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Review: Dawn of X Vol. 3

Want to get into Marvel’s X-Men relaunch? They’ve made it easy with Dawn of X collections that package all of the comics of the same number!

Dawn of X Vol. 3 includes the third issue for X-Men, Marauders, Excalibur, New Mutants, X-Force, and Fallen Angels.

Story: Jonathan Hickman, Gerry Duggan, Tini Howard, Ed Brisson, Benjamin Percy, Bryan Edward Hill
Art: Leinil Francis Yu, Gerry Alanguilan, Michele Bandini, Elisabetta D’Amico, Marcus To, Flaviano, Joshua Cassara, Szymon Kudranski
Color: Sunny Gho, Federico Blee, Erick Arciniega, Carlos Lopez, Guru-eFX, Frank D’Armata
Letterer: Clayton Cowles, Cory Petit, Travis Lanham, Joe Caramagna, Joe Sabino

Get your copy in comic shops now and bookstores on March 24! 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

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
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Review: X-Force #6

Benjamin Percy and Stephen Segovia transpose cloak and dagger American interventionism to gain a sphere of influence in Latin American countries to the key of mutantdom and Warren Ellis-style high concept-meets-absolutely bonkers. plotting in X-Force #6. The issue starts in a beautiful way with Beast conducting his “symphony” of X-Force operatives with Segovia’s very direct artwork working in tandem with Percy’s descriptive prose for each member’s role on the team. (Wolverine is percussion, and Percy takes a page out of early Claremont X-Men and uses him for action and gruffness instead of the star of the show.)

X-Force #6

Beast is the POV character throughout X-Force #6, and what follows is a peek behind the curtain of the mutant CIA. Hank McCoy is his more recently characterized master manipulator self (No timelines were harmed in the making of this issue.) rather than the affable, occasionally flirty fuzzball that was tailor made to be played Kelsey Grammer. Throughout the issue, he doesn’t doubt or waver once immediately giving kill orders for the “telefloronic” organisms created by the country of Terra Verde that could rival Krakoa, its products, and taking away the current mutant leverage on the world. There’s only room for one plant-based tech producing country, and Percy and Segovia craft immediate uncertainty when Black Tom Cassidy, who can manipulate the plant matter of Krakoa, is assaulted by similar plant manner.

And what made X-Force such an interesting read other than its continued use of the body horror aesthetic (Segovia has a much smoother art style than Joshua Cassara though.) is that Beast is sugarcoated to become some kind of heroic or anti-heroic figure. He’s just a powerful mutant, who uses his intellect and occasionally, brute strength and athletic ability to protect Krakoa’s interest. He’s a wetwork operation or a secret war wrapped up in blue fur and glasses.

Beast is as skilled with words and metaphors as he is with positioning operatives and mutant abilities as he compares the telefloronic organisms to Omega sentinels to assuage Jean Grey’s ethical dilemma. There’s a great contrast between the innocence of the classic “Marvel Girl” costume and the dark implications of her action as Stephen Segovia draws her in intense profile with some shading. Also, it’s cathartic when she gets to give Beast a piece of her mind. She’s the most traditionally heroic of the X-Force team, but the dark palette used by Guru e-FX undercuts every “good thing” she seems to do. For example, when she rescues Terra Verde’s president Cocom from the telefloronic organisms, Stephen Segovia and Guru e-FX frame her as an angel of death, not a helping hand.

Since the establishment of Krakoa in House of X/Powers of X, Jonathan Hickman and his fellow X-scribes have couched what would be usual superhero team action into the visual and verbal language of warfare. Marauders is naval conflict, Excalibur is a wild and woolly border dispute with a side of a state-sanctioned puppet ruler, New Mutants is a diplomatic mission gone wrong, X-Men is literally a summit, and X-Force, as I’ve mentioned earlier and keeping with its black ops team roots, is off the books warfare. Throughout the issue, Beast makes sure there are no witnesses to his and his team’s actions so Krakoa keeps its leverage on human nations via the pharmaceutical market and is positioned as the victim, not aggressor. (See the amazing text piece on how he set up Professor X as a martyr figure.)

Benjamin Percy’s choice to filter the story through Beast’s POV and showing behind the hood of his orchestration of the “mutant CIA” gives X-Force #6 incredible narrative focus to go with Stephen Segovia and Guru e-FX’s precise, powerful visuals. It’s a memorable addition to the Dawn of X books’ ongoing saga of a presumably utopian society uses decidedly non-utopian methods to maintain it with X-Force definitely getting to explore the non-utopian part in a creative way with a fantastic ensemble cast.

Story: Benjamin Percy Art: Stephen Segovia
Colors: Guru e-FX Letters: Joe Caramagna
Story: 9.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Venom: The End

Venom: The End

Venom: The End starts off in the very distant future where people are looking back on Venom’s life. If you’re new to comics, the Spidey-verse, or Venom, this is a way to introduce yourself.

Writer Adam Warren serves up a perfect primer to bring readers into the Venom fold. He lays out everything from what a symbiote is to everyone who has ever been merged with the beloved Venom. Venom: The End gives us an easy to digest history lesson. There’s more than enough for long-time fans, like me, and people who dabble in the comic arts to appreciate.

Jeffery “Chamba” Cruz provides some very sleek artwork. It looks like a stylized version of the old school originals making Venom: The End a beautiful issue for your collection. Guru-eFX ‘s color choices are as dark as the story being told and add a clinical view of the world. He uses pops of color around the archivist characters that serve as narrators in what is essentially a break down of the beautiful and compelling story of Venom.

If you’re the type of person whose friends look at you like a mad scientist when you’re trying to explain to them everything that’s a bit off about the Tom Hardy Venom movie, or who gets into spirited debates about every person that Venom has come in contact with, then this issue is for you. If you’re the type of person who has one of those overly enthusiastic persons in your life, who has very real feelings about imaginary characters, then this will go a long way in deciphering the ramblings of your Marvel obsessed friends. It’ll at least give you enough footing to stand your ground.

While this issue isn’t a full history of Venom’s lives, loves, and hosts, it’s a good starting point. It may get you on board with every awesome storyline that Venom has had, and some of the bad ones. That makes it a first-rate introduction and a must-have in your collection. It’s also a fitting tribute to one of the most liked symbiotes in the galaxy. Venom: The End gives us diehards a lovely goodbye if this is really the end. While we didn’t get what would be considered a traditional comic, or one-off, Warren delivers one hell of a story. It’s definitely worth a trip to your local comic book store to grab a copy.

Story: Adam Warren Art: Jeffrey “Chamba” Cruz and Guru-eFX
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Doctor Doom #3

Doctor Doom #3

Three issues and three amazing reads. Doctor Doom #3 three-peats with an issue full of tragedy, some action, and political intrigue. Doom has been assassinated and sent to Hell in what’s clearly a play to “nation-build” Latveria.

Writer Christopher Cantwell has mixed socio-political machinations with superheroics and the result is amazing. In Hell, Doom must escape and to do that, a deal with Mephisto must be made.

Cantwell does an impressive job of tying in Doom’s sins of the past with his visions of the future. It’s an interesting juxtaposition that has a poetry about it. We’re still not quite sure what Doom is seeing but it’s driving him not to just survive but to do better. We’re presented with someone we can cheer for in an odd way. A tyrant who wants to do good. A toxic individual who wants to grow and change.

Cantwell also delivers us intrigue as it’s clear whomever is behind Doom’s framing and assassination is also likely behind the threats Latveria are seeing in his absence. The name check of the UN and NATO adds a real-world tint to the situation. It’s a political thriller masked in armor.

The art by Salvador Larroca is fantastic. With color by Guru-eFX and lettering by Cory Petit, the look of the comic is fantastic and the flow from Hell to the real world and Latveria all works. Nothing seems out of place and the shift from the dreamlike Hell to the real world is an interesting one. There’s a visual flair that adds to the story and its transition of scenes.

Doctor Doom #3 is a fantastic issue delivering a nice mix of tragedy and action. There’s so much packed in, this is a prime example of what comics can be. It also keeps you on your toes as to what might happen next delivering a healthy mix of mystery and reveals. This issue continues what might be the best series of the year.

Story: Christopher Cantwell Art: Salvador Larroca
Color: Guru-eFX Letterer: Cory Petit
Story: 8.75 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.75 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Conan Heads Into Strange Territory with Conan: Battle for the Serpent Crown

Announced at MCM Comic Con London, Conan will be starring in a new series that will take the barbarian to places he’s never gone before! Conan made his grand return to the Marvel Comics earlier this year and now, Conan: Battle for the Serpent Crown will have the legendary Robert E. Howard character diving deeper into the Marvel Universe meeting a wide variety of Marvel heroes and daring to go up against Marvel’s most iconic villains, including the devilish Mephisto! A far cry from the Hyborian Age, Conan will take his relentless strength and savage sword to Las Vegas on an epic quest to find the Serpent Crown of Atlantis. Guiding him on his journey to Sin City and beyond will be writer Saladin Ahmed and artist Luke Ross.

CONAN: BATTLE FOR THE SERPENT CROWN #1 (OF 5)

Written by SALADIN AHMED
Penciled by LUKE ROSS
Cover by GURU-eFX

A DEADLY QUEST AND A DARING HEIST…IN THE AGE OF MARVELS!

CONAN wanders the desert, and as he reaches the city, no Stygian temple nor Vendyhan fortress greets him.  No, something far stranger: the lights of Fabulous Las Vegas!  Conan is far from home, and it’s time for him to tread the thrones of the Marvel Universe under his sandaled feet!

The City of Sin is just the beginning for Conan’s solo jaunt by Saladin Ahmed (BLACK BOLT, MILES MORALES: SPIDER-MAN) and Luke Ross (STAR WARS: ALLEGIANCE, SAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN), as the barbarian finds himself on a quest for a relic that predates even his Hyborian Age: the Serpent Crown of Atlantis!  But will his battle for this crown earn Conan his own kingdom, or doom him to a nefarious trap set forth by MEPHISTO?  Featuring a wide array of Marvel heroes and villains, this is an adventure you can’t afford to miss!

CONAN: BATTLE FOR THE SERPENT CROWN #1 (OF 5)

Review: Uncanny X-Men #21

Uncanny X-Men #21

Uncanny X-Men #21 continues to bring things together as the finale of writer Matthew Rosenberg‘s run looms closer. That impending end, and the relaunch to follow, is both good and bad.

It’s clear whatever is to come has allowed Rosenberg to do whatever he wants with his time on the franchise. Not only is he closing up recent plot threads but he’s also killing characters left and right. At this point it feels like most of the issues have featured the death of at least one character. There’s good in that no one feels safe. That’s also bad in that it gets a little “been there done that.” Still, there’s a frenetic pace to it all which makes the comic entertaining.

And that’s the bad thing.

Uncanny X-Men #21 feels rushed as far as pacing. Scenes which should play out longer feel a bit shortened and stunted in some ways. It feels like shortened scenes instead of a more flowing narrative. There’s a “time limit” that’s working against Rosenberg’s storytelling.

The issue though features the shocks and twists we’ve come to expect in this run. Though it’s not 100% clear what O.N.E. is up to and why what is clear is that it’s a horror show and needs to be stopped. Add in major characters being changed even more and it’s another issue where anything can and does happen.

The art by Salvador Larroca is fantastic. Along with color from Guru-eFX and lettering from Joe Caramagna, the comic’s art matches the pacing of the writing. There’s an energy about it all and you can “hear” the X-Men yelling to each other to hold the line. There’s something about the art that just matches the intensity of the story.

While not perfect, the comic is a fun addition to the current run. It continues to really shake things up and throw in a lot while dealing with lingering stories.

Story: Matthew Rosenberg Art: Salvador Larroca
Color: Guru-eFX Letters: Joe Caramagna
Story: 7.5 Art: 8.15 Overall: 7.65 Recommendation: Read

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Uncanny X-Men Vol. 1 Wolverine and Cyclops

Extermination has ended. The X-Men have disassembled. All that remains is a handful of mutants. It’s up to Cyclops and Wolverine to assemble a new team of X-Men.

Uncanny X-Men Vol. 1 Wolverine and Cyclops collects issues #11-16.

Story: Matthew Rosenberg
Art: Salvador Larroca, John McCrea, Juanan Ramirez
Color: Rachelle Rosenberg, Guru-eFX, Mike Spicer
Letters: Joe Caramanga

Get your copy in comic shops now and in book stores on July 2! 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

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

Review: Uncanny X-Men #20

Uncanny X-Men #20

Uncanny X-Men #20 works really well as a part of the bigger puzzle. Pieces come together to form the bigger picture. Key players begin to realize what’s been going on as more is revealed to them and us the reader.

The issue should make long-time readers both excited and frustrated as Matthew Rosenberg has key characters act out of character but also provides reasoning as to why. That’s a key thing with Rosenberg’s run. There are moments, many of them, that might not quite make sense but as things are revealed down the line fall into perfect place. This isn’t a run where you can pick up a single issue. This is a comic run whose entire arc needs to be ingested to enjoy.

This issue focuses on the X-Gene cure with the team turning to Dark Beast to combat it. There’s also a return of the Externals and Nasty Boys for an issues that’s as much a “this is your life” greatest enemies tour as it is wrapping up dangling plotlines. And that’s what Rosenberg’s run is like. It’s both a “celebration” of the past of the X-Men as it is dealing with recent plotlines that remain unsettled.

Rosenberg also keeps the metaphors flowing. There’s much debate about “choice” and allowing individuals to grow into what they naturally are. The groups this can be applied to are many and continues to show the X-Men are a comic creation that can fill in for so many marginalized groups and “tell” their story.

The art by Salvador Larroca is solid. Joined by Guru-eFX on color and Joe Caramagna on the lettering the art continues to look fantastic though never quite over the top. Larroca delivers great action moments but his art run can be defined by the lack of over the top splash pages. Instead, moments are compacted to a page or a few panels. Much like the story, the art feels focused and compacted with a very specific goal in mind. It forgoes the over the top visuals that take up pages without dialogue. The art continues to drive the dialogue and narrative packing in a lot in what it has to work with.

Uncanny X-Men #20 isn’t a comic to just dive in to. The reveals and story are really only going to be enjoyed by those who have followed Rosenberg’s run. It continues recent issue reveals bringing the bigger picture together and making the entire arc that much more enjoyable.

Story: Matthew Rosenberg Art: Salvador Larroca
Color: Guru-eFX Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Story: 7.75 Art: 8.0 Overall: 7.85 Recommendation: Read

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Uncanny X-Men #18

Uncanny X-Men #18

After the previous issue’s controversy, Uncanny X-Men #18 should also rile up readers as it’s filled team shaking events.

Writer Matthew Rosenberg delivers an issue filled with members quitting and lots of death. Seriously, there’s lots of death. Another X-Man and some villains, it’s all packed in an issue that feels a bit rushed and disjointed.

We now know that starting in July the X-line of comics will be shaken up again. That revelation makes it a bit clearer that Rosenberg is playing with his toys and a finite timeline. Things will change after and maybe some will be undone.

Uncanny X-Men #18 has multiple members quitting the team as things fall apart in multiple ways. The team crosses the line and outright murders villains. A team member dies. Another team member shows odd results from their powers. The issue and characters all seem very off.

Then we get to the end of the issue and it becomes much clearer. Uncanny X-Men #18, and this run, also becomes better in some ways too.

The art by Carlos Villa, with ink by Juan Vlasco and Craig Yeung and color by Guru-eFX is good as always. There’s some odd posses with characters but overall the issue is good visually. There’s absolutely missed opportunities for shock and impact but it overall has good character design and flow visually.

The issue is an odd one until you get to the end. Then, it all makes much more sense. But, the overall flow of the narrative is off here. Scenes don’t feel natural at times and there’s transitions missing in the story. The issue has its entertaining, and shocking, moments and now that things are clearer, it’s more exciting to see where this is all going.

Story: Matthew Rosenberg Art: Carlos Villa
Ink: Juan Vlasco, Craig Yeung Color: Guru-eFX Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Story: 7.0 Art: 7.0 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation:
Read

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Exclusive Preview: Star Wars #66

Star Wars #66

Writer: Kieron Gillen
Art: Angel Unzueta
Color: Guru-eFX
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Cover Art: Gerald Parel
Rated T
In Shops: May 15, 2019
SRP: $3.99

“THE SCOURGING OF SHU-TORUN” PART 5
• QUEEN TRIOS vs. PRINCESS LEIA at last!
• Can LUKE SKYWALKER hold out against the attack of overwhelming force…from his own allies?!
• And when you think things couldn’t get worse for our Rebels, there’s always an orbital bombardment to survive!

Star Wars #66
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