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Nocterra’s Blacktop Bill Gets the Spotlight this December

Master of horror Scott Snyder teams up with legendary artist Denys Cowan for a thrilling new penny dreadful in Nocterra Special: Blacktop Bill. This special one-shot issue from Image Comics is set to land on shelves this December and haunt fans of Snyder and Tony S. Daniel’s bestselling series Nocterra.

Behold the book of Blacktop Bill. In the wake of the first arc’s explosive finale, the origin of Nocterra’s most terrifying creature will at last be revealed in Nocterra Special: Blacktop Bill. Witness the horrors that await…

Nocterra Special: Blacktop Bill one-shot will be available at comic book shops on Wednesday, December 22:

  • Cover A by Daniel & Marcello Maiolo – Diamond Code OCT210042
  • Cover B by Cowan & Chris Sotomayor  – Diamond Code OCT210043
  • Cover C blackout variant – Diamond Code OCT210044
  • Cover D 1:10 Copy Incentive B&W by Daniel – Diamond Code OCT210045
  • Cover E 1:25 Copy Incentive B&W by Cowan – Diamond Code OCT210046
  • Cover F 1:50 Copy Incentive Raw by Cowan – Diamond Code OCT210047

Review: Hardware: Season One #1

The latest series from the rebooted Milestone is here and it delivers another new tone, look, and direction for the universe while tying into what’s already been released. Hardware: Season One #1 features amazing visuals in what amounts to an extended chase scene.

Story: Brandon Thomas
Art: Denys Cowan
Ink: Bill Sienkiewicz
Color: Chris Sotomayor
Letterer: Rob Leigh

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.

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Preview: Hardware: Season One #1

Hardware: Season One #1

Written by: Brandon Thomas
Art by: Denys Cowan

Curtis Metcalf was the brightest shining star of Alva Industries, a brilliant scientist mentored by Edwin Alva since childhood…until the failures of Alva technology at the “Big Bang” disaster threatened to destroy the company, and Alva needed a scapegoat. Now Curtis is on the run from the Dakota police department…but a man as smart-and paranoid-as Curtis takes precautions. With a nearly indestructible suit of armor and remarkable inventions that he never handed over to Alva, Curtis stands determined to do much more than clear his name…he’s going to take the fight back to Alva himself!

Hardware: Season One #1

Review: Hardware: Season One #1

Hardware: Season One #1

I know very little about Hardware. I know the design but having never read the original comics, my knowledge is lacking. From what I can tell, the character has an Iron Man vibe about him and I’m not too far off after reading Hardware: Season One #1. While that initial take is very surface level, thankfully the debut issue delivers a thematic depth that’s so much more.

The third release in the relaunch of Milestone, Hardware: Season One #1 features a multi-layered read. It’s one that can be enjoyed for the at times fantastic art and action or its deeper themes.

Written by Brandon Thomas, Hardware: Season One #1 is tied directly to Static: Season One. Curtis Metcalf is being blamed for the release of gas that has given numerous individuals powers. Some claim he’s done it on purpose so those individuals could rise up against oppression. The Dakota Police are pursuing Metcalf forcing him to don a suit of armor and go on the run. The debut issue is mostly that.

Thomas keeps things simple as Hardware must dodge the police or take them out before they catch him. Despite that simplistic narrative, Thomas delivers so much more. Thomas puts Metcalf’s opposition in not just the Dakota PD but also his mentor and owner of the company he works for. Their relationship and interactions scream an exploration of modern race relations and at times evokes a master/slave mentality. Thomas makes the conversation and scenes between the two uncomfortable at times as it drips white supremacy and underlying racism on Alva’s end.

Denys Cowan‘s art is as impressive as expected. With inks by Bill Sienkiewicz, color by Chris Sotomayor, and lettering by Rob Leigh, there’s a grittiness about the art that matches the “man on the run” concept of the first issue. There’s times the exact details of what’s happening aren’t quite clear but the art still impresses. The style really nails down the story that Thomas has crafted as it emphasizes Curtis’ desperation and the chaotic nature of what’s happening.

Hardware: Season One #1 is another solid start for the Milestone line. The issue nails its tone and delivers a frenetic opening that has the reader along for the ride. Even when the art is a bit confusing, it’s still engaging with a beautiful style that nails the issue’s tone and narrative. Milestone is quickly shaping up to be everything we’d hope and this is a prime example of what that is.

Story: Brandon Thomas Art: Denys Cowan
Ink: Bill Sienkiewicz Color: Chris Sotomayor Letterer: Rob Leigh
Story: 8.65 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.6 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Preview: Hardware: Season One #1

Hardware: Season One #1

Written by: Brandon Thomas
Art by: Denys Cowan

Curtis Metcalf was the brightest shining star of Alva Industries, a brilliant scientist mentored by Edwin Alva since childhood…until the failures of Alva technology at the “Big Bang” disaster threatened to destroy the company, and Alva needed a scapegoat. Now Curtis is on the run from the Dakota police department…but a man as smart-and paranoid-as Curtis takes precautions. With a nearly indestructible suit of armor and remarkable inventions that he never handed over to Alva, Curtis stands determined to do much more than clear his name…he’s going to take the fight back to Alva himself!

Hardware: Season One #1

Review: The Conjuring: The Lover #1

The Conjuring: The Lover #1
The Conjuring: The Lover #1

The closest thing Horror has to a Marvel Universe, as of the time of this writing, is The Conjuring universe. It’s a fascinating development, how a horror franchise that claims to be based on true events has carved a space for itself in the crowded shared universe arena. From Annabelle to The Nun, each film adds to the number of evil entities that inhabit its world while showing how they can later influence future hauntings. Naturally, each new nightmare requires its own story, a circumstance that led to the horror series’ first foray into comics in the form of The Conjuring: The Lover.

Written by David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick and Rex Ogle, with Garry Brown (Babyteeth) on art, The Conjuring: The Lover #1 follows a college student named Jessica that is struggling to make her college grades match her mother’s expectations while also dealing with romantic frustrations, loneliness, and a dark entity that’s taken an interest in her. Clearly, Jessica isn’t having much fun in college.

Whether it’s an actual person conjuring evil spirits to oppress Jessica or an inhuman thing out to make her suffer remains to be seen, but the comic captures that sense of dread horror can excel at by presenting Jessica as an already conflicted character that’s ripe for the taking by someone or something that wants to corrupt her.

The script is smart enough to pace the scares out accordingly, without leaning too heavy on the terror in this first issue. There’s the promise of paranormal activity, but just what it is that’s lurking in the shadows isn’t revealed yet and it makes for a more engrossing read. It helps that Jessica’s own personal demons are ever-present as well. Her fears and anxieties feed into the atmosphere the comic creates and offers a kind of hint as to what will latch onto her very being.

Garry Brown’s pencils prove to be adept at capturing the finer details in horror so as to allow the power of suggestion to guide readers into filling in the dark spaces. It invites close inspection of the comics page. I was always on the lookout for a ghost hand creeping around a corner or a set of yellow eyes dimly glowing deep within the shadows. Brown is flexing all the right muscles here and is letting everyone know he can do horror with the best of them.

The Conjuring: The Lover #1

The Conjuring: The Lover #1 also includes a back-up story written by Scott Snyder and illustrated by Denys Cowan centered on one of Ed and Lorraine Warren’s old cases, titled “The Ferryman.” It’s a brief but well executed homage to classic horror that follows a boy that steals a coin from the corpse of an old woman during a funeral service. By violating the unwritten rules of an ancient practice that secures a dead person’s passage into the afterlife, the character goes through the motions of a lifelong haunting that stands as a lesson to readers on the dangers of messing with the business of the dead.

And then there are the short fake ads for haunted and possessed items. They resemble the ads found in old horror magazines, but they’re given here a darkly comedic twist in which the punchline lies not just in the sales pitch but also in the fine print. They’re illustrated by Dave Johnson and are so fun to read that I wish Johnson would make an entire book based on these fake ads.

The Conjuring universe has a very successful first outing in its hands with “The Lover.” It comes off as an organic extension of the franchise and its own brand of horror. There’s a lot to look forward to in each issue knowing just how much is squeezed into one comic. It’s quite the horror package and it feels as if it can’t wait to show us even more terrible things for our viewing pleasure.

Writers: David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick, Rex Ogle, Scott Snyder
Art: Garry Brown, Denys Cowan, Dave Johnson
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0
Recommendation: Buy and pray that demon Nun doesn’t go to the same church as you do.


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The Conjuring: The Lover #1

Preview: DC Horror Presents: The Conjuring: The Lover #1

DC Horror Presents: The Conjuring: The Lover #1

Written by: Rex Ogle, Scott Snyder, David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick
Art by: Denys Cowan, Garry Brown, Dave Johnson

The terrifying debut of the tie-in to The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It begins here, with a story that’s bursting at the seams with clues about the new film. Meet Jessica. Jessica just returned to her freshman year of college after winter break, bringing with her the anxieties of last semester’s poor grades, the awkwardness of facing a boy she wishes she’d never slept with, and an undeniably unnerving feeling of being watched. She soon comes to realize that something evil made her its target, and it will not rest until it has her in its unholy grip. But why did this sinister presence set its sights on a seemingly normal college freshman? Read this nerve-racking tale, creepily crafted by Conjuring screenwriter David L. Johnson-McGoldrick and Rex Ogle with heart-stopping art from Garry Brown and chill-inducing covers by Bill Sienkiewicz, to find out!

DC Horror Presents: The Conjuring: The Lover #1

Get a First Look at DC Horror’s The Conjuring: The Lover

On June 1, DC is launching its all-new DC Horror imprint with The Conjuring: The Lover, a five-issue monthly limited series, which serves as a prelude to the highly anticipated New Line Cinema film, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, arriving in theatres and exclusively on HBO Max Friday, June 4.

Here’s your first look at some interior pages from issue #1 by series artist Garry Brown.

This dark and haunting mystery is co-written by Daniel Johnson-McGoldrick and Rex Ogle. The prelude introduces college student Jessica, a college freshman returning to campus after winter break, bringing with her the anxieties of last semester’s poor grades, the awkwardness of facing a boy she wishes she’d never slept with, and an undeniably unnerving feeling of being watched.

Jessica soon comes to realize that something evil has made her its target, and it will not rest until it has her in its unholy grip. But why did this sinister presence set its sights on a seemingly normal college freshman?

The Conjuring: The Lover will also feature backup stories that further explore the mysteries of the dreaded artifact room of Ed and Lorraine Warren from The Conjuring Universe. Issue #1 contains a bloodcurdling story exploring the frightening origin of one of the items from the Warrens’ haunted artifact room, written by comics superstar Scott Snyder, with art by Denys Cowan.

Review: Superman: Red and Blue #2

Superman: Red and Blue #2

I loved the debut of Superman: Red and Blue. The first issue was such a fresh take on Superman with a delivery that mixed in socio-political issues and the character’s limits and failures. Mixed with beautiful art, it was a debut that forced you to take notice. Superman: Red and Blue #2 is entertaining in its own way but falls far short of that first issue that soared.

There isn’t anything particularly bad about Superman: Red and Blue #2. There are five stories that are all entertaining in their own way. The stories vary in their focus and art style each delivering its own take on the character and his world. But, none of the stories really stand out. They’re entertaining while you read but I didn’t find the issue sticking with me in the same way as the first. It’s a case of starting out with a debut that’s almost “too good”. It’s difficult to match that level of quality.

Superman: Red and Blue #2 has its highlights. The comic debuts and opens with an interesting and emotional take on Clark’s relationship with his parents. It’s one that takes on negative perceptions about adoption and stamps them down.

An entry that pits Lex Luthor against Superman has a tinge of humor that pays homage to past stories. It’s a cute, fun story that I’d love as a backup feature in a Superman comic.

Where the comic stands out is in its varied subject matter. The anthology features stories focused on Martha Kent, Val-Zod, Lex Luthor, a random young girl, and Cyborg Superman. Each story is good in its own way and are worth reading. Superman: Red and Blue #2 is a frustrating comic in a way. All of the stories would be great as backups to a regular running series. But, as an anthology the stories are a bit too different in their subjects and topics and far too often fall into Superman battling something or they fall into predictable cheese.

Superman: Red and Blue #2 is hampered by that amazing first issue. It hasn’t stuck with me as that debut has. It’s not one that I immediately raved about to others. It’s good. It’s an entertaining read to sit back and relax to. But, it doesn’t challenge or do anything really new or interesting with an iconic character. An anthology feels like it presents a way to try something new, not something we’ve seen before.

Story: Steven T. Seagle, Chuck Brown, Dan Panosian, Stephanie Phillips, Jason Howard
Art: Duncan Rouleau, Denys Cowan, John Stanisci, Dan Panosian, Marley Zarcone, Jason Howard
Color: Chris Sotomayor
Letterer: Pat Brosseau, Dave Sharpe, Rob Leigh, Tom Napolitano
Story: 7.0 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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