Tag Archives: dave sharpe

Review: Kaiju Score #1

Take your typical story about an elaborate robbery but add in the obstacle of a Kaiju attack. That’s the concept of Kaiju Score, a new series whose buzz is well justified.

Story: James Patrick
Art: Rem Broo
Letterer: Dave Sharpe

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

comiXology
Kindle
Zeus Comics

AfterShock provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
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Review: We Live #2

It’s the future and humanity is facing extinction. Only 5,000 children will be saved by an unknown “alien” entity but must make it to an extraction point by a certain time. This is the story of one group of kids trying to do so.

We Live #2 holds up and continues and amazing debut with another issue that’ll get you to gasp.

Story: Inaki Miranda, Roy Miranda
Art: Inaki Miranda
Color: Eva De La Cruz
Letterer: Dave Sharpe

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

comiXology
Kindle
Zeus Comics

AfterShock provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy 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: RAI #9

RAI #9

The critically-acclaimed post-apocalyptic epic races onward in RAI #9! As Rai faces his strongest foe yet, the curtain is pulled back on this sci-fi world, revealing the dark secrets that lurk underneath. Rai and Raijin believe they’ve found sanctuary in the city of New Ur. Meanwhile, Spylocke determines there may be one last hope to defeat Bloodfather: Ray Garrison. Can she reach the former one-many army or has he succumbed to their arch nemesis?

There is no doubt whatsoever that RAI is Valiant’s best title right now, and in my mind one of the top three titles on the racks (it’s certainly the most consistent in quality). Which brings me to a strange conundrum; the consistency and quality of the book is such that beyond talking about the plot itself, there’s little that I haven’t already written about the comic left to say.

It’s honestly a lovely situation to be in.

The following two paragraphs are taken from my review of the previous issue, not because I’m lazy, but because rather than rewrite the same thing in a different way, I’m being economical with our time. If you read the review of the last issue then you can skip them – if not, then you should really check it out.

There’s no question in my mind anymore that Rai is one of the absolute best series from any publisher currently being published. It is unquestionably Valiant’s best. The first volume of the series has been collected in trade, and you can find my reviews of the first, second, third, and fourth issues at those links. Initially, the series took me by surprise – given how much I loved the precursor, Fallen World, I wasn’t expecting to enjoy Rai as much as I have. Every issue has been near perfection. The theme of the series has the inclusion of technology in our lives and the potential future we face with an over-reliance on the devices in our hands, pockets, and on our wrists. One could argue I’m reading too much into the comics, but I’d like to counter that. After all, what a reader takes from a book can be different depending on their perspective, and I know there’s too much technology in my life already.

The core concept of the series has been remarkably simple in that Rai and his younger brother figure who is also an older model android, Raijin (it’s not actually as confusing as it sounds, but to fully understand it you may want to circle back through the first volume of Rai written by Matt Kindt), are searching for Offspirng. Pieces of artificially intelligent code that when returned to Bloodfather will make him nigh unstoppable. Each issue centers around Rai and Raijin and their search for more Offspring, giving the series it’s overarching plot line while allowing Dan Abnett to have each issue effectively tell either a whole story or the first (or second) half of one. It’s in these single issues that Abnett explores the various subtexts that lend themselves so well to science fiction.

Back with me?

Okay. After RAI #8 left our heroes confronting a positronic citizen who had absorbed two of Father’s Seeds, RAI #9 picks up as Rai, Raijin and their human companion Alice enter New Ur to learn more about this potential new ally in the war for the planet’s freedom. It’s a slightly slower issue than we’ve seen before, but no less engaging as Raijin tries to puzzle out what his brother is thinking whilst navigating the city’s prejudice to any non-positronic being. Specifically, Alice, who Raijin is determined to protect. There are some great moments in the book, brought to life by Juan José Ryp in is insanely detailed art style; it constantly amazes me how much he packs into each panel and yet it never distracts from what he wants your eye to be drawn to – it’s a unique balance that Ryp strikes, and it elevates every comic he works on.

His detailed yet gentle style has always been among my favourite art styles for action books, and the lack of heavy inking only serves to emphasize the beauty of the art. Man, Ryp’s art is every bit as good as the story, and elevates the comic to an entirely new level. Coloured by Andrew Dalhouse, the visual presentation of the book is near flawless. I’ve been a huge fan of both Ryp and Dalhouse ever since I first saw their work in a Valiant book, and I have never been disappointed by either man’s work; this book, much like every other in the series, is no exception.

There’s a less immediate threat present in RAI #9, but it’s still present just below the surface, giving the comic a sense of building tension that we’ll see playout in the not too distant future (possibly, for example, Rai #10) as Raijin, Alice and Rai find themselves caught in a situation that they may need to fight their way out of.

The subplot of the comic finds Spylocke trying to rescue what’s left of Bloodshot’s mind from deep within Father’s AI in the hopes that the former soldier can assist them in the war to come. It’s a very digitized segment, and much like any images depicting future hacking (or even a visual interpretation of hacking that’s more than a person at a keyboard), you’ll see some strangely sweeping images that wouldn’t look out of place in a comic about LSD and acid. It’s a unusual combination, but one that’s entirely welcome for the juxtaposition in the images it creates in the comic.

With RAI #9, Abnett, Ryp, Dalhouse, and letterer Dave Sharpe have, yet again, delivered a phenomenal comic; if you’ve not been reading the book so far, then this is an excellent time to pick up the trades and find out what you’ve been missing.

Hint: it’s great.

Story: Dan Abnett Artist: Juan José Ryp
Colorist: Andrew Dalhouse Letter: Dave Sharpe

Story: 9.4 Art: 9.8 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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We Live #1 Gets a Third Printing

We Live is a hit with the first issue going into a third printing. This is only the second time a comic from AfterShock has gone to a third printing.

The year is 2084 and the world has changed. Wracked by calamities and crawling with monsters, the last remaining humans face a dangerous existence.

And now, the Earth has been sent a message from the deepest reaches of space – a dark countdown to the extinction of all humanity. But there is hope! Five thousand children will be rescued by these mysterious message-senders.

This is the journey of Hototo, one of the lucky five thousand – but only if his teenage sister, Tala, can safely deliver him to the nearest Beacon before time runs out.

We Live is written by Inaki Miranda and Roy Miranda with art by Inaki Miranda, color by Eva de la Cruz, and lettering by Dave Sharpe. You can check out our reviews of the first issue here and here.

We Live #1

Review: Dark Nights: Metal Infinite Hour Exxxtreme!

Dark Nights: Death Metal Infinite Hour Exxxtreme!

Dark Nights: Death Metal has been a mixed bag of an event. Often, the one-shot tie-ins have been better than the main series. They’ve also been vital to the main story. The one-shots have filled in gaps fleshing out key moments not taking place in the main series but referenced there. Dark Nights: Death Metal Infinite Hour Exxxtreme! is Lobo’s mission in the event. Hired by Lex Luthor, Lobo is tasked with obtaining Death Metal which can remake the universe. Made up of a trio of stories, Dark Nights: Death Metal Infinite Hour Exxxtreme! is a flimsy one-shot. In the end, it’s a comic that’s neither exciting, interesting, or funny.

Frank Tieri kicks off the first story “Part I: The Batman Who Frags“. In a drawn out sequence, Lobo bounces between trying to drink, capture a bounty, and also tangles with the Lobo version of Batman, The Batman Who Frags. Tieri is joined by artist Tyler Kirkham, colorist Arif Prinato, and letterer Dave Sharpe. As has hampered some of Dark Nights: Death Metal, the story feels like it’s more focused on introducing the Lobo Batman than actually getting the story going. With a distraction of a bounty to bring in, some fights and events that are a bit choppy, the kick-off never quite makes sense in its narrative. Why did The Batman Who Frags show up? How did he find Lobo? It’s a segment that kicks off a series of events rather than a flowing narrative.

The second part by Becky Cloonan, artist Rags Morales, colorist Andrew Dalhouse, and letterer Rob Leigh is titled “What the Frag is a Death Metal Anyway!?“. Blackhawk Island and Hawkman are at the center as Lobo tracks down the Death Metal. Again, the story devolves into a series of events than narrative as Lobo must tussle with Black Monday and then convince Hawkman to turn over the metal. An attack from the air by The Batman Who Frags feels out of the blue and not explained enough as much of what happens. It, just happens. Why would Hawkman trust Lobo? Why wouldn’t Hawkman use the power of the Death Metal himself? There are so many questions out there that just kills the narrative if one takes a moment to think about it at all.

Wrapping up the trio of stories is “Lobo Land!” from writer Sam Humphries, artist Denys Cowan, inks by Bill Sienkiewicz, colorist Chris Sotomayor, and letterer Dave Sharpe. With the Death Metal in hand Lobo does what he does best and gets distracted. Again, it adds little to the narrative and again opens up questions. Lex Luthor was able to snatch Lobo initially but doesn’t once he has the metal?

Instead, Brainiac is part of the story sent by a missing Luthor. It’s a series of jokes as Lobo changes realities creating different versions of himself in a series of one-page jokes. They’re not even long enough to nail down the joke with barely a setup. It also adds little to the story and feels more of an exit that’s created because there were pages to fill and unsure of a way to wrap up the issue for Dark Nights: Death Metal #5. What the team does evoke is classic Lobo stories and the kinetic, almost Mad Magazine-like rapid-fire jokes.

Dark Nights: Death Metal Infinite Hour Exxxtreme! is just an ok tie-in. Yes, it probably tells something important that won’t be covered in the main series but it also doesn’t feature enough to stand out. It feels like something that probably could have been told in a few pages stretched out to over 30. Most of it is filler with the meat of the story featuring little explanation and a resolution that takes place in a few panels. It’s about as filler as filler gets.

Story: Frank Tieri, Becky Cloonan, Sam Humphries Art: Tyler Kirkham, Rags Morales, Denys Cowan
Ink: Bill Sienkiewicz Color: Arif Prianto, Andrew Dalhouse, Chris Sotomayor Letterer: Dave Sharpe, Rob Leigh
Story: 5.0 Art: 7.5 Overall: 5.0 Recommendation: Pass

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Preview: RAI #9

RAI #9

Written by DAN ABNETT
Art by JUAN JOSÈ RYP
Colors by ANDREW DALHOUSE
Letters by DAVE SHARPE 
Cover A by FRITZ CASAS
Cover B by FERNANDO DAGNINO
Preorder Variant Cover by DAVID NAKAYAMA
On sale NOVEMBER 11th | 32 pages, full color | $3.99 US | T+

The critically-acclaimed post-apocalyptic epic races onward!

As Rai faces his strongest foe yet, the curtain is pulled back on this sci-fi world, revealing the dark secrets that lurk underneath.

RAI #9

Review: Savage Circus #1

Savage Circus #1

There’s some classic stories that take place during Christmas. While many will think of classics that have to do with specifically with the holiday and celebrations it’s those that use it as a backdrop that are more entertaining to me. Die Hard and Gremlins are two examples and two of my favorite films. Savage Circus #1 reminds me of both of those not just with the setting but even the concept to some degree.

Savage Circus #1 presents a collision course of a first issue. Some of the comic is about a traveling circus called the Savage Circus whose features are the most dangerous creatures out there. In a small town, a gang is pulling off a job to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars. All of this is happening during a snowstorm during Christmas. You can see where all of the plots come together for what will be a wild ride of crime and strange creatures destroying things. And the first issue is laser-focused on setting that all up.

Written by Brendan Columbus, there’s something very familiar about this debut. And that’s not a bad thing at all. The characters all fit their roles and clearly are built on types we’ve seen before with relationships we’ve seen before. And in that way it’s good as we can easily dive into the story focused on the setup and whatever is eventually to come. We don’t need a lot of depth and backstory to the characters because Columbus quickly establishes for us as to who they are.

Al Barrionuevo‘s art helps establish that familiarity and ease. With colors by Candice Han and lettering by Dave Sharpe, the art leans heavily into the familiar. Again, that’s not a bad thing at all. It sets up the town and world easily and allows us to dive in quickly with the numerous moving parts. The local police have a familiar look to themselves that immediately tells us it’s a small town. Those in the town have a blue-collar aspect about them letting us know this isn’t a wealthy community but one that’s struggling. It helps get us through the intro and to the main attraction coming in the second issue.

Savage Circus #1 is an interesting debut. While I wish it got more towards what’s coming, it balances all of its moving parts well. There’s a familiarity about it that allowed me to sink into the story waiting for what’s to come. I wasn’t caught up in the details or each character’s personality, each fits a “role”. Instead, we’re getting a “disaster” story where the action, thrills, and kills, will be the draw. The first issue is the quiet before that storm.

Story: Brendan Columbus Art: Al Barrionuevo
Color: Candice Han Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

Heavy Metal Entertainment provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Review: Rai #8

Rai #8

Sci-fi masterminds Dan Abnett and Juan José Ryp pull you further into their futuristic landscape in Rai #8! Rai and Raijin’s quest leads them to a Positronic utopia! Except peace is never as peaceful as it looks. Will the pair preserve or perish?

In some ways, reviewing this series is both a blessing and a bit of a headache. The creative team are so damn consistent, that I’m almost running out of new things to say about a series. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because the consistency of Rai is an incredible strength to the series and I look forward to reading it more than any other book each month – it was the book I was most excited for when comics began shipping again.

The following two paragraphs are taken from my review of the previous issue, not because I’m lazy, but because rather than rewrite the same thing in a different way, I’m being economical with our time. If you read the review of the last issue then you can skip them – if not, then you should really check it out.

There’s no question in my mind anymore that Rai is one of the absolute best series from any publisher currently being published. It is unquestionably Valiant’s best. The first volume of the series has been collected in trade, and you can find my reviews of the first, second, third, and fourth issues at those links. Initially, the series took me by surprise – given how much I loved the precursor, Fallen World, I wasn’t expecting to enjoy Rai as much as I have. Every issue has been near perfection. The theme of the series has the inclusion of technology in our lives and the potential future we face with an over-reliance on the devices in our hands, pockets, and on our wrists. One could argue I’m reading too much into the comics, but I’d like to counter that. After all, what a reader takes from a book can be different depending on their perspective, and I know there’s too much technology in my life already.

The core concept of the series has been remarkably simple in that Rai and his younger brother figure who is also an older model android, Raijin (it’s not actually as confusing as it sounds, but to fully understand it you may want to circle back through the first volume of Rai written by Matt Kindt), are searching for Offspirng. Pieces of artificially intelligent code that when returned to Bloodfather will make him nigh unstoppable. Each issue centers around Rai and Raijin and their search for more Offspring, giving the series it’s overarching plot line while allowing Dan Abnett to have each issue effectively tell either a whole story or the first (or second) half of one. It’s in these single issues that Abnett explores the various subtexts that lend themselves so well to science fiction.

Back with me?

Perfect. Rai #8 ratchets up the tension as Rai, Raijin and their human companion Alice encounter a city of positronics in their search for Offspring, pieces of AI code they must destroy to prevent the evil Father from being able to exert his influence over the lands. We’re also given a look at how some outsiders are welcome in any society, but others are shunned and ignore – often for things far out of their own control. It’s not uncomfortable, nor is it overly obvious, but it’s the subtleties of Juan Jose Ryp’s artwork that really sells the scene.

Speaking of the art, Jose Ryp’s artwork is once again brilliant. His detailed yet gentle style has always been among my favourite art styles for action books, and the lack of heavy inking only serves to emphasize the beauty of the art. Man, Ryp’s art is every bit as good as the story, and elevates the comic to an entirely new level. Coloured by Andrew Dalhouse, the visual presentation of the book is near flawless. I’ve been a huge fan of both Ryp and Dalhouse ever since I first saw their work in a Valiant book, and I have never been disappointed by either man’s work; this book, muxh like every other in the series, is no exception.

Is Rai #8 a perfect comic? No, but it’s damn close. I don’t know that I could find any fault in the story, art, or presentation if I tried – and I tried (I try to make sure I’m not being too blinded by a comic, after all). Again, this is the one book I am most excited for each month, and each month I’ve never been let down. Truly one of the very best books on the racks.

Story: Dan Abnett Artist: Juan Jose Ryp
Colorist: Andrew Dalhouse Letter: Dave Sharpe

Story: 9.8 Art: 9.8 Overall: 9.8 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Preview: RAI #8

RAI #8

Written by DAN ABNETT
Art by JUAN JOSÈ RYP
Colors by ANDREW DALHOUSE
Letters by DAVE SHARPE 
Cover A by WALT SIMONSON
Cover B by BRET BLEVINS
Preorder Variant Cover by KANO
On sale OCTOBER 21st | 32 pages, full color | $3.99 US | T+

Sci-fi masterminds Dan Abnett and Juan José Ryp pull you further into their futuristic landscape!

Rai and Raijin’s quest leads them to a Positronic utopia! Except peace is never as peaceful as it looks. Will the pair preserve or perish?

RAI #8

Review: Bloodshot #9

Bloodshot #9

In a world overrun with monsters, only Bloodshot can end Hell on Earth in Bloodshot #9! What does the gripping conclusion of “Burned” mean for the future of Bloodshot?

The strength of Tim Seeley‘s Bloodshot run has often been the sense of urgency of the story, and the speed in which things happen, which when brought to life by an all-star cast of artistic talent has often had the effect of throwing you into a John Wick film. The series has been relentless. A breath of excitement borne from the action movie pace of the comic; when it’s good, it’s very good. The three-part The Burned arc has taken the action-packed formula to heart and has added in some subtle elements like Godzilla sized monsters.

Oddly, despite the grand theatrics on display, Bloodshot #9 falls flatter than previous entries in the series. There’s a lack of cohesiveness to the comic that’s most evident when it tries to pull of the grand reveal/finale only to leave you wondering what happened.

Without explicitly spoiling the comic I can’t get into specifics, so skip this paragraph if you want to go in blind. Bloodshot, his nanites and Eidolon have concocted a plan to spread his consciousness over two bodies with one being active at once to allow him to move from one place to another in a breath. While I appreciate the originality of the idea, for me it felt like it was used more as a device to cut the length of the story out of necessity rather than as an exploration of what the character is capable of (with assistance from others), and because of the lack of foreshadowing the moment came off as a deus ex machina rather than a planned story beat.

Of course, the above is purely my own feelings on the comic (much like the review as a whole, honestly), and your mileage may vary.

Whether it’s the COVID related gap between the last few issues or the abrupt ending to the current arc, Seeley has a lot to contend with as he pulls plot threads from previous issues into the finale to tie them off faster than one would expect, making this comic a harder entry point for new readers than previous issues.

Seeley is joined by artists Marc Laming and Jason Masters, inker Adelso Corona, colorist Andrew Dalhouse, and letterer Dave Sharpe. All of whom combine for an aesthetic that appeals enormously to me. The style gives me a sense of nostalgia for the comic art I read growing up; it’s dynamic, clean and yet full of life and vibrancy, though the lustre may be wearing a little thin given that there seemed to be a little less flow to what was on the page in some scenes – not every one, but some of the more chaotic fight scenes with the giant monsters were a little harder to follow than fight scenes in earlier comics in the series. Whether this is due to the size of the combatants relative to each other making it harder to choreograph the battle, or the two artists working on the comic not fully jiving together, could be up for debate if the rest of the comic did have the same issues with artistic flow that are apparent in the giant monster scenes.

Bloodshot #9 aside, reading an issue of Seeley’s Bloodshot has always been a great reminder of the excitement I used to have reading comics, and while this issue doesn’t have the same nostalgic magic that previous issues have had, it is still one that’s worth reading if you’re following the series. But it won’t be the best place to start reading the series.

Story: Tim Seeley Art: Marc Laming
Ink: Adelso Corona Color: Andrew Dalhouse Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Story: 7.0 Art: 8.7 Overall: 8.1 Recommendation: Read

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review.


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