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Review: Harley Quinn #2

Harley Quinn #2

DC Future State debuted a neon Gotham protected not by Batman but a fascist police force. In the current pages of the various Bat-family comics, we’re seeing the first steps toward that bright but dark future. Harley Quinn was an interesting take on the character focused on her degrees in counseling and PhD in psychology. This wasn’t the clownish Harley but one with quips and using all of her abilities. With it’s debut, Harley Quinn also showed us some steps towards that take with Harley in Gotham attempting to make amends for her crimes. Harley Quinn #2 continues her growth and delivers fun action and a foe for her to focus on.

Stephanie Phillips has knocked it out of the park with her take on the character. Balancing physicality, laughs, and smarts, this Harley Quinn is the complete package and not just a comedic foil to whomever she’s with. Harley Quinn #2 focuses a bit on her next steps and goals as she has decided she wants to help “The Clowns”. But, Hugo Strange has been “rehabilitated” to do the same, except he has city backing. And to Strange, Harley is the ultimate clown to rehabilitate.

Phillips gives us a fun Harley but one that’s about growth. She still acts out and doesn’t quite get how to act around people, but you can tell she wants to do good. That’s helped with her new sidekick Kevin. Kevin joined the clowns during the “Joker War” committing a crime and clearly wants to make amends. He delivers a character you actually want to hug. He’s the clay by which Harley can mold some good.

Phillips does an amazing job of balancing everything in the comic. We have Harley acting out with some hilarious results. There’s some solid action. Then there’s Kevin who makes you want to say “awe” and squeeze him. One issue in and I actually care for the character. And the comic pulls it all off with a sort of glee.

That’s helped by the art. Riley Rossmo delivers his kinetic style to the comic and it fits so well. Ivan Plascencia‘s colors pop as well. The combination is an impressive duo that nails down the character and tone of the series so well. There’s an energy about the comic that oozes from the page. Deron Bennett does an amazing job of packing in so much dialogue at times and with it keeps the chatter flowing and never once distracts from the art. This team, along with Phillips’ scripts, is an amazing one that’s firing on all cylinders.

Harley Quinn #2 is such a fantastic issue. It takes you on a ride and ranges of emotions. The fact I already love Kevin as a character and am cheering for him says everything. Sadly, I’m already attached so fully expect something terrible will happen. For now though, like Harley, I want him, and this comic, by my side.

Story: Stephanie Phillips Art: Riley Rossmo
Color: Ivan Plascencia Letterer: Deron Bennett
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Review: Harley Quinn #1

Harley Quinn #1

I’ve never been the biggest fan of Harley Quinn. I always felt the character was more interesting (for me) as part of an ensemble and not the center spotlight. I’m also not a fan of the more slapstick take, instead, I like the bit more goofy but very intelligent version that’s torn between different worlds. DC Future State delivered a take I hadn’t seen before, focused on her background as a psychiatrist as she took on Gotham’s worst. She still delivered laughs and a bit of manic self and very interesting insight into others. Harley Quinn #1 kicks off a new volume for the character set back in the present and a Harley who’s attempting to make amends for her past misdeeds.

Stephanie Phillips continues to guide Harley on her adventures giving us a character who’s still a bit out there but also one you can relate to a lot more. Harley has made mistakes, being the sidekick to a mass-murderer will do that. She now has a clean slate due to her work with the Suicide Squad and she wants to make things right. But where to start?

Phillips gives us a Harley with a mission. She has a clear focus now and it’s not random adventures. She wants to do the right thing but she’s not completely sure how to go about that. She’ll also need to face her past. It’s a solid direction for the character who has been an anti-hero for so long after her villain roots. Harley Quinn #1 has the character really making her “face” turn as she attempts to be a hero. And to me, that’s really interesting.

The debut issue has Batman who is rather skeptical of her abilities and intent. She has to now deal with not having income as a hero (this seems to be a popular topic lately). She’s starting over. Harley Quinn #1 is a woman who has finally broken away from an abusive relationship and life and is starting over. There’s a lot of potential in that. Most importantly, it entertains too.

Riley Rossmo helps deliver a kinetic punch to Phillips story through the art. It’s in Rossmo’s distinctive style with color by Ivan Plascencia and lettering by Deron Bennett. Rossmo’s art is perfect for the character as it captures the energy she has. It matches her energetic personality. The colors pop adding to it all and Bennett’s lettering often delivers the punchline in dialogue delivery. The trio come together to capture and create the feel of the comic and character. It’s a perfect mix of humor, action, and some more grounded emotional moments. You get the sense of the highs and lows of Harley throughout.

Harley Quinn #1 is the first Harley comic that has me hooked in to really check out what’s next. I like Phillips’ take on the character and mixed with the art, it has a fun punch to it all. It’s a fresh start for the character and is a solid jumping-on point for new readers and a pivot point for long-time fans.

Story: Stephanie Phillips Art: Riley Rossmo
Color: Ivan Plascencia Letterer: Deron Bennett
Story: 8.15 Art: 8.35 Overall: 8.2 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Review: Batman: Urban Legends #1

Batman: Urban Legends #1

As seen in The Lego Batman Movie, the Arkham video games, and the Batman comics of the 1990s and early 2000s, Batman’s strength is in the world and characters that he creates access to. Whether that’s his allies, villains, nooks and crannies of Gotham, or even police officers that he either works with or against, these personalities and settings are why I continue to return to the Batman side of the DC Universe. The creators of Batman: Urban Legends #1 understand this and flesh out different Batman-adjacent characters and even sometimes explore their relationship to the Dark Knight while also telling action, romance, and crime stories.

First up in this Gotham-themed anthology is the beginning of a six part Batman and Red Hood serial where Batman and his former protege-turned-killer vigilante (He’s switched to rubber bullets for the moment.) investigate a source of a hallucinatory street drug tackily called Cheerdrops. Writer Chip Zdarsky has a firm grasp on Jason Todd’s voice, including the darkness inside his soul and his hunger for justice, especially for Gotham’s beleaguered working class. Artists Eddy Barrows and Eber Ferreira and colorist Adriano Lucas nail the grit of the city with explosive linework and jagged layouts to go with a color palette that has had all the light sucked out of it. However, Excalibur’s Marcus To does the art in the flashbacks, which features brighter colors as well as simpler, cleaner lines with a more traditional superhero feel even though one of the scenes is set during “Under the Red Hood” when Jason Todd came back from the dead and started killing criminals.

“Batman and Red Hood” is also a study in contrasts in how two very different crime fighters deal with the same crisis. Batman is the World’s Greatest Detective and is super methodical with Barrows and Ferreria drawing him looking at the chemical makeup of Cheerdrops CSI-style, and his All-Star Superman-esque moment with a jumper is less feel-good and more evidence collection. On the other hand, Jason fights crime with his guts and heart and even admits in a wry line from Zdarsky that he’s not a great detective as he struggles to find a Cheerdrop stash house. However, he does find a boy named Tyler, and of course, Jason is great with kids and even lets him wear part of his mask while he looks for his dad in a dodgy part of Gotham. Zdarsky, Barrows, and Ferreira create something truly heartwarming between Jason Todd and Tyler.

There’s a throughline between this and the flashbacks where Batman (Portrayed as more of an action figure than man by To) struggles being a father figure to Jason, and Alfred does the job perfectly because he sees him as a human being and not an obstacle in his war on crime. Chip Zdarsky writes Alfred Pennyworth as the perfect parent to the Bat-family, who isn’t afraid to tell Batman that he’s full of shit and chooses compassion over a closed fist. And speaking of Batman, I love how Zdarsky doesn’t give him an inner monologue and depicts him more as a force of nature than a gun toting, broken man like Jason Todd, who agonizes over every decision and whose interaction with Tyler bring back memories of his mom who died of a drug overdose. Also, he’s not afraid to go a little dark, and Eddy Barrows and Eber Ferreira jagged layouts and emotional poses are along for the ride.

Batman: Urban Legends #1

The second story in Batman: Urban Legends #1 is an eight page Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy one-off from writer Stephanie Phillips, artist Laura Braga, and colorist Ivan Plascencia. Plascencia is this story’s secret weapon that shows the happy, hilarious times of Harley and Ivy’s first dates and the bleak current times for Harley as she has moved back to Gotham in her solo title and as a recurring character in Batman. Braga’s art is expressive and high energy for both the good times (Harley and Ivy smooching and snapping selfies) and bad times (A sudden bolt of lightning shattering their pictures), and she is a good fit for a story that isn’t centered around a heist or fight against a superhero, but a relationship. She and Phillips tap into the depth of feelings that Harley has for Ivy, and through some handy plant symbolism, they create hope for the relationship that has become very popular for fans in the past decade. “Harley and Ivy” is a nice, nearly slice of life oasis in the midst of the three other stories, which have more moving parts.

The third story in this comic is a 10 page “Outsiders” feature by Brandon Thomas, Max Dunbar, and Luis Guerrero starring Black Lightning, Katana, and an interesting take on Metamorpho. Thomas turns in kind of a mystery plot with the story starting with Black Lightning and an unseen Metamorpho in a Japanese prison before cutting to a bonkers, two page spread of a speedboat chase. Unlike the previous two stories in Batman: Urban Legends #1, Thomas and Dunbar go for a action over character focus, and honestly, I’m here for it. Dunbar uses arrows from their pursuers to act as eye-lines to follow the high speed chase, and he and Thomas have a clever moment or two up their sleeve, especially in regards to Metamorpho’s first appearance. The story isn’t particularly deep, but it has the vibe of a James Bond cold open with superpowers as Guerrero really makes Black Lightning’s abilities sizzle. Finally, Brandon Thomas’ plotting really kept me engaged with thinking about why characters were acting a certain way, and the the mini mystery box structure has me intrigued for the upcoming issue.

Batman: Urban Legends #1

Grifter is a character I didn’t really know a lot about except for some random comics like the New 52 Team 7 and JLA/WildCATs, but Matthew Rosenberg, Ryan Benjamin, and Antonio Fabela have made this anti-hero/rapscallion and his various pratfalls quite lovable and hilarious Batman: Urban Legends #1’s final story. Grifter is like that guy who bluffs at poker, but never has a good hand. And until maybe the penultimate page of the comic, he’s either screwing up or making a joke about it beginning with his mad rush towards supervillain fire during his Team 6 days with a lot of characters with familiar names from Wildstorm comics. (I’m not an expert on these characters, and you don’t have to be to enjoy the story.) Grifter uses his sense of humor to detract from his mediocre performance as Lucius Fox’s bodyguard or to avoid getting his ass kicked by Batman, but he also has a mystery side that is revealed when he has a “date” at one of Penguin’s bars. The mystery starts to really unfold towards the end of the comic, but Rosenberg hints at every time, he talks on a headset with what I assume is his older brother.

The comedy in “Grifter” isn’t just limited to Matthew Rosenberg’s delightfully smartass dialogue. It shows up a lot in Ryan Benjamin’s visuals, which range from G.I. Joe or Authority homages (When the superheroes clean up Team 6’s mess.) in the flashback to pure slapstick. For example, Grifter spills a drink at a party Lucius Fox is meeting a client at and spills a drink on a woman. In this situation, Benjamin doesn’t just show a simple facial expression, but throws in some growlixes and makes you know that she’s furious that the soaking wet guy in Converse and blue jeans is even in the same room with her. This playfulness extends to the fight between Batman and Grifter, which starts as a serious throwdown and ends up in a total cat and mouse situation with Grifter finally getting enough self-awareness to call it quits. However, their paths will cross, and you can tell that Batman understands he’s a wildcard with his connections to Lucius Fox, the criminal underworld, and probably those Wildstorm guys. All in all, Matthew Rosenberg, Ryan Benjamin, and Antonio Fabela turn in a hilarious action-comedy set in DC’s weirdest and (sometimes) dourest city and also slowly unveil what seems to be a master plan to merge the worlds of Wildstorm and Gotham.

Batman: Urban Legends #1 is an absolute win for the anthology format that DC Comics has been trying out with all of the four stories in the comic being entertaining and shedding light on a unique cast of characters. The longer stories that bookend the comic are especially noteworthy thanks to Chip Zdarsky’s pitch-perfect handle on the fascinating character of Jason Todd in “Batman and Red Hood” and Matthew Rosenberg and Ryan Benjamin’s skill with verbal and visual humor in “Grifter”.

Story: Chip Zdarsky, Stephanie Phillips, Brandon Thomas, Matthew Rosenberg
Art: Eddy Barrows, Eber Ferreira, Marcus To, Laura Braga, Max Dunbar, Ryan Benjamin
Colors: Adriano Lucas, Ivan Plascencia, Luis Guerrero, Antonio Fabela
Letters: Becca Carey, Deron Bennett, Steve Wands, Saida Temofonte
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.6 Overall: 8.3 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Overwatch’s Tracer’s Comic Series is Collected in Hardcover

Overwatch: Tracer—London Calling is being collected in its entirety in a 112-page hardcover from Dark Horse Comics with a brand-new cover by series cover artist, Bengal. From acclaimed Eisner and Harvey award-winning writer Mariko Tamaki and kinetic artist Babs Tarr, joined by exquisite colorist Rachael Cohen and letterer extraordinaire Deron Bennett, Blizzard Entertainment and Dark Horse Comics present Overwatch fans with an exciting new addition to Overwatch’s unique universe!

Overwatch may be disbanded, but Tracer’s time in “retirement” is up . . . After a punk-rock omnic named Iggy shows Tracer the dire living conditions forced upon London’s omnics, Tracer vows to help. But things might not be so easy, especially with larger forces sowing conflict between humans and omnics in London.

Overwatch: Tracer—London Calling hardcover will be in comic shops on September 15, 2021 and in book stores on September 28, 2021. It will retail for $24.99.

Overwatch: Tracer—London Calling

Review: The Next Batman: Second Son #1

The Next Batman: Second Son #1

DC‘s Digital First series have been knocking it out of the park. The digital comics have been engaging, intriguing, and feel like they’re comics we might not otherwise see on the printed page. They give creators a new avenue for their voices to be heard and generally allowed them to do so without having to worry about continuity. The Next Batman: Second Son #1 kicks off the newest series that interestingly has some major ramifications for Batman’s pocket of the DC Universe.

Tim “Jace” Fox is the estranged son of billionaire Lucius Fox and man of mystery…what has the eldest son of one Gotham’s premiere families been up to for these ‘missing’ years and how does he find himself getting shot at in the jungles of Vietnam? The Next Batman: Second Son #1 kicks off a series that’ll have some repercussions and part of a dark future for Batman.

Writer John Ridley is absolutely brilliant. He’s known for so many thought-provoking releases, he’s a creator that I’ll read or so whatever he’s involved in. In “Future State” Ridley has driven Jace’s story and his role as the future Batman. The Next Batman: Second Son #1 gives us the pieces to that path and kicks things off with a James Bond-esque adventure.

Ridley doesn’t tell us a ton about the who or the why, instead of focuses on Jace’s abilities, actions, and personality. The opening chapter is the opening 15 minutes of a Bond film dropping our hero into the middle of the action without explanation. We just accept the direction and the cool and overlook what we don’t know. It’s a ride that sets the tone. By the end of the issue we get a good sense of who Jace is and what we should expect as far as the character going forward. It plants the flag as to who our protagonist is.

The art by Tony Akins, with breakdowns by Ryan Benjamin, is interesting. There’s such a fantastic sense of action in the comic that really feels like a solid Bond adventure. Mark Morales provides inks, with Rex Lokus on color, and lettering by Deron Bennett. It all comes together for a sense of cool but subtle visual details let us know that Jace is still learning. There’s one glaring issue for me in the final two panels of the digital comic as Jace returns to his apartment and finds a visitor. The panels should be flipped going Jace then visitor not visitor then Jace. That might have been an issue with my digital copy but it’s something that stands out taking the wind out of the up to that point excellent ride.

The Next Batman: Second Son #1 is an intriguing series as it looks to have some major implications for the print comics of Batman. It’s a digital series that’s going to be a “major player” and one to keep one’s eye on. Luckily, it’ll eventually make it’s way to print but this is one you won’t want spoiled for you.

Story: John Ridley Art: Tony Akins Breakdowns: Ryan Benjamin
Ink: Mark Morales Color: Rex Lokus Letterer: Deron Bennett
Story: 8.0 Art: 7.75 Art: 7.95 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Excellence Gets a Deluxe Hardcover Version on Kickstarter

Brandon Thomas and Khary Randolph, Deron Bennett, and Emilio Lopez’s Skybound and Image Comics action fantasy series Excellence is getting an exclusive deluxe hardcover, available exclusively through Kickstarter. Comic book enthusiasts can order starting on February 23, 2021.

Excellence: Book One will encompass the first nine issues of the magic series, with additional never-before seen content. The deluxe hardcover is the first release from Skybound Signature, a line of graphic novels debuting on Kickstarter.

Excellence Deluxe Edition Book One

Nominees for the 32nd Annual GLAAD Media Awards Announced

GLAAD Media Awards

GLAAD has announced the nominees for the 32nd Annual GLAAD Media Awards. The awards honor media for “fair, accurate, and inclusive representations of LGBTQ people and issues”. The awards began in 1990 and this year features 198 nominees in 28 categories.

Award recipients will be announced during a virtual ceremony scheduled for April 2021.

Below are the nominees in the comic category. You can get the full list of nominees at the GLAAD website.

The Old Guard, based on the comic series by Greg Rucka, Leandro Fernández, Daniela Miwa, and Jodi Wynne was nominated for “Outstanding Film – Wide Release“.

Harley Quinn, the HBO MAX/DC Universe animated series based on the DC Comics character created by Bruce Timm and Paul Dini was nominated in “Outstanding Comedy Series“.

Supergirl, based on the DC Comics character, Wynonna Earp based on the character created by Beau Smith, and The Umbrella Academy based on the comic by Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá were nominated for “Outstanding Drama Series”.

Outstanding Comic Book

  • Empyre, Lords of Empyre: Emperor Hulkling, Empyre: Aftermath Avengers, written by Al Ewing, Dan Slott, Chip Zdarsky, Anthony Oliveira, Valerio Schiti, Manuel Garcia, (Marvel Comics)
  • Far Sector, written by N.K. Jemisin, Jamal Campbell, and Deron Bennett (DC Comics)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy, written by Al Ewing and Marcio Takara (Marvel Comics)
  • Juliet Takes a Breath, written by Gabby Rivera and Celia Moscote (BOOM! Studios)
  • Lois Lane, written by Greg Rucka, Juan Cabal, and Mike Perkins (DC Comics)
  • The Magic Fish, written by Trung Le Nguyen (Random House Graphic)
  • Suicide Squad, written by Tom Taylor and Bruno Redondo (DC Comics)
  • Wynd, written by James Tynion IV and Michael Dialynas (BOOM! Studios)
  • X-Factor, written by Leah Williams and David Baldeon (Marvel Comics)
  • You Brought Me the Ocean, written by Alex Sanchez and Julie Maroh (DC Comics)

Summoners War Gets a Prequel Comic in April

The highly anticipated tie-in comic book series Summoners War: Legacyby writer Justin Jordan and artist Luca Claretti with colors by Giovanna Niro and lettering by Deron Bennett (Excellence, Assassin Nation)—is set to launch in April 2021 from Image Comics and Skybound Entertainment in partnership with game publisher Com2uS.

Fans of the game and newcomers alike will have the chance to journey to Alea in this dramatic, action-packed prequel comic book based upon the wildly popular Summoners War mobile game. Summoners War: Legacy comic series is the latest expansion to the Summoners War IP, along with upcoming mobile games Summoners War: Lost Centuria and Summoners War: Chronicles. The variety of expansions is a testament to the game’s success and longevity which proves to be a major tentpole for Com2uS’ gaming portfolio.

In Summoners War: Legacy, Rai knows there’s only one way out of a nothing town—to become a summoner! Armed with a summoning book of monsters, there would be nowhere she couldn’t go, and no adventure she couldn’t have. There’s only one problem: the world is at war and even untrained summoners like Rai must join the fight.

Recruited by Abuus Dein as an apprentice, Rai finds herself thrust into a battle for the fate of the world that none of them expected. Rai must learn there’s a lot more to life than having fun, but can she become the summoner the world needs in time?

Summoners War: Legacy takes place 35 years before the universe-shattering conflict at the mobile game’s center. The comic series features fan-favorite monsters, explores the fate of Durand’s parents, and expands on the mystical land of Alea and its colorful characters including Abuus, Rai, and Tomas. This riveting addition to Summoners War canon brings a rich lore to the franchise and draws new connections to the upcoming Summoners War games and the Summoners War: Sky Arena game that fans know and love.

Summoners War: Legacy #1 (Diamond Code FEB210054) will be available at comic book shops on Wednesday, April 28.

Summoners War: Legacy

Review: Dark Nights: Death Metal The Multiverse That Laughs #1

Dark Nights: Death Metal The Multiverse Who Laughs

I’ve been vocal in my mixed feelings about Dark Nights: Death Metal. The main event has been mixed in quality and the one-shots, while they used to stand out, are now fumbling themselves. Dark Nights: Death Metal The Multiverse Who Laughs is another stumble presenting four stories with few standing out and most being forgettable.

Dark Nights: Death Metal The Multiverse Who Laughs opens with an introduction introducing the scary stories to follow. Written by Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, and Joshua Williamson, the intro isn’t so much Cryptkeeper as it’s a tease. Juan Gedeon handles the art, Mike Spicer color, and Troy Peteri the lettering and the art is solidly entertaining. But, the tales the Robin Kings aren’t what’s presented, and sadly what is, is far less interesting. A nice introduction to lay out the concept of the comic but it actually hurts what’s really could have been accomplished with some text on the first page.

Patton Oswalt, Sanford Greene, David Baron, and Josh Reed to a twisted take on Zsasz in “Feeding the Beast”. Sadly, the story itself doesn’t make a whole lot of sense at all. It feels like interesting ideas chopped together without a strong narrative. To say it’s a frustrating start is an understatement and the issue stumbles from there.

The Super-Pets get the spotlight in “The Super-Threats“. Written by Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti, the story is a Super-Pets spin on DCeased. Krypto returns from space to find a planet ravaged and all that remains are the Super-Pets. It’s a nice horror short story packed in well and filled with a little bit of humor to make it different and stand out from DCeased. Chad Hardin‘s art with color by Enrica Eren Angiolini‘s color is solid as the animals are filled with emotion as the story unfolds. There’s a slight coloring issue when one infected creature is described as having yellow eyes and red teeth and neither being present. Lettering by Carlos M. Mangual really stands out with the unique speech bubbles that makes the story really fun.

In “Hard-Traveled“, Earth has been taken over by Hal Jordon who’s used his power to bring order to the planet. Standing in his way is Green Arrow. Saladin Ahmed‘s story is interesting in concept but sadly doesn’t get enough pages to really stand out. But, it’s a comic I’d love to read. What does stand out is Scot Eaton‘s art. With Norm Rapmund on ink and Hi-Fi on color, the story builds to a Rocky vs. Apollo ending.

Much like the story leading into it, “The Fear Index” also suffers from not enough pages. Steel has to deal with a planet that has been enveloped by Scarecrow’s toxin. It’s a great idea that we’re mostly teased with. Written by Brandon Thomas, the story itself is the trailer for a film we want to see more of. The art by Thomas Mandrake is solid. With color by Sian Mandrake, it comes off as the twisted fear-induced visions you’d expect. It’s not the over the top trip that has been done before but it’s presented as unsettled. That’s helped by Deron Bennett‘s lettering which enhances the hallucinations from the fear toxin. It emphasizes the situation and world.

There are some things to like about Dark Nights: Death Metal The Multiverse Who Laughs. The idea of an anthology telling stories in this twisted world has potential but few are given the space they’re needed to really be interesting. Instead, they all fall short as teases for something far more entertaining. Both the Green Arrow and Steel stories are worthy of their own one-shots and an entire line could be done like the other Dark Multiverse one-shots releases. But, as is, there’s not a lot here to get excited about.

Story: Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Joshua Williamson, Patton Oswalt, Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti, Saladin Ahmed, Brandon Thomas
Art: Juan Gedeon, Sanford Greene, Chad Hardin, Scot Eaton, Thomas Mandrake
Color: Mike Spicer, David Baron, Enrica Eren Angiolini, Sian Mandrake, Hi-Fi
Ink: Norm Rapmund
Letterer: Troy Peteri, Josh Reed, Carlos M. Mangual, Deron Bennett
Story: 6.0 Art: 7.0 Overall: 6.0 Recommendation: Pass

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Review: Far Sector #8

Far Sector #8

Far Sector has been one of the best series DC Comics has been releasing. The comic has captures the zeitgeist exploring police brutality, social unrest, the right to protest, and racial injustice. It has done all of that with a shine and style that delivers a visually beautiful comic. It’s a story that’s as deep to read as it is jaw-droppingly gorgeous to look at. Far Sector #8 has Jo attempting to make her arrest. But, she realizes that she’s facing similar issues she faced on Earth.

Jo continues her fight in the artificial intelligence world attempting to arrest the assassins who have killed a member of the council that guides the world. It’s a hell of a sequence with popping visuals and such fantastic concepts. The art, story, everything comes together for a treat of a read.

Even with the focus on the arrest/police procedural aspects of Far Sector #8, writer N.K. Jemisin adds small details, and some not so small, focusing on Jo’s past and the abuses she saw and even committed as a police officer. But the issue really shifts on the bureaucracy that she deals with. With a council watching every step she makes and wanting immediate answers, she’s unable to do the job that now faces her, figuring out who murdered an elected official.

Jemisin throughout the series has infused it with commentary about society and especially the police. Jo, in general, feels like a “cop” who’s attempting to do their job but is sucked into the system and in this alien world that’s happening as well. She wants to solve the case but is forced to jump through hoops to do so and do it in a system that is designed to make that difficult.

If that wasn’t enough to sell you on the comic and the series, Jamal Campbell‘s art should be more than enough. The alien world presented is beautiful to look at and the concepts and designs are amazing. But, what stood out to me in this issue is Jo herself. This is the first issue where it really has stood out how non-typical of a character she is. She’s always been presented with curves but in her civilian clothes, it becomes more apparent with a body shape not typically seen in superhero comics. That is literally in your face as she faces the council and we get a better look at her thighs and waist. Not sure why, but this is the issue where that stands out to me.

Deron Bennett‘s lettering too is a nice touch to the issue and series. As this world is made up of alien races, the lettering shifts a bit depending on who is talking. It’s a nice way to make characters and the aliens stand out a bit. While it’s not needed, it’s a touch that really enhances the story.

Far Sector is an amazing series, one of the best of the year. Far Sector #8 delivers another chapter in a police procedural that’s infused with socio-politico commentary. This is a series that’s “in the now,” not afraid to tackle current issues and real-world discussions. Most importantly, it entertains while doing so. With each issue, the series makes the case for “best of 2020.”

Story: N.K. Jemisin Art: Jamal Campbell
Color: Jamal Campbell Letterer: Deron Bennett
Story: 8.5 Art: 10 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy


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