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Review: Rosen Blood Vol. 1

Stella is in a horrific carriage accident and awakens in a Gothic manions to find gorgeous young men have saved her. They let her stay as their maid. With her around, the young men must hide their savage thirst.

Story: Kachiru Ishizue
Art: Kachiru Ishizue
Translation: JN Produtions
English Adaptation: Ysabet Reinhardt MacFarlane
Touch-Up Art & Lettering: Joanna Estep
Design: Alice Lewis
Editor: Jennifer Sherman

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Review: Marvel Voices Pride #1

Marvel Voices Pride #1

In honor of Pride Month, Marvel Comics dropped a big 84 pages one-shot celebrating both its LGBTQ+ creators and characters. Beginning with a story from Luciano Vecchio that’s not sure if it’s telling the story of queer characters in the Marvel Universe from an in-universe or more of a real-world documentary perspective, Marvel Voices Pride #1 sputters with a story that basically says aliens and shapeshifters brought the idea of being non-binary, genderqueer, or gender nonconforming to this world followed by a text-heavy Allan Heinberg/Jim Cheung Young Avengers reunion. However, it catches its footing with a cute Karolina Dean/Nico Minoru story, and for the most part, it provides a wide spectrum of LGBTQ+ representation with a special focus on the mutant/X-Men side of the Marvel Universe, who have acted as a mostly metaphorical representation to queer fans like myself. However, it’s nice to see characters like Anole, Prodigy, Destiny, Karma, and Jessie Drake get the spotlight along with more prominently featured cis male gay characters like Northstar (His coming out story in Alpha Flight #106 is reprinted at the end) and Iceman. But fans of non-mutant/Runaways/Wiccan and Hulkling characters may be disappointed as characters like Angela, Sera, Hercules, and America Chavez don’t appear except in small cameo roles.

Marvel Voices Pride #1 kicks off with a journey through the LGBTQ+ history of the Marvel Universe from writer/artist Luciano Vecchio. Even though many of his adult characters look like teens, Vecchio has a beautiful art style and color palette. However, my issue with this first story isn’t the form, but the content. As mentioned earlier, this introductory story isn’t sure if it’s being told from the perspective of the real world or Earth-616 even though it’s narrated by Prodigy. It also has a very self-congratulatory, back-patting tone, especially for a company that recently cancelled a book starring many of its queer characters (X-Factor) and mentions characters like Angela and Sera that haven’t been barely heard or seen from since getting their own title in 2015. Even though Vecchio is a queer creator, there’s big “ally” energy in this first story with a heterosexual character, Captain America getting the spotlight, and the implication that non-binary identities came from aliens and shapeshifters. He does successfully lay out what ended up being a thesis for the anthology, which is the connection between mutants and queer identity.

This story is followed by a one page Young Avengers creator reunion as Allan Heinberg, Jim Cheung, and Marcelo Maiolo chronicle Hulking and Wiccan’s wedding vows. Heinberg’s writing is tender, but this feels like more of a prose piece than a comic. Heinberg and Cheung’s inclusion seems like more stunt-casting to get older queer Marvel fans interested in the one-shot rather than being any kind of substantial addition to their work on Young Avengers. However, Marvel Voices: Pride rights the ship (Pun fully intended.) in its next story featuring two members of Marvel’s other prominent 2000s teen superhero team, the Runaways. Mariko Tamaki, Kris Anka, and Tamra Bonvillain turns in three pages of sweet glances, chatter, and a super adorable kiss as Nico Minoru and Karolina Dean think about what they would tell people if they asked how they met. The long line out of the venue reminded me of the pre-pandemic days when I would wait in line for hours to get a good spot to see artists like Carly Rae Jepsen and Robyn with my fellow queer folks, and Bonvillain’s summery color palette matches Anka’s skill with facial expressions. This story is like the cherry on top of the sundae that he helped build when he was the artist on Runaways and finally put Karolina and Nico in a relationship together.

The next story in Marvel Voices Pride is the first one to feature a trans protagonist, Dr. Charlene McGowan from Immortal Hulk. The plot of Lilah Sturges, Derek Charm, and Brittany Peer is about some “hilarious” misunderstandings when Lady Daredevil aka the artist formerly known as Elektra Natchios and some Z-list, rapping supervillains raid McGowan’s lab when they think she’s producing mutant growth hormone when when she’s actually working on a way to get trans women’s bodies to produce progesterone without taking pills. What follows is Trans 101 with a little bit of ass kicking courtesy Charm, who is in his Bronze Age element with the cheesy costumes and dark shadows. However, other than the fact that’s she a scientist who sometimes makes jokes, we don’t learn anything about Dr. McGowan except that she’s surprisingly cool with microaggressions from A-List Marvel heroes. Kudos to Marvel Voices‘ editorial for getting a trans writer in Sturges to pen this story, but the whole thing feels reductive and geared towards fanboys who know every member of Daredevil or Hulk’s rogues gallery and have never interacted with a transgender person.

Marvel Voices Pride #1

In contrast, Leah Williams, Jan Bazaldua, and Erick Arciniega re-introduce Marvel’s first transgender character, the mutant Jessie Drake in a thrilling manner as she appears in her first comic in 27 years. However, Black Cat is the protagonist of this story and is tracking down Steel Raven, a villain who’s been impersonating her, pulling some sloppy heists, and ruining her reputation. Williams’ quippy writing style works well for the fast-paced short story as Black Cat and Jessie meet, flirt, and figure out their next move in catching Steel Raven. Bazaldua plays with space and transforms what would normally be your run of the mill villain warehouse into something more surreal. She and Williams do succeed in building a connection between Jessie and Black Cat as well as showing off Jesse’s empathy-based abilities, but this is just a teaser for a bigger cat and mouse game. Hopefully, there’s room for more batting of eyes, power showcasing, and insight into the character of Jessie Drake, both in her own series or in Black Cat’s current ongoing, which has been a sneaky good read.

Continuing this positive trend is Crystal Frasier, Jethro Morales, and Rachelle Rosenberg telling a wonderful She-Hulk and Titania. But there’s a twist as Jennifer Walters doesn’t appear, but Jennifer Harris, who was inspired by her to come out as trans and cosplay her at a copyright friendly version of New York Comic Con. As someone who came out as bi around the same time Prodigy did in Young Avengers or when Iceman came out as gay in All-New X-Men, I can definitely connect to the inspirational power of fictional characters like Jennifer did with She-Hulk. She and Titania also have some nice banter, and Frasier and Morales also remind readers that She-Hulk was the original fourth wall breaker with some jokes and exploding layouts.

After the She-Hulk story is probably my favorite story of Marvel Voices Pride #1, which is a Prodigy and Speed one from Kieron Gillen, Jen Hickman, and Brittany Peer as Gillen returns to both the X-Men and Young Avengers franchises. The dialogue between Speed and Prodigy sparkles, and Hickman shows off their chops as a storyteller working in eating pizza, stealing glances at Colossus, and empathizing with Kitty Pryde as Prodigy basically tells his bisexual origin story. His story also acts as a critique of how the mutant books have been good about metaphorical queer representation, but not actual queer representation. This is timely because the book that Prodigy was a main cast member in is getting cancelled. However, this is really a lovely story full of hilarious and insightful writing from Kieron Gillen and pitch-perfect images and comedic timing from Hickman as Speed teases Prodigy for having a crush on Colossus when he ran with the New Mutants. Prodigy is true overthinking, chaos bisexual representation, and I’m personally glad to see him get a spotlight in this story even if it’s only a few pages long.

The anthology takes a break from comics for a bit and features an interview with Christian Cooper, one of the first queer editors at Marvel, and he talks about his experiences at the company and the impact comics have had on his life. After this, there’s a timeline of big LGBTQ+ moments in Marvel Comics. It’s followed up with a cute Anole story from Terry Blas, the wonderful Paulina Ganucheau, and Kendall Goode. Blas connects the idea of Krakoa being a mutant utopia to things like Pride, and the ability to unwind at the Green Lagoon with folks who understand your struggles being the goal of all this hard work and fighting. However, it’s not all big metaphors as he and Ganucheau probe into Anole’s body issues leading to him not wanting to date along with his friendship with Jonas Graymalkin. It all ends on a fabulous final page, and this story is worth checking out for Ganucheau and Goode’s soft, colorful takes on the different mutants.

Sticking with the mutant theme, Anthony Oliveira, Javier Garron, and David Curiel go all in with the mutant as gay metaphor in an Iceman story set during the time period of the original five X-Men. They play on the fact that Magneto was played by a gay man in four of the X-Men films and find a real connection between Bobby and Magneto, who takes a break from the missiles to provide a listening ear to this young man struggling with his identity. Oliveira writes Iceman as having a crush on Angel, and Garron nails the longing glances that he throws at the majestic mutant that turn into words when Magneto sits down to chat with him. They take the subtext (For example, Bobby not being interested in Jean Grey when she joins the team.) of these Silver Age text and transform them into glorious text while also showing off the sweeter side of Magneto, a man who would one day break down when he realized that his crusade almost led to the death of an innocent child, Kitty Pryde.

This story is followed up by one focusing on the relationship between Northstar and his husband, Kyle Jinadu from writer/artist J.J. Kirby. It’s touching to see what Northstar is like away from the cameras and public, and what Kyle loves about them. However, Kirby’s 1990s-style artwork with modern, digital coloring is a mismatch for the story, and I spent most of the time wondering why Northstar looked like a vampire or a block of ice instead of the events of the story. Luckily, the misstep is remedied by a thrilling riff on Sherlock Holmes vs. Professor Moriarty from Tini Howard, Samantha Dodge, and Brittany Peer featuring Mystique and Destiny. The story is adventurous filled with wits matching, chess games, and lover’s embraces and shows how iconic a couple these two are while also showing what a big deal it was for them to be open with their love in a time period where being queer got you thrown in jail. Plus it’s a reminder that queer people have always existed in history. (Or fiction.)

Vita Ayala, Joanna Estep, Brittney Williams, and Brittany Peer continue the theme of both mutants and queer women in a Karma story set during the Hellfire Gala after party where Magik gives her a pep talk to dance (and maybe even smooch) Elle, who as far as I can tell is a new, queer mutant created for this anthology. Karma truly gets the spotlight this story and gets to work out some of her issues with her powers and emotions as she’s afraid that if she asks Elle out that she’ll use her abilities to mess with her free will. However, this doesn’t happen, and we get to see a mutant who has been screwed over so many times be happy for once and get the girl in a beautiful sequence from Ayala, Estep, Williams, and Peer.

Marvel Voices Pride #1

The final story in Marvel Voices Pride #1 again shows that Steve Orlando is perfect for writing violent, queer characters with a sensitive side as he and Claudia Aguirre tell the story of Daken and Somnus, a new character who can make one night seem like a life time together. He used this power on Daken back in the day during a one night stand and then ended up living a long life without him even though he didn’t divulge his oneiromantic mutant abilities to everyone. However, Krakoa and its resurrection protocols are all about second chances, and Daken gives him one in this story. As well as digging deep into Daken’s emotions, Orlando and Aguirre also use this story to remind readers of queer elders, who because of society’s hate, never came out or came out later in life, and this is what makes Somnus’ second chance so special. Also, his abilities are pretty cool and bring a little Vertigo into the X-Books.

Marvel Voices Pride #1 is definitely an up and down ride. Some of the stories mishandle nonbinary and gender nonconforming identities (Also, there are no nonbinary lead characters in this anthology.) or seem to pander heavily to allies while others have issues with their art or storytelling style. (Northstar/Kyle, Wiccan/Hulkling) But, for the most part, it’s nice to see queer creators and queer characters get the spotlight for once instead of being hidden behind things like the mutant metaphor, which is usually Marvel editorial’s approach. Time will tell if we see them beyond this anthology, but most of the creators in Marvel Voices Pride work on books in Marvel’s main line or have had consistent success at other companies or even television in Allan Heinberg’s case so, at least, that’s something they have going for them.

Story: Luciano Vecchio, Allan Heinberg, Mariko Tamaki, Lilah Sturges, Leah Williams,
Crystal Frasier, Kieron Gillen, Terry Blas, Anthony Oliveira, J.J. Kirby, Tini Howard, Vita Ayala, Steve Orlando
Art: Luciano Vecchio, Jim Cheung, Kris Anka, Derek Charm, Jan Bazaldua,
Jethro Morales, Jen Hickman, Paulina Ganucheau, Javier Garron, J.J. Kirby, Samantha Dodge, Joanna Estep with Brittney Williams, Claudia Aguirre, Jacopo Camagni
Colors: Marcelo Maiolo, Tamra Bonvillain, Brittany Peer,
Erick Arciniega, Rachelle Rosenberg, Kendall Goode, David Curiel
Letters: Ariana Maher
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.6 Overall: 8.3 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Preview: Marvel’s Voices: Pride #1

Marvel’s Voices: Pride #1

(W) Kieron Gillen, More (A) Javi Garron, More (CA) Luciano Vecchio
88 pages/ONE-SHOT/Rated T+
In Shops: Jun 23, 2021
SRP: $9.99

MARVEL CELEBRATES LGBTQ+ CHARACTERS & CREATORS WITH A RAINBOW-POWERED SPECIAL!
Marvel Comics is proud to present its first ever queer-centered anthology! Ring in Pride Month with an amazing assembly of writers and artists from all walks of life. Wiccan and Hulkling! Iceman! Mystique and Destiny! Karma! Akihiro! Nico Minoru and Karolina Dean! Celebrate these and so many more legendary characters from across the Marvel archive! New and fan-favorite creators tell their Pride stories – stories of inspiration and empowerment, stories that illustrate “the world outside your window” in full color. Plus, some of Marvel’s biggest LGBTQ+ moments get a special reprinting. Don’t miss an extraordinary new chapter in Marvel history!

Marvel's Voices: Pride #1

Early Preview: Marvel’s Voices: Pride #1

Marvel’s Voices: Pride #1

(W) Various (A) Various (CA) Luciano Vecchio
88 pages/ONE-SHOT/Rated T+
In Shops: Jun 23, 2021
SRP: $9.99

MARVEL CELEBRATES LGBTQ+ CHARACTERS & CREATORS WITH A RAINBOW-POWERED SPECIAL!
Marvel Comics is proud to present its first ever queer-centered anthology! Ring in Pride Month with an amazing assembly of writers and artists from all walks of life. Wiccan and Hulkling! Iceman! Mystique and Destiny! Karma! Akihiro! Nico Minoru and Karolina Dean! Celebrate these and so many more legendary characters from across the Marvel archive! New and fan-favorite creators tell their Pride stories – stories of inspiration and empowerment, stories that illustrate “the world outside your window” in full color. Plus, some of Marvel’s biggest LGBTQ+ moments get a special reprinting. Don’t miss an extraordinary new chapter in Marvel history!

Marvel has released teaser images for the upcoming anthology!

Story A
Starring Prodigy and Speed
Written by Kieron Gillen
Art by Jen Hickman
Colors by Brittany Peer

Story B
Starring Karma
Written by Vita Ayala
Art by Joanna Estep
Layouts by Brittney Williams
Colors by Brittany Peer

Story C
Starring Iceman
Written by Anthony Oliviera
Art by Javier Garrón
Colors by David Curiel

Story D
Starring Daken and Somnus
Written by Steve Orlando
Art by Claudia Aguirre
Somnus Character Design by Luciano Vecchio

Story E
Starring Mystique and Destiny
Written by Tini Howard
Art by Samantha Dodge
Colors by Brittany Peer

Story F
Starring Black Cat and Jessie Drake
Written by Leah Williams
Art by Jan Bazaldua
Colors by Erick Arciniega

Story G
Starring Nico Minoru and Karolina Dean
Written by Mariko Tamaki
Art by Kris Anka
Colors by Tamra Bonvillain

Story H
Starring Anole
Written by Terry Blas
Art by Paulina Ganucheau
Layouts by Kendall Goode

Story I
Starring Northstar
Written by JJ Kirby
Art by JJ Kirby

Story J
Starring Elektra and Dr. Charlene McGowan
Written by Lilah Sturges
Art by Derek Charm
Colors by Brittany Peer

Story K
Starring Titania and She-Hulk
Written by Crystal Frasier
Art by Jethro Morales
Colors by Rachelle Rosenberg

Preview: Women of Marvel #1

Women of Marvel #1

(W) Natasha Alterici, More (A) Eleonora Carlini, More (CA) Sara Pichelli
ONE-SHOT/Rated T+
In Shops: Apr 21, 2021
SRP: $5.99

WHO RUNS THE WORLD? YOU ALREADY KNOW. CELEBRATE THE WOMEN OF MARVEL WITH AN EXTRAVAGANZA OF EXTRAORDINARY TALENT!
The future is female! Get in on the ground floor with this amazing assembly of writers and artists from all over entertainment. Comics legend Louise Simonson kicks things off with a must-read introduction! Nadia Shammas punches the glass ceiling with the Jade Giantess! Elsa Sjunneson grits her way to the front line with Captain Peggy Carter! Sophie Campbell goes feral with a bone-grinding Marrow story! Video game-and-comics writer Anne Toole makes her Marvel debut in a blaze of glory! Natasha Alterici of Heathen fame charges sword-first into the Marvel Universe! With astonishing art from new and established artists Kei Zama (Transformers, DEATH’S HEAD), Eleonora Carlini (Power Rangers, Batgirl), Skylar Patridge (Resonant, Relics of Youth), Joanna Estep (Fantastic Four, Fraggle Rock) and more, you’re sure to come away powered up and ready to slay – in high heels and boots alike.

Women of Marvel #1

Scarlet Witch, Magik, and Moore Get the Spotlight on Women of Marvel #1 Covers

This April, Women of Marvel #1 will spotlight iconic characters from the X-Men to the Avengers in a collection of tales by an all-female lineup of incredible talent from throughout the entertainment industry. And today on International Women’s Day, Marvel hasrevealed new variant covers and share more details about the incredible special.

Women of Marvel #1 will be packed with inspiring tales from new and established creators including Louise Simonson, Nadia Shammas, Elsa Sjunneson, Sophie Campbell, Anne Toole, Natasha Alterici, and Mariko Tamaki. In addition, acclaimed Brooklyn Brujas author Zoraida Córdova will be making her Marvel Comics debut with an action-packed story about the deadliest woman in the galaxy, Gamora! Joined by Swedish artist Maria Fröhlich – also making her Marvel debut – Zoraida puts Gamora in the crosshairs of her most lethal enemy yet: love. With astonishing art from Kei Zama, Eleonora Carlini, Skylar Patridge, Joanna Estep, Maria Fröhlich, Peach Momoko, Rachael Stott, Nina Vakueva, Marika Cresta, and June Brigman, this oversized issue will be a spectacular showcase of some of the most amazing talent in the graphic novel industry today.

Check out variant covers by Amanda Conner, Maria Wolf, and Peach Momoko. Stay tuned for more news about this highly-anticipated one-shot and don’t miss Women of Marvel #1 when it hits stands on April 21st!

All-Star Creators Celebrate the Women of Marvel in April

Get ready for a new giant-sized special celebrating Marvel’s heroes will debut in April. Women of Marvel #1 will spotlight iconic characters from the X-Men to the Avengers in a collection of tales by an all-female lineup of incredible talent from throughout the entertainment industry.

Kicking things off will be comics legend Louise Simonson with a must-read introduction. Simonson will be followed by some of the hottest rising stars in the graphic novel industry. Nadia Shammas punches the glass ceiling with an action-packed She-Hulk adventure, Elsa Sjunneson grits her way to the front line with a tale about Captain Peggy Carter, Sophie Campbell goes feral with a bone-grinding Marrow story, video game and comics writer Anne Toole gets gritty in the streets of Hell’s Kitchen, and Natasha Alterici of Heathen fame charges sword-first into the Marvel Universe with a revelatory tale about Rogue and Mystique. With astonishing art from new and established artists Kei Zama, Eleonora Carlini, Skylar Patridge, Joanna Estep, and more, readers are sure to come away powered up and ready to slay. And featuring a cover by Sara Pichelli!

Stay tuned for more news about Women of Marvel #1 and pick up this extraordinary issue when it hits stands in April.

Women of Marvel #1

Bitch Planet: Triple Feature Vol. 1 Arrives in December

A dizzyingly talented roster of noncompliant creators, joining forces with series creators Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro, will release the first trade paperback collection of Bitch Planet: Triple Feature this December.

Ripped directly from the world of Bitch Planet, a crack team of creators spin 15 teeth-clenching tales of rage, revolution, and ridicule. Patriarchy beware…this sci-fi kidney punch can’t be stopped!

Within the pages of Bitch Planet: Triple Feature Vol. 1, readers can enjoy the writing talents of: Cheryl Lynn Eaton, Andrew Aydin, Conley Lyons, Che Grayson, Danielle Henderson, Jordan Clark, Alissa Sallah, Dylan Meconis, Kit Cox, Marc Deschamps, Sara Woolley, Vita Ayala, Bassey Nyambi, Alobi, Nyambi Nyambi, Jon Tsuei, and Matt Fraction, and delight in the artistic stylings of Dylan Meconis, Sara Woolley, Maria Fröhlich, Joanna Estep, Craig Yeung, Sharon Lee De La Cruz, Ted Brandt, Ro Stein, Naomi Franquiz, Alec Valerius, Vanesa R. Del Rey, Mindy Lee, Rossi Gifford, Chris Visions, Saskia Gutekunst, and Elsa Charretier.

Bitch Planet: Triple Feature Vol. 1 (Diamond code: OCT170620, ISBN: 978-1-5343-0529-8) hits comic book stores Wednesday, December 13th. The final order cutoff deadline for comics retailers is Monday, November 6th.

Bitch Planet Gets a New Anthology Series Bitch Planet: Triple Feature

Image Comics has announced Bitch Planet: Triple Feature, a new anthology series featuring satirical stories born from the pages of Bitch Planet and brought to you by talent from across the comics industry.

Ripped directly from the world of Bitch Planet, a crack team of creators spin three teeth-clenching tales of rage, revolution, and ridicule—plus essays, a letter column, and more!

Bitch Planet: Triple Feature #1 includes Windows, by Cheryl Lynn Eaton and Maria Fröhlich; Without and Within, by Andrew Aydin and Joanna Estep; and The Invisible Woman, written by Conley Lyons with art by Craig Yeung; all with lettering by Clayton Cowles.

100% Grade-A satire. Accept no substitutes.

Bitch Planet: Triple Feature #1 (Diamond code: APR170731) hits stores Wednesday, June 14. The final order cutoff deadline for comics retailers is Monday, May 22nd.

Review: Death Head #1

DHEAD-1-FC-FNLI remembered watching the movie, Jeepers Creepers and its inevitable sequel, when they came out, I still remember just how spooked I was watching both films, as you had a feeling what was ultimately going to happen to them, but you still wanted to see it anyway. That is the exact feeling I had while reading this exciting new series by Zack and Nick Keller with art by Joanna Estep, they have created a series that has that air of eeriness that only the best horror movies have. The story opens up with a couple taking a hiking a tour of Shadowcliff National Park, which actually has the biggest population of death head hawk moths in the country. They stumble upon, what they believe is a reenactment site, but is actually the same town, where the ancient legend of Death Head begun, shortly after, they are attacked by hive full of moths.

The action then cuts to an all girls school, where you are introduced to salacious teenage girls, nuns who curse and evil priests. Definitely all the makings of a good slasher flick. You are then introduced to the typical defenseless weakling and a bully who cannot help but pick on him, who just so happens to mention the legend of Death Head which is what connects all these characters together. Although, these characters and their arcs, are well-traveled tropes in the horror genre, the creative team behind this, does an excellent job of putting a well-developed story together.

Definitely, the Kellers are lovers of this genre and know what works and what does not work, as far as storytelling, and they use the devices that do work in the most effective ways. The art by Joanna Estep is an extraordinary complement to the Kellers’ script. The cohesion between the Kellers and Estep, make this project work, where others would fail. Overall, a solid horror comic, that definitely deserves a big screen adaptation.

Story: Zack and Nick Keller Art: Joanna Estep
Story: 9 Art: 9 Overall: 9 Recommendation: BUY NOW

Dark Horse provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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