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We Live

Preview: Britannia Deluxe Edition HC


Letters by DAVE SHARPE
$49.99 | 320 pgs. | T+ | On sale JULY 31st | HARDCOVER | ISBN: 978-1-68215-320-8

On the fringes of civilization, the world’s first detective is about to make an unholy discovery.

In the remote outpost of Britannia, Antonius Axia – the First Detective – will become Rome’s only hope to reassert control over the empire’s most barbaric frontier…and keep the monsters that bridge the line between myth and mystery at bay.

Collecting BRITANNIA #1–4, BRITANNIA: WE WHO ARE ABOUT TO DIE #1–4, and BRITANNIA: LOST EAGLES OF ROME #1–4, along with over 20+ pages of rarely seen art and extras!


Spider-Geddon #1 Gets a Cover from Wil Sliney and Frankie D’Armata

REVENGE OF THE SPIDER-VERSE! Marvel is celebrating Spider-Geddon #1 from Christos Gage and Jorge Molina with a new spider-punk variant cover from superstar artist Wil Sliney, with colors by Frankie D’Armata!

Featuring new villains and old villains, shocking deaths and shocking returns, and all the Spider characters you can fit into one larger-than-life tale, this is a Marvel Spider-Event not to be missed! Don’t miss the opportunity to dive into this fresh new adventure October 10th, when Spider-Geddon #1 hits comic shops!

Review: Britannia: We Who Are About To Die #4

BRITANNIA2_004_COVER-A_MACKThe horrifying truth behind Rome’s grisly string of murders has finally come to light… but will Antonius Axia and his mysterious new partner – the gladiator Achillia – be able to stomach it? It’s a race against the clock to stop a serial killer – who may very well be the vengeful spirit of Apollo himself — before it strikes again! But should Antonius and Achillia fail in their mission, they’ll condemn not only Rome…but those Antonius holds dear as well.

After the last issue, my expectations for Britannia: We Who Are About To Die #4 were, to put it politely, in the toilet. The were so low that I almost didn’t bother reading the issue, but as I’m sure you can tell I did end up opening the review PDF.

At this point, if you read my review of issue #3 you’ll know I had some issues with the way that Peter Milligan wrote certain aspects of the issue. Thankfully that isn’t the case here; We Who Are About To Die #4 is a stronger issue than the third issue was, because the time where the action and plot furthering dialogue were happening at once were kept to a minimum.

While the issue had the distinct feel of the last few scenes of an episode of Scooby Doo as it wrapped up the four part story, the finale of We Who Are About To Die was stronger than the closing chapter of the first miniseries. Milligan reverses the downward trend of the last two issues (although to be fair the second issue was still good, just not as good as the first) as he neatly ties everything together – without the comic feeling too rushed.

Almost every thread is tied up, although some are done so better than others, the issue left me feeling as though this story at least was complete – if not the strongest from the publisher that I’ve ever read.

Juan Jose Ryp and Frankie D’Armata continue to breath life into the pages of the comic as only they can; again, the hyper detailed art is incredibly strong here, which I’ve come to expect from Ryp and D’Armata’s work over the past year and change.

At the end of the day the issue does have some minor problems; the Scooby Dooesque conclusion doesn’t work as well within the general context of the story as I’d have hoped, and had the line “and I would have gotten away with it if it wasn’t for that pesky Detectioner!” appeared I wouldn’t have been surprised. But I think I would have laughed.

As I said, not a bad issue, but not as great as the first.

Story: Peter Milligan Art: Juan Jose Ryp Colourist: Frankie D’Armata
Story: 7.75 Art: 8.25 Overall: 7.75 Recommendation: Read

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review. 

Review: Britannia: We Who Are About To Die #1

BRITANNIA2_001_COVER-A_NORDFifty thousand Romans stand on their feet, watching from the rafters of the coliseum with captured breath as Achillia, a gladiator unlike any that Rome has seen before, faces incredible odds – one lone warrior against five of Rome’s greatest. Such is the tradition, when a female gladiator enters the fray. When the carnage is complete, the coliseum roars its approval as Achillia stands victorious. Now, only one match away from winning her freedom, she has begun to gain renown. The women of Rome, suppressed by their husbands and fathers, have noticed. The men of Rome, husbands and fathers to a growing horde of women entertaining ideas of independence, have noticed as well.

On the other side of Rome, a strange mystery swirls through the Palatine Hill. In the dead of night, down winding alleys, Rome’s elite swear that they see visions of a blood-soaked Apollo walking the city…visions that are driving them mad. Even more are becoming sick with weird fever god-dreams. Panic ensues in the city. The Chief Vestal, Rubria, is arrested by Emperor Nero and threatened with crucifixion unless the deadly curse that’s fallen on Rome is lifted. She asks Antonius Axia, hero of Britannia and Rome’s only detective, for help. She offers only one clue…the gladiator Achillia.

The first Britannia series received some mixed feelings from those who read it; some, like myself, thoroughly enjoyed it while others felt that it was at best a good set up for the next story, and not a truly self-contained arc in and of itself. While I can understand where that line of thinking comes from, it didn’t lessen my enjoyment of the first four issues in any way, and I’ve been looking forward to the beginning of the sequel since it was announced.

So does the first issue of We Who Are About To Die take a step forward from the first volume, or a step back?

I’m quite happy to say that not only does it take a good step forward, but if you’ve read the previous series then you’ll have an inkling of what to expect thematically; this isn’t a strictly historical story, as evidenced by the demons appearing last series. The first issue of We Who Are About To Die kicks off a few months after the events of the previous miniseries with another a particularly gruesome scene that will inevitably draw Antonius Axa, the Detectioner, into a web of lies and intrigue – and possibly more demonic influence – this issue reads more like a true crime story set around two thousand years ago than it does anything else.

Although Peter Milligan delivers a really solid story, the highlight of the comic for me is the art of Juan Jose Ryp. His hyper-detailed style fits the period, effortlessly captures the Roman citizens in the civilized brutality that we often associate with the time period (and especially the Colosseum), but the way in which Ryp captures Nero’s facial expressions hints toward a level of madness and paranoia not seen before in the series. As good as Miligan’s story and Ryp’s art are separately, the combination of the two elevates this into a must buy comic, whether you’ve read the first volume or not.

I can’t wait for the second issue.

Story: Peter Milligan  Artist: Juan Jose Ryp Colourist: Frankie D’Armata
Story: 8.25 Art: 9 Overall: 8.75 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy a FREE copy for review, I will be purchasing this comic on my next visit to my LCS.

Advanced Review: Harbinger Renegade #1

hr_001_cover-a_robertsonAnyone you know could become a psionically powered “harbinger” with the potential to reshape the course of human history. Your neighbor. Your boss. Your best friend. Your kids.

Six months ago, a secret team of renegade whistleblowers leaked the existence of these extraordinarily dangerous individuals to a stunned world. Today, all across the country, crude, DIY psiot activation attempts have left hundreds brain damaged…or worse. The emergence of a new psiot in a community often leads to riots and mass violence. Gun sales are through the roof.

America is terrified of what could happen next.

With this revolutionary upheaval now in motion, Kris Hathaway, John “Torque” Torkelson, Faith “Zephyr” Herbert, and Peter Stanchek are about to discover their calling. Together, the HARBINGER RENEGADES are moving from town to town, building their ranks, and subverting authority one mind at a time…and setting out to prove once and for all that behind their power, there has always been a purpose.

Alright, so let’s get something out the way right away. I have only read one issue of Harbinger, so I have only the slightest familiarity with the characters involved in the comic – aside from Faith, that is. One of the questions I’ll be asking with this review, is whether new readers can enjoy Valiant‘s newest series, or if you need to read the thirty plus issues of Harbinger and Imperium before picking this comic up, which is a feat I intend to undertake after reading this issue. Which brings up another question: if you read this before the other related series, are you spoiling those for yourself?

Obviously, if you do read Harbinger Renegade #1 before either Harbinger or Imperium then there will be some spoilers; but if you’ve been reading Faith then you’ll already have a pretty good idea about what’s happened (or rather what will be revealed to you) in the other series, but aside from a very general overview, this issue alone doesn’t delve too much into the past other than a two page what has gone before type recap.

So, in answer to my earlier question, despite the rich history of these characters, this comic is absolutely accessible to new readers. Especially those who have found their way here from Faith, which I’m sure Valiant are hoping will happen.

But is the comic actually worth reading?

The short answer is absolutely. The way that Rafer Roberts has written the introductory pages is fantastic; everything a person unfamiliar with the Harbinger story so far will need to understand what follows will be a story about people taking responsibility for their actions. Roberts sets the story very well, showing a different side to his writing than he does with A&A: The Adventures of Archer and Armstrong‘s far more comedic slant, with Harbinger Renegade already feeling much different in tone than that series. Make no mistake, this is going to be a darker series than A&A, and as far as my understanding of the Harbinger story goes, that’s going to be a very good thing for fans.

Another good thing for fans is the artwork in the issue.

There’s three different teams contributing to the first issue, and they read like a who’s who of Valiant’s artistic talent. Raul Allen and Patricia Martin handle the art and lettering on the introduction pages, Juan Jose Ryp and Frankie D’Armata provide the art and colour art respectively for the prologue, with the main story featuring Darick Robertson on pencils, Richard Clark on inks and colourist Diego RodriguezDave Lanphear is the letter for the prologue and the main story, tying those two teams together.

The three art teams do a fantastic job overall, but it’s in the final pages that we find a brilliant sequence where the there’s no need for too much expository dialogue, and Rafer Roberts allows his artists to depict a superb sequence.

Harbinger Renegade #1 does two things; it gets you thoroughly invested in the series (which is exactly what you want), but it also tells a complete story. If this was a one-shot, I’d be happy with the comic, but as the first issue on the journey to Harbinger Wars 2, I’m as happy as a pig in shit with this comic.

Story: Rafer Roberts
Artists: Raul Allen & Patricia Martin, Juan Jose Ryp, Darick Robertson (P) and Richard Clark (I)
Colourists Frankie D’Armata, Diego Rodriguez
Story: 8.75 Art: 9 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy


Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review