Tag Archives: dc

DC Rebirth Recap And Review For Comics Released 5/3

Welcome to Graphic Policy’s DC Rebirth: Recap And Review where we take a look at the comics released under DC‘s Rebirth banner and try to work out just how accessible they are for new readers – we’ll also be providing  recap of sorts for the relevant story beats up until the issue in question in order to help you figure out if the series is something you’re interested in.

Each comic will receive a rating of Friendly or Unfriendly based on how easy it was for

new readers to pick them up; the ratings are based solely on the issues released in the post-Rebirth ongoing series. More consideration regarding the comic’s accessibility will be given for the specific issue being read rather than the series overall, but if reading a back issue will help, then that will be mentioned. Generally, the quality of an issue won’t be discussed unless it directly impacts a new reader’s enjoyment of the series.

You may notice that not every comic is covered week to week, and that’s because I  sometimes forget to read them  (although that doesn’t happen often). If I have missed an issue, typically I won’t go looking for back issues to catch up on events – this feature is all about accessibility for new readers, after all.


AQM_Cv22_dsAquaman #22 If people get scared around this odd new water (called H2.0) then they become crazy water monsters. There’s a bit more to it, but at this point Aquaman and Mera trying to get back to a secluded science island, so that a group of scientists and marines (who can shape shift into anthromophic sea creatures) aren’t massacred. Amazingly, that’s a Friendly recap for you.

Bane Conquest #1 The first issue of a Bane solo series? Oh yes. If you have the slightest idea who Bane is, and honestly I’d be surprised if you didn’t, then this is a Friendly place for you to start the series. Especially since it’s the first issue in the series.

Batman #22 So Unfriendly, but so good.

Cyborg #12  is Friendly enough, I guess, but it isn’t great…

Deathstroke #18 It’s been awhile since I’ve remembered the previous issue of this series (indeed I think I missed #17), so it’s kinda hard to keep track of the myriad plot threads – and I’ve read previous issues. You might be okay to start here,  but I’m leaning toward this being Unfriendly.

GLS_Cv22_dsGreen Arrow #22 Green Arrow has hit rock bottom. His company has been taken from him, Oliver Queen has been declared dead, and he’s living in a giant tree house in the woods. On top of that Seattle is currently in the midst of a giant terrorist attack. The blanks are filled in throughout the issue, which makes this happily Friendly.

Green Lanterns #22 A new arc started in this issue, and we find Earth’s Green Lanterns hurtling toward OA. Despite the lack of background as to how the Lanterns got into space (and why they were called) the issue is Friendly.

Justice League #20 Another series that has a Part One this week, and so long as you know who the League are, then you’ll be fine. Friendly.

Nightwing #20 Another brilliant issue that isn’t the best place to start reading the series, which makes it a touch Unfriendly, but the conclusion is just wonderful.

Superman #22 There’s a pretty solid recap from Lois Lane’s point of view that actually gives you more than I can remember about the previous issues. For that reason, I’m calling this Friendly, even though there will be a moment or two that’ll throw you off here and there (I’d tell you what happened to Superman and the others, but I don’t remember).

 

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Underrated: The Watchmen Movie

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: The Zack Snyder directed Watchmen movie.



 

With the upcoming crossover taking place in issues of Batman and The Flash, coupled with the news that there would be an R-Rated animated version of the comic coming soon, I thought it was an ideal time to turn back and have another look at Zack Snyder’s adaptation. I’ll try and keep this as spoiler free as possible for those who haven’t read the comics or seen the movie – but honestly if you haven’t read the comic at this point, then why the hell not?

When talking about the movie, there are three different versions of the same flick that I’ll be referring too: the Theatrical Cut which was 162 minutes in length, the Directors Cut coming in at 186 minutes, and the Ultimate Cut which clocks in at 215 minutes. The Theatrical Cut is the version that everybody saw first in the cinema, and for a great may people it is the only version they have seen. It has been a long time since I watched that version, but I can recall when watching it that it was a good movie, but it wasn’t as great as it could be. Watchmen‘s director, Zack Snyder, had a very tough task ahead of him when he was charged with bringing Alan Moore and Dave Gibbon’s miniseries to the silver screen. Watchmen has been hailed by many people as one of the greatest graphic novels of all time; it’s a story that is near and dear to the hearts many a comic fan. Adapting the full story, and doing it well enough to meet the expectation of thousands of comic fans whilst at the same time appealing to those non-comic fans who had never read Watchmen, would have been nigh on impossible; even the Ultimate Cut is still missing at least two entire plot lines from the original comics, and that comes in at three and a half hours.

Although what was released to theaters was still a very good movie; the casting choices were fantastic (Jackie Earle Haley’s Rorschach was more than I could have ever hoped for), and the choices that were made when writing the script kept the movie as faithful to the source material as possible. Indeed, many scenes in the movie reflect certain panels almost exactly. The change to the ending I understand; to have the original  ending included, without adding perhaps an extra thirty minutes of screen time to build the subplot that would be needed to have the ending from the comics make sense, would have taken away from the story as a whole. The movie’s ending worked very well for what it was, and while ultimately the same result was achieved, it was done so in a more believable method for cinema audiences. It wasn’t the same as the comics, no, but the movies are a different medium than the comics and face more constraints in terms of run time and budget. The version released to theaters was version of the movie that the studio, producers and directors felt was best suited to a theatrical release.

But when Watchmen was initially released, it wasn’t complete. It was a good movie, and the story told was coherent enough (especially for those of us who were familiar with the comics), but it did feel like something was missing.

That something missing largely disappeared wen the Directors Cut was released; the additional forty plus minutes of footage that really added to the film, and thanks to the extra run time it told a story that echoed the source material more than the Theatrical Cut did. Glimpses of one of the missing subplots were shown, and the movie felt much more complete; but when the Ultimate Cut was released which included the previously separately released animated Tales Of The Black Freighter woven into the extended Directors Cut, well then the movie took shape. The Ultimate Cut is still flawed, but it’s as great an adaptation as we can ever expect.

Unfortunately, however, the Ultimate Cut hasn’t been seen by as many people as the Theatrical Cut, which is a shame because the Ultimate Cut is as faithful a movie adaptation as we’ll ever see, and stands head and shoulder above the Theatrical Cut in terms of quality. Watchmen was a movie that had huge expectations heaped upon it, and when it appeared theatrically it never quite lived up to those expectations, the Ultimate Cut comes very, very close; although the Ultimate Cut is an outstanding movie, it has done little to elevate Watchmen‘s stature in terms of being talked about as a great movie; making this a surprisingly underrated gem.

 

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 4/8

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

NTW_Cv18_open_order_varBatman #20 (DC) Well I Am Bane is finally over. That’s a good thing. The comic… meh. Overall: 4 Recommendation: Pass

Iron Fist #2 (Marvel) I was not a huge fan of the first issue, but I came back for #2 because I’m enjoying the Netflix show… and I’m kinda glad that I did. Definitely an upward curve from the first issue for me, although the comic is basically one long kung fu fight. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

Nightwing #18 (DC) For as much as I hated Batman #20, I loved this issue. From the interplay between Dick and Damian, and the way the comic effortlessly brings back the vibe od their Batman and Robin run… Tim Seeley is writing the best biweekly Bat-book right now. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

X-Men Gold #1 (Marvel) Huh. Well, I’m surprised. This was in every way a throwback to the way I remembered the X-Men being – not that the same characters are in the book, but the themes are the same, and there’s some great down time… this is a helluva promising start. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Logan

Little Archie #1 (Archie Comics) It’s super adorable to see Art Baltazar’s fun crayon art style take on the Archie gang in Little Archie #1. This is definitely a throwback to classic Archie comics with wacky hijinks, Jughead’s crown hat, and Archie’s “R” sweater all Riverdale #1_FernandezVarmaking appearance. Some of the gags are overlong, but Baltazar and Franco throw in some clever references to Afterlife with Archie, and the fact that adults are pretty much useless in Riverdale. This comic is definitely geared to a younger audience, but is worth a read if you’re missing old school Archie. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

Riverdale #1 (Archie Comics) Joe Eisma’s stylish artwork breathes some life into a couple lightweight stories about “Hell Week” for Riverdale High’s cheerleading and football teams. Writers Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Will Ewing, Michael Grassi roll every high school “prank” cliche into one comic book from near death experiences to streaking and of course, stealing an object from the rival school. Archie’s story centers around him helping out Moose, who I don’t think he’s spoken to the whole season while the Betty story is stronger because it focuses on her bond with Veronica. Seriously, Season 1 of Riverdale isn’t over, and they’re already coming up with an Expanded Universe in the comics. There really isn’t much of a sandbox to work with. Overall: 5.5 Recommendation: Pass

Jughead #14 (Archie Comics) Unfortunately, Ryan North’s time writing the coolest of teens is over. But he goes out it the comic book equivalent of the dankest of all memes skewering Internet culture in a joke dense way. And along the way, North and artist Derek Charm (Who is staying on the book) shore up the friendship between Betty and Jughead, roast Archie, and craft the most intimidating Veronica yet. This comic is worth picking up for the double page spread of Jughead becoming various overused Internet memes alone and its quirky self-aware take on the Archie mythos will definitely be missed as a new creative team takes over. (Hopefully, Veronica will still have a “hunk budget”.) Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Ryan C

RockCandyMountain_01-1Batman #20 (DC)**  So that’s “I Am Bane,” huh? A fist-fight that Batman wins with a well-timed head-butt (whoops, spoilers). Issue after issue of buildup for — this? Tom King and David Finch have really bottomed out on this book; time for some new blood. Overall: 1 Recommendation: Pass.

Rock Candy Mountain #1 (Image)**  Kyle Starks is a superb cartoonist whose work has always reminded me more than a bit of the legendary James Sturm, and Sturm himself would, I think, be more than pleased to see his “spiritual successor” turn his keen artistic eye toward early-20th century “hobo culture.” Amazingly well-drawn and written with a real ear for dialogue authenticity, this is indie comics at their best, and I can’t recommend it highly enough. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Eleanor & The Egret #1 (Aftershock)**  John Layman is a natural to write this off-kilter historical art-heist “caper,” and Sam Kieth’s art is as sumptuous as ever. Top it off with lush colors from Ronda Pattison, and you’ve got a winner that will leave you grinning from ear to ear. My only gripe is that the story is a bit on the slight side, but on the whole this was a joy to both read and look at. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

The Flintstones #10 (DC)**  Mark Russell and Steve Pugh can do no wrong with this book in my opinion, and it looks as though we’re going to get the series’ first (and, sadly, only) multi-part story spread over the last few issues here. The Trump comparisons are getting more obvious than ever with Bedrock’s inept, stupid mayor, which is a ton of fun, but there’s some serious heartbreak in these pages too as a beloved member of the cast meets his end. Yes, this comic will make you laugh — it always does — but don’t be too surprised if you shed a tear this time around as well. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Shean

america2America #2 (Marvel) I will keep this one to a few words:funny, meta and nothing like it in the Marvel Universe. We catch up with America after she punches Hitler. Definitely a different voice at Marvel that not only is entertaining but woke. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Star Wars: Rogue One Adaptation #1 (Marvel) There’s something truly wondrous about when adaptations get the story right in the minds of its most rabid fans. This is exactly what happened when the minds at Marvel decided to tackle the first spinoff from the Star Wars universe, as this captures all the moments that the were spoken about in online fodder about the missing moments. What makes it even more authentic, is the blessing of the director and the screenwriter. The most pivotal scene to me that they cut out is the crisis of conscience that Gail Erso undergoes and what he entrusts Bodhi with, makes you understand why Bodhi was so committed to meeting Saw Gerrera. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Spider-Man /Deadpool #16 (Marvel) This book get funnier with every issue. This time we follow this crazy duo to Latvia to battle Shiklah. So they recruit Dracula into the fight but with some ribbing of him and his human slave. By issue’s end, a fight between both forces ensues. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

 

 



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

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

DC Rebirth Recap & Review: Comics Released 3/22

Welcome to Graphic Policy’s DC Rebirth: Recap And Review where we take a look at the comics released under DC‘s Rebirth banner and try to work out just how accessible they are for new readers – we’ll also be providing  recap of sorts for the relevant story beats up until the issue in question in order to help you figure out if the series is something you’re interested in.

Each comic will receive a rating of Friendly or Unfriendly based on how easy it was for

new readers to pick them up; the ratings are based solely on the issues released in the post-Rebirth ongoing series. More consideration regarding the comic’s accessibility will be given for the specific issue being read rather than the series overall, but if reading a back issue will help, then that will be mentioned. Generally, the quality of an issue won’t be discussed unless it directly impacts a new reader’s enjoyment of the series.

You may notice that not every comic is covered week to week, and that’s because I  sometimes forget to read them  (although that doesn’t happen often). If I have missed an issue, typically I won’t go looking for back issues to catch up on events – this feature is all about accessibility for new readers, after all.


AC_Cv976_dsAction Comics #976 “Right now, everything is so bizarre… that it’s hard to tell what’s real and what’s not.” I’m going to let the opening of the comic speak for the recap, but you should still check the fourth part of the Action Comics/Superman crossover out.

Batman Beyond #6 The first part of a new arc that also neatly explains the previous story in bits and pieces is, as you should expect, quite Friendly.

Batgirl #9 I… don’r remember the last issue at all, and I think I missed it completely (don’t quote me on that). That said, this week Batgirl #9 will be judged entirely on  this issue, and it’s easy to read nature makes it quite Friendly.

Deathstroke #14 Another excellent issue that is tough to follow. Although I feel like I’m beating a dead horse here, you’re better trade waiting for this otherwise Unfriendly issue.

Detective Comics #953 The attack on Gotham that has been hinted at since Detective Comics relaunched happened a couple issues ago, and Batman wasn’t as ready as he’d have liked. There’s a scene in the beginning of the comic where Jim Gordon is brought up to speed that’s a very effective, and brief, recap for the story thus far making this comic Friendly enough on it’s own.

The Flash #19 Even though the last issue only came out two weeks ago, I don’t remember too much about it beyond the fact that The Flash is stuck working with Captain Boomerang who may or may not have been on a solo Suicide Squad mission (I may be wrong, but I can’t remember and won’t go back and check). That being said this is a really good, and Friendly, comic.

HJGLC_Cv17_dsHal Jordan And The Green Lantern Corps #17 After the craziness of the last issue, you’d be forgiven for thinking that this issue wouldn’t be the best place to jump on board… but it’s actually really Friendly, complete with it’s own moments where it fills in the gaps for you throughout the issue.

Suicide Squad #14 Somebody killed Amanda Waller, one of her enemies turned off the Suicide Squad’s brain bombs, Deadshot turned on the Squad and Boomerang murdered somebody. None of that does justice to the story itself, but it’ll get you more or less up to speed with this barely Friendly issue.

Teen Titans #6 A new arc commences that looks like it’ll introduce a water themed hero to the team, complete with an almost forced recap about the characters and their powers, make this a Friendly comic.

Wonder Woman #19 This series has had two stories running through it in alternating issues since the beginning, and while it was fairly easy to keep track of each story when Year One was being told, because both concurrently running stories are similar enough in setting I’m having  hell of a time keeping both separate in my head. Anyway, The Truth finds Diana in an institution following a perceived mental break down, and  minotaur named Ferdinand has gone to get her out. I’m not sure whether this would be Friendly with a decent recap or not at this point.

Underrated: Comics Not In Diamond’s Top 100 For December

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: A list of underrated comics.


This week we’re going to be looking at a list of comics that are all fantastic, but don’t get the attention that they deserve. Now I’m not even going to pretend to have an definitively exhaustive list of underrated comics here, because we’re hoping  that you decide to check at least one of thee series out next time you’re looking for some comics and giving you a huge list to check out would be counter productive to that. Instead, you’ll find six comics that are worth your attention. You’ll notice that there’s only one comic from each publisher – this was done to try and spread the love around, because otherwise Valiant Voracious_TPB_Cover_Vol1would dominate the list below. Not one of the comics made it into the top 100 for December’s comic sales, which is why they’re Underrated.

All sales data comes from Comichron.


Voracious: Feeding Time
(Action Lab)
December Sales Rank/Comics Sold: Not listed/Unknown
It should come as no surprise to you that I am a fan of Markisan Naso and Jason Muhr’s creation,Voracious, and it’s sequel Voracious: Feeding Time. The writer and artist/letterer and joined by colourist Andrei Tabucaru, and the trio have produced one of the most consistently excellent comics on the racks. With a story that is on the surface built to be a comedy – that of a time travelling dinosaur hunting chef – but packs more of an emotional punch than you’d expect in such a comic. A truly compelling series that reinvigorated my love for comics, if you want to get hadrianswall_01-1caught up the first trade of Voracious is available now, and the second issue of Feeding Time just hit the shelves. This is easily one of my favourite comics from any publisher right now; if you’re looking for an original concept executed beautifully then you need look no further. Simply an amazing series.

Hadrian’s Wall (Image)
December Sales Rank/Comics Sold: 257/5,265
The creative team  behind C.O.W.L. reunite to tell a fantastic murder mystery set in space. It’s a gripping tale that isn’t without it’s faults, but in comparison to where Kyle Higgins is taking this story they’re easy to over look. Sci fi isn’t usually my cup of tea, but this is one of the comics that I’ve become a big fan of. Don’t miss this.


faith_007_cover-c_tanFaith 
(Valiant)
December Sales Rank/Comics Sold: 221/7,375
If Stan Lee were to have created Spider-Man in this century, then he’d probably have come up with a character like Faith Herbert. The high flying superhero has been a favourite of mine since I read the first miniseries Hollywood and Vine early last year, and the current ongoing – still written by Jody Houser – has been fantastic. Although the artist tends to change with each story arc, there is a visual consistency to the comic because of Marguerite Sauvage’s fantasy sequences that act to blend the differing styles of the artists across the issues. Faith is a series that almost every comic fan will find something to love, whether it’s the character’s unrelenting optimism or her love of being a superhero (come on, you can’t tell me you wouldn’t love to fly), there’s something here for those looking for an escape.

4 KIDS WALK INTO A BANK4 Kids Walk Into A Bank (Black Mask)
December Sales Rank/Comics Sold: 198/8,675
You’d be forgiven for overlooking this comic, as there was a bit of a delay between the second and third issues being released. For the nearly nine thousand people who did pick up this comic, you would have found one of the most effortlessly charming stories about four kids about to rob a bank. Both the writing is the artwork is fantastic;I can’t recommend this enough to you. Whether you pick it up in trade form when it inevitably is released, or track down the three issues currently on the racks, be prepared to find a comic that you’ll fall head over heals in love with.

midnapo_cv4Midnighter and Apollo (DC)
December Sales Rank/Comics Sold: 180/10,773
If you’re surprised to see a DC book on this list, don’t be. Midnighter has struggled to light up the sales charts as he should be with his previous series. This miniseries has Midnigher literally going to Hell to save the man he loves in one of the mot brutal sequences I have read in a long time, coupled with some fantastic dialogue between Apollo and his captor. Although I assume things will work out eventually, it’s been a hell of a ride (pun intended) so far, and with only two issues remaining in the miniseries I’m really excited to see how Steve Orlando brings this home.

Black Hammer (Dark Horse)
December Sales Rank/Comics Sold: 170/12,352
bkhmr-5-variant-fc-fnl-600x911Jeff Lemire is an incredibly prolific writer,and while I may not always like everything he comes out with, Black Hammer has spoken to my love of modern takes on distinctly Golden Age heroes. With a Justice League like group of characters locked in mysterious pocket dimension where they’re forced to live normal lives on a farm, we get to explore what happens to a hero on a forced retirement. Not everybody I know is a fan of where this comic is going, and how it’s been getting there, but every issue has been a win for me – which is another reason this appears in this issue of Underrated. But the tinges of something lingering just beneath the surface give a genuine sense of unease to the comic. Black Hammer is very much a slow burn, but it’s going to be incandescent when we get the pay off at the end.


 

Obviously there are many more comics that should be on that list, so look for a future installment of Underrated to cover more comics that aren’t selling as well as they should be.

Rebirth Review: November 30th’s Comics

Welcome to Graphic Policy’s Rebirth Review where we take a look at the comics released under DC‘s Rebirth banner and try to work out just how accessible they are for new readers.

Each comic will receive a rating of Friendly or Unfriendly based on how easy it was for
bm_annual_cv1new readers to pick them up; the ratings are based solely on the issues released in the post-Rebirth ongoing series, with more consideration given for the specific issue being read when it comes to the final rating than the series overall. You may notice that not every comic is covered week to week, and that’s because I have a memory like a sieve and sometimes forget to pick them up. If I have missed an issue, typically I won’t go looking for back issues to to catch up on events – this feature is all about accessibility for new readers, after all.

This week only saw two annuals released, so expect a much shorter post than normal.



Batman Annual #1 
The beauty of this annual is that for the most part the collection of stories within the comic are standalone, taking place at various different times over Bruce Wayne’s history as Batman, but always centered around the holidays. This makes it easily one of the most Friendly Batman comics released thus far, but whether it’ll allow you to smann_cv1ease your way into the other Bat-books is debatable. Still, it’s absolutely worth the price of admission.

Superman Annual #1 Is a little less accessible than the other annual released this week, but has a bit more of a direct connection to the regular series as it instead has Superman and Swamp Thing doing something that, honestly, is largely forgettable; the annual is a good one but far from integral to the story at large, which I feel is not the intention. This is technically a Friendly comic, but I don’t think it’s relevant for your enjoyment of the series.

Rebirth Review: Comics Released 10/12

Welcome to Graphic Policy’s Rebirth Review where we take a look at the comics released under DC‘s Rebirth banner and try to work out just how accessible they are for new readers.

Each comic will receive a rating of Friendly or Unfriendly based on how easy it was for new readers to pick them up; the ratings are based solely on the issues released in the post-Rebirth ongoing series, with more consideration given for the specific issue being read when it comes to the final rating than the series overall. You may notice that not every comic is covered week to week, and that’s because I have a memory like a sieve and sometimes forget to pick them up. If I have missed an issue, typically I won’t go looking for back issues to to catch up on events – this feature is all about accessibility for new readers, after all.


 

ac_cv965_dsAction Comics #965 This Friendly once you accept that the two people at the center of the book, Clark and Lois, aren’t from this world. They’re the same characters from before the New 52, but due to circumstances beyond their control, they’ve got to step into the lives of their now disappeared counter parts (Superman and Lois Lane – there’s already a Clark Kent). It’s an interesting concept, and a story focusing on Lois shows a less super side to their lives.

All-Star Batman #3 is very good,but completely Unfriendly to new readers. If you’ve been reading the series so far, however, you’ll be fine.

Batgirl and the Birds Of Prey #3 This really isn’t a bad comic, provided that you’re at least partly familiar with the previous events – specifically why there’s a Oracle and a Batgirl, because that crucial detail is missing this issue, which ales this decidedly Unfriendly.

Deathstroke #4 I have a feeling that this story will be far better read as a trade, but even if you were to start here, you’ll find it Friendly enough.

hjglc_cv5_open_order_varDetective Comics #942 The finale of a multi-part, multi-comic crossover that ends strongly, but it’s an Unfriendly place for new readers

Gotham Academy: Second Semester #2 Having no idea what this series is about, the second issue was actually a lot more Friendly than the first for me. An entertaining comic that focuses on several students at a Gotham boarding house who’ve set up a detective club – think in a similar vein to Scooby Doo. I didn’t expect to like this.

Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #6 There’s two ways to look at this comic, an depending on how you approach it will approach it’s accessibility. If you just want to read a story about Hal Jordan being awesome and kicking ass, then this is the place to be; but if you want to know why he’s kicking ass beyond the fact he has to stop the Yellow Lanterns, you’re a little out of luck. I’m not giving this a rating for that reason.

New Super-Man #4 You can jump on board here and be able to have a half-decent Friendly comic, just about, but it’ll be so much better if you start at least an issue ago.

nsm_cv4_dsRed Hood And The Outlaws #3 Is actually more Friendly than the last issue. There are moments that may not make sense, but by and large… you can jump right in here and enjoy the story.

Suicide Squad #4 Is a chaotic mess that somehow still explains just about what you need to make the fourth issue Friendly. That Suicide Squad #4 is also hugely entertaining in a popcorn action flick kinda way is a pleasant bonus.

Supergirl #2 Another comic this week that falls right in the middle of the Friendly/Unfriendly line. There are aspects that welcome newer readers, and just as many that will cause confusion. We’re only two issues in, so if you’re even a little curious about Supergirl, pick both issues up.

Superwoman #3 The advantage to reading as many of the DC comics as I do for this feature means that I tend to forget what happened in previous issues. Rather than going back and rereading them to catch myself up, I use my poor memory to judge  how accessible the comics are. Unfortunately, in cases such as this fls_cv8_dswith Superwoman I don’t recall too much of the previous issues, making this comic a tad Unfriendly.

The Flash #8 Although this wraps up the current Gospeed focused arc, there’s actually a decent amount of the comic that’s Friendly to new readers, and the set up for the next tale is also well done. You could do much worse than starting here with the series.

Wonder Woman #8 An interlude into the current stories that delves a little into the past of Dr. Minerva. It’s an interesting foray into the past, but not the most Friendly place to start (that’s not an unfriendly rating, but rather a friendly comic that doesn’t feature Wonder Woman at all).

 

Rebirth Review: Comics Released 10/5

Welcome to Graphic Policy’s Rebirth Review where we take a look at the comics released under DC‘s Rebirth banner and try to work out just how accessible they are for new readers.

Each comic will receive a rating of Friendly or Unfriendly based on how easy it was for new readers to pick them up; the ratings are based solely on the issues released in the post-Rebirth ongoing series, with more consideration given for the specific issue being read when it comes to the final rating than the series overall. You may notice that not every comic is covered week to week, and that’s because I have a memory like a sieve and sometimes forget to pick them up. If I have missed an issue, typically I won’t go looking for back issues to to catch up on events – this feature is all about accessibility for new readers, after all.


 

bm_cv8_dsAquaman #8 – Unless you have been reading at least one of the previous issues, you’re going to be a little lost as to why the events of the comic are happening. It’s just a tad on the Unfriendly side, but it’s worth picking up nonetheless.

Batman #8 continues the Night Of The Monster Men crossover that’s running through this series, Detective Comics and  Nightwing. It’s an Unfriendly jumping on point, but the story’s growing on me and will probably be worth reading in a trade a few months down the line.

Cyborg #2 takes a lot of time introducing us to the villain. The effect of this, for the reader, is the same as a prolonged recap page as the events of  the previous issue are eventually touched upon. This allows you to really appreciate the events of the comic, making it incredibly Friendly.

Green Arrow #8 will be fairly Friendly for fans of the TV show that just reappeared on our screens, as it opens after Ollie has washed up on an island of some kind. There’s not a lot of background, but seeing as I only remembered why he’d washed up there as  I was writing this blurb and not while I was reading the comic, the lack of background info isn’t a big deal.

Green Lanterns #8 – Part one of a new story in one of DC’s most consistently accessible for new readers is, obviously, a Friendly comic. It’s also very good.

gls_cv8_open_order_varHarley Quinn #5 isn’t always my cup of tea, but as far as the series goes this isn’t a bad place to start up for new readers. Friendly.

Justice League #5 I’m assuming if you’re reading this you’ve a fair idea who the Justice League is. However, much like the first issue, you’re thrown into the middle of something with little explanation – but because there’s no reference to previous issues, this is a Friendly comic. We’re all on the same page when the comic opens.

Midnighter And Apollo #1 is as Friendly a place as you’re likely to find within the post Rebirth line of comics.

Nightwing #5 if you read what I wrote for Batman #8, then just repeat it here.

Superman #8 kicks off a new story arc, and because the story throws you inn the deep end right away, it’s a Friendly comic. Just don’t expect much light shed on the setting right away.

Rebirth Review: Comics Released 9/28

Welcome to Graphic Policy’s Rebirth Review where we take a look at the comics released under DC‘s Rebirth banner and try to work out just how accessible they are for new readers.

Each comic will receive a rating of Friendly or Unfriendly based on how easy it was for new readers to pick them up; the ratings are based solely on the issues released in the post-Rebirth ongoing series, with more consideration given for the specific issue being read when it comes to the final rating than the series overall. You may notice that not every comic is covered week to week, and that’s because I have a memory like a sieve and sometimes forget to pick them up. If I have missed an issue, typically I won’t go looking for back issues to to catch up on events – this feature is all about accessibility for new readers, after all.


ac_cv964_dsAction Comics #964 The second part of Superman, Meet Clark Kent can be read quite easily as a stand alone story. Needless to say, it’s a Friendly comic.

Batgirl #3 It’s nice to look at, but unless you’ve read the previous issues you’ll find this Unfriendly.

Batman Beyond Rebirth #1 The latest in the Rebirth specials aims to get you involved in the story from the beginning-ish. It’s not a bad comic, but it feels a little… like a knock off Batman story. It is Friendly, though, so there’s that.

Blue Beetle #1 As a first issue this isn’t quite as accessible as some of DC’s other series’ #1’s have been over the past few months. That doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing, as the origin-type information is all there, you just have to read between the lines a little more than you would have done before. A deceptively Friendly book that you may want to read twice.

Deathstroke #3 One of the most interesting things about this comic, and the series itself, is the segmented story telling. By having two to four different mini chapters spanning at least two different times in Deathstroke’s life, the reader needs to put the story together themselves to a certain extent. Unless you’ve read from the beginning, this isn’t easy to do based off this comic alone, making it quite Unfriendly.

dtc_cv941_open_order_varDetective Comics #941 Probably the most Unfriendly comic in the series so far for new readers, and also for those who are following the series and haven’t read Batman #7 or Nightwing #5 as those issues contain the first two parts of the crossover story.

Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #5 A fifth issue shouldn’t be as easy to pick up as this. A Friendly comic, because there’s very little plot development here – and I don’t mean that as a negative.

Six Pack And Dog Welder: Hard Travelin’ Heroes #2 I have no idea what I just read, but it was surprisingly entertaining. Whether it’ll be Friendly or Unfriendly will depend on whether you’ve read the last issue, and you enjoy the style of story telling that Ennis is using here. I like it, but you may not.

Suicide Squad #3 If you haven’t read the previous issue, this will be an Unfriendly mess.

Teen Titans Rebirth #1 If you’ve never read a Teen Titans comic, then you’re in for a story about how somebody (no prize for guess who that is) is kidnapping the former team members. You can probably guess why they’re being kidnapped within the first couple of pages, but this is a Friendly introduction for those new to the team despite the predictability of the story (that doesn’t make it a bad story).

The Flash #7 is a tense ride that emphasizes the Flash’s inability to be everything he thinks he should be. I hesitate to call it a Friendly comic, because it straddles the line a little more than the last issue, but it’s a better comic than that and does establish the next ww-cv7_open_order_varchapter very effectively.

The Hellblazer #2 This is a surprisingly Friendly comic, once you get past the first few pages.

Titans #3 A half Friendly comic that has a couple of hints toward what will, probably, be a major event in the DCU in a couple years time.

Wonder Woman #7 This isn’t an ideal place to start as there’s no real recapping of previous events, but I urge you to read the last couple of odd numbered issue. This Unfriendly comic has a story that’s worth reading.

Adult Coloring Books: Art Therapy or BS?

WonderwomanColorI’m sure, that by now, most DC Comics collectors are aware of the coloring book variant covers being pushed. I too fell for the marketing trap, picking up a Wonder Woman variant that appealed to my aesthetic senses (with no intention whatsoever of coloring it). Looking over the cover, I got into a conversation with the Midtown Comics floor guy. What he told me was that adult coloring books have been around for a number of years, and that it’s suppose to be relaxing.

Not really buying it (frankly I thought it was bullshit), later that night I started Googling it. Surprisingly, I found more than expected, across some very serious articles from the likes of: The New Yorker, New York Post, The Atlantic, and NYMAG.

They all had similar themes: this is not a fad that is going to go away, and adult coloring books serve as a means to exercise our creative muscle in a zen-like therapeutic setting. In addition, the internet and social media has served to increased its popularity, with adult colorists posting their artistic colored pages on the web via Facebook, Tumbler, Twitter, and pretty much everywhere else.

Then a couple days later I saw that Marvel put out a Deadpool adult coloring book. I bought it, and that evening at home, I unboxed an old set of coloring pencils that I had bought for my daughter (which she never used), and went to town.

nocolordeadpool

Damn, if they weren’t right; as I stared at my completed colored page with satisfaction and pride. The only negative I could come up with was that I had wasted an unproductive two hours. Then again, that’s kind of the point isn’t it? To do something enjoyable, just for the fun of it.

coloreddeadpool

After my coloring experience, I can see why the marketing pros at DC and Marvel are jumping on this bandwagon, and carving out another niche market (Marvel has a slate of coloring books coming to print; and DC isn’t far behind, selling both the books and their own branded set of coloring pencils). One has to wonder at the amount of research (psychological and field tests) they put into this product.

All I have to say is that I’ve been schooled. You should expect to see more of my colored pages proliferating out there on the web soon; and perhaps this can serve to resurrect my sub-latent artistic abilities.

And let us know what you think: is this a short-lived gimmick, or a serious new hobby for comic book enthusiasts? I’d love to hear what others think about the Big Two’s concerted push into the adult coloring book world.

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