Tag Archives: Comics

Review: Aliens: Defiance #10


An attack on the Europa by space pirates leaves Zula, Davis, and Hollis on a barely functional ship. They now must return to Earth, where the Weyland-Yutani corporation is waiting and ready to put an end to their rogue mission.

In Aliens: Defiance #10 Europa is now nothing more than floating scrap metal, with Zula, Davis, and Hollis still on board. And, with them now approaching Earth, they face certain death. That reality forces them to take drastic measures which is leaving Davis behind, as Zula and Hollis take what may be their only chance at life.

The art by Stephen Thompson is fantastic. The issue gives us a look at the more dress based space marine clothing. The perspective shifts a little as views from space and the Europa to Earth manages to be spotlighted well. That new perspective manages to create a blend of reality and science fiction.

Story: Brian Wood Art: Stephen Thompson
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Dark Horse Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Reveiw: Aliens: Defiance #9


A fledgling alien, kept alive in a deep freeze for the purpose of learning its weaknesses, wages a psychological war on Zula, Davis, and Hollis. They try to keep it together, but an attack on the Europa by space pirates forces the trio to weaponize what they seek to destroy.

Something shocking is revealed about the fledgling alien in Aliens: Defiance #9. And with that, writer Brian Wood manages to make the situation for Europa go from bad to worse. What’s interesting and feels new is the use the natural lethality of the alien against the pirates. It does beg the question, were the pirates after the fledgling alien or was it just a matter of coincidence?

The art by Tony Brescini like previous issues is gruesome and violent. There’s some solid short fire-fights between the pirates and Zula. And even with all the action, the blood-drenched appearance of the alien is a terrifying sight to behold.

Story: Brian Wood  Art: Tony Brescini
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.25 Recommendation: Buy

Dark Horse Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 4/22

Sometimes, the staff at Graphic Policy read more comics than we’re able to get reviewed. When that happens you’ll see a weekly feature compiling short reviews from the staff of the comics, or graphic novels, we just didn’t get a chance to write a full review for.

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


ASBM_Cv9All-Star Batman #7 (DC) A solid finale to the current arc that has a couple of cool sequences that are mire down with the godlike Batman moments that seem a little too Deus Ex Machina for me. It’s good, but it’s not the best comic from Scott Snyder you’ll ever read. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

Batman #21 (DC) Well this is a turn up for the books; Tom King delivers a brilliant issue of Batman. The… ironic thing is that the things he did that I didn’t like over the last arc were repeated here, but in a much more compressed manor… and it works very well. The first issue of the four part Batman/Flash crossover is well worth read – especially if you read DC Rebirth #1Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Moon Knight #13 (Marvel) I have a love hate relationship with the series; I love the aesthetic, and at times the story, but I’m certainly not always fond of the overall direction Lemire is taking the series. This issue, however, was a solid win. If you like your comics to make you think, then this is for you. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Read

Secret Empire #0 (Marvel) While I’m not fond of having Steve Rogers as an undercover Hydra agent, the zero issue itself isn’t horrible. It sets up the event nicely, framing Rogers as a very effective villain, but whether Secret Empire will follow Marvel’s recent pattern of a strong start with a weak ending only time will tell. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

Venom #6 (Marvel) Although a decent comic, the outcome of this issue felt a little rushed after the previous five issues exploring the relationship between Lee and the symbiote as Marvel sets up the number jumping Venom #150. Does this issue suffer because of that? A little, but if you’re invested in the series it’s still worth a read. Overall: 6.75 Recommendation: Read


Secret_Empire_0_CoverSecret Empire #0 (Marvel) – For the past year or so Nick Spencer has been getting a ton of heat for making Steve Rogers/Captain America, a secret Hydra agent. Secret Empire is the culmination of this event and it starts with the Heroes taking one on the nose, as Spencer and Daniel Acuna take us on a tour of the hot spots of Earth-616 created by Rogers and sets us up for another Marvel roller coaster of suspense. Hopefully they can bring it all home in 9 issues. Recommend if you like the big event stuff.


Secret Empire #0 (Marvel)  I was actually surprised that I liked this comic. Now don’t think that’s saying this comic isn’t without its flaws, because the entire premise of what Spencer is doing has those, but for what this was, I did enjoy it. We still don’t get a lot of depth here for Cap’s intentions, but they are doubling down as him being a big bad. I had fun in a big action movie kind of way. I was shocked at some of the things he’s done in this and in his title, and am curious to where this takes us. I’m still betting this leads to a “Rebirth” for Marvel. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

Monsters Unleashed #1 (Marvel)  The event never grabbed me, and this comic, understandably is more of that. It features Kid Kaiju, Elsa Bloodstone and a group of talking monsters that I do think many kids will love. It felt very much like the first Transformers film where they play around outside waiting for the human boy to play or to give them something to do. I don’t think this is a bad idea to have this series, and I do think it could develop into a fun story for anyone, especially kids. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Read

Venom #5 (Marvel)  Brock has returned, and with him comes Spidey. This was a decent issue, and Brock returning to the suit is interesting, and as a big Peter Parker fan, this is exciting to have his biggest foe of my childhood returning to his prime version. I didn’t enjoy Lee much as the lead character, so it is good the title quickly changed who wears the suit. Will the suit still hold onto Flash’s good intentions, or resort back to the comfort of the monster that it was with Eddie? Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read


IHateFairyland_06-1I Hate Fairyland #12 (Image)**  Skottie Young and company bring us Lone Gert and Grub, in which Gert performs sweet ninja – sorry, samurai – moves and confronts the entire City of the Shiitake. This is a visual idea that I cannot believe I’ve never seen before and Skottie Young of course pulls it off with brio and grossness. Spoiler alert: Gert trying to do good deeds doesn’t exactly pan out. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Sex Criminals #18 (Image)** Confirming my personal theory of recent comics, Fraction & Zdarsky go mostly off-plot for this issue, get back to exploring relationships, and it’s the best issue in a long time. It is so rare to see an adult comic that actually involves adult characters that that is all I need. Unfortunately, this looks like it’s only an interlude. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Descender #21 (Image)  In theatre school, one of the most valuable lessons I learned was that there’s a difference between dramatic action and mere activity. Although there’s plenty of activity in the conclusion of this book, there is not much action going on at all. Dustin Nguyen’s art is gorgeous as ever, but Jeff Lemire is just connecting dots and the characters are all just following their programming. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Skip.

Curse Words #4 (Image)  If this issue had started on page 12 and finished on page 18, I would have loved it! I’m not sure what the hell was going on before, and bored with what was going on after, but those 8 pages where Wizord goes to the Magic Castle to get his magic back is pure delight. Overall: 4, then 9, then 4 Recommendation: Read the middle part.

Ryan C

RoyalCity_02-1.pngRoyal City #2 (Image)** – I wasn’t necessarily sold on Jeff Lemire’s latest solo series after the first issue, but with this one, it’s safe to say I’m all in. Events unfold at a languid, almost dreamlike pace that perfectly suits the material, the interpersonal relationships and various tribulations of our main protagonist and his family are deepened, and everything just intuitively feels right. A truly superb comic. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Batman #21 (DC)** – Tom King does some transparently clever things with tying the events of a televised hockey game in with the main Batman vs. Reverse-Flash fight that takes up the bulk of this issue, but it’s not enough to make the first part of this cross-over feel like yet another massive time-waster, Jason Fabok’s illustrations are the epitome of the dull, “New 52”-era “house style” at DC, and nothing that happens in these pages goes any way towards alleviating the concerns myself and many other readers have that bringing the so-called “Watchmen Universe” into the DCU “proper” is anything other than a cynical cash-grab. Overall: 3 Recommendation: Pass

Black #5 (Black Mask)** – Writer Kwanza Osajyefo continues to waste what is undoubtedly one of the cooler premises in comics right now with yet another clumsily-scripted, info-dumping issue that manages to both overload the reader with too much backstory while somehow doing nothing to deepen our understanding of what’s really going on, much less develop any of the characters in a meaningful way. Jamal Igle’s illustration continues to be nice, and Khary Randolph’s cover is another stunner, but beyond that, there’s not much here to justify your $3.99 expenditure. Overall: 3.5 Recommendation: Pass

Black Hammer #8 (Dark Horse)** – I’m running out of reasons for why I love this comic, suffice to say if you’re as enamored with it as I am, this issue is certain to leave you gasping a bit at the end, with plenty of the sterling storytelling we’ve come to expect (and, frankly, become spoiled by) from Jeff Lemire and Dean Ormston in the pages leading up to the jaw-dropping conclusion. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy


BLACK_PANTHER__WORLD_OF_WAKANDA__6Odyssey Of The Amazons #4 (DC) In what has been an excellent series so far,this installment may be it’s most weakest. The Amazons find themselves in Valhalla, meeting Odin and Thor. As soon for them know this could not be real,they struggle to find a way out. By issue’s end, all will understand the true meaning of “Ragnarok”
Overall: 9 Recommendation: Read

Black Panther: World of Wakanda #6 (Marvel) I was pretty bummed out when I found out that they were moving on from Ayo’s storyline as Roxane Gay no longer was working on the book.I didn’t think that they could top what they did already and I am so glad to be so wrong. As an avid fan of Christopher Priest’s run on the main character, I was excited to see that they brought back Kasper Coles White Tiger.Within this issue, we see him struggle with his day job as a NYPD detective, his struggle of helping his sickly mother and pregnant girlfriend as well as his idealistic crusade as the White Tiger.
Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Nick Fury #1 (Marvel) Being one of the most undeserved members of the Marvel Universe before the movies became tantamount to everything,Nick Fury has become increasingly popular mostly due to Samuel L Jackson’s portrayal.In what is his first solo series in a while, we find a younger version of the grissled veteran operator the world has come to know. In the first issue, he infiltrates a resort being ran by HYDRA, a la Casino Royale.Definitely a throwback to the fun of the original Bond movies somewhere between George Lazenby and Roger Moore. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Well, there you have it, folks. The reviews we didn’t quite get a chance to write. See you next week!

Please note that with some of the above comics, Graphic Policy was provided FREE copies for review. Where we purchased the comics, you’ll see an asterisk (*). If you don’t see that, you can infer the comic was a review copy. In cases where we were provided a review copy and we also purchased the comic you’ll see two asterisks (**).

Review: Aliens: Dead Orbit #1


After a horrific accident strikes a space station, an engineering officer must use all available tools—a timer, utility kit, and his wits—to survive an attack from the deadliest creature known to man.

Orc Stain creator James Stokoe pens a thrilling and claustrophobic Aliens story: Dead Orbit!

Aliens: Dead Orbit #1 features a strange beginning, and an even stranger ending. Yet, something tells me there is a lot of story that has not been revealed yet by writer James Stokoe. That set-up leaves the reader with many currently unanswerable questions?

The art, also by Stokoe, creates a dark atmosphere that merges horror and science fiction well. The art manages to amplify the feeling of desolation and hopelessness, things that are staples of a good Alien tale.

The story and art come together to create a superb atmosphere for what will be an interesting, and creepy tale.

Story: James Stokoe Art: James Stokoe
Story: 9.0 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.75 Recommendation: Buy

Dark Horse Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Wednesdays 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!

We’re bringing back something we haven’t done for a while, what the team thinks. Our contributors are choosing up to five books each week and why they’re choosing the books.

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


Top Pick: Batman #21 (DC Comics) – Ohhhhh yeah, it’s here! The famous button tease we’ve been given since DC Rebirth started. I’m hoping for this and The Flash to deliver on a big reveal or at least push us toward one soon.

Super Sons #3 (DC Comics) – What a fun book that features two young boys who are constantly competing, oh and they also are super heroes. But seriously, at it’s core, this book is the coming of age of two young boys finding themselves, and friendship in each other, as they try to live up to the massive legacies of their dads.

Moon Knight #13 (Marvel) – I love this comic, and we only have two more issues left, this being one of them. I really hope we get somewhat of an answer in this or the next comic, so it goes out with a bang. Lemire and Smallwood have been phenomenal on this run.

The Wild Storm #3 (DC Comics/WildStorm) – Three issues into the relaunch with Ellis and I’m in. I loved the first issue, and while the second issue felt a bit wordy after the action of the first, I bet that was mostly for world building with a bunch of the core characters, and trying to get that out of the way. I am excited for this run!

Superman #21 (DC Comics) – I’m always looking forward to a Superman book, especially since Rebirth began. This and Action Comics have been spectacular.



Top Pick: Ninjak #26 (Valiant) – I fell in love with this series last issue – it is currently one of my favourites from Valiant… if you like your Batman with a touch of Nightwing, James Bond and swords, then you may like this too.

God Country #4 (Image) – There’s a lot of personal reasons why this series is striking a cord with me, but the stubborn humanity of the series protagonist in the face of overwhelming odds is what’s pulled me in the farthest.

All-Star Batman #9 (DC Comics) – It’s Scott Snyder and Batman. I will always be excited for this.



Top Pick: Secret Empire #0 (Marvel) – So Captain America is running Hydra and he and his Nazi squad are poised to spread across the world, bringing to life their idea of a ‘perfect’ world. Yeah, ok. And yes, Hydra ARE Nazi’s, I don’t care what back peddling some writers have put out there to smooth things over. If you read that awful Civil War II tie in ‘The Oath’ is was clearly laid out what Steve sees for the future of the world…and you’re going to tell me those images didn’t look exactly like what the Nazi’s have done in the past? Ok, rant over…I am looking forward to seeing how this unfolds and to watch the super heroes kick Hydra’s ass.

Super Sons #3 (DC Comics) – I am so glad I took people’s advice and read this book. It’s only on issue #3 but it has been an incredible start and it just keeps getting better. I love this pair up of Superboy and Robin; how different they are leads to some great banter and the action has been great. And I’m really interested in finding out more about this Kid Amazo. Pick this one up if you haven’t, you will not be disappointed.

U.S.Avengers #5 (Marvel) – This title has been hit or miss with me. It hasn’t totally wowed me, but it does have it’s moments. I’m mostly looking forward to seeing how this SHIELD based team reacts to Steve Rogers new, Hydra influenced direction. And I’d love to see Sunspot and Cannonball team up to kick his Hydra loving ass…wishful thinking.



Top Pick: Black Panther: World of Wakanda #6 (Marvel) – The arcs keep getting better and the creative team shows no signs of slowing down the awesome train.

Batwoman #2 (DC Comics) – Kate Kane is facing frenemies , her own personal demons and, the bioweapon Monster Venom on the renegade heavy isle of Coryana.

Harley Quinn #18 (DC Comics) – Harley Sin is hunting a new victim and Harley Quinn is trying to find them first. It’s like Spy vs Spy, if the spies were bad ass ladies and interesting.

Nick Fury #1 (Marvel) – Nick Fury vs Frankie Noble on the French Riviera. Got Popcorn?



Top Pick: Roughnek (Gallery Books) – A brother and sister who must come together after years apart to face the disturbing history that has cursed their family. If that doesn’t sound interesting enough, it’s all by Jeff Lemire. That should easily sell this alone.

Descender #21 (Image Comics) – Amazing science fiction that’s as awesome to look at as it is to read. This is a series to check out if you haven’t yet.

Hellboy: Into the Silent Sea (Dark Horse) – Mike Mignola and Gary Gianni team up for a fantastic graphic novel.

Monsters Unleashed #1 (Marvel) – I got more sold on this series the longer the mini-series went on. I’m really intrigued to see where it goes from there.

Shaolin Cowboy: Who’ll Stop the Reign #1 (Dark Horse) – Geof Darrow, nuff said.


C2E2 2017: Dark Horse Announces Programming Schedule

Visit Dark Horse Comics at C2E2 for free swag, such as comics, pins, postcards, and more! Check out our signings and panels too! The list is below!


All creators signing in the Dark Horse booth offer their autographs for FREE. FREE prints, comics, or posters are provided for signings (while supplies last). You may purchase or bring items to be signed. Please note that some of the titles listed below have not been released for sale yet—in those cases, special prints will be available.

Lines may also be closed for some signings due to crowding or time restrictions.

All events are subject to change. Some restrictions apply. Please ask the Dark Horse Comics staff if you have questions.


11:00 a.m.–11:45 a.m.         MAE: Gene Ha

12:00 p.m.–12:45 p.m.        CALL OF DUTY: ZOMBIES, EERIE: Justin Jordan

1:00 p.m.–1:45 p.m.            SPACE-MULLET!, ALABASTER, THE GHOST FLEET: Daniel Warren Johnson

2:00 p.m.–2:45 p.m.            DARK HORSE CONVENTION EXCLUSIVE HENCHGIRL HC: Kristen Gudsnuk

3:00 p.m.–3:45 p.m.            HOUSE OF PENANCE, THE MIGHTY, LIGHT BRIGADE: Peter Tomasi

4:00 p.m.–4:45 p.m.            CHIMICHANGA, THE GOON: Eric Powell

5:00 p.m.–5:45 p.m.            LADY KILLER: Joëlle Jones

6:00 p.m.–6:45 p.m.            THE PAYBACKS: Eliot Rahal



10:00 a.m.–10:45 a.m.        DARK HORSE CONVENTION EXCLUSIVE HENCHGIRL HC: Kristen Gudsnuk

11:00 a.m.–11:45 a.m.        TARZAN ON THE PLANET OF THE APES, SUNDOWNERS: Tim Seeley

12:00 p.m.–12:45 p.m.         BLACK HAMMER: Jeff Lemire

1:00 p.m.–1:45 p.m.            BUFFY: THE HIGH SCHOOL YEARS, MISFITS OF AVALON: Kel McDonald

2:00 p.m.–2:45 p.m.            LEAVING MEGALOPOLIS: Jim Calafiore

3:00 p.m.–3:45 p.m.            THE SHAOLIN COWBOY, 

                                            THE BIG GUY AND RUSTY THE BOY ROBOT: Geof Darrow

4:00 p.m.–4:45 p.m.            KABUKI, AMERICAN GODS, FIGHT CLUB 2: David Mack

5:00 p.m.–5:45 p.m.            SPELL ON WHEELS: Kate Leth

6:00 p.m.–6:45 p.m.            DRAGON AGE: MAGEKILLER, VEIL: Greg Rucka



10:10 a.m.–11:45 a.m.         DARK HORSE CONVENTION EXCLUSIVE HENCHGIRL HC: Kristen Gudsnuk

12:00 p.m.–12:45 p.m.         BATTLEPUG, B.P.R.D. HELL ON EARTH: Mike Norton

2:00 p.m.–2:45 p.m.             APOCALYPTIGIRL, THE TOMORROWS: Andrew MacLean


Please join us at the panels below, brought to you by Dark Horse Comics and friends! Check online for more panels featuring Dark Horse creators, as well as guidelines for attending panels.


The Millennial’s Guide to Keeping Comics Alive 

3:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m.  Panel Room S403

The integration of social media into society has completely changed how people communicate with each other, and the comics industry is not invulnerable to this change. Join Dark Horse creators Kristen Gudsnuk (Henchgirl), Kel McDonald (Buffy: The High School Years, Misfits of Avalon), and Eliot Rahal (The Paybacks) to discuss the implications of social media on the industry and how creators use social media to engage with fans.


The Un-CONventional Superheroes

1:15 p.m.–2:15 p.m.  Panel Room S403

For decades, popular culture has been dominated by stories from superhero comic books. Most people can’t think of either superheroes or comics without thinking of the other. In recent years, Dark Horse creators have sought to pay homage to superheroes while also putting a modern spin on the idea of heroics. Join Jim Calafiore (Leaving Megalopolis), Kristen Gudsnuk (Henchgirl), and Jeff Lemire (Black Hammer) for a lively conversation about superheroes and antiheroes in the modern era and how their characters seek to challenge society’s perceptions of the superhero.

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 4/14

Sometimes, the staff at Graphic Policy read more comics than we’re able to get reviewed. When that happens you’ll see a weekly feature compiling short reviews from the staff of the comics, or graphic novels, we just didn’t get a chance to write a full review for.

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


redline2Redline #2 (Oni Press) I’m always surprised when I come across a series like this that is so far from my normal stomping grounds, and yet I enjoy it so much. Despite being set on Mars, the story has more in common with a hardboiled detective story – and I’m a huge fan of the blended story and setting. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Old Man Logan #21 (Marvel)** I really enjoyed this issue’s look back at some of the events in Logan’s past, although the inclusion of the War of 1812 seems to be a good 50 years before his birth (at least according to the Origin miniseries), but since I’ve always been fond of Logan being much older than we realize, I don’t mind that at all. And hey, maybe Old Man Logan was born a hundred odd years before the currently deceased 616 Logan? Either way, this was a significant upswing after #20. Overall: 8.25 Recommendation: Buy 

Weapon X #1 (Marvel) I’ve read more X-Men related comics this week than I have in a long time; this was a solid first issue that leaves plenty of questions unanswered while giving fans the clawed fights we’re expecting. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

X-Men Blue #1 (Marvel) Another great first issue; as somebody who hasn’t kept up with the X-Men too much in recent years, this was a perfect introductory issue to the young X-Men. A really good read, with a back up story that got me really excited for the future. I’ll be getting this in trade form when it’s released. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Ryan C

Rockstars #5 (Image)** – Joe Harris and Megan Hutchison’s “rock music urban legends” series had sort of devolved into a whirlwind of poorly-thought-through nonsense for the past few issues after a very solid start, but this concluding segment of their first arc Rockstars_01-1redeems the proceedings somewhat by wrapping up the main story in an intriguing fashion that sets up a common throughline for all that’s to come. Not bang-up stuff, by any means, but more competently-executed than what we’ve seen in recent months from this book, and the art remains flat-out superb. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Read

The Wicked + The Divine #28 (Image)** – Uhhhmmm, okay, guess I’ll just blurt it out : for an “end of arc” issue, this is decidedly tepid stuff, there’s just no nice way to dodge the subject. Yes, the status quo is shaken a bit — primarily in a flashback scene — but while Jamie McKelvie’s art remains as lush and gorgeous as ever, Kieron Gillen’s scripts are starting to be pretty damn predictable and his “too-cool-for-school” authorial voice has gone from cute to cloying without passing go and collecting its $200. An empty exercise in style over substance that continues what has surely become a pattern by this point. Maybe that’s an inherent problem with a series predicated entirely on being “fresh” and “in the now” — by the time you’ve been at it for a few years, your “now” silently passes you by. No one seems to want to say it, but Gillen’s entire shtick here is hopelessly stale. Overall: 4 Recommendation: Pass

Copperhead #12 (Image)** – Jay Faerber and new artist Drew Moss continue to move the story along nicely here with a new murder mystery to chew over and a change in the balance of power between our two main protagonists that ramps up the already-extant tension quite a bit, but damn — I still miss Scott Godlewski, and who knows? Maybe I always will. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

Harrow County #22 (Dark Horse)** – Cullen Bunn seems to have regained his enthusiasm for this series after some obvious wavering a few months back, and now we’ve got some serious strain threatening to break the one actual friendship that’s on offer here, plus a “how to see a ghost” trope that’s clever enough to make the likes of Stephen King proud. Who are we kidding, though? It’s Tyler Crook’s sumptuous, flowing, watercolor art that’s the star of the show on this title, and as long as he’s around, I will be, too. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy


Deadpool Vs Punisher#1 (Marvel) – In this first issue, we catch up with Frank and Wade as they are both maligned to their everyday lives. Frank is looking for an arms dealer who deals in special bullets. Wade is busy working a protection detail for a X-Men-Blue-ResurrXionmillionaire.Little do they both know, they are both secretly looking for the same person.
Overall: 9.2 Recommendation: Buy

Black Panther and The Crew #1 (Marvel)-In this very first issue of the Crew’s return, the reader gets tossed right into the frying pan.As the death of an original member of the Crew, from back in the 50s, when they were known as the Mission, gets killed by some crooked cops. This has charged Harlem as one of their elders have been killed and Misty Knight us in the case. As she gets closer to the truth, she gets some unexpected help. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

X-Men Blue #1 (Marvel)– what plays out like an episode of Wolverine And The X-men, we find Beast in the same role as Logan in that TV show. We find Beast bringing younger versions of the original X-men into the future, as he fears a war amongst mutants. It always interesting to see familiar characters at a different stage of their lives then what we are used to, which was what makes X-men First Class so good.I just hope they get more into their psychological battles, as this first issue, feels like a primer when it should read like a prequel. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Read

Well, there you have it, folks. The reviews we didn’t quite get a chance to write. See you next week!

Please note that with some of the above comics, Graphic Policy was provided FREE copies for review. Where we purchased the comics, you’ll see an asterisk (*). If you don’t see that, you can infer the comic was a review copy. In cases where we were provided a review copy and we also purchased the comic you’ll see two asterisks (**).

Francesco Francavilla Returns to The Black Beetle

The Black Beetle is flying back for more adventures in The Black Beetle: Kara Böcek! The first issue of The Black Beetle was published in late 2012, and the title quickly became a critically acclaimed original series at Dark Horse. This new story from Francesco Francavilla’s superhero noir thriller was recently featured in Dark Horse Presents.

The Black Beetle: Kara Böcek follows the masked American hero as he ventures to the Middle East, traveling incognito (as Tom Sawyer) to fight Nazis in pursuit of a mysterious object of terrible power. This weapon of unknown origin is older than the pyramids and could fuel the Thousand-Year Reich of Hitler’s dreams. This five-part story originally appeared in Dark Horse Presents #28–#32.

The Black Beetle: Kara Böcek goes on sale September 6, 2017.

The Comics Are All Right: Marvel, Diversity and the Comic Market Part 2

I kicked off what will be at least a three-part series looking at the state of comics and a shift to more diverse characters, stories, and creators. The first part looked at 2016 as a whole for the comic market.

On a macro level more units were shipped with a lower average cover price resulting in an overall loss in dollars. Since we just have estimated numbers from diamond we don’t know sell through at the store level. These numbers also include some sales through services like Loot Crate which doesn’t benefit stores. It’s flawed, but the best we have.

I felt before moving on to individual series to really look at trends it was good to take one step down and explore shipped units and sales by month from 2015 to 2017.

When we look at the trends since January 2015 we see the overall volume has increased slightly, but generally has remained steady with some increases which we’ll discuss.

On average 7,361,111 comics have shipped for the top 300 while 8,147,778 for all comics shipped by Diamond.

What the above clearly shows is the sharp increase and hard crash in the comic cycle primarily due to major launches or events.

  • April 2015 – Star Wars from Marvel and Convergence by DC Comics launch
  • July 2015 – Secret Wars launches from Marvel
  • November 2015 to December 2015 – Secret Wars wraps launching new first issues for Marvel, Dark Knight III launches from DC Comics
  • June 2016 to November 2016 – Civil War II plus new first issue series for Marvel, DC Comics launches Rebirth

While I don’t want to call the above launches “stunts” we can see events and series launches boost sales creating an artificial bubble of sorts that eventually crashes. April 2015’s high was followed by a loss of about 33% for a September 2015 low. December 2015’s high also sees about 33% loss for a March 2016 low. With 2016’s “stunts” taking place over a longer period we should be about in the low from that event’s high just in time for upcoming events in April.

There is the issue of overships for Marvel which in December could have been in the 100s of thousands of issues. Even when taken into account, the amount shipped is equal to year’s past. So, volume is higher (we can quibble on overships), so again lets look at the cover price during the same time period.

In June 2016 we begin to see a drop of weighted average cover price of comics with lows through much of the rest of the year. These lows for cover price are the lowest since before 2015 and that dime an issue adds up. In Marvel’s interview with ICv2 they said October 2016 is when they heard/saw issues beginning. That’d be after four months of weighted cover prices dropping. So while comics were being sold, more needed to be sold and when it comes to shops with a physical space, that changes a lot of math as to dollars earned per square feet of retail space.

There’s clearly volatility looking at the monthly numbers driven by the ebbs and flows of events and relaunches and add in a decreased average cover price being sold. All of that together creates an uncertain time, but can we chalk up that volitility to any one publisher?

Below I took the reported top 300 units shipped and top 300 percentage of the market as reported by Comichron for each month.

We see Marvel on a decline since June 2016 with some of their lowest months in February and March 2017. When Marvel says they see sales diminishing, this could be what they’re discussing and again look at the massive drop for them from June 2016 to September 2016. That’s a decrease of about 1.8 million units.

Compare that to DC Comics increase which begins to spike in June 2016 before things stop from falling in December 2016. Though DC is doing better in the latter part of 2016 than at any point since this data from January 2015 it’s still not enough to make up for the Marvel freefall. Remember DC’s cover prices have been $2.99 compared to Marvel’s $3.99 so again units being sold for an average cover price that has decreased impacts perceptions.

And we’re not seeing other publishers picking up the market. Most remain pretty steady with spikes here and there due to one comic with a solid release (an example being the recent The Walking Dead 25 cent promotion for Image).

But what about dollars? Below is a rough estimated of what the above equals in dollars.

From the highs of June 2016 from Marvel and DC each publisher has dropped about $8 million and $4 million by the time March 2017 has rolled around. We see a decrease in units resulting in a decrease in dollars.

So, while the big picture for 2016 looks mixed, we can see from the above that the latter half of 2016 has seen the bubble pop resulting in a sharp slide to where we are in 2017.

But what isn’t working? For that we need to look at each individual series. We’ll explore that in part 3!

Genndy Tartakovsky Variant Cover for The Shaolin Cowboy: Who’ll Stop the Reign? #4 Exclusive Reveal

We have the exclusive reveal of Genndy Tartakovsky‘s variant cover for Geof Darrow‘s The Shaolin Cowboy: Who’ll Stop the Reign? #4.

Tartakovsky is the brilliant mind behind Samurai Jack and Dexter’s Laboratory, and the Star Wars: Clone Wars tv series, and directed Hotel Transylvania 1 and 2.

Get a kung-fu grip on yourself as Geof Darrow’s blood-spattered killing machine the Shaolin Cowboy returns this April in a new four-issue mini-series. The Shaolin Cowboy: Who’ll Stop the Reign? is written and illustrated by Darrow, who has won the Inkpot Award and won (and lost) multiple Eisner Awards, and colored by the Eisner Award-winning Dave Stewart. In The Shaolin Cowboy: Who’ll Stop the Reign?, the titular hero of the series finds that his road to hell is paved not with good intentions but old nemeses hell-bent on bloody revenge. Issue 1 is on sale from Dark Horse Comics on April 19, 2017.

Check out the variant cover for issue #4 below as well as interior art from The Shaolin Cowboy: Who’ll Stop the Reign? #1 out next week.

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