Tag Archives: Jason Keith

Review: Maestro #2

Maestro #2

Maestro #2 is an interesting second issue. It’s quite literally a cross-country journey as the Hulk explores what’s left of the United States and ponders the destruction at humanity’s hands. As a stand-alone issue, it’s an interesting read though not all that exciting. As part of the greater story, it’s much more and nice entry into the bigger picture.

Writer Peter David delivers a Hulk who recognizes the destruction before him and feels sad about it. This isn’t the raging Hulk who seeks death himself or rages against those that won’t let him find peace. This is one that’s more philosophical in nature and reflecting on his life and what’s before him.

In what both works and doesn’t, David uses Hulk’s travels to allow us to see more of what’s left. We’re shown the various survivors and what has sprung up, each different from the last. A few bring hope while others bring future conflict. What’s nice is we get a better lay of the land. But, each segment is just that, a quick segment. There’s little exploration of each settlement which hurts the story. It feels choppy and a bit short in depth and worldbuilding. Its’ been years since I read the original Future Imperfect so there’s probably more there but as is, nothing is explored enough.

Maestro #2 reads more like a guidebook to a world as opposed to a full fledge story. Not enough time is spent with each interesting group. And without that, it’s hard to care what happens. There’s a disconnect between the comic’s presentation and making you invested in what might happen to them. It’s a bit cold in some ways. Where moments could deliver hope, they feel a bit disconnected and a bit mechanical. It’s more roleplaying sourcebook without the in-depth information than story.

Some of the issues with the story is the art by Germán Peralta. While none of it is bad, there’s also a lack of detail at the time to add to the story. A discussion about wanting to add nutrients to a soil could have done with more details of the crops telling the story of the struggle of farming. An animal dead in the woods due to radiation isn’t mutated or emaciated enough to really impact. The motions are there without the detail, like the plot itself.

The issue also kicks off the first part of “Relics,” a back-up story with art by Dale Keown and color by Jason Keith. This is a bit more interesting. In just a few pages more is told about the world and also delivers some emotional heft. The short story is itself a quick rollercoaster ride full of hope and then crashing down showing how much society has not evolved after almost destroying itself. It’s the highlight of the issue and the only reason I’m not suggesting to skip it.

Maestro #2 isn’t a bad issue but it also feels like it doesn’t do the world and Hulk’s journey justice. It’s quick hits to give us a tour of “the players” in a single issue. While that can work as part of the bigger picture, it also doesn’t deliver enough interesting aspects or depths to really excite. As a collection though, it’d be fine as you can quickly move on to the next chapter. Sadly, for all of the excitement the first issue delivered, the second lacks the same punch.

Story: Peter David Art: Germán Peralta, Dale Keown
Color: Jason Keith Letterer: Ariana Maher
Story: 6.5 Art: 7.5 Overall: 6.75 Recommendation: Read

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Review: Maestro #1

Maestro #1

I remember many years ago when Maestro debuted and getting those issues. It was an interesting take on the Hulk. At the time he was a character I didn’t really care for. The Incredible Hulk: Future Imperfect gave us a “possible future” story when those felt rare and special. All these years later we get Maestro #1, the origin of the brutal future version of the Hulk. When it was announced I immediately wondered if this was a story we really needed. After reading the first issue, I want more. There’s so much there and I and fully expect spin-offs in the “Old Man” sort of way.

Created by ‎Peter David‎ and ‎George Pérez and debuting in 1992, Maestro was a future version of the Hulk coming from a world where the heroes have been wiped out. It’s been almost 30 years so the original story is a fading memory but the debut was huge as this was a brutal version of the Hulk unlike anything seen at that time. Mixed with the popular trope of “alternative futures” the character was a hit. Over the years, the Hulk and Bruce Banner have evolved as characters adding depth to a level that didn’t exist back in the early 90s.

David returns to write one of the characters and runs he’s known for with Maestro #1. He delivers an emotional opening of shock and loss. While it falls into a bit of a trope-ish space and the plot is one we’ve seen before, the result when layered on to the Hulk works and works really well.

It’s hard to really dive into the first issue and why it works without really spoiling it. It’s a rabbit hole of a story that gets more and more intriguing as the layers are lifted and we learn more of what is happening and what happened. Where the issue gets interesting is in the current run of the Hulk and his outlook on life and death. He’s currently a destroyer of worlds and that evolution to the Maestro and where that begins gets complicated with that. But, at its heart, the story is about loss and family and where a person goes when they lose everything. We’re left with the question as to how the Maestro is born but we get to see the first steps.

The issue has some layers in a Matrix-like way. Dale Keown handles the art in the opening with Jason Keith on color. Germán Peralta handles the art from there with Jesus Aburtov on color. The transition from one artist to the other works and works really well. It’s used in a way as the story shifts and the two styles are close enough it’s not jarring going from one to the other. While a lot of the history is explained, there’s still a lot left for readers to pick up on visually. The characters, the background, everything tells a bit of the mystery. It fantastic to see Keown back on the Hulk and the art pops taking us into the opening spiral.

Maestro #1 is a comic where I cringed at first. I didn’t think it was a story we needed to know, the mystery worked. But, after reading the issue, it’s a solid opening that has a lot of potential as to where it takes us and goes. While much of it is familiar it’s a perfect start and base to see the further evolution of the Hulk as a character.

Story: Peter David Art: Germán Peralta, Dale Keown
Color: Jesus Aburtov, Jason Keith Letterer: Ariana Maher
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

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Review: Avengers #33

Avengers #33

“The Age of Khonshu” begins in Avengers #33 as Moon Knight takes on the Avengers. It’s a solid return of the series giving a fresh start after time off and providing a perfect jumping-on point. Avengers #33 is exactly that, a perfect spot to start reading the series. That’s for both lapsed readers and new readers. There is nothing you need to know coming into this comic.

The issue is very simple, Moon Knight whips some butt as he gathers power for something. We don’t know what and there’s not a whole lot of explanation. Writer Jason Aaron keeps the comic focused and repetitive in a way. Each Avenger is taken by surprise and shocked by Moon Knight’s actions. Rinse. Repeat. But, by doing so, Aaron also keeps the reader on the edge as we don’t know what’s going on. Isn’t Moon Knight a good guy?

There’s teases as to why he might be committing his actions. Is he suffering another mental breakdown? Is he trying to save the planet? All we know is he displays abilities he never has before. The concept of “moon” and Moon Knight’s tie to it feels like it’s expanded for the better. We’re also given a nice variety of Avengers he takes on showing that Moon Knight’s abilities and power has expanded in numerous ways. He’s not just good at combat but also magic.

Aaron also makes sure to deliver some tender moments like when Black Panther walks into the fire ceding control of the team to another. It’s a shocking moment as we the reader realize just how strong Moon Knight has gotten that even a King and someone of Black Panther’s ability is resigned to the fact he’ll likely lose.

Artist Javier Garrón delivers solid action throughout. Along with colorist Jason Keith and letterer Cory Petit the action feels like it evolves in a way throughout the comic as Moon Knight evolves. The opening sequence of Moon Knight vs. Iron Fist is fantastic with at times what feels like manga inspired flair but it also never goes over the top with it to the point the art doesn’t feel like the Avengers or Marvel.

The issue is a solid starting point. While there’s not a ton to the comic itself, it has numerous shocking moments as Moon Knight makes quick work of the Avengers for some goal. It’s an unexpected direction for the character and series and one that also feels welcome in many ways. Moon Knight has always played second tier with times of “indie cred” and it looks like now’s his time to be in the spotlight.

Story: Jason Aaron Art: Javier Garrón
Color: Jason Keith Letterer: Cory Petit
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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All Hells Break Loose in a limited-time Digital Director’s Cut of Ghost Rider #1!

The Brothers Ghost Rider ride again! Johnny Blaze ain’t just the king of Hell—he’s the warden too. He’s the first line of defense between the demonic hordes trying to escape the joint and the lords of other hells making a play for his throne and all the power that comes with it – including a certain evil queen from his past! Meanwhile, Danny Ketch never wanted to be a Ghost Rider. Now that his brother’s in charge downstairs, Ketch must take on the duty of Earth’s Spirit of Vengeance full-time—no matter how much he’d rather be doing anything else… Superstar Ed Brisson, Marvel Young Gun Aaron Kuder, and Jason Keith redefine the Marvel Universe’s supernatural underbelly for a brutal new era! And, for a limited time, you can get a behind-the-scenes look at this fiery debut!

Those who have preordered or purchased a digital copy of Ghost Rider #1 before 10/16, 11:59 PM ET, will instead receive the DIRECTOR’S CUT edition of Ghost Rider (2019-) #1!*

This exclusive content will feature a draft of #1’s script, layout pages, inked pages, color pages, a variant cover gallery, character designs and more! Not only will you receive this much-hyped issue – you’ll see the inferno behind its creation! Limited time offer, act now!

Ghost Rider #1 Director's Cut

Offer Details

*Limited time offer. You must purchase or pre-order a digital copy of Ghost Rider (2019-) #1 before 11:59 p.m. ET October 16, 2019 to receive the Ghost Rider (2019-) #1 Director’s Cut. On October 17, 2019, 12:01 a.m. the Director’s Cut is available for purchase at $7.99.  Those who subscribe to the series will receive the standard edition of Ghost Rider (2019-) #1. Offer is limited to one per person. The offer expires on 11:59 p.m. ET, October 16, 2019. Marvel and ComiXology reserve the right to modify or cancel the offer at any time. Offer is valid for one-time use only, is non-transferable and may not be resold. If any of the products or content related to this offer are returned, your refund will equal the amount you paid for the product or content, subject to applicable refund policies. If you violate any of these terms, the offer will be invalid.

Review: Ghost Rider #1

Johnny Blaze is the King of Hell so why does he need the help of Danny Ketch?

Story: Ed Brisson
Art: Aaron Kuder
Color: Jason Keith
Letterer: Joe Caramagna

Get your copy in comic shops now! 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

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
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Review: The Avengers #22

Avengers #22

“Challenge of the Ghost Riders” begins in The Avengers #22 which shifts the focus on Robbie Reyes. In Avengers #16 we saw current Ghost Rider Robbie Reye stuck in traffic in the depths of hell. A mysterious character was talking to him and teasing the difficulty he’d be facing. The last page of the issue featured Blaze sitting on his bike and leaving Reyes with a warning their story would intertwine once more.

You’ll be back. And the King of Hell will be here waiting. And next time I see you, Ghost Rider, you and me… we’re gonna do a bit more than just talk. We’re gonna have us a little ride.

– Johnny Blaze aka Ghost Rider – Avengers #16

Avengers #22 kicks things off with Robbie’s car making threats to his brother and leaving him in a tough spot. Reyes wants the Ghost Rider gone and the car out of his life. In steps the Avengers who attempt to figure out how to help him. In come the help of Blade and a special guest and the combo adds in some humor to a horror focused comic.

Writer Jason Aaron does a fantastic job of keeping the issue light mixing what should be a straight-up horror comic with some humorous moments. There’s a transition of action, to a bit of seriousness, and then there’s the humor. It flows nicely and keeps things entertaining without getting too heavy.

The art by Stefano Caselli helps with that. With color by Jason Keith and lettering by Cory Petit, the art again is able to balance the various tones of the comic. The art of Avengers #22 moves between the various worlds of the characters and aspects of the comic and with each the art style nails it.

Avengers #22 kicks off a new story arc and it’s a solid point to hop on to the series. The story seems like it’ll reveal more about the history of Ghost Rider and bring back some classic characters too. It’s a solid mix of new and old moving things ahead in a flaming car.

Story: Jason Aaron Art: Stefano Caselli
Color: Jason Keith Letterer: Cory Petit
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Messages from Midgard #13- The Four Thors

This week marks the end of both “War of the Realms” and the Messages from Midgard column. There are a few straggler tie-ins like Unbeatable Squirrel Girl and an Omega issue, which I will cover in its own review, but the core miniseries plus three ancillary tie-in minis and Jason Aaron’s arcs on Thor and Avengers wrap up this week. Plus there’s a fun Superior Spider-Man story where Peter Parker and, of all people, Gwenpool, teaching Doc Ock that heroism is about saving individuals and not just trying to glory hog the whole event. That privilege is reserved for Thor, of which there are four, because its their event.


War of the Realms #6

In War of the Realms #6, Jason Aaron, Russell Dauterman, and Matthew Wilson knuckle down to give both this event and basically Aaron’s seven year run on Thor one hell of a conclusion. It’s centered around a simple premise. If only Thor can break the magic circle and confront a Knull-infused Malekith, then why not bring four of them: Odinson, King Thor, Young Thor, and Jane Foster’s Thor, who now wields Mjolnir from the Ultimate Universe. What follows is an exercise in fighting, bickering, and true heroism while the rest of the heroes confront Laufey on Midgard.

Before digging into the fantastic things that Aaron does with both Thor and Jane Foster’s arcs, I would like to praise the visuals of Dauterman and Wilson, who really outdo themselves in issue six. Wilson’s palette is majestic and varied ranging from the eye of the storm to the clash of lightning on symbiote ooze and a snowstorm to end all snowstorms. Like the different hammers and weapons used by the Thors, Dauterman switches up his inking style to fit the scene from looser work when Malekith does anything symbiote-y to more clean polished art when Odinson forges Mjolnir anew in the eye of a storm. His attention to detail is uncanny, and he draws many epic moments like when Odinson punches his own hammer and memorable small ones like Screwbeard and Ivory Honeyshot doing their best Gimli and Legolas imitation at the end of the world.

One word that can be used to describe War of the Realms #6 is “satisfying”. Odinson has gone on a painful heroic journey that draws comparisons to the one his own father, Odin, went on to become All-Father sacrificing body parts to gain the wisdom and power to rule Asgard. There are also parallels to the journeys of Dionysus and Jesus Christ in his story as he humbles himself and suffers to save the whole world. But, lofty comparisons aside, this is really the story of a man who becomes a hero and “worthy” in spite of his flaws, which is a metaphor for most of the Marvel heroes, who have fantastic abilities and feet of clay. It is a rare sight to see such an iconic character, like Thor, grow and change over a run, and Jason Aaron has pulled this off with War of the Realms #6 being the finishing touch and earning an Overall Verdict of Buy.


War of the Realms: New Agents of Atlas #4

In New Agents of Atlas #4, this new pan-Asian superhero team finally gets their act together to assemble and prevent Sindr, the Fire Goblin queen from melting the polar ice caps. Greg Pak and artists Gang Hyuk Lim, Moy R, and Pop Mhan take their cues from third act of the 2012 Avengers film from Jimmy Woo playing the Nick Fury role and lying about Pele’s true nature to get the team to work together and lots of big epic splash pages of heroes doing team-up moves. However, with the exception of Brawn, Shang Chi, and the Filipina heroine Wave, I feel like I barely know these heroes so the big fight scenes look pretty, but feel like action figures in position, not characters reaching the end of their journey.

Pak, Lim, Federico Blee and the guest artists and colorists had a tall order introducing new characters and ones who had only appeared in Korean and Chinese comics as well as mobile games to a new audience. Having four issues and a big, yet underdeveloped baddie helped, but in the end, the cast of New Agents of Atlas was simply too large to get to know the new folks. Hopefully, the upcoming miniseries will take its time to develop their personalities as well as show off their cool costumes and powers. Unfortunately, New Agents of Atlas #4 earns an Overall Verdict of Pass despite its one genuinely memorable twist.


War of the Realms: Punisher #3

War of the Realms Punisher #3 features the same fantasy baddies as the rest of “War of the Realm’s” tie-ins, but Gerry Duggan, Marcelo Ferreira, Roberto Poggi, and Rachelle Rosenberg take a grittier, more violent, and at times, fatalistic approach to their story beginning with Frank Castle having guns pointed to his head by former mobsters. He gets out of this pickle pretty easily by swearing on the souls of dead wife and kids that he’ll spare the criminals once they get the civilians to safety. Most of them don’t have to worry about living as they’re immediately set upon by a squad of trolls; one of which Frank tortures in a chilling scene that makes the criminals realize that they’re not getting out of this alive too.

Duggan and Ferreira portray Frank Castle as a hardened soldier in War of the Realms Punisher #3, and his enemy is the criminal element, both mortal and otherworldly. Sure, he’ll get the civilians to safety in New Jersey, but he’ll also gun down the last criminal standing with him while the doctor he was assisting shrieks in terror. This is because Castle is as much of a monster and a force of nature as the trolls and Fire Goblins that he was gunning down or blowing up tanker trucks to stop. Duggan’s understanding of Frank Castle’s character, and that we can cheer for him to take out the bad guys and recoil at killing one in cold blood as well as the hellish visuals of Ferreira, Poggi, and Rosenberg earns War of the Realms Punisher #3 an Overall Verdict of Buy and definitely has me interested in Duggan’s upcoming Punisher Kill Krew series.


War of the Realms: Uncanny X-Men #3

Even though it’s nice to see Cyclops, Multiple Man, and your favorite former New Mutants defending Citi Field from Frost Giants, Matthew Rosenberg, Pere Perez, and Rachelle Rosenberg’s War of the Realms: Uncanny X-Men has been the weak link of the tie-in minis. Issue three is no exception with the pointless killing off of Sunspot, the repetitive dialogue of (dead in the main series) Wolfsbane’s lover Hrimhari, and a tacked on sequence with Dani Moonstar and the Valkyries even though this plot point was only touched upon at the end of issue one. It could have been a good hook for the miniseries and a through-line to the main action, but in the end, it’s too little, too late.

War of the Realms: Uncanny X-Men #3 does have a few cool moments like Multiple Man’s dupes luring the Frost Giants into a Limbo portal, a visceral claw on claw fight between Sabretooth and Wolfsbane, and Cyclops precision sniping Frost Giants. However, these are few and far between, and after three issues, this miniseries has really done nothing to justify its existence and earns an Overall Verdict of Pass. But the silver lining is that Jonathan Hickman is coming in a month and probably all these events/pointless character deaths will be retconned.


Thor #14

Jason Aaron, Scott Hepburn, and Matthew Wilson’s story in Thor #14 covers much of the same ground as War of the Realms #6, but from the POV of Young Thor as the Fantastic Four summon him from brooding and trying to lift Mjolnir to a fight for all ten realms. I read this almost directly after War of the Realms #6, and there are obvious re-draws of Russell Dauterman’s art although Hepburn has an earthier take on the material to match the boisterous, shit-talking Young Thor. The issue also has more direct connections to the last adventure of the three Thors in Aaron’s Thor, God of Thunder series and a similar art style although Hepburn is no Simon Bisley. There’s a lot of gruffness, talk about hammers, and an indirect reference to Back to the Future along the way.

However, compared to the standalone issues about Loki, Cul Borson, and even Gorilla-Man in Aaron’s tie-in issues of Thor and Avengers, Thor #14 seems less essential because Jason Aaron and Russell Dauterman portrayed Young Thor’s carelessness, brashness, and adventurous nature so well in War of the Realms #6. He does get a cool action sequence against a gnarly Hepburn-drawn Venom symbiote and  lifts Mjolnir in a moment that again proves that “worthiness” and heroism is not something bestowed externally, but internally. Most of the material in Thor #14 is covered in Realms #6, but that scene and the sheer joy that Aaron gets at writing Young Thor earns the issue an Overall Verdict of Read.


Avengers #20

Avengers #20 is yet another standalone success from Jason Aaron, Ed McGuinness, Mark Morales, and Jason Keith and is a metafictional look at She-Hulk, and how she’s changed as a character in the past few years. The opening sequence is brilliant and set in side a Wakandan therapy simulation where She-Hulk looks at a pinup of the John Byrne version of her and beats up a version of her that looks like it was drawn by Javier Pulido. The comic is a narration about how she likes embracing the monster and getting to beat up enemies with her new powers instead of being sexually harassed while in costume. Unlike Bruce Banner, she enjoys the freedom of being Hulk, and McGuinness and Morales use wide panels to show the swath of destruction she causes with her bulging forearms.

Using the character of She-Hulk as a case study, Avengers #20 is also a bigger commentary about how women have to fit pre-conceived roles in the workforce (Even if that means the Avengers.) and society and get pushback whenever they’re assertive or show anger. Deadpool asking She-Hulk why she doesn’t crack jokes or break the fourth wall any more is the metafictional version of a male co-worker asking a woman why she doesn’t smile. And, on a more a geeky level, this issue also has some foreshadowing of Aaron’s future plans for the Avengers title with the help of omniscient Daredevil showing Aaron can work on both a micro and macro level. Avengers #20 is a fantastic, holistic character study of She-Hulk and her recent developments and easily earns an Overall Verdict of Buy with a side dish of allusions to Immortal Hulk.


Superior Spider-Man #8

Superior Spider-Man continues to be an underrated delight and study in ego from Christos Gage, Lan Medina, Cam Smith, and Andy Troy. Doc Ock continues to be terrible at reading the room, er, event and wants to take out Malekith all by himself with the help of the Fantastic Four and West Coast Avengers. He doesn’t want to protect New York City, but basically hack America Chavez’s portal abilities to get to what he thinks is the real action. This ends up backfiring, and he gets one hell of a dressing down from Spider-Man in the nature of heroism while Spider-Man is wearing his helmet from the Land of Giants one-shot and is immediately abandoned by his “minions” aka the West Coast Avengers.

Gage and Medina use the wide scope of “War of Realms” to tell an entertaining and at times fourth wall breaking (Thanks to Gwenpool.) story about how heroism isn’t just about defeating the final boss, but saving one person from death and danger. Having Spider-Man deliver the lecture about this topic makes sense because for the most part, he has focused on protecting his neighborhood instead of mixing it up with gods and monsters. Gage’s script is self-aware, and Medina and Smith have a classic, illustrator style approach where it is easy to follow the action even in a Southern California blizzard. For commenting on the nature of heroism, being funny as hell, and having plentiful America Chavez side eye, Superior Spider-Man #8 earns an Overall Verdict of Buy.


War of the Realms #6 was the best ending to a summer Marvel event since Jonathan Hickman and Esad Ribic’s Secret Wars, and it shipped on time too. One thing that these two events shared in common is that they were a culmination of two macro-stories, namely, Jason Aaron’s Thor run and Hickman’s Fantastic Four-Ultimates-Avengers/New Avengers project. The War of the Realms has been foreshadowed for years, and the early battles were fought in the pages of Mighty Thor and Thor so the event was really just icing on the cake. Sometimes, the montage of the different battles were a little insufferable, but when Aaron, Dauterman, and Wilson grabbed onto the character journeys of Odinson and Jane Foster, the book really sung. Nowhere was this more evident than in War of the Realms #6, and the spinoff I’m most excited for is Valkyrie even if I’m little disappointed that Tessa Thompson’s take on the character is nowhere in sight although Al Ewing may pluck her from somewhere in the multiverse.


Panel of the Week

Young Thor and King Thor bonding over craft beer is the cutest thing. (From War of the Realms #6, Art by Russell Dauterman and Matthew Wilson)

Review: Age of Conan Belit #1

In a breath of fresh air, Marvel Comics has used its newly reacquired Conan license not just to tell stories about the titular barbarian, but also about members of his supporting cast. First up is Belit, the pirate queen, who first appeared in the 1934 “Queen of the Black Coast” story, also popped up in previous Conan stories for both Marvel and Dark Horse, and taught Conan everything about piracy. Writer Tini Howard (Euthanauts), artist Kate Niemczyk (Mockingbird), and colorist Jason Keith (Uncanny X-Men) tell her origin story in a rousing saga of action, heartbreak, and searching for mythical sea monsters.

Having a real cartoonist like Niemczyk on Belit #1 instead of some Frank Frazetta wannabe painter is a real treat and gives the comic a tone never ending activity. She can tell a story in both the foreground and background, which is showcased in the one page sequence where Belit’s father, the former Dread Admiral Atrahasis is jumped by some mercenaries, who he pissed off back in his seafaring days. With a light stroke and blue sky from Keith, Niemczyk makes it seem like the men grabbing Atrahasis are just a mirage to Belit. However, by the end of the page, Belit’s life will never be the same.

Howard and Niemczyk do pull off some great father/daughter moments in Belit #1 as she is taught to be a great fighter, sailor, and leader. Their relationship reminds me a lot of Ned and Arya Stark’s in the best way with Atrahasis telling his daughter realistic truths about the perils of leading an army of killers while she wants to sail and fight sea monsters. It is the emotional crux of this first issue, and Belit learns many harsh truths about honor and revenge, power vacuums and politics when her father is marooned on a sandbar by rival pirates.

Belit #1 walks a delicate line between the romance of adventure fantasy and the reality of the consequences of war. A man who is responsible for killing and plundering so many people doesn’t get to retire and play the Hyborian Age equivalent of nine hole golf. Howard shows this sentiment through beautiful, yet not too flowery speeches along with Niemczyk’s resigned facial expressions and a gorgeous, yet tragic orange sunset palette from Jason Keith.

Belit #1 has a fantastic visual and verbal synergy with Howard using dialogue to build character traits like Belit’s ferocity and her old teacher N’yaga’s dark pragmatism, and Niemczyk choosing the right moment for close-up to show Belit’s emotional state. Niemczyk also has the flair for the dramatic by tipping the page vertically during a big ship boarding scene that turns the tables of the story so far. It lays the foundation for an environment where Belit can truly become a pirate queen before ending on an atmospheric final page.

Age of Conan: Belit #1 sheds some insight on the dark, yet adventurous early days of the woman who would become the Queen of the Black Coast. Tini Howard, Kate Niemczyk, and Jason Keith work in tandem to construct a character arc for Belit as well as a fast moving, swashbuckling plot that isn’t bogged down in thees, thous, and world building. Belit is fierce as hell, and I can’t wait to learn more about her journey to become one of the deadliest fictional pirates in this series.

Story: Tini Howard Art: Kate Niemczyk
Colors: Jason Keith Letters: Travis Lanham
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Mavel Reveals War of Realms #1 Variants from George Prez and Ryan Ottley

The War Of The Realms is coming…and no corner of the Marvel Universe will be untouched! Marvel has revealed two new stunning variant covers: one by artist George Perez (with colors by Jason Keith) and one by Ryan Ottley (with colors Nathan Fairbairn).

This April, all hell will break loose as Marvel’s epic event from the award-winning creative team of Jason Aaron, Russell Dauterman, and Matthew Wilson usher in an event of unparalleled scale! Plus, don’t miss a special midnight release of War of the Realms #1 for retailers – be sure to check Marvel mailers for details!

War of the Realms #1 Ryan Ottley Variant
War of the Realms #1 George Perez variant

Review: Age of X-Man: NextGen #1

We’re getting more and more glimpses of the world of Age of X-Man! Age of X-Man: NextGen #1 introduces us to the students and a better idea of how X-Man has created order there. But, are things as disciplined as it seems?

Age of X-Man: NextGen #1 is by Ed Brisson, Marcus To, Jason Keith, and Clayton Cowles.

Get your copy in comic shops on February 13! 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/comiXology/Kindle
TFAW

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies 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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