluster and Bitch Planet.  Invariably the two will be compared to one another with a similar story line of female protagonists being sent to a serve a sentence which they maybe did not deserve, except by the rules of a broken future society.  While Bitch Planet looked to make a point in terms of its stance on feminism, Cluster seemed to be making a similar statement as well, which made comparing the two all the easier.  With the second issue of Cluster though, it is evident that the comparisons between the two should stop, save for the surface details.

The story picks up from the last issue, except with some added intrigue.  It is revealed that Samara is more valuable to her captors than she first thought.  As the daughter of a politician that is opposed to the space prison, she is being used as a political tool more so than as a soldier.  The only problem is that she is still missing after the accident in the previous issue.  As her group struggles to find its way back, a search party is sent out to rescue her, although it is not even entirely clear if rescue is the desired goal.  As she continues her journey over the planet’s harsh surface she discovers that there is more to what is being told to her than she assumed.

This issue builds where it needed to, and develops some extra plot elements to add some deeper meaning to the plot.  While it is deserving of some recognition for its story and characters, the overall effect is less than stellar.  It is still a readable story, but is far from a standout in terms of the science fiction genre that is available on the market at the moment.

Story: Ed Brisson Art: Damian Couceiro
Story: 7.9 Art: 7.9 Overall: 7.9 Recommendation: Read

Boom! Studios provided Graphic Policy with a free copy for review.

 

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