Tag Archives: Comics

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 4/30

Alex

Batman The ShadowBatman/Shadow #1 (DC/Dynamite) I’ve always been partial to the Shadow, and his influence on Bill Finger’s early Batman stories can be felt heavily to this day, so whenever I get a chance to read stories featuring the two characters it’s always a treat. Especially when Scott Snyder has a hand in the story. Overall: 9.25 Recommendation: Buy

Ben Reilly: The Scarlet Spider#1 (Marvel) I don’t know what I was expecting, but it wasn’t this. I gave up on the newest Clone saga-like story (the actual name escapes me), so I’m not as aware as perhaps I could be as to Ben’s mental state, but it seems quite fractured. While this issue was interesting, I don’t know how well it’ll translate into a long term series. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

Kill Or Be Killed #8 (Image) If you’re reading this series, you’ll love this issue. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Old Man Logan #23 (Marvel) My LCS got shorted by Diamond and never received any copies of this, which is neither here nor there, because the flow to this issue is fantastic – having recently reread Wolverine’s debut, I love how Lemire has woven the original (at least it feels original) dialogue into the scenes. This is a brilliant nod to Old Man Logan’s past, and I am loving every page. Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

X-Men Blue #2 (Marvel) While I’m still not sure why Angel has fire wings, I am enjoying the dynamic of the Young X-Men working with Magneto. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Read

X-Men Gold #2 (Marvel) I’m loving the classic X-Men feel of this comic, and the mutant/human tensions haven’t felt this relevant in almost ten years. Just when I’d started to give up on Marvel completely, this series comes and reminds me why I used to love them so much.  Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Weapon X #2 (Marvel) There’s a little plot, some frenemy interactions between Logan and Sabretooth, and a fair amount of fighting. Popcorn comics at it’s finest. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

George

24Legacy_01_cvrREGBatman/Shadow #1 (DC/Dynamite)  Written by Scott Snyder & Steve Orlando Art by Riley Rossmo – If you like stories that show how badass the Shadow is here’s a book for you. Mostly told from the perspective of Batman chasing leads on case that connects to the Shadows alter ego Lamont Cranston, we see how the Shadow is always 3-4 steps ahead of Bats. A great nod to one of my favorite Bat stories with the use of the character Henri Ducard, Batman Shadow is a solid read with great art, and would be a great addition to the proper Bat mythos. And if you’ve never heard of the Shadow, he’s one of the influences for Bob Kane when he created Bats way back when. Definite recommend.

24 Legacy: Rules Of Engagemenr #1 (IDW) Written by Christopher Farnsworth with art by Antonio Fuso – On the heels of the season finale of the tv reboot, we get to see the “spider bite” of our new main character Eric Carter. If you haven’t seen the show it’s cool, all you need to know is that before he became the new go to guy at CTU, Carter was an Army Ranger, taking on classified missions not for the faint of heart. This prequel comic takes us to his early days as a Ranger interwoven with the events that showcase his time before that as a drug dealer. 24 is a solid read, the gritty art makes for a very moody book, the comic doesn’t exactly feel like the show, but it does give us a sense of the character. If you’re a fan of the show and like these origin type stories, buy it.

Logan

BigMoose-OneShot-0Big Moose #1 (Archie) Except for his role as the “antagonist” of Reggie and Me, Moose Mason is one of the characters in the Archie Universe that hasn’t been fleshed out beyond not being too bright and love his girlfriend, Midge. The three stories in the Big Moose one-shot set out to change that. Sean Ryan and Cory Smith’s first story is slapstick-y fun for anyone who has had issues getting an old, wrinkly dollar to work at the vending machine or has random, midday food cravings. Ryan Cady and Thomas Pitilli’s story is a standout as it shows there is more to Moose than his stereotypical portrayal, and he is another high school student struggling to balance school, relationships, and extracurricular activities. Pitilli has a gorgeous wavy line that works for both romance and football action. Gorf and Ryan Jampole’s final story is all about a young freshman who looks up to Moose and is determined to be just like him. Even tertiary Archie characters deserve to be heroes for one day… Overall Rating: 8.6 Recommendation: Buy

Supergirl Being Super #3 (DC) Mariko Tamaki, Joelle Jones, and Kelly Fitzpatrick get into the weird alien stuff in Supergirl Being Super #3 as Kara starts to understand her extraterrestrial origin. But Tamaki doesn’t neglect her humanity spending time on Kara and her friend Dolly’s grief and reaction to their best friend’s death. It’s powerful to see a superhuman have such a human reaction to loss, which is one of the mini’s strong points. The plot also starts to pick up with a pair of small twists towards the end, and a bit of a conspiracy as Kara slowly begins to understand who she is. Joelle Jones’ big, open page layouts and attention to detail when characters emote is the beating heart of this beautiful series that shows the potential of superhero comics. Rating: 9 Recommendation: Buy

BEN REILLY SCARLET SPIDER #1Joe

Ben Reilly: The Scarlet Spider #1 (Marvel) – I will admit I expected this book to be much different than it was, but I will also admit that is a good thing. The story was original enough and keeps Ben on the dark side of things, so don’t expect a full redemption story just yet, or ever. The art was solid and I could see myself continuing this, as I found it pretty interesting as a starting point. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

Patrick

Stray Bullets #23 (Image/El Capitan) – Growing up watching hockey and football, and as the son of a nurse, it always disturbed me when people in comics got knocked out. I understood that it was just comics, but still – being knocked out by a punch (or, in Annie’s case here, by a pot) has serious consequences. Those consequences are what drives David Lapham’s latest issue. Annie is a mess: her house has been wrecked, her boyfriend got shot in the face, Monster is on the loose, she has no makeup, and her daughter Beth just dumps her into it, blackouts, headaches and all, to try and sort it out. This goes about as well as can be expected from Annie. And then Spanish Scott shows up. Another stellar issue. Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

KillOrBeKilled_08-1The Old Guard #3 (Image) – Where did Greg Rucka dig up this Leandro Fernandez guy? ‘Cause he really draws the hell out of this story, which veers from Napoleon in Russia (with what was, to this prairie boy, a quite convincing depiction of snot freezing) to the back stairs of contemporary Paris. And I don’t know if this is really a thing, or if Rucka has just basically invented the genre of paramilitary action-romance, but whatever, I’m down. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Kill Or Be Killed #8 (Image) – After a couple of issues off, demon-driven vigilante Dylan is back in the spotlight. The depiction of New York under police lockdown is excellent, in that the situation is clearly not normal, but everyone is just trying to go about their business as normally as possible. Including Dylan. But – and here’s where Brubaker’s skill shines – the net of unintended consequences draws slowly tighter. Nothing is out of place and, like in a horror movie, you just want to shout, “Don’t go in there!” Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Bitch Planet #10 (Image) – Hard to know what to make of this issue. As ever, the plot is the least interesting part of this series, and this one – as the prson riot continues – is mostly plot. I’m not sold on the revolution yet, but I look forward to next issue, when we get the story of the High Father’s blonde daughter Kylie. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: buy. The backmatter is truly worth the price of admission.

 

Ryan C

Hillbilly #6 (Albatross)** Far and away the most enjoyable issue of Eric Powell’s hillbilly 6inconsistently-released series to date, this yarn spun by our protagonist is of a more personal nature and tugs at the heartstrings while delivering plenty of the same artistic awesomeness we’re used to from this book — and all things Powell, for that matter. All kinds of back-country fun and goodness. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Black Road #9 (Image)** With one installment to go, Brian Wood and Garry Brown set Magnus The Black up for what looks to be an epilogue-style conclusion, given that his remaining foes (of a physical nature, at any rate) are dispatched with brutality and ease (those two don’t often go together) this time out. More sumptuous and atmospheric illustration from Brown is the highlight of this issue, but the story’s not too shabby, either. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

Doom Patrol #6 (DC/ Young Animal)**  Gerard Way and Nick Derington put the wraps on their first story arc with a chapter that re-introduces a beloved character from the Grant Morrison/Richard Case era that’s sure to make old-time fans like me happy — but in all honesty events here will likely only confuse the hell out of newer readers given that the main storyline is left dangling in service of an admittedly fun nostalgia romp that got dropped on us more or less out of nowhere on the last page of the previous issue. All in all DP is feeling pretty disjointed at this point, but it’s the kind of disjointed I find intriguing and rather engrossing. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

The Flash #21 (DC)** Joshua Williamson is joined by ever-serviceable guest artist Howard Porter on this one, presumably to give “The Button” a uniform look across the board, but the story remains uniformly mediocre and seems to be dovetailing more with “Flashpoint” than it does with “Watchmen” — which, hey, is probably not such a bad thing given what a lousy idea bringing the Moore/Gibbons characters into the DCU has been from the outset. The two best words to sum this up, it seems to me, are “nothing special.” Overall: 4 Recommendation: Pass

Shean

DEADPOOL VS. PUNISHER #2Deadpool Vs Punisher #2 (Marvel) In the second installment of this dark comedy, we find our protagonists on the hunt for the Mariana. As the Accountant’s clients are now coming for him and the key to everything is Mariana and her son. So Don Of the Dead and his crew accept a contract to capture her. By issue’s end, the titular heroes are at odds again, even though thy are more aligned than either would believe. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Batman Shadow #1 (DC) Definitely a great story,a perfect blend of inspiration and offshoot. As we see Batman as a true detective tracking down both incarnations of the Shadow. It starts with a murder, which leads Bruce to question what is real. This leads Bruce to Henri Ducard,the original Shadow. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

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Seven to Eternity #5, the Start of a New Arc Gets New Printing

Image Comics has announced that Seven to Eternity #5 of the bestselling series written by Rick Remender, drawn by Jerome Opeña, and colored by Matt Hollingsworth has gone back to print again in order to keep up with ongoing growth in customer demand.

Seven to Eternity #5 marks the beginning of an all-new story arc for the hot sci-fi western series. Here, Adam Osidis and the Mosak come to a crossroads. The choices they make here will echo throughout the lands of Zhal for all eternity.

The bestselling series Seven to Eternity introduced readers to the chilling villain known as, The God of Whispers—a dark tyrant who has spread an omnipresent paranoia to every corner of the kingdom of Zhal. The God of Whispers’ spies hide in every hall spreading mistrust and fear. Adam Osidis, a dying knight from a disgraced house, must choose between joining a hopeless band of magic users in their desperate bid to free their world of the evil God, or submitting to the evil God for the opportunity to gain everything Adam’s heart desires.

The following will all be available on Wednesday, May 24th. The final order cutoff deadline for comics retailers is Monday, May 1st:

  • Seven to Eternity #5, 2nd printing (Diamond Code MAR178501)
  • Seven to Eternity #6 Cover A Jerome Opeña & Matt Hollingsworth (Diamond Code MAR170780)
  • Seven to Eternity #6 Cover B James Harren (Diamond Code MAR170781)
  • Seven to Eternity #6 Cover C SPAWN (Diamond Code FEB178671)
  • Seven to Eternity #6 Cover D SPAWN B&W (Diamond Code MAR178017)

Review: The Few #4

After the attack on the Few’s headquarters by Herrod, Edan Hale escapes into the woods along with the remaining guerillas, including Peter, Davey, and their father, leader of the Few. They’re not just licking their wounds though. The Few have a plan for revenge on Herrod. But there will be consequences, and Captain Jariks is right behind with the Palace forces. They now know of Edan’s desertion and plan on taking her in dead or alive. Will Edan finally see the error of her ways and change sides? More importantly, is it too late to atone for her sins?

The cover for The Few #4 might be the best in the series. Herrod and his Ragers are in full gear, posed intimidatingly, and colored in red which looks like they swam through a river of blood. The emotion one feels is fear, which is exactly the response these guys want while in their presence. I found this to be the most visceral response I’ve had to The Few’s cover so far, and also visually represent the focus of this issue, Herrod and his indulgent violence.

The opening quote comes courtesy of Nicollo Machiavelli:

Men ought to be indulged or utterly destroyed.

I do not know what line this comes from (probably Machiavelli’s classic book The Prince) or the original context in which it is written, but here it implies to Herrod and the Ragers, men who indulge in violence.

Throughout the series, Herrod and the Ragers appearance in a scene almost always ended in grandiose acts of violence. They kill in high numbers and in the bloodiest of fashions, leaving behind a grotesque crime scene. But why do they act this way? It was revealed in a previous issue that Herrod had been driven insane by hunger and a lack of oxygen due to the Palace’s theft of resources. One could assume Herrod’s extremism is revenge and, possibly, justified. However, that doesn’t take in account the sadistic glee he and his men demonstrate. Their introduction in issue #1 used a man’s failure to retrieve promised information as an excuse to slaughter an entire community, the back of issue #3 contains a Herrod newsletter (wait, what?) advertising the opportunity to rape women for new members, and this issue contains a scene of Davey confronted by Ragers as they talk to him with uncomfortably sexual and cannibal-toned dialogue.

For Herrod and the Ragers, the Machiavelli quote can be seen as nothing but negative. Indulgence in this series is bloodshed and cruelty. However, given Machiavelli’s questionable views (many say he taught despotism), Herrod is simply doing what is normal in a world where it’s survive or die. I have mentioned this in my previous reviews, how in a world without order and balance, morality becomes relative. So, in a twisted sense, Herrod’s actions, his indulgence, makes perfect sense. Same goes for the Palace. They indulge in resources stolen from outside states, but it’s fine because the world requires cruelty in order to survive. However, it is hard to argue this point when the demonstrations of cruelty or so brutal.

I believe, as characters, Herrod and the Ragers succeed as a cautionary tale of the survive or die philosophy. At what point does making traditionally immoral choices reverse back to just being that? When do you stop being a survivor and become a monster?

This question becomes the dramatic high point for Edan Hale. After three issues of struggling with her conditioning in the Palace to see the Few as nothing but the enemy, her ongoing struggle with reconciling the anti-Few sediment, one that allowed Edan to commit despicable acts for “the greater good”, comes to a dramatic climax, literally causing her to break down crying at one point. It is a satisfying, poignant moment topped by only the subsequent moment where Edan’s past catches up to her, hinting at an even greater conflict in the next issue.

For me, these dramatic character developments are the strongest points of this issue. So much build up from the past three issues has coalesced and cascaded into a great climax. It helps that Hayden Sherman continues to bring his A-game in art, this time with some of the most explosive, stylized action scenes so far in this series. He accomplishes this with very little, using a series of white lines for gunfire and explosion clouds surrounded by dark or medium colors to emphasize their intensity. My favorite piece of action was a splash page of a single man being gun downed. He is placed in the bottom center of a white page, orange gunfire events surrounding him in a downward direction accompanied by a barrage of bullets. It’s both a beautiful and emotionally devastating piece of art.

The color of blood changes in one scene from the experimental pastel red to a more typical darker shade. I believe this was made to emphasize the amount of dead bodies in the scene. It’s impressive, but also slightly annoyed by the sudden change to standard blood color that doesn’t go along with the rest of the unique pastel color scheme of the series. Finally, before the major showdown between Herrod and the Few, there are two pages utilizing the 9-panel grid for a scene of stealth. It is expertly used, slowly building up the tension before unleashing hell.

As for how this issue plays into the bigger themes of the series, I already mentioned how it further examines the danger of committing horrible acts out of necessity, namely that it is dangerous when rationalizing horrible acts on another side through dehumanization. This becomes harder when one spends time with the other side, seeing their humanity and realizing they are just like you trying to survive in a world that has gone insane. On the other hand, this issue justifies dehumanization, namely when a side proves to be truly awful. Herrod and the Ragers are so cruel and monstrous, no amount of understanding where they’re coming from can excuse or promote kindness toward them. I find this relevant to modern America where arguments are made to show the new crop of Neo-Nazis and fascists coming out of the woodwork under feeling empowered by Trump compassion. But how can that argument be made when their intentions are solely to cause harm to the marginalized? Turn the other cheek, and you quickly run out of cheeks. Sometimes there is no other option than to fight back.

There is no ideal, straight cut way of resolving conflict in The Few. Like Hayden Sherman with his art, Sean Lewis shades the moral landscape with an overwhelming gray tone. It often feels like there are no answers or at least none that will always be the right one. The story is deeply complex, always challenging, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Story: Sean Lewis Art: Hayden Sherman
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Kill or Be Killed #8

KillOrBeKilled_08-1

*MINOR SPOILERS BELOW*

Kill or Be Killed #8 brings us back to following the misadventures of Dylan. We get to watch the insecurities and realities begin to surround and almost smother him, and paranoia sink in. Sure, there is still some part of him that thinks he will get away with this, and while I don’t know the ending to the tale, the chips are certainly stacked against him.

As with most of the issues in this fantastic series, the end always sets up something huge for the next issue, and this is no different. This story has been an awesome slow burn that has added so many layers that you can tell will all certainly start intertwining soon, and that is what makes Ed Brubaker such an incredible writer, and storyteller.

Of course, a comic book is not just words, and the art is just as important as the script. Thankfully, Sean Phillips and Elizabeth Breitweiser draw and color the hell out of this series. They are some of the most consistent creators in comics, and together with Brubaker, make this one of the best comics out there.

As I have pointed out in my previous reviews of this series, Kill or Be Killed is something everyone should be reading. It is one of my favorite comics every month, and I don’t expect this to change anytime soon. I have the highest expectations for this story going forward, and the ending we will someday get to. I don’t expect it to be a happy ending, but I do expect it to be brilliantly written, and beautifully drawn.

Story: Ed Brubaker Art: Sean Phillips Colors: Elizabeth Breitweiser
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Image provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

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

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

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

Joe

Top Pick: Action Comics #978 (DC Comics) – This has become my favorite DC comic, and that includes Wonder Woman. Those two and Superman go back and forth as to what is currently the best out of Rebirth, but either way this book is just incredible and consistent.

The Flash #21 (DC Comics) – Wow what a start to “The Button” with who returned and then disappeared in a “flash”. Yup, I did that. I can’t wait to see where this story goes. Plus another lenticular cover!

Batman/The Shadow #1 (DC Comics/Dynamite) – Riley Rossmo! He is one of my favorite artists, and I’m so happy to see him on a bat book again, and this time he will also be drawing another legendary character.

Old Man Logan #22 (Marvel) – I thought Issue #21 wasn’t as good as I hoped, but this is one of my favorite Marvel books, and Lemire is a great writer. I have hope that this arc will be amazing.

Kill or Be Killed #8 (Image) – This is one of the best comic books out, so I recommend grabbing the issues, or at least getting it in trade. It is awesome, and just keeps getting more intense and better somehow.

 

Alex

Top Pick: X-O Manowar #2 (Valiant) – I loved this issue. I can’t wait to get this in my hands to see non-watermarked art.

Batman/The Shadow #1 (DC Comics/Dynamite) – I found out about this comic when I was looking through Previews to make this list (I tend to avoid solicitations), and I immediately got excited. I can’t wait to grab this.

Ben Reilly: The Scarlet Spider #1 (Marvel) – I’ve always been fond of the Scarlet Spider, perhaps because he was the Spider-Man when I started reading comics. You’d think I’d be looking forward to this based on the fact Ben Reilly is back, but I’m more hopeful that Kaine will return to comics, rather than Ben Reily. Yeah, I’m a Kaine fan.

Britannia: We Who Are About To Die #1 (Valiant) – Remember what I said about X-O? I can say the exact same thing here.

Old Man Logan #22 (Marvel) – I’m loving this story. Old Man Logan is revisiting his younger self through some timey-wimey mystical shit, occasionally altering certain things (possibly), but always feeling as though he’s in waaaaay over his head. It’s a brilliant arc, and one hell of an arc for Lemire to leave the series on.

 

Shay

Top Pick: Orphan Black Deviations #2 (IDW Publishing) – Send in the clones. No really , send them in. I’ve got popcorn and everything!

Top Pick: Deadpool vs Punisher #2 (Marvel) – The hits and quips keep on coming in this second installment of DvP and I can’t wait to see if this is the issue where they team up for the buddy anti-hero road trip comic we never knew we always wanted but, can’t wait to see.

Suicide Squad #16 (DC Comics) – Rob WIlliams starts the latest Suicide Squad arc “Earthlings on Fire” with a bang as Amanda Waller makes a deal with the devil (aka Lex Luthor) to fix a bigger problem while the Squad commits some B&E.

24 Legacy – Rules of Engagement #1 (IDW Publishing) – A little back story on Eric Carter the newest super operative in the 24 franchise.

Judge Dredd: Blessed Earth #1 (IDW Publishing) – He’s baccccccck!

 

Brett

Top Pick: Hostage (Drawn & Quarterly) – Guy Delisle… that alone will get me to pick this up, but the subject matter is the real draw here. Delisle’s graphic novel is about the Doctors Without Borders administrator Christophe André who was kidnapped by armed men in 1997. This book recounts his harrowing experience.

Batman/The Shadow #1 (DC Comics/Dynamite) – Scott Snyder, Steve Orlando, and Riley Rossmo… nuff said.

Hulk #5 (Marvel) – The best comic Marvel is putting out today. An absolutely fantastic look at Jen’s journey post Civil War II and the PTSD she’s experiencing due to that.

Real Science Adventures #1 (IDW Publishing) – The She-Devils get their own series and anything Atomic Robo related is a must read for me.

Smoketown #2 (Scout Comics) – The first issue was beyond amazing noir/crime. I’ve been counting down to the second one.

Image and Skybound’s Redneck Gets a Second Printing

The white-hot new Image/Skybound series Redneck by Donny Cates and Lisandro Estherren is being rushed back to print in order to keep up with overwhelming customer demand.

The Bowmans are vampires who have quietly run the local barbecue joint in their small town for years, living off cows’ blood. Their peaceful coexistence ends as generations of hate, fear, and bad blood bubble to the surface—making it impossible to separate man from monster.

Redneck serves up a tale of a different kind of family just trying to get by, deep in the heart of Texas.

Redneck #1, 2nd printing (Diamond Code MAR178087), Redneck #2 (Diamond Code MAR170771) will be available on Wednesday, May 24th. The final order cutoff deadline for comics retailers is Monday, May 1st.

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 4/22

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

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Alex

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

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

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

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

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

George

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

Joe

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

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

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

Patrick

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

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

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

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

Ryan C

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

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

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

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

Shean

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

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

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

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

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

Meredith Finch and Ig Guara’s Rose Gets a Second Printing

The bestselling fantasy series Rose by Meredith Finch and Ig Guara is being rushed back to print in order to keep up with overwhelming customer demand.

A classic fantasy tale about a girl trying to restore balance to a broken world. Rose must connect with her Khat—Thorne—to become the Guardian the world needs. But things aren’t easy for Rose and Thorne. The powerful sorcerous Drucilla has many demonic allies—all of them focused on stopping one scared little girl who’s desperately trying to stay alive and do what’s right.

Rose #1, 2nd printing (Diamond Code MAR178085), Rose #2 Cover A Guara (Diamond Code MAR170774), Cover B Mendonca (Diamond Code MAR170775), Cover C SPAWN (Diamond Code FEB178670), and Cover D SPAWN B&W (Diamond Code MAR178016) will be available on Wednesday, May 17th. The final order cutoff deadline for comics retailers is Monday, April 24th.

Review: God Country #1-#4

GodCountry_04-1Emmet Quinlan, an old widower rattled by dementia, isn’t just a problem for his children—his violent outbursts are more than the local cops can handle. When a tornado levels his home—as well as the surrounding West Texas town—a restored Quinlan rises from the wreckage. The enchanted sword at the eye of the storm gives him more than a sound mind and body, however. He’s now the only man who can face the otherworldly creatures the sword has drawn down to the Lone Star State…

This issue, Emmet Quinlan goes to Hell.

The first paragraph above is the sales pitch for the first issue, but still works very well as a series overview because it gives very little away. The line below is the synopsis for this issue,  and comes directly from Image‘s website; it’s also the first line in the comic.

God Country has one of the more interestingly unique concepts in comics; that of an Alzheimer’s patient who is cured when his hand touches a twelve foot sword, only to be drawn into the soap opera like world of space gods that have more than a passing resemblance to the Greco-Roman pantheons. Written by Donny Cates, who also co-wrote The Paybacks with Eliot Rahal; that series looked at the other side of superheroing with a starkly funny focus on a group of knock off characters serving as superpowered repomen (and women) struggling to emerge from the crippling debt their equipment put them in. On the surface, God Country may have little in common with The Paybacks other than half of the writing team (and Geoff Shaw‘s art), that’s certainly true on a superficial thematic level, but at their core both series focus on something quite relatable: people and their struggles against every day adversity.

Emmet Quinlan’s family have been struggling with the horror of watching a loved one slip away whilst suffering from Alzheimer’s, and their struggles are haunting – if you’ve ever had to watch a loved one slip away while suffering this horrible disease as I have, then you’ll understand immediately how hard it can be. Donny Cates treats the subject with the respect it deserves without sugar coating anything.

And then a ray of light appears and Emmet Quinlan’s mind is restored.

If you enjoyed Jason Aaron’s run on Thor: God Of Thunder  then you’re going to find a lot to love here, from the heavily emotional sequences in the first issue to the more operatic space god scenes in subsequent comics, this is a powerful series – indeed, without Cates wry humour that appears every so often throughout the series, then this could easily become an almost too heavy story.

As it is, this is one of the most exciting, and awesome, series on the rack right now. Every issue has been a banger in all the ways a comic should be. There’s a reason this series has had multiple printings per issue.

Story: Donny Cates Art: Geoff Shaw
Story: 9.5 Art: 9.6 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Image provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies to review.

Underrated: Great Comics Not In Diamond’s Top 100 Sellers For March

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: Great comics not in Diamonds top 100 sellers for March


This week we’re going to be looking at a list of comics that are all fantastic, but don’t get the attention that they deserve. Now I’m not even going to pretend to have a definitively exhaustive list of underrated comics here, because we’re hoping  that you decide to check at least one of these series out next time you’re looking for something new either online or at your LCS, and giving you a huge list to check out would be counter productive to that. Instead, you’ll find six(ish) comics that are worth your attention that failed to crack the top 100 in sales. You’ll notice that there’s only one comic from a publisher featured – this was done to try and spread the love around, rather than focus exclusively on one publisher (although there may be a future Underrated on specific publishers in the future, that’s not the point of this one).

Where possible, I’ve also avoided comics that have appeared on the last version of this list in past editions but that’s also had the adverse effect of shortening this list more than I’d like in the past, so you may see some recurring series month to month, although I’ll try to avoid that as much as possible.

The only hard stipulation for this week: not one of the comics made it into the top 100 for Marchs comic sales, according to Comichron., which is why they’re Underrated.

 

voracius feeding time 4Voracious: Feeding Time #4 (Action Lab)
March Sales Rank/Comics Sold: Not listed/Unknown
It should come as no surprise to you that I am a fan of Markisan Naso and Jason Muhr’s creation,Voracious, and it’s sequel Voracious: Feeding Time. The writer and artist/letterer and joined by colourist Andrei Tabucaru, and the trio have produced one of the most consistently excellent comics on the racks. With a story that is on the surface built to be a comedy – that of a time travelling dinosaur hunting chef – but packs more of an emotional punch than you’d expect in such a comic. A truly compelling series that reinvigorated my love for comics, if you want to get caught up the first trade of Voracious is available now, and the second volume will be coming in May, although you could also go hunting for back issues. This is easily one of my favourite comics from any publisher right now, and it is a criminally underread series. There’s a reason I push this on as many people as I do, both online and offline, and that’s because it’s fucking amazing.

Ninjak #25 (Valiant)
March Sales Rank/Comics Sold: 275 /5,763

Even though there are several elements of the character that I love (namely the fusion of James Bond and Batman), I’ll admit that up until recently I wasn’t a huge fan of Ninjak’s solo book; it had it’s moments, but the comic never pulled itself out of being a good comic into the truly great levels until the 23rd issue (for me, anyway – there are those who have long felt it was great). As of this writing the 26th issue has also been published, which is the final issue in the current run, so you may be wondering what I’m thinking by pointing you toward this series now, and I’ll tell you: tradepaper backs.

redline-1Redline #1 (Onipress)
March Sales Rank/Comics Sold: 220 /8,040

The series that blends space travel (more specifically living on a colony on Mars) with a hardboiled detective story that’s so much more nuanced then I can adequately convey in a shot blurb. Redline may seem crass and bloody, and it is, but beyond that is where you’ll find one of the most interesting and well written stories from Onipress I’ve ever read. If you have even a passing interest in life on another planet, or a sci-fi detective story then pick this up.

The Flintstones #9 (DC)
March Sales Rank/Comics Sold: #208 /9,213

You would be forgiven for thinking that this would be a pretty, but shallow, series about an old 60’s cartoon based purely on the name and covers of the nine issues we’ve seen from DC, and you’d be about half right. The Flintstones is a pretty comic about characters who debuted in the 60’s, but it’s far from being a shallow comic. This is a series that will make you think about the disposable lifestyle we currently enjoy, and how others suffer for that – it is, in short, one of the most well written comics out there that’s hidden behind a facade that too many people ignore.

grasskings_001_a_mainGrass Kings #1 (Boom!)
February Sales Rank/Comics Sold: #168 /13,515


I’ll usually give anything Matt Kindt does at least a couple of issues before I either add it to my pull list or stop reading all together, but the first issue of this series about, for lack of a better phrase, an independent kingdom set within rural America piqued my interest pretty quickly. There’s a sense of something off lurking just beneath the surface in the Grass Kingdom, and the way that  Kindt is drip feeding us information makes for a compelling read.

God Country #3 (Image)
February Sales Rank/Comics Sold: #156 /15,321


I’m writing this after having just finished reviewing the most recent issue, but through the magic of the internet and Graphic Policy’s schedule, you’ll read this a couple hours before the review goes live. I’ll go into detail as to why I love the series in that review so I don’t want to spoil too much, but suffice it to say that I’m going to need to get the trade because I don’t want to wear my floppies out from reading them over and over again.


Unless the comics industry ceases any and all publication look for a future installment of Underrated to cover more comics that aren’t cracking the top 100.

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