Tag Archives: Dark Horse Comics

Review: Cryptocracy #6

cryptocracy-6The Mars family base is under attack, besieged by Hum and his army of deadly cryptids. To save his people in this epic battle, Grahame must step forward as a leader, putting everything he cares about on the line to salvage the broken remains of the cryptocracy.

Things hit a stalemate in Cryptocracy #6 as the epic battle ends, with casualties on both sides. Yet something tells me this is far from the end of this series overall and that writer Van Jensen has more to come. The ending is a clear indication that more is to come, as questions still remain unanswered. Hopefully, the wait won’t be long for more issues.

The art by Pete Woods brings the brutality of battle to the forefront. The issue brings a cornucopia of cryptids on both sides, as they wage war on each other. While the explosive firefights are well done, the ending scene is a curious sight. It manages to tell one main thing, more is to come.

Story: Van Jensen Art: Pete Woods
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Dark Horse Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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Chris Roberson Discusses The Visitor: How and Why He Stayed, Out Today!

visitor-1-cvrGraphic Policy: The Visitor: How And Why He Stayed is an interesting series in that it expands upon somewhat minor characters we saw in Hellboy: Seed of Destruction. What got you to want to expand on that?

Chris Roberson: Having been a fan of Hellboy since the very beginning, I’ve always been intrigued by the aliens that we glimpsed briefly in Seed Of Destruction, and particularly by the one Hellboy met in Conqueror Worm, who had been observing him from a distance his whole life. I brought up the idea of exploring that alien’s story to Mike Mignola and editor Scott Allie the winter before last, which led to a series of long conversations in the months that followed, and now here we are!

GP: When I hear Hellboy, I think horror series, but The Visitor is very much a sci-fi concept. As a writer how do you get science fiction like this work so that it’s seamlessly in a Lovecraftian world.

CR: One of the strengths of the world that Mike and his collaborators have built for Hellboy over the years is that it isn’t limited to the tropes of a single genre. There’s a lot of horror elements to it, definitely, but also a fair amount of secret history, a healthy dose of fantasy, and from the beginning science fiction has been in the mix, as well. It’s all a matter of perspective, I think, and choosing which aspects of the world to feature in any given story.

visitor-2-cvrGP: You’ve got a character that reminds me a lot of the Watcher, but even more focused. There’s an interesting concept of having this potential disaster and not intervening. It kind of gets into that “would you kill Hitler as a baby” debate. Is that concept part of the series? Am I reading too much into it?

CR: No, I don’t think you’re reading too much into it at all! At its core this story is very much about the capacity for redemption, and the potential for individuals to rise above the circumstances of their birth. The Visitor was sent to kill Hellboy the moment he arrived on Earth because of his demonic parentage, but recognizes in him the potential for humanity, seeing that he is as much his human mother’s son as he is his demon father’s.

GP: How much of these aliens’ world has been fleshed out beyond this story?

CR: Quite a bit, actually. A lot of the conversations that Mike and I had as we were working out the story revolved around who the aliens were and where they came from. We won’t be revealing ALL of the mysteries surrounding them, but we’ll be pulling back the curtain enough for readers to get a better idea of what they’re all about.

GP: We’ve seen the BPRD world through the eyes of Hellboy and his team mostly. What’s it like exploring these moments from a different perspective?

visitor-3-fc-solCR: It’s been a really interesting opportunity to see moments in Hellboy’s life that we haven’t gotten to see on the page before now. Having the chance to get even a glimpse of “gawky teenage Hellboy” was a real treat, especially when drawn by the amazing Paul Grist.

GP: Will we see familiar moments from that perspective?

CR: Definitely. We tried to strike a balance between revisiting moments that will be familiar to readers and moments that we haven’t seen before. And many of those familiar moments will be put in new contexts, as well.

GP: With the science of it all, have you created rules for all of that? There’s a moment in the first issue about losing contact that makes me think some of it has been fleshed out.

CR: I think it’s less a question of “science” and more one of “rationalization.” We don’t dig too deeply into the mechanics of how the Visitor’s technology works, but instead, establish the basic parameters and then work within those.

GP: You’ve worked on some big properties and done creator own work. The Mignolaverse has been around for so long now and has such history, how does it feel as a writer to step in and add to it like this?visitor-4-fc-sol

CR: It’s both an incredible thrill and also a little intimidating. I’m a fan of these characters first and foremost, and I’m keenly aware of the obligation to make sure that anything that I bring to the table is a necessary and worthy addition to that world.

GP: Will we see more of these strange Visitors?

CR: This miniseries is a finite story with a beginning, middle, and end, but we certainly could see the Visitor pop up in other stories set in Hellboy’s world further down the line. (Hint: We definitely will…)

GP: What else do you have going on this year that readers can check out?

CR: I’m still hard at work on new storylines for the Hellboy And The B.P.R.D. series set in the Cold War, and there are several other Hellboy-related stories in the works that I can’t talk about yet!

GP: Thanks so much! For folks interested, we have a preview of the first issue below!

Review: Alien vs Predator: Life and Death #3

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The Alien hordes descend in a desperate attempt to repossess their fetus queen from the escaping Colonial Marines. Even with the help of the Predator clan, survival for the humans doesn’t look likely.

Writer Dan Abnett gives us a situation that’s growing desperate for both sides in Alien vs Predator: Life and Death #3. Chris’ alien queen wants out of her, as both her human and Predator protectors attempt to keep the Xenomorphs from getting to her. The colonial marines haves yet to arrive, which leads to Chris something suicidal to attempt to save everyone. Will her plan work?

There is a lot of action going on, and a lot of fire- power and all of it is beautifully rendered by Brian Thies. The predator group is doing a lot of up close fighting with both their trademark spears and claws and Thies captures the awesome detail. In contrast to this, the humans are using a more modern version of firepower. Despite the contrasting forms of combat, Thies’ art shows off that neither side are to be trifled with.

Story: Dan Abnett Art: Brian Thies
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.25 Recommendation: Buy

Dark Horse Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 2/18

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

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Alex

godcountry_01-1God Country #1 & 2 (Image) I missed the first issue when it came out last month, but when I found out that Donny Cates was the series writer I made a point to go back and find the first issue – and bot am I ever glad I did. God Country  has got to be one of the most well narrated stories I’ve read in some time, with such an interesting idea behind it; a man suffering from Alzheimer’s disease is cured when holding a giant sword. The two issues I’ve read have both been fantastic in every way a comic should be. Overall: 9.25 Recommendation: Buy

Kill Or Be Killed #6 (Image) After reading the first issue of this series on the recommendation of a fellow member of the Graphic Policy team, I’ve been constantly surprised at how gripping this series has been. The creative team have been producing such a fantastic story that evokes the feeling of the old pulp vigilante novel with a distinctly modern reinvention. Highly recommended. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Old Man Logan #18 (Marvel) You’re probably going to want to read this twice just so you can take in the phenomenal art work courtesy of Andrea Sorrentino and Marcelo Maiolo. Jeff Lemire is also on top form here, too, making this a fantastic comic to sit down with. Overall: 8.75 Recommendation: Buy

Venom #4 (Marvel) While I love the relationship between the symbiote and host, I care less for the rest of the comic. It’ okay, but only worth reading if you’re into the series already. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

The Wild Storm #1 (DC) Having never read any Wildstorm before I had no idea what to expect going it to this comic, but I enjoyed it quite a bit. Ben has a bit more detail below, so I’ll let you read his review now. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Ben

The Wildstorm #1 (DC): Despite never having read the Wildstorm imprint, I was excited the-wild-storm-1about this comic because the idea of Warren Ellis world-building an entire superhero universe makes me squeal with joy. The result is an audacious beginning for what could be one of the most impressive imprints in DC since Gerard Way launched Young Animal.

Jon-Davis Hunt is on art duty here. I love his work with Gail Simone on Clean Room, modern and polished yet with an unnerving supernatural horror atmosphere. The Wildstorm is geared to science fiction, however that doesn’t stop Hunt from excelling, particularly when it comes to scene decompression and panel layout.

I didn’t know what to expect from Ellis’ writing as I’m more familiar with his blatantly political and brutally mean-spirited indie work. However, his approach here seems to be inspired by cyberpunk, particularly Ghost In The Shell and The Matrix. It may be a superhero story, but Ellis is much more centered on powerful corporations, conspiracies, and the continually dysphoric nature between man and machine in the modern world.

There’s a lot of audacious, big-idea concepts going into this book, best of all without the sacrifice of character development. Each character comes in with their own personalities, goals, and complex morality. I have no idea what’s in store next, but I’m excited to find out. Story: 9 Art: 10 Overall: 9.5

Patrick

killorbekiled_06-1Kill or be Killed #6 (Image)** – Not sure how I feel about the abrupt switch of focus away from Dylan and his demonic vigilante spree. Much as I like NYPD detective Lily Sharpe, the sheer hard-driving intensity of this series gets diluted here. For me, this is just too much setup and a bit of a placeholder. Hopefully next issue will return to the suffocating, sweltering atmosphere I’ve gotten to love from this series. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Buy if you’re following, but this isn’t a good point to jump on.

Sex Criminals #16 (Image)** – Oh hey, this series is still going on! It’s been so long since last issue that Fraction & Zdarsky have to give us 8 PAGES of recap. I will stand by what I’ve been saying lately about Sexcrims: the plot is boring and getting in the way of my enjoying the hell out of two characters just trying to figure out how to be in the world together. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Pass.

Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turles Adventures #4 (IDW/DC)** – Picking up right where we left off, with the Scarecrow giving New York a dose of fear gas, and the Joker and Harley giving the hyenas (I’d forgotten they were called Bud and Lou!) a dose of mutagen. Pity this series will only go 6 issues, both my inner 5-year-old and my actual 5-year-old are loving it (even if this ish is a bit of a 4th-issue placeholder). Whatever Matthew K. Manning and Jon Sommariva have cooked up next, I’m down. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy.

Freelance #1 (Chapterhouse) – I’m not really sure what’s going on in this series – I’m not sure who Lance/Freelance is, what he’s about, what he wants, what his plans and goals are, who his friends are, and there is absolutely nothing in this comic to help me want to know more. What we’re really given is a continuation of the Aurora Dawn cult from the other Chapterhouse comics, which I guess is supposed to be the glue that holds the Chapterverse (nice name!) together. But feels more like a narrative sunk cost fallacy – does anyone really care about these guys? Jim Zub & Andrew Wheeler are pro writers and Vaneda Vireak’s art is OK enough, but it just doesn’t have a beating heart all its own. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Pass.

Agents of PACT (Chapterhouse) – One more time for the people in the back: if you don’t know Quebec French, get somebody who does to check it! This may seem like a quibble coming from a fluently bilingual Montrealer, but it’s a flaw that shows the other flaws in Kalman Andrasofsky and Blake Northcott’s characterizations. As for the plot, you really have to be invested in what’s been going on in Captain Canuck and Northguard to get who’s who and what’s what. And while it’s kind of nice to see the North given such focus, would it kill these guys to show us more of Canada than ice and snow? Anyway, Federica Manfredi does a good job on the art, but this is nothing to write home about. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Pass.

Ryan C

Kill Or Be Killed # 6 (Image)** – A bit of a curious issue, as Ed Brubaker’s script abruptly switches perspective to a new character, whose actions are related via semi-omniscient narration provided by — our usual protagonist, who doesn’t even know who this woman is yet? Sean Phillips’ art is uncharacteristically askew as well, with people drawn in bizarre and almost miniaturized proportions. I don’t get it, but events do, at least, still move forward in various and interesting ways. Overall: 5 Recommendation: Read if you’re following this series, pass if you aren’t.

bm_cv17_open_order_varBatman #17 (DC)** – After an issue that marked something of an uptick last time out, Tom King reverts to his now-customary disappointing form with this one, as a lackluster forthcoming confrontation with Bane is set up in lackluster and obvious ways. Alfred once again comes off as much more confidently-written than his boss, which is likewise becoming the norm, and David Finch’s art is — well, what it is. If you like it, you still will — if you don’t, you won’t. Overall: 4 Recommendation: Pass.

Dead Inside #3 (Dark Horse)** – John Arcudi and Toni Fejzula ramp their superb prison-murder-themed noir toward its conclusion with some truly surprising plot twists, painfully human character interactions, and the kind of quietly-omnipresent tension that makes for truly memorable reading. This series isn’t even done yet and I’m kinda missing it already. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Mother Panic #3 (DC/Young Animal)** – Jody Houser’s storyline is really gathering steam, with effective action scenes delivered with an economy of words deftly balanced against solid plot progression that shows Violet Paige/Mother Panic’s long-range plans coming into place while dropping more revealing hints about her tragic backstory at the same time. Tommy Lee Edwards’ sketchy art style serves the material on offer incredibly well, and one really gets the sense that this creative team is on the verge of hitting a serious — and potentially memorable — stride. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Shean

Black Panther: World Of Wakanda#4 (Marvel)– The team behind this book have brought issues to the forefront that rarely get dealt with in this medium.In this issue, the nations is steal dealing with the fallout of the death of Queen Shuri , this leads to a splinter groups of those who still oppose TChalla. Anneka and Ayo get sent to sea with Village Chieftain super-sons-1who is imposing sex slavery on the village women. By issue’s end, an unexpected death occurs while a long hidden secret is revealed. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Odyssey Of The Amazons#2 (DC)-The Giants our heroines were fighting at the end of their last chapter have turned out to be Trolls. After a successful fight, they find refuge in a village full of Vikings. Their commander soon find dissent amongst the ranks and even starts his question her own decisions. Before the end, we find out the Trolls’ intention for the Amazons they kidnapped. Overall: 9.3 Recommendation: Buy

Doctor Strange Monsters Unleashed #1 (Marvel)– Marvel’s most recent silly universe event, Monsters Unleashed feels more like a filler than anything canon changing, with no real death toll to even be seen. In this one-shot, we catch-up with the Sorcerer Supreme in the middle of a fire fight. Strange is less powerful and actually more cunning as his magic seems to be waning at this point. By issue’s end, an unusual team up occurs that shifts the edge on the side of the good guys. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Read

Super Sons#1 (DC) Robin and Superboy have always been footnotes in a very crowded hero universe , serving more as gimmicks than actual heroes with stakes. This all changed when DC decided to introduce Damien, as he not the typical Suitor to the Robin mantle, as he isn’t only Bruce Wayne’s actual son but he brings a whole new attitude and set of the skills to the job. So when Damien’s Robin seeks help from Jon’s Superboy , not only teen angst sets in , but their unusual circumstances pervade their assemblance of a life. By issue’s end, their famous fathers intervene in what seems like a hair brain plan.
Overall: 9 Recommendation: Read


 


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

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

Review: Kingsway West #3

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The Chinese gunslinger Kingsway Law just wants to escape the winged Buffalo Scout Strode and find his long-lost wife, Sonia. But today he finally meets the mysterious community that the swordswoman Ah Toy has sworn to protect—and learns their terrifying secret. Now the fate of the West lies in Kingsway’s hands as he chooses between love and destiny.

The action-packed Kingsway West continues onward in this third issue. Writer Greg Pak creates great internal conflict in Kingsway as he debates becoming a killer once more, or if he should attempt to find his wife. I’m curious to see if Kingsway’s conflict will impact him given how the world around him seems to be forcing his hand.

The series seems to be getting increasingly dark as more issues are released. Artist Mirko Colak creates a heavy contrast in the art, as the overall atmosphere darkens. While I won’t spoil the terrifying secret-guarding the red gold, they are well done. It all gives way to a colorful firefight as they are released.

Story: Greg Pak Art: Mirko Colak
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Dark Horse Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Alien vs. Predator: Life and Death #2

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The Alien horde is coming, but before they face that enemy, the Colonial Marines and Ahab, their Predator ally, have to win the help of a newly arrived Predator clan. Acceptance by the tribe means Ahab must fight their champion—to the death!

The arrival of the Predator clan in Alien vs. Predator: Life and Death #2 is a clear shift in what the story can do. Yet at the same time, it raises a lot of questions. Will the USMC and the Predator clan forge an alliance against their common enemy? How will they strike? Will reinforcements for either group arrive? Dan Abnett entertains as this new factor is introduced and leaves things up in the air as to what it’ll all lead to.

The hand to hand combat scene is a clear standout for this issue. While it flows well, it does show the combative nature of the Predator species. Yet I imagine the upcoming issues will be filled with fire-fights and action. Artist Brian Thies continues to nail it as far as the art in the series bringing Abnett’s story to life and full of action.

Story: Dan Abnett  Art: Brian Thies
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.25 Recommendation: Buy

Dark Horse Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Lifeformed: Cleo Makes Contact Lands a Dark Horse OGN Release

Dark Horse welcomes the first original graphic novel from up-and-coming Portland creators Matt Mair Lowery and Cassie Anderson. Their unique sci-fi adventure Lifeformed: Cleo Makes Contact is slated for release on September 6, 2017.

This full-color trade paperback for young adults stars Cleo, a relatable, endearing young heroine.

In the wake of an alien invasion—and her father’s death—a young girl must leave behind the life she knows to fight for the future of Earth. Aided by a shape-shifting rebel alien posing as her father, Cleo packs extra snacks for the road as they travel in search of both family and foe. Lifeformed: Cleo Makes Contact follows the unlikely pair as they bond, fight back, and ponder what it means to be human. The power of choice, courage, and unity are examined.

lifeformed-cleo-makes-contact

Review: Alien vs. Predator: Life and Death #1

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Battle Lines Are Drawn!

The Predators arrive on LV-223! The question is: are they here to finish the fight with the Colonial Marines, or will they join the marines in the battle against the Aliens? And who will Ahab—the Predator from the Fire and Stone story cycle—side with?

Things get interesting as the final part of the “Life and Death” story arc begins in Alien vs. Predator: Life and Death #1 written by Dan Abnett. The issue brings in a large amount of Predators with tensions already high from the previous parts of the story arc. I sense things will get worse before things conclude. Who will survive till the end?

The art by Brian Thies takes a violent turn as things escalate in the issue. The issue brings back the strange energy weapons, the Predators are well known and Thies depicts them fantastically. Both in story and art it creates a great contrast to the weapons used by USMC, in both color and lethality.

Story: Dan Abnett Art: Brian Thies
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Dark Horse Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Dark Horse Announces Berger Books, Edited by Legendary Karen Berger

karen-bergerKaren Berger, the legendary, award-winning comic book editor and founder of DC Comics’ influential imprint Vertigo, will acquire, edit, and oversee Berger Books, a new line of creator-owned comic books and graphic novels to be published by Dark Horse Comics. The announcement of Berger Books was made at ComicsPRO, the comic book industry retailer event, where Berger was named the winner of the ComicsPRO Industry Appreciation Award earlier today.

There’ll be more news down the road but is a hell of an announcement. Berger recently returned to comics editing the Image Comics series Surgeon X.

Berger founded Vertigo in 1993 and led the line for twenty years, during which time she oversaw over three hundred properties, including Sandman, V for Vendetta, Preacher, Swamp Thing, Fables, Hellblazer, Y: The Last Man, and 100 Bullets.

As the editor of Berger Books, Berger will continue to work from her home on the East Coast. Berger Books will be branded with both the Berger Books and the Dark Horse Comics logos. Like all Dark Horse books, Berger Books will be distributed by Penguin Random House.

Review: Spell on Wheels #5

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The witches head out to recover the last of their magical possessions, but they soon discover they’re in a fight for their lives and the bad guy is not who they expected!

Spell on Wheels concludes on a high note, which, given all the characters have had to go through to get their stuff, is nice to see. Writer Kate Leth keeps it really entertaining with some interesting developments before everything concludes. That includes a metaphysical resurrection of someone else from the witches’ past. Given what the spirit wanted to do, it does make one wonder if there is a second volume to come.

The tarot card style inspired cover is a fitting one for the last issue. It manages to give a hint at a few things without revealing what is going to happen inside. Like the previous issues of this series, the art by Megan Levens is clean and well-defined. Levens manages to keep the magical elements realistic and eye-catching at the same time.

Story: Kate Leth Art: Megan Levens
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Dark Horse Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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