I’m not the biggest Spider-Man fan. He’s a character I’ve read on and off over the years picking it up when a new team comes on or a new arc begins. “Beyond” is the latest opportunity that ushering in not one creative team but a “board” guiding the character’s path. And what a path that has been so far. Ben Reilly has taken over as Spider-Man as Peter now lays in a coma fighting for his life and health. With Amazing Spider-Man #77, a new team from the “board” has stepped in to guide the issue and direction of the character.
Kelly Thompson is the writer for this issue which dials things back a little focusing on Beyond and Ben before setting him off to his next adventure. It’s an interesting issue really diving more into Beyond delivering hints throughout about this rather quirky corporation. Ben does a walk and talk with the mysterious Maxine Danger who heads up superhero development. Maxine drills Ben about his commitment to the project coming off as both threatening but also like someone trying to manage a business and taking things seriously. It’s hard to get a read off of the character to see if she’ll be part of whatever obstacles Ben will have to fight in the future.
With it, Thompson helps add more depth to Reilly who in these few issues has become a fairly well-rounded character full of doubt but you want to succeed. He comes off as real and sincere, someone we can relate to as readers. You understand his motivation and what’s holding him back in some ways. He’s trying to figure out his role and how he’s going to be the hero he wants to be. This isn’t an arrogant individual who has just put on the suit and swings away using the Spider-Man mantle. There’s thought and concern there.
Where the issue really pops is Sara Pichelli’s art. With the walk and talk there’s so much detail about Beyond Corporation that adds a lot to the company. We don’t know a lot about it so everything adds a little bit. With color by Nolan Woodard and lettering by Joe Caramagna, it comes off as a tech focused company that’s a little out there. Gags play through the background but each feels like there’s a story to tell. It’s a treat to read and just look at the art picking up every small detail.
Amazing Spider-Man #77 is a pretty solid issue. It adds a lot to the depth of the story and players and sets up the next adventure for Spider-Man. “Beyond” has done an excellent job of mixing the emotional, down to earth moments, with the fantastical superhero aspects. It’s not to late to hop on and swing into Spider-Man’s new direction and so far, it’s been well worth it.
Story: Kelly Thompson Art: Sara Pichelli Color: Nolan Woodard Letterer: Joe Caramagna Story: 7.75 Art: 8.25 Overall: 7.8 Recommendation: Read
Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
The first issue of Inferno was a lot of setup and maneuvering by its characters. It was a comic full of politics and not a whole lot of action. But, it set up the conflict to come with a few twists and turns in the start of Jonathan Hickman‘s endgame for his X-Men run. Inferno #2 is much of the same but delivering events from the view of Mystique. How did she return Destiny to the living? How is she manipulating everyone? We get our answers in a fairly satisfying issue.
Much of the issue is from Mystique’s point of view. We get a lot of answers around how she manipulated those around her to not just resurrect Destiny but also to get them to vote the way she wants. While it all makes sense in a way, there’s absolutely some holes in the plot of how she wasn’t detected in her maneuvering but some individuals. They’re minor headscratchers that are best to just roll with.
The issue is an interesting flipside of the coin as we get events from a different perspective. The issue could easily feel like a retread of events but Hickman manages to go beyond repeating the first issue in multiple ways. It moves the plot forward, especially towards the latter part of the issue as we see the pushback from Professor X, Magneto, and Moira as they attempt to figure out how they were outmaneuvered and what to do.
The art by Stefano Caselli is fantastic. With color by David Curiel and lettering by Joe Sabino there’s a beautiful stiffness to it all. The issue has some emotion but it’s mostly political maneuvers. There’s a lack of action but still a sense of gravitas and maturity about it all. The art perfectly captures it all in a “All the King’s Men” sort of way.
Inferno #2 is interesting as it feels like it has more in common with The West Wing than it does traditional X-Men comics. This is one of thinking and continued setup as the pieces of the puzzle come together for the final action that’s to come. After such a setup, what’s two more issues. Inferno #2 might seem like a bit of a bore but the interaction of the characters is impressive showing the X-Men as a political drama without the action might be more interesting than a showing of its flashy powers.
Story: Jonathan Hickman Art: Stefano Caselli Color: David Curiel Letterer: Joe Sabino Story: 8.1 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.15 Recommendation: Buy
Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
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Superstar writer Joe Kelly just finished taking Peter Parker on the most action-packed, pulse-pounding, adrenaline-pumping adventure in Spider-Man history in Non-Stop Spider-Man! And he’s only just getting started… Spinning out of Non-Stop Spider-Man this February comes Savage Spider-Man! Written by Kelly and featuring the distinctive and dynamic talents of artist Gerardo Sandoval, this all-new limited series will feature Spider-Man like you’ve never seen him…
Peter Parker finds himself at the middle of the biggest, most wide-ranging adventure he’s ever had and out of the gate it has turned him into a savage beast! Forget everything you know about Spider-Man. All rules and regulations are out the door and Peter Parker may never be the same!
Don’t miss the latest evolution of Spider-Man when Savage Spider-Man #1 hits stands in February with a cover by Nick Bradshaw!
It’s finally here! This February, writer Peter Milligan, artist Michael Allred, and color artist Laura Allred make their long-awaited return to their iconic X-Statix saga in X-Cellent #1!
Back in the 2000s, X-Statix stunned readers with its unique spin on Marvel super heroics and off-beat characters. Now, this hit series is back along with the original creative team for more comic book brilliance overflowing with wit, charm, and high-octane thrills! Get ready for more adventures of X-Statix starring your favorite heroes from the classic series along with a brand-new team of rivals that will take this one-of-a-kind series to a fresh and exciting new future!
They were loved by their adoring fans. They were reviled by the harsh press. They lived, they loved, they fought and they died…a lot — all for the sake of fame. They were the X-Statix, a team of mutant celebrities fighting for a brighter world and an even brighter spotlight! But they’re old news now, because there’s a new mutant team that will live harder, love harder, fight harder and die a whole lot harder than those has-beens! Meet…THE X-CELLENT!
Don’t miss the triumphant comeback of X-Statix when X-Cellent #1 arrives in February!
Wednesdays (and now Tuesdays) are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in
Each week our contributors choose what they can’t wait to read this week or just sounds interesting. In other words, this is what we’re looking forward to and think you should be taking a look at!
Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this week.
Amazing Spider-Man #77 (Marvel) – “Beyond” has been a solid new direction for the Spider-Man titles and Kelly Thompson steps in as writer and Sara Pichelli as artist of this issue. We’re excited to see what they do with the new focus.
Ant #1 (Image Comics) – After a week delay, we get to see Erik Larsen’s take on the classic character. Can’t wait to see what Larsen does with a brand-new ongoing series.
Comrade Kill (Adhouse Books) – “A Cold War super soldier accidentally wakes from a cryogenic freeze long after the war has ended to find out his existence is now meaningless. Being too dumb to reconcile this he goes out into the wild to satisfy a pointless mission objective that no one asked him to do.” That sounds too awesome to not check out.
Cross to Bear #1 (AfterShock) – Jack the Ripper ran to the Wild West and is being pursued by The Order, descendants of Crusaders sworn to eradicate the unnatural.
DC vs. Vampires #1 (DC Comics) – It’s the Justice League vs. Vampires!
The Harbinger #1 (Valiant) – Harbinger is back and we’re so excited for this new volume and direction. This is a series that is likely to be the center of the Valiant world going forward and we want to see where it all goes.
Hellboy: The Silver Lantern Club #1 (Dark Horse) – We’re always excited for a new Hellboy series which tend to do a solid job of balancing the big meta picture and being accessible for new readers.
House of Slaughter #1 (BOOM! Studios) – Something is Killing the Children is a hit and we want to see how this new spin-off series is handled.
Inferno #2 (Marvel) – The first issue was a lot of setup as the end game of Jonathan Hickman’s vision for the X-Men begins. Here’s hoping things really get rolling here.
Primordial #2 (Image Comics) – A brand-new series from Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino that puts a twist on the space race with an alternative take on history.
Search for Hu #2 (AfterShock) – The first issue was great with dips into generally not known history when it comes to Jewish migration mixed with action and family drama.
Swamp Dogs #1 (Scout Comics/Black Caravan) – Confederate soldiers are brought back to life by Voodoo and crave flesh!
Task Force Z #1 (DC Comics) – Task Force X saw villains working their way to freedom. Task Force Z will see dead villains working for a new chance at life! Well ok then.
Tiny Dancer (Atheneum Books for Young Readers) – Sien Cherson Siegel’s second graphic novel about her life in ballet.
The Winchester Mystery House #1 (Source Point Press) – The house is pretty famous and we’re intrigued into how you turn it into a comic series.
Next month, Marvel continues its tradition to uplift and spotlight Indigenous and First Nations creators and characters in Marvel’s Voices: Heritage #1. Now in its second year, the hit series will feature Indigenous writers and artists, including talent who contributed to the first Marvel’s Voices: Indigenous Voices title last year as well as many rising stars making their Marvel Comics debut! These creators will come together on four thrilling stories that dive into the past, present, and future of the Marvel Universe and star some of Marvel’s most iconic Indigenous super heroes.
New York Times bestselling author Rebecca Roanhorse and acclaimed Navajo artist Shaun Beyale will further reveal the fascinating story behind River, the mysterious stranger from the pages of Rebecca Roanhorse’s new Phoenix Song: Echo series! Discover Snowguard’s greatest hopes and fears in a tale by celebrated filmmaker Nyla Innuksuk and artist Natasha Donovan! It’s the return of Werehawk in an extraordinary adventure by writer Bobby Wilson and artist Jim Terry. And writer Steven Paul Judd and artist David Cutler explore the legacy of Jason Strongbow AKA American Eagle in a poignant tale about this classic Navajo super hero.
Check out all seven covers now and pick up Marvel’s Voices: Heritage #1 on November 24.
Over the course of 18 issues, Zeb Wells and Stephen Segovia have made fans fall in love with mutantkind’s team of dangerous outcasts in Hellions! The hit series will come to an explosive end in December’s Hellions #18 with a special oversized issue that will reveal the fates of Psylocke, Havok, Greycrow, Empath, Wild Child, Nanny, and Orphan-Maker. And amidst the secrets, betrayals, alliances and loss will come the return of one of the most tragic characters in the X-Men mythos—Madelyne Pryor AKA the Goblin Queen! She was once a friend to the X-Men and a devoted wife to Cyclops but she became one of mutantkind’s greatest villains. Now, she’s back for her long overdue redemption… or will it be revenge? See her rise in Hellions #18 and then catch her causing trouble in the pages of Vita Ayala and Rod Reis’ acclaimed run on New Mutants where she’ll ignite a war with Magik for the throne of Limbo!
To celebrate her return, new Hellions #18 variant covers by Philip Tan, Kael Ngu, InHyuk Lee, and Peach Momoko depict Maddy in all her fiery glory! Check out all five covers now and be there for the end of an era and the beginning of a saga X-Men fans have waited decades for when Hellions #18 hits stands on December 1!
Sometimes, the staff at Graphic Policy read more comics than we’re able to get reviewed. When that happens you’ll see a weekly feature compiling short reviews from the staff of the comics, or graphic novels, we just didn’t get a chance to write a full review for. Given the lack of new comics, expect this weekly update to begin featuring comics that we think you’ll enjoy while you can’t get anything new to read – only new to you.
These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews and Recommendations.
Night of the Ghoul #1 (Comixology Originals)– Scott Snyder and Francesco Francavilla have almost perfectly synthesized classic and postmodern horror in Night of the Ghoul #1. However, beneath its celluloid trappings, asylum setting, and lurching monsters, this comic also has the beating heart of a family drama with estranged father and son, Forrest and Orson, trying to uncover a mystery about a lost classic horror film (Fittingly called Night of the Ghoul) and its director T.F. Merritt while fact and fiction blurs together. I love the palette that Francavilla uses for this book: monochrome for the film within the comic, eerie for the rest home that’s the main setting of Night of the Ghoul, and bright and intense for shots of Orson’s mom who he actually lives with. This color scheme enhances Francesco Francavilla’s spot-on character acting, and he and Snyder build slow-burn tension through use of shadow and repeated panels. Night of the Ghoul #1 is definitely a metafictional work, but Scott Snyder grounds it with artifice-free dialogue and cutting lines about how sometimes a monster is just a monster that complements Francavilla’s full-bore grindhouse poster visuals. Overall: 8.8 Verdict: Buy
Superman: Son of Kal-El #4 (DC)– Tom Taylor writes and Daniele Di Nicuolo pinch hits on art in an installment of Superman: Son of Kal-El that brings the new, more activist-minded, and bolder Superman up against his first baddie, Bendix. Taylor, Di Nicuolo, and colorists Hi-Fi and Gabe Eltaeb strike many parallels between Jon Kent and Clark Kent from his love for Jonathan and Martha Kent, carrying a journalist in his arms (Jay Nakamura in this caste), and a race against The Flash, who is also legacy hero. Finally, there’s a confrontation inside a skyscraper office where Superman can’t punch his well-heeled opponent because it would lead to an international incident. Daniele Di Nicuolo skillfully uses body language and poses to show the enmity between Jon and Bendix as well as the growing bond between him and Jay. However, he also plays with the page during pivotal scenes like using a full page cutaway to show a montage of young Jon growing up at the Kents’ house or a tilted double page spread as a pleasant dinner turns into a disaster film. I love how Tom Taylor gives Jon Kent his own nemesis while strengthening his relationships with other queer metahumans plus the Justice League and his own flesh and blood family. Jon misses his day and is way inexperienced, but he’s starting to make the mantle of Superman his own. Overall: 8.2 Verdict: Buy
Catwoman: Lonely City #1 (DC/Black Label)– Cartoonist Cliff Chiang aims to tell the definitive Selina Kyle story in Catwoman: Lonely City, and he’s off to a good start in this sleek opening chapter. Set in a world where Batman, Alfred, and Dick Grayson are dead, and Barbara Gordon is running for mayor against Harvey Dent (Or the artist formerly known as Two-Face.), Catwoman: Lonely City #1 takes its time showing Selina’s attempts at reintegrating into society after a prison stint before jumping into the action. Chiang approaches Gotham and the page like an architect breathing with beat panels that show Selina’s lost a step or red-tinged flashbacks of Batman’s last moments. It adds context to his steady narration and rhythmic dialogue. In his design choices, he goes for classic, yet slightly more dystopian while keeping a smoothness perfect for rooftop chases instead of piling on the guns and sci-fi shit. Cliff Chiang is at his best when showing Selina move in space pulling her out of the frame for extra stealth and then putting in a big splash for her triumphs and failures. Catwoman: Lonely City #1 is an intriguing Selina Kyle story while also being a craft masterpiece even in Chiang’s lettering whose even-handedness gives it a Todd Klein-esque literary quality. Overall: 9.4 Verdict: Buy
X-Men: Trial of Magneto #3 (Marvel)– After two powerful opening issues, Trial of Magneto #3 is pretty skippable as the X-Men and Avengers punch some monsters while Leah Williams, Lucas Werneck, and David Messina show that Scarlet Witch is not quite herself. It’s pretty fun watching Eye-Boy strategize with Captain America or Synch get a power boost from Wasp, and Williams lands a strong character beat in the early going with male characters’ dialogue overwhelming Scarlet Witch’s resurrection process. However, it’s all downhill from there with the monster fight taking a little too long for such generic baddies, and the last few pages being a little too abrupt and obvious. I haven’t lost all my goodwill for this series (Leah Williams writes one hell of a Northstar), but it’s not the belle of the X-Men line any more. Overall: 6.0 Verdict: Pass.
Nightwing #85 (DC)– Tom Taylor, Robbi Rodriguez, and Adriano Lucas continue to lean into the relationship between Barbara Gordon and Dick Grayson as they race the clock to take Seer, who has corrupted the Oracle system and jeopardized virtually every hero in the DC Universe. There are sepia toned flashbacks to better days, and Taylor grapples with misfires with the characters (Killing Joke, Ric Grayson) while cementing their bond in an emotional sequence. Rodriguez’s messy, almost street art style works well for the fear and chaos enveloping chaos and works well with the smoky palette that Lucas uses. A Batgirl/Nightwing team-up against the Magistrate’s goon is easily the highlight of the book, but it gets undercut at the end. All in all, this is a damn good Barbara Gordon story from Tom Taylor and Robbi Rodriguez and shows her struggle with Oracle out of the picture as she continues to take responsibility for her successsors (Cassandra Cain, Stephanie Brown) and allies. Overall: 8.3 Verdict: Buy.
Gunslinger Spawn #1 (Image)– Gunslinger Spawn has an insanely cool design and a decent story to go with it as Todd McFarlane and Brett Booth tell the tale of angels and demons with some fish out of water comedy elements. Everyone has a dark past including the kid at the service station trying to explain the concept of gasoline and horsepower to a Hellspawn from 1864. Booth’s art is totally 1990s revival and fits the tone of the story. There are also three backups. The first one from McFarlane and Thomas Nachlik involves lynching and is honestly kind of tone deaf, but shows Gunslinger Spawn in his original setting. The second one featuring art by Philip Tan shows the amount of pain that Gunslinger Spawn goes through to put a bullet through the forehead of angel and reveals he’s one of the weakest Hellspawns. The final backup from Ales Kot and Kevin Keane places Gunslinger Spawn into the context of American colonization of Mexico in the 1840s while also being a steadily paced Western with callbacks to the main story. The colors from Marcelo Maiolo and FCO Plascencia are also gorgeous and cinematic. Overall: 7.4 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 (**).