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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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The Immortal Hulk #50 Captures Immortal Moments in Variant Covers

The end of one of the most critically-acclaimed comic runs in recent history arrives next month with Immortal Hulk #50, a special giant-sized issue that will present the epic conclusion to years of buildup, mystery, and Gamma-powered additions to the Hulk mythology. To celebrate the end of this groundbreaking journey, some of the industry’s top artists have delivered outstanding ‘Immortal Moments’ variant covers that depict some of the highlights of the last 49 issues.

These eight covers will allow readers to relive the following breathtaking moments from throughout this incredible saga:

  • Ron Lim and Israel Silva immortalizes Hulk’s discovery of the gamma-irradiated father of Del Frye from IMMORTAL HULK #2
  • Ed McGuinness and Laura Martin immortalizes the brutal brawl between the red Absorbing Man and Hulk from IMMORTAL HULK #9
  • Gary Frank and Brad Anderson immortalizes the climactic moment of the “Hulk in Hell” arc where Devil Hulk lets Bruce know he’ll always protect him from IMMORTAL HULK #13
  • Carlos Pacheco, Rafael Fonteriz, and Marcio Menyz immortalizes the debut of the Rick Jones/Abomination hybrid from IMMORTAL HULK #17
  • Creees Lee and Jesus Aburtov immortalizes Hulk’s initial confrontation with Betty’s new manifestation of her Red Harpy persona from IMMORTAL HULK #19
  • Sanford Greene immortalizes the glimpse of Hulk’s potential future as the Breaker of Worlds from IMMORTAL HULK #25.
  • InHyuk Lee immortalizes Hulk squaring off against his Roxxon-backed replacement, Xemnu, from IMMORTAL HULK #31
  • Jen Bartel immortalizes the reveal of the Devil Hulk’s true look from IMMORTAL HULK #38

Check out all eight now and be there for the end to this historic run when Immortal Hulk #50 hits stands on October 13!

Review: Non-stop Spider-Man #2

Non-Stop Spider-Man #2

There are so many different ways to tackle Spider-Man. You can have a series more focused on Peter and those around him. You can have takes where he takes on global threats. Then there’s the version that’s focused on the action with a kinetic spin to it all. Non-Stop Spider-Man #2 continues that last take with an issue that’s full of energy and over-the-top action.

Joe Kelly keeps up the adventure as Spider-Man is on a personal mission to find out what’s going on with the drugs being sold to smart individuals. As the comic teases, there’s clearly something going on with who the drugs are being targeted but the comic dances around that reveal.

Instead, Kelly keeps the action coming with big explosions and big sequences you can really only do in a comic. Buildings explode from a helicopter attack, a truck makes its way into the sewer, it’s all so insane it’s hard to not smile and just enjoy.

What Kelly also does is give us a Spider-Man that’s off his game in a way. The drug use has hit him close and impacted a friend. He’s working on anger as much as anything else which has the character a little off his usual leading to small mistakes. He’s a half-step off and makes things more of a challenge.

Chris Bachalo‘s art is the draw. As much as Kelly’s story is entertaining, it’s the insane visuals that really draw the reader in. Bachalo is joined by Tim Townsend, Al Vey, and Wayne Faucher on ink, Marcio Menyz on color, and Travis Lanham on lettering. The situations Kelly concocts are so insane but Bachalo delivers it all with an energy and style that only he can pull off. You can hear the explosions. The page layouts continue to impress as well with a flow and look that’s so unique.

Non-Stop Spider-Man #2 is a lot of fun. The art pops from the page. The story is interesting. It’s a second issue that delivers as much excitement as its debut, not an easy thing to do. There’s debates as to how many series are too many for characters but when they’re as unique as this, bring more on!

Story: Joe Kelly Art: Chris Bachalo
Ink: Tim Townsend, Al Vey, Wayne Faucher Color: Marcio Menyz Letterer: Travis Lanham
Story: 8.25 Art: 8.85 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Review: Fantastic Four #25

Fantastic Four #25

In Fantastic Four #25, an otherworldly being of incredible power is looking for an omnipotent power than Reed Richards has locked away many, many years ago (but never mentioned). Separate, none of the Fantastic Four can stop this villain. Combined with the might of the FF and a bunch of their friends and family, they are able to defeat the bad guy and save the day.

Let’s be honest: that’s the synopsis of many Fantastic Four stories. These plot pieces make up your typical FF story. What separates the good and bad stories is how you put those pieces together. The Fantastic Four are not quite the superheroes that many others in the Marvel Universe are. They are adventurers and explorers and the bizarre and unknown are their backyard over most anyone else. So having a story where the plot isn’t exactly original, it helps that the writer puts pieces in place that makes it a bit more interesting.

Writer Dan Slott makes the FF feel like the FF.  In my opinion, there’s a lot that Slott does with these characters. Fantastic Four #25 features a strong family dynamic and the threat is certainly a deadly one. I’ve been a fan of the FF since I was a child and while I haven’t been reading it much in the last two years, the first story in the 25th issue did feel like a classic. That said, the other story in this issue, between a newly-reborn Uatu and the original Nick Fury felt a bit off and unexciting. You can’t win them all, true believers.

For being the Fantastic Four, it’s Fantastic a-whole-lot-of-people. Doom and his servant, another set of jobbers in the Baxter building, Ben’s adopted-ish kids that he has with Alicia. There’s a lot of people in the story so there’s two ways to look at it. Too many moving pieces that take away a bit of focus from Reed and Co. Or, it enhances the family dynamic, another quality of what makes the FF who they are. I personally felt it was maybe too many people for a single issue. Ben and Johnny do not contribute much to this, which was a bummer.

Holy cow! The art in Fantastic Four was pretty…fantastic? I am new to the art team of R.B. Silva and Jesus Abertov but they blew me away. They totally nail the character looks and there were some pages, like the one of Reed and Valeria working in the lab, that stood out. One thing I enjoyed visually was the scene with Reed and Valeria in the lab, totally looking like something out of the Kirby era. The action sequences stand out with both high marks in detail and panel work, not skimping on backgrounds.  Great lettering all around from Joe Caramagna. And I think it makes a huge difference on a book to have an eye-catching cover and I thought the Mark Brooks cover was top-notch.

Dan Slott has been on this book for a few years and from the few issues I’ve read of his FF run, I’ve really enjoyed it and wished that I kept up in a better fashion on it. R.B. Silva and Jesus Abertov crushed the visuals. I think for a new reader, Fantastic Four #25 would not be the most friendly issue to pick up but I do think this was a pretty good issue of Fantastic Four and definitely worth the read.

Story: Dan Slott Art: R.B. Silva, Paco Medina, Will Robson
Color: Jesus Aburtov, Marcio Menyz Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Story: 7.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Read

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Review: The Immortal She-Hulk #1

The Immortal She-Hulk #1

The Immortal She-Hulk #1 is an intriguing comic. In many ways, it’s a continuation of Al Ewing‘s work on the Immortal Hulk. It dives into some of the concepts that began there and expands them further into the greater world of gamma-irradiated beings. But, what stands out is Ewing’s exploration of the superhero trope of their not staying dead and what that means.

She-Hulk has had a rough few years having died numerous times and come back each and every time. Unlike her cousin who wants to find peace in death and rages that he cannot, She-Hulk, Jennifer Walters, questions what it means. Is she really herself? Does she have a soul? Can she die? Immortality is at the center of the comic and Ewing uses concepts introduced into the Marvel Universe in the relaunched X-Men to explore that idea.

Jennifer has a sitdown with Wolverine, a character who knows about coming back from the dead. Ewing takes us through the “three deaths” of Jennifer Walters, each time revealing more about her experience, some of which she does not remember. We learn more of the rules about this “green door and space” that has played an important role in Ewing’s run in Immortal Hulk.

For those who haven’t been reading that comic, this debut might be a bit confusing. Ewing does a decent job of explaining what’s needed to know. He does so by adding nightmarish aspects with each revelation. And that’s possibly the one issue with the comic, it does rely a bit much on “Hulk history.” Characters are introduced and explained but the emotional punch from that history isn’t quite there. Most feel like we walk away with “that person is bad.” There’s never quite the fear and “oh crap” levied by each twist.

Jon Davis-Hunt‘s art gives us a nightmarish journey with a design and presentation that’s slightly off-kilter. With uneasy colors of Marcio Menyz and lettering by Cory Petit, there’s a visual “offness” to it all. The trauma and running from her nightmares is there and works really well. We see Jennifer’s unease and her questioning of it all. There’s a horror aspect to the comic but one that’s different that the nightmares that haunt her cousin Bruce. Davis-Hunt and his team have visualized trauma in some ways.

The Immortal She-Hulk #1 is a good and unexpected start. It definitely will be a hard read for some. But The Immortal She-Hulk #1 is a very different direction and take to concepts that haven’t been explored enough. While Immortal Hulk delivers the rage of these experiences, Immortal She-Hulk takes things in another direction. It’s a psychological exploration of trauma and thriller wrapped up in spandex.

Story: Al Ewing Art: Jon Davis-Hunt
Color: Marcio Menyz Letterer: Cory Petit
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Review: Empyre: Fantastic Four

Empyre: Fantastic Four

Marvel’s anticipated, and delayed event, Empyre draws nearer. Empyre: Fantastic Four is the prelude comic introducing the Fantastic Four into what’s to come. Much like its Avengers counterpart, the comic feels like a nice walk through the history of the key players and teases the upcoming event and its impact.

Stranded in space, the Fantastic Four are given a lift to a gambling planet where they learn of a gladiatorial combat that relives the Kree/Skrull War but the wording indicates the war is officially over. The galactic credit system has collapsed as well leading to a bartering system. It’s all tied together but the Fantastic Four must put the pieces of the puzzle together as well as figure out a way to pay for their ship repair to get home.

Written by Dan Slott, Empyre: Fantastic Four is a decent transition for the team into the event. You get a good sense of the history of the Kree/Skrull War as well as the Fantastic Four’s involvement with both. We’re also introduced to new concepts in Marvel’s cosmic landscape that fit right in and feel at home.

Slott mixes in some comedic elements and action within the pages keeping a nice pace throughout the issue. While it’s not quite as good as the Avengers lead in issue, it does a decent job overall of catching readers up and leaves them on a “what the hell is that?” cliffhanger, though without the dread like the Avengers issue.

Where things get a bit weird is the revelation of who’ battling in the arena. SPOILER: It’s two children who the Fantastic Four liberate from their oppressor. While this is overall a good thing, this, along with the Future Foundation, is making the team feel like they’re collecting wards quicker than Batman. They’re also as questionable when it comes to the kids’ safety. Still that detail provides some humorous and cute moments of interactions between the kids, the Human Torch, and the Thing.

The art by R.B. Silva and Sean Izaakse is solid work. Along with color by Marte Gracia and Marcio Menyz and lettering by Joe Caramagna, the art is really interesting with a lot of small details to tell the story. The art really plays well into the gambling world as we get a sense of the wonder and alien nature of it all but it also feels familiar. There’s a sense of excess without it being over the top and exploitation without it feeling too grimy. It feels like Vegas. Despite some of the weightier aspects of the story, the art helps keep it light too befitting the tone of the Fantastic Four.

While Empyre: Fantastic Four doesn’t quite have the excitement of Empyre: The Avengers, it does add in some more details about the current state of the cosmic Marvel Universe and how things are shifted. It’s a transition to get the team into the action without using up an issue of their main series. But, as is, this is a prelude issue that’s more interesting to read than a must get.

Story: Dan Slott Art: R.B. Silva, Sean Izaakse
Color: Marte Gracia, Marcio Menyz Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Story: 7.0 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read


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Review: Fantastic Four Vol. 4 Thing vs. Immortal Hulk

The Thing is married and it’s time for his honeymoon! But, the Immortal Hulk has other plans!

Fantastic Four Vol. 4 Thing vs. Immortal Hulk collects issues #12-13, Fantastic Four: Yancy Street, and Fantastic Four: Negative Zone.

Story: Dan Slott, Gerry Duggan, Mike Carey, Ryan North
Art: Sean Izaakse, Greg Smallwood, Mark Bagley, Scott Hanna, Luciano Vecchio, Pere Pérez, Stefano Caselli, Steve Uly
Color: Marcio Menyz, Greg Smallwood, Erick Arciniega
Letterer: Joe Caramagna, Cory Petit

Get your copy in comic shops now and bookstores on March 24! To find a comic shop near you, visit http://www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon
Kindle/comiXology

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site

Review: Black Panther and the Agents of Wakanda #1

Agents of Wakanda spins out of Avengers with a new team taking on issues that need a special focus.

Story: Jim Zub
Art: Lan Medina
Color: Marcio Menyz
Letterer: Joe Sabino

Get your copy in comic shops! To find a comic shop near you, visit http://www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon
Kindle/comiXology
TFAW

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site

Review: Star Wars: Vader: Dark Visions

Star Wars: Vader: Dark Visions explores the Dark Lord of the Sith from the perspective of other individuals across a galaxy far far away.

Story: Dennis “Hopeless” Hallum
Art: Paolo Villanelli, Brian Level, David Lopez, Javier Pina, Stephen Mooney, Geraldo Borges
Color: Arif Prianto, Jordan Boyd, Muntsa Vicente, Lee Loughridge, Marcio Menyz
Letterer: Joe Caramagna

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

Amazon
Kindle/comiXology
TFAW

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site

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