Tag Archives: Marvel Comics

Review: Fantastic Four #1

After a three year absence, the book that kicked off the Marvel Universe is back sort of in Fantastic Four #1. Dan Slott, Sara Pichelli, Elisabetta D’Amico, and Marte Gracia’s first issue doesn’t have Marvel’s First Family fighting Mole Man or the Trapster just yet and creates a slow build to the reunion. However, there is plenty of sweetness, comedy, and a little of bit of familial strife along the way as Slott and Pichelli play in-universe with reader expectations about the team reuniting and the oil and water dynamic of the Human Torch and the ever loving blue eyed Thing. They do have a quite funny flashback to a “forgotten” adventure of the Fantastic Four that asks as a proof of concept that shows that Slott call pull off all the voices of the bickering, yet loving sitcom family with superpowers. In addition to this, Slott, Simone Bianchi, and Marco Russo craft a Dr. Doom backup story that is a little more traditionalist than his recent appearances in Invincible Iron Man and Marvel Two-in-One,  and there’s also a super fun and quite metafictional one page backup drawn by Skottie Young and colored by Jeremy Treece.

For her work on Fantastic Four #1, Sara Pichelli brings a looser, almost more playful art style that still shows emotions and body language in a fluid way with the help of inker Elisabetta D’Amico and colorist Marte Gracia. Even though he’s made of rocks, Pichelli’s take on The Thing is lively and utterly human. Beneath his ungainly movements, he’s a loving man, and the scene where he proposes to his long time girlfriend Alicia Masters is sentimental without being sappy. Dan Slott writes The Thing as maybe giving up on seeing Reed, Sue, Valeria, and Franklin ever again, but he still has a family in Alicia and Johnny. However, The Thing and the Human Torch aren’t always loving BFFs, and Gracia shows the subtle difference in the Torch’s flame when he’s going off in action and when he flies off the handle after Ben asks him to be his best man. This scene shows that there’s still tension in Ben and Johnny’s relationship in an organic, not drama for the sake of drama way and even builds off the way that Chip Zdarsky has written them in Marvel Two-in-One where Ben knows that Sue and Reed are lost forever while giving Johnny a false sense of hope that they’re somewhere in the multiverse.

Johnny still believes the Fantastic Four will reunite and immediately flames on to where their sign shoots off in the sky with a flare gun like in the original Fantastic Four #1. Of course, it’s just a prank, but it’s foreshadowing to a grander, earned moment all overlaid in a beautiful blue by Marte Gracia like hope in the midst of despair. And hope and family are major themes throughout Dan Slott and Sara Pichelli’s story in Fantastic Four #1. Even if Ben and Johnny don’t interact with Ben and Sue, they share plenty of moments with the “extended” Fantastic Four family, including Wyatt Wingfoot, Jennifer Walters, and the aforementioned Alicia Masters. Johnny and Wyatt take in a Mets game, and Slott engages in what is either queer subtext or queer baiting using the stadium kiss cam while Jen pops up later to flirt with Wyatt and also legally represent the Yancy Street kids who set off the false Fantastic Four flare. Slott modernizes the relationship between the Thing and what was formerly known as the Yancy Street gang making him kind of a community leader instead of the participant in an endless Itchy and Scratchy situation.

Other than the poetic ending, the best moment of Fantastic Four #1 is the flashback sequence where the Fantastic Four and supporting cast find their way back to New York City through the power of Johnny singing the Wayne Newton standard, “Danke Schoen”. It’s funny, cheesy, heartwarming, and adventurous all at once like the best Fantastic Four stories. This is thanks to some little details emphasized by Pichelli like the way Reed cranes his neck when explain the quantum science or whatever of this karaoke journey home situation and then immediately retracts when he doesn’t want to out and out say that Sue isn’t the greatest singer. There’s also time for some transcendent beauty in the midst of screwball comedy: a Marte Gracia colored cosmic flame in the deep blue night sky that even Alicia, who is blind, can see. This little adventure shows the Fantastic Four are about science as well as deep human wonder through the vessel of a family ensemble.

Slott, Simone Bianchi, and Marco Russo’s Dr. Doom backup story creates a different kind of wonder, and the baroque severeness of Bianchi’s art easily contrasts with the cosmic smoothness, yet expressive cartooning of Sara Pichelli and Elisabetta D’Amico. It’s a back to basics Doom story as one of his former subjects pays a visit to the half-abandoned Doomstadt (There’s lots of Doombots per usual.) and asks him to liberate Latveria from one of the many stop gap authoritarian regimes that have been in place since he left them to play hero/Iron Man. And the way Slott writes Doom and Bianchi draws him is the complete opposite of the “Infamous Iron Man” as his face is no longer pretty, and he’s ready to rule with an iron grip and an iron mask. Like the main story of Fantastic Four #1, the Doom backup is about hope and symbols, but it’s a dark and twisted mirror to Marvel’s First Family.

Fantastic Four #1 is nothing short of a triumphant return for Marvel’s first superhero team. Dan Slott hits a nice balance between tearing heart strings, broad humor, and the wonders of the universe in his script while also crafting an aura of mystery and terror in the Dr. Doom backup story with Simone Bianchi and Marco Russo. In the visual department, Sara Pichelli shows why she is one of Marvel’s best and versatile artists hitting all the smaller, yet very important character beats as well as the big spreads and “Flame on!” moments.

Whether you’ve been reading the title since 1961 or this is your first FF adventure, Fantastic Four #1 is definitely worth your $5.99.

Story: Dan Slott Pencils: Sara Pichelli Inks: Sara Pichelli with Elisabetta D’Amico
Colors: Marte Gracia Backup Art: Simone Bianchi, Skottie Young
Backup Colors: Simone Bianchi and Marco Russo, Jeremy Treece Letters: Joe Caramagna
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.3 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Underrated: Comics Not In Diamond’s Top 100 For June ’18

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: Comics not in Diamond’s top 100 sellers for June


This week we’re going to be looking at a list of comics that are all fantastic, but don’t get the attention that they deserve. Now I’m not even going to pretend to have a definitively exhaustive list of underrated comics here, because we’re hoping  that you decide to check at least one of these series out next time you’re looking for something new either online or at your LCS, and giving you a huge list to check out would be counter productive to that. Instead, you’ll find four to six comics that are worth your attention that failed to crack the top 100 in sales. The only hard stipulation for this week: not one of the comics made it into the top 400 for June’s comic sales, according to Comichron, which is why they’re Underrated.


Punks Not Dead #3 (IDW)
June Sales Rank/Units Sold: 370/2,639
Why You Should Read It: 
If you like, or are at all interested in or curious about punk music then this is a comic you need to be reading. Although there’s a touch more backstory this issue rather than the forwarding of the plot, you’re missing out if you leave this on the shelf.

Fence #7 (Boom)
June Sales Rank/Units Sold: 369/2,369
Why You Should Read It: 
The generally friendly world of a boys boarding school hides an evil and competitive… nah. This is genuinely a fantastic book that deals with teenagers trying to make it onto a fencing team. It’s as interesting and as well written as this description is boring.

Ether: Copper Golems #2 (Dark Horse)
June Sales Rank/Units Sold: 263/4,925
Why You Should Read It: The sequel to one of the most fantastic miniseries of the last year, this should be a contended for Something Of The Year come December. Read this in floppies or in trade, but whatever you do, read this.

Ninja-K #8 (Valiant)
June Sales Rank/Units Sold: 224/6,613
Why You Should Read It: 
Ninjak has assembled a team to take on a deadly set of immortal enemies, because the last time he tried to do it alone, he was overwhelmed. This issue is a solid twenty odd pages of pure action as we see the conflict between the immortals and the rag tag group of “heroes.” Spoiler: It’s fantastic.

Stellar #1 (June)
May Sales Rank/Units Sold: 143/16,236
Why You Should Read It: 
Impressive world building, an intriguing setting and a first issue from Image? Why aren’t you checking this out?


Unless the comics industry ceases any and all publication look for a future installment of Underrated to cover more comics that aren’t cracking the top 100.

Underrated: Comics Not In Diamond’s Top 100 For May ’18

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: Comics not in Diamond’s top 100 sellers for April.


This week we’re going to be looking at a list of comics that are all fantastic, but don’t get the attention that they deserve. Now I’m not even going to pretend to have a definitively exhaustive list of underrated comics here, because we’re hoping  that you decide to check at least one of these series out next time you’re looking for something new either online or at your LCS, and giving you a huge list to check out would be counter productive to that. Instead, you’ll find four to six comics that are worth your attention that failed to crack the top 100 in sales. The only hard stipulation for this week: not one of the comics made it into the top 400 for April’s comic sales, according to Comichron, which is why they’re Underrated.


Sword Of Ages #4 (IDW)
May Sales Rank/Units Sold: 326/3,816
Why You Should Read It: 
A five issue space fantasy miniseries that tells the story of a young woman wielding the titular sword as champion for her world. With four of five issues out already, I’d probably trade wait at this point in the game, but keep this on your mind if you can find the previous four issues at your LCS.

Quantum & Woody #6 (Valiant)
May Sales Rank/Units Sold: 267/5,390
Why You Should Read It: 
Eliot Rahal gives fans one of the best tie-in comics in recent memory – because it doesn’t rely on the event comic it ties in with (Harbinger Wars II) to tell a compelling story, focusing more on the relationship between Quantum and Woody. One of my favourite books of the year.

Pestilence: A Story Of Satan #1 (Aftershock)
May Sales Rank/Units Sold: 263/5,534
Why You Should Read It: The sequel to a miniseries that re-imagined the Black Plague of the 1300’s as a zombie outbreak, this series hints that Satan was responsible for the plague. Expect a violent reaction from the lead characters.

Black Hammer: Age Of Doom #2 (Dark Horse)
May Sales Rank/Units Sold: 159/11,690
Why You Should Read It: 
Because Jeff Lemire and Dean Ormston have created a brand new superhero universe, that both looks and feels as if the story we’re seeing is only the tip of the iceberg. Plus, it’s freaking fantastic.

True Believers: Wolverine Vs Sabretooth #1 (Marvel)
May Sales Rank/Units Sold: 143/16,236
Why You Should Read It: 
Marvel’s True Believers line is a wonderful way to sample some classic stories for a low price point. You can’t argue with $1.


Unless the comics industry ceases any and all publication look for a future installment of Underrated to cover more comics that aren’t cracking the top 100.

Underrated: Age Of Apocalypse

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: Age Of Apocalypse. And no, not the movie.



aoa.jpgThe year was 199-something, and Charles Xavier had been murdered by his son, Legion, who had attempted to go back in time to kill Magneto before he became a villain. When he was still Xavier’s friend. That obviously didn’t turn out so well. In this reality Apocalypse attacked ten years before he did in the “main” Marvel Universe and conquered North America, although he is opposed by various mutant groups, he ultimately succeeds in instituting his Survival Of The Fittest mantra within his realm.

For four months Age Of Apocalypse took over the regular X-Men books, replacing the likes of Uncanny X-Men with Astonishing X-Men, Wolverine with Weapon X and so on across the board. I won’t list all of the series substitutions because you can find that on Wikipedia, and I’m lazy. No, today I’m not talking about the story told in a comic, but rather the way the story was presented to us, the readers. You see too often these days a major event spanning 6-10 issues in an entirely separate miniseries that will vaguely tie in to the ongoing series. No, instead Age Of Apocalypse replace the current ongoing series for four-ish months, only for those to pick back up again at the conclusion of the story.

In a rather shorter Underrated than normal (maybe? I don’t track the length as much as I should), I wanted to talk about this method of delivering an event story. What was essentially a collection of miniseries that each told a piece of the story replacing the comics you would be buying anyway is, to my mind, a genius idea. In theory, you have those buying the monthly comics already picking up the event as a continuation of the series they read and collect as well those who are curious about the event diving in and, hopefully, sticking around after it ends.

Obviously the opposite is equally true; the temporary cessation of the X-Books would have allowed those to ignore Age Of Apocalypse only to resume when the X-Books returned with their regular numbering (Wolverine #91*  would have been released in February, with Wolverine #92* appearing in July – *exact numbering may be different). This is something that I’ll be looking into in the future and exploring further outside of this column. In the meantime, I still maintain that the idea of stopping the monthly series is, at the very least on paper, an underrated idea.


Join us next week when we look at something else that is, for whatever reason, Underrated.

Underrated: What If? and Elseworlds Stories

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: What If? and Elseworlds Stories



I had been trying to think of a subject for this week’s column all week, but nothing came to mind. In an effort to clear my mind, and accept I may miss the deadline, I started reading my “I bought this for a $1, or less, so I’ll read it one day” pile, and grabbed What If? #54What if.. Death’s Head Had Lived? Although I wasn’t overly familiar with the original story, the synopsis provided by the Watcher at the beginning was enough to understand and appreciate the differences that would follow. A trend that while it may not follow within every issue of the series, it was consistent within the three that I had read prior to sitting behind the keyboard.

Although there have been some What If? comics released since the series ended in 1998, for the most part these have been sporadic releases all either tied in to a Major Event (What If: Infinity, Age Of Ultron and Avengers Vs X-Men) or have been small enough in number to be collected into a trade (What If: Why Not, What If: Event Horizon and What If: Mirror Mirror). Fun diversions, but the first two volumes seemed to contain a more cohesive single issue story that was just plain fun rather than the more modern takes.

These alternate universe stories allow writers and artists to play with the characters within the story without any fear of repercussions from a passionate fan base who may not like a certain direction a character has been taken in. More often, however, we get a story that we simply couldn’t get in the normal continuity for obvious reasons – unless Batman travels back in time, he’s never going to face Jack the Ripper. But in DC’s Elseworlds line that’s not a problem at all. Some of these tales are far and away more interesting stories than we’d otherwise get had they been forced into the regular ongoing series.

Next time you’re in your LCS, or surfing your digital retailer, check out either the What If? or Elseworlds stories.


Join us next week when we look at something else that is, for whatever reason, Underrated.

Review: Spider-Man #240

Trade paperback copies of Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley’s Ultimate Spider-Man from the local public library were what got me into comics, and the first Marvel comic I ever subscribed to was Ultimate Comics Spider-Man featuring Miles Morales. So, it’s safe to say that I was rooting for Spider-Man #240  to be a fantastic ending to Bendis’ 18 years on Spider-Man and seven years writing Miles. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case even though Oscar Bazaldua is one of Marvel’s best up and coming artists and can fill a page or double page spread with action and emotion beats. Speaking of emotion, Bendis’ farewell letter at the end is more moving than anything except Sara Pichelli and Justin Ponsor’s final page. I’m surprised I’m saying this about a Bendis comic, but Spider-Man could have used one more issue with the return of Uncle Aaron/Helicarrier theft storyline ending in Spider-Man #240, and the next issue acting as a proper send off for Bendis’ work with Miles Morales and Spider-Man instead of this rush job/bottle episode.

After a cliched present-to-flashback sequence, Spider-Man #240 has a pretty nice fight sequence between the Champions, the new Sinister Six, and the Latverian army. Bendis and Bazaldua even make the stakes personal with both Miles and his uncle Aaron tumbling off the Helicarrier with a black and gold color palette from Laura Martin in an almost silent double page spread. But, then, it all cuts to black, and we’re back in the hospital. There’s a lot of fades to blacks and hospital scenes like Bendis was simultaneously streaming the ER and Sopranos finale while scripting his own finale. To go with this, there’s a lot of telling and not showing and a bunch of abrupt cuts in the storyline like Bendis was trying to set up a quick subplot or two at the end and didn’t resolve it.

For example, Miles is in the hospital after his battle with the Latverians because there is something up with his genetic code, but we never find out what it is even after a shoehorned Tony Stark cameo. Bendis also seems to be setting up a new path for Miles and his new writer with a connection to espionage, but cuts before the “reveal” of the Marvel Universe big shot, who wants his help. Less egregiously, he resolves a Ganke subplot with expository dialogue and hand waves the ending of the issue’s opening battle with an off panel Avengers appearance. Dialogue is still one of Bendis’ strengths, and he has a lot of fun with the banter between the Champions members (And Goldballs!) without resorting to awkward “millennial speak” like Mark Waid, but seeing Miles’ mom Rio interact with Captain America would have been way cooler than just a word balloon.

Also, Bendis and Bazaldua drop the ball when it comes to the interactions between Miles and his Uncle Aaron in Spider-Man #240, which was the through line of this final arc as Miles tries to help his uncle use his technological skill for good and not crime. Aaron disappears during the final battle and then reappears at Miles’ hospital bed in a darkly lit scene from colorist Martin. Bendis’ writing for Aaron is simple; his time with Miles over the past few days has helped him think about doing good. But then there are some really awkward visuals like a close-up of Miles utterly freaking out when Aaron touches his hand before yet another fade to black. Intentional or not, there is a dreamy quality to the hospital scenes, and it is like the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode “Normal Again” where Buffy think she has hallucinated the past six years of her life. Thankfully, Bendis doesn’t go for “It was all a dream” cop out ending, but the hospital setting limits the type of interactions Miles can have and hamstrings the whole ending.

However, Spider-Man #240 isn’t all bad, and there is one series of scenes that made me smile. Brian Michael Bendis and Oscar Bazaldua spend a decent amount of time closing the curtain on the main constant in Bendis’ run writing Miles Morales: the friendship between Miles and Ganke. (There’s a reason that they’re the sole stars of the final Pichelli and Ponsor drawn page.) After weird medical testing talk, it’s refreshing to just listen to them talk about girls, video games, and how crazy their lives have been. After fighting supervillains and Latverians, Miles just wants to hang out and be a regular teenager. Bazaldua also includes a nice sight gag of Spider-Man (The Peter Parker one) lounging in a web hammock outside the hospital room in a great nod to Miles’ origin as taking on the dead Spider-Man’s legacy in the Ultimate Universe as well as Bendis’ 11 years of writing Peter in Ultimate Spider-Man.

Some cool flight blocking from Oscar Bazaldua, smart color shifts from Laura Martin, and every time Ganke shows up, Spider-Man #240 is an unceremonious end to Brian Michael Bendis’ time writing Miles Morales. There were some good ideas in this storyline, like the return of his “Uncle Ben figure,” Aaron Davis, but it’s squandered with start and stop subplots, and can we seriously stop with the fading to black panels. Bendis stuck the landing with Jessica Jones and Defenders as farewells to his other big Marvel creation and his work on street level and team books, but sadly strikes out in his final issue of the book that got him in the door and made him a star back in 2000.

Story: Brian Michael Bendis Art: Oscar Bazaldua Colors: Laura Martin with Matt Milla and Peter Pantazis Final Page Art: Sara Pichelli with Justin Ponsor
Story: 5  Art: 8 Overall: 5.5  Recommendation: Pass

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 4/28

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.

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Ryan C

gk14.jpgGrass Kings #14 (Boom! Studios)** – Matt Kindt and Tyler Jenkins are barreling full steam ahead to one heck of a conclusion for this series, and in this issue they line up all their chess pieces to ensure the memorable finale they’re so clearly aiming for. The answers are all within plain sight now, but the fireworks are yet to come. Overall: 8  Recommendation: Buy

Abbott #4 (Boom! Studios)** – While we’re on the subject of killer penultimate issues, Saladin Ahmed and Sami Kivela deliver just that here, as Elena Abbott’s supernatural investigations come to a head just as her life is circling the drain. Dramatic, compelling, and highly topical (either in spite or because of its early-1970s Detroit setting), this series has been every bit as good as advertised and the forthcoming finale is almost guaranteed to satisfy. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

 Black AF: Widows And Orphans #1 (Black Mask)** – The first “Black” series was a case study in absolutely wasting a great — and frankly maybe even necessary given the current state of affairs — premise, but that was a work of absolute genius compared to this unreadable mess from Kwanza Osajyefo and Tim Smith 3. I’m not sure whose idea it was to transpose this uniquely American (and urban American, at that) setting to Japan, but it doesn’t work, the fight scenes are dull, characterization is minimal to non-existent, and the art is hopelessly generic and unprofessional. Embarrassing stuff all around. Overall: 0 Recommendation: Pass 

The Demon: Hell Is Earth #6 (DC)** – Andrew Constant and Brad Walker started this six-part revisionist take on Jack Kirby’s Demon strong, quickly faltered, picked up the pace a bit toward the end, but absolutely flub the landing. The art’s fun enough in its own way, a heady mix of classic “King” elements with 1990s Image-style nonsense, but the story wraps in quick and predictable fashion, and spends more time trying to set up a sequel no one really wants to see than it does putting an exclamation point on the current proceedings. Ah, what could have been. Overall: 3.5 Recommendation: Pass. 

Logan

Hunt for Wolverine #1 (Marvel)– Hunt for Wolverine begins with a pretty fun fight SM2018_002_COVER-B_GUEDESscene between the X-Men and Reavers as artist Dave Marquez uses a grittier art style in honor of the snikty. The rest of his and Charles Soule’s story strikes an awkward balance between mourning and setting up the rest of the story. The spinoffs set up in the second story, like Daredevil doing his own investigation,an all female X-Men team looking for Wolverine in Madripoor, and Lady Deathstrike doing her thing seem more interesting than the core story. Overall: 7 Verdict: Read

Batgirl #22 (DC)– Hope Larson and Minkyu Jung throw it back to their first arc of the series as Babs’ friend Kai and her Singapore MMA Buddy May Hao return. With some intense crime fighting, coming of a bad romance and yes, grad schools, she’s a little out of sorts. Larson’s at her best with the slice of life/hang out stuff, but the underground fight club seems pretty cut and dried although Jung has a great command over anatomy and fight choreography as Babs fights some jacked up MMA fighters. The storyline is sort of salvaged towards then with a great cyberpunk twist even if it puts some of the relationship stuff on the backburner. Overall: 7.2 Verdict: Read

 Shadowman #2 (Valiant)– The voodoo Loa Baron Samedi wants to become a god so he’s draining the life force and souls of the people of New Orleans via some human conduits in Shadowman #2. But, not if Jack Boniface aka Shadowman and the cartomancer Alyssa are in his way. However, Andy Diggle and Stephen Segovia have them thoroughly get their asses kicked in this issue. The first two issues of this new series have been a non-stop losing battle and fancy spells and punches can’t stop from Jack going back to the Deadside. Shadowman is heavy on the action, but its connection to voodoo beliefs and Ulisses Areola’s mesmerizing colors keep it fairly fresh. I wish I knew more about Jack Boniface’s character and motivation though. Overall: 7.5 Verdict: Read

Shean

omh4.PNGOld man Hawkeye #4 (Marvel)– This book just gets better every issue as this particular installment shows that these “Old” viewpoint stories are where we find out more about the character then we ever did in their natural position. In this episode, we find Clint still collecting on old debts as he has Bullseye on his trail , who’s working with the Venoms. We also meet Kraven’s grandchildren , who bear a striking resemblance but that’s where it stops , as their skills don’t match their grandfather’s legend. By issue’s end, the most recent debt collected is with a heavy heart , one that weighs on Clint. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Joe

The Hunt For Wolverine #1 (Marvel) – I’ve waited for this for awhile. I’m a Logan fan, HuntForWolverine_Coverand while I like Old Man Logan, I wanted the original Wolvie back. This is for the classic fans, or even fans from the movies. If you don’t like Wolverine, it’s simple, don’t read or care about this comic or story. But if you do, there’s enough setup here to excite. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

 Avengers #690 (Marvel) – This is more of a palette cleansing issue between the end of this very fun and action filled arc and the new Avengers #1 from Jason Aaron releasing soon. It ties up some loose ends, moves our characters about a bit to get ready for their new series or give them time off, and slows everything down for a feel good issue. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read



 

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 (**).

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 4/21

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.

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Ryan C

BM_Cv45Evolution #6 (Image/Skybound)** – Nobody seems to be talking about this Cronenberg-ian “body horror” series much, and that’s a shame because, as its first arc comes to a close, I feel fairly confident it labeling it the best title of its ilk in a good many years. The committee of writers working on the book — James Asmus, Joseph Keatinge, Christopher Sebela, and Joshua Williamson — all leave their various plotlines on suitably suspenseful cliffhangers but, as always, it is Joe Infurnari’s supremely creepy, “Eurocomics”-style art that absolutely steals the show. This is the best-illustrated series coming out from any of the major (-ish) publishers these days, by a mile. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Mister Miracle #8 (DC)** – Tom King and Mitch Gerads narrow their focus for this issue considerably, and the result is a very successful book-length juxtaposition of Scott and Barda’s home life as new parents with their battlefield duties on Apokolips. Not as thematically ambitious as previous installments to be sure, but no less effective for its tighter set of concerns. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Batman #45 (DC)** – Tom King and Tony S. Daniel swipe from Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ classic Superman yarn “For The Man Who Has Everything” for this Batman/Booster Gold team-up that sees Bruce Wayne receive a world where his parents never died as a wedding present, and while there’s something to be said for imitation being the sincerest form of flattery, I can’t imagine Moore or Gibbons feeling particularly honored by this sloppily-written and dully-illustrated mess. After a brief uptick, this series has quickly returned to its mediocre status quo. Overall: 4 Recommendation: Pass

Black Panther #172 (Marvel)** – Ta-Nehisi Coates concludes his second “season” as scribe of King T’Challa’s adventures not with a bang, but with a whimper. All it took, apparently, to fend off the crisis threatening Wakanda for the past 13 issues was for Storm to kick some ass, which makes you wonder — why didn’t she just do it sooner, since she’s been hanging around the entire time? Leonard Kirk’s flat, uninspired art doesn’t help matters much, either. Overall: 2 Recommendation: Pass

Logan

 Her Infernal Descent #1 (Aftershock)– Lonnie Nadler, Zac Thompson, and Kyle Charles bookHID-650x986do a modern twist on Dante’s Inferno as an elderly woman descends into Hell with William Blake as her guide to bring her two sons back. Nadler and Thompson find a sweet spot between grief and humor as our protagonist goes from roasting Greek philosophers to feeling the pain of her sons’ loss. Charles’ artwork is wavy, and Dee Cunniffe’s colors are pale to show how few remember us after death. It gets really weird at the end, but centering the story on the mother/sons relationship grounds it going forward. Of course, Marriage of Heaven and Hell writer Blake can jump between those dimensions with ease. Overall: 7.8 Recommendation: Buy

Daredevil #601 (Marvel)- After an 11 page ninja fight/squad car escape, Charles Soule and Mike Henderson settle into the new status quo of Matt Murdock as mayor with Wilson Fisk incapacitated. And he doesn’t do a bad job of it sidelining the NYPD so actual superheroes can fight the undead ninjas. As Defenders Season 1 showed us, The Hand aren’t as an interesting an enemy as Fisk, but the wrinkle of Matt Murdock having mucho responsibilities as the mayor adds intrigue to the story. Henderson has a scratchy early-90s John Romita Jr style art work and draws one hell of a close quarters battle while also having enough of a sense of humor to highlight the smirks when Matt and Fisk’s assistant Wesley have a little verbal debate. Matt Milla continues to use a nice ultraviolet palette to show Daredevil’s radar abilities in the opening scene where he’s desperately trying to escape so he can become acting mayor Matt Murdock. The status quo of Mayor Daredevil won’t last for long, but it’s fun for now and plays to Soule’s strengths of writing Murdock as a competent lawyer/statesman, who is distracted by his other life, especially when ninjas and souls are concerned. Overall: 8.2 Recommendation: Buy

 Batman #45 (DC)– Tom King and Tony Daniel hit a sweet spot between funny and grimdark in this alternate universe where Bruce Wayne’s parents survive, and the consequences are terrible. Aka Booster Gold completely screws up the timeline. In issue 45, King and Daniel just play around in their new universe with little cutaway moments to Jason Todd selling tires that tase Jokers, or Talia al Ghul feuding with her dad. Booster is a little annoying by himself, but hilarity ensues when he starts playing off gun toting, big cape Batman in a neat bit of design work from Daniel. This story is mostly world building, and Booster Gold being a total loser, but there seems to be a plan going forward. I’m particularly interested in the background of paramilitary Dick Grayson as Batman, and this arc look like it’s going to be Flashpoint with a sense of humor. Overall: 8 Verdict: Read



 

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 (**).

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 4/7

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.

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


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 Star Wars : Thrawn #3 (Marvel) As we get deeper into Thrawn’s background, we get to know another character important to him, Arindha Pryce.As she seeks to get revenge against the amount which bankrupt her family, she catches Thrawn’s eye for her canny and skills. She seeks Thrawn’s help as she soon has a target on her back much like him and they must work together to find who is trying to undermine them both.By issue’s end, she makes a deal with Tarkin and the one person who she thought was on her side, soon betrays her, leaving nothing to chance. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Ryan C

The Immortal Men #1 (DC)** – Another “New Age Of DC Heroes” book that feels a lot more like a re-worked Marvel premise than anything else, this time of “The X-Men.” Jim Lee and Ryan Benjamin do the art and it is what it is — which is to say, if you like these guys you’ll dig it, and if you don’t, you won’t — but the script by James Tynion IV doesn’t do much in terms of distinguishing itself from the rest of the thoroughly mediocre “Big Two” fare out there. Our protagonist is a teenager being conscripted into an eternal war between the forces of good and evil by means of his dreams, but he’s not a very involving or sympathetic character, just a rich kid with nice folks and no real problems apart from this whole “do I have super-powers or what?” question. I guess it’s okay, but if I’m gonna drop three bucks on a comic, I’d like something more than merely “okay.” Overall: 4 Recommendation: Pass

sideways 3Sidways #3 (DC)** – Kenneth Rocafort, Dan DiDio, and Justin Jordan wrap up their introductory three-part “New Age Of DC Heroes” arc with a rather lackluster final segment that sees our hero and his adversary battle to what amounts to a draw, albeit one with a “maybe my foe isn’t as bad as I thought” twist to it. More fun is the short back-up strip, which should remove any doubt about this book being DC’s take on “Spider-Man.” Rocafort’s art is perfectly nice throughout, so kudos for that. Overall: 5.5 Recommendation: Read

Eternity Girl #2 (DC/Young Animal)** – A reasonably solid, if unspectacular, follow-up to a very promising first issue, with writer Magdalene Visaggio probably spending a little too much time on our protagonist and her one friend taking in a lame stand-up “comedy” act — fortunately that dullness is effectively offset by artist Sonny Liew getting to unleash his inner Kirby for several pages. The end result is a middling book to be sure, but at least one that is tons of fun to look at. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Read

Thanos #18 (Marvel)** – Donny Cates and Geoff Shaw wrap up their six-part “Thanos Wins” arc — and this series — with a typically action-packed issue that apparently leads right into the forthcoming “Infinity” cross-over. I loved the King Thanos-vs.-Standard Thanos fight, but to be honest, nothing on offer here managed to convince me to jump on the “Infinity” bandwagon, which was presumably the entire point. I will, however, be following Cates and Shaw over to their top-secret-for-now forthcoming Marvel project. So, hey, there’s that. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Read

Logan

The Archies #6 (Archie) After a whirlwind tour, Matthew Rosenberg, Alex Segura, and Joe Eisma finally give The Archies some studio time in their penultimate issue. Blondie guest stars as their EP’s producers, and there’s a fun scene where Betty and Veronica TheArchies6-768x1181_1024x1024geek out on Debbie Harry’s fashion sensibility and musical boldness. The plot follows a pretty cut and dried formula of band drama, musical guest star bail out, life lesson, and a deeper hole being dug, but Eisma spices things up with his energetic and humorous art. Rosenberg and Segura squeeze in some fun character moments between the formula like Veronica humbling herself and going to a greasy burger joint to get their most talented member, Jughead, back. Cramming five cool teens into an enclosed space is always good for drama. Overall: 7.4 Verdict: Read

Domino #1 (Marvel)– Gail Simone continues to be very good at writing morally ambiguous anti-heroes with humor, real human emotions, and even a little sexiness. A surprise birthday party featuring cameos from awkward exes Deadpool and Agent X turns into unsettling panic and physical attack as Domino’s luck might finally run out. Simone grounds the story in the friendship between Domino and her lady merc pals, Outlaw and Diamondback, who are as natural helping her on the battlefield as getting a little too wasted at her party. David Baldeon’s art is pretty solid with big dynamic, early 90s layouts, broad comedy, and a cute dog. Simone and Baldeon definitely plan to break Domino’s character down in the mini, but the book’s tone is more fun and snarky than dour. Overall: 8.4 Verdict: 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 (**).

C2E2 2018: The Women of Marvel Panel (Sort of) Gives An Update on the Storm Solo Comic

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On Sunday afternoon at C2E2, the Women of Marvel convened to celebrate some of Marvel’s best female creators. The panel was moderated by Marvel new media producer, Judy Stephens, and included special projects editor Jen Grunwald (Who was at the first Women of Marvel panel in 2009.), colorist Rachelle Rosenberg (Mockingbird), artist Jen Bartel (America), and writer/artist Katie Cook (Secret Wars: Secret Love). The panel was pretty announcement-light and mainly focused on the creators’ processes and inspirations for getting into comics, like a nifty time lapse video of Rosenberg coloring over David Marquez and Paulo Siqueira’s art on the upcoming Hunt for Wolverine #1 in a scene that gave me all the Kitty Pryde feels.

However, there were a few small bits of news and previews of Rachelle Rosenberg, Jen Bartel, and Katie Cook’s art on upcoming titles. Rosenberg is coloring a cover for Hunt for Wolverine #1 with over 275 characters in it. It took her 36 hours to finish and would make for a great dorm or even office poster. Bartel is drawing a backup in the The Mighty Thor: At the Gates of Valhalla one-shot, which is a transitional one-shot between the current Mighty Thor series starring Jane Foster as Thor and the upcoming Thor relaunch with Odinson as the protagonist. She is doing 15 pages of interior art for a story featuring the sadly underused characters of Thor’s granddaughters  and is the first female artist to draw them. The preview was fairly enigmatic and featured Jane Foster as Thor and a beautiful rainbow colored by Bartel herself before Matthew Wilson (WicDiv) lays down the finished colors.

The final piece of new art was an adorably twisted preview of Katie Cook’s story in the upcoming Thanos Annual that is set to be released on April 25, 2017 to coincide with his big screen appearance in Avengers: Infinity War. It is her most violent work yet and is about a cute alien people group, who are literally killing themselves to get Thanos some MacGuffin that he needs to have to take over the universe or something. I love Cook’s design for Thanos, and humorous versions of the darker and edgier parts of the Marvel Universe are always welcome.

But the real “news” at the panel and probably the reason you clicked on this article was that Jen Bartel kind of, sort of gave an update on the Storm solo ongoing comic that she is doing with Ta-Nehisi Coates (Black Panther) that was soft-announced in October 2017 around New York Comic Con. I asked Bartel if there was any news or updates about the status of Storm, and she said that she is “talking regularly” with Coates and the comic is still happening. However, there is no set in stone “timeline” for the first issue’s release at this time.

From this quick response (Which can be heard in recorded form on an upcoming episode of the Women of Marvel podcast.), I deduced that Storm is currently in the scripting and/or drawing process and that perhaps Marvel is holding back more news about it for San Diego Comic Con in the summer or another con that is closer to its actual solicitation and release date.

Also, I really want Katie Cook to do an Alpha Flight miniseries or one-shot because of her enthusiasm for the character Snowbird and her ability to turn into a  bear or any animal native to Canada.

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