Tag Archives: Comics

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 5/26

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.


Mr. H

Iron-Man-600-variantInvincible Iron Man #600 (Marvel Comics) This is the big Bendis swan song from Marvel before he takes on big blue from that other company. As a huge fan of Iron Man the character albeit a casual reader of his core title I had to view this one. So this has Brian Michael Bendis on writing chores and Daniel Acuna, Stefano Casselli, David Marquez and Mark Bagley and more on the art chores. Fitting for a swan song on a Tony Stark book that there would be so many moving pieces. Now the deal is we get told the story through Tony’s uber pretentious self AI. We get the resurrection of the one and only Tony Stark and the showdown between his biological mom and dad as well as a few big surprises and a really cool end. Now though I’ve been out of the loop a bit on these goings, Bendis does a great job of keeping me up to speed with all that matters. Oh and did I mention that it has Doom in it?? Not impeding doom, Dr. Victor Von Doom! (One of my all time faves) so immediately this issue gets a bit of a boost for me. The writing was good, not BMB best for me. That honor still goes to his Daredevil run imo. The art was great, even though switching between so many pencil “engineers” they keep the story moving brisk. All in all I thought it was a great job for an oversized anniversary issue which I’m a sucker for. I am excited to see where the next chapter goes with Tony under the pen of Dan “the man” Slott, but BMB did really well here. Also like the Marvel movies stay for the epilogue. Very cool stuff. Overall: 8.2 Recommendation: Buy

Ryan C

 

black panther 1Black Panther #1 (Marvel)** – Thank goodness for Daniel Acuna, because Ta-Nehisi Coates’ script for this debut issue is a discombobulated mess. “T’Challa In Space” probably isn’t the most well-considered idea coming on the back of a hugely successful film — “now that we’ve got a slew of potential new fans, let’s confuse the shit out of them!” not being what most would consider a sound strategy for building sales — but at least this muddled would-be “cosmic epic” looks good. Unfortunately, it doesn’t read well at all. Oh well, at least one issue is all I needed to convince me that this book isn’t for me. Overall: 3 Recommendation: Pass

Days Of Hate #5 (Image)** – While we’re on the subject of “thank goodness for artists,” Danijel Zezelj carries pretty much all the weight of this installment, with Ales Kot more or less coasting through what could (hell, should) be a tense, climactic issue, but that instead just falls flat. We’ll see what happens story-wise now that the writer has essentially taken a month off to gear up for the back half of the series, but this comic was really just pretty to look at, and not much else. Overall: 3 Recommendation: Pass

Black Hammer: Age Of Doom #2 (Dark Horse)** – Franchising the world of “Black Hammer” out “Mignolaverse”-style doesn’t seem to have hurt the main title in the least, as Jeff Lemire and Dean Ormston continue to deliver the goods with this brisk, pacy issue that sees good forward narrative momentum paired with stunning artwork of nasty-looking hellscapes. As always, this book is more fun than just about anything else out there. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Incognegro: Renaissance #4 (Dark Horse/Berger Books)** – Mat Johnson and Warren Pleece do some pretty good stage-setting in this penultimate chapter of their “Harlem Murder Mystery,” but maybe it’s a little too good — or too much, at any rate, since the identity of the murderer is essentially given away here with one issue to go.Maybe they’ve got one more big surprise up their sleeves, but even if they don’t, provided they manage to avoid flubbing the landing, this should end up going down as a pretty compelling period piece, and the black-and-white art has been nothing short of sensational. Overall : 7.5. Recommendation : Buy

Shean

you are deadpoolYou Are Deadpool #3 (Marvel) I will keep this one sweet and short, this has got to be the best Deadpool book going on right now, as it encompasses everything everyone loves about Deadpool and puts him in the craziest situations that only he knows how to get into to and make worse, the hardest I have laugh in awhile on a Deadpool book. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Old Man Hawkeye #5 (Marvel) We finally meet President Red Skull as Bullseye’s exploits has reached the White House, which causes him to send more assassins. Clint also finds himself in a standoff with the Venoms inside a bar, one that only brings death and destruction. Clint finally finds a way out as he realizes he needs sanctuary now. By issue’s end, solace comes in the former of an ex-partner, one that is weary of Clint’s intentions. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Logan

 Invincible Iron Man #600 (Marvel) Brian Michael Bendis’ last comic for Marvel has a lot of fun moments and also a lot of convoluted, not so fun ones. Some highlights include Dr. Doom (As drawn by Alex Maleev.) making a self-sacrificing play to cap offhis arc in Infamous Iron Man, which will go down as Bendis’ last great Marvel run, Rhodey coming back from the dead and kicking ass and joking with Tony again, and of course, Bendis’ final artist jam. However, Invincible Iron Man #600 also cops out on a lot of things like Leonardo Da Vinci, Tony’s dad, and decides to end on a relatively obscure scene connected to Bendis’ X-Men run. Hopefully, Bendis learns how to write endings when he comes to DC… Overall: 6.0 Verdict: Pass

mystery in madripoorHunt For Wolverine: Mystery in Madripoor #1 (Marvel) A team of female X-Men, including Kitty Pryde, Psylocke, Rogue, Storm, Jubilee, and Domino, head to Madripoor to investigate Magneto’s connection to Wolverine’s missing body. They end up in the middle of a gang war, and along the way, get to ponder their relationship to Wolverine by looking through the items in his old room. Jim Zub expertly weaves past and present together and crafts an argument for another all female X-Book through the banter that the characters share. Unfortunately, Thony Silas’ figures are stiffly posed and is more suited for superhero costumes than the high fashion outfits that the teams wears to blend in. This mini is another case of solid story, unspectacular art, but Felipe Sobreiro’s Glynis Wein/late Bronze Age inspired color palette is delightful. Overall: 7.3 Verdict: Read

Mother Panic Gotham AD #3 (DC/Young Animal) The war between Mother Panic, her uberviolent sidekick Fennec Fox, and the evil Gotham PR firm The Collective reaches new heights, and Ibrahim Moustafa gets to draw some exhilarating, bloody action scenes. Jody Houser and Moustafa craft some wonderful scenes of reunion between Mother Panic and her mom and continue to put an almost meta-fictional twist on the Joker even if it doesn’t feel as connected to the main narrative. This series is shaping up to be a chaotic, punk rock take on Elseworld stories, and the backup story by Houser and the wonderful Paulina Ganucheau is a beautiful, tragic take on the Harley/Ivy romance. Overall: 8.5 Verdict: Buy

Deadly Class #34 (Image)– This arc where Marcus, a band of rebellious freshmen, and their enemies get caught in Yakuza crossfire has been super intense, and issue 34 is no exception. Writer Rick Remender and artist Wes Craig has been channeling their inner Frank Millers recently, and this issue has its own version of the “mudhole” scene from Dark Knight Returns. But it’s Marcus’ girlfriend Maria doing the ass kicking and helping him get revenge against the murderer of his best friend, who also disrupted his peaceful life in Mexico away from King’s Dominion school.Moral murkiness is really what rules the day, and it goes great with Jordan Boyd’s muddy color palette. Overall: 9 Verdict: 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 (**).

An Early Look at Ether: Copper Golems #1 Out this May

Ether: Copper Golems #1

Matt Kindt (Writer), David Rubín (Artist, Cover Artist), Paul Pope (Variant Cover Artist)

Matt Kindt! David Rubín!

From New York Times bestselling Mind MGMT creator Matt Kindt and Black Hammer‘s David Rubín comes this fantasy adventure about a science-minded hero intent on keeping the balance between Earth and a magic world!

Portals between Earth and the Ether begin to crack open unleashing devastating magical fury on our planet and only adventurer Boone Dias can seal the breaches. In order to put an end to this chaos, Boone recruits a powerful team of mystical beings including a grumpy, spell-writing fairy; a bickering, lavender gorilla; and a bull-headed, motorcycling spell-hacker. These heroes set off on a journey taking the reader through the center of volcanoes, deserts full of living mummies and sphinxes, and a bizarre fairy forest in an effort to save both worlds from complete destruction!

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 are choosing up to five books and why they’re choosing the books. In other words, this is what we’re looking forward to and think you should be taking a look!

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

 

Action Comics Special #1 (DC Comics) – An oversized special celebrating Superman with a long list of talent involved. If you want to continue celebrating Superman’s birthday, this is a way to do it!

Avengers #1 (Marvel) – Jason Aaron and Ed McGuinness take on Marvel’s premiere team and when Aaron’s involved that guarantees and epic story.

Coda #1 (BOOM! Studios) – We’ve read the first issue and this new fantasy series is absolutely wonderful. If you dig a fantasy setting, this is a must.

Dark Ark #6 (AfterShock Comics) – This new take on Biblical tales has been fantastic and one of the comics we look forward to each and every month.

DC Nation #0 (DC Comics) – A special price and some key stories that will launch the next phase of DC Comics.

Death or Glory #1 (Image Comics) – We’ve read the first issue and it’s a solid story of crime and driving.

Star Trek: The Next Generation: Through the Mirror #1 (IDW Publishing) – IDW has been rocking it when it comes to their Star Trek stories and the Mirror Universe. This new one has them coming into the Prime Universe and we’re excited to see where it goes.

The Walking Dead #179 (Image Comics/Skybound Entertainment) – A new community and we’re waiting for the evil to be revealed.

Xerxes: Fall of the House of Darius #2 (Dark Horse) – The first issue was just ok but we want to see where Frank Miller takes this.

You Are Deadpool #1 (Marvel) – Choose Your Own Adventure + Deadpool + RPG elements = we want to check this out.

Beasts of Burden Returns to Dark Horse in August

Dark Horse Comics welcomes fans back to Burden Hill as the one and only Evan Dorkin joins forces with artist Benjamin Dewey and letterer Nate Piekos for a thrilling new series, Beasts of Burden: Wise Dogs and Eldritch Men. Co-created by Dorkin and Jill Thompson, Beasts of Burden has been a staple at Dark Horse since it debuted in 2009 and we are thrilled to bring readers a new story starring Beasts of Burden’s Wise Dogs.

Beasts of Burden: Wise Dogs and Eldritch Men follows the heroic pack of canines known as the Wise Dogs as they take on a series of new horrors and find a link among a variety of seemingly unrelated occult disturbances plaguing Burden Hill and the surrounding areas. Their discovery leads them to mountain village inhabited by a survivalist witch-cult who have uncovered the existence of a “Blood Lure” attracting occult forces, creatures, and many more terrors to Burden Hill!

Beasts of Burden: Wise Dogs and Eldritch Men #1 (of 4) goes on sale August 22, 2018, and is available for preorder at your local comic shop. Issue #1 also offers a variant cover by Rafael Albuquerque.

Review: Aliens Dust to Dust #1

In time for Alien Day (April 26), Dark Horse Comics has released a new xenomorph featuring miniseries Aliens Dust to Dust #1. Unlike the recent films, Gabriel Hardman and Rain Beredo’s story has no philosophical pretensions, convoluted backstories, or characters acting dumb for the sake of the plot. Like pair of mad alchemists, they bottle the pure terror of Alien with the explosive action of Aliens and craft a tight thriller about a mother and her son, Maxon, evacuating a planet that has been terraformed by some representatives of Weyland-Yutani, and of course, everything has gone terribly wrong. In a similar vein to the 2014 survival horror video game Alien Isolation, it makes an argument that the true spirit of Alien has been kept alive through ancillary media rather than the big budget, “canonical” movies.

Hardman frames his story through the POV of a child linging on full body shots of xenomorphs and chestbursters and then cutting to the wide eyed terror of a young boy, who is trying to process his surroundings as everything he knows is in jeopardy. In his plotting and dialogue, Hardman trims the fat right to his story’s primal core: family, home, survival. These are things that many people take for granted, but they are the forefront of his two protagonists’ minds as Maxon wakes up from a fitful slumber to gun fire and a facehugger. Beredo bathes the panel in shadow, and Hardman uses blotchy inking and sloping downward panels to represent how Maxon’s simple life has been uprooted. Some of the expressions that Hardman picks for his young lead character seem ripped from the unconscious of kids watching Alien or any classic horror movie and being frightened by iconic monsters. for the first time. Except he can’t hide behind the couch or shut off the TV, this is his new normal.

The tenseness of Aliens: Dust to Dust extends from Hardman’s layouts and use of shadow in conjunction with Beredo’s colors to his dialogue. Maxon is plain freaked out while his mother seems perpetually out of breath, and every reassuring word that comes out of her mouth is as much for her as him. Hopped up on adrenaline, she can shoot and drive like a badass, but her actions and reactions seem human, much like Ripley’s seemed to viewers of Alien when it was first released and before she was the Ur-sci fi horror heroine. But by focusing so much on Maxon’s responses to the horror thriller that he has unfortunately become a part of, Gabriel Hardman makes it clear that Aliens: Dust to Dust  is his story, not his mother’s. And this is reinforced by some of the storytelling choices that he makes towards the end of the book culminating in a downright iconic cliffhanger.

One of the Alien franchise’s underlying themes is motherhood, and Alien Resurrection decided to beat viewers over the with that theme a few decades back. On the other hand, Gabriel Hardman’s Aliens Dust to Dust #1 uses the bond behind a mother and son to supercharge a suspense filled story and give it an emotional foundation like the relationship between John and Sarah Connor in Terminator 2. He doesn’t beat us over the head with extraneous facts about them, but uses touch, facial reactions, and pauses between quick spurts of dialogue to show that they’re in over their heads like any of us would be if H.R. Giger’s haunting designs made a rude entrance into our lives.

Story: Gabriel Hardman Art: Gabriel Hardman Colors: Rain Beredo
Story: 8.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Dark Horse provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Underrated: Ether Vol. 1: Death Of The Last Golden Blaze

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: Ether Vol. 1: Death Of The Last Golden Blaze.



ether vol 1.jpgSomehow Ether slipped through my radar back when the first issue was released in November of 2016. It wasn’t until the comic shop I frequent had a copy of the trade paperback on the counter that I noticed it. I asked the clerk what the book was about, and he spent a good twenty minutes selling me on it. He could have saved himself nineteen minutes a forty odd seconds with the words “Matt Kindt wrote it.”

It’s usually a safe bet that anything written by Matt Kindt (and Jeff Lemire, honestly) I am going to try. So what’s Ether about?

Taken from Dark Horse’s website, the blurb for issue one reads: “A science-minded adventurer gets mixed up in the mysteries of a fantasy world in this charming new adventure from an award-winning creative team. Boone Dias is an interdimensional explorer, a scientist from Earth who has stumbled into great responsibility. He’s got an explanation for everything, so of course the Ether’s magical residents turn to him to solve their toughest crimes. But maybe keeping the real and the abstract separate is too big a job for just one man.”

If that sounds cool, well, that’s because it is. Using modern science to explain magic provides a wonderful story idea, but it is the human story beneath the fantastical exterior that will pull you in. Boone Dias is a man who has devoted his life and professional career to the magical place known as Ether, but his scientific background gives him an almost godlike reputation among the less scientifically inclined denizens of the Ether. The driving factor of the plot in the first volume is a murder mystery within the Ether that only Boone seems capable of solving – despite the fantastical elements of the world, there’s a relatablility to the detective work and the process that’s followed. This gives the book a wonderful dichotomy that is further enhanced by David Rubin’s near psychedelic mindfucking attack on your eyes.

Ether is the rare book that exemplifies the comic book medium. It is a murder mystery story, a genre that could, and has been told in a multitude of mediums,  and adds a special dash of comic book magic that makes this ideally suited to the sequential art style of story telling.

There’s a reason Matt Kindt got nominated for an Eisner this year. It wasn’t for this book, but you can get a great feeling for his talent with Ether. It doesn’t hurt that David Rubin is also fantastic.


Join us next week when we look at something else that is, for whatever reason, Underrated.

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 are choosing up to five books and why they’re choosing the books. In other words, this is what we’re looking forward to and think you should be taking a look!

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

Joe

Top Picks: Daredevil #601 (Marvel) – The Mayor Fisk arc has been wonderful, and with the twist from last issue I am waiting what this one will bring. This is turning into one of the best runs on Daredevil I have read in years, and Soule and Garney keep rolling!

Infinity Countdown #2 (Marvel) – The Adam Warlock issue and the first issue of this event that is leading to another event (but don’t call it an event!) was filled with great set up. I am more than excited that Logan is back, and the characters they chose to have the infinity stones is very interesting and should lead to some great fun.

The Avengers #689 (Marvel) – Every week this comic delivers classic Avengers action while jugging many team members and creators, and I can not recommend it enough.

Action Comics #1000 (DC) – A landmark moment for comics, superheroes, and the one to spawn generation after generation of heroes. This is the guy who made it cool to wear the underwear on the outside (wait that’s not cool?). One thousand issues is insane!

The Black Monday Murders Vol. 2 (Image Comics) –  I love this creepy detective occult series and this volume is just as wild as the first. Hickman is one of the best writers around today, so do not miss this!

 

Shay

Fight Club 2 TP (Dark Horse) – I am fangirling pretty hard for this soft cover version of my signed never taken off the shelf hard cover copy. Finally a copy that can come with me and an excuse to reread it.

Harley Quinn #42 (DC Comics) – I’ve been warming to the new team behind Harley and I am a sucker for seeing what the future holds my favorite villain.

John Wick #2 (Dynamite Entertainment) – More of the John Wick origin story and it should keep me going until the 3rs installment comes out next year.

Kick-Ass #3 (Image Comics) – Patience Lee is taking names and kicking ass so obviously I am all the way here for it.

Runaways TP Vol. 10 (Marvel) – Teens being teens and trying to save the world the way teens would.

Calexit #1 (4th Printing) (Black Mask Studios) – Because it is the start of an amazing series!

 

Brett

Top Pick: Fence #5 (BOOM! Studios) – BOOM! has been killing it with sports series that bring the popular manga genre to the west and this series is one of the best out there. Great characters, interaction, and stories.

Lucy Dreaming #2 (BOOM! Studios) – A fun start that seems to blend the magical girl genre with sci-fi.

Mister Miracle #8 (DC Comics) – One of the most intriguing comics out today. The second half of this series has me excited to see where it all goes and what the creative team has in store. A brilliant maxi-series and will absolutely be on many best of lists.

James Bond: The Body #4 (Dynamite Entertainment) – An intriguing series that has explored Bond in a new way and really breaking down the character in various aspects. A must for any Bond fan.

Transformers: Optimus Prime #17/Transformers: Optimus Prime #18/Transformers: Lost Light #17 (IDW Publishing) – Any week with Transformers comics I’m happy, but three in one week makes me beyond excited. So much more than meets the eye.

High School is a Horror Show this June with Bedtime Games

Dark Horse has announced the next installment in its storied horror comics line, Bedtime GamesBedtime Games is a four-issue miniseries from writer Nick Keller, artist Conor Nolan, colorist Kelly Fitzpatrick, and letterer John J. Hill.

Bedtime Games follows three friends who wanted a last hurrah before starting their senior year of high school. While exploring the mysterious past of their school, this friend group accidentally sets free an evil that seeks to pray on their worst nightmares.

The first issue of Bedtime Games (of four) goes on sale June 27, 2018.

Ann Nocenti and David Aja’s The Seeds is Out this August

Dark Horse has revealed art from Ann Nocenti and David Aja’s The Seeds #1The Seeds is a new four-issue series by award-winning artist David Aja and filmmaker, journalist, and comics writer Ann Nocenti. Girl meets alien meets journalist in this eco-thriller love story where fact-based reporting is gasping its last breath, and Mother Nature already has other plans. And what’s with bees? What do they know that we don’t?

The rich have built walls around their wealth and scramble into escape rockets. The romantic and the ruthless cross over into the lawless wilds of Zone-B. A few cantankerous aliens have come to collect the last dregs of humanity’s essence for the celestial embryo bank. One of them falls in love.

The Seeds follows Astra, an idealistic journalist who stumbles into the story of a lifetime, only to realize that if she reports it, she’ll destroy the last hope of a dying world. How far will she go to get her story?

The Seeds #1 goes on sale August 1, 2018.

Review: Xerxes: The Fall of the House of Darius and the Rise of Alexander #1

Persian King Xerxes sets out to conquer the world to avenge his father Darius’s defeat and create an empire, unlike anything the world has ever seen . . . Until the hardy Greeks produce a god king of their own, Alexander the Great.

Frank Miller returns to the world of 300 with this new five issue series. 300 was groundbreaking in many ways. Visually it was amazing. It was also homophobic, historically inaccurate, but also entertaining. I expected much of the same with Xerxes: The Fall of the House of Darius and the Rise of Alexander #1. So far, the most cringe worthy aspects of 300 are missing (so far). But, so too is the amazing visuals and entertainment.

Xerxes: The Fall of the House of Darius and the Rise of Alexander #1 reads like poetry in some ways, a journal in others. A lot of Miller’s writing does. There’s the expected stilted dialogue and captions, again typical for Miller. But, what stands out most is the fact it’s boring. Really boring.

300 has a certain life about it in the visuals alone. The art is gorgeous and even without the dialogue, it’s a comic that you can sit down and just stare at the visuals. Here, Miller feels like he’s doing an imitation of himself and missing what made his previous work great. The violence is over the top as people are chopped down in ways that defy physics. It’s distracting at times, so too is the lettering which feels like an afterthought at times.

About the most interesting thing about the first issue is some of the panel layouts which are interesting both in good and bad ways. The flow on pages at times works and at other times feels like a train off the tracks.

Xerxes: The Fall of the House of Darius and the Rise of Alexander #1 feels like a generic knock-off of the original. If this was done by someone else, I’d say they were trying to imitate Frank Miller. The fact that it’s actually Frank Miller is headscratching.

There is little in this first issue that has me wanting to come back for more. The issue isn’t exciting, the pacing all over. The visuals either over the top or boring. There’s a bit of magic missing from this first issue. I know Miller isn’t the creator he once was but this first issue shows how far he’s fallen off from being at the top of the hill.

Maybe it’ll get better? But I’m not sure I’m sticking around considering there’s so much out there that’s better.

Story: Frank Miller Art: Frank Miller Cover: Frank Miller Color: Alex Sinclair
Story: 5.0 Art: 5.0 Overall: 5.0 Recommendation: Pass

Dark Horse provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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