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Review: The Visitor #4

The Visitor #4

How many people would you kill to change the world? The Visitor continues to strike from the shadows, but what kind of change is he killing to create? The Visitor #4 dives into this very question.

I was a touch let down last issue. There didn’t really seem to be a lot of plot furtherance between the second and third issue. The art remained pretty consistent. There’s a lot more to get your teeth into this issue. Thankfully, as we learn more about the Visitor we can start to piece together what his mission entails. The end goal is still a little murky, which leaves me wondering whether the title character is the antagonist. There was a little more light given on which side the Visitor falls this week. It’s this grey area that I’m both thoroughly enjoying and at the same time unsure of, if I’m honest.

But it’s the uncertainty that’s so much fun about this book.

With the The Visitor #4 we’re given a good look into the who of the Visitor, and a solid glance more of why the Visitor has come back in time to kill some scientists, but the exact details of what the Visitor is trying to prevent from happening remains elusive still.

The Visitor #4 is written by Paul Levitz and features artist MJ Kim, colorist Ulises Arreola, and letterer Simon Bowland. I previously wrote that “[the comic] follows the titular character as he’s trying to eliminate something that the Japanese scientists he’s hunting are working on and the UN Security agent Dauber assigned to protect them. Levitz keeps things entirely believable when the scientists keep frustrating Dauber’s efforts to keep them safe by insisting on their secrecy as they all underestimate the Visitor.” It’s still true. I’m leaving it here because I don’t need to update the summary from the second to the third issue. Or the third to the fourth, really.

I enjoyed this issue more than the previous two; further information on the backstory to the Visitor was very welcome, as was some clarification as to his more than human qualities. The art of Kim with Arreola’s coloring is stronger this issue than the last; the action was kinetic fast and exciting. Watching the Visitor escape helicopters was a joy as the artistic team’s work would have made for an excellent live action sequence.

After the slight slump of the previous issue, The Visitor #4 restores my faith in the series. It’s still not the best thing I’ve read this week, but I sure enjoyed the book. It’s a fun science fiction romp that touches on various different aspects of the question: what would you do to change the future? In the case of the Visitor, murder isn’t out of the question. So whatever he’s trying to change must be something big – and I’m really curious as to what that is.

Story: Paul Levitz Art: MJ Kim
Color: Diego Rodriguez Letterer: Simon Bowland
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.8 Overall: 8.7 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Doctor Tomorrow #2

Doctor Tomorrow #2

The universe warping origin of Doctor Tomorrow revealed in Doctor Tomorrow #2!

The menace of Hadrian threatens the entire Valiant Universe!

Doctor Tomorrow is Valiant‘s first all-ages book set within the publisher’s continuity. This issue also reminds people of Valiant’s multiverse, or introduces them to it. We learn more about Doctor Tomorrow and his relationship with Hadrian, a universe destroying being hunting for a mysterious material. The straight forward nature of the plot has been done numerous times before. It’s hero gathers allies to prevent the end of something. Tthere’s still something fresh about this book.

Writer Alehandro Arbona takes a fairly standard plot and injects a level of warmth and fun. The comic embraces the simplicity of the story. The all-ages nature of the book means the comic doesn’t rely on “edgy” cliches to sell a comic. Doctor Tomorrow #2 is a fresh nice deep breath.

There’s an innate innocence to it, which works very well in Doctor Tomorrow‘s favor.

Joining Alejandro Arbona is artist Jim Towe, colorist Diego Rodriguez and letterer by Clayton Cowles, a creative team that seem to be working together in rare synchronicity. The comic opens with a flight scene as Doctor Tomorrow tries to teach his younger self how to pilot the flight suit that they’re wearing. It’s the first honest look we get at the nature of Doctor Tomorrow’s abilities, but it also is one of the most endearing sequences I’ve read in some time. It’s also an example of just how well Towe and Rodriquez come together to illustrate this book.

Doctor Tomorrow #2 also features fan favorite Valiant characters making a long over due return to the publisher’s comics, and that has me just as excited about the story as anything else in this book. It brings the book into continuity, and introduces two of the more underused aspects of the Valiant universe.

Jim Towe’s art seems to fall more toward what you’d consider an “all-ages style”. The art feels like it came from a Saturday morning cartoon aimed toward older kids, which I love. It’s an aesthetic that fits the style and scope of the comic by being accessible without sacrificing visual storytelling. It is never difficult to follow the events of this book, with the story moving at a fair pace and the art having a bright determination that feels effortless.

I’m one of those people who tend to shy away from all-ages comics because they’re usually not part of the main continuity of whatever universe I’m following, but with Doctor Tomorrow being another Valiant book that just happens to be all ages, that excuse to avoid the comic has gone. And I’m happy about that, because if I missed this then I’d miss a slice of fun and brightness that we all need right now.

Story: Alejandro Arbona Art: Jim Towe
Colors: Diego Rodriguez Letters: Clayton Cowles

Story: 8.9 Art: 8.9 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Doctor Tomorrow #2 (of 5)

DOCTOR TOMORROW #2 (of 5)

Written by ALEJANDRO ARBONA
Art by JIM TOWE
Colors by DIEGO RODRIGUEZ
Letters by CLAYTON COWLES
Cover A by KENNETH ROCAFORT
Cover B by JIM TOWE
Cover C by CRYSSY CHEUNG
Preorder Edition Cover by HANNAH TEMPLER
On sale MARCH 18 | 32 pages, full color | $3.99 US | T+

The universe warping origin of Doctor Tomorrow revealed!
The menace of Hadrian threatens the entire Valiant Universe!

DOCTOR TOMORROW #2 (of 5)

Bad Idea Expands its Idea of Stores to 50 on Launch

Bad Idea seems to have a very good idea going for them. Announced at ComicsPRO, the upstart comic publisher is expanding its first wave of participating retailers from the initial 20 to 50 stores. It begins with ENIAC #1 from Matt Kindt and Doug Braithwaite in May 2020.

Bad Idea has also announced at ComicsPRO that they’ll be opening registration to every participating ComicsPRO memberwho will be able to enroll on-site to become a Bad Idea Destination Store beginning today during the company’s conference roundtable sessions. Additionally, all participating Bad Idea Destination Store retailer accounts will also be offered a 60% discount and free shipping on all orders.

In order to qualify for participation, each Bad Idea Destination Store must agree to a stringent set of rules and criteria that include:

  • prominent in-store placement for Bad Idea comics
  • some truly galling and gauche promotional displays
  • and strictly enforced “limit one per customer,” street date, pre-order, pricing, and minimum/maximum order and allocation policies for all Bad Idea releases.

Failure to comply with the spirit and/or letter of the rules will result in removal from the program and a well-deserved shaming from your friends, family members, and professional colleagues.

In the event that Bad Idea’s list of approved wave one applicants exceeds 50 stores, retailers may be assigned to the next available wave of admissions. Bad Idea will be working overtime to service each and every one of its trusted retail partners and regularly admitting new stores to the program on a rolling basis. 

That means that each time a new retailer comes on board as a Bad Idea Destination Store anywhere in the world, they’ll be able to access every prior BAD IDEA release in very limited quantities, so, that way the store can start at the beginning.

Non-ComicPRO retailers who wish to participate can continue to email Bad Idea’s customer service team at hello@badideacorp.com

Bad Idea will be kicking things off on May 6th, 2020 with the historic debut of ENIAC #1 –  the monumental, 40-page first issue of Bad Idea’s prestige-format premiere from New York Times best-selling writer Matt Kindt, artistic powerhouse Doug Braithwaite, colorist Diego Rodriguez, and Harvey Award-nominated cover artist Lewis LaRosa.

Eniac #1

Review: The Visitor #3

The Visitor #3

The Visitor’s origin revealed in The Visitor #3!?

As the unkillable assassin continues hunting his targets, the fate of the future begins to come into focus.

I really wanted to love The Visitor #3 because the first two issues were fun reads. This is as well, but less so than the first. If I’m honest, the plot feels like it’s dragging its feel here; we had a few pages revealing some backstory for the Visitor, and aside from the scenes showing what the Visitor is capable of, the rest seems a rehash of most of the previous conversations had between the same characters that effectively boils down to “we’re so smart doing this [unrevealed] thing right under their noses! We have to stay here [inexplicably] so protect us!”

I’m ready to know a little more about anything and everything within this story. There’s more treading water than furthering the plot beyond what we’ve already seen in the past two issues.

The Visitor #3 is written by Paul Levitz and features artist MJ Kim, colorist Ulises Arreola, and letterer Simon Bowland. I previously wrote that “[the comic] follows the titular character as he’s trying to eliminate something that the Japanese scientists he’s hunting are working on and the UN Security agent Dauber assigned to protect them. Levitz keeps things entirely believable when the scientists keep frustrating Dauber’s efforts to keep them safe by insisting on their secrecy as they all underestimate the Visitor.” It’s still true. I’m leaving it here because I don’t need to update the summary from the second to the third issue.

I still enjoyed the issue. The backstory to the Visitor was certainly interesting. The art of Kim with Arreola’s coloring is for the most part very solid. I say for the most part because there were hiccups that aren’t worth highlighting. The way the pair capture the fluidity of the Visitor’s movements amidst the flying bullets seems effortless. The art really stands out when you notice how the other characters seem to struggle to catch the Visitor. It’s very much showing the excellence by focusing on the mundane.

Despite my misgivings about the shallowness of the plot, this was still a very enjoyable book. I’d be lying if I said The Visitor #3 is a bad comic. It’s just not as good as the first two issues in the series. Hopefully, it’s the weakest of the series, because if this is as bad as The Visitor gets then I’d consider this a solid miniseries that’s well worth picking up.

Needless to say, where the plot falls a little in The Visitor #3 the comic is still a strong entry in the series. The art remains top notch. There’s enough here that you won’t feel robbed when it comes to the plot progression. It just feels like the comic is longer than it needs to be.

Story: Paul Levitz Art: MJ Kim
Color: Diego Rodriguez Letterer: Simon Bowland
Story: 8.1 Art: 8.8 Overall: 8.3 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Doctor Tomorrow #1

Doctor Tomorrow #1

Teen hothead and star athlete, Bart Simms, is about to meet the Valiant Universe’s greatest hero…Himself! It all begins in Doctor Tomorrow #1!

Doctor Tomorrow #1 is Valiant‘s first all-ages book set within the publisher’s continuity. Yes, there was Valiant High – a fun four-issue miniseries. It reimagined the Valiant characters in a high school setting that had distinct Archie vibes. That was never actually set within the publisher’s continuity. The Eternal Sophomore was never going to grow into the Eternal Warrior. I don’t think the Eternal Warrior has ever actually been to school, come to think of it.

When Valiant gave Graphic Policy the chance to read and review Doctor Tomorrow #1 early, we jumped at the chance. Personally, I think all-ages stories are often overlooked. A stigma exists that something that’s all ages isn’t going to be able to be enjoyed by all ages, right? I’ll counter that with Toy Story and Into The Spiderverse and move right along.

Written by Alejandro Arbona with art by Jim Towe, colors by Diego Rodriguez and letters by Clayton Cowles, the comic opens with a fight scene to set the stage and establish the threat level of Valiant’s newest supervillain Hadrian. It quickly disabuses the notion that all-ages comics aren’t going to have any real stakes.

It’s at this point that the comic switches gears and we’re introduced to the teenaged Bart Simms, who will apparently grow up to become Doctor Tomorrow. Doctor Tomorrow #1 is on the surface little more than an introduction to Simms and Doctor Tomorrow. It does a really good job of setting the stage. It introduces and establishes the foundations of the characters for Arbona to build upon. By having the teenaged Bart Simms meet his older self, Arbona is also able to avoid the trope of a teenage superhero. At the very least it throws an interesting twist on it. It’s tough to say how it’ll play out based solely on the first issue. Based on the last page there’s going to be a lot more to that aspect of the comic.

I’m not going to say any more about the page other than it’ll make some people very happy about what it could be hinting toward.

Jim Towe’s art seems to fall more toward what you’d consider an “all-ages style”. The art feels like it came from a Saturday morning cartoon aimed toward older kids. Personally, I love it. It fits the style of the comic by being accessible without sacrificing visual storytelling. People are lost in the opening pages, but Towe and Diego Rodriguez cleverly draw your attention away from the scene by placing something far more eye-grabbing on the scene. For me, it was akin to the scene in the Mandalorian where Mando cuts a guy in half using an automatic door. You don’t see it, but it happens. That’s kind of what happens here, only you do see it… it just isn’t the gory focus of the art.

There’s often a stigma that all-ages comics will end up being specifically for kids.

Just because it’s an all-ages comic, doesn’t mean it’s for kids. It means kids can enjoy it along with their parents. This is an exciting, fresh new story from one of the best publishers around. Don’t miss what is sure to be one of the must-read books this quarter.

Story: Alejandro Arbona Art: Jim Towe
Colors: Diego Rodriguez Letters: Clayton Cowles

Story: 8.7 Art: 8.9 Overall: 8.8 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Doctor Tomorrow #1

DOCTOR TOMORROW #1 (of 5)

Written by ALEJANDRO ARBONA
Art by JIM TOWE
Colors by DIEGO RODRIGUEZ
Letters by CLAYTON COWLES
Cover A by KENNETH ROCAFORT
Cover B by STACEY LEE
Cover C by RAÚL ALLÉN
Pre-Order Edition Cover by DOUG BRAITHWAITE
Wraparound Cover by JIM TOWE
Blank Cover Also Available
On sale FEBRUARY 19 | 32 pages, full color | $3.99 US | T+

Teen hothead and star athlete, Bart Simms, is about to meet the Valiant Universe’s greatest hero… himself!

The can’t-miss superhero adventure of 2020 starts here!

DOCTOR TOMORROW #1 (of 5)

ENIAC Kicks Off Bad Idea on May 6, 2020

On May 6th, the arrival of Bad Idea begins with the debut in ENIAC #1 – the oversized, 40-page first issue of 2020’s brain-swelling new series from New York Times best-selling writer Matt Kindt, artistic powerhouse Doug Braithwaite, colorist Diego Rodriguez, and cover artist Lewis LaRosa. The series is a prestige-format limited series.

At the height of World War II, the world’s most ingenious minds began a race to create a super-weapon capable of ending the war with the push of a button. One of those projects gave us the atom bomb…and another produced the world’s first supercomputer: ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer)– an immeasurably complex mathematical model that targeted the Axis war machine by calculating missile trajectories and troop deployments.

Everybody knows that. It’s real-life American history.

Or so we were told.

On August 6th, 1945, the United States dropped the nuclear bomb on Hiroshima.

Three days later, a second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki… Only President Truman wasn’t the one who gave order.

It was ENIAC.

In the Allies’ determination to end the war, they had accidentally created the world’s first autonomous machine intelligence…which had quickly deduced that one bomb wouldn’t be enough.

But ENIAC’s real plan was only just beginning…

Now, 75 years later, an encrypted countdown has just been detected in Earth’s satellite network and mankind only has three days left before ENIAC launches every weapon in the planet’s nuclear arsenal simultaneously. With few options and even less time, the Secretary of Defense has just given two covert operatives the most important mission in human history: kill ENIAC.

The series launches Bad Idea, the comic publisher with a limited release of series in a limited amount of stores. The comics will feature no variants, will not be released digitally, and won’t be collected into trade paperbacks, hardcovers, or bookshelf formats.

The comics will come in a pristinely designed, prestige-format package featuring deluxe matte-laminate cardstock covers, heavy-duty interior paperstock, and lots of pictures with little words on the inside – all for the standard $3.99 cover price.

The publisher will launch in 20 participating stores and slowly expand into about 50 by the end of the year.

ENIAC #1

Advanced Review: Doctor Tomorrow #1

Doctor Tomorrow #1

Teen hothead and star athlete, Bart Simms, is about to meet the Valiant Universe’s greatest hero…Himself! It all begins in Doctor Tomorrow #1!

Doctor Tomorrow #1 is Valiant‘s first all-ages book set within the publisher’s continuity. Yes, there was Valiant High – a fun four-issue miniseries. It reimagined the Valiant characters in a high school setting that had distinct Archie vibes. That was never actually set within the publisher’s continuity. The Eternal Sophomore was never going to grow into the Eternal Warrior. I don’t think the Eternal Warrior has ever actually been to school, come to think of it.

When Valiant gave Graphic Policy the chance to read and review Doctor Tomorrow #1 early, we jumped at the chance. Personally, I think all-ages stories are often overlooked. A stigma exists that something that’s all ages isn’t going to be able to be enjoyed by all ages, right? I’ll counter that with Toy Story and Into The Spiderverse and move right along.

Written by Alejandro Arbona with art by Jim Towe, colors by Diego Rodriguez and letters by Clayton Cowles, the comic opens with a fight scene to set the stage and establish the threat level of Valiant’s newest supervillain Hadrian. It quickly disabuses the notion that all-ages comics aren’t going to have any real stakes.

It’s at this point that the comic switches gears and we’re introduced to the teenaged Bart Simms, who will apparently grow up to become Doctor Tomorrow. Doctor Tomorrow #1 is on the surface little more than an introduction to Simms and Doctor Tomorrow. It does a really good job of setting the stage. It introduces and establishes the foundations of the characters for Arbona to build upon. By having the teenaged Bart Simms meet his older self, Arbona is also able to avoid the trope of a teenage superhero. At the very least it throws an interesting twist on it. It’s tough to say how it’ll play out based solely on the first issue. Based on the last page there’s going to be a lot more to that aspect of the comic.

I’m not going to say any more about the page other than it’ll make some people very happy about what it could be hinting toward.

Jim Towe’s art seems to fall more toward what you’d consider an “all-ages style”. The art feels like it came from a Saturday morning cartoon aimed toward older kids. Personally, I love it. It fits the style of the comic by being accessible without sacrificing visual storytelling. People are lost in the opening pages, but Towe and Diego Rodriguez cleverly draw your attention away from the scene by placing something far more eye-grabbing on the scene. For me, it was akin to the scene in the Mandalorian where Mando cuts a guy in half using an automatic door. You don’t see it, but it happens. That’s kind of what happens here, only you do see it… it just isn’t the gory focus of the art.

There’s often a stigma that all-ages comics will end up being specifically for kids.

Just because it’s an all-ages comic, doesn’t mean it’s for kids. It means kids can enjoy it along with their parents. This is an exciting, fresh new story from one of the best publishers around. Don’t miss what is sure to be one of the must-read books this quarter.

Story: Alejandro Arbona Art: Jim Towe
Colors: Diego Rodriguez Letters: Clayton Cowles

Story: 8.7 Art: 8.9 Overall: 8.8 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: The Visitor #2

The Visitor #2

Chaos strikes the Big Apple as The Visitor targets a group of revolutionary international scientists in The Visitor #2!

After having read two issues in the series I’m still not sure if the Visitor is the protagonist or antagonist. To be honest I’m really enjoying that side of the comic. Leaving the title character with an air of mystique regarding his motivations, and whether we want him stopped or not, is a refreshing change of pace. It also adds to the re-readability of the comic. Once you know what the Visitor is trying to do, what he’s trying to stop, it’ll add another layer to the comic’s story. A story that beings to reveal more layers in the back half of the second issue.

The Visitor #2 penned by Paul Levitz follows the titular character as he’s trying to eliminate something that the Japanese scientists he’s hunting are working on and the UN Security agent Dauber assigned to protect them. Levitz keeps things entirely believable when the scientists keep frustrating Dauber’s efforts to keep them safe by insisting on their secrecy as they all underestimate the Visitor.

I feel like Levitz has something to say here regarding our own assumptions of government agencies, the police or any other group of people who are supposed to protect us – but can only do so much when they only have half, or less, of the full picture. I could be wrong, of course, but it’s an interesting subtext within the comic that I’m enjoying.

It’s one more thing that’s got me wanting to come back to the comic next month.

Over the course of this book, from the first page to the last, MJ Kim‘s artwork is great. There’s controlled energy where there needs to be and a quiet stillness in certain parts. It’s often through Kim’s artwork that we get most of our insights on the Visitor’s character, several pages before Levitz starts to peel back the layers. Kim’s body language, the way the Visitor hangs his head or the shape of his hands will speak to you in ways you won’t necessarily expect until you read the following pages and you realize that nothing is quite as surprising because Kim’s geared you up for it. But the revelations are never spoiled because of the art, merely enhanced by it.

Whenever it comes to introducing a new character who shares the name of a much older one like the Visitor, there’s always the fine line to walk between homage and facsimile. Levitz has balanced the character on the knife’s edge. For those who have read and are familiar with the 90’s character then you’ll find a little bit of the old character still within the new, but there’s already more than enough here for the new Visitor to stand alone as his own person.

Of course, if you never read the original, then the above is a moot point, and all you need to worry about is that this is a cracking yarn from start to finish.

Story: Paul Levitz Art: MJ Kim
Color: Diego Rodriguez Letterer: Simon Bowland
Story: 8.9 Art: 9.1 Overall: 9.2 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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