Tag Archives: comic books

Preview: The X-Files: Origins #4 (of 4)

The X-Files: Origins #4 (of 4)

Jody Houser & Matthew Dow Smith (w) • Chris Fenoglio, Corin Howell (a & c)

Before the FBI, before the X-Files, they were just two teenagers in search of the truth. On Martha’s Vineyard, a young Fox Mulder investigates something strange happening on the island, while in San Diego, 13-year-old Dana Scully looks into the shocking murder of her teacher. Two kids, two mysteries, one conspiracy that threatens the future of humanity!

FC • 40 pages • $4.99

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Preview: Josie and the Pussycats #3

JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS #3

Script: Marguerite Bennett, Cameron DeOrdio
Art: Audrey Mok, Kelly Fitzpatrick, Jack Morelli
Cover: Audrey Mok
Variant Covers: Wilfredo Torres, Dean Trippe
On Sale Date: 12/7
32-page, full color comic
$3.99 U.S.

The next installment’s got it all! Alexandra is BACK to wreak havoc on the Pussycats’ beach party as Josie’s romance with Alan M heats up! We’ve got lions, tigers, and jet skis (oh my!) as the Pussycats fight—for the right—to party!

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Preview: Midnighter and Apollo #3

Midnighter and Apollo #3

(W) Steve Orlando (A) Fernando Blanco (CA) Aco
In Shops: Dec 07, 2016
SRP: $3.99

With Henry Bendix’s trap sprung, it’ll be a long road for Midnighter to be reunited with Apollo-and the path will take him straight through the gates of Hell itself!

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Preview: Champions #3

Champions #3

(W) Mark Waid (A/CA) Humberto Ramos
Rated T
In Shops: Dec 07, 2016
SRP: $3.99

What began as an idea and an ideal has now become a movement! But the problem with movements is that not even the Hulk can control them!

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Review: The Clone Conspiracy #3

the_clone_conspiracy__3The Clone Conspiracy continues as Spider-Man is on the run with Gwen Stacy/Spider-Gwen from his newly resurrected rogues. But, the bigger thing about the issue is the ending reveal which while I’m sure will be shocking for some, feels pretty obvious based on the story and its title.

So far The Clone Conspiracy‘s first two issues and its tie-ins have mostly been building up what’s to come and “the big reveal” which happens here. For those that don’t know the main story, the Jackal is bringing back dead individuals from Spider-Man’s past through cloning, but with a twist these individuals are back from the moment of their death including their memories.

So, Spider-Mans rogues, as well as other individuals from his world, are back as if no time has passed at all. It’s an interesting concept and a way to get some of the classic back with Spider-Man. And for the most part the storyline has been a fun ride in a turn your brain off sort of way. Sit back and just enjoy it. Just don’t think too much about it and the implications of it all.

Up to this point the Jackal has talked about how his reasons have been altruistic. These aren’t villains back to plunder, they are here to do good and have been acting in a restrained manner. That part is the most interesting to me as I’m still not convinced the Jackal has a positive bent when it comes to it all. Here we get a better sense of his plan, but things are still very open in many ways.

And there is a big reveal at the end. I’m not going to discuss that here in this review. It’s easy to figure out though (at least I predicted something of the sort in many ways). Writer Dan Slott is mining classic characters and stories and this reveal is an example of that (good or bad). So while it was a “big” moment I found myself generally just nodding, saying “huh,” and then moving on to the next comic to read.

The art by Jim Cheung is fantastic. There’s lots of action, lots of characters, and every single panel on every single page looks amazing. Inks by John Dell and colors by Justin Ponsor all come together for a visual feast. Slott has had some solid writing when it comes to Spider-Man, but the artists he’s gotten to work with are some of the best and this issue is an example. Things pop and look great adding to the fun sense of it all.

The reveal didn’t do a whole lot for me, but the issue is entertaining fun. Events don’t always have to shake things up or make us say “holy shit,” sometimes they can be mindless summer blockbusters that feel more like a ride to strap ourselves in to. The Clone Conspiracy to me is exactly that and I’ve been enjoying the ride and looking forward to see where it takes us.

Story: Dan Slott Art: Jim Cheung Cover Art: Gabriele Dell’Otto
Inks: John Dell Colors: Justin Ponsor
Story: 7.4 Art: 8.15 Overall: 7.45 Recommendation: Read

Review: Motor Crush #1

motorcrush-01_cvraEvery so often, when we’ve all begun to settle on our year-end best of lists for comics, a new number one comes along in December that shakes up those lists and causes you to happily go back to the drawing board as a reviewer. Bitch Planet #1 was that comic in December 2014 and now Motor Crush #1 from Image Comics is that comic for December 2016.

I got an early look at Motor Crush back in September when the creators Brenden Fletcher, Cameron Stewart and Babs Tarr hosted a panel about the comic and gave away an ashcan that included the first half of this issue. While I was majorly impressed with what I saw, it didn’t really occur to me that I was looking at what was still a work in progress.

Between what I saw in September and what is being released on shelves has definitely been polished up. A new, cleaner lettering style from Aditya Bidikar and colorful designs from Tom Muller that are meant to immerse you in the world of Nova Honda completely. Fresh pastels from Tarr and added narration gives a way better sense of who Domino is as a character.

A lot of what you can expect from this first issue is learning about our hero Domino Swift. Inspired by Willow Smith in both terms of look and attitude, Domino is a tough and headstrong young woman with a lot of promise and a lot more secrets. Some that will even leave you gasping if the end of the first issue is any indication. However, Team Motor Crush does a good job at making her and her struggles rather complicated and nuanced instead of going straight for “brooding hero with a secret.” Plus, that wouldn’t match the bright neon setting of Nova Honda anyway. I seriously want to know how a book of ink and paper manages to actually glow the way this issue does.

I recently compared Mother Panic to the comic series The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys in terms of pace and tone, and I was nearly ready to do the same for Motor Crush. However, that isn’t true. It’s more like the album companion My Chemical Romance released three years prior titled Danger Days. Frenetic and joyful even in the darkness, Motor Crush is about finding your place in the world and trying to survive set against a futuristic backdrop of motorcycle racing. While the first issue is mostly set-up, it refuses to let off the gas as you follow Domino along on her journey and the jolt of the ending leaves you wanting another ride as soon as it is over. You owe it to yourself to take a ride with Motor Crush.

Story: Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher, and Babs Tarr Art: Babs Tarr
Story: 9.0 Art: 10.0 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Graphic Policy was provided with a FREE copy for review

Review: Superman #12

sm_cv12_dsSuperman has been one of the most consistent DC Rebirth books. Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason have done an excellent job so far, and while Superman #12 had some good action scenes and a fun visit from Frankenstein, I didn’t feel that this was one of the stronger issues. Now that isn’t to say it wasn’t enjoyable because it was.

We start in rural Hamilton County where Clark now lives with Lois and his son Jon aka Superboy. They moved here to live a more quiet and private life until Frankenstein shows up looking for someone, and he doesn’t come in peace. That person is Candice, the seemingly kind lady who wants to hire Lois for the Hamilton Horn. After he trashes the office and tries to apprehend Candice, Lois saves her and the two flee on his vehicle. A fun chase ensues, and sure enough The Man of Steel shows up to even the odds. There’s a nice twist at the end, and it creates an interesting premise for the next issue.

Doug Mahnke does a solid job on art, and Frankenstein looks awesome. I loved the fight scenes more than the other panels, but the art throughout the book is still good. There’s a sequence in particular I really liked where Frankenstein is hanging off his flying vehicle that Lois stole, and Superman shows up and sends him flying. The action continues with a farmer blasting Frankenstein with a shotgun, which causes him no harm, but he is then thrown by Superman once again like he was a rag doll. It was fun, funny, and it was drawn really well. The inks by Jaime Mendoza and Christian Alamy as well as the colors by Wil Quantana are sharp, vibrant, and really bring Hamilton County to life. By the colors of the leaves, we can see it is autumn, and I really enjoy when artists can add to the story without needing any extra written words.

If you’re already reading Superman, then this issue shouldn’t make you want to stop. It’s a fun small arc that will run only two issues, so we will see it come to an end in two weeks. If you aren’t reading Superman, this is a good issue to jump onto, as you don’t need much backstory to understand what is happening. There are a few small things that were in past issues or Action Comics, but they’re not that important to the overall plot of the issue.

Story: Peter J. Tomasi/Patrick Gleason Art: Doug Mahnke
Ink: Jaime Mendoza/Christian Alamy Color: Wil Quintana
Story: 7.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

DC provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Wonder Woman ’77 Meets the Bionic Woman #1

wonderwoman77coverEven though Andy Mangels’ plot is needlessly convoluted at times introducing supporting characters from the TV shows slapdash without giving new fans a feel for them, and Judit Tondora’s art lacks heft during scenes that should be iconic like Wonder Woman transforming, their love for these classic 70s TV shows shines through in Wonder Woman ’77 Meets the Bionic Woman #1. They should also be commended for making Diana and Jaime almost instant friends and allies instead fo wasting the first issue on pointless squabbles as they smile after catching a giant boulder together while protecting ordinary citizens from an explosion. After a fun cold open, the first issue goes all out Cold War with various alphabet soup espionage organizations, including Bionic Woman‘s OSI, trying to catch saboteurs and get to the bottom of a deeply rooted conspiracy.

Mangels has great ideas for action scenes in Wonder Woman ’77/Bionic Woman #1, and the ones that hit home are the ones with smaller panels showing the individual moves from Wonder Woman, Bionic Woman, and others. There is a simple beauty to these women using their extraordinary abilities to protect those weaker than them in spite of the sexism of their colleagues. (Jaime deduces the almost obvious fact that Diana Prince is Wonder Woman even though this puzzles the rest of the mostly male operatives.) Then, toward the last third of the comic, Mangels introduces a whole slew of supporting characters from both  using a big portion of the remaining pages to show them in action instead of furthering Diana and Jaime’s arcs even killing a character for a cheap bit of drama. It’s nice that he does justice to both the worlds of Bionic Woman and Wonder wonderwoman77interiorWoman, but what could be a strong superhero/spy period piece gets lost in the shuffle. Hopefully, later issues of the miniseries either streamline the plot or spend time showing Diana and Jaime’s connections to their supporting players. The latter could be very rewarding.

The colors from Michael Bartolo and Stuart Chaifetz stay baseline until Bionic Woman or Wonder Woman use their special abilities, and the page changes from a mundane 70s TV show to something imaginative. Of course, there’s plenty of red, white, and blue when Wonder Woman is catching rocks, blocking bullets with her bracelets, and generaly kicking butt. But the coolest bit of color is when Bionic Woman uses her highly underrated super hearing ability from her bionic implant, which is a shade of light blue like a dolphin using echolocation. The colors mixed with Tondora’s drawings of explosions gives that classic 70s or 80s TV show feel of “We used the whole special effects budget on that one sequence.” But since this is comics, there are several such sequences.

At its best, Wonder Woman ’77/Bionic Woman #1 is quick hitting, empowering fun with a retro twist as Diana and Jaime fight Cold War era bad guys. At its worst, there is occasionally no room to breathe in the story as Mangels and Tondora cram in plot beat after plot beat and extra character after character. For example, the first transformation sequence from Diana to Wonder Woman is only about a quarter of a page and falls short of the iconic moment in the show and even a recent homage to it in Supergirl. But the sound effects and active backgrounds keep the story’s momentum going and make Wonder Woman ’77/Bionic Woman #1 a slightly above average read.

Story: Andy Mangels Art: Judit Tondora Colors: Michael Bartolo, Stuart Chaifetz
Story: 7.5 Art: 7 Overall: 7.3 Verdict: Read

Dynamite Entertainment provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Ninjak #22

ninjak_022_cover-a_segovia++Ninjak is on the hunt for the woman who took everything from him — the sadistic assassin known as Roku! When Roku’s trail leads to a heavily guarded citadel in the Nevada desert, silence is of the essence as Ninjak undertakes a dangerous stealth mission where even the faintest noise could mean execution! But even if Valiant’s top super-spy can reach the woman once known as Angelina Alcott undetected, will he truly be able to face the former love of his life?

Ninjak #22 is an almost entirely silent issue (I say almost because there may be six words at most throughout spoken throughout the entire issue), with the story being told almost exclusively with Cafu’s art. Generally I find silent issues like this to be quite hit and miss, although usually far more miss than hit as a comic without words often struggles with the set up and execution of the story, so I wasn’t really expecting much from a silent issue in a series that hasn’t really met my expectations for the last couple of issues

Much to my surprise and delight, the silent issue I wasn’t looking forward to is probably the one that I’ve enjoyed most over the last five or six months. The irony of a silent comic about a ninja being such an enjoyable read isn’t lost on me.

Matt Kindt doesn’t try to do too much with the story; it’s actually a fairly straightforward action comic on the surface, albeit with a dash of humor at the very beginning, the overall simplicity of the story is its strength. By not trying to over complicate things, Kindt allows Cafu to work his magic and illustrate one tense action sequence after another. This is an ideal comic for fans of ninjas whether you’re reading Ninjak or not; a standalone issue in every sense of the word. Honestly, I feel like any narration or dialogue would take away from the quality of the comic, which is something I never thought I’d ever say, but the handful of words within the comic are so much more powerful and impactful when surrounded by the silent pages of this comic. My faith in Ninjak has been restored after the last couple of missteps –  truly a fantastic issue.

Trust Valiant to put out the one silent issue I actually enjoyed.

Story: Matt Kindt Art: Cafu Colours: Ulises Arreola
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.75 Overall: 8.75 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Violent Love #2

violentlove02_coveraRight from the opening pages of the first issue of Violent Love, it’s made quite apparent that this tale of eventual bank robbers and lovers Daisy Jane and Rock Bradley is greatly influenced by stories and films in the same genre; Dylan Todd’s striking designs connect with the cinematic aesthetic by having the creative team page look like it came right from the bottom of a movie poster. Though the influences aren’t even hidden all that well (Daisy seeing Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid), Frank J. Barbiere and Victor Santos are definitely crafting something different and unique both in its method of storytelling and flow of visuals.

This second issue throttles forward into 1971 in New Mexico where Daisy has joined forces with a man named Charlie to rob banks. There is a great point of view splash page from the bank teller’s perspective, confronting the reader with Daisy’s green eyes, just slightly peeking out from her sunglasses, and a double-barreled shotgun held next to an open sack in her other hand. The images are paced out fast, flowing the narrative forward and knowing when to slow down and focus on the smaller, quieter moments. Santos does an excellent job at drawing attention to particular aspects within the frames, consistently utilizing the spaces effectively. violentlove2-2He also uses color, or the lack thereof, to emphasize the importance of certain objects or actions. For example, when Daisy sits in the hotel room where she and Charlie just engaged in a hot and heavy game of extracurricular activities, her entire body is black as the eye is drawn to the muddled orange/red hat in her hands. The previous frame reminds the reader of its importance to her, also using the color red to deviate from the use of green to shift in time. This in effect not only deepens the impact of these kinds of moments and objects but also elevates and accentuates Santos’s ability as a visual storyteller.

Daisy has clearly changed from the first issue, becoming more and more reckless as the rage of her father’s death drives her to find the man who committed the murder: Johnny Nails. Barbiere’s script is fast and quick-witted, gets straight to the point and doesn’t make the language too flowery; this is a crime/romance story after all. Rock is also introduced in this issue, doing his best James Dean impression, exuberating calm, cool and collected…at least for now. Daisy and Rock’s first meeting is filled with slight jabs at one another but the primary focus still remains on Daisy’s mission to find Johnny. This mission is leading Daisy into some fairly precarious places and people, setting up the next issue with a very interesting situation for her.

Story: Frank J. Barbiere Art: Victor Santos Designs: Dylan Todd
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Image provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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