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Get a New Look at Skybound X including New Covers and Clementine!

On Friday at Skybound XpoImage Comics and Skybound teased an early look at the first comic book appearance of Clementine (the star of the bestselling video game series Telltale’s The Walking Dead) and revealed jaw-dropping cover art from the hotly anticipated Skybound X weekly comic book event. Superstars including Robert Kirkman, Ryan Ottley, Tillie Walden, Donny Cates, Joshua Williamson, Chip Zdarsky, James Harren, and Daniel Warren Johnson will contribute stories to this five-issue limited series launching on Wednesday, July 7.

These freshly unveiled covers  include the main cover to Skybound X #2 spotlighting “Rick Grimes 2000” by Cliff Rathburn; the main cover to Skybound X #4 by Charlie Adlard featuring the Rick Grimes vs Negan battle you never expected; and the Skybound X #5 variant by Chris Schweizer bringing fans a behind-the-scenes look at The Six Sidekicks of Trigger Keaton!

If you want to know what to expect in Skybound’s next ten years, it all starts here with a celebration of the past, present… and the FUTURE! Each issue features a chapter of “Rick Grimes 2000,” the unforgettable story originally introduced in The Walking Dead #75, that reunites the Invincible team of Kirkman and Ottley! Plus, the first appearances of Everyday Hero Machine Boy, Sea Serpent’s Heir and more in this celebration of hit series like Excellence, Manifest Destiny, Ultramega, Assassin Nation, and more!

Skybound X #1  will be available at  comic book shops  and digital platforms including Amazon Kindle, Apple Books, comiXology, and Google Play on Wednesday, July 7, with subsequent issues releasing weekly:

  • Skybound X #1 Cover A by Ryan Ottley (Diamond Code MAY210037) 
  • Skybound X #1 Cover B by James Harren (Diamond Code MAY210038) 
  • Skybound X #1 Cover C by Tillie Walden (Diamond Code MAY210039) 
  • Skybound X #1 Cover D by Charlie Adlard (Diamond Code MAY210040) 
  • Skybound X #1 Cover E Blank Sketch Cover (Diamond Code MAY210041) 
     
  • Skybound X #2 Cover A by Cliff Rathburn (Diamond Code MAY210042)
  • Skybound X #2 Cover B by Andrei Bressan (Diamond Code MAY210043)
  • Skybound X #2 Cover C by Vuong & Kniivila (Diamond Code MAY210044)
     
  • Skybound X #3 Cover A by Arthur Adams (Diamond Code MAY210045)
  • Skybound X #3 Cover B by Cory Walker (Diamond Code MAY210046) 
  • Skybound X #3 Cover C by Erica Henderson (Diamond Code MAY210047)
  • Skybound X #3 Cover D by Daniel Warren Johnson (Diamond Code MAY210048) 
     
  • Skybound X #4 Cover A by Charlie Adlard (Diamond Code MAY210049)
  • Skybound X #4 Cover B by Khary Randolph (Diamond Code MAY210050)
  • Skybound X #4 Cover C by Pablo Tunica (Diamond Code MAY210051)
     
  • Skybound X #5 Cover A by David Finch (Diamond Code MAY210052) 
  • Skybound X #5 Cover B by Chris Schweizer (Diamond Code MAY210053)
  • Skybound X #5 Cover C by Jason Howard (Diamond Code MAY210054)

Underrated: God Country

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet-pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: God Country


God Country has one of the more interestingly unique concepts in comics; that of an Alzheimer’s patient who is cured when his hand touches a twelve foot sword, only to be drawn into the soap  opera like world of space gods that have more than a passing resemblance to the Greco-Roman pantheons. Written by Donny Cates, who also co-wrote The Paybacks with Eliot Rahal; that series looked at the other side of superheroing with a starkly funny focus on a group of knock off characters serving as superpowered repomen (and women) struggling to emerge from the crippling debt their equipment put them in. On the surface, God Country may have little in common with The Paybacks other than half of the writing team (and Geoff Shaw‘s art), that’s certainly true on a superficial thematic level, but at their core both series focus on something quite relatable: people and their struggles against every day adversity.

There is every chance that you probably recognize Cates’ name from his work on Venom, Thor and King In Black, and I’ll admit that it feels strange to write about something Donny Cates has written as being underrated, but this is a book that I don’t see people talk about as much as they should.

Emmet Quinlan’s family have been struggling with the horror of watching a loved one slip away whilst suffering from Alzheimer’s, and their struggles are haunting – if you’ve ever had to watch a loved one slip away while suffering this horrible disease as I have, then you’ll understand immediately how hard it can be. Donny Cates treats the subject with the respect it deserves without sugar coating the emotions that Emmet’s family face.

Of course, with this being a comic book called God Country, that’s not what the comic is about.

At least not in it’s entirety. You see Emmet finds a giant sentient sword that restores his mind in its entirety. While Emmet’s disease does form the backbone of his desire to keep his hand on the sword that returned his mind, it’s the conflict with the space gods who want the sword back that provides the more immediate physical threat.

If you enjoyed Jason Aaron’s run on Thor: God Of Thunder  then you’re going to find a lot to love here, from the heavily emotional sequences in the first issue to the more operatic space god scenes in subsequent comics, this is a powerful series – indeed, without Cates wry humour that appears every so often throughout the series, then this could easily become an almost too heavy story.

Ultimately though, this story is so much more than it seems on the surface.

God Country is that rare beast that uses a well thought out high concept science fiction or fantasy premise to tell the most human of stories. It is truly a work of art that had my eyes sweaty with respect – and that doesn’t happen very often when I read comics.


Join us next week when we look at something else that is, for whatever reason, Underrated.

Review: Babyteeth #17

Babyteeth #17 has been a long time coming but it works as a jumping-on point for new readers while long-time fans will enjoy returning to the world.

Story: Donny Cates
Art: Garry Brown
Color: Mark Englert
Letterer: Taylor Esposito

Get your copy in comic shops! 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.

Kindle
comiXology
Zeus Comics


AfterShock Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
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Review: Crossover #6

Crossover #6

Crossover has been a rather interesting series. The story has gone back and forth between a series that stands on its own and a concept that’s “spot the pop culture reference”. When it has done the former, it’s a fantastic series and concept that’s been a wild ride. When it has done the latter, the story suffers delivering a choppy reading experience that’s focused more on visuals than the flow. Unfortunately, Crossover #6 relies a bit too much on its visuals to deliver.

While the issue isn’t bad, Donny Cates focuses on the couple of tasks our group must complete. Ellie and her group have shattered the dome and are surrounded by the chaos within. And that’s where the comic also falls apart. Within pages, the comic focuses on how many characters it can squeeze into a page. It’s spot the comic character that is focused on action but the story itself is a rather thin.

There’s a lot to enjoy with the issue. The action is fierce and flies at you. But, it’s really spot the other comic characters that’s the draw. A splash page is packed with characters that pop from the page. I myself found myself falling into it and trying to see how many of the characters I could name. But, it’s a distraction from a finale to the story arc that’s rather thin. It feels like a series of events as opposed to a real story. The drama is thin. The “twists” are predictable.

As usual, the art by Geoff Shaw is amazing. The series really is impressive. With colors by Dee Cunniffe and lettering by John J. Hill the blending of the “real world” and “comic world” is a sight to be hold. There’s so much packed into so many of the pages, it’s the draw of the comic, pun sort of intended. The entertainment and enjoyment of the comic comes from those visuals.

Crossover #6 feels a bit thin for the end of the story-arc. Its emotional moments don’t hit the way they should. The reveals are pretty obvious. It does its job but doesn’t excite and takes some of the air out of the balloon. The issue relies too heavily on its visuals to bring the entertainment instead of delivering heart.

Story: Donny Cates Art: Geoff Shaw
Color: Dee Cunniffe Letterer: John J. Hill
Story: 7.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read


Purchase: comiXologyAmazonKindleZeus ComicsTFAW

Exclusive Preview: Carnage: Black, White, and Blood #2 (of 4)

Carnage: Black, White, and Blood #2 (of 4)

(W) Chip Zdarsky, Donny Cates, Ram V. (A) Ram V., More (CA) Marco Checchetto (VCA) Kyle Hotz
Parental Advisory
In Shops: Apr 21, 2021
SRP: $4.99

• The symbiotic slaughterfest continues, in the second installment of the stomach-churning study of ultraviolence called CARNAGE: BLACK, WHITE & BLOOD!
• FIRST! The DAREDEVIL team of Chip Zdarsky & Marco Checchetto lends their brutal sensibilities to an eye-popping story pitting Carnage against THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN as you’ve never seen before!
• THEN! Al Ewing, who’s brought a nigh-unthinkable level of body horror to the world of the IMMORTAL HULK, lends his terrifying talents to a tale – and if you thought his HULK stuff looked painful, you ain’t ready for what he’s done with Carnage!
• BUT WAIT! Because you readers out there in Mighty Marveldom deserve the best, we’ve brought comics heavyweight RAM V aboard for a story sure to make your skin crawl!

Carnage: Black, White, and Blood #2 (of 4)

Image and Skybound Launches Skybound X, a Weekly Series featuring New Stories with Rick Grimes and the First Appearance of Clementine

Image Comics and Skybound Entertainment will launch a five-issue, limited comic book series, Skybound X. This exciting comic event will feature iconic characters such as The Walking Dead’s Rick Grimes, Telltale’s The Walking Dead’s Clementine, and more Skybound favorites. Heavy hitter creators including Robert Kirkman, Ryan Ottley, Tillie Walden, Donny Cates, Joshua Williamson, Chip Zdarsky, James Harren, and Daniel Warren Johnson will contribute stories from the best Skybound series past, present, and future.

Each oversized, weekly issue will kick off with a chapter from “Rick Grimes 2000“, a story originally introduced in the back of The Walking Dead issue 75 and reuniting the Invincible team Robert Kirkman and Ryan Ottley. In addition, all-new series with brand new comic book characters will debut throughout. The first new comic book character featured will be Clementine, the star of the bestselling video game Telltale’s The Walking Dead. Skybound X will also include new stories from the worlds of Assassin Nation, Excellence, and Manifest Destiny.

Skybound X will be available at comic book shops and digital platforms including Amazon Kindle, Apple Books, comiXology, and Google Play, starting with issue #1 on Wednesday, July 7, 2021:

SKYBOUND X #1
STORY: ROBERT KIRKMAN, TILLE WALDEN, JAMES HARREN & CHRIS DINGESS 
ART: RYAN OTTLEY, TILLIE WALDEN, JAMES HARREN & MATTHEW ROBERTS 
COVER A: RYAN OTTLEY (Diamond Code MAY210037)
COVER B: JAMES HARREN (Diamond Code MAY210038)
COVER C: TILLIE WALDEN (Diamond Code MAY210039)
COVER D: CHARLIE ADLARD (Diamond Code MAY210040)
COVER E: BLANK SKETCH COVER (Diamond Code MAY210041)
JULY 7 / 52 PAGES / FULL COLOR / M / $4.99

Celebrate a sensational 10 years of Skybound with a cavalcade of your favorite creators for all-new stories of your favorite series past, present and future! Each issue of this oversized, weekly series will kick off with a new chapter of a serialized THE WALKING DEAD story—RICK GRIMES 2000—by Robert Kirkman & Ryan Ottley!  

In addition, we’ll be debuting all-new series and characters every issue, starting with the First Appearance of the most requested WALKING DEAD character of all-time: Clementine, star of the bestselling Telltale’s The Walking Dead video game series! 

Did we mention new ULTRAMEGA and MANIFEST DESTINY stories?! If you want to know what to expect in Skybound’s next 10 years, it all starts here!  

SKYBOUND X #2 
STORY: ROBERT KIRKMAN, CHIP ZDARKSKY, DANIEL WARREN JOHNSON, IRMA KNIIVILA & TRI VUONG 
ART: RYAN OTTLEY, RAMON K. PEREZ, DANIEL WARREN JOHNSON, TRI VUONG & IRMA KNIIVILA 
COVER A: CLIFF RATHBURN (Diamond Code MAY210042)
COVER B: ANDREI BRESSAN (Diamond Code MAY210043)
COVER C: TRI VUONG & IRMA KNIIVILA (Diamond Code MAY210044)
JULY 14 / 44 PAGES / FULL COLOR / M / $4.99

The second chapter of the wildest WALKING DEAD story ever–RICK GRIMES 2000! Plus, the debut of a major new STILLWATER character, a rip-roaring MURDER FALCON throwdown, and the First Appearance of EVERYDAY HERO MACHINE BOY! 

SKYBOUND X #3 
STORY: ROBERT KIRKMAN, JOSHUA WILLIAMSON, KYLE STARKS 
ART: RYAN OTTLEY, ANDREI BRESSAN, ERICA HENDERSON, CORY WALKER 
COVER A: ARTHUR ADAMS (Diamond Code MAY210045)
COVER B: CORY WALKER (Diamond Code MAY210046)
COVER C: ERICA HENDERSON (Diamond Code MAY210047)
COVER D: DANIEL WARREN JOHNSON (Diamond Code MAY210048)
JULY 21 / 44 PAGES / FULL COLOR / M / $4.99

The third chapter of RICK GRIMES 2000! Plus, a surprising coda to the BIRTHRIGHT saga, a spotlight on ASSASSIN NATION fan-favorite, F*ck Tarkington, and the latest installment of the greatest genius canine adventurer, SCIENCE DOG! 

SKYBOUND X #4 
STORY: ROBERT KIRKMAN, DONNY CATES, BRANDON THOMAS, MAIRGHRED SCOTT 
ART: RYAN OTTLEY, LISANDRO ESTHERREN, KHARY RANDOLPH, PABLO TUNICA 
COVER A: CHARLIE ADLARD (Diamond Code MAY210049)
COVER B: KHARY RANDOLPH (Diamond Code MAY210050)
COVER C: PABLO TUNICA (Diamond Code MAY210051)
JULY 28 / 44 PAGES / FULL COLOR / M / $4.99

The fourth chapter of RICK GRIMES 2000! Plus, new REDNECK and EXCELLENCE stories, and the First Appearance of SEA SERPENT’S HEIR!  

SKYBOUND X #5 
STORY: ROBERT KIRKMAN, KYLE STARKS & SEAN MACKIEWICZ 
ART: RYAN OTTLEY, JASON HOWARD, CHRIS SCHWEIZER & NIKO WALTER 
COVER A: DAVID FINCH (Diamond Code MAY210052)
COVER B: CHRIS SCHWEIZER (Diamond Code MAY210053)
COVER C: JASON HOWARD (Diamond Code MAY210054)
AUGUST 4 / 44 PAGES / FULL COLOR / M / $4.99

RICK GRIMES 2000 concludes! Plus, new THE SIX SIDEKICKS OF TRIGGER KEATON and GASOLINA stories! ALSO, something COMPLETELY NEW from ROBERT KIRKMAN & JASON HOWARD! SECRETS!

Preview: Thor #14

Thor #14

(W) Donny Cates (A) Nic Klein (CA) Olivier Coipel
Rated T+
In Shops: Apr 14, 2021
SRP: $3.99

THE FINALE OF “PREY” – AND THE FIGHT OF THOR’S LIFE!
All-Father Thor breaks out of his prison! But Donald Blake has amassed more power than the King of Asgard can know. One thing is certain: When the hammer comes down, only one man will remain standing. Big action and big stakes are the Donny Cates and Nic Klein special – but you’ve never seen them like this before. This is the issue you can’t miss!

Thor #14

Review: King in Black #5

King in Black #5

King in Black #5 is the big finale to Marvel’s latest event as Venom finally faces off with Knull. In what felt like a bit of a one-sided affair, Venom mops the town up with Knull. Possessing the Enigma Force makes Eddie Brock Knull’s equal. Even more so, he’s equipped with a weapon made of the Silver Surfer’s board and Mjolnir. It all ends with everything being hunky-dory for everyone, save Eddie, who now appears to be the new King In Black.

You know…I wanted to dislike this so much. There’s something about Donny Cates’ writing that is so enjoyable and yet, some of his work seriously feels like a child who gets to do whatever with his action figures…and I mean that in a positive way. King in Black did really feel like all the power was with Venom, leaving Knull pretty weak, but it all just works. It’s not perfect. I’m not sure how I feel about Venom more-or-less wielding Mjolnir but for what it’s worth, this was a really fun read, spotlighting a character I normally care very little for and leaving me with a newfound appreciation for Venom. I thought the dialogue is great. Knull is one of those pompous characters that has never known defeat so seeing someone like that get taken down is pretty much a guaranteed enjoyable moment.

On the artistic side, Ryan Stegman really put a lot into every page. I felt the layouts stood out to me in a really unique way and the colors really pop. And if I can bring attention to one thing that I like about his art, I feel that he does a good job of conveying emotion on a character’s face. Knull looked really fierce and sinister. Venom just looked awesome.

King in Black #5 was a total package of fun and excitement, coupled with some really cool art. I’m not huge on Marvel or DC events but my overall feeling is that this one ended up being fun while also bringing a lot of stuff that Cates has worked on at Marvel to a head. As far as Venom goes, King in Black serves as a good exclamation point on a really great run for the character. Not sure if it’s worth the cost of admission but I think you’d like what you would read.

Story: Donny Cates Art: Ryan Stegman
Ink: JP Mayer, Ryan Stegman Color: Frank Martin, Jason Keith Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.0

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXology – Amazon – Kindle – Zeus Comics – TFAW

Review: King in Black #5

King in Black #5

I’ve generally enjoyed the King in Black series and event. It’s big popcorn blockbuster ideas in five issues with a bunch of tie-ins. I was gung-ho about the tie-ins but as the months went on I slowly stopped reading them. And, my gut says, that might have been a bad idea. Going into King in Black #5, I feel like I missed something. The opening and much of the comic feels like I had to walk out of a movie to go to the concession stand and returned having missed key moments. Still, it’s a comic to sit back and just enjoy the over-the-top nature of it all.

Donny Cates delivers a finale that has been built up for years. Eddie Brock, back with Venom and now the Enigma Force, square off against Knull for the fate of everything. The issue is one giant drag out fight between the two that’s not really a contest. Much like their first meeting, this is a one-sided fight that echoes that opening battle. Cates doesn’t even make this close. It’s Eddie beating the living daylights into Knull and the darkness. And seriously, that’s about it.

Cates focuses on these two’s battle so much that the rest of the heroes are generally and afterthought. They stand around and get one moment to look cool. But, beyond that, they don’t really do much and are a non-factor. For as much as various characters have been key in the main event, let alone the various tie-ins, they’re pretty much window dressing for this final issue. It’s an odd choice that takes some of the epic out of the nature of the battle.

Ryan Stegman does deliver solid art. Along with JP Mayer on ink and Frank Martin and Jason Keith on color, the visuals feel like fantasy heavy metal as Venom delivers a beat down with his giant axe. The battle itself looks good and there’s a cathartic aspect to seeing Eddie deliver punch after punch. But, there’s also something missing as well. There’s that truly awe-inspiring epic moment that’s just not there. Beyond one page of “Avengers Assemble” the comic never really goes for the metal aspect it teases. It looks good but isn’t memorable.

Clayton Cowles’ lettering continues to deserve mention for the series. The lettering really helps deliver and nail down Knull. With “normal” lettering, the character wouldn’t work as well. It’s a small detail and nice touch that really emphasizes the character and how “evil” he is.

King in Black #5 is a fine finale. It wraps up the event well and there’s some cathartic aspects to it. But, for an event that was so good, it’s a bit of a letdown. The comic lacks that memorable moment and the one it delivers feels like we’ve seen before. It’s the end sequence for a summer popcorn film that attempts to be full of ideas and visuals but lacks depth.

Story: Donny Cates Art: Ryan Stegman
Ink: JP Mayer, Ryan Stegman Color: Frank Martin, Jason Keith Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Story: 7.0 Art: 7.75 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyAmazonKindle Zeus ComicsTFAW

Preview: Venom #34

Venom #34

(W) Donny Cates (A/CA) Iban Coello
Rated T+
In Shops: Apr 07, 2021
SRP: $3.99

THIS IS IT!
• After a pulse-pounding race to the finish, VENOM #34 stands as the series’ final tie-in to the KING IN BLACK epic!
• But is this issue also the end of the Venom symbiote as we know it?!
• From maestros DONNY CATES, IBAN COELLO and JESUS ABURTOV, this one sets the stage for VENOM #200 – and EVERYTHING that follows!

Venom #34
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