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Review: Marvel’s Voices #1

Marvel's Voices #1

Marvel’s Voices is an Experience, capital E. It’s the first comic I know about that adapts the concept of a podcast into a comics anthology collecting stories from black creators giving their take on the Marvel universe.

The book’s title carries over from the podcast it’s based on, which is hosted by Angélique Roché. The list of creators includes Vita Ayala, Damion Scott, Kyle Baker, Brian Stelfreeze, Roxane Gay, Method Man, Alitha Martínez, among other notable industry names. What’s interesting about the project, though, is that it embraces its multimedia roots by featuring essays from other creators accessible via Marvel’s Voices online page.

Two particular essays grabbed my attention: Regine L. Sawyer’s “Growing Up Marvel” and Karama Horne’s “The Legacy of Isaiah Bradley: The First Black Captain America.” (Disclosure: Karama and Regine have both contributed to our site – ed.)

Sawyer’s essay is about her origin story into comics through a less conventional avenue than most other stories of the kind: X-Men trading cards. I don’t want to spoil the essay because it is a fascinating and well-written story, but it is wonderful to get this look at how comics allow for multiple entry points given it’s an entire cultural package. It made me remember my card collecting days growing up, both the same X-Men cards Sawyer collected and the classic Pepsi Cards I religiously hunted down back when they came out in Puerto Rico. I still have them with me and they also helped me embrace comics.

Horne’s essay is about two comics: Truth and The Crew. Each one stands as some of Marvel’s best comic book offerings. They were subversive and hard-hitting, daring enough to give Marvel a black Captain America (in Truth), complete with an exploration of the tragic treatment black heroes get using real-life black history as the basis for the problems each character faces (which is expanded upon in The Crew).

The essay is a great and concise history of these comics, but it also serves as a lesson on visibility. That Marvel hasn’t reprinted these stories or released newer editions of the paperbacks brings up more questions than it should. I think Horne’s essay makes a strong argument as to why we need these comics back on the stands.

On the comic’s side of Marvel’s Voices, we get a strong if a bit uneven set of short stories that are personal, celebratory, and thoughtful as to why Marvel characters mean so much in the struggle for more diverse voices in the industry. Kyle Baker, for instance, produced a one-pager Ant-Man and Nick Fury story titled “Perspective,” about Fury’s problem with depth perception. It’s a quick hit but the art on display here is impressive enough to make anyone want to see Baker do more Marvel work.

Geoffrey Thorne, Khary Randolph, and Emilio López’s “Top of the Key,” on the other hand, is a one-pager on Mosaic story (a character Marvel has severely underused, in my opinion) that would’ve benefited from an additional page or two. It feels more like a setup for a larger story and we only really just get a taste of it.

Rob Markman, Damion Scott, and Dono Sánchez-Almara’s “What a Wonderful World” stands as one of the most impressive stories in the anthology as it offers a well-rounded look at a Marvel character with outstanding art and a clear message to boot. It centers on a troubled Silver Surfer, comparing Marvel’s biggest villains with humanity’s own villainy when it comes to protecting the environment. No panel was spared, no color was misplaced, and no bit of text hung without intent. Just a really good two-page story.

The best story in the book is without question “Inspiration,” by James Monroe Iglehart, Ray-Anthony Height, and Emilio López. This 4-page tale gives the radioactive spider that gave Peter Parker his powers a much-deserved platform to contemplate his role in the grand scheme of things. The script showcases an interesting play on what a superpowered spider is supposed to be and how much of its natural instincts define its actions. It’s simply unforgettable and truly worthy of getting its own comic book series.

Marvel Voices #1 is the type of book Marvel needs to invest more on. It shows just how important it is to bring in other perspectives into this superhero universe and just how different it can all turn out to be. It speaks to the power of voices hungry for diversity in storytelling. And that, in itself, is a beautiful thing.

Writers: John Jennings, Anthony Piper, Luciano Vecchio, David Betancourt, James Monroe Iglehart, Evan Narcisse, Vita Ayala, Regine L. Sawyer, Brian Stelfreeze, Brandon Montclare, Tatiana King Jones, Karama Horne, Kyle Baker, Roxane Gay, Yona Harvey, Don McGregor, Geoffrey Thorne, Rob Markman, Method Man, Daniel Dominguez, Charlamagne The God, David F. Walker, Chuck Brown
Art: Anthony Piper, Luciano Vecchio, Ray-Anthony Height, Jahnoy Lindsay, Bernard Chang, Brian Stelfreeze, Natacha Bustos, Kyle Baker, Brittney L. Williams, Khary Randolph, Damion Scott, Alitha E. Martinez, JJ Kirby, Sanford Greene
Color: Anthony Piper, Luciano Vecchio, Emilio Lopez, Marcelo Maiolo, Brian Stelfreeze, Tamra Bonvillain, Kyle Baker, Rachelle Rosenberg, Dono Sánchez-Almara, JJ Kirby, Matt Herms
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Writing: 9 Essays: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10
Recommendation: Buy and make sure to bag and board it.

Review: Miles Morales: The End

Miles Morales: The End

Throughout January, Marvel is telling the final tales for numerous characters in a series of one-shots. It’s unclear exactly what the point of “The End” comics are, beyond just telling a story. It’s unknown if there’s any impact on Marvel itself or how in continuity these stories are. Kicking it off, Miles Morales: The End, feels like just a one-shot. A predictable one at that.

Written by Mile Morales: Spider-Man writer Saladin Ahmed, Miles Morales: The End isn’t a bad comic but it also isn’t all that exciting either. The story takes place in the future where germs have ravaged the world and a haven exists in Brooklyn. Their greatest threat isn’t the germs around them but ravaging bands of humans thus setting up a clash.

Ahmed’s story is entertaining in a quick read sort of way but lacks impact. The story itself we’ve seen before in various forms and without a real emotional hook it falls short. For fans of Miles Morales, there might be a bit more there as hints abound as to the future of his supporting cast. But, beyond those, the comic feels pretty straightforward and generally unoriginal.

Part of the problem is the one-shot itself. The comic is limited in the amount it can cover leaving some of the more interesting aspects on the shelf and unexplained. There’s an interesting set-up here but things feel generally rushed and not too deep. That all combines for a shallow read that leaves you wondering what the point was.

The art by Damion Scott is good. With color by Dono Sánchez-Almara and lettering by Cory Petit there’s a style to it that has a kinetic energy about it. It’s not all good as some details are hard to tell, especially in Miles’ debut. But, there’s just an energy about the comic to gives it the bit of pick-up that makes the overall comic something to check out.

Miles Morales: The End is worth reading but not something to rush out for. We’ll see what the rest of the one-shots bring as the whole might be better than the individual issues. There may be a point in the future where the comic matters a bit more but at this point it feels like a one-shot that’s generally forgettable.

Story: Saladin Ahmed Art: Damion Scott
Color: Dono Sánchez-Almara Letterer: Cory Petit
Story: 6.5 Art: 7.75 Overall: 6.75 Recommendation:
Read

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Miles Morales: The End #1

Miles Morales: The End #1

(W) Saladin Ahmed (A) Damion Scott (CA) Rahzzah
Rated T+
In Shops: Jan 08, 2020
SRP: $4.99

THE FINAL MILES MORALES STORY!

Humanity makes its last stand in the only place strong enough to survive: BROOKLYN. Former Spider-Man, Miles Morales, leads the last bastion of civilization into the future! Penned by MILES MORALES: SPIDER-MAN author SALADIN AHMED!

Miles Morales: The End #1

Marvel’s Voices Expands Into Comics with Marvel’s Voices #1

Following last year’s debut of Marvel’s bi-weekly podcast interview series, Marvel’s Voices, Marvel expands the spotlight on some of the comic book industry’s most critically-acclaimed storytellers with Marvel’s Voices #1, written and drawn by an all-star roster of talent including Vita Ayala, Roxane Gay, Brian Stelfreeze, Method Man, and many more!

In this gripping one-shot anthology, fans will get another look at the X-Men following the events of House of X and Powers of X; the return of Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur; and other stories featuring the Hulk and Wolverine, Black Panther, Killmonger, She-Hulk, Black Widow, Ant-Man, and the rest of the Marvel Universe.

Since the podcast’s launch, Marvel’s Voices has featured guests and talent from across Marvel’s comics, live-action television shows, animation, games, and celebrity fans of Marvel from entertainment and beyond. The series garnered a loyal following for its in-depth exclusive interviews by host Angélique Roché, highlighting unforgettable stories and key moments from the Marvel Universe through a wide range of unique perspectives. Marvel’s Voices will launch its new season in February 2020.

Don’t miss Marvel’s Voices #1, in stores this February!

MARVEL’S VOICES #1

MARVEL’S VOICES #1

Written by VITA AYALA, ROXANE GAY, BRIAN STELFREEZE, GEOFF THORNE, ANTHONY PIPER, KYLE BAKER, EVAN NARCISSE, METHOD MAN, ROB MARKMAN, CHUCK BROWN, and DAVID F. WALKER
Art by BRIAN STELFREEZE, ANTHONY PIPER, KYLE BAKER, SANFORD GREENE, DAMION SCOTT, RAY-ANTHONY HEIGHT, ALITHA E. MARTINEZ, NATACHA BUSTOS, and LUCIANO VECCHIO
Cover art by RYAN BENJAMIN

THE WORLD OUTSIDE YOUR WINDOW!

Marvel’s acclaimed podcast series focusing on telling the stories of diverse creators and their unique perspectives becomes a one shot of brand-new adventures! The X-Men find their place in the world after declaring a new nation! Killmonger strikes! Moon Girl and Devil Dino return!

Review: Catalyst Prime: Accell #4

L.A.’s newest super-fast superhero Accell returns home after a life-changing metaphysical experience, just in time to help a friend battle some personal demons. Too bad Accell has no idea new enemies are gathering to make his life a living hell, especially the crimelord known as Glazz.

I’ve been digging Lion Forge‘s “Catalyst Prime” universe as its introduced a new generation of heroes that while at times familiar, also are fresh, fun, and have an energy about them that makes reading feel like entertainment.

Writer Joe Casey has been delivering some of that energy with his take on the “speedster” superhero Accell and in the fourth issue we get a breather in a way as things align for what’s to come.

Catalyst Prime: Accell #4 is the calm before the storm as new characters are introduced and things pivot a bit as our hero must adjust to not doing the superhero thing for a bit. This is a pseudo “day in the life” type story as he hangs out with friends and play video games. But, what Joe Casey does so well, beyond making his world a well lived in one, is shows the flaws of someone who’s just starting off and doesn’t know what he’s doing.

While the action is minimal he does try to help an abused kid he finds online and has to learn beating up the bad guys isn’t always wanted or the answer. The fact it’s also not some big villain grounds the comic and creates a sense of realism to the world. Things are more complicated than that. Casey also adds in small details like trying to find an address and takes us through some of that process. It’s a world where the small details add up to become a big deal adding depth and changing what could easily be just another superhero to something special.

Artist Damion Scott’s art is the usual energetic blast with a visual style that borderlines on trippy psychedelic and creates a sense of speed and motion that provides the series a boost. It’s a great combination of writer and artist and Scott’s art is enhanced through the colors which are a treat. All together the art creates a youthful energy about it that emphasizes Casey’s writing.

Catalyst Prime: Accell feels like it continues to add to the superhero genre, something that’s tough to do and most importantly, when I’m done reading it I feel like I just had a lot of fun and can’t wait for the next issue.

Story: Joe Casey Art: Damion Scott
Story: 8.45 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Lion Forge provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Catalyst Prime: Accell #2

Daniel DosSantos is Accell, the first speedster superhero in a brave new world, but just how fast is he? Accell’s quest to test the limits of his powers throw him into a sideways dimension where horrors exist, and death comes at him faster than the speed of sound.

I really enjoyed the first issue of this series from Lion Forge that’s part of their Catalyst Prime universe. While speedster superheroes are a dime a dozen, Daniel feels like he stands out a bit as a relatable guy who plays video games and is pretty unsure of himself and powers. And this second issue feels like it has a more of a focus exploring those final two points as Daniel heads into the desert to find out how fast he is.

Writer Joe Casey gives us an entertaining story that feels trippy at times. While it doesn’t quite stand out as original as that first issue and has a bit too much in common with a certain force about speed, it’s still interesting as there’s just enough to set it apart. What happens when Daniel goes really fast? What’s might happen? Well, we kind of find some of that out.

Things get trippy and the visuals feel like a nice LSD trip which is all made wildly entertaining by Damion Scott. The art, along with inks by Robert Campanella and colors by Sigmund Torre (both of Mosh Studios) is what sucked me into the story. It’s creative and interesting and had me trying to figure out what was happening. There’s even some nice creative use of pages with the flow and a point where you’ll need to rotate the entire issue. That use of movement is solid in the series and I hope we get more of that as it goes on.

The second issue is a little of a dip in story but the visuals more than make up for it. I want to find out more about what Daniel is seeing and experiencing and that wanting to come back is a success. Definitely an interesting series that’s getting its footing down to launch and make itself really stand out from the pack.

Story: Joe Casey Art: Damion Scott
Ink: Robert Campanella Color: Sigmund Torre

Story: 7.5 Art: 9.0 Overall: 7.75 Recommendation: Read

Lion Forge Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

 

Review: Catalyst Prime: Accell #1

Daniel DosSantos is a young man living at the speed of life. After gaining powers from exposure to an extraterrestrial object, DosSantos became the rapid action superhero called Accell. The first of a new public kind of self-appointed crime fighter. Unfortunately, there are consequences to moving faster than sound. Accell about to learn that danger exists on the flipside of having super powers, and will have to grow up quickly to survive.

There’s a lot of speedsters when it comes to comic books and superheroes. Every universe seems to have at least one, if not multiple. So, in the run up to this comics’ release I’ve been intrigued to see how Daniel DosSantos, aka Accell, will stand out from all of the rest out there.

Catalyst Prime: Accell #1 drops us into it all as we’re quickly introduced to DosSantos courtesy of writer Joe Casey who delivers a character that feels relatable in so many ways and a lot of that is due to the details Casey and artists Damion Scott and Robert Campanella include.

Daniel feels like a real world individual playing video games and generally having a pop culture outlook on things. That’s apparent by his references and how the art enhances it with hearts to show off his health, like the video games he loves. But, it’s the attitude of the comic that really stands out as DosSantos clearly loves what he does as a superhero with a general fun and positive outlook on the world and life. He’s also learning his powers and that depiction is what really stands out to me. It’s not just how speed can be used to save the day but the aftermath of those actions. It feels new, unique, and kind of funny at the same time. I’m not ruining it here, but the details the team puts into this makes the comic shine.

The art style overall has a pop style to it full of the energy it attempts to depict with colors and a look that crackles with the enthusiasm and attitude of the writing within. The comic has so much life and energy, a word I keep coming back to, because it truly is a great way to describe it all. When I thought nothing new could be mined with this type of power, I’m surprised with exactly that.

But, through all of that positive fun, the team puts real world issues at the center of it all. It’s not person gets powers and just so happens to fight bad people with powers. Instead we get a Romeo & Juliet aspect to the story that feels new and with its tinge of racism feels grounded in a hateful sort of way. Again, it’s something many can relate to and a detail and twist to it all that makes the series stand out.

Do I love the debut? That’s an understatement. I’ve enjoyed everything Lion Forge has released in their Catalyst Prime universe but this comic debuts in such a way that it challenges a lot of other superhero comics out there from the big two. It has a life that’s missed by many and attention to detail that creates an experience that’s heads above the rest. My favorite comic I’ve read this week.

Story: Joe Casey Art: Damion Scott and Robert Campanella
Story: 9.5 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Lion Forge provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Marvel’s Iceman Stop Villains Cold in their Tracks. Check Out this First Look.

This June, Bobby Drake steps out into the cold with an all-new solo X-Men series written by Sina Grace coupled with artwork by Alessandro Vitti with Marvel Comics’ Iceman #1.

Bobby Drake has been in the Super Hero game longer than most – one of the original X-Men, a founding member of the Champions, and discovered to be an Omega-level mutant, but while reflecting on all he’s accomplished over the years, he realizes that the legacy he’s built can be so much more!

Also added to the mix, a younger version of himself has emerged from the timestream and he’s more put together than Bobby ever was: already a world-class hero in his own right, but also totally comfortable in his own skin, complete with a relationship with a handsome Inhuman to boot.

In this new ongoing series it’s time for Bobby Drake to realizes that it’s now or never, and sets out to build a life and legacy he can be proud of…and be the best ICEMAN he can be!

Featuring covers by Kevin Wada, Damion Scott, Skottie Young, Leonard Kirk, and Skan.

The Black Eyed Peas’ Original Graphic Novel, Masters of the Sun – The Zombie Chronicles

From the mind of seven-time Grammy award-winning, multi-platinum recording artist will.i.am, from the Black Eyed Peas, comes an all-new graphic novel created with artist Damion Scott, Marvel Comics presents Masters of the Sun – The Zombie Chronicles.

Mixing LA Gang culture, B-Boy-ism, and Egyptology, Masters of the Sun – The Zombie Chronicles fuses together the genres of music and comics and tells the complete tale of a retro futuristic zombie thriller, mixed with action, suspense, and horror unlike anything seen before.

Los Angeles is under attack from an ancient alien God sent to earth to turn its inhabitants into zombies. With a deep love of the Hip-Hop culture, Zulu-X and his crew go head-to-head with a nefarious ancient order to settle a score thousands of years old. What happens next can only be described as the perfect blend of ancient wisdom and street-smarts all rolled into one epic adventure.

Manga Monday: Attack on Titan Anthology

aot_anthology_nycc-450x675The manga megahit Attack on Titan, reinterpreted by some of comics’ top talent! Featuring original stories by a long roster of comic superstars such as Scott Snyder, Gail Simone, Faith Erin Hicks, Michael Avon Oeming, Paolo Rivera, Cameron Stewartand Babs Tarr!

This unprecedented, full-colour collaboration between East and West will be released first in English, making it indispensable for Attack on Titan fans and curious comic fans.

When it comes to Attack on Titan my only real exposure to the series was watching the horrendous live action film that came out. I haven’t watched the anime and I haven’t read the manga, but when I heard the Attack on Titan Anthology was coming out, I made sure to grab a copy during New York Comic Con. If I was going to buy it, might as well go with the limited edition cover.

While this anthology isn’t a traditional way to be introduced, it was an interesting one as a who’s who of Western creators tackle this manga phenomenon. And what’s nicer is that each creator gave it their own spin sticking to their style of storytelling and moving the settings of the stories around for different situations and locations.

This is an eclectic mix in a good way with stories that seem to stick to a setting and story that you’d see in the manga series while other creators went with a complete break. There’s horror. There’s humor. There’s action. There’s a little of everything and it’s all enjoyable in its own way.

What’s really interesting to me is recognizing the creators based on their entries. I read the entire graphic novel in one sitting and played guess the creator as I went along creating a fun little game and each creator really does bring their own style. So, if you’re a fan of the folks’ work, you’re probably going to enjoy this.

I knew so little about the world and what to expect going in other than the creative talent lined up, but coming out of it, I want to check out more. If you’re interested in finding out a bit about Attack on Titan, but don’t want to take the chance on manga, this is a solid way to go to find out a bit more about what it’s all about.

Story and Art: Ray Fawkes, Scott Snyder, Rafael Albuquerque, John Rauch, Evan Dorkin, Sarah Dyer, Bill Murdon, Afua Richardson, Genevieve Valentine, David Lopez, Faith Erin Hicks, Cris Peter, Michael Avon Oeming, Taki Soma, Paolo Rivera, Gail Simone, Phil Jimenez, Alonso Nunez, Elmer Santos, Sam Humphries, Damion Scott, Sigmund Torre, Rhianna Pratchett, Jorge Corona, Jen Hickman, Ben Applegate, Ronald Wimberly, Kevin Wada, Brenden Fletcher, Cameron Stewart, Babs Tarr, Jiji Knight, Si Spurrier, Kate Brown, Paul Duffield, Dee Cunniffe, Asaf Hanuka, Tomer Hanuka, Kate Leth, Jeremy Lambert
Story: 8.35 Art: 8.35 Overall: 8.35 Recommendation: Buy

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