Tag Archives: chapter house comics

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Dept H #1 CoverWednesdays are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

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

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

Patrick

Top Pick: Dept. H #1 (Dark Horse) – Matt Kindt’s work would be enjoyable even if they published the book with all the words spelled backwards. His visual storytelling inspires the mind and the inner artist. His new direction with this book is very exciting.

All-New Hawkeye #4 (Marvel) – Do you ever feel like people who read Hawkeye hit you over the head with how good it is? That they just don’t shut up about? Because if you’re not reading Hawkeye, somebody SHOULD be hitting you over the head until you are. Notify me and I’ll get someone on that. I’ve been very happy with this Lemire’s work following Faction’s run.

BEK: Black-Eyed Kids #1 (Aftershock) – I have really been enjoying Aftershock each month. Their new book will hopefully be as creepy and unnerving as the cover.

Clean Room #7 (Vertigo) – There’s something about Clean Room, something about it’s grotesque imagery yet clean visuals that allows this horror story to really stand out. I enjoyed the first arc and I really feel like Gail Simone has built a strong foundation to build upon.

Tokyo Ghost #6 (Image) – If Sean Murphy keyed my car once a month, I would still look forward to seeing it. If Rick Remender was telling him what to do with the key, I would not only continue to pay $4 a month to see how it had turned out, I would gladly explain it all to Hyundai when my lease was up.

 

Alex

Top Pick: Divinity II #1 (Valiant) – I’ve only just finished the first Divinity, and it was phenomenal. I can’t wait to get started on this. Cannot bloody wait.

Bloodshot Reborn #12 (Valiant) – The current story arc, The Analog Man, features some of the best looking artwork out there. It’s also a cool story with a very Mad Max aesthetic.

Howard The Duck #6 (Marvel) – Always a treat to read this series; Zdarsky’s humour is right up my alley.

Huck #6 (Image) – The first of two Superman like characters on this list, Huck is one of the better Millar books of recent times (of course I haven’t read the Jupiter series yet). Even though this s the final issue, I have no idea how it’ll all wrap up, especially because it feels like it’s only just about begun.

Hyperion #2 (Marvel) – Is here for the same reason it was last month. Hyperion may hit someone with a transfer truck swung like a baseball bat.

 

Paul

Top Pick: Extraordinary X-Men #9 (Marvel) – I have been really enjoying this book from the get go, and I’ll admit when I heard time travel in the story, I rolled my eyes. HOWEVER, I am really looking forward to see the X-Men in the future, joined by their teacher, facing off against Apocalypse and his horsemen; I always enjoy seeing new mutants imagined as horsemen and how they fit the roles of war, famine, pestilence and death.  I’m sure we won’t be disappointed.

Captain Marvel #4 (Marvel) – I’m a huge fan of Carol, and Abigail Brand is always a welcome addition to any title…but to be honest, my biggest draw to this book is Alpha Flight!  Well the three members we have; Aurora, Sasquatch and Puck have been out of the pages for far too long.  All the reboots and re-launches going on, why hasn’t anyone taken a look at Alpha Flight?  There is major potential there…just saying.

New Avengers #10 (Marvel) – Even with the American Kaiju and the New Avenger’s Power Rangers inspired mecha robot *yawn*, this title has definitely picked up steam with the tie in to Pleasant Hill.  These Avengers are fighting in the name of A.I.M., we should be rooting for them, right?  Lines are being drawn, not just with the team, but all the Avengers, and it’s a pleasant surprise to see this title stepping up.

Uncanny Inhumans #7 (Marvel) – I’m really liking the idea of Black Bolt’s ‘Quiet Room’, and really enjoyed that last issue showing the various Inhumans helping him keep the piece in his club.  And now there is an investigation under way…and the Capo., thought dead, is making a play to regain his power.  Never a dull moment for ol’ Black Bolt.

 

Javier

Top Pick: Clean Room #7 (Vertigo) – I only read it with the lights on. This sure to be disturbing issue is an Astrid stand alone story.

East of West #25 (Image) – Year two comes to an end after three years. Wait that does’t sound right. Double-checked, it’s an accurate statement. Hickman and Dragotta get a pass because it is damn good apocalyptic storytelling.

Gutter Magic #4 (IDW Publishing) – The end to another good story. Only four issues of this epic sci-fi/fantasy alternative history epic. I got my fingers crosses for future arcs.

Karnak #3 (Marvel) – If you are going to make me wait for like five months, then it better be good. This new philosophically bent Karnak is a blast to read—that is when an issue finally makes it to market.

 

Brett

Top Pick: Superman: American Alien #6/Superman: Lois and Clark #7 (DC Comics) – The best two Superman comics DC has going right now. Both in their own ways are great explorations of the characters and both show off what makes him great.

Captain Canuck #8 (Chapter House Comics) – Every issue is fun and entertaining. Great superhero comics without the gritty grim.

Carver: Paris Story #3 (Z2 Comics) – Just awesome gritty noir.

Dept H #1 (Dark Horse) – Matt Kindt’s new series? Done! Did you read his Mind MGMT from Dark Horse? It’s excellent. This first issue is excellent. An absolutely must buy.

Divinity II #1 (Valiant) – The first volume was absolutely amazing and this is a series I’ve been looking forward to since its announcement. I’m expecting nothing but excellence here.

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

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

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

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

Mr. H

Top Pick: Superman #50 (DC Comics) – Truth be gone! Superman is back and he gets to meet Pre 52 Clark? Absolutely on board for this one. Hope we get a lot on all the supporting cast and how they react to Clark fully back. Good to see the S in the sky again. Great Caesars Ghost it took long enough.

Dragon Age: Magekiller #4 (Dark Horse Comics) – So this book has been the guilty pleasure of my pull list each month lately. Greg Rucka and Carmen Canero do an awesome job of hitting the fantasy bone with great characters and fun as hell dialogue. Sad it’s winding down. Only one more ish to go…

International Iron Man #1 (Marvel Comics) – While I’m not completely hating Invincible Iron Man, there is definitely something lacking. Hoping that one of my favorite all time teams can bring the flash back to Tony’s tales. I don’t need a ticket to Stark Expo for this one. I’m already there.

 

Paul

Top Pick: Extraordinary X-Men #8 (Marvel) – I know, they’re pulling the Apocalypse Wars to coincide with the upcoming movie; but Apocalypse is a great villain, so I’m excited for this to start.  Not so keen on the fact the X-Men are going into the timestream…again!  Haven’t they already made a big enough mess with all the time travel?  I’m really hoping this is a great story arc…and I love this team line up.

All-New Inhumans #5 (Marvel) – So Crystal and her team are exploring the skyspears around the world, stopping in China first…and Spider-Man is joining them.  An interesting team up, and I’m looking forward to see it.

All-New X-Men #6 (Marvel) – Still a fun ride, but I’d like to see a little more from this title then just Warren worrying about Laura, Evan and Idie standing around in the background and Hank feeding their pet Bamf.  A more substantial story would be nice; yes I know young Scott is trying to redeem himself but ok…and??  The fun ride is getting a little stale, I want more from these kids.

Scarlet Witch #4 (Marvel) – This is the book I’m really rooting for;  I haven’t been enjoying it 100% and I just hope it finds its footing with the potential I know it has.  Wanda is such a great character, one of my favourites and I think she needs a title to shine in.

Uncanny Inhumans #6 (Marvel) – I am loving that they brought the Quiet Room from Secret Wars into the main universe, and I’m really liking the idea behind it; a neutral zone for meetings, gambling and a good time. Of course, it all goes to hell and Black Bolt has to clean it up the mess. Really enjoying this book and liking this new side of Black Bolt.

 

Alex

Top Pick: Wrath Of The Eternal Warrior #5 (Valiant) – Juan Jose Ryp and Jordie Bellaire are the talented artists joining the phenomenal writer Robert Venditti for this issue. That alone makes me drool with anticipation, but the fact that this is the first of a two part story makes me positively giddy. It has been years since I’ve read a two part story for a character I love as much as the Eternal Warrior. I can’t bloody wait.

 

Javier

Top Pick: Devolution #3 (Dynamite Entertainment) – At first, I picked this up only because Remender wrote it.  Now that I am firmly aware of its premise—a devolved world resulting from a man made virus created to eliminate religious beliefs, and by extension strife and war—I’m hooked for the long haul.

3 Devils #1 (IDW Publishing) – I really don’t know much about Bo or this book. All I know is that it’s a “supernatural western with a gypsy girl, an ex-slave with no soul, and a human wolf.”  Taking a risk but sounds promising.

Clean Room #6 (Vertigo) – Gail Simone’s dark, demonic, bloody, and cultish book is giving me nightmares, and I love it.

Legends of Tomorrow #1 (DC Comics) – Old school writers (Gerry Conway and Len Wein), and a new take on Sugar and Spike (sorry, but if you automatically recognize these two, then you’re probably old).  I am eager to see what DC does with this.

Starve #7 (Image Comics) – Having grown up in East New York during the 1980s, this will not be my first experience with urban chicken farms (my Uncle had one on Euclid Avenue); but I am curious about the “Black Market Greens.”

 

Brett

Top Pick: A&A: The Adventures of Archer & Armstrong #1 (Valiant) – It’s been too long since we had an Archer and Armstrong comic from Valiant. Each time this team has been on the printed page, I’ve been beyond entertained and usually howling with laughter. Always a fantastic read, and I expect no less from this debut issue.

All-New Classic Captain Canuck #1/Captain Canuck #7 (Chapter House Comics) – Pure, fun super hero comics with none of the negative grim and gritty. A fun read that has a classic feel about it.

Legends of Tomorrow #1 (DC Comics) – I like anthologies and this series is going to spotlight various characters in each issue. This has Firestorm, Sugare & Spike, Metamorpho, and Metal Men and that combo has me excited to see where this goes and hoping for a long run.

Monstress #4 (Image Comics) – An amazing world that builds with each issue. I’m not a big fantasy fan, but this series has me hooked. A deep read and just jaw dropping art.

Superman: American Alien #5 (DC Comics) – A solid deconstruction of Superman with a rotating cast of artists with each issue. I think it’s the best Superman on the market right now.

Review: All-New Classic Captain Canuck #0

all-new-captain-canuck-0-coverWhen it comes to Captain Canuck, I must admit that I haven’t read nearly as much as I want to read. Captain Canuck #0  goes someway toward rectifying that, but it’s not entirely new material. If you’ve been reading Chapter House Comics’ Captain Canuck series then this zero issue is a reprint of the seven or so back  up strips from the first seven issues, so there’s very little new here for you.

But if you haven’t been reading Captain Canuck for whatever reason, then this 64 page collection is a great place to start.

Myself, I only read the first two issues of the series, despite absolutely loving them both, due in part to an ordering snafu at my LCS and also my lack of noticing the issues on the racks (which is almost entirely down to me running into the shop and out again far too quickly), and so getting a chance to read the collected back-up strips was actually quite nice. Because there are seven back-up strips that make up All-New Classic Captain Canuck #0 are comprised of three two part stories and the beginning of another (that will continue in issue #1 later this month), there’s a very quick pace to this comic. It really didn’t feel like the 60 odd pages that it actually is, because of the shorter nature of the individual stories.

A really nice touch that Chapter House Comics have done is include an additional strip that will catch new readers up with what this Captain Canuck has had to go through, stretching all the way back to the original stories from the 70’s. If that sounds like a daunting proposition, it really isn’t; the recap strip likely doesn’t cover everything, but the narration boxes are brilliant and very concise and, coupled with the art, giving new readers all they need to catch up (and long time fans a ice refresher).

This is a great collection that is worth the price of admission, especially with the promise of issue #1 around the corner.


Story: Ed Brisson
Artists and Colour: George
 Freeman, Simon Roy
Art: Marcus To, Scott Hepburn,  Micheal Walsh Color: Rosemary Cheetham, Irma Kniivla, Matt Wlson
Story: 8.75 Art: 8.75 Overall: 8.75 Recommendation: Buy

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 13/2/2016

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


Alex

Bigfoot_SOTE_03_coverBigfoot: Sword Of The Earthman  #3 (Action Lab) There’s a very interesting aspect to this comic; Bigfoot hasn’t said a word in three issues, and his silence is perfectly negated by the narration of his companion who’s name escapes me right now. This has been a solid series so far, with Bigfoot being stranded on Mars, this feels like a brilliant mix of Starship Troopers, John Carter: Warlord Of Mars and Conan all wrapped up in a glossy comic book story. It’s actually pretty damn good. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Read

Batman #49 (DC Comics)* Holy fucking shit. If, like me, you’ve not been a fan of the Robot Bunny Batman, then this issue will have you pumping the ceiling with joy. It’s a brilliantly well done comic that doesn’t feel like Bruce becoming Batman again is a dues ex machina. There’s been a legitimate build up for this moment for bloody months, that came together for me with this issue in an almost montage like moment. Mr H eloquently captures what I love about the characterization in this issue below, and Batman #49 is the issue that cements Scott Snyder as one of the best Batman writers of the past decade, giving us a 50 odd issue run that we’ll be talking about for years. Overall: 9.75 Recommendation: Buy

 

Brett

Captain Canuck #6Captain Canuck #6 (Chapter House Comics) – Wrapping up the first story arc, the comic is an ok ending that wraps up the action nicely and sets us up for what’s to come. As a piece of the arc it’s a solid comic, but on it’s own it’s a bit weaker than previous comics. Still, lots of fun to read. Overall: 7.4 Recommendation: Read

Dark & Bloody #1 (Vertigo) – An interesting start to what seems like a horror comic. Not quite sure where it’s going, if it’s just a weird horror story or a southern gothic story, we’ll see. But, it has me wanting to check out the next issue. It definitely has the creepy vibe down. Overall: 7.6 Recommendation: Read

Green Lantern Corps: Edge of Oblivion #2 (DC Comics) – The second issue continues what feels like a giant action sci-fi film. So far, I’m digging it, and though there’s a lot of action here, it also moves the bigger story along introducing you to this new alien world. Overall: 7.8 Recommendation: Read

Legend of Wonder Woman #2 (DC Comics) – Hells yes. This is the Wonder Woman comic I’ve been waiting for. This is so good. Overall: 8.2 Recommendation: Buy

Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye #49 (IDW Publishing) – A good finale to the current arc. I’d have liked it all to have been a straight up horror story, but it does some solid work on the various characters. Overall: 7.7 Recommendation: Read

Black Science #20 (Image Comics) – Just fun science fiction. Turn your brain off and go with the ride. Never disappointing. Overall: 7.8 Recommendation: Read

descender10_CoverArtDescender #10 (Image Comics) – One of the best science fiction comics on the market. Amazing story, even more amazing art. Beautiful to look at and fun to read. Overall: 8.4 Recommendation: Buy

Deus Ex #1 (Titan Comics) – A good first issue that from what I remember catches the world from the video game series pretty well. It’s not deep but sets up a cyberpunk-ish comic that should fill a nice niche. Overall: 7.7 Recommendation: Read

Interceptor #2 (Heavy Metal Magazine) – The first issue caught me off guard and the second issue continues the excellence. Funny, fun, it’s a solid mix of the Heavy Metal vibe along with “western” comics. Overall: 8.4 Recommendation: Buy

James Bond #4 (Dynamite Entertainment) – The individual issues aren’t bad, but I feel like this’ll be a better read as a trade. Overall: 7.1 Recommendation: Read

Letter 44 #23 (Oni Press) – I seriously have no idea where this series is going and I can’t wait to find out. Overall: 7.9 Recommendation: Read

Second Sight #1 (Aftershock Comics)* – The first issue is good, but doesn’t blow me away. My issue is I feel like we’ve seen this story before as well as its protagonist. Maybe it’ll set itself apart down the road. Overall: 7.3 Recommendation: Read

Street Fighter Unlimited #3 (Udon Entertainment) – The comic is a lot of fun. I’m not the biggest Street Fighter fan, but these comics capture the video game series really well and give us some awesome action. A must get if you’re a fan of the video game. Overall: 8.1 Recommendation: Read

 

Mr H

Batman #49 CoverBatman #49 (DC Comics)*: The moment we’ve all been waiting for. We knew Bruce was coming back to the cowl it was never a matter of it, it was always when. Snyder has another win this issue, as I think it’s his absolute best one yet. It delves into the Batman legacy as well as probable futures. What really stands out for me is how well Snyder gets the relationship between Alfred and Bruce. He’s not Bruce’s butler, he’s his father. Alfred doesn’t want to lose his son again. Bruce has finally got the peaceful life he’s always wanted but for Gotham to survive, he must allow Batman to return. Now I won’t spoil here as its too good, but the return method is well thought out and true to the character. Julie Madison even plays a big part. With 50 around the corner Snyder has his day numbered on the title but his impact may have crafted the best Batman run EVER. No Capullo this issue but it doesn’t suffer one bit. Yannick Paquette does a terrific job on the art chores. I cannot find any fault with this issue at all. Overall: 10/10 Recommendation: Buy this book.

 

Ryan C

Hip-Hop Family Tree #7 (Fantagraphics)*: Ed Piskor’s cultural history/odyssey finally takes a look at the nascent hip-hop scene on the West Coast, while out east the Beastie Boys, among other future luminaries, enter the fray with their first stumbling steps out of the gate. As always, truth is stranger — and better — than fiction, I’m not even a hip-hop fan but I wouldn’t dream of missing an issue of this fantastically-written, superbly-illustrated series. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy.

Shaft-Imitation-of-Life-1Shaft: Imitation Of Life #1 (Image)**: David F. Walker returns to the character he rejuvenated — and to the street of New York — with the first of four sure-to-be-spectacular parts. John Shaft wraps up one particularly brutal case, takes some much-needed time off, and the jumps back in to handle a missing persons case that nobody else would have the balls to touch. And he picks up a gay Latino sidekick by the end? As always , Walker adds new depth and dimension to the character without compromising an ounce of bad-ass, while new artist Dietrich Smith picks up admirably from Bilquis Evely. Overall: 9/10. Recommendation: Buy.

Low #11 (Image)** : Good to see Rick Remender and Greg Tocchini dive back into things — literally — after a bit of a break between issues/arcs, but the “keep hope alive” message is starting to veer into tiresome mantra territory, and echoes the “newfound optimism” philosophical outlook of “Black Science” a bit too closely at this point. Story and art are still good, but decidedly less spectacular than the ultra-high standard we’ve become used to on this series. Intrigued to see how he plans to rotate issues between Stel and her kids, and next issue promises some spectacular stuff as we finally see the surface of , well, Waterworld, so let’s hope this just represents a temporary lull before the visual and verbal fireworks show commences in full swing. Overall: 6. Recommendation: Read.

Injection #7 (Image)**: Continuing with the arc begun last issue, our new inhumanly-smart (or maybe that’s just inhuman) private eye protagonist follows the supply chain of the “long pig” he was nearly serves last issue and nonchalantly antagonizes the police while he’s at it. Warren Elli’s script is razor-sharp and Declan Shalvey’s art is enough to make a grown-up cry with its understated precision and elegance. This is a book that doesn’t see to know how not to keep getting better and better every month. Overall: 8. Recommendation: Buy.

 

Shean

House of Montresor#1 (Red Stylo): Jang and Strutz have written the captivating sequel to Edgar Allen Poe’s Cask of Amontillado , dad wonders into some seriously interesting territory.Imagine that one episode of Twilight Zone where the heirs are fighting over inheritance commingled with Crimson Peak. The script by Enrica Jang, is moody , mysterious, gothic and all types of creepy. The art By Jasob Strutz is beautiful.Overall, strong execution by two masters.Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

cyrus perkins tpbCyrus Perkins and the Haunted Taxi Cab TPB (Action Lab): I always wondered what would happen if the Michael Mann masterpiece ” Collateral “, was a TV show, as this book answers that but with a supernatural twist. The Reader joins Cyrus as he navigates his personal life , avoids thugs , run ins with supernatural creatures were trying find peace for his haunted rider. In what would be a normally dark story ,there are a great many funny scenes.The story by David Dwonch proves an interesting twist to both slice of life genre and the supernatural genre. The art by Anna Lencioni, is vibrant and full of heart.Overall, fun when you least expect it.  Overall: 9.2 Recommendation: Read

 


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

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

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 17/01/2016

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


Alex

FaithNo1

Batman: Europa #1 (DC Comics)* – Yeah, I’m three months behind here, but after dropping the lackluster Detective Comics during the last crossover, I needed some Batman this week. I was not disappointed here. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Batman/Teenage Mutant  Ninja Turtles #2  (DC/IDW)* – There is nothing wrong with this second chapter. Nothing. It’s exactly the fun comic I wanted, and I love it. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Cage Hero #3 (Dynamite) – I don’t know if this has become a  guilty pleasure for me, but I’m enjoying this series. I can’t tell if it is being deliberately tongue in cheek,or if it’s just that cheesy, but either way it’s fun. Is it worth reading? Honestly, I don’t know – the review copy is entertaining, but I wouldn’t rush out to buy it. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

Faith #1 of 4 (Valiant) – My reservations on picking this comic up were utterly groundless (that of a character spun out of Harbinger – a book I’ve never read), and I should have known that before going in because it’s a Valiant comic. The first of four issues is brilliantly illustrated, with some fantastic moments within the story where Faith does what we’ve all done once or twice and imagines…. what if? This issue is fantastic, and is exactly why you need to have Valiant on your pull list. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Huck_03Holy F*cked! TPB (Action Lab) – Satan is pregnant with Jesus’ baby. But will the skate boarding son of God make it to the hospital in time, when an immortal is out to stop him? Holy F*cked! is as brilliantly wrong as it sounds, but it’s such a great collection that you can’t help but love it. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Huck #3 (Image) – Y’know I could talk about the emotional power in the largely silent opening pages, or the genuine warmth you feel when reading this, but why don’t you just buy the series so far and find out why I love this so much? Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

The Precinct #2 (Dynamite) – There’s a lot here that, in theory, I should love. Unfortunately, despite the fact that there’s a lot of boxes checked off in my “like” column this comic just didn’t do it for me. If you read it, I hope you enjoy it, but I felt it fell a bit short of the first issue. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Read

The Troop #2 (Titan) – Despite the promise shown in the first issue, I couldn’t help but feel that this comic felt familiar. The concept of a man (with a secret!) building a team of superheroes has been done before, and in enough cases it’s been done better. Overall: 5 Recommendation: Pass

Rebels #10 (Dark Horse) – Is, as far as I can tell, a standalone story. It’s also the first issue I had read, and I was impressed. Rebels is a solid offering that stands alone this week in terms of it’s setting, so if you’re looking for a comic that takes place during the Revolutionary War, then this is for you. If you’re not? Think about this anyway. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

 

Brett

Birthright13_coverAbe Sapien #30 (Dark Horse) – Beautiful art plus a new villain (at least I think he’s new), this is an issue that can be a standalone, but I’m sure will have some big impact. The Mignolaverse is one of the best out there, and this issue shows off why. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Batman ’66 Meets the Man From U.N.C.L.E. #2 (DC Comics) – The comic is campy goofy fun, capturing the two series it mashes together. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #2 (DC Comics/IDW Publishing) – I still go back and forth with the coloring but this series has no right being as good as it is. Didn’t think it’d work, totally does. Overall: 8.2 Recommendation: Buy

Birthright #13 (Image Comics) – The comic still continues to be entertaining, and there’s some solid twists and turns that have kept me on my toes. A fun fantasy comic set in the real world. Overall: 7.9 Recommendation: Read

Citizen Jack #3 (Image Comics) – Can’t say I saw that twist coming, or is that realistic at all, but the sniveling campaign staff is spot on. Fun political satire. Overall: 8.1 Recommendation: Buy

descender09_CoverArtDescender #9 (Image Comics) – One of the best comics out there continues on doing so. Amazing read. Amazing art. Nuff said. Overall: 8.8 Recommendation: Buy

Extraordinary X-Men #5 (Marvel)* – The series is growing on me, but it’s still missing something that makes it really stand out. I’m still interested in seeing where it goes though. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

Hero Hourly #2 (21 Pulp) – How aren’t more people talking about this series. The biggest surprise of 2015 also is one of the best of 2016. Holy crap is it good. Overall: 9.6 Recommendation: Buy

Huck #3 (Image Comics) – When I think I have Mark Millar pegged, he does a series like this. Still waiting for the rug to be pulled out from under me, but so far an amazing comic. Overall: 8.3 Recommendation: Buy

Illuminati #3 (Marvel) – Turn your brain off fun. The comic is giving us some interesting villains and great banter. A fun comic that definitely entertains. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Leaving Megalopolis: Surviving Megalopolis #1 (Dark Horse) – I hated the first volume of Leaving Megaloppolis, and was a Kickstarter backer. The rather incomplete, abrupt ending irked me. This new volume has been so long in the making I forgot much of the series, and this new issue doesn’t give me much to care going forward. A lot feels like we’ve seen it before and little is new. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Pass

The Massive Ninth Wave #2The Massive: Ninth Wave #2 (Dark Horse) – I’m loving this new volume of the series which shows Ninth Wave’s actions before the crash. A great comic which makes environmentalism entertaining. Plus they’re self-contained stories, even better! Overall: 8.4 Recommendation: Buy

Robin War #2 (DC Comics) – The ending isn’t too shocking, especially the twist. Still, this event was entertaining and should shake things up nicely in the Bat universe. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Read

The Sheriff of Babylon #2 (Vertigo)* – Great police procedural comic set in Iraq’s Greenzone. I’m hooked. Overall: 8.3 Recommendation: Buy

Spirited Leaves #1 (Chapter House Comics) – It reminded me of a Miyazaki animted film in many ways. A very pretty, almost poetic story. This feels like a fairy tale you might tell your child. Overall: 8.6 Recommendation: Buy

Squadron Supreme #3 (Marvel)* – The first issue had promise, these past two, not so much. The series is very paint by numbers in its set up after a great start. So far, one of the biggest let downs. Overall: 6.8 Recommendation: Pass

The Violent #2 (Image Comics) – Holy crap is this good. We have comic of the year material here. Just heartbreaking in so many ways. Overall: 8.6 Recommendation: Buy

Weirdworld #3 (Marvel)* – Could be Marvel’s best All-New, All-Different comic. Great art and a real fun story. Just fantastic writing with a great look. Overall: 8.7 Recommendation: Buy

 

Elana

Catwoman 48Catwoman #48 (DC)* It’s a good Catwoman story. It posits that NYC is a place that Gotham’s rogues steer clear of because NYC but the NYPD is just that dirty and violent (I take it the creative team’s been reading the local news). The streetscapes in this comic ring true though the grand scale of NYC’s Selina’s safe house is far too large for anyone who’s last name isn’t Wayne. The art is inky and sleek and colorist Eva De La Cruz knocks it out of the ballpark. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Princeless: Save Yourself #0. Princess Adrienne has been flying across the land on her dragon, saving other princesses and she hasn’t had much time to save herself from social norms that still weigh on her mind. This is a wonderful exploration of a girl freeing herself from beauty standards. When she chopped her hair off I absolutely cheered! Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Red Sonja #1 (Dark Horse) This is a Sonja I’ve been waiting for! Marguerite Bennett shows her in and out of her element in a great introduction. She’ll be wrestling with some interesting politics in her homeland with her fists and her brains. She’s also scoring with ladies (whoop!). Looks beginner friendly too. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy!

 

Ryan C

code pru 1Code Pru #1 (Avatar) *: Garth Ennis is back at his tasteless best here, and without the editorial constraints that hindered him from going quite as far as you know he wanted to with All-Star Section Eight (although, hey, bless him for trying, and he did manage to at least get a rapping Phantom Stranger in there). Raulo Caceres’ B&W art is superb, with richly-detailed linework and lush expressions. Not sure how the two competing/corresponding plotlines to which we’re introduced — one involving our college-age heroine, Pru, and her various roommates doing some occult dabbling and some boozing (more of the latter, of course) and the other involving an extra-dimensional Cthulhu-esque entity playing checkers and trading barbs with his captor —will come together as the series progresses, but it’ll be fun to find out. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Snow Blind #1 & #2 (BOOM! Studios)**: Ollie Masters, last seen cooking up a pretty tasty crime story with Vertigo’s The Kitchen, hops aboard the “rural noir” bandwagon that’s been growing in the wake of “Revival” with this intriguing little four-parter about a teenage kid in BF Alaska named Teddy who accidentally exposes his family to danger when posting a picture on social media leads a killer to come after them — and to the revelation that his folks have been in witness protection since before he was even born, and never bothered to mention that pesky little fact to him, even once he was old enough to understand what it meant. The first issue’s a bit of an overly-deliberate table-setter, but such is often the case with short-run books like this; in #2, the mystery really heats up and events move into a decidedly faster and more dangerous gear. The loose, sketchy art style of Tyler(“Peter Panzerfaust”) Jenkins may be an acquired taste that not everyone acquires, but I dig it and think it suits the material just fine. Overall: 6.5 (5 for issue one, 8 for issue two) Recommendation: Buy

 

Shean

manchette_fatale_coverManchette’s Fatale TPB (Titan): I am moon big sucker for Crime Noir novels and Fatale is right up that alley. The Reader is introduced to the alluring character of Melane on her many adventures throughout Europe by way of train meeting individuals of different shades of integrity. Story feels very much like a cross between a Long Kiss Goodnight and A Rage Up In Harlem. By story’s end, you not only feel for Melane but you are rooting for her to fight on for another day. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency: The Interconnectedness of All Kings TPB: Supernatural detectives are everywhere in pop culture most noticeably John Constantine Jim Dresden and the greenest one, Antoine Wolfe. Dirk Gently is quite different from all these characters, as he does not take himself as seriously as he comes off as a British Lupin the 3rd. We join Dirk and his cronies as they solve a very odd case dealing with Egyptian Pharoahs. By story’s end, the reader has gone on a whirlwind trip around the world, as he realizes the world needs his skills.


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

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

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

HERO HOURLY PREVIEW PAGE 01Wednesdays are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

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

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

Alex

Top Pick: Hero Hourly #2 (21 Pulp) – The first issue of the first series from new publisher 21 Pulp took me by complete surprise Telling the story of a man employed at a minimum wage company who employs superheroes, Hero Hourly is a comic that, quite frankly, you have to be reading.

Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #2 (DC Comics/IDW Publishing) – Batman and the Ninja Turtles. There’s really nothing else for me to say about why I’m looking forward to this other than the last issue was actually really good.

Huck #3 (Image) – This comic just makes feel all warm and fuzzy inside. A great feel good series from Mark Millar (at least so far) that you should look into before the inevitable movie.

 

Brett

Top Pick: The Walking Dead #150 (Image Comics/Skybound) – It’s going to be a huge issue and it’s been hinted to expect fireworks out of it. Big anniversary issues like this tend to bring huge shifts in Robert Kirkman’s series, and I’m expecting no less.

Captain Canuck #6 (Chapter House Comics) – I’ve been loving this series and continue to do so. It’s a throwback to fun superheros without the gritty darkness.

Hero Hourly #2 (21 Pulp) – The first issue was hilarious and an amazing debut for this new publisher. I’ve been awaiting the second, and it’s one of the first comics I’m reading this week.

Legend of Wonder Woman #1 (DC Comics) – I really am not a fan of the main Wonder Woman at DC, but this digital turned print series is a breath of fresh air as it looks at the early years of the Amazonians and Wonder Woman as she was growing up. Much like Superman: American Alien, this is trying to get at what makes Wonder Woman wonderful.

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #0 (BOOM! Studios) – I was never a Power Rangers fan growing up. I was just a bit too old and out of the age range for the show. Still, the concept was always interesting to me and I’ve been looking forward to seeing what BOOM! does with the series as a comic.

 

Elana

All-New Wolverine #4 (Marvel) – One of Marvel comics’ bests. Complex, haunted but heroic, Laura is trying to take care of her abused clones by seeking help from Doctor Strange! I never considered this team up and I can’t wait!

Constantine the Hellblazer #8 (DC Comics) – It is DC’s best comic. It’s about the mad, bad and dangerous to know exorcist who’d left his date in a bit of a lurch. It’s going to be great!

No Mercy #6 (Image Comics) – I hate Chad. I want him to die. He is an abuser and a bully and he’s on the cover of this month’s issue with a skull imposed over his head. So maybe this most brutally harsh comic will kill someone who’s really got it coming? Maybe?

Raven Pirate Princess TP Volume 1 (Action Lab Entertainment) – Teenage Lesbian Asian Pirate Princess in an all-ages comic!!! One of the year’s best new series for older-kids and tweens (and adults who like things that are funny, exciting and feminist). Get caught up with the all girl pirate crew. A perfect introductory comic to the Princeless world of diverse, feminist heroic heroines who take no guff and save the day. Here’s my review of the first two issues featured in this compendium.

 

Javier

Top Pick: Slash and Burn #3 (DC Vertigo) – This is my top pick of the week. I happen to be a Volunteer Firefighter in the town I live in, so I’m digging this one at a personal level.

Bad Moon Rising #4 (451 Media) – This one is filling my Showhole left behind by the cancellation of Sons of Anarchy.  It’s got Motorcycle Gangs (possibly Buddhist), Werewolves, and a Murder Mystery.

Hero Hourly #2 (21 Pulp) – Who can’t relate to the plight of the under-paid and under-appreciated working man with super powers? And if you can’t relate, at least have a good laugh.

Limbo #3 (Image Comics) – More Detective Work in a Dead End … oops … in Dedande City. I recommend you snack on some lizards while reading it.

The Violent #2 (Image Comics) – A violence filled tourist’s guide to Canada’s Strathcona: the Canadian Brooklyn (condos and all).

 

Logan

Top Pick: New Romancer #2 (Vertigo)New Romancer is the crown jewel in the Vertigo Renaissance and the perfect 21st century love story for someone who uses Tinder and OK Cupid, but misses the love sonnets and romance of yore. Plus Casanova and Lord Byron facing off is going to be a blast.

Red Sonja #1 (Dynamite) – If anyone had to take over for Gail Simone on Red Sonja, it’s Marguerite Bennett, who last wrote the She-Devil with a Sword in the funny, action-packed Red Sonja and Jungle Girl miniseries. I expect nothing but the best in interesting female characters, swashbuckling action, and tongue-in-cheek humor.

Robin War #2 (DC Comics) – The most woke crossover of 2015 comes to a close in the New Year as Damian Wayne doesn’t check his privilege and joins the Court of the Owls to fight Gotham’s teen defenders, We Are Robin, and their more seasoned mentors. It will be interesting to see if there is any last political commentary from writer Tom King, and the martial arts battle will be fun to see unfold.

Secret Wars #9 (Marvel) – This crossover has been a little uneven to say the least, but the previous issue had some Return of the King worthy pitched battles and sheer badass moments, like Doom crushing Thanos’ skulls. Hopefully, Jonathan Hickman sticks the ending in his Marvel epic, doesn’t just push the reset/reboot button via a plot device or something, and gives the Fantastic Four a sendoff worthy of Marvel’s First Family.

The Violent #2 (Image) – Ed Brisson and Adam Gorham are going into some murky, moral territory in their new series The Violent from Image, and he pulls no punches showing the effect gentrification has had on the city of Vancouver. I am intrigued to see how far Mason is willing to go to be a good father while battling the spectres of his criminal past and trying to make ends meet.

 

Mr. H

Top Pick: Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #2 (DC Comics/IDW Publishing) – The Dark Knight,  Shredder, Turtles. Need I say more? Nope grab a slice and set aside some time for this one!

Secret Wars #9 (Marvel) – Come see how it all ends and how it all begins again. The conclusion to Marvel’s best event in ages. I’m with Uatu on this one, just want to be ringside as it unfolds.

The Walking Dead #150 (Image Comics/Skybound) – The big one. Let’s hope much more walking than talking. Oh yeah and blood. Lots of blood. Come see where Rick Grimes goes next.

 

Patrick

Top Pick: The Walking Dead #150 (Image Comics) – Tensions have been building in Alexandria over what’s to be done with the Whisperers, a rival community that wears the flesh of walkers. Rick has been struggling to maintain control. In this issue, we find out what that means for him. Negan made a name for himself fifty issues ago, and the Governor fell fifty issues before that. I wonder what will happen tomorrow…

Hero Hourly #2 (21 Pulp) – There’s really no reason you shouldn’t be looking for this book at your local comic store. Do you like laugh? Pick it up. Do you like grabbing comics that people will be talking about for years to come? Pick it up. Do you have a rash your trying to hide while walking back to work? Maybe… maybe this would work for that. But it’s a fantastic comic if you’re just looking for something to read.

No Mercy #6 (Image Comics) – The horrors that have befallen these students continue to unfold as they live in danger of coyotes, drug cartels and even each other. Don’t pass up the chance to keep up with who kills whom.

 

Paul

Top Pick: Extraordinary X-Men #5 (Marvel) – This title has been BANG since issue 1 and doesn’t show signs of slowing down.  New school in limbo; demons attacking; Mr. Sinister is back…and the reveal from the last issue!  Where is this going??  Loving the team line up and the art.  If you aren’t reading this X book, you better get caught up….I’ll wait.

All-New X-Men #3 (Marvel) – I wasn’t really sure I would enjoy the whole road trip vibe with the time displaced X-Men (as X-Force tried this way back when and it didn’t really work), but I’m kinda digging it.  Feels a little rehashed with the Ghosts of Cyclops coming across as junior Acolytes, but they are an interesting gang to counter our band of mutants so I’ll stick along for the ride.  Not really feeling Kid Apocalypse and Oya as part of the group, so I’m hoping they gel as the series goes on, but it is fun and I do enjoy the read.  But I am really getting tired of Angel treating Wolverine as the damsel in distress….enough already.

Scarlet Witch #2 (Marvel) – Honestly, Issue 1 was just meh (you can read my review if you like), I didn’t hate it, but I wasn’t wowed.  I loved the art and I do have a soft spot for Wanda, one of my favourite characters.  I’m holding out hope that this whole ‘witchcraft is broken’ story really goes somewhere different and takes Wanda in a unique direction.

Secret Wars #9 (Marvel) – END ALREADY.  You’ve already launched your All New All Different; confused the readers by hinting at things in the new titles that haven’t happened.  You started with a bang…yes, you had some great tie ins, but lets be honest, you are definitely limping to the finish line.

Uncanny Avengers #4 (Marvel) – Like the last volume of this title, I just can’t stop checking it out….not that it’s good, I just can’t stop looking.  Maybe I’m hoping it turns around, maybe I just feel sorry for it, I don’t know.  I feel there’s potential here…I just wish it could be reached.

 

Brett’s Best Comics of 2015

It’s the first day of a new year and so that means I’m posting my “best of” listing of the top comic books for 2015. Generally these are comic books that came out in 2015, though some are from earlier times and I got around to reading them, or limited series that continued. Keep in mind, this is what I have read (and does not reflect what other contributors to this site might think). If it’s not on here, I just might not have read it.

This was a particularly tough year of choices with some categories easily having their own top ten or twenty-five. Check out below what made the cut!

Best Super Hero Comic – Captain Canuck

Captain.Canuck 1 cover2015 continued the diversification of the comic industry and we saw an explosion of new comic characters and series that looked a lot more like us, the readers. But, for all of that, many of those series brought with them over the top violence or were aimed at specific audiences. That’s why Chapter House Comics‘ relaunch of Captain Canuck was such a fresh series and hero in 2015.

The comic series and character seem to embody Canadian ideals well and the series is a perfect example of a superhero series that can be enjoyed by both adults and kids alike.

Within its pages, there’s action and fighting, but what’s shown isn’t over the top, taking on a more PG/PG-13 tone compared to a lot of what else is out there. The series also celebrates the diversity that is Canada with characters from numerous backgrounds, including First Nations, and regularly uses French (without translation) to great affect. Plus that design is badass.

Each issue also gives you two-for-one, with a back-up story of equally high quality and fun. A retro tale of a Captain Canuck of the past, I’ve enjoyed these stories so much, I’m hoping Chapter House spins them out in to their own sister series or a regular anthology.

This is a series where the hero is one who not only wants to stop the bad guy, but also won’t put innocents at risk and go out of his way to protect them. Add on to the fact that he’s surrounded by a diverse cast, with actual depth, and we have a comic that can be enjoyed by all. This is a series to watch in 2016.

Runners Up:

  • COPRA – There’s some arguments to be made that Michel Fiffe‘s indie series about a group of raftag characters should be the top pick, and there was long thought about if it should, it’s that good. Out of all of the series I read this year, this is one that delivered with every single issue. This is a comic that shows that superheroes aren’t the domain of just two companies anymore.
  • Midnighter – Writer Steve Orlando‘s series has gotten me interested in a character I seriously had little interest in before. He’s take a one note character and added tons of depth showing that superheroes can be more than just punching.
  • The Omega Men – Writer Tom King took this ragtag group of characters and has given us a maxiseries that explores revolution/terrorism in so many ways. This is one to read once collected if you haven’t started yet.
  • Plutona – Is it a superhero comic? So far I’d say yes. Jeff Lemire is a master writer and Emi Lenox‘s art is fantastic. This is basically Stand By Me with superheroes and it’s a series that I want to see what happens next. With just a few issues so far, it has completely sucked me in.

 

Best Non-Super Hero Comic – Southern Bastards

southern bastardsWelcome to Craw County, Alabama, home of Boss BBQ, the state champion Runnin’ Rebs football team…and more bastards than you’ve ever seen.

Jason Aaron and Jason Latour have created a Southern gothic noir series that once you think you’ve got it down, pulls the rug right out from under you.

This series was my top pick last year, and it has continued to show with each issue why it deserves to continue to be so praised. Each volume has given us a new twist and new perspective on the greater world they’ve put together and Aaron and Latour aren’t afraid to bring the violence and make us wince.

It’s a brilliant exploration of the Southern community, especially its focus on sports and football. This is one of my first reads with each issue that comes out, and I have never known where it was going next. An original in every way.

Runners Ups:

  • Archie – I care about an Archie comic!? Archie took a gutsy chance and reworked their entire line. While it has failed with two other relaunches this year, this series (as well as Jughead) has been a standout for it’s new take on the classic character.
  • Bitch Planet- The series continues to explore tough topics and continues to entertain while doing so. This is a comic with a message, and it pulls it off with every single issue.
  • Descender- Jeff Lemire makes it on the list again, but this time with art by Dustin Nguyen. This sci-fi series is so hard to describe revolving around an android that looks like a little boy. Every issue is a treat to read, and Nguyen’s art helps with beautiful visuals.
  • Fresh Romance – Romance comics are dead! Who’d read them?! Well Janelle Asselin (a some times contributor to this site) proved folks wrong Kickstarting this line of comics that’s a romance anthology. Every issue has delivered with fantastic stories and extras like advice columns. Expect this series to be copied (poorly) in 2016.

 

Best Limited Series or One Shot – Secret Wars: Secret Love

secret wars secret love 1 coverMarvel’s Secret Wars as a whole was an event that started off strong and then sputtered along the way. However it did give us at least one highlight, and that’s Secret Wars: Secret Love.

Four stories that vary in tone and look, this comic is a spotlight on so many creators that should have been at the forefront of the All-New, All-Different Marvel.

Secret Wars: Secret Love was so good, with so many varied talented creators, it was a reminder how much Marvel dropped the ball with its relaunch just a few months. Whitley not on a Misty Knight series? Cmon! Michel Fiffe not being given something! Marguerite Bennet, Katie Cook, Felipe Smith, Gurihiru, Kris Anka, this comic was filled with folks who are comic stars. This is the type of creative line-up I’d be building a line around.

It was just a one shot, but when I was done it was clear I want more of this!

Runners Up:

  • The Death-Defying Doctor Mirage – Valiant cranked out so many good series this year, their miniseries especially were good. This one took on the new Doctor Mirage in a series that had her going to the other side and exploring her own past. This was a miniseries that in a short time gave us lots of depth, entertained, looked so good, and did it all in a short period of time.
  • Justice League: Darkseid War: Green Lantern – DC Comics released a series of one-shots for “Darkseid War,” and one stood above all others. The comics were supposed to explore what happens when regular humans get godlike powers, and this one did an amazing job as Hal Jordan was presented withed difficult choices. A great read all on its own.
  • Lady Killer – A suburban housewife is actually a contract killer. The comics was entertaining with a kick-ass female lead. The miniseries was fantastic playing with so many stereotypes and genres. This is Mrs. Smith, without the Mr.
  • The Paybacks – Mixing superheroes and comedy this miniseries has delivered. This comic has gotten me to laugh with every single issue and one of the downer moments of the year was the fact this wasn’t an ongoing series.

 

Best Graphic Novel/Trade Paperback – Mike’s Place

MikesPlace-300RGB

There was one graphic novel that haunted me for a good chunk of 2015, and that’d be Mike’s Place: A True Story of Love, Blues, and Terror in Tel Aviv.

Written by Jack Baxter and Joshua Faudem, Mike’s Place is a graphic novel spun out of their experience that you can see in the documentary Blues by the Beach. What was supposed to be a movie celebrating Israeli life, and the peace found between Israelis, Palestinians, folks of all different backgrounds, who come together in a bar, instead it captures tragedy, and perseverance.

The graphic novel grips and effects you at a personal level. Part of that is due to the fact it’s both tragic and uplifting. The lead up, and post event accounting of what happened shows strength in tragedy, it’s a mesmerizing, and in ways uplifting, story.

Beautifully haunting, Mike’s Place is a graphic novel that sticks with you for days and weeks.

Runners Up:

  • The Arab of the Future – A biography of Riad Sattouf’s life as he navigates between Libya, France, and Syria. The graphic novel originally came out in French in 2014 and was released in English in 2015. The graphic novel is absolutely fascinating, and makes Sattouf’s life entertaining.
  • The Fall of the House of West – The latest entry in Paul Pope‘s Battling Boy line of comics, this has the early years of the West family and everything from its pint sized hero to pint sized format is a win. This is fun pulp comics.
  • March: Book Two – The second volume of Congressman Lewis‘ biography recounting his life in the Civil Rights movement. Much like the first, the second volume will be taught in classes for decades to come.
  • The SculptorScott McCloud‘s latest graphic novel has its fans and haters. The graphic novel follows an artist who makes a deal with death and has a finite time to live. The story is haunting and one that’ll have you debating with your book club.

 

Best New Series – Monstress

Monstress01_Cover

Monstress kicked off with a triple-sized first issue (60 pages!), and even when you got to that last page, it didn’t feel like enough. The series is a magical world (pun intended) that mixes so many genres that there’s a little something for so many. Fantasy, steampunk, Kaiju, anime, it’s all here mixed together in an amazing combination that seamlessly flows together.

I think what’s more impressive is the inclusion of political and societal commentary within, and doing so in a way that doesn’t come of as preachy, and is almost not noticeable. The story at it’s core is about a woman, a minority, fighting against the oppressive majority. Choices to have what seems like a matriarchal society changes that context into something more than a woman fighting the patriarchy which the series could have easily been (and it still would have been great I’m sure). Instead it gives us women who are good, evil, and somewhere in between painting a broad swath that can be debated for hours on end. It’s this type of layering of ideas, themes, and concepts that has created one of the richest debuts of the year.

In two issues Monstress feels like a thought out world with a history that goes back decades. Battles are referenced, events mentioned, it all feels like its been thought out and meticulously put together. Add on top of that women (well character really) of all types, shapes, sizes, skin color, and you have what is a diverse, in many ways, debut. All of that together creates the best debut of the year.

 

Best Single Issue – Batman #44

Batman #44 CoverBatman has gone through a fascinating shift this year as Bruce Wayne lost his memory and James Gordon stepped in as the iconic hero in a new mechanized suit that’s more anime fighting robot than the great detective we’ve known.

The series has also brought us a new villain in Mr. Bloom who is a great addition to Batman’s rogues and feels like a worthy adversary.

Through all of that, this comic, which focuses on Bruce Wayne’s Batman, is the best single issue of the year of any comic as it shows us something we’ve never seen before in comics, a Batman who actually focuses on the interplay between institutional racism and economic injustice.

Titled “A Simple Case,” the issue was written by regular series writer Scott Snyder who was joined by Brian Azzarello, we find out the issues Batman faces here are anything but simple and more complicated than any villain he’s faced.

For an issue we see how superhero comics can address actual social and economic issues we face today such as gentrification, institutional racism and bank’s disinvestment in communities. But, more importantly, addressing those issues and entertain at the same time.

Add on top of that the usual beautiful art, this time by Jock, and you have a comic you can read on its own, and the best single issue this year.

 

Best Event of the Year – Book of Death

BOD_TPB_COVER_GILLWho has the best superhero universe out there today? That’s not the big two, the answer actually is Valiant who continued in 2015 to show off quality comics filled with quality writing and art.

Not only does the publisher put out great comics every month, but they also have figured out how to weave in major events in to their universe and make it new reader friendly.

Book of Death saw the Eternal Warrior with the newest Geomancer from the future on the run trying to both dodge and take on a great evil pursuing them. Along with the main series, we got a glimpse in to Valiant’s future along with the end of many of its heroes.

The battles felt epic, the use of characters were great, the story progressed at a nice pace with each issue being vital. Add on top a series of one-shots all of which were at least good, and you have the making of an epic tale.

But, what’s even more impressive is the fact that Valiant has figured out the outro in many ways with their events leading in to natural changes for their line of comics and characters.

They’ve consistently put out quality, and continue to do so with their events. I usually shudder when I hear some major comic event is coming, but with Valiant, I look forward to it in anticipation.

Runners Up:

  • Darkseid War – A good event should be epic, and DC’s storyline event currently running through Justice League qualifies. The story has been building for some time, but the Anti-Monitor has arrived to battle Darkseid, and many of the issues have left us with imagery that feels massive in scale. Hopefully the second half delivers as much as the first.
  • Secret Wars – So much good, and so much bad here. Delays and the second half that hasn’t quite delivered as much as the first has tarnished what started off as Marvel’s best event in some time. Still, there’s absolutely this world changing event hasn’t been absolutely huge touching every corner of the Marvel Universe. With one issue to go, the series isn’t perfect, but it does deliver a game changing event.
  • Transformers: Combiner Wars – This was a story that hit so much nostalgia, but what I think as really impressive was the synergy across platforms. Comics, toys, video games, they were all in sync and it all worked together very well.
  • The Valiant – Did you read about Book of Death above? Everything there can be applied here in what is the prequel that eventually led in to Book of Death.

 

Best Genre of the Year – Indie Comics/Small Publishers

Is it a “genre”? We can argue about that, but lets face it, 2015 was a year we saw major creators continue to shrug off the big two, instead launching creator owned series at other publishers, digitally or through Kickstarter. We saw more comics, in more varieties, on more subjects and more ways to consume them, than any time before. It really wasn’t the year of the Big Two, this was a year that we as consumers could continue to find something that would fit our varied tastes.

With more channels for distribution and more ways to produce comics, we’re in a golden age where the old ways of publishing no longer hold back the creativity that abounds.

We named Indie Comics “it” in 2013 and 2014, and nothing changed in 2015. There’s a massive opening for someone to step in and be a mainstream breakout, maybe 2016 will be the year we see it.

 

Best Surprise of the Year – DC Comics

dc-logo-252x3002015 was a year that it was cool to shit on DC Comics. But, for the bad, their best is some of the best. Batman, Batgirl, The Omega Men, Justice League, Midnighter, Prez, Bizarro, Doctor Fate, We Are Robin, Grayson, Black Canary, Constantine the Hellblazer, Cyborg, DC Comics Bombshells, Martian Manhunter, and lots more hit the shelves each week and show off the new quality of a publisher that has been in second place for so long. Add on top of that a resurgence and reinvigoration of Vertigo.

After sputtering for some time, the company shook up their line of comics with Convergence which saw the recreation of the multiverse and opened up the possibilities to tell stories out of continuity and with numerous versions of classic characters.

The company also decided to expand of the success they saw with Gotham Academy and Batgirl, trying new things with new series many receiving critical praise though middling sales.

The company continued to expand upon its digital first program, and has begun to look towards expanding its market with its DC Super Hero Girls line. 2016 sees the real launch of their new movie universe after dominating on television.

The company has really turned the ship around and 2015 was a stellar year that you can see them right the ship while continuing to be faced with criticism from armchair experts.

The dots are all there, now we’ll see if the company has the vision to connect them all.

 

Biggest Disappointment of the Year – Kickstarter

KickstarterLast year’s disappointment continued to be so, as projects were delayed, vapor ware, or not as advertised. Also add in issues on the creator end of folks pledging high amounts and then disputing the charges, at times getting the goods. Add in the platform’s unwillingness to step in to deal with either situation and you get a tech company showing off it’s greed. What was once the toast of the town has shown its cracks which will only get worse.

The crowdfunding platform became a way for creators to raise funds for projects, only to get picked up by publishers, at times delaying projects and leaving bad tastes in the mouths of fans. If all creators were held to the standards of some of the best users of the system, there’d be no issue, but over 90% of the projects I’ve pledged to have been delayed or non-existent only creating angry backers and fans.

These issues have lead this site to rethink what we promote and how we do so, no longer choosing comics to promote, as we feel some responsibility for things gone wrong and your dollars being held hostage.

Kickstarter continues to be tone-deaf, and it’s only a matter of time before someone stands up and challenges the platform with a system that’s fair to creators, and protects those who pledge.

Oh how the mighty have fallen.

 

Publisher of the Year – None of the Above

This one I’ve thought about the most out of all of the categories on the list. I keep going back and forth between Image, BOOM! Studios, Valiant, Action Lab, IDW, First Second, and so many more. For each strength one brings to the table, they also have major weaknesses. Whether it’s a focus on a genre, pigeonholing themselves with adults, failure in digital, a mix of quality of comics, none of them are at least good everywhere. But, the comic industry has really grown in 2015 with no one breaking out as THE publisher to rival the big two. Partially that’s because so many have stood out with some of what they’ve done.

Both DC and Marvel have stumbled in 2015 (though DC has shown improvement in many ways, see above), and it’s everyone else that has stepped up in an attempt to fill the gap left by the big two.

Image has become of the home of amazing indie comics by big name creators, but they generally lack a kids line that gets the next generation of readers. BOOM! has had a great mix of comics, but they’re missing that ongoing series that goes on for 30 to 50 issues. Valiant is quality all around and have tried some interesting market tactics, but you have to like superhero comics, Action Lab is a solid up and comer with good consistent releases. IDW has shown its possible to do great licensed comics, while First Second has fantastic graphic novels of all sorts. The year also saw newcomers like 451 Media, Aftershock, and Double Take, but each are having issues getting the word out.

Out of all of that, where’s the standout above everyone else? They’re all good in their own ways, but each have some flaws, with some of those flaws being pretty big. After a lot of deliberation, I couldn’t decide on one, so I chose none.

Much like I said about DC, each publisher is close to going huge, it’s just taking someone to connect those dots. Or maybe no one will, and it’ll be up to the individual creators to fill up the gap.

Chapter House Comics’ July Diamond Solicits

Captain Canuck #5

Captain Canuck is in the clutches of Mr. Gold, Michael Evans is still missing, and the Equilibrium forces have been decimated. Lucky for them they have Kebec, the most notorious sharpshooter of the Afghanistan War, on their side and she believes revenge is a dish best served fast.

Plus: Ed Brisson (Secret Avengers) and Simon Roy (Prophet) take Classic Canuck into the far reaches of space!
32 pages, 6.25/10.18 | MSRP 3.99
cover A 50/50: Kalman Andrasofszky,
Cover B 50/50: Leonard Kirk & Paris Alleyne,
Cover C Variant: Karl Kerschl

1 in 10 Variant by Karl Kerschl 50 50 Cover A by Kalman Andrasofszky 50 50 Cover B by Leonard Kirk

THE PITIFUL HUMAN LIZARD #1

Toronto’s got a new superhero! And he’s pitiful! Lucas Barrett is a 9-5 office lackey during the day and a struggling superhero on evenings and weekends. He’s also broke. While his job salary is not enough to support his crime-fighting hobby, Lucas finds an alternate plan that may heighten his superhero status. This is the 52-page, full-colour debut issue of The Pitiful Human-Lizard!

Trade Paperback 52 pages
25.9 x 16.8 x 2.5 cm
Full Color

THE PITIFUL HUMAN LIZARD #1 1 THE PITIFUL HUMAN LIZARD #1 3 THE PITIFUL HUMAN LIZARD #1

Review: Captain Canuck #2

Captain Canuck #2 CoverThe Oilsands are burning! Captain Canuck must fight his way through the inferno to find out what has turned the workers into zombified puppets, while getting the survivors out alive and uninfected. Across the country, Canuck’s brother, Michael Evans is tested on whether he can put loyalty, to his brother and to Equilibrium, before an opportunity for revenge.

You know that whole, comics should be fun thing? Captain Canuck is exactly that, superhero fun. There’s no over the top violence, or blood, or swearing, just good ole action and entertainment.

Writer Kalman Adrasofsky seems to be making it his mission to create a superhero comic that has a modern look, but classic vibe in the fact you don’t have to fear handing it to kids and also making it entertaining for adults too. There’s subtle jokes peppered throughout the issue to this affect, especially when it comes to the Captain’s exclamations at different points.

The issue is lots of action though picking up from the first issue which put us directly into Captain Canuck’s first mission, to rescue some folks from an inferno where there also happens to be zombies. At the same time, the build to the big bad named Mr. Gold is happening, and that involves the Captain’s brother Michael.

The art continues to be solid with Leonard Kirk helping out for some of it. Kirk also takes over next issue as the artist too, so we get a taste of what to expect.

The issue also contains the “classic” Captain Canuck back-up story, “Arctic Assault pt. 2” with Ed Brisson and writing duties and Marcus To on art. The back-up story is fantastic as expected from those two. I left wanting to see a spin-off series featuring the creators and this character. Again the story is a lot of action, and a bit of a lesson in the end. Perfect for a kid who wants to read a superhero comic that’s not dark and brooding.

Overall, the second issue like the first doesn’t disappoint at all. The series has a modern look and a classic heart. This is a superhero series that’s about being a hero, saving individuals, doing what’s right. The art and action doesn’t hurt too. A classic hero relaunched, and one that everyone should be checking out.

Story: Kalman Andrasofsky and Ed Brisson Art: Kalman Andrasofsky, Leonard Kirk, Marcus To
Story: 8.25 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.25 Recommendation: Buy

Chapter House Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Captain Canuck #1

Captain.Canuck 1 coverBorn of the True North and tested in war, Captain Canuck is a soldier granted a choice of how to use incredible power that could alter the fate of the world. Thrust into battle at the head of the global crisis intervention agency called Equilibrium, Canuck must find his way as warrior, leader and ultimately, hero in order to save humanity.

I grew up in Buffalo, not far from the Canadian border, and thus spent a lot of time in the country, and interestingly also reading some Captain Canuck. The classic character is back, with a new series, and updated look. I have to say, the first issue is awesome.

Captain Canuck #1 is full of action, infused with enough that makes it “feel” Canadian. That means more than just references to locations, there’s use of French, and a general vibe that just feels like our friends up North. It’s those small touches that writer Kalman Andrasofsky (who also does double duty on art) adds that makes the comic feel more than an American super hero with a Canadian skin over top.

Since I first heard this series was coming, and especially after reading the Free Comic Book Day release, I’ve been looking forward to this debut issue, and it didn’t disappoint at all.

You’re thrown directly into the action as Captain Canuck learns about his new suit on what seems like his first mission out. You’re in the center of action, and it doesn’t let up at all. You learn as you go through the comic, things aren’t explained overtly, you need to pick up things as the story progresses, which makes this issue feel much further along than a debut.

The action too is solid, and fun, having a bit more down to Earth vibe than going out and battling some super villain. Instead Captain Canuck is thrown into a burning refinery. I know that might sound boring, but it isn’t there’s some surprises he has to deal with while there. Forgoing some stereotypical villain fight for the first issue also makes the comic a bit more grounded. In reality, what Captain Canuck goes through would be much more realistic if heroes existed.

The art is fantastic the updated look of the new character is awesome, a design worthy of the Big 2. The design is cool, makes sense in many ways, and use of color is just fantastic. The interiors are solid with great coloring, and angles of some of the poses. What really stood out to me was the use of panels, especially in some of the two page spreads.

As if the main story wasn’t enough, writer Ed Brisson and artist Marcus To team-up bring us a story of an earlier Captain Canuck case file involving some mysterious monsters and a drilling platform. This story too is fantastic, and To’s art is amazing. The two are top talents so it shouldn’t be a surprise at all. The back-up story actually makes me want a “sister series” following earlier adventures of Captain Canuck with these two at the helm.

It’s a first issue and you get two stories from three top-notch creators. I’ve waited for this first issue, and I wasn’t disappointed at all. It was a fun first issue, with a mix of classic and modern sensibilities about it. It also presents a super hero that can stand with the Big 2, and that’s not easy to do. Can’t wait for the second issue to hit.

Story: Kalman Andrasofsky, Ed Brisson Art: Kalman Andrasofsky, Marcus To
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

ChapterHouse Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review