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Mini Reviews and Recommendations For The Week Ending 9/12

Sometimes, the staff at Graphic Policy read more comics than we’re able to get reviewed. When that happens you’ll see a weekly feature compiling short reviews from the staff of the comics, or graphic novels, we just didn’t get a chance to write a full review for. Given the lack of new comics, expect this weekly update to begin featuring comics that we think you’ll enjoy while you can’t get anything new to read – only new to you.

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews and Recommendations.


Joe Hesh

Amazing Spider-Man #48 (Marvel) It doesn’t matter how many issues or how many volumes, one thing remains: Peter Parker is still Peter Parker. That means Peter Parker is Spider-Man. This issue dealt with Peter frontline and all his tremendous guilt and weight he carries with him. He is in constant battle between his wants and his morals. He wants to make the right choice always but the right choice is never easy. His conundrum? Does he let his old foe The Sin Eater who has returned from the dead with a holy crusade using new powers to clear sins away, cleanse Peter’s greatest enemy: The Green Goblin aka Iron Patriot aka Director of SWORD aka The Red Goblin aka Norman Osborn, or does he save Norman from this fate? Issues like this make me love Spider-Man so much. He really is the worlds most altruistic hero. No matter how much pain you put him through or what you take from him, he is always unwaivering in his principles. Peter leans on his web friends for some internal guidance and it is here the issue shines. Miles, Gwen, Spider-Woman all take a stab at the Parker psyche and we get some very cool and fun moments. If you’re a long time reader you have a good idea on what Peter’s choice is and thats where the fun begins leading us right into the big 850th issue next. Art chores were done by the amazing Mark Bagley and the scribe was Nick Spencer who is finally making Spidey something worth reading again. All the while here I’m waiting for something Goblin to come. Next issue should be a blast. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Batman: Three Jokers #1 (DC) We’ve waited so long for this one and wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. It did not disappoint. I wasn’t sure how this was going to work with three possible Jokers and what not. I thought some multiverse shenanigans or such but after reading this, I think not. The story plays out brilliantly pacing all kinds of lush character developments at the same time as a jog down memory lane. The Joker has always been so fascinating as there is so many interpretations of him. I’ve always been a fan of Grant Morrisons metamorphosis portrayal where he amps up to meet whatever Batman is putting out at the time. In other words the better Batman is, the worse Joker becomes. However after reading this and a very different direction my thoughts might change. I know we are only on issue one but this could be the story of the year for me. An all around gorgeous presentation. Speaking of which, the art. The freaking art man. It’s breathtaking.  I know Jason Fabok might have started as a Jim Lee clone but to me, he has surpassed Lee. The line work, the difference of character design, the bombastic large fight scenes, it is really too impressive to quantify. Now Geoff Johns the man who has brought us the best and worst DC has to offer (I.E. Green Lantern and Infinite Crisis) he crushes it this time. Right out the gate, grand slam on first pitch. I don’t know where he is going with this yet, but I cannot wait. Not only does he handle the mystery well but he gives Jason and Barbara some of the best character work they’ve had in years. I loved it. So if you weren’t planning to read this book, you better change that. Canon or no canon this is an amazing story. Don’t sleep on it, lest a stray crowbar wake you to your senses. Score: 9.8 Reccomendation: Buy

Logan

Vampire the Masquerade #2 (Vault)- In Tim Seeley and Devmalya Pramanik’s A-story, most of the big plot points are dashed out via exposition, but the real draw is the relationship between Cecilia and her vampire “childe” (She was sired and left for dead actually) Ali. They demonstrate that the life of a vampire in this world is full of moral dilemmas and bureaucracy in contrast with the pure survival instincts of the Anarchs in Tini Howard, Blake Howard, and Nathan Gooden’s backup story. Pramanik’s art and Addison Duke’s soul-searing color really get into Ali’s head as she makes her first kill while Seeley’s dry, clinical dialogue for Cecilia nicely unwraps the moral implications of her action. Vampire Masquerade is definitely a slow burner, but Cecilia and Ali are a great duo to build this story around. Overall: 8.0 Verdict: Buy

Aggretsuko #6 (Oni Press)– The first volume of Aggretsuko wraps up with a competition-driven story from Black Mage’s Daniel Barnes and DJ Kirkland with the employees at Retsuko’s office competing for 1 day of PTO in various sports. Kirkland’s video game and manga influences come to the forefront especially in a couple climactic events straight out of Slam Dunk or Mario Kart. He does this all while staying on-model and pumping up the energy and emotion. Barnes’ script is creative and full of trash talk, and he throws in some fun moments featuring the fan-favorite relationship between Retsuko and Haida making it integral to the main story. Aggretsuko #6 is an enjoyable supplement to the Netflix anime series and kind of is a vision of the show if it was a 22 episode American-style sitcom instead of a tightly focused 10 episode one. Overall: 8.6 Verdict: Buy

Marauders #12 (Marvel)– After all the shit she’s gone through, Marauders #12 is a pure celebration of Kitty Pryde, her friendships and relationships with various X-Men, her revenge, and also her finally coming out as bisexual via smooching a tattoo artis tafter decades of speculation and subtext. Writer Gerry Duggan takes a beat in his “Kill Shaw” plot to have Kitty enjoy life with Lockheed permanently snuggled up on her neck, and artist Matteo Lolli’s old school art style that reminded me of Paul Smith or Howard Chaykin is perfect for this kind of character-driven story. They deal with the implications of the resurrection process while also showing Kitty’s comfort with certain characters like Magik, Storm, and Nightcrawler and discomfort with being the belle of the ball when all she wants to get is knuckle tats and vengeance. Marauders #12 re-establishes Kitty Pryde as the lead and heart of this series, and I’m rejuvenated and ready to see her take down Sebastian Shaw. Overall: 8.7 Verdict: Buy

Brett

Dryfoot #1 (Mad Cave Studios) – The debut issue is interesting and fun about a bunch of kids who decide to rob a drug dealer in 1980s Miami. It’d be a bit more interesting if 4 Kids Walk Into a Bank hadn’t already tackled a similar idea and done it with a far better debut. Still, a nice diversion from other things out there. Overall Rating: 7.0 Recommendation: Read

Empyre: Aftermath Avengers #1 (Marvel) – The wedding celebration has a lot of solid moments and drama. But, the comic feels like it could have been a few pages in an expanded final issue. Its really goal is to set up the next major story arc and never quite feels completely satisfying for some reason. Overall Rating: 7.0 Recommendation: Read

Empyre: Fallout Fantastic Four #1 (Marvel) – The issue is very cute and potentially sets up a lot for the Fantastic Four. Out of the two Empyre follow up issues, this is the one to really pay attention to. It really feels like much more of an ending than the Avengers version. Overall Rating: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

Marauders #12 (Marvel) – The art isn’t for me and I don’t get the tension at all. You know who killed Kate… so? It’d be one thing if it was a mystery but much like the whole concept of resurrection, the real drama is no longer there. Overall Rating: 5.0 Recommendation: Pass

Rise of Ultraman (Marvel) – I don’t know the classic property at all so was excited to dive into the series. The first issue is fun and a nice build into the world. It also feels a little generic though. An entertaining comic and one I want to read the second issue but it’s not one I’m super excited about anymore. Overall Rating: 7.75 Recommendation: Read

Transformers: Galaxies #9 (IDW Publishing) – The series wraps up its latest arc delivering a nice morality tale. The focus is on self-determination and free will, a concept a bit deeper than robots than change into things. As usual the comic is more than meets the eye. Overall Rating: 8.0 Recommendation: Read

Vampire: The Masquerade #2 (Vault Comics) – The comic series continues to impress though might be a bit more enjoyable for those who really know the world. The exploration of choice when it comes to vampirism is an interesting one and there’s a bit of a Training Day vibe about the issue. This is a series to keep an eye on. Overall Rating: 8.25 Recommendation: Buy

Web of Venom: Wraith #1 (Marvel) – There’s a solid western vibe about the issue. It also dives into Wraith’s history a bit which is nice for those who don’t know the character like myself. Still, it’s really a comic to just warn Eddie Brock that Knull is coming and set up King in Black. A must-read? No. But, an entertaining one. Overall Rating: 7.75 Recommendation: Read

X-Factor #3 (Marvel) – The series continues to be a hell of a lot of fun and the return of Shatterstar has so much potential. This is an X comic that’s just full of winks, nods, and laughs and quickly rising to be the best of that corner of the Marvel Universe. Overall Rating: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy


Well, there you have it, folks. The reviews we didn’t quite get a chance to write. See you next week!

Please note that with some of the above comics, Graphic Policy was provided FREE copies for review. Where we purchased the comics, you’ll see an asterisk (*). If you don’t see that, you can infer the comic was a review copy. In cases where we were provided a review copy and we also purchased the comic you’ll see two asterisks (**).

Review: Stargazer #1

Stargazer #1

For me, one of the most overlooked sci-fi films is Fire in the Sky. The film is based on a book recounting one man’s alien abduction experience. In the story, he’s taken by aliens while logging with co-workers leading to a mystery if he was really abducted or in fact killed. For those that haven’t seen it, it’s well worth viewing. Stargazer #1, a new series from Mad Cave Studios, delivers a similar concept mixing the abduction story with a little bit of IT and Goonies and Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Writer Anthony Cleveland seems to play with the familiar in this debut issue. It opens with a twist on Close Encounters of the Third Kind and from there weaves a story of the past and present day. Where Stargazer #1 stands out is leaving the reader with doubts. What’s real? What’s false? Is it all a bad acid trip.

The story revolves around a group of kids who have an experience one day that involves discovering acid and possible aliens. Were the aliens due to the drugs? Were they real? It’s unknown exactly what’s going on even by the end of the first issue which seems to take you in a certain direction. There’s so many fakes and twists, what “the facts” are remain unclear and unknown. It’s exactly what a good alien abduction story should be.

Antonio Fuso provides the art with Stefano Simeone on colors and Justin Birch lettering. The art is solid clearly jumping through it’s three segments and tying the latter two together in a reddish/purpleish color haze. The choice of colors is striking and with Fuso’s art style, it creates trippy visuals where the paranoia of it all is enhanced.

Where Stargazer #1 really stands out is the small details. There’s so much to relate to here as readers. One can just go into it appreciating the pressure of having to take care of an unwell family member. Many will relate to the aspect of having to keep a secret. And some will latch on to the emotional toll or the fantastical. The team delivers all of that and more in a story that perfectly mixes dialogue and visuals to flesh out characters and the story. We learn about a character from a photo. We also get a sense of the tough decision being made from a pamphlet. These are details that enhance the story without breaking the flow.

Those details too are perfect for this type of experience. As readers, we’re going into the story skeptical. Is this an alien abduction? We don’t know. But, it feels like the creative team have made sure to focus in on tiny aspects for us to put together that mystery and so much more. If you’re a fan of alien abduction stories or mysteries, Stargazer #1 is a definite buy.

Story: Anthony Cleveland Art: Antonio Fuso
Color: Stefano Simeone Letterer: Justin Birch
Story: 8.15 Art: 8.15 Overall: 8.15 Recommendation: Buy

Mad Cave Studios provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review. Mad Cave is also a paid advertiser on the site.


Purchase: comiXology

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Atlas at War

Wednesdays (and now Tuesdays) are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

Each week our contributors choose what they can’t wait to read this week or just sounds interesting. In other words, this is what we’re looking forward to and think you should be taking a look at!

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this week.

Atlas at War (Dead Reckoning) – The graphic novel collects fifty hard to find war stories published by Marvel between 1951 and 1960.

Cyberpunk 2077 Trauma Team #1 (Dark Horse Comics) – The highly anticipated video game comes to comics.

Dark Nights: Death Metal Trinity Crisis #1 (DC Comics) – Really, this should have been part of the main series, so we’re highlighting it so you don’t dismiss it as just another one-shot tie-in.

Dog Man Vol. 9 (Graphix) – The series is huge and this latest volume is being printed in the millions. Comics aren’t dying, they’ve got a whole new generation hooked.

Dry Foot #1 (Mad Cave Studios) – It’s Miami in the 1980s and a group of kids are attempting to escape the violence and drugs of the city.

Kent State: Four Dead in Ohio (Abrams Comicarts) – A graphic novel depiction of the tragic day that reflects on the violence we see today.

Rise of Ultraman #1 (Marvel) – We’re intrigued to see how this Marvel take on the classic manga/anime character turns out.

Stargazer #1 (Mad Cave Studios) – If you like alien abduction stories, this is a great first issue of an intriguing mystery.

Student Ambassador Vol. 1 (Iron Circus Comics) – An eight-year-old wins a photo op with the President of the United States but is pulled into an international incident when another eight-year-old takes his father’s crown and stumbles into trouble.

Vampire: The Masquerade #2 (Vault Comics) – The first issue was a bit heavy on the terms from the classic roleplaying game but nailed the characters and world down.

Mad Cave Showcase 2.0 is Coming in October

Mad Cave Showcase 2.0

Mad Cave has announced the Mad Cave Showcase 2.0, which will be broadcast live and hosted by Jazzlyn Stone on Saturday, October 3rd, 12pm ET/9am PT! Join the Mad Cave crew along with some very special guests including comics creators Cullen Bunn and Sweeney Boo and more!

For the Mad Cave Showcase 2.0, we wanted to step it up and provide our fans with an exciting day filled with major announcements that will affect Mad Cave for years to come, must-see interviews with talented creatives, exclusive offers on a limited amount of Showcase exclusive variant covers from creators like Liana Kangas and Hannah Templer, and a live-drawing by the amazing Sweeney Boo—check out the full schedule below!

October 3rd, 12 pm – 5 pm EST
12pm EST:
●    Welcome with Mark London 
●    Announcement with Editor-in-Chief, Chris Sanchez
●    Exclusive Mad Cave Showcase 2.0 Variant Cover Giveaway

1pm EST:
●   Interview with Lela Gwenn & Rowan MacColl
●   Interview with Jay Sandlin & Patrick Mulholand
●   Interview with Ennun Ana Iurov & ​David Pinckney

2pm EST:
●  Live drawing with Sweeney Boo

3pm EST:
●    2020 Talent Search Winners Announcement with Chris Fernandez
●    Interview with Cullen Bunn
●    Interview with Winners from 2019 Talent Search, ​Shane Connery  Volk, and David Hazan, and their editor, Brian Hawkins

4pm EST:
●    Editorial Interview with Chris Sanchez, Steenz, Michael Moccio, and Erica Schultz
●    Q+A

Review: Stargazer #1

Stargazer #1

For me, one of the most overlooked sci-fi films is Fire in the Sky. The film is based on a book recounting one man’s alien abduction experience. In the story, he’s taken by aliens while logging with co-workers leading to a mystery if he was really abducted or in fact killed. For those that haven’t seen it, it’s well worth viewing. Stargazer #1, a new series from Mad Cave Studios, delivers a similar concept mixing the abduction story with a little bit of IT and Goonies and Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Writer Anthony Cleveland seems to play with the familiar in this debut issue. It opens with a twist on Close Encounters of the Third Kind and from there weaves a story of the past and present day. Where Stargazer #1 stands out is leaving the reader with doubts. What’s real? What’s false? Is it all a bad acid trip.

The story revolves around a group of kids who have an experience one day that involves discovering acid and possible aliens. Were the aliens due to the drugs? Were they real? It’s unknown exactly what’s going on even by the end of the first issue which seems to take you in a certain direction. There’s so many fakes and twists, what “the facts” are remain unclear and unknown. It’s exactly what a good alien abduction story should be.

Antonio Fuso provides the art with Stefano Simeone on colors and Justin Birch lettering. The art is solid clearly jumping through it’s three segments and tying the latter two together in a reddish/purpleish color haze. The choice of colors is striking and with Fuso’s art style, it creates trippy visuals where the paranoia of it all is enhanced.

Where Stargazer #1 really stands out is the small details. There’s so much to relate to here as readers. One can just go into it appreciating the pressure of having to take care of an unwell family member. Many will relate to the aspect of having to keep a secret. And some will latch on to the emotional toll or the fantastical. The team delivers all of that and more in a story that perfectly mixes dialogue and visuals to flesh out characters and the story. We learn about a character from a photo. We also get a sense of the tough decision being made from a pamphlet. These are details that enhance the story without breaking the flow.

Those details too are perfect for this type of experience. As readers, we’re going into the story skeptical. Is this an alien abduction? We don’t know. But, it feels like the creative team have made sure to focus in on tiny aspects for us to put together that mystery and so much more. If you’re a fan of alien abduction stories or mysteries, Stargazer #1 is a definite buy.

Story: Anthony Cleveland Art: Antonio Fuso
Color: Stefano Simeone Letterer: Justin Birch
Story: 8.15 Art: 8.15 Overall: 8.15 Recommendation: Buy

Mad Cave Studios provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review. Mad Cave is also a paid advertiser on the site.


Purchase: comiXology

Get to Rockin’ with Terminal Punks #1

Mad Cave Studios is bringing readers Terminal Punks #1!  Originally announced during The Mad Cave Studios 2020 Showcase, the brand new series written by Matthew Erman with art by Shelly Criswell and letters by Micah Myers, is expected to hit shelves on November 11th.

Four lousy, grimy and greasy gutter punk teens are en route to their big show in the big apple but when things go monstrously wrong and mutant animals are unleashed in the airport, our four punk heroes must put on their combat boots, fly their Black Flag and try to survive a viral genetic mutant nightmare. 

A hilarious, wild, and fun thrill-ride! Terminal Punks is a blaring colorful love letter to the music and attitude of rebellion. It is also a tongue-in-cheek takedown of rich idiots doing stupid things for bad reasons.

Terminal Punks #1

It’s Alien Abductions and 80’s Neon Lights with Mad Cave’s Stagazer and Dryfoot

This September, Mad Cave Studios is launching two whole new series, Stargazer, written by Anthony Cleveland with art by Antonio Fuso, and Dry Foot by upcoming writer Jarred Lujan with art by Orlando Caicedo!

Stargazer #1

(W) Anthony Cleveland(A/CA) Antonio Fuso (CO) Stefano Simeone (L) Justin Birch
September 2nd

What if four children were abducted by a UFO and implanted with stolen technology capable of destroying an ancient alien race? What if twenty years later those same aliens want what was taken from them? Find out in Mad Cave’s intergalactic new series: Stargazer.

Stargazer #1

Dry Foot #1

(W) Jarred Lujan (A/CA) Orlando Caicedo (CO) Warnia Sahadewa (L) Justin Birch
September 9th

Diego Gomez is tired of the drugs and violence that surround him. He wants nothing more than to escape west and leave the neon lights of 1980s Miami behind him. With the help of three friends, Diego hatches a plan to rob the most dangerous gang in the city, Los Marielitos. Filled with Latin-American influences, Dry Foot is a coming-of age-tale that deals with family, friendship, trust, and adversity. Many would kill to live in the Magic City. Others would die to leave it behind.

Dry Foot #1

New Comic Book Day Includes Over 125 New Digital Comics

Empyre: Fantastic Four

It’s new comic book day at comiXology has you covered with over 125 new digital comics available right now! Get new comics from Marvel, Oni, AWA, Archie, and more! Check out tons of indie and small press comics! all at the touch of a button. See everything available here or check out the individual issues below!

AAM-Markosia

AfterShock

AHOY Comics

American Mythology Productions

Archie Comics

AWA Studios

Black Mask Studios

BOOM! Studios

comiXology Submit

Darby Pop Publishing

Dark Horse Comics

DC Comics

Wonder Woman: Agent of Peace #9

DC Thomson

Dynamite Entertainment

Harlequin

IDW Publishing

Image Comics

Kodansha

Lion Forge Comics

Mad Cave Studios

Marvel

Oni Press

Red 5 Comics

Scholastic – Graphix

Th3rd World Studios

Titan Comics

Valiant Entertainment

Vault Comics

Virus

Zenescope

ComiXology Has You Covered with New Digital Comics from Marvel, Image, IDW, BOOM!, manga, and more!

Wonder Woman: Agent of Peace #9

It’s Wednesday and it’s new comic book day! There’s new comics on the shelves at comic shops but there’s also new comics on the digital shelves as well. There’s over 100 comics for you to choose from. There’s something for every from Marvel, AfterShock, Ahoy, Albatross Funnybooks, IDW, Image, manga and more! You can get the full list here or check out what you can get by publisher below!

AAM-Markosia

Ablaze

AfterShock

Ahoy Comics

Albatross Funnybooks

American Mythology Productions

Archie Comics

Devil's Highway #1

AWA Studios

BOOM! Studios

Clover Press

comiXology Submit

Darby Pop Publishing

Dark Horse

DC Comics

DC Thomson

Dynamite

Harlequin

Heavy Metal

IDW Publishing

Image

Nailbiter Returns #2

Kid Beowulf Comics

Mad Cave Studios

Marvel

Oni Press

Titan Comics

Vault Comics

Zenescope


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The Monster Hunt is Underway in Wolvenheart

Mad Cave Studios has announced that Wolvenheart issues #1-7 are being collected into a trade paperback! From writer Mark London, with art and colors by Alejandro Giraldo, and letters by Miguel Angel Zapata, Wolvenheart is for fans who love Doctor Who, Castlevania, Penny Dreadful, and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen!

Led by the legendary professor Van Helsing, Wolvenheart is an organization dedicated to monitoring anomalies in the space-time continuum. After the group is infiltrated and decimated by a cabal of history’s most infamous villains, led by the most notorious serial killer of the 16th century, Elizabeth Bathory, monster hunter Sterling Cross winds up trapped in an alternate reality where his only choice is to fight his way through time and change the course of history.

Wolvenheart
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