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Review: Maestro #2

Maestro #2

Maestro #2 is an interesting second issue. It’s quite literally a cross-country journey as the Hulk explores what’s left of the United States and ponders the destruction at humanity’s hands. As a stand-alone issue, it’s an interesting read though not all that exciting. As part of the greater story, it’s much more and nice entry into the bigger picture.

Writer Peter David delivers a Hulk who recognizes the destruction before him and feels sad about it. This isn’t the raging Hulk who seeks death himself or rages against those that won’t let him find peace. This is one that’s more philosophical in nature and reflecting on his life and what’s before him.

In what both works and doesn’t, David uses Hulk’s travels to allow us to see more of what’s left. We’re shown the various survivors and what has sprung up, each different from the last. A few bring hope while others bring future conflict. What’s nice is we get a better lay of the land. But, each segment is just that, a quick segment. There’s little exploration of each settlement which hurts the story. It feels choppy and a bit short in depth and worldbuilding. Its’ been years since I read the original Future Imperfect so there’s probably more there but as is, nothing is explored enough.

Maestro #2 reads more like a guidebook to a world as opposed to a full fledge story. Not enough time is spent with each interesting group. And without that, it’s hard to care what happens. There’s a disconnect between the comic’s presentation and making you invested in what might happen to them. It’s a bit cold in some ways. Where moments could deliver hope, they feel a bit disconnected and a bit mechanical. It’s more roleplaying sourcebook without the in-depth information than story.

Some of the issues with the story is the art by Germán Peralta. While none of it is bad, there’s also a lack of detail at the time to add to the story. A discussion about wanting to add nutrients to a soil could have done with more details of the crops telling the story of the struggle of farming. An animal dead in the woods due to radiation isn’t mutated or emaciated enough to really impact. The motions are there without the detail, like the plot itself.

The issue also kicks off the first part of “Relics,” a back-up story with art by Dale Keown and color by Jason Keith. This is a bit more interesting. In just a few pages more is told about the world and also delivers some emotional heft. The short story is itself a quick rollercoaster ride full of hope and then crashing down showing how much society has not evolved after almost destroying itself. It’s the highlight of the issue and the only reason I’m not suggesting to skip it.

Maestro #2 isn’t a bad issue but it also feels like it doesn’t do the world and Hulk’s journey justice. It’s quick hits to give us a tour of “the players” in a single issue. While that can work as part of the bigger picture, it also doesn’t deliver enough interesting aspects or depths to really excite. As a collection though, it’d be fine as you can quickly move on to the next chapter. Sadly, for all of the excitement the first issue delivered, the second lacks the same punch.

Story: Peter David Art: Germán Peralta, Dale Keown
Color: Jason Keith Letterer: Ariana Maher
Story: 6.5 Art: 7.5 Overall: 6.75 Recommendation: Read

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus Comics

Review: The Immortal She-Hulk #1

The Immortal She-Hulk #1

The Immortal She-Hulk #1 is an intriguing comic. In many ways, it’s a continuation of Al Ewing‘s work on the Immortal Hulk. It dives into some of the concepts that began there and expands them further into the greater world of gamma-irradiated beings. But, what stands out is Ewing’s exploration of the superhero trope of their not staying dead and what that means.

She-Hulk has had a rough few years having died numerous times and come back each and every time. Unlike her cousin who wants to find peace in death and rages that he cannot, She-Hulk, Jennifer Walters, questions what it means. Is she really herself? Does she have a soul? Can she die? Immortality is at the center of the comic and Ewing uses concepts introduced into the Marvel Universe in the relaunched X-Men to explore that idea.

Jennifer has a sitdown with Wolverine, a character who knows about coming back from the dead. Ewing takes us through the “three deaths” of Jennifer Walters, each time revealing more about her experience, some of which she does not remember. We learn more of the rules about this “green door and space” that has played an important role in Ewing’s run in Immortal Hulk.

For those who haven’t been reading that comic, this debut might be a bit confusing. Ewing does a decent job of explaining what’s needed to know. He does so by adding nightmarish aspects with each revelation. And that’s possibly the one issue with the comic, it does rely a bit much on “Hulk history.” Characters are introduced and explained but the emotional punch from that history isn’t quite there. Most feel like we walk away with “that person is bad.” There’s never quite the fear and “oh crap” levied by each twist.

Jon Davis-Hunt‘s art gives us a nightmarish journey with a design and presentation that’s slightly off-kilter. With uneasy colors of Marcio Menyz and lettering by Cory Petit, there’s a visual “offness” to it all. The trauma and running from her nightmares is there and works really well. We see Jennifer’s unease and her questioning of it all. There’s a horror aspect to the comic but one that’s different that the nightmares that haunt her cousin Bruce. Davis-Hunt and his team have visualized trauma in some ways.

The Immortal She-Hulk #1 is a good and unexpected start. It definitely will be a hard read for some. But The Immortal She-Hulk #1 is a very different direction and take to concepts that haven’t been explored enough. While Immortal Hulk delivers the rage of these experiences, Immortal She-Hulk takes things in another direction. It’s a psychological exploration of trauma and thriller wrapped up in spandex.

Story: Al Ewing Art: Jon Davis-Hunt
Color: Marcio Menyz Letterer: Cory Petit
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus Comics

Review: Juggernaut #1

Juggernaut #1

I didn’t think I needed a comic starring the Juggernaut. After Juggernaut #1, I absolutely want a comic about the Juggernaut! Like Maestro #1, Juggernaut #1 is a fantastic debut that draws you into the character delivering a comic that adds depth and some sympathy.

Cain Marko, aka Juggernaut, is out of limbo. That’s both literal and metaphorical. The character was left there in a previous volume of the X-Men’s adventures and has been absent from the current status. Now, he’s attempting to figure out his life and has taken a job with Damage Control to do what he does best, wreck things. Yes, the Juggernaut is now Wreck It Ralph. But, it completely works and delivers a debut that’s a surprising humanizing look at the character.

Writer Fabian Nicieza presents a pretty straightforward story. The Juggernaut has found work and somehow escaped his prison. The latter is teased throughout the issue but it’s the combination of the two that creates the success of the comic. Nicieza focuses on the man in the suit. This is a character that doesn’t have a lot of options in life and has found a path that works. He’s broken in many ways and there’s a hurt that’s present. He’s the criminal that’s hoping to reform but knows he has a slippery slope ahead of him.

And that’s the balance of the debut issue. The reader is left to wonder at what point, if any, does the Juggernaut screw up? Is he really in a place of peace or is this just a way to make more money until he’s presented with a more tempting offer. That temptation is in the form of squatters in a nearby building threatened by gentrification and the promise of internet fame. The use of a YouTube clone and instant celebrity and potentially money is a carrot that feels like it’s perfectly crafted to tempt Marko. There’s a teasing of the apple from the tree of knowledge aspect to it all, and that’s extended to what we know of the Juggernaut’s escape from his prison.

Ron Garney delivers fantastic visuals. Joined by Matt Milla on colors and Joe Sabino on lettering, this is a Juggernaut that’s imposing and feels full of mystical energy. The new costume design fuels the mystery of how Cain Marko regained his power and gives a nice updated look to the classic character. The art’s details are fantastic as well as they bounce between the past and present. Locked away, we see Cain Marko whither and suffer and he seeks to escape his prison. Armor is lost, body mass withers, hair grows. You can “feel” his struggles through the visuals. In the present There’s an imposing gentleness about his actions and movements. He tosses debris to find someone trapped with a sense of urgency. You can “feel” his shock as someone actually slows him down. But, it’s with his helmet off we get a human take on the character that makes him come off as tired, out of touch, and broken internally.

Juggernaut #1 is a fantastic debut of a comic. It adds a lot of depth and emotion to a character who has at times lacked it. There’s a fantastic mystery here of a man who’s at his lowest and is attempting to get his life in order. In many ways it’s a story of addiction, failure, temptation, and possible redemption. It’s aspects we can all relate to and helps take this classic villain and a much welcome direction.

Story: Fabian Nicieza Art: Ron Garney
Color: Matt Milla Letterer: Joe Sabino
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus Comics

Mutantkind Takes to the Stars in S.W.O.R.D.

ONE GIANT LEAP FOR MUTANTKIND! This December, writer Al Ewing and artist Valerio Schiti bring fans the newest X-Men title, S.W.O.R.D.! In last year’s groundbreaking House of X, the mutant nation of Krakoa was founded and quickly became a major force on the world stage. Now, Jonathan Hickman’s grand new vision for mutantkind continues as the X-Men look to do for the galaxy what Krakoa did for the planet.

In the startling aftermath of X of Swords, mutantkind will take the bold next step in claiming their destiny by relaunching the Sentient World Observation & Response Directorate to deal with all things extra-terrestrial on behalf of Earth. The events of S.W.O.R.D. will have a tremendous impact not only on the X-Men’s world, but the Marvel Universe as a whole, as the mutants of S.W.O.R.D. warp the cosmic landscape forever. The stellar cast includes Magneto, Abigail Brand, Cable, Frenzy, Wiz Kid, Fabian Cortez, former Avenger Manifold, and many other fan-favorite mutants who will be stepping into the spotlight in a major way.

Known for his critically acclaimed and thought-provoking work on Immortal Hulk, Ewing is now ready to take the X-Men where no one in the Marvel Universe has gone before. S.W.O.R.D. reunites Ewing with superstar artist Valerio Schiti. The pair previously joined forces on Marvel’s cosmic epic, Empyre.

Prepare for the latest evolution in the ongoing saga of mutantkind when S.W.O.R.D. #1 launches this December.

S.W.O.R.D. #1

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

X of Swords: Creation #1

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

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

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

The Autumnal #1 (Vault Comics) – It already has sold out and there’s another printing coming. A horror comic that’s in demand and could be a good investment.

Brooklyn Gladiator #1 (Heavy Metal) – A futuristic series that’s classic Heavy Metal from Dan Fogler, Andrew Harrison, and Simon Bisley.

Dark Nights: Death Metal Speed Metal #1 (DC Comics) – Run, Flash, run! A tie-in to the “Death Metal” event, the issue is important as you see how the Flash crew are handling things and there are some key moments between Barry and Wally.

Doctor Doom #7 (Marvel) – The series has been fantastic so far and this is a more than welcome return. Just great writing and art and we’re expecting more of the same… in a good way.

Fishkill #1 (Heavy Metal) – A spin down a conspiracy from Dan Fogler, Laurence Blum, and Ben Templesmith. Yes, this does tie in a bit with Brooklyn Gladiator making up the Fogler-verse.

Immortal She-Hulk #1 (Marvel) – A fascinating first issue that explores death in superhero comics. This is much about philosophy and trauma as it is anything else and a very mature read.

Juggernaut #1 (Marvel) – A fantastic start. It’s a comic we didn’t know we need.

Maestro #2 (Marvel) – The first issue was a solid one and began to explore how the Hulk turned into Maestro. It was an unexpected surprise in that it’s a story we didn’t think we wanted but now after reading the first issue, we’re on board. We’re down for the journey.

Mega Man: Fully Charged #2 (BOOM! Studios) – The first issue was amazing. We don’t know the cartoon but the comic blew us away with it’s more mature take on Mega Man, war, and diplomacy.

Power Rangers: Drakkon New Dawn #2 (BOOM! Studios) – If you’re a Power Rangers fan, this seems to be a series where some big things are happening. Big things that’ll impact the line going forward.

RAI #7 (Valiant) – Every issue has rocked so far and we can’t get enough of this series. Absolutely go and get it, Valiant is where it’s at for action/superhero comics.

Undiscovered Country #8 (Image Comics) – This series has been a wild ride so far taking us to an America that has been cut off from the world. It’s a bit of a Willy Wonka ride as each “zone” has a different feel from the rest and in its first arc it has shown anything is possible. This is a series that surprises with every issue.

Unkindness of Ravens #1 (BOOM! Studios) – A magical witch series and we’re down for what looks like solid art and a nice mystery. We don’t know much else beyond the teaser text but that has us interested enough to check the series out.

X of Swords: Creation #1 (Marvel) – The next “X event” is here and we want to see how this new dawn of the X-Men handles crossover events. The bar has been set high… so we’re intrigued… but nervous.

It’s Knullified Variants for Marvel as the King in Black Takes Over

Knull is coming. The God of Symbiotes will make his long-dreaded arrival this December in King in Black, the monumental event that delivers on everything Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman have built up in their groundbreaking run on Venom. To celebrate this epic storyline, readers can see Knullified versions of their favorite Marvel heroes on twisted variant covers coming in December.

These chaotic versions of heroes like Captain America, Thor, and Storm reveal just what happens when Knull’s overwhelming darkness overcomes the Marvel Universe as we know it. You can see some of these glorious covers now featuring an all-star lineup of amazing artists including Skan, Ken Lashley, Taurin Clark, Iban Coello, and more! Be on the lookout for more Knullified variant covers coming your way and brace yourself for Knull’s impact this December in King in Black!

  • BLACK CAT #1 KNULLIFIED VARIANT by TAURIN CLARK
  • BLACK WIDOW #4 KNULLIFIED VARIANT by SKAN
  • CAPTAIN AMERICA #26 KNULLIFIED VARIANT by JULIAN TOTINO TEDESCO
  • CAPTAIN MARVEL #24 KNULLIFIED VARIANT by TRADD MOORE
  • CONAN THE BARBARIAN #17 KNULLIFIED VARIANT by E.M. GIST
  • FANTASTIC FOUR #27 KNULLIFIED VARIANT by JUAN FERREYA
  • GHOST RIDER: RETURN OF VENGEANCE #1 KNULLIFIED VARIANT by KYLE HOTZ
  • THOR #10 KNULLIFIED VARIANT by KEN LASHLEY
  • VENOM #31 KNULLIFIED VARIANT by FRANCISCO HERRERA
  • X-MEN #16 KNULLIFIED VARIANT COVER by IBAN COELLO

Mini Reviews and Recommendations For The Week Ending 9/19

Sometimes, the staff at Graphic Policy read more comics than we’re able to get reviewed. When that happens you’ll see a weekly feature compiling short reviews from the staff of the comics, or graphic novels, we just didn’t get a chance to write a full review for. Given the lack of new comics, expect this weekly update to begin featuring comics that we think you’ll enjoy while you can’t get anything new to read – only new to you.

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews and Recommendations.


Logan

Iron Man #1 (Marvel)– Color me interested in an Iron Man comic for the first time since Matt Fraction left the title. Christopher Cantwell and Cafu craft a comic that is both vintage and forward-thinking with Tony Stark leaving the Stark Unlimited, selling his penthouse, moving to New York, and street racing and fighting Silver Age villains with Hellcat in tow. Cantwell cleverly uses social media as a snarky Greek chorus to dog all of Tony’s moves in this comic as he tries to be humble and reinvent himself, but ends up falling back on his old tricks. With the help of Hellcat’s snark and take no bullshit attitude, Cantwell pushes back on Tony’s privilege and usually way of doing things. We’ll see if he ends up breaking the mold with his run. Finally, Cafu’s visuals makes everything look sleek and old school like a classic car show and makes Alex Ross’ redesign/throwback design look gorgeous in action. Overall: 8.8 Verdict: Buy.

Overwatch-Tracer: London Calling #1 (Dark Horse)– I’ve played Overwatch once, but this digital comic from writer Mariko Tamaki and artists Babs Tarr, Heather Danforth, and Hunter Clark is more punk rock than video game with a simple, yet charming tale of human/robot conflict. With Overwatch disbanded, Tracer is getting restless stopping petty crime in England having noodles with her girlfriend. However, Tamaki lobs an obstacle in the forms of the Omnics, who are in conflict with humanity, but they both like old punk bands? Tarr’s art brings maximum cuteness for the smooching and finding common ground in tunes while Clark sets up her nicely for the zippy fast action scenes that are capture the speed of the multiplayer video game. But more cartooning. Tracer London Calling isn’t a masterpiece, but it’s a charming licensed comic with top-notch visuals. Overall: 7.8 Verdict: Read

Excalibur #12 (Marvel)– Tini Howard does some big moves on the ol’ plot board, and Marcus To gets to draw better versions of characters envisioned by Rob Liefeld, namely, the Externals in this issue of Excalibur. Most of the focus is on Apocalypse and his coven and the sacrifices they make while Rogue and Gambit have to deal with the consequences. Betsy Braddock is also out here trying to prove that she is the real Captain Britain to Saturnyne, and yes, Excalibur #12 has a lot of plots. But mostly it’s nice to see Apocalypse go back to his own ways, albeit, in a more magical/paving the way for a big crossover event way. Overall: 7.5 Verdict: Read

Brett

Batman #99 (DC Comics) – The best issue of the “Joker War” so far as Batman finally assembles his crew to take things on. It’s a bit slow as far as action but it’s that key moment when Batman gets his head out of his ass building off last issues “get up Rock” moment. It’s a piece of the bigger puzzle but a vast improvement on an event that has been relatively underwhelming. Overall Rating: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

Hellions #4 (Marvel) – While it’s gotten away from the concept of restorative justice, this is still one of my favorite two X-books right now. The series has nailed a nice action/horror vibe to it but also underneath the action there’s some great concepts of society’s abuse of “criminals” and their being exploited. It’s surface might be more of the classic X-Men but it also has the heart of exploring real world issues underneath the kick-ass visuals and fun dialogue. Overall Rating: 8.45 Recommendation: Buy

Seven Secrets #2 (BOOM! Studios) -The second issue of the series is an interesting one as it kind of feels like a first issue. While the debut focused on Caspar’s parents, this issue now shifts things to Caspar. It’s a very different start of a comic and very unexpected as you’d expect the second issue to really pick up from the action of the first issue. The playing with that expectation makes this an intriguing series just for that but it’s a good story, interesting characters and world, and great art… all of that helps too. Overall Rating: 8.6 Recommendation: Buy

Slaughterhouse-Five (BOOM! Studios/Archaia) – I’m not much of a prose reader by Kurt Vonnegut is a writer who I have read multiple of his books and enjoyed them all. Sadly, it’s been over 20 years since I’ve done that… so I don’t remember this one at all beyond the war and time travel. How it compares to the classic book, I couldn’t say, but I thoroughly enjoyed this graphic novel adaptation which is full of the humor I remember and the interesting anti-war message. Add is some great visuals which adds to the laughs, it’s a solid read no matter how close they got to the original material. Overall Rating: 8.25 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 (**).

Marvel Action: Origins Delivers a starting point to the Marvel Universe for Middle-Grade Readers

Share the most important moments in Marvel history with young fans, two tales at a time, with Marvel Action: Origins, the thrilling new series in IDW’s line of comics aimed at middle-grade readers. Written by Christopher Eliopoulos and illustrated by rising star Lanna Souvanny, the first monthly issue will debut in December.

In Marvel Action: Origins #1, experience the earliest adventures of everyone’s favorite teenage webhead and Mad Titan! Discover how a science exhibit and a radioactive bite changed Peter Parker into Spider-Man, and what dark motivations set the Avengers’ most dangerous enemy, Thanos, on his path of universal conquest. Subsequent issues will focus on the Hulk, Ghost-Spider, Venom, and more!

Each issue of Marvel Action: Origins will feature three cover editions for fans to enjoy: Cover A by series artist Lanna Souvanny spotlighting the issue’s hero, Cover B (also by Souvanny) spotlighting the issue’s villain, and a Retailer Incentive edition by Agnes Garbowska.

Marvel Action: Origins #1

Marvel’s Warhammer 40,000: Marneus Calgar Gets a Trailer

The Space Marine hero, Marneus Calgar, heads to war next month in a brand-new series! Warhammer 40,000: Marneus Calgar #1, the first release of the exciting collaboration between Marvel Comics and Games Workshop, will tell the untold origin of the legendary chapter master including his upbringing on the world of Nova Thulium, his bloody campaigns in the Black Crusades, and the unfolding mystery of the Black Altar, a deadly threat from his past that threatens the entire Ultramar system.

This exciting venture into the iconic Warhammer tabletop gaming universe is brought to life by a superstar creative team: writer Kieron Gillen and artist Jacen Burrows. Together, these incredible talents have crafted an action-packed tale that will delight both Warhammer aficionados and newcomers to the thrilling battles of the 41st millennium. Get a sneak peek at the glorious combat that awaits in this high-octane trailer, featuring never-before-seen artwork from the debut issue!

Warhammer 40,000: Marneus Calgar #1 brings grim darkness to comic shelves on October 16th!

Marvel Honors Chris Claremont in December

This December, Marvel Comics honors the extraordinary career of writer Chris Claremont with the Chris Claremont Anniversary Special. For the past 50 years, Claremont has graced the Marvel Universe with his brilliant storytelling—creating and defining some of its most iconic heroes and building the framework for one of its most treasured franchises.

In the Chris Claremont Anniversary Special, the acclaimed writer returns to the world of the X-Men with a brand-new story. Dani Moonstar is drafted for a mission across time and space for an incredible psychic showdown against the Shadow King—joining forces with other characters created and defined by the pen of Chris Claremont! In this extra-sized milestone issue, Claremont will team up with a host of iconic artists including Brett Booth, and reunites with his classic New Mutants collaborator, Bill Sienkiewicz.

Chris Claremont’s influential run on X-Men changed the comic book landscape forever. As the architect behind the epic tapestry that makes up the world of mutants, Claremont’s contributions went far beyond the creation of characters but to the very themes, concepts, and allegories that are ingrained in the X-Men today. Claremont’s work catapulted the X-Men into unprecedented success with now classic stories such as Dark Phoenix Saga and Days of Future Past as well as series like New Mutants and Wolverine’s first solo series. In addition to his groundbreaking work on X-Men titles, Claremont also had memorable runs on books such as Ms. Marvel and Fantastic Four.

Chris Claremont’s uncanny legacy continues this December with the Chris Claremont Anniversary Special!

CHRIS CLAREMONT ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL
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