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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

Vault Announces Caroline Leigh Layne as New Artist on Money Shot

Vault Comics has announced that Caroline Leigh Layne is the new regular artist on the hit ongoing series, Money Shot. Layne’s run on the sexy sci-fi series will debut with Money Shot #11, the beginning of the series’ third arc.

NEW ARC! NEW THRILLS! With a founding member on the outs, Chris seeks a replacement, and finds it in Dr. Yazaman Blanco, whose research might literally save the Earth, and whose hotness might melt the ice caps. But, when  a mission to a ruined planet goes south, does she have what it takes to get the money shot?

Co-written by Tim Seeley and Sarah Beattie, colored by Kurt Michael Russell, lettered by Crank, and designed by Tim Daniel,Money Shot is sexy sci-fi comedy, set in a near-future where space travel is ludicrously expensive and largely ignored. Enter Christine Ocampos, inventor of the Star Shot teleportation device with a big idea: She’ll travel to new worlds, engage —intimately—with local aliens, and film her exploits for a jaded earth populace trying to find something new on the internet. Now, Chris and her merry band of scientist-cum-pornstars explore the universe, each other, and the complexities of sex in a story about scientists having sex with aliens for the glory of mankind—and money.

Money Shot #11 hits store shelves on May 26th, 2021.

Money Shot #11

Early 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


Pre-order: comiXologyKindleZeus ComicsTFAW

Review: Undiscovered Country #12

Undiscovered Country #12

Undiscovered Country #12 wraps up the adventurer’s time in Unity as the battle against Destiny Man rages and the sector surviving is in the balance. This second arc is an interesting one as it challenges some of the mission and really leaves readers pondering if Unity is the best that America has to offer.

Though it sucked the will and choice from individuals, Unity as a sector delivered peace through technology. There was no illness or poverty but there was also a technocratic hand that controlled everything. There was a calm and orderly aspect to it all but with it came a heavy and grizzly price. But, even with that we’re left wondering if it’s the best this new America has to offer.

And that’s part of the brilliance of what writers Scott Snyder and Charles Soule have put together with Undiscovered Country. We’re presented with an exaggeration of the various aspects that make up the United States. Each has some good and each has some bad. In the end we’re likely going to find out none of them are ideal and ideal is the whole but that’s a ways to go. Instead, with each sector we’re shown the good and the bad and in ways left to decide for ourselves what we would do if we were on this journey. The characters are vessels by which the reader is asked questions.

The world has been masterfully crafted this way and each is clearly thought out as far as its underlying philosophy and what it brings to the table, both good and bad.

That world is help crafted by Giuseppe Camuncoli and Leonardo Marcello Grassi. The duo continue to present amazing art. Each sector so far has been so different from each other but at the same time it still feels like it’s the same world. Along with color by Matt Wilson and lettering by Crank!, Undiscovered Country #12 does an amazing job of showing the corruption of the Destiny Man in Unity. The visuals play heavy into that as well as the Destiny Man’s dialogue. It all comes together to show how different he is from the “clean and orderly” Unity. The battle between forces really feels epic and ground shaking.

Undiscovered Country #12 wraps up the current arc while pointing us on our next adventure… which seems intriguing. The series continues to challenge readers to think about the ideals that make up America and shows what happens when things get unbalanced. It’s a reflection of our world and at times continues to mirror real events. It does what science fiction does best, act as a layered discussion of the world in which we live.

Story: Scott Snyder, Charles Soule Art: Giuseppe Camuncoli, Leonardo Marcello Grassi
Color: Matt Wilson Letterer Crank!
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus ComicsTFAW

Preview: Critical Hit

CRITICAL HIT

Writer: Matt Miner
Artist: Jonathan Brandon Sawyer
Colorist: Doug Garbark / Letterers: Jim Campbell & Crank!
Mature / $16.99 / 116 pages

Sarah and Jeanette love animals with a vengeance.

Under cover of darkness, they don ski-masks and wield sledgehammers, rescuing abused animals from dog-fighting rings, illegal testing labs, and other abusers.  

When they wreak havoc on a rogue gang of hunters, though, the girls find themselves in over their heads. The gang they’ve stumbled onto aren’t hunters – they’re serial killers.
And soon the liberators become the prey!

Collects issues 1-4.

CRITICAL HIT

Review: Undiscovered Country #11

Undiscovered Country #11

Undiscovered Country has been a fascinating journey, one that feels like a spiral into madness. The journey into this new United States has been one that has been a reflection upon our real world while projecting the worst of what we are and could be. This current story arc has been a horror story in the making and Undiscovered Country #11 gives us the full picture of that horror.

Written by Scott Snyder and Charles Soule, Undiscovered Country #11 has our group of explorers still in “Unity”. They’re presented with the truth of the land and all of the negative it comes with. This, while dealing with the attacks from the Destiny Man. Beyond the reality that’s presented, what’s interesting is it presents the role of technology and innovation within US history. It’s an interesting perspective and one that focuses it a unique way. The basic idea is that the US’s technology innovation has allowed us to connect easier. By doing so it has allowed us to live a more isolated and individual life. We can travel long distances allowing us to live further apart. Communication allows us to connect from thousands of miles away.

Undiscovered Country #11 also drops the moment I’ve been expecting where paradise turns into a nightmare. It’s been clear Unity is too good to be true and now we get to see it in its true self. We also get a bit more of a tease about the journey itself and the choice our group of travelers will have to make.

The art of Undiscovered Country #11 stands out as Giuseppe Camuncoli and Leonardo Marcello Grassi lift the veil of Unity’s true self. Gone are the white walls and clean city. In its place is something much darker and scarier. They’re joined by Matt Wilson on colors and Crank! on lettering. Together, the group has slowly driven the story narratively adding slight visual elements to tip us off as things progress.

Undiscovered Country #11 leaves us to question the nature of Unity and technological advances. Paradise was anything but. We’re also left to question the technology in our own lives. The series continues to be an interesting exploration of American ideals and America’s history giving us an exaggerated reflection of our real world.

Story: Scott Snyder, Charles Soule Art: Giuseppe Camuncoli, Leonardo Marcello Grassi
Color: Matt Wilson Letterer: Crank!
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.15 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus Comics

Review: Undiscovered Country #10

Undiscovered Country #10

Unity is under attack by the Destiny Man as we learn more about this technologically advanced part of the new America. Undiscovered Country #10 is an interesting issue as it presents the action in the present while tying it into the revelations about the past.

Writer Scott Snyder and Charles Soule continue their impressive series exploring the different facets of modern America. The series is both a microscope and an exaggeration of our reality taking the good and bad to their extremes. Unity is a technological marvel using nano-technology to make everything a reality. But, it’s the underlying philosophy that’s an interesting one. Unity isn’t just named that, it’s something it believes in. One people working towards a goal. While the residents of it claim they act under their own free will, there’s a underlying horror and trepidation about it all.

In the previous arc, we saw what freedom and individualism run amok looks like. Unity is the opposite where the vision is one. It’s the embodiment that America is best when it works together. But, taken to an extreme it dives into questions of freedom and free will. The issue doesn’t deliver answers, instead, Undiscovered Country #10 throws out a lot of questions allowing the reader to debate it all themself.

The art by Giuseppe Camuncoli and Marcello Grassi is fantastic. There’s some imagery that’ll give you pause with designs that feel both familiar and unlike anything I’ve seen. With Matt Wilson’s mostly white palette and Crank!’s lettering, there’s something unsettling about it all. Through the tranquility there continues to be a logical coldness about it all. We get to see some of the animals that stalk in the oceans outside Unity, they’re a twist and a design that fits so well for the series and this particular area.

Undiscovered Country #10 is an interesting issue that begins to reveal the horrors that hide underneath Unity. Its philosophy is debated within without giving real answers. It does what the series does so well, shines a spotlight on an aspect of America and lets the reader decide what to think. But, Undiscovered Country #10 also keeps it entertaining and the reader on their toes. It’s a series that has yet to disappoint and when I finish an issue I have no idea what to expect next.

Story: Scott Snyder, Charles Soule Art: Giuseppe Camuncoli, Leonardo Marcello Grassi
Color: Matt Wilson Letterer: Crank!
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus Comics

Review: Undiscovered Country #9

Undiscovered Country #9

The exploration of “Unity” continues in Undiscovered Country #9 which has the team learning more about the technological marvel. What’s been excellent of this story arc so far is that there’s clearly something ominous. There’s something not right about this territory and their promise clearly has a catch.

Writers Scott Snyder and Charles Soule continue their exploration of the United States, both literally and metaphorically. Each territory of this new United States is an aspect of what makes up America but exaggerated. This is an America run amok. Undiscovered Country #9 focuses on America’s success in innovation. The internet, the space race, so many things have either begun in the US or the US has improved upon it. But, with so much wonder there has also been terror. The nuclear bomb and so many weapons of destruction and death are perfect examples of the negative. As the characters ponder and discuss, Unity represents both the best and possibly worst of what makes the United States special.

Snyder and Soule continue to present the best of it. Unity’s technology allows anything to happen. Memories are stored and needs are met with just a thought. It’s the concept of nanobots taken to an extreme. But, for all the wonder and possibilities, the two creators also deliver some unease. We question everything we’re told. We, as readers, look for clues as to what doesn’t sit right. Like the adventurers, we the reader are skeptical as to what we’re presented. Snyder and Soule has set expectations and toyed with our trust.

Some of the fun is because of the art by Giuseppe Camuncoli and Leonardo Marcello Grassi. It’s hard to read Undiscovered Country #9 and not look for clues in the art. From the stark white setting that screams clean and disinfected, there’s a coldness about what’s presented. While it’s amazing to look at, the art team delivers a presentation that challenges us to look for clues as to what’s off. There may be nothing at all. But, we’re teased to do exactly that. Part of the dance is due to Matt Wilson‘s colors. While much of the issue is white and gray, there’s some other splashes of color drawing your eye to what’s focused on. The fact some of that is red leads to yet more of an ominous feeling towards those details. Crank!‘s lettering too delivers small clues and delivers slight punches to each scene and moment.

Undiscovered Country #9 continues to take us on an adventure much like Alice in Wonderland. We’re presented a wondrous world full of possibilities but underneath that wonder is horror. But, what’s most impressive is the series continues to hold a mirror to our reality. It may be a funhouse mirror but it’s still a twisted reflection of the world we live in. The series as a whole questions American exceptionalism and the building blocks of our nation. It challenges us to question what’s right and what’s wrong and to think about what happens if any extreme “wins”.

Story: Scott Snyder, Charles Soule Art: Giuseppe Camuncoli, Leonardo Marcello Grassi
Color: Matt Wilson Letterer: Crank! Editor: Will Dennis
Story: 8.75 Art: 8.35 Overall: 8.7 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus Comics

A Blossom of Hope in Debut Graphic Novel Coming Summer 2021

In a charming, delightfully warm style reminiscent of the award-winning Tea Dragon Society series, Oni-Lion Forge Publishing Group has announced the upcoming debut graphic novel, The Sprite and the Gardener, by Rii Abrego and Joe Whitt with lettering by Crank!The Sprite and the Gardener will be released on May 5, 2021.

Long, long ago, sprites were the caretakers of gardens. Every flower was grown by their hand. But when humans appeared and began growing their own gardens, the sprites’ magical talents soon became a thing of the past. When Wisteria, an ambitious, kind-hearted sprite, starts to ask questions about the way things used to be, she begins to unearth her long-lost talent of gardening. But her newly honed skills might not be the welcome surprise she intends them to be.

Join the neighborhood of sprites in this beautiful, gentle fantasy where, in taking the first step toward something new, both gardens and friendships begin to blossom.

The Sprite and the Gardener

Rick and Morty are Worlds Apart in 2021

Oni Press and Lion Forge have announced a brand-new Rick and Morty comic miniseries— Rick and Morty: Worlds Apart, coming February 2021.

Based on the hit series and Emmy-winning fourth season of Adult Swim’s Rick and Morty™, it’s going to get crazy for the Smiths and Rick Sanchez as new favorite characters collide in Rick and Morty: Worlds Apart. Catch the outrageous Balthromaw and his band of dragon adventurers in an all-new, tantalizing adventure where only Morty can save them. And when Teddy Rick shows up and ruins Rick’s ultimate vacation plan, no one is safe!

The four-part miniseries will feature the creative team of Josh Trujillo, Tony Fleecs, Jarrett Williams, Leonardo Ito, and Crank! They’ll bring to life, including perhaps the kinkiest team of super-villains to ever grace a comic-book page!

Rick and Morty: Worlds Apart joins other Rick and Morty comics as they hit the shelves in 2021, including new issues in the Rick and Morty Presents series, Rick and Morty: Ever After, and more.

Rick and Morty: Worlds Apart is slated to launch February 3, 2021.

Rick and Morty: Worlds Apart
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