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Review: Lazarus: Risen #1

Lazarus: Risen #1

What makes the show Walking Dead so magnetic is its exploration of humanity. This is exactly what makes this whole world that they explore so interesting. The zombies are mere landscape and it’s what we do to each other as humans when everything is gone is what’s so fascinating.

Anyone who has read or watched the many adaptations of Lord Of The Flies experiences the same awe and shock of the ending as it speaks directly to our primal origins. This is where the fight or flight in each of us gets ignited and you never know until you are in that position. In the debut issue of Lazarus: Risen, we find a world at war where our protagonist is rearing to battle.

We catch up with Forever Carlyle, the Lazarus (champion of her family), in a world divided by 16 families who hold power based on wealth and Johanna Carlyle, the current head of her family, whose current power lies in is the fact that it is the main food supplier for most of the world. Forever and Johanna bring out a traitor and broker a deal that helps the Carlyles and the other family. We are also taken to the family’s testing lab in the Sierra Nevadas, where Bethany Carlyle is testing Marisol Carlyle’s durability as a Lazarus, where recovery is extraordinarily fast. We are taken to Puget Sound, in the family’s headquarters where a family meeting reveals Johanna’s plan to go on the offensive to protect the family’s borders. By issue’s end, an old enemy resurfaces, already broken through the border, and looking to end the family’s muscle.

Overall, an engaging story that dips the reader right into this captivating world and the people who inhabit it. The story by Greg Rucka is entertaining and action packed. The art by Michael Lark, Santi Arcas, and Simon Bowland is lifelike and gorgeous. Altogether, an arresting tale that will pull the reader right in.

Story: Greg Rucka Art: Michael Lark, Santi Arcas and Simon Bowland
Story: 10 Art: 9.8 Overall: 9.7 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Jesusfreak

Jesusfreak

There have been many different interpretations throughout history and popular culture of Jesus’s story. One of the most glaring and controversial examples is Anne Rice’s Christ The Lord series. It reimagined the religious figure out of the canon most followers had grown up believing and some thought it was sacrilegious for the author to write it. As hard it may believe, this probably was not the worst reimagining.

There was Martin Scorsese’s contentious film, The Last Temptation Of Christ, which also retold Jesus’ story and how he dealt with all the temptations of man, including the flesh where they discuss his relationship with Mary Magdelene.  On the lighter side, The Life Of Brian shows how a man who followed a similar path as Jesus would exist during this time. The one reinterpretation that has not been seen as often as these few examples is the one of action hero. This is why Joe Casey and Benjamin Marra‘s Jesusfreak had me intrigued.

We meet a young man in Sepphoris, the capital of Gallilee, that goes by the name Jesus. He’s traveled to this land as a result of his visions. We also meet Pontius Pilate, the new Roman governor, whose distaste for the locals and thirst for power is unrivaled. We also meet John The Baptist, a rough religious man whose followers treated him like the voice of God. As John and Jesus meet an uncanny spark between the two ignite and a kinship is formed instantly. As an ambush by Roman soldiers lead the two to fight alongside each other where Jesus unleashes his own fighting style, a martial art, but unfortunately John gets captured by Pontius Pilate. From there we get a mix of action as Jesus must free John, a traditional take on the Bible of Jesus’ healing, and Jesus finding himself and his destiny.

Overall, it’s an action-packed story through biblical times that I wanted to compare to Spartacus but feels more like Ghost Dog: Way Of The Samurai. The story by Casey is fun, engaging, and wildly imaginative. The art by Marra is breathtaking. Altogether, a story that will intrigue readers and think of these historical and religious figures in a totally new way.

Story: Joe Casey Art: Benjamin Marra
Story: 10 Art: 9.6 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Kireon Gillen and Stephanie Hans’ Die #1 Gets a Fifth Printing

Image ComicsDie #1 by New York Times bestselling creator Kieron Gillen and artist Stephanie Hans is being rushed back for an encore fifth printing due to overwhelming fan interest in the series and to keep up with the series’ breakneck growth.

Die is a pitch-black fantasy where a group of adults have to deal with the returning unearthly horror they barely survived as teenage role-players. The series is perhaps best described as “Goth Jumanji”—but that only captures a sliver of what you’ll find in this series where fantasy gets all too real.

Die #1, 5th printing (Diamond Code FEB198164) and will be available on Wednesday, April 17. The final order cutoff deadline for comic shop retailers is Monday, March 25.

Die #1 5th printing

Kyle Starks and Erica Henderson’s Assassin Nation #1 Goes Back to Print

Two-time Eisner Award winner Erica Henderson and Eisner-nominated writer Kyle Starks hit their mark with the launch of Assassin Nation last week and delivered fans a side-splitting, mega-violent action-comedy. In order to keep up with the growing customer demand, Image Comics and Skybound Entertainment‘s Assassin Nation #1 is already slated to go back to print.

Assassin Nation #1 introduces readers to the World’s (Former) Greatest Hitman—who has a hit out on him. What to do? Why, hire the 20 best assassins in the world to be his bodyguards, of course. These mean-as-hell hired guns and murderers will have to work together to keep the new crime boss safe, figure out who’s trying to off him, and also… survive.

With the same laugh-until-you-cry spirit of action-comedies like Hot Fuzz, Tropic Thunder, and DeadpoolAssassin Nation is the bombastic, hilarious, murder-fest readers have been waiting for. 

Assassin Nation #1, second printing (Diamond code: JAN198546) will be available on Wednesday, April 17. The final order cutoff deadline for comics retailers is Monday, March 25.

Review: Criminal #3

Criminal #3

Jacob’s weekend taking care of his old mentor takes a turn for the worse.

I hate throwing the word “perfection” around a lot but Criminal #3 is damn near perfection. Writer Ed Brubaker, artist Sean Phillips, and colorist Jacob Phillips have put together an issue that’s pulp crime but also beyond touching. This isn’t your typical story about a robbery, it’s about an industry that’ll abuse you, spit you out, and bring out the worst.

The second part of “The Longest Weekend,” the story follows Jacob and his former boss Hal Crane, two comic industry vets and different points in their careers. This issue, like the last, feels like a blend of fact and fiction as it continues to explore the dark side of the comic business. In some ways exaggerated, in other ways not, it winds up being a tragic story with an ending that’ll get you to gasp in a way. It’s tragic. It’s sad. It’s entertaining. It’s one of the best comics out this week.

The art, as usual, is amazing. The style is perfect for this type of story and this trio of creators create a blend of story and art that is unparalleled in this industry. Each character tells a story on their own with something as simple as their body language and stance. The use of color is key here too as it not only clues us in to the past or present but also helps set the mood even more so than the dialogue at times.

The issue is amazing blending fact and fiction to deliver a comic that entertains but will also leave you pondering the truth of it all. Criminal is three issues in and one of the best comics on the market (again). It’s not too late to dive in as this is a comic that should be on everyone’s pull list.

Story: Ed Brubaker Art: Sean Phillips Color: Jacob Phillips
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Jesusfreak

Jesusfreak

The year is 26 C.E. A young Nazarean carpenter is having some trouble adjusting to the violent world around him-and finding his place within it. He knows he’s different, but he doesn’t know why. Not yet, anyway.

Take some kung-fu, mix in a little 70s exploitation films, stir some of the Bible, and you get Jesusfreak, a gonzo take on Jesus Christ.

The comic is a mix of over the top insanity and sort of “grounded” Biblical tale that mixes into a comic that feels like it’s not quite sure what it wants to be.

Writer Joe Casey and artist Benjamin Marra go back and forth between a story that’s a spin on the Biblical story we know and something else. That something else is a kung-fu infused action/adventure featuring giant lizard people and a style that’s a bit 70s exploitation. It never quite commits one way or another and without doing so never quite gels in a way that makes sense. Aspects seem to come out of nowhere and never quite explained like there’s pages missing to the story.

Marra’s art, with color by Brad Simpson and lettering by Rus Wooton is good. The art style really helps deliver that retro feel to it all. There’s some odd art here and there (one panel has Jesus’ finger looking like they’re broken as he performs kung-fu) but there’s a charm to it all that makes it entertaining. One also can’t overlook the fact that Jesus isn’t white and those depicted are of a darker complexion as they should be.

There’s a lot of potential here but the comic never quite commits as to what it wants to be. It’s entertaining in a pulp/grindhouse sort of way but at times it feels like it wants to be serious and other times it wants to be something like a John Carpenter film. With a bit more focus, the story would be amazing and a lot of fun. As is, it feels like it’s unsure as to what it wants to be much like the Jesus it depicts.

Story: Joe Casey Art: Benjamin Marra
Color: Brad Simpson Letterer: Rus Wooton Design: Sonia Harris
Story: 7.0 Art: 7.0 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Jesusfreak

Jesusfreak

(W) Joe Casey (A/CA) Benjamin Marra
In Shops: Mar 20, 2019
SRP: $17.99

The year is 26 C.E. A young Nazarean carpenter is having some trouble adjusting to the violent world around him-and finding his place within it. He knows he’s different, but he doesn’t know why. Not yet, anyway. A bloody, two-fisted tale of historical heroic fiction brought to you by JOE CASEY (SEX, BUTCHER BAKER, THE RIGHTEOUS MAKER, MCMLXXV) and BENJAMIN MARRA (Night Business, Terror Assaulter: O.M.W.O.T.).

Jesusfreak

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Criminal #3

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.

Criminal #3 (Image Comics) – One of the best comics on the market. The current story is a meta look at a certain famous comic convention. How much is true? Well, that’s part of the fun.

Dark Red #1 (AfterShock) – A new series that’s about Vampires in Trump country. The concept sounds really interesting.

Dungeons & Dragons: A Darkened Wish #1 (IDW Publishing) – D&D is the new hotness, and IDW’s series have been fun for those into the game and world. Solid fantasy that’s always worth checking out.

Grumble #5 (Albatross Funnybooks) – A fun and funny series, one we’ll constantly recommend. While not the best place to start, we’re putting the series on your radar so you can catch up and not miss the awesome.

Incursion #2 (Valiant) – Valiant has been knocking it out of the park and this issue is a great example of that. Just a solid mini-series so far that highlights the quality of this publisher.

Invisible Kingdom #1 (Dark Horse Comics/Berger Books) – G. Willow Wilson and Christian Ward team up for this Berger Books debut and that’s all we need to know to get excited to check this one out. A sci-fi religious conspiracy concept is icing on the cake of awesome that is the creative team.

Lazarus Risen #1 (Image Comics) – It’s been a while since we read Lazarus so we’ve forgotten a bunch but the series has always been fantastic and amazing and to be able to get more makes us happy. It’s one of the most well thought out series and worlds in comics.

Life and Death of Toyo Harada #1 (Valiant) – Toyo Harada is one of the best characters in comics so we’re excited he’s getting a series. Is he a villain? Is he a hero? Is he somewhere in between? We can’t wait to see where this goes.

Spider-Man: City at War #1 (Marvel) – Based on the popular video game, Marvel launches a new universe in comics and we’re getting flashbacks to the “Ultimate” years and that’s completely ok.

Spider-Man: Life Story #1 (Marvel) – Chip Zdarksy and Mark Bagley are exploring Peter Parker’s life one decade at a time. This kicks off in the 60s just four years after being bitten. Think a condensed version of this is your life.

Die #4 Heads Back to Print

Image Comics is pleased to announce that New York Times bestselling creator Kieron Gillen and artist Stephanie Hans’ Die #4 is being rushed back to print in order to keep up with the overwhelming fan enthusiasm.

Die is a pitch-black fantasy where a group of adults have to deal with the returning unearthly horror they barely survived as teenage role-players. The series is perhaps best described as “Goth Jumanji”—but that only captures a sliver of what you’ll find in this series where fantasy gets all too real.

In Die #4 our heroes reach the civilization of Glass Town and do what heroes have always done upon reaching civilization. As in, go to the pub. As it’s Die, you can guess people don’t exactly get happy drunk.

Die #4, second printing (Diamond Code JAN199370) and will be available on Wednesday, April 10. The final order cutoff deadline for comic shop retailers is Monday, March 18.

Die #4, second printing
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