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Review: Basewood

Carlos Bulosan, was one of those writers I heard about in my household many time over, as his boos spoke to my mother generation and every generation of Filipino after that. His book, America Is in The Heart, is his probably his mostly widely known and read book and for good reason. It spoke of growing up but also of the American spirit of adventure and how this need for discovery has shaped all of us, and those who are enamored with it, such as the characters in that book. I might be overstating it, but it inspired many immigrants from the Philippines to come to America, not necessarily the book itself, but the idea of a better life, which was the promise America was.

This sense of adventure is not uncommon to the world, but it holds a special part within our national identity. In Manifest Destiny, the adventures of Lewis and Clark, has been given new life, as they are retold with supernatural elements. The need for the characters in Stand by Me, to go on a journey to see a dead body, encapsulates this drive. In Basewood, Alec Longstreth crafts a tale which intersperses this human need with the ever so short cycle of life.

In the opening pages, we meet Ben, who has just woken up, disorientated, no knowing who he or where he is. He soon encounters a wolf like dragon which chases him until an old man saves him, by the name of Argus. Together the two men live together, for a while learning how to survive this vast forest. Before long, Ben feels a need to leave, and in another encounter with the dragon, is saved by his wife., who soon helps him remember who he is and how he got there. By the end of the book, the need to leave the forest drives Ben and his wife with their now newborn child, to leave once again, bringing Argus, with them, but not all ends as expected and a bittersweet ending, is what the reader ultimately gets.

Overall, an epic journey, one which tested men’s wills, and their innate sense of survival, and one where the reader realizes every one’s journey is both same and different. The story by Alec Longstreth is very much heartfelt, tender, has moments of levity, and shows redemption is ultimately attainable for anyone. The art by Longstreth is vivid and lifelike. Altogether, a story which allows you to feel a range of emotions and will forever change the reader.

Story: Alec Longstreth Art: Alec Longstreth
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Kahlil #10

Iron Man is one of those comics, you either like because of Tony Stark or like because of Iron Man. The epic story, “Demon in a Bottle”, provided readers of just how complex Tony Shark is. As far Iron Man, any reader who has continuously read his books throughout the years, knows there have been more than one person who has inhabited the armor of Iron Man. His inner struggles as well as his fights with his rogues’ gallery, has defined the character for generations shaped the Iron Man we see in the MCU.

To me, what has defined him, is not necessarily those struggles but his relationships with the rest of the Avengers. His relationship with Captain America and the Hulk, have both been told in many stories. The one most defining relationship to me was twit the Vision, who was Jarvis, before the infinity stones, as he was his digital servant before. In this issue of Kahlil, Rizvi we meet someone quite like Jarvis, but and the Vision but one where very Kryptonite, is born with.

We catch up with Kahlil as he is introduced to Jem-El, his bound lifetime companion, and is told his purpose. As the Khans get ready for their family Biryani, they worry about the future and meeting Jem-El. Jem-El helps Khalil understand they are more like brothers and his there to help guide him. By issue’s end, Jem-El, meets his family, hilariously believes Jem-El to be a Djinn at first but as Jem-El assures Kahlil o human or Kryptonian has ever lead a life like the one he is about lead.

Overall, a great issue, that provides the reader, the philosophy of Kal-El The story by Kumail Rizvi is funny and introspective. The art by Rizvi is vivid. Altogether, another fine installment, which elevates the canon and gives it a few flavors that it would not have had in lesser hands.

Story: Kumail Rizvi Art: Kumail Rizvi
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Legend of the Mantamaji: Book One

When it comes to mythology, much of it is skewed in interpretations, versus actual first-person accounts. Any avid viewer of History Channel, can tell you, that many accounts that were written, have been both proven and disproven many times over, and as each of these specials tend to roll out experts who are supposedly smarter than the other.it is very much like an uncle once told me, about why people kill each other, because:” there can only be one person to tell his-tory”. Sometimes the truth is much less romantic than historians want us to know and more enigmatic than the world can comprehend.

It would make you wonder if there was truth in the King Arthur myth, as there are historical records that show him as a real historical figure. I always wondered did any of those characters that surrounded him exist. Especially the villains, as they were his worst torment and ultimately lead to his downfall. In the this first book of The Legend of Mantamaji, a man who thought who he knew about himself, gets his life turned upside down.

We are introduced to Assistant District Attorney, Elijah Alexander, a rising star in city politics, who leads a normal life, has a girlfriend and was raised by a single mother. Elijah, soon finds out from a mysterious man from his mother’s past, that he his and his family not ordinary, and those stories he read as a child, were all true, as they belong to an ancient race of warriors, known as Mantamaji, and he has powers he has to learn to wield as an ancient foe has returned to wreak havoc. He is soon learning to full weight of his powers to stop the menace. By the end of this first book, someone close to Elijah dies and a friend looks to be not who they say they are.

Overall, an excellent book, which shows the world, that heroes come in all shapes and colors, and doing the right thing always matters. The story by Eric Dean Seaton is captivating and larger-than-life, providing an excellent introduction. The art by Brandon Palas is vibrant and stunning. Altogether, an epic which provides depth and heart in the superhero genre.

Story: Eric Dean Seaton Art: Brandon Palas
Story:10 Art:10 Overall:10 Recommendation: Buy

Unboxing: Loot Crate DX July 2017 “Animation”

Loot Crate DX is the next level of Loot Crate. Similar to the basic Loot Crate each box follows a theme each month but instead has over $100 value in every crate.

This month’s theme was “Animation” with items from Futurama, Rick and Morty, Bob’s Burgers, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

We open up to show off the box with some interesting items inside.

You can order the next Loot Crate DX now!

 

 

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: Secret Weapons #3

SW_003_COVER-A_ALLEN“Class is in session, and Amanda McKee – the machine-wielding hero codenamed Livewire – is here to show her unconventional class of recruits what it really takes to master power. And lesson number-one is…teamwork! But as these once-abandoned psiot castaways put their pain behind them to become a fully functioning unit, an even deadlier set of challenges will soon rise to meet them…”

If you haven’t read the first two issues in this four issue miniseries, and you’re thinking of starting here, don’t. I mean, you could, but why bother? Eric Heisserer has written such a compelling story that it would be a shame to start here.

Secret Weapons feels like an updated version of the X-Men, a comic that truly focuses on the trials and tribulations of a group of young misfits with some almost useless powers, only they’re not called mutants here, but psiots; one can talk to birds, one can conjure things (with no control over what he conjures) and one can turn into pure marble. Only he can’t move when he does so. The series thus far has gone from strength to strength as we’ve been introduced to the misfit central characters, had a cameo or two from the wider Valiant universe (which you don’t need to  be familiar with to enjoy the series), as well as slowly introducing the villain proper last issue.
SW_003_005This issue sees Avichal Malakar, the statue powered psiot, trying to live his life way from the others only to face hostility from the public – not because as a Sikh he wears a turban, but because he’s a psiot. Without giving too much regarding the content of the comic away, things turn from bad to worse for Avi in a reflection of some of the recent real world issues without ever slapping you in the face with the comparison. Heisserer is a newcomer to comics, but you wouldn’t think it reading this issue – it is quite simply one of the best issues I’ve read all year, and incredibly relevant.

The art, by Raul Allen with Patricia Martin (who also letters the comic), is visually arresting. Allen’s use of the grid shows a level of visual story telling that perfectly complements the writing. I am a huge fan of Allen and Martin’s work, even though I was only introduced to their art with Wrath Of The Eternal Warrior (I say “they” because I’m not quite sure where one’s contribution ends and the other begins with the art. Ultimately, when it looks this good, I’m not as worried as I should be), and to get to see them firing on all cylinders with this issue is a complete treat.

I honestly thought that the best comic I’d read all week would be Divinity #0. I am happy to say that I was wrong in thinking that. Heisserer, Allen and Martin are one issue away from giving us a multi layered story that will stand among the best of the year.

This is where I add a cliched “if you’re not reading this…” statement where I try and push you into reading Valiant comics. But honestly? You don’t need to be familiar with Valiant to appreciate just how good this is. Don’t ignore this series – it’s absolutely fantastic.

Story: Eric Heissera Art: Raul Allen with Patricia Martin
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommedation: Buy

Although Valiant provided a FREE copy to review, I read the issue I picked up from my LCS.

Exclusive Preview: Suicide Squad #24

Suicide Squad #24

Written by: Rob Williams
Art by: Agustin Padilla
Cover by: Eber Ferreira, Eddy Barrows
Variant cover by: Whilce Portacio
U.S. Price: $2.99
On Sale Date: August 23, 2017

“KILL YOUR DARLINGS” part four! This is it! The moment SUICIDE SQUAD has been building to since the start of Rebirth! International Suicide Squads descend upon metahuman populations around the world at Amanda Waller’s command! As the People’s astonishing endgame is laid bare, only the original Task Force X’s most dysfunctional members are left to save the world from their own dark imitators.

Weekly Graphic Novel Review: WWE Vol. 1 Redesign. Rebuild. Reclaim.

This Tuesday saw a release of a new trade from BOOM! Studios. We’re discussing the first volume of BOOM! Studios’ WWE comic series.

WWE Vol. 1 Redesign. Rebuild. Reclaim. collects issues #1-4 and the WWE: Then. Now. Forever. special by writer Dennis Hopeless, artist Serge Acuña, and cover artist Dan Mora.

The comic is in comic book stores and book stores today.

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

WWE Vol. 1 Redesign. Rebuild. Reclaim.
Amazon or TFW

 

BOOM! Studios 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.

DC Weekly Graphic Novel Review: Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps

It’s Wednesday which means it’s new comic book day with new releases hitting shelves, both physical and digital, all across the world. This week we’ve got Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps.

Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps Vol. 3 Quest for Hope collects issues #14-21 by Robert Venditti, Ethan Van Sciver, V Kenneth Marion, Dexter Vines, Rafael Sandoval, Jordi Tarragona.

The trade is in comic stores today August 16 and book stores August 22.

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

Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps Vol. 3 Quest for Hope
Amazon/Kindle/comiXology or TFW

 

 

DC Comics 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.

Weekly Graphic Novel Review: Sh*t My President Says

It’s Wednesday which means it’s new comic book day with new releases hitting shelves, both physical and digital, all across the world. This week we’ve got Sh*t My President Says: The Illustrated Tweets of Donald J. Trump by Shannon Wheeler.

The comic is in comic book stories today.

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

Sh*t My President Says: The Illustrated Tweets of Donald J. Trump
Amazon or Kindle or comiXology or TFAW

 

 

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: The Sandman Special #1

SandmanSpecialCoverBetween the Sandman with the gas mask and gun and the Gothic, critically acclaimed one, there was the red and yellow superhero suit wearing Sandman created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby in 1974. In a pair of stories, DC Comics creators both old and new show the imaginative potential of this superhero and his unwilling, monstrous assistants Brute and Glob. First, Dan Jurgens, Jon Bogdanove, and Madpencil tell a heartwarming story with a great twist ending about a young boy whose vivid dreams of monsters and superheroes threaten to break out of the dream world and into reality. Then, there is Steve Orlando, Rick Leonardi, Dan Green, and Steve Buccelato’s slightly wilder tale of the now adult Jed Walker, a supporting character in Sandman, battling his childhood nightmares with a cameo from basically the Grim Reaper. The comic is rounded out by a collection of two page “Strange Stories of the DNA Project” from Jack Kirby’s Fourth World stories.

What initially drew me to The Sandman Special was Jon Bogdanove’s uncanny ability to make his art look like Jack Kirby’s while using modern techniques like photo collages to show the surrealness of the young boy’s dream world.  I wish DC Comics put him on more projects. There is weight to Sandman’s throws and punches, and Madpencil cooks up an old school color palette straight out of the 1970s, like a smooth orange take on the classic Kirby krackle. Even though it has banter, punching, a sick team-up move from Sandman and Brute, and a tentacle monster that gets handily defeated, Jurgens and Bogdanove’s story is more metafictional than a straight up superhero adventure ending in a final panel that may make you cry.

Sandmaninterior

Through action and a couple heart rending Jurgens monologues towards the end, The Sandman Special looks at the important of embracing our fears and weaknesses through the dream monsters and then facing and defeating them as symbolized by the young boy’s superhero, who is an amalgamation of Kirby’s takes on Thor, Orion, and a little bit of Captain America. The battle between Sandman and the young boy’s nightmare monsters is also a wonderful tribute to Jack Kirby’s career where he would switch from drawing superheroes to monsters and vice versa from his first work at DC and Marvel in the early 1940s to his later work in the 1970s and 1980s. And sometimes monsters could be heroes, like the ever loving blue eyed Thing, which is why it’s nice to see Bogdanove homage Fantastic Four #1 in one of his panels and have the monster that Sandman fights talk and have feelings.

Unlike the lead story, which quickly establishes Sandman’s kooky status quo with a double page spread, Orlando, Leonardi, and Green rely on previous knowledge of the character of Jed Walker and his grandfather Ezra from Kirby’s Sandman. I vaguely remember Jed from the “Game of You” arc from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, but luckily the story kicks up a notch when Sandman, Brute, and Glob end up fighting the angel of death in cowboy form Psychopomp on train while looking for a dream about Jed’s grandfather to scare away his now adult nightmares.

Orlando doesn’t really establish Jed as a character except his constant nightmares and that he left his unwelcoming hometown and only returned for his grandfather’s funeral so the big emotional moment isn’t as powerful as it could be. But he does make a human connection to Jed’s nightmares, which are about the fact that he didn’t spend enough time with his grandfather while he was alive. On a more fun note, the banter between Sandman, Brute, and Glob keeps the story from getting too doom and gloom as they sneak and mess around with Psychopomp. Also, I liked that Dan Green used a grittier, inking style for Jed in the “real world” and his feelings of guilt and a cleaner one for Sandman and his more traditional punching and magic whistle blowing heroism. The design for Psychopomp is also a perfect bridge from Jack Kirby’s Sandman to Neil Gaiman’s.

The second story leans too much on previous reader knowledge, but Sandman Special is a fantastic tribute to the well-designed (Both Madpencil and Steve Buccelato make that red and yellow costume pop), filled to the brim with imagination Sandman of the 1970s. It also shows the literal power of dreams to craft limitless opportunities for storytelling

Story: Dan Jurgens, Steve Orlando Art: Jon Bogdanove, Rick Leonardi with Dan Green
Colors: Madpencil, Steve Buccelato

Story: 7.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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