While I’m not a horror fan, there’s a certain type I do enjoy. Those tense stories whose focus is more on the build-up than cheap scares are more in my wheelhouse. Plunge #1 delivers that and more in a fist issue that’s full of tension and character.
Written by Joe Hill, Plunge #1 isn’t anything particularly new. Instead, it does things we’ve seen before really well. A nautical experience, Plunge tells the story of a ship that begins to emit a distress signal nearly 40 years after it wrecked. What happened? Why the sudden signal? That’s all a part of the mystery. We know things are going to go smoothly in the salvage, we just don’t know how it’ll go sideways. And that’s part of the enjoyment.
Beyond the tension, Hill focuses on the characters. Each has a lot of personality and by issue’s end, you’ve got a good sense as to who everyone is. There’s also some solid laughs that break up what easily could have been a serious and dour first issue. The comic almost goes out of its way for laughs and that focus is a smart one. It makes the horror of it all a bit more ominous. You get the sense there’s something looming, even when you’re guard is down laughing about rubber dicks.
Stuart Immonen‘s art is fantastic. Along with Dave Stewart‘s colors and Deron Bennett‘s lettering, the visuals build on that subtle dread Hill goes fore. With lots of blues and browns, there’s a dirty but organic feel to the art that, much like the characters has personality. That’s the aspect that really stands out. Immonen’s style plays well to the character interactions with highly expressive looks and delivery of dialogue. There’s an almost play like aspect to it all. Bennett’s lettering too becomes key as the story progresses and we get to the final reveal. It delivers a style that emphasizes the shock of it all.
Plunge #1 is a fantastic debut. It’s a must for horror fans and especially for those who like films like the Abyss, Jaws, and Leviathan. We’re just in the setup phase but the mix of characters and missions creates a start that’s beyond engaging and a hell of a beginning.
Story: Joe Hill Art: Stuart Immonen Color: Dave Stewart Letterer: Deron Bennett Story: 10 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy
DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
Written by Joe Hill Art by Stuart Immonen Colored by Dave Stewart Lettered by Deron Bennett Cover by Jeremy Wilson Variant cover by Gary Frank In shops February 19, 2020 Final orders due January 27, 2020 SRP: $3.99
Hill House Comics Brings New Terror from Beneath the Waves in Plunge!
What happens when you combine horror icon Joe Hill (Basketful of Heads, Locke & Key), the return of legendary artist Stuart Immonen (Superman: Secret Identity), covers by Jeremy Wilson, variant covers by Gary Frank, the tension of deep sea exploration, mysterious cargo and the innate fear of sharks, together in one package?
You get the next spine-tingling launch from DC’s Hill House Comics, Plunge!
In the aftermath of a devastating tsunami, an exploration vessel known as the Derleth begins sending an automated distress signal from a remote atoll in the Bering Strait. The only problem is that the Derleth has been missing for 40 years. Marine biologist Moriah Lamb joins the Carpenter Salvage team to recover the Derleth’s dead…only to find that in this remote part of the Arctic Circle the dead have plenty to say to the living…
Joe Hill, Stuart Immonen, Dave Stewart and Deron Bennett’s plunge into terror begins here, featuring covers by Jeremy Wilson and variant covers by Gary Frank!
I’ve never played the board game Rising Sun. Despite my love of board games, I couldn’t tell you what the game is even about. Rising Sun #1 adapts the popular board game from CMON into comics and does a decent job of it all. Written by Ron Marz and David Rodriguez the story focuses on warriors from different clans brought together to take on the monsters ravaging their lands and put a stop to the source. It’s a story we’ve seen before many times. This spin on the familiar plot stands out a bit due to its focus on the characters.
I can’t compare the comic to the game, or how well it adapts it, but the comic itself is an entertaining read. The plot is something we’ve seen but Marz and Rodriguez deliver something a bit more. Through the injury of one of the warriors, we learn about the others. It’d be easy to do flashbacks to reveal who each is but between the initial battle and subsequent events in trying to save their friend, we get a good sense of every character. There’s a lot packed into the issue explaining the world and it all flows easily.
The art by Martin Coccolo helps keep the focus on the characters. With colors by Katrina Mae Hao, each has personality in their design. Looking at each character, you get a sense of their clan and who they are. The body language too helps convey it all. Like the overall plot, the art feels familiar but at the same time stands out. It does a solid job of giving us details on the world and characters without being too obvious and saving the need for clunky dialogue explaining the clans and personalities.
Who knows how well the comic reflects the board game but what’s presented is an entertaining read taking us through a familiar plot but doing so with a lot of personality. The comic also comes with some material to use for those who do play the game adding a nice bonus and reason for gamers to get it. A good start that stands out as more than a cheap cash in on a property.
Story: Ron Marz, David Rodriguez Art: Martin Coccolo Color: Katrina Mae Hao Letterer: Deron Bennett Story: 7.5 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read
IDW Publishing provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
The world is on the brink of war and chaos and a young Wonder Woman must venture forth to save it.
Story: Leigh Bardugo, Louise Simonson Art: Kit Seaton Color: Sara Woolley Letterer: Deron Bennett
Get your copy in comic shops now and in book stores on January 7! 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.
DC Comics 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
Adapted by Louise Simonson from Leigh Bardugo’s prose novel Illustrated by Kit Seaton Colored by Sara Woolley Lettered by Deron Bennett On sale January 7, 2020 MSRP: $16.99
She will become one of the world’s greatest heroes: WONDER WOMAN. But first she is Diana, Princess of the Amazons. And her fight is just beginning. Based on the New York Times bestselling novel by Leigh Bardugo, this graphic novel adaptation brings to life Diana’s first adventure beyond the hidden shores of Themyscira.
Diana longs to prove herself to her legendary warrior sisters. But when the opportunity finally comes, she throws away her chance at glory and breaks Amazon law—risking exile—to save a mere mortal. Even worse, Alia Keralis is no ordinary girl and with this single brave act, Diana may have doomed the world.
Alia just wanted to escape her overprotective brother with a semester at sea. She doesn’t know she is being hunted. When a bomb detonates aboard her ship, Alia is rescued by a mysterious girl of extraordinary strength and forced to confront a horrible truth: Alia is a Warbringer—a direct descendant of the infamous Helen of Troy, fated to bring about an age of bloodshed and misery.
Together, Diana and Alia will face an army of enemies—mortal and divine—determined to either destroy or possess the Warbringer. If they have any hope of saving both their worlds, they will have to stand side by side against the tide of war.
Far Sector #2 is a hell of a detective story. Though it takes place on an alien world and involves a Green Lantern, at its heart, it’s a crime tale. It’s also fantastic.
Writer N.K. Jemisin keeps the story grounded in numerous ways. Though there’s aliens and a fantastical world, Jemisin focuses on the main characer Jo. It’s an interesting story that cares as much about giving its main lead depth as it does the action and mystery. But that extends beyond Jo. Jemisin makes sure we learn about the world and the alien races it inhabits.
What’s most interesting is Jemisin keeping the story familiar. There’s the relationships and interactions between characters that stands out. But, there’s also familiar concepts like drug abuse and use. It’s sci-fi being used to mask real-world issues.
The art by Jamal Campbell is amazing. Joined by Deron Bennett on lettering, the comic is as amazing visually as it is to read. There’s a style to it all that feels fresh and fantastical. The designs are hauntingly beautiful and reflect the concepts presented. They invoke emotion but at the same time feel devoid of it. Underneath that beauty something feels sinister about it all. The art evokes an emotional read adding to Jemisin’s detailed dialogue.
Far Sector #2 is a fantastic follow-up. It adds depth to characters and the world while moving the murder mystery forward. Only two issues in a twelve-issue series, I’m already saddened there’s an endpoint. This is a world I already want to see more of.
Dark Knight Returns: The Golden Child is Frank Miller‘s latest entry into his world of Batman. Following up on The Master Race, the comic feels like a bunch of ideas jotted down but not fleshed out. It’s a mess of a result.
The story revolves around Lara, Carrie Kelley, and a young Jonathan Kent. Miller sets up some interesting dynamics between the three. Lara struggles with humanity and Carrie devolves into her cold role as Batwoman. Jonathan is caught between the two. With godlike power he’s conflicted as to what it means to be human and compassionate. That could be a story unto itself with an easy conflict. It’d play off of themes Miller has previously addressed in other volumes. Instead, we get his take on the current state of political affairs and interference in elections. The result is a jumbled mess of a result.
Miller decides to make the villain of the story a combination of Darkseid and Joker whose initial gambit is meddling with an election. Donald Trump is their candidate and they manipulate the masses through computers and protests. It all feels rather odd for the pairing and with motivation unclear it comes off as lazy writing. It’s a plotline and two character that didn’t need to exist for an interesting follow up.
The end result is a comic that feels like Miller is attempting to say something but he’s unsure of how to do that and maybe even what it is he’s trying to say.
Rafael Grampá handles the art duties this time around. Jordie Bellaire joins on color with John Workman and Deron Bennett handling lettering. The art style is interesting with some scenes looking fantastic and at other times characters looking like distorted beings. There’s times it all works but at others it’s hard to not be distracted by giant foreheads.
There’s something interesting in the Dark Knight Returns: The Golden Child but the end result is a mess of a result. The story comes off as if it thinks it’s an intelligent take on the current state of affairs. But, then the dialogue betrays all of that with such memorable lines like “I’ll rip yuh gonads off.” The dialogue at times is laughable, and not in a good way. It’s a frustrating comic with flashes of Miller’s brilliance but a final result that’s a chaotic mess.
Story: Frank Miller Art: Rafael Grampá Color: Jordie Bellaire Letterer: John Workman, Deron Bennett Story: 5.0 Art: 6.5 Overall: 5.5 Recommendation: Pass
DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
Far Sector #1 is an interesting series as it takes the familiar concepts of the Green Lanterns but is released under the DC’s Young Animal imprint. It’s an imprint that is known for it’s wilder takes on characters, a bit more of an indie and experimental flair in some ways. Far Sector‘s debut though is a pretty standard police procedural but it’s absolutely amazing.
Written by N.K. Jemisin, one of the furthest sectors of the Green Lanter’s reach and introduces us to Lantern Mullein. Mullein is a human Lantern thrown into this alien world. She acts as a detective in a world without murder so lacking procedure. But, when a murder happens it’s her role to not just figure out the why but prevent more.
Far Sector #1 is a fairly standard police procedural with some twists. But, it’s a damn good one with a tight narrative and perspective. So much information is provided to shape the world and characters. And while doing so Jemisin is still able to create a smooth story that’s engrossing and engaging. It never feels like an information dump but a natural voice and flow to it all.
Jamal Campbell‘s art is amazing. Campbell’s work on Naomi should have gotten the entire industry to take notice but this debut plants a flag. Campbell is joined by Deron Bennett‘s lettering. Filled with beautiful greens, the art is full of details as Campbell adds more depth to the world beyond Jemisin’s words. Every character is unique and stands out in the attention to the differences, no matter how minor, to make them distinctive.
Far Sector #1 feels like a standard Green Lantern story in many ways but the quality of the writing and art makes it stand out. This was an unexpected debut partially due to the imprint. When I expected quirky, I got something that’s far from it and runs circles around some of its spandex sister series. It’s a hell of a debut and one that should be on everyone’s pull-list.
Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal Creation Myths: The Complete Collection SC
Publisher: BOOM! Studios Writer: Brian Holguin, Joshua Dysart, and Matthew Dow Smith Artist: Brian Froud, Alex Sheikman, and Lizzy John Letterers: Derron Bennett, Dave Lanphaer Cover Artist: Brian Froud Price: $39.99
Collected for the first time in one oversized edition, this series reveals the definitive origins of the Skeksis, Mystics, Gelfling, and the Dark Crystal itself while introducing all new characters in an epic spanning thousands of years.
Written by Brian Holguin (Spawn: Origins), Joshua Dysart (Unknown Soldier), and Matthew Dow Smith (Doctor Who), and lushly illustrated by Alex Sheikman (Robotika) and Lizzy John (Fraggle Rock), Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal: Creation Myths is a breathtaking return to the fantasy world that has captivated audiences for over thirty years.
Publisher: BOOM! Studios Writers: Brent Schoonover, Derek Fridolfs, Bill Hanstock, Arune Singh, Ryan Ferrier, Kevin Panetta, Andrew Stott, Andy Belanger, Lan Pitts, Artists: Carlos Magno, Kendall Goode, Brent Schoonover, Hyeonjin Kim, Andy Belanger, Serg Acuña, Rodrigo Lorenzo Colorists: Wesllei Manoel, Lee Loughridge, Doug Grabark, Letterers: Jim Campbell, Deron Bennett, Ed Dukeshire, Serge Lapointe Cover Artist: Felipe Massafera Price: $16.99
Return to some of the greatest moments in WWE History from across multiple eras of sports entertainment. Featuring such titanic clashes as Charlotte Flair vs. Asuka, Ric Flair’s retirement match against Shawn Michaels, and Undertaker vs. Kane from Wrestlemania 14, this collection is truly a showstopper.
Collects stories from WWE: Forever #1 and WWE WrestleMania 2019 Special #1.