Tag Archives: max landis

Preview: Action Comics Special #1

Action Comics Special #1

(W) Dan Jurgens, Max Landis, Mark Russell (A) Francis Manapul, Jill Thompson (A/CA) Will Conrad
In Shops: May 02, 2018
SRP: $4.99

“The Last Will and Testament of Lex Luthor”! When Superman’s world was reborn, his greatest enemy became his most unexpected ally. But does that truly reflect Lex Luthor-or was it all a sham? Now, as Lex Luthor’s path toward righteousness reaches its apex, he finds himself involved in an adventure in which Superman stands to be destroyed. What choice will Luthor make? Will he save Superman or watch him die at the hands of a foe he could not possibly imagine? This oversized special also features stories from the acclaimed teams of Max Landis and Francis Manapul (in a story previously slated to appear in the DC UNIVERSE HOLIDAY SPECIAL 2017 #1) and Mark Russell and Jill Thompson!

Superman Gets Oversized 48-Page One-Shots in May

The creative talent of Action Comics writer Dan Jurgens and the Superman team of Patrick Gleason and Peter J. Tomasi have brought legions of Superman fans story after story filled with action, humor, emotion and candor–traits that have continued to present Superman as an enduring symbol of hope, optimism, truth and justice. This May, the conclusions to their epic runs serve as the centerpieces of two special one-shot issues.

On sale May 2, the 48-page Action Comics Special #1 features “The Last Will and Testament of Lex Luthor,” written by Jurgens with art by Will Conrad. Beginning with the events of Rebirth, Superman’s greatest enemy became his most unexpected ally. Is Lex finally on the heroic path, or is he still hiding his true colors? When he finds himself in an adventure where Superman could be destroyed, what will he do? Save the Man of Steel, or witness his demise at the hands of an unimaginable enemy? This oversize special also includes stories from Max Landis and Francis Manapul originally slated to appear in the DC Universe Holiday Special 2017 #1, and Mark Russell with artist Jill Thompson.

Available May 16, Superman Special #1 features Tomasi and Gleason’s “The Promise,” concluding a story from Rebirth that began in issue #8, 2016’s “Escape from Dinosaur Island.” Before Superman’s world goes through some drastic changes, he has unfinished business to attend to on Dinosaur Island. Superman and the Losers’ Captain Storm take one final trip together into the abyss of tomorrow, which brings the military man out of time into the world of today. This 48-page extra-size special also features bonus stories by Mark Russell with art by Bryan Hitch and Ian Flynn with art by Kaare Andrews.

Underrated: Green Valley

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: Green Valley



Published by Image, Green Valley was written by Max Landis and features art by Giuseppe Camuncoli, inks by Cliff Rathburn and colours by Jean Francois Beaulieu. The wonderful hardcover collection in my hands collects nine issues and will set you back $29.99 (I paid for this out of my own pocket, and happily so, even though I probably had access to the single issue review copies).

So what’s the story about?

GreenValleyHC.jpg

The knights of Kelodia are the finest in the land, but they’ve never faced a POWER like the one that resides in the Green Valley. Now they’re about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime—to stop a wizard and slay his dragons—but there’s no such thing as magic or dragons…is there? 

You may have noticed by reading this column that I tend to enjoy stories set in and around medieval times, even though I don’t tend to read that many comics set in that era (or at least I didn’t until this year). So when my LCS suggested I pick this up (it was on the counter and the owner told me I’d like it) I did so without question because sometimes I don’t want to read superhero comics.

One of the first things I noticed was that the hardcover itself just feels utterly wonderful in your hands.  The above image is of the hardcover, with the comic art inset slightly into the gold and green cover of the book itself in an effect that really doesn’t translate as well in the image as it does in person, but it does give you a hint about the nature of the story, which aside from the cover and text on the back I entered utterly blindly – and I fell in love.

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Green Valley is the kind of book that you will want to read in a single sitting – it grabs you right from the start as you’re introduced to the legendary Knights of Kelodia (all four of them) as they face down a barbarian horde in a brilliant sequence that’s full of dry humour, a genuine feeling camaraderie from the knights  and tense knightly masculinity all wrapped up in some beautiful visuals that are some of the nicest pure-comic pages I’ve seen in quite some time. Were I reviewing this here, I’d be giving this at least 9’s across the board and telling you to buy this without question – the story and art genuinely took me by surprise and had me forget that I really should be doing a bunch of other stuff for the hour or so I sat enraptured in this story.green valley interior.jpg

Without spoiling anything, it’s tough to explain why I loved this story, but that won’t stop me from trying. Green Valley is a very intelligently written book, with dialogue that is, at times, so sharp you could loose a finger. There are moments that span the gamut of human emotion for the characters, and will have you laughing out loud and pumping your fist as the story goes on – just as you’ll feel gut-punched at certain other moment. Max Landis has written one hell of a story that deserves a very special place on your shelf.

Now excuse me while I go reread it (no, I’m not saying that for effect – I’m actually going to reread it now).


 

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.

Green Valley #2 Gets a Second Printing

Image Comics/Skybound has fast-tracked Green Valley #2 by Max Landis and Giuseppe Camuncoli to a second printing in order to keep up with increased customer demand.

In Green Valley, the knights of Kelodia are the finest in the land, but they’ve never faced a power like the one that resides in the Green Valley… Welcome to the world of Green Valley… where nothing is ever what it seems.

Green Valley #2, 2nd printing and Green Valley #3 (Diamond Code OCT160612) will be available on Wednesday, December 14th.

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Review: Green Valley #1

greenvalley01_cover“It all began with one mistake…”

These words appear on the bottom of the cover of Green Valley #1. Written in red Old English surrounding a coat of arms made up of the four Knights of Kelodia, a band of merry men who seem to joke their way through battle in a story that seems half King Arthur and half Lethal Weapon. Now before you scoff at that or let your imagination go wild to the point of confusion, this is very much a fantasy tale wrapped in a buddy cop comedy. I was pleasantly surprised at how funny the writing was in this book, not because I doubt Max Landis as a writer, I love his work, but more because when I first heard about Green Valley, I thought this was going to be a very dark and dreary bloody tale. Well, much like real life, it is both light and dark.

The first three-quarters or more of this book is fun, light-hearted, and made me smile. The pencils by Giuseppe Camuncoli, the ink by Cliff Rathburn, and the colors by Jean-Francois Beaulieu are so breathtaking that it made me feel like I was looking at a gorgeous cartoon that was paused on the best moments. Seriously, the colors in this book are incredible. The art overall makes me feel like it is somewhere between an anime and an old fantasy cartoon like The Hobbit.

The characters feel over the top, but in a good way. The back and forth banter between Sir Bertwald and Sir Ralphus is fantastic. This is where the buddy cop comedy comes into play. Even on the battlefield where they face an army of hundreds with their small group of four, they are cracking jokes and teasing each other. Yes it is silly but is done so well that you want more of it. The other half of the Knights of Kelodia are Sir Gulliver and Sir Indrid. While we see these two knights, this is very much the tale of Bertwald, and Ralphus.

No story would be complete without a villain, and we are given the massive, axe-wielding, self-proclaimed warrior king, Brutus Gargus of Pendergast. We only see Brutus in the beginning of the book, and then again once more, so we still do not know if he is truly the big bad in this book. Then again, there are a lot of things we do not know about Green Valley, but I cannot wait to find out more.

This book went from something I was thinking of picking up eventually simply because of the mention of knights, dragons, and the fantasy setting to an absolute must read. Do yourself a favor, and enter the Green Valley, it is beautiful.

Story: Max Landis Art: Giuseppe Camuncoli
Ink: Cliff Rathburn Color: Jean-Francois Beaulieu
Story: 8.5 Art: 9 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Skybound provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Max Landis’ Green Valley Comes to Skybound and Image

Beloved screenwriter and creator Max Landis (Chronicle, American Ultra, Superman: American Alien) teams up with penciler Giuseppe Camuncoli, inker Cliff Rathburn, colorist Jean-Francois Beaulieu, and letterer Pat Brosseau for an all-new miniseries from Image/Skybound Entertainment called Green Valley.

The knights of Kelodia are the finest in the land, but they’ve never faced a power like the one that resides in Green Valley. This new nine-issue miniseries will welcome readers into a world where nothing is as it seems.

The idea dates back to when Landis was a kid. The idea persisted and grew and finally comes to life.

Green Valley #1 will hit comic book stores on Wednesday, October 5th.

Green Valley 1

Review: Superman: American Alien #7

Superman American Alien #7 CoverAfter a massive explosion rocks downtown Metropolis, Clark finds himself face-to-face with a white-skinned alien riding a flying motorcycle—and the eyes of the world are all on this so-called Superman! But when Clark’s attempt at reason fails and the bounty hunter reveals some unpleasant truths about Clark’s own alien origin, a brutal showdown begins!

Superman: American Alien #7 wraps up writer Max Landis‘ mini-series exploring different facets of Superman. Reteaming with the artist Jock, this issue is an interesting one in that it does a lot in a single issue and it all comes together in the final pages.

The issue has Superman going up against Lobo who is on Earth to deal with a bounty hunter thing. But, the introduction of Lobo does a few things, primarily introducing the concept of “aliens” to Earth. Up to this point Superman has jut been a guy with superpowers and the world doesn’t know his alien origin.

Landis does some smart things in that the way he introduces “aliens” feels almost in stark contrast to a certain film with Superman and the reaction is polar opposites. Landis is able to put Superman over to borrow a wrestling term, instead of casting him as the other and enemy. The resolution helps in that it’s fairly contained and destruction minimal in some ways.

He also uses it to reveal the truth about Krypton to Superman, making his emotion and reaction feel natural. But that’s part of the logic of Landis’ use of Lobo in this way. He too is the “last” of something, so while that connection isn’t completely spelled out for new readers, it is mentioned enough to see that was clearly on Landis’ mind. It also asks the question again, what to do when someone is the last of something and you need to stop them.

The art by Jock is interesting and I’m not 100% sold on Superman’s design here. It looks like he has armor on his shoulders at times, it’s odd. But, Jock can rock Lobo. I love the last Czarnian’s look. The action, plus Lobo, make up for any other issues I had and I honestly focused on that a whole lot.

The issue is a nice end cap to Landis’ series. It’s a solid story and the various themes feel like they come together here. For fans of Superman, this is a series that’s one you have to check out.

Story: Max Landis Art: Jock
Story: 7.65 Art: 7.55 Overall: 7.6 Recommendation: Read

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Superman: American Alien #5

Superman American Alien #5 CoverNow regularly patrolling the skies of Metropolis as an anonymous figure known to some as “the flying man,” 24 year old Clark Kent has become a local celebrity. But when he overhears a report on his police scanner about a 20-foot-tall purple monstrosity that’s tearing the city apart…Clark encounters real power for the first time.

Writer Max Landis has been breaking down the basics of Superman with each issue focusing on an aspect about the character and taking us throughout his life. Last issue had him coming to Metropolis and in this issue his alter ego is starting to emerge as he dons an outfit that’s a combo of Jet from Rust and Batman (which is a great nod to last issue).

The issue is focused on of why Superman does what he does. What drives him, and what goes through his mind? It’s an interesting read that mixes in some decent action with Clark and Lois chatting and Superman’s first confrontation with Lex Luthor. It might seem a bit shallow in discussion and simplistic as to Superman’s motivation, but I still found myself lingering at times, especially in Lois and Clark’s chats. Landis is clearly choosing his words carefully and the chats show that off.

First up when it comes to the art, can we talk about the cover by Ryan Sook? Holy crap is it good. I want this art, and I want Sook on Superman as an ongoing!

The interior art by Francis Manapul is awesome. Manapul is a favorite artist of mine and I find his style is amazing when it comes to action, especially motion. He goes to town with some amazing design, but just fantastic art. What I think surprised me was Manapul with the quieter moments of Lois talking to Clark, it just pops and the small motions each make, their body position tell as much of the story as the words.

This series continues to impress me, and is easily the best Superman comic on the market right now. It has rarely faltered and kept me entertained while exploring the character. Such a fantastic series and I’m looking forward to the final two issues and see where Landis takes us.

Story: Max Landis Art: Francis Manapul Cover: Ryan Sook
Story: 8.4 Art: 8.6 Overall: 8.4 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Superman: American Alien #4

SMAA_Cv4Clark travels to Metropolis for the Cerberus Summit, a rare meeting between three of the world’s most prominent young chiefs of industry: Lex Luthor, Oliver Queen, and the enigmatic Bruce Wayne. Landing an exclusive interview with any of the three would all but guarantee Clark a prestigious internship with the Daily Planet…but Clark runs into some unexpected competition when he meets another college journalist named Lois Lane.

I’ve generally really enjoying writer Max Landis‘ exploration of Superman. Bouncing around through his life each issue sports a new artist, this one is Jae Lee. After looking at his youth and teenage years, this one has Clark heading to Metropolis to begin his early career at the Daily Planet… with an internship. There he meets Lois Lane, who looks Asian? The art is a little odd at times in Lee’s distinct style.

What I like what Landis has done here is that he uses the rather bizarre third issue which had Clark being mistaken for Bruce Wayne by Oliver Queen. That continues here as Queen, Wayne, and Luthor come together for a meeting of the giants and Queen again mistakes Clark for Wayne.

While we do learn a bit more about Clark, I think the bigger thing here is a focus on Oliver Queen and Lex Luthor (and a cameo by a certain Batman and Dick Grayson). A lot of the issue feels like it’s Queen and Luthor discussing their visions, what they’re hoping to accomplish, and their philosophies. This issue isn’t about Superman as much as it is about the corporate pillars of the DC Universe.

What Landis does fantastic is giving Luthor a philosophy that’s hard to argue against. It’s his view, for good or bad, and it’s an interesting one, especially when he compares himself to Wayne and Queen. What drives those two to do good and Luthor to go his route? Some of that is laid out here.

As I said above Lee’s art is hit and miss. Some times I enjoy it, some times I don’t and this issue is a mix. Some of it, especially panel layout, is fantastic, but tere’s something I don’t completely dig, especially is character design. Lois, and Clark at times, look Asian at times, which is a little weird. Also is an issue is that Dick Grayson looks like a miniature version of Clark too, the faces don’t vary much. What I do dig is Lee’s Lex Luthor who looks fantastic.

Overall, the series is a solid one and I’m enjoying where it’s all going. This is one I think the whole will be better than individual issues, but those individual issues are pretty damn good.

Story: Max Landis Art: Jae Lee
Story: 8.2 Art: 7.2 Overall: 8 Recommendation: Read

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Superman: American Alien #3

Superman American Alien #3When his plane crash-lands in the middle of the ocean, 21-year-old Clark Kent finds himself at a raging party on a massive yacht and is mistaken for the guest of honor: billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne!

Superman: American Alien #3 is an interesting comic. As a story completely on its own, it’s really fun, entertaining. But, when you start to think about the comic, it’s completely absurd in many ways.

Written by Max Landis, this third issue is an interesting one. Each comic has looked at one aspect of Clark Kent’s evolution in to Superman. This issue takes him to young adult hood and has him impersonating Bruce Wayne in a case of mistaken identity. Plus Oliver Queen is there… and add in Deathstroke! Yeah, it’s all a little weird and as long as you don’t think too hard, the comic is fun and entertaining. But, the situations Clark is put in to are so over the top unlikely with too many known characters that factor in later in his life. Then there’s also questions that are left open like what happened to the pilot that was with Clark. Yeah, silly is a good way to describe it.

The comic is supposed to be a way for us to reflect upon Clark’s humble beginnings versus that of Bruce versus that of Oliver, all of whom later become superheroes. But, a much more effective way would have three different stories bouncing between the three individuals at this similar point in their lives. The plot Landis uses to have this discussion is just too out there for me to really get in to it and enjoy the “debate.”

The art by Joelle Jones is great as always. Jones style gives us a cool design that makes it believable that Clark could be mistaken for Bruce. The hedonism is fun, the art matches the vibe really well and Clark actually was presented as drunk in as believable way as you can on the printed page.

I can see what Landis was trying to do here, I just think it could have been done in a better way that wasn’t so over the top unbelievable and a ridiculous scenario. As part of the overall series, this could work, but as a stand alone, it misses the mark.

Story: Max Landis Art: Joelle Jones
Story: 6.8 Art: 7.9 Overall: 6.9 Recommendation: Pass

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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