Tag Archives: Comics

Review: Alien vs Predator: Life and Death #3

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The Alien hordes descend in a desperate attempt to repossess their fetus queen from the escaping Colonial Marines. Even with the help of the Predator clan, survival for the humans doesn’t look likely.

Writer Dan Abnett gives us a situation that’s growing desperate for both sides in Alien vs Predator: Life and Death #3. Chris’ alien queen wants out of her, as both her human and Predator protectors attempt to keep the Xenomorphs from getting to her. The colonial marines haves yet to arrive, which leads to Chris something suicidal to attempt to save everyone. Will her plan work?

There is a lot of action going on, and a lot of fire- power and all of it is beautifully rendered by Brian Thies. The predator group is doing a lot of up close fighting with both their trademark spears and claws and Thies captures the awesome detail. In contrast to this, the humans are using a more modern version of firepower. Despite the contrasting forms of combat, Thies’ art shows off that neither side are to be trifled with.

Story: Dan Abnett Art: Brian Thies
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.25 Recommendation: Buy

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

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Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 2/18

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.


Alex

godcountry_01-1God Country #1 & 2 (Image) I missed the first issue when it came out last month, but when I found out that Donny Cates was the series writer I made a point to go back and find the first issue – and bot am I ever glad I did. God Country  has got to be one of the most well narrated stories I’ve read in some time, with such an interesting idea behind it; a man suffering from Alzheimer’s disease is cured when holding a giant sword. The two issues I’ve read have both been fantastic in every way a comic should be. Overall: 9.25 Recommendation: Buy

Kill Or Be Killed #6 (Image) After reading the first issue of this series on the recommendation of a fellow member of the Graphic Policy team, I’ve been constantly surprised at how gripping this series has been. The creative team have been producing such a fantastic story that evokes the feeling of the old pulp vigilante novel with a distinctly modern reinvention. Highly recommended. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Old Man Logan #18 (Marvel) You’re probably going to want to read this twice just so you can take in the phenomenal art work courtesy of Andrea Sorrentino and Marcelo Maiolo. Jeff Lemire is also on top form here, too, making this a fantastic comic to sit down with. Overall: 8.75 Recommendation: Buy

Venom #4 (Marvel) While I love the relationship between the symbiote and host, I care less for the rest of the comic. It’ okay, but only worth reading if you’re into the series already. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

The Wild Storm #1 (DC) Having never read any Wildstorm before I had no idea what to expect going it to this comic, but I enjoyed it quite a bit. Ben has a bit more detail below, so I’ll let you read his review now. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Ben

The Wildstorm #1 (DC): Despite never having read the Wildstorm imprint, I was excited the-wild-storm-1about this comic because the idea of Warren Ellis world-building an entire superhero universe makes me squeal with joy. The result is an audacious beginning for what could be one of the most impressive imprints in DC since Gerard Way launched Young Animal.

Jon-Davis Hunt is on art duty here. I love his work with Gail Simone on Clean Room, modern and polished yet with an unnerving supernatural horror atmosphere. The Wildstorm is geared to science fiction, however that doesn’t stop Hunt from excelling, particularly when it comes to scene decompression and panel layout.

I didn’t know what to expect from Ellis’ writing as I’m more familiar with his blatantly political and brutally mean-spirited indie work. However, his approach here seems to be inspired by cyberpunk, particularly Ghost In The Shell and The Matrix. It may be a superhero story, but Ellis is much more centered on powerful corporations, conspiracies, and the continually dysphoric nature between man and machine in the modern world.

There’s a lot of audacious, big-idea concepts going into this book, best of all without the sacrifice of character development. Each character comes in with their own personalities, goals, and complex morality. I have no idea what’s in store next, but I’m excited to find out. Story: 9 Art: 10 Overall: 9.5

Patrick

killorbekiled_06-1Kill or be Killed #6 (Image)** – Not sure how I feel about the abrupt switch of focus away from Dylan and his demonic vigilante spree. Much as I like NYPD detective Lily Sharpe, the sheer hard-driving intensity of this series gets diluted here. For me, this is just too much setup and a bit of a placeholder. Hopefully next issue will return to the suffocating, sweltering atmosphere I’ve gotten to love from this series. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Buy if you’re following, but this isn’t a good point to jump on.

Sex Criminals #16 (Image)** – Oh hey, this series is still going on! It’s been so long since last issue that Fraction & Zdarsky have to give us 8 PAGES of recap. I will stand by what I’ve been saying lately about Sexcrims: the plot is boring and getting in the way of my enjoying the hell out of two characters just trying to figure out how to be in the world together. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Pass.

Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turles Adventures #4 (IDW/DC)** – Picking up right where we left off, with the Scarecrow giving New York a dose of fear gas, and the Joker and Harley giving the hyenas (I’d forgotten they were called Bud and Lou!) a dose of mutagen. Pity this series will only go 6 issues, both my inner 5-year-old and my actual 5-year-old are loving it (even if this ish is a bit of a 4th-issue placeholder). Whatever Matthew K. Manning and Jon Sommariva have cooked up next, I’m down. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy.

Freelance #1 (Chapterhouse) – I’m not really sure what’s going on in this series – I’m not sure who Lance/Freelance is, what he’s about, what he wants, what his plans and goals are, who his friends are, and there is absolutely nothing in this comic to help me want to know more. What we’re really given is a continuation of the Aurora Dawn cult from the other Chapterhouse comics, which I guess is supposed to be the glue that holds the Chapterverse (nice name!) together. But feels more like a narrative sunk cost fallacy – does anyone really care about these guys? Jim Zub & Andrew Wheeler are pro writers and Vaneda Vireak’s art is OK enough, but it just doesn’t have a beating heart all its own. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Pass.

Agents of PACT (Chapterhouse) – One more time for the people in the back: if you don’t know Quebec French, get somebody who does to check it! This may seem like a quibble coming from a fluently bilingual Montrealer, but it’s a flaw that shows the other flaws in Kalman Andrasofsky and Blake Northcott’s characterizations. As for the plot, you really have to be invested in what’s been going on in Captain Canuck and Northguard to get who’s who and what’s what. And while it’s kind of nice to see the North given such focus, would it kill these guys to show us more of Canada than ice and snow? Anyway, Federica Manfredi does a good job on the art, but this is nothing to write home about. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Pass.

Ryan C

Kill Or Be Killed # 6 (Image)** – A bit of a curious issue, as Ed Brubaker’s script abruptly switches perspective to a new character, whose actions are related via semi-omniscient narration provided by — our usual protagonist, who doesn’t even know who this woman is yet? Sean Phillips’ art is uncharacteristically askew as well, with people drawn in bizarre and almost miniaturized proportions. I don’t get it, but events do, at least, still move forward in various and interesting ways. Overall: 5 Recommendation: Read if you’re following this series, pass if you aren’t.

bm_cv17_open_order_varBatman #17 (DC)** – After an issue that marked something of an uptick last time out, Tom King reverts to his now-customary disappointing form with this one, as a lackluster forthcoming confrontation with Bane is set up in lackluster and obvious ways. Alfred once again comes off as much more confidently-written than his boss, which is likewise becoming the norm, and David Finch’s art is — well, what it is. If you like it, you still will — if you don’t, you won’t. Overall: 4 Recommendation: Pass.

Dead Inside #3 (Dark Horse)** – John Arcudi and Toni Fejzula ramp their superb prison-murder-themed noir toward its conclusion with some truly surprising plot twists, painfully human character interactions, and the kind of quietly-omnipresent tension that makes for truly memorable reading. This series isn’t even done yet and I’m kinda missing it already. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Mother Panic #3 (DC/Young Animal)** – Jody Houser’s storyline is really gathering steam, with effective action scenes delivered with an economy of words deftly balanced against solid plot progression that shows Violet Paige/Mother Panic’s long-range plans coming into place while dropping more revealing hints about her tragic backstory at the same time. Tommy Lee Edwards’ sketchy art style serves the material on offer incredibly well, and one really gets the sense that this creative team is on the verge of hitting a serious — and potentially memorable — stride. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Shean

Black Panther: World Of Wakanda#4 (Marvel)– The team behind this book have brought issues to the forefront that rarely get dealt with in this medium.In this issue, the nations is steal dealing with the fallout of the death of Queen Shuri , this leads to a splinter groups of those who still oppose TChalla. Anneka and Ayo get sent to sea with Village Chieftain super-sons-1who is imposing sex slavery on the village women. By issue’s end, an unexpected death occurs while a long hidden secret is revealed. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Odyssey Of The Amazons#2 (DC)-The Giants our heroines were fighting at the end of their last chapter have turned out to be Trolls. After a successful fight, they find refuge in a village full of Vikings. Their commander soon find dissent amongst the ranks and even starts his question her own decisions. Before the end, we find out the Trolls’ intention for the Amazons they kidnapped. Overall: 9.3 Recommendation: Buy

Doctor Strange Monsters Unleashed #1 (Marvel)– Marvel’s most recent silly universe event, Monsters Unleashed feels more like a filler than anything canon changing, with no real death toll to even be seen. In this one-shot, we catch-up with the Sorcerer Supreme in the middle of a fire fight. Strange is less powerful and actually more cunning as his magic seems to be waning at this point. By issue’s end, an unusual team up occurs that shifts the edge on the side of the good guys. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Read

Super Sons#1 (DC) Robin and Superboy have always been footnotes in a very crowded hero universe , serving more as gimmicks than actual heroes with stakes. This all changed when DC decided to introduce Damien, as he not the typical Suitor to the Robin mantle, as he isn’t only Bruce Wayne’s actual son but he brings a whole new attitude and set of the skills to the job. So when Damien’s Robin seeks help from Jon’s Superboy , not only teen angst sets in , but their unusual circumstances pervade their assemblance of a life. By issue’s end, their famous fathers intervene in what seems like a hair brain plan.
Overall: 9 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 (**).

Review: Kingsway West #3

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The Chinese gunslinger Kingsway Law just wants to escape the winged Buffalo Scout Strode and find his long-lost wife, Sonia. But today he finally meets the mysterious community that the swordswoman Ah Toy has sworn to protect—and learns their terrifying secret. Now the fate of the West lies in Kingsway’s hands as he chooses between love and destiny.

The action-packed Kingsway West continues onward in this third issue. Writer Greg Pak creates great internal conflict in Kingsway as he debates becoming a killer once more, or if he should attempt to find his wife. I’m curious to see if Kingsway’s conflict will impact him given how the world around him seems to be forcing his hand.

The series seems to be getting increasingly dark as more issues are released. Artist Mirko Colak creates a heavy contrast in the art, as the overall atmosphere darkens. While I won’t spoil the terrifying secret-guarding the red gold, they are well done. It all gives way to a colorful firefight as they are released.

Story: Greg Pak Art: Mirko Colak
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

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

Review: Alien vs. Predator: Life and Death #2

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The Alien horde is coming, but before they face that enemy, the Colonial Marines and Ahab, their Predator ally, have to win the help of a newly arrived Predator clan. Acceptance by the tribe means Ahab must fight their champion—to the death!

The arrival of the Predator clan in Alien vs. Predator: Life and Death #2 is a clear shift in what the story can do. Yet at the same time, it raises a lot of questions. Will the USMC and the Predator clan forge an alliance against their common enemy? How will they strike? Will reinforcements for either group arrive? Dan Abnett entertains as this new factor is introduced and leaves things up in the air as to what it’ll all lead to.

The hand to hand combat scene is a clear standout for this issue. While it flows well, it does show the combative nature of the Predator species. Yet I imagine the upcoming issues will be filled with fire-fights and action. Artist Brian Thies continues to nail it as far as the art in the series bringing Abnett’s story to life and full of action.

Story: Dan Abnett  Art: Brian Thies
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.25 Recommendation: Buy

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

Review: Alien vs. Predator: Life and Death #1

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Battle Lines Are Drawn!

The Predators arrive on LV-223! The question is: are they here to finish the fight with the Colonial Marines, or will they join the marines in the battle against the Aliens? And who will Ahab—the Predator from the Fire and Stone story cycle—side with?

Things get interesting as the final part of the “Life and Death” story arc begins in Alien vs. Predator: Life and Death #1 written by Dan Abnett. The issue brings in a large amount of Predators with tensions already high from the previous parts of the story arc. I sense things will get worse before things conclude. Who will survive till the end?

The art by Brian Thies takes a violent turn as things escalate in the issue. The issue brings back the strange energy weapons, the Predators are well known and Thies depicts them fantastically. Both in story and art it creates a great contrast to the weapons used by USMC, in both color and lethality.

Story: Dan Abnett Art: Brian Thies
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

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

Dark Horse Announces Berger Books, Edited by Legendary Karen Berger

karen-bergerKaren Berger, the legendary, award-winning comic book editor and founder of DC Comics’ influential imprint Vertigo, will acquire, edit, and oversee Berger Books, a new line of creator-owned comic books and graphic novels to be published by Dark Horse Comics. The announcement of Berger Books was made at ComicsPRO, the comic book industry retailer event, where Berger was named the winner of the ComicsPRO Industry Appreciation Award earlier today.

There’ll be more news down the road but is a hell of an announcement. Berger recently returned to comics editing the Image Comics series Surgeon X.

Berger founded Vertigo in 1993 and led the line for twenty years, during which time she oversaw over three hundred properties, including Sandman, V for Vendetta, Preacher, Swamp Thing, Fables, Hellblazer, Y: The Last Man, and 100 Bullets.

As the editor of Berger Books, Berger will continue to work from her home on the East Coast. Berger Books will be branded with both the Berger Books and the Dark Horse Comics logos. Like all Dark Horse books, Berger Books will be distributed by Penguin Random House.

Review: Spell on Wheels #5

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The witches head out to recover the last of their magical possessions, but they soon discover they’re in a fight for their lives and the bad guy is not who they expected!

Spell on Wheels concludes on a high note, which, given all the characters have had to go through to get their stuff, is nice to see. Writer Kate Leth keeps it really entertaining with some interesting developments before everything concludes. That includes a metaphysical resurrection of someone else from the witches’ past. Given what the spirit wanted to do, it does make one wonder if there is a second volume to come.

The tarot card style inspired cover is a fitting one for the last issue. It manages to give a hint at a few things without revealing what is going to happen inside. Like the previous issues of this series, the art by Megan Levens is clean and well-defined. Levens manages to keep the magical elements realistic and eye-catching at the same time.

Story: Kate Leth Art: Megan Levens
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

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

Review: Ether #4

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Twelve-year-old Hazel loves spending summers at her grandmother’s house. Granny’s magical stories of adventure in the Ether are unlike the stories and fairy tales Hazel finds at the library. And then, one summer, Hazel gets a little too curious and discovers the source of those stories. When she falls through a well into a magical dimension, she learns that there’s a dark side to the Ether that her Granny never told her about.

In Ether #4 the tale of Boone’s wife is finally revealed. The issue manages to connect it in a surprising manner given the cliffhanger style ending of the last issue. Yet, her tale does explain some things and at the same time, writer Matt Kindt leaves some questions unanswered for now.

The art by David Rubin manages to convey a unique view of the Ether through a young child. That view helps contrasts how Boone sees the Ether. It helps reveal a few unseen aspects of a person’s first trip into the Ether.

Four issues in and the series continues to build a magical world that sucks you in more and more.

Story: Matt Kindt Art: David Rubin
Story: 8.5 Art: 9.0 Overall: 8.75 Recommendation: Buy

Dark Horse provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

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

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

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

Joe

Top Pick: Animosity #5 (Aftershock) – This is one of the best comics to come out in the last year. It’s consistent, interesting, emotional, and just everything I want in a story. I never know where the series is headed next and that is what keeps me coming back.

The Wild Storm #1 (DC Comics) – WildStorm returns! And Warren Ellis returns with it. I am excited to see what Ellis does with this grittier new and seemingly more grounded approach to some of my favorite characters. It sounds perfect for fans, both old and new.

Super Sons #1 (DC Comics) – Holy cow, it feels like I’ve been waiting forever for this! Robin and Superboy go on wild adventures in what I can imagine as fun, action packed, and nostalgic to be everything a teen superhero book should be.

God Country #2 (Image) – What an awesome comic. A comic that takes the idea behind Thor and has some fun with it. This revolves around an old man with Alzheimer’s who remembers everything when he touches a magical sword. There’s also gods and demons, so there’s that.

Batman #17 (DC Comics) – The end of the last issue was intense, even if it was just symbolic. What will Bane do? What will Batman do? This has been coming to a head and I expect the doors to be blown off everything as these two collide. Tom King’s series is really getting some legs and I expect all of the slower issues to pay off soon with the excellent building up to this pressure cooker story.

 

Alex

Top Pick I: Savage #4 (Valiant) – Usually by the time I’m writing this I’ve already read Valiant’s offerings for the week, but in a strange twist I actually haven’t opened the review copy just yet and I’m debating just waiting for the print copy from my LCS to read, but we’re expecting a bout of weather early in the week that may impact the postal service… anyway. Savage has been a really interesting series so far, and I’m really excited to see whether this issue will tie the character into the rest of the Valiant Universe or not. Plus it has some of the best art I’ve seen in a long time.

Top Pick II: Voracious: Feeding Time #3 (Action Lab Entertainment) – So… I’ve actually already read this issue, and it’s frigging phenomenal. Why am I excited to pick it up? Because are some visual sequences that I need to see in print.

God Country #2 (and #1) (Image) – I somehow missed the first issue of this series, and would have missed this were it not for the fact that it’s being written by Donny Cates, one of the authors behind The Paybacks, which is al the reason I need to go find these issues on Wednesday.

Old Man Logan #18 (Marvel) – The Aliens vibe of the recent arc has been fantastic. Jeff Lemire’s ability to capture the isolation of outer space, as well as the desolation of the waste lands of Old Man Logan’s past is stunning.

Super Sons #1 (DC Comics) – If you put Damian Wayne in a comic, I’m going to read it.

 

Paul

Top Pick: The Mighty Thor #16 (Marvel) – The Shi’ar and their royal guard have invaded Asgard, bested some of their greatest warriors and have managed to kidnap Thor, to bring her face to face with their gods. I am pumped to see the Shi’ar and their royal guard back in action and curious to see what their beef with Asgard and Thor is all about.

Old Man Logan #18 (Marvel) – This a series that has not disappointed.  I’m not Wolverine’s biggest fan, and I have never read the original Old Man Logan story this book is named after. But I have consistently been enjoying this book and recommend it. This story arc in particular has been pretty trippy. Logan is trying to save Alpha Flight from the Brood; but also in the Wastelands trying to rescue the Cage baby and both are happening at the same time? A great story that comes to a close with this issue; you don’t want to miss it.

Uncanny Inhumans #19 (Marvel) – Maximus has the secret to create Terrigen crystals. This cannot be good for the X-Men or mutants as a whole. Or can it? The tie-ins for the Inhumans vs. X-Men event have worked very well in telling the smaller stories outside of the main battle issues, but I think Maximus’ plan will have larger consequences that will bring an end to the fighting, one way or another.

Uncanny X-Men #18 (Marvel) – So last issue was a little slower, focusing on some character development between Storm and Forge. It was an alright issue that saw the X-Men’s plan to take care of the Terrigen cloud literally blow up in their faces. This issue says Magneto will be deploying his team of secret mutant sleeper agents to aid in the fight against the Inhumans. Secret sleepers you say? That alone has me anxious to read this issue.

 

Shay

Gamora #3 (Marvel) – Gamora racks up enemies like nobodies business, she also unearths some secrets that might rock her world.

Batwoman Rebirth #1 (DC Comics) – The issue is a prologue of epic proportions and I’m here for the backstory.

Harley Quinn #14 (DC Comics) – It’s fun with some serious shade to the current political climate and some serious girl power thrown in for good measure.

 

Brett

Top Pick: The Killer Vol. 5 (Archaia/BOOM! Studios) – For those who are unfamiliar with Matz and Luc Jacamon’s epic story the short version is Frank, aka “The Killer” is James Bond for the Third World. Evil political dealings involving oil, assassinations, IMF, political jockeying, imperialism, for a political geek like me, this series has cool and depth. This is the fifth and final installment, and I can’t wait to see how it all wraps up. Will Frank find happiness? Will he go out in a blaze of bullets? How Matz and Jacamon finish the series will be interesting and I can’t wait to see what they have to “say” when it’s over.

Dead Inside #3 (Dark Horse) – A murder inside a prison… sounds like an easy case, right? Nope! The last issue ended with a shocker and this southern noir-ish crime comic has me engrossed.

The Rift #2 (Red 5 Comics) – The first and second issue feel like a classic Amazing Stories or Twilight Zone story. Entertaining and just plain fun. Like comics should be.

Super Sons #1 (DC Comics) – The team-up we’ve seen so far of Jonathan Kent and Damian Wayne in Superman has been amazing and for them to get their own series… well, I’m super excited. Having read the first issue, it’s everything I was hoping for with an energy and enthusiasm that perfectly fits it’s two young leads.

The Wild Storm #1 (DC Comics) – I’m not the biggest Warren Ellis fan (he’s hit and miss for me), but I’m intrigued to see what will happen in this re-imagining of the classic universe. The first issue is a solid start that reminds me a lot of the third volume of Wildcats. In today’s world, that’s exactly what I was hoping for.

Review: Dept. H #8

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Trapped in a flooding undersea base, Mia and the crew stumble upon a scientific discovery as their time is running out. They begin to fight among themselves about what to do with this valuable information, until one Dept. H crew member decides to take matters into his own hands.

As pressure mounts from both the inside and outside, Bob’s story is told in Dept. H #8. Bob is much more than his appearance would suggest and this issue really makes that apparent. The tale is a curious one considering Mia and Roger sit in a flooding chamber. But, writer Matt Kindt delivers a distraction from that.

The art by Kindt and Sharlene Kindt is much darker and contributes well to the mounting pressure in the story. It manages to do a superb job keeping things as grim as the situation appears. Yet there still seems to be a contrast in the atmosphere as the view switches from inside the chamber to outside of the chamber.

Story: Matt Kindt Art: Sharlene Kindt, Matt Kindt
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

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

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