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Underrated: Cloaked

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: Cloaked.


Another series I had been eyeing up while at the shop, Cloaked always had the kind of covers that drew my eye – which in retrospect is quite impressive considering that the covers were all very dark and blue; whether it was their similarity to each other which served to give the series a sense of familiarity and permanence to me (the way our inventory system works, there was always an issue on the racks, and the design of the cover meant the books were recognizable).

I’m not going to regurgitate the blurb on the back of the trade for a summary in slightly different words, so instead I’ll just copy it directly from the publisher’s website:

From Mike Richardson, creator of The Mask, comes a superhero vision as dark as the night. Twenty-five years ago, a genuine masked crimefighter came out of nowhere to declare war on crime. All of America celebrated the exploits of the black-clad vigilante . . . and then he disappeared. But when down-on-his-luck investigator Jake Stevens is hired to find the long-missing avenger, his inquiries threaten to expose the myth behind the mask.

Cloaked, on the surface, reminded me of the heroes that inspired Batman; the Shadow, the Spider and the Black Bat. Men who were mostly powerless and used handguns to dish out justice to criminals to varying degrees of lethality. This story takes the form of a man trying to discover the legacy of the city’s masked hero by hiring an ex-cop private eye to find out why the hero disappeared. It’s through this lens that we get glimpses of the hero’s activities during the years he was active, told through the people who knew him the most (which, given that he kept his identity very close, isn’t many).

The story in the book is interesting; part commentary on Batman, and part noir detective story, this is a fantastic hardboiled detective story with a vigilante/super hero backdrop – though admittedly it’s not one I’ll read again anytime soon, it’s still very enjoyable.

At this point you can find it in trade, so it’s worth at least looking out for it.


Join us next week where there will doubtless be another movie, series, comic or comic related thing discussed that is, for whatever reason, Underrated.

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Bolero #1

Wednesdays (and now Tuesdays) 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

Each week our contributors choose what they can’t wait to read this week or just sounds interesting. In other words, this is what we’re looking forward to and think you should be taking a look at!

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

Almost American #4 (AfterShock) – The true story of defecting Russian agents. It’s been an amazing read to see how dysfunctional the system is.

Animal Castle #2 (Ablaze) – A new take on Animal Farm, the first issue sold out so expect this one to do so as well!

Arrowsmith #1 (Image Comics) – Kurt Busiek returns to Image with a whole bunch of series launching and this is the first. Wizards and Dragons during World War I? Yeah, we’re in for it.

Art of Sushi (NBM) – Learn all about sushi!

Batman: The Knight #1 (DC Comics) – Chip Zdarsky doing Batman, nuff said.

Bolero #1 (Image Comics)Read our early review praising it. Everything is said there as to why it’s on the list.

Cloaked #2 (Dark Horse) – A vigilante hero was here and then gone. This is the story of the detective hired to figure out who he was.

My Date With Monsters #3 (AfterShock) – A pretty interesting series about a world where dreams can come over into the real world and the people tasked with trying to stop it, which means getting someone to fall in love.

Search for Hu #5 (AfterShock) – We really want to find out how this one ends and it the person we think is behind it all really is.

Shadowman #5 (Valiant) – The Deadside War begins here! A solid jumping on point for the series.

X Lives of Wolverine #1 (Marvel) – “Destiny of X” is coming and the next era of the X-Men begins here.

Your Turn to Die: Majority Death Game Vol. 2 (Yen Press) – This Saw-like series has been interesting so far and has us scratching our heads as to who’s behind it all.

Around the Tubes

The weekend is almost here! What geeky things are you all doing? Sound off in the comments below! While you wait for the weekday to end and the weekend to begin, here’s some comic news and a review from around the web.

Kotaku – Billionaire Goes To Space And Reviews A Manga – Pack it up reviewers, we’re not topping this.

The Beat – A Year of Free Comics: A cursed destiny awaits in LADY KNIGHT – Free comics!

Review

CBR – Cloaked #1

Cloaked #1

Review: Cloaked #1

Cloaked #1

Out of nowhere a vigilante appeared to strike fear into criminals. A mix between Batman and the Punisher, the “hero” took on crime in a “major American metropolis” and then disappeared. Twenty-five years later one of the richest people in the world has hired a former police officer, now detective, to try to figure out who the mystery hero really was. Cloaked #1 is an interesting start to the series that sets up an intriguing mystery that mixes noir/detective style with spandex.

Written by Mike Richarson, Cloaked #1 feels a bit like a throwback to 1990s Dark Horse when series like Hellboy and X were just starting out. There’s a “get back to the roots” aspect about it that’s intriguing in its execution and look. The concept of the series is pretty simple, unmask a hero who disappeared but the comic takes that and mixes it with a look and style that’s much more like the recent renaissance of detective comics that have launched in the past decade.

Roger “Jake” Stevens is the detective at the center of the story and his character is rooted in the genre, strereotypes, and clichés. He’s a former police officer. He’s slightly crooked and doesn’t follow rules. He grew up a troubled youth. Then there’s the relationship issues including an affair. It’s almost like check list for the genre was used when creating the character. It’s not a bad thing and in some ways makes getting into the series a bit easier. It’s familiar and allows the reader to just sit back and enjoy the concept without having to really focus too much on the character specifics. We generally know who Jake is since we’ve seen this character so many times in the past.

Part of the throwback charm to Cloaked #1 is the art by Jordi Armengol. Joined by Nate Piekos on lettering, the comic looks like it would have fit right in with the Dark Horse Legend imprint. It also has a certain look to it that has it have a vibe similar to the modern detective comics that have been made popular by Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips, and others. Interestingly, I think the art actually stands out most in the action scenes featuring the former superhero and has me wanting to see a series of that character with Armengol on art. There’s some issues, a sidekick’s forehead looks a little weird and out of proportion, but overall, there’s a solid match of the art to the style of story.

Cloaked #1 is a debut with a lot of potential. The comic ends in an interesting place and it’s easy to make some guesses as to where it will go from here. Hopefully, the series delivers more than my current suspicions but its mix of spandex and detective stories is an interesting one that creates a read that’s just slightly different than what else is on the shelf.

Story: Mike Richardson Art: Jordi Armengol
Color: Jordi Armengol Lettering: Nate Piekos
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.4 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

Dark Horse provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyKindle

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Robin & Batman #2

Wednesdays (and now Tuesdays) 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

Each week our contributors choose what they can’t wait to read this week or just sounds interesting. In other words, this is what we’re looking forward to and think you should be taking a look at!

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

BRZRKR #6 (BOOM! Studios) – The comic from launch has felt like a script for a film or show but it’s also been really good mixing action with a focus on its main character B and the weight of what he is.

By the Horns #8 (Scout Comics) – The series has a been a hell of a lot of fun delivering an interesting fantasy adventure that delivers action and humor.

Cloaked #1 (Dark Horse Comics) – An investigator is hired to find a masked hero who disappeared.

Download #1 (Red 5 Comics) – When Eric is hit by a mysterious blast of light from space, he suddenly finds his mind filled with designs for strange devices. The pitch promised 80s adventure and we want to see if it delivers!

Robin & Batman #2 (DC Comics) – The first issue was absolutely amazing and we’re expecting more of that same quality.

Hecate’s Will #1 (Black Mask Studios) – Written and art by Iolanda Zanfardino, the comic follows a NYC graffiti artist who decides to quit but wants to create one last street art experience before she’s done.

Hulk #2 (Marvel) – The first issue was a bit out there in its concepts but we still want to see where it goes in this horror/comedy/sci-fi take on the classic character.

Just Roll With It (Random House Graphic) – Starting middle school is hard enough when you don’t know anyone; it’s even harder when you’re shy. The graphic novel features a character dealing with anxiety and OCD while growing up.

Third Wave 99 #1 (Scout Comics) – The story behind the controversial late 1990’s Florida surf brand.

Wastelanders: Wolverine #1 (Marvel) – Lets held back to the “Old Man Logan” world of Marvel!

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