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Review: Hawkeye: Kate Bishop #1

Hawkeye: Kate Bishop #1

Kate Bishop is the new hotness right now with the spotlight shining on the character due to the live-action Hawkeye series on Disney+. Perfectly timed with its debut is Hawkeye: Kate Bishop #1 which has Kate Bishop deciding what to do next with her life. Should she stay on the West Coast or should she head back to New York City? No matter where she ends up, this debut has her making a detour to a posh resort where some quirky things are going on.

Marieke Nijkamp takes Kate on her next adventure delivering a nice dose of emotion, reflection, and wtf moments. I’ll admit, Kate isn’t a character I know a lot of. My experience has been what Young Avengers I’ve read and some interaction with Clint Barton. I know the basics and honestly, that’s about all you need.

Nijkamp does a solid job of catching new readers up on the character. We get a good run through of what her skills are and the drama in her life. We also get a good sense of what we can expect in the type of storytelling with intermittent use of text messages to give us a lot on what we need to know. The issue also acts as a way to break away in some ways from everything. This is Kate on her own trying to solve a mystery. Her past relationships are mentioned but that feels more to flesh out a character and give us some flavor instead of a rather dry detective story.

Dry is definitely one thing this comic is not. There’s a good dose of humor throughout, even when Kate is contemplating the more dramatic aspects of her life. The dialogue and interactions work well and even the most intense moments have a bit of humor about them. That’s partially due to the art.

Enid Balám handles the pencils for Hawkeye: Kate Bishop #1. Oren Junior handles the inks with Brittany Peer on color, and Joe Caramagna lettering. The art looks good. There’s some good action moments that are balanced well with the dramatic. What’s interesting is Balám sparringly uses some recent visual ticks that have become popular in the Hawkeye and Young Avengers comics, that of the sprawling image that takes the reader on a visual journey to follow. There’s one instance of it here which feels like more of a wink and a nod to what was that a real solid use of the style. We get a good look at the sprawling resort Kate has gone to with a lot to mull over as to how much it means.

Hawkeye: Kate Bishop #1 is a pretty solid start that kicks off what feels like a fun mini-series. I don’t see this as a world-changing story but enough entertainment that long time fans should be pleased and new ones will feel welcomed.

Story: Marieke Nijkamp Art: Enid Balám
Ink: Oren Junior Color: Brittany Peer Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Story: 7.75 Art: 7.75 Overall: 7.75 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Exclusive Preview: Kang the Conqueror #4 (of 5)

Kang the Conqueror #4 (of 5)

(W) Collin Kelly, Jackson Lanzing (A) Carlos Magno (C) Espen Grundetjern (L) Joe Caramagna (CA) Mike Del Mundo (VCA) CAFU
RATED T+
In Shops: Nov 17, 2021
SRP: $3.99

• Unstoppable force meets immovable object as Nathaniel Richards’ mission to change his timeline slams into a horrible inevitability: the tragic fate of Kang’s great love, Ravonna Renslayer.
• Can young Kang avert catastrophe and find his way to a better future? Or is he doomed to repeat the same cycle of tragedy and violence for all eternity?

Kang the Conqueror #4 (of 5)

Preview: Amazing Spider-Man #77

Amazing Spider-Man #77

I’m not the biggest Spider-Man fan. He’s a character I’ve read on and off over the years picking it up when a new team comes on or a new arc begins. “Beyond” is the latest opportunity that ushering in not one creative team but a “board” guiding the character’s path. And what a path that has been so far. Ben Reilly has taken over as Spider-Man as Peter now lays in a coma fighting for his life and health. With Amazing Spider-Man #77, a new team from the “board” has stepped in to guide the issue and direction of the character.

Kelly Thompson is the writer for this issue which dials things back a little focusing on Beyond and Ben before setting him off to his next adventure. It’s an interesting issue really diving more into Beyond delivering hints throughout about this rather quirky corporation. Ben does a walk and talk with the mysterious Maxine Danger who heads up superhero development. Maxine drills Ben about his commitment to the project coming off as both threatening but also like someone trying to manage a business and taking things seriously. It’s hard to get a read off of the character to see if she’ll be part of whatever obstacles Ben will have to fight in the future.

With it, Thompson helps add more depth to Reilly who in these few issues has become a fairly well-rounded character full of doubt but you want to succeed. He comes off as real and sincere, someone we can relate to as readers. You understand his motivation and what’s holding him back in some ways. He’s trying to figure out his role and how he’s going to be the hero he wants to be. This isn’t an arrogant individual who has just put on the suit and swings away using the Spider-Man mantle. There’s thought and concern there.

Where the issue really pops is Sara Pichelli’s art. With the walk and talk there’s so much detail about Beyond Corporation that adds a lot to the company. We don’t know a lot about it so everything adds a little bit. With color by Nolan Woodard and lettering by Joe Caramagna, it comes off as a tech focused company that’s a little out there. Gags play through the background but each feels like there’s a story to tell. It’s a treat to read and just look at the art picking up every small detail.

Amazing Spider-Man #77 is a pretty solid issue. It adds a lot to the depth of the story and players and sets up the next adventure for Spider-Man. “Beyond” has done an excellent job of mixing the emotional, down to earth moments, with the fantastical superhero aspects. It’s not to late to hop on and swing into Spider-Man’s new direction and so far, it’s been well worth it.

Story: Kelly Thompson Art: Sara Pichelli
Color: Nolan Woodard Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Story: 7.75 Art: 8.25 Overall: 7.8 Recommendation: Read

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Review: Amazing Spider-Man #76

Amazing Spider-Man #76

Spider-Man is going “Beyond” with a new storyline and direction put together by a “board” of creators. Two issues in and the new direction and vibe is working and doing so well. Amazing Spider-Man #76 drops the amount of punching but keeps up on the action. It focuses on the fallout of the previous issue begins to become clearer.

We’ve know that Peter is going to be injured. The teases leading up to the launch hinted that something would happen that he’d be laid up somehow. The how and the why were unknown until the previous issue and this one we get a better sense of what will happen. Writer Zeb Wells is able to take a “spoiled” plot and still deliver drama as Peter must fight for his health and recovery while he and the doctors still don’t know what’s wrong.

We know the U-Foes have dosed him with radiation in their battle in the previous issue but what the damage is and the extent is still a question. Wells uses that to the advantage delivering a dramatic issue that has Peter’s Spider-Sense working against him. It knows there’s something wrong internally and its warning is throwing everything off as his body attempts to fight whatever is going on. Amazing Spider-Man #76 gives us some interesting things to ponder about the Spider-Sense and its lack of use in the past. Is it that this concept has been overlooked or has the internal danger to Peter’s body been nowhere near what it is at this moment?

Wells also makes sure to throw Ben Reilly in the mix. There’s some interesting uses of the character in breaking the bad news to others like MJ and Aunt May. Then there’s the guilt Ben is feeling. Wells in one issue gives us a character that feels like he has some depth and emotions. You can see him going through a whirlwind of feelings. He has to deal with what has happened to Peter as well as his returning role as Spider-Man. The body language, the dialogue, it all feels very… human.

The art by Patrick Gleason continues to look great. With beautiful colors by Marcio Menyz and lettering by Joe Caramagna, it’s the moments that Peter’s in shock that stand out. The page layouts and small details makes each scene feel shocking and dreadful in ways. You can almost feel the fear and pain everyone is experiencing. Small details like a few tears sneaking out add to the emotional impact of it all. It’s a fantastic use of the concept of the Spider-Sense visually with the traditional moments we might expect from a hospital drama.

I’m not the biggest Spider-Man fan. Amazing Spider-Man #76 ups the soapy drama of the series while delivering something that feels new and different. For this casual fan, it’s an entertaining read. Most importantly, it has me wanting to see what’s next and come back for more.

Story: Zeb Wells Art: Patrick Gleason
Color: Marcio Menyz Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Review: The Amazing Spider-Man #75

Amazing Spider-Man #75

I’ve never been a Spider-Man superfan. While I’ve enjoyed some stories and arcs, it’s a character (and various series) that I dip in and out of. Beyond Slott’s run, I can’t think of any long run I’ve read. He’s a character I enjoy in doses and generally feel things get redone to a point that it just doesn’t quite interest me (swing with cool image, fight bad guy, smart comment, something goes wrong, repeat). But, when a major start of a run begins, I do like to check them out and see what’s going on. Amazing Spider-Man #75 kicks off a new era for the webcrawler and it’s a start that will have me sticking around for a while.

While Amazing Spider-Man #75 is written by Zeb Wells, Spider-Man is currently being handled by the “Beyond Board” of Kelly Thompson, Cody Ziglar, Saladin Ahmed, Patrick Gleason, and Wells. The group, along with artists, will rotate arcs and issues which is needed as the comic is upping how often it’s coming out. What is “Beyond” though? That gets answered in this issue as Ben Reilly is back in the picture and donning a Spider-Man costume. He now has sponsorship by a corporation called Beyond that feels like it can do the superhero thing a bit better than it’s been done. They also have the “rights” to Spider-Man. It’s all a very intriguing twist to the series and a bit brilliant in some ways.

Amazing Spider-Man #75 dips into Spider-Man history. There’s obviously Reilly himself but the issue takes a lot from Slott’s run when Dock Ock was in Peter’s body. It’s a solid use of that arc and makes a lot of sense when presented. It’s a great way to use continuity and add some more to the history. “Additive” is a direction Marvel has been going for a while and it plays out well here. It dips back into Peter having run a company, there’s some ramifications of that which is great as that entire chapter feels like it was dumped rather quickly. There’s also some questions as to what Peter should do. He has had a lot of heavy hits lately and you can see he’s worn out. Should he let Reilly take over? Should he just go on a vacation for a bit? There’s a lot of options here now and it all feels natural. Amazing Spider-Man #75 deals with Peter’s trauma while also setting up an “out” and we the readers have to guess where it’s going to go… or do we?

The issue ends with a punch that’s been teased but what exactly is that punch? Based on some dialogue, this doesn’t feel like the usual beaten hero story we’ve seen so many times and potentially we’re going to get something very new and interesting, and hopefully relevant (if what I think is going to happen is really going to happen).

The art by Patrick Gleason is top notch. With color by Marcio Menyz and lettering by Joe Caramagna, the comic has style and pops on the page. There’s a modern classic feel to it with body bending swinging but doesn’t take that over the top like others. It’s a bit more grounded in some ways but nails the over the top action as well. What the team really delivers on is the weariness of Peter. You can feel his tiredness. This is a person who’s emotionally beat down and it shows. That sort of small detail really stands out and is impressive.

But there’s more!

Kelly Thompson, Travel Foreman, Jim Campbell, and Joe Caramagna give us a back-up story that adds a twist to everything we just read up to that point. Colleen Wing and Misty Knight!? What are they doing in the comic!? The two are kicking ass is the answer but “Love and Monsters” adds a lot to the direction the series is going as it presents a wrinkle in everything we’ve read.

And there’s more!?

“Kafka” by Wells, Ivan Fiorelli, Edgar Delgado, and Caramagna adds even more to the new direction of the series. We learn a bit more about Beyond delivering an even greater ominous feel about it all. It’s solid work that also examines Electro and some of what his powers mean. Like the main story, it’s the details and hints that are great and will suck you in.

This is a hell of a debut that feels like it’s a natural direction building off of the last two major runs and setting Peter and Spider-Man up for a new direction. It’s good, really good. And it has this on-the-fence Spider-Man reader coming back for more… and excited about it.

Story: Zeb Wells, Kelly Thompson Art: Patrick Gleason, Travel Foreman, Ivan Fiorelli
Color: Marcio Menyz, Jim Campbell, Edgar Delgado Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Review: Kang the Conqueror #1

Kang the Conqueror #1
Mike Del Mundo

Lets be honest, Kang the Conqueror has a rather convoluted history when it comes to Marvel Comics. Alternate versions, fractured timelines, variants… Cable might be the only character whose history is crazier. With the character getting the spotlight, it’s no surprise that he’s getting a series for himself and one that looks to try to streamline his history. Or is that future? Maybe present? Kang the Conqueror #1 kicks things off in a story that takes us through the basics that we know and have generally been consistent.

Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly have the unenviable (maybe it’s enviable to them) to make sense of the rather convoluted history of Kang. The duo sticks to the basics with this debut issue. A weary, older Kang contacts a younger version of himself and takes him through a messed up version of “this is your life”. We learn the failures… and failures of Kang as he teaches his younger self where he messed up and what lessons need to be learned.

There’s something rather relatable to readers. It takes on the concept of what advice we’d give our younger self and takes it to an extreme. Lanzing and Kelly also deliver a solid amount of emotion. We can understand the hurt of the older Kang, especially for those who themselves have failed. In some ways it feels like it streamlines things in some ways. Try reading a wiki entry on the characters and you’ll understand what I mean.

The art by Carlos Magno is solid. The issue takes us through time so different settings. Different technology. The art handles it very well and all of it looks like it’s the same world. The far future and far past feel like they fit together. Magno also has some solid page layouts. There’s pages and spreads that’ll have you lingering on the pages just to take in the layout. What really surprises is how well the art pops as far as the emotion of the issue. It nails the rollercoaster of a ride between the two main characters. The color by Espen Grundethern and lettering by Joe Caramagna helps with that emotional ups and downs.

Kang the Conqueror #1 is a solid debut. It takes a rather complicated history and streamlines it in some ways. Add in some actual emotional ups and downs and you get a comic that’s a solid ride and entertaining. Where the series goes will be intriguing but right now even if it’s a comic version of “this is your life”, it’s a series that’ll be worth picking up just to understand Kang’s history.

Story: Jackson Lanzing, Collin Kelly Art: Carlos Magno
Color: Espen Grundetjern Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Story: 8.4 Art: 8.4 Overall: 8.4 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Preview: Kang the Conqueror #1 (of 5)

Kang the Conqueror #1 (of 5)

(W) Collin Kelly, Jackson Lanzing (A) Carlos Magno (CA) Mike Del Mundo (VCA) Natacha Bustosm Juan Cabal, Carmen Nunez Carnero, Joshua Cassara, Iban Coello, Patrick Gleason, Peach Momoko, Todd Nauck, R.B. Silva, Skottie Young
Rated T+
In Shops: Aug 18, 2021
SRP: $4.99

THE ORIGIN OF KANG!
The man called Kang the Conqueror has been a pharaoh, a villain, a warlord of the space ways and even, on rare occasions, a hero. Across all timelines, one fact seemed absolute: Time means nothing to Kang the Conqueror.
But the truth is more complex. Kang is caught in an endless cycle of creation and destruction dictated by time and previously unseen by any but the Conqueror himself. A cycle that could finally explain the enigma that is Kang. And a cycle that begins and ends with an old and broken Kang sending his younger self down a dark path…

Kang the Conqueror #1 (of 5)
Mike Del Mundo

Early Preview: Kang the Conqueror #1 (of 5)

Kang the Conqueror #1 (of 5)

(W) Collin Kelly, Jackson Lanzing (A) Carlos Magno (CA) Mike Del Mundo (VCA) Natacha Bustosm Juan Cabal, Carmen Nunez Carnero, Joshua Cassara, Iban Coello, Patrick Gleason, Peach Momoko, Todd Nauck, R.B. Silva, Skottie Young
Rated T+
In Shops: Aug 18, 2021
SRP: $4.99

THE ORIGIN OF KANG!
The man called Kang the Conqueror has been a pharaoh, a villain, a warlord of the space ways and even, on rare occasions, a hero. Across all timelines, one fact seemed absolute: Time means nothing to Kang the Conqueror.
But the truth is more complex. Kang is caught in an endless cycle of creation and destruction dictated by time and previously unseen by any but the Conqueror himself. A cycle that could finally explain the enigma that is Kang. And a cycle that begins and ends with an old and broken Kang sending his younger self down a dark path…

Kang the Conqueror #1 (of 5)
Mike Del Mundo

Journey Across the Timestream and Beyond in these New Kang the Conqueror #1 Covers

On August 18th, writers Collin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing team up with artist Carlos Magno, colors by Espen Grundetjern, and lettering by Joe Caramagna, to bring readers the definitive origin of one of Marvel’s most legendary villains in Kang the Conqueror #1! The new series will unravel Kang’s complex history, tying together all of his greatest stories and reuniting his alternative selves from across the timeline. Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, Kang is set to begin his biggest era yet. To celebrate the character’s first-ever solo series, some of the industry’s top artists have crafted outstanding covers that showcase the past, present, and future of Kang’s incredible saga. Included in this collection are covers by all eight of Marvel’s Stormbreakers depicting key moments in Kang’s history from his iconic first run-ins with the Fantastic Four and the Avengers to his epic showdown with the Young Avengers.

The man called Kang the Conqueror has been a pharaoh, a villain, a warlord of the space ways, and even—on rare occasions—a hero. Across all timelines, one fact seemed absolute: Time means nothing to Kang the Conqueror. But the truth is more complex. Kang is caught in an endless cycle of creation and destruction dictated by time and previously unseen by any but the Conqueror himself. A cycle that could finally explain the enigma that is Kang. And a cycle that begins and ends with an old and broken Kang sending his younger self down a dark path… Check out all 12 covers now before the release on August 18th!

Review: Sinister War #1

Sinister War #1

When writer Nick Spencer‘s run on Spider-Man began, it was an enjoyable and fun start that felt pretty welcoming to new readers. An impressive amount of issues later, his run is beginning to wrap up and part of that is Sinister War bringing together various groups of villains for something… along with Mephisto… and Dr. Stange. Sinister War #1 isn’t so much an entry into the event and Spencer’s end-run but the continuation of years of continuity that’s almost impenetrable to new readers.

For those that don’t know the general story, there’s multiple groups of “(fill in word) Six” villains. They all seem to not get along. They either want to fight each other or are pissed about a movie made. For those that didn’t read the Mary Jane miniseries, MJ has made a film and the director is a “reformed” Mysterio. Yeah… Then there’s Mephisto doing his thing which seems like a reference to that so loved “One More Day” storyline. I’m not quite sure. There’s so much packed into the issue that not a lot is explained and there’s just a lot of hints. Then there’s the whole Kindred thing… It’s a jumbled mess.

When events kick off with a miniseries first issue like this, there’s an opportunity to ease new readers in as well as move the story along. A successful issue does exactly that. Instead, this issue just continues everything Spencer has been doing as if it’s just another issue of Amazing Spider-Man. If you’re not caught up, tough luck. It’s the exact opposite of what a solid “event” debut should be and by the end of the issue, I was turned off and resigned to wait for the new creative team to take over in a few months.

Mark Bagley‘s art is… decent. There’s a lot packed into the issue and it’s cool to see Bagley’s take on each of the characters but none of it really pops. I know folks love Bagley’s work on Spider-Man but it’s never been a style that has really hooked me. For me, it’s good, not great. Bagle is joined by Andrew Hennessy, John Dell, and Andy Owens in inks, color by Brian Reber, and lettering by Joe Caramagna. The art is really good at times and at others falls a little flat. It doesn’t help the story is choppy, the art doesn’t pick up the slack making a smooth narrative.

Sinister War #1 had me excited going into the comic. The idea of rival villain groups battling it out sounds like it could be fun and entertaining. But, the story is more a continuation of what’s been going on in Amazing Spider-Man. It’s not a jumping-on-point, just a spin-off to pack everything in and check off storylines. It’s definitely a pass for those who haven’t been reading the series already.

Story: Nick Spencer Art: Mark Bagley
Ink: Andrew Hennessy, John Dell, Andy Owens Color: Brian Reber Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Story: 5.0 Art: 7.0 Overall: 5.0 Recommendation: Pass

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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