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Review: Undiscovered Country #16

Undiscovered Country #16

Undiscovered Country has been a fascinating series taking us on a twisted tour of what makes up America. After exploring individual liberty and innovation, the series takes us to Zone Possibility where we get to examine the myths and entertainment that have spun from the country. Undiscovered Country #16 focuses on American music giving readers a condensed history. As the issue points out, there’s a hell of a history here, far too much to pack into one issue. So, we’re given the basics and shown that there’s far more creation there than any of us realize.

In search of the Anything Engine, the issue feels like it’s full of riddles and puzzles as everyone attempts to figure out what to do next. That’s everything from singing to dealing with the “One-Man Band”. Writers Scott Snyder and Charles Soule have put together an interesting issue with Undiscovered Country #16. There’s a bit less of a funhouse feel to the issue and instead it shifts to challenging the readers in some ways. Music is presented to sign that the reader can attempt to decipher along with the characters. There’s a nice tease as a drum beat is discussed and readers can guess as to its significance and what it is before the reveal. It’s an exploration of music in both reading and listening.

The visuals for the series continue to intrigue. Giuseppe Camuncoli and Leonardo Marcello Grassi have fun with some of the music eras hinted at. A joke about disco is groan worthy but still funny. The One-Man Band is creative and creepy in its design and presentation. The duo continue to create and explore new worlds visually while keeping the series’ look coherent and consistent. Matt Wilson‘s colors continue to enhance everything as greens and pinks help create an unease about the issue. Crank!‘s lettering enhance the emotion and delivers some punch to scenes.

Undiscovered Country #16 is an interesting issue. It doesn’t quite challenge readers about America’s essence like previous issues. But, Undiscovered Country #16 does challenge readers to think about the nation’s contributions to music. It’s an issue that will hopefully spur more investigation much like the characters within must do.

Story: Scott Snyder, Charles Soule Art: Giuseppe Camuncoli, Leonardo Marcello Grassi
Color: Matt Wilson Letterer: Crank!
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.1 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus ComicsTFAW

Review: Undiscovered Country #15

Undiscovered Country #15

Welcome to “Zone Possibility” the latest part of a fractured United States. Undiscovered Country #15 lays out what the latest zone is about giving us the myth of America. “Zone Possibility” is an interesting one. So far, it’s populated with the stories that America is built upon. It’s a blend of “America f-yeah” full of characters who have taken on mythical proportions in the founding of our nation.

Undiscovered Country has always been an interesting series. While it has a surface level adventure, Scott Snyder and Charles Soule have put together a series the explores the various aspects that make up the nation. Those aspects are both good and bad. This latest “zone” looks to take that aspect and make it a literal manifestation. The nation is built upon stories and myths but underneath is something nefarious. There’s a clear exploration of the “American dream” and how that compares to the “American reality”. How far the two will take it will be interesting but so far, there’s no issue hinting at the criticism to come.

It’s hard to discuss the interesting twists but there’s a lot to ponder by the end of the issue. The direction feels pretty obvious but that doesn’t mean there’s not a lot to mine as far as ideas, exploration, and criticism. That extends to the exportation of America’s ideas and myths to the rest of the world. There’s some pretty deep reading possible with what’s presented in just this issue.

Giuseppe Camuncoli and Leonardo Marcello Grassi deliver the art joined by Matt Wilson on color and Crank! on lettering. What’s been great about the series is that each zone explored so far has such personality but at the same time everything works together. What’s interesting with Undiscovered Country #15 is the design and what’s presented in itself tells such a story. These are interpretations of American myths and history and we see a slightly worn down and beaten version of each. It’s a subtle detail but one that fits quite well into the world and what Snyder and Soule presents.

Undiscovered Country #15 is a solid issue of the series. There’s a lot to debate and think about. Each chapter has been an interesting examination of a facet of America. Each has entertained with lots of action and excitement and at the same time also delivered multiple layers to ruminate on. This issue is no exception to that delivering a look at this new zone and one that’ll already have you examining what’s being debated.

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

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus ComicsTFAW

Grab Your Bag of Holding for the Rick and Morty vs Dungeons & Dragons: Deluxe Edition

The Oni-Lion Forge Publishing Group and IDW Publishing bring back Adult Swim’s cult-favorite Rick and Morty: Dungeons & Dragons in an all-new hardcover deluxe edition, including a specially created Mr. Meeseeks story and featuring new cover art from Troy Little coming August 2021. Grab your dice, pencils, and spellbooks as Rick and Morty vs. Dungeons & Dragons returns in a complete collected adventure from the creative forces of writers Patrick Rothfuss and Jim Zub, illustrator Troy Little, colorist Leonardo Ito, with lettering by Crank! and Robbie Robbins, and a foreword from Jim Zub.

The deluxe edition will feature a brand-new cover, as well as all eight issues of the hit series, include backmatter from the Oni Press and IDW single issues, and an all-new story from Jim Zub and Troy Little featuring Mr. Meeseeks conquering the Forgotten Realms!

When Morty asks Rick for help learning how to play the classic role-playing game because he has a crush on a girl, it ends up drawing the entire family into a D&D world, where they inadvertently help the “bad guys” win but eventually make it right in the end. And in the hit series Painscape, when magical D&D adventures come to Earth, no one will survive the Painscape! The world’s greatest role-playing game returns to plague the world’s most dysfunctional animated family, and this time Rick knows they can’t just rest on brand-name recognition and curiosity. But even Rick Sanchez can’t predict what will happen when long-abandoned characters come back for revenge.

The new, complete deluxe edition includes over 250 pages of monsters, mayhem, and a bag of holding-worth of bonus materials—including the all-new story from Jim Zub and Troy LittleRick and Morty vs. Dungeons & Dragons: Deluxe Edition will be available online and in stores on August 4, 2021. IDW Publishing will simultaneously release a 750 copy limited run of Rick and Morty vs. Dungeons & Dragons: Deluxe Edition, featuring an exclusive cover by Max Dunbar and signed by Patrick Rothfuss and Jim Zub.

Rick and Morty vs. Dungeons & Dragons: Deluxe Edition

Travel to Hotel Immortal with Rick and Morty in July

Coming soon from the Oni-Lion Forge Publishing Group and Adult Swim, a brand-new Rick and Morty comic crashes into comic book shops in July 2021 with Rick and Morty PresentsHotel Immortal from the creative team of writer Alejandro Arbona, illustrator Marc Ellerby, and colorist Leonardo Ito, with lettering by Crank!. The next installment of the Rick and Morty Presents series kicks off with a whodunnit in Rick and Morty PresentsHotel Immortal. When Cornvelious Daniels checks in for some R&R at the Hotel Immortal, bodies start dropping—and accusations start flying!

Rick and Morty PresentsHotel Immortal will be available online and in stores on July 14, 2021.

Rick and Morty

Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters #1 Heads Back to Print

The Oni-Lion Forge Publishing Group is thrilled to announce that the first issue printing of the all-ages single-issue series Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters, in which two sisters struggle on a journey against incredible “unpossible” monsters of all shapes and sizes from the creative team of Chris Samnee, Laura Samnee, Matthew Wilson, and Crank!, has sold out at the distribution level and is heading for an immediate reprint. The second printing features the already-iconic first issue cover by Chris Samnee as reimagined by colorist Matthew Wilson.

Rainbow has been searching for her sister, Jonna, for a year. The last time she saw Jonna was also the first time she saw one of the strange monsters that now roam the planet. They’re big, ugly, and dangerous creatures that have driven humanity to the brink of extinction. Though there isn’t much hope for survival out in the wild, Rainbow knows that her sister is out there somewhere—and she’ll do anything to find her.

Print copies of Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters #1 continue to be available at your local comic book store. Digital copies are available for purchase from comiXology and other digital retailers.

The final order cutoff for the Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters issue #1 reprint is March 22, 2021, it will be available in stores and online on April 14, 2021. The Diamond Previews code for Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters #1 second printing is FEB218316. Final order cutoff for Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters #2 has been updated to March 29, 2021, in light of the second printing of issue #1, with a new on-sale date of April 21, 2021.

You can read our review of Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters #1.

Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters #1 2nd printing

Early Review: The Sprite and the Gardener

The Sprite and the Gardener

I am an avid reader of all types of fiction. Regardless of genre or format, I love to discover the debut works of new writers. The cover art alone got me excited to read The Sprite and the Gardener when I was presented with the opportunity to review this book. Then I read the solicitation text and my excitement rose exponentially. In this original graphic novel, writers Rii Abrego and Joe Whitt’s debut their talents in a spectacular way. Published by Oni Press, The Sprite and the Gardener is set to release on May 5th.

The Sprite and the Gardener is a celebration of nature, told from the perspective of sprites. The sprites used to be the guardians of all plant life. Now, humans tend their own gardens. Wisteria, the graphic novel’s main character, must learn to work her magic right alongside humankind. After all, they all have the flowers’ best interests at heart.

I was glad to see a lot of visual storytelling as I read through The Sprite and the Gardener. There are times when whole pages fly by without a single word of dialogue. Yet, the reader can always tell exactly what’s happening. The story itself is a bit simplistic though. There’s never really any tension. There’s a little interpersonal conflict between the sprites but it doesn’t add much to the narrative. The plot just sort of unfolds, though luckily it does so at a very fast pace. Despite its simplicity, the graphic novel has a very cute and touching ending.

The Sprite and the Gardener is the type of book that could be enjoyed for its art alone. Abrego pulls double duty, writing the book alongside Whitt, while also illustrating and coloring the book. Abrego draws each panel in exquisite detail. She uses subtle colors, but the subdued shades still pop off the page and catch the reader’s eye. Abrego’s characters are so vibrant and full of life. They’re also incredibly adorable. The sprites are full of life and magic in equal measure. The font Crank! uses for the book’s narrative text has an olde-school, hand-written look. This style adds greatly to the magical aesthetic Abrego and Whitt have created.

At only ninety pages, The Sprite and the Gardener is a quick read. However, the art is so beautiful that once you finish it, you’ll want to immediately flip back through it, just to take in the artwork again. The story is a little on the simple side, but it’s never hard to follow the plot. The best way to describe this graphic novel would be, it’s like a picture book for adults (though kids would love it too). Put this title on your pull list so you can add it to your collection when it releases on May 5th.

Story: Rii Abrego and Joe Whitt Art: Rii Abrego Letterer: Crank!
Story: 5.0 Art: 10 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation Buy (for the artwork!)

Oni Press provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Pre-order: AmazonBookshopTFAW

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

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