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Review: Backtrack Vol. 2

Backtrack Vol. 2

Backtrack returns in the second volume of this full-throttle action series. Written by Brian Joines, the story follows a group of professional drivers from all walks of life. Each has been offered the chance to right their life’s greatest mistake. All they have to do is enter a race and be the first to cross the finish line of the final leg. Of course, there’s a catch. The drivers find themselves racing through time and fighting for their very survival with each subsequent leg of the course. There have also been hints that there is more going on than meets the eye, but the drivers have been too preoccupied with avoiding gladiators, earthquakes, and dinosaurs to do much investigating.

At the end of Volume 1, the drivers decided they needed to work together if any of them were to survive to the final leg of the race. As Backtrack Volume 2 begins, we see that some of the surviving drivers have taken this to heart, while others are still only out for themselves. After focusing mostly on Alyson during the first story arc, Joines widens the scope and gives readers more insight into the other racers’ pasts. I personally enjoyed this character development. It’s an addition that was largely missing from the first arc in the series. Use of flashbacks to break up the action scenes really helped to give the racing sequences more of a punch. Joines also uses these flashbacks to reveal further details of the motivations that lie at the heart of the each driver and the mysteries of the race itself.

Artist Jake Elphick does a great job of drawing the characters when they are shown in close-ups. He expertly conveys the emotions the characters are feeling in any given panel. I wasn’t as impressed with his skills when a panel is drawn from a wider angle. Some of the nuance is lost and it can be hard to tell the characters apart from one another. This is puzzling as Elphick draws the races at an appropriate scale, using combinations of wide and close-up panels to help readers follow the drivers’ progress along the course. The cars and their relative positions remain clear throughout the races, though at times it is tough to tell which driver is speaking or which car they are driving. Luckily, the settings of each race are extravagantly drawn, so even when a reader can’t tell exactly which driver is in peril or in the lead, there’s always other cool imagery they can take in.

While the first volume of Backtrack mainly focused on action and setting up the series, the story arc collected in this second volume feels much more flushed out. Readers are treated to the same high-octane action while also enjoying solid character development. The artwork hits a lot of high points though sometimes clarity becomes an issue. I recommend memorizing the type and color of car each character is driving. This would be unnecessary if things were drawn with greater detail in panels with wider perspectives. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. The second volume of Backtrack, published by Oni-Lion Forge, is out now and available for purchase. Pick up your copy today to see the thrilling conclusion to the series and find out which of the drivers ends up winning the race.

Story and Created: Brian Joines Art: Jake Elphick
Color: Doug Garbark Letterer: Jim Campbell
Story: 9.0 Art: 6.0 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Oni Press provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Review: The Stringer

Mark Scribner was an award-winning journalist but due to business decisions and technology, journalism is dying. This is the story of one man who goes from reporting on reality to manufacturing it.

Story: Ted Rall
Art: Pablo Callejo

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.

Amazon
Kindle
comiXology
Bookshop
TFAW


NBM provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
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Review: In Another World with My Smartphone Vol. 1

15-year-old Touya Mochizuki is accidentally killed by a divine lightning bolt by God. To make it up to him he gets reincarnated in a different world with a big boost to his abilities… plus he gets to take his smartphone with him to the fantasy world.

Story: Patora Fuyuhara
Character Design: Eiji Usatsuka
Art: Soto
Translation: Alexander Keller-Nelson
Lettering: Chiho Christie

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.

Amazon
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comiXology
TFAW


Yen Press 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

Transformers Shattered Glass is Coming to Comics from IDW and Hasbro

Transformers Shattered Glass

During the recent Hasbro Pulse Fan Fest, Hasbro revealed a new Transformers figure set in the “Shattered Glass” universe. “Shattered Glass” is a fan-favorite world that takes us to an inverse done so well in other properties where the bad guys are good and good guys are bad. The next figure being released is Blurr.

Announced with the toy was a new comic series Shattered Glass being published by IDW Publishing. The comic will be written by Danny Lore with art by Guido Guidi.

While the exact details are being held tight, the miniseries consists of five issues, each from the perspective of one character. Each character will be released with a special variant cover issue of the comic. Which characters are coming are unknown but one will be released each month from Hasbro alongside an issue from the series.

From the Blurr announcement:

The figures also comes with a brand-new comic book, IDW Shattered Glass Issue #1Shattered Glass isn’t your average TRANSFORMERS tale… “Shards”is the story of the ongoing battle between the power-hungry AUTOBOT autocrats and the freedom-fighting DECEPTICON laborers. And in issue #1, many kilocycles after the Cybertronian War has destroyed Earth, BLURR, an evil AUTOBOT Seeker, hunts down STARSCREAM, a DECEPTICON explorer who holds a piece of information that could reignite the war. Fans can join author Danny Lore(James Bond, King in Black: Captain America, Champions) and artist Guido Guidi (Optimus Prime: First Strike) in exploring this fractured alternate universe just before it shatters

Discover a universe that shatters everything you know about the Transformers robots…an upside-down world where the bad guys are good, and the good guys are bad. Welcome to Shattered Glass, an alternate universe where the heroic DECEPTICONS battle the evil AUTOBOTS. Fans can explore this topsy-turvy reality with the TRANSFORMERS Shattered Glass Collection, featuring classic characters with a twist! Look for other Shattered Glass figures to build the ultimate alternate universe collection

With Blurr comes the first issue and with that figure set to be released in September, we’re assuming that’s when the series wil launch too. IDW will have more information in May about the miniseries and we’ll have updates as they’re available.

You can order Blurr with the variant cover of the first issue of Shattered Glass now from Hasbro Pulse.

Transformers Shattered Glass Blurr

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)

Review: Baloney and Friends

Meet Baloney and his friends Peanut, Bizz, and Krabbit. Baloney and Friends is a perfect graphic novel for young readers or for parents to read to their children.

Story: Greg Pizzoli
Art: Greg Pizzoli

Get your copy in comic shops and bookstores 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.

Amazon
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Bookshop.org

Disney Hyperion 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: Kingdom Kong

Kingdom King

Before there was a rivalry between Team Edward and Team Jacob, two different monsters polarized audiences, forcing them to choose which force of nature they were going to cheer on. Those monsters are King Kong and Godzilla. These two giants are set to face off on the big screen once again in “Godzilla vs. Kong” and Legendary Comics is providing the pre-game commentary in two new graphic novels. This review will focus on Kingdom Kong but be on the lookout for my review of Godzilla Dominion.

Kingdom Kong, written by Maire Anello, sets up Kong’s side of the conflict. This original graphic novel is a sequel to Skull Island: Birth of Kong, but as far as I can tell, you don’t need to have read it to understand this book. I’ve never read Birth of Kong and it didn’t stop me from enjoying Kingdom Kong. Anello gets the exposition out of the way at the beginning of the story. Quickly catching the reader up and setting the stage for the story that is about to play out. There are an unexpected number of science-fiction elements introduced during the setup. Although a cool addition to the Kong mythos, I felt a little bogged down by these details. Luckily, the pacing and action both take off soon after.

Once the setup is out of the way and the action begins, the storyline is very exciting. Between the exhilarating action scenes and the character’s emotional beats, Kingdom Kong is a real page turner. In addition to the compelling character work and stellar action, I also enjoyed the plot points obviously inspired by classic Eldritch horror. In addition, the story features a diverse cast of characters. Audrey Burns, the comic’s main human character, is especially well developed. Anello does a great job of making all the characters believable. They come off as actual people and not just players in an action comic.

The realism of the characters is further enhanced by Zid’s artwork. I always appreciate when an artist pays attention to the light source in each panel. This is something that Zid excels at throughout the graphic novel. He also expertly scales the kaiju. It’s easy to tell the size of figures relative to one another. This provides clarity to the scope of characters featured in each panel and gives the reader a real sense of the size and power of the kaiju.

Kong is illustrated very well. In every panel in which he appears, his might and majesty are readily apparent. He doesn’t look much like an actual gorilla but luckily, he also doesn’t look like a guy in a gorilla suit. One complaint I have with the artwork is that there are a few points in the story where it’s hard to tell the flashbacks from events in the present. Each is colored the same and time stamps are rarely used, so there are times when it’s hard to tell the difference between a character’s memories and the scene playing within the current storyline.

Members of Team Kong will definitely want to read Kingdom Kong. It’s probably not a bad idea to also check out the companion graphic novel Godzilla Dominion too. After all, it’s always best to know your opponent. Even if the contenders are giant kaiju monsters.

Story: Marie Anello Art: Zid
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

Legendary Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Review: Godzilla Dominion

Godzilla Dominion

I have loved Godzilla for as long as I can remember. As a kid I was drawn to Godzilla because he is the perfect mix of dinosaur and monster. As an adult, I appreciate the social and historical commentary often applied to Godzilla stories and films. As big a fan as I am, I’ve fallen behind on the more recent Godzilla remakes. I just haven’t had the time or the funds to see the newest movies. I’m hoping to change that, and the first step is reviewing Godzilla Dominion.

Published by Legendary Comics, Godzilla Dominion is an original graphic novel due out on March 30th. Written by Greg Keyes, the story is follow-up to the 2019 film “Godzilla: King of Monsters.” It is also a prelude to the upcoming movie “Godzilla vs. Kong.” I’ve already reviewed the King Kong tie-in comic Kingdom Kong; now it’s time to jump into Godzilla Dominion.

The plot unfolds entirely through narration and no in-scene dialogue is used. The narrative text is artfully written in a beautiful prose. The story is told from Godzilla’s perspective and drawn from a third-person perspective so that the reader can take in all the action. Although there are plenty of fight scenes, my favorite parts of this graphic novel were the moments of reflection upon Godzilla’s life and history. Keyes does an amazing job of imagining Godzilla as an actual living creature and not solely a freak of nature. He really gets inside Godzilla’s head and gives the reader a sense of what life must be like for the apex predator.

Artist Drew Edward Johnson draws Godzilla with a great sense of scale and scope, though I wish the depth of the ocean was communicated a little better. It always bugs me to see Godzilla swimming while completely immersed in water one minute and then suddenly standing in that same water moments later. Godzilla is expertly drawn, especially when he’s the only character in a panel. There are many full-page splashes and two-page spreads that truly showcase Godzilla’s elegant ferocity. Unfortunately, in many of the action scenes it is very hard to tell what is going on. Godzilla’s opponents and their actions become unclear, making it hard to follow the fight sequences. Unexpected changes in perspective between connected panels further confuse the imagery.

Those who haven’t seen the movie “Godzilla: King of Monsters” shouldn’t be worried. You don’t need knowledge of that film to enjoy Godzilla Dominion. There’s plenty of action in this original graphic novel but the main draw is the focus on Godzilla himself. Within the pages of this book is a very well-done character study that casts Godzilla in a new light. The art isn’t perfect but still manages to hit a lot of high notes while shining a spotlight on Godzilla. Godzilla Dominion is an incredibly unique book and well worth the time of both casual and longtime fans of kaiju films and comics.

Story: Greg Keyes Art: Drew Edward Johnson
Story: 10 Art: 7.0 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Legendary Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Review: Undone by Blood or the Other Side of Eden #2

It’s the 1930s and Silvano Luna Del Rio works as a postman in Buttar, Texas. Silvano is also planning on robbing the first skyscraper West of the Mississippi.

But, like the previous volume, Silvano’s story is told side by side with an old west novel featuring the gunslinger Solomon Eaton.

Story: Lonnie Nadler, Zac Thompson
Art: Sami Kivela
Color: Jason Wordie
Letterer: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou

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.

Kindle
comiXology
Zeus Comics
TFAW

AfterShock Comics 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: Serial #3

Serial #3 brings things together as the killer’s motivations are revealed and the police attempt to figure out what’s going on.

Story: Terry Moore
Art: Terry Moore

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.

Kindle
comiXology
Zeus Comics
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

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