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Review: Breaklands Vol. 1

Breaklands

The first story arc of Breaklands is being collected in trade paperback for the first time. This genre-bending adventure series, written by Justin Jordan, was developed by Dark Horse Comics and digitally published as a ComiXology Original. The story is set in a dystopian future where people have developed psychic powers. These psychic abilities have become a part of nearly every aspect of life. The most powerful psychics, known as Shapers, are sought after by the new ruling class. This matters very little to the powerless Kasa Fain and her little brother Adam. They live a peaceful and quiet life. That all changes when Adam is kidnapped and Kasa must set off across the world to rescue him.

Jordan puts together a story that pairs lighthearted humor with hardcore action. The banter between Kasa and the warriors she recruits to help rescue Adam is fast paced and witty. Despite these high these high points, I didn’t find the plot to be all that original. Although there is a fair amount of dialogue, a lot of the storytelling is done through visuals alone. Jordan also come up with cool uses for the various psychic abilities. Pyrokinetic powered vehicles alone are a concept I’d love to see explored further in another series.

I never thought I’d write this, but I think Breaklands almost has too much action. The narrative gets lost in between all the high-octane action sequences. Character development falls by the wayside in favor of the non-stop action. In addition, there were several action scenes that either didn’t make a lot of sense or where it was hard to tell exactly what was going on. I also think there’s almost too many characters, introduced too quickly. Some of them don’t even end up mattering to the greater narrative. Little enough attention is given to developing the main characters to begin with, so the added side characters wind up just cluttering the plot.

In Breaklands, artist Tyasseta draws everything with a cool aesthetic. There are many beautiful full-page spreads in which Tyasetta gets to showcase the world he and Jordan have created. Tyasetta injects a mix of cultures into the vehicles, clothing, and the adornment of buildings. He also draws a variety of different action scenes, some more violent than others. The gorier fight scenes look comical since they’re drawn in a very animated style. I don’t mean for that sentence to come off as a negative. This juxtaposition between gore and cartoon styling actually contributes to the comic’s unique look.

When it comes to comic book storytelling, I often feel like writers come up with a cool concept but then struggle to tell a coherent story within the world they’ve created. In my opinion Breaklands suffers from the opposite problem. Jordan weaves together a strong, albeit familiar, narrative but the world he’s created doesn’t do much to support his story. The story has substance, but the concept is mostly flash. Luckily, Tyasetta uses his talents to full effect and illustrates that flash in a visually pleasing manner. All in all, this is a series that’s not going to appeal to everyone. If you enjoyed Justin Jordan’s previous works or are a fan of dystopian adventures, you’ll probably find something to like about this series. If those caveats don’t apply to you, maybe read the first issue before committing to the entire trade paperback.

Story: Justin Jordan Art: Tyasseta
Color: Sarah Stern Letterer: Rachel Deering
Story: 5.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Read

Dark Horse and comiXology provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Exclusive Preview: Breaklands Season 2 #3

Breaklands Season 2 #3

Written by Justin Jordan
Art by Tyasseta
Colored by Sarah Stern
Lettered by Rachel Deering
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Her friends have been betrayed, her butt has been kicked and Kasa has no friends, no weapons and no hope. But she does have a plan…

It’s Mad Max meets Akira in a genre mashing, expectation smashing new hit series from Justin Jordan, creator of Luther Strode, Spread, and Reaver, joined in mayhem by newcomer artist Tysaseta, colorist Sarah Stern and letterer Rachel Deering. Breaklands Season Two is the follow up to last year’s smash hit debut!

Breaklands Season 2 #3

Summoners War Gets a Prequel Comic in April

The highly anticipated tie-in comic book series Summoners War: Legacyby writer Justin Jordan and artist Luca Claretti with colors by Giovanna Niro and lettering by Deron Bennett (Excellence, Assassin Nation)—is set to launch in April 2021 from Image Comics and Skybound Entertainment in partnership with game publisher Com2uS.

Fans of the game and newcomers alike will have the chance to journey to Alea in this dramatic, action-packed prequel comic book based upon the wildly popular Summoners War mobile game. Summoners War: Legacy comic series is the latest expansion to the Summoners War IP, along with upcoming mobile games Summoners War: Lost Centuria and Summoners War: Chronicles. The variety of expansions is a testament to the game’s success and longevity which proves to be a major tentpole for Com2uS’ gaming portfolio.

In Summoners War: Legacy, Rai knows there’s only one way out of a nothing town—to become a summoner! Armed with a summoning book of monsters, there would be nowhere she couldn’t go, and no adventure she couldn’t have. There’s only one problem: the world is at war and even untrained summoners like Rai must join the fight.

Recruited by Abuus Dein as an apprentice, Rai finds herself thrust into a battle for the fate of the world that none of them expected. Rai must learn there’s a lot more to life than having fun, but can she become the summoner the world needs in time?

Summoners War: Legacy takes place 35 years before the universe-shattering conflict at the mobile game’s center. The comic series features fan-favorite monsters, explores the fate of Durand’s parents, and expands on the mystical land of Alea and its colorful characters including Abuus, Rai, and Tomas. This riveting addition to Summoners War canon brings a rich lore to the franchise and draws new connections to the upcoming Summoners War games and the Summoners War: Sky Arena game that fans know and love.

Summoners War: Legacy #1 (Diamond Code FEB210054) will be available at comic book shops on Wednesday, April 28.

Summoners War: Legacy

Preview: Breaklands Season Two #1 (of 5)

Breaklands Season Two #1 (of 5)

Written by Justin Jordan
Art by Tyasseta
Colored by Sarah Stern
Lettered by Rachel Deering
Purchase

Breaklands is back! Kasa has rescued her brother, but that just means now she’s being pursued by Skypirates, land bound criminals, and the God King Rask.

It’s Mad Max meets Akira in a genre mashing, expectation smashing new hit series from Justin Jordan, creator of Luther Strode, Spread, and Reaver, joined in mayhem by newcomer artist Tysaseta, colorist Sarah Stern and letter Rachel Deering. Breaklands Season Two is the follow up to last year’s smash hit debut!

Part of the comiXology Originals line of exclusive digital content only available on comiXology and Kindle. Read for free as part of your subscription to comiXology Unlimited, Kindle Unlimited or Amazon Prime. Also available for purchase via comiXology and Kindle.

Breaklands Season Two #1 (of 5)

Urban Animal Goes from Webtoon to Print

Urban Animal from Justin Jordan, John Amor, and Micah Myers is going from Webtoon to print with a Kickstarter. Urban Animal is about a normal kid who finds out he’s not so normal when he turns into a sabertooth tiger. Things just get stranger for Joe from there. Much, much stranger.

Meet Joe Gomez. He’s got high school on lock – good grades, a cool band, and girls digging his vibe. But just when he’s got the world figured out, he goes and turns into a saber-toothed tiger. A shape-shifting nature spirit known as a Chimera, to be specific. Now Joe needs every single one of his new powers to help save the human race – whether he wants to or not.

Now, you can get a print edition of the webcomic. The first volume collects chapters 1 through 27 of the series which is about 200 pages of content!

The campaign is well past its goal so backing helps further guarantee its completion. You can get a digital PDF, digital artbooks, wallpapers, and script book for $12. For $24 you get a softcover print edition of the series along with other items. Other pledge items include a hardcover version, signed bookplates, and so much more. The campaign ends on November 18.

Urban Animal

The Strange Talent of Luther Strode Heads to the Big Screen

The Strange Talent of Luther Strode

Allnighter has announced that it is adapting the Image Comics series The Strange Talent of Luther Strode by Justin Jordan and Tradd MooreAllnighter’s Dinesh ShamdasaniHunter Gorinson, and Amanda Kruse will produce the film alongside co-creators Jordan and Moore. Jordan is currently at work adapting the comic and will pen the screenplay.

The subject of near-universal critical acclaim and multiple sold-out printings, The Strange Talent of Luther Strode cemented writer Justin Jordan and artist Tradd Moore alike as two of comics’ fastest rising stars upon its debut in 2011 and led both to best-selling turns at the helm of Marvel and DC’s biggest franchises. In the process, Jordan and Moore reunited for two equally successful follow-ups – 2012’s The Legend of Luther Strode and 2015’s The Legacy of Luther Strode – to complete the genre-colliding trilogy that first rocketed them to superstar status.

The series splices together the common DNA of the superhero and slasher archetypes for a brash and bloody adventure that is equal parts comic-book escapism and action-horror hybrid.

High schooler Luther Strode was always a little bit less than average – soft-spoken, skinny, and, more than anything, terrified that his estranged father would one day return to torment him and his mother once more. But that ended the day that Luther discovered “The Method” – an improbably old text hidden between the comic books and ragged paperbacks at his favorite used bookstore. But The Method is far more than it seems – and, as its ancient techniques rework Luther’s body and unlock the strange talents buried deep within, he will find himself transformed into a near-perfect physical specimen imbued with incredible strength, startling new abilities…and a killer’s instinct for violence that he can’t quite seem to shake. When The Method’s masters arrive to observe Luther’s progress and draw him into action, he’ll be forced to make the ultimate choice: embrace the monster he was intended to be…or use his newfound power to protect the people – the classmates, the teachers, the neighbors – who never protected him when he needed them the most.

Jordan’s other film and television projects currently include an adaptation of his comics series Spread with artist Kyle Strahm, while Moore’s 2019 series with writer Ales KotThe New World, is being adapted as a feature film for Warner Bros. Pictures.

Review: Reaver #11

REAVER #11

Reaver is an absolute treat for those looking for a very violent fantasy book. Reaver #11, part five of “The Grim After” takes a look back at Essen Breaker and how he and Bren became connected. For those not in the know, he’s a giant of a man who kills just about anything in his path. They call him the Devil’s Son.  In typical fashion, there’s strife and fighting and in the end, a whole lot of blood has been spilled. You do read Reaver, right?

Reaver is my favorite thing that Image Comics is putting out. Hard-edge fantasy with quite a few likeable characters to boot. I feel like this is definitely one of Justin Jordan’s best books that he’s done and he’s done quite a few great comics worth reading. Over the course of this storyline, and the entire series in general, I love what his “Hell’s Half-Dozen” as gone through. If there’s one critique to throw out about the writing, it’s that the usage of the F-word is so commonplace that for me, it makes the dialogue feel very unnatural.

For the most part, I have enjoyed Niko Henichon’s art but there were a few pages that seemed a bit rushed. That said, Niko has a style suited for a book like Reaver. There are some rather cool splash pages at the front of this that are a real treat, pages which highlight The Devil’s Son. Becky Cloonan’s covers continue to be eye-catching.

It’s the end of “The Grim After” but what comes after should be another epic story for Reaver. If you are looking for an adult fantasy story, I feel there’s none better. To me, Reaver is a total breath of fresh air and comes off wholly original. If you want something different in the genre that’s high quality, then it’s definitely Reaver that you are after.

Story: Justin Jordan Art: Niko Henrichon
Letterer: Clayton Cowles Editor: John Moisan Cover Artist: Becky Cloonan
Story: 8.0 Art: 7.0 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Dark Horse and ComiXology Cut a Deal to Bring comiXology Originals to Print

Dark Horse Comics and comiXology have announced that Dark Horse will distribute print editions of comiXology Originals graphic novels and collections. Select titles from the creator-owned line of comiXology Originals will be available in print for the first time for customers in comic shops, bookstores, and libraries. The program will commence in Spring 2021 with the release of paperback editions of the Eisner Award winner AFTERLIFT, Breaklands, YOUTH, and The Black Ghost.

When comiXology Originals was announced, print was a part of some of the releases through Amazon’s print on demand. While the digital program pressed on, the physical release of comics became few and far between to the complete lack of mention for numerous rounds of announcements.

Through this deal, Dark Horse Comics will be responsible for distribution and fulfillment for the titles through Diamond Comic Distributors for comic shops and Penguin Random House for bookstores around the world. ComiXology Originals will remain available to be read digitally for members of Amazon Prime, Kindle Unlimited, and comiXology Unlimited and for purchase on Kindle and comiXology.

ComiXology Originals’ exclusive content line debuted in 2017, and in their first year garnered an Eisner Award for Harvey Kurtzman’s Marley’s Ghost. The next year saw an Eisner Award nomination for The Stone King by Kel McDonald and Tyler Crook, and in 2020 an Eisner Award win for AFTERLIFT. In addition to the creator-owned line of exclusive content, comiXology Originals, through a partnership with Kodansha Comics, has re-released and newly translated manga such as BECKInitial D and The Drops of God.

The comiXology Originals making their print debut in 2021 include:

AFTERLIFTcollecting the Eisner Award-winning issues #1-5 – For the first time in print!

  • Written by Eisner Award winner Chip Zdarsky, best known for his work on Sex Criminals and Marvel Comics, with art by Jason Loo, the acclaimed artist of The Pitiful Human-Lizard, colors by Paris Alleyne, letters by Aditya Bidikar and edited by Allison O’Toole.
  • AFTERLIFT is a 2020 Eisner Award winning series.
  • In AFTERLIFT, Janice Chen is adrift. She quits her day job in finance and signs up to be a driver on a ride-sharing app. But what was at first a mundane but enjoyable way to pass the time takes a terrible turn when a mysterious passenger updates his ride with a very final destination: Hell.
  • 136 pages / color / on sale February 2 in bookstores and everywhere books are sold and February 3 in comic shops / MSRP $19.99/$25.99 pbk / ISBN: 978-1-5067-2440-9
AFTERLIFT

Breaklands Volume One, collecting issues #1-5 – For the first time in print!

  • Written by Justin Jordan, the co-creator and writer of The Strange Talent of Luther Strode, with art by acclaimed artist Tyasseta, colors by Sarah Stern, and letters by Rachel Deering.
  • Set 150 years after humanity developed psychic powers and ended the world as we know it, a new world has emerged. Everyone has powers. Some powers, like the ability to light a match, are modest. But some powers—like the ability to reshape the world—are both vast and dangerous. Kasa Fain is different. She doesn’t possess powers. Kasa is an outsider, a teenager who has been in hiding, until the day her younger brother is kidnapped and everything changes.
  • 152 pages / color / on sale March 2 in bookstores and everywhere books are sold and March 3 in comic shops / MSRP  $19.99/$25.99 pbk / ISBN: 978-1-5067-2441-6
Breaklands Volume One

YOUTH Volume One, collecting issues #1-4For the first time in print!

  • Written by visionary writer Curt Pires with art by Alex Diotto, the co-creators of the acclaimed comic Olympia, and features colors by Dee Cunniffe, and lettering by Micah Myers.
  • In YOUTH, Franklin and River struggle to navigate family, friends, high school, work, drugs, and all the pressures of growing up. As a queer couple, they yearn to escape their lives in a small, bigoted Midwest town. They steal River’s stepfather’s Mustang and hit the road. Their destination? California. But along the way, the car breaks down. They meet some kids who are travelling the country, partying, and attempting to find themselves. They party some more. . . . And soon everything changes.
  • A sequel to YOUTH is underway and the comic series is in development as an original TV show with Amazon Studios.
  • 136 pages / color / on sale on sale April 6 in bookstores and everywhere books are sold and April 7 in comic shops / MSRP $19.99/$25.99 pbk / ISBN: 978-1-5067-2461-4
YOUTH Volume One

The Black Ghost Volume One, collecting issues #1-5–For the first time in print!

  • Co-written by Anthony Award-Nominated Novelist Alex Segura and acclaimed writer Monica Gallagher, with art by George Kambadais, colors by Ellie Wright, lettering by Taylor Esposito and edited by Greg Lockard.
  • The Black Ghost is a modern take on the urban vigilante story. Lara Dominguez is a journalist chasing that one, big story. After a stint in the Middle East, the alcoholic reporter moves from her hometown of Miami to Creighton – a mid-Atlantic city that’s seen better days. She needs a huge, viral scoop that’ll send her into the journalistic stratosphere. Her target? Uncovering the identity of The Black Ghost – a masked vigilante trying to take down the wealthy oligarchs carving up the fading metropolis. But as she searches for the breakthrough story she desperately needs, Lara will have to navigate the corruption of her adopted city, the uncertainties of virtue, and her own personal demons.
  • 136 pages / color / on sale May 4 in bookstores and everywhere books are sold and May 5 in comic shops / MSRP $19.99/$25.99 pbk / ISBN: 978-1-50672-446-1
The Black Ghost Volume One

More comiXology Originals print editions will be announced at a later date.

Summoners War is Coming to Comics in Summoners War: Legacy from Skybound

Game publisher Com2uS is teaming up with Skybound and Image Comics to create Summoners War: Legacy, a brand-new comic book series based on the worldwide mobile phenomenon Summoners War. Revealed during the “Skybound X Summoners War” panel at Skybound Xpo, Summoners War: Legacy is helmed by writer Justin Jordan and artist Luca Claretti, with colors by Giovanna Niro and lettering by Deron Bennett. It serves as an action-packed prequel to the Summoners War mobile game.

Fans who pre-order now will receive a “Con Exclusive” version of Summoners War: Legacy #1 for $10 USD, a special gold-foil issue that also comes with a redeemable in-game reward voucher for 200 Gems and three Scrolls. The con exclusive serves as a sneak preview into the larger Summoners War: Legacy comic book series, which will be published through Skybound and Image in the future.

With 32 pages of story and seven pages of additional material, Summoners War: Legacy takes place 35 years before the universe-shattering conflict at the mobile game’s center. The comic series features fan-favorite monsters, explores the fate of Durand’s parents, and expands on the mystical land of Alea and its colorful characters including Abuus, Rai, and Tomas. This riveting addition to Summoners War canon brings a rich lore to the franchise and draws new connections to the upcoming Summoners War games and the Summoners War: Sky Arena game that fans know and love.

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