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Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Wednesdays are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

Each week our contributors choose what they can’t wait to read this week or just sounds interesting. In other words, this is what we’re looking forward to and think you should be taking a look at!

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this Wednesday.

Asgardians of the Galaxy #2 (Marvel) – The first issue was a lot of fun as it brought together an interesting mix of characters together as a team and delivered a nice reveal at the end. Where does it go from there? We’re excited to find out.

Batman/The Maxx #1 (IDW Publising) – Two classic characters are brought together and we’re expecting awesome.

Blackbird #1 (Image Comics) – A secret cabal of magic users exists in Los Angeles and the fact Sam Humphries is writing this new series is a bonus to an awesome idea.

Border Town #2 (DC Comics/Vertigo) – The first issue was a nice mix of Scooby-Doo and the Goonies with a Latinx twist to it all. We’re all in.

Dead Rabbit #1 (Image Comics) – A former stick-up man is back out of retirement. This is the type of noir/crime concept that has us excited to check it out.

Death of the Inhumans #4 (Marvel) – This event has been shaking up the Inhumans and we have no idea where it’s all going.

Death Orb #1 (Dark Horse Comics) – A new apocalyptic series from Ryan Ferrier featuring a character carving a bloody path as he attempts to save his wife and child.

Errand Boys #1 (Image Comics) – An intriguing series about a future where you run errands, possibly illegal, to make a living. A concept we’ve seen in some different ways recently, but this one’s style stands out.

Infinity Wars: Sleepwalker #1 (Marvel) – The classic character is back.

The Long Ranger Vol. 3 #1 (Dynamite Entertainment) – Mark Russell writing the Lone Ranger. We’re all in for that.

Me the People (Image Comics) – A collection of Pia Guerrera’s recent political cartoons.

Poser #2 (Waxwork Comics) – The first issue was solid horror with a music spin to it all. Just a solid slasher type story perfect for Halloween.

Rainbow Brite #1 (Dynamite Entertainment) – The classic character is back in comics with Jeremy Whitley writing. Yeah, we’re sold on it.

Secret Coders Vol. 6 Monsters & Modules (First Second) – The series that mixes entertainment with education has a new volume and this is one we’ll always recommend.

Shatterstar #1 (Marvel) – The character is in the spotlight and we want to see where it goes. With a string of solid X character focused miniseries, we’re hoping this one is just as good.

Sparrowhawk #1 (BOOM! Studios) – Teen Victorian fairy fight club! Nuff said.

Superior Octopus #1 (Marvel) – We loved Doc Ock as Spider-Man so we want more!

Typhoid Fever: Spider-Man #1 (Marvel) – With the character of Typhoid Mary getting the spotlight in Iron Fist, we want to see where this miniseries takes her.

Umbrella Academy: Hotel Oblivion #1 (Dark Horse Comics) – We love the original series and are so happy this cooky comic about a dysfunctional family with superpowers is back.

The Walking Dead #184 (Image Comics/Skybound Entertainment) – The series has been having a resurgence with the introduction of a new community and we’re excited as to where it’s all going.

What If? Spider-Man #1/What If? X-Men #1 (Marvel) – We always loved this alternate history of Marvel comics. Now, to bring back What The!? too.

Wonder Woman/Justice League Dark: Witching Hour #1 (DC Comics) – It feels early for an event but so far DC’s horror focused series has been top notch.

Wonder Woman: Earth One Vol. 2 (DC Comics) – It’s been a while since we’ve had a standalone graphic novel in this series so each feels like an event and a must to check out.

X-Men: Black – Magneto #1 (Marvel) – Magneto back to being a villain? We can hope!

Review: Monk! Thelonious, Pannonica, and the Friendship Behind a Musical Revolution

Tuesday’s means new trades and graphic novels at book stores (already released in comic shops) and today we’re reviewing Monk! by Youssef Daoudi and published by First Second.

Get your copy in comic shops and book stores 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.

Amazon/Kindle/comiXology

 

First Second provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review
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Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Wednesdays are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

Each week our contributors choose what they can’t wait to read this week or just sounds interesting. In other words, this is what we’re looking forward to and think you should be taking a look at!

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this Wednesday.

Archie 1941 #1 (Archie Comics) – Archie hasn’t been one to dive into real world issues but this new series takes on the Riverdale kids as the US ramps up for World War II. A great concept that should be something new and interesting.

Cemetery Beach #1 (Image Comics) – Warren Ellis and Jason Howard team up again and the creative team alone has us interested in this series about a professional pathfinder.

Crowded #2 (Image Comics) – The series about a world driven by apps and jobs driven by them, including one that allows you to buy assassinations, is great so far. That ending of the first issue had us even more excited for what’s next.

Fantastic Four #2 (Marvel) – The first issue was amazing and a fantastic return for Marvel’s first family. We want to know more about where everyone’s been over these years.

House of Whispers #1 (Vertigo/DC Comics) – The Sandman universe is back and we’re intrigued to check out this second series to spin out of it.

Iceman #1 (Marvel) – The first volume was great and writer Sina Grace will hopefully recapture the magic of it.

Infinity Wars #3 (Marvel) – Folks don’t seem to like events but they keep buying them. This event has beaten our expectations and so much better than any of the lead up.

Journey Into Mystery: Birth of Krakoa #1 (Marvel) – We’re hoping for a throwback to the weird sci-fi comics of the past.

Low Road West #1 (BOOM! Studios) – A nuclear strike has left the East Coast uninhabitable and five teens are sent west away from the wreckage that was their home. They’re stuff in the Oklahoma Dust Bowl and are fighting to survive. The concept sounds fantastic and we’re completely sold on it.

Marvel Rising Omega #1 (Marvel) – DC’s Superhero Girls has been a fantastic line and we’ll see if Marvel can pull off that magic with their own characters.

Mech Cadet Yu #12 (BOOM! Studios) – The series wraps up and has been amazing every step of the way. We want more!

MCMLXXV #1 (Image Comics) – Meet Pamela Evans. Much more than a typical Manhattan cab driver, she also happens to be a badass monster-fighter who wields an enchanted tire iron. Well ok then!

Moth & Whisper #1 (Vault Comics) – The city’s best theives has disappeared and been replaced by their daughter?! The concept sounds very interesting and definitely unique!

Mystery Science Theater 3000 #1 (Dark Horse Comics) – The classic television comes to comics. Will it translate? We’ll find out!

The Nameless City Vol. 3 Divided Earth (First Second) – An excellent all-ages graphic novel series that mixes fantasy with martial arts.

Newbury & Hobbes #1 (Titan Comics) – The mystery novels come to comics.

Poser #1 (Waxwork Comics) – A horror slasher story with a music twist and it has an original soundtrack? Yeah, we’re sold on this one.

Ruinworld #3 (BOOM! Studios) – The first two issues of this all-ages fantasy series has been fantastic so we’re excited to read more of this webcomic turned physical comic.

Welcome to Wanderland #1 (BOOM! Studios) – A new twist on fairytales and the coming of age story.

The Wrong Earth #1 (AHOY Comics) – The kick-off series to the new comic publisher, this sendup of superhero comics has us excited. AHOY has promised more to their comics and this is our first chance to see what that’s all about.

WWE NXT Takeover – Proving Ground #1 (BOOM! Studios) – Wresting fan? Then this is a must!

Review: Scarlett Hart: Monster Hunter

It’s never easy living up to your parents’ legacy, or any one in your family’. Growing up to a West Indian Father and an Asian Mother, their standards were high in my mind and their “no BS” filters usually meant I could not get away with anything. As I grew older, I started to see the influence both had over our families and their friends.  I look back now and see how much they not only influenced those around them, but the indelible marks they left on each of them not including me and my sibling.

This became even more apparent, after my mother passed, as we found out that she more than mother to many people, she was a “light in the dark”, for those that know her outside our immediate circle. This standard is something me and my sister, will never be able to touch, maybe in our lifetime, but no time soon. This struggle is not isolated to my family, but children all over the world, as when we realize who our parents are, we either are disappointed or even more in awe, as we feel lucky, but of course not when you are an adolescent. In the devilishly good Scarlett Hart: Monster Hunter, we find one young lady who is struggling to find her way in this world while struggling with the natural gifts she inherits from her parents.

We open on a monster attack that takes the life of a sailor, this prompts Scarlett hart on the scene with the help of her assistant, Napoleon. Of course, she is not the only monster hunter in town as her rival, is The Count, who looks to steal the monster from Scarlett, and offers a distraction, an innocent bystander, to distract her from capturing the monster and looks to get Scarlett in trouble. Her and Napoleon retreat to her home, Ravenwood Hall, where we find out more both, but especially about Scarlett’s and her long proud family history of monster hunters. We are also introduced the Royal Academy for the Pursuit and Eradication of Zoological Eccentricities, the place where all the monster hunters find their fresh leads on the latest monster sightings, where everyone seem to be gunning for Scarlett, who most think is not up to par, as compared to her parents, whose death and legacy are at odds with each other, as it mostly remains unsolved. The reader goes along with Scarlett and Napoleon as they embark on their many hunting jobs, as each one is more dangerous than the other. By book’s end, Scarlett and Napoleon uncover a grand conspiracy of one of the hunters creating monsters, only to hunt them and get a reward for doing so.

Overall, an entertaining book which tackles everything supernatural and anything classified as a monster. The story by Marcus Sedgwick is funny, multifaceted and enjoyable. The art by Thomas Taylor is gorgeous. Altogether, one of better books for children that adults will also will find to be a fun read.

Story: Marcus Sedgwick Art: Thomas Taylor
Story: 10 Art: 9.6 Overall: 9.7 Recommendation: Buy

Review: The Nameless City Vol. 1

Colonization of other people’s/countries, has been human way of life since anyone can remember.  The different nations of Europe, have bene colonizing other nations/countries for centuries. In Africa, different tribes did all over the continent, the most famous being Shaka Zulu, who united several tribes under him to suppress any outside forces. The British, being once an empire, have left their imprint everywhere from the West Indies to Canada. The Spanish, as well, have several churches in mostly Muslim countries, remnants of the Crusades.

America, although not necessary colonizing, to the extent of the examples above, we have left our marks in just about every country on earth, through military bases. This is exactly the root of the extenuating circumstances affecting the island of Puerto Rico, as it exists as U.S. territory, but derives none of the benefits of a state. The one thing that literature fails to explore on any substantial level is how these invaders/colonizers affect the people who are native to these lands. In Faith Erin Hicks‘ superbly created Nameless City Volume 1, one such situation exists.

We meet Kaidu, a member of the newest occupying nation for the metropolis known as Nameless City, and Rat, one of the city’s natives, both are unclear of the other motives and are a little weary as friends don’t come easily for either. The book dives into class warfare, misogyny, identity politics, racism, cultural bias and even on some levels, cultural appropriation, as the two become fast friends, each learning about the others culture, as Kaidu, becomes empathetic to the oppression his privilege that his upbringing, sex, and culture has afforded him. The two friends eventually team up to thwart an assassination attempt on the city’s military leader, a plan created by one of his very own soldiers. By book’s end, Kaidu foiled the attempt and the friends become closer, as the city feels more united than ever.

Overall, an excellent book, that is methodical, smart, nuanced and shines the light on the value of mutual respect. The story by Hicks is funny, fast paced, and fresh. The art by Hicks gorgeous, penetrating, and vibrant. Altogether, an excellent start to this trilogy of books as it presents a world much like our ow, where our differences are ever so present, but as they do in this book, they choose those differences to unite and not divide them.

Story: Faith Erin Hicks Art: Faith Erin Hicks
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Review: California Dreamin’: Cass Elliot Before The Mamas & the Papas

My parents had stacks of vinyl in my house when I was growing up in New York. My parents grew up listening to music from the 50s on and even had some disco records lying around the house. The music my mother loved playing in the house was the music of 1960s. You can tell listening to any song of the era, that it was decade of reflection.

Especially Jim Croce, whose voice, much like Luther Vandross, you felt every word he sung and the sentiment it carried. John Fogerty, another singer of that era, when he was part of Creedence Clearwater Revival, had songs like Proud Mary but after recorded a song that spoke to that era, but came years later, Fortunate Son. Then there were the Mamas and Papas, whose penultimate anthem, California Dreamin, has been remade several times and is their most identifiable song. In Penelope Bagieu’s California Dreamin’: Cass Elliot Before The Mamas & the Papas, we get to find out about Mama Cass, before she was who we know her to be, as a struggling actress and how she became the cultural icon she is now.

In the opening pages, we get a deep dive into the family, from her grandparents to her parents and growing up in Baltimore. The reader is introduced to characters who all tell their story, occupying their own chapter, all playing a part in Mama Cass’s upbringing. Eventually her talents lead her to put the Mamas and Papas together, where they would go on to make 5 albums in three years, a feat which modern musicians cannot seem to match their output. By book’s end, their personal lives eventually brought ruin to their public lives.

Overall, Penelope Bagieu portrays these famous figures as actual people who just so happen to have extraordinary talent. The story of the band could not have been in better hands than Bagieu. The art by Bagieu is both realistic and alluring. Altogether, a great book that will in short time make you a fan of this supergroup.

Story: Penelope Bagieu Art: Penelope Bagieu 
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Pashmina

The myth about Pandora’s Box, has many meanings and many interpretations, which mostly to do with being careful what you ask for and getting answers, you may not want. In truth life has many twists and turns, and facing those hard truths is, in the vein of Pandora’s Box. Family secrets as well, can be part of Pandora’s Box, as some secrets are buried deep. I bring this up, because I recently heard the mention of Jack Nicholson’s family story.

This is where he found out his Mom is really his grandmother and his sister is his actual birth mother, and is the inspiration for the new Disney show, Andi Mack. As you get older, the longer these types of questions go unanswered, the more encumbered you are by not knowing. You mix that with teenage angst, and you have a thoroughly confused and emotional young adult. In Pashmina, Nidhi Chanani explores these complexities along with being a child of an immigrant and being a child of a single mother.

In this book, we meet Priyanka, a bright young Indian American teenager, who has a talent for drawing and has a deeply religious mother, who worries too much for her, much like most mothers, where the question that has haunted her more than anything is who is her father, a question that her mother never answers and always changes the subject once it is brought up. Her talent leads her to win a cartoon contest, which her teacher, Mr. Perry encouraged her to enter. Her whole world changes one afternoon once she finds a forgotten suitcase, with some old pictures and a pashmina, which once she wraps herself in it, instantly transports her to a magical version of India, where she meets Mayur, a talking elephant and a Kanta, a talking bird. The pashmina, ended up being a vessel for all the women in this family, a way to escape, a way to truth. By book’s end, Priyanka had to find herself by going to India, meeting her aunt, and finding the truth that binds her, her aunt and her mother.

Overall, an excellent book that shows how family secrets can have power over your relationships, especially familial. The story by Chanani is heartfelt, engaging, and lighthearted at the most unexpected times. The art by Chanani, is deeply alluring, vibrant and stunning. Altogether, a universal story that teaches us that ultimately love is  supreme over all.

Story: Nidhi Chanani Art: Nidhi Chanani
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Shattered Warrior

Strong female protagonists in stories are more than trend, it has become part of the new normal. As Shonda Rhimes, talked about diversity a few months ago, at a panel, when asked how she employs such a diverse cast in her shows, she said something in the way of she is “Normalizing America”. As she shows on her shows, not only diversity when it came to race, but also sexuality and mental health. This normalizing does not only include television and movies, but also include print media.

The past few years has seen, an increase in these type of characters, especially in the books written by Philippa Gregory, in her telling of the War of the Roses. Another excellent writer, whose work has been recently adapted into a television series, is Margaret Atwood, whose stories shows trauma in a realistic light but also employs fortitude in her female characters. I cannot speak on excellent writers without talking about Gail Simone and Kelly Sue DeConnick, who both have forged female characters who have more mettle than their male counterparts. In Sharon Shinn’s and Molly Knox Ostertag’s epic graphic novel, Shattered Warrior, she introduces another great female protagonist into this entirely too short of a list, who has nothing left to lose, but must resist or assimilate.

We are introduced to Collen Cavanaugh, whose world and family has been destroyed by an alien race, as we meet her, the reader soon realizes she is, very much dispossessed and embattled, but has one friend, in Jann, a member of the resistance against the aliens, knowns as the Chromatti, and ally in Angit, who is part of the alien race, but is very friendly to her. She nevertheless soon realizes she needs a purpose which she finds, when she finds out her niece, Lucy is alive. What gives Colleen, fortitude, is what all heroes realize eventually, they must do something for the betterment of all. By the end of the book, everyone who is not who they seem to be and moving on from tragedy is never easy but love overcomes everything.

Overall, a moving odyssey of feelings that will keep the reader questioning what would they do in these situations. The story by Shinn, has you rooting for those who are oppressed and keeps you wondering what are the limits before one resists, proving that  these characters, are a study in patience. The art is luminous within characters and settings, and grimy when needed, but emotion is the essential paint of Ostertag’s illustrations. Altogether, an affecting tale, that shows the connection that makes us human, is what gives these characters hope to live another day.

Story: Sharon Shinn Art: Molly Knox Ostertag
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Saints OGN

There is always two sides to a story, which is what makes every conflict so interesting. That is why when people talk about fights between groups, they usually use the comparison of the Hatfields and the McCoys as far as how bad it can get. When it comes to how these sides are told, it usually is lopsided. As within the research of these events, most authors tend to become more sympathetic to one group than the other. This is also what drives so many people to do reenactments of the Civil war and the Revolutionary War, as their lineage goes back to a participant, or they feel a kinship to that era/motivation.

As the biggest thing about the civil war, that took a lot of people by surprise, is the fact that actually brother against brother. As one thing that every teacher could not completely satisfactorily answer, is why did the Civil war, have more casualties than two wars combined? I felt that what was different is people’s belief in the reason for the fight and that very much is true for the motivation on both sides of the Boxer Rebellion. As with the Boxers graphic novel, Gene Luen Yang weaves a similar tale with a character, who has two interactions with Bao from The Boxers OGN. This person is, who we find out in this book, is called Four Girl.

In this second and final installment of this book series, we see the positive effect that these “foreign devils” have on the people they bring Christianity to. Four Girl, who is an outcast by her family and who her grandfather blames for her father’s death, soon discovers this new religion through an acupuncturist her mother takes to, to get rid of her “devil face” and who reads her bible stories. Her spiritual guide, throughout the book, is Joan of Arc, much like many of Bao’s folk heroes were his. By the end of the book, she is now, Vibiana, who the reader find someone who was deeply misunderstood and whose faith was true to the end.

Overall, a moving installment of this series, as we find a protagonist, who is more universal than one would ever imagine. The story by Gene Luen Yang is as moving as the first installment, providing the reader with a complete picture. The art by Yang is beautiful and keeps the reader engaged. Altogether, if Yang could explain all conflicts the way he did here, there is no other creator I would follow than him.

Story: Gene Luen Yang Art: Gene Luen Yang
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

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