Tag Archives: clayton cowles

Review: War of the Realms Omega #1

War of the Realms Omega #1

War of the Realms: Omega #1 is not so much a full epilogue story to the “War of the Realms” event as a tasting menu for the various spinoffs that come after it. Kudos to Marvel for putting these in their own comic instead of stepping on Jason Aaron, Russell Dauterman, and Matthew Wilson’s literal thunder as they hit the high point of Aaron’s Thor epic. With one last omniscient conversation between Daredevil and Heimdall as a framing narrative, Omega #1 tells the story of Jane Foster, Loki, and Punisher while setting up Jane Foster Valkyrie #1, Loki #1, and Punisher Kill Krew #1.

Even if it’s mostly just a conversation between Daredevil and Heimdall, the framing narrative of Omega #1 is a fantastic conclusion to Daredevil’s struggles with godhood that Jason Aaron penned in War Scrolls. It’s also reunion of one of my favorite recent Daredevil art teams of Ron Garney and Matt Milla, who transform the look of their framing narrative from fantasy to street level as Daredevil goes from talking about gods, prayers, and Valhalla to stopping a mugger with the help of some Yggdrasil forged fighting sticks. Aaron also brings up some interesting ideas like Daredevil’s guilt about his own faith and beliefs making him a good God of Fear that protected Midgard in their direst need. It connects to his recent writing of Thor that the best god isn’t one that fights for the mantle, but acknowledges the responsibility that is thrust upon him.

The first story in Omega #1 features Jane Foster and the Valkyries in a morgue where she hopes to help find them some peace and is written by Aaron and Al Ewing with art from Cafu and Jesus Aburtov. Jane interacts with Lisa, who used to date the superhero America Chavez, and they both can empathize on what it’s like to be connected to someone with so much power and be ordinary. It’s a nice human interaction before a beautiful transformation sequence where Jane takes on the responsibility of reopening Valhalla and finding rest for the Asgardians. Cafu’s art is clean and photorealistic, but not too stiff while Aburtov’s colors are bright, glossy, but a little sad. Jane played a major role in “War of the Realms”, and it’ll be nice to see her as headliner for a little bit in her own series that looks to continue to play on Aaron’s themes of faith and belief that he has explored throughout his Thor comics.

On the more mischievous side, there is a story starring Loki and his undersized Frost Giant buddy Drrf from Daniel Kibblesmith, Oscar Bazaldua, and David Curiel. As evidenced by his work on Valiant High, Lockjaw, and Deadpool vs. Black Panther, Kibblesmith excels at combining comics continuity with funny and genuinely heartfelt moments. And there are a few of those in this short story as Loki takes a young Frost Giant under his wing after he spots the little guy using a stew pot lid as a sled. Bazaldua’s cartoon-y style visuals are a good fit for this book and capture Loki’s every smirk and glint of mischief in his eye. He earned the role of king of Frost Giants by killing his father, but it will be difficult to keep the respect of this murderous and cannibalistic realm. However, adding Drrf to the equation keeps the tone of the story light and not super serious in a Game of Thrones kind of way.

The final Omega #1 short story is a Punisher one, from Gerry Duggan and the fantastic Juan Ferreyra that shows that the War of the Realms never really ended for one person: Frank Castle. Castle is barbecuing stray Helhounds with a flamethrower, breaking up Asgardian revelry with semi-automatic gun fire, and making sure the inhabitants of Midgard don’t loot in the post-War chaos. His mission of vengeance towards criminals has expanded from mortals to fantasy beings thanks to the losses suffered by the people, and especially the children of New York, during the War. However, the real star of the Punisher story isn’t the brooding revenge or monster becomes monster hunter narrative book, but Ferreyra’s art, which he colors himself and has a Steve Dillon meets Heavy Metal vibe. The combination of melodramatic dialogue and captions and over the top violence is a winner.

War of the Realms Omega #1 accomplished what it set out do, which is to pique my interest in the upcoming Jane Foster, Loki, and Punisher comic book series that are spinning out of the event. The artists for these books are especially well-cast, and Cafu’s beautiful take on Jane Foster’s transformation from mortal to Valkyrie was the highlight of this entire one-shot. Also, Juan Ferreyra is such an underrated artist, and I’m excited to see his take on creative fantasy monster executions.

Story: Jason Aaron, Al Ewing, Daniel Kibblesmith, Gerry Duggan
 Art: Ron Garney, Cafu, Oscar Bazaldua, Juan Ferreyra
 Colors: Matt Milla, Jesus Aburtov, David Curiel
Letters: Joe Sabino, Clayton Cowles, Cory Petit
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Venom #16

Venom #16

Venom #16 does a fantastic job of bridging the gap between the recently ended event “War of the Realms” and upcoming “Absolute Carnage.”

Writer Donny Cates uses the issue to focus on the recent revelation that Eddie Brock is a father. Cates has done an amazing job at adding depth to the character. This issue is a prime example of that.

Eddie doesn’t have access to his symbiote anymore and he has to take care of his newly discovered son. But, that involves money, something Eddie doesn’t have. And, with his son getting sick, Eddie also needs medicine, or at last soup. While he used to have the means to solve those issues, he now has to take another route. That means trying to get a job.

The story is such a simple concept that shows Eddie as a proctor. It also has us questioning who was the bad guy, him or the symbiote. Did one corrupt the other? It also makes his actions as a hero more believable as we get to see him care for his kid.

Cates focuses on that while also teasing the upcoming storyline “Absolute Carnage.” He delivers a creepy storyline that’s brutal in scary in so many ways. We see Eddie do what he has to provide and protect the innocents, even without Venom to help. It creates a character that is multifaceted and more well-rounded.

The art by Juan Gedeon and colorist Jesus Aburtov for Venom #16 is on the nose. It brings a grittiness to the story that fits the tone perfectly. There’s a caring innocence that slowly devolves as Eddie falls deeper into his mission and goal. The detail Gedeon makes sure to add of the bumps and bruises helps you feel that more sorry for Eddie and what he has to do.

Venom continues to be one of Marvel’s best series out there. It has added depth to a character who up to this point lacked any. Venom, and Eddie Brock, has finally gone from a Spider-Man who eats people, to a character you can empathize with. Cates has made me care about the character for the first time and put together an amazing focus on character, action, and big picture storytelling.

Story: Donny Cates Art: Juan Gedeon
Color: Jesus Aburtov Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Story: 8.75 Art: 8.35 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Reaver #1

Reaver #1

A fantasy Dirty Dozen is the best way to describe Reaver #1. Created by Justin Jordan and Rebekah Isaacs the first issue hits familiar beats but does so with a sense of style that makes it stand out.

Set in the fantasy world of Madaras, war has raged on after what was once a promising new land. The war isn’t going well for the Imperials who find out their enemy are using magic to anticipate their every move. To destroy this tool, a group of six prisoners is assembled for the deadly mission.

Jordan and Isaacs set up the first issue nicely giving the reader just enough information to enjoy the world and not getting bogged down in details. There could have easily been a slide in to too much fantasy detail. Instead, the world is more of a setting than anything else. The story is familiar too, which allows the reader to focus on just how the setting, and these characters, will make it stand out.

And it stands out pretty well. Reaver #1 is a fun start where each quirky character, and how they interact with each other, is the true draw. Each feels like a character class we might find in a roleplaying game. But, much like those games, the off the rails adventure they go on is the entertaining draw. How badly can things go wrong? How can they make it so? That’s the entertaining part of the first issue.

Isaacs’ art, along with color from Alex Guimaraes and lettering by Clayton Cowles, is solid. The design of each character tells the story of their history. There’s no need for lots of origins that distract. Instead, we get small detail of an outfit or body language to get a deeper idea of who these characters are.

The first issue is entertaining that’s reminiscent of the start of a roleplaying campaign. It goes in familiar directions but does so with a fun style about it that it’s clear it doesn’t take itself too seriously. Reaver #1 might not be a new concept overall but it delivers a fun debut that allows us to explore a new world while sitting back and enjoying the chaos.

Story: Justin Jordan Art: Rebekah Isaacs
Color: Alex Guimaraes Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Story: 7.5 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation:
Read

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Venom #16

With the War of the Realms over, Eddie Brock attempts to move on with his life as Absolute Carnage is right around the corner. An excellent issue bridging the two storylines.

Story: Donny Cates
Art: Juan Gedeon
Color: Jesus Aburtov
Letters: Clayton Cowles

Get your copy in comic shops starting July 10! To find a comic shop near you, visit www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon
TFAW

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site

Review: Star Wars: Target Vader #1

Darth Vader has hunted many who have opposed him. Now, he’s being hunted be a hired band of bounty hunters.

Story: Robbie Thompson
Art: Marc Laming, Cris Bolson
Color: Neeraj Menon, Jordan Boyd, Andres Mossa, Federico Blee, Erick Arciniega
Letters: Clayton Cowles

Get your copy in comic shops now and! To find a comic shop near you, visit www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon
Kindle & comiXology
TFAW

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site

Review: Superman: Up in the Sky #1

Superman: Up in the Sky #1 collects the original stories that appeared in the Walmart exclusive DC Giant comics. The story comes to comic shops for the first time!

Story: Tom King
Art: Andy Kubert
Ink: Sandra Hope
Color: Brad Anderson
Letters: Clayton Cowles

Get your copy in comic shops now and! To find a comic shop near you, visit www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon
Kindle & comiXology
TFAW

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site

Review: Star Wars: Target Vader #1

Star Wars: Target Vader #1

While we think of Star Wars mainly in its battles between Rebels and the Empire, it’s so much more. The world features so many genres within and some are used more than others. Star Wars: Target Vader #1 shifts from the space opera to more of a crime story focus.

Written by Robbie Thompson, Star Wars: Target Vader #1 has Vader and Palpatine attempting to stamp out a crime syndicate running guns for the Rebels. Business is good though, and the crime syndicate has a mission too. Hire bounty hunters to take out Vader first.

Thompson delivers the first issue as a complete set up of what’s to come. That includes a trope-filled part where we’re introduced to our bounty hunters. You can imagine the movie screen pausing as the bounty hunter’s name pops up and a voice, or lettering, takes you through what they’re known for. That all helps create a different pace than we’d normally expect for a Star Wars story. The beats feel more like a heist story than what we’ve seen in the past.

The personalities make the comic interesting. While the excitement is a bit muted, we get a taste of just how dysfunctional this group will be. It gets you interested in what’s to come.

The art by Marc Laming and Cris Bolson (and a load of colorists) is pretty solid. There’s a nice shift from the normal humans as far as characters and the bounty hunters are varied in style and look. It helps create a ragtag bunch. What’s also nice is there’s enough design at times that characters are familiar. An example is a Jedi hunting droid who will remind you of a past character. Even with similar attributes the character is unique. But, due to the familiarity there’s a built up expectation as far as what the character will be like.

While the issue doesn’t totally excite, it’s more than enough to get you to come back. There’s something fun about Target Vader. It has a style and voice that feels different than what we’ve seen so many times before. It delivers a new reading experience for an established franchise. This is one to check out for Star Wars fans or just comic readers.

Story: Robbie Thompson Art: Marc Laming, Cris Bolson
Color: Neeraj Menon, Jordan Boyd, Andres Mossa, Federico Blee, Erick Arciniega
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Winter Soldier: Second Chances

Winter Soldier: Second Chances is exactly what it sounds like with Bucky attempting to chart a new direction to help himself and others. The trade collects the complete series, issues #1-5.

Story: Kyle Higgins
Art: Rod Reis
Letters: Clayton Cowles

Get your copy in comic shops now and book stores on July 2! To find a comic shop near you, visit www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon
Kindle & comiXology
TFAW

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site

Review: Silver Surfer: Black #1

Silver Surfer: Black #1

I had no idea what to expect going into Silver Surfer: Black #1. With the creative team of writer Donny Cates and artist Tradd Moore, I had no doubt what I was going to read was going to be good.

Silver Surfer: Black #1 spins out of Guardians of the Galaxy #1. The galaxy’s defenders have been sent into a black hole and this is the story of Silver Surfer’s journey.

Spinning out of a comic, there’s always the worry you may need to know what happened before. Cates has done a masterful job of catching new readers up and allowing them to enjoy the journey. The comic really is about that journey and not the past. Silver Surfer is taken to an alien world… and where it goes from there, I’d rather not say.

Cates has delivered a comic that’s a must for anyone interested in the epic tale he’s telling in the cosmic side of the Marvel Universe. From Guardians of the Galaxy to Venom, Silver Surfer: Black fits right in and then some.

The issue has that philosophical feel about it as Surfer reflects on his history and the situation he’s in. It’s a different kind of comic with a more laid back feel about it embracing the comics of the past.

That’s helped by Tradd Moore‘s art. Moore has a unique style and here it works to enhance the feel of the comic. Dave Stewart provides the color and together they create an aesthetic that hearkens back to classic Kirby without trying to copy him. There are homages to the classic style he brought to Marvel’s cosmic, especially in the backgrounds. But, Moore sticks to his own style enhanced by Stewart’s vibrant colors. Clayton Cowles‘ lettering stands out as well with the alien language he brings. It begs you to attempt to decipher it and see what’s said.

If the issue isn’t on your radar, it should be. As someone who has never liked the Silver Surfer as a character, this debut issue has me wanting to read more immediately. Add in that this is a chapter in Cates’ bigger plan makes it a must.

Story: Donny Cates Art: Tradd Moore
Color: Dave Stewart Letters: Clayton Cowles
Story: 8.65 Art: 8.65 Overall: 8.65 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Batman and the Outsiders #2

Batman and the Outsiders #2

While the debut issue didn’t completely win me over, Batman and the Outsiders #2 delivers the humor and action that’ll have me coming back for more.

Sofia Barrera is on the run and the mysterious man named Kaliber is here to protect her!

That cliched plot would get most to roll their eyes. Add in Kaliber’s claim of being from the future and you have a plot and character that’s been done so many times before. And that shows the brilliance of writer Bryan Edward Hill. Batman and the Outsiders #2 both mocks and has fun with something we’ve seen and something so many called a rip off in its debut. The issue shows we should expect more from Hill who won’t deliver the standard. And in doing so, he gives us a truly entertaining comic.

Batman and the Outsiders #2 is beyond entertaining. A solid mix of action and humor creates an experience that’ll leave a smile on your face. There’s something very self-aware both making fun of itself and having fun with it all at the same time. The winks and nods are very present and deliberate. But, there’s small details that add a human factor that makes it a bit more than a shallow action comic.

Hill’s excellent writing is helped by the art of Dexter Soy. Soy is joined by colorist Veronica Gandini and letterer Clayton Cowles. The art has a quality about it that exudes its fun attitude. At times there’s a clear manga influence as characters go Super Saiyan in over the top displays. The art works and does so really well.

The comic feels like the entire team is just having fun and has cracked the code of adding metahumans to the Batman universe. The first issue was good. The second issue is fantastic. This is a series that should be on your radar and your pull list.

Story: Bryan Edward Hill Art: Dexter Soy
Color: Veronica Gandini Letters: Clayton Cowles
Story: 8.35 Art: 9.0 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
« Older Entries