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Review: Icon & Rocket: Season One #1

Long ago an alien was stranded on Earth. Despite amazing powers, he decided to waste away hidden from society. A chain of events will change that and the world.

Story: Reginald Hudlin
Art: Doug Braithwaite
Ink: Scott Hanna, Andrew Currie
Color: Brad Anderson
Letterer: Andworld Design

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
TFAW


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Those Two Geeks Episode 125: The Toys Are Back!

Alex and Joe babble on about the all the recent toy news (including the Marvel Legends Galactus coming from Hasbro).

As always, Alex and Joe can be found on Twitter respectively @karcossa and @jcb_smark if you feel the need to tell them they’re wrong individually, or @those2geeks if you want to yell at them together on twitter, or by email at ItsThose2Geeks@gmail.com.

Review: Groo Meets Tarzan #1

Groo Meets Tarzan #1

Groo Meets Tarzan is something I never knew I needed until I read it. I’ve read loads of Groo The Wanderer comics growing up but it’s been quite a while since I read any adventures of the cheese dip-loving idiot swordsman and his faithful dog, Rufferto. And by that same line, I’ve never read a Tarzan story. Never Ever.

Groo Meets Tarzan #1 opens at the 2021 San Diego Comic-Con. You know, the one that didn’t happen. Fans are rushing to meet Mark Evanier and Sergio Aragones, only it’s not for their creations but for being mistaken for other creations, which is really heating up Sergio. But the talk goes to the creation of a story, one where Tarzan and Groo meet each other. Sergio has booked this trip to a sketchy wildlife preserve to help gain some needed insight into the project. As nighttime takes Sergio to his dreams, the story is that of Tarzan, strong and reliable, chasing down slavers. The flipside is that of Groo and Rufferto, known to cause destruction wherever they go, being led to cheese dip where it won’t actually be. Both of these characters are well on their way to a meeting.

The writing on Groo Meets Tarzan blends fantasy action and comedy very well and maybe better than probably anyone would. Evanier has written Groo for many, many years but he got his work doing a lot of other, more serious work, and I think that even reading Groo as long as I have, I have more-or-less forgotten that he can do serious and do it well. All the comedy works (for me) as I was a long-time reader of Groo and I think the Groo reader probably has the easier time with this. It feels more like a Groo story.

Artistically speaking, this book blends the Thomas Yeates art nicely with Sergio Aragones’ work. This issue has all of Tarzan’s stuff by Yeates. There’s a good amount of back and forth between the art styles. Yeates opts for something a bit more refined than you’d normally see in a Groo book, lot more detail thrown into his linework. It wouldn’t be a Groo book if we didn’t have some epic two-page showcasing about too many people on a page with jokes all around and we get a good one near the beginning.

I don’t have a bad thing to say about Groo Meets Tarzan, other than they haven’t met yet. I’m not sure what will happen when they do. Fight? Eat cheese dip? Who knows until next month but Groo Meets Tarzan is not at all what I was expecting but I’m glad I read it. Mostly a funny story, but the Tarzan moments do throw some serious moments into the mix. It’s a very enjoyable comic showcasing that Sergio and Mark are the best at the comedy side of comics. I highly recommend it.

Story: Sergio Aragones and Mark Evanier Art: Sergio Aragones and Thomas Yeates
Colors by: Tom Luth Letterers: Stan Sakai (Groo pages)
and Adam Pruett (Tarzan pages)
Story: 9.0 Art: 7.0 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

Dark Horse provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Review: Batman/The Maxx: Arkham Dreams

Batman/The Maxx: Arkham Dreams

When it comes to who is the most fascinating character in all of comic books, no one comes close to Batman. Bruce Wayne is a modern-day case in childhood trauma. He somehow manifested the death of his parents into a lifelong crusade against evil. As many fans who have read the comic books know, he is much darker than the cartoon version.

Many of us who grew up reading him know the dark recesses of this conflicted hero. This is why we are drawn to him and are attracted to heroes similar to him such as Moon Knight. His crossover adventures with other heroes are legendary, and it helps if his partners are a bit like him. In Batman/The Maxx: Arkham Dreams, we find him with another complicated protagonist, as they hunt down an incessant evil.

We are taken to Gotham City, where Maxx’s delusions have led him to be amongst the homeless, which draws the attention of Batman, who thinks he belongs in Arkham Asylum. As Maxx gets admitted into Arkham, Batman soon unleashes chaos as the world Maxx sees and Gotham merges because of the experiments conducted by an unconventional doctor at Arkham, Dr.Disparu,  leading Batman to take drastic measures. He and the doctor must use the evil minds, some of which are Batman’s rogues, to find a solution to stop the worlds from converging. Eventually, Batman searches out Julie Winters, to enter a dimension hole, where they meet an alternate version of Harley Quinn while Disparu continues his experiments on the Joker, The Penguin, and Harley, which causes unsettling effects on Maxx. By book’s end, Disparu’s secret is revealed and our heroes fight one last stand against the deadliest versions of Batman’s rogues to protect the Outback, in a glorious victory.

Overall, Batman/The Maxx: Arkham Dreams is a true mind-bending journey with the Dark Knight and one of Image Comics’ most complex protagonists. The story by Keith is fun. The art by the creative team is gorgeous. Altogether, an adventure that takes the reader on a bunch of twists and turns, an adventure that will have readers revisiting to see what they missed.

Story: Sam Keith Art: Sam Keith, Ronda Pattison, and Shawn Lee
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

IDW Publishing provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Review: Bubble

The hit monster hunting podcast Bubble comes to comics! Written by series creator Jordan Morris and series writer Sarah Morgan, and illustrated by Tony Cliff, the graphic novel adaptation follows an unlikely group of friends who come together thanks to an Uber-like app for hunting monsters called Huntr. While the characters are the same, the images and storyline additions offer a whole new layer of context for fans of the podcast to devour.

Created by: Jordan Morris
Written by: Jordan Morris, Sarah Morgan
Adapted by: Tony Cliff, Jordan Morris, Sarah Morgan
Color by: Natalie Riess

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.

Amazon (Hardcover)
Amazon (Paperback)
Kindle
Zeus Comics
TFAW
Bookshop


First Second 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

Underrated: Wolverine: Save The tiger

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:  Wolverine: Save The Tiger.


Originally printed in the first ten issues of Marvel Comics Presents from late September ’88 to early January ’99 (MCP started out as a bi-weekly anthology series), Save The Tiger tells the story of Tyger Tiger’s origin in Madripoor.

The story was written by Chris Claremont with art by John Buscema (though the image featured today is of a comic collecting just the ten parts of Save The Tiger with Sam Keith’s artwork on the cover), and leads into Wolverine’s first ongoing solo series (also by Claremont and Buscema initially). Depending on how you read it, whether it’s in the comic pictured to the right or Wolverine Epic Collection: Madripoor Nights or through Marvel Unlimited, you’re going to find a story that still holds up more than thirty years later.

Save The Tiger introduces a lot of what we now associate as standard parts of Wolverine’s life; the Princess Bar, Madripoor, and the characters who make the island a living breathing place. It’s set during the time that the X-Men are thought dead, and so you don’t see Wolverine popping his claws as often as you’d expect when engaging in brawls. It’s an added layer to the story where Claremont is writing the X-Man as avoiding using his claws in order to maintain his cover of being dead. That makes this one of the few stories I’ve read recently where events in another book actually play a larger role behind the scenes than they would otherwise. Given that this is a 30 year old story written by the same person who was also writing the main X-book at the time, it’s not surprising to me that the two books influence each other.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll happily say it again, but I’ve noticed that the older the comic the more story you get in it. That Save The Tiger is told over the course of about 80 pages (the asterisk here is that’s what the floppy book clocks in at, and I’m not sure if there’s ads in there because I read it via the Epic Collection method), but it feels so much longer than that (in a good way) because of the amount of story that Claremont packs into each issue.

Because Claremont also wrote the main X-book for a long time, you’ll find some consequences to the X-Men’s actions here that still isn’t that common today – that it’s tied to Uncanny X-Men wasn’t an issue for me, because even though I’ve long forgotten those events, Claremont still adds enough context within the comic for the reader to understand the poignancy of the moment.

I’m always a sucker for older comics from the 80’s and 90’s, so obviously I’ll be a little more biased toward this one, but Save The Tiger surprised me in how much I actually enjoyed it. It’s not a defining Wolverine story, and consequently won’t be high on the Must Read Wolverine list, but it’s one that’s well worth checking out.


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

Review: Shadowman #4

Shadowman #4

The opening arc of Shadowman has kept my interests pretty high. As a reader, we have a Shadowman book where the protagonist can let loose and dive right into the heart of the evil around him. We’ve seen in this series that the Deadside, which is as it sounds, is trying to use the Earth as its own power battery and there are powerful creatures escaping to the Earth. And rightfully so, we’ve seen Shadowman step up and take out whatever threat has arisen. The first three issues have been very enjoyable. Is Shadowman #4 going to hit like the previous three?

Another thing has escaped the Deadside. This is something that spreads a hallucinogenic experience to those it comes in contact with. Its effect is that of a very violent drug trip and that leads Shadowman and Samedi to track it to a crackhouse on the streets of London. Shadowman falls victim and comes face-to-face with his biggest threat; the Deadside is taking on a physical form and has let itself known to Shadowman. After overcoming the effects, Shadowman dispatches his foe but knows something far bigger and sinister now walks the world. He thinks he understands the relationship between the Deadside and the Earth and how he must deal with it.

To me, there was a lot to unravel with this issue. The villain of this issue was downright creepy and what it caused in its wake was really disturbing stuff. People imagining their babies are spawning into grotesque creatures or people hurting themselves because of what they think they see. I thought the way the fight between it and Shadowman went down was interesting. It wasn’t much of a fight but an invitation to see the true culprit. There’s something really interesting building within the pages of Shadowman and writer Cullen Bunn basically makes it sound like the series is going on hiatus to set up some other machinations within the Valiant universe. That part is a really big letdown, as this book has been great for every issue. Jon Davis-Hunt continues illustrating the creepiest, sickest villains around and with Jordie Bellaire and Clayton Cowles, have continued to put out one of the better-looking books around.

I think that one key element has been that we see a lot with this series how normal folks have reacted or been treated by the Deadside beings and it really helps ratchet up the threats that Shadowman faces. And Shadowman, while being a hero, isn’t quite a superhero with this take. I hope when the book returns, it’s with this same creative team. They have done no wrongs on Shadowman and honestly, you can argue it’s the best we’ve gotten with the character in many years. Let’s hope that the publishing break isn’t a big one because whether it’s the entire four issues or just this fourth one, these stories are setting up something and should not be forgotten about.

Story: Cullen Bunn Art: Jon Davis-Hunt
Colors: Jordie Bellaire Letters: Clayton Cowles
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXology – Kindle – Zeus Comics – TFAW

Scarlett Johansson is Suing Disney for Black Widow Breach of Contract

Black Widow

As we’ve been seeing in recent months, the decision to split releases between theaters and streaming services isn’t going over well with actors and directors who rely on getting some of the backend of the movie gross and bonuses based on benchmarks. Scarlett Johansson is the latest to launch a lawsuit over the decision to release Black Widow on Disney+‘s premium service.

The lawsuit alleges that Johansson’s contract was breached when the film didn’t debut exclusively in theaters. The claim says the decision depressed ticket sales. If certain benchmarks were hit for the box office performance bonuses would kick in.

For an extra $30, Disney+ subscribers were able to watch the film at home.

Black Widow set a record in the pandemic era with an $80 million debut in North America and earned $78 million at the foreign box office. Disney released that it also had over $60 million in sales on Disney+, a rare release of those numbers by the company.

In the second week of release, the film dropped which led theater owners to blame Disney+ and piracy for the decline. The film received mixed reviews for a Marvel film and on the lower end of critic reviews for the franchise universe.

The lawsuit also notes that Disney’s stock rose after it released the streaming numbers. Johansson’s lawsuit claims the dual release resulted in $50 million in lost bonuses.

There was worry in the Johansson camp even before COVID-19 that Disney would release the film on Disney+. Her management as the studio to guarantee that Black Widow would premiere exclusively in cinemas. Marvel Chief Counsel Dave Galluzzi promised a traditional theatrical bow and that if that plan changed there’d be a discussion and deal to come to an understanding.

Warner Bros. faced similar charges when it decided to release its films through HBO Max for the year. That resulted in numerous actors earning their full back-end on movies released this way.

This lawsuit has massive implications as it’s clear that Warner Bros., Disney, and more are looking at streaming only and dual releases for films.

(via Variety)

Review: Beta Ray Bill #5

Beta Ray Bill #5

Beta Ray Bill #5 is a fittingly primal conclusion to this heavy metal thunder cloud of a miniseries from writer/artist Daniel Warren Johnson, colorist Mike Spicer, and letterer Joe Sabino. This issue is all about the final showdown between Surtur and Bill for the fire demon’s sword Twilight, but each member of the small ensemble cast get a moment to shine before taking their final bow from Skurge getting a very big fun to Pip being heroic and resilient and Skuttlebutt doing her tech thing while also growing closer to Bill. This is kind of a romance, but there’s lots of punching.

And speaking of punching, Beta Ray Bill #5 reaches new heights with its action sequences as Johnson’s fight choreography and use of sound effects immersed me into the epic struggle between Bill and Surtur. Spicer lays down a kind of covering fire with his palette and helps the battle flow with a hellish palette and burst of flat colors any time a character has a big moment in the action. With a full-page splash of Surtur punching Bill into the stratosphere, the stakes are sky-high for our protagonist, and Daniel Warren Johnson doesn’t shy away from showing him struggle in the smaller panels of kicks and holds throughout the comic. He also wisely lays off the narration and lets the actions during the fight dictate the story’s momentum while occasionally cutting away to Bill’s friends ready to help him out with a last-minute save.

Beta Ray Bill #5 is definitely a comic about revenge and ultimately self-actualization (The final panel is a humanoid Bill looking in the mirror and seeing his horse form.), but found family is an ongoing thematic thread that gives the miniseries its heart. Bill picks up Pip and Skurge throughout his quest and has been with Skuttlebutt all along, and they are integral in his fight against Surtur. Pip risks his life firing away at Surtur while Bill lays wounded, and Johnson pours on the gritty facial expressions, shell casings, and later gore to show this is truly a moment of self-sacrifice. On the other hand, Skuttlebutt is the brains of the operation using the shockwaves of Bill and Surtur’s clash to power up the ship again and giving Skurge the chance to do what he does best: be a one man firing squad. Skurge gets a truly redemptive moment during the climax of Beta Ray Bill #5 that also allows Daniel Warren Johnson to draw a really gnarly and detailed gun. (Think banned Transformers toy!) He and Bill had a fun, bro-ish vibe in this comic, and nothing is better than beating the shit out of a 100 foot fire demon with your bro.

To some, the most controversial element of Beta Ray Bill is the very close to romantic relationship between Bill and his ship turned female robot, Skuttlebutt. With characters like Cortana and Brian Michael Bendis and Frank Cho’s sexy female Ultron, female A.I. have been a part of recent pop culture for better or cringe. Skuttlebutt falls more on the better side because she has an actual rapport with Bill during the action and flying scenes and loves him in both his humanoid and horse form. (Bill went on this quest to get a magic weapon that could help him return to his human form so he could be with Sif, initially.) This is a loud, explosive comic, but Daniel Warren Johnson chooses to end it on a quiet note of Bill and Skuttlebutt holding hands and watching his favorite movie, Hook. Skuttlebutt has seen Bill at his best and worst so maybe she really is the woman or A.I. for him. It’s a little weird, but Bill is an alien with cyborg parts doing his best to be human and Skuttlebutt is a ship/artificial intelligence doing her best to be human so it works.

Beta Ray Bill #5 is a glorious finale filled with wrestling holds, airbrush on the side of your van-worthy splashes, and some heart and friendship too as Bill’s quest comes to a satisfying close. Daniel Warren Johnson and Mike Spicer helped me fall in love with a character that I wasn’t super familiar with and also demonstrate how sound effects and the use of color can help turn a fight scene into a story. I look forward to their next project, Marvel or otherwise.

Story/Art: Daniel Warren Johnson
Colors: Mike Spicer Letters: Joe Sabino
Story: 9.0 Art: 10.0 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Exclusive Preview: Extreme Carnage: Lasher #1

Extreme Carnage: Lasher #1

(W) Clay McLeod Chapman (A) Chris Mooneyham (CA) Skan (VCA) Jeff Johnson, Skottie Young
Rated T+
In Shops: Aug 04, 2021
SRP: $3.99

WITNESS THE BIRTH OF A NEW SYMBIOTE!
Four issues into the Carnage event of the summer and the bodies just keep piling up – including some of the Venomaniacs the Mighty Marveldom know and love! But now is not a time to mourn for fallen heroes (or their symbiotes). CARNAGE is on the loose, and he’s building an army…

Extreme Carnage: Lasher #1
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