Tag Archives: Comics

Review: Rai #8

Rai #8

Sci-fi masterminds Dan Abnett and Juan José Ryp pull you further into their futuristic landscape in Rai #8! Rai and Raijin’s quest leads them to a Positronic utopia! Except peace is never as peaceful as it looks. Will the pair preserve or perish?

In some ways, reviewing this series is both a blessing and a bit of a headache. The creative team are so damn consistent, that I’m almost running out of new things to say about a series. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because the consistency of Rai is an incredible strength to the series and I look forward to reading it more than any other book each month – it was the book I was most excited for when comics began shipping again.

The following two paragraphs are taken from my review of the previous issue, not because I’m lazy, but because rather than rewrite the same thing in a different way, I’m being economical with our time. If you read the review of the last issue then you can skip them – if not, then you should really check it out.

There’s no question in my mind anymore that Rai is one of the absolute best series from any publisher currently being published. It is unquestionably Valiant’s best. The first volume of the series has been collected in trade, and you can find my reviews of the first, second, third, and fourth issues at those links. Initially, the series took me by surprise – given how much I loved the precursor, Fallen World, I wasn’t expecting to enjoy Rai as much as I have. Every issue has been near perfection. The theme of the series has the inclusion of technology in our lives and the potential future we face with an over-reliance on the devices in our hands, pockets, and on our wrists. One could argue I’m reading too much into the comics, but I’d like to counter that. After all, what a reader takes from a book can be different depending on their perspective, and I know there’s too much technology in my life already.

The core concept of the series has been remarkably simple in that Rai and his younger brother figure who is also an older model android, Raijin (it’s not actually as confusing as it sounds, but to fully understand it you may want to circle back through the first volume of Rai written by Matt Kindt), are searching for Offspirng. Pieces of artificially intelligent code that when returned to Bloodfather will make him nigh unstoppable. Each issue centers around Rai and Raijin and their search for more Offspring, giving the series it’s overarching plot line while allowing Dan Abnett to have each issue effectively tell either a whole story or the first (or second) half of one. It’s in these single issues that Abnett explores the various subtexts that lend themselves so well to science fiction.

Back with me?

Perfect. Rai #8 ratchets up the tension as Rai, Raijin and their human companion Alice encounter a city of positronics in their search for Offspring, pieces of AI code they must destroy to prevent the evil Father from being able to exert his influence over the lands. We’re also given a look at how some outsiders are welcome in any society, but others are shunned and ignore – often for things far out of their own control. It’s not uncomfortable, nor is it overly obvious, but it’s the subtleties of Juan Jose Ryp’s artwork that really sells the scene.

Speaking of the art, Jose Ryp’s artwork is once again brilliant. His detailed yet gentle style has always been among my favourite art styles for action books, and the lack of heavy inking only serves to emphasize the beauty of the art. Man, Ryp’s art is every bit as good as the story, and elevates the comic to an entirely new level. Coloured by Andrew Dalhouse, the visual presentation of the book is near flawless. I’ve been a huge fan of both Ryp and Dalhouse ever since I first saw their work in a Valiant book, and I have never been disappointed by either man’s work; this book, muxh like every other in the series, is no exception.

Is Rai #8 a perfect comic? No, but it’s damn close. I don’t know that I could find any fault in the story, art, or presentation if I tried – and I tried (I try to make sure I’m not being too blinded by a comic, after all). Again, this is the one book I am most excited for each month, and each month I’ve never been let down. Truly one of the very best books on the racks.

Story: Dan Abnett Artist: Juan Jose Ryp
Colorist: Andrew Dalhouse Letter: Dave Sharpe

Story: 9.8 Art: 9.8 Overall: 9.8 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus Comics

Preview: RAI #8

RAI #8

Written by DAN ABNETT
Art by JUAN JOSÈ RYP
Colors by ANDREW DALHOUSE
Letters by DAVE SHARPE 
Cover A by WALT SIMONSON
Cover B by BRET BLEVINS
Preorder Variant Cover by KANO
On sale OCTOBER 21st | 32 pages, full color | $3.99 US | T+

Sci-fi masterminds Dan Abnett and Juan José Ryp pull you further into their futuristic landscape!

Rai and Raijin’s quest leads them to a Positronic utopia! Except peace is never as peaceful as it looks. Will the pair preserve or perish?

RAI #8

Review: Bloodshot #9

Bloodshot #9

In a world overrun with monsters, only Bloodshot can end Hell on Earth in Bloodshot #9! What does the gripping conclusion of “Burned” mean for the future of Bloodshot?

The strength of Tim Seeley‘s Bloodshot run has often been the sense of urgency of the story, and the speed in which things happen, which when brought to life by an all-star cast of artistic talent has often had the effect of throwing you into a John Wick film. The series has been relentless. A breath of excitement borne from the action movie pace of the comic; when it’s good, it’s very good. The three-part The Burned arc has taken the action-packed formula to heart and has added in some subtle elements like Godzilla sized monsters.

Oddly, despite the grand theatrics on display, Bloodshot #9 falls flatter than previous entries in the series. There’s a lack of cohesiveness to the comic that’s most evident when it tries to pull of the grand reveal/finale only to leave you wondering what happened.

Without explicitly spoiling the comic I can’t get into specifics, so skip this paragraph if you want to go in blind. Bloodshot, his nanites and Eidolon have concocted a plan to spread his consciousness over two bodies with one being active at once to allow him to move from one place to another in a breath. While I appreciate the originality of the idea, for me it felt like it was used more as a device to cut the length of the story out of necessity rather than as an exploration of what the character is capable of (with assistance from others), and because of the lack of foreshadowing the moment came off as a deus ex machina rather than a planned story beat.

Of course, the above is purely my own feelings on the comic (much like the review as a whole, honestly), and your mileage may vary.

Whether it’s the COVID related gap between the last few issues or the abrupt ending to the current arc, Seeley has a lot to contend with as he pulls plot threads from previous issues into the finale to tie them off faster than one would expect, making this comic a harder entry point for new readers than previous issues.

Seeley is joined by artists Marc Laming and Jason Masters, inker Adelso Corona, colorist Andrew Dalhouse, and letterer Dave Sharpe. All of whom combine for an aesthetic that appeals enormously to me. The style gives me a sense of nostalgia for the comic art I read growing up; it’s dynamic, clean and yet full of life and vibrancy, though the lustre may be wearing a little thin given that there seemed to be a little less flow to what was on the page in some scenes – not every one, but some of the more chaotic fight scenes with the giant monsters were a little harder to follow than fight scenes in earlier comics in the series. Whether this is due to the size of the combatants relative to each other making it harder to choreograph the battle, or the two artists working on the comic not fully jiving together, could be up for debate if the rest of the comic did have the same issues with artistic flow that are apparent in the giant monster scenes.

Bloodshot #9 aside, reading an issue of Seeley’s Bloodshot has always been a great reminder of the excitement I used to have reading comics, and while this issue doesn’t have the same nostalgic magic that previous issues have had, it is still one that’s worth reading if you’re following the series. But it won’t be the best place to start reading the series.

Story: Tim Seeley Art: Marc Laming
Ink: Adelso Corona Color: Andrew Dalhouse Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Story: 7.0 Art: 8.7 Overall: 8.1 Recommendation: Read

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review.


Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus Comics

Marc Laming Talks Bloodshot and Giant Russian God Beasts

Bloodshot #9

In a world overrun with monsters, only Bloodshot can end Hell on Earth! Bloodshot #9 is out this week and wraps up “Burned” leaving open the future of Bloodshot!

Written by Tim Seeley, Bloodshot #9 features the art of Marc Laming and Jason Masters with colors by Andrew Dalhouse, inks by Adelso Corona, and lettering by Dave Sharpe.

We got a chance to talk to Marc Laming about the series, his “Giant Russian God Beasts” and any pressure from a series in the spotlight due to Hollywood.

Graphic Policy: How did you end up working on Bloodshot?

Marc Laming: I had previously worked for Valiant on a lot of covers and some Ninjak and Archer & Armstrong and always enjoyed working for them. I got an email from Senior Editor Lysa Hawkins when she started at Valiant asking if I would be interested in working with her and I jumped at the chance, I had no idea at the time which book it would be but Lysa had promised me action and adventure. When I eventually found out I would be doing a series of covers and then a short run on Bloodshot I was really happy as I had loved what the relaunched Valiant under Warren Simons had done with the character. I was 100% on board and with Tim Seeley writing the stories it was the icing on the cake.

GP: This Bloodshot story has given you some really interesting things to draw – how much free reign did you get when designing the looks of the characters we see at the end of Bloodshot #7

ML: It was complete free reign as Tim only gave me “Giant Russian God Beasts” as a description of the huge Kaiju – the same with the zombie soldiers and the terrorist supermen. So, I got to just go as mad as I liked. 

GP: With Wigans having a cameo in Bloodshot #9, the issue will likely get some more eyes on it and most likely become an item for collectors. Does that ever cross your mind?

ML: Hahaha it really doesn’t factor into how I approach making comics. I’m really only thinking about making the visuals and storytelling as strong as possible, anything else is a distraction.

Bloodshot #9

GP: Going that route, there are probably new eyes on the series due to the film, is that something you think about as well?

ML: It really doesn’t cross my mind for the same reasons as the last question.

GP: Last time we chatted, you talked about how previous artists on the series influenced you more than the film. With this arc wrapping up, is there an aspect you hope you planted your flag with and carries on?

ML: I hope the Valiant universe gets to have a few of those Russian God Beasts I designed roaming around – I also liked the more human Bloodshot Tim gave us, I hope that I made that work and I’d like to see that continue.

GP: I know you’ve said you’d be interested in an Eternal Warrior story…  is there anything you can tell us about a potential book that hasn’t been announced yet?

ML: Not as yet – sorry.

GP: The last time we spoke, you said that you do too much research on locations. Have you ever been to a place you’ve researched at a later date and imagined the comic taking place in real time?

ML: I’m currently drawing a book set in Paris and once we can all travel again I would really like to go visit the locations I’m drawing to see if I did them justice and I really like the idea that the locations I use the reader could actually visit too.

GP: What have you got in store for us in the near future after Bloodshot #9? Anything that you can tell us?

ML: I’m working on two long-form graphic novels right now – one is a sci fi story and the other is an espionage action-adventure romantic comedy and both have pages set in Paris… Other than that, it’s all very hush hush still.

Preview: Bloodshot #9

BLOODSHOT #9

Written by TIM SEELEY
Art by MARC LAMING and JASON MASTERS
Colors by ANDREW DALHOUSE
Letters by DAVE SHARPE 
Cover A by TYLER KIRKHAM
Cover B by KAEL NGU
Preorder Variant Cover by JASON METCALF
On sale OCTOBER 14th | 32 pages, full color | $3.99 US | T+

In a world overrun with monsters, only Bloodshot can end Hell on Earth!

What does the gripping conclusion of “BURNED” mean for the future of Bloodshot?

BLOODSHOT #9

The Harbinger #1 Arrives in 2021 from Jackson Lanzing, Collin Kelly, and Robbi Rodriguez

Ahead of the feature film that’s in development at Paramount, Valiant Entertainment has revealed the vivid new direction that will kick off next summer with The Harbinger #1.

Co-written by Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly and featuring art by Robbi Rodriguez, the upcoming series introduces new readers to Peter Stanchek, the most powerful telepath on the planet, and the sole being capable of activating powers in others like him. THE HARBINGER will trace Peter’s path from the most feared man in the world to one of its greatest protectors. This character-driven journey will introduce new allies, new villains, new costumes, and a new meaning for the title of Harbinger.

The Harbinger #1 arrives in Summer 2021.

The Harbinger #1

Valiant’s Senior Editor Heather Antos talks with us about X-O Manowar, Penguins and Covid Delays

X-O Manowar #2

We recently got a chance to chat with one of Valiant‘s Senior Editors Heather Antos about the upcoming X-O Manowar #2 and how COVID-19 has thrown a wrench in the publisher’s planned timeline.

Graphic Policy: To get the COVID shaped elephant out of the way, obviously, you were never planning on having months between the first and second issues of X-O Manowar. Did you need to adjust the second issue prior to its new release date, or had it already been printed?

Heather Antos: You know, it’s funny. We had just wrapped interiors for X-O #2 when the pandemic hit. So though the issue hadn’t gone to print at the time, it could have! Since we had the time, the creative team did have another pass at dialogue, etc, for any other tweaks, but mainly our focus has been on the rest of the story.

GP: Valiant has been on a relatively slower schedule since publishing has resumed; what kind of challenges and opportunities has that provided you from an editorial perspective with X-O?

HA:
 I think the biggest challenge has been not being able to release all of the amazing titles that we had originally planned for 2020. But that means that 2021 is going to be off to an A+ start, you know? If anything this has given us amazing lead time for development and creative on projects that just don’t normally get half a year in advance on normal comics schedules.

GP: I’ve really enjoyed the issue(s) I’ve read so far, especially the new dynamic between Aric and Shanhara; can you tell us more about how Shanhara’s acting as Aric’s guide to a modern world we haven’t seen him experience before?    

HA: What I think really sets X-O Manowar apart from his comic book hero comparison of Conan in Iron Man’s suit is the fact that X-O Manowar isn’t just Aric of Dacia — it’s Aric of Dacia partnered with Shanhara — an ancient sentient alien. So there’s been so much to explore there in terms of their relationship with one another and the world in which they now reside. One of the most fun things is exploring how Shanhara has taken to the modern world — in part because she can quite literally access the internet — and how Aric wants nothing to do with it. 

GP: Based entirely on the two issues I’ve read so far, Aric’s much more Earthbound with this volume. Was there a conscious decision to move Aric away from the more space-oriented stories we’ve seen him in previously and explore how his actions impact modern people?

HA: Absolutely — not there’s anything wrong with a spacebound Aric! We’ve yet to see a series, though, in modern Valiant with Aric’s ongoing Earthbound story — both revolving around how he and Shanhara are dealing with their present day situtation, but also how the present day is dealing with them! 

GP: With Aric being a “barbarian” he’s able to offer a unique perspective on our civilization, as we’ve seen with his attitude to food and his confrontation with the police; will that be a theme running in the series going forward? 

HA: Most definitely — Aric confronts a lot of the daily minutae by simply…barrelling right past it. He doesn’t have time for modern day “politics” when he sees someone in need…even when said bureaucratic entanglements might make things worse for him in the long run. 

GP: Your love of penguins isn’t a secret… have you ever tried to get one or two into the comics? Penguin variant covers, maybe?

HA: Penguins have waddled their way into comics on my behalf once or twice, this is known to be true. If one were to flip back to last year’s Livewire #12, they might even find the first penguin cameo an artist dedicated to yours truly, haha! Will there be more in Valiant’s future? Only one way for you readers to find out…

GP: I tend to always have music when reading comics, which got me thinking; if you had to recommend a soundtrack to the series, what would it be?

HA: Fun fact! We actually have an OFFICIAL soundtrack to the series. You can find it here featuring tracks from Led Zeppelin, David Bowie, ZZ Top, and more!

GP: When you’re overseeing multiple titles, how tempted are you to have the characters featured in one series appear in another?

HA: I would say it’s not an outright temptation right from the get-go — and I certainly am not going to force any characters into another writer’s book unnecessarily. I love crossover issues and scenes and worldbuilding opportunities they provide — but it’s SUPER important that these things happen organically and feel necessary to the story.

GP: Are you able to give us any teasers around Shadowman…? 

HA: Teasers like how it’s one of the most exciting projects I’ve worked on in my entire career? Like how Cullen Bunn and Jon Davis-Hunt, Jordie Bellaire and Clayton Cowles are a horror comic’s dream team? Or how about how I CANNOT wait to be able to talk more? I don’t mean to be too in the shadows and I wish I could say more, but maybe in few weeks I’ll be able to bring more information to light…

GP: So… I hear you maaaay be working on a project that may, or may not have something to do with Psiots… is there anything you can share about that?

HA: Not unless you have psionic abilities and can read my mind! A little blue harbinger bird told me that The Hollywood Reporter might have something to say about it next week though….

GP: Well that’s certainly something to look forward to! Thanks for your time!

X-O Manowar #2 will be released November 25th.

Review: Rai #7

Rai #7

A mysterious supernatural storm has trapped Rai and Raijin with their enemies… who will live to see daylight in Rai #7?

There’s no question in my mind anymore that Rai is one of the absolute best series from any publisher currently being published. It is unquestionably Valiant’s best. The first volume of the series has been collected in trade, and you can find my reviews of the first, second, third, and fourth issues at those links. Initially, the series took me by surprise after how much I loved the precursor, Fallen World, I wasn’t expecting to enjoy Rai as much as I have. Every issue has been near perfection. The theme of the series has the inclusion of technology in our lives and the potential future we face with an over reliance on the devices in our hands, pockets and on our wrists. One could argue I’m reading too much into the comics, but I’d like to counter that. After all, what a reader takes from a book can be different depending on their perspective, and I know there’s too much technology in my life already.

The core concept of the series has been remarkably simple in that Rai and his younger brother figure who is also an older model android, Raijin (it’s not actually as confusing as it sounds, but to fully understand it you may want to circle back through the first volume of Rai written by Matt Kindt), are searching for Offspirng. Pieces of artificially intelligent code that when returned to Bloodfather will make him nigh unstoppable. Each issue centers around Rai and Raijin and their search for more Offspring, giving the series it’s overarching plot line while allowing Dan Abnett to have each issue effectively tell either a whole story or the first (or second) half of one. It’s in these single issues that Abnett explores the various subtexts that lend themselves so well to science fiction.

Rai #7 is yet another brilliant entry into the series. At this point I’ve stopped waiting for the rug to come out from under me and am so excited to see each issue hit my inbox, and I have yet to be disappointed. Abnett’s story in this issue is a slower paced one, with Rai’s humanity (or lack thereof) being explored as Raijin points out and helps Rai understand the damage his quest is having on the very people he is trying to save.

Juan Jose Ryp‘s artwork… oh man. Ryps’ art is once again coloured by Andrew Dalhouse, the visual presentation of the book is near flawless. I’ve been a huge fan of both Ryp and Dalhouse ever since I first saw their work in a Valiant book, and I have never been disappointed by either man’s work; Rai #7 is no exception. Ryps’s hyper detailed style is on full display here, and the way the facial expressions are used elevates the words in the way only great art can, with Dalhouse working his magic with colours that will take you from the starkness of Rai’s emotional position to the warmth of the environment. It’s a fantastic looking book, but again, I’d expect nothing less.

Rai #7 is, if you haven’t guessed, a really good comic. It may not be the key issue everybody will be hunting in one, three or seven years, but that doesn’t mean that this isn’t a book that demands attention. If you buy comics for good stories, then this is a series you need to be reading.

Story: Dan Abnett Artist: Juan Jose Ryp
Colorist: Andrew Dalhouse Letter: Dave Sharpe

Story: 9.8 Art: 9.8 Overall: 9.8 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus Comics

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.

Bloodshot has “One Last Shot” in January

Get ready for rampage as the action-packed storyline “One Last Shot” begins this January in Bloodshot #10!

For the explosive final arc of Tim Seeley‘s critically-acclaimed run, the New York Times best-selling writer will be joined by industry icon Brett Booth and the amazingly talented Pedro Andreo to unleash all kinds of mayhem as Bloodshot faces retribution. The upcoming storyline will also feature two characters from Bloodshot’s blockbuster movie starring Vin Diesel: Wilfred Wigans and KT!

Seeley enjoyed building a past for Wigans, hinting that the upcoming tale introduces a familiar face for longtime Bloodshot fans.

Bloodshot #10, Part 1 of “One Last Shot”, goes on sale January 13th, 2021.

Bloodshot #10
« Older Entries