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Review: Post Americana #1

Post Americana #1

Steve Skroce‘s last project begins with Post Americana #1 taking us to a place called the Bubble and it’s a hulking installation built into a Colorado mountain, housing many of the 1%. One of them is to be the new leader of the United States but others have some different ideas. After bombing the inauguration, an escape happens, though short-lived, as they crash into the wastelands, the housing of various raiders and cannibals.

Post Americana #1 is a beautiful book to look at. I’ve been a fan of Steve Skroce for quite some time and really dug the last couple of projects he worked on, like Maestros and We Stand On Guard. Like Maestros, Skroce put in double time on this, doing both the writing and art. Skroce is at the top of his game, delivering page-after-page of highly-detailed artwork. His style is just about my favorite thing to look at.

Dave Stewart definitely adds another level of awesomeness with his colors. They go together well. It helps sell the image of a blade going through someone’s head or various mutated wasteland folks.  And besides the art, Skroce is a pretty good storyteller. If I had to nitpick, I’d say the dialogue is the weakest part of Post Americana #1.

A comic book like Post Americana #1 might draw readers in with its art but it is a pretty good story with an adequate balance of action and humor. If you read Skroce’s previous Image Comics book Maestros, you’ll like this as much, too.

Story: Steve Skroce Art: Steve Skroce Colors: Dave Stewart
Story: 7.0 Art: 10 Overall: 8.5

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy review

Purchase: comiXology – Kindle – Zeus Comics

Review: Post Americana #1

Post Americana #1

Post Americana #1 is a new entry in the apocalyptic post-America genre that feels like it’s in vogue right now. Steve Skroce does double duty in a debut issue that left me cheering for the bad guy.

In this world a disaster strikes forcing America’s leaders and their rich supporters to head to an underground bunker. But, the elected officials and heads of the government didn’t make it leaving just the rich to run the show. Now, years later, one person has come forward with a vision of re-uniting the United States.

Skroce delivers an interesting idea and concept. The idea of the rich taking over the nation completely and using it to rebuild in their vision is an interesting one. Unfortunately, what’s presented to start has be cheering them on.

After a daring escape from the bunker by those opposing the current leadership, we’re slowly introduced to what’s outside. What exists is a weird combination of Mad Max and other horrors, not exactly anyone you’d sympathize with. Beyond murder chickens there’s murdering rapists and murdering cannibals. We’re not presented with anyone we should be cheering to take on a stand. What’s hinted at beyond the initial two groups doesn’t sound much better since both seem to kneel to an unknown warlord. Everyone seems to be a bad guy and maybe that’s a point. There’s just a whole lot of bad directions and possibilities.

Skroce’s art is entertaining to look at and there’s a lot of creativity to the world. The style is very unique and stands out along with Dave Stewart‘s colors that make it all pop. There’s a lot of thought to the history of the world. Every character presented tells a story by themselves. It also opens up a lot of questions too as a society with such wonders has fallen into disarray and apparently, no one has used the technology to do much since.

Post Americana #1 delivers a good amount of action and some interesting concepts but as a whole has presented a lot of bad guys and no one to cheer on. Why wouldn’t I want a government to restore order when cannibals are running about? Where is the part of society that’s functioning and I’m supposed to care about? None of it is presented and none of it is really hinted at. For once, I’m hoping the 1% wins.

Story: Steve Skroce Art: Steve Skroce
Color: Dave Stewart Letterer: Fonografiks
Story: 7.0 Art: 7.95 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus Comics

Review: Trees: Three Fates #1

Trees: Three Fates #1

There’s not a whole lot I remember about Warren Ellis and Jason Howard‘s Trees. There’s big giant structures from space that landed on Earth but that was about it. Trees: Three Fates #1 is set in that world and while the first issue is interesting it could stand on its own.

The setting is one of the more intriguing things about this debut issue. There’s the alien structures but also that it takes place in a remote Russian village of Toska. But settings are different but so far don’t stand out as vital. On its own, Trees: Three Fates #1 is a solid start to a whodunnit set in a remote town. What’s interesting is the location becomes a bit of a distraction as I found myself wondering why it all matters to the story.

And the story? A body is found at the base of a Tree and the question is who is the individual and who killed them? It’s pretty simple but the cast of characters is what makes the comic stand out. While none are “character of the year” material, they all have their quirks and small details that adds depth. There’s clear thought as to what’s presented, said, and shown.

Some of those details are in Howard’s art. Along with Dee Cunniffe‘s colors, the town feels rundown and isolated and a bit behind the times. Despite cell phones there’s a shortage of diesel and even with solar power an animal’s sleeping habit can cause issues. The mix of the dialogue and art paint an interesting location and town.

Trees: Three Fates #1 is a solid read that can be enjoyed even if unfamiliar with the world of Trees. It’s a basic murder mystery with a unique location and setting but it’s the details and characters that make it stand out.

Story: Warren Ellis Art: Jason Howard
Color: Dee Cunniffe Letters: Fonografiks
Story: 8.25 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.25 Recommendation:

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Maestros #1

2E6866E8-9BF3-48A3-A836-D3BA7E71304C*MINOR SPOILERS BELOW*

If I had to describe Maestros #1, and I should since you took the time to read this review, I would say it’s part Tarantino, part Big Trouble in Little China, and part fantasy story. That is simplifying what is essentially one of the craziest, and prettiest comics I have read and looked at in recent memory. The only book I can think of that rivals the beautiful art married with a ridiculousness fun story of this level is Head Lopper.

The story starts off with the murder of Maestro, and the rest of the royal family. All signs point to the evil wizard, Mardok, who kind of looks like a Shaman and a flying Monkey from Wizard of Oz combined. We meet Margaret, who is told the news by a talking flower person who lets her know that since she had divorced Maestro, her and her son, Willy were spared. She then realizes she must go to her son to protect him. It’s a fun set up, and from here we see things start to go off the rails from a traditional fantasy plot.

We then meet her son, Willy, who is a wizard who is using his magic powers to enlarge the genitals of an oil salesmen in a seedy bar. He admits to a few of the ladies that he is speaking with that he could use his powers for more, but this is just temporary. Chaos breaks out and the mother and son are on the run from the evil forces of Mardok. It happens very quickly, and it is a lot of fun. The dialogue by Steve Skroce is witty, edgy, and works within the craziness of this world. They actually speak like real people, even though they are inside of a wacky fantasy tale.

I couldn’t finish talking about this book without discussing the beautiful art, which was drawn by Steve Skroce as well, and it is really something to see. Even with some graphic scenes of violence in the beginning, I found myself taking in all of the little details. Skroce is a heck of an artist, as he showed on the Brian K. Vaughn book, We Stand on Guard, and he does a stellar job again here while pulling double duty as the writer. The colors are also masterfully done by Dave Stewart, and really help this awesome book come to life. What would a good fantasy or sci-if story be without an awesome palette? Not very good or full of imagination, and thankfully that isn’t the case here. All bets are off as we see a wide array of color, and it is beautiful.

I recommend this book, as long as you do not mind a little swearing, a little violence, a little nudity, and a lot of craziness. If you like books like Head Lopper, or other out there original stories that are trying to do their own thing, and incredible art, then give Maestros a shot. It’s insane, in all the right ways.

Story: Steve Skroce Art: Steve Skroce Colors: Dave Stewart Lettering: Fonografiks
Story: 8.5 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Steve Skroce Unleashes Maestros this October

Superstar comics and storyboard artist Steve Skroce will take on both writing and art duties in his all-new, totally irreverent and fantastical action-comedy Maestros this October from Image Comics.

The Maestro and his entire royal family have been murdered. Now, his banished son from Earth will inherit the Wizard King’s throne along with a spell that turns its user into GOD. With enemies everywhere, will this Orlando-born millennial be able to keep his new magic kingdom?

Maestros #1 (Diamond code: AUG170542) arrives in comic book stores Wednesday, October 18th. The final order cutoff deadline for comics retailers is Monday, September 25th.

Review: Nowhere Men #9

nowheremen09-digital-1For a comic about science, Nowhere Men contains a refreshingly small amount of science. That is to say, writer Eric Stephenson does a consistently great job of making sure the story isn’t bogged down by its subject material. The concept of Nowhere Men is a world in which scientists are given the same pop culture treatment as the Fab Four, and the plot centers on a secret space station where World Corp scientists are studying. The station tumbles to Earth with the added biohazard of an unknown viral infection plaguing the scientists and having unforeseen effects on both scientists and civilians.

As dense as that story could potentially be, Nowhere Men is an accessible comic, which makes it all the more enjoyable. It’s the perfect blend of pop culture and (comic book) science, and though it requires some suspension of disbelief (as most comics do) the homages to the way in which the media treats celebrities and the diverse characters keep it fresh and engaging. Nowhere Men #9 spends a lot of time focusing on the personality and humanity of its characters, rather than their viral mutations, something that is hinted at in the cover. Readers learn more about the surviving scientists’ backgrounds and motivations as scientists, which in turn sheds light on who they are outside of the lab.

While there’s a lot of conversation and exposition happening in this issue, it’s difficult to say how things are otherwise progressing. The pacing is slower in this arc, though it’s not necessarily a bad thing. While the first issues worked to develop a solid profile of each of the four founders of World Corp, the second volume is shaping the newer World Corp recruits into rounded, well-developed characters. Nowhere Men largely offers glimpses of its characters, never focusing on an individual for too long. The discussion in this issue is broken up by short scenes that take place outside of the hospital, as well as another issue of Emi Lenox on Nowhere Men’s meta-comic, The Mixed-Up Adventures of Monica Strange.

Dave Taylor’s art is another constant in the series. His expressions convey extra depth in each character, even in those like Kurt and Susan, who respectively can be described as a cooler-looking Red Hulk and a void that can project thoughts. Taylor is as much a part of the character development as Stephenson as he brings each scientist alive with expressive faces and body language.

While people looking to read Nowhere Men purely for science will be disappointed, the comic continues to be an enjoyable read for its art and themes of humanity. Stephenson builds tension in the waiting, leaving much room to wonder what the endgame will be.

Story: Eric Stephenson Art: Dave Taylor, Emi Lenox, Jordie Bellaire, Fonografiks
Story: 8.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review.

Review: Saga #19

Saga19_CoverComic Books are meant to be fun little escapes. They should make you laugh, cry, or both. They definitely should entertain and sometimes inspire. It’s a medium that belongs somewhere between a novel and a TV show, and in a class all its own. Saga is all of that and more. Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples have created a masterpiece and I can’t say enough to convince everyone I know, and hopefully anyone reading this review, that they need to read this comic book each month. The run has been on a short hiatus for about the past three months, but is back now and is just as great as when we last left Alana, Marko and Hazel.

Saga #19 begins what promises to be an amazing fourth arc. I’m sure there will be much debate from the first page illustration, but I believe it is one of the reasons that makes Saga so unique and original; the fact that Vaughan and Staples allow their vision to push and go beyond ‘societal’ limits, without sacrificing their originality, is one of the reasons I love this comic. Some of my favorite parts of Saga is when we get narration by Hazel and we get a lot in Chapter Nineteen with a clear view of how much she has grown since the first Chapter. We also get some fun pages showing us the history of the Robot Kingdom and how they got mixed up in the galactic war that Alana and Marko’s relationship helped fan the flames of.

Chapter Nineteen is also a great starting-off point for new readers. Although, I highly recommend you go back and pick up the first three Trades because the story and art are nothing like I have ever witnessed. Vaughan does an amazing job at weaving into this issue a helpful recap through Hazel’s narration, to bring anyone reluctant to start a series in the middle of its run, up to speed.

It’s no mystery why Saga is an Eisner, Harvey and Hugo award winner. Staples’ art is phenomenal and I can’t help but stare at each page in awe. Every landscape, facial expression and structure appears to leap off the page with her surreal illustrations. It mixes harmoniously with Vaughan’s rich story that I read each page three or four times. The three-month break the series took since the last arc was far too long, but did give me time to go back and re-read each issue. New readers of Saga are in for a big treat if they plan on picking up the first three Trades to catch up, but I’m sure that if you get Chapter Nineteen, afterwards, you will become a single-issue reader from that moment on.

Story: Brian K. Vaughan – Art: Fiona Staples – Letters + Design: Fonografiks – Coordinated By Eric Stephenson 

Story: 9.5 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Preview – Nowhere Men #2

Nowhere Men #2

Story by: Eric Stephenson Art By: Nate Bellegarde & Jordie Bellaire Cover By: Nate Bellegarde & Fonografiks
Price: $2.99

There are fates worse than death.


Science is the new rock ‘n’ roll in Nowhere Men

Dade Ellis, Simon Grimshaw, Emerson Strange, and Thomas Walker were the Fab Four of science, ushering in a new boom of scientific advancement as the research group World Corp. They changed the world and became the most celebrated scientists of all time, but somewhere along the way, it all went wrong.

Welcome to the new Age of Enlightenment. Welcome to Nowhere Men, an all-new Image Comics series by Eric Stephenson and Nate Bellegarde, with colors by Jordie Bellaire and design by Fonografiks, debuting in November.

Nowhere Men marks Image Comics Publisher Eric Stephenson’s return to the writer’s chair to tell a story he’s been burning to write.

“For years, I’ve been fascinated by the notion of a world where science shaped our culture in a similar way to popular music back in the 1960s,” explained Stephenson. “We’ve seen hints of that world in film and television, but I’ve always wondered what burden being at the forefront of that kind of cultural revolution would carry. The Beatles fell apart at the end of the ’60s – if science did actually supplant rock ‘n’ roll, how would the trailblazers of that movement fare? And if an individual like Steve Jobs could have such a profound impact on society, what would happen if a group of equally brilliant minds joined together with a common cause?”

Stephenson added: “I’ve been working on this for a number of years, but the timing just seemed right given that this year is Image’s 20th anniversary, and Image Comics itself represented a bold shift in thinking that, in many ways, changed comics forever. It’s not a coincidence that the business model established by the Image founders not only allows, but encourages someone like me to share my own creativity.”

Nowhere Men is brought to punk-rock pop-art life by Nate Bellegarde whose meticulously detailed style previously graced Robert Kirkman’s Brit and Invincible Presents: Atom Eve & Rex Splode.

Nowhere Men gives me the chance to illustrate the gleaming, unfulfilled promise of ‘yesterday’s tomorrow, today,'” said Bellegarde. “I get to bring life to intricate characters and really sink my teeth into the sci-fi genre, taking the best influences from classic sci-fi films like 2001: A Space Odyssey and Alien and groundbreaking comics visions like Enki Bilal’s Nikopol Trilogy, Geof Darrow’s work on Hard Boiled and Frank Quitely’s run on All-Star Superman to create a vivid, idyllic new world that is as much of a thrill to draw as it is to dream about.”

The Walking Dead creator and Image Comics partner Robert Kirkman added: “One of the things I love about Eric Stephenson is he can talk the talk and walk the walk. The best thing about being an Image partner is having a stake in a company that facilitates the creative vision of people who have unique things to say. I love that our Publisher isn’t just some suit, but a creative guy whose work can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the best the industry has to offer. That’s what makes Image different from everybody else: We’re in it because we love the creativity of comics. I can’t wait to read this comic every month.”

Nowhere Men is a full-color ongoing series making its debut on November 21. Priced at only $2.99, each issue is 32 pages and 100% advertisement-free. The first issue (SEP120393) is available for pre-order in the September issue of Previews. For anyone interested in getting a sneak peek at Stephenson’s and Bellegarde’s brave new world, check out the three-page teaser in the back of The Walking Dead #102 (AUG128248), on sale now.

Almost American