Tag Archives: europe comics

Review: Sisco Vol. 2: Shut her up!

Sisco Vol. 2: Shut her up!

When it comes to politics, opposition research is part of what comes with the territory. The latest season of Ray Donovan has shown politics definitely does get dirty. In this season he ends up working for both sides of the city’ mayoral race, first because he was hired, the second because he was threatened. When he worked for the aspiring mayoral candidate he went after the Mayor. He created a several manufactured storylines to put the sitting mayor in a bad light.

Through a series of unfortunate events his family gets entangled into his dealings and vice versa. Along the way a certain videotape catching the Mayoral candidate in a compromising position leads Ray to do some despicable deeds. As we eventually find out, the videotape was only the beginning. In the second volume of Sisco one such damaging “sabo” is part of a bigger nest of troubles for the current administration.

The volume opens on Sisco and his team tracking a person of interest, a reporter, one that may be at the center of the French President’s current predicament. As Sisco apprehends the woman in question he soon is double crossed by someone on his team. That person seems to be taking orders from someone else. We soon find out that the corruption is higher than Sisco and the reporter expected leaving both of them on the run and making Sisco public enemy number one. By book’s end, not everyone makes it out alive but Sisco revails and uncovers the one person behind all his trouble.

Overall, an engaging potboiler of a story which employs action tropes in entertaining ways. The story by Benec is smart and action packed. The art by Thomas Legrain is simply gorgeous. Altogether, an excellent story that proves this team are expert storytellers.

Story: Benec Art: Thomas Legrain
Story: 10 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.4 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Djinn Vol. 13: Kim Nelson

Djinn Vol. 13: Kim Nelson

When a story ends, we rarely ask ourselves why the protagonist started their journey in the first place. Yes, we get caught up in the action, or the series of interactions, which pushes the story forward. Do we ever ask, why did they agree to it? One of those characters is Peter Quill, the de facto leader of the Guardians Of The Galaxy.

I am particularly referring to the movie origin that fans have come to know. The character was taken by space pirates right when his mother is on her death bed. Anytime after his abduction he could have rebelled against Yondu, found ways to escape. But he persevered and adapted and became Star Lord.

In the final volume of Djinn, we find out the circumstances that lead Kim Nelson from India to Africa and back again, back to the cursed child princess of Eschinapur, to fulfill a vow made by the elusive Djinn, Jade. Kim truly comes into her own, assuming her power as a temptress in the name of justice and vengeance… vengeance always cruel, but always sweet…

The volume is full of villainy with double crosses, hidden treasure, death and destiny. Overall, it’s an engaging final volume that more than lives up to the expectations from everything building to this pint. The creative team has put together a grand finale. The story by Jean Dufaux is action packed, emotional, and ultimately, satisfying. The art by Ana Miralles is graceful and luminous. Altogether, it’s a story no reader will ever forget and will want to re-read from the beginning.

Story: Jean Dufaux Art: Ana Miralles
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Djinn Volume 12

Colonialism is a way for nations, and primarily rulers, ftor make their mark in the world whether or not the residual effects have a horrible impact. Take King Philip of Spain who colonized the Philippines. The influence of the Spanish can still be felt today from the language, which is interspersed with Cattellian Spanish throughout, to the some of the formal wear. In the Spaniards minds, they were bringing civilization to those islands. To many of the natives they brought cruelty and strange customs.

Of course, the Philippine Islands were not the last lands to feel the influence of Spain. They also would take over many nations throughout South America. I always wondered at what point do the colonizers and the natives come into conflict? The twelfth volume of Djinn explores this topic as we find two sides looking to take control with Jade in the middle of it all.

We find Jade and Lord Nelson, struggling to understand what they are, and whether their love is purely lust and nothing more. Menawhile the Djinn’s rival, Arbacane, attempts to thwart Jade’s plans to install Tamila as the next bride of the Maharajah, not knowing Tamila’s bother also has a plan of his own. As the local rebels become more discontent with English presence, an immense fight breaks out, one which will not only change opinions and minds about who gets to live in the land. By book’s end, Jade  leaves for Africa, hoping what she taught Tamila endures in her spirit.

Overall, it’s an exciting in between adventure that more than entertains. The entry also provokes thought about history and free will. The story by Jean Dufaux is enigmatic and action packed. The art by Ana Miralles is gorgeous. Altogether, it’s a story that is probably one of the best told from this epic sprawling series.

Story: Jean Dufaux Art: Ana Miralles
Story: 9.6 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.6 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Djinn Vol. 11: An Eternal Youth

One of the best shows to be on television in the last ten years, was the remarkable Tyrant. The show was on FX and lasted only three seasons and produced by the same people who made 24 and Homeland. The show revolved around the son of a dictator who comes back from America. He must deal with his past and his identity as part of the royal family the rulers of an imaginary nation in the UAE that have been considered tyrants. What the creators sought to do with the show was to see the world through the eyes of people we would only know of in the news. They successfully made us both hate and empathize with them with equal passion. We saw that even with what they have, they were just human.

The show featured many interesting plots which questioned familial bonds, the role of government, what makes a monarchy, and what happens to a love unrequited. One of the more intriguing storylines was that of Nusraat Al Fayeed as she was married to the sitting dictator’s son. She was one of the more complex characters within the show as her family stood against the monarchy. Tension between polar opposites usually makes for a good story but when its high stakes like this show was, it makes more even greater drama. In the 11th volume of Djinn, one such dilemma is thrust upon Jade, one that she doesn’t shy away from.

We find Jade as she is instructing Tamila, on the ways to love a man, a man she is reluctant to fall for, seeing that her family is wary of English settlers in India. Meanwhile, Tamila’s father, Raja Singh continues his assault on the British forces which have settled in country, making the tension between the English and the Indian peoples even more voracious. Eventually Jade becomes more intimate with what is really going in India, and how Tamila is at the center of all the chaos. By book’s end, one of Jade’s enemies begins a scheme which looks to overtake Jade and her powers as a Djinn.

Overall, an excellent comic which combines scintillating escapades with political intrigue. The story by Jean Dufaux is sexy, smart and a pot boiler. The art by Ana Miralles is both lifelike and elegant. Altogether, this book shows Dufaux and Miralles at the top of their game as the character of Jade is elevated in this book.

Story: Jean Dufaux Art: Ana Miralles
Story: 10 Art: 9.6 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Black Cotton Star Part One

Spike Lee is one of those directors whose movies stay with you long after viewing them. The first time I saw Do The Right Thing, it made me open my eyes up to how divided even us New Yorkers are. Then I watched School Daze and wanted to go to an HBCU so I could pledge to a fraternity. Then I watched She’s Gotta Have It and found out how pervasive misogyny is when it comes to women’s sexuality is.

Spike Lee’s superb skill for storytelling and his understanding of the human condition make his movies both prestigious and personal.

One of my favorite movies by the prolific director is The Miracle Of Santa Anna. The movie followed a platoon of Black soldiers as they protect a town in World War II. In the excellently told Black Cotton Star, we follow four Black soldiers on a mission to uncover a long-hidden secret.

We are transported to a military base near Dover, Delaware in 1944, right when President Franklin D. Roosevelt, issues an order for the assembling of all Black tank battalions, which gives a much-needed win for the Black soldiers on this base, who face racism daily from White soldiers and their superiors and we are introduced to one particular solider, Linc, whose instincts are second to none. We are also taken to Saint Augustine’s College in North Carolina, where his sister, Johanna, has just found out that their aunt has died, and she has left them her house and everything inside of it, which is where she finds a diary from 1777, belonging to the servant of Betsy Ross, Angela Brown. This is where we find out who Betsy Ross was as well as what kind of woman Angela Brown was, as we soon find out that Angela has placed a back star under the now famous flag to honor the black men and women who have died including her sons. AS soon as Johanna reads her diary, she utilizes the resources at hand, as we soon find out Germany has Betsy Ross’s first flag, and through the help of a senator, has Linc and his friends become a special unit of the Monuments Men. By book’s end, Linc and his friends parachute into enemy territory to recovery America’s first flag.

Overall, it’s an intriguing story that unflinchingly entails the racism of the time and how sometimes the best mysteries are found where you least expected. The story by Yves Sente is entertaining, smart, and well researched. The art by Steve Cuzor is beautiful and the faces he draws are very detailed even having one of the characters have more than a passing resemblance to Sammie Davis Jr. Altogether, it’s an excellent graphic novel that combines a war story with a mystery and a bit of history.

Story: Yves Sente Art: Steve Cuzor
Story: 10 Art: 9.7 Overall: 9.8 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Djinn Volume 10

Films that I watched that capture my attention from start to finish usually become a part of my film collection. The movies I have collected range in genre, years, and run time. I have collected each movie based on my ability to re-watch them and not so much on how critically acclaimed it was when it came out. Some movies resonated with me because it reflected a piece of who I am, like a Bronx Tale.

Then there are movies which for some interesting reasons we are just drawn to. This is what happened when I watched Kama Sutra, A Love Story.  The movie was more than love story, it was a political thriller, all set in India, made by an Indian filmmaker and a completely Indian cast.  My main thought then was why there aren’t more stories like this? In the 10th volume of Djinn, we find our protagonist on their way to India to teach a prospective bride on the ways of lovemaking before her nuptials.

We find Jade in the court of a mighty Sultan, as she consults with his wife about their daughter, as the influence of the English rulers weigh heavily on his kingdom. We also meet Tamila, his daughter, who is being courted by the Maharajah, and the daughter of the rebels seeking refuge. As Tamila begins her education, she learns more than she ever expected as Jade enlightens her on how to hold a man’s attention. Also, the Nelsons learn that the Rani, the Maharajah’s mother is hiding a family cure from everyone including her son. By book’s end, an uneasy alliance is settled on by the Maharajah and the English.

Overall, it’s an excellent installment that revives the series in a new setting, India. The story by Jean Dufaux is complex, smart and thrilling. The art by Ana Miralles is gorgeous. Altogether, another volume which proves that Dufaux and Miralles are master storytellers.

Story: Jean Dufaux Art: Ana Miralles
Story: 10 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.7 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Djinn Volume 9 The Gorilla King

People often speak about what is done for the greater good, as what guides one ‘s moral ultimately leads people to do these things for “the greater good”. This epitaph is usually espoused by politicians and military leaders to inspire their constituents and their troops. As leaders on both sides of a conflict usually lead by fear or by inspiration.  The ones who motivate their people, often tell themselves if they dictate something inspiring, their people should follow naturally.

As with all leaders, most often people will only follow those without question, those leaders who show they can stand by their people, even in the battlefield. One of the most memorable leaders in fiction that can be remembered by most pop culture fans, is Daenerys Targaryen of Game Of Thrones lore. As her character has inspired her people and everyone who comes in contract with her, falls in love with her unconsciously. In the ninth volume of Djinn, and the last book in the Africa saga, Jade fulfill her destiny and unite the tribes.

In a rare moment for fans of the book, Kim finally sees a vision of Jade as she walks alone in the savannah, something that be attributed to their connection as both being Djinn and their familial bonds. We find Jade in negotiations with the military, as they try to implore her to end the revolt, but she remains un-wavered. She soon moves her people in search of the Gorilla King, an arduous journey in which her purpose becomes emboldened, as she accepts his hand in marriage and becomes the Queen of Africa and immortal in the same breath. By book’s end, because of the Black Pearl, betrayals around Kim spring abound, but those loyal to her ensure her survival and triumph.

Overall, a satisfying end to a powerful story which shows that Jean Dufaux and Ana Miralles have created something enduring. The story by Dufaux is smart, engaging, and exciting. The art by Miralles is elegant and luminous. Altogether, a great story that only gets better with this volume.

Story: Jean Dufaux Art: Ana Miralles
Story: 10 Art: 9.6 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Djinn Vol. 8 Fever

I remember the first time I saw Ghostbusters, it was on television. Me and my cousins watched it for the first time on our grandparent’s subscription to HBO where the first scene I saw was the guys catching the ghost in the New York Public Library. This said to me, right then, that this was not going to be some mystery movie like Scooby Doo. These ghosts were very much real. Instantly the movie became our favorite film at that time. We became enamored with the characters and the world. It took place in the very same city we grew up in.

One of the pivotal scenes in the movie is when Sigourney Weaver’s character gets possessed by a powerful demon that would bring apocalypse to New York. The idea that your body is no longer yours and another conscience has entered your body has always been a riveting concept. In the eighth book of Djinn, we find Jade still possessed and a major upheaval may be on its way.

We catch up with Kim, as she starts her quest for the Black Pearl that Jade left, all those years ago, hoping it would gives her clues to who Jade really was. As she starts roaming the jungle, she feels her connection to the place through Jade’s memories, where King Kaui Mobo, is about to meet Anaktu who still possesses Jade’s body. We also catch up with Charles Augery, as he finds his way back to the British camp, where he tries convincing the authorities of what is going on with Jade and the uprising come their way. Eventually Anaktu unleashes carnage on Mobo’s people and eventually killing the King himself. At the very same time, Ebony’s brother frees them both, but Charles meets his fate by a stray bullet meant for Ebony. By book’s end, Kim finally finds out the what happened to Jade and the Black Pearl, as it is all connected to her being a Djinn.

Djinn Vol. 8 Fever is an enthralling chapter that gives readers more about Kim and shows us just how powerful Anaktu was. The story by Jean Dufaux is enigmatic, smart, and exciting. The art by Ana Miralles is elegant and vivid. Altogether, it’s an entertaining installment in this highly underrated series.

Story: Jean Dufaux Art: Ana Miralles
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Djinn Vol. 7 Pipiktu

Nicole Kidman is an actress who has proved her mettle as a thespian and turned in some excellent roles including the character of Anna in the movie Birth. The movie centers on a woman who loses her husband and after some time moves on with life eventually getting engaged to be married. She gets a surprise, as a ten-year-old boy professes to be the reincarnation of her husband. It’s a lot like the Eidolons in Ancient Greece, where the dead spirits inhabits those who are living. The power of belief is at play here to the point where there is not merely faith but complete trust in what one cannot prove.

In the seventh volume of Djinn, Jade gets overtaken by one spirit, a powerful African goddess.

When someone from the search party looking for Lord Nelseon and Jade gets kidnapped, he finds Jade in an unexpected place. She’s at the head of the Orushi Tribe possessed by the goddess, Anaktu. The Afrikan nation that the Nelsons and Jade lead are in the midst of a big change as the people and the tribes are looking to take back their land and rid of foreign invaders. Meanwhile Lady Nelson consults in a local priest while finding about herself that she loves her husband… and she is obsessed with Jade. Lord Nelson on the other hand is a prisoner of the tribe Jade now commands as she has become totally possessed as the witch doctor makes her drink a potion which makes her forget every human she had. Eventually, Lord Nelson finds out a way to escape and rushes to find Jade is gone and Anaktu has sole control of her body.

Overall, an the seventh volume is an interesting installment of this ever-evolving series which takes familiar tropes and gives them a fresh coat of paint. The story by Jean Dufaux feels like one of those old swashbuckler adventures. The art by Ana Miralles is beautiful. Altogether, this comic series just gets better each installment.

Story: Jean Dufaux Art: Ana Miralles
Story: 9.6 Art: 9.4 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Sour Apple

Growing up with music in the house, I used to love hearing my parents’ records play over our stereo. It would be something I do time to time, in fact, I am listening an old 45 of Art Porter right now as I write this record. I had one uncle that used to tell me all the time” Listen to the lyrics”. This advice I never quite heeded, until I got older, and hip hop came on the scene, this was when lyrics mattered to me the most. Of course, I know now that my uncle wasn’t talking about rap, but the records they played throughout the house.

One of those artists who my parents regularly amass in their massive record collection, were the Temptations, and the first record I heard from them, was “Smiling Faces Sometimes”. This was the first record I took apart word for word, and those lyrics spoke to so many situations” Smiling faces show no traces of the evil that lurks within/Smiling faces, smiling faces sometimes/They don’t tell the truth uh
Smiling faces, smiling faces/Tell lies and I got proof/The truth is in the eyes/Cause the eyes don’t lie, amen/Remember a smile is just/A frown turned upside down/My friend let me tell you.
That song would pop in my head, every time a situation, I saw fits it. In the excellent and heartbreaking graphic novel, Sour Apple, one such masquerade takes place between a husband and wife, where not everything is what it seems.

Within the first few panels, we meet our protagonist, a young lady who adores her husband, and seemingly is very happy. This is until one night where she came home late, when she confronts him after a drunken binder, where he starts acting irrationally and finally hits her. As most narcissists do, he apologizes and blames someone other than himself, which she accepts. Things don’t get better for the couple, as one night, she comes home, only to receive another beating from her husband, this time, he sexually assaults her. As time goes by, our protagonist despite the many indiscretions that her husband took, tries to make the marriage work, even becoming pregnant during this time. Eventually the beatings became longer and even more unbearable. By book’s end, our protagonist finds some solace that she knows what she is capable of and how far she will go, as she goes through another day, hoping the next day will be better.

Overall, an unflinching story that will keep readers on the edge of their seat. The story pulls you into a relationship which is all too common and should never be accepted. The story by Jerzy Szytak is unnerving, well written and emotion filled. The art by Joanna Karpowicz deserves to be in a museum, as it they are pleasant to the eye, and humanizes these characters. Altogether, a story that haunts you, as this happens way too often and are rarely told as eloquently.

Story: Jerzy Szytak Art: Joanna Karpowicz
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

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