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Review: What If… Miles Morales #2

What If… Miles Morales #2

When fate is thrust upon you,  do you fight it or embrace it? AS life may take you places where you don’t ever see yourself going, if you embrace it. An argument can be made to the contrary,  where some people believe you make your own luck. I like to think it is a bit of both is in equal measure, where destiny takes you where you are needed, but you also do the work to get there.

Some of us having a greater sense of ourselves in that mindset. When knowing who you are is of great advantage in life, those are the rare ones. This becomes even more  harder to navigate, as these arare ones, gain power and influence. In the return of the classic What If series, What If… Miles Morales #2, we see him take on the mantle of Wolverine, and see if he becomes what they made him.

We are taken to an alternate universe, in 1981 Atlanta, where the city was still facing the siege of Missing Black Children and Miles’ parents don’t have time for him., whereby he would become another victim . Fast forward  41 years later, we are taken to Rhinelander , Wisconsin, where we find a grown up Miles,  where we find out the under the Weapon X program, they have turned him into  Wolverine.  And mutants are being hunted. As SHIELD sends Agent J to go after Wolverine, but unbeknownst to both of them, Miles has been fighting his father, the whole time. The surprises don’t end there, as we find out his uncle Aaron is Sabretooth, where they all realize that the government made them into monsters. By issue’s end, Miles spares Sabretooth’s life, buries his father and meets the X-Men.  

Overall, What If… Miles Morales #2 is a relevant story that adds a great chapter to this series. The story by Ridley is masterful. The art by the creative team is awesome. Altogether, a story which simply astounds.

Story: John Ridley Art: Farid Karami
Color: Chris Sotomayor Letterer: Cory Petit
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: What If… Miles Morales #1

What If… Miles Morales #1

In a worlds where most of grew up with superheroes not looking like us, this is most definitely an exciting time. As movies are looking more like the real world. As authenticity demands identification, and the movie business has started to look like that, and so has the rest of the entertainment industry. It’s appalling to think that it took almost to the 21st century before we even saw a Black superhero onscreen, the first one of course, being Blade.

Then of course, this all changed when the MCU came into existence. As we eventually got see Falcon, Black Panther, War Machine, Valkyrie and Miles Morales. As these characters brought depth and dimension to the MCU and were even upgraded from their comic versions.  In the return of the classic What If series, we get What If… Miles Morales #1 where the title character shows that he would be a superhero no matter what version of him you get.

We are taken to an alternate universe, where they have restarted the Super Soldier program,  and it just so happens to be on the same military base where Miles’s dad and uncle were stationed. One mishap where his uncle Aaron brought the serum home, leads to Miles unintentionally inhaling the serum,  and becoming a super soldier. As he would train with his uncle , proving his mettle enough to where he goes on his first solo mission, as Captain America, where he would suffer his first loss , his uncle. He used the loss to shape him ,with the help of Falcon and SHIELD as he encounters a deadly foe in the Prowler, and  a new villain called Grey Skull,   who have teamed up to  steal a device which emits immense power. By issue’s end, Miles thwarts Prowler’s and Grey Skull’s plans, but soon finds out someone close ot him has betrayed him.

Overall, What If… Miles Morales #1 is a fun story which that reminds us why What If was such an epic series. The story by Ziglar is astounding. The art by the creative team is awe inspiring. Altogether, a story which shows why Miles Morales is such a powerful protagonist.

Story: Cody Ziglar Art: Paco Medina
Ink: Walden Wong, Victor Olazaba, Sean Parsons Color: Chris Sotomayor Letterer: Cory Petit
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

DC and Milestone Reveal Milestones in History featuring Real-World Heroes from Black History

DC and Milestone Media have revealed new details about Milestones in History, a 96-page anthology coming June 14th. Theone-shot spotlights real world icons from Black history across the ages. These stories will combine well-known comic book artists with writers from the fields of entertainment, literature, and social activism. The anthology embraces the Milestone universe with these stories being told through the eyes of the heroes of Dakota. 

Featured history-making subjects and storytellers for Milestones In History include:

  • Russian Poet and novelist Alexander Pushkin, written by New York Times bestselling author Alice Randall, with art by Don Hudson, José Marzan Jr., and Andrew Dalhouse
  • Carthaginian general and statesman Hannibal Barca, by award-winning writer Steven Barnes, with art by Ron Wilson and Mike Gustovich
  • Musical icon Prince, written by journalist and culture critic Touré and art by Ray Anthony-Height
  • The Three Musketeers author Alexandre Dumas, by bestselling author and pioneer of Black Horror fiction Tananarive Due, with art by Jamal Igle and Chris Sotomayor
  • Eugene Bullard, the first Black American military pilot, by Pat Charles and Arvell Jones
  • Black American female pilot Bessie Coleman and astronaut Mae Jemison, written by Melody Cooper, with art by Domo Stanton and Emilio Lopez
  • Dancer, educator, and social activist Katherine Dunham, by actor and author Karyn Parsons (Fresh Prince of Bel-Air)
  • “Lucy,” the early hominid fossil (Australopithecus) discovered in Africa by Donald Johanson, Mary Leakey, and Yves Coppens, written by Alice Randall 

More than just an anthology, Milestone In History also serves as a springboard into the next phase of this new iteration of the Dakotaverse; the book features an ending that will serve as the catalyst for the first big “event” in Milestone, something most fans will never see coming.

Review: Nocterra: Blacktop Bill SPecial

Nocterra: Blacktop Bill Special

Nocterra was a very interesting series when it debuted. In a world plunged in darkness it followed Val, a ferryman who hauls cargo through the dark world while dodging the horrors that awaits. When Val is hired to drive two individuals, she finds herself being pursued by Blacktop Bill, a mysterious villain we’re told little about. Nocterra: Blacktop Bill Special pulls back the curtain, promising the origin of this shroud of a character and it sort of delivers. But, is this something we really need?

With a story by Scott Snyder and Tony S. Daniel, we’re told the origin of Blacktop Bill and it’s honestly a bit yawn inducing. Basically, Bill likes to kill. He’s a hitman’s hitman. He’s a killer’s killer. Does that really add anything to the character? We know Bill is a killer. We know Bill can drive. He’s a force of nature and after reading this “origin” the character was better off remaining a mystery.

Like Boba Fett and so many more Blacktop Bill wasn’t just cool based on his actions but also his look and most importantly the mystery. The readers didn’t need to know his origin the appreciate the threat that Bill is in the first volume of the series. He presented himself as such. So, saying he’s a really good killer doesn’t add a whole lot to the situation. There’s no tragedy here. There’s no major event that turns him into what he is.

The biggest question, the “armor” he wears now isn’t really explained at all, that’s being saved for another story. So, in the end we’re told the killer is a killer and enjoys is and he should be feared. It’s everything we already know. It doesn’t add anything really to his story beyond he’s good at his job.

Denys Cowan‘s art is the highlight of the comic. He keeps Bill in the shadow never really showing us much of the man. The panels with Bill have the reader straining and attempting to get a peak of what he looks like but always coming up empty. Cowan is joined by Kent Williams on ink, Chris Sotomayor on color, and Andworld Design on lettering. There’s something interesting in seeing the world of Nocterra without the darkness and it all feels rather mundane and average, which is sort of the point. The visuals drag the reader in to show us how normal Bill is… beyond the killing. If that was played up a bit more there might have been something a bit disturbing and more intriguing about the issue. But, it looks nice, so there’s that.

Nocterra: Blacktop Bill Special takes some of the mystery of the character away and adds little in its place. It’s an issue we don’t really need and feels like material you’d find and as a backup story throughout a few issues. This is one for the hardcore Nocterra fans but be prepared to have the real questions not answered.

Story: Scott Snyder, Tony S. Daniel Art: Denys Cowan
Ink: Kent Williams Color: Chris Sotomayor Letterer: Andworld Design
Story: 7.0 Art: 8.1 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus ComicsTFAW

Batman/Catwoman Special Brings Romance in January and Honors John Paul Leon

The Batman/Catwoman series has been showing us the romance between Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle as it has changed over their lives, but what about their connections from BEFORE they became costumed adventurers? The upcoming Batman/Catwoman Special (on shelves Tuesday January 25) traces the life of Selina Kyle from its earliest days to her entry into the criminal underworld and reveals that Bruce was a presence in her life all along. Whether fate or coincidence, it’s even more of a reason why the Bat/Cat romance is one of the most enduring love affairs in all of comics.

Now expanded to celebrate the legacy of iconic artist John Paul Leon, whose untimely passing after a long battle with cancer shocked the comics world this past May, this special will feature the work Leon completed for the original story plus tributes to the renowned artist created in his name by some of his closest friends and admirers. Bernard Chang, Shawn CrystalMitch Gerads, and Dave Stewart will bring the original story to its conclusion, lettered by Clayton Cowles, while comics’ top artists gather to celebrate Leon’s creative legacy through pin-up pages and essays in the special, including Lee Bermejo, Denys Cowan, Joëlle Jones, Dave Gibbons, Walter Simonson, and more.

Batman/Catwoman Special #1 will publish on January 25, 2022 with a cover by John Paul Leon and variant covers by Lee Weeks and Bill Sienkiewicz.

Original Story “Interlude”

  • Tom King – Writer
  • John Paul Leon – Artist (p.1-13), Breakdowns (14-20) and Cover
  • Bernard Chang w/Shawn Crystal – Artists (p.14-20)
  • Mitch Gerads – Artist (p.21-38)
  • Dave Stewart – Colors (p.1-20)
  • Clayton Cowles – Letterer

Pin Ups

  • Lee Bermejo
  • Deny Cowan
  • Becky Cloonan
  • Klaus Janson & Dave Stewart
  • Rick Leonardi & Dave Stewart
  • Chris Batista
  • Dani & Tamra Bonvillain
  • Ibrahim Moustafa
  • Clay Mann & Seth Mann
  • Vanesa del Rey
  • Dave Johnson
  • Joëlle Jones
  • Shawn Martinborough & Chris Sotomayor
  • Khary Rhandolph & Emilio Lopez
  • Tula Lotay
  • Dave Gibbons
  • Walter Simonson & Laura Martin
  • Jon Bogdanove & Sian Mandrake


  • Michael Davis
  • Kurt Busiek

Review: Batman: Fear State Omega

Batman: Fear State Omega

“Fear State” is one of the best Batman events in years. Not only did it up the villain of Scarecrow in quality, it also introduced so many new and interesting elements to the series and Gotham. Impressively, the “Fear State” also balanced “Future State” teasing out the future Gotham we witnessed in that mini-event. As much as we got to enjoy what Scarecrow’s plans were, we also sat back to see if Simon Saint’s vision for Gotham becomes a reality. A lot was going on and the storyline balanced all of its elements really well. Batman: Fear State Omega wraps up the event with a bit of a kicker issue taking us through the fate of the characters in the story.

Writer James Tynion IV wraps up the event with Batman driving Scarecrow to the new facility he’ll be held in as the two discuss what has happened and what might have changed. Much like the final issue of the event, Batman emphasizes his hope for the future rejecting the dark brooding cloud that we associate with him. This is in juxtaposition to the Scarecrow who only “fears” what the future brings. It’s some interesting banter but it’s the fate of all of the characters from the event that’s more interesting.

Tynion touches on a lot of the key players from “Fear State” including Simon Saint, Miracle Molly, the Gardener, Harley and Ivy, Magistrate-01, and the Unsanity Collective. Much like the event, there’s a lot to go over and each is given just enough time to either wrap up their role or set up what’s to come. And in many ways, that’s what this issue feels like, a bridge from what was to what’s next. For better or worse, it’s handled in this single issue instead of the main series, and in some ways it feels a bit like filler. But, it does what it needs to, lets the reader know where things stand in so many ways.

The art is handled by a group of creators, Riccardo Federici, Christian Duce, Ryan Benjamin, and Trevor Hairsine. They’re joined by Chris Sotomayor on color and Clayton Cowles‘ lettering. The art is decent though with so many involved there’s some clash of styles as the issue shifts its focus. None of the art is bad at all, it’s just not all of it works together creating some rough transitions between styles. The issue likely would have been stronger with a single artist instead of the rotating team.

There’s nothing inherently wrong or bad about Batman: Fear State Omega. It acts as a real finale to the event letting readers know what the fates of so many characters are. But, beyond that, it doesn’t quite feel like it does anything shocking or interesting that the finale in Batman didn’t already. Whether it needed to be a one-shot instead of just another issue of Batman is the real rub. While it delivers some closure and sets up a lot to come, it doesn’t deliver as memorable an ending as the “end” of the event in Batman #117.

Story: James Tynion IV Art: Riccardo Federici, Christian Duce, Ryan Benjamin, Trevor Hairsine
Color: Chris Sotomayor Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Story: 7.5 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus ComicsTFAW

Relive Classic Marvel Covers with New Homage Variants

This January, your favorite artists will pay tribute to some of the greatest comic book covers in Marvel history with all-new Homage Variant Covers. Featuring new artwork from superstar artists David Yardin, Will Sliney, Mike McKone, Creees Lee, Philip Tan, David Nakayama, Pete Woods, Ken Lashley, Stephen Mooney, and Marvel’s Stormbreaker Peach Momoko, this exciting collection will allow fans to re-experience classic Marvel covers including takes on Wolverine, Spider-Man, Thor, and Hulk’s first appearances as well as other historic moments!

Check out all ten Homage Variant Covers now and pick them up when they grace the covers of your favorite series throughout the month of January!

  • AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #85 Homage Variant Cover by PEACH MOMOKO
  • VENOM #4 Homage Variant Cover by DAVID YARDIN with colors by CHRIS SOTOMAYOR
  • X LIVES OF WOLVERINE #1 Homage Variant Cover by WILL SLINEY with colors by RACHELLE ROSENBERG
  • AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #86 Homage Variant Cover by MIKE MCKONE with colors by CHRIS SOTOMAYOR
  • THOR #21 Homage Variant Cover by CREEES LEE with colors by RACHELLE ROSENBERG
  • CAPTAIN AMERICA/IRON MAN #3 Homage Variant Cover by PHILIP TAN with colors by FEDERICO BLEE
  • HULK #3 Homage Variant Cover by DAVID NAKAYAMA
  • DEATH OF DOCTOR STRANGE #5 Homage Variant Cover by STEPHEN MOONEY with colors by CHRIS SOTOMAYOR
  • IRON MAN #16 Homage Variant Cover by PETE WOODS
  • X-MEN LEGENDS #11 Homage Variant Cover by KEN LASHLEY with colors by JUAN FERNANDEZ

NYCC 2021: Happy Hill #1 Debuts With an Exclusive Variant

Get ready for vacation. ComixTribe has announced Happy Hill #1, an all-new vacation horror thriller written by acclaimed writer Rich Douek and co-writer and artist Joe Mulvey, with colors by Chris Sotomayor, and letters by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou

Happy Hill is a posh resort in the Catskill Mountains of New York that promises that its guests will leave truly happy – the only problem being that many of them never leave at all. Wyatt Willows is obsessed with the place, and its connection to The Wudsman – a horned, masked figure that most people think is an urban legend, but who he knows is both real and deadly.

When a child goes missing on the grounds of Happy Hill, the investigation uncovers dark secrets hidden and an unstoppable supernatural menace aiming to make this vacation permanent!

Advanced copies of Happy Hill #1 with a New York Comic Con exclusive variant cover by Joe Mulvey and Chris Sotomayor will be available at Artist Alley table L-4, October 7-10. Happy Hill #1 is scheduled for release January 2022.

Nocterra’s Blacktop Bill Gets the Spotlight this December

Master of horror Scott Snyder teams up with legendary artist Denys Cowan for a thrilling new penny dreadful in Nocterra Special: Blacktop Bill. This special one-shot issue from Image Comics is set to land on shelves this December and haunt fans of Snyder and Tony S. Daniel’s bestselling series Nocterra.

Behold the book of Blacktop Bill. In the wake of the first arc’s explosive finale, the origin of Nocterra’s most terrifying creature will at last be revealed in Nocterra Special: Blacktop Bill. Witness the horrors that await…

Nocterra Special: Blacktop Bill one-shot will be available at comic book shops on Wednesday, December 22:

  • Cover A by Daniel & Marcello Maiolo – Diamond Code OCT210042
  • Cover B by Cowan & Chris Sotomayor  – Diamond Code OCT210043
  • Cover C blackout variant – Diamond Code OCT210044
  • Cover D 1:10 Copy Incentive B&W by Daniel – Diamond Code OCT210045
  • Cover E 1:25 Copy Incentive B&W by Cowan – Diamond Code OCT210046
  • Cover F 1:50 Copy Incentive Raw by Cowan – Diamond Code OCT210047

Review: Batman: Fear State Alpha

Batman: Fear State Alpha

Batman in recent years has had issues going from event to event, a non-stop cacophony of chaos. Future State gave a slight break taking us to a future Gotham, one controlled by fascist police. After, we got a line that focused on that possible future, each series having an “end goal” to get us to. It’s been fresh in some ways delivering one vision in a way.

James Tynion IV‘s run began plagued by “mini event” syndrome with each arc feeling like a “big event” shrunk down to fit in a trade, some major story that wound up just setting up what’s next. Post Future State, that feeling has gone away a bit with story arcs focused on Gotham’s possible future with numerous plot threads all combining to move Batman’s story along. With Batman: Fear State Alpha, we get some of those threads coming together, things that have been hinted at for some time.

Tynion’s run has been up and down but for some time now, the series has show massive improvement as it has been laser focused on Simon Saint and his slow takeover of Gotham through his technology and military police force. We’ve had interesting characters and new factions introduced. But, what’s been interesting is that Tynion has, in many ways, been addressing the “event fatigue” that has been a hallmark of recent Batman runs. Batman: Fear State Alpha puts that fatigue square in the center as Scarecrow’s place within Simon Saint’s plan is fully explored. The comic in many ways is the villain explaining their complicated plan but it works really well.

Batman: Fear State Alpha is the rare start to an event that works as moving the story forward but also acting as a primer for those new to the story. It does a great job of not just focusing on Batman, but Oracle, Harley, and more importantly, Gotham as a whole. It lays out what’s going on, why, and what our heroes will be up against. There’s frustrating moments, the fact the elected officials are this dumb, but Tynion even addresses that through a character vocalizing doubts. It’s a meta comic in some ways not just commenting and the endless event driven storyline but also the reader screaming at stupid decisions characters make.

Riccardo Federici handles the art duties with Chris Sotomayor on color and Clayton Cowles lettering. The art is pretty solid giving us a look that’s just to the side of nightmare. The style really fits a story about fear and the Scarecrow at the center. It never quite crosses the line into nightmare territory but there’s a look to the style that really works for the subject matter. The characters look solid and there’s a great amount of emotion delivered. With the angles and panels presented the way they are at times, it all comes together to leave readers slightly off, just before a Scarecrow attack.

Batman: Fear State Alpha is a solid start to the next Batman event. There’s an awareness about it all that acknowledges what has come before and works it into the story. It works as a great introduction to the event while really laying things out for long time readers. There’s a lot packed into the story and as far things go, a solid start for what’s to come.

Story: James Tynion IV Art: Riccardo Federici
Color: Chris Sotomayor Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Story: 8.15 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.15 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Purchase: comiXologyAmazonKindleZeus ComicsTFAW

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