Tag Archives: dave sharpe

Review: X-O Manowar #23

X-O Manowar #23

Aric of Dacia may have left Planet Gorin behind, but its people still remember the ruin they felt in his wake…and so do the bounty hunters who sought to end his barbaric reign! Enraged by the blight on their perfect record, they’ve arrived on our world to finish the job they started – and this time, they don’t plan on taking X-O Manowar alive!

A question that often comes up in comic shops is whether you can start reading a series with the issue currently on the shelf, or if you need to start from the beginning. Valiant’s previews often claim that the start of a new arc is a good jumping on point (when coupled with the recap page and at times the reader’s willingness to accept things with only the barest of explanations) and they’re seldom wrong with that statement. As far as X-O Manowar #23 goes, this is a pretty good jumping on point should you choose to do so (though I feel obligated to tell you that the entire series is really good and worth the time and financial investment for your enjoyment).

Matt Kindt is able to establish the premise of this story remarkably quickly, and despite the fairly simple plot presented here, his writing is once again of the high quality one has come to associate with the writer. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not knocking the simple plot (it won’t take you long to realize this is a revenge story), because for me it was actually a selling point. Kindt’s ability to develop Aric’s character in a handful of panels demonstrates his understanding of the character, and gives us a discussion about human waste that, let’s be honest, most of us have wondered about.

Once again, Tomas Giorello is freaking amazing. His art transcends traditional comics and will have you rereading this comic just to look at the pictures (or maybe you’ll take your time reading the book because your eyes demand the time to drink in the visual spectacle before you.). Whether it’s the figures, the page layouts or the use of space, both figuratively and literally, this comic features some fantastic art. Genuinely, I can’t wait to see this in print.

The one nitpick I have, and it is minor, involves the arrival of certain characters on Earth. How they got where they did isn’t quite explained, and makes little sense to me, but is far from a story-breaking moment; I’ve a feeling it may be explained later in the arc, and if it isn’t there’s a chance I won’t remember it come the next issue. X-O Manowar has consistently been one of the better comic book series over the last couple of years, and this issue is a prime example of why.

Story: Matt Kindt Art: Tomas Giorello 
Colours: Diego Rodriguez Letters: Dave Sharpe 
Story: 9.2 Art: 10 Overall: 9.2 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review.

Review: Faith: Dreamside #4

A nightmare dressed like a daydream!

A young girl’s soul hangs in the balance as Faith Herbert and Doctor Mirage take on the terrifying demon Belu, who seeks to break through the Dreamside barrier into our world! Will Faith find it in herself to reignite her dream of becoming a hero – or will humanity be doomed to sleepless nights forever?

I’ve often found that four issue miniseries tend to suffer from a lot of build up and a rushed conclusion (or very little conclusion as the publisher wants to hook you into the second miniseries or trade paperback). Thankfully, and happily, that’s not the case here as Jody Houser closes out the story fantastically well. There are several emotional payoffs in the issue, and each one could have easily served as the conclusion to the book.

But this is titled as a Faith book, and so fittingly we end with the high flying super hero having her own self-revelation that serves as a brilliant cap on Jody Houser’s run up to this point, and allows her to take Faith in a fresh direction (mostly) unencumbered by the past.

Complimenting the writing is MJ Kim‘s superb anime-tinged artwork that is brought to a vivid life by Jordie Bellaire‘s colouring. There’s a lot to unpack when it comes to the art, and there’s very little justice that I can do to the versatility and intelligently crafted pages with only words. Instead, think about your favourite food. Whether that’s pizza, a Greek salad or a bacon cheeseburger drizzled with peanut butter (don’t knock it till you’ve tried it), whatever makes your mouth water. Think of that. Now that you’ve got your food, imagine that you’re pretty damn hungry, and you’ve… yeah, I’ve lost where I was going with this. In short, the art is striking. Kim’s page layouts, and the use of negative space between the panels is as powerful a story device as the imagery within the frames.

Houser’s run on Faith has been a personal highlight, and while I genuinely and sincerely hope she continues, if she doesn’t then this is a great way to move on (but seriously, Jody, please don’t go anywhere!). The hallmarks of a great Faith book are all here; the references to pop culture, Faith’s unique way of dealing with a situation that flies in the face of established tropes, and a genuine happiness that emanates from the pages; regardless of the story content, reading this comic just made me feel happy. This is what comics can do for you; push away the blues and remind you why you fell in love with comics in the first place.

Story: Jody Houser Art: MJ Kim
Colours: Jordie Bellaire Letters Dave Sharpe
Story: 9.2 Art: 9 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: X-O Manowar #22

X-O Manowar #22

The thrilling finale to “AGENT!”

With the help of Atom-13, X-O Manowar has succeeded in beating back the forces of the Unknown… But the militant leader of New Eden, now known as the Cartographer, may have yet another surprise up his sleeve.

There’s nothing quite as satisfying as seeing a story wrap up in a way that does justice to all the characters involved and loose ends dangling, and wrapping up very well at that. There is, suitaby, a couple of threads left to be pulled in the future, but only threads that will leave you hungering for the moment they’re finally pulled.

Matt Kindt continues to show why he’s writing Valiant’s highest profile character (until the Bloodshot movie comes out next year, at least) as he keeps X-O Manowar among the very best comics that the market has to offer. Not in the least because the undertones of the series deal with questions around the nature of individual freedoms verses one’s service to their country (or planet) and their loyalty to family and friends. Kindt weaves these questions within a great conclusion, but takes care not to answer them specifically, leaving the reader to make their own decision as to where they come down in the grand scheme of things.

I hold both Juan Jose Ryp and Andrew Dalhouse in high esteem based on their previous work, and this issue gives a brilliant example of why. Despite the darker tones of the story as individual freedoms clash with the various multi-dimensional militaries, the comic is wonderfully bright and easy to follow  through the various clashes – the juxtaposition often seeming at odds with each other in a dual assault on the senses.

When I fist picked up this series, I didn’t honestly expect to love it as much as I currently do; Kindt has created a marvelous overarching story where each issue has built upon the last, and yet he has also been able to make each new arc easily approachable for new readers. It’s a remarkable feat, but then at this point I wouldn’t expect anything else from one of comics brightest lights.

Story: Matt Kindt Art: Juan Jose Ryp 
Colours: Andrew Dalhouse Letters: Dave Sharpe
Story: 9.2 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.1 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Sasquatch Detective

She’s a Sasquatch. She’s also a Detective. She’s Sasquatch Detective! The back-up featured from Exit Stage Left gets collected and an additional 30 page origin story.

Sasquatch Detective is by Brandee Stillwell, Ron Randall, Ross Campbell, Dave Sharpe, Gustavo Vazquez, and Chris Sotomayor.

Get your copy in comic shops now! To find a comic shop near you, visit www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon/comiXology/Kindle
TFAW

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site

Review: X-O Manowar #21

XO2017_021_COVER-C_TOWE

The Brothers of the Bomb explode onto the scene!

The Brothers of the Bomb have invaded our world, and only the armored Visigoth vanguard known as X-O Manowar can stand between them and total devastation! But they aren’t alone…other fatal forces from the Unknown are fast approaching, too…

X-O Manowar is a series that has always been at its best when Aric of Dacia finds himself torn between two rival factions and is forced to make a choice between the two – usually this results in him choosing a side or forcing a standstill in the conflict. But it’s always the how and the why that makes these stories so engaging. Matt Kindt has already woven an epic story around these themes as Aric went from soldier to general to emperor earlier in the series, by returning to the theme we see another facet of the character as he acts more as an instrument, as a weapon, for others to wield. What pulls me in with this angle is that after the recent events in the series, Aric is aware of the role he is playing, and simply doesn’t care. This is a man who is searching for a purpose, and when he finds it he throws himself at the new purpose with a near reckless abandon – bringing to mind the youthful exuberance we’ve seen in flashback sequences.

For as far as Aric has come, as wise as he and the armour can be, sometimes one gets the sense he longs for the simpler life that was stolen from him.

But putting the philosophizing aside, and getting back to the comic (this is, after all, a review of X-O Manowar #21 and not a character analysis of Aric of Dacia), the story of X-O Manowar #21 is brought to life by artist Juan Jose Ryp and colorist Andrew Dalhouse. Ryp and Dalhouse are as visually exciting as you would expect from two artists with as much talent as they have. Page layouts, camera angles and even the way the boarders and gutters are used lend a dynamically exciting frame to the action within the story. Ryp’s trademark hyper-detailed style is on top form here, and Dalhouse flourishes each page with an expert use of colour that is often brightly at odds with the tense scenes occurring on the page. It’s a dichotomy that works.

At the end of the day, if you have been reading this series, then you’re going to love what you’ve seen so far. If you haven’t, then there’s only two or three issues you’d need to pick up in order to catch up fully with this comic (though you could probably read this as a starting point and be fine) – and I genuinely recommend that you check this out. X-O Manowar is a superbly entertaining series that questions the nature of freewill, purpose and even heroism. It shouldn’t be left on the comic shop racks.

Story: Matt Kindt Art: Juan Jose Ryp
Colors: Andrew Dalhouse Letters: Dave Sharpe
Story: 8.6 Art: 9.2 Overall: 8.9 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Faith: Dreamside #3

FAITH_DS_003_COVER-A_SAUVAGEWhat dreams may come?

Welcome to the Dreamside, a magical realm where oddities dwell and imaginations thrive. But is this unusual new paradise truly all that it seems on the surface? Together, Faith and Doctor Mirage are about to find that behind the frills and fantasy, there may lurk nightmares…and they’re hunting for Animalia!

Jody Houser‘s run on Faith has been long – twenty issues over two four part mini series and a twelve issue ongoing, not counting Faith: Dreamside  and I can honestly say I have enjoyed each and every issue since the first miniseries flew off the shelves and into my hands. Some more than others, but not one has been a waste of my $4.

When it comes to the visuals that have accompanied Houser’s writing, the same isn’t quite as true. Most of the art I’ve thoroughly enjoyed, but some has been a touch hit or miss for me – but then art is always subjective, and where I may not find some of the comics to be as appealing to the eye as others, that doesn’t mean that you will agree with me.

Case in point, this issue. The art is technically very solid; MJ Kim uses an anime inspired style for much of the comic, which is very in keeping with the story and the events occurring on the page, and while the style usually wouldn’t quite be my cup of tea, I do appreciate its use in this issue as it highlights certain aspects of the Dreamside. As Faith and Doctor Mirage traverse the land of the dead, they’re exposed to a world where the natural rules don’t always apply – is the land inspired by those living within it, or does this part of the Dreamside just happen to be oddly bright and pleasant? The question is answered, at least visually, within the first few pages of the comic, and it’s a revelation  that I really enjoyed – and probably found it far more surprising than I really should have, if I am being completely honest.

Faith: Dreamsidehas become a fun diversion in the Valiant Universe after the rather chaotic and at times lackluster results of Harbinger Wars II, reminding fans and readers alike just what the company is capable of when not trying to write the next Epic Crossover event. Within this issue we see some brilliantly subtle nods to pop culture (and some pretty overt ones as befits the characters of Faith and Animalia), a condensed yet suitably epic journey and confrontation with a conclusion that sets up the fourth and final issue in the series magnificently. I can honestly say I didn’t expect to enjoy this story as much as I currently am.

Story: Jody Houser Art: MJ Kim
Colours: Jordie Bellaire Letters: Dave Sharpe
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.2 Overall: 8.4 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Quantum And Woody #12

QW2017_012_COVER-B-(EXTREME-ULTRA-FOIL)_SHAWThe major leagues are calling!

Now that Eric and Woody Henderson know they have what it takes to save the day, they finally have a shot at going pro – and they’re in luck, because UNITY might just be making a comeback! But the brothers aren’t ready for primetime just yet…they still have to audition for their spots, under the watchful eyes of G.A.T.E. and X-O Manowar!

Look, I won’t try to deny I am genuinely saddened that this is the final issue of Eliot Rahal‘s run on Quantum And Woody, let alone that it’s also the final issue of the current series for the two Henderson brothers. But I’m at least happy to see the series go out on a high note. A very high note. High enough to shatter the glass in your hand, if you want to take the analogy a little farther.

Francis Portella‘s art is coloured by Andrew Dalhouse, and captures Rahal’s swan song story with ease. With the story focusing on the brothers’ heavily encouraged audition for Unity, Valiant’s premier superhuman team, the story focuses on X-O Manowar putting Quantum and Woody through their paces in an amazingly understated work of art. Portella’s work here is super clean and easy to read, his judicious use of blank space an effective way of highlighting the emotional turmoil and internal conflict of certain characters within the comic. The grid work and panel layout are as simplistic and exciting as you would hope – often in the same dynamically constructed page. There are splash pages, traditional grids and enough eye catching imagery to give the reader a spectacular experience.

Yes, it’s the final issue, but I’m still trying to be vague so as to avoid spoilers for those wanting to go into the comic blind.

Somehow, with the last issue of the series, Eliot Rahal has demonstrated his amazing knack for getting into a character’s head and using that understanding to deliver some of the best comics you’ll read. He’s done it for Valiant before with the Archer and Armstrong Divinity III tie in, and once again with the finale of Quantum And Woody. Rahal questions what it is to be a hero, and the various shapes of heroism present in a costumed adventurers daily life – do you need to be constantly saving the world to earn your hero badge, or do you need to save somebody’s world? That Rahal is able to question the nature of superheroism whilst giving us a compelling single issue story is perhaps the highlight of the entire twelve issue run. It also has the benefit of being a brilliant introduction to the characters within the comic, which leaves me in a fairly unique position. It doesn’t matter that this is the final issue in the series, because it is such a fine example of comic book creativity it demands to be read by any and all with an interest in the medium.

When it comes to Quantum and Woody Valiant certainly saved the best for the last, and it’s a shame to see the series end on such a brilliant story. All I wanted after finishing this issue was to count down the days to the next issue – but that, ultimately isn’t going to happen. Like I said, it’s a shame.

Story: Eliot Rahal Art: Francis Portella
Colours: Andrew Dalhouse Letters: Dave Sharpe
Story: 9.1 Art: 8.8 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Quantum and Woody! (2017) #12

QUANTUM AND WOODY! (2017) #12

Written by ELIOT RAHAL
Art by FRANCIS PORTELA
Colors by ANDREW DALHOUSE
Letters by DAVE SHARPE
Cover A by AJ JOTHIKUMAR
Cover B (Extreme Ultra-Foil) by GEOFF SHAW
Variant Cover by JIM MAHFOOD
Pre-Order Edition by MATT HORAK

The major leagues are calling!

Now that Eric and Woody Henderson know they have what it takes to save the day, they finally have a shot at going pro – and they’re in luck, because UNITY might just be making a comeback! But the brothers aren’t ready for primetime just yet…they still have to audition for their spots, under the watchful eyes of G.A.T.E. and X-O Manowar!

Start stretching now, ‘cuz you don’t want to pull a muscle when rising star writer Eliot Rahal (The Paybacks) and fan-favorite artist Francis Portela (FAITH) begin tryouts for the biggest and best superhero team around in this sensational one-shot finale!

$3.99 | 32 pgs. | T+ | On Sale NOVEMBER 21nd

Preview: Britannia: Lost Eagle of Rome #4 (of 4)

BRITANNIA: LOST EAGLES OF ROME #4 (of 4)

Written by PETER MILLIGAN
Art by ROBERT GILL
Colors by JOSÉ VILLARRUBÍA
Letters by DAVE SHARPE
Cover A by DAVID MACK
Cover B by ROBERT GILL
Variant Cover by RAFA GARRES

At last, the mystery of the lost eagles revealed!

Deep within the heart of Egypt, there is unrest…and Antonius and Achillia have stumbled right into the middle of it! On the hunt for the Roman Empire’s missing banners at the behest of Emperor Nero, history’s first detective and his fearsome gladiatrix companion find themselves on the brink of many revelations: Who is responsible for the plagues threatening their Roman brethren? And who is this new revolutionary calling himself Pharaoh?

Legendary writer Peter Milligan (Detective Comics) and visceral artist Robert Gill (BOOK OF DEATH) close Antonius Axia’s most incredible case yet as the final chapter of “LOST EAGLES OF ROME” is revealed!

$3.99 | 32 pgs. |  VALIANT PRESTIGE | T+ | On Sale OCTOBER 31st

Preview: Faith: Dreamside #2

FAITH: DREAMSIDE #2 (of 4)

Written by JODY HOUSER
Art by MJ KIM
Colors by JORDIE BELLAIRE
Letters by DAVE SHARPE
Cover A by MARGUERITE SAUVAGE
Cover B by SIBYLLINE MEYNET
Pre-Order Edition by DAVID LAFUENTE

Don’t go to sleep…

Something strange in your neighborhood? Renowned ghost whisperer Shan Fong Mirage knows how to fix it. But it’s going to take more than stories of supernatural-tinged nightmares to convince her that the young psiot Animalia truly needs her spiritual guidance… Now it’s up to Faith, L.A.’s highest-flying hero and Doctor Mirage’s number one fangirl, to get the world’s leading parapsychologist to take the case!

Renowned writer Jody Houser (Doctor Who) and rising star MJ Kim (FAITH’S WINTER WONDERLAND SPECIAL #1) prepare Valiant’s fan-favorite defender for an adventure through the land of dreams!

$3.99 | 32 pgs. |  T+ | On Sale OCTOBER 31st

« Older Entries