Tag Archives: Comics

Mini Reviews and Recommendations For The Week Ending 10/24

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. Given the lack of new comics, expect this weekly update to begin featuring comics that we think you’ll enjoy while you can’t get anything new to read – only new to you.

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews and Recommendations.


Logan

X-Men #13 (Marvel)– With Apocalypse on the verge of death, Jonathan Hickman and Mahmud Asrar go deep into his past and look into his familial connection with Arakko. It’s a lot of table-setting, magical, fantasy backstory stuff from Hickman, but it’s nice to see Apocalypse vulnerable for once, both in the past and present. It all builds to a nearly-cinematic sequence of him picking up his old, very huge blade in an Egyptian pyramid and ruminating about survival of the fittest. Having one of the X-Men’s greatest foes taking lead against their new enemy adds a general factor to both this issue and the first couple chapters of X of Swords. However, I’ll admit my eyes glazed over a little bit during the flashback sequences as X-Men #13 rounds out a middling week for X of Swords. The characters look cool and have badass names, but I don’t have an emotional connection to them yet. Overall: 6 Verdict: Pass

Tales from the Umbrella Academy: You Look Like Death #2 (Dark Horse)– Even though it features emotionally heart-rending flashbacks, the specters of Hollywood stars past, and hard drug use, You Look Like Death #2 is a bit of a comedown from the first installment of the Klaus Hargreeves solo series. Writers Gerard Way and Shaun Simon and artist INJ Culbard go down lots of rabbit holes in this issue and spend almost as much time on the chimpanzee vampire Shivers taking over the Hollywood vampire underworld as on Klaus hitting the town. There’s a kind of flat, unreality to Culbard’s art that works for a world that is a little bit, well, off. His best work comes in flashbacks of Reginald Hargreeves traumatizing Klaus to unleash his great potential, and Way and Simon find a throughline between this trauma and his current con-man ways and substance abuse. You Look Like Death #2 doesn’t have the high-wire energy of the first issue of the series, but Way, Simon, and Culbard start to develop the character who would be the most charismatic member of the Umbrella Academy cast even if the Shivers sequences aren’t as exciting. Overall: 7.9 Verdict: Buy

King Tank Girl #1 (Albatross)**- Tank Girl’s move to Albatross Funnybooks (Home of Eric Powell’s Goon) has writer Alan Martin and artist Brett Parson channeling her Deadline days with a series of funny pop culture riff stories. The lead story, which has Booga looking for a rare, treasured action figure (Based on the Kenner Boba Fett) and Tank Girl accidentally being King of England, is the best of the bunch with lots of visual and verbal humor. Another favorite is a one-off story about a shoe sale, and Martin and Parson also make fun of surf culture turning a straightforward action story into something utterly absurd. Filled with silly puns, faces, and even some explosions, King Tank Girl #1 is just a general good time. Overall: 8.5 Verdict: Buy

Iron Man #2 (Marvel)– Christopher Cantwell and Cafu really seem to be having a good time putting retro-suit wearing Tony Stark through the wringer in Iron Man #2 while giving a glimpse at the legit Big Bad behind the scenes. Tony’s death wish is on display this whole comic as he lets Arcade capture him so he can get his ass kicked by Absorbing Man and then breaks almost every bone in his body rescuing some Stark Unlimited employees. Cafu’s art is slick and fluid, especially during the action sequences, but he also nails how out of sorts Tony is and the total snark and contempt that Hellcat has for him. Her calling out Tony’s behavior and the lack of any romantic element in their relationship is definitely the best part of Cantwell and Cafu’s Iron Man so far. Overall: 8.0 Verdict: Buy

Edgar Allan Poe’s Snifter of Blood #1 (Ahoy)– Ahoy’s all-star horror anthology with an inebriated American author host is back with Paul Cornell and Russ Braun doing an adaptation of Poe’s “Black Cat” (But with a dog). There’s also Dean Motter spinning a yarn about Poe’s fictional paleontologist buddy Atlas that turns into a battle between science and faith, truth and con artistry, and eventually, good versus evil. Thankfully, a hammered Poe is there to break the tension between stories, but “Black Dog” is fairly traumatizing thanks to Cornell telling the story from the dog’s POV and Braun’s straightforward, even-keeled art. “Atlas Shrugged” is a little more complex, but Motter’s eye for design and ability to draw shifty figures suits a story with a cast of characters that includes luminaries like Poe and PT Barnum as well earnest scientists and overbearing fire and brimstone preaching. Motter letters the story too and adds to the accusatory tone of some of the cast with intense use of fonts. In addition to these two comics, there are also some interesting illustrated prose stories to make this worth your purchase, especially during the Halloween season. Overall: 8.5 Verdict: Buy

Brett

Werewolf By Night #1 (Marvel) – I’d had some high hopes for this debut and direction for the classic series/character. The overall concept has some good ideas but the end overall product falls short. The comic feels like a forgettable release from the 90s. It’s not bad but also doesn’t excite. It’d be a comic I’d have read in 15 minutes, shrugged my shoulders then moved on to the next comic in the pile. The interesting aspect is the tie-in to the Outlawed storyline but the dialogue is a bit cheesy at moments and some art makes little sense. There’s a lot of potential with the direction of the series to start but the end result feels like a story we’ve seen too many times before and doesn’t take advantage of the potentially interesting perspective and views of the writers and artists. Lots of potential not taken advantage of. Overall Rating: 6.5 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 (**).

Comics Deserve Better Episode 12: Beyond the Demon, The Sea by Ben Goldsmith, Davy Broyles, and Justin Birch/Burning Tree by Nuna

On this week’s Comics Deserve Better, Brian, Darci, and Logan discuss a couple of horror one-shots from Source Point Press. The comics are the maritime scarefest Beyond the Demon, The Sea by Ben Goldsmith, Davy Broyles, and Justin Birch and the almost-silent Gothic horror book Burning Tree by Nuna. They also chat about indie comics news like Heavy Metal‘s Magma Comix imprint, Abbott 1973, TKO‘s third wave of graphic novel, and Dark Horse Comics‘ Halloween sale. Other comics mentioned on the show include Culdesac, Blood on the Tracks, Die, Bitter Root, Death of the Horror Anthology, and Maids. (Episode art by Nuna)

A Man On the Brink Reaches his Breaking Point in Static from Matt Lesniewski and Carlos Badilla

From the great mind of Eisner-nominated Matt Lesniewski and colorist Carlos Badilla comes the new sci-fi/horror graphic novel Static arriving April 2021.

Emmett never thought his life would be like this. Especially not for this long. Every day is the same, and it’s a living hell. The eccentric scientist’s muscle-for-hire will do anything to break from a decade’s long cycle of déjà vu. When Emmett unknowingly causes the spark that brings his life to a boiling point, a domino effect of chaotic events leads to an ironic fate.

Static arrives in comic shops April 28, 2021, and bookstores May 11, 2021.

Static

Crimson Flower is a New Mind-Bending Series from Matt Kindt, Matt Lesniewski, and Bill Crabtree

From New York Times-bestselling Mind MGMT creator Matt Kindt with illustrator Matt Lesniewski and colorist Bill Crabtree comes a brand-new, mind-altering journey through Russian folk tales, trained assassins, and government conspiracies in Crimson Flower! Crimson Flower will sport variant covers for each issue from artists including Malachi Ward, Patric Reynolds with Lee Loughridge, Marguerite Sauvage, and Tyler Bence with Bill Crabtree.

After losing her family in a violent home invasion, a woman uses folk tales to cope. In a blood-soaked journey toward revenge, she tracks down the man responsible for her family’s deaths, only to discover a startling government plot—to weaponize folk tales and use them to raise children into super assassins.

Crimson Flower #1 (of 4) will hit comic shops January 20, 2021.

Review: True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys: National Anthem #1

TRUE LIVES OF THE FABULOUS KILLJOYS: NATIONAL ANTHEM #1

Set in the world sung about in My Chemical Romance’s fourth studio album Danger Days, True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys: National Anthem #1 tells the story of the original Killjoy, Mike Millimeter. He’s been hinted at in concept art since 2008, but finally, writers Gerard Way and Shaun Simon, artist Leonardo Romero, and colorist Jordie Bellaire tell his epic and tragic narrative. In National Anthem #1, Way and Simon juggle twin narratives with one showing Mike at his peak, rocking a cool car, ray gun, a mask, and a crew of Killjoys and the other one showing his life in a dystopia that has homogenized everything from breakfast cereal to Ramones records. And, of course, Mike rebels against “the Man” even if it means his death.

One of Gerard Way’s most underrated talents is artist curation. For example, take a look at the artist lineup for the sadly dormant Young Animal imprint and see how Nick Derington was born to be a star penciler and nail both the adventure of Batman and the weirdness of the Doom Patrol. His curation skills strike again in National Anthem #1 as Leonardo Romero’s storytelling styles perfectly fits the duel between conformity and non-conformity from crashing on the couch and vegging out to nationalistic television to starting a revolution anew. He uses lots of small panels to show little interactions between characters or memorable moments like Mike thinking back to his abusive childhood. Jordie Bellaire’s color palette adds emotion to this and other scenes with strong color choices like yellow pages for the abuses of the past or a vomit green as Mike grows sick of life as stock shelver with an encyclopedic knowledge of the Ramones.

Gerard Way and Shaun Simon go for a drinking at a fire hydrant style of scripting and plotting that is similar to Way’s work on Umbrella Academy and Doom Patrol although they predominantly focus on Mike Milligram as a character with supporting players acting as window dressing, obstacles, plot points, or getting him to act. Just like the Danger Days album, National Anthem #1 scratches the surface of a futuristic world that is similar to ours with megacorporations and surveillance states, but a bit quirkier. For example, there’s a gang of books on tape addicts in National Anthem #1, and they are one of several gangs that get into one hell of a shootout in the middle of the comic.

This extended setpiece showcases Romero eye for action as he breaks down each gun fight into manageable chunks using smaller panels before going widescreen for a big plot point or a car chase. For the most part, Bellaire uses primary colors for the Killjoys to make sure that readers can see what they’re up to in the middle of the fray. It matches the yellow pops of their ray guns and the red of blood and guts that streak across the panel and even into the gutters as Mike loses control of the situation. There’s a reason why he’s slumped on the couch while the U.S. National Anthem plays on his television, and Romero and Bellaire use visual similarities to transition to this future timeline like a film editor, who wants to make their cuts memorable and appealing and not give the audience a headache.

True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys: National Anthem #1 has futuristic, punk rock worldbuilding with a stellar sense of style. It is also the first chapter of a compelling story arc for Mike Milligram, who goes from revolutionary leader to sad sack cog in a corporate machine. (But there’s yet hope for the masked man with the cool car.) Gerard Way and Shaun Simon’s Burroughs-esque word play, Leonardo Romero’s high energy pencils, and the Jordie Bellaire’s eye popping colors bring it all to life in magical, music video fashion. This one is for the MCRmy, Timothy Leary followers, aging crust punks in cubicle prisons, folks who prefer vinyl to streaming, and anyone who wants to give the middle finger to the current status quo.

Story: Gerard Way and Shaun Simon Art: Leonardo Romero
Colors: Jordie Bellaire Letters: Nate Piekos
Story: 8.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

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


Purchase: comiXologyAmazonKindleZeus Comics

Mini Reviews and Recommendations For The Week Ending 10/10

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. Given the lack of new comics, expect this weekly update to begin featuring comics that we think you’ll enjoy while you can’t get anything new to read – only new to you.

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews and Recommendations.


Logan

Norse Mythology #1 (Dark Horse)– Retellings of Norse myths with punchy prose from Neil Gaiman and wonderful art from P. Craig Russell, Mike Mignola, and Jerry Ordway makes picking up this comic a no-brainer. Russell handles layouts, scripting, and draws the first story, which establishes the Nine Realms and Yggdrasil in glorious fashion. Mignola and colorist Dave Stewart draw the second story, which is both weird and archetypal, as Odin sacrifices his eye to gain wisdom. A burst of red really emphasizes the pain he feels. Finally, the book wraps up with Ordway drawing a humorous story of Thor, Loki, and dwarves. He, Russell, and Gaiman have fun with the rivalry between brothers, and there’s even a cliffhanger. Overall: 9.0 Verdict: Buy

Getting It Together #1 (Image)– In Getting It Together, Sina Grace, Omar Spahi, Jenny D. Fine, and Mx. Struble service a fun genre that gets no love from monthly comics: slice of life. Grace and Spahi craft an HBO dramedy-worthy premise of a messy breakup, but the couple share a best friend/sibling named Jack that makes it even messier. They also distract from the heterosexuality for a minute to have a fun, if kind of painful subplot as Jack’s date turns out to be totally shady. Fine and Struble are a versatile art team who can do everything from high energy rooftop gigs to passionate sex scenes and especially interpersonal conflict. Getting It Together is a comic that looks good, has interesting relationship dynamics, and doesn’t take itself too seriously. Overall: 8.3 Verdict: Buy

Champions #1 (Marvel)- After long delays, Eve Ewing and Simone Di Meo’s incarnation of the teen superhero team, Champions, is here, and it’s honestly worth the wait. The cast of characters is sprawling, but Ewing wisely uses Miles Morales as a POV character to show how the outlawing of teen vigilantes affects regular teens in the Marvel universe. And, then, she and Di Meo get down to the action featuring a mixed bag of panels with interesting shapes and “camera angles” that don’t clearly show the fighting moves and superpowers. However, premise and plot-wise, Champions comes off as a more intelligent and progressive take on Marvel’s Civil War with Ewing (Via Kamala Khan) wisely writing that sometimes older generations don’t understand what younger generations want or need. She even throws in some clever moments like all the “good” superhero mentors being taken, which makes sense because a good hero like a good teacher or professor sadly has limited time in their day. Overall: 8.0 Verdict: Buy

Adventureman #4 (Image)– Matt Fraction, Terry Dodson, and Rachel Dodson’s pulp pastiche-meets-domestic drama comes to a crescendo in Adventureman #4. Our protagonist, Claire, has been acting a lot more like the titular hero from expanding physically to helping hapless tourists and showing superhuman abilities. The Dodsons’ art matches this energy and also provide a glimpse at why she is behaving this way as well as a possible solution at protecting reality from something straight out of Gnostic writings. (Or a Grant Morrison comic.) I feel like “hypercaffeinated” is a good descriptor for Adventureman #4 as Fraction and the Dodsons introduce concepts, flashbacks, and character at a mile a minute pace. It’s overwhelming at times, but has kinetic art and solid foundational themes like found family and being forgotten being worse than death as reality and the Connells/Adventure Inc starts to bridge together. Overall: 7.4 Verdict: Read

Marauders #13 (Marvel)– Vita Ayala and Matteo Lolli craft a really exciting Storm solo comic as she takes a little road trip to Wakanda to get the Skybreaker sword for her upcoming fight with the Arakko. Marauders #13 captures all the sides of Ororo’s personality: thief, goddess, hero, mutant, and African woman. Ayala also writes one hell of a Shuri as she paints a pretty bleak picture of what removing the Wakandans’ most sacred happen would do to her family and the country. Conversely, Storm not taking the sword would be the end of Krakoa and (let’s get dramatic here) the world. Lolli’s art for the conversational back and forth is serviceable, but he really hits a new level for the bittersweet heist that Storm pulls with speed lines, lightning blasts, and a look of disappointment on both Ororo and T’challa’s faces when they realize what she’s done. Overall: 8.5 Verdict: Buy

Brett

Marauders #13 (Marvel) – The strongest chapter of the X of Swords event mostly because there’s some meat here. An issue focused on Storm’s retrieving her sword from Wakanda, the most interesting aspect is the moral/political issues it brings up. The comic is a lot of debate between Shuri and Storm about the priorities of a nation and “best interest” with some potential long term impact. A rather blah caper is wrapped up in a debate about national interests. The art is a little all over but the depth of the comic and it’s underlying theme is what stands out. Overall: 8.25 Recommendation: Buy

Rise of Ultraman #2 (Marvel) – What exactly is Ultraman? For those unfamiliar with the classic manga/anime property this issue gets things really going and explains the missing pieces of the first issue. It also sets up some mystery and conspiracy as to who the heroes really are. For someone new to the property, I’m digging it. Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

Snake Eyes: Deadgame #2 (IDW Publishing) – I really enjoyed the first issue of the series but this second issue falls into problems Liefeld comics tend to have. The concepts are much better than the execution. There’s potentially some great stuff here but the story is a bit choppy, nonsensical at times, and mostly about the visuals. There’s also an issue of designs that feel like they’d fit right at home with his work on X-Force and Youngblood. All these years later, they’re a bit dated. Though, red suit Snake Eyes looks pretty cool. Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read

Wolverine #6 (Marvel) – Wolverine’s quest for his sword begins here and then continues in X-Force. It’s a drawn out at times confusing issue that feels like it’s delaying getting to the interesting stuff in the next chapter of X of Swords. You could skip this issue and not miss much at all. Overall: 5.0 Recommendation: Pass

X-Force #13 (Marvel) – The second part of Wolverine getting his sword is much more interesting than the first part of Wolverine #6. The issue has some interesting interaction between Wolverine and his foe as we learn more about Solem who might actually be a challenge. It’s clear at some point Solem will get a face turn and become someone who’s in Wolverine’s orbit as a side character, their interactions are too good not to. But, overall, this just shows that this part of X of Swords could have been wrapped up in an issue instead of spread out in two. Overall: 7.5 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 (**).

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Snake Eyes: Dead Game #2

Wednesdays (and now Tuesdays) are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

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

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

American Ronin #1 (AWA Studios) – Corporations engage in a silent war for global domination using highly-skilled, technologically-enhanced operatives to wage war. What happens when one of those operatives breaks free of the control?

American Vampire 1976 #1 (DC Comics/DC Black Label) – The fantastic series is back for another ride as Skinner Sweet must help with a heist to help stop a true evil.

Batman #100 (DC Comics) – “Joker War” wraps up with this issue and it’s a hell of a finale.

Champions #1 (Marvel) – The first issue was solid and plants the flag as to what this latest volume of Champions is all about. Read our review.

Getting It Together #1 (Image Comics) – A family/friend drama about relationships and friendship. There’s something intriguing about this dramedy from Sina Grace, Omar Spahi, and MX Struble.

Hollywood Trash #1 (Mad Cave Studios) – A top entertainment mogul puts a hit on two local garbage men who have stolen from him. It’s one epic day of sword fights, forest fires, and giant mechs!

Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology #1 (Dark Horse) – Neil Gaiman, P. Craig Russell, Mike Mignola, and Jerry Ordway is enough to sell us on this series that breathes “new life into action Norse stories.”

Penultiman #1 (AHOY Studios) – The Next-To-Last-Stage In Human Evolution, is the greatest, best-looking, and most admired super-hero in the world! So how can he stop hating himself? His android understudy, Antepenultiman, thinks he knows the answer!

Snake Eyes: Deadgame #2 (IDW Publishing) – The first issue was solid as Rob Liefeld does his thing with the beloved G.I. Joe character. It exceeded our expectations and we’re hoping the second issue does the same.

Transformers/Back to the Future #1 (IDW Publishing) – The two classic properties crossing over might seem silly but IDW has been knocking it out of the park with these sort of stories these past few years. We love both Transformers and Back to the Future, so we’re in.

The Walking Dead Deluxe #1 (Image Comics/Skybound) – If you’ve never read the modern classic series, here’s your chance. Colored for the first time, it’ll be interesting to see how the horror/zombie series might be different in color compared to its original black and white.

We Only Find Them When They’re Dead #2 (BOOM! Studios) – This is basically Moby Dick with space gods and the art is amazing.

Mini Reviews and Recommendations For The Week Ending 10/3

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. Given the lack of new comics, expect this weekly update to begin featuring comics that we think you’ll enjoy while you can’t get anything new to read – only new to you.

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews and Recommendations.


Brett

The Immortal Hulk: The Threshing Place #1 (Marvel) – A pretty solid one-shot comic that has some depth to it. That’s not surprising as Jeff Lemire takes over the writing and his comics usually have a little more to them. The art by Mike Del Mundo with colors by Marco D’Alfonso is fantastic with an almost painted quality about it. I’m not often a fan of one-shots as they just feel like throwaway money grabs but this really stands out for its overall quality. There’s some action, heart, and solid art. Overall Rating: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel Zombies Resurrection #2 (Marvel) – Perfect timing for the Halloween season, the second issue takes us to surprising locations with some twists I didn’t expect at all. The series is delivering something new for the well-worn line of comics and hopefully this prompts Marvel to deliver a new mini-series with a new creative team each year, though this team is great. If you like “zombie” stories, this is well worth checking out. Overall Rating: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

X-Factor #4 (Marvel) – The first chapter of X of Swords left me wanting. I immediately focused on its giant holes and questionable decisions made by characters. This second chapter feels like it’s an attempt to fill in the plot issues that the X-Men’s new direction has, namely resurrection. There’s now some stakes in that which is long overdue and brings some actual threats to the situation, but even then only slightly. While I like the blending of the swords and sorcery and X-Men, so far, this is an event that isn’t as earth-shattering or even good as events long time past. While not a bad story so far, it’s also not quite as exciting as hyped or I hoped. Overall Rating: 7.0 Recommendation: Read

Transformers #23 (IDW Publishing) – I took a break from this new Transformers run as its focus on a murder mystery instead of the more interesting political unrest was rather frustrating. With a title of “Rise of Decepticons” I decided to check out this issue as it was clear Megatron and his faction were going to make their political power known. Sadly, the story and events are pretty paint-by-number and predictable and seen in far too many films and shows. It reminds me how smart the previous volume was in its handling of politics and leaves me debating to continue or maybe tune back in farther down the road. Overall Rating: 6.5 Recommendation: Read

Logan

X-Factor #4 (Marvel)– Leah Williams and Carlos Gomez immediately deal with the effects of X of Swords: Creation, namely, the deaths of Rockslide and Rictor and the mortal wounding of Apocalypse by his own children. Because this is technically an issue of X-Factor, Williams tells the story from Polaris’ POV as her guilt for what happened to Rockslide and in her insecurity around her father only intensifies when the resurrection protocols have a big time glitch. This whole resurrection thing has been too good to be true, and kudos to Williams and Gomez for showing that there are flaws in the system, especially where Otherworld is concerned, and giving the upcoming tournament arc a boost. X-Factor #4 raises the stakes of X of Swords, and Gomez’s art matches the almost shonen manga-meets-high fantasy plotting of Williams. Yeah, there’s a prophecy, and also a data page fleshing it out. Overall: 8.0 Verdict: Buy

X-Ray Robot #2 (Dark Horse)– Mike Allred’s art paired with Laura Allred’s colors as well as his depiction of traveling through parallel realities are groovy and fun to look at. However, they are weighed down by Allred’s exposition-ridden writing. He spends most of the issue re-explaining the premise of the series and making it more and more complicated when it’s really Back to the Future with a side of robots and multiverse. It makes for really frustrating reading, which is too bad because Allred is one of the great comics storytellers. Overall: 5.6 Verdict: Pass


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 (**).

Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins Gets a Third Volume

Jump back into the fray with series III of Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins, from the New York Times bestselling team of Matthew MercerJody Houser, Olivia Samson, MSASSYK, and Ariana Maher!

Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins Series III picks up with Vox Machina enjoying some R&R in Westruun’s lap of luxury. But that costs coin, which has a bad habit of running out. So to keep themselves in the black they agree to join an underground fighting ring. But before they can bash their way to cash, their attention is snagged by the case of a missing child.

Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins Series III #1 (of six) will be in comic shops on December 9, 2020.

Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins Series III #1 (of six)

Review: You Look Like Death: Tales from the Umbrella Academy #1

YOU LOOK LIKE DEATH TALES UMBRELLA ACADEMY #1

Everyone’s favorite member of the Umbrella Academy, Klaus Hargreeves aka Seance, finally gets his own solo series in You Look Like Death: Tales from the Umbrella Academy #1 from writers Gerard Way and Shaun Simon and the (sadly underrated in the United States) artist I.N.J. Culbard. The book also acts as a bit of a prequel to the main Umbrella Academy series and is set after Klaus is expelled from the Academy for drug use and other shenanigans by his exacting adoptive father, Sir Reginald Hargreeves. But it’s an entertaining story in its own right full of, well, drug use, vampire chimpanzee crime lords, a dash of humor, and clean, evocative art and colors from Culbard.

With a varied power set and a charismatic personality in both the Umbrella Academy show and comics, Klaus’ escapades are ripe fodder for a solo spinoff. Way, Simon, and Culbard spend the first small bit of the book establishing why Klaus is so out of place at the Umbrella Academy and establishing his frenemy-ish relationship with his siblings Luther, Allison, and Diego as well as his enmity-filled relationship with Sir Reginald through zippy, humorous vignettes. Culbard uses grid-like layouts to show how Klaus is trapped in the orderly world of the Academy before opening up the page when he hits the road to The City and beyond with a dream and a cardigan. (And a suitcase for accuracy purposes.) His color choices also match this mood going from neutral tones to basically candy with the ever-present green whenever Klaus uses his abilities, such as possessing people or communicating with the dead.

Something I love about Umbrella Academy is how much it embraces the strangeness of superpowers and the folks that wield them starting in the first issue of the series when the young Umbrella Academy fights Zombie-Robot Gustave Eiffel in Paris. Gerard Way, Shaun Simon, and I.N.J. Culbard continue that tradition in You Look Like Death #1 while maintaining laser focus on the character of Klaus and what he does to keep busy/have fun/keep the talking to dead people pain away while being away from his siblings. The miniseries has been advertised to take place in Hollywood, but the lion’s share of You Look Like Death #1 takes place in The City.

Way, Simon, and Culbard dig into the generic superhero city, NPCs, and all aspect of the setting as soon as Klaus packs his bags. I will probably never stop laughing at a place where you can obtain drugs at a shop with a neon sign that says “Drugs” and is probably part of larger 7/11-esque franchise owned by the aforementioned chimpanzee vampire drug lord. This playful approach to setting persists even when Klaus hits the West Coast, and he goes from standing out to being just part of the scenery. And speaking of the scenery, I.N.J. Culbard adds all kind of wonderful background dressing when Klaus goes out and about, like interesting back tattoos or darkly humorous posters in adoption centers, that add to the liveliness of the world that he, Gerard Way, and Shaun Simon have crafted. I am definitely down to follow Klaus down some dark alleys and into buildings with fun graffiti patterns and even more fun denizens inside.

You Look Like Death #1 is a direct hit to the pleasure-feeling parts of your brain. I got the same feeling from reading this comic as I did driving into cop cars and hapless civilians in the Grand Theft Auto games sans all the unnecessary carnage. Klaus uses his powers for pure hedonism, angers authority figures, and has a good time, rinse and repeat. There’s also a bit of void-filled darkness because what else would you expect from a co-writer, who sang lead vocals on “Helena”. However, that’s background radiation. For now, You Look Like Death is the feel-good party comic with queer lead of 2020, but drink plenty of water and get ready for that hangover in subsequent issues…

Story: Gerard Way and Shaun Simon
 Art: I.N.J. Culbard Letters: Nate Piekos
Story: 8.5 Art: 9.0 Overall: 8.8 Recommendation: Buy

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


Pre-Order: comiXologyKindleZeus Comics

« Older Entries