Tag Archives: matt hollingsworth

Review: Little Bird #1

Little Bird #1

Little Bird follows a young resistance fighter who battles against an oppressive American Empire and searches for her own identity in a world on fire.

Little Bird #1 is a comic I’ve been looking forward to reading for some time. The concept of a resistance standing against a religious fundamentalist American empire is a story that sounds intriguing to me. While there’s a lot to like in the first issue, there’s also some stumbling as well in its world building.

Written by Darcy Van Poelgeest, the first issue feels like a cross between Saga, We Stand on Guard, and East of West. A Canadian resistance attempts to take on the evil American empire which works as a story, it’s something we’ve seen before. Where the issue stumbles a bit is in the small details of its worldbuilding which at times feels like weird to just be weird. Bathing in blood with what looks like intestines coming out. Weird baldheaded floating intestine creatures. It’s all visually interesting but with so little explanation we’re expected to go with it. What it winds up being is somewhat of a distraction.

Little Bird is a techno-organic religious world that we’re expected to go with. While the visuals are solid, we’re left wondering about those interesting concepts and it doesn’t help matters. A more straightforward visual would have helped. Getting rid of the weird focuses the story a bit. All of these things might be explained but in the first issue it’s all left hanging.

The concepts though are neat and the story pretty easy to get in to if you’re willing to overlook these open questions. The characters are interesting. The conflict has a lot of potential. The juxtaposition of societies is solid. There’s a lot of set up for what’s to come and a good inclusion on what we need to know of the past.

The art by Ian Bertram is absolutely interesting and as I said above, it can be distracting as well. Joined on colors by Matt Hollingsworth and lettering by Aditya Bidikar, the issue is one that has so many small things for you to linger on the page and stare at. While those visuals absolutely help build the world and hint at what we’re dealing with, they also aren’t explained enough and seem a bit odd for odd’s sake. Those cool visuals also distract without an explanation of the “why” and “what.”

The first issue has a lot of potential and I want to see where it goes. There’s a good chance the miniseries will read better as a whole than it does as single issues and those issues I have with the weird visuals will be explained later. Little Bird #1 absolutely creates and builds an interesting world but leaves too much out there not explained or acknowledged to not distract from the main story.

Story: Darcy Van Poelgeest Art: Ian Bertram
Color: Matt Hollingsworth Letterer: Aditya Bidikar

Design: Ben Didier
Story: 7.0 Art: 7.0 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Batman: White Knight

The first trade to be released under the DC Black Label imprint, Batman: White Knight is Sean Murphy‘s take on the ongoing battle between the Joker and Batman. Murphy is an amazing artist, but is the story any good? Find out!

Get your copy in comic shops today and in book stores on October 9. 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/Kindle/comiXology or TFAW

 

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies 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

SDCC 2018: Dark Horse Celebrates the 25th Anniversary of Hellboy’s First Appearance at San Diego Comic-Con With 3 New Mignolaverse Titles

In 1993, legendary comic book creator Mike Mignola’s most famous creation, Hellboy, first appeared in a four page, black and white story in San Diego Comic-Con Comics #2, months ahead of his full issue comic book debut in Hellboy: Seed of Destruction. Co-published by Dark Horse Comics, this story introduced one of the most beloved comic book characters in history and launched what would become known as the Mignolaverse — the strange, shared universe of comic books and graphic novels, comprised of acclaimed titles including Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.Abe SapienB.P.R.D.Frankenstein UndergroundLobster JohnsonThe Visitor: How and Why He Stayed and Witchfinder.

25 years later, Mignola is once again returning as a Special Guest to San Diego Comic-Con International, where the convention will celebrate the 25th anniversary of that first 4-page story by including the historic story in their 2018 Souvenir Book. The story, which previously had been published with colors by acclaimed colorist Matt Hollingsworth, will now be colored by Eisner Award-winning colorist and longtime Mignola collaborator Dave Stewart and will appear alongside an all new interview with Mignola and Jed W. Keith. In addition, Mignola and Stewart have created an all new cover for the San Diego Comic-Con International Events Guide.

Ahead of the convention and the planned celebration of Mignola and his creation, Dark Horse Comics is announcing three new Mignolaverse comic books, which further expand and enrich the epic story that has been entertaining fans around the world for two and a half decades.

The three new titles, which Dark Horse Comics will publish in 2018, span the globe and showcase very different corners of the Mignolaverse — the occult cold war escalates in Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1956; Lobster Johnson’s biggest foe, the Crimson Lotus, is featured in her first ever, eponymous mini-series; and the annual Hellboy Winter Special features festive and supernatural stories from Mike Mignola and Ben Stenbeck, Tonci Zonjic, Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá.

The three new titles are:

Crimson Lotus five-issue mini series

Mike Mignola (W), John Arcudi (W), Mindy Lee (A), Michelle Madsen (C), Tonci Zonjic (Cover)
Issue 1 on sale date: 11/21/2018
Before she became Lobster Johnson’s biggest foe, the Crimson Lotus was a young girl whose family was caught up in the Russo-Japanese war. Thirty years later, the Lotus exacts her revenge with terrifying international ramifications, and two spies must try to chase her through China before they become flies in her web.

Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1956 five-issue mini series

Mike Mignola (W), Chris Roberson (W), Yishan Li (A), Mike Norton (A), Michael Avon Oeming (A), Dave Stewart (C), Dave Johnson (Cover)
Issue 1 on sale date: 11/28/2018
Pressure is mounting within the bureau to uncover the Soviets’ secret plans, but a suspicious cover-up leads one agent off the radar in search of answers. Meanwhile, demonic Soviet occult leader Varvara pushes her team to follow her own whims, and Hellboy is sent on the mission that would lead to his infamous misadventures in Mexico. But even more clandestine plots are at work—both inside the B.P.R.D. and out. Three different storylines are interwoven in this espionage saga.

Hellboy Winter Special 2018

Mike Mignola (W/Cover), Fábio Moon (W/A/variant cover), Gabriel Bá (W/A/Variant cover), Tonci Zonjic (W/A/C), Ben Stenbeck (A), Dave Stewart (C)
On sale date: 12/12/2018
Three wintery tales featuring a Mike Mignola and Ben Stenbeck team-up about a New Year’s Eve séance gone wrong when Hellboy visits a family’s English home, Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá revisit B.P.R.D.: Vampire with a new tie-in story, and Tonci Zonjic returns to write and draw Lobster Johnson.

Fans will be able to ask Mignola about the new titles —and anything else the audience wants to talk about regarding his career —  at the San Diego Comic-Con international Spotlight panel on Mike Mignola on Friday, July 20th at 2:30 PM PT in Room: 24ABC. Mignola will also be signing at the Dark Horse Comics booth (#2615) on Friday July 20th at 4:30 PM and exhibiting at Booth #4901, alongside artists Geof Darrow, Frank Cho and Steve Purcell from Wednesday through Saturday.

The new titles join an exciting Mignolaverse publishing lineup for the year, including the Hellboy Omnibus Collection, which creates the definitive reading experience for Hellboy fans and an ideal entry point for new readers by publishing Mignola’s award-winning Hellboy stories in chronological order for the first time ever.

Preview: Batman: White Knight #8

Batman: White Knight #8

(W) Sean Murphy (A/CA) Sean Murphy
In Shops: May 09, 2018
SRP: $4.99

In the extra-sized finale of Sean Murphy’s top-selling miniseries, Jack Napier’s suspicious seduction of Gotham City comes to its twisted conclusion! With the city on the verge of becoming an icy tomb for the GTO, Batgirl makes a crucial assist and Gordon is forced to reevaluate his judgment of Batman to secure the greater good. As the true Joker’s return becomes imminent, Harley seeks vengeance and reckons with the bleak future that looms for her loved ones.

Review: Eternals

It’s Wednesday which means it’s new comic book day with new releases hitting shelves, both physical and digital, all across the world. This week we’ve got the Eternals!

Eternals collects issues #1-7 by Neil Gaiman, John Romita, Jr., Danny Miki, Tom Palmer, Tim Townsend, Jesse Delperdang, Klaus Janson, Matt Hollingsworth, Paul Mounts, Dean White, Todd Klein, Rick Berry, Sean Ryan, and Nick Lowe.

Get your copy in comic shops today and in book stores April 24. 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/Kindle/comiXology or TFW

 

Marvel​ provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies 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

Preview: Batman: White Knight #7

Batman: White Knight #7

Story: Sean Murphy
Art: Sean Murphy
Color: Matt Hollingsworth
Letters: Todd Klein
Cover: Sean Murphy, Matt Hollingsworth
Editor: Mark Doyle
Assistant Editor: Maggie Howell
In Shops: Apr 04, 2018
SRP: $3.99

This issue, it’s Jack versus the Joker! Napier’s identity crisis spins out of control and compromises his grand plans for Gotham City – but not before he strikes a fateful bargain with Neo Joker. A browbeaten Batman accepts a peace offering from Batgirl, and some unexpected advice from Alfred sets the tone for the GTO’s new mission to redeem the city.

Review: Jessica Jones #18

JJ18Cover.jpgFor the past three years since Jessica Jones has returned to prominence through her Netflix show , I have clamored multiple times for her caretakers to step back, and instead of some epic conspiracy arc, tell a standalone detective story featuring her. Done-in-one, case of the week stories can be memorable entertaining; see most of Rob Thomas’ televison ouevre. (I’m behind on Jessica Jones Season 2 and iZombie Season 4, don’t judge.) And, boy, do her co-creators Brian Michael Bendis, Michael Gaydos, and Matt Hollingsworth deliver in Jessica Jones #18, Bendis’ final issue of the title before becoming exclusive to DC Comics in a story where she investigates every New York based Marvel hero’s favorite punching bag after the Shocker: the Armadillo.

But, unlike the multiple Marvel heroes she interviews in her quest for Armadillo, Jessica doesn’t treat him like a punching bag, but like a human being. Of course, there are snarky quips, but when she finally finds him at the Owl’s supervillain “pop-up”, Jessica doesn’t fight him. She listens to Armadillo and empathizes with a guy who wants to be a big shot bad guy like the Kingpin or Norman Osborn, but really is just afraid of being close to his girlfriend, Daisy. He would rather act out and get in pointless fights with basically every superhero than spend alone time with her. Also, he’s not a big fan of feeling invisible in a universe full of colorful characters, both bad, good, and in-between.

And this feeling is where the unlikely connection between Jessica and Armadillo springs into life in Jessica Jones #18 thanks to Bendis’ dialogue and Gaydos’ grid and subtle shift in facial expressions. Jessica can go from rolling her eyes at Armadillo mentioning the Green Goblin (They met before back in The Pulse.) to being sincere and open when she tells him that the Marvel Universe forgot about her after she was mind controlled by Killgrave and attacked the Avengers. Thankfully, Bendis and Gaydos don’t do a whole info dump in the final issue, and Jessica’s past is baked into her words and expressions.

JessandMiles

It’s also pretty amazing that their last hurrah on Jessica Jones isn’t a stereotypical superhero beat ’em up, but a series of heart to heart conversations framed by Jessica just doing her P.I. thing for Alias Investigations. There are no big epiphanies or plot twists just a woman who doesn’t want to be a superhero being heroic in her own way and reaching out to a broken man that needed a listening ear, not “clobbering time” or a kick to the face. Bendis and Gaydos give cameos to some of Bendis’ favorite characters, like Miles Morales, the Thing, and Ironheart, as Jessica tracks down Armadillo. Everyone except Riri (Because she’s the best.) just attacked Armadillo without asking any questions about his motives. This is similar to the Avengers back in Alias who just tried knock Jessica out without taking a minute to realize that she wasn’t in control of her actions. Jessica can fly and has super strength, but as a private eye, she is ready to listen, make connections, and deduce motives before knocking someone out. It doesn’t matter if you’re half armadillo/half man or were experimented on by a character, who strangely appeared in the Jessica Jones TV show.

Also, I like that Bendis and Gaydos made the cameo parade relevant to the story instead of just fanservice, and it was fun to see Jessica and Miles’ rapport after his abuela hired her to see what he was up to in Spider-Man. One of Brian Michael Bendis’ gifts as a writer other than dialogue is finding new connections between characters in the Marvel Universe. This skill shines especially in his solo books like when Peter Parker had a complicated dating relationship with Kitty Pryde in Ultimate Spider-Man, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage were Matt Murdock’s bodyguards when he was outed as Daredevil, and the connection between her and Miles.

JessEmpathy.JPG

Jessica Jones #18 is all about the little things that make the character and Bendis, Gaydos, and Hollingsworth’s work on Alias and (for the most part) Jessica Jones great. There’s the smooth color palette that Hollingsworth after Jessica, who is napping with her daughter, gets a happy call from her client that she helped her and Armadillo reconcile.  It’s a quiet take on the big win for a protagonist. Then, there’s Gaydos’ final trademark double page spread interview layout that allows Jessica’s clients to show their personality while conserving space and getting right on the case. Jessica begins by stereotyping Daisy as a redneck superhero fangirl from Texas, but she’s actually a wealthy model, who just wants her man back. And finally there’s one great, profanity laced one-liner to show that Jessica hasn’t gone soft since she left the MAX imprint.

Especially when coupled with the actual letter than closes out the book, Jessica Jones #18 is a fantastic love letter from her co-creators Brian Michael Bendis, Michael Gaydos, and Matt Hollingsworth to one of the most engaging new comics characters introduced this century. Jessica has been through a lot of shit and hides her emotions via snark and sometimes alcohol, but she also helps people in her own way and champions those who might be forgotten or even attacked by the more spangly and showy characters in the Marvel Universe.

Story: Brian Michael Bendis Art: Michael Gaydos Colors: Matt Hollingsworth
Story: 9.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Batman: White Knight #6

Batman: White Knight #6

Story: Sean Gordon Murphy Art: Sean Gordon Murphy
Color: Matt Hollingsworth Letterer: Todd Klein
Editor: Mark Doyle Assistant Editor: Maggie Howell
In Shops: Mar 07, 2018
SRP: $3.99

Gotham City’s strongest alliance comes to an end when Gordon’s trust in Batman reaches its limit. On the verge of resignation, the commissioner attempts a final act of public service, but an unlikely intervention allows the Dark Knight to fight another day. Meanwhile, Jack’s mission takes a hit when his pills lose effect-and under cover of all this chaos, Neo Joker is positioned to take the city hostage.

Review: Jessica Jones #15

JJ15For the first half of Jessica Jones #15, Killgrave won’t shut the hell up, and Brian Michael Bendis pens some incredibly creepy, gaslighting dialogue as he talks about how interesting Jessica is which is answered by sarcastic glances courtesy of artist Michael Gaydos. Then, Bendis, Gaydos, and colorist Matt Hollingsworth take things in more of a black ops direction as the comic builds to an action horror crescendo. However, the scariest part of this comic is the opening conversation as the Purple Man tries to be civilized and ends up sounding like a wannabe pickup artist/man-baby/psychopath. Bendis and Gaydos lean less on the mind control aspect of his powers and return to the whole abusive relationship part and make him more frightening. So, Jessica Jones #15 ends up being a talk-y comic book, but the extended monologue has the chilling effect of being like a man talking over a woman because he thinks he knows best. Yuck.

Mostly, Hollingsworth has used a drab, yet noir-ish color palette for his work on Alias and Jessica Jones. However, Jessica Jones #15 is filled with pops of purple and yellow for Killgrave that starts small when he is chatting with Jessica and then erupts when he is shot by SHIELD and uses his powers again. The purple in the scene where he possesses everyone around Jessica, Carol Danvers, Nick Fury Jr., and Kraven the Hunter (Of all people.) is like a circuit breaker exploding and setting the house on fire. Michael Gaydos bombards the page with figures and people with intense expression and busts up the grid format that he has utilized for most of the issue. Talking and Killgrave pretending to be a “nice guy” is over, and only action and mind controlling one of the Marvel Universe’s greatest heroes is left on the table.

JJ15Interior

Dialogue is one of Brian Michael Bendis’ strengths, or definitely signatures, which is interesting because comics are primarily a visual, not verbal medium. Killgrave gets a long villainous monologue in Jessica Jones #15 that stretches over almost the entire first half of the comic, but because comics don’t have sound like film/TV, it doesn’t have the same effect as if it was delivered by David Tennant. Plus Gaydos reusing poses and faces hinders the emotional effect of Killgrave’s words on Jessica. His art definitely picks up steam after Killgrave gets hit by a sniper bullet in a double page spread that shows the wound from different POVs from Suicide Squad wannabe Kraven the Hunter to a “dying” Killgrave and a vengeful Jessica, who gets to unleash the anger she’s been holding in all issue.

Bendis’ writing is smart and sobering with Killgrave displaying signs of abusers like telling his former victim that she should be happy that he isn’t doing something worse like “grabbing her by the brain” or making Luke Cage beat all the Avengers to death.  In a similar manner to outed abusers like Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, and Donald Trump, it’s all a power thing for Killgrave, who feels insecure that Jessica has moved on from him and has a new life as a private eye, Defender, wife, and mother. She treats Killgrave like he’s pathetic with sassy quips, but by the end of the issue, Bendis and Gaydos remind us of how terrifying he is. With his immortality and mind control abilities, the Purple Man is one of the most powerful villains in the Marvel Universe and sending multiple Avengers squads against only enhances his ability because he can turn these good guys bad with a snap of his fingers.

“Purple” is the best arc of Jessica Jones so far because the stakes have been so personal with Killgrave going after Jessica’s family, friends, and mental state instead of trying to kill all the Avengers like in their first meeting in Alias. Jessica Jones #15 is a fairly strong middle chapter of the storyline as Brian Michael Bendis, Michael Gaydos, and Matt Hollingsworth continue to depict Killgrave as a gaslighting abuser with superpowers. They posit the friendship between Jessica and Carol as an equal reaction to him, but this relationship starts to become twisted in the Purple Man’s hands.

Story: Brian Michael Bendis Art: Michael Gaydos Colors: Matt Hollingsworth
Story: 7.8 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.7 Recommendation: Read

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Batman: White Knight #3

Tragedy strikes, and the Bat-family face the fight of their lives against an army of super-villains and waning public support. A new discovery reinforces Jack’s plot to jeopardize the Dark Knight’s standing in Gotham City, and Harley’s obsession with The Joker reaches a new height-and threatens to change the game for good!

I’ve generally been down on Sean Gordon Murphy‘s Batman: White Knight. While the art has been the excellence that one would expect with Murphy, the story falls flat never living up to the promise and delivering a muddled message. Batman: White Knight #3 continues that in some ways and feels like it undercuts its concept in some ways.

As we saw at the end of the previous issue, Jack Napier has decided to use Clayface and Mad Hatter to control Gotham’s villains. His attack takes place in this issue resulting in a massive battle and lots of destruction but makes it clear that though the “insanity is gone” Jack Napier is still very much the Joker. This isn’t the Joker trying to “save Gotham from Batman” as the series premise promised, instead it’s a Joker vs Batman story with the Joker going by a different name and acting differently. Juxtapose that with the idea of Jack going face and Batman being the heel. Joker’s face turn was too brief and never committed enough to make his case.

The comic has some interesting concepts that unfortunately aren’t explored enough. Nightwing and Batman’s relationship does get a decent amount of focus and teases some interesting ideas about their dynamic. Then there’s the idea of the second Harley Quinn. There’s an introduction of a “new villain” who seems like she’ll be the best thing to come out of this. Then there’s Batman himself who suffers a loss but it feels like there’s no emotional impact concerning that.

There’s something that just feels off here. It hasn’t quite promised on its promise and feels like a retread of our normal Joker/Batman dynamic but with a different Joker. The comic looks great though so as long as you’re not going into this expecting anything more than you’ll walk out happy.

Story: Sean Murphy Art: Sean Murphy Colors: Matt Hollingsworth
Story: 6.5 Art: 9.0 Overall: 6.85 Recommendation: Pass

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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