Tag Archives: jeff powell

Review: The Banks

The Banks

White Collar was one of those shows that USA Network had on for a few years which both charmed and beguiled viewers. It followed a unique relationship between an FBI agent and a former grifter as they investigate white-collar crimes. Its starred Matt Bomer, Tim DeKay, Tiffani Thiessen, and the immortal Diahann Carroll, in a show which explored both sides of the line of the law, often referring to Bomer’s character’s past and previous proclivities. It really elevated the buddy comedy genre in ways that many shows have tried to imitate since.

What was fascinating was how the show delved deep into the criminal underworld and gave viewers a deep dive into con artist tradecraft. As a writer I often wondered about the roads not taken in stories, and one of those within the show was the backstory of Carroll’s husband, who was also a con man. I felt it would have been better to show this story than to allude to it as the show did through its entire run. The idea of a family of thieves was something I wished W.E.B. Griffin would have tackled in his prolific career. Roxane Gay and Ming Doyle’s beautifully woven The Banks gives us a family whose business is about the next big score and they live by one code, don’t get caught and don’t get greedy.

We’re taken to 1972 Evanston, Illinois, where we meet Clara Banks, a shrewd robber whose skill set as a safecracker has made one of the best in all of Chicago. She develops a family business which is far from your typical. The story weaves through the past to the present delivering an interesting family of thieves and eventually leading to a score and revenge.

Overall, an excellent and intricately told story about a family whose business is more than ill-gotten gains, as love and legacy is paramount to everything. The story by Gay is immense, heartfelt, and harrowing. The art by the creative team is beautiful. Altogether, a story that does more than add sepia tones to the crime noir genre but elevates it a new standard of storytelling.

Story: Roxane Gay
Art: Ming Doyle, Jordie Bellaire, Ariana Maher, Jared K Fletcher,
and Jeff Powell
Story: 10 Art: 9.8 Overall: 9.9 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Sentient

Sentient

As powerful a behemoth the Marvel Cinematic Universe is, it cannot be understated how much it has changed the way we look at heroes. The mere reverberations that Avengers: Endgame has had on our collective consciousness is both heartbreaking and eye-opening. The movie showed the world that heroes may be superpowered but mortal. The movie killed three of the most impactful entities of the MCU to that point, leaving audiences in a gasp and many in tears.

This was not the first time the MCU had fans in tears and it probably won’t be the last. It’s the first time I remember seeing a heartfelt story onscreen was Next Avengers: Heroes Of Tomorrow.  The movie centers around the children of the Avengers in a dystopian future. It’s a world where Ultron has killed all their parents. The movie asks a very important question, “Have you prepared your children for a life without you?” Jeff Lemire and Gabriel Walta’s thought-provoking Sentient is a similar premise to that animated movie and explores that very question.

We’re taken to the USS Montgomery a ship that houses a crew and their family along with artificial intelligence, Valeria, that watches over them. Separatists dissent on the Earth colony has the Space Navy and the Montgomery sees betrayal among its own. Post tragedy, the story shifts to one of survival as the surviving children of the Montgomery must learn to function in a ship without their parents and adapt to their new situation. It’s a story of survival in the physical and emotional sense.

Sentient is a truly original science fiction story that borrows traces of Lord of the Flies and Bicentennial Man infused with the human journey to beat insurmountable odds. The story by Lemire is heartfelt, harrowing, and redemptive. The art by Walta, Wands, Fletcher, and Powell is superb. Altogether, a story that shows the answer to the question, that if you can ever prepare your children for the unthinkable and to trust that you that your nurture leads to their better natures.

Story: Jeff Lemire
Art: Gabriel Walta, Steve Wands, Jared K Fletcher, and Jeff Powell
Story: 10 Art: 9.8 Overall: 9.8 Recommendation: Buy

Preview: Killers #3 (of 5)

KILLERS #3 (of 5)

Written by B. CLAY MOORE
Art by FERNANDO DAGNINO
Colors by JOSÉ VILLARRUBIA
Letters by JEFF POWELL
Cover A by JONBOY MEYERS
Cover B by LARRY STROMAN with ROB STULL and ULISES ARREOLA
Cover C by YANNICK CORBOZ
Cover D by CULLY HAMNER
Preorder Edition by WHILCE PORTACIO with RAYMUND LEE
$3.99 | 32 pgs. | T+ | On sale SEPTEMBER 18th

The unstoppable marksman, Sights, joins the carnage! But where does his allegiance lie?

Can you trust a superninja with a mind broken by MI6? Just ask the Undisciple.

The high-octane battle royale continues as the Killers tear each other apart in a competition like no other!

KILLERS #3 (of 5)

Review: Fallen World #5

Fallen World, #5

In Fallen World, #5, it’s all-out war between Rai and Bloodfather!

Can Bloodshot be saved from his ultimate fate?

What does the future of 4002 hold for these characters? The first answers to what comes next starts here!

Fallen World #5, written by Dan Abnett, featuring art by Adam Polina, colors by Ulises Arreola and letters by Jeff Powell is the final issue in the series that follows the events of the final issues of Rai and the 4001 A.D. miniseries. It also serves as the introduction to the new Rai series coming later this year from Abnett and Juan Jose Ryp (more on this later). .

Fallen World started off strongly, with the first three issues playing into the best the science fiction stories have to offer; racism, religion and foreign politics. But that didn’t carry into the fourth issue which felt less like great science fiction and more like a stumble in the road to greatness. It was a comic that, without the subtext and allegorical aspects, was left to stand on its artistic merits. Sadly there was enough that pulled me out of the story in terms of the art that I missed the subtleties of the previous issues.

Thankfully, the fourth issue remains the weakest in the series.

Regarding those allegories…

My love for this series is, in part, due to the analogs to our current world. There are clear problems between humans and their former slaves, the artificially intelligent positrons. This leads to some powerfully haunting moments in the first issue. The second issue introduced us to a religious sect that worship Father – or rather their idea of Father, crafted to suit their needs. It’s a series of undertones that add what all great science fiction has. That’s a powerful modern relevance despite the book being set two thousand years in the future. The third issue has added an interesting commentary on a foreign body trying to impose its will on the existent population. It’s a population that is less than thrilled with the proposition being offered by the foreign body.

From my review of Fallen World #3

Although there is a lot of combat in this comic, the overall theme is one of struggle in the face of inevitability. Now it’s possible I’m reading too much into the comic, but then what is art if you can’t interpret it in ways beyond the obvious?

With this being the finale to Fallen World the divergent plot lines all come together to some degree, though the focus is primarily on Rai and his confrontation with Father/Bloodfather, and it’s through this confrontation that Abnett discusses the inevitability of things. Surrounded by artwork that propels the story along in clean concise lines and panels inset over full page images gives the comic an epic feel and a sense of urgency that underlies the rush of the story itself.

Although the series didn’t end as strongly as it started, the was a significant upswing in terms of quality from the previous issue. Overall, as a reintroduction to Rai and the cast of the 4001 Fallen World was an unreserved success. As a standalone story? Well, as I said, it’s a great introduction to kick off the next chapter of Valiant’s future timeline.

Story: Dan Abnett Art: Adam Pollina
Colors: Ulises Arreola Letters: Jeff Powell
Story: 8.4 Art: 8.4 Overall: 8.4 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review.

Preview: Fallen World #5 (of 5)

FALLEN WORLD #5 (of 5)

Written by DAN ABNETT
Art by ADAM POLLINA
Colors by ULISES ARREOLA
Letters by JEFF POWELL
Cover Aby ADAM POLLINA
Cover Bby HARVEY TOLIBAO
Cover C by RAÚL ALLÉN
Pre-Order Editionby DAVID MACK
$3.99 | 32 pgs. | T+ | On sale SEPTEMBER 4th

It’s all-out war between Rai and Bloodfather!

Can Bloodshot be saved from his ultimate fate?

What does the future of 4002 hold for these characters? The first answers to what comes next starts here!

FALLEN WORLD #5 (of 5)

Preview: Killers #2 (of 5)

KILLERS #2 (of 5)

Written by B. CLAY MOORE
Art by FERNANDO DAGNINO
Colors by JOSÉ VILLARRUBIA
Letters by JEFF POWELL
Cover Aby JONBOY MEYERS
Cover Bby SANFORD GREENE
Cover C by FERNANDO DAGNINO
Cover D by JOHN K. SNYDER III
Pre-Order Editionby WHILCE PORTACIO with RAYMUND LEE
$3.99 | 32 pgs. | T+ | On sale AUGUST 28th

What’s mightier, the superninja or the rocket launcher?

Ninjas are virtually fearless, but what can cut straight to their core and make them tremble? Enter: Ninja-F!

Featuring the first appearance of the mysterious woman named Snapdragon!

KILLERS #2 (of 5)

Preview: The Forgotten Queen TPB

THE FORGOTTEN QUEEN TPB

Written by TINI HOWARD
Art by AMILCAR PINNA
Colors by ULISES ARREOLA
Letters by JEFF POWELL
Cover by AMILCAR PINNA
$9.99 | 112 pgs. | T+ | On sale AUGUST 14th

An immortal, so-called “witch” who can infect those around her with a thirst to kill—a War-Monger—returns to wreak havoc once again.

From rising star Tini Howard (Assassinistas) and powerhouse artist Amilcar Pinna (Generation X) comes a brand-new saga of honor, love, and savagery that’s centuries in the making!

Collecting the complete THE FORGOTTEN QUEEN limited series, #1–4.

THE FORGOTTEN QUEEN TPB

Review: Fallen World #4

Fallen World #4

In Fallen World #4, Rai’s greatest enemy has returned in a whole new form, and he’s got an army with him!

Can the cyborg samurai save innocent people from the powerful foe?

What roles will fan-favorite characters Eternal Warrior, Geomancer, and War Mother play in the battle?

Fallen World #4, written by Dan Abnett, featuring art by Adam Polina, colors by Ulises Arreola and letters by Jeff Powell is the penultimate issue in the series that follows the events of 4001 A.D. and War Mother. It also serves as the first time we see War Mother interact with another character from New Japan, the new Geomancer, and the Eternal Warrior.

Unfortunately, it’s also the weakest book so far in the series.

Gone are the allegories to the present day and our current struggles, replaced by an issue of combat and action that does little to provide any real excitement (which feels odd to say).

Regarding those allegories…

My love for this series is, in part, due to the analogs to our current world. There are clear problems between humans and their former slaves, the artificially intelligent positrons. This leads to some powerfully haunting moments in the first issue. The second issue introduced us to a religious sect that worship Father – or rather their idea of Father, crafted to suit their needs. It’s a series of undertones that add what all great science fiction has. That’s a powerful modern relevance despite the book being set two thousand years in the future. The third issue has added an interesting commentary on a foreign body trying to impose its will on the existent population. It’s a population that is less than thrilled with the proposition being offered by the foreign body.

From the review of Fallen World #3 I wrote last month.

Whereas the fourth issue has a throwaway line that infers people are willing to surrender far too much for the easy way out. It is a powerful line, but it’s lost amidst the rest of the issue and isn’t really revisited in any great detail, which is a shame.

Once again, the comic is split between two different plotlines; following Rai and the Eternal Warrior, the Geomancer and War Mother. Rai’s story is mostly focused on his impending confrontation with Father, and how the supporting characters try to help make such a thing a possibility in the finale of the miniseries. I’d love to say that the action of screen and the story itself are exciting, but it feels almost routine. Fallen World #4 is a by the numbers comic that is entirely at odds with the first two issues in the series – and as a person who was deeply enjoying the direction of the story, that’s a disappointing thing to say.

At this point, it would be nice to say that the diverging tale brings enough to the comic to save it, but there’s something a flatness in the way the Eternal Warrior, the Geomancer and War Mother interact; any of the emotion and humour from the previous issue seems to have drained away to be replaced with mostly forgettable dialogue (though there are highlights – for the most part it’s just “okay”).

I am aware that art is subjective, which makes talking about it tricky at times because this series has once again fallen below expectations for me. There are some wonderfully descriptive pages, and then you look at Gilad’s face and you wonder if it’s the same character that we saw last issue because he seems to have had an impromptu hair cut (which he seems to keep refreshing after every page or so), and the scars across his face have pretty much all but disappeared. Now while some of my misgivings can be attributed to the review pdf, there’s more than I can reasonably sweep under the rug.

That said, this series is still buoyed by two remarkable issues at the outset of the series, and another pretty good one right in the middle. While there has been a downward trend appearing, we’ve still got an issue left that will allow Abnett, Pollina and co to course correct for a much better finale than the fourth issue implies we’ll get. But, after a disappointing fourth issue, I’m still cautiously optimistic about the fifth.

Story: Dan Abnett Art: Adam Pollina
Colors: Ulises Arreola Letters: Jeff Powell
Story: 6.8 Art: 7.1 Overall: 7.0
Recommendation: Buy if you’ve come this far

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review.

Preview: Fallen World #4 (of 5)

FALLEN WORLD #4 (of 5)

Written by DAN ABNETT
Art by ADAM POLLINA
Colors by ULISES ARREOLA
Letters by JEFF POWELL
Cover A by RICK LEONARDI with DAN BROWN
Cover B by CHRISCROSS with ULISES ARREOLA
Cover C by BEN HARVEY
Pre-Order Edition by DAVID MACK
$3.99 | 32 pgs. | T+ | On sale AUGUST 7th

Rai’s greatest enemy has returned in a whole new form, and he’s got an army with him!

Can the cyborg samurai save innocent people from the powerful foe?

What roles will fan-favorite characters Eternal Warrior, Geomancer, and War Mother play in the battle?

FALLEN WORLD #4 (of 5)

Preview: Killers #1

KILLERS #1 (of 5)

Written by B. CLAY MOORE
Art by FERNANDO DAGNINO
Colors by JOSÉ VILLARRUBIA
Letters by JEFF POWELL
Cover A by JONBOY MEYERS
Cover B by DIEGO BERNARD
Cover C by KEN LASHLEY
Pre-Order Edition by WHILCE PORTACIO
Blank Variant Cover also available
$3.99 | 32 pgs. | T+ | On sale JULY 31st

Five deadly assassins are recruited into a game of cat and mouse by their former sensei, the mysterious Jonin!

But what does the Jonin want from them, and what do they gain out of helping him?

Each of these assassins can channel their ki—the spiritual energy within all beings—in different ways, granting them incredible powers, essentially making them “superninjas”!

KILLERS #1 (of 5)
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