Tag Archives: erick arciniega

Review: Star Wars: Target Vader #1

Darth Vader has hunted many who have opposed him. Now, he’s being hunted be a hired band of bounty hunters.

Story: Robbie Thompson
Art: Marc Laming, Cris Bolson
Color: Neeraj Menon, Jordan Boyd, Andres Mossa, Federico Blee, Erick Arciniega
Letters: Clayton Cowles

Get your copy in comic shops now and! To find a comic shop near you, visit www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon
Kindle & comiXology
TFAW

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site

Review: Star Wars: Target Vader #1

Star Wars: Target Vader #1

While we think of Star Wars mainly in its battles between Rebels and the Empire, it’s so much more. The world features so many genres within and some are used more than others. Star Wars: Target Vader #1 shifts from the space opera to more of a crime story focus.

Written by Robbie Thompson, Star Wars: Target Vader #1 has Vader and Palpatine attempting to stamp out a crime syndicate running guns for the Rebels. Business is good though, and the crime syndicate has a mission too. Hire bounty hunters to take out Vader first.

Thompson delivers the first issue as a complete set up of what’s to come. That includes a trope-filled part where we’re introduced to our bounty hunters. You can imagine the movie screen pausing as the bounty hunter’s name pops up and a voice, or lettering, takes you through what they’re known for. That all helps create a different pace than we’d normally expect for a Star Wars story. The beats feel more like a heist story than what we’ve seen in the past.

The personalities make the comic interesting. While the excitement is a bit muted, we get a taste of just how dysfunctional this group will be. It gets you interested in what’s to come.

The art by Marc Laming and Cris Bolson (and a load of colorists) is pretty solid. There’s a nice shift from the normal humans as far as characters and the bounty hunters are varied in style and look. It helps create a ragtag bunch. What’s also nice is there’s enough design at times that characters are familiar. An example is a Jedi hunting droid who will remind you of a past character. Even with similar attributes the character is unique. But, due to the familiarity there’s a built up expectation as far as what the character will be like.

While the issue doesn’t totally excite, it’s more than enough to get you to come back. There’s something fun about Target Vader. It has a style and voice that feels different than what we’ve seen so many times before. It delivers a new reading experience for an established franchise. This is one to check out for Star Wars fans or just comic readers.

Story: Robbie Thompson Art: Marc Laming, Cris Bolson
Color: Neeraj Menon, Jordan Boyd, Andres Mossa, Federico Blee, Erick Arciniega
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Messages from Midgard #10 – Deadpool Down Under

“War of the Realms” is starting to wind down this week with the release of the penultimate issue of the core series, War of the Realms #5. The comic has a predictable ending thanks to the marketing department, but actually feels like a Jason Aaron/Russell Dauterman/Matthew Wilson Thor comic thanks to its excellent characterization of Thor and Jane Foster to go with fight scenes a la the third act of Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. The tie-ins aren’t bad either as I wish Journey into Mystery went on for another four issues of road trip hijinks, Greg Pak and Gang Hyuk Lim finally find their sprawling ensemble cast’s footing in New Agents of Atlas, and Captain Marvel and Deadpool wisely choose comedy over melodrama. The only real stinker of the bunch is Tony Stark, Iron Man #12, which made feel really bad for Gail Simone, who has to do the comic book equivalent of walking, chewing bubblegum, and someone else’s calculus homework at the same time.

War of the Realms #5

War of the Realms #5 is paced like a fever dream and a reminder that Jason Aaron, Russell Dauterman, and Matthew Wilson have done fantastic work on Thor and can tell a poignant story that isn’t just fight scenes stitched together. With the death of the Valkyries and Loki and the capture of Freyja and Odin, this is a real breaking point for Thor and the “War of the Realms” as a whole. Aaron, Dauterman, and Wilson double down on the religious/mythological imagery by having cosmic powered Daredevil nail Thor on the World Tree so he can have some insight on how to defeat Malekith. It’s a big moment for a hero that has been considered “unworthy” for the past five years, and he takes responsibility for all the realms sliding into the role of All-Father and not just a rage-filled, hammer destroying warrior.

Speaking of war, there is quite a lot of it, but Aaron, Dauterman, and Wilson do a good job balancing it with the intense, non-linear Thor/Daredevil/Jane Foster scenes. Even though they feature a variety of locations and characters, the action sequences work because they follow a uniting principle of “liberation”. There are sheer badass moments, like Okoye delivering killer one-liners while the Dora Milaje drive back the angels to Heven, Jane Foster and Roz Solomon watching Roxxon’s stock prices drop while they kick Dario Agger’s minotaur ass, and Captain Britain and Captain America teaming up to drive the Dark Elves back to the English Channel. War of the Realms #5 alternates between triumph and agony and is a treat for fans of the Jane Foster Thor stories as she is inspired by the sacrifice of the Valkyries to continue being a warrior and a hero. With operatic visuals (Especially the Daredevil/Thor scenes.) and its strong character development of Thor, War of the Realms #5 earns an Overall Verdict of Buy.

War of the Realms: Journey into Mystery #4

In its frenetic fourth issue, War of the Realms: Journey Into Mystery enters the pantheon of one of my favorite types of mainstream comics: the fun, quirky B-list cast starring book that ends too soon. We’re talking books like Hawkeye, Mockingbird, Superior Foes of Spider-Man, and Secret Six. The McElroys are definitely hip to the idea that the best comedy comes from character, and it leads to hilarious moments like Wonder Man lamenting his Tommy Bahama shirt being riddled with bullets, the underage Brooklynite Miles Morales having no idea how to act in a casino, and Balder trying to order “sack” aka the favorite drink of Shakespeare’s Falstaff at the casino. As we’ve gotten to know the cast of Journey into Mystery better, the humor level has increased along with the level of general peril.

Yes, Journey into Mystery #4 isn’t all witty banter- it’s a heist story set at a henchpeople convention because the War of the Realms isn’t great for business. Andre Araujo’s diagram-like layouts and Chris O’Halloran’s flat approach to colors gives this issue great flair especially when the heist goes sideways, and a gun fight breaks out. Araujo tilts his grid to give readers a 360 view of the casino floor while the team struggles with what to do as Ares goes mano a mano with Thori. Great jokes, an easy to follow setpiece, a down ending, and the brilliant concept of a henchperson convention earns Journey into Mystery an Overall Verdict of Buy.’

War of the Realms: New Agents of Atlas #3

Up to this point, New Agents of Atlas has had tons of potential yet has been a little bit of a mess with a huge cast of characters and middle of the road visuals from Gang Hyuk Lim and colorists Federico Blee, Andres Mossa, and Erick Arciniega. However, Greg Pak uses a team meal of spam prepared different ways to unite his Pan-Asian superhero team, and it’s a well-timed breather before Jimmy Woo puts his final plan in motion. Splitting the team into tasks that reflect their strengths finally showcases Woo’s strategic genius, and it also lets us get to know the sprawling cast of New Agents of Atlas before the big finale next issue.

Some character moments that stood out to me in New Agents of Atlas #3 was the growing master/apprentice type bond between Sword Master and Shang Chi and the fact that sexist, elitist Monkey King kept getting his ass handed to him by various team members. There is also a sad, yet relevant scene where the usually cheerful Filipina heroine Wave realizes that Sindr making the water warmer will lead to flooding in Cebu where her grandpa lives. New Agents of Atlas #3 is the issue where Pak and Lim make the majority of these characters seem like people and not interchangeable action figures with cool powers. Also, Amadeus Cho gets one hell of a redemption arc and basically is the Korean-American Wolverine as he fights off swarms of Fire Goblins so the rest of the team can accomplish teir tasks. The art is still too “house style”, the colors are still over rendered, but Greg Pak made me care about this new superhero team in this issue so New Agents of Atlas #3 earns an overall verdict of Read.

Captain Marvel #6

Opening with one hell of action scene from artists Annapaola Martello and Tamra Bonvillain where Bucky and Black Widow take out a group of undead ghouls with some acrobatics and a grenade, Captain Marvel #6 ends up being Freaky Friday with Captain Marvel and Dr. Strange, which is the result of them failing to defeat Enchantress. Writer Kelly Thompson has tons of fun with this premise that works because both Strange and Carol are Type A personalities even if his superpowers are more mental and hers are more physical. Black Widow’s dry sense of humor is on full display for most of the issue as she cuts these two big personalities down to size at least until surrounded by aforementioned ghouls.

The big problem with Captain Marvel #6 is that much of the action is said to take place in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, Brazil, which have metropolitan areas of over 12 million each, but 90% of the comic happens in a fucking jungle. Thompson’s writing is clever, and she nails the dysfunctional personalities of Dr. Strange and Captain Marvel. But, at the bare minimum, she could have read Wikipedia and realized that Brazil is 87.5% urbanized. Despite this huge research faux pas, Captain Marvel is an enjoyable read that doesn’t take itself too seriously, has hilarious faces and well-done action choreography from Martello and Bonvillain, and has an Overall Verdict of Read.

Deadpool #13

I always love when Deadpool has an event tie-in because he always ends up mocking the premise of the event and having a fun, goofy adventure. (Also, because the first Deadpool comic I ever read was a “Secret Invasion” tie-in). Writer Skottie Young and artist Nic Klein take him on a wild ride to Australia where he’s commissioned to liberate the continent/country from Ulik and the trolls with the help of their nation’s finest heroes, Captain Outback, Nuclear Nancy, and copyright friendly Tasmanian Devil. Yep, Young peppers his script with plenty of pop culture references and jokes like having Captain Marvel use Crocodile Hunter dialogue in dream sequence, and “Skottrick” even roasts his own writing when he borrows a one-liner from Terminator and blames it on his kids being home from school.

What makes Deadpool #13 so funny and work has a comic is the blend of silly, irreverent dialogue and detailed art that is played for drama like Klein’s double page tableau recapping what’s been going in the “War of the Realms”. But Klein can do humor too like Negasonic Teenage Warhead’s deadpan expression as Deadpool reacts and laughs at various romantic comedies, or the ending when Deadpool is making jokes about the shittiness of the Hobbit movies while being surrounded by trolls and not having the best allies to help him out. Skottie Young and Nic Klein have a good handle on irreverent Deadpool comedy stylings and have some clever ideas like the trolls enjoying the sparsely populated Australian Outback so Deadpool #13 gets an Overall Verdict of Buy.

Tony Stark, Iron Man #12

I love the idea of Tony Stark fighting a greedy, Smaug-like dragon (Or wyrm. I don’t wanna piss off the fantasy geeks.) and having that fight be written by Gail Simone, who excels at writing smarmy assholes that want to be heroes in spite of it all. (See Catman.) However, Tony Stark Iron Man #12 has to deal with the effects of Dan Slott’s previous arc, introduce the dragon, and have another plot about not having artificial intelligence completely work on technology that affects human behavior. Apparently, in the last arc, Tony Stark relapsed into alcoholism in a virtual reality environment, which honestly just sounds like a weak tea substitute for “Demon in a Bottle”, or a real problem that people experience.

So, Simone and artist Paolo Villanelli are stuck trying to continue that storyline and do a kind of prequel to “War of the Realms”. The idea of Malekith sending a dragon assassin with magical abilities to take out a man of science with quite a large “hoard” is clever and gives an opportunity for Simone to write some Stark snark as he compares the wyrm to Toothless and Falkor. But it’s weighed down by too many subplots. Honestly, this comic would have worked better as a miniseries with Dan Slott continuing his alcoholism/AI/wannabe Black Mirror thing in the main Tony Stark, Iron Man series. It’s safe to say it gets an Overall Verdict of Pass.


With the exception of a bungled Iron Man tie-in, I personally enjoyed this week’s “War of the Realms”, including the core book, which lived up to the pre-release hype of combining the strong arcs and ideas from Jason Aaron’s Thor run with epic Marvel Universe-spanning battles. I’m also going to miss The McElroys when they leave comics and return to their lucrative day job of podcasting and think they would make amazing writers on a humor, character-driven Justice League or Avengers title. Finally, it definitely seems that Skottie Young or someone in the Deadpool office has played Risk because Australia is truly the key to victory…


Panel of the Week

Poor Skottie Young’s kids (Deadpool #13; Art by Nic Klein)

Review: The Avengers Vol. 3 War of the Vampires

Blade has joined the Avengers as a war has broken out within the Vampire nation and Dracula has gone missing!

The Avengers Vol. 3 War of the Vampires includes issues #13-17.

Story: Jason Aaron
Art: Andrea Sorrentino, David Marquez
Color: Justin Ponsor, Erick Arciniega
Letterer: Cory Petit

Get your copy in comic shops now and in book stores on June 18! To find a comic shop near you, visit www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon
Kindle/comiXology
TFAW

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site

Review: X-Force #6

X-Force #6

Kid Cable wasn’t the only one who’d come back from the future…!

So what’s Stryfe’s deal? Much like Kid Cable, this Stryfe seems younger and earlier in his reign of destruction. Writer Ed Brisson explores this version of Stryfe in X-Force #6.

The issue shows us events from Stryfe the his MLF’s perspective. Yes, it’s the usual playing with time but Brisson keeps it all pretty smooth and clear. What’s more interesting is we get a Stryfe who’s more than just angry about his existence (is he the clone? is he the original?). In the past, Stryfe was a pretty one-note character. Here, it feels like “Stryfe Year One” as he has that same insecurity as before but also anger towards Apocalypse and a want to prove his worth and rightful position. In some ways he’s depicted as a savior, through his machinations it’s clear he’s not. It’s a more interesting take on the character and through well thought out moments, Brisson adds layers Stryfe has been missing.

The art by Damian Couceiro, with color by Erick Arciniega and lettering by Cory Petit, is interesting. The style isn’t quite the stylized look we’ve seen from the previous issues but there’s something different and charming about it all. The designs are both torn-apocalyptic and clean at the same time. It’s an odd juxtaposition that makes the world a bit more interesting.

The issue is a nice break with an interesting perspective and delivers some answers and a clearer idea as to what has been going on. It also creates some depth to a villain who has been gone for too long and has potential to become a great again. Brisson is putting together something really interesting dipping into the past (and future) while forging new concepts at the same time.

Story: Ed Brisson Art: Damian Couceiro
Color: Erick Arciniega Letterer: Cory Petit
Story: 8.0 Art: 7.0 Overall: 7.85 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: The Avengers Vol. 2 World Tour

They stopped the Dark Celestials but what’s next for the Avengers? The team gets their house in order including a new headquarters but also take on the Winter Guard and Defenders of the Deep! Plus more about the Avengers of 1,000,000 BC!

The Avengers Vol. 2 World Tour collects issues #7-12 by Jason Aaron, Sara Pichelli, David Marquez, Ed McGuinness, Frazer Irving, Adam Kubert, Andrea Sorrentino, Cory Smith, Elisabetta D’Amico, Mark Morales, Scott Hanna, Karl Kesel, Justin Ponsor, Erick Arciniega, Matthew Wilson, and Giada Marchisio.

Get your copy in comic shops today and book stores on March 19! To find a comic shop near you, visit www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon
TFAW

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site

Review: Grimm Fairy Tales: Day of the Dead Vol. 1

Grimm Fairy Tales: Day of the Dead Vol. 1

Humankind in one form or the other has always been obsessed with the dead. With the pain of the loss of loved ones writers have explored how one would bring back those we have lost?  Shows like The Returned pondered what would people do if friends and family who died returned to the living? Often, these stories would espouse the dangers of having these beings return and how they were not the same people.

Then there are stories like the award-winning animated film Coco. The movie actually explored a world where our dead loved ones lived. I often wondered after watching the movie how would it be if someone had the power to raise the dead? In Grimm Fairy Tales Day Of The Dead from writers Dawn Marquez and Joe Brusha, a new hero has this very power but some shadowy organizations are looking to use her gifts for evil purposes.

We are taken to New Orleans, where one unfortunate young lady is mystically taken to a graveyard, where she is sacrificed for a villain to gain powers. We are also introduced to Mary Medina, who is haunted by her powers and is looking for any distraction to lead her away from her worries.  She soon finds that though something was calling her to New Orleans, it wasn’t her talisman, as an evil energy has breached the city limits and are trying to steal her powers. As she makes a new ally, one whose unique powers are enough to save her but raises even more questions, on why these two even met in the first place. By book’s end, Mary and her new friend’s bond is stronger than ever, they have temporarily stopped the evil alliance, but also may have played into exactly what this treacherous group had been planning all along.

Overall, a well-developed story heaped high with excellent characters and even better story execution. Marquez and Brusha are at the top of their game with this series’ story. The art by the creative team is utterly gorgeous. Altogether, a marvelous tale that shows heroes can be from any walk of life.

Story: Joe Brusha and Dawn Marquez
Art: Dawn Marquez, Erick Arciniega, Robby Bevard, Jorge Cortes and Marco Lesko
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Zenescope provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Captain Marvel: Braver & Mightier #1

Captain Marvel Braver and Mightier #1

HERO FOR A DAY, HERO FOR A PLANET! It’s CAROL DANVERS Day! Air Force Pilot Carol Danvers is a hero to many…so what could possibly delay her to her own celebration? Only her other job—as Earth’s Mightiest Hero, CAPTAIN MARVEL! Stuck between her duty to her community and her responsibility to the wider world, Carol will have to make a tough decision, and muster all of her power to fend off an invasion force! Don’t miss the excitement of the STRONGEST & MIGHTIEST hero of all in her latest adventure!

Had I realized Jody Houser was writing this, I’d have been a hell of a lot more excited to read this than I initially was. Not that I wasn’t interested in the comic, but rather that Houser is one of those writers who can craft a tale that’s equal parts inspiring, accessible, fun and awesome whilst fitting it into less than 25 pages of a comic book.

If, like me, you’ve got an idea as to who Captain Marvel is without having read too many of her comics, Captain Marvel: Braver & Mightier #1 is a great place to dip your toes into the waters of Marvel’s premier league superhero. If you haven’t got a clue who she is, but want a bit of a primer ahead of the movie coming next month, then you couldn’t get a better comic.

Houser captures the essence of the character within the very first three pages (one of which is a double spread). I realize I said I hadn’t read too many of the characters comics before, which is true, but Houser’s writing makes me feel like Carol Danvers is an old friend I haven’t seen in awhile. That is comic is just two people catching up over a coffee. This effect is partly achieved by also focusing on two highschool reporters waiting for Carol to arrive at a press conference, and through their very organic and natural feeling banter we get a further sense of who Carol Danvers is, and how the world perceives her.

That the dialogue in this comic feels so natural isn’t a surprise to me; Jody Houser is in the top echelon of writers when it comes to dialogue. Her comics are consistently intelligently written with each character’s words feeling very organic – even when used for exposition.

Simone Buonfantino‘s art is many things in this comic, but primarily it is awesome. The incoming space battle at the outset of the issue edges on the One Verses Many cliche, but Buonfantino lays out the pages with aplomb, the depth of space underscoring the threat closer to home, and the one hero standing between Earth and invasion.

Cliche aside, it’s a subtly brilliant underscoring of just how powerful Captain Marvel is.

Returning to Earth, we’re treated to scenes which offset the space battles with various reporters waiting, almost bored, for Carol to return to Earth. The two highschoolers aside, I loved the indication that superheroes have become so common place that waiting for one to arrive at a press conference is a chore. It’s a scene that has echoes of sports reporters waiting for an athlete to show up verses younger reporter/fan-types waiting. Again, a subtle yet crucially indicative moment to the audience as to just who Captain Marvel is, and the role she plays in the Marvel Universe.

And the role she will play in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Because let’s face it, unless you’re already a fan of the character, you’re reading this in advance of the movie to get a handle or refresher on the character. It’s what I did. My friends, let me tell you happily that Captain Marvel: Braver & Mightier #1 is ideal for that. You really can’t go wrong with this. It’s easily the best book of the week for me by a country mile.

Story: Jody Houser Art: Simone Buonfantino
Colour Art: Erick Arciniega Letterer: Travis Lanham
Story: 9.3 Art: 9.1 Overall: 9.2 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Advance Review: Grimm Fairy Tales: Day of the Dead Vol. 1

Grimm Fairy Tales: Day of the Dead Vol. 1

Humankind in one form or the other has always been obsessed with the dead. With the pain of the loss of loved ones writers have explored how one would bring back those we have lost?  Shows like The Returned pondered what would people do if friends and family who died returned to the living? Often, these stories would espouse the dangers of having these beings return and how they were not the same people.

Then there are stories like the award-winning animated film Coco. The movie actually explored a world where our dead loved ones lived. I often wondered after watching the movie how would it be if someone had the power to raise the dead? In Grimm Fairy Tales Day Of The Dead from writers Dawn Marquez and Joe Brusha, a new hero has this very power but some shadowy organizations are looking to use her gifts for evil purposes.

We are taken to New Orleans, where one unfortunate young lady is mystically taken to a graveyard, where she is sacrificed for a villain to gain powers. We are also introduced to Mary Medina, who is haunted by her powers and is looking for any distraction to lead her away from her worries.  She soon finds that though something was calling her to New Orleans, it wasn’t her talisman, as an evil energy has breached the city limits and are trying to steal her powers. As she makes a new ally, one whose unique powers are enough to save her but raises even more questions, on why these two even met in the first place. By book’s end, Mary and her new friend’s bond is stronger than ever, they have temporarily stopped the evil alliance, but also may have played into exactly what this treacherous group had been planning all along.

Overall, a well-developed story heaped high with excellent characters and even better story execution. Marquez and Brusha are at the top of their game with this series’ story. The art by the creative team is utterly gorgeous. Altogether, a marvelous tale that shows heroes can be from any walk of life.

Story: Joe Brusha and Dawn Marquez
Art: Dawn Marquez, Erick Arciniega, Robby Bevard, Jorge Cortes and Marco Lesko
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

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