Tag Archives: dead reckoning

Brett’s Favorite Comics of 2022 and a Reflection on the Past Year

Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands

Much like 2021 and 2022, It feels weird writing a “best of” list for the past year since it’s been so difficult and so strange for so many. Comics, and entertainment as a whole, continued to be an escape from the rough reality of the previous year that was. Things struggled to get back to normal, whether you think it was too soon or not. There was some return to normality as comic conventions returned and movie blockbusters begin to populate screens. For me, I mostly stayed at home again venturing out very little, attending no conventions, and my one trip resulted in the exact result I expected… COVID. Maybe I explore things a bit more in 2023 but the reality is, things won’t ever be back to normal and enjoyment like conventions and movie theaters come with a risk. But, there’s still the escape of comics.

Comics have been exactly that for me as I myself remained mostly holed up at home, forgoing movie theaters and generally the public as a whole. 2022 saw me writing over 613 reviews and I read far more comics (probably closer to 700).

To pick one that stood out above all the rest doesn’t quite feel right as there was so much that was fun and entertaining.

The comic industry continued to shift in massive ways as creators continued to figured out new ways to become independent or were lured by the promise of big paydays by flashy new technology like NFTs. The end of the year looked so much different as numerous publishers revealed their financial struggles and the grift that is NFTs collapsed. Publishers got bought out and some struggled to stay open. Stores opened. Stores closed. Distribution continues to shift. The government even stepped in at one point in what would have had seismic repercussions for the comic and boo industry. The industry continues to be disrupted in many ways. Some ways for the better. Some for the worse. 2023 will likely continue to see this as more creators look to go directly to consumers.

Things shifted for everyone.

Publishers canceled projects, shifted schedules, and continued to look to go directly to the consumer themselves. Publishers faced distribution issues as ports backed up and then cleared up. The cost of doing business increased across the board. Creators looked for new ways to earn money and also go directly to the consumer.

Consumers and readers had more choices than ever before that made it easier to escape the world that at times felt like it was burning around them and find enjoyment in make-believe worlds where justice prevails in the end. It felt like there were more choices in comics to read and more choices in the types of comics to read.

In the end, 2022 looked like a mix of bleak and hope. There’s many challenges for the industry but also many more options for it to succeed. It feels so close to cracking a new model.

It feels weird doing this “best of” but at the same time I feel like I want to “honor” and spotlight the comics that got me through the year and had me excited to read the next issues. This is what I’ve read so if you don’t see something mentioned it’s not that I didn’t enjoy it, I just might not have read it. Sorry, I can’t read everything (there was a massive glut in webcomics but more manga for me).

All of these are listed in no particular order (hell it’ll probably just be in alphabetical). Enough with the rambling… lets get on with some comics!

The comics that had me excited in 2022 and have me excited for 2023. There’s so many more I could probably add to the list that I enjoyed but this is what really stood out as the ones that stuck with me through the year and beyond.

  • 007 (Dynamite Entertainment) – James Bond returned with a brand new series that felt like a solid return of the character. A straight forward story that leaves readers not knowing who to trust, it’s a Bond story fans will appreciate it and enjoy.
  • Accidental Czar: The Life and Lies of Vladimir Putin (First Second) – The graphic novel is a fantastic exploration of Putin’s rise to power. But, it’s the admission of failures of those who engaged him that makes it feel like an honest recounting of history.
  • Blue, Barry & Pancakes (First Second) – We got multiple volumes of this graphic novel series for kids and each was a lot of fun. It’s hard to not read these and walk away with a smile if you’re kid or an adult.
  • The Boxer (Yen Press) – The first volume was an interesting one that left us questioning who the real center of the story was as it bounced around three kids and their boxing ability.
  • Bunnicula: The Graphic Novel (Atheneum Books for Young Readers) – A graphic novel adaptation of the classic book. It took us right back to our childhood. We hope we get more in the series. Nostalgia for adults and fun for kids.
  • A Calculated Man (AfterShock) – A man brilliant at math as turned witness against the mob and uses his ability in math to take out the mobsters who are after him. There’s a Rube Goldberg aspect to the series that keeps it entertaining.
  • DC vs. Vampires (DC Comics) – Each issue and its spin-offs kept us on our toes guessing who was next to get turned, who was going to die, and how the heroes might win. By the end, we want more in this world.
  • Devil’s Reign (Marvel) – One of Marvel’s best events in some time. The story kept things focused and tight as the heroes had to deal with Wilson Fisk’s reelection attempt and his tightening grip on New York City. This was an example of less is more.
  • Do a Powerbomb (Image Comics) – Wrestling in comics is back in vogue but this series stands out for it’s amazing art as well as the fantastic family drama.
  • Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands (Drawn & Quarterly) – Kate Beaton shines a light on her difficult time working in the Alberta tar sands. At times a tough read, it’s educational in so many ways.
  • Eight Billion Genies (Image Comics) – The series has succeeded by keeping things focused. With a concept where everyone on the planet gets a wish, the series has generally kept it tight on a small group of survivors and how they deal with the insanity that spins out of it all.
  • Fist of the North Star (VIZ Media) – The classic series continued its reprints in a beautiful hardcover. If you’ve never read this “kung-fu Mad Max”, this is a perfect edition to pick up.
  • GCPD: The Blue Wall (DC Comics) – John Ridley delivers an interesting take on the Gotham police department with a focus on three rookies as Commissioner Montoya. There’s been highs and lows as Ridley continues to show how muddied reality is.
  • Ginseng Roots (Uncivilized Books) – The release schedule was erratic but Craig Thompson’s autobiography about his growing up around ginseng and the world of its farming has been eye opening and education. Add in beautiful art and Thompson continued to show off his talents.
  • Hakim’s Odyssey (Dead Reckoning) – What does it mean to be a refugee? This series wrapped up its final two volumes in 2022 chronicling Hakim’s journey from Syria to safety. It’s hard to read this series and not come away with wanting to see how we treat refugees and immigration changed.
  • I’m a Terminal Cancer Patient But I’m Fine (Seven Seas Entertainment) – Hilnama’s autobiography about her struggle with colon cancer. The graphic novel is not as sad and ominous as the title would seem, instead it’s full of humor and tips. Sadly, Hilnama passed away not long after the manga’s release.
  • Justice Warriors (AHOY Comics) – Fantastic satire that skewers policing, politicians, celebrity, consumerism, and society as a whole.
  • Let’s Go Karaoke (Yen Press) – A mobster needs a kid’s help to get good at karaoke. It’s such a bizarre concept but a lot of fun.
  • Maniac of New York: The Bronx is Burning (AfterShock) – I’m not the biggest horror fan but love this series. In between all of the kills, there’s some smart commentary within, just like horror should.
  • Metal Society (Image Comics) – In this future, robots rule. Humans are grown to do menial tasks for them but eventually the want of choice and freedom rises leading to a mixed martial arts battle between two warriors. The action packed comic had solid themes underneath and interesting discussions within.
  • Neverlanders (Razorbill) – A new take on the story of Peter Pan, the graphic novel took us the Neverland and by the end I wanted to see what other adventures awaited. Great art, solid action, colors that popped, and fantastic characters and twists. I want more adventures in the magical world.
  • Pinball: A Graphic History of the Silver Ball (First Second) – I’m a big fan of pinball and this graphic novel not only goes through the history of the game but also some of the nuances about the game itself showing it’s far more than just pushing buttons to hit a ball.
  • Plush (Image Comics) – Two issues were released in 2022 and they were bonkers. Cannibal furries. Nuff said.
  • Radical: My Year With a Socialist Senator (IDW Publishing/Top Shelf) – The graphic novel followed an election and first year of a “radical” elected official in New York State. It’s an eye-opening look at the reality of politics.
  • Rooster Fighter (VIZ Media) – The concept might seem silly, a rooster fighting kaiju/demons, but it works so well. The series is a solid ronin/western type story with hero of little words attempting to defeat villains and save the locals. By playing it straight and serious, the series nails it.
  • Smahtguy: The Life and Times of Barney Frank (Metropolitan Books) – The biography of Barney Frank is touching and at times heartbreaking as it focuses on the firebrand politician who had no problem taking on the establishment while he struggled with his sexuality.
  • So What’s Wrong With Getting Reborn as a Goblin? Vol. 1 (Yen Press) – The debut volume was a nice take on the “reincarnation in a different world genre”. What stood out was it’s spin that focused on using intelligence to build society instead of the usual leveling up through battle we see.
  • Solo Leveling (Yen Press) – The series keeps getting better with some fantastic action, nice ominous teasing, and amazing art with colors that pop. It’s such a fun spin on the dungeon crawler genre and the series feels like it has spun out it’s own imitators.
  • A Vicious Circle (BOOM! Studios) – While we only got the debut issue, the time travel story kept things entertaining but it was the art that made our jaw drop. We immediately wanted more and can’t wait to see what 2023 has in store.
  • Wonder Woman Historia: The Amazons (DC Comics) – The first issue debuted at the end of 2021 and made the list and we got the final two issues in 2022. While it was a four month, then eight month gap, it was well worth it as each featured an engaging story and career defining artwork.

Around the Tubes

The weekend is almost here and it’s a pretty big holiday weekend! Hope you all have a good one. While you wait for the weekday to end and the weekend to begin, here’s some comic news and a review from around the web.

The Beat – More on AfterShock bankruptcy, Heavy Metal restructuring and Dead Reckoning publishing – More details on the meltdowns.

Publisher’s Weekly – Indie Comics Publishers Face Year-End Financial Troubles – Absolutely the story of the year.

CBR – James Gunn Is Working With Jim Lee to Better Coordinate DC Studios and Comics – This, honestly, never really seemed like a big issue. Definitely can be improved, but there was clearly coordination before.

The Mary Sue – How ‘Naruto’ and a PETA Court Case Could Strike a Blow Against AI Art – Good points.


CBR – I Hate Fairyland #2

I Hate Fairyland #2

Dead Reckoning heads to Baltimore Comic Con 2022

Stretcher Bearers

Come to the Baltimore Comic Con this October 28-30, 2022 at the Inner Harbor’s Baltimore Convention Center. Tickets for admission and VIP experiences are available online now.

Author and illustrator, Reid Beaman, will sign The Stretcher Bearers, a World War I graphic novel that he wrote with his brother Ryan.

Reid Beaman has been illustrating and writing comics ever since his wife encouraged him to follow his dreams. The Stretcher Bearers is his first published comic work since leaving the world of academics. He is currently working on new stories and comic book projects. He lives in South Carolina with his wife and three dogs.

Dead Reckoning is the graphic novel imprint of Naval Institute Press with focus on military history, military biography, general history, and tales of the high seas.

Review: The Stretcher Bearers

Maxwell Fox didn’t know what he’d witness in France during the Great War. The Stretcher Bearers take us into the world of battle, death, and brotherhood.

Story: Reid Beaman, Ryan Beaman
Art: Reid Beaman
Letterer: Ryan Beaman

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.


Dead Reckoning provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
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Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!


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

Each week our contributors choose what they can’t wait to read this week or just sounds interesting. In other words, this is what we’re looking forward to and think you should be taking a look at!

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

A Town Called Terror #1 (Image Comics) – A new horror series from Steve Niles and Szymon Kudranski? Yes please!

Break Out #1 (Dark Horse Comics) – Massive cube spaceships from another dimension materialize over cities and routinely abduct teenager to be held in their floating prisons.

Days of Sand (SelfMadeHero) – A tale, inspired by real-life stories of courage and perseverance during the Dust Bowl of 1930s United States, 1937.

Elektra #100 (Marvel) – Ann Nocenti returning to Elektra? Yeah, we’re down with it.

Flashpoint Beyond #0 (DC Comics) – A return to Flashpoint? Yeah, we’re suckers enough for the concept.

Ghost in You: A Reckless Book (Image Comics) – We love the Reckless detective/noir series of graphic novels. A new one always has us excited. If you love the genre, it’s a must.

G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero 40th Anniversary Special (IDW Publishing) – 22 artists do their spin on the classic “silent issue”.

Hakim’s Odyssey Book 2 From Turkey to Greece (Graphic Mundi) – Continuing the true story of a Syrian refugee.

Image 30th Anniversary Anthology (Image Comics) – Image is celebrating 30 years and we want to see what the publisher has in store this year to do so.

Junction (Titan Comics) – When a missing child, Lucas Jones, reappears after an absence of 12 years, the brief moment of joy is clouded by mystery. How is he still 11 years old?

Kaiju Score: Steal From the Gods #1 (AfterShock) – The first volume was so much fun mixing a classic heist story with kaiju, we’re hoping for a repeat.

Life Zero #3 (Ablaze) – An action film with zombies. There’s not much more to it.

The Sandman Universe: Nightmare Country #1 (DC Comics/DC Black Label) – James Tynion IV playing in this sandbox? Hells yes!

The Stretcher Bearers (Dead Reckoning) – Max is in France during the Great War and doesn’t expect to witness the horrors of war he witnesses or build the friendships he does.

Vanity #1 (Scout Comics/Black Caravan) – The legendary Blood Countess Elizabeth Bathory is dead, and gravediggers are assigned to relocate her corpse. But who was she really? Was she a monster or a victim?

Wrong Earth: Fame & Fortune #1 (Ahoy Comics) – Mark Russell taking on this world? Yeah, we’re pumped for the satire and laughs.

X-Men ’92: House of XCII #1 (Marvel) – Return to the classic animated series with a new twist.

Weekly Preview! AfterShock, Refugees, WWI, Kaiju, and more!

There are a lot of comics coming out this week to be covered. Check out some of what we’ll be reviewing and this is only the beginning!

This week’s reviews include:

  • Hakim’s Odyssey Book 2 From Turkey to Greece (Graphic Mundi)
  • Kaiju Score: Steal From the Gods #1 (AfterShock)
  • Midnight Rose (AfterShock)
  • Serial (Abstract Studios)
  • The Stretcher Bearers (Dead Reckoning)

Not shown:

  • Days of Sand (SelfMadeHero)
  • Ghost in You: A Reckless Book (Image Comics)
  • Life Zero #3 (Ablaze)

AfterShock, Graphic Mundi, and Dead Reckoning provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review

Review: The Lions of Leningrad

The Lions of Leningrad

The world as of present is keenly aware of the invasion taking place on the European continent. As our very existence remains in flux right now because nothing seems right. For many of us military veterans, we have seen shadows of this before. Depending on what conflict occurred during our service, most of us remember as if it happened the night before.

We often live with it for years, at times, visiting those places in our dreams, which sometimes turn into nightmares. That is why what is happening in Ukraine , leaves somewhat psychic scars, AS the horrors of wars comes back on so many levels, that many of us don’t even know how to deal. In the latest offering from Dead Reckoning, we get The Lions Of Leningrad, where are taken to Russia in 1941 where Germany has just invaded and four young people must find a way to survive it all.

We’re taken to Leningrad 1962, where a symphony concert is interrupted by a gunshot from a mysterious gunman, who is arrested by state police and brought to the police station to be questioned. As he starts his interrogation, he rambles on about the summer of 1941, where he (Chapayev) and (Pyotr, Maxim, Anka and Grigory) met during what would be called “The Battle of Farmer Ivan’s Potato Field”, which was a friendly school fight between those who followed the Romanovs and ones who followed the Soviets. They enjoy their lives as children do at their age, which changed the day Germany invades Russia, and they become separated from their parents.

The friends would evade a German infantry, find the Russian front and eventually reunite with their parents. Their relief would not last long, as Grigory would get in trouble with state police, as the Soviets continue to repress the truth that the Germans are invading the country, which would only make the friends’ bond even stronger. As the friends would survive, poverty, loss of parents, child slavery, homelessness, hard winters, all under the fog of war. By book’s end, a betrayal leaves one friend spending 20 years in the Gulag, while the other stealing their identity but justice winning the day, and this one wrong being righted.

Overall, The Lions of Leningrad is an excellent graphic novel that will remind readers of Red Dawn, but if it actually happened in Russia and was heartfelt. The story by Van Rijckeghem is astounding. The art by Du Caju is beautiful. Altogether, a coming of age story that shows that true friendship wins at the end.

Story: Jean-Claude Van Rijckeghem Art: Thomas Du Caju
Story: 10 Art: 9.6 Overall: 9.8 Recommendation: Buy

Dead Reckoning provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Purchase: AmazonKindleTFAWBookshop

Weekly Preview! Olympians, Ghosts, and War!

There are a lot of comics coming out this week to be covered. Check out some of what we’ll be reviewing and this is only the beginning!

This week’s reviews include:

  • Fitz and Cleo: Get Creative (Henry Holt)
  • The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors (Dead Reckoning)
  • Olympians Vol. 12 Dionysos (First Second)

Henry Holt, Dead Reckoning, and First Second provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review

Review: The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors

The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors

As someone who has served in the military, I have mostly fond memories. There were some trials and tribulations along the way as it is a hard and fast lesson on how people from different walk of life really are. Most of us found this out in boot camp and a reality that became galvanized once we were out in the fleet. This is where we got to learn how to work people we would never get along in any other situation.

The recent war movie by Tom Hanks, Greyhound brought back so many of those memories. It got me excited, but also put me back in those memories of operating underway at sea. I was not in during the first Gulf War, but heard so many “sea stories” of the combat they saw and how scary every day was. In the graphic novel adaptation of James Hornfischer’s The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors, we finally get to see firsthand, one of the greatest naval battles of World War II in full color.

We are taken to the Pacific Ocean in October of 1944, shortly after General Macarthur returned to the Philippines. We soon find out two naval sea powers occupy the Pacific,  the Third Fleet under the  command of Admiral Halsey and  Seventh Fleet known as “Macarthur’s Navy”, which relied smaller escort carriers, but screened by the powerful and fast Fletcher Class Destroyer ships. Meanwhile in Japan, Admiral Shoji Nishimura, who commands their Southern Force, looks to draw the US Navy into combat and diminish them in any way they can. Unfortunately, he gets beaten by Admiral Oldendorf, giving the US Navy, temporary relief, but the Japanese have another plan in play, lead by Admiral Takeo Kurita, who commands the Central Force who look to drive the Americans out of the Philippines. Because Halsey becomes obsessed with chasing Japanese carriers, this leave the san Bernardino Strait unguarded, which leaves it up to Third Fleet to defend , and unbeknownst to all of both carrier groups, the Japanese were using this as an opportunity to gain tactical advantage. As the Seventh Fleet beats back the Central Force, they also take casualties as the USS Johnston takes a major casualty, leaving the ship to be dead in the water. Through a series of maneuvers and luck and through some air support, each ship captain makes a decisive blow against the Japanese fleet, but not without loss, of men and vessels. By book’s end, Japan’s Central Force retreats in defeat, failing to breakthrough General Macarthur’s beachhead in the Philippines, but permanently disabling each of the tin can ships, forcing the crews to abandon each ship, but the US Navy would have the last laugh, as the guide bomber squadron accompanied by torpedo planes would end them before they could return home.

Overall, The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors is an epic graphic novel that covers the wide scope of the battle through different viewpoints. The story by Hornfischer is well researched and exciting. The adaptation by Doug Murray is seamless. The art by the creative team is beautiful. Altogether, this book feels like the war movies my grandfather raised me on. As a Navy veteran, I’m proud to know that this is part of our heritage.

Story: James Hornfischer Adaptation: Doug Murray
Art: Steven Sanders, Rob Steen,
and Matt Soffe
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Purchase: KindleBookshop

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