Tag Archives: Comics

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!

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 Wednesday.

It’s a short week of releases with the holiday and you can get every single issue for under $50! So, instead of picking which you should get, we’re doing something a little bit different with going over what they are and why you should check out each release!

Adventure Time: Marcy & Simon #1 (BOOM! Studios/KaBOOM!) – BOOM! Studios is continuing the world of Adventure Time after the series finale. Marceline and Simon are reunited and Simon must make amends for his time as Ice King.

Appalachian Apocalypse #1 (Cave Pictures Publishing) – The spiritually focused comic line launches with this series and we’re intrigued to see how it is and if they can do for spiritual comics like has been done with religious focused films.

Avatar: Tsu Teys Path #1 (Dark Horse Comics) – Avatar is a weird film and world that was such a breakthrough and didn’t go anywhere. Years later we’re getting sequels and it’ll be interesting to see how the comics build towards that.

The Batman Who Laughs #2 (DC Comics) – The breakout star of Dark Knights: Metal is back and he’s brought a friend. The first issue is solid and we’re so excited to see where this series goes.

Black Badge #6 (BOOM! Studios) – This series has been fantastic so far with its twisted take on the Boy Scouts and spy type stories.

Black Widow #1 (Marvel) – We’re a bit mixed on this first issue but it’s nice to see Black Widow back in her own series and it eventually gets to an interesting place. There’s just enough fun moments to check this one out.

Conan the Barbarian #2 (Marvel) – The first issue was fantastic and we’re expecting no less from this issue. A hell of a series debut for 2019.

Fantastic Four #6 (Marvel) – Last issue’s wedding actually happened! Now, we’ve got both Doctor Doom and Galactus to deal with. It’s old school Fantastic Four fun!

Goddess Mode #2 (DC Comics/Vertigo) – The first issue was a blend of tech/fantasy/magical girl and it worked really well. We want to see where it all goes in this second issue.

The Invaders #1 (Marvel) – Marvel is celebrating 80 years with this series and more! The series focuses on the Invaders both in World War II and today as Namor has a plan that’s been brewing and Captain America, Bucky, and the original Human Torch need to stop him.

Marvel Comics Presents #1 (Marvel) – 31 years has gone by since this series first debuted and we’re as excited to get this in our hands as we were back then. Three solid short stories to entertain.

Uncanny X-Men #10 (Marvel) – The end of “X-Men Disassembled” and it’s not what you think!

Diamond Announces the Top Selling Comics and Graphic Novels of 2018 as Annual Sales Increased

Diamond Comic Distributors has announced the top selling comics and graphic novels of 2018. Marvel was the top publisher of the year with The Infinity Gauntlet taking the slot for bestselling graphic novel of the year. That’s not surprising due to all of the excitement and success around Avengers: Infinity War in theaters. DC Comics came in second place for publishers and had the bestselling comic of the year with Action Comics #1000. Image Comics ranked third for publishers and lead the graphic novel chart with six out of the top ten titles.

Annual comic book sales to the comic book specialty market increased in 2018, up +3.3% for the year, while graphic novel sales dipped -6.6% from 2017. Combined, annual sales of comic book and graphic novels to comic book shops were up slightly in 2018, by .6%.

2018 Comic Dollar Share

Marvel Comics finished the year as the comic book specialty market’s top publisher, leading in both Dollar and Unit Market Shares, with a 38.24% Dollar Market Share and a 40.4% Unit Market Share. Marvel Comics top comic book, Amazing Spider-Man #800, the ten-year landmark issue led by Dan Slott and Stuart Immomen, charted at #2 for the year. Overall, Marvel had seven titles in the top ten comics of the year, including the preceding Amazing Spider-Man #798 and #799, as well as Fantastic Four #1, Amazing Spider-Man #1, Return of Wolverine #1, and Venom #1. That’s four comics written by Dan Slott in the top ten. Marvel Comics also had the top graphic novel of the year with The Infinity Gauntlet, the epic crossover event from Jim Starlin, George Pérez, and Rom Lim.

DC Entertainment was the comic book specialty market’s number two publisher in 2018 with a 30.04% Dollar Market Share and a 33.82% Unit Market Share. DC Entertainment had three of the year’s top ten comics; in addition to Action Comics #1000, Batman #50, and The Batman Who Laughs #1 were among the top ten.

Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples’ award-winning science fiction epic, Saga from Image Comics once again dominated the top ten graphic novels chart and solidified Image Comics as the year’s third largest comic book publisher, with a 9.93% Dollar Market Share and a 9.9% Unit Market Share. Image Comics took six of the top ten graphic novel spots, with Saga Volume 9 charting as the #2 best-selling graphic novel for 2018. Saga Volumes 1 and 8 also placed in the top ten, along with The Walking Dead Volume 29 Lines We Cross (#6), Paper Girls Volume 1 (#7), and Monstress Volume 1 (#10). The best-selling comic book for the year from Image was Mark Millar’s The Magic Order #1 at #18.

IDW Publishing was the comic book specialty market’s fourth largest publisher, propelled by its licensed titles from Hasbro, Disney, and Lucasfilm. The company’s Dollar Market Share was 3.83% for the year. Marvel Action: Spider-Man #1, was IDW’s top-selling comic book, landing at #460 for the year.

Dark Horse Comics‘ mix of creator-owned and licensed titles helped the company to be the fifth-ranked publisher in the comic book specialty market in 2018 with a 2.92% Dollar Market Share. Dark Horse’s top comic book for the year Stranger Things #1, based upon the popular Netflix series, at #184.

BOOM! Studios was the sixth ranked publisher at 2.24%, and Dynamite Entertainment was seventh at 1.86%. Viz Media, Titan Comics, and Oni Press rounded out the top ten comic book publishers for 2018.

2018 Comic Unit Share

2018 TOP COMIC BOOK PUBLISHERS

PUBLISHERDOLLARSHAREUNITSHARE
MARVEL COMICS38.24%40.40%
DC ENTERTAINMENT30.04%33.82%
IMAGE COMICS9.93%9.90%
IDW PUBLISHING3.83%3.30%
DARK HORSE COMICS2.92%2.10%
BOOM! STUDIOS2.24%1.90%
DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT1.86%1.73%
VIZ MEDIA1.22%0.46%
TITAN COMICS0.87%0.61%
ONI PRESS0.83%0.54%
OTHER NON-TOP 108.01%5.25%

2018 TOP 10 COMIC BOOKS

QTYRANKRETAILRANKDESCRIPTIONPRICEITEM CODEVENDOR
11ACTION COMICS #1000$7.99FEB180142-MDC ENTERTAINMENT
22AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #800$9.99MAR180831-MMARVEL COMICS
33BATMAN #50$4.99MAY180450-MDC ENTERTAINMENT
44FANTASTIC FOUR #1$5.99JUN180771-MMARVEL COMICS
55AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #1$5.99MAY180784-MMARVEL COMICS
66RETURN OF WOLVERINE #1$4.99JUL180968-MMARVEL COMICS
79VENOM #1$4.99MAR180803-MMARVEL COMICS
810AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #798$3.99FEB180832-MMARVEL COMICS
98BATMAN WHO LAUGHS #1$4.99OCT180464-MDC ENTERTAINMENT
1013AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #799$3.99FEB180836-MMARVEL COMICS

2018 TOP 10 GRAPHIC NOVELS & TRADE PAPERBACKS

QTYRANKRETAILRANKDESCRIPTIONPRICEITEM CODEVENDOR
11INFINITY GAUNTLET TP$24.99JUL110745MARVEL COMICS
24SAGA TP VOL 09 (MR)$14.99JUL180297IMAGE COMICS
319SAGA TP VOL 01 (MR)$9.99AUG120491IMAGE COMICS
46SAGA TP VOL 08 (MR)$14.99OCT170715IMAGE COMICS
52ACTION COMICS 80 YEARS OF SUPERMAN HC$29.99DEC170241DC ENTERTAINMENT
68WALKING DEAD TP VOL 29 LINES WE CROSS$16.99JAN180844IMAGE COMICS
738PAPER GIRLS TP VOL 01$9.99JAN160645IMAGE COMICS
87BATMAN WHITE KNIGHT TP$19.99JUL180733DC ENTERTAINMENT
93DARK NIGHTS METAL DELUXE ED HC$29.99JAN180379DC ENTERTAINMENT
1033MONSTRESS TP VOL 01 (MR)$9.99APR160803-MIMAGE COMICS

Dark Horse Delivers Minecraft and Disney• Pixar’s Incredibles 2 for Free Comic Book Day

Are you ready for two stories that are fun for all ages? Dark Horse will feature stories from Mojang AB and Microsoft’s Minecraft and Disney• Pixar’s Incredibles 2 for their Free Comic Book Day Silver offering on May 4, 2019! The comic features a gorgeous cover from artist Cassie Anderson

First, in the world of Minecraft, a heartless griefer runs rampant, but she discovers her actions end up having real world consequences. Writer Hope Larson and artist Meredith Gran bring the world of Minecraft to life in this exciting new story based on the worldwide gaming phenomenon. 

Then, in Disney• Pixar’s Incredibles 2, Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl are ready for a date night, but when someone is up to no good, Violet, Dash, and Jack-Jack are determined that this villain will not ruin their parents’ night off! Writer Cavan Scott, artists from Kawaii Creative Studio, colorist Dan Jackson, and Comicraft join forces to give fans a real treat with this new story based on the highest grossing animated feature of all time in North America! 

Free Comic Book Day is a single day when participating comic book specialty shops across North America and around the world give away comic books absolutely free to anyone who comes into their shops. Dark Horse encourages its fans to visit their local comic shops on May 4, 2019 to participate in this wonderful event!

Minecraft and Disney• Pixar’s Incredibles 2

Dark Horse Delivers Stranger Things and Black Hammer for Free Comic Book Day

Visit your local comic shop May 4, 2019, for Free Comic Book Day! Dark Horse delivers tales from two diverse worlds in their FCBD Gold Offering featuring Netflix’s Stranger Things and a spooky trip into Jeff Lemire and Dean Ormston’s Eisner Award-winning series Black Hammer with a cover by Chun Lo

In Stranger Things, writer Jody Houser and artist Ibrahim Moustafa bring the adventuring party back together after Eleven’s disappearance, as Nancy and Steve find a way to lift the spirits of a despondent Mike. Perhaps all it takes is a roll of the dice. Then, in the world of the Eisner Award-winning Black Hammer series creator Jeff Lemire, guest writer Ray Fawkes, and artist David Rubín, take the reader on an EC-style tour through Madame Dragonfly’s mysterious Cabin of Horrors to witness two groups of brand-new Black Hammer heroes from the past! 

Free Comic Book Day is a single day when participating comic book specialty shops across North America and around the world give away comic books free to anyone who comes into their shops.

Dark Horse Stranger Things Free Comic Book Day

What’s Up with Dark Horse’s Conan Releases this Week?

The Conan Reader

This week saw the debut of Conan the Barbarian from Marvel Comics. The first issue marks the return of the character to the publisher after almost 19 years since the last title was published.

Dark Horse gained the license in 2003, losing it in 2018 to Marvel. But, with Marvel’s release this week there was also one from Dark Horse.

The Conan Reader collects nearly 700 pages of comics featuring the character including one-shots, short stories, and miniseries all for $29.99. Its release was a bit of surprise since Marvel has the license now and while it’s a reprint of material, it’s still something new.

What’s going on!?

We reached out and asked Dark Horse for an answer. The Conan Reader‘s release this week was due to an “unexpected shipping delay.” But, there’s still a chance to get Dark Horse’s material for a while. Fans may purchase Dark Horse’s past Conan comics and collections from Dark Horse directly through June 2019. And of course whatever remains on store shelves until it sells out.

Logan’s Favorite Comics of 2018

Without further ado, these are my favorite comics of 2018. This was the year I fell back on series that I had been checking out for years and found some new faves in the worlds of newspaper comics, symbiotes, gamma irradiated beasts, and maybe even a choose your own adventure game. Marvel seriously did a 180 this year, and I went from picking zero of their comics on my last year end list to three so well done on their part, and Donny Cates and Al Ewing should receive hefty bonus checks. But, honestly, this list should show you that visual humor, character driven narratives, and weirdness are my things, and I can’t wait to read more comics in that vein in 2019.

Honorable Mentions: Sex Death Revolution (Black Mask), Runaways (Marvel), Assassinistas (IDW/Black Crown), Punks Not Dead (IDW/Black Crown), That one really good issue of Peter Parker, Spider-Man that Chip Zdarsky wrote and drew (Marvel), Gideon Falls (Image)

10.Modern Fantasy  (Dark Horse)

Modern Fantasy is a miniseries about a data entry worker named Sage of the Riverlands, who secretly wants to epic hero or maybe just a curator at a cool museum, and has a penchant for smooching handsome elves. Did Rafer Roberts and Kristen Gudsnuk have access to my most secret thoughts while writing this book? In all seriousness, this comic marries millennial angst and struggles (Dead end jobs, mooching friends, annoying co-workers) with all kinds of fantasy tropes, including urban, high, and good ol’ Lovecraftian. Gudsnuk’s art is both humorous and touching and filled with background details and jokes that reward a close reading. But what makes Modern Fantasy a great comic is the awkward friend group dynamic that Roberts and Gudsnuk craft filled with drama, jokes, a touch of romance, and a final showdown with a fire demon.

9.The Wicked + the Divine (Image)

Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, and Matthew Wilson’s story of young gods and fandom hit some dark bits in 2018 and had plenty of surprises to go with the formalism and “glimpse behind the curtain” of the “Mothering Invention” arc. However, at its best, WicDiv is the story of the girl, who thought she wanted something, and then painfully realized that she didn’t really want it. That girl, of course, is Persephone whose personal journey along with McKelvie’s amazing facial expressions, Gillen’s clever quips, and Wilson’s majestic color palette keeps me returning to this series as it is about to hit its fifth year. Also, the specials were spectacularly glorious in 2018 from the illustrated prose story/murder mystery in 1923 to 1373’s dark piety. Then, there was the absolute bonkers nature of The Funnies  where we find out the origin of Laura’s cracked phone and the Pantheon gets to solve a Scooby Doo mystery courtesy of Kitty Curran and Larissa Zageris.

8.  Nancy (Go Comics)

I’ve been doing year end comics lists for five years, and this is the first time I’ve put a newspaper strip on one. However, Olivia Jaimes’ work on Nancy is one of the most hilarious things to come out of 2018. There are her “millennial” gags (Even though Nancy and Sluggo are definitely Generation Z.) about Nancy’s overuse of the Internet or swapping streaming service passwords with Sluggo, who is also “lit”. But she also has a firm grasp on meta-gags and the uniqueness of the comics medium like playing with panel layouts, lettering styles, reusing panels, and then having Nancy make a joke about it. Nancy is truly a ray of sunshine in a dark landscape while still being sarcastic and self-deprecating as hell and shows that even the proverbial old dog of the newspaper comic can learn some new tricks.

7.  “Milk Wars” (DC Comics/Young Animal)

“Milk Wars” really brought the best of DC Rebirth and Young Animal together and was the only Big Two crossover I kept up with in 2018. The series brings together the Doom Patrol, Mother Panic, Shade the Changing Girl, and Cave Carson to fight warped versions of DC Comics heroes, who are under the control of the Retconn corporation. The story is a literal metaphor for how corporations sanitize characters and go for the retread instead of taking risks with iconic characters as Wonder Woman becomes a submissive housewife in her tie-in story from Cecil Castelluci and Mirka Andolfo. “Milk Wars” shows that it’s okay to be a little weird as milk goes bad if it’s left in the bridge past its expiration day. It also features some gorgeous layouts from Aco in the crossover’s first chapter, which was co-written by Gerard Way and Steve Orlando, and he and the artists did an excellent job of melding an indie and mainstream sensibility throughout “Milk Wars”. Also, the story had a real effect on Mother Panic, Cave Carson, and Shade in their solo titles and introduced Magdalene Visaggio and Sonny Liew’s wonderful, yet depressed Eternity Girl character.

6.Venom (Marvel)

Donny Cates, Ryan Stegman, and Iban Coello’s Venom ongoing series is filled with all the fun excesses of the 1990s (Especially in the Venom Annual where James Stokoe shows him going toe to toe with Juggernaut.) and none of its toxicity. The first arc of the series is about Eddie Brock and his symbiote going to war against Knull, god of the symbiotes and a symbiote dragon. This has a terrible effect on him, and Cates carefully uses the symbiote as a metaphor for PTSD while freeing Stegman to draw unhinged heavy metal battles. And this series wasn’t just a one arc wonder as Cates, Coello, and Stegman explore the after effects of the battle with Knull on Eddie’s symbiote and have him confront his father. Plus one of the most underrated Marvel villains, Ultimate Reed Richards aka the Maker pops up for a little bit. This series work because it explores the psychological effects of the symbiote as well as the oozy, shoot-y violent bits.

5.Crowded (Image)

Crowded is a wicked bit of satire with a side of mismatched buddy adventure from the beautiful minds of Christopher Sebela, Ro Stein, Ted Brandt, and Triona Farrell. It is about an obnoxious woman named Charlie, who has a $2 million price on her head on an app called Reapr that is basically crowdfunded murder. Luckily, there’s an app called Defendr where Charlie hires a badass, meticulous, and noble woman named Vita to protect her. Stein and Brandt fill each page with oodles of panels, but you are able to follow every action scene, conversation, or Charlie ending up at the club or a bachelorette party even if she has a price on her head. The bounty hunting drives the plot while Sebela uses the quieter moments to develop the personality and relationships of Charlie and Vita as well as some of the “professionals” hunting them. Crowded is a thrill ride, but also looks at the dark, not so altruistic side of human nature through the Internet and constant connectivity.

4. You Are Deadpool (Marvel)

Al Ewing and Salva Espin’s You Are Deadpool was some of the most fun I had reading a comic book in 2018 beginning with Kieron Gillen showing up in the “tutorial” brandishing a sandwich as a weapon. It’s a combination spoof of different eras of Marvel Comics along with a pretty damn fun and addictive Choose Your Own Adventure Game. In some cases, you don’t even read the issues in order. Ewing and Espin also take cues from some not so table top RPGs and have the moral choices that Deadpool makes effect your reading and playing experience. Having Deadpool interact with both heroes and innocent passerbies during the Silver Age, horror/kung fu/blaxploitation, the edgy 80s, and of course, the good ol’ 90s is hilarious and shows Espin’s versatility as a cartoonist.

3. Archival Quality (Oni)

Archival Quality is a spooky graphic novel by Ivy Noelle Weir and Steenz about a young woman named Cel, who gets a job as an archivist at a medical museum. The comic tenderly explores Cel’s anxiety and depression and unexpected connection with a woman named Celine, who was a patient at the sanatorium that preceded the museum. It isn’t caught up in a fast paced thriller plot, but slowly unveils the mystery while focusing on Cel’s interactions with her boss Abayomi, super rad co-worker Holly, and her declining relationship with her boyfriend Kyle. Archival Quality has real atmosphere, and Steenz creates some fantastic spaces as Cel begins to explore her workplace with its skulls and lack of cellphone service. It is a fantastic story about mental health and relationships through the mystery genre.

2. Giant Days (BOOM! Studios) 

Giant Days continues to be one of life’s true blessings thanks to John Allison, Max Sarin, Liz Fleming, Julia Madrigal, and Whitney Cogar. At this point, we know the characters and their quirks are on fully display, especially when Sarin draws the title because she is a real pro at expressive eyes and touches of surrealism to break up the slice of life. 2018 was full of drama to go with the Giant Days’ comedy as Daisy broke up with her a little too footloose and fancy free girlfriend Ingrid, and Esther missed her shot at being in a relationship with Ed when he begins a romance with Nina, a girl he met while recuperating from a pub related injury. Nina being Australian is the subject of this year holiday’s special, which was a special treat drawn and written by Allison as Ed fends for himself Down Under. Giant Days shows that it’s one of the pre-eminent slice of life comics as it enters its fourth year, and Esther, Daisy, and Susan’s relationships continue to ebb and flow.

1. Immortal Hulk  (Marvel)

I will preface this by saying that the Hulk is one of my least favorite Marvel characters because he’s often used as a simplistic Jekyll/Hyde metaphor. Al Ewing, Joe Bennett, Ruy Jose, Lee Garbett, Martin Simmonds, and Paul Mounts blow that up in Immortal Hulk, which resembles an intelligent horror story rather than a superhero beat ’em up. It’s a road story with Bruce Banner on the run from the monster that comes out, wrecks, and kills when the sun goes down before morphing into a government conspiracy thriller and something more malevolent towards the end. Through cutting narration, Ewing reveals exactly what is going through Banner’s head while Bennett’s art shows the often gruesome effects of his rages. I also like how Ewing humanizes the supporting players from Walter Langkowski, who is struggling with his own monstrous nature to honest reporter Jackie McGee and even his opponent the Absorbing Man.

Immortal Hulk is the best comic of 2018 because it has a compelling plot, is a searing character study of an American pop culture icon, and is an homage to Jack Kirby and Bernie Wrightson while breaking new ground. (See issue 10’s final page.)

Review: The Witcher: Of Fire And Flame #1

The Witcher: Of Fire And Flame #1

Geralt is summoned by an old friend to help solve a mystery involving his daughter. Upon arriving to investigate however, Geralt is surprised by another friend from the past and he soon finds himself transported to regions beyond his original expectations.

I have been delving into Andrej Sapkowski’s novels about Geralt of Rivia, the Witcher, lately. After reading four books in as many weeks, The Witcher: Of Flesh And Flame #1 came to my comic shop at just the right time for me to decide that if I’m going to immerse myself in the world of The Witcher, then I may as well go full bore (the Playstation game has sat on my shelf waiting for me to finish the last book).

When I started reading this comic I actually had pretty low expectations. After all, adaptations are seldom ground breaking in their quality, and if one is used to experiencing media one way it can be difficult to find that enjoyment for the same world elsewhere if the two mediums are similar enough (books and comics, for example) without an adaptation in sight. Thankfully, Of Fire And Flame #1 has the spirit of the books without seeming like a cheap knock-off story. The themes of racism and intolerance are still here, although with less of a chance for exploration given the comic’s pacing and locations, but it’s a hallmark of the series I am glad to see carried over – which shouldn’t be surprising, given that the comic comes from the same universe as the games.

The comic itself is very solid; everything within its pages works very well; the art is smooth and easily followed, and the story is accessible and enjoyable regardless of whether you’re familiar with Geralt of Rivia or not. The flip side to this accessibility is that the first issue may come off as a little simplistic, but that’s something I’m willing to forgive given how much I enjoyed the comic. As my first introduction to the Witcher’s universe in comic book form, this book turned out to be a great jumping on point.

Story: Aleksandra Motyka Artist: Marianna Strychowska
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

Dark Horse provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. 1956 #2

Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. 1956 #2

Professor Bruttenholm sends two agents in opposite directions on off-the-books missions, while the B.P.R.D. loses sight of Hellboy as he wanders through Mexico, and Varvaras pet projects stir up discontent among her team of occult scientists.

Two issues in and Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. 1956 is interesting in how not punching monsters the series is. Professor Bruttenholm has his suspicions that something is going on with those around him and a corruption exists and Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. 1956 #2 has him diving deeper into that mystery and attempting to find allies. The issue feels more about pencil pushing and spying than the traditional Hellboy story. And that’s ok!

Written by Chris Roberson and Mike Mignola, the series has been fascinating in how mundane it is compared to some of the crazy we’ve seen before. The two issues feel more like a bridge to something and setting up what’s coming next than anything else. And that’s ok because we need those types of stories. It’s just unexpected in a miniseries as these “year” ones have been.

The art by Yishan Li, Mike Norton, and Michael Avon Oeming with color by Dave Stewart is solid as expected. There’s never been a Hellboy series where the art has lacked and there’s a certain style about this one that feels a bit more appropriate for it’s more spy-like plot. This isn’t about crazy monsters, it’s about jockeying for information.

Much like the first issue, the second feels more like the set-up for something big coming but also like the first there’s not much action here. Its focus is interesting as it’s a chapter in the meta story that’s being built. New readers might feel a bit bored by this entry, so far, but for those engaged in the bigger picture, this is as solid an entry as everything else helping build the amazing tapestry that is the Hellboy world.

Story: Chris Roberson, Mike Mignola
Art: Yishan Li, Mike Norton, Michael Avon Oeming
Color: Dave Stewart
Story: 7.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read

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

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Bone Parish #5

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!

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 Wednesday.

It’s a short week of releases with the holiday and you can get every single issue for under $50! So, instead of picking which you should get, we’re doing something a little bit different with going over what they are and why you should check out each release!

Bone Parish #5 (BOOM! Studios) – A mix of horror and crime, there’s a drug on the street made up from corpses. The series has been excellent so far and if you missed out on the first four issues, there’s a comic shop exclusive trade out today as well.

Die! Die! Die! #6 (Image Comics/Skybound Entertainment) – Over the top ultra-violence in comic form. We haven’t seen this issue yet because (redacted).

Fantastic Four #5 (Marvel) – It’s a fantastic wedding! No seriously, the wedding actually happens! It’s an oversized issue but just nails the perfect FF vibe.

Go-Bots #2 (IDW Publishing) – Creator Tom Scioli rocks it in everything he does and he’s just bringing us back to our childhoods by taking on this “also ran” of transforming robot toys.

Hellboy and the BPRD 1956 #2 (Dark Horse) – There’s a movie out in 2019 and you might as well get into the Hellboy action now! These “year” series have been exploring the earlier adventuers of Hellboy and have been a lot of fun so far. There’s so little out this week, you should also grab the first issue too.

Man-Eaters #4 (Image Comics) – It’s standalone story that’s an entry point for those new to the series.

Mars Attacks #3 (Dynamite Entertainment) – Ack. Ack. Ack. Ack. Ack. Ack. Ack. Ack. Ack.

Marvel Action: Avengers #1 (IDW Publishing/Marvel) – IDW is taking on the classic Marvel poperty with this new series aimed at younger readers.

Superior Spider-Man #1 (Marvel) – Picking up from Spider-Geddon, Doc Ock is again the Superior Spider-Man, attitude and all.

Uncanny X-Men #7 (Marvel) – X-Men Disassembled has been a fun event so far with lots of call backs to classic X moments and a vibe that’s straight out of the 90s.

X-Force #1 (Marvel) – X-Force is back and they’re pissed. On the hunt for Kid Cable, Kid Cable has a mission of his own. Action. Humor. Violence. It’s all there as only X-Force can deliver.

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 12/15

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.


 

Joe Hesh

BATMAN WHO LAUGHS #1Batman Who Laughs #1 (DC) I have been looking forward to this one since the middle of Metal. One of the only salvageable parts of that crossover (besides Baby Darkseid) was The Batman who Laughs. This version of Batman is one who finally murders the Joker but unleashes a toxin that the Joker had internally as a fail safe, thus creating a Batman with a Bruce Wayne that is devoid of conscience and seeks only to live by one rule: Batman always wins. He becomes an amoral ruthless killing machine and is the rival of any opponent. He was defeated in Metal when the Joker and Batman teamed up, but now he’s back and saner than ever. The issue opens with our Batman on a highway chasing down smugglers and procuring a coffin that was loaded in the cargo. The weird point is that the cargo and the body of the deceased is that of.. Bruce Wayne? We then have Alfred and our Bruce try to solve the mystery of who is this doppelganger and they come to some startling results. Meanwhile the Batman who laughs lays siege to Arkham and brings along another Batman with him. This is one that is armed to the teeth and quickly ends the guards. However we don’t know who he is. Is he another Bruce Wayne? This issue reunites the super team of Scott Snyder and Jock. One of my favorite comics combos. Both brought their A game here. This issue started with a mystery and leaves us with questions abound. Not to mention we get s killer cliffhanger. You don’t need to be told twice. Get this book. Overall: Great return to form for Snyder and very intriguing story here, I cannot wair for this one to unfold. Score: 9.5 Reccomendation: Buy Buy Buy

Ryan C

godess mode 1.jpgGoddess Mode #1 (DC/Vertigo)** – Not a bad debut from Zoe Quinn and Robbi Rodriguez, but not an especially stellar one, either. The premise is reasonably intriguing, but Quinn’s tendency toward over-exposition can get downright embarrassing, and she lays it on thick with the overly-obvious analogies of her sci-fi future world to our present-day reality. Rodrigez’ art is stellar, though, and more than enough on its own to convince me to give this at least one more issue. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Read

The Quantum Age #5 (Dark Horse)** – Another crackerjack installment from Jeff Lemire and Wilfredo Torres that ratchets things up toward what promises to be a climactic final chapter that ties directly into current events in the main “Black Hammer” title. Torres’ art remains pitch-perfect for this material, and all in all this may just be the most consequential of the various spin-off series set in this “universe” yet. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Black Hammer: Cthu-Louise #1 (Dark Horse)** – Jeff Lemire and Emi Lenox deliver a splendid and heartfelt little one-off here focusing on a very minor character who nevertheless proves she is more than capable of carrying a story on her young shoulders. Gloriously illustrated and sublimely written, this is just great stuff, plain and simple. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Hey Kids! Comics! #5 (Image) – Howard Chaykin, as it turns out, had one more masterpiece in him after all, as the conclusion to this historical take-down of the comics industry for its sleazy ethical and business practices wraps things up in grand style and even with a little bit of guarded, but still starry-eyed, optimism. The final page promises more to come and I, for one, will be anticipating that eagerly. The best thing Chaykin’s done, no kidding, since “American Flagg!” Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Logan

Goddess Mode #1 (Vertigo)– In a world that has several similarities to our own, including wealth inequality, targeted ads, and shitty healthcare, Cassandra Price is a skilled coder/hacker, who has great talent, but doesn’t like kissing asses so she’s a low level “code janitor” for the Hermeticorp corporation. But then she discovers the world of Azoth aka the algorithm that runs our world, and there are witches, monsters, and a glittering color palette from Rico Renzi. Zoe Quinn does fall into the first time comics writer trap a few times using blocks of texts instead of Robbi Rodriguez’s dark pop visuals to establish her world and Goddess Mode’s premise, but she makes Cass a likable and relatable protagonist, kind of Dane McGowan from the Invisibles for 2018 with quirks like getting her ad bot to play old ska and cat videos and not targeted programming. And underneath the gaudy art and tech-speak, Goddess Mode is a story about a smart young person with a shitty job joining a potential revolution, which is honestly content I need currently. Overall: 8.5 Verdict: Buy

bhcl1Black Hammer: Cthu-Louise #1 (Dark Horse)- As shown by her work on Plutona, Emi Lenox is an artist that excels at showing the ugly and cruel side of kids and teenagers. And that is fully on display in the Cthu-Louise one-shot that she does with writer Jeff Lemire. Cthu-Louise is the daughter of Cthu-Lou, a former supervillain with powers from the Old Ones that now smokes, drinks, and abuses his daughter all day. Cthu-Louise is bullied in a school that basically teaches superhero propaganda all day in a clever bit of writing from Lemire to make this one-shot seem like part of a bigger story. He and Lenox craft an eldritch fable with wishes, prices to pay, and some maddening greens with Cthu-Louise comes into contact with the Old Ones. Also, supervillain daughters aren’t their dads and have feelings too. Overall: 8 Verdict: Read

Fantastic Four Wedding Special #1 (Marvel)– The FF Wedding Special has one cute story, one unfortunately patriarchal one, and then goes back to cute again. The lead story is Gail Simone and Laura Braga’s tale of Alicia Masters’ bachelorette party complete with She-Hulk and Medusa getting wasted and “making it rain” on strippers dressed like male superheroes and fighting the Mole Man’s obsessed stalker. Braga finds the right medium between humor and action, and this story has a lot of heart too and finds true love towards the end. Plus Mole Man feels. Dan Slott and Mark Buckingham handle the second story which is about the Thing asking for Puppet Master’s blessing to marry Alicia. Pass. And it wraps up in a madcap telling of Alicia Masters’ history through the POV of her manipulative father Mole Man with art by the legendary Fred Hembeck, who pulls off both visual gags and crazy Marvel continuity ones. Overall: 7.7 Verdict: Read

Shean

swaordmStar Wars Age of Republic: Darth Maul #1 (Marvel)-In what plays out as a cruel ploy on a force sensitive smuggler, we get a tale where Darth Maul uses his cunning to take out a Jedi outsider. As he goes under cover of night to get close to him. As he uses this task as a way of learning more about Jedi. By issue’s end, he begrudgingly kills the potential Jedi, only to understand why anger is a tool not his master. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

 Silver Surfer: Best Defense #1 (Marvel)– In this particular issue, we find Silver Surfer playing out what looks to be The Good, The Bad and the Ugly interspersed with the ongoing drama between him and Galactus gives fan a little lull before the very first Defenders issue, as this one I was really hoping for more of a punch but fans only get a fizzle and alot of Surfer feeling sorry for himself. Overall: 6.7 Recommendation: Borrow

Doctor Strange: Best Defense #1 (Marvel)– In what is probably the best story I have read of Doctor Strange in a while, we get Old Man Strange. As he is the last Defender alive as Dormammu has won the war on humankind. We find out how it got this bad and what Strange lost before it got here. By issue’s end, everything is not as glum as it seems, as Strange has a secret weapon and takes the fight back to his arch nemesis with the help of an old friend. Overall: 9.8 Recommendation: Buy

Typhoid Fever Iron Fist #1 (Marvel)– In what feels like a horror movie, Typhoid Mary who goes by Typhoid now, has taken over New York City. As she has every superhero including the X-men tearing each other apart. The only one to withstand her peers long-term is Iron Fist, who defends himself against everyone she sends his wayz By issue’s end, one mistake costs her residual powers become dampened and in turn, she goes mad. Overall: 9.1 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 (**).

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