Unity is under attack by the Destiny Man as we learn more about this technologically advanced part of the new America. Undiscovered Country #10 is an interesting issue as it presents the action in the present while tying it into the revelations about the past.
Writer Scott Snyder and Charles Soule continue their impressive series exploring the different facets of modern America. The series is both a microscope and an exaggeration of our reality taking the good and bad to their extremes. Unity is a technological marvel using nano-technology to make everything a reality. But, it’s the underlying philosophy that’s an interesting one. Unity isn’t just named that, it’s something it believes in. One people working towards a goal. While the residents of it claim they act under their own free will, there’s a underlying horror and trepidation about it all.
In the previous arc, we saw what freedom and individualism run amok looks like. Unity is the opposite where the vision is one. It’s the embodiment that America is best when it works together. But, taken to an extreme it dives into questions of freedom and free will. The issue doesn’t deliver answers, instead, Undiscovered Country #10 throws out a lot of questions allowing the reader to debate it all themself.
The art by Giuseppe Camuncoli and Marcello Grassi is fantastic. There’s some imagery that’ll give you pause with designs that feel both familiar and unlike anything I’ve seen. With Matt Wilson’s mostly white palette and Crank!’s lettering, there’s something unsettling about it all. Through the tranquility there continues to be a logical coldness about it all. We get to see some of the animals that stalk in the oceans outside Unity, they’re a twist and a design that fits so well for the series and this particular area.
Undiscovered Country #10 is an interesting issue that begins to reveal the horrors that hide underneath Unity. Its philosophy is debated within without giving real answers. It does what the series does so well, shines a spotlight on an aspect of America and lets the reader decide what to think. But, Undiscovered Country #10 also keeps it entertaining and the reader on their toes. It’s a series that has yet to disappoint and when I finish an issue I have no idea what to expect next.
Story: Scott Snyder, Charles Soule Art: Giuseppe Camuncoli, Leonardo Marcello Grassi Color: Matt Wilson Letterer: Crank! Story: 8.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy
Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
The exploration of “Unity” continues in Undiscovered Country #9 which has the team learning more about the technological marvel. What’s been excellent of this story arc so far is that there’s clearly something ominous. There’s something not right about this territory and their promise clearly has a catch.
Writers Scott Snyder and Charles Soule continue their exploration of the United States, both literally and metaphorically. Each territory of this new United States is an aspect of what makes up America but exaggerated. This is an America run amok. Undiscovered Country #9 focuses on America’s success in innovation. The internet, the space race, so many things have either begun in the US or the US has improved upon it. But, with so much wonder there has also been terror. The nuclear bomb and so many weapons of destruction and death are perfect examples of the negative. As the characters ponder and discuss, Unity represents both the best and possibly worst of what makes the United States special.
Snyder and Soule continue to present the best of it. Unity’s technology allows anything to happen. Memories are stored and needs are met with just a thought. It’s the concept of nanobots taken to an extreme. But, for all the wonder and possibilities, the two creators also deliver some unease. We question everything we’re told. We, as readers, look for clues as to what doesn’t sit right. Like the adventurers, we the reader are skeptical as to what we’re presented. Snyder and Soule has set expectations and toyed with our trust.
Some of the fun is because of the art by Giuseppe Camuncoli and Leonardo Marcello Grassi. It’s hard to read Undiscovered Country #9 and not look for clues in the art. From the stark white setting that screams clean and disinfected, there’s a coldness about what’s presented. While it’s amazing to look at, the art team delivers a presentation that challenges us to look for clues as to what’s off. There may be nothing at all. But, we’re teased to do exactly that. Part of the dance is due to Matt Wilson‘s colors. While much of the issue is white and gray, there’s some other splashes of color drawing your eye to what’s focused on. The fact some of that is red leads to yet more of an ominous feeling towards those details. Crank!‘s lettering too delivers small clues and delivers slight punches to each scene and moment.
Undiscovered Country #9 continues to take us on an adventure much like Alice in Wonderland. We’re presented a wondrous world full of possibilities but underneath that wonder is horror. But, what’s most impressive is the series continues to hold a mirror to our reality. It may be a funhouse mirror but it’s still a twisted reflection of the world we live in. The series as a whole questions American exceptionalism and the building blocks of our nation. It challenges us to question what’s right and what’s wrong and to think about what happens if any extreme “wins”.
Story: Scott Snyder, Charles Soule Art: Giuseppe Camuncoli, Leonardo Marcello Grassi Color: Matt Wilson Letterer: Crank! Editor: Will Dennis Story: 8.75 Art: 8.35 Overall: 8.7 Recommendation: Buy
Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
This weekend, enjoy the 1st annual Baltimore Comic-Con Live, a FREE ONLINE EVENT streaming October 23-25, 2020! Come check out retailers, exhibitors, artists alley, programming, and the Ringo Awards live! There’s an amazing range of topics in the 2020 virtual programming. Regardless of if you’re a cosplayer, a gamer, a movie buff, or just a reader, there’s sure to be something for you!
TERROR IN THE PAGES: Making a Horror Comic
Panelists: Afua Richardson, Tim Seely, Jeremy Haun, Mike Moreci, Jim Terry Host: John Siuntres Saturday, October 24, 2020 – 2pm ET / 11am PT
We all love horror, especially the comic creators on this panel. Join us for a group chat to discuss everything we find chilling and downright terrifying in comics.
EVIL TED SMITH: Creating Foam Cosplay
Panelists: Evil Ted Smith Host: Chuck Lindsey Saturday, October 24, 2020 – 3pm ET / 12pm PT
From Hunger Games to Pirates of the Caribbean, Star Trek to The Walking Dead, Evil Ted has worked in the movie industry doing visual effects, prop, and model making for 28 years. In this LIVE demo, he will show you the secrets to making realistic cosplay pieces right at home.
TOTALLY AWESOME COMIC BOOK GAMESHOW!!! (or “Stump Tom Brevoort”)
Panelists: Tom Brevoort Host: Chuck Lindsey Saturday, October 24, 2020 – 4pm ET / 1pm PT
Watch as contestants compete in a Marvel Trivia Showdown to claim Ultimate Fandom Supremacy. Three rounds of gameshow action to see who knows more about comics than Marvel Executive Editor, Tom Brevoort.
SPIES LIKE COMICS
Panelists: Stephanie Phillips, Jeff Parker, Brian Stelfreeze, Doug Wagner Host: Robert Meyer Burnett Saturday, October 24, 2020 – 4pm ET / 1pm PT
From secret agents to international super criminals, spy comics have been a tent pole of the comic book genre from the very beginning. Join host Robert Meyer Burnett as he delves deep into everything we love about Spy Comics and the hottest titles currently on the shelves.
DUNGEONS & DRAGONS: Live Game
Panelists: Tom Akel, Jim Zub, Troy Little, Cecil Castellucci, Joel Daly Host: Joel Daly Saturday, October 24, 2020 – 11pm ET / 8pm PT
Join the most popular players LIVE for a D&D session for the ages. Dungeon Masters and Players include Tom Akel, Jim Zub, Troy Little, Cecil Castellucci, Joel Daly, and Sal Crivelli.
WEB COMICS: What’s Next in Digital?
Panelists: Dean Haspiel, Sanford Greene, Megan Stevenson, Michael Son Host: Tom Akel Sunday, October 25, 2020 – 12pm ET / 9am PT
Join Dean Haspiel (2017 Ringo Award winner for The Red Hook), Sanford Greene (2018 Ringo Award winner for 1000), Megan Stevenson (2020 Ringo nominee for The Croaking), and Tapas VP of Content Michael Son for a discussion with Rocketship Entertainment Publisher Tom Akel (Backchannel) on the evolving landscape of digital comics and how creators can evaluate their opportunities versus the traditional market.
AUTOBIOGRAPHY IN COMICS
Panelists: Stan Sakai, Dean Haspiel, Erica Schultz, with Dave Kelly and Alex Segura Host: Gene Kannenberg, Jr. Sunday, October 25, 2020 – 3pm ET / 12pm PT
A discussion on how comics use the fantastic to tell deeply personal stories. Bucking the conventional wisdom that if you focus on fiction there’s no personal truth to it, this panel brings together creators who channel their own lives and experiences through the limitless potential of big characters and other worlds. Join 2020 Ringo nominees Stan Sakai (Usagi Yojimbo), Erica Schultz (Forgotten Home), and Dave Kelly (Tales of the Night Watchman) with 2017 Ringo winner Dean Haspiel (The Red Hook) and Alex Segura (The Black Ghost, Co-President Archie Comics). Moderated by Gene Kannenberg, Jr.
STAR WARS COMICS
Panelists: Charles Soule, Katie Cook, Greg Pak, Mike Moreci Host: Alden Diaz Sunday, October 25, 2020 – 3pm ET / 12pm PT
Explore the world and history of Star Wars comics from the creators that know it best!!! Join host Alden Diaz for a very special look into a galaxy far far away with panelists Charles Soule, Katie Cook, Greg Pak, and Mike Moreci.
(W) Charles Soule (A) Ramon Rosanas (CA) Carlo Pagulayan Rated T In Shops: Oct 07, 2020 SRP: $3.99
SHE WILL HAVE REVENGE! • COMMANDER ELLIAN ZAHRA has been tasked by the terrifying DARTH VADER with the job of tracking down the remnants of the REBEL FLEET, scattered since the BATTLE OF HOTH. • From the bridge of her flagship the TARKIN’S WILL, she hunts the galaxy, eradicating all resistance, her secret goal to destroy LEIA ORGANA. • But why such hate for the PRINCESS OF ALDERAAN? The truth… will be REVEALED!
A divided America full of chaos and unrest. A divided America whose ideals have been perverted and twisted. When Undiscovered Country began, the fantastical series felt much more… fantasy. As the series has progressed, each issue feels like it’s an exploration of the current American zeitgeist. Undiscovered Country #8 begins to explore the slip to technocratic solutions and the impact, both good and bad, of technology on our lives.
The group of explorers have moved on to the second of the thirteen territories and the new United States. The first was called Destiny, the second is Unity. Unity, located in the Pacific Northwest is a technocratic dreamcoat. It’s a society built on nano-technology where one has to only think to be rewarded. Buildings, plants, vehicles, everything has been consumed by an overarching, and most likely overreaching technology. It’s also a world of temptation and clear malevolence underneath.
Writers Scott Snyder and Charles Soule delivers a Willy Wonka/Wizard of Oz/Alice in Wonderland journey into a debased America. Our real-world is twisted and explored in ways that feel all to close to home as our reality plays out. While protests flood our streets and the government slides into Fascism, the abuse of technology to manipulate the populace hangs in the background. This second territory feels like that abuse taken to extremes and once again is ahead of the curve as far as topics flooding newspapers.
Much like the debut story arc, Undiscovered Country #8 continues to introduce us to the world. The concepts, basis of reality shift with each keeping readers on their toes. Unlike the more barbaric Destiny, Unity is a world of the future and what ifs? There’s also a clear nightmare waiting underneath it all and it’s a question as to when, not if, that will be revealed. The issue is also a solid entry point. Though the new arc began with the previous issue, this one is fine for new readers to explore the world as they have avatars asking questions they’ll have in the main cast of characters.
The insanity and fantastical is delivered by Giuseppe Camuncoli and Leonardo Marcello Grassi. The art is full of so much detail that it begs the readers to spend time on each page and with each panel exploring the world. Much like our main cast of characters, the visuals are our true introduction to the mystery. We’re forced to piece together what’s going on as our guide, Uncle Sam, only gives cryptic clues.
Matt Wilson does a solid job as the visuals are generally lacking in much color beyond white. With a mostly mono-chromatic look, the colors still really work using some grays to really make the details pop. There’s also work between the trio to deliver something that’s slightly off. Buildings feel like they’re slightly crooked, whether that’s on purpose or not is unknown. But, it feels like it is and done so to show that the technology isn’t perfect and there’s more than meets the eye. Crank!‘s lettering too comes in to play. There is a lot of dialogue and it is laid out well but there’s also a serene aspect to the font choice that doesn’t become apparent until the very end.
Undiscovered Country #8 is another fantastic journey into the crazy world this creative team has created. There’s a horror story awaiting as we’re given the setup that we know is too good to be true. But, where it all goes is unknown. Undiscovered Country is a series where anything is possible and with that it has become a series where we’re forced to expect the unexpected and just enjoy the wild ride.
Story: Scott Snyder, Charles Soule Art: Giuseppe Camuncoli, Leonardo Marcello Grassi Color: Matt Wilson Lettering: Crank! Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy
Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
(W) Charles Soule (A) Jesus Saiz (CA) R. B. Silva Rated T In Shops: Sep 16, 2020 SRP: $3.99
THE PATH TO JEDI WISDOM…OR A DEADLY TRAP OF THE DARK SIDE? • THE FORCE led LUKE SKYWALKER to someone who can provide him with great insight into the path to JEDI wisdom… • But their meeting will change Skywalker FOREVER. Luke thought his duel against his father, Darth Vader, was the ultimate test. But Luke’s trials have only just begun. • The galaxy needs Luke Skywalker. And a Jedi needs a weapon! • Meanwhile, Vader continues his search for his long-lost son, and the REBEL ALLIANCE finds itself on the verge of a losing all hope.
Ah, the pleasures of having Labor Day off to celebrate work. It’s a contradiction as old as time, where honoring work means taking a (well-deserved and utterly necessary) break from it. After all, most workers have jobs that go year-round and the daily grind does take a toll. A day off is the least that can be afforded to them.
Recognition is the other thing we should doling out in industrial quantities during this federal holiday. As such, comic books are filled with stories about the fruits of labor, both in a literal and a politically figurative sense. Be it by actually exploring the hardships of being a worker to acknowledging the monumental task that is organizing movements in support of them, labor is central to the motivations behind some of comic’s best stories.
Here’s a short list of comics that either directly or indirectly showcase the roles workers play in keeping life and society functional. These comics dive headfirst into the specifics of what ‘putting in the work’ means, recognizing that everything that’s done in the service of others usually rests on human struggles both painful and exhausting. The comics below give workers their time in the spotlight so we can appreciate just how much it takes to go out and keep the world turning.
1.Trashed, written and illustrated by Derf Backderf
This book can best be described as a sobering love letter to one of the most underappreciated and openly repudiated jobs known to humankind: garbage collection. Following Backderf’s critically-acclaimed My Best Friend Dahmer, Trashed is based on the author’s time as a sanitation worker himself, surrounded by other workers just as enthused about collecting trash as he was (which wasn’t a whole lot). The inner workings of sanitation are presented through a combination of autobiographical anecdotes and well-researched facts and data that reveal just how complex, dangerous, and even clumsy picking up and storing trash can be. It’s a funny but scary look at how sanitation can save the world while also turn it into a ticking time bomb.
2. Damage Control, originally created by Dwayne McDuffie (W) and Ernie Colón (A)
A superhero’s job is to save the day, crumbling infrastructure be damned. With them, though, comes a unique concern for property damage, mostly focused on the inevitability of mass destruction. In comes a company solely dedicated to cleaning up after extinction-level battles and then putting the pieces back together called Damage Control. In essence, this Marvel comic is about unsung heroes. It’s about doing essential work knowing there’s no glory waiting at the end of it (much like Trashed, in some respects). McDuffie’s scripts are a masterclass on chaos and property politics, but it’s Colón’s attention to detail amidst the chaos that sets this story apart. The original series (there are a total of 4 series published) takes to a kind of MAD Magazine-style approach to comedy with visual gags and crude humor leading the charge, but it’s all well-orchestrated and it makes for reading that rewards those who scan comics pages whole multiple times.
3. She-Hulk: Law and Disorder, written by Charles Soule and illustrated by Javier Pulido
At a glance, Soule and Pulido’s She-Hulk gives the impression of being a kind of ‘slice of life’ story about a superhero that chooses law as her preferred battleground. The book, however, is about so much more, and it might have more in common with Damage Control than an actual legal drama. She-Hulk takes the anger-filled superhero and turns her into a working-class woman that’s trying (and struggling) to make her own legal services business work. She puts it all together from the ground up but is immediately confronted with the hardships of balancing work, heroics, and the semblance of a personal life on an even keel. One of the greatest, and most entertaining, aspects of the comic lies in the formation of the character’s legal practice and how at odds it can be being both a superhero and a normal person with other interests. It dives deep into the complications of working multiple jobs, but it shows an appreciation for those who lead their lives under that predicament. Soule and Pulido create a story that supports and applauds those who undertake the task of holding several jobs at once, honoring the sacrifice it requires of one’s self to survive it.
4. Ex Machina, written by Brian K. Vaughan and illustrated by Tony Harris
While aggressively political and metaphorical, Ex Machina does something few other stories on governmental responsibility manage to achieve: make the role of an elected official look and feel like a real job. The story follows Mitchel Hundred, a man that renounces his superhero persona to become mayor of New York city. After only managing to save one of the Twin Towers during the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Hundred realizes he can do more good as an elected official rather than as a superhero. Vaughan and Harris take full advantage of this setup to go beyond political speeches and discourse to get Hundred’s hands dirty with the real act of running a government. Hundred has to address the legality of surveillance in times of crisis, protocols for public demonstrations, controversial content in city museums, infrastructure, and police freedoms all while controlling the urge to use his still functioning superpowers to speed the process up. As is the case in She-Hulk, Hundred also attempts (with few successes) to balance his personal life with the job. Problem is, the job demands too much of his time, hence the temptation to use his powers. Ex Machina is a stark reminder that being an elected official actually means holding down a job with real consequences attached to it, something many politicians seem to have lost sight of.
5.Gotham Central: In the Line of Duty, written by Ed Brubaker & Greg Rucka and illustrated by Michael Lark
The profession of law enforcement is under serious scrutiny at the present moment, and rightfully so, but it’s still a job certain men and women take on despite the complexities of outdated and dysfunctional practices that are in desperate need of revision. And that’s on top of the racial problems that have shaped its many, many systems. However, there are those who do take the job seriously and work hard to ‘protect and serve’ with the best of intentions under the law. Gotham Central prioritizes this viewpoint, focusing the cops and detectives that work in Batman’s Gotham City. Without the resources or the exceptions afforded to the Dark Knight, the GCPD is still tasked with responding to criminal activity, regardless of whether it’s of the supervillain type or not. Main characters René Montoya, Crispus Allen, Marcus Driver, and “Josie Mac” MacDonald, among others, are divided into day and night shifts in a city that is in a constant flux of crime. The job takes its toll on a personal level and there’s an emphasis on how much one gives in the line of duty, but there’s also an appreciation of honest cops walking the line in the face of overwhelming police corruption and abuse. It’s a complicated and sometimes contradictory read, but it makes no excuses while confronting the damning inconsistencies of the job.
6. Wooblies! A Graphic History of the Industrial Workers of the World, edited by Peter Buhle & Nicole Schulman
The Industrial Workers of the World, or IWW, has a wild and exuberant history, to say the least, which makes it the ideal subject for comic book storytelling. The IWW was created in Chicago, Illinois in 1905 as a union for marginalized workers led by Marxist principles. Miners, lumber workers, immigrant workers, indigenous workers, non-white workers, severely underrepresented female workers, and workers all over that had no rights or protections saw in the IWW as the means to fight towards better working conditions. Wooblies! (alluding to the nickname given to the members of the union) enlists the talents of cartoonists such as Peter Kuper, Harvey Pekar, Trina Robbins, Sharon Rudahl, Sue Coe, Carlos Cortez, among others to tell the story of how forgotten and underrepresented workers rose up against the odds to gain the rights and respect owed to them. The anthology has a very underground ‘comix’ feel to it, but it’s allegorical and metaphorical inclinations do a better job of capturing labor struggles better than a traditional story ever could. This might be the quintessential Labor Day reading right here.
Workers, laborers, holders of jobs, these comics honor your contributions, your efforts, and the near impossible feats you pull off. Read and relax, but overall, enjoy your hard-earned Labor Day holiday.
Image Comics is rushing the wildly popular Undiscovered Country #7by New York Times bestselling writers Scott Snyder and Charles Soule and artist Giuseppe Camuncoli back to print in order to keep up with overwhelming demand for the latest issue in one of the most talked about series on shelves. This new printing will feature a stunning wraparound cover by Camuncoli and Leonardo Marcello Grassi.
Undiscovered Country #7 kicks off a new story arc for the series that made headlines for its flashy arrival in 2019 as one of the highest ordered launches in the nearly five years for Image Central and before gaining further momentum to top the charts for reorders throughout the first story arc.
After barely escaping the deadly clutches of the Destiny Man, Undiscovered Country #7 follows the expedition team as they cross over into the strange new zone of “Unity”—a futuristic world of gleaming technology and artificial intelligence. But will it be a safe haven for our heroes, or are they destined to be absorbed into the hive mind?!
The series was acquired early on by New Republic Pictures after a competitive bidding war for potential franchise development with Snyder and Soule attached to adapt the screenplay and serve as executive producers alongside Camuncoli. John Hilary Shepherd will oversee development.
Undiscovered Country #7, second printing (Diamond Code JUL208174) will be available at comic book shops on Wednesday, September 9.
Undiscovered Country has been a wild ride. The series focuses on an America that has been walled off to a world devastated by disease and what is found when an international team ventures across the American border. The first arc took us on a Mad Max-like adventure with giant fortress cities on wheels and roving bands riding mutant animals. It was everything, including the kitchen sink, of ideas and the second arc seems to focus on explaining some of the insanity. Undiscovered Country #7 kicks off that second arc as our team has made it into the next zone on a train. But, that’s not the big focus on the issue.
Writers Scott Snyder and Charles Soule have begun to give us some answers to the madness in Undiscovered Country #7. Some of the story focuses on twenty years before the story as the United States begins its devolution into insanity. We get hints as to the science and the why things have gone bad as representatives from the various zones, the U.S. government, meet to discuss the state of the nation.
Through this simple scene, we learn so much more about why things have gone the way they have but also what is at the heart of this new America. What is up with the different zones and what lies ahead? We start really learning that here. We also get more of the philosophy of this nation in what feels like a critique of the current state of affairs.
And that’s where Undiscovered Country gets really interesting. A pandemic. A country walling itself off from the world. It all feels a bit too on the nose for today’s news. All we need us mutant animals but cannibal ants and murder hornets can fill that niche. How this series would be read would be very different if the current state of the world wasn’t what it is. As is, the comic series feels like an exaggeration of the spiral down the toilet we’re currently experiencing.
The art in Undiscovered Country #7 is a bit less insane compared to the previous arc. There aren’t mutants or crazy structures, yet, to have fun with. Instead, it’s mostly a train ride and a government meeting that has our focus. But, the art is still key. Giuseppe Camuncoli and Leonardo Marcello Grassi handle that and the details in the government meeting tell as much a story as what is said. It’s a pivotal scene that will leave you lingering to get the details. Matt Wilson provides colors and Crank! the lettering and while the visuals aren’t as over the top, they may be more important. Where before they shocked us into reality, the art in this issue helps tell the story of a nation.
Undiscovered Country #7 is a new arc and a decent starting point for new readers. You should absolutely read the first arc but this issue is focused more on explaining the current state of the nation, both imaginary and in reality. It continues to build the world that Snyder and Soule have come up with much like the first arc. What’s impressive though is how they do it feels like it has shifted gears a bit. An impressive start to what is a beyond intriguing series.
Story: Scott Snyder, Charles Soule Art: Giuseppe Camuncoli, Leonardo Marcello Grassi Color: Matt Wilson Lettering: Crank! Story: 8.25 Art: 8.15 Overall: 8.2 Recommendation: Buy
Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review