Tag Archives: Dark Horse Comics

Ulises Farinas and Erick Freitas’ Sci-Fi Comedy About Pocket Monsters, Giants Monsters, and Human Monsters Returns!

It’s Pokémon meets Power Rangers in Ulises Farinas’ and Erick Freitas’ dark parody of popular Saturday morning monster media! Initially serialized in Dark Horse Presents and later collected in a one-shot, Gamma returns for a brand-new prequel series that takes inspiration from kaiju cinema and imported Japanese children’s classics to tell a raucous tale of how a young monster trainer named Dusty Ketzchemal failed upward to go from plucky teen hero to old loser.

Gamma begins in the early seventies in the Philippines, a few years since the Great Sentai War, a world war that ravaged cities across the planet, but established a new world order. The new world is run by The Guardian Force, a military organization that uses super-powered super suit wearing teenagers to patrol the planet and protect it from a plague of monsters. Dusty, Sandy, and Crash are orphans living in the post-war Philippines, kids left behind by parents who could not feed them. The three hustle every day to catch monsters, trading them or selling them, or eating them.

Dive into a bizarre, yet somewhat familiar world where kids in Power Rangers type suits are the foot soldiers of a World Government, people have become used to living alongside Aliens, Robots, and Giant Monsters, and a young monster trainer can’t stop making things worse. But making things worse is the only way to make things better.

Gamma #1 (of four) goes on sale September 26, 2018Gamma is co-written by Ulises Farinas and Erick Freitas with Farinas providing interior and cover art with Melody Often on colors.

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Wednesdays are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

Each week our contributors are choosing up to five books and why they’re choosing the books. In other words, this is what we’re looking forward to and think you should be taking a look!

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this Wednesday.

Shay

Hit Girl #5 (Image Comics) – I’m excited to see what she does to the Canadians after all the chaos and pain she caused the Colombians in this new story arc.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season 12, The Reckoning (Dark Horse Comics) – One year later and the title is the RECKONING so you know it’s gonna be bad news but good action.

Harley Quinn #44 (DC Comics) – Harley is the good guy and really ticked off about her fave bodega going boom boom bye bye.

 

Brett

Top Pick: Flavor #2 (Image Comics) – The first issue was adorable and I can’t wait to read the second of this series focused on a young woman attempting to take care of her parents and run a bakery.

Infidel #4 (Image Comics) – Fantastic horror with a twist with a focus on Islamophobia. Just great.

James Bond: The Body #6 (Dynamite Entertainment) – Wrapping up the series and it’s a good one bringing all the pieces of the puzzle together.

Skyward #3 (Image Comics) – The concept is fantastic and issues entertaining. An Earth where gravity has gone away and there’s a conspiracy about it all and evil corporations that have profited. It’s really good so far.

Tony Stark: Iron Man #1 (Marvel) – Dan Slott moves from spiders to iron men and this first issue is his treatise as to who Tony Stark and Iron Man are. It’s a good first issue and a perfect starting point.

Stranger Things Comes to Dark Horse

Dark Horse and Netflix have announced a strange, new partnership of a multi-year publishing line based on the hit Netflix Original series, Stranger Things! Set to debut in September 2018, the officially licensed publishing program will give fans of the beloved show an opportunity to explore the mysterious world of Hawkins, Indiana. Dark Horse will publish a line of comics and young adult graphic novels expanding the world of Hawkins and its many inhabitants.

Award-winning writer Jody Houser, penciller Stefano Martino, inker Keith Champagne, colorist Lauren Affe, and letterer Nate Piekos unite to bring the nostalgia igniting of the Netflix original series to comic shelves in the first installment of Dark Horse’s publishing program.

Stranger Things #1 (of 4-issues) follows Will Byers as he enters a dimension of decay and destruction where he must use his wits and resolve to dodge the pursuit of the Demogorgon and escape the Upside Down. Stranger Things #1 features a cover by artist Aleksi Briclot with three variant covers from Rafael Albuquerque, visual artist Kyle Lambert, and a photo-variant cover designed by Patrick Satterfield and Netflix.

Stranger Things #1 goes on sale September 26, 2018.

Preview: She Could Fly #1

She Could Fly #1

Writer: Christopher Cantwell
Artist, Cover Artist: Martín Morazzo
Colorist: Miroslav Mrva
Publication Date: July 11, 2018
Price: $4.99

In Chicago, an unknown woman appears flying at speeds of 120 miles per hour and at heights reaching 2,000 feet. Then she suddenly dies in a fiery explosion mid-air. No one knows who she was, how she flew, or why. Luna, a disturbed 15-year-old girl becomes obsessed with learning everything about her while rumors and conspiracy theories roil. Will cracking the secrets of the Flying Woman’s inner life lead to the liberation from her own troubled mind?

Gigantic Gets an Deluxe Oversized Library Edition in November

Ten years ago critically acclaimed writer, Rick Remender and groundbreaking artist, Eric Nguyen teamed up for a comic series of epic proportion! Gigantic merged visually exciting art with a story examining America’s consumer-based culture, and now, Dark Horse is proud to bring this gargantuan tale to life in a deluxe, oversized hardcover.

In a twist on the cult-classic film The Truman Show, Gigantic follows a brainwashed alien superhero deposited on Earth to be the unwitting star of an intrusive, around-the-clock television program being filmed without his knowledge while a giant, armored invader attacks San Francisco!

Gigantic Library Edition collects the full five-issue series and presents the innovative story in its ultimate format!

Gigantic Library Edition HC goes on sale November 28, 2018. The 136-page volume retails for $24.99.

Take a Trip to Laguardia with Nnedi Okorafor, Tana Ford, and Berger Books

From Hugo, Nebula and World Fantasy Award-winning author Nnedi Okorafor and critically acclaimed illustrator Tana Ford comes LaGuardia. This new four-issue miniseries is the latest addition to the second wave of titles in the Berger Books imprint at Dark Horse. LaGuardia reunites Nnedi Okorafor and Tana Ford, the powerhouse creative team behind Marvel’s Black Panther: Long Live the King #6.

Set in an alternative world where aliens have come to Earth and integrated with society, LaGuardia revolves around a pregnant Nigerian-American doctor, Future Nwafor Chukwuebuka who has just returned to NYC under mysterious conditions. After smuggling an illegal alien plant named “Letme Live” through LaGuardia International and Interstellar Airport’s customs and security, she arrives at her grandmother’s tenement, the New Hope Apartments in the South Bronx.

There, she and Letme become part of a growing population of mostly African and shape-shifting alien immigrants, battling against interrogation, discrimination and travel bans, as they try to make it in a new land. But, as the birth of her child nears, Future begins to change in more ways than one. What dark secret is she hiding?

The first issue of LaGuardia goes on sale October 31, 2018, and will soon be available for preorder at your local comic shop for $4.99.

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 6/9

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.


Ryan C

man of steel 2.jpgBatman #48 (DC)** – Can this wedding just happen (or not) already? Because all this treading water in advance of it is getting pretty old. Tom King churns out another drab “prologue”-type script here, which shows The Joker being especially brutal even byhis standards, and Batman more or less taking it all as a matter of course. Mikel Janin’s art is absolutely stunning — it always is — but that’s about the most I can say for this one. Overall: 4. Recommendation: Pass

The Man Of Steel #2 (DC)** – A rather lackluster debut from Brian Michael Bendis leads into an equally-lackluster second installment, and both the “mystery” of the new villain and the series of arson fires plaguing Metropolis aren’t doing much to grab the attention of at least this reader. Evan “Doc” Shaner’s art is uncharacteristically toned-down here, as well, and far more dull and conservative than his typical Steve Rude-influenced work. Fortunately for us all, none other than the estimable Mr. Rude himself is on hand to illustrate the back half of the book, and it’s downright glorious to look at — too bad that reading it simply isn’t much fun. Overall: 5.5. Recommendation: Pass

Dark Ark #7 (Aftershock)** – Cullen Bunn and Juan Doe are having a blast with this revisionist take on the Noah’s Ark story, and it shows on every page. Some pre-flood drama is nicely balanced against “current” (and quite major) developments this time out, and there’s a gorgeous double-page spread that you’ll ogle over for a good long while. It’s a brisk read, to be sure, but you won’t want to put this book down too soon, as the art is just plain stunning. Overall: 8. Recommendation: Buy.

Xerxes: The Fall Of The House Of Darius And The Rise Of Alexander #3 (Dark Horse)** – Frank Miller utilizes double-page spreads nearly exclusively in this issue, and results are mixed — a few really do pack that classic “MIller Punch,” but most are half-hearted attempts to capture a sense of magic that just isn’t there anymore. As for the multi-panel pages, as well as the jumbled and frankly stupid script, well — the less said, the better. Overall: 3. Recommendation: Pass

Mr H.

BM_Cv48Batman #48 (DC) So continues my on again off again love affair with Tom King (deep down he might be the one) After some dreadful dreck churned out the past few issues, he brings me back into the fold. This entire issue takes place with a standoff between Batman and Joker inside a church. Kings Joker has the ability to make you laugh uncomfortably at the carnage he causes with very interesting dialogue choices. Mikel Janin as always is so amazing that he really makes you feel involved in the events taking place. All in all it was very fun filler before the wedding of the summer and next issue should be more of the same. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

Patrick

About Betty’s Boob (Archaia) – I work in burlesque here in Montreal and I have absolutely loved Julie Rocheleau’s artwork ever since The Wrath of Fantomas (which I cannot recommend highly enough), so I was very much looking forward to this about-bettys-boobcollaboration with French writer Véro Cazot. Let’s take first things first: it’s a mostly-silent tale about a woman who loses her left breast to cancer and has to redefine herself, finding acceptance and empowerment in the world of burlesque. Second: Julie Rocheleau is an unbelievable talent with a total command of the artform. Not only can she draw with stunning craft, not only is her storytelling top-notch, but her work – both here and elsewhere – has musicality. Here, she alternately swings hard, lays back, stomps, dives into pure lyricism, and clowns around, all in service to the emotional ride that Betty is taking. This is a bravura performance of the highest level. I wish I was as much of a fan of Véro Cazot’s writing. As much as I love the ideas in her story, she serves it up with too many side dishes and way too much arch Parisian-ness for my liking (and I’ve lived in Paris). What could have been simple and heartbreaking or really fun clowning goes on too long and trips over itself. There is so much to love here – the way Betty’s relationship falls apart, the fantastic idea of a burlesque theatre on a barge on the Seine (if this is a real thing, please contact me immediately) – that Cazot often gets in the way, like when a burlesque show host takes too much space. As soon as the script gets offstage and out of Rocheleau’s way, this book Lando-DoubleorNothing-1shimmies, twirls, and shakes off its veneer to show us its true heart.

Shean

Deadpool #1 (Marvel) In what feels like hanging out with your best friend, this reboot of the ongoing series feels fresh and even funnier. As we catch up with Wade on one of his hit jobs which goes too far as usual. We also find the Avengers and the Guardians trying to figure out how to stop impending doom in the form of Thanos. By issue’s end, Wade gives fan a long awaited peak behind his origin story but eventually steals from a rather well known origin story from the DC Universe, quite a sick burn. Overall: 9.3 
Recommendation: Buy

 Lando: Double Or Nothing#1 (Marvel) As a fan of the current Star Wars movie, I went into this book with hopes of seeing more of Lando with L3-337 and this book doesn’t disappoint. As Barnes captures the spirit of these characters from the movie, as Lando’s arrogance and L3’s ill subliminal is on full display in this heist story. As we meet Kristis, a Ray Donovan type character who fixes whatever for her clients. By issue’s end, once the Republic catches wind of the plan, our heroes are able to outgun and outrun some TIE fighters, as this is where the heist begins. Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Black Panther: Rise of the Black Panther #6 (Marvel) We get deeper into the drama surrounding the volatile infiltrations into Wakanda. As T’Challa and Shuri are still coping with their half brother’s betrayal, they soon find another invader in their midst.Soon they find out that Eric Killmonger has broken their ranks and eventually unleashes Wakandan technology on its population. By book’s end, T’Challa neutralizes the threat and realizes much like in the movie, that barriers often become like prisons, and helpful knowledge must be shared. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Logan

Giant Days #39 (BOOM!) The girls go to their university’s career fair, and lots of jokes are made about the drudgery of 9 to 5 life. Daisy is inundated with job offers and private jet rides while Esther feels like a square peg in a round hole. This issue is Julia Madrigal’s last as a fill-in artist, and her characters are on model, but they lack the elasticity and pure humor of Max Sarin and Liz Fleming’s work. However, for the most part, Giant Days #39 is a fantastic satire of the bullshit that is job applications and has a cliffhanger that could be a game changer for Ms. Esther DeGroot. Overall: 8.4 Verdict: Buy

Vagrant Queen #1 (Vault) Elida is the scion of an intergalactic monarchy, but she’s cvagrant queen.jpgontent to shoot first, ask questions later, and make a profit. However, when the former owner of her ship (The proverbial Lando to her Han.) offers a deal to find her mom, she embarks on an epic intergalactic road trip with the Admiralty on her trail. Mags Visaggio and Jason Smith traffic in a lot of space opera tropes in Vagrant Queen, but a snarky sense of humor, Moebius-esque architecture, and brutal fight choreography keep things entertaining. Overall: 7.4 Verdict: Read

Nightwing #45 (DC) Benjamin Percy, Chris Mooneyham, and guest inker Klaus Janson open Nightwing #45 with Dick in bed next to Barbara Gordon. Dick and Babs have a highly, complex relationship so something is definitely off. This uneasy tone pervades the entire book in Dick’s narration and the bloated body of a drug snitch, who was completely and utterly doxxed. Nightwing is quickly becoming a body horror, cyberpunk comic, but Mooneyham’s Romita Jr-esque figures and detailed landscapes keep the story in the analog and old school like Dick himself. However, a high tech neural networked, VR rig could change all this, and the last several pages of the issue craft an almost insurmountable foe for Nightwing to “fight”. Overall: 8.5 Verdict: Buy

Nightwing vs. Hush #1 (DC) Well, this is Batman’s bachelor party, and it involves burgers at a Batman themed restaurant. However, the Superman, Batman, and Nightwing’s interdimensional fishing trip goes terribly wrong when Hush crashes and gets caught in a kind of Limbo with Nightwing. Tim Seeley and Travis Moore create a study in duality with Dick and Hush anchored in Wayne Manor, but whereas Hush wants to be Bruce, Dick just wants a relationship with him. And this leads to a very sweet moment towards the end. Moore’s art is slick and pretty, especially when he draws Dick’s face. There need to be more buddy comics featuring Bruce, Dick, and Clark. Overall: 8 Verdict: Buy

 



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 (**).

Award Winning Chef and Comic Writer Anthony Bourdain Dead at 61 From Suicide

We don’t usually write obituaries on our site instead covering the news in our morning roundups. Today we awoke to the news that award winning chef Anthony Bourdain has died at age 61. The gifted storyteller who helped open up the world to individuals committed suicide while in France for an an episode of his series Parts Unknown. Bourdain’s gift of storytelling extended beyond television and books to the comic world as he was part of the team behind Get Jiro! and Get Jiro: Blood and Sushi published by DC Comics‘ imprint Vertigo and Hungry Ghosts which is currently being published by Dark Horse.

Bourdain is the second celebrity to take their life this week. Fashion designer Kate Spade ended her life three days ago. Both are reminders that no matter the level of celebrity the issues that can lead to suicide impacts us all.

Nearly 30,000 Americans commit suicide every year and it’s the third leading cause of death for 15 to 23-year-olds and 2nd for 24 to 35-year-olds. On average, 1 person commits suicide every 16.2 minutes and each suicide impacts at least 5 other people. Worldwide one million people commit suicide each ear which is one death every 40 seconds.

But for each of those suicides there are 25 attempted.

If you are contemplating suicide or know someone who might be, there are people who are there to help. If you want to help someone who might be suicidal, BeThe1To has 5 steps that you can use to help a loved one that may be in crisis.

If you are suicidal, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255 in the United States. Below is a list of other phone numbers from around the world.

  • Argentina: +5402234930430
  • Australia: 131114
  • Austria: 017133374
  • Belgium: 106
  • Bosnia & Herzegovina: 080 05 03 05
  • Botswana: 3911270
  • Brazil: 212339191
  • Canada: 5147234000 (Montreal); 18662773553 (outside Montreal)
  • Croatia: 014833888
  • Denmark: +4570201201
  • Egypt: 7621602
  • Finland: 010 195 202
  • France: 0145394000
  • Germany: 08001810771
  • Holland: 09000767
  • Hong Kong: +852 2382 0000
  • Hungary: 116123
  • India: 8888817666
  • Ireland: +4408457909090
  • Italy: 800860022
  • Japan: +810352869090
  • Mexico: 5255102550
  • New Zealand: 045861048
  • Norway: +4781533300
  • Philippines: 028969191
  • Poland: 5270000
  • Russia: 0078202577577
  • Spain: 914590050
  • South Africa: 0514445691
  • Sweden: 46317112400
  • Switzerland: 143
  • United Kingdom: 08457909090

Every struggle is different. Anyone can be struggling with suicidal thoughts and it is important for them to remember they are not alone. There are people here to help.

Mystery Science Theater 3000 is Coming to Comics

The riffing hilarity loved by fans of Mystery Science Theater 3000 since 1988 is taking on a whole new medium…comics! Created for comics by series creator Joel HodgsonMystery Science Theater 3000, The Comic finds Jonah Heston, Crow T. Robot, Tom Servo, and Gypsy thrust into the 2-D world of public domain comics, with riffing as their only defense! But trust us, these comics have it coming.

Featuring a variant cover by longtime MST3K DVD artist Steve Vance (among others), Mystery Science Theater 3000, The Comic is a perfect companion to your favorite original episodes and the hit Netflix show!

Mystery Science Theater 3000, The Comic #1 (of six) goes on sale September 9, 2018, and is available for pre-order at your local comic shop.

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 6/2

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.


Mr. H

amazing-spider-man-800-covers-mark-bagley-1112230Man of Steel #1 (DC Comics) So here it is folks, BMB takes on Big Blue and its……. ok. Yeah just okay. I figured he’d start with something more world burning but all we get is more on the conspiracy to eliminate Krypton and introduced to a new female face in Malorie Moore who is the Metropolis Fire Chief. Ivan Reis does a great job on pencils as does Jason Fabok on fill ins but there isn’t a lot to work with here. Also where the hell is Lois and Jon?? I am not interested in a non family Superman at this point in my collecting career. I hope they pop up soon. I know Bendis can start out slow and build something magnificent, but I hope this doesn’t turn out to be some uninspired Jenga piece of work. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Read

Amazing Spider-Man #800 (Marvel Comics) If you read one Spidey story this year make this be it. It is not just a tagline, to not do it would be a miss. Dan “the man” Slott brings us to the crescendo here. Norman Osborn vs Peter Parker for all the marbles. Norman mixed with Carnage symbiote is more deadly than ever and way more ruthless. He goes right for the heart and threatens all of Peter’s nearest and closest. There are many good scenes in this one and everyone of the characters get facetime. There is a death in here that was beautifully written and very touching. Even though this character is gone. They get an amazing sendoff. There are many pencils all over this one, too many too name but not enough to complain. All I know is when ever I see Mark Bagley draw Spidey it makes my heart happy. This one had action, heart, and consequence. With great power comes great responsibility and everyone who touched this proves it. It was definitely make mine Marvel. I’m going to miss Dan Slott for sure. Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Ryan C

Man-Of-Steel-1-2018.jpgThe Man Of Steel #1 (DC)** – So, this is it, huh? The “new era” of Superman begins with Brian Michael Bendis retconning some shit vis a vis the destruction of Krypton, there’s something about a rash of arson fires, and we don’t know where Lois and Jon are. The issue ends on flashback cliffhanger, never a smart idea since what’s happened has already happened, and Ivan Reis’ art is pretty generic, “New 52”-esque stuff. Bendis has a pretty solid immediate handle on how to write Superman, but beyond getting the overall tone right, there’s nothing much on offer here. Overall: 4. Recommendation: Pass

Grass Kings #15 (Boom! Studios)** – I was expecting a great finale to this series, and Matt Kindt and Tyler Jenkins definitely deliver with an extra-sized issue that wraps up the main mystery, sends off every character with an appropriately oblique coda, and even includes some last-second surprises that make for a truly memorable conclusion. Both creators put a lot of heart into this title, and I’m really going to miss it. Take a bow, gents, for a job very well done indeed. Overall: 9. Recommendation: Buy

Harrow County #31 (Dark Horse)** – From ultimate issues to penultimate ones, Cullen Bunn and Tyler Jenkins set the stage for what promises to be an epic wrap-up to Emmy’s story with an action-packed installment that ramps up the tension until we hit a cliffhanger that will leave you wondering how you can possibly wait 30 days to find out how everything ends. Crisply written, gorgeously illustrated, and atmospheric as hell, this has been a wild ride from the get-go, and I’ll be bummed out when it’s gone. Alas, all good things must come to an end, and this book has been a very good thing, indeed. Overall: 8.5. Recommendation: Buy

Abbott #5 (Boom! Studios)** – Saladin Ahmed and Sami Kivela put their terrific little 1970s Detroit period-piece to bed, but never fear — there’s sure to be more. Yes, they spend a bit too much time setting up their inevitable sequel, but the main narrative wraps up nicely, the characters are all left in situations that are begging to be explored further, and the smart social commentary adds a tremendous amount of depth an nuance to the proceedings. I’m very much looking forward to what comes next. Overall: 8. Recommendation: Buy.

Logan

The Last Siege #1 (Image) A stormy night, a weather beaten stranger, a city at its TheLastSiege_01-1darkest hour. Landry Q. Walker and Justin Greenwood craft a lean, gritty medieval fantasy tale in The Last Siege #1 and spend the initial issue showing how much a badass their main character, who should be played by Keanu Reeves in a film adaptation, is. Walker doesn’t overdo it on the dialogue and lets Greenwood put their protagonist through his paces showing the determination on his face and the leverage he creates as he outlasts the hordes of the power hungry Feist, who want to exploit the young ruler, Kathryn. Colorist Eric Jones adds to the grim atmosphere, and I’m really excited to learn more about our unnamed protagonist and his leadership/fighting/survival style. Overall: 9 Verdict: Buy

Hong Kong Phooey/Black Lightning Special #1 (DC) Bryan Edward Hill, Denys Cowan, and Bill Sienkiewicz serve up a jive talking, kung fu punching throwback spectacular in Hong Kong Phooey/Black Lightning. Sienkiewicz’s scratchy inks give the fights a loose, chaotic feel, and Hill creates a fantastic buddy chemistry between Phooey and Jefferson playing everything straight until the very end. The story has a bit of a moral backbone to it and explore the corrupting nature of power through the lens of a grindhouse kung fu flick. Jeff Parker and Scott Kolins’ Funky Phantom backup story is a funny, yet sobering bit of political satire as the Phantom makes jokes about Hamilton and is appalled by some “patriots'” take on the Second Amendment. Overall: 9.5 Verdict: Buy

Judge Dredd: Siege #1 (IDW) Mark Russell and Max Dunbar borrow a little bit from the excellent 2012 Dredd film by taking Judge Dredd off the streets of Mega City One and in an enclosed space: a block apartments that were created as affordable housing and were abandoned by the city. But whereas Dredd had a clean, minimalist plot, Russell thrives in the complexities of Mega City One’s society by having the inflexible Dredd team up with the gangs he thinks he’s going against versus the mutants who have taken over the apartments. Russell’s plot is an ever tightening noose as things go from bad to worst, and Dunbar’s art has some of the ultraviolence and darkly humorous background gigs of the original 2000 AD comic to break up the unrelenting action. Overall: 8.5 Verdict: Buy

Blackwood #1 (Dark Horse)– What if freshman orientation other than being awkward as hell featured Lovecraftian nightmares too? That’s the premise of Blackwood #1 from writer Evan Dorkin and artists Veronica and Andy Fish. Fish is known for her stylish characters in Archie and Spider-Woman, but Blackwood really proves her horror chops as Blackwood features tentacles, monsters, and lots of icky fluids. In the early going, Dorkin makes all the characters hate each other and only creates a grudging, not even camaraderie through the strange phenomena they see. It’s nice to see a college/school story where everyone isn’t BFFs from day one. Overall: 7.7 Verdict: Read

Patrick

conceptual heist.jpgConceptual Heist #1 (self-published)** – In three words: sci-fi art heist. Hooked yet? Writer Jay D’Ici and artist Matt G. Gagnon have been putting this out as strips online for a couple of years now in black and white and blue, and now (thanks to Kickstarter) they’ve collected the first cycle into a full-color comic. Briefly: Jemma is a cool-as-cucumber-in-gin-and-tonic thief looking to steal art from the rich, specifically Picasso’s “The Old Guitarist”. Now that the entire plot is out of the way, let’s talk about how much fun this is. First, Jay D’Ici is clearly having a ball putting all of these sci-fi security toys into the cat-and-mouse game, and Jemma is a main character in classic sympathetic cat burglar style. No baggage to drag us down, this is all about action and style. And what style! Matt G. Gagnon brings a 1920’s flapper vibe that is a perfect visual language to talk about the hyper-rich. His characters’ acting and body language is great, and the sci-fi setting never gets in the way of the action, it’s just the nano-particle-charged air they breathe. This is as good as anything being published by Black Mask, and that’s high praise coming from me. Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: buy – or at least follow them here: https://www.facebook.com/conceptualheist/

Love And Rockets #5 (Fantagraphics)** – On the Jaime side, “I This How You See Me?” concludes (and provides the title to) Maggie & Hopey’s Hoppers punk rock reunion. Having spent nearly 30 years with these two (I’m a latecomer, I know), I’d like to single out Jaime’s writing here – going back and forth between 1980 and now, it’s a treat to watch how both of these women have both changed and not changed since their teens, how the world has both toughened and softened them, how their relationships to other lovers and significant others have both given them anchors and dragged them out to sea. And Ape Sex is playing in the supermarket. Over to Gilbert, and Rosy-not-Rosie, wandering through Fritz’s massive, empty house, watching the massive, empty sky or looking at the massive portraits of Fritz’s massive (censored) or lying in a massive, empty bed, or standing in a massive, empty soundstage. Gilbert is an expert at depicting this kind of loneliness, a void that no amount of B science fiction can fill. In their alien and arid Hollywood, only the passage of time and the turning of pages can change the hearts of Gilbert’s characters these days. Overall: 8 Recommendation: buy 

Blackwood #1 (Dark Horse)** – Evan Dorkin and Veronica & Andy Fish bring us their magickal school story, in this case the clearly cursed and haunted Blackwood College. Nothing earth-shattering here, unfortunately – it seems that all you can do with this trope is either embrace it or destroy it, and I have enough class prejudice against private schools that I’m firmly on the side of “destroy” and was hoping for the same from Dorkin. It’s certainly well-done, and for my money best when it focuses on the archness of main character Wren. Veronica Fish’s art is clear and lovely, just cartoony enough to let us in, but not enough to be a commentary on the Lovecraftian proceedings – which, I suppose, is my real complaint. It’s a very professional and competently done take, neither hot nor cold nor just right. Overall: 7 Recommendation: skip. 

Kill Or Be Killed #19 (Image)** – In this penultimate issue, detective Lily Sharpe makes her way through a blizzard to Bellevue to ask Dylan a question. What she gets – once Dylan realizes that the case is actually closed – is a full confession. And then the power goes out and the Russians show up. Brubaker, Phillips, and Breitweiser bring the usual excellence, and I have to single out Phillips’ depiction of Lily here – her expressions, somewhere between hangdog and guard dog, are absolutely priceless, and when she gets swept up in way more action than she had ever bargained for, the way she just bites her lip and slogs her way through is great. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: buy.

Stray Bullets #35 (Image/El Capitàn)** – Well, didn’t Vic Kretchmeyer just sneak up and steal the story. Sweating out withdrawal in a bad science fiction movie in his head and dragging Rose through that swamp, trying to ignore what the flowers are telling him while trying to protect the inside of his skull from Annie and the outside of Rose’s skull from Kretch, running off into the night through the parking lot of the Space Lodge motel with tinfoil hats… Another great issue from David Lapham. Could this story really be closing in on 1000 pages? Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: buy

Lazarus #28 (Image)** – From the letters page, Greg Rucka: “… the only response I can offer is the one that Michael [Lark] has said time and again – when we started Lazarus we were writing science fiction; now we’re writing a documentary.” Jonah Carlyle escaped the war and started a little life and a little family in a remote Danish fishing village, but now the war closes in on him in the most heartbreaking way possible. Rucka and Lark give us a place that is cold and grey and totally alive, a place that is centuries in the past and years in the future, where the Russians invade your screens with porn as a vector for propaganda delivery and suddenly everything around you is… well, is the year X+67. Next up: Fracture. Overall: 9 Recommendation: buy



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 (**).

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