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Review: A.X.E.: Death to the Mutants #1

A.X.E.: Death to Mutants #1

A.X.E.: Judgement Day has been an intriguing event so far. There’s a lot to do with religious extremism as the Eternals’ new leadership has declared mutants to be deviation. With an initial devastating strike the Eternals have declared war and the mutant nation is on the defensive. Caught in the middle are the Avengers who are attempting to bring peace. For the most part, we’ve seen events from the perspective of the Eternals who are front and center with a small group against the current actions. A.X.E.: Death to the Mutants #1 also focuses on the Eternals, but the “rebels” who are standing up against Druig and their role in current events.

Event mastermind Kieron Gillen writes this story filling in some of the gaps of the events that have taken place and showing us what the rebel Eternals are up to. This is the group that has a plan to create a new god and as we find out, have helped the mutants in other ways. There’s some small details that are nice here and makes the comic feel more like a companion read than something that stands on its own. Without reading the main series, this miniseries wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense overall.

The art by Guiu Vilanova is just ok for me. With color by Dijjo Lima and lettering by Travis Lanham, the characters look a like off at times and there’s a smoothness of the main series that’s missing here. The art at time looks a bit rough like there’s a final step missing. Characters have either a lot of detail or very little but also there’s an inconsistency in the looks, shapes, details of their faces. Inconsistent and incomplete is the general sense. The comic has its visual moments but overall falls very short.

A.X.E.: Death to the Mutants #1 is ok. It adds in details from the main event but that’s the entire draw of the issue. It feels like it should have been a part of the main series but the flow wouldn’t work combining everything. As is, you’re left with a comic that acts more like an addendum than a story on its own. It doesn’t work without all of the other issues released while those are fine without this. It’s a comic that feels like it’s the “director’s cut” that adds some context but overall it’ll be mixed as to whether it really enhances the experience.

Story: Kieron Gillen Art: Guiu Vilanova
Color: Dijjo Lima Letterer: Travis Lanham
Story: 7.35 Art: 6.85 Overall: 7.2 Recommendation Read

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Purchase: TFAWZeus ComicscomiXology/Kindle

The Young Avengers come to Marvel’s Voices and Marvel Unlimited

The anthology series renowned for its fresh take on “the world outside your window” launches a new ongoing story! Out now, Marvel’s Voices: Young Avengers #5 has launched on Marvel Unlimited in the exclusive Infinity Comic format. Fans clamored for it, and we’re finally here to deliver: pop culture critic Anthony Oliveira finally puts his pen to the Young Avengers with up-and-coming artist Jethro Morales, colorists Yen Nitro and Dijjo Lima, and edited by Sarah Brunstad

Marvel's Voices: Young Avengers #5

Review: Devil’s Reign: Omega #1

Devil's Reign: Omega #1

One of the things I give the finale of Devil’s Reign credit with is that it didn’t attempt to do the teaser add on. There’s been a habit of events to not deliver a true finale but follow it up with kickers that show off what’s next and spinning out of it all. Some times it works, but that feels like the exception and not the rule. Instead, Devil’s Reign: Omega #1 has that honor featuring three stories that spin out of the event and tease more of what’s to come.

Fall and Rise” focuses on the funeral for “Matt Murdock”. The world thinks Matt is dead but we know it was really his brother. There’s a lot of interesting interactions between the characters and we get a better sense of who knows the truth and who does. Writer Chip Zdarsky uses the story to debate the moral and ethical aspects of all of that while also teasing the direction for the next volume of Daredevil. With art by Rafael De Latorre, color by Federico Blee, and lettering by Clayton Cowles, the story looks great and gives a nice rollercoaster of emotion leaving things in an awkward place overall.

One of the more intriguing aspects of Devil’s Reign is where it left Luke Cage. He’s now the Mayor of New York City forced to pick up the pieces.

Mayor for Hire” has Luke thinking about all of that but focusing a lot on where he’s been and where he is now. Written by Rodney Barnes with art by Guillermo Sanna, color by Dijjo Lima, and lettering by Cowles, it’s a great reminder about the character’s history. It also leaves you realizing there’s a lot to tell as this grassroots hero must balance his careers as well as fix the mess left for him.

Cleaning House” by Jim Zub, art by Luciano Vecchio, color by Carlos Lopez and Java Tartaglia, and lettering by Joe Sabino is the introduction to the new Thunderbolts. Fisk used the classic team name to deputize villains to attack heroes. This issue lays out why they’re still around and Mayor Cage’s vision as to where he should take the team.

Like Devil’s Reign itself, this “Omega” issue does a fantastic job of just being entertaining while also being a sly reflection of our reality. At the core throughout the issue is a new elected official being left a mess of an office that he has to fix after it was run by a corrupt individual. Sound familiar? But, beyond that clear parallel, the comic is just entertaining and sets things up nicely for what’s to come. If you’re interested it’s well checking out and a nice coda to the event series.

Story: Chip Zdarsky, Rodney Barnes, Jim Zub Art: Rafael De LaTorre, Guillermo Sanna, Luciano Vecchio
Color: Federico Blee, Dijjo Lima, Carlos Lopez, Java Tartaglia
Letterer: Clayton Cowles, Joe Sabino
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Purchase: comiXology/Kindle – Zeus Comics – TFAW

Review: Wolverine #20

Wolverine #20

“Destiny of X” has begun as a wave of creators continue on what began years ago with the “relaunch” of the X-Men line. Wolverine #20 continues the previous series but provides a jumping on point. And, if you’re here for Wolverine, you might be disappointed. The issue feels more like the series Cable & Deadpool more than anything else as the Merc with the Mouth attempts to find his place in Krakoa.

Written by Benjamin Percy, the issue takes a lighthearted comedic vibe as Deadpool joins the series. The issue focuses a lot on the character as he recounts his attempts to join the Krakoan society and a place among the mutants. It’s full of the fourth wall crushing humor the character is known for and funny enough was the first time I realized Deadpool doesn’t currently have a solo series. I guess that shows how much I really care for the character. This isn’t the “insane” and deadly version we saw during his days on X-Force with Wolverine. This is full on comedy as Deadpool’s kinetic energy is played off the serious and grumpy nature of Wolverine.

For the most part, the team-up works… if you’re into it. I myself never really enjoyed this type of Deadpool and found large doses a turnoff for my reading. But, Percy almost finds the right balance here and brings the two characters together in a way that works. There’s an irritation oozing off of Wolverine that helps to swallow the slapstick nature of what he, and the reader, have to deal with.

The art by Adam Kubert is solid. The comic does a great balance between the serious and comedic elements. The art itself “breaks” the fourth wall of the pages as Deadpool takes us through his recent time and experiences. It plays off of Percy’s dialogue so well keeping a solid visual pace to match the rapid fire dialogue. Frank Martin and Dijjo Lima‘s colors work too as they, like Kubert, must balance the two elements within the issue. There’s a slight brightness in scenes featuring Deadpool’s rants compared to a slightly more dour look to Wolverine’s hunt. The lettering by Cory Petit is great and balances Deadpool’s large amount of dialogue with the visuals. The lettering too breaks a wall in many ways.

Your enjoyment of Wolverine #20 will really rely on what version of Deadpool you like and your preferred dosage. The issue balances things for me though is right up to the line. It also doesn’t quite feel like a “Wolverine issue” as opposed to a “Deadpool issue” or the start of some miniseries. Still, there’s a lot to like and the direction and hints as to what’s to come should be interesting. If nothing else, it’s a good starting point for those looking to dive into the series.

Story: Benjamin Percy Art: Adam Kubert
Color: Frank Martin, Dijjo Lima Letterer: Cory Petit
Story: 7.5 Art: 8.4 Overall: 7.75 Recommendation: Read

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Purchase: comiXology/KindleZeus ComicsTFAW

Review: Carnage #1

Carnage #1

Carnage is a character I honestly never really enjoyed or got. He’s just an unrepentant murderer who feels like the precursor to gore porn. It was never really anything interesting about the character to me, just how much destruction and death he could cause. He is escalation in human form, someone both Spider-Man and Venom could fear. Over the years, Carnage, and the concept of the symbiotes as a whole, have evolved to include gods and cults giving us something a little different and new. Carnage #1 feels like it continues the evolution of the character, an attempt to give us something more than just a high body count.

Written by Ram V., Carnage #1 gives us events from a few perspectives. There’s a killer on the loose and the detective attempting to stop him. It plays out in expected ways but it’s all a setup for what’s to come next issue. It seems Carnage is on a mission and that involves Hydro Man and access to other worlds. Not only does this up Hydro Man in some ways, it also gets the character away from who and how is he going to kill next. That is saved for the actual killer whose entire “art” is to gain the attention of Carnage.

The issue feels like it’s trying to do more with the character than we’ve seen in a while. Separated from Cletus Kasady, Carnage is literally on a search to define itself and the comic is taking us along for that ride. It’s not a bad start with shades of Se7en and other serial killer films like it. You can tell there’s a wink and nod towards Fincher without that being all there is.

The art by Francesco Manna is good. With color by Dijjo Lima and lettering by Joe Sabino, the comic delivers the gross death without being too gory and shocking. It’s there to some extent and dips its toes over the line but it never feels like it dwells in it. The camera doesn’t linger in other words. Still, there’s enough gore and horror to make fans of that, or those that expect it, happy.

The issue feels two backup stories as well. “A Lesson in Blood and Bone” by writer David Michelinie, artist Ron Lim, inker Robert Poggi, and colorist Israel Silva adds some depth to Cletus as a young boy asks him to take revenge against some bullies. It’s an interesting story and if it was published years ago, it could have shifted perspectives on the character but all this time later, it feels a bit out of character in some ways.

Ty Templeton also contributes two comics that take their inspiration from the Sunday funnies and they work in a goofy fun sort of way. It’s an unexpected bonus.

Carnage #1 is an intriguing debut. There’s a lot of potential here. It’s clearly setting up Carnage for a future much like Venom has received for a few years now. There’s an effort it would seem to move the character beyond his one note and become something a bit more interesting and possibly even scarier.

Story: Ram V., David Michelinie, Ty Templeton Art: Francesco Manna, Ron Lim, Ty Templeton
Color: Dijjo Lima, Robert Poggi Letterer: Joe Sabino, Israel Silva
Story: 7.5 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Purchase: comiXology/KindleZeus ComicsTFAW

Review: Wastelanders: Hawkeye #1

Wastelanders: Hawkeye #1

As Disney+ ramps up production on a slate of Marvel intellectual properties, one wonders if they only continued on Netflix. As when the original announcement was made those years ago, fans were excited at the possibilities. When Daredevil first premiered, it made all the superhero shows on television at the time, seem mediocre. Then came rest of the Defenders solo shows, which showed that you can tell good stories with superheroes as protagonists.

One of the best things about the Daredevil show was the introduction of Stick. In the comics, he was a better mentor than Whistler was to Blade, often giving Matt, tough love. As I feel if there more seasons, we would have seen much more of the character and maybe a familiar story arc or two. Ethan Sacks and Ibraim Roberson bring back Hawkeye as he loses his sight to be trained by the one man who how to move forward, in Wastelanders: Hawkeye #1.

We’re taken to the Goblin State Park deep in the Wastelands, where the territory is being ruled by a ruthless warlord Marko The Terrible, as an elderly Hawkeye. What Hawkeye doesn’t count on is who is Marko’s muscle, Juggernaut but he gets help from an unexpected ally, Matt Murdock AKA Stick. Stick realizing that Clint is losing his sight, decides to train him on how to fight without sight,as he soon finds about himself, that he is even more dangerous and a better shooter with Matt’s training. By issue’s end, Matt sends Clint on one last mission , which also serves as a lesson, that even though he lost his sight, he will never lose his memories.  

Overall, Wastelanders: Hawkeye #1 is an exciting first chapter to Clint’s adventures in the Wastelands. The story by Sacks is a great character development. The art by the creative team is astounding. Altogether, a story that is the best version of the 80s training montage.

Story: Ethan Sacks Art: Ibraim Roberson
COlor: Dijjo Lima Letterer: Cory Petit
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus Comics TFAW

Review: Third Wave 99 #1

Surfs up! Third Wave 99 takes readers into the world of surfing and fashion.

Story: James Haick III
Art: Luis XIII
Color: Dijjo Lima
Letterer: DC Hopkins

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.

Scout Comics
Zeus Comics

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Only KISS Can Defeat Zombies in New Series by Ethan Sacks!

Dynamite has announced the next epic chapter in the comic book chronicles of the legendary rock band, KISS: Zombies

After all, what can possibly happen after “The End” than a full-blown zombie apocalypse? That is the screwed up status quo that writer Ethan Sacks and artist Rodney Buchemi will tackle in this new limited series. Assisted on colors and letters by Dijjo Lima and Troy Peteri.

Picking up decades after the fall of civilization, humans are now an endangered species isolated to strongholds such as the central New Detroit. These undead are attracted to sound, so music and all related iconography have been banned. Especially that of the greatest band in history. However, a group of teenagers are not going to live this way and set out on a quest to track down KISS! Who may ultimately be the ultimate weapon to turn the tide against the zombies! Sacks has described the series as a cocktail of Land of the Dead, A Quiet Place, Seven Samurai and even Footloose!

Plus, the previous KISS series, The End by Amy Chu and Edu Menna will be collected in a paperback the same month as the debut of Zombies.

KISS: The End

KISS: Zombies #1 and the KISS: The End TP are slated for release in November 2019.

Review: The Mall #1

To put things simply, Scout Comics’ The Mall #1 is The Breakfast Club meets Goodfellas complete with three very different teenagers going not to Saturday detention, but meeting with Lenny, the brother of dead crime boss, Gino Cardini and each of their fathers. Except with some shared characters and the concept of the children of a dead crime boss running his mall mob fronts, The Mall #1 doesn’t line up plotwise with the Free Comic Book Day issue. However, writers Don Handfield and James Haick III, artist Rafael Loureiro, and colorist Dijjo Lima make a solid effort at combining the worlds of the crime saga and coming of age story with more than a little darkness along the way.

In the three protagonists Diego, Lena, and Dallas, Handfield and Haick riff off the archetypes of Brain, Rich Girl, and Jock, but The Mall #1 doesn’t fall into the lily white John Hughes movie trap and features a diverse cast of characters. Handfield and Haick also use the archetypes as a foundation to build on instead of leaning into stereotypes. For example, Lena might live in a huge mansion, but wants to have a job (Even if it’s selling hot dogs at the mall food court.) so she can build a life for her and her mother apart from her stepfather, who sexually abuses her. She is fiercely independent and has a soft spot for animals, which is why Lenny gives her the pet store to manage. The panels of her holding cute puppies are a nice relief from the violence, bullying, and racism and homophobia that pervade The Mall #1 because, hey, people are pretty terrible.

Diego is the “geek” of the unlikely trio, but has poor grades because he works at his dad’s window washing business to help ends meet, which cuts into his studying time and also causes his peers to bully him. He daydreams about a better life where kids don’t make fun of him and hurl racist slurs at him, and this causes him to lash out at his hardworking father. With a talent for music, Diego has potential, but his family doesn’t have money to send him to a more advanced school for more opportunities. This whole idea of class and opportunity is at the core of Dallas’ character, who is a football playing “jock”, but he is a backup for now and can’t afford expensive cleats without shoplifting them. He is transferring to another school to have a bigger shot at getting a college scholarship, but the kids in his neighborhood resent this and beat him up giving him bruises in a punishing sequence from Rafael Loureiro.

Don Handfield and James Haick imbue these pretty one dimensional high school movie stereotype with an awareness of class and race in The Mall #1 and then add the mob elements. Unlike the Free Comic Book Day issue, Handfield and Haick almost immediately throw Diego, Lena, and Dallas into a world of guns and rivalries as Lenny is threatened by a homophobic member of another rival gang. In some of Handfield and Haick’s harshest writing, he basically uses Reagan era AIDS rhetoric against his opponent, but before the teens can settle into setting up their mall stores, they are drawn into a fire fight. Loureiro’s panels tilt, his art is more stylized, and Dijjo Lima’s color palette is more intense to show the brave new world that these teens are in. This isn’t an after school job or scholarship program; this is war.

In The Mall #1, Handfield, Haick, and Loureiro do a good job introducing its three main characters, its high concept coming of age meets mob movie premise, and then throws everyone into the deep end after taking its time getting to the gangster stuff. It will be interesting to see each protagonist’s reaction to the violent world that they have been thrown into, and the best part of this book is the three distinct viewpoints on the world given to Diego, Lena, and Dallas. They certainly have plenty of problems, and even before the crime family angle is introduced, The Mall #1 has an ugly, harsh take on the world with cheerleaders forced to give oral sex in return for shopping sprees, friends beating up friends because they are betraying the neighborhood, and Lena getting sexually assaulted by her stepfather.

Story: Don Handfield and James Haick III Art: Rafael Loureiro
Colors: Dijjo Lima Letters: DC Hopkins
Story: 7.5 Art: 8 Overall: 7.7 Recommendation: Read

Scout Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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