Tag Archives: james stokoe

Review: Batman Annual #5

Batman Annual #5

I’ve been a bit mixed on James Tynion IV‘s run on Batman. The various arcs so far have had great ideas but each has felt like an incomplete stand-alone story instead they’ve built upon each other to set up a new status-quo. One of the more interesting aspects and additions is Clownhunter, a young man named Bao whose parents were killed by the Joker. During the “Joker War” storyline, Clownhunter struck brutal terror in the clown gangs dealing “justice” by executing those who themselves terrorize. Batman Annual #5 delivers more of the history about the character as well as his dealing with the after-effects of his actions.

Tynion is joined by James Stokoe who handles the art for an interesting exploration of a character that is Batman without his “no killing” policy. Clownhunter visits longtime Batman friend Leslie Thompkins, a suggestion by Batman himself. Clownhunter talks his motivation and evolution from Bao to Clownhunter. We get the story of a young man whose faith in “the system” is let down. The Joker murdered his parents and Batman never delivers the justice promised. It’s an interesting discussion and evolution and one I can’t really blame.

Bao’s story is one of a broken system, one where morals are cherished more than stopping the hurt and destruction. It’s an interesting debate and we get all sides of the discussion. Clownhunter feels violence should be met with violence. Batman believes that violence should be met with violence but draws the line at killing. Thompkins feels that violence should not be met with violence and absolutely no killing. Each has their view and we can debate whose is more effective. The issue delivers no answers to the question, nor should it. Instead we’re left to ponder it ourselves. By killing, is Clownhunter no better than those he hunts? What about Batman’s inability to end the killing, does his line make him responsible for the death others commit?

Stokoe’s art enhances the experience. His style delivers a slight horror tinge to the story. There’s a fit to the art to what Bao experiences and how he’s feeling. Batman, Leslie, Crime Alley, the Joker, there’s a look to them all that fits the experiences depicted. It’s a weird exaggeration that one might experience in a dream. It made me the reader question the reality of it a bit as well, much like you would a nightmare. It’s very fitting for the annual and story as a whole.

Batman Annual #5 delivers both concepts and story. It feels more like an example of what Tynion’s run has been missing up to this point. There have been concepts thrown around but not much of an exploration of them and definitely only a slight exploration through the events of each arc. Batman Annual #5 asks philosophical questions while delivering no answers. It makes me want to read more to see if I can ever come up with my own.

Story: James Tynion IV, James Stokoe Art: James Stokoe Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Story: 8.4 Art: 8.4 Overall: 8.4 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Preview: Batman Annual #5

Batman Annual #5

Written by: James Tynion IV
Art by: James Stokoe

The riveting new vigilante known as Clownhunter was a breakout star of “The Joker War”…but what’s the tragic origin of this teenage assassin? How did his parents die at the hands of the Joker, and is there a place for him in the evolving Gotham City? Can there be redemption for the infamous Clownhunter? This epic tale reteams writer James Tynion IV and artist James Stokoe, the storytellers behind the definitive Clownhunter tale from Batman: The Joker War Zone #1!

Batman Annual #5

Orphan and the Five Beasts Features Revenge, Kung-Fu, and James Stokoe!

James Stokoe, the creative mind behind Aliens: Dead Orbit and Orc Stain, comes out swinging with the brand-new kung-fu epic Orphan and the Five Beasts!

Spurred on by her master’s dying words, the adopted warrior “Orphan Mo” seeks to find and kill five former disciples who now threaten the land with corruption from their demonic powers. Part Five Deadly Venoms and part surreal grindhouse, James Stokoe brings his knack for ultra-detailed fantasy and over-the-top violence to this classic tale of revenge.

Orphan and the Five Beasts #1 (of four) will be in comic shops on March 17, 2021.The four issues feature interlinked covers illustrated by James Stokoe himself.

Orphan and the Five Beasts #1

Exclusive Preview: Warhammer 40K: Marneus Calgar #3 (of 5)

Warhammer 40K: Marneus Calgar #3 (of 5)

(W) Kieron Gillen (A) Jacen Burrows (CA) James Stokoe
Parental Advisory
In Shops: Dec 09, 2020
SRP: $4.99

BLOODSHED ON NOVA THULIUM!
• The young TACITAN takes drastic action as the secret hidden on Nova Thulium’s moon comes to light!
• In the 41st millennium, heretics invade the homeworld of MARNEUS CALGAR – and only he and his ULTRAMARINES can stop them!
• But will Calgar’s perilous battle plan save the Imperium or doom it to the corruption of chaos?

Warhammer 40K: Marneus Calgar #3 (of 5)

Review: Warhammer 40,000: Marneus Calgar #2

Warhammer 40,000: Marneus Calgar #2

It’s rare where I get to a moment in a comic and make an exclamation out loud. Warhammer 40,000: Marneus Calgar #2 delivers a “holy shit” moment that’s sure to send shockwaves through the Warhammer 40,000 fandom. It’s an unexpected reveal that changes everything we know about a character.

Warhammer 40,000: Marneus Calgar #2 is based on the tabletop miniature game by Games Workshop. It follows Marneus Calgar during his “modern day” battle against the evil forces of Chaos Space Marines. It also has the character reflecting on his childhood and how he became a Space Marine. It’s an exploration of a time we know little about the character. In the game, his recounted exploits are his time as a Space Marine and the numerous heroic moments he participated in as he climbed up the leadership to be the Chapter Master of the Ultramarines.

Gillen fleshes out the history of Calgar as he is trained by Crixus before he undergoes his tests to maybe become a Space Marine. As a young man, not even a teenager, he’s put through battles and training that risks his life. He’s joined by three friends and numerous strangers who come and go in their training. It’s a perilous journey and we see the nobility of the young man as he keeps his eyes on the goal of becoming a Space Marine. In every scene, at every move, there’s a chance of death or injury. We read to see what carnage awaits him in his training and how the character takes his first steps into legend.

And then Gillen delivers a twist that’s unexpected in every way… One I’m not spoiling.

Jacen Burrows‘ art has grown on me. Joined by Java Tartaglia on color and Clayton Cowles on lettering, the art is pretty solid when it comes to the past. The Chaos Space Marines are still lacking in their menace but overall the art feels a bit tighter and improved on the first issue. While it’s still not the grim dark of classic Games Workshop art, it also delivers just enough to fit as a Marvel comic. There’s some fantastic panels though that are sure to inspired model makers in recreating scenes or poses of characters. The past sequences do stand out though as Burrows seems to be a bit more comfortable winging it with a time and world that’s not as based on design and art we’ve seen over and over. The coloring too is a bit darker fitting the “mood” of Warhammer 40K a bit more.

Warhammer 40,000: Marneus Calgar #2 delivers one hell of an ending. I gasped out loud and immediately had to check to make sure this reveal was brand new. It completely upends so much of what we know making Marneus Calgar much more than Captain America in Power Armor. This is a second issue that completely outdoes its debut and should create a hell of a lot of buzz.

Story: Kieron Gillen Art: Jacen Burrows
Color: Java Tartaglia Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Story: 10 Art: 8.5 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Exclusive Preview: Warhammer 40K: Marneus Calgar #2 (of 5)

Warhammer 40K: Marneus Calgar #2 (of 5)

(W) Kieron Gillen (A) Jacen Burrows (C) Java Tartaglia (L) Clayton Cowles (CA) James Stokoe
Parental Advisory
In Shops: Nov 11, 2020
SRP: $4.99

DESCENT INTO CHAOS!

The untold origin of MARNEUS CALGAR continues as a startling discovery is made on the moon of NOVA THULIUM!

But will the young Marneus face his first triumph…or a soul-shattering loss?

A shocking revelation in the history of the legendary Chapter Master of the Ultramarines that will forever change what you thought you knew!

Warhammer 40K: Marneus Calgar #2 (of 5)

Review: Batman: The Joker Warzone #1

Batman: The Joker Warzone #1

DC’s “Joker War” has been a bit of a mixed bag for me as an event. Some of it feels like we’ve seen it before. While it has some good moments, it also feels like it never quite commits to the chaos. What bothers me the most is that the story feels like it’s just a bridge to what comes next. It’s not a story I feel like I can pick up on its own to enjoy. Through the issues of Batman, it never quite feels like a story that is a stand-alone adventure to enjoy. That might be even more pronounced in Batman: The Joker Warzone #1. It’s a tie-in comic filled with creative talent, solid stories, art, and a few “continued in 2021”. It’s also very good.

A Serious House” opens the comic. Written by James Tynion IV with art by Guillem March, color by Tomeu Morey, and lettering by Clayton Cowles it focuses on a confrontation between the Joker and Bane. The story is fantastic with a fascinating back and forth as Joker goes over his issues with Bane and contemplates ending his life. There’s a “play” like quality about the segment and with amazing art it’s the highlight of the issue. It sets up something for 2021 which feels a bit frustrating in that it telegraphs more to come instead of surprising and hints that the Joker survives “Joker War” for that to happen.

Family Ties” features writer John Ridley, art by Olivier Coipel, color by Matt Hollingsworth, and lettering by Deron Bennett. Focused on the Fox family, the story focuses on their receiving information to unlock Bruce Wayne’s fortune. But, Ridley takes that concept and adds so much to it giving us a mini-debate about what good Bruce, and thus Batman, are doing with all of this money. Could they use the money in a better way to help people? Should it go back to Bruce. With an ending that feels ripped from the headlines, Ridley shows why he’s one of the best storytellers in any medium today.

The Symbol” is by writer Joshua Williamson, art by David LaFuente, color by Hi-Fi, and lettering by Gabriela Downie. Orphan and Spoiler are on a mission to get a Bat-symbol where they wind up fighting Hench Master. Hench Master feels like a new character whose job it is to “train” henchmen for various villains. It’s a fun story that feels like it’d fit in any Batman anthology and an entertaining fun distraction that’s a bit cheerier with some good action sequences.

Ashes of Eden” is by writer Sam Johns, art by Laura Braga, color by Antonio Fabela, and lettering by Tom Napolitano. Ivy is dealing with the destruction of Eden. The entire segment is a declaration from Ivy about where her head is at and what’s to come. It’s also another story arc that we’ll see in 2021. What’s interesting, and possibly the most controversial, is Ivy seems to reject all humans and that might include Harley. Whether I’m reading too much into it, I have no idea but the Ivy/Harley stans may get a bit angry about what’s to come for these two.

Wrapping up the comic is “Clown Hunt” by writer James Tynion IV, art by James Stokoe, and lettering by Clayton Cowles. This is our first real story about Clownhunter who has stalked the Joker’s henchman and delivered brutal justice. We don’t know much about the character but we get our first good look at Clownhunter without the mask and better sense of what the citizens of Gotham thinks about him. There’s a lot of potential for a long-term interesting addition to the world of Batman and where this one goes is exciting.

Overall, Batman: The Joker Warzone #1 is a solid one-shot. It adds some stories within “Joker War” without making them vital. There’s a bit too much left to be experienced in 2021 which emphasizes my issues with “Joker War” overall. It doesn’t feel self-contained enough. If you took those segments and left out the “too be continued,” these would be really solid on their own. Even if you’re not reading “Joker War,” there’s enough here to enjoy and worth checking out. It’s the rare event one-shot where you can ignore the actual event.

Story: James Tynion IV, John Ridley, Joshua Williamson, Sam Johns
Art: Guillem March, Olivier Coipel, David LaFuente, Laura Braga, James Stokoe
Color: Tomeu Morey, Matt Hollingsworth, Hi-Fi, Antonio Fabela
Letterer: Clayton Cowles, Deron Bennett, Gabriela Downie, Tom Napolitano
Story: 8.25 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.25 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus Comics

Preview: Batman: The Joker War Zone #1

Batman: The Joker War Zone #1

Written by: Sam Johns, Joshua Williamson, John Ridley
Art by: Guillem March, Ashley A. Woods, Olivier Coipel, James Stokoe, Darko Lafuente

Gotham City is a battleground as The Joker takes over the Wayne fortune and wages a street war against the Dark Knight and his allies! Enter the “war zone” with short stories featuring characters like Cassandra Cain, Stephanie Brown, and Luke Fox and see how they’re fighting back in a city under siege! Also, the brutal full debut of the mysterious new anti-hero known as Clownhunter!

Batman: The Joker War Zone #1

Preview: Godzilla: Half Century

Godzilla: Half Century

(W) James Stokoe (A/CA) James Stokoe
In Shops: Sep 02, 2020
SRP: $29.99

Follow one man’s journey from the moment Godzilla’s reign of destruction begins and continues over his lifetime, one battle after another.

The year is 1954 and Lieutenant Ota Murakami is on hand when Godzilla makes first landfall in Japan. Along with his pal, Kentaro, Ota makes a desperate gamble to save lives… and in the process begins an obsession with the King of the Monsters that lasts 50 years ranging from Ghana, Bombay, and maybe the end of the world! Also included is an expanded art gallery and issue annotations by James Stokoe.

Godzilla: Half Century

Get a Look at Batman: The Joker War Zone #1

BATMAN: THE JOKER WAR ZONE #1

Written by JAMES TYNION IV, JOHN RIDLEY, JOSHUA WILLIAMSON, and others
Art by GUILLEM MARCH, DAVID LAFUENTE, JAMES STOKOE, and others
Cover by BEN OLIVER
Card stock variant cover by DERRICK CHEW
ONE-SHOT | ON SALE 09/29/20
$5.99 US | 48 PAGES | NO ADS | FC | DC
CARD STOCK VARIANT COVER $6.99 US

Gotham City is a battleground as The Joker takes over the Wayne fortune and wages a street war against the Dark Knight and his allies! Enter the “war zone” with short stories featuring characters like Cassandra Cain, Stephanie Brown, and Luke Fox and see how they’re fighting back in a city under siege! Also, the brutal full debut of the mysterious new anti-hero known as Clownhunter!

BATMAN: THE JOKER WAR ZONE #1
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