Tag Archives: marte gracia

Review: The Amazing Spider-Man: Red Goblin

The Amazing Spider-Man: Red Goblin collects the end of writer Dan Slott‘s run on Spider-Man and features the showdown between Spider-Man and Red Goblin!

The collection features Amazing Spider-Man #794-801

Story: Dan Slott, Christos Gage
Art: Stuart Immonen, Mike Hawthorne, Nick Bradshaw, Humberto Ramos, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Marcos Martin
Ink: Wade Von Grawbadger, Terry Pallot, Cam Smith, Nick Bradshaw, Victor Olazaba, Cam Smith, Marcos Martin
Color: Marte Gracia, Erick Arciniega, Edgar Delgado, Java Tartaglia, Muntsa Vincente
Letterer: Joe Caramagna

Get your copy in comic shops now and book stores on November 12! 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 Hardcover
Amazon Paperback
Kindle/comiXology
TFAW

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
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Review: Hit-Monkey: Bullets and Bananas

He’s a monkey. He’s a hitman. He’s an assassin. He’s Hit Monkey!

Hit Monkey: Bullets and Bananas collects Hit-Monkey #1 (2010A), Hit-Money (2010B) #1-3 and Deadpool (2008) #19-21.

Story: Daniel Way
Art: Dalibor Talajić, Carlo Barberi
Color: Matt Hollingsworth, Dalibor Talajić, José Villarrubia, Marte Gracia
Ink: Sandu Florea, Juan Vlasco
Letterer: Jeff Eckleberry, Joe Sabino

Get your copy in comic shops now and in book stores October 29! 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: https://amzn.to/2IWquzM
Kindle/comiXology: https://amzn.to/2qkHnxI
TFAW: http://shrsl.com/1vvkw

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: Powers of X #6

Powers of X #6

With Powers of X #6, writer Jonathan Hickman cements his manifesto. It’s a bold new direction and vision of the X-Universe for years to come. The finale continues his split storytelling focusing on three eras of the Marvel Universe revolving around the X-Men. With some callbacks and some final reveals, the picture is clear.

Hickman has positioned the future of the X-Men not as the allegorical representation of the struggling minority. Instead, Hickman’s X-Men has taken on the role of nationalist. Specifically, the white nationalist raging against their inevitable loss to demographics and the future.

As far as stories go, Powers of X and its sibling series House of X has been top notch science fiction. As far as X-Men stories go, the two have ripped the essence of the characters out from them. It has featured massive shifts in character outlooks and their overall position in the greater narrative.

The X-Men, and specifically Charles Xavier, are no longer the heroes but manipulating the system in an attempt to hold on to dominance. It’s a villainous role that Xavier and Magneto admit to in a pivotal scene involving Moira. While some might still see this as a fight for survival their actions are no longer one of equality. Their statements are those of superiority.

Moira being the deus ex machina that has made this shift possible. Moira is the lynchpin of it all. She is what the narrative, and now the Marvel Universe, revolves around. That becomes clear in the far future as neo-humanity faces the Phalanx and the reveals there.

It’s also clear a future conflict over all of this is on the horizon and years down the road when sales falter and things need to be redone again.

The art for Powers of X #6 by R.B. Silva and Pepe Laraz is amazing as expected. For the insidious nature of it all, the art for everything is beautiful to look at. The colors by Marte Gracia and David Curiel make it all pop. The lettering by Clayton Cowles helps evoke the emotion of dialogue. The X-Men haven’t looked this good in a long time.

While I’m excited as to where this all goes at the same time it feels like the heart of the X-Men has been ripped out from them. They have often reflected the socio-political reality of the time and here they take on the role of the bad guys, nationalists fighting for dominance due to a perceived superiority. And much like those nationalists in all reality they will lose… when Moira dies down the road and this is all rebooted again.

Story: Jonathan Hickman Art: R.B. Silva Pepe Laraz
Color: Marte Gracia, David Curiel Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Design: Tom Muller
Story: 8.25 Art: 8.75 Overall: 8.4 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: House of X #6

HOUSE OF X #6

House of X #6 wraps up one of the two series writer Jonathan Hickman has been weaving. It has created a new status quo for Marvel’s X-Universe and shaken up what we’ve know.

The finale begins with a familiar scene of Charles Xavier addressing the world and letting everyone know about the miracle drugs that have been discovered, the establishment of a new mutant nation, and his plans for recognition. But, Hickman cements Xavier as no longer the dreamer looking for peace and equality. Instead, Xavier’s dream is more of Magneto’s. It’s of mutant dominance and inheritance. Xavier has crossed over into nationalism and echoes some of the philosophy of white nationalism in particular. Xavier is no longer the hero (as dubious as that title was based on actions) philosopher. Instead, he is now what he fought against for so many years.

Mutant law now supersedes the “law of man” and the law of other nations. The sharing of medicine comes with strings attached. Xavier is now a cold and calculating tyrant in the making with a corrupted philosophy and outlook.

And philosophy is at the top of Hickman’s to-do list for the issue. House of X #6 is focused on the establishment of law in Krakoa. We see the first meeting of the new council and their passing judgment on Sabretooth. Laws are debated in a watered-down Model UN that feels more idealistic West Wing than gritty reality. It goes through the motions as if it has depth but that depth of thought is only inch deep. It’s Aaron Sorkin for the spandex crowd.

The art for the issue is stunning. Pepe Larraz‘s line are enhanced by the colors of Marte Gracia and David Curiel. Along with lettering by Clayton Cowles, it all comes together for some of the best visuals of the series. There’s something ominous and frightening about this establishment of a nation. Angles and panels are used to throw the reader off a little making it not quite as a clear cut positive. Sabretooth’s judgment is the perfect example of delivering a bit of horror among the debate and process. Tom Muller‘s designs continue to lay out Hickman’s new world order. It feels like a sourcebook to a well thought out roleplaying game.

House of X #6 is an interesting comics. It cements Hickman’s vision but also cements these aren’t the X-Men that we’ve come to know. They no longer fight for equality, they demand dominance. They see themselves as the rightful inheritors of Earth. The X-Men are now what they used to fight against.

Story: Jonathan Hickman Art: Pepe Larraz
Color: Marte Gracia and David Curiel Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Design: Tom Muller
Story: 7.5 Art: 8.7 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Returning To The X-Men: Powers Of X #5

It’s been nearly six years since I last picked up a new X-Men comic with any real consistency. The last series I read with any regularity featuring the merry mutants was Jason Aaron‘s Wolverine and the X-Men. Which apparently ended around six years ago. It’s fair to say that I’m a little out of touch with that side of the Marvel Universe (though I have been following both Old Man Logan and Dead Man Logan, but those series didn’t really involve the X-Men as much as a team book would). More than a little, honestly. A lot has happened in the six years I’ve been away, and since I barely pay attention to solicitations I have missed most of it.

But with Johnathan Hickman steering the X-Men in a new direction with both House and Powers Of X, I thought this might be a good time to start reading X-Men comics again.

But how easy is it to jump back in relatively blind after more than half a decade away? Join me, and I’ll tell you.


Expect spoilers as I try to make sense of the comic.


I’ve been really enjoying the House/Powers Of X event thus far, it has been an interesting reintroduction to the X-Men for me, and is an event that isn’t using huge set piece fight scenes to sell comics. No, the appeal of this event for me is that we’re getting a story that’s going to reframe how we look at the X-Men in the Marvel Universe, an event that is more of a beginning than a culmination of several years worth of preplanning and build up.

It is perhaps the most accessible event Marvel have had in years, with the main story being told in House Of X with Powers filling in the missing pieces from that story. Case in point with this issue as we learn how Xavier developed the current iteration of Cerebro which allows for a full back up of a mutant’s mind, memories and such.

Kind of like restoring an old version of the novel you’re working on after you overwrite the wrong save file.

At this point in the story, as we come to the finale of the series, the end that’s going to be a beginning, there’s no reason for the series to appeal to new readers. As somebody who hasn’t read any X-Men comics in years, at this point I’m not feeling out of my depth at all – as the series has progressed it has been less alienating to new readers, which is exactly what I had hoped would be the case.

How it ends at this point in the game is more of an interest to me, and how well it sets up the next phase of the X-Men’s story… will you need to be familiar with the House/Powers event going forward?

It’s an interesting question I’ll probably try to answer…

“You see I know how you humans love your symbolism, almost as much as you love you religion. And I wanted you – I needed you – to understand… you have new gods now.”

Magneto, House Of X, #1 p.47.
I keep leaving this image and quote in the column because, for me, it’s emblematic of the series as a whole. It’s Hickman, through Magneto, setting the stage for the future of the X-Men.

Powers Of X #5 was a great change of page for the story, and consequently builds the anticipation for House #5 after last week’s comic. We all know that somehow things will be resolved to a new status quo (after all the solicitations that I have seen are pretty clear about that), but how has yet to be revealed.

I can’t wait to see what’s going to come our way next week.


Will I understand next week’s installment in the saga, House Of X #5? Do I regret skipping six years of X-Books? Am I ever going to find out how Xavier is walking again*?

We might find out next week. We might not.

Marvel provided a FREE copy for review purposes, but I read the comic in print from my LCS.

*The answer is yes, but it made no sense when two of my friends told me individually last week, but it basically boils down to “comics being comics” which I’ve kind of accepted with an air of nonchalance.

Review: Powers of X #5

Powers of X #5

With the main story mostly covered, Powers of X #5 continues to fill in the gaps. Writer Jonathan Hickman uses the issue to focus on Emma Frost and her being courted by Xavier and Magneto.

It’s an interesting issue really focused on the politics of what the two leaders are doing. But, the final product, diagrams and all, at times feels like a roleplaying game sourcebook.

With such minutiae as how the government of Krakoa is made up, Powers of X #5 delivers details going through the motions without the passion. It’s all a bit too sly leaving the emotion to the side and coming off as a social studies textbook in comic form.

Beyond Emma’s role in the formation of Krakoa, Forge’s role in Xavier’s plan is explored as well. How do they copy the minds of mutants? Where is it stored? It’s all explained in detail answering questions in an issue full of telling, not showing.

What is clearly laid out is the shift in Xavier’s dream. Namor is courted for the nation and the banter between the two show that the dream of equality is no longer the focus. Again, this is a clear shift towards nationalism instead of the melting pot of the past.

There’s also further exploration of the Phalanx in a story that feels at odds and like a backup to the main show. Its role in Hickman’s story still remains murky and the message at odd with Xavier and Magneto’s vision.

The art by the creative team remains fantastic. R.B. Silva‘s detailed linework with color by Marte Gracia, and lettering by Clayton Cowles is a visual treat. New characters are explored and I want this team on a Namor series. It all looks fantastic and the eras flow seamlessly. Tom Muller‘s designs continue to be intriguing as it has that roleplaying game sourcebook vibe about it.

The issue is an interesting one filling in some details in what Xavier is putting together. It also delivers hints of something more nefarious. Powers of X #5 doesn’t stand out on its own but as a piece of the larger puzzle, it’s an intriguing one.

Story: Jonathan Hickman Art: R.B. Silva
Color: Marte Gracia Letterer: Clayton Cowles Design: Tom Muller
Story: 7.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: House of X #5

House of X #5

House of X #5 is a ghoulish issue in numerous ways. You’ll finish it and question who the villains truly are. The issue focuses on two key plot points. There’s the “death” of so many key individuals in the previous issue. There’s also the recognition of the mutant nation through the United Nations.

It’s difficult to really give this a deep review without spoilers.

Ready?

Spoiler time.

The revelation is that Charles and Magneto have put together a system to resurrect any mutant who has died. Through a combination of mutant powers and the previously known storing of mutant DNA, they’re able to bring back anyone. All of those characters that died in the assault on Mother Mold? They’re back. The process is a key focus of the issue with so many different aspects to focus on.

The religious aspects of it are interesting introducing a cult-like experience in the new mutant homeland. That makes Charles and his five mutants gods with the ability to bring life back.

But, while a cool concept, there’s issues. Numerous of them.

The reality is, our heroes are copies. The soul and excitement of them are sucked out in a way making them cheap facsimiles. There’s also the removal of any aspect of possible death. Unless the system is destroyed, there’s no risk involved in anything. You might as well go in with a blunt instrument every time because you’ll be returned. There’s also the discussion of bringing back those murdered in Genosha, taking away the fact that maybe some don’t want to return. It’s a horror story level of weird.

There’s also the implication of manipulation in the nation recognition vote. The two concepts combined make Charles and his followers out to not finding their place for equality but instead looking for a position of dominance. The aspects are concerning and continue to change what once were stand-ins for those attacked and downtrodden to their opposit. Mutants are now nationalists who have more in common with Maga than Malcolm.

The art is fantastic as usual. The comic is beautiful to look at which makes the reading experience all the more interesting. The color, lettering, line art, all pop on the page with fantastic reinvention in design for characters we haven’t seen in some time. Perspective is used to really drive home scenes in ways that will have you debating. The comic also has so much source material that the extra design feels like something out of a roleplaying book.

The comic is an interesting one continuing to change the X-Men in ways I’m torn about. The characters continue at times in uncharacteristic ways. As if they’ve been brainwashed into the cult of Charles. They’re no longer students, they’re kool-aid drinkers. There’s an amazing story here but House of X #5 continues the shift from minority heroes to the terror of the minority.

Story: Jonathan Hickman Art: Pepe Larraz
Color: Marte Gracia Letterer: Clayton Cowles Design: Tom Muller
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Returning To The X-Men: Powers Of X #4

It’s been nearly six years since I last picked up a new X-Men comic with any real consistency. The last series I read with any regularity featuring the merry mutants was Jason Aaron‘s Wolverine and the X-Men. Which apparently ended around six years ago. It’s fair to say that I’m a little out of touch with that side of the Marvel Universe (though I have been following both Old Man Logan and Dead Man Logan, but those series didn’t really involve the X-Men as much as a team book would). More than a little, honestly. A lot has happened in the six years I’ve been away, and since I barely pay attention to solicitations I have missed most of it.

But with Johnathan Hickman steering the X-Men in a new direction with both House and Powers Of X, I thought this might be a good time to start reading X-Men comics again.

But how easy is it to jump back in relatively blind after more than half a decade away? Join me, and I’ll tell you.


Expect spoilers as I try to make sense of the comic.


At this point in the story, as we tip the bridge and start the journey to the end, it’s pretty easy to follow along with the story in general. There are still moments that have me wondering what I’ve missed in the last six or so years, but they’re fewer and farther between at this point which means that as the series has progressed it has been less alienating to new readers.

Which makes sense, honestly.

If you weren’t able to follow a story at this point then you’d have to wonder just what in the hell you’d been reading for the past eight comics/

Powers of X #4

The only real struggle I had with the issue was the nature of Mr. Sinister’s appearance. Issue is a strong word, because I had always seen the character as a darkly sinister scientist, not what we saw here. Still, I’ve long accepted that there are things I don’t know because it has been a long time since I’ve read about certain characters, and this wasn’t enough to throw me away from the story.

Otherwise, the comic is a easy enough to follow, acting as a place for readers to learn more about how the Krakoan home for mutants came to be, and the depths of Xavier’s plan over the years. It’s a needed exposition issue (especially for the person wondering whether this was talked about before the event began), and certainly a welcome change of pace after the death heavy House Of X #4 last week.

The artistic team of R.B. Silva (pencils), Adriano Di Benedetto (inks) and Marte Gracia (colours) remain strong, giving the comic a bold yet classic look across each page, breathing a vivid life to Hickman’s story.

“You see I know how you humans love your symbolism, almost as much as you love you religion. And I wanted you – I needed you – to understand… you have new gods now.”

Magneto, House Of X, #1 p.47.
I keep leaving this image and quote in the column because, for me, it’s emblematic of the series as a whole. It’s Hickman, through Magneto, setting the stage for the future of the X-Men.

Powers Of X #4 was a great change of page for the story, and consequently builds the anticipation for House #5 after last week’s comic. We all know that somehow things will be resolved to a new status quo (after all the solicitations that I have seen are pretty clear about that), but how has yet to be revealed.

I can’t wait to see what’s going to come our way next week.


Will I understand next week’s installment in the saga, House Of X #5? Do I regret skipping six years of X-Books? Am I ever going to find out how Xavier is walking again*?

We might find out next week. We might not.

Marvel provided a FREE copy for review purposes, but I read the comic in print from my LCS.

*The answer is yes, but it made no sense when two of my friends told me individually last week, but it basically boils down to “comics being comics” which I’ve kind of accepted with an air of nonchalance.

Review: Powers of X #4

POWERS OF X #4

Writer Jonathan Hickman continues to weave his reshaping of the X-Universe in Powers of X #4. The issue slows things down a bit lifting the veil on details of some of what we’ve seen.

The comic returns to its time jumping premise taking us through the three eras exploring X-History and future history. We witness the deal between Mr. Sinister and Xavier and Magneto, Doug Ramsey meeting Krakoa, and the future dealing with Phalanx.

Hickman takes the first two to fill in gaps in the story he’s telling. It adds some details and depth in a way. The Sinister interaction is interesting in some of the details but as a whole, the character is at odds with what we’ve seen. This Sinister is a bit more playful and spirited reflecting the version we’ve seen in recent years as opposed to the more serious scientific version originally introduced. One could explain this by the use of various clones but that too feels more like a recent addition than something from when the character was first introduced.

What’s interesting as well is we get further hints that Charles Xavier isn’t a hero in this story but something more nefarious. It’s his vision but as we see, he takes actions that are questionable at best. It’s a theme that has gained prominence over the years and continues here.

What stands out is the hint at future plotlines. Pages are used for a rumor checklist that seems to be more about what’s to come than anything else. Some o it is easy to decipher, some of it is drama, and one is groan-worthy.

R.B. Silva‘s art is fantastic. Along with color from Marte Gracia and lettering by Clayton Cowles the comic is beautiful to look at. Each segment has such detail to go over, you linger on pages. And, each segment is so different from each other but it still flows nicely. The team delivers has really thought through design and the use of color to set the tone of each time period and segment. Furthermore, Tom Muller‘s design continues to add a level of detail in the comic that makes it feel as much a sourcebook as it is a story.

Powers of X #4 feels a bit dialed back compared to the last few issues that upped the action. It adds some detail, some needed, some not. What the comic does is world build and deliver a unique experience and vision for where the X-Men have been and where they’re going.

Story: Jonathan Hickman Art: R.B. Silva
Color: Marte Gracia Letterer: Clayton Cowles Design: Tom Muller
Story: 7.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: House of X #4

House of X #4

The assault on Mother Mold continues in House of X #4 that ups the action and the body count. When it comes to emotion and action, writer Jonathan Hickman delivers with this issue. While it’s entertaining, the issue also rings a bit hollow. We know the series coming next and he’s created a Deus Ex Machina in Moira X to undo anything in the series.

And that’s a lot of the frustration at this point. Hickman ups the body count but we know it’ll all be undone at some point. The question is when and to what extent.

House of X and its sister series Powers of X feels less like the next X-epic and instead Hickman’s version of the manga All You Need is Kill. Mission failed? Head back in time and try it again! While many might think Hickman’s hook is original, it’s not. All he’s done is used it to make sense of the rather convoluted history of the X-Men.

Still, House of X #4 delivers some emotional moments as characters die. But, even those emotional moments are about as deep as a Michael Bay film. We even got a spin on the “I’ll die so you can live” moment that Bay loves. It adds to the “popcorn film” shift Hickman has made in his last couple of issues. The issue is Bruce Willis in Armageddon in comic form.

The art continues to be amazing. Pepe Larraz‘s pencils with color by Marte Gracia and lettering by Clayton Cowles pops on the page. The character designs are amazing and it’s the art that drives the enjoyment of the issue. The art brings the big-budget action to the screen in a sense.

The issue is driven by the action and whether Cyclops and his team will complete their mission. But, with Hickman’s hook in Moira X it doesn’t matter as things can be done over and over. The fear of finality is taken away. Along with knowing the series that are next, the deaths in the issue ring rather hallow. House of X #4 leaves us with a comic that’s an inch deep on inspection. While enjoyable, it rings rather empty in the end.

Story: Jonathan Hickman Art: Pepe Larraz
Color: Marte Gracia Letterer: Clayton Cowles Design: Tom Muller
Story: 7.0 Art: 8.5 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation:
Read

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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