Tag Archives: Comics

Review: Warframe #1 & 2

Warframe, the free game for PC and console, has a pretty simple surface premise: be a robot space ninja with guns and do cool parkour tricks. It’s free and, honestly, it serves the game well. You don’t have to care more about what’s going on that that if you don’t want to. In a lot of ways, it’s a lot like Overwatch in that respect: lore is meant to enhance the experience of the gameplay but isn’t entirely necessary. It’ll definitely make things clearer however, especially as you get deeper into the game’s story missions.

The Warframe comics from Image and Top Cow also help to fill in some of the lore of the world of Warframe where Tenno, Grineer, and other factions are constantly at war over the solar system and the secrets of the Orokin hidden within the Void. The first arc thus far seems to come before the start of the game and details how a Tenno came to be in the hands of the Grineer Captain Vor. If you’re curious about how what’s supposed to be a great warrior ended up a prisoner of war, #1 and 2 fill in the gap well.

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Fans of the game will recognize several faces (or, in the case of Warframes, “faces”) like the Lotus, Vor, Excalibur, Mag as well as locations like the Ostron village of Cetus introduced in the latest major patch of the game, Plains of Eidolon, and an Orokin vault. But other characters will be a new vector of storytelling from the ideas of Steve Sinclair and the writing team of Matt Hawkins and Ryan Cady. My favorite bits thus far have been the expletive substitutes used in #2. It’s always interesting to see how writers choose to navigate language in sci-fi settings.

The art by Studio Hive works well with this, stylizing the lush worlds created by developer Digital Extremes in much the same way as final concept art to help draw you in deeper. Alongside the lettering of Troy Peteri that makes it easy to follow along with who exactly is speaking when, this comic is a well communicated and smooth read.

If you’re a fan of the game or have become one, this comic is definitely one to pick up to dive even deeper into the lore of a game that already has a ton to offer. And hey, the game is free.

Story: Matt Hawkins, Ryan Cady Art: Studio Hive
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.0
Recommendation: Keep up with it if you’re invested in Warframe’s lore or want to be

#1 was obtained as a convention exclusive, #2 was provided to Graphic Policy.

Review: WWE #9-11

WWE_009_PRESS_3

Between getting very busy, feeling I couldn’t do a proper review of the Roman Reigns arc from BOOM! Studios’ WWE comic series without the whole story in front of me, and some real world wrestling problems, it’s taken a while to sit down and actually write out these reviews. Roman Reigns is an interesting character within the WWE Universe, reviled through no faults of his own. The man can seem to do no right and the comics reflect this in his arc.

Starting immediately after Dean Ambrose winning the Money in the Bank briefcase in #8, Reign’s arc covers from his loss in the championship match at the 2017 Money in the Bank PPV and Ambrose’s contract cash-in right after through his coping with the loss of his title. The comic paints the World Heavyweight Title as his one big accomplishment amidst a sea of boos that can (and has) drowned out his blaring entrance music on occasion. This isn’t a story that’s finished yet but I’m looking forward to the moment everything wraps as neatly as sports entertainment and comics can manage.

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Yet again, the way writer Dennis Hopeless weaves real life events with the kayfabe of the comics is always a delight, such as Reign’s suspension in #10. He also captures the characters of other WWE Superstars well, like John Cena’s preacher-esque sermon in #11. For this trio of arcs about the former Hounds of Justice, there isn’t a better person to hold the pen.

WWE_011_PRESS_7While I still love the art of illustrator Serg Acuña and think it’s a perfect fit for the action of the WWE comics, the moments where Tim Lattie steps in pull me out of the action with the slight style dissonance. Though Doug Garbark’s color work goes a long way to prevent that, it’s still there for me.

The back matter for these issues are just as strong as the others with stories like the birth of Goldust at WrestleMania XII, Becky Lynch’s wonderful pun-venture, and Randy Orton’s reminder that not everyone takes to the ring the same way.

Story: Dennis Hopless Art: Serg Acuña, Tim Lattie Color: Doug Garbark
Story: 9.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.5
Recommendation: A good entrance into the world of wrestling or a perfect ongoing piece of side media if you’re already a fan.

BOOM! Studios provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 11/18

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

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Ryan C

TheWickedAndTheDivine_33-1The Wicked + The Divine #33 (Image)**  We were promised a big cliffhanger this time out, but that’s not exactly true : we’ve got two or three of ’em, depending on what surprises you. Lots more questions than answers, which is good, and while Kieron Gillen’s “too cool for school” highly-stylized writing style still grates on me at times, Jamie McKelvie’s art is, as ever, absolutely superb. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Batman #35 (DC)** Tom King and Joelle Jones wrap up their little Catwoman-vs.-Talia al Ghul three-parter with probably the best installment of the bunch, featuring some quite nice character moments between Dick Grayson and Damian Wayne, some dynamic fight sequences, and some stunning art. Nothing too terribly awe-inspiring, by any stretch, but better than what we’re used to from this series. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Read

The Wild Storm #9 (DC/WildStorm)** Another solid installment from Warren Ellis and Jon Davis-Hunt that features a tighter focus around a smaller cast of characters than most previous issues, and the result is a brisk, at times breathtaking read with one of the most superbly-delineated fights you’ll see in any book this year. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Ringside #13 (image)** Don’t look now, but Joe Keatinge and Nick Barber seem to be putting some serious effort into this series again after mailing it in for a good six issues or so. Keatinge’s wide-ranging script is beginning to see its multiple plot points begin to converge, and Barber’s art is looking more polished and determined. We’re nowhere near the heights achieved by the first few installments yet, but it’s good to see that things are on an upward trajectory. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

dept h 20.jpg

Christopher

Dept H #20 (Dark Horse)The tension continues to increase as the surviving crew of Dept H still struggle to get to the surface. Like previous issues, this one does reveal a backstory. This time it is Q’s one of the few characters whose backstory hasn’t been heard. The are continues to darker in the present then it is the past, keeping this issue consistent with previous issues. Writer and Artist: Matt Kindt Overall.:8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Logan

The Batman Who Laughs #1 (DC)­­ The Batman who Laughs is a fantastic tie-in to DC Comics’ Metal event that examines the nature of evil through the lens of the classic BMWL_Cv1_r1_ds-1rivalry between Batman and the Joker. Riley Rossmo’s art is seriously messed up, and his layouts mirror the funhouse mirror chaos of the Joker, who is killed by Batman and then infects him with his madness. (Rossmo also successfully executes a jump scare in a comic book.) There have been a bunch of evil Batman Elseworlds stories over the years, but James Tynion and Rossmo go deeper psychologically and show how breaking bad affects Batman’s relationships with his family and Superman. If this was the last Batman/Joker story ever, this would be a good way to go out . Overall: 9.5 Verdict: Buy

The Punisher #218 (Marvel)** Frank Castle and Nick Fury Jr. are a match made in hell in Matthew Rosenberg, Guiu Vilanova, and Lee Loughridge’s new Punisher series. Rosenberg’s script is fairly humorous as a bureaucracy bound super spy trades wits with a single minded killing machine. Frankly, Fury is using the Punisher to cover his own ass and realizes that maybe letting Frank steal the War Machine armor was a terrible idea. Vilanova’s art is gritty and draws Frank with a stoic demeanor that masks a psychopath underneath in a similar way to Steve Dillon’s work. Some of his fight scenes are crowded and hard to follow, but weird numbering aside, Punisher #218 is a darkly violent, way too many guns toting, international take on the classic vigilante/anti-hero/villain. Overall: 8.1 Recommendation: Read.



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

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

Review: The Wicked + the Divine #33

“Are you a demon or a fucked up girl?” is the question posed by Urdr to Persephone in a pivotal scene in The Wicked + the Divine #33, and in true WicDiv/real life fashion, there is no clear answer to this query. The “Imperial Phase” comes to a close in with a flashback/plot twist, a harrowing conversation that doubles as a character defining moment for both Urdr and Persephone, and let’s just say, one hell of an ending. Visually, Jamie McKelvie and Matthew Wilson continue to embrace the shadows and show another Pantheon transformation sequence with an eight bit twist. In his writing, Kieron Gillen does a “Once more we return” and dives into the connection between fans, artists, and fame with a healthy helping of death and sacrifice

Unlike certain formerly-known-as-prestige TV shows, Gillen connects both his twists and character deaths to WicDiv‘s overall themes. David Blake is one of the few non-Pantheon members, who has stuck around/lived throughout the series, and it makes so much sense that he has been Woden all along.  He is also the ultimate fanboy of the Pantheon and willing to do whatever it takes to be connected to that power including his own, honestly super nice and curious son as both a free labor force and a power battery. There are shades of manipulative stage parents, like Joe Jackson, Joe Simpson, and in the sports world, Lavar Ball, in the way that Woden is disappointed in Jon while using him to have the kind of power and fame to be in a very exclusive club that he’s always wanted to be in. Gillen goes deep cut with Norse mythology and makes Jon, Mimir, a god whose head that Odin carries around to see other realms and get wisdom. Mimir’s Well is located by the World Tree Yggdrasil so hence the weird connection between Urdr and Woden.

The fan/artist/power conflict also extends to Persephone whose conversation with Urdr while Jon is basically hanging is the heart of WicDiv #33. Persephone has been all action, recklessness, and rebellion in year 3 of WicDiv and in some ways is trying to forcibly be the Destroyer. But she’s really wracked with guilt about her family’s death, which she blames on her desire to get anything to be in the Pantheon. Jamie McKelvie’s talents as an artist of empathy and character acting comes in handy during this sequence. He depicts Persephone from the side holding her knees as she tries to process what has happened to her during the past few arcs and uses a lot of close-ups in subsequent panels. McKelvie’s take on Urdr has a lot of anxiety as she swings from being afraid of the possibly Destroyer, Persephone and trying to be a good friend to the young fangirl, Laura. This is WicDiv so their conversation doesn’t end in hugs and reunions, but with an aphorism type line from Urdr and a little side head turn from Persephone. It’s a real of point of no return moment when Urdr calls her Persephone and not Laura, which results in tears and a tense beat panel.

In the context of the whole series, Gillen, McKelvie, and Wilson codify sacrifice again as a big theme of WicDiv. Instead of the old preying on the young like Ananke killing Luci, Inanna, and Tara in previous issues or more recently, Woden completely draining Dionysus: a young person is the one making the sacrifices. Minerva has been through some shit throughout “Rising Action” and “Imperial Phase”, and her new role as the head removing Ananke is sad, yet wonderful payoff for her character as she looks to take a more active role in the series going into its fourth year. She understands the idea of “necessity” in warding off the Great Darkness even if that means the death of someone close to her. But it is incredibly sad to see the one, real innocent member of the Pantheon be corrupted like this.

In the spirit of Urdr, Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, and Matthew Wilson get to the truth about who Woden is and the Great Darkness in WicDiv #33 using the shadows and claustrophobic spaces of Valhalla with splashes of eight bit menace to provide an emotionally draining reading experience. There are a decent amount of cards still on the table, but the chess board has turned into a pit of hot lava lorded over by an entitled abusive fanboy as Gillen and McKelvie cross the proverbial Rubicon and make Woden the literal patriarchy.

Story: Kieron Gillen Art: Jamie McKelvie Colors: Matthew Wilson
Story: 9.2 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.3  Recommendation: Buy 

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Steven Universe #10

Steven Universe #10

Publisher: KaBOOM!, an imprint of BOOM! Studios
Writer: Grace Kraft
Artist: Rii Abrego
Cover Artists:
Main Cover: Missy Peña
Subscription Cover: Natalie Dombois
Colorist: Whitney Cogar
Letterer: Mike Fiorentino
Price: $3.99

Connie and Steven head to the beach to work on a school project, and Amethyst’s attempts at helping out lead to some surprises with the animals who live in the water.

Preview: Rugrats #2

Rugrats #2

Publisher: KaBOOM!, an imprint of BOOM! Studios
Writer: Box Brown
Artist: Lisa DuBois
Cover Artists:
Main Cover: Jorge Corona
Subscription Cover: Zander Cannon
Connecting Coloring Cover: Jorge Monlongo
Colorist: Eleonora Bruni
Letterer: Jim Campbell
Price: $3.99

Tommy has a playdate with Chuckie and the two come up with a plan to finally figure out how their parents are able to watch their every move.

Preview: Lumberjanes #44

Lumberjanes #44

Publisher: BOOM! Box, an imprint of BOOM! Studios
Writers: Shannon Watters & Kat Leyh
Artist: Ayme Sotuyo
Cover Artists:
Main Cover: Kat Leyh
Subscription Cover: Ayme Sotuyo
Colorist: Maarta Laiho
Letterer: Aubrey Aiese
Price: $3.99

To save the camp from destruction, the Roanokes head out into the woods to chop down a time tree with a magic axe.

Preview: Big Trouble in Little China: Old Man Jack #3

Big Trouble in Little China: Old Man Jack #3

Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Writers: John Carpenter & Anthony Burch
Artist: Jorge Corona
Cover Artists:
Main Cover: Stephane Roux
“Movie Poster” Intermix Cover: Hans Woody
Action Figure Subscription Cover: Michael Adams & Marco D’Alfonso
Connecting Variant Cover: Will Robson
Variant Cover: Greg Smallwood
Colorist: Gabriel Cassata
Letterer: Ed Dukeshire
Price: $3.99

Jack and Lo Pan tear through an ocean of fire and madness, where nothing they see can be trusted—and may mean their demise!

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