Tag Archives: dark horse

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

inhumans_vs__x_men__0Wednesdays 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!

We’re bringing back something we haven’t done for a while, what the team thinks. Our contributors are choosing up to five books each week and why they’re choosing the books.

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

Joe

Top Pick: Seven to Eternity #3 (Image) – The first two issues told a lot of story in such a short time. More comics could learn from this. The first issue set up the legacy of the family name and the big bad, and the second introduced us to him and then a whole new band of characters. Let’s see what Remender has planned for the third issue! So far this series has been awesome.IVX #0 (Marvel) – Death of X did not fully satisfy me, but the surprise ending did. Let’s hope this series is a lot better, as it is leading us into the new Inhuman and X-Men titles coming this spring. I am hopeful that Lemire and Soule come through big here for this event and get people excited for what’s to come.

IVX #0 (Marvel) – Death of X did not fully satisfy me, but the surprise ending did. Let’s hope this series is a lot better, as it is leading us into the new Inhuman and X-Men titles coming this spring. I am hopeful that Lemire and Soule come through big here for this event and get people excited for what’s to come.

Great Lakes Avengers #2 (Marvel) – The first issue was so fun and goofy, and I loved it. The art by Robson is fantastic, and the jokes by Gorman worked well. The entire premise is ridiculous and it just makes it better. This isn’t even a b level team of Marvel heroes, but that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable of a premise. I highly recommend this if you’re looking for something light and fun.

Batman Annual #1 (DC Comics) – DC is bringing in all of the bat writers on the annual. I usually don’t get very excited for annuals, but I am for both this and Superman hitting the same day. This book will have Snyder, King, Dini, Orlando, and Scott Wilson writing with Riley Rossmo and Neal Adams on art. I am hyped!

saga40-01-covSaga #40 (Image) – If you haven’t read Saga yet, please go start. This is what is arguably the best comic out today. I am eager to see where Vaughn and Staples takes us this issue, as we follow these incredible characters on their wild adventures. This book can make you laugh, cry, and smile all in one issue.

 

Alex

Top Pick: Savage #1 (Valiant) – I can sum up why this is awesome in three words: Tarzan meets dinosaurs. It also looks savagely brilliant.

Batman Annual #1 (DC Comics) – Paul Dini and Scott Snyder writing Batman all in one book? Sounds ideal.

Conan The Slayer #5 (Dark Horse) – A consistent story that not enough people are talking about. If you’re a fan of sword and sorcery then you owe it to yourself to check this out.

Old Man Logan #14 (Marvel) – It’s been awhile since I enjoyed a solo Wolverine series as much as I have been enjoying this. A new arc starts this issue, and I’m pretty excited to dig in.

Revolution #5 (IDW Publishing) – A left field surprise for me; I can’t wait to see how this epic crossover ends.

 

Brett

copra_round_four_cover_bergen_streetCOPRA Round Four (Bergen Street Press) – If you haven’t been reading Michel Fiffe’s series you’re missing out on some of the best comics out there. The indie series is collected here in the fourth trade and it’s worth every penny. The series is best described as an indie Suicide Squad and it’s absolutely awesome. This is the only series I buy single issues and the trades.

Fish Eye #1 (Scout Comics) – The publisher has been putting out some fantastic comics and this new series is well worth checking out. The concept is about a cop who is on a reality show whose ratings are slipping and he has to protect his family from a group of killers. Sounds interesting!

The Skeptics #2 (Black Mask Studios) – The first issue was solid taking place during the Cold War and featuring con-men pretending to be psychics to fool the US government. It’s a crazy concept but the style and characters have me coming back and been looking forward to this one.

Inhumans vs X-Men #0 (Marvel) – I’m a sucker for Marvel’s events and this first issue is pretty solid. It catches up new readers while also setting up some new stuff as well.

The Revisionist #6 (Aftershock Comics) – Time traveling entertainment and I seriously have no idea where it’s all going. With an 80s action film flair, this is one to read from the beginning, it’s so good.

Dark Horse Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals

Dark_Horse_Comics_logoThrough Monday, November 28, Digital.DarkHorse.com will be offering thousands of digital single issues for only 99 cents! Choose from Hellboy, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Fight Club 2, Mass Effect, Aliens, and many more!

Additionally, Dark Horse’s gaming and creator art books are specially priced at just $9.99! Choose from dozens of titles, including World of Warcraft Chronicle, The Art of Battlefield 1, The Art of Doom, David Mack’s Kabuki Library, Camilla d’Errico’s Rainbow Children, and more!                         

Fans can also find these deals on Comixology, Kindle, iBooks, Google Play, and Barnes & Noble.

For extra savings on Cyber Monday visit Digital.DarkHorse.com and the Dark Horse app for a one-day-only exclusive sale on some of Dark Horse’s most popular titles.

The free Dark Horse Digital comics app is now available worldwide through all modern web browsers and features cloud storage in both the Google Play and iOS apps. To get started, simply log on to Digital.DarkHorse.com or download the app to create an account, and begin building your collection today.

ComiXology Black Friday Sale

ComiXology is celebrating Black Friday with lots of sales all of which you can find below!

IDW Transformers: Cybertron Sale (11/25– 11/27)

Upwards of 80% off Transformers trades

idw_transformer_cybertron_sale

Marvel Collections (11/22 – 11/27)

Upward of 70% off volumes of new Marvel series from 2015 and 2016

marvel-collections-sale

Marvel Secret Wars (11/23 – 11/27)

The first discount sale on last year’s hit event and includes the classic Secret Wars series

marvel_secret_wars_sale

DC Comics (11/25 – 11/28)

Buy One, Get One Free Sale on all DC & Vertigo titles released before 11/21/16. Sale includes DC Rebirth one-shots and #1s – Use promo code DC16 at checkout

dc_bogo_sale

Image (11/21-11/28)

Deep discounts up to 64% off on 140 plus trades from Image’s recent hits and perennial bestsellers, including Saga.  Buy Image trades individually or in 2 huge bundles collecting 75 and 69 trades respectively

image_bf_sale

Dynamite (11/25 -12/1)

60% off line wide Dynamite sale on titles released before 11/15/16 with code DYNAMITE16 at checkout

dynamite_line-wide_sale

Dark Horse (11/25-28)

Line wide sale on Dark Horse single issues released before 11/22/16, priced at 99¢ each with digital art books marked down to $9.99

dark_horse_blackfriday_sale

Review: Buffy Season 11 #1

buffyseason11coverWith only twelve issues to work with, writer Christos Gage, artist Rebekah Isaacs, and colorist Dan Jackson start out Buffy Season 11 #1 in blockbuster fashion with a battle against a blue Chinese storm dragon. But Gage doesn’t neglect the character arcs that have been the backbone of both Buffy the TV show and comic checking in with all the major players, including Buffy, Xander, Spike, Willow, and Dawn to see how they’re holding up during this supposed time of peace and quiet. The main inner conflict for Buffy in Season 11 looks to be her feeling of being “left behind” as her friends and family move on to bigger and better things like becoming a Wicca guru or a high scoring college student while she is still just a monster fighter. But, hey, at least, she’s getting paid for it as a supernatural consultant for the San Francisco PD.

In Buffy Season 11, Rebekah Isaacs continues to remain “on model” with her characters while still remaining highly emotive in her art style. She also uses a bunch of different panel compositions to keep both the action and talking heads scenes fresh like framing Buffy and Spike together in shadow as they know that San Francisco is in ruins, but their relationship is in a good place unlike most of Season 10. Also, when the dragon pops up, the panel size increases adjusting to the scale of the monster with Buffy and her friends as tiny, ineffectual dots, who can merely piss it off. Dan Jackson makes the Chinese storm dragon a gorgeous shade of blue, and its lightning attack is Godzilla’s nuclear breath epic, but uses a bleak, grey palette for the backgrounds and scenes before and after the attack. The design for the dragon is super cool too and reminded me of the majesty of the classic Pokemon, Gyarados with the abilities of Yu Gi Oh’s Blue Eyes White Dragon.This battle is going to have a big effect on not just the Scoobies and San Francisco, but the world too.

spuffyapocalypse

Along with Isaacs’ stellar art, Christos Gage’s skill at writing Whedonesque dialogue continues in Buffy Season 11 #1. The banter is especially snappy during the Scoobies’ rooftop cookout where Xander jokes around about Spike and Buffy being cops while Spike good-naturedly quips about technically being an undocumented immigrant. However, this joke could connect to Buffy Season 11’s upcoming conflict as the president is pretty furious about the dragon attack on San Francisco and isn’t big into working with members of the supernatural community to help fix it. On a lighter note, the remarkable chemistry that Sarah Michelle Gellar  and James Marsters shared as Buffy and Spike in the Buffy TV show has transferred to the comic with their rapid fire pecking and poking at each other while they fight monsters that turns slightly sexy until their “backup” shows up. It will be interesting to see how their relationship holds up in the face of disaster movie level threats with a side of government interference.

As far as Willow is concerned, Gage and Isaacs seem interested in exploring her Wiccan faith as she opens a better version of the “wanna blessed be” Wiccan group that she joined in college back in Buffy Season 4. The meeting scene explores the spiritual, not just physical connection that she has to magic and also introduces a nonbinary character to the Buffyverse as Willow says that Wicca transcends the gender binary. Jackson gives the meeting a peaceful glow with his colors, and hopefully there will be more of these quiet, soul searching moments in the midst of frantic action.

In Buffy Season 11 #1, Christos Gage, Rebekah Isaacs, and Dan Jackson establish a more blockbuster action movie look and plotting while not giving the arcs of these beloved characters short shrift. The external and internal conflicts are deftly set up for the upcoming season with quips, brooding, and dragons a-plenty.

Story: Christos Gage Art: Rebekah Isaacs Colors: Dan Jackson
Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Dark Horse provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

adbook01_coverartWednesdays 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!

We’re bringing back something we haven’t done for a while, what the team thinks. Our contributors are choosing up to five books each week and why they’re choosing the books.

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

Joe

Top Pick: AD: After Death #1 (Image Comics) – Scott Snyder and Jeff Lemire are two of my favorite people in comics. Now they will be together with Lemire doing some fantastic art (one of his talents that is very underrated) on a book that they call part comic and part prose. This book asks the question, what if we could cure death? I am sure not everything will go well, but time will tell. What would a world with no death be like? Would it be as great as we think? The previews I have seen so far are beautiful, and I am very excited for the story this oversized book will tell.

The Mighty Thor #13 (Marvel) – After an excellent first issue of The Unworthy Thor that saw the return of Odinson, we will return to the current and actual holder of the Thor title. This issue will see the start of a massive war, and it will be interesting to see how this affects not only Thor, but Odinson as well. What will Odin do? Or Loki? This series has been fantastic all the way back to the last run. The story is great, the art is some of the best in comics, so yes, this is definitely high on my list.

Dept. H #8 (Dark Horse) – Who did it!? That’s the question we are all asking along with our protagonist, while everyone tries to avoid drowning to death. The water is rising and so are tensions. As they search for answers, they also have to search for a way to survive. Did someone sabotage the base? It would sure seem it. Matt and Sharlene Kindt have been doing such a fantastic job on this book and I expect that to continue.

Detective Comics #945 (DC Comics) – The Victim Syndicate continues, and I want to find out more about these characters. We basically know they want to make Batman hurt for what they think he did to them, but how far will they take things? It definitely seems like pretty far if the last issue is any sign. This is one of the best DC books, and probably my favorite bat book each month, so I am definitely looking forward to this.

bsusa_002_cover-a_braithwaiteWonder Woman #11 (DC Comics) – Speaking of the best DC book, this just may be it. Wonder Woman is probably their most consistent title, and Greg Rucka is writing a heck of a tale, well two tales each month. I love the going back and forth between the year one and the current storyline, and seeing how they tie together. Will we finally get some big answers this issue? This is a book everyone should be reading every month. Highly recommended.

 

Alex

Bloodshot U.S.A. #2 (Valiant) – I’ve recent been reading the earlier issues of Bloodshot from a few years ago, which has gotten me incredibly excited to get my hands on this issue with a new found appreciation for the character.

Venom #1 (Marvel) – Knowing next to nothing about this series, or Venom’s history since the symbiote was bonded to Flash Thompson, this is going to be an interesting read. Hopefully, it’s a little more than half decent.

Ninjak #21 (Valiant) – I’m looking forward to this more for the end of the arc than anything else. I’ve been pretty underwhelmed by The Fist And The Steel arc, although it was a perfectly serviceable story, it just didn’t do it for me. I’m hoping the next arc will be different, but we have to read this first.

 

warlords_of_appalachia_002_a_mainBrett

Top Pick: AD: After Death Book 1 (Image Comics) – Scott Snyder and Jeff Lemire. Those two names alone should give you enough reason to pick up this first issue. The concept is interesting and Joe covered that above, but these are creators who I expect quality when I see their names and they consistently deliver. I don’t flinch at recommending this one and it’s near the top of my reading list.

Civil War II #7 (Marvel) – I’ll be the first to say this event has been a disaster from the beginning, but it’s a trainwreck where I want to see what happens next.

Death of X #4 (Marvel) – Filling in the gaps post-Secret Wars we finally find out what happened to Cyclops and a few others. That’s enough to get me to check out this final issue of the miniseries and also to see what happens next with the next event IVX.

Captain Canuck #10 (Chapterhouse Comics) – Comics should be fun and Captain Canuck consistently delivers that without the grim and dark that so many others rely on.

Warlords of Appalachia #2 (BOOM! Studios) – Might as well get ahead of the curve in what very well may be a prescient series. The story involves an uprising from Kentucky post second Civil War… entertainment is feeling a bit too real here.

Get Your Metal On, Slayer: Repentless #1 Hits January 2017

Legendary heavy metal band Slayer has teamed up with Metalocalypse writer Jon Schnepp and Twilight Zone artist Guiu Vilanova for a three-issue Dark Horse Comics series, Slayer: Repentless, with covers by Eisner Award–winning British comics artist Glenn Fabry. The first issue, with a variant cover by Eric Powell, is scheduled for release on January 25, 2017.

With its story of a raging road trip down a bloodstained highway, a tale of the doomed and the damned, the Slayer: Repentless series is an expansion of Slayer’s Repentless videos, written and directed by BJ McDonnell (Hatchet III).

slayer-repentless-1-cover-art-by-glenn-fabry slayer-repentless-1-interior-sneak-peek

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 11/19

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

amazing_spider_man__21Amazing Spider-Man #21 (Marvel) I enjoyed this issue more than I expected, almost entirely because of the fact it focused primarily on Kaine – a character I’ve long been fascinated with. Other than that, though, it doesn’t really do much other than provide a bit of background on Kaine and Spider-Gwen’s actions during the second issue of Clone Conspiracy as the issue acts as a prequel to that issue. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read.

Batman #11 (DC) I’ve read worse issues of Batman, but not for a long, long time. The only saving grace is the art, which 90% of the time is great. The other 10%, a double page spread featuring Catwoman and the Ventriloquist, is a confusing mess of jumbled pipes and lettering that is less than ideal. Overall: 5 Recommendation: Pass.

Black Hammer #5 (Dark Horse) You’re either going to love or hate the direction of this issue (well, that may be a bit strong; you’ll either love it or you won’t, let’s say). I enjoyed it quite a bit, as we finally got to see an entirely different side to Colonel Weird, as Jeff Lemire asks the question of whether the character is as crazy as we’ve been led to believe. An intriguing character study that doesn’t really move the plot along too much, but is worth picking up if you’re into the series. Overall: 8 Recommedation: Read

Kill Or Be Killed #3 & #4 (Image) Somehow I missed the third issue untill I saw the fourth was out this week (or forgot I read it and reread it this morning, which basically amounts to the same thing, right?). It didn’t take me long to remember why this is such a gripping comic – the Deal With A Devil angle is well done, and while said deal hangs over Dylan, he – and by extension we – is/are never quite sure whether it actually happened, or if he’s gradually losing his mind. You’re not going to find a better comic from Image right now. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Old Man Logan #13 (Marvel) A decent conclusion to a solid story. This would be a read for the story alone, but the artwork is absolutely phenomenal and worth buying the comic for on it’s own. The layouts are intricate, simple and so gut punchingly effective that your jaw will hit the proverbial floor – that’s not hyperbole… I actually turned a page and just tared sm_cv11_dsfor a full minute before rereading the page before. This is probably one of the best series that Jeff Lemire is writing right now, and that’s largely down to Andrea Sorrentino and Marcelo Mialo’s artwork. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Superman #11 (DC) On the surface, a story about Damian Wayne and Jon Kent learning to work together, but there’s a subplot here of Batman and Superman learning, through their sons, to trust each other again. This is a great conclusion to a two issue arc that has one of the best interpretations of the Son Of Batman that we’ve seen in awhile. Overall: 8.5 Recommendtion: Buy

Thanos #1 (Marvel) A well written, beautifully illustrated opening chapter. Although I have no idea where this is going, I’m curious to see where Jeff Lemire takes the Mad Titan. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Read

Vampire Hunter D: Message From Mars #1 (Stranger Comics) This is far from my normal style of comic (Mars colonization and vampires), but I enjoyed it quite a bit nonetheless. I have no idea how this stacks up if you’re a Vampire Hunter D fan, but as a person ignorant of his 33 year history, I thought this was a great read. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Elana

Mother Panic #1 (DC/Young Animal): The last thing i was looking for was another comic about a millionaire turned vigilante– especially not in Gotham. But Jody Houser is too smart a writer to leave it at that so I just had to take a look at her new Young Animal series.

Look at that costume– real armor! Creating artist Tommy Lee Edwards designed the Mother Panic outfit to look more like a decorative architectural element on the exterior of motherpanic02one of Gotham’s famous Art Deco skyscrapers than a standard female hero in a cape book. It is refreshing to see a female lead who isn’t portrayed as a sex object by any measure– unless your sexual orientation is Chrysler Building and you like getting your head bashed in. And a terrifying tiny white skyscraper fighting really twisted art crimes makes sense thematically. This story is very Gotham.

We don’t learn much in issue 1 but with highly kinetic gothy art and an intriguingly menacing tone I am definitely reading issue 2. I keep getting The Invisibles vibes too and that is usually a good sign. Suggested soundtrack Iggy Pop’s The Idiot. Recommendation: Read

Joe

Thanos #1 (Marvel) – Thanos is a badass. That’s an understatement. In many ways, he’s similar to Darth Vader. He’s a cool villain that you love to hate. He’s very confident. And his power, even without the Infinity Gauntlet, is off the charts. Not only do we get Thanos, but we get a cast of characters that have all been big parts of past stories with the Mad Titan. I enjoyed this book, and it gave me what I was looking for in this series. Thanos destroys a ton of people (and a tank), and we see a group of others band against him, and then we get a big twist at the end. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Black Hammer #5 (Dark Horse) – I am so glad to finally get a Colonel Weird issue. Yes all of our characters are weird in this series, but some how the Colonel makes them look normal. It was nice to see the Para-Zone that he mentions in his ramblings and get a glimpse at how it works. Like most of our cast, he is a tragic character that you really feel thanos_1_coverfor, and you can see he wants to do the right thing. It will be interesting to see how the Para-Zone plays into our story and them being stuck on the farm going forward. This book just keeps getting better, and it is one of the most consistent comics coming out every month. Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Briggs Land #4 (Dark Horse) – This issue focuses on Caleb Briggs, Grace’s oldest son and a white supremacist. We see him bully a local business owner into selling, and learn a lot more about his character. Long story short, Caleb is scary. We also get more of Grace, and what she is doing to move quicker than her husband who is trying to stop her from inside prison. This series moves slow, but that isn’t bad. You can see why AMC optioned it, as it would work perfect for their network, and the Walking Dead crowd who are used to a slow burn that builds to chaos. That is most certainly where I expect this story to go after this issue, and I can’t wait. Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

Moonshine #2 (Image) – After the first set up issue, we get to the meat of the story. But then that meat gets ripped apart by a werewolf. We continue the story of a fish out of water city slicker that needs to get the best moonshine around from a family living in the sticks to his mobster boss in New York City. After things go south in the south, our main character is left in a very interesting place. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Patrick

Black Hammer #5 (Dark Horse)** – In this issue, we go Weird Science for the story of Colonel Weird and his journey through the Para-Zone. As has been the case lately in this series, the plot has been a very slight pretext for what Jeff Lemire is really good at, bkhmr-5-variant-fc-fnl-600x911character studies. Col. Weird being haunted by himself is very nicely done, and Dean Ormiston does a pretty good job at capturing a certain Al Williamson vibe in the science fiction part of the story (though not going nearly far enough into the Ditkosphere for the Para-Zone for my taste). The series doesn’t feel like it’s going anywhere, and if that were truly the intention, then I’d be more okay with it. Overall: 7. Recommendation: Read

Lady Killer #3 (Dark Horse)** – Joëlle Jones knocks this issue out of the park. She has always been great with style and sheer drawing, but this time she lets loose with panel structure and page layouts in a really stunning way. Also: the back story of Mother Schuller and her relationship with “Uncle” Irving is a knockout. Props to colorist Michelle Madsen. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Cinema Purgatorio #7 (Avatar)** – Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill take on the Westerns in our first reel – or rather, how the idea of the Western was invented and re-created, from sordid reality to tall tale to legend to myth, as we re-enter the OK Corral over and over again. Alan Moore can do more with 8 pages than most writers can do in 80. On to Code: Pru, Garth Ennis & Raulo Caceres’s series that’s really grown on me. Pru is called in to check out a hooker at a murder scene, and of course finds out that the situation is far more monstrous than she’d thought. Ennis’ juxtaposition of the banal and the profane is, as usual, top-notch, and Caceres’ detailed b&w art is perfect for the material. I’m not actually paying much attention to any of the other three features, but it must be said that this chapter of “The Vast” is a reprint of last issue’s chapter. Overall: Cinema – 9 Pru – 9 Recommendation: read but you can also wait for both of these series to be collected, and probably not worth your $6.99

Kill or Be Killed #4 (Image) – “My imagination was being affected by all the shitty old killorbekilled_04-1movies I was watching.” Dylan starts to work out exactly how he’s going to take on his demonic vigilante mission, and how to live a double life. Meanwhile also trying to figure out his messed-up relationship with his roommate’s girlfriend. Meanwhile also trying to play white knight. Of course, none of these things go right. Brubaker, Phillips and Breitweiser at their best. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Ryan C

Black Panther #8 (Marvel)** – It may be too little, too late, but Ta-Nehisi Coates is finally starting to show signs of getting a hang on this whole comic-book writing thing — at least when it comes to relaying tales of Wakandan folklore. He still writes T’Challa as a dour, joyless, fairly lifelesss figure literally devoid of personality, but the story feels like it’s creeping back on track after some pointless guest-star-laden issues, and maybe even progressing (or at least lurching) toward a conclusion of some sort. Chris Sprouse does a pretty decent job with the art, but he’s no Stelfreeze, who’s at least on hand to deliver an absolutely amazing cover. Overall: 5. Recommendation: Might as well read it if you’ve come this far, otherwise pass.

The Hunt #4 (Image/Shadowline)** – Nobody seems to be paying much attention to Colin Lorimer’s genuinely creepy Irish horror opus, but that’s their loss. This issue delivers answers to many of the mysteries underpinning the various “big questions” that have been lurking both under the surface and in the foreground of this series, and delivers a genuinely creepy guy-punch of a cliffhanger that borders on the truly unforgettable. briggs-land-4Amazingly well-written and even more amazingly well-drawn, this is a truly killer slice of folklore-inspired terror. Overall: 9. Recommendation: Buy.

Briggs Land #4 (Dark Horse )** – Brian Wood and Mack Chater begin the second arc of their Third-Reich-Meets-“The-Waltons” dysfunctional family drama with another issue more than ready to be adapted for the already-forthcoming TV series.Some bad shit goes down in the mega-hardware-store parking lot that could have serious repercussions for everyone, while Grace continues to play a long game only she seems to understand. Definitely fascinating stuff, even if the political implications of the series (haven’t so-called “White Nationalists” been effectively normalized enough in the age of Trump?) remain dubious at best. Overall: 6.5. Recommendation: Read

Infamous Iron Man #2 (Marvel)** – The point of this series continues to elude me, as do Victor Von Doom’s opaque-at-best reasons for putting on the suit in the first place. Another pointless fight with a second-tier villain gives way to a Ben Grim-centric cliffhanger, so I guess Brian Michael Bendis is looking at this as a way of sneaking the FF back into the Marvel Universe through the back door. We’ll see what happens — or rather, you will, since I’m out. If Alex Maleev’s art were up to his usual standard I might give it another issue or two, but as it’s not, I can’t justify shelling out for bucks a month for a poorly-executed gimmick book. Overall: 3.5. Recommendation: Pass

Shean

uncanny_x_men_annual__1Uncanny Xmen Annual #1 (Marvel): Within this annual, lies two different stories , one in which we see echoes of the Phoenix Saga and the other , a spy op with an unlikely operator. In the first story, we meet a mutant named Elixir, whose power derives from the Dark Riders, Magneto enlists a few other mutants to find him . In this second story, Domino is on an operation to take out Hydra. Overall, as far as annuals go, a strong book.  Overall: 9.4 Recommendation: Buy

She-Wolf TPB (Image): when a young teenager named Gabby gets scratched by a wolf, she starts encountering nightmares. Soon they become all too real, and she finds out , that it was no ordinary wolf.What follows is a lot of teen angst with an unhealthy amount of psychedelic visuals. Truthfully, by the end of this volume, I was struggling to finish, as the alchemy between storytelling and sequential art, never seemed to coalesce. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Borrow

 


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 (**).

Matt Kindt Talks His New Comic Series Ether

ether-1-cvr-bcA science-minded adventurer gets mixed up in the mysteries of a fantasy world in this charming new adventure from an award-winning creative team. Boone Dias is an interdimensional explorer, a scientist from Earth who has stumbled into great responsibility. He’s got an explanation for everything, so of course the Ether’s magical residents turn to him to solve their toughest crimes. But maybe keeping the real and the abstract separate is too big a job for just one man.

Ether is the latest creator-owned comic from writer Matt Kindt who is joined by David Rubin on art.

The first issue is fantastic (the second as well) and I got a chance to ask Kindt some questions about where the idea came from and the difference between working with an artist and doing the art and writing himself.

Graphic Policy: Where did the concept of Ether come from?

Matt Kindt: Well, like most ideas I think it came from a place of boredom and hatred (laughing).

I’ve never been a big fan super natural and magical stories. Ghosts and spirits and that kind of thing never really appealed to me. So creatively, I think I’m a little bit of a masochist. I want to take the harder road. I like setting up rules and obstacles to sort of shake up the way I think and approach stories and characters. It’s pretty easy to fall into a comfort zone creatively after a while. You figure out how to do things in a certain way that is successful and then you end up repeating that because you know it works. That’s where the boredom comes in. So I feel like I’m constantly trying to avoid that with every new project.

I always felt like the magic was too convenient. Ultimately it ends up being a way to cheat the story or it’s so grounded that magic wielding ends up like using a gun or a sword in physical combat…so why bother with magic. But that got me to thinking – if someone made me write a comic about magic, or with magical elements, what the heck would I do? How would I handle it?

ether-1-cvr-bc-variantGP: How did David Rubin come on board the project?

MK: Ether was on my list of projects I wanted to do next. I’ve been drawing a lot of really grounded stuff lately which has been giving me a hankering to draw some crazy stuff. I share a studio with Brian Hurtt and he’s always drawing nutty stuff in The Sixth Gun and it looks like so much fun. Sowhen I was writing Ether, I purposefully seedes a ton of really fun oddball visuals into iit because I was looking forward to drawing all of it. But, as a creator, I have a problem. Creatively, I’m like a starving man at an all-you-can-eat buffet. I want ALL of the food – but the reality is my stomach is only so big. And my time that I can dedicate to projects is limited as well. I can’t draw more than one monthly comic (Dept. H) which is going to keep me occupied for the next couple of years. But I really was excited to get Ether going anyway. And David was available. I am a huge fan of his work. His book “Hero” is just amazing. He’s an artistic genius. And honestly, his availability convinced me to give up the idea of drawing Ether myself – since I knew what he was turning in would be better than anything I could do. The choice was easy.

GP: You’ve done a lot of series where you’ve written it and done the art as well. What’s different in your process when you’re working with an artist as opposed to just on your own?

MK: It’s different every time. Even when I’m drawing it for myself. Each book I’ve worked on is completely different and always driven by the content. I sometimes wish I had it “all figured out” process-wise. And I’m aware that there are formulas for this kind of stuff – but it’s so boring that way. Half the fun of taking on a new project is that adrenalin and terror I feel right before I’ve figure it all out and all the pieces fall into place. It’s the difference between figuring out a puzzle or riddle on your own or just googling the answer and finishing it. If you cheat and look up the answers you don’t get that thrill of discovery – which is honestly the best part of writing and making comics.

When you introduce an artist that’s not yourself into the mix – it makes it that more interesting. Now you’ve got a new personality and talent in the mix. So it become more like a team effort – and playing/writing to the strengths of both of us. I love working with someone as talented as David – so that the scripts I end up writing become more like suggestions rather than dictates.

ether-1-pg-04Since I’d initially planned on drawing the entire thing, I had character sketches and ideas for some of the look of the characters that I sent that to David after asking him if he wanted to see ‘em. I hesitated – I didn’t want to sort of poison his creative well you know? But he was interested so I sent them along with the pitch and outline for the series and he took it on himself to draw over twenty pages worth of set designs and characters and other elements that we could weave into the story. David’s imagination is boundless really. He’s one of those rare artists that writers get to work with, where they just take an idea and run with it – making it visually bigger and crazier than anything you’d been picturing.

GP: The worlds and how they work seem to be pretty thought our. How much have you sketched out and put together about the magical world? Are there rules you’ve created with how things work as an example?

MK: It’s pretty well mapped out. That was a lot of the fun and attraction of creating this series – the world building. Getting to come up with a new world completely from scratch which is something I haven’t gotten to really do before. I’ve re-worked our Earth in MIND MGMT in some fun ways – but it was always based on an existing sort of architecture. With Ether, I got to play creative god in a lot of ways. But it’s not all just arbitrary.

There aren’t necessarily rules for all of Ether – instead – each little pocket and neighborhood in Ether has its own set of rules. Ether is really based on every myth that’s ever been written or imagined. That’s how the entire Ether was created – sprung out of the minds of all humanity from all of history. So this is where all the afterlife’s reside…all of the mythical beasts and creatures – but they’re all sort of relegated to their own neighborhoods. They can meet and mingle – and at the edges, that’s where the friction in the Ether happens. When opposing cultures and ideas sort of butt up against each other. There’s not a lot of “made up” ideas or creatures or characters in the Ether – everything in it is based on myth and folklore and things that we’re all kind of aware of or read about or have seen in fairy tales and that kind of thing.

ether-1-pg-05GP: Something I’ve loved about your work is the amount of small details you put into the comics. Mind MGMT had all of the items in the margins and added so much to the series. The end of the first issue had the creature guide at the end, but do you have ongoing plans for the series?

MK: For sure. You know I love a good plan! That said, each issue sort of dictates what the “extras” are going to be. A lot of times I’d leave the back covers or inside illustrations until last – so I can stand back and see what that particular issue is really about. Then I can go in and use the extra stuff, the back covers, the inside front covers – the little details – to shade the issue – to give the reader a new insight into it or make them feel a little differently about what they’ve just read. Or give them an epiphany when they go back and look at it again. It’s really fun to plant those little mental time-bombs at the beginning or at the end and have them go off after you’ve read the issue. So yeah, we’ll have maps and diagrams and excerpts from books and all kinds of crazy things seeded into each issue. I really want every issue to be a kind of strange art-object/artifact. That’s what keeps the monthly issues vital to me. Making that single issue experience unique.

GP: As a writer, having a magical world where you can literally do anything, how do you keep it focused and not go over the top?

MK: Characters ground the story – which allows me to go over the top on everything else. I think one thing that doesn’t change when I write a story – from project to project is my general overall approach. And maybe that’s the thing, they way that I found my voice as a writer…is this approach…and it’s really just one question I constantly ask myself when I’m writing. “What if this happened…but for real.” It’s a sort of mental exercise that I do after I’ve got the “big idea” or concept for a story. I go back and attack from the POV of it actually happening. These characters become real and I put myself in their shoes. A simple explanation of how this works with my writing would be this: If you play video games, the next time you play a first-person shooter, or a jumping game – or anything where you control a “character” – approach that game as if you have only one life and if you die or miss your jump…it’s going to happen for real. Try it once and see how that makes you feel. It completely transforms the experience. I think a lot of writers end up writing and they’re writing like they have unlimited lives and can just reboot and they’re playing the same game over and over again…and I think that gets boring. It’s the same with that video game – as soon as you go in and approach that game as if you only have one life and it’s “for real” it completely changes your experience. It gives everything seemingly real stakes.

ether-1-pg-06GP: The first issue feels like it turns into a murder mystery. Was there a reason you went with this genre for the story specifically? You’ve also done a few of them, Dept. H is one. What draws you to that genre?

MK: Mysteries are like genres to me. They’re the hook to get you in to the story. The thing that keeps you motivated to turn the pages and it has to be good. It’s what I need as a reader and it’s fun to write, but ultimately, this story isn’t as much about the mystery as it is about the journey of Boone and his sort of growth as a human being that thinks he has an answer for everything being placed into a world that doesn’t necessarily want to be answered or classified or labeled. It’s what makes Sherlock Holmes such an enduring character. It wasn’t the fantastic nature of the mysteries he was solving that made the stories so great. It was the characters – the interplay between Watson and Holmes and his clients that makes the stories enduring.

GP: When creating the world, it feels like almost a Dr. Seuss vibe about it. Are there any influences on the series?

ether-1-pg-07MK: I can’t speak for David – but I completely get a Seuss vibe to it. And at first it really caught me off guard. The pages David was turning it were…they were just sheer FUN. I was writing what I thought was going to be this dour and dark meditation on obsession and loss. Really dark. And then when David’s art started coming in and I saw how his fun sort of cartooning and character design meshed with my words…it honestly shocked me. It’s like hearing a melody and then the harmony starts joining in and makes the song into something different and bigger and more powerful. I’ve never had a collaborative experience catch me off guard like that and surprise me. What Ether turned into is a testament to David’s personality and style.

GP: Any hints as to what we can expect?

MK: I’m not going to spoil it – but Boone has already lost a lot by the time we catch up to him. There’s a terrible twist to the entire story which relates to how the Ether works on its visitors…it’s definitely going to break your heart in a sucker-punchy kind of way. Hopefully (laughs).

But also fun!  – we’re going to see…a wizard giant, a 12-year-old-girl who happens to be the most dangerous  magician/scientist ever — and Boone’s worst nightmare. An army of oxidized copper robots, a city of insane, perverted immortals, and a mythical Manhattan at the center of the earth. And a grumpy, talking, purple ape – which no story is complete without!

Review: Ether #1

EtherIt’s strange for me sometimes to read a Matt Kindt book where he isn’t doing the art. I realize he’s made them, and his writing can stand on its own, but he leaves big shoes to fill as an artist in Ether #1. Well, I am happy to say that David Rubin rises to the occasion in a big way. One of the first things you’ll notice is the fantastic cover (the Lemire variant is also beautiful) where our hero, Boone is split between both Earth and the magical realm of Ether. It really catches the eye and is one of my favorite covers I’ve seen in awhile. I know you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but it is hard not to with comic books, and this cover should get people’s attention. Rubin’s art inside the book is just as good. He brings everything to life perfectly. The world of Ether sits somewhere beautiful, somewhere between ridiculous and spectacular. I feel like everything in the world of Ether has personality, and Rubin is a big part of that.

Magical books can be so much fun, and Matt Kindt makes sure that the story of Ether #1 is definitely full of that. Similar to titles like Doctor Strange, our main character Boone is a fun and quirky character who appears to be the hero this world needs. Now that doesn’t mean he is a sorcerer supreme, or that he wears a long cape. Boone Dias is an investigator and a scientist, and he has business in the capital city of Ether, which is named Agartha. The gatekeeper between worlds, Glum, who is a high functioning primate of some sorts (baboon maybe) tells Boone he is needed on a very important mission. Also, I must mention the way Boone passes between the worlds is hilarious. Glum basically throws him like a baseball, and each time he ends up landing painfully on the ground with a thud like it belonged in a Looney Tunes cartoon.

The world of the Ether is awesome. I found myself looking around at every panel and taking everything in. There’s a singing bird that is obnoxious but hilarious, grumpy sky lanterns, and a magic bullet that looks like a baby. A snail taxi, a bug compass, and well you get the idea. We also meet our big bad toward the end, and set up a much larger story that I cannot wait to continue. Ether deals with the silly in a fantastic way. It didn’t make me roll my eyes. It made me smile, laugh, and thoroughly enjoy this book from cover to ending. Kindt and Rubin have really built something special here, and I wish this was an ongoing series, and perhaps it will be someday.

Buy Ether #1. In my opinion, it’s got everything I’d ever want in a comic. Great writing, beautiful art, fun characters, mystery, magic, suspense, screaming birds, and a talking primate. If you like any of those things, then do yourself a favor and read this book.

Story: Matt Kindt Art: David Rubin
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Dark Horse provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

EtherWednesdays 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!

We’re bringing back something we haven’t done for a while, what the team thinks. Our contributors are choosing up to five books each week and why they’re choosing the books.

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

Alex

Top Pick: Britannia #3 (Valiant) – The story of the first detective, a man armed with the magical powers of deductive reasoning and primitive CSI-type knowledge is facing what could be a threat from the netherworld. This is brilliant stuff, and Valiant’s prestige format publication make this comic well worth your money for a physical copy, but it’s the story and artwork that have been so utterly amazing. There’s only four issues in the miniseries, so treat yourself and read all three this week if you haven’t taken the plunge.

Amazing Spider-Man #21 (Marvel) – The only reason I’m excited for this is because Scarlet Spider is on the cover, and I can never have enough Kaine.

Black Hammer #5 (Dark Horse) – I find that Jeff Lemire can be either really good or borderline unreadable. Here, he’s utterly fantastic, and his tale of superheroes trapped in a small town and being forced to live as normal people is fascinating as he explores the former heroes lives, and how they’re reacting to their new status quo. For some, it’s akin to paradise, and others it’s a living hell. Well worth a read if you want something different from your superhero comics.

Kill Or Be Killed #4 (Image Comics) – A vigilante tale that’s part Punisher, part Ghost Rider, and every bit as awesome as you’d expect from Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips.

Old Man Logan #13 (Marvel) – Perhaps because of the trailer released this month (which I’ve seen more than I’ll admit too), but I can’t wait to get my grubby mitts on this comic. One of the few remaining Marvel books on my pull list, this is another example of Jeff Lemire at the top of his game.

 

Joe

Top Pick: Ether #1 (Dark Horse) – It’s like the amazing art work on the cover by David Rubin has been taunting me ever since I first saw it. I have been waiting for this book for what seems like forever. Matt Kindt is writing this quirky series about a scientist detective who can go between Earth and another magical world, Ether. If you love fun, quirky stories with beautiful unique art, then this is the book for you. The cast of characters are over the top, and the plot seems to be as well. This is easily my top pick this week.

Old Man Logan #13 (Marvel) – The Last Ronin storyline has been brutal, and beautiful. Sorrentino is a very underrated artist and has been killing it on this series. Lemire is no slouch here either, and I love the way he captures Logan. While people are saying they miss the Wolverine they know and love, they should be reading this. It’s Wolverine as a retired Samurai basically. He’s trying to live his life in peace, but keeps getting pulled into the darkness of the world.

Kill or Be Killed #4 (Image) – Things were really ramping up in the last issue, and with the confidence of our main character up, it is safe to say that things are going to get worse before they get better. Brubaker is no stranger to pulp crime, but there’s something more here. This is throwing the question back at the reader, what is the right or wrong thing to do? If you had to kill someone to stay alive, who would it be? And that is a very dangerous question, holding even more dangerous answers.

Reborn #2 (Image Comics) – After an awesome first issue by Millar and Capullo, I cannot wait to see more of this fantasy world that they teased in the first book. Millar and Capullo together should be enough to get people to at least check this series out. They are two heavyweights in their craft, and they really seem to have something special here. The concept is awesome, the artwork is fantastic, and there is so much mystery that I cannot wait to uncover!

Black Hammer #5 (Dark Horse) – A Colonel Weird issue! I love the character driven issues of this series. We get to see a peak at our weird groups past, and really spend time to learn who each of them are now, and who they were in much happier times. So far, Colonel Weird has been floating (literally) in and out of the first four books, but this issue dives deep into exactly why he is the way he is, and gives us a peek at the Para-Zone he often references and visits. Lemire appears on my list for the second time, and it’s no coincidence, he is doing a fantastic job on this book as well!

 

Brett

Top Pick: SLAM! #1 (BOOM! Studios) – It’s the world of Roller Derby from Pamela Ribon and Veronica Fish. Two friends get drafted by two teams and have to navigate the world of Roller Derby and its impact on their friendship. The concept sounds great and the art I’ve seen so far is fantastic. This is one that sounds like a fresh concept and an interesting world to explore.

Infamous Iron Man #2 (Marvel) – The first issue which had Doom taking over the role of Iron Man was fascinating and this one too continues his exploration of becoming a hero. I have no doubt it won’t last long, but so far it’s been intriguing.

Thanos #1 (Marvel) – Jeff Lemire is an amazing writer and I had no idea what to expect when I read this first issue. It’s really solid and returns Thanos to being the badass that he is. I have no idea where it goes from here but it feels like it’ll be an epic.

Ether #1 (Dark Horse) – Matt Kindt, nuff said. 99% of what he does is amazing and this is no exception.

Lady Killer 2 #3 (Dark Horse) – We got a bit of a break between the last issue and this one, but I’m no less excited for it. 50s housewife who’s also a contract killer. It’s as dark and twisted as it sounds and it’s awesome.

 

Anthony

Top Pick: Ether #1 (Dark Horse) – Matt Kindt (Mind MGMT, Dept. H) and David Rubin (criminally under-appreciated The Fiction, The Rise of Aurora West) look to bring an intriguing tale of a man of science into a world of fantasy and magic. At this point, anything Matt Kindt has his name attached to should swivel more than a few heads. Plus, having David Rubin provide his flowing art style as well to the series is just about as great a collaboration you could ask for.

Black Hammer #5 (Dark Horse) Black Hammer may be the best superhero title on the stands. Each and every issue has dived into the backstory of a single character while also focusing on the present time and the various heroes’ dilemmas on being forced to be distanced from the very world they protected. This issue looks to focus on Colonel Weird.

Kill or Be Killed #4 (Image Comics) – This series has been unlike anything Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips and Elizabeth Breitweiser have done thus far and has been getting increasingly more and more intriguing as it continues forward. This issue marks the end of the first arc. Dylan is a very conflicted character that questions a lot about the world around him, observations that correlate to the anxieties of the real world outside the pages of the comic. These inklings of Dylan’s thoughts alongside the justifiable murders he must commit are what makes him such an interesting character. Kill or Be Killed is also the most playful form wise for this creative team, making each issue a treat for the eyes that really reinforces the unexpected journey that Dylan has been going on.

Sunny Vol. 6 (Viz Media) – Taiyo Matsumoto’s wonderful manga about a group of orphaned children living under the same roof comes to a conclusion in this final volume. Matsumoto has juggled with so many different voices throughout this series, allowing for each and every one of them to have a voice that matters. He displays images that provoke a sense of loneliness through the multiple characters, frustrated with their present sense of abandonment but also captures a sense of wonder and curiosity about the future ahead that is fantasized within the comfort of an abandoned car next to the children’s housing. Sunny strikes many chords and is deserving of more attention than it has already received.

« Older Entries