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Underrated: Night’s Dominion

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: Night’s Dominion.


The first volume of Night’s Dominion was published by Oni Press late 2016/early 2017 as the first six issues of, funnily enough, Night’s Dominion. The volume was written and drawn by Ted Naifeh, and presents itself as a prototypical fantasy story with the added flavour of modern superheroes (though not literal modern superheroes). So what’s the story about?

Taken from the blurb:

A thief, an assassin, a mage and a cleric walk into a tavern in the ancient city of Umber. Awaiting them is a mysterious bard with a dangerous scheme: to break into the dungeon of a powerful death cult in search of treasure. For these five desperate criminals, it’s the last chance for hope in a city of corruption and despair. But what they find instead is an undead army preparing to conquer the world. Now, they must fight to protect the city that pushed their backs to the wall, or watch it burn. 

Night’s Dominion is a fun distraction, though the plot is fairly by the numbers in terms of fantasy stories, it’s still engaging and entertaining enough to keep you moving the pages.

I was able to pick up the first six issues for about $12, and it was absolutely worth the price of admission (if I’m honest, I had it sat in my To Read pile for almost a year before I finally picked it up last night). I don’t know if I’d pay more for it than that, but I’m happy with the price I paid. Naifeh’s art is atmospheric and moody, although a couple of his characters look similar enough that it can be hard to tell them apart at some points, I’ve really no major nitpicks with the art style or the writing – the story is good, if not groundbreaking, and it was exactly what I wanted to read (and just about what I expected when I first saw the series solicited half a decade or so ago).

Unfortunately you don’t hear a lot of people talking about the series, which comprises of two volumes as of this writing, and so for that reason I wanted to focus on it for today’s column. It’s a fun book, and it gives you a break from the traditional superhero comics without fully ignoring the genre (if that sounds strange, it’ll make sense when you read it), and until I was googling the cover I had no idea that it wasn’t a self contained story, so the lack of a pesky cliffhanger is always a bonus.


Unless the comics industry ceases any and all publication look for a future installment of Underrated to cover something else next week.

Sarah Gaydos and Oni Press-Lion Forge Part Ways

It’s not too often you see a statement like the below but Oni Press-Lion Forge and Sarah Gaydos have announced that they have parted ways.

Gaydos was the Editor in Chief for the publisher. She joined the company in 2018 as the Editorial Director of Licensed Publishing. She was then promoted in 2019 to Editor in Chief where she had been in the role ever since.

Gaydos began her comics career at WildStorm, an imprint of DC Comics, in 2006. She began in the administration department, and worked her way into editorial, cutting her teeth on licensed titles like World of Warcraft and titles for younger readers like Batman: Li’l Gotham. After joining IDW Publishing and eventually being promoted to Group Editor, Gaydos has found success editing a wide variety of content, with a special focus on comics for kids.

Publisher James Lucas Jones will oversee the day-to-day editorial operations while a search for a replacement takes place. Managing editor Chris Cerasi and associate publisher Michelle Nguyen will support Jones.

Mini Reviews and Recommendations For The Week Ending 05/21/2021

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

Nightwing #80 (DC)– One of the Dick Grayson’s strengths is that he has a network of friends and allies in the DC Universe that he gets help from on missions, and he’s making new friends. Tom Taylor, Bruno Redondo, and a literally electrifying Adriano Lucas lean on this character trait in Nightwing #80 as he, Tim Drake, and Barbara Gordon try to find a serial killer who’s taking out the hearts of homeless people. Redondo uses soft lines and open facial expressions to show how sad Dick is that a kid named Elliott, who he helped get food and hotel room last issue, had to see his father murdered and his heart removed. However, Bruno Redondo can also do comedy and action too drawing a frustrated chibi Oracle when Tim starts to pry about their relationship status, and he and Lucas are a true Bash Brothers team in the fighting video game-worthy choreography of Dick and Tim taking down a couple of Blockbuster’s henchmen. Empathetic scripting from Tom Taylor, kick-ass action sequences from Redondo and Adriano Lucas, and a cute dog to top things off, and Nightwing is back to being one of my favorite DC titles. Overall: 8.8 Verdict: Buy

Wonder Girl #1 (DC)– Wonder Girl #1 is part character intro, part table-setting intrigue, and 100% a visual tour de force from Joelle Jones and Jordie Bellaire. Jones handles the writing duties too, and she gives Yara Flor just as much charisma and personality as she had in Future State. However, her place in the DC Universe (As seen in a truly breathtaking splash page from Joelle Jones.) isn’t set in stone, and Wonder Girl #1 shows various Amazon and divine factions maneuvering and trying to get her while Yara just wants to have a nice trip to Brazil. Wonder Girl hits a range of tones from jarring scarlets from Bellaire and intense visuals during Yara’s “origin” sequence to breezy fun as she dresses down a vlogger. My one qualm with the book is that the scenes with the different factions don’t flow as well as the scenes with Yara and feel like teaser trailer rather than compelling foreshadowing. Overall: 8.0 Verdict: Buy

Wonder Girl #1 (DC)– Wonder Girl #1 is part character intro, part table-setting intrigue, and 100% a visual tour de force from Joelle Jones and Jordie Bellaire. Jones handles the writing duties too, and she gives Yara Flor just as much charisma and personality as she had in Future State. However, her place in the DC Universe (As seen in a truly breathtaking splash page from Joelle Jones.) isn’t set in stone, and Wonder Girl #1 shows various Amazon and divine factions maneuvering and trying to get her while Yara just wants to have a nice trip to Brazil. Wonder Girl hits a range of tones from jarring scarlets from Bellaire and intense visuals during Yara’s “origin” sequence to breezy fun as she dresses down a vlogger. My one qualm with the book is that the scenes with the different factions don’t flow as well as the scenes with Yara and feel like teaser trailer rather than compelling foreshadowing. Overall: 8.0 Verdict: Buy

The Many Deaths of Laila Starr #2 (BOOM!)– Another intelligent, emotional issue of what is turning into a potential modern classic from Ram V and Filipe Andrade. V focuses on class differences, the curiosity of a child, and a goddess experiencing mortality yet again with the help of Andrade’s bendy figure work, grids, and flat colors. The Many Deaths of Laila Starr #2 is centered around the idea that death isn’t physical death, but when the person with the last memory of you passes away. The idea of Death herself experiencing a funeral is a poignant one, and this is definitely a comic to sit with and pore over Ram V’s beautiful words and Filipe Andrade’s beautiful compositions and color palettes. Overall: 9.4 Verdict: Buy

Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters #3 (Oni Press)– Jonna #3 features the same high energy line work and layouts from Chris Samnee as Jonna continues to bound from rock to rock looking water, for her and Rainbow’s dad, or maybe just a monster to fight. However, he and co-writer Laura Samnee use this issue to supply much-needed backstory about this post-apocalyptic world and introduce Jonna and Rainbow to some fellow survivors. There’s a real dissonance between Jonna making shapes against the cave wall and talking about punching monsters, and the rest of the survivors’ very serious discussions about who they’ve lost. The Samnees and skilled colorist Matthew Wilson do a good job of showing how Jonna is really just a kid who thinks this is one big adventure instead of not how the world should be. After the previous action-driven two issues that focus mainly on Jonna and Rainbow’s relationship , the time is perfect for expanding the world of this comic. The Samnees time each piece of information very well and also throw in a killer cliffhanger. Overall: 8.8 Verdict: Buy

Fantastic Four: Life Story #1 (Marvel)– Mark Russell, Sean Izaakse, and Nolan Woodard’s Fantastic Four aging in real time kicks off with a retelling of their classic origin. However, Russell and Izaakse immediately throw spanners in the work by having Reed Richards have a vision of Galactus while he’s bathed with cosmic rays and becomes Mr. Fantastic. This is definitely an oversimplification, but the 1960s in the United States were defined by fear whether of the USSR and “communists”, fear of people with a different skin color than you, or even fear of that guy down the street, who had longer hair and listened to different music than you. Russell and Izaakse tap into this existential fear in Fantastic Four: Life Story between all the parades, superhero montages, and celebrity cameos. Basically, the universe is chaotic and doesn’t give a shit about us, but we can still care about helping our fellow human beings and being good people. Finally, I really enjoyed how Mark Russell wrote Ben Grimm as truly having an antagonistic relationship with Reed Richards and only pretending to like the team for the cameras because the accident ruined his life and relationships. Overall: 8.3 Verdict: Buy


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

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

Mini Reviews and Recommendations For The Week Ending 04/24/2021

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

SWORD #5 (Marvel)– Untethered from King in Black, Al Ewing and Valerio Schiti are free to explore mutant space politics in SWORD #5 with the Snarkwar (a war of succession for the Zn’rx aliens) sharing time with a buck naked Fabian Cortez trying to make murder legal in front of the Small Council. Cortez’s testimony is a masterclass in how power structures keep being devious and unethical, but don’t say the quiet part (For example, wars are for resources not just causes.) out loud. In a hilarious juxtaposition between his nudity and his far-from-subtle sentiments, Cortez calls humans “flatscans” and says their existence is a living death while trying to legalize the original crime. Ewing’s dialogue is delicious, but Cortez’s buffoonery is really driven by Schiti’s art like when he whines about only getting $100,000 and some real estate in Florida from his colonizer scion parents in front of Storm and Magneto, who is a Holocaust survivor and rocking his old school red costume courtesy of colorist Marte Gracia. The space stuff with the Snarkwar is less engaging, but Schiti draws some gorgeous vistas and bursts of violence. These scenes show that Cortez is expendable and also act as connective tissue between cosmic and mutant Marvel. (I gotta go back and read Al Ewing’s Guardians of the Galaxy.) Overall: 8.4 Verdict: Buy

Nightwing #79 (DC)– Tom Taylor, Bruno Redondo, and Adriano Lucas provide that good home cooking in Nightwing #79 with a wonderful blend of high wire action, humor, and socioeconomic commentary. Given a huge windfall from Alfred’s estate, Dick Grayson struggles in a direction to focus his wealth, but he realizes that he can basically be a social safety net for Bludhaven. Sure, some of the wording and connection to his past as a circus acrobat is a little cheesy, but Taylor and Redondo are positioning Nightwing as a socially aware superhero. He cares more about ending the stranglehold of the corrupt Maroni crime family than some kids stealing his wallet while he was buying pizza for the neighborhood. And that’s not all that’s great about Nightwing as Tom Taylor writes fun, warm-hearted banter between Dick and Barbara Gordon, and Bruno Redondo’s layouts capture the athleticism of his fighting style with freeze frames and other tricks that capture non-stop motion across a spread. Throw in some glorious pinks and blues from Lucas and some fun Easter Eggs, and you’ve got a comic that is both a love letter to Nightwing’s past and sets him up as a true hero of now. Overall: 9.2 Verdict: Buy

Alice in Leatherland #1 (Black Mask)– Fairy tale and BDSM tropes collide in Iolanda Zanferdino and Elisa Romboli’s sweet, slice of life comic Alice in Leatherland. The titular Alice just wants to live a nice, quiet life and write children’s books in her small California town, but after her girlfriend cheats on her, she decides to move to San Francisco with her friend Robin. The rest of the comic is all about the drama of finding a place to live, especially in one of the most expensive cities in the world. Romboli’s art is adorable and hilarious, and there are a lot of silent sequences that capture Alice’s state of mind at any given period. I’m really excited to go down this leather daddy-meets performance art-meets cute fairy tale rabbit hole with her in upcoming issues. Overall: 8.0 Verdict: Buy

Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters #2 (Oni Press)– Chris Samnee, Laura Samnee, and Matthew Wilson go for the heart strings in Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters #2 with plenty of flashbacks of the sisters Rainbow and Jonna in the before times. Wilson’s palette is lush and verdant compared to the current drab, post-apocalyptic world even though there are pops of colors every time a giant monster shows up. In very few words and mainly using body language, the Samnees show how Rainbow and Jonna have grown apart over the past year. This comic continue to be a masterpiece of visual storytelling with all kinds of great little touches like Crank!’s sound effects and Samnee’s facial expressions for Rainbow alone conveying a monster battle. It’s all about finding love and belonging at the end of the world, and I look forward to finding more about how the apocalypse happened. Overall: 9.0 Verdict: Buy

The Many Deaths of Laila Starr #1 (BOOM!)– Another hit from Ram V as he and artist Filipe Andrade go into Vertigo mode in a story where the god of Death gets fired and put in the body of a dead girl in Mumbai. Despite the dark subject matter and tragedy of it all, V has a sly, Pratchett-esque sense of humor that especially stands out when Death’s boss is talking about how eternal life is leading to good ol’ “corporate restructuring”. This sets up a conflict between death and immortality, but Laila Starr #1 chooses the human over the epic and meditates on these things in hospital rooms with regular, every day people. Then, Ram V adds a bit of a twist, and the stories off to the races. Filipe Andrade’s scratchy inks and vivid colors capture the flaws in all-powerful beings and the beauty in mortals. This is a clever series and continues to show that V isn’t afraid to tackle the big questions while telling fun genre stories. Overall: 9.2 Verdict: Buy

Ultramega #2 (Image)– The second installment of Ultramega is much different than the previous with James Harren exploring life after the death of the Ultramega when his blood flowed in the street. A prologue with gorgeous colors from Dave Stewart alludes at hope for another host of this force and is pure tokusatsu goodness, but the rest of the issue is really a drag. Noah takes up his dad’s mantle by fighting Kaiju Klan members with remote control Ultramega drones, but this ends up bringing more harm than good. Things continue to get worse and worse as Harren’s art becomes more bleak even if there is less large scale destruction than Ultramega #1. This series still isn’t a runaway hit for me and has a fridging problem, but James Harren and Stewart’s visuals are big and propulsive showing the real impact of kaijus and Ultramegas on the landscape and ordinary people. Overall: 7.6 Verdict: Read

Eternals #4 (Marvel)– Yeah, a superhero/cosmic being murder mystery is overdone at this point, but it’s really just Kieron Gillen, Esad Ribic, and Matthew Wilson’s Trojan Horse to get readers to learn more about the Eternals’ personalities and relationships. Although there are some sidebars featuring Sersi and Phastos as well as Ikaris protecting his human charge, the focal point is Kingo and Thena interrogating Druig, who has just become the next in line to be ruler of the Eternal city of Polaria. Flashbacks show how these beings manipulate human history from the sidelines, and Ribic’s take on the Mongol conquest is suitably epic. There’s really a majestic quality to his art that comes out in both conversation and fight scenes. Gillen’s humor in his script continues to be a delight and flesh out characters I was unfamiliar with. Eternals is my new cosmic soap opera, for sure. Overall: 8.2 Verdict: Buy

Women Of Marvel #1 (Marvel)– This anthology kicks off with a hilarious one pager from Mariko Tamaki and Peach Momoko about Lady Deathstrike getting manicure followed by a thrilling Peggy Carter as Captain America story from Elsa Sjunneson and Naomi Franquiz where she teams up with a Black, disabled spy named Lilliane to kick Nazi ass. Tamaki returns with Nina Vakueva, Rachel Stott, June Brighman, and Marika Cresta for some funny slice of life one pagers where Emma Frost uses her telepathy to make cut-offs and a tee look like her White Queen get-up, Medusa multitasks with her hair, Jean Grey starts to care for a succulent, and Hela struggles with insomnia. Next is a Natasha Alterici/Joanna Estep story where Mystique acts motherly and sabotages a young Rogue’s field trip to get her to join the Brotherhood while dealing with Stegron and reanimated dinosaurs. Anne Toole and Kei Zama tell a Misty Knight story where she helps the daughter of a technopathic find a new start with richly detailed art and a fun cameo for readers of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Captain America. After that, Nadia Shammas and Skylar Partridge tell a damn near perfect She-Hulk story that involves being lost in the Natural History Museum, a big brawl against the Rhino, and some legal humor. I really miss She-Hulk being written that way. Sophie Campbell and Eleonora Carlini craft a Marrow and Feral story with manga-style battles even though they eventually bond over being fellow outsiders in Krakoa. Finally, the anthology goes out on a high note with a hilarious Bachelor parody from Zoraida Cordova and Maria Frohlich as Gamora goes undercover to take down an extraterrestrial trafficker with Rocket feeding her lines on the other end. Women of Marvel #1 is a true showcase of female comics talent, and I loved seeing the different sides of character whether through the Tamaki one-pagers or more substantial stories. Overall: 9.3 Verdict: Buy

X-Force #19 (Marvel)– Quentin Quire gets some help fighting his inner demons in a horror-tinged issue of X-Force from Benjamin Percy, Garry Brown, and Guru eFX. Like its companion book Wolverine, X-Force has so many plots going on, but Percy and Brown wisely focus on Quentin Quire hunting down his evil doppelganger that is trying to take his flesh DNA with the help of Jean Grey, Domino, and Phoebe Cuckoo. As fellow omega mutant telepaths, Jean and Quentin have had similar life experiences, and she trains him in some new techniques like seeing each mind as a door and opens up about how this has burned her in the past. (The Scott/Emma affair). X-Force #19 is like a slasher flick with a pink color palette from Guru eFX. The bad guy, Xeno (I think), is pretty boring, but Brown’s art and the unique interactions between Quentin and Jean kept me interested and X-Force on my books to check out. Overall: 7.4 Verdict: Read.

Brett

Children of the Atom #2 (Marvel) – There’s something fun and charming about the series. The issue ties in nicely with the Outlawed storyline that Marvel hasn’t really taken advantage of. There’s also some intriguing debate about mutants and the law outside of Krakoa. The issue shows off the potential of the series and is just a lot of fun. Overall Rating: 7.75 Recommendation: Buy

Radiant Black #3 (Image Comics) – The series hasn’t really clicked for me so far, but this issue is bringing me around. The inclusion of Nathan’s story and focusing more on him trying to get his life together brings a bit of a grounded aspect to the character and also we finally get a glimpse of him trying to do some good with his powers. The art too feels like a step up with some really solid page layouts and one moment that feels a bit “positive”, a nice change from the often times downer the series has been. This feels like the real start to everything. Overall Rating: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

Way of X #1 (Marvel) – I’ve been generally down on the current X-Men line as they’ve crossed from true “heroes” to having a lot of problematic areas. Way of X feels like it’s addressing some of my misgivings with a series focused on Nightcrawler who has become a skeptic to the mutant nation’s promises. It’s a key addition to the line that admits not all is right and some of what is presented is downright bad. The art too delivers some great visuals that play off of what Nightcrawler has issues with, emphasizing his doubt. Overall Rating: 8.75 Recommendation: Buy

You Promised Me Darkness #1 (Behemoth) – A comet gives people powers and this is the story of the being who is murdering to suck that power up and making it its own. The story has a lot of potential but its presentation is odd in both narrative and art. The comic is dark, really dark, which at times makes it difficult to make out what’s going on with its black and white art. The story too is mostly voice over narrative up until the last few pages making it feel a little clunky. It stretches the set-up out a bit too much and doesn’t get to the point quick enough. Overall Rating: 7.0 Recommendation: Read.


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

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

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Way of X #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.

Alien #2 (Marvel) – The first issue was solid bringing the Alien world to Marvel. It was both familiar and new and has us excited as the aliens are loose!

Batman/Fortnite: Zero Point #1 (DC Comics) – The two properties have crossed over in video games and now we get the comic version. It’s an interesting start that plays more to fans of the game than comic readers.

Girls of Dimension 13 #1 (AfterShock) – Four young women are invited to live in a building in NYC. That building has a portal to twelve other dimensions. A malevolent being known as Abraxis is on the other side and the women are all that stands in its way.

Guerilla Green (BOOM! Studios) – A graphic novel about a guerilla gardening movement. It’s a unique topic for a graphic novel, so score some points with that alone.

Hana-Chan & the Shape of the World (Yen Press) – Collecting six short manga from 2018 and 2019, the stories are fun, cute, with fantastic art. Great for all ages.

Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters #2 (Oni Press) – Rainbow has finally found her sister, Jonna, after a year of searching. But, being on her own, Jonna is a bit feral. Will she remember her sister?

Lovesickness: Junji Ito Story Collection (VIZ Media) – Collecting ten stories from Junji Ito!

The Many Deaths of Laila Starr #1 (BOOM! Studios) – With humanity on the verge of discovering immortality, the avatar of Death is fired and relegated to the world below to live out her now-finite days in the body of twenty-something Laila Starr in Mumbai.

The Mighty Valkyries #1 (Marvel) – The Valkyries must redefine their role and we want to see what Marvel does with this group now.

Old Guard: Tales Through Time #1 (Image Comics) – A new anthology set in the world of The Old Guard. The series has a rotating cast of creators delivering their own spin.

Specter Inspectors #3 (BOOM! Studios) – It’s a fun ghosthunting series.

Stray Dogs #3 (Image Comics) – The first two issues have been amazing mixing Don Bluth-like art with a murder mystery.

Ultramega #2 (Image Comics) – The debut delivered over-the-top kaiju action and an unexpected ending. We want to see where the series is going.

Unikorn #1 (Scout Comics/Scoot) – Mae inherits a horse from her mother… that’s really a unicorn? Discover the truth in this journey of healing.

Way of X #1 (Marvel) – There’s been a lingering sinister aspect to Krakoa and the new X-Men status-quo. Nightcrawler steps up to take on the mutants’ inner-darkness.

You Promised Me Darkness #1 (Behemoth Comics) – Gaining special auras from Halley’s Comet, two siblings are on the run from an evil being known as the “Anti-everything” that feeds on these special auras.

Review: Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters #1

Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters #1

The talented artist/colorist duo of Chris Samnee and Matthew Wilson dive headfirst into the world of all-ages fantasy comics in Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters #1 with Samnee handing story duties as well with co-writer Laura Samnee. The premise of the story is simple, yet heart-rending. Jonna is an energetic young girl, who enjoys running, climbing trees, and being generally adventurous. However, she runs into a big monster one day and goes missing. The hook for the series is that her older sister, Rainbow, must find her in a landscape that’s gone from pastoral to dystopian. With a knapsack on her back and a feather in her beanie, Rainbow also seems to have that adventurous spirit, but it’s for a purpose: finding her lost sister and family.

The first and second half of Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters have completely different tones, and the Samnees and Wilson do an excellent job conveying that through script, art, and color palette. All the dialogue in the first half of the comic comes from an exasperated Rainbow, except for one word from Jonna, “Unpossible”. And, honestly, that’s all that needs to be said about her character and the setup of the comic. Jonna is a doer, not a talker, and Samnee and Wilson fill full pages of her leaping from branch to branch culminating in a triumphant splash page at her leaping at the titular monster. These pages are a showcase for Samnee’s skill at showing action and tension as Jonna’s position changes from panel to panel, and Samnee switches from horizontal to vertical layouts depending on the degree of difficulty of her jumps and flips. The tension comes when a branch almost break, and, of course, when she encounters a monster so Wilson uses red to symbolize fear and danger almost in a similar manner to how he colored Chris Samnee’s work on Black Widow when its protagonist got in a rough spot.

However, the second half of Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters swaps out Matthew Wilson’s bright colors for something a little more drab. (The one exception is Rainbow’s shock of blue hair.) Facial expressions and dialogue play a larger role as the Samnees’ story transitions from a little girl running free in the wood to her sister trying to find her. Chris Samnee digs into the hopelessness of this new monster-infested status quo in little ways like Rainbow’s utter surprise when she has a nice conversation with another kid about the feather (From the last bird ever!) in her cap or from a close-up of her kicking rock to show the sheer emptiness of her surrounding. However, he and Laura Samnee find little glimmers of light like through Rainbow’s interactions with the totally adorable Gramma Pat, who wants nothing more than for Rainbow to settle down and stay in the camp for a while. However, she also understands that the potential of finding Jonna or the rest of her family is what keeps her motivated and basically gives her a reason to get up in the morning.

Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters #1 reminds me a lot of Gareth Edwards’ excellent kaiju film Monsters although the Samnees’ comic has a much more whimsical vibe than the film. The main similarity is in the focus on how these giant monsters have affected human civilization instead of epic battles. (For now.) Rainbow blacks out when she sees Jonna jumping at the monster, and then there’s a page of black with a couple stars that leads into the one year time skip. It shows that these monsters have changed humanity’s way of life and aren’t just gentle giants that young girls can hop around in the woods. These two pages between the first and second part of the comics are a metaphor for having to grow up too fast and sacrifice your childhood and sense of wonder to survive, which is what Rainbow has had to do even though she does keep around relics of the “before time” like her beanie, the aforementioned feather, and her blue hair. These little costume and design choices from Chris Samnee definitely add a hopeful tone to the dark setting of the second half of the comic and hint at a rich world that we’ve only scratched the surface of.

Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters #1 shows off Chris Samnee and Matthew Wilson’s skill at visually depicting both dynamic movement and quiet character moments as they and Laura Samnee set up a world full of danger and things that go bump during the night and day plus a plucky protagonist, who is willing to face them because she loves and misses her family. I can’t wait to see how Rainbow grows as a character and the dangers (Aka monsters) she faces and hopefully overcomes on her adventure with a purpose.

Story: Laura Samnee and Chris Samnee Art: Chris Samnee
Colors: Matthew Wilson Letters: Crank!
Story: 8.0 Art: 9.5 Overall: 8.7 Recommendation: Buy

Oni Press provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus ComicsTFAW

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

ENIAC #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.

Allergic (Graphix) – Maggie is getting a new puppy but finds out she’s allergic to anything with fur. This si the mission to find the perfect pet!

America Chavez: Made in the USA #1 (Marvel) – The character takes center stage soon in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and this series seems to start setting the ground so she does the same in the comic universe as well.

The Antifa Super Soldier Cookbook (Silver Sprocket) – What if everything the Right thought about the Left was real? An ANTIFA operative is about to get an upgrade and become a full-fledged super-soldier!

BRZRKR #1 (BOOM! Studios) – The Keanu Reeves/Matt Kindt written comic series is here. It has a hell of a lot of buzz due to Reeves and brought in a massive amount on Kickstarter. We’re excited we get to finally read it.

Chariot #1 (AWA Studios) – A military weapon in the form of a muscle car. That alone has us in for this.

Crime Syndicate #1 (DC Comics) – We head to a newly returned Earth-3 where these evil versions of our superheroes rule.

Dead Dogs Bite #1 (Dark Horse) – Seeing Tyle Boss’ name on this comic is what first got us to notice it. The story revolves around a missing person in a small town.

Demon Days: X-Men #1 (Marvel) – Peach Momoko’s new twist on the X-Men is here. We were a bit mixed on the initial preview but we’re still excited to check out a full issue. The art alone will be worth it.

ENIAC #1 (Bad Idea) – Bad Idea is officially here! We’ve read this first issue and it’s a solid debut. What does this publisher have up its sleeve? We’re expecting even more news upon release.

Infinite Frontier #0 (DC Comics) – This is the new start to the DC Universe. It’s full of possibilities and the groundwork and tease of what’s to come begins here.

Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters #1 (Oni Press) – Rainbow is looking for her sister Jonna. They’re both trying to survive in a world full of monsters driving humanity to the brink of extinction. Check out our review.

Man-Bat #2 (DC Comics) – The first issue was an intriguing look at addiction and we really want to see if the series keeps up with that theme.

Nocterra #1 (Image Comics) – The Kickstarted graphic novel is out in single issues. The world has been plunged into everlasting night. Meet Val Riggs, a ferryman who transports goods and people along deadly unlit roads.

Suicide Squad #1 (DC Comics) – With a movie out this year, the Suicide Squad is getting a shake-up and a new lineup that matches the film more. The first issue is exactly what you’d want from the series and shows readers to not get too attached to the characters.

The Swamp Thing #1 (DC Comics) – It’s a new Swamp Thing and a new vision for the character. We want to see what this new take is all about.

Transformers: Beast Wars #2 (IDW Publishing) – The cartoon is now a comic with a bit of a remix to it. The first issue set things up and now we’re getting to the good stuff.

Undone By Blood: The Other Side of Eden #1 (AfterShock) – The first series was a solid tale of revenge. We’re just hoping for more of the same.

What Unites Us (:01 First Second) – A graphic novel adaptation of Dan Rather’s essays.

Get Shopping with Today’s New Digital Comic Releases! Over 175 New Releases.

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It’s new comic book day and comiXology has you covered! You can get shopping right now and get all of the new releases or check out the individual releases by the publisher below.

A Wave Blue World

AAM-Markosia

Ablaze

Abstract Studio

AfterShock

American Mythology Productions

Archie Comics

AWA Studios

BOOM! Studios

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Dark Horse

DC Comics

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Europe Comics

Harlequin

Heroic Publishing

IDW Publishing

Image Comics

Keenspot

Kingstone Comics

Marvel

Oni Press

Tidalwave Productions

Titan Comics

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Vault Comics

Zenescope


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Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

By the Horns

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.

Batman: Black & White #3 (DC Comics) – The series so far has been fantastic with a mix of creative voices and very different styles and takes on the classic character.

By the Horns #1 (Scout Comics) – Marisan Naso and Jason Muhr are back together for a new series about a woman on an act of murderous revenge against unicorns who trampled her husband.

Crossover #4 (Image Comics) – The series started off as “spot the comic reference” but it has shifted into an interesting story about xenophobia, immigration, and more.

Frank at Home on the Farm #2 (Scout Comics) – The first issue was full of mystery and we’re excited to see where this series goes because we’re honestly not sure!

Girl Haven (Oni Press) – Koretris is a haven for girls where no men or boys are allowed. When Ash, a boy, is sent there by a spell a whole bunch of questions are raised. Read our review.

I Breathed a Body #2 (AfterShock) – The first issue was an intriguing mix of horror and commentary about social media and we want to see what else it has to say.

Kaiju Score #4 (AfterShock) – This heist comic during a Kaiju attack has been fun so far but how else can things go wrong and what other double-crosses are left? We want to find out!

Marvel’s Voices: Legacy #1 (Marvel) – An impressive group of creators come together for this themed anthology. We’re always fans of seeing how different creators handle characters and checking out new voices.

Nailbiter Returns #10 (Image Comics) – The second volume of the horror series wraps up and it’s a bloody doozy.

Nuclear Family #1 (AfterShock) – Based on Philip K. Dick’s short story Breakfast at Twilight, the series is Cold War era science fiction that we’re excited to read.

Paranormal Hitmen #1 (Behemoth Comics) – Two hitmen are hired by a Government agency to hunt and kill ghosts but also need to deal with the mobsters after them.

Savage Circus #3 (Heavy Metal) – The issue begins the pivot from the first two issues of setup getting ready for the action to come. It’s so great and entertaining, read our review!

Stray Dogs #1 (Image Comics) – A suspense thriller starring dogs!? Yeah, we’re intrigued by this one.

Two Moons #1 (Image Comics) – A Pawnee man fighting for the Union during the Civil War discovers horrors worse than combat.

Warhammer 40,000: Marneus Calgar #5 (Marvel) – The miniseries wraps up as Calgar takes on the Chaos forces!

It’s Orcs… In… Space!

From the co-creator of the cult-favorite television series Rick and Morty, Justin Roiland is teaming up with writers Michael Tanner, Rashad Gheith, and Abed Gheith, writer-illustrator François Vigneault, and colorists DJ Chavis and Dave Pender with the Oni-Lion Forge Publishing Group to launch a new series, Orcs in Space, in July 2021.

With humorous nods to some of pop culture’s most recognizable fandoms, the series follows three inept orcs as they steal the universe’s most technologically advanced spaceship and take it for a ride.

Gor, Kravis, and Mongtar are three orcs trying to survive while on the run from everything and everyone on their homeworld. When the naïve bureaucrats from StarBleep land on their planet, the orcs unwittingly steal the most advanced ship in the fleet and blast into the dankest reaches of the outer galactigon. Now the universe’s most wanted, the orcs befriend the ship’s AI, D.O.N.A., in a bid to get free… but will that be enough to escape StarBleep?

The 44-page super first issue of Orcs in Space launches with variant covers by Nicole Goux, François Vigneault, and Justin Roiland on July 7, 2021.

Orcs in Space
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