writer: Kurt Busiek, Mark Russell, Amanda Deibert artist: Benjamin Dewey, Bob Q, Cat Staggs covers: Lucio Parrillo (A), Emanuela Lupacchino (B), Phillip Tan (C), Gracie the Cosplay Lass Cosplay Variant (D), Phillip Tan (RI/Line Art), Emanuela Lupacchino (RI/Line Art), Phillip Tan (RI/BW), Gracie the Cosplay Lass Cosplay Variant (RI/Virgin), Emanuela Lupacchino (RI/BW), Lucio Parrillo (RI/BW) FC | 40 pages | Sword and Sorcery | $4.99 | Teen+
Dynamite proudly presents a prestige project by the world’s greatest storytellers! Red Sonja, like you’ve NEVER seen before…all presented in beautiful black, white, and red!
KURT BUSIEK (Astro City, Marvels) and BENJAMIN DEWEY (King In Black: Namor) take you to The Mountains Of Night, a foreboding haunt where the She-Devil With A Sword seeks a precious, priceless item…
AMANDA DEIBERT (Wonder Woman) and CAT STAGGS (Smallville) wind you through a mysterious adventure of crimson and ebony…
MARK RUSSELL (Red Sonja) and BOB Q (Red Sonja) return to put their final stamp on their classic Red Sonja series, with a coda that will leave you breathless…
The robot takeover doomsday scenario, where humanity gets replaced by the machines they created, has been the basis for many a sci-fi story, but the aftermath is rarely given time to shine. Just what is life under robotic law and what does the new day-to-day look like after humanity’s gone extinct? Say Ultron finally gets one over the Avengers, what’s next? Aren’t robots near-perfect beings with infinite knowledge? Museums and libraries would become obsolete as robots store everything in their memory and can access it at a moment’s notice, not to mention grocery stores and bars. Well, maybe not bars.
Mark Russell (Prez, Billionaire Island) and Mike Deodato’s new AWA Studios comic, Not All Robots, offers readers an answer: the robots will eventually become more like us. Once you get to the top of the food chain, it’s possible that the only way forward is to downgrade. That is, unless they’re content with being static automatons surfing their own databases without a need to move around or physically engage with anyone.
Not All Robots is another great Mark Russell satire on the ridiculousness of existence and the things we do with our existential dilemmas. Humanity, what’s left of it, is very quickly becoming obsolete as worker robots have become the sole providers of living families by completely taking over the workforce. Humans are quite simply redundant at this point and robots are catching on to the fact of how superfluous they’ve become. There’s even a talk show within the story called Talkin’ Bot that puts everything into perspective and I am one-hundred percent certain this show will actually exist a few years from now.
The comic centers on a house bot called Razorball. He’s the main provider for the Walters, the family that owns him. Razorball has become a disenchanted worker, cynical at every turn. He complains about life, the monotony of it, and his disdain for all the unnecessary things he has to do at work.
Deodato (Marvel’s Original Sin, The Resistance) illustrates Razorball as a somewhat outdated and clunky machine, in need of an update or to be updated by a newer model. That’s where the Mandroids come in, robots that can easily be confused with humans given the quality of their build. In other words, the future.
It’s hard not to confuse Razorball with the average Joe, an unhappy guy that hates his life and his job and feels unappreciated by society. Russell’s genius, though, comes in how he takes that archetype and injects classic Asimov-like science fiction ideas into the story to not let the metaphor consume the narrative entirely. The associations are easy to make between Razorball and his human counterparts, but there’s a real sci-fi heart beating at the center of it.
Deodato crafts a universe’s worth of worldbuilding into the story with futuristic vistas and designs that firmly place the story within the realm of plausibility. It keeps the characters grounded and the story human. Deodato’s panel layouts and overall page structure—which has evolved throughout his career and stands as one of his signature skills as an artist—keeps things busy too, as if the new standard of life is governed by on-going activity carried by the never-ending stamina of a well-oiled machine.
Russell, on the other hand, isn’t just content with making fun of humans through worker robots. The idea that machines have forced people into a sedentary lifestyle echoes current debates on how technology is eliminating jobs people used to do by hand and got paid for. The robots act as living cautionary glimpses into what our reality could turn into if progress is allowed to continue pushing forward unfettered. Also how disenchanted robots will get once they realize how mundane human existence actually was.
Not All Robots is a funny, scary, and plausible take on humanity’s self-authored descent into obsolescence. Readers will laugh hard the entire way through, but they’ll also have no choice but to think about the consequences of our exponential growth into a machine-dominated world. The kicker, though, is that regardless of how advanced these robots turn out to be, they might not have a choice but to become a bit human to find some meaning in the new status quo.
Story: Mark Russell, Art: Mike Deodato Publisher: AWA Studios Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy and maybe consider throwing your iPhone into the ocean
AWA Studios provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
(W) Mark Russell (A) Sean Izaakse (CA) Daniel Acuna 40 PGS./Rated T In Shops: Jun 23, 2021 SRP: $4.99
The story of the Fantastic Four’s lives in real time continues! Set in the 1970s, the heroes struggle to find their role in a rapidly changing world. Sue continues to fight for social causes while Reed becomes increasingly obsessed with preparing for the impending arrival of Galactus, creating tension within the Four.
Bad Idea is revealing its final five series as it wraps up publishing in its current form. The second comic to be announced is Refuse x Last Resorts from an impressive group of creators.
First, from the limitless imaginations of New York Times best-selling writer Matt Kindt (River Run) and Eisner Award nominee Marguerite Sauvage (Bombshells) comes a very special tale of discovery in the outer reaches.
A woman awakens on an alien planet with no memory of her previous existence. She begins a quest to survive, relying on her wits, skills, and instincts to adapt to an inhospitable environment. After months barely surviving, she discovers a mysterious spacecraft at the bottom of a frozen lake. She dredges it, only to discover a blurred holographic image and distorted messages. She repairs the craft and journeys across the galaxy — but what is the ship’s destination, and who are the messages from?
Then, Mark Russell (Flintstones) joins forces with virtuoso artist Adam Pollina (Whalesville) for a tale of friendship and adventure in the far future.
Cyrus Garvey couldn’t believe his luck: If he agreed to attend a timeshare presentation, he’d get a free transporter trip anywhere in the galaxy. And those things are expensive! Cy sat through the hour-long presentation at Last Resorts Inc, passed on the timeshare, but took the vacation, and man was it a blast. A few days later, Cy’s friend gets the same invitation, but she’s reluctant to go — she can’t say no to a salesman. Cy agrees to sit through the presentation under her name, and she’s cool, as long as they can take a trip together.
Cy shows up to the presentation, takes a seat in the back and prepares to run out the clock on the hour, but is surprised to find a familiar face giving the sales presentation is…himself?!
Surely Last Resorts Inc., didn’t take Cy’s DNA from the transporter and clone him? Surely they didn’t build a bunch of clones as slave labor…and surely Cy didn’t agree to this in the fine print. Man, all Cy wanted was to get away for a few days…
Refuse is by Matt Kindt with art by Marguerite Sauvage who also provides the cover. Last Resorts is written by Mark Russell with art and cover by Adam Pollina. The double-shot retails for $9.99 and out on November 3, 2021.
It’s a story that all comic book fans know: Four people go up to space on an experimental rocket where they are bombarded with cosmic rays. When they crash down to Earth, each of the four display a multitude of super abilities. They decide to band together for the betterment of humanity and call themselves the Fantastic Four. Fantastic Four: Life Story #1 kicks off a new take on Marvel’s first family.
The Fantastic Four have such a classic origin story. Why even tinker with it? That’s the question I was left with after reading this. I am not sure if this is meant to be canon within the Marvel U or what. With this latest rehash of Marvel’s first family’s origin, things are expanded in ways that sometimes just feel a bit unnecessary. I don’t want to nitpick everything because it’s not fair to the creative team and, to be honest, I’m a huge fan of the FF, going back to when I was a kid. They were one of the first Marvel books I picked up. Is it a case of me being too much of a fan and not wanting to accept change? Is it just a mediocre attempt at looking at the Fantastic Four in the 1960s?
Mark Russell’s update of the FF sees them being the fourth group to try and reach space. Reed meets with President Kennedy. Also present is Dr. Jones, another big-mind who ends up being passed on time after time due to Reed’s intellect and approach. The entire project shuts down and Reed is left to assemble a team and sneak a rocket up into space. With some minor tweaks, the FF is born from the flight, and Reed is left with a shocking vision from space, one of a devourer of worlds being out there.
So it falls to me to be a fan that can’t get past certain things. I just don’t like quite a few of the retcons thrown into this. It’s still not a bad book and I think someone new to the characters might get enjoyment from it. As a reviewer and a long-time fan, there’s a part of me that wants to chalk it up to not being the best story but I really think it comes down to just being an older fan set in his ways with these characters. And for a team of adventurers who’ve had the stories they’ve had, there’s not a whole lot of action within this book. Maybe one of the biggest problems I had with this is that going through the FF’s 1960 adventures, we got the mole man and a glimpse of Galactus and…that’s kinda it. No Doom, no Namor, no Frightful Four, or even the discovery of the Inhumans.
That said, I think one of Mark Russell’s strength’s is dialogue and there were a few times in this book where I really liked what was said. Reed’s 1967 answer to the question of the existence of aliens really stood out to me. And I did like Dr. Jones and the way he was woven into their history in key moments.
Life Story does have consistent good art throughout the issue. Sean Izaakse and Nolan Woodard do some solid work on this book. I really liked the colors throughout this issue and that can certainly go a long way. Like I said in my critique of the writing, there’s not a lot of action here so there’s not a bunch of cool-looking scenes of the FF’s adventures but Izaakse and Woodard make a lot of pages of people talking look pretty good.
Am I too hard? Am I too much of a fan of the Fantastic Four, unable to budge? Probably that’s the case. That said, I still found some enjoyment in this and it was way better than the Ultimate version from the early 2000s.
Story: Mark Russell Art: Sean Izaakse Color: Nolan Woodard Letterer: Joe Caramagna Story: 6.0 Art: 7.0 Overall: 6.5
Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
(W) Mark Russell (A) Sean Izaakse (CA) Daniel Acuna Rated T In Shops: May 19, 2021 SRP: $4.99
In the tradition of SPIDER-MAN: LIFE STORY, and in celebration of the FF’s 60th Anniversary, comes this series setting the lives of the fabulous foursome in real time across the years! Amid the backdrop of the Cold War and the Space Race, a terrible accident gives the Fantastic Four great powers, a terrible secret, and entangles them in the history of their planet.
Could the last days of Lexor be here already? Thanks to Lex Luthor’s greed, his adopted home is on the brink of financial and planetary ruin after leaving the United Planets. Now it’s up to Superman to act as a champion of these people and show them there’s a way through all of this. Will Lex stand down? Or is this the final showdown? The future of Lexor depends on it!
AHOY Comics is the latest comic publisher to sign a deal with Simon & Schuster to deliver their releases to bookstores as of March 2021. The publisher also announced its fall publication schedule which will include trade paperback editions of several of its comics. Diamond will continue to distribute AHOY’s titles into comic shops.
AHOY also announced its fall publication schedule which will also include trade paperback versions of several of its popular series from earlier in the year: Happy Hour, The Wrong Earth: Night and Day, Edgar Allan Poe’s Snifter of Blood, and Second Coming: Only Begotten Son.
Publication dates and summaries for AHOY’s fall titles are below:
(W) Peter Milligan, (A) Michael Montenat August 25, 2021 (Bookstores: September 7, 2021)
In future America, being happy isn’t just a right—it’s the law. While the Joy Police brutally enforce the cheery code, two young people go on the run, searching for a haven of melancholy where they can safely bask in the blues. A timely tale by superstar writer Peter Milligan (X-Statix, The Prisoner) and artist Michael Montenat (Dominion, Hellraiser Annual).
THE WRONG EARTH: NIGHT AND DAY
(W) Tom Peyer, (A) Jamal Igle / Juan Castro September 8, 2021 (Bookstores: September 21, 2021)
The vengeance-dealing Dragonfly sticks it to the man! The acrobatic sleuth Dragonflyman assists the police! These alternate-earth versions of the same masked crimefighter meet face-to-face for the first time in this new series by the original creators of the smash-hit The Wrong Earth! Will their impossible encounter result in a team-up… or an all-out war?
EDGAR ALLAN POE’S SNIFTER OF BLOOD
(W) Paul Cornell, Dean Motter, (A) Russ Braun September 22, 2021 (Bookstores: October 5, 2021)
Edgar Allan Poe’s Snifter of Blood continues to cheaply exploit the great Edgar Allan Poe’s reputation! The collection combines 6 issues worth of anthologies including a take on how the 1% would fare in “Masque of the Red Death” by Tom Peyer and Alan Robinson, Sherlock Holmes’s investigation of murders from two Poe stories by Paul Cornell (Doctor Who) and Greg Scott, a update on the “Tell-Tale Heart” and more. Oh, and did we mention the new Cereal Monsters story from Mark Russell and Peter Snejberg?
SECOND COMING: ONLY BEGOTTEN SON
(W) Mark Russell, (A) Richard Pace, Leonard Kirk November 3, 2021 (Bookstores: November 16, 2021)
The long-awaited second volume of the book ComicsBeat called “the world’s most dangerous comic book and the most lovely.” As superhero Sunstar anticipates becoming a father, he agonizes over how—and if—he can use his powers to make a better world for his child. And as Jesus Christ loses his bedroom to a nursery, he struggles to find a new place in a society that distorts and exploits his message for profit.
The first volumes of THE WRONG EARTH and SECOND COMING are available now for reorder from Simon & Schuster, along with all other titles in the AHOY Comics backlist.