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Review: Wolverine #10

Wolverine #10

Wolverine #10 starts out like an action movie with Benjamin Percy, Adam Kubert, and Frank Martin channeling that black ops Team X killing machine energy that the folks who made X-Men Origins: Wolverine tried and failed at. Maverick gets to shoot, fight, and kill his way out of being mind-controlled with Wolverine trying to get him to find healing in Krakoa. However, unlike Wolverine who basically has a whole family (Found, cloned, blood, and otherwise) waiting for him on the island, Maverick doesn’t have friends: just co-workers and employers. That’s the tragedy at the heart of the relationship between Maverick and Wolverine. Logan wants to move on while Maverick wants to continue to re-live the past glories of his Team X days and wander around with guns and a mask taking out baddies for the highest bidder even if he no longer has his mutant powers.

Adam Kubert has been drawing Wolverine for over 27 years, but his work on Wolverine #10 shows that he still enjoys drawing Logan’s berserker rage and the nobility buried underneath. (Full disclosure, he’s my favorite Wolverine artist along with John Romita Jr. You gotta love second generation comics pros.) Kubert also has some damn good storytelling chops, especially in his approach to layouts. He uses white space to simulate Maverick coming out of his mindwipe as well as gaps in his memory. At the beginning of the comic, Kubert uses close-ups and different angles on the same stand-off to show Maverick starting to fill in the details with the help of Wolverine. The next page uses more straighforward panel choices while keeping the blanks, and by the time the Merchant grazes Maverick with Frank Castle’s pistol, we’re back in double page spread mode with insets showing these former Team X members doing what they do best while colorist Frank Martin turns on the red.

Wolverine #10 features quite a few of these compositions from Kubert, namely, a double page spread freezing a moment in time while the story progresses through small grids or inset panels. This is also happening while Martin sets the general tone of the page with his color choices from sleazy neons for the port of Madripoor to *fittingly* black for the Mercs and finally light greens for Krakoa. Frank Martin uses darker greens for the inset panels to drive home that Maverick is really hostile and skeptical about Krakoa even if it means rest and the restoration of his considerable abilities. These color choices along with the insets give you the key story information about the sequence while the rest of the spread adds context and atmosphere. They also show how Maverick is still boxed into his past as a merc and is cool with taking money from the CIA (Who tried to kill him earlier) even while he chides and quips at Wolverine for being a cult leader and Kool-Aid drinker. He’s definitely the kind of guy who says “sell-out” unironically.

Wolverine #10
Dudes rock…

Between the chases, killings, and tough guy one-liners, Benjamin Percy and Adam Kubert continue to explore nostalgia in Wolverine #10. Kubert is an interesting artist choice because he worked with Larry Hama and other on the Wolverine and Weapon X comics in the 1990s that the past two or three issues have been trying to evoke with the Madripoor setting, Team X (Especially Maverick’s mask.), and even the short, yet sweet return of “Patch”. Also, the plot of the comic revolves around an auction of basically Easter Eggs from the Marvel Universe like the grave stone from “Kraven’s Last Hunt”, and Maverick, Wolverine, and the Mercs end up going on a mission to a warehouse with these items. However, Wolverine realizes the emptiness of nostalgia and doesn’t even look at what’s in the “Team X” before torching them. Percy shows where Logan is at as a character while also commenting on creators who yearn to re-tell the stories of their youth instead of breaking new ground.

Basically, there have been enough Wolverine flashback/origin stories, and it’s time to put him in new context or remix these previous stories like he and Kubert are doing with Maverick as they focus on the psychological dimensions of the relationship between them. There was that great flashback sequence in Wolverine #9, and now in this issue, Percy and Kubert show the sad reality of Logan and Maverick’s friendship as they’re perfectly in-sync when fighting CIA agents or various goons, but talk past each other once they get a quiet moment on the helicopter or overlooking Krakoa. Logan and Maverick are like (ultraviolent) work buddies, who really gel professionally, successfully complete projects together, and even throw a few brews back at the happy hour, but don’t really work out of that context. So, Maverick’s actions on the last couple pages of Wolverine #10 hurt like hell, but they do make sense. They might stand back to back on the cover, but these are men heading in polar opposite directions with Logan having both family and national responsibilities. Also, the blank panels come back hinting at Maverick resigning himself to just being a weapon again instead of trying to restart his life in Krakoa as Adam Kubert wrings emotions out of just white on the page.

Benjamin Percy, Adam Kubert, and Frank Martin balance black ops action and the complicated relationship dynamic between Logan and Maverick in Wolverine #10. It also features breathtaking layouts from Kubert and smart color choices from Martin and has nods to the 1990s era of X-comics while adding a little substance to those books’ style.

Story: Benjamin Percy Art: Adam Kubert
Colors: Frank Martin Letters: Cory Petit
Story: 7.8 Art: 8.8 Overall: 8.3 Recommendation: Buy

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Review: King in Black #4

King in Black #4

There are moments in film, comics, television, and books where the hero discovers their inner power and the tide begins to turn against evil. In Transformers: The Movie it was Hot Rod opening the Matrix and turning into Rodimus Prime. Those moments can bring tingles and excitement as good begins to triumph over evil. King in Black #4 delivers that moment multiple times in the penultimate issue of the event.

Written by Donny Cates, things look dire as the issue begins. Knull has dominated the world, killed Eddie Brock, and subjugated most of the world’s heroes. But Cates has been hinting at another who might defeat Knull. If Knull represents darkness, someone, or something, must be the light. It’s been pretty obvious for a while that we’d eventually find out who the who or what is in this event and this is the issue where that all becomes clearer.

King in Black #4 features a showdown between Dylan and Knull with Dylan being the clearest current threat to the wannabe god. It’s a solid showdown as Dylan takes his stand showing all it takes is a single individual to make a change. It being a kid feels all the more symbolic as it is so many kids over recent years that are leading the way. But Dylan is just a catalyst. The comic is full of “fuck yeah” moments as heroes begin to free themselves and make their attacks against Knull. We don’t get one “Rodimus” moment, we get multiple resulting in a crescendo of excitement of “hells yes” beats. All building to the issue’s finale with the big reveal Cates has been hinted at.

Cates is helped by Ryan Stegman who nails every beat. Along with JP Mayer on ink, Frank Martin on color, and Clayton Cowles on lettering, the crescendo is clear in the art. The battle goes from what feels like a “psychic landscape” to the physical world and it just ups the awe with every opportunity. There’s so many moments that are memorable, the art brings home Cates’ concepts with a blast. Cowles lettering is key as he depicts Knull giving him his own font. It emphasizes the character’s evil stance and without it, the character wouldn’t work as well. It’s a perfect combination and team.

The issue also features our first look and Peach Momoko‘s Demon Days. The short backup comic features an English Adaptation by Zack Davisson, and lettering by Ariana Maher. Momoko takes the X-Men into a fantasy world rooted in Japan and its mythology. The result is a story that’s beautiful to look at but the story itself doesn’t feel quite unique enough. Taking characters and just making them samurai and animals isn’t new or different. So, this is one to wait and see. As a teaser for the first issue and series, it doesn’t excite and quite land.

King in Black #4 is a hell of a comic that’ll get you pumped and excited. There’s just one more issue left and this could leave us with a hell of a change to the Marvel landscape. Marvel has stumbled with events in recent years but King in Black #4 has delivered with every issue and is their best in a long time. It brings popcorn excitement and this issue helps lights our darkest hour.

Story: Donny Cates, Peach Momoko Art: Ryan Stegman, Peach Momoko
Ink: JP Mayer Color: Frank Martin Letterer: Clayton Cowles, Ariana Maher

English Adaptation: Zack Davisson
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

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Review: King in Black #3

King in Black #3

King in Black #3 continues the entertaining Marvel event delivering hints as to what’s to come. Knull has taken over the world bringing darkness to everywhere. There’s a glimpse of hope though. Eddie Brock’s son, Dylan, is channeling an unknown power, the light to defeat the darkness of Knull.

This is the first stand as a small group of heroes need to band together and fight back. Writer Donny Cates delivers another solid issue as what the fight back begins. Though it’s realistically a losing battle, Cates infuses the fight with hope. The heroes feel like heroes doing battle against impossible odds.

Cates delivers that with an interesting narrative. The narrator is a mysterious character who doesn’t make their presence known until the end. But, what’s said is what’s really intriguing. There’s hints as to what’s to come. Dylan’s power is coming from something, someone. Knull is darkness which means there’s someone that’s the opposite. Who is that? Get your speculation going as it’s sure to be someone big and really shake things up post event.

The issue is also very cinematic with action sequences that deliver some emotional resonance. The arrival of Thor to battle, Iron Man’s actions, these are moments that deserve to be on the big screen. They’re larger than life and that’s due to the art of Ryan Stegman.

Stegman continues to be one of the most exciting artists out there. His work with Cates has been fantastic and the duo are just in sync with what they deliver on the page. The images are jaw dropping at times. The moments really deliver that punch as things begin to go south. Everything looks fantastic no matter how over the top it all is. Stegman is helped by the ink of JP Mayer, color of Frank Martin, and lettering by Clayton Cowles. In a story that involves a world engulfed in darkness, the team keeps things colorful. It never feels “dark” but definitely gives you the sense of that world. The lettering is fantastic with Cowles giving such personality to Knull and his controlled through the choice of lettering and styles.

King in Black #3 continues an epic story. While it foreshadows things a bit too much the end of the comic made me forgive that with a new player on the field. Things really feel epic but at the same time the issue and story stays focused on a small cast. There’s been a string of misses as far as major events in recent years but King in Black continues to impress and exceed expectations.

Story: Donny Cates Art: Ryan Stegman
Ink: JP Mayer Color: Frank Martin Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Story: 8.65 Art: 8.75 Overall: 8.65 Recommendation: Buy

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Review: King in Black #2

King in Black #2

The first issue of King in Black delivered a big screen blockbuster on the comic page and King in Black #2 continues the action and ups the desperation. Knull has taken over the world subjugating its heroes and controlling them through symbiotes. A small group of heroes remains to take a stand and their hope rests in Eddie Brock who last issue was tossed from atop a building. As we saw in the recent issue of Venom, Eddie does indeed fall and this issue we see the crushing conclusion.

Writer Donny Cates delivers an issue that’s full of desperation and really sets up the uphill battle that’s ahead. Things look bleak and dark without it actually being bleak and dark. Cates does an excellent job of giving us hope. It’s the battle where Optimus shows up before falling against Megatron… queue music as he clings for life.

Cates delivers the desperation and the heart as he teases hope and solutions. The heroes are desperate and instead of dragging things out, we’re delivered a possible solution within the issue. There’s a lot packed in and that adds to the emotional punch of it all. Hope is served and quickly taken away. King in Black #2 is a hell of an emotional ride.

Things are helped by Ryan Stegman‘s art which is its usual amazing. Stegman is joined by JP Mayer on ink, Frank Martin on colors, and Clayton Cowles on lettering. Everyone nails it adding to the atmosphere. The brilliance of the art is delivering a dark horror comic without it being too dark and foreboding. The corrupted heroes are scary without being distracting. The color and ink create the darkness of Knull without making the art difficult to see. It’s a great balance and pulled off well. There’s also so much detail in the damage done, especially in Spider-Man’s tattered costume. And the lettering too adds to it all nailing Knull’s voice or emphasizing the emotion.

King in Black #2 is a hell of a second issue. It takes us on an emotional rollercoaster while also delivering big screen popcorn levels of visuals. It’s a great combination and what events should be. Two issues in and this is one of Marvel’s best events in many years.

Story: Donny Cates Art: Ryan Stegman
Ink: JP Mayer Color: Frank Martin Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

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Review: King in Black #1

King in Black #1

Marvel’s next event kicks off with King in Black #1, the culmination of years of build-up and teases throughout the Marvel Universe. This even sees Knull, the “god of the symbiotes” attack Earth with the heroes having to make a stand before he brings complete darkness to Earth and all of existence.

Marvel has had numerous events over the recent years and while many have had their moments, for the most part these events have fallen flat. They may start off with a bang but generally fizzle. King in Black #1 definitely launches with a hell of a start. It’s a disaster film in comic form. The heroes must scramble on a grand scale while the comic also focuses in on the micro scale as well.

Writer Donny Cates nails the opening with a little something for everyone. The heroes get their stand. There’s great moments like the X-Men swooping in. But, it’s the focus on Eddie Brock and his son that delivers heart for the series.

Eddie, also known as Venom, is directly tied to Knull and Cates has been building to this event through that series for years at this point. Cates has evolved Brock from the popular anti-hero to a father with concerns for his son. We see that here as he attempts to seek shelter and protect his kid. It’s a human detail that adds so much to this beginning. King in Black #1 could easily have just been battle after battle. But, this small part adds something we can relate to as parents and children. It adds a human aspect to the larger than life event and grounds it in some ways. It also allows us to connect and really care as to what happens.

Joining Cates is artist Ryan Stegman who has worked with Cates through so much of his Venom run. Stegman’s style is very much his with imagery that pops and comes off as larger than life. It’s a look I personally love and here it works so well with such grand-scale moments. Stegman’s style has a certain exaggeration and it helps emphasize the larger than life moments. Stegman is joined by JP Mayer on ink, Frank Martin on color, and Clayton Cowles with lettering. The art could easily fall into a space that’s too dark but despite the black and red, it never gets to a point it feels like a dirge. There’s still something that jumps from the page despite the “dark” nature of it all.

King in Black #1 kicks things off with jaw-dropping moments and unexpected twists. But, it’s the heart of it all where things succeed. Eddie Brock brings a touch to the story that we can all relate to. And, more importantly, he brings a character we can empathize with and feel sorry for. He’s likely sacrificing himself to save the world and his kid and knows it. Yet, he goes through with it. King in Black #1 is the shift of Eddie Brock from anti-hero to true hero willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for the greater good. It’s the start of an event but also the next step for the character that Cates and Stegman have been adding depth to for years.

Darkness might reign but King in Black #1 shines.

Story: Donny Cates Art: Ryan Stegman
Ink: JP Mayer Color: Frank Martin Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

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Review: Wolverine: Black, White, & Blood #1

Wolverine: Black, White, & Blood #1

I’m a fan of anthologies. You get a chance to see numerous creators all have fun in the same pool or give their spin on the same character. To see how different creators handle the same character is always interesting in that you can get such varied takes really showing how different voices and perspectives can be. Wolverine: Black, White, & Blood #1 kicks off a new anthology mini-series from Marvel focused on Wolverine from a varied group of writers, artists, and colorists.

Wolverine: Black, White, & Blood #1 features three stories each of which vary a lot in tone and style. They all have one thing in common, they’re bloody. These aren’t Wolverine comics for the kids, the stories are adult, mature, and use their limited color palette really well.

The Beast Within Them” explores Wolverine’s time in the Weapon X program. It’s an appropriate start taking us back to the early days of the character preceding the other two stories within this first issue. Written by Gerry Duggan, with art by Adam Kubert, and color by Frank Martin, the story is interesting as it explores the ongoing struggle within the character. Still known as Experiment-X, Wolverine is sent on tests to see how he reacts and how much he can be controlled. He’s a loose beast fighting other beasts for survival, running on instinct. But, underneath there’s a man. Duggan explores why the program may have had so many issues with Logan. The art is fierce and guttural at times finely depicting the rage and brutal nature of the fights.

I Shall Be a Wolf” is by writer Matthew Rosenberg, artist Joshua Cassara, and colors by Guru-eFX. Focused more on the spy side of Wolverine, he’s capture by Hydra who wants to use him to get to Nick Fury. It’s a brutal story with the bodies piling up and some twists and turns that are unexpected. While it at times feels like a familiar spy story we’ve seen before, where the story goes is unexpected. The end really pays off, though the entire story is a solid back and forth. I gasped with an “oh shit” towards the end as the story wraps up and the exclamation point is delivered.

Declan Shalvey handles writing and art with “Cabin Fever,” the final story. Wolverine comes across a murdered couple and crying baby in a cabin and then must deal with those who killed the couple. It’s a bloody and violent story filled with body parts launched from a simple story.

Clayton Cowles provides the lettering for each story and each has their own subtle differences. It’s interesting to see how each story varies and Cowles handles the lettering for such different stories. You can see the thought given to each, especially in “Cabin Fever”. With that story the lettering shifts to reflect Wolverine’s rage going from white to orange to red and back to orange and then white. It’s subtle but smart.

Each story is different and each creative team delivers. There’s not a stinker in the bunch. Wolverine: Black, White, & Blood #1 shows us such different sides of the same character, the beast, the patriot and soldier, and the man. Each has a common theme of someone struggling with their mission and to find peace. But, that person is driven to do what’s right. Each story is bloody and brutal though. Despite the very human person at the center of it all, there’s a level of violence that’s inhuman.

Wolverine: Black, White, & Blood #1 is a hell of a start for the series. It’s a solid read whether you like Wolverine or not. Each story is full of violent, brutal, action, but also has more than enough to have you pause and think. A solid start to the series that makes the case for more of these types of releases.

Story: Gerry Duggan, Matthew Rosenberg, Declan Shalvey
Art: Adam Kubert, Joshua Cassara, Declan Shalvey
Color: Frank Martin, Guru-eFX, Declan Shalvey
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

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Preview: STAIRWAY Anthology

STAIRWAY Anthology

(W) Kevin Cuffe, Simon Birks, Carlos Giffoni, Joseph A. Michael, Mark Schmidt, Octavio Karbank, Christopher Preece, Austin Allen Hamblin, Omar Spahi, Frank Martin
(A) Alberto Jiménez Alburquerque, Donny Tran, Eva Cabrera, Livio Ramondelli, Balazs Valyogos, Andrea Mutti, Atilio Rojo, Christian Dibari

Genetic manipulation, paradox, alternative histories, and much more are included in this 128-page anthology of hard science fiction and genre stories! From some of the best up-and-coming talent in comics comes a mind-bending look at what makes us human.

STAIRWAY Anthology

AWA Studios Announces Year Zero Volume 2

AWA StudiosYear Zero is getting a second volume that begins in November. The first issue drops one month after the first volume’s trade is released.

The new volume explores new characters from other parts of the world affected by the pandemic’s global reboot of the world and tests the ability to survive in this new world order.

Upshot’s hit series Year Zero returns with four new harrowing tales of survival from around a post-apocalyptic world: A grizzled Norwegian sea captain and her two young grandchildren navigate an ocean teeming with undead while eluding the relentless pirates on their trail. A Colombian cartel boss indulges all of his most sadistic whims unaware that a threat far greater than zombies is headed toward his jungle fortress. A Rwandan doctor must overcome the crippling fear that has plagued him all his life as he stumbles through the African bush. And a pregnant woman barricaded in an American big-box store discovers that the greatest threat to her life – and her unborn child’s – might not be undead. Benjamin Percy once again pens this global look at the zombie apocalypse, now joined by artist Juan Jose Ryp and colorist Frank Martin.

Year Zero Volume 2 #1

Review: Wolverine #1

He’s the best there is at what he does and what he does isn’t pretty. Wolverine is back in a solo title that kicks off with this very oversized issue!

Story: Benjamin Percy
Art: Adam Kubert, Viktor Bogdanovic
Color: Frank Martin, Matthew Wilson
Lettering: Cory Petit
Design: Tom Muller

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
Kindle/comiXology
TFAW
Zeus Comics

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Review: Venom #21

Absolute Carnage is over! What’s next for Eddie Brock and Venom? Venom Island begins here!

Story: Donny Cates
Art: Mark Bagley
Ink: Andy Owens
Color: Frank Martin, Erick Arciniega
Letterer: Clayton Cowles

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
TFAW
Zeus Comics

Marvel 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

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