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Review: Commanders in Crisis Book One: The Action

Commanders in Crisis

In a multiverse, anything is possible. A multitude of Earths, each with its own series of diverging paths. Some of those paths lead to glory, while others are destined only for destruction. In Commanders in Crisis, four superheroes from doomed Earths are rescued minutes before their worlds implode. Together, they are the Crisis Commanders, sworn protectors of the new earth they now call home. The first arc of this series, created and written by Steve Orlando, is as stirring as it is irreverent. The first six issues of this series have been collected into a trade paperback, available now from Image Comics.

This is probably a blasphemous statement, but I don’t think Steve Orlando is a very good storyteller. Don’t get me wrong the guy excels at writing characters. He’s also clearly talented at writing scripts that are easy for the artist(s) to follow, as books he writes always look really good. Unfortunately, a story needs more than flashy concepts and interesting characters. The plot of Commanders in Crisis feels stapled together. The narrative ambles along from one plot point to the next, but never makes a lot of sense. There’s just too much going on within this six-issue story arc. Orlando peppers the story with super heroics, murder mystery, interpersonal drama, existential dread, and domestic terrorism but doesn’t do a good job of connecting all the elements together. Although there are some cool single moments, most of the story ends up being convoluted and confounding.

One thing I did enjoy about Commander in Crisis was the characters. They all have distinct personalities and possess creative powers. They also go through realistic struggles as they strive to understand and control their superpowers. The uniqueness of their powers sets the heroes, and this series, apart from other team superhero books. The Crisis Commanders roster also boasts a high level of diversity. That being said, obviously, any representation is great, but the characters’ diversities felt forced. Each characters’ racial differences and sexual orientations are used to describe who they are on the outside, but then are never really used to define who they are on the inside. By the end of the book, most of the characters felt more like tokens than representations.

As I said above, Orlando’s script and collaboration allow co-creator and artist Davide Tinto’s illustrations to really shine. The narrative’s timeline is easy to visually follow and the action sequences have a dynamic look. I especially appreciated the wide panels used in the page layouts. Using larger panels gives Tinto the chance to showcase the character’s emotions by drawing realistic expressions on their faces. The wide-set panels also makes letterer Fabio Amelia’s job easier, as he often has a lot of dialogue he has to fit in a single panel. Even with expert lettering and spacious framing, there are single panels that look cramped because of everything that is crammed into them.

Commanders in Crisis is the type of comic that doesn’t take itself seriously. Orlando takes a tongue-in-cheek approach to the superhero genre, especially enjoyed the cheeky nods to the comic book industry. The story is full of creative concepts and exciting elements but beyond that, a lot of the story itself doesn’t make much sense. Despite its off-kilter writing, the artwork and general wackiness of this series do produce a few entertaining scenes. However, this is a title that readers should first browse before they commit to purchasing this trade paperback.

Creator & Writer: Steve Orlando Creator & Artist: Davide Tinto
Colorist: Francesca Carotenuto Letterer: Fabio Amelia
Story: 4.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 6.0 Recommendation: Browse 

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyAmazonKindleZeus ComicsTFAWBookshop

Commanders in Crisis Pride Month Variant by Davide Tinto Revealed

Image Comics has revealed a special Pride Month variant cover, featuring all-new art by Davide Tinto, for the forthcoming Commanders in Crisis #9 by Steve Orlando and Tinto. This exciting new issue will hit shelves in June.

Frontier has journeyed from the birthplace of ideas to the dawn of civilization, all to find a way to resurrect empathy…but what if resurrection was never what we needed? In Commanders in Crisis #9, Frontier and Originator dive right into that question in a face off with Doctor Dracula as the Extinction Society begins its final push…to kick us all off the edge and into destruction—the Revenge Regiment strikes!

Commanders in Crisis #9 will be available at comic book shops on Wednesday, June 2:

  • Commanders in Crisis #9 Cover A by Tinto – APR210279
  • Commanders in Crisis #9 Cover B by Christian Cimoroni – APR210280
  • Commanders in Crisis #9 Cover C by Elias Chatzoudis – APR210281
  • Commanders in Crisis #9 Cover D by Dax Exclamationpoint – APR210282
  • Commanders in Crisis #9 Cover E Pride Month Variant – MAR218955 
Commanders in Crisis #9 Cover E Pride Month Variant

Commanders In Crisis #2 Features Four Variant Covers

Steve Orlando and Davide Tinto’s new hit series Commanders In Crisis will pack an extra punch with four stunning variant covers for issue #2 this November.

These variant covers will showcase the talents of Joe Quinones (1:25 incentive), Brett Booth (1:10 incentive), Laura Braga, and Paul Harding.

In Commanders In Crisis #2, The Crisis Command, last survivors of the multiverse, are faced with an impossible task: avenging the death…of an idea! DOA is EMPATHY ITSELF, and while empathy withers and dies across the world, Originator uses her abilities to bring the John Doe back for 24 hours to reveal the name of his killer!

Commanders In Crisis #2 will be available at comic book shops on Wednesday, November 18:

  • Cover A by Tinto – Diamond Code SEP200193
  • Cover B by Harding – Diamond Code SEP200194
  • Cover C by Braga – Diamond Code SEP200195
  • Cover D [limited 1:10 incentive] by Brett Booth – Diamond Code SEP208285
  • Cover E [limited 1:25 incentive] by Joe Quinones – Diamond Code SEP208286

Review: Commanders In Crisis #1

COMMANDERS IN CRISIS #1

“When all our hope is gone, we have to hold on”- Nine Inch Nails, “We’re In This Together”

Like master alchemists, writer Steve Orlando, artist Davide Tinto, and colorist Francesca Carotenuto turn in a comic that is part “crisis” crossover, part high concept superhero story, and just a whole lot of fun with side of intrigue. Commanders in Crisis #1 also features a truly diverse and multicultural cast of superheroes, who have unique abilities and personalities that aren’t stereotypes. Frontier, Prizefighter, Originator, Sawbones, and Seer might remind you of characters that appear in comics written by creators like Grant Morrison and Kurt Busiek and drawn by Frank Quitely and George Perez, but Orlando and Tinto weave these visual and verbal influences into a wonderful, new multiversal tapestry.

Commanders in Crisis has blockbuster stakes, but Orlando and Tinto seed in personal and human moments for their team of heroes aka the Crisis Command, who get introduced with a double page splash and bold lettering from Fabio Amelia. After a drab, mystery tinged start, colorist Carotenuto pours a metaphorical Jelly Belly machine of colors onto the page as the Crisis Command springs into action against the aptly named Mind Muggers. The name of the baddies alone show the blend of street-level and cosmic action that Commanders in Crisis brings to the table. Whether your ideal superhero story is Final Crisis or the bits in Spider-Man 2 where Peter Parker has no powers and isn’t in costume, this comic has a moment, page, or panel for you. There’s cool, complicated parts, parts that makes you feel, and parts that makes you feel like you’re a kid watching Saturday morning cartoons or picking a book off the spinner rack again.

Commanders in Crisis #1 also does what some of my favorite superhero stories do: it uses eye-popping and memorable things like punching, flying, or something more conceptual like using the power of language to save the day to stand in for abstract ideas like truth, justice, and all that stuff. But, mostly, hope. There is hope in the fact that Prizefighter (aka my new favorite queer superhero) immediately goes from a world-ending team battle to a solo excursion to save a burning building. And Steve Orlando and Davide Tinto create similar hopeful moments from the other members of Crisis Command while building up a formidable opponent that made me instantly want to know what happened in issue two. I would definitely read a long-running series with this team.

Hope also comes through Davide Tinto and Francesca Contenuto’s visuals as well as Orlando’s scripting in Commanders in Crisis #1. Tinto turns in clean, iconic superhero poses while also drawing emotionally open facial expressions when the team is “off the clock”. (I can definitely get into a superhero comic that addresses work/life balance.) His designs hint at the inspirations for each member of Crisis Command while also making something memorable, novel, and connected to their personality. As mentioned earlier, Carotenuto’s varied color palette contributes to their memorable nature. These are characters I would definitely buy merch or action figures of, and I also care deeply whether they live or die.

Commanders in Crisis #1 reads like the comic book equivalent of a doctorate dissertation in superhero comics from writer Steve Orlando and star-making turn for artists Davide Tinto and Francesca Carotenuto. It’s the first chapter in an epic saga that doesn’t neglect character in the midst of its multiversal scope and also leaves room for fluid action, clever concepts, and moments that will make you smile or shudder. This is while basking in the glow of a cast that is truly inclusive, who I can’t wait to see overcome monumental challenges in subsequent issues.

Story: Steve Orlando Art: Davide Tinto 
Colors: Francesca Carotenuto Letters: Fabio Amelia
Story: 9.0 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.8 Recommendation: Buy

Steve Orlando/Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus Comics

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Commanders in Crisis #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.

Commanders in Crisis #1 (Image Comics) – The last survivors of the Multiverse live among us under new, superheroic identities, five survivors of doomed worlds…taking a second chance to ensure our world lives on. Our review was a glowing one, you can check it out here.

Concrete Jungle #1 (Scout Comics) – A rogue telepath hijacks minds to commit crimes. The conept just sounds awesome.

Rorschach #1 (DC Comics/DC Black Label) – If you’re a fan of crime/noir comics, this is a must. Forget the Watchmen tie-in, it’s just a solid start to a crime mystery.

Seven Secrets #3 (BOOM! Studios) – The series has a been a lot of fun so far. The first two issues were not what we were expecting so very interested in seeing where this all goes.

Strange Adventures #6 (DC Comics/DC Black Label) – This issue is the best of the series so far. There’s some raw discussions here about being a parent as we learn more about the death of Adam Strange’s daughter and Mr. Terrific’s wife and unborn child.

Vain #1 (Oni Press) – Eliot Rahal is an amazing writer and we’re here for anything new from him. Add in Emily Pearson on art and we’re beyond excited for this new series about a robbery at a blood bank.

Villainous #1 (Mad Cave Studios) – A new superhero is working with her idols but her dreams turn to nightmares and she has to make a choice about standing with heroes or becoming… villainous.

Warhammer 40K: Marneus Calgar #1 (Marvel) – The world of Games Workshop’s Warhammer 40,000 comes to Marvel. A solid start that’s good for long-time fans of the property and new readers.

We Live #1 (AfterShock) – If you’re not in tears by the end of the issue, you have no heart. Just a heart-wrenching sci-fi series.

Yasmeen #3 (Scout Comics) – One of the best comics out there, it explores a young woman dealing with the trauma of being tortured by ISIS as she attempts to get settled in the United States.

Around the Tubes

It’s one of two new comic book days today! What are you all getting? What are you excited for? Sound off in the comments below! While you wait for shops to open, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web in our morning roundup.

The Beat – A Year of Free Comics: Faith, strength, or both to defeat demonic forces? Find out in COVENANT – Free comics!

Reviews

Comics Bulletin – Commanders in Crisis #1
Collected Editions – DCeased: Unkillables
Comics Bulletin – Transformers/Back to the Future #1

Transformers/Back to the Future #1

Comics Deserve Better Episode 10: Corpus – A Comic Anthology of Bodily Ailments

In the Comics Deserve Better Season 1 finale, Brian, Darci, and Logan talk about the end of Stumptown (The TV show) and Lumberjanes as well as Brian Stelfreeze‘s new creator-owned title. They also cover selected stories from the graphic medicine masterpiece, Corpus: A Comic Anthology of Bodily Ailments and talk about their personal connections to them. The episode and season wraps up with previews of Seen: True Stories of Marginalized Trailblazers, TrunglesThe Magic Fish, and Steve Orlando and Davide Tinto‘s Commanders in Crisis plus all of the hosts’ favorite comic of the season! (Episode art by Mark Wang)

Commanders in Crisis Gets Variants from Mirka Andolfo and Peach Momoko

The upcoming series Commanders In Crisis by Steve Orlando and Davide Tinto will feature two virgin, without trade dress, incentive covers of the Mirka Andolfo (1:10) and Peach Momoko (1:25) variants. These stunning covers will hit stores when the new superhero series takes flight from Image comics this October.

In Commanders In Crisis, the last survivors of the Multiverse live among us under new, superheroic identities, five survivors of doomed worlds…taking a second chance to ensure our world lives on. 

A new twist on strange superhero comics, with a bleeding-edge eye on the modern moment, Commanders In Crisis follows in the footsteps of Doom Patrol and Thunderbolts as five unexpected heroes come together to solve a murder unlike any other. The victim? Compassion itself…This is ideacide!

Commanders in Crisis #1 will be available at comic book shops on Wednesday, October 14.

  • Commanders In Crisis #1 Cover A Tinto – Diamond Code AUG200037
  • Commanders In Crisis #1 Cover B Sejic – Diamond Code AUG200038
  • Commanders In Crisis #1 Cover C Momoko – Diamond Code AUG200039
  • Commanders In Crisis #1 Cover D Sozo – Diamond Code AUG200040
  • Commanders In Crisis #1 Cover E Talaski – Diamond Code AUG200041
  • Commanders In Crisis #1 Cover F Lupacchino – Diamond Code AUG200042
  • Commanders In Crisis #1 Cover G Andolfo – Diamond Code AUG200043
  • Commanders In Crisis #1 Cover H Blank Cvr – Diamond Code AUG200044
  • Commanders In Crisis #1 Cover I 10 Copy Incv Andolfo Virgin – Diamond Code AUG208121
  • Commanders In Crisis #1 Cover J 25 Copy Incv Momoko Virgin – Diamond Code AUG208122

Around the Tubes

Empyre: Aftermath Avengers

The weekend is over and it’s a new week of reviews, interviews, previews, and more! How many of you took part in the second half of DC FanDome? What’d you think? Sound off in the comments! While you decide on that, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web in our morning roundup.

How to Love Comics – Firefly: Blue Sun Rising Reading Order Checklist – For those that are interested.

The Beat – Lynda Barry wins the Reuben Award for Cartoonist of the Year – Congrats!

Kotaku – Marvel’s Avengers Has An Age Of Ultron Easter Egg – Who’s playing and what do you all think of the game?

Reviews

Games Radar – Commanders in Crisis #1
Seattle Pi – The Contradictions
Talking Comics – Empyre: Aftermath Avengers and Empyre: Fallout Fantastic Four

Almost American
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