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Review: Winter Soldier #3

Winter Soldier #4

A face from the past returns at a pivotal time in RJ’s deprogramming. But is his return too good to be true? Or is Bucky just being paranoid? What lengths is he willing to go to keep RJ safe? An issue filled with shocking choices.

Usually when one starts a comic series at issue #3, you can pick things up pretty easily. That’s still the case here, but with the added caveat that this is third of five issues (which I wasn’t aware of until I started reading). Needless to say, I haven’t read the first two issues.

But that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy the comic.

A lot of what I needed to know was given to me from the recap page, and the rest through a wordy therapy session or two in the opening to the comic. It had the effect of bringing me up to speed without needlessly overburdening those who had read the other two issues with too much exposition.

The issue itself has a lot more emotional and psychological weight than physical threat level (though there is an interesting sequence in the comic, but more on that later) as Kyle Higgins digs into the damaged psyche of the Winter Soldier. Redemption stories have always been some of my favourite, and Higgins peels back a layer or two to make some revelations into Bucky’s mind; it’s nothing overly ground breaking or original, but it is teased out slowly and done very well (there’s a chance that it’s a much better reveal if you’ve read the first two issues).

The plot of the comic isn’t overly complex, and ties right into Bucky’s desire to give folks a new life after escaping from or moving on from a life of crime; it’s a concept that I really enjoy and hope that it’s expanded upon after this series (that it comes from Kyle Higgins doesn’t surprise me – his Image series C.O.W.L. also had a great central concept).

Rod Reis has an almost whimsical style in this issue; the art feels light, but easy to follow. There is a brilliant double page spread, although the effect was lost a little in the review copy I imagine it’ll be fantastic in print, and an action sequence that follows that’s also visually very impressive. You’ll be looking at those pages for sometime as you absorb the details.

Starting a five issue miniseries in the middle is never ideal, but with Winter Soldier #3 it is more than doable. This is a really fun and enjoyable comic with some not so subtle questions about the nature of redemption.

Story: Kyle Higgins Art: Rod Reis Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Story: 8.4 Art: 8.3 Overall: 8.4 Recommendation: Buy (but maybe start with #1)

Review: Age of X-Man: NextGen #1

We’re getting more and more glimpses of the world of Age of X-Man! Age of X-Man: NextGen #1 introduces us to the students and a better idea of how X-Man has created order there. But, are things as disciplined as it seems?

Age of X-Man: NextGen #1 is by Ed Brisson, Marcus To, Jason Keith, and Clayton Cowles.

Get your copy in comic shops on February 13! 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/comiXology/Kindle
TFAW

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies 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: Daredevil #1

The time honored rule that Daredevil is a sure bet to be a quality Marvel comic continues with his latest volume from Chip Zdarsky, Marco Checchetto, and Sunny Gho. Charles Soule’s previous run on Daredevil left him a mess as he recovered from being hit by a truck while he pushed a kid out of the way in a dark mirror of his Stan Lee and Bill Everett crafted origin story. Zdarsky and Checcheto’s Daredevil has lost a step and is taking more risks, such as casual sex with a side dish of almost torching buildings to stop shopliftters. And this is in a world where Wilson Fisk is mayor, and the NYPD has a new top cop that loves arrests, and collars, especially of vigilantes.

Marco Checchetto’s tortured artwork matches the plotline, and Sunny Gho spends a lot of time muting and keeping colors in the shadows even Daredevil’s red costume. The exception is the flashbacks to Matt’s visits to Mass as a boy because there’s a little light beaming through the windows. But Matt is in pain throughout Daredevil #1 as he writhes in bed, pops pain pills, hits the side of the rooftops he’s leaping, and has trouble with petty criminals, which is the sure sign of a rusty criminal.

And this rustiness doesn’t mix well with the fact that Zdarsky and Checchetto show that Daredevil enjoys beating on criminals. This is set up in the flashback when a priest tells a young Matt Murdock in a more professional/spiritual leader manner that it’s okay to break the law in the service of justice as long as he isn’t caught. This becomes a slippery slopes that starts at stealing back his friend’s baseball cards to beating men with his bare hands.

Zdarsky and Checchetto don’t rush these confession sequences showing Daredevil/Matt’s reactions to what he has done and giving the priest soliloquies. (The final one implies that Daredevil is playing God.) Even if he doesn’t even smell a church in the present day, Zdarsky and Checchetto do an excellent job of showing how Catholicism and an absent father influenced Daredevil. They craft scenes between the “big” events of young Matt’s life, namely, his accident and his father’s death that informs his character in the present day.

Although, Chip Zdarsky has written and/or drawn many comedic comics, like Sex Criminals, Jughead, and Howard the Duckhis fairly recent work for Marvel like Daredevil and Invaders has taken on a darker bent. Not in an edgy way, but in a “Never underestimate the propensity of humans to commit violent acts” way. Matt can be charming when he flirts with a stranger at the bar (Checchetto makes him quite attractive too), but all that charm is out the window as a red devil scampers the roof of Hell’s Kitchen purposefully putting himself on display to strike fear.

And this is where the arc title comes into play, “Know Fear”. Zdarsky and Checchetto have replaced the inward part of feeling no fear with the outward part of striking fear into everyone around Daredevil. He isn’t trying to sneak back into his life as life, but wants to make headlines even in a world where his worst enemy is the most powerful man in New York City. It’s the shadow child of the openly confident Daredevil of Mark Waid’s run. After what Daredevil went through at the end of Soule’s run and the tortuous Man Without Fear mini, it’s an earned darkness.

Daredevil #1 concludes its powerful exploration of Daredevil’s use of violence and life after a dangerous accident with Chip Zdarsky written and drawn backup story that’s a real treat. It’s a bit of a riff on the hallway fight sequence from Marvel Netflix’s Daredevil where the hero successfully cares a child to safety while being involved in a single take fight scene. Zdarsky uses grids to keep up the rhythm of the fight as well as strategic uses of overwhelming lettering and claustrophobic panels to show how he sometimes overwhelmed by loud noises. The entire exercise shows that Zdarsky is a formalist with heart, who can get to the essence of an iconic superhero.

Daredevil #1 is the dark, tortured, Old Testament God take on the Man without Fear that we deserve from Chip Zdarsky, Marco Checchetto, and Sunny Gho. You should read this comic instead of signing those silly Change.org petitions to bring the Netflix show back.

Story: Chip Zdarsky Art: Marco Checchetto
Colors: Sunny Gho Letters: Clayton Cowles
Story: 8.8 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.2 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Daredevil #1

Matt Murdock is bruised and beaten but that doesn’t mean Daredevil is dead. Chip Zdarsky, Marco Checchetto, Sunny Gho, and Clayton Cowles take us on the next adventure of Murdock and Daredevil as he starts his fight again.

Get your copy of Daredevil #1 in comic shops February 6! 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/comiXology/Kindle
TFAW

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies 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: Age of X-Man: Alpha

Age of X-Man: Alpha

The age of X-Man dawns… and the X-Men cannot stop it.

For months new, we’ve been teased about the “Age of X-Man” a shift in the status-quo for the X-comics. Its echoes of the “Age of Apocalypse” had expectations the story would be similar but in reality is it is and it isn’t.

Written by Zac Thompson and Lonnie Nadler, Age of X-Man: Alpha is our first real introduction to this new world which has the X-Men whisked away to a new world where everyone is a mutant. But, it’s not everyone, there are mutants still on the Marvel Prime universe and their stories are being told in Uncanny X-Men and X-Force.

We find out the “Age of X-Man” is one where some event has made everyone a mutant. The villains have been dealt with. It’s a world of peace. But is it really as good as it seems?

Through various short stories that flow from one to another, we get introductions to the various mini-series that will spin out of this event. And it’s a solid introduction to it all. There’s just enough touched upon and teased to get readers to see what comes next. It also feels just different enough to be intriguing as well. This isn’t the “positive” to the “Age of Apocalypse’s” negative, there’s something more going on here and it hints there’s an exploration of something a bit more sinister.

The art by Ramon Rosanas with color by Triona Farrell and lettering by Clayton Cowles is good. The style is interesting and leads to a feel of an almost dreamlike state of it all. The design of the characters are interesting and the flow of the story works well as the art transitions from one story to another.

The comic is one that’s a good introduction to the world and it’s our first look as to what’s going on. It’s a primer to get readers interested in what’s to come and what’s show is interesting. It’s a great way for those intrigued by this event to see what’s coming and for those who want to see what’s going on, this is a good way to do exactly that.

Story: Zac Thompson, Lonnie Nadler Art: Ramon Rosanas
Color: Triona Farrell Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Mysteries of Love in Space #1

Mysteries of Love in Space #1

(W) James Tynion IV, Saladin Ahmed, Cecil Castellucci, Kyle Higgins, Jeff Loveness, Others (A) Tom Grummett, Kyle Hotz, Elena Casagrande, Max Dunbar, Others (CA) Joelle Jones
In Shops: Jan 30, 2019
SRP: $9.99

Sometimes love can make you feel like you’re from another planet…but what if you actually were? Join Superman, The New Gods, Green Lantern, Starro, Hawkgirl and even the Teen Titans’ new sensation Crush for eight tales of romance that will whisk you to the moon and back!

Mysteries of Love in Space #1

Review: Age of X-Man: Alpha

Enter the Age of X-Man! It’s a world of harmony where everyone is a mutant but is it as good as it seems? And what lead to its existance?

Age of X-Man: Alpha is your primer for the upcoming event miniseries from Marvel in a world of peace.

Age of X-Man: Alpha is by Zac Thompson, Lonnie Nadler, Ramon Rosanas, Triona Farrel, and Clayton Cowles.

Get your copy in comic shops January 30! 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/comiXology/Kindle
TFAW

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies 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: Captain Marvel (2019) #1

Carol is back on Earth and takes off in her own series that has her reconnecting with old friends and then… yeah, that ending has us excited.

Captain Marvel #1 is by Kelly Thompson, Carmen Carnero, Tamra Bonvillain, and Clayton Cowles.

Get your copy in comic shops January 9th! 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/comiXology/Kindle
TFAW

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies 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: Winter Soldier #2

Winter Soldier #2

As Bucky works to help others find the redemption that he found, Hydra takes issue with his new initiative…and sends a young killer to rectify the situation. Introducing R.J., teenage assassin extraordinaire, who’s been sent to kill the man he’s been modeled after: the Winter Soldier.

In one of the more unexpected standouts from the end of of 2018, Winter Soldier #2 is already a standout in 2019 too.

Written by Kyle Higgins, this second issue picks right up from the first with Bucky facing his mystery assailant. But, Higgins doesn’t leave us hanging. Instead the issue teases just enough for us to learn about this new character, R.J., and so far so good.

The issue is full of brutal fights and an origin that keeps you intrigued. It’s a solid mix that someone sticks to modern comics’ decompression as well as old school storytelling of delivering a one-shot in some ways.

While we don’t know everything about R.J. or his handler what’s clear is that Higgins has flipped the script as well. Instead of sticking to the usual defeat/kill the enemy, he sticks to the theme of the series which is redemption. Winter Soldier is a different type of series in that way and that’s a good thing.

The art by Rod Reis with lettering by Clayton Cowles is fantastic. There’s an almost watercolor type quality to it but that also enhances both the brutality of the story and R.J.’s youth. This is an example of art style matching up perfectly with the story. Anything else and the tone and quality wouldn’t be near as good.

Winter Soldier is clearly a different type of superhero story. Yes, there’s the action we’d expect but it’s the actions at the end of the battle that seems to set it apart so far. The introduction of R.J. has set up something that’s potentially very interesting flipping the script on Bucky in many ways forcing him to become the teacher and completing his growth from a trained killer to something more. This is a series to keep your eye on in 2019.

Story: Kyle Higgins Art: Rod Reis Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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