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Review: Backtrack Vol. 2

Backtrack Vol. 2

Backtrack returns in the second volume of this full-throttle action series. Written by Brian Joines, the story follows a group of professional drivers from all walks of life. Each has been offered the chance to right their life’s greatest mistake. All they have to do is enter a race and be the first to cross the finish line of the final leg. Of course, there’s a catch. The drivers find themselves racing through time and fighting for their very survival with each subsequent leg of the course. There have also been hints that there is more going on than meets the eye, but the drivers have been too preoccupied with avoiding gladiators, earthquakes, and dinosaurs to do much investigating.

At the end of Volume 1, the drivers decided they needed to work together if any of them were to survive to the final leg of the race. As Backtrack Volume 2 begins, we see that some of the surviving drivers have taken this to heart, while others are still only out for themselves. After focusing mostly on Alyson during the first story arc, Joines widens the scope and gives readers more insight into the other racers’ pasts. I personally enjoyed this character development. It’s an addition that was largely missing from the first arc in the series. Use of flashbacks to break up the action scenes really helped to give the racing sequences more of a punch. Joines also uses these flashbacks to reveal further details of the motivations that lie at the heart of the each driver and the mysteries of the race itself.

Artist Jake Elphick does a great job of drawing the characters when they are shown in close-ups. He expertly conveys the emotions the characters are feeling in any given panel. I wasn’t as impressed with his skills when a panel is drawn from a wider angle. Some of the nuance is lost and it can be hard to tell the characters apart from one another. This is puzzling as Elphick draws the races at an appropriate scale, using combinations of wide and close-up panels to help readers follow the drivers’ progress along the course. The cars and their relative positions remain clear throughout the races, though at times it is tough to tell which driver is speaking or which car they are driving. Luckily, the settings of each race are extravagantly drawn, so even when a reader can’t tell exactly which driver is in peril or in the lead, there’s always other cool imagery they can take in.

While the first volume of Backtrack mainly focused on action and setting up the series, the story arc collected in this second volume feels much more flushed out. Readers are treated to the same high-octane action while also enjoying solid character development. The artwork hits a lot of high points though sometimes clarity becomes an issue. I recommend memorizing the type and color of car each character is driving. This would be unnecessary if things were drawn with greater detail in panels with wider perspectives. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. The second volume of Backtrack, published by Oni-Lion Forge, is out now and available for purchase. Pick up your copy today to see the thrilling conclusion to the series and find out which of the drivers ends up winning the race.

Story and Created: Brian Joines Art: Jake Elphick
Color: Doug Garbark Letterer: Jim Campbell
Story: 9.0 Art: 6.0 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Oni Press provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Review: Proctor Valley Road #2

Proctor Valley Road #2

The first issue of Proctor Valley Road I was a bit mixed on. There was a lot I liked but also it felt like so many other comics out there. Proctor Valley Road #2 delivers enough to get the series to now stand out from the pack with details that make this an intriguing series.  August, Rylee, Cora, and Jennie are the prime suspects in the disappearance of the missing boys. The theory is the boys headed across the border to escape the draft for Vietnam.

Alex Child and Grant Morrison have crafted a series that’s an interesting one. Proctor Valley Road #2 really emphasizes that with its infusion of real history and the popular “group takes on ghosts” genre that’s currently seeing a lot of releases. Set in any other time period and the series would simply have the girls be murder suspects. By setting it during the Vietnam War, the girls’ patriotism is questioned resulting in an intriguing ripple of reactions from their families. It’s a nice detail that really adds to the series and makes it a bit different than similar stories.

There’s also a lot of mystery thrown into the mix. The elements feel a bit Blair Witch 2 in numerous ways but it’s done so in a way the reader will drop “wtf” multiple times. There are also moments I swear were the end of the issue. They’d have been perfect to end with leaving a solid cliffhanger, and again the “wtf”. But, that’s not the case creating a comic with a bit of a different beat to it as far as the actual deliver of the story.

Naomi Franquiz‘s art is interesting. It’d be so easy to deliver a dark, brooding, and downright scary, version of this series. Franquiz’s style is much more in the line of BOOM! Studios‘ “style” that’s become so prevalent with the publisher. Along with color by Tamra Bonvillain and lettering by Jim Campbell the visuals of the series does a good job of balancing that fun, light-hearted style and the horror aspects. It’s an interesting style for the story and in some ways it emphasizes the “wtf” of it all. A darker style and look, the comic would be downright scary but as presented you linger on the page wondering what the hell is happening.

Proctor Valley Road #2 is a solid second issue. It takes the ideas started in the debut and ramps them up a bit. The time period is more of a factor. The small town aspect too comes into play a bit more. It’s all small details that really adds to he series and makes it much more interesting. The seeds laid out to start are really paying off and has me clamoring to find out what happens next.

Story: Alex Child, Grant Morrison Art: Naomi Franquiz
Color: Tamra Bonvillain Letterer: Jim Campbell
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

BOOM! Studios provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Vault Announces Interlocking Witchblood Variant Series by Yoshi Yoshitani

Vault has announced an out-of-this-world series of interlocking Witchblood variants from Vault Cover-Artist-in-Residence, Yoshi Yoshitani. Each of the five connected pieces will be published as open-order variants for Witchblood issues #1 through #5.

Vault’s 2021 Cover Artists-in-Residence (or “CAIR”) variant program, features Yoshi YoshitaniMartin Simmonds, Corin HowellJoshua Hixson, and Jen Hickman. The CAIR program will see each of these artists drawing open-order variants for the entire run of the Vault series of their choosing.

Witchblood is written by Matthew Erman, drawn by Lisa Sterle, colored by Gab Contreras, lettered by Jim Campbell, and designed by Tim Daniel.

A modern, Wild West road trip about a witch named Yonna cruising the Southwest as a band of bloodthirsty biker vampires, The Hounds of Love, hunt her scattered coven for the source of all magic: witch blood. From the critically acclaimed creators of The Modern Witch Tarot Deck and Long Lost comes WITCHBLOOD, a blend of action, lore, and Americana-perfect for fans of Buffy and American Gods.

Vault has Announced a Glow-In-The-Dark Witchblood Movie Poster Variant Limited to 100 copies

Vault Comics‘ sold out, smash-hit comic Witchblood is getting a hyper-limited edition variant cover featuring beautiful glow-in-the-dark treatment printed on deluxe heavyweight paper. With cover art by Lisa Sterle, and design by Tim Daniel, this limited edition cover—a tribute to the poster for the classic film, Easy Rider (Witchy Rider, if you will)—features glow-in-the-dark ink on deluxe heavyweight paper.

This very special variant is available only on the vault web storeThis limited edition of 100 copies will never be reprinted.

The collectible cover ships from Vault, bagged and boarded, in a Gemini mailer. Grades are not guaranteed. Purchases will begin shipping during the week of April 5, 2021.

Witchblood is written by Matthew Erman, drawn by Lisa Sterle, colored by Gab Contreras, lettered by Jim Campell.

A modern, Wild West road trip about a witch named Yonna cruising the Southwest as a band of bloodthirsty biker vampires, The Hounds of Love, hunt her scattered coven for the source of all magic: witch blood. From the critically acclaimed creators of The Modern Witch Tarot Deck and Long Lost comes WITCHBLOOD, a blend of action, lore, and Americana-perfect for fans of Buffy and American Gods.

Witchblood #1 moie poster variant

Get a Look at Abbott: 1973 #4 from Saladin Ahmed, Sami Kivelä, Mattia Iacono, and Jim Campbell

BOOM! Studios has revealed a first look at Abbott: 1973 #4, the latest issue of the new series from writer Saladin Ahmed and artist Sami Kivelä, with colorist Mattia Iacono and letterer Jim Campbell. This new five-issue series returns to the Hugo Award-nominated world of Abbott, as the eponymous unstoppable reporter tackles a new corruption taking over Detroit in 1973 and the supernatural threat behind it, available on April 28, 2021.

Elena has assembled a force of unlikely allies to mount an important rescue mission – but with vengeful gangsters and the deadly Umbra closing in, this is a fight they may not be able to win. The secret to victory may lie with one of Elena’s old friends – and the dark truth behind the Umbra’s return.

Abbott: 1973 #4 features cover art by Taj Tenfold, Raúl Allén, and Jen Bartel.

Get an Early Look at Jim Henson’s The Storyteller: Tricksters #2

BOOM! Studios has revealed the first look of Jim Henson’s The Storyteller: Tricksters #2, the next issue of a new comic book series based on the Emmy Award-winning classic television show, Jim Henson’s The Storyteller, presenting several extraordinary folk tales of legendary tricksters from the four corners of the world. New York Times bestselling author Jordan Ifueko, rising star artist Erin Kubo, and letterer Jim Campbell present the next standalone chapter, available on April 21, 2021.

A teen Yoruba village girl summons the great god of mischief, Eshu, to coerce her crush, a dashing hunter, to break up with his sweetheart and marry her instead. Eshu agrees to help her, revelling at the chance to wreak havoc with them all…only to find that the village girl had a mischievous plot all of her own.

Jim Henson’s The Storyteller: Tricksters #2 will feature main cover art by artist Peach Momoko and variant cover art by artist Dani Pendergast.

JIM HENSON’S THE STORYTELLER: TRICKSTERS #2

Your First Look at the Series Finale of the Sci-Fi Epic Origins

BOOM! Studios has revealed a first look at Origins #6, the final chapter of the limited series by acclaimed writer Clay McLeod Chapman, illustrator Jakub Rebelka, colorist Patricio Delpeche, and letterer Jim Campbell, that presents a stunning view of a future where humanity’s last hope may be the person who brought about its destruction, available on April 7, 2021.

Humanity rests in the balance as David and Chloe near the end of their journey. And in their way stands the last enemy either of them ever expected.

Origins #6 featues a main and variant covers by Rebelka.

Origins #6

Preview: Witchblood #1

Witchblood #1

Writer: Matthew Erman
Artist: Lisa Sterle 
Colorist: Gab Contreras
Letterer: Jim Campbell
Designer: Tim Daniel
Cover A: Lisa Sterle 
Cover B (Tarot): Lisa Sterle 
Cover C (Dazzler #1 Homage): Nathan Gooden & Tim Daniel
Cover D: Yoshi Yoshitani 
On Sale: 3/31/2021

A modern, Wild West road trip about a witch named Yonna cruising the Southwest as a band of bloodthirsty biker vampires, The Hounds of Love, hunt her scattered coven for the source of all magic: witch blood. From the critically acclaimed creators of The Modern Witch Tarot Deck and Long Lost comes WITCHBLOOD, a blend of action, lore, and Americana-perfect for fans of Buffy and American Gods.

Witchblood #1

Specter Inspectors #1 Gets a New Printing After Selling Out

BOOM! Studios has announced that Specter Inspectors #1, the first issue of the original five-issue series from comics creators Bowen McCurdy, rising star Kaitlyn Musto, and letterer Jim Campbell about a group of social media-savvy ghost hunters who seek out supernatural hot spots has sold out at the distributor level!

In response to the overwhelming support from retailers and fans, BOOM! Studios has announced Specter Inspectors #1 Second Printing, featuring brand new cover art by Kaitlyn Musto, available in stores April 21, 2021.

True believer Noa, her cynical little sibling Gus, credulous camera man Ko, and Noa’s skeptical best friend (and secret crush) Astrid head to one of the most haunted towns in America to prove that ghosts exist, for all the social media likes! The investigations of hauntings uncover something more devilish than just a couple of ghosts, something that will put Noa and Astrid’s relationship to the test… and reveal the centuries-old sinister secrets of the town itself.

Read our review of the first issue.

Specter Inspectors #1 Second Printing

Michael Moreci, Nathan Gooden, Addison Duke, and Jim Campbell Get Barbaric at Vault

Vault Comics has announced Barbaric, a wild, blood-thirsty fantasy series from writer Michael Moreci, artist Nathan Gooden, colorist Addison Duke, letterer Jim Campbell, and designer Tim Daniel.

Barbaric follows Owen the Barbarian who has been cursed to do good with what remains of his life. His bloodthirsty weapon, Axe, has become his moral compass with a drinking problem. Together they wander the realm, foredoomed to help any who seek assistance. But there is one thing Owen hates more than a life with rules: Witches. Welcome to the skull-cracking, blood-splattering, mayhem-loving comic brave enough to ask: How can a man sworn to do good do so much violence? Hah! F***ing with you. It’s just…BARBARIC.

Axe, co-star of Barbaric (Owen’s sentient, blood-drunk axe) slurred his way through a statement about his upcoming role in the book. “Look, maybe I am a bloodthirsty axe with a drinking problem, but I still know an epic, kick-ass story when I see one. Granted, I happen to be the star of this particular tale (never mind that barbarian oaf), but that doesn’t change the fact that Barbaric has got it all: action, a sweet f***ing axe, mystery, magic, an awesome AXE, and other non-axe related stuff. So come for the axe and stay for the axe. You don’t want to get me mad, do you?”

Barbaric #1 will hit store shelves in June 2021, and will debut with a special Vault Vintage cover from Nathan Gooden and Tim Daniel that pays homage to Barry Windsor-Smith’s epic cover to Conan The Barbarian #1 (1970).

Barbaric #1
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