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Review: Eternals

It’s Wednesday which means it’s new comic book day with new releases hitting shelves, both physical and digital, all across the world. This week we’ve got the Eternals!

Eternals collects issues #1-7 by Neil Gaiman, John Romita, Jr., Danny Miki, Tom Palmer, Tim Townsend, Jesse Delperdang, Klaus Janson, Matt Hollingsworth, Paul Mounts, Dean White, Todd Klein, Rick Berry, Sean Ryan, and Nick Lowe.

Get your copy in comic shops today and in book stores April 24. To find a comic shop near you, visit www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon/Kindle/comiXology or TFW

 

Marvel​ provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review
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Preview: The Silencer #3

The Silencer #3

(W) Dan Abnett (A/CA) John Romita, Jr., Sandra Hope
In Shops: Mar 28, 2018
SRP: $2.99

“CODE OF HONOR” part three! All Honor Guest, a.k.a. the Silencer, wanted was a little peace and quiet with her family. But as she puts the keys into the ignition of a military-grade tank to survive the complete and total destruction of the cybernetically augmented gang war erupting around her, she can’t help but think…what went wrong? Find out for yourself in the finale of the inaugural story arc of the Silencer!

Frank Miller Signs a Five-Project Deal with DC Entertainment

Industry icon Frank Miller has expanded his relationship with DC Entertainment with a five-project deal. Among the planned releases from the legendary writer/artist is a forthcoming graphic novel starring Carrie Kelley, whom Miller created for the genre-defining series Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. Marking Miller’s first-ever foray into storytelling for young readers, the new graphic novel will feature illustrations by artist Ben Caldwell.

This new project will join the previously announced DC Black Label prestige series Superman: Year One, featuring art by John Romita Jr., as part of Miller’s multi-project deal.

In addition to the above two books, Miller will pen three additional upcoming projects yet to be announced.

DC Entertainment Announces “Black Label” Including a Kelly Sue DeConnick/Phil Jimenez Wonder Woman!

DC Entertainment isn’t done announcing new comic imprints. The company has already announced two lines aimed at younger readers, DC Ink and DC Zoom, but there’s also a line curated by Brian Michael Bendis in the works. Now, the comic publisher has announced their latest, “DC Black Label,” which will pair some of the best creators with the best characters.

In the announcement, DC Entertainment co-publisher Jim Lee explained:

Many of our perennially best-selling, critically acclaimed books were produced when we unleashed our top talent on standalone, often out-of-continuity projects featuring our most iconic characters, a prime example being Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns. Creating DC Black Label doubles down on our commitment to working with all-star talent and trusting them to tell epic, moving stories that only they can tell with the highest levels of creative freedom.

There’s already numerous projects announced:

  • Superman: Year One – Written by Frank Miller with art by John Romita Jr.
  • Batman: Damned – Written by Brian Azzarello with art by Lee Bermejo
  • Wonder Woman Historia: The Amazons – Written by Kelly Sue DeConnick with art by Phil Jimenez
  • The Other History of the DC Universe – Written by John Ridley
  • Batman: Last Knight on Earth – Written by Scott Snyder with art by Greg Capullo
  • Wonder Woman: Diana’s Daughter – Written by Greg Rucka

Each story will be released in a format dictated by creators and take place outside of DC Universe canon. It allows the creators to explore the characters and take full advantage. Wonder Woman Historia: The Amazons tells the story of Wonder Woman’s people from their creation until the arrival of Steve Trevor on Paradise Island. Wonder Woman: Diana’s Daughter is a story set 20 years in the future.

The line will have Mark Doyle as executive editor and they’re expected to launch in August with Superman: Year One. Check out all of the synopses and art below:

SUPERMAN: YEAR ONE from Frank Miller (THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS, BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT: MASTER RACE) and John Romita Jr. (ALL-STAR BATMAN, SUPERMAN)
A groundbreaking, definitive treatment of Superman’s classic origin story in honor of his 80th anniversary. This story details new revelations that reframe the Man of Steel’s most famous milestones—from Kal-El’s frantic exile from Krypton, to Clark Kent’s childhood in Kansas, to his inevitable rise to become the most powerful and inspiring superhero of all time.

BATMAN: LAST KNIGHT ON EARTH from Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo, the creative team behind DARK KNIGHTS: METAL
Batman wakes up in a desert. He doesn’t know what year it is or how The Joker’s head is alive in a jar beside him, but it’s the beginning of a quest unlike anything the Dark Knight has undertaken before. In this strange future, villains are triumphant and society has liberated itself from the burden of ethical codes. Fighting to survive while in search of answers, Bruce Wayne uncovers the truth about his role in this new world—and begins the last Batman story ever told.

BATMAN: DAMNED from Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo, the creative team behind JOKER
On a deserted Gotham City bridge, a body is found. Whispers spread the news: Joker is dead. But is this a dream come true or a nightmare being born? Now Batman and DC’s outlaw magician John Constantine must hunt the truth through a Gotham City hellscape. The city’s supernatural recesses are laced with hints about a killer’s identity, but the Dark Knight’s descent into horror will test his sanity and the limits of rationality, as he must face a horror that doesn’t wear a mask.

WONDER WOMAN HISTORIA: THE AMAZONS from Kelly Sue DeConnick (Bitch Planet) and Phil Jimenez (INFINITE CRISIS)
A Homeric epic of the lost history of the Amazons and Queen Hippolyta’s rise to power. Featuring monsters and myths, this three-book saga spans history from the creation of the Amazons to the moment Steve Trevor washes up on the shores of Paradise Island, changing our world forever.

WONDER WOMAN: DIANA’S DAUGHTER (working title) from Greg Rucka (WONDER WOMAN, BATWOMAN)
It’s been 20 years since the world stopped looking to the skies for hope, help, and inspiration. Now the world keeps its eyes down, and the powers that have risen have every intention of keeping things that way. Amongst a scattered, broken resistance, a young woman seeks to reclaim what has been forgotten, and on the way will learn the truth about herself, her heritage, and her destiny.

THE OTHER HISTORY OF THE DC UNIVERSE from John Ridley (12 Years a Slave, THE AMERICAN WAY)
A compelling literary series analyzing iconic DC moments and charting sociopolitical gains through the perspectives of DC Super Heroes who come from traditionally disenfranchised groups, including John Stewart, Extraño, Vixen, Supergirl, Katana and Rene Montoya, among others. At its core, the story focuses on the lives of those behind the costumes, and their endeavors to overcome real-world issues. It isn’t about saving the world, it’s about having the strength to simply be who you are.

Review: The Silencer #2

The world’s deadliest assassin thought she was out…but the past won’t let her leave! Talia al Ghul’s violent disappearance has led to a mystery that could cost Honor Guest the lives of her family, and to defend those she loves, Honor must once again don the mantle of the Silencer! Seeking information from the neutral ground of the assassin’s armory, Silencer gets more than she bargained for as the most monstrous forces of the underworld descend for the kill!

The “New Age of Heroes” continues as Honor must deal with the attack on her and Talia and then attempt to go about her life. The Silencer #2 continues a fun mash-up of the familiar blending together True Lies, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, and John Wick into a series that feels very unique and unlike anything DC has done before.

Creators Dan Abnett and John Romita, Jr. aren’t delivering anything new or groundbreaking here. Honor confronts the new management and wants out but is dragged back into the business. We’ve seen that. A lot. But, it’s done in a way that’s entertaining with solid art to compliment the story. Abnett and Romita do a fantastic job of balancing the action, the tension, and family life, finding a humor that connects it all.

Romita is helped on art by Sandra Hope‘s ink, Dean White and Arif Prianto‘s color, and lettering by Tom Napolitano. For the series to go from this action packed sequence to a domestic one in just a few pages, that requires some solid artwork to make it flow well. And that is exactly what happens. There’s small details like Hope’s hair being fringed and must be cut so her husband doesn’t know. A drawing by her kid. A cleanup of the bodies. It all comes together well in Romita’s distinctive style.

The Silencer is a winner blending action and humor in a familiar package that still feels fresh. While it doesn’t feel very “DC” it is entertaining and part of the “New Age of Heroes” that I’m coming back to check out and see where it takes us.

Story: Dan Abnett and John Romita Jr. Art: John Romita Jr.
Ink: Sandra Hope Color: Dean White and Arif Prianto Letterer: Tom Napolitano
Editor: Paul Kaminski Assistant Editor: Andrea Shea
Story: 8.45 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.45 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

A Relative Newbie Review: Kick-Ass #1

Kick-Ass #1 is the relaunch of Mark Millar and John Romita Jr.‘s mega franchise. For most people Kick-Ass either makes people extremely happy or divides them in about five seconds. That’s the nature of Mark Millar, it seems, as people either love or hate his writing with little in-between. Here’s the thing, I actually have had more good experiences with Millar than bad ones. The Kick-Ass franchise is one that I’ve not delved into as much as other aspects of Millar’s world. I know a lot of the basic concepts of Kick-Ass but not much more. If you ever wanted a new reader perspective on Kick-Ass, this review is it. Strap yourselves in my friends for a blazing fast vigilante spectacular of a review with Kick-Ass #1. Time to find out if this relaunch is worth your time and mine as well.

Hard to believe I’m one of the few people who hasn’t experienced Kick-Ass in full but here we are. We are in for a ride.

The story of Kick-Ass was initially a guy named Dave Lizewski deciding to make a superhero costume and fight crime. There aren’t superheroes in this world and the inspiration for the Dave and other heroes to follow is from comic books. Do you need to know any of this going into this #1? You can walk into this blind and be fine. The story focuses on Patience Lee coming back after 8 years in the military with her tour being up and she’s coming home. Her plans are to take care of her kids, go to college, and let her husband take up the slack for awhile. Only to see that her plan falling apart as her husband leaves her. Then that is when she has to figure out just what to do from there while being a single Mom. From there is for us to learn what leads her to get into the Kick-Ass suit.

Now what Millar does is let us get to know Patience as a person before she adopts the suit. By the time she’s in that suit you know everything you need to know. For you as a new reader this is a fresh new character and a new story. This is all from the perspective of Patience and how she plans to operate as a vigilante. Since she has military training this is actually a good fit for her and Millar makes a point to show us this. We learn too that outside of her military training that she is a good Mom and wants to do what is best for her kids. That’s one part of this that really works, Patience is a likable character and someone who knows how to take care of herself. For what Millar is going for it works.

Okay, so in the case of Patience Lee we’re in good shape. Good new reader friendly character and direction. Everything is ship shape here right? Well, yes and no.

I mean you would think that by liking the character and her motivations, I would dig Kick-Ass #1 right? Well it is a simple enough motivation but not much to hook into. I can imagine people wondering how she got the suit for one. It becomes the game of we learn why she wants to become a vigilante but the suit magically appears. Yeah I can see Millar revealing more later but I’m left wondering where the darned thing came from. It has a lot of action but outside of Patience and her family there isn’t much more sink into. Now I will add an extra note here, there is potential for this comic. Then we can go back and say that the story got better later on. For now though, it’s a little weak yet I will say I didn’t hate what I saw. There is a lot to build on and it could easily improve.

Kick-Ass #1 Opening Page

I do applaud Millar for making this first issue as new reader friendly as possible. There are references to other things in this world but it’s so loose that it doesn’t matter. Yes the way Patience gets into this game is a little cliche and goofy at points, maybe a tad over blown, but I will admit I was entertained. It’s Mark Millar and I knew what I was getting into for the most part. For the potential I see in this though and in such a strong black female character in Patience Lee, I’m willing to hang in there. I want to see where this story goes and what Millar does with it. Yet I haven’t gotten into the art yet and there is a lot to praise in that aspect of the book.

My goodness, Kick-Ass #1 has a strong art team. That cannot be denied here at all. Not one single bit.

Now John Romita Jr. is the co-creator of Kick-Ass and an oddly polarizing artist in his own right. He is in the same category of Millar in the love or hate scale of things. When I was first getting back into comics Romita’s work on Dan Jurgens Thor run hooked me like no other. You can put me squarely in the category of digging Romita’s art. In all honesty, this is some of my favorite work of Romita’s. It’s briliant at capturing the energy of the action sequences in Millar’s script. There’s even something to how he captures even the quieter sequences in and around the action when Millar is detailing Patience’s family. It’s good at capturing fast movement in battle as well as quiet emotional moments too, a perfect balance for this story.

What also helps Romita’s art here is the digital inks and colors from Peter Steigerwald. One of the opening shots replicating how it would look if our hero was caught on camera somewhere, really cool grayscale effect. Then add in the smooth lines Steigerwald adds to Romita’s art and some brilliant lighting effects alongside, this book just looks good. John Workman‘s letters in particular are always classic as they are big, bold, and exciting in the already powerhouse battle scenes. With added ink assistance from Megan Madrigal, this is one killer art team. No matter how hit and miss I am on the story so far, the art here is spectacular.

Overall it’s New Reader Friendly but with some flaws, but gorgeous art. It may not be perfect but Kick-Ass #1 is a solid read.

I will be curious to see how many other new to newer readers check out Kick-Ass #1. I have some issues but overall I enjoyed my time with it. A solid B ratings wise as it passes my tests but with some room to improve. Give this a shot yourself and I really do want to know what you think if you try it. In my own case, I now have a bunch of Kick-Ass trades to dive into and learn more about this universe. Thanks for reading and enjoying my newbie adventure into the world of Kick-Ass.

Story: Mark Millar Pencils: John Romita Jr. Digital Inks and Colors: Peter Steigerwald
Letterer: John Workman Digital Ink Assistant: Megan Madrigal
Story: 8.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for Review

Review: Kick Ass # 1

Kick-Ass is back but Dave Lizewski, the earnest, bespectacled, nerd of days past is gone. In his place is Patience Lee, a black woman and mother of two who leaves the military only to find that her husband has abandoned her to pursue a musical career. Faced with few options and mounting debt Patience decides to rob a gang to provide for her family.

Mark Millar is a divisive figure in the comics industry. While many people adore his high concepts and cinematic storytelling others are revolted by the mean streak that runs through most of his work and his tendency to fall back on highly problematic tropes of disability, race, sexuality and violence, especially towards women. As a reader I’m highly conflicted since it was Miller’s run on Marvel’s Ultimate X-Men that brought me back into the comic book fold and it was his MillarWorld forum that nourished my resurgent fandom. I want to like what he does but, sadly, I didn’t much like this.

One thing you have to give Millar credit for on the original Kick-Ass was it’s realism. For all that it could be offensive, it still had a solid emotional core that was grounded in the experiences of a lifelong fanboy. It’s story of a young man  trying to make a difference in the world in the only way he could conceive how was at once poignant and pathetic and gave that book some value despite the worst of its creator’s excesses.

In this new book it feels like Millar has heard all the criticism about the lack of diversity in comics and tried to answer it. Unfortunately the result, while brilliant in concept, is sloppy in its execution. Patience feels less like a fully rounded character and more like a bucket full of cliches: a woman of color raising her kids alone because of a feckless spouse who has to turn to crime to make ends meet. He’s put a minority character into the spotlight but she’s never allowed to transcend the stereotypes of her race if not her gender (at least no one threatens to rape her in this first issue). Millar has veered so far out of his lane here that it feels like he’s gone right into oncoming traffic and that’s a shame because the idea of a veteran (and a female veteran of color at that) as a superhero is one that has a lot of potential for good storytelling.

One thing about which I can find no flaw here is the artwork. John Romita Jr continues to amaze and delight me with this new career resurgence he’s been on for the last year. His work, which felt boring and staid after too many years at Marvel, has come alive once again in his creator owned project and his work for hire at DC. He’s drawing like a much younger artist and the passion is evident where before there was a growing sense of a man who had been there and done that a thousand times before. This is Romita at his best, raw and unfiltered. The digital inks of Peter Steigerwald and Megan Madrigal keep his lines from straying and Steigerwald’s colors add to the comic’s already strong flavor of the cinema. It almost looks like you’re watching one of Netflix’s Marvel shows, an effect that I’m sure was intentional. Letterer John Workman is brilliant as always, with an understated hand for his craft that you can’t help but notice while you’re not noticing it.

Overall the new Kick-Ass is a mixed bag, a fumbled attempt at producing the kind of comic the industry needs with some really nice looking art. It might have been successful if Millar had bothered to delve a little deeper into the inner life of his protagonist and brought to light something that felt half as true as Dave Lizewski did at his best. He can do great stuff when he doesn’t try to outdo Garth Ennis in being edgy. I wish he would remember that.

Story: Mark Millar Artist: John Romita Jr
Ink: Peter Steigerwald and Megan Madrigal Lettering: John Workman
Story: 5.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Pass

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: The Silencer #1

The Silencer is the story of Honor Guest (not her real name), a woman who appears to be an ordinary suburban housewife with a devoted husband and a young son. She’s also a trained assassin with the ability to create a cone of silence that disrupts sound in her immediate vicinity, a very useful ability in her line of work. After years of being free of the killing trade, someone is now after her with a vengeance.

I liked this book quite a bit. With Damage (the first book in DC’ New Age of Heroes line-up) we got a DC version of the Hulk. The Silencer is set up to be a lot more of a riff on the seminal manga Lone Wolf and Cub than anything in mainstream superhero comics. 

Your opinion of The Silencer is largely going to be based on what you think of John Romita Jr. His style tends to be pretty polarizing among fans, something that surprises me since I consider him one of the modern masters of the form. This story has Romita’s fingerprints all over it. He’s credited as a “storyteller” rather than simply an “artist” and his name comes first so I can only assume that he contributed more to the mix than just drawing what he was told. The plot and characters seem to be the sort that have always appealed to his sensibilities: tough, no nonsense types with more down to Earth power sets and a lot of very big, sometimes outlandish, guns. The action also moves like it was plotted by an artist with a pencil rather than a writer at a computer. There is a cinematic quality to the layouts, for example, that it’s almost impossible to plan out with mere words.

Romita is aided by Dan Abnett, a writer who has consistently proven himself to be one of the best working for DC or any other company. Of all of his comics that I’ve read, this is the one that hews the closest to the work that first brought him to my attention: his novels set in the grimdark universe of the Warhammer 40,000 tabletop games, particularly the Eisenhorn trilogy. Abnett has always excelled at finding the humanity behind hard edged characters who must justify some pretty extreme means with a greater good in mind. He’s great at transforming people who might otherwise come off as very hollow and uncompromising suits of cool looking armor into compelling individuals and he does so here. I knew what Honor was about after two pages of reading and that’s down to Abnett’s dialog and captions as much as Romita’s art. I thought Romita and Scott Snyder were a great team on All-Star Batman but at this rate I think Romita and Abnett might just be a better fit for each other.

Colorist Dean White and Letterer Tom Napolitano both do their jobs well but special mention has to be given to inker Sandra Hope. I don’t think Romita’s work has looked this good since he left Amazing Spider-Man in the early 2000’s. As much as I enjoyed Klaus Janson’s rougher finishes, Hope brings a quality and confidence to the pencils that really stood out for me.

If I have one criticism it’s this: The Silencer is heavily tied into the end of Grant Morrison’s Batman run (I can’t really reveal how without spoilers). While it’s not hard for longtime DC readers to follow (even those like me who haven’t read many of issues in question), I don’t think that brand new readers are well served by the level of name dropping, especially in a first issue. It’s particularly annoying given that this a brand new character. Depending on how the story develops and how the creators handle the exposition in issues to come it might not be a long term problem but as things stand now I would hesitate to recommend this to anyone without at least passing familiarity with recent Bat-history. For everyone else it gets a hearty thumbs up.

Story: John Romita Jr and Dan Abnett  Art: John Romita Jr
Story: 8.0 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review.

Preview: The Silencer #1

Silencer #1

(W) Dan Abnett (A/CA) Sandra Hope, John Romita Jr.
RATED T+
In Shops: Jan 31, 2018
SRP: $2.99

“CODE OF HONOR” part one! She’s one of the DC Universe’s deadliest assassins…and you’ve never heard of her. Super-strong, highly trained, armed with devastating and stealthy meta-human abilities, the Silencer is virtually invincible. Or at least she was. After decades as Leviathan’s chief assassin, Honor Guest put in her time and managed to get out with her skin intact. Now she lives a normal life with a normal family in a normal house on a normal street. But the past has come back to haunt her in the form of her old employer and a deadly new mission…and Talia Al Ghul won’t take no for an answer.

Black Panther– Start Here! A Free In-Store Sampler

Just in time for the leader of Wakanda to stage center stage in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Marvel is excited to announce the release of Black Panther– Start Here, a FREE sampler celebrating Black Panther stories across the Marvel Universe.

Featuring excerpts from Marvel’s current Black Panther ongoing series, as well as World of Wakanda, Black Panther and the Crew, and portions from Reginald Hudlin and John Romita Jr.’s Black Panther run, Black Panther– Start Here serves to introduce brand new readers to the character’s expansive 50-year Marvel history, while long-time fans will be able to relive some of T’Challa’s most epic adventures.

The FREE Black Panther– Start Here sampler will be available to retailers on January 31st in local comic shops!

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