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DC and Magnetic Press Deliver Four New Releases on comiXology

There’s four new releases available now on comiXology for you to enjoy. Check out your choices below or start shopping now.

1000 Storms CE

Written by Tony Sandoval
Art by Tony Sandoval
Cover by Tony Sandoval
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Lisa is a lonely girl who enjoys wandering nature and collecting odd bones and pebbles. The other kids think she’s kinda weird, maybe a witch, and avoid her. When one day she discovers a tree that allows passage to a parallel world, she finds herself in the middle of a demonic invasion plot, faced with saving the very children who ridiculed her. Collecting digital single issues 1-4

1000 Storms CE

Ashes, Ashes #2

Written by Jean-David Morvan
Art by Rey Macutay
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Francois’s young love Blanche has her first break into social media superstardom, but her first success turns more traumatic than she would have imagined….

Ashes, Ashes #2

False Guard #1

Written by Merwan
Art by Merwan
Cover by Merwan
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Young Mane arrives at the big city of Irap with dreams of becoming a famous Pankat boxer. But the big city is a lot more overwhelming than he ever imagined. The beginning of the new fantasy martial arts epic by the award-winning creator of ASTER OF PAN, Merwan!

False Guard #1

The Joker Presents: A Puzzlebox (2021-) #5

Written by Matthew Rosenberg
Pencils Jesús Merino, Dominike “Domo” Stanton
Inks Jesús Merino, Dominike “Domo” Stanton
Colored by Ulises Arreola Palomera, Mike Spicer
Cover by Chip Zdarsky
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There’s more than one piece to this puzzle, and more than one POV — Two Face, no stranger to a second opinion, gives his side of the story, and what happened after he was shot by Black Mask!

The Joker Presents: A Puzzlebox (2021-) #5

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Review: Beta Ray Bill #5

Beta Ray Bill #5

Beta Ray Bill #5 is a fittingly primal conclusion to this heavy metal thunder cloud of a miniseries from writer/artist Daniel Warren Johnson, colorist Mike Spicer, and letterer Joe Sabino. This issue is all about the final showdown between Surtur and Bill for the fire demon’s sword Twilight, but each member of the small ensemble cast get a moment to shine before taking their final bow from Skurge getting a very big fun to Pip being heroic and resilient and Skuttlebutt doing her tech thing while also growing closer to Bill. This is kind of a romance, but there’s lots of punching.

And speaking of punching, Beta Ray Bill #5 reaches new heights with its action sequences as Johnson’s fight choreography and use of sound effects immersed me into the epic struggle between Bill and Surtur. Spicer lays down a kind of covering fire with his palette and helps the battle flow with a hellish palette and burst of flat colors any time a character has a big moment in the action. With a full-page splash of Surtur punching Bill into the stratosphere, the stakes are sky-high for our protagonist, and Daniel Warren Johnson doesn’t shy away from showing him struggle in the smaller panels of kicks and holds throughout the comic. He also wisely lays off the narration and lets the actions during the fight dictate the story’s momentum while occasionally cutting away to Bill’s friends ready to help him out with a last-minute save.

Beta Ray Bill #5 is definitely a comic about revenge and ultimately self-actualization (The final panel is a humanoid Bill looking in the mirror and seeing his horse form.), but found family is an ongoing thematic thread that gives the miniseries its heart. Bill picks up Pip and Skurge throughout his quest and has been with Skuttlebutt all along, and they are integral in his fight against Surtur. Pip risks his life firing away at Surtur while Bill lays wounded, and Johnson pours on the gritty facial expressions, shell casings, and later gore to show this is truly a moment of self-sacrifice. On the other hand, Skuttlebutt is the brains of the operation using the shockwaves of Bill and Surtur’s clash to power up the ship again and giving Skurge the chance to do what he does best: be a one man firing squad. Skurge gets a truly redemptive moment during the climax of Beta Ray Bill #5 that also allows Daniel Warren Johnson to draw a really gnarly and detailed gun. (Think banned Transformers toy!) He and Bill had a fun, bro-ish vibe in this comic, and nothing is better than beating the shit out of a 100 foot fire demon with your bro.

To some, the most controversial element of Beta Ray Bill is the very close to romantic relationship between Bill and his ship turned female robot, Skuttlebutt. With characters like Cortana and Brian Michael Bendis and Frank Cho’s sexy female Ultron, female A.I. have been a part of recent pop culture for better or cringe. Skuttlebutt falls more on the better side because she has an actual rapport with Bill during the action and flying scenes and loves him in both his humanoid and horse form. (Bill went on this quest to get a magic weapon that could help him return to his human form so he could be with Sif, initially.) This is a loud, explosive comic, but Daniel Warren Johnson chooses to end it on a quiet note of Bill and Skuttlebutt holding hands and watching his favorite movie, Hook. Skuttlebutt has seen Bill at his best and worst so maybe she really is the woman or A.I. for him. It’s a little weird, but Bill is an alien with cyborg parts doing his best to be human and Skuttlebutt is a ship/artificial intelligence doing her best to be human so it works.

Beta Ray Bill #5 is a glorious finale filled with wrestling holds, airbrush on the side of your van-worthy splashes, and some heart and friendship too as Bill’s quest comes to a satisfying close. Daniel Warren Johnson and Mike Spicer helped me fall in love with a character that I wasn’t super familiar with and also demonstrate how sound effects and the use of color can help turn a fight scene into a story. I look forward to their next project, Marvel or otherwise.

Story/Art: Daniel Warren Johnson
Colors: Mike Spicer Letters: Joe Sabino
Story: 9.0 Art: 10.0 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Marvel Celebrates Latinx Heroes with Marvel’s Voices: Comunidades #1

This October, Marvel presents Marvel’s Voices: Comunidades #1! This latest one-shot in the Marvel’s Voices series will continue the tradition of highlighting the cultural richness of Marvel Comics and uplifting new voices in the comic book industry. The comic turns the spotlight to Latinx heroes and creators from the Marvel Universe.

These all-new stories will feature thrilling adventures of some of Marvel’s most popular heroes while celebrating the range of their cultural heritage as told by fan-favorite writers and artists and those making their Marvel Comics debut.

  • Writer Terry Blas introduces a brand-new hero in an action-packed adventure spinning out of his acclaimed Reptil series.
  • New York Times best-selling author Daniel José Older revisits the legacy of Marvel’s first super hero of Latino descent, Hector Ayala aka White Tiger, in an inspiring story rooted in real history.
  • Catch up with the current White Tiger, Ava Ayala, when author Amparo Ortiz has the young hero confront the dark nature of her powers.
  • Travel to the past with writer Juan Ponce to witness Nina the Conjuror, the Brazilian Sorcerer Supreme of the 1950s, battle the raging nature spirit known as Anhangá.
  • Plus an introduction by renowned comics scholar Frederick Luis Aldama about the history of Latinx heroes and creators in the comic book industry.

Stay tuned for information on the other stories in this collection including works by Karla Pacheco, Alex Segura, Leo Romero, Edgar Delgado, Nico Leon, and more! Announced artists include Enid Balám, Vanesa Del Ray, Adriana Melo, Leonardo Romero, Nico Leon, Alitha E. Martinez, and more. It features a main cover by Joe Quesada and variants by Mateus Manhanini, Maria Wolf and Mike Spicer, Nabetse Zitro and Jesus Aburtov, and George Pérez and Java Tartaglia.

Marvel’s first Latino super hero, White Tiger, was created by writer Bill Mantlo and artist George Pérez in 1974’s Deadly Hands of Kung Fu #19. Since then, Marvel has introduced many heroes of Latino-descent from a multitude of different backgrounds including current stars such as Miles Morales, America Chavez, and Reptil. Join us in celebrating these heroes and many more when Marvel’s Voices: Comunidades #1 hits stands on October 20th!

Review: Skybound X #2

Celebrating 10 years of Skybound, this anthology celebrates the past, present, and future. And… will definitely become collectibles due to the debuts.

Story: Robert Kirkman, Joshua Williamson, Tri Vuong, Irma Kniivila, Chip Zdarsky
Art: Ryan Ottley, Andrei Bressan, Tri Vuong, Ramón K. Perez
Ink: Cliff Rathburn
Color: Dave McCaig, Adriano Lucas, Irma Kniivila, Mike Spicer
Letterer: Rus Wooton, Pat Brosseau, Aditya Bidikar

Get your copy now! To find a comic shop near you, visit http://www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

comiXology
Amazon
Kindle
Zeus Comics
TFAW


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

No One is Safe in Stillwater by Zdarsky & Pérez #9

Image Comics and Skybound have revealed a first look at Stillwater By Zdarsky & Pérez #9, the newest pulse-pounding issue of the hit series from the superstar team of Chip ZdarskyRamón K Pérez, and Mike Spicer.

The new world order of Stillwater aims to cement their rule for life—and that means Ted is welcoming new visitors to the town. Unfortunately, that’s bad news for Faith… Can Ted keep his hold on Stillwater or will a new force topple his reign?

Stillwater By Zdarsky & Pérez #9 (Diamond Code MAY210205) will be available at  comic book shops  and digital platforms including Amazon Kindle, Apple Books, comiXology, and Google Play on Wednesday, August 4.

Plus, fans of Stillwater By Zdarsky & Pérez can’t miss the monumental Skybound X #2, featuring the debut of a major new Stillwater character and the unexpected secret origin of Galen, available in stores & digital platforms on Wednesday, July 14.

  • Skybound X #2 Cover A by Cliff Rathburn (MAY210042)
  • Skybound X #2 Cover B by Andrei Bressan (MAY210043)
  • Skybound X #2 Cover C by Tri Vuong & Irma Kniivila (MAY210044)

Get a First Look at DC’s Green Arrow 80th Anniversary 100-Page Spectacular!

On June 29, join DC in celebrating eight decades of emerald-clad swashbuckling, crime-fighting, and trick arrows of every kind when the Green Arrow 80th Anniversary 100-Page Super Spectacular #1! Honoring Green Arrow and his allies across his 80-year history, from the Golden Age to now, the anniversary special includes 12 stories from some of DC’s most esteemed writers and artists who have contributed to the legacy of Oliver Queen. The title will also include 8-decade variant covers depicting the Emerald Archer through the ages.

This anthology not only features a “who’s – who” of comic book storytellers but also includes a unique and heartfelt tribute to the career of iconic DC and Green Arrow scribe Denny O’Neil“Tap, Tap, Tap” is a silent, wordless story from Denny O’Neil’s son Larry, Jorge Fornes, and Dave Stewart. The story chronicles the challenges and victories in Denny’s life both in and out of comics, from his childhood, raising a family, his stellar career as a writer, until his passing in 2020

Additional stories in this anthology include:

  • “The Disappearing Bandit”
    Written by Mariko Tamaki, Art by Javier Rodriguez
    It’s the Golden Age of Green Arrow and Speedy, brought to humorous and loving life by New York Times bestselling writer Mariko Tamaki (Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass) and acclaimed artist Javier Rodriguez (Batgirl: Year One). A lot of people attempt to affectionately show the silliness of the first age of super heroes, but few have done it as exceptionally as Mariko and Javier. Trick arrows for everyone!
  • “Punching Evil”
    Written by Tom Taylor, Art by Nicola Scott, Colors by Annette Kwok
    To become a more adept superhero and fighter, Green Arrow goes to train with the Golden Age superhero Wildcat at his gym. In true Wildcat fashion, he shows Ollie the hard way of what it takes to be your own hero. Tom Taylor (NightwingSuicide SquadInjustice) brings this story to life, with incredible artwork from Nicola Scott (Wonder Woman 75th Anniversary Special) and Annette Kwok (Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity).
  • “Who Watches the Watchtower?”
    Written by Stephanie Phillips, Art by Chris Mooneyham, Colors by Mike Spicer
    The Green Arrow is left behind on the Justice League Satellite while the rest of the team goes on an important mission. Oliver is less than thrilled, and righteously indignant about the situation as usual until an alien armada invades the Satellite. Can Ollie stand alone against an alien onslaught before it reaches earth? Acclaimed writer Stephanie Phillips (Harley Quinn) captures that “Denny O’Neil Green Arrow”-voice, and this story is brought to life in gorgeous fashion by Christopher Mooneyham’s (Nightwing) retro/modern bronze age aesthetic.
  • “Out of the Shadows”
    Written and Art by Mike Grell, Colors by Lovern Kindzerski
    Legendary Green Arrow writer and artist Mike Grell return to the 1980’s era of The Longbow Hunters. The Green Arrow must team up with the legendary anti-hero Shado to stop a shipment of smuggled guns from making it into Seattle. Depicting The Emerald Archer as only he can, Grell will remind readers why his take on Ollie Queen is still a Green standard.
  • “The Arrow and the Song”
    Written by Ram V, Art by Christopher Mitten, Colors by Ivan Plascencia
    This tale is a beautiful meditation on the love between Green Arrow and Black Canary through the years and the found family that they’ve created. Writer Ram V (Catwoman) puts together this beautiful story of love and how life takes turns you don’t expect. Gloriously brought to life by the work of Christopher Mitten (Batman: Arkham Unhinged) and Ivan Plascencia (The Flash).
  • “One”
    Written by Brandon Thomas, Art by Jorge Corona, Colors by Matheus Lopes
    We go right back to the mid-90s with this story. Oliver Queen is dead. Connor Hawke is Green Arrow and he has to save the main Queen Industries building in Star City, the home of a business and family he was never part of, from a group of terrorists. Brought to you by Infinite Frontier and Future State writer Brandon Thomas (Future State: Aquaman) and amazingly drawn by Jorge Corona (We Are Robin).
  • “Green Man and Autumn Son”
    Written by Devin Grayson, Art by Max Fiumara
    Catwoman writer Devin Grayson and artist Max Fiumara shine a spotlight on Roy Harper, a.k.a Red Arrow, as he continues to manage his transition from “sidekick” to adult hero, along with single parenthood and his struggles with addiction and recovery.
  • “Star City Star”
    Written and Art by Phil Hester, Inks by Ande Parks, Colors by Trish Mulvihill
    Phil Hester drew nearly fifty issues of Green Arrow in the early 2000s, working with popular writers like Kevin Smith, Brad Meltzer, and Judd Winnick. Here, Phil synthesizes what was so great about his run into a tremendous eight-page story. Green Arrow tries to save a young girl named Star who has been kidnapped but has to run through a gauntlet of his greatest villains and allies to get to her. Including: Onomatopoeia, Speedy (Mia Dearden), Green Lantern (Hal Jordan), Black Canary, Arsenal, Connor Hawke, and Count Vertigo.
  • “Happy Anniversary”
    Written by Vita Ayala, Art by Laura Braga, Colors by Adriano Lucas
    This story focuses on the point in time where Green Arrow and Black Canary were married right before the New 52. On the day of their anniversary, the two are at each other’s throats and then Green Arrow gets kidnapped. Black Canary thinks the kidnapping is part of an anniversary game/present but quickly discovers that Green Arrow has REALLY been kidnapped by DEATHSTROKE and she has to save him. Vita Ayala (Future State: The Next Batman) writes a wonderful Mr. and Mrs. Smith-style action rom-com brought to life by Laura Braga (DC Comics Bombshells).
  • “The Sympathy of the Woods”
    Written by Ben Percy, Art by Otto Schmidt
    It’s the DC Rebirth Era, Green Arrow is feeling lost, the world is getting worse, and he doesn’t feel like he’s making enough of a difference. To cheer him up, Black Canary, Red Arrow (Emiko Queen), Diggle, and Henry Fyffe try to throw him a party to remind him of the beautiful community he’s built. But what starts as a celebration will become a rescue mission as Green Arrow is hunted down by the Dark Archer known as MERLYN. From DC talents Ben Percy (Nightwing) and Otto Schmidt (Harley Quinn).
  • “The Last Green Arrow Story”
    Written by Jeff Lemire, Art by Andrea Sorrentino, Colors by Jordie Bellaire
    The acclaimed Green Arrow creative team from the New 52, New York Times Bestselling author Jeff Lemire (Sweet Tooth)  and Andrea Sorrentino (Joker: Killer Smile) tell a transcendent final tale of Oliver Queen. In his older years, he requests to be left alone on the island where he was stranded so many decades ago. He’s gone there to connect to his own myth, his legacy, and to die in peace. But is it ever that simple for The Green Arrow?

The variant covers for this must-have collector’s item come from some of the most prolific artists in comics:

  • 1940’s Variant: Michael Cho
  • 1950’s Variant: Daniel Warren Johnson
  • 1960’s Variant: Neal Adams
  • 1970’s Variant: Derrick Chew
  • 1980’s Variant: Gary Frank
  • 1990’s Variant: Howard Porter
  • 2000’s Variant: Jen Bartel
  • 2010’s Variant: Simone Di Meo

Green Arrow 80th Anniversary 100-Page Super Spectacular #1 arrives in participating comic book stores and digitally on Tuesday, June 29, 2020, for $9.99.

The New World Order Rises in Stillwater #8

Image Comics and Skybound revealed a first look at Stillwater By Zdarsky & Pérez #8, the newest chapter of the critically acclaimed hit series from the superstar team of Chip Zdarsky, Ramón K. Pérez, and Mike Spicer.

Nothing will ever be the same in the town of Stillwater now that Kreegs and his team of outsiders have arrived to enforce a new world order—and Daniel must join the clandestine resistance. But now it’s time for Sheriff Tanya to take a road trip, dispose of a body and deal with the consequences of her choices.

Stillwater By Zdarsky & Pérez #8 will be available at comic book shops and digital platforms including Amazon Kindle, Apple Books, comiXology, and Google Play on Wednesday, June 16:

  • Stillwater By Zdarsky & Pérez #8 Cover A by Perez – Diamond Code APR210336
  • Stillwater By Zdarsky & Pérez #8 Cover B Pride Month variant by Gabrielle Kari – Diamond Code MAR219151

Fans of Stillwater By Zdarsky & Pérez won’t want to miss the monumental Skybound X #2, featuring the unexpected secret origin of Daniel’s powerful new ally, available in stores & digital platforms on Wednesday, July 14. 

  • Skybound X #2 Cover A by Cliff Rathburn – Diamond Code MAY210042
  • Skybound X #2 Cover B by Andrei Bressan – Diamond Code MAY210043
  • Skybound X #2 Cover C by Tri Vuong & Irma Kniivila – Diamond Code MAY210044

A new Ultramega Debuts in Ultramega #4

Image and Skybound is pleased to unveil a  new variant cover and first look at interior art from Ultramega #4 by James Harren. This key upcoming issue continues the smash-hit series—which has sold out of every issue so far—with the first appearance of a new Ultramega.

Harren is the creator, writer, and artist of Ultramega, with Eisner award-winning colorist Dave Stewart. In the world of Ultramega, a cosmic plague has spread and transformed everyday people into violent, monstrous kaiju. Only the Ultramega—three individuals imbued with incredible powers—hold the line against this madness.

Now, it’s the FIRST APPEARANCE of a new Ultramega… but with great power comes incredible horror and violence. It’s the NEW Ultramega vs Kaiju King for the future of humanity!  

This extra-length issue, features 46 story pages and powerful new variant covers from superstars Paul Pope and Mike Spicer, a Pride variant by Kris Anka, and B&W incentive versions of Harren, and Pope and Spicer’s, covers. 

Ultramega #4 will be available at comic book shops and digital platforms including Amazon Kindle, Apple Books, comiXology, and Google Play on Wednesday, June 16:

  • Cover A by Harren (Diamond Code APR210344) 
  • Cover B by Pope & Spicer (Diamond Code APR210345) 
  • Cover C by Pope & Spicer B&W 1:5 incentive copy (Diamond Code FEB218442) 
  • Cover D by Harren B&W 1:10 incentive copy (Diamond Code FEB218443) 
  • Cover E Pride Variant by Anka (Diamond Code MAR219152)  

Review: Beta Ray Bill #2

Beta Ray Bill #2

Beta Ray Bill continues to be such a good time going into its second issue as its titular hero looks for Odin to gift him with a new weapon so that he can change back into his humanoid form and be able to romance his love, Sif. Writer/artist Daniel Warren Johnson, colorist Mike Spicer, and letterer Joe Sabino bring both a high level of energy and vulnerability to Beta Ray Bill #2 with their attention to detail, smooth storytelling, and cool sound effects. Johnson uses this second issue to introduce Beta Ray Bill’s supporting cast and their motivations as well as give him some kind of long term goal to achieve by the end of the miniseries.

With down to Earth dialogue and striking images, any back story or exposition fits seamlessly into the story and lets us get to know the characters more. For example, in a similar way to watching Hook over and over again in the first issue, Bill playing ping pong against himself shows his loneliness, and how he’s gotten good at self-soothing or entertaining himself. This feeling segues nicely into Daniel Warren Johnson’s cutaway, double page spread of his sentient ship Skuttlebutt that seems to be the only one to have his back. This spread also establishes a key location in the series that is a home, source of transportation, weapon of war, and even friend.

As befitting an epic quest narrative, Johnson gives Bill companions to help him out and fend off the loneliness. A bored with Valhalla, Skurge the Executioner appears fairly early on and brings a sense of humor and empathy towards Bill. After making jokes about Valhalla not having guns, he gives Bill a big ol’ hug and takes on the role of wingman going foward. Also, Skurge knows where Odin likes to hang out. Bill’s other companion is Pip the Troll, who looks up to him as a hero and hopes to learn to be okay with his own outward appearance as the journey progresses. Even though they’re species that don’t exist in the real world, there’s a real humanity behind Skurge and Pip’s actions, and their motives of boredom and self-growth are relatable.

Whether reuniting old friends, setting up an epic quest, or depicting a bar room brawl, Johnson is a master of body language in his artwork for Beta Ray Bill #2. I’ve mentioned his double page spread, but he also uses lots of small panels to let a scene breathe and sink in instead of going to the next battle, planet, or obstacle. Early on, Johnson shows that Skurge really cares about Bill and isn’t a threat by including beat panels of him putting down his beer glass (He already feels at home.) or affectionately patting Bill on the shoulder to show their bromantic bond. The principles of this almost dance of conversation apply to the issue’s one fight scene that show wrestling moves like Bill spinning his opponent by his arm across the page before being taken by surprise by another brawler because he and Skurge are definitely outnumbered. Speed lines, sound effects, big fists, and a punchy color palette from Mike Spicer show that Skurge and Bill needed to get some steam off until Odin put things to a stop. He may be in total retirement mode, but his presence still commands a room.

And it’s in Beta Ray Bill #2’s conversation between Odin and Bill about finding a new weapon that Daniel Warren Johnson’s no bullshit approach to dialogue really shines. The artist formerly known as All-Father is about to wax poetic about inner beauty when Bill immediately undercuts him and says a fancy speech won’t make him human again. Like a lot of people, especially those living in a neo-liberal, pandemic-ridden police state, action is preferred over conversation, and Johnson brings that out in the character of Bill, who gets Odin to provide a concrete solution to his hammer/mortality problem. Achieving these things will be difficult as the last third of the comic shows, but it also provides a real focus and goal for Bill. He’s not just traveling the Nine Realms willy-nilly although with Daniel Warren Johnson’s chops, I would be fine with that.

Beta Ray Bill #2 is a rare opportunity to see an auteur cartoonist put their mark on an in-continuity, mainstream comic, and Johnson makes me both emotionally connect with Bill’s personal journey while also rocking my socks off with his approach to humor, page design, and fight choreography. Bring on the next three issues as well as the latest addition to Bill’s space adventure party.

Story/Art: Daniel Warren Johnson
Colors: Mike Spicer Letters: Joe Sabino
Story: 8.8 Art: 9.2 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Review: Beta Ray Bill #1

Beta Ray Bill
Beta Ray Bill #1

There’s a lot of emotion wrapped up in Daniel Warren Johnson’s new Beta Ray Bill mini-series. In fact, it’s what stands out despite a giant set-piece fight in Asgard against a Fin Fang Foom bearing the mark of the King in Black. What’s at the heart of this comic is a very aesthetically charged look at beauty and self-worth, one that takes place amidst perfectly chiseled Vikings and Norse gods.

Beta Ray Bill #1 is basically a character study of the titular Korbinite (whose origin story sees the character transformed into the cybernetic creature he is today after the destruction of the Burning Galaxy by the hands of Surtur). Set within the events of The King in Black, Beta Ray Bill is tasked with protecting Asgard as its Master of War, wielding every weapon available to him except Stormbreaker, his iconic hammer. Thor broke Stormbreaker during a disagreement with Bill.

The story is adamant on getting to Bill’s insecurities and frustrations quick. Without spoiling much, his battle with Foom doesn’t go all that well and he’s upstaged by Thor. Bill thinks he’s at a disadvantage in these cosmic battles given Stormbreaker isn’t available to him, which makes him feel somewhat unprepared, inadequate even, to uphold the title given to him by Thor.

Daniel Warren Johnson, who also scripted the comic, portrays Bill like an exposed nerve, a powerful being that—regardless of being considered one of the strongest heroes in the galaxy—is still destined to lead the life of an outsider based on the way he looks. Johnson takes full advantage of this characterization to set him almost completely apart from the Asgardians, all of which are gloriously sculpted to physically embody the very concept godhood. Bill, on the other hand, looks uncomfortable in his own skin, self-aware. The comic points to making this type of self-perception the crux of its narrative, seemingly with the intent to challenge it.

Along with Mike Spicer on colors, Johnson’s art is outstanding. The energy he brings to all his stories have a deeply metal feel to it, almost as if you could hear Iron Maiden or Dio blasting in the background as the story unfolds. Beta Ray Bill is no exception. If anything, the book forms a certain kinship with another of Johnson’s books: Murder Falcon.

Beta Ray Bill
Beta Ray Bill #1

In Murder Falcon, heavy metal and giant monsters clash in a story that’s also about the emotional composition of a person’s sense of self, about how people feel in terms of regret, time, and death. That story’s approach to raw emotion seems to carry over somewhat to Beta Ray Bill, as does its contemplation on relationships and how they can be both restorative and destructive. For Bill, this aspect comes up with through his relationship with Lady Sif.

This is where the comic finds its most heart-wrenching moments. The degree of honesty behind them result in a series of emotionally harrowing sequences that make Bill questions his feelings as to his place in Asgard, among those he’s either befriended or expressed a more intimate kind of love to. By the end of my first read of this first issue, I felt my heart give a heavy pound or two as certain intimate things came to the fore. It’s a testament to how well-crafted Johnson’s script is and how good he is at capturing emotions in his comics.

Beta Ray Bill #1 is primed to be an emotional adventure with a mind to keep things cosmic both inside and outside its main character. To say that it’s exceptionally illustrated and colored is to state the obvious. Johnson and Spicer are a formidable storytelling team and if there’s one guarantee in all this is that the comic’s visuals will settle for nothing less than unforgettable. While that is special in itself, it’s the story’s heart where new narrative possibilities spring forth to entice readers. Expect this journey to tap into your entire emotional spectrum and remember to take your time enjoying each panel. Wondrous things abound in every one of them.

Script/Art by Daniel Warren Johnson Colors by Mike Spicer
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy and keep a box of Kleenex close by.

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyAmazonKindleZeus ComicsTFAW

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