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Review: Mulan Revelations #3

mulanrevelations003Cyberpunk can look to Blade Runner as the project which brought the sub-genre into the mainstream, and it is often with this same movie where many of the classic representations reside.  A futuristic world full of references to the ancient past with out of control mega-corporations calling the shots.  There is often a tie to the modern world in cyberpunk as well, and specifically the cities of Eastern Asia which have embraced advertising technology to the point of over-saturation.  The combination thus far into Mulan Revelations has been a pretty logical one, combining an ancient heroine with a near-future version of Shanghai, with only slight differences from the regular script of cyberpunk or superhero comics.  The presentation of the series has been somewhat different though, especially as it has unfolded Mulan’s background story to her superheroics in front of the reader as well as its artistic display of science and legend melding together.  Despite that the series could be said to be a bit too dependent on its style and not enough on its substance, as it has drawn what might fit into one issue elsewhere now into three issues.

The plot here continues to follow Mulan, also in the company of Adam, as she gets closer to her discovery of what secrets she contains within herself.  As she explores what that means with Adam in tow, it is revealed that she is being betrayed on numerous different occasions and in different places by others that she trusted.  What results are another sequence of actions scenes, even as she is still trying to find out what is happening and why she is so important to so many other people.

The first couple of issues of this series could be either criticized or applauded for putting style over substance, and win or lose, the same approach is taken here.  This is undoubtedly a beautiful comic, not only this issue, but the entire series, but at some point the story has to catch up with the style.  It is understandable from one vantage point, because the cyberpunk look is a hard one to capture, and perhaps even harder in the pages of a comic.  Equally though, the narrative that holds the images together is little bit lacking in providing an engaging story.  Fans of art in the medium will love this, fans of the stories perhaps less so, but it is still unquestionable that the experience of reading this series is an intriguing one, and that same experience continues here in this issue.  Eventually the story will catch up, and until then this has to be a pleasure for the eyes more than the mind.

 

Story: Marc Andreyko and Robert Alter Art: Micah Kaneshiro
Story: 8.8 Art: 8.8 Overall: 8.8 Recommendation: Buy

Dark Horse provided Graphic Policy with a free copy for review

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Cyborg #2 CoverWednesdays 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!

We’re bringing back something we haven’t done for a while, what the team thinks. Our contributors are choosing up to five books each week and why they’re choosing the books.

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this Wednesday.

Brett

Top Pick: Cyborg #2 (DC Comics) – The first issue of the series was a fantastic start, and I’ve been eagerly awaiting the second. Writer David Walker seems to have addresses a lot of past issues with the character in the first issue, while also setting him on an interesting course too. This is a comic I keep checking the release schedule to see if it’s out, that’s how much I want to read it.

Prez #3 (DC Comics) – The first two issues have had me laughing, and they’re turning out to be really prescient when it comes to the future of politics and elections. Not sure if I should keep laughing or be really scared.

Princeless: Be Yourself #3 (Action Lab Entertainment) – Writer Jeremy Whitley nails it issue after issue, in this series which is so far ahead the rest of the comic industry as far as characters and themes. Girl power!

Snowden (Seven Stories Press) – Ted Rall chronicles the history of Edward Snowden and the NSA leak.

Zodiac Starforce #1 (Dark Horse Comics) – A new girl power comic that feels like a mix of Sailor Moon, Jem, and a lot of other series that are just awesome. This was an indie comic, and got picked up by Dark Horse, so it’s fun to see it also go from a small press comic to a full blown one. The first issue is all set-up and pretty entertaining.

 

Alex

Hank Johnson: Agent Of Hydra #1 (Marvel) – The preview pages j have seen of this comic looks absolutely fantastic. The idea of the behind the scenes look at the regular lives of some of henchmen in the worlds premier villainous organisation is really intriguing, and I’m sure there’ll be some interesting. Guest stars.

Old Man Logan #4 (Marvel) – I hadn’t realized just how much I missed reading about Wolverine until this series came out. Whilst I’m glad he hasn’t been resurrected for no reason, it’s nice to get some more time with one of the more interesting incarnations of Wolverine, too.

 

Edward

Top Pick: Hacktivist Vol 2 #2 (Archaia/BOOM! Studios) – The sequel series opened on a high note, and it looks like it will maintain the same tempo.

Batgirl #43 (DC Comics) – A new story arc for this standout series. Not much seems capable of stopping the momentum of this series.

He-Man: Eternity War #9 (DC Comics) – Every issue leads to a bigger turn of the plot. No idea what is coming this time, but it will be big again.

Mulan Revelations #3 (Dark Horse) – The first two issues have been heavy on style and a bit lighter on substance, but the concept is so cool that it deserves a chance to get settled.

Star Wars: Lando #3 (Marvel) – This series has been non-stop fun, proving that Lando should never have been a secondary character.

 

Elana

Top Pick: NEXT Wave: Collected Edition (Marvel) – The hilarious, highly political superhero team satire series featuring Monica Rambeau (formerly Photon or Capt Marvel) is out in a nice complete collection. The biting commentary and creativity of this series is renowned. From dream team Warren Ellis and Stuart Immonen.

Cyborg #2 (DC Comics) – This series is already a standout for having unusually astute analysis of blackness and also about disability. It develops Victor Stone aka Cyborg as a fascinating hero in his own right and as far as I can see it even resolved some of the previously problematic aspects of the character: (read about those problems in Robert Jones Jr’s essential essay “Humanity Not a Included“). I’m ecstatic to have an African-American writer on this title. David Walker’s story is potent scifi that works on metaphorical level and well as on a narrative level. He references Invisible Man– which has needed to happen in a Cyborg story for decades. It’s a can’t-miss series.

Grayson #11 (DC Comics) – In this issue Grayson fights himself. Or someone pretending to be him. I love Huntress in this series acting as his spy master. I totally respect this comic’s dedication to a female and queer male readership that too many series ignore.

Lumberjanes #17 (BOOM! Box/BOOM! Studios) – New story arc featuring our favorite feminist summer camp adventurers. Please get your kids reading this book. It’s groundbreaking and fun and fabulous. And read it yourself for swells of nostalgia for a relatable yet fantastical children’s story that I wish I’d had when I was little.

Review: Mulan Revelations #2

mulan revelations 002The format and mechanics of the superhero genre is one which has one peculiarity which sets it aside from other genres.  The role of the superhero/secret identity is somewhat specific to the genre as the reader and the main character (the hero) know their secret identity, whereas everyone else except for a select few have no idea.  Although it is not common to all superhero books, it is nonetheless common enough that even new heroes still get somewhat of the same treatment.  It can therefore be a little strange to experience a superhero under slightly different conditions, and this was the case with Mulan.

As introduced in the first issue, she is taken from time in the ancient days and put into a dystopian future where corporations call the shots.  Her blood is sought after as it is the cure to a spreading disease of supernatural origin.  Confused by her own abilities, she visits her mentor and uncle, and they are soon surrounded by security forces, eager to please their CEO, himself an otherworldly creature.  Although surrounded it is no concern for the characters as they are set loose on their assailants.  Mulan escapes with the help of another, but will soon be put in a situation where her freedom will not be assured, as her brother is put into a precarious position.

The different approach in this series is to its direct benefit.  Whereas readers are used to reading along with heroes as they hide their secrets, here instead they read along as the hero discovers their power.  The artwork is flashy and even overpowering at times, but it is equally effective as that is the same experience that Mulan is undergoing.  It allows the reader to read along with the character in a way which is uncommon in the medium, as she explores her powers for the first time, but also as she is intimidated by them as she figures out how they work.  While this issue is a bit light on plot developments, those promise to come and quickly, and for the time this standout issue, notable for its approach and its art, serve of an excellent example of what this creative team is capable of.

Story: Marc Andreyko and Robert Alter Art: Micah Kaneshiro
Story: 9.3 Art: 9.3 Overall: 9.3 Recommendation: Buy

Dark Horse provided Graphic Policy with a free copy for review

Review: Mulan Revelations #1

mulan1To say that this series is a mix-up of different inspirations would be an understatement.  It features the real historical character of Mulan, the Chinese warrior who had taken the place of her father after being enlisted for the army.  The Disney treatment of the story is a little bit different, as the character pretends to be a different gender in order to enlist, but this version is not evident here, although some unhistorical aspects work their way in.  First of all is that of the demons, who were involved in the original battles with Mulan, only hidden.  The other is time travel which allows the same Mulan from legend to travel to a cyberpunk future where she is part of an immortal clan.

The first issue is roughly divided between the two time settings.  The first in ancient China demonstrating the actions of the demons as they search for something called the archive.  This introduces the character of Mulan, but shortly thereafter also shows her jump to the future.  The future is a fairly typical one for the cyberpunk setting, where technology allows a vastly different lifestyle and where corporations rule over society.  Mulan is not as interested in these developments, though unseen is the threat of the demons as they return as the heads of a corporation.  They need an antidote for death and Mulan’s blood might provide it.

Thus far this series lacks a singular focus.  It is based in both the future and the past, in both the occult and high tech.  While the story might seem to suffer from this, it is not so much the case as the environment is one which is enticingly attractive.  In this case, the story is not perfectly represented by the comic medium, as this feels like the introductory section of a movie, as though we could judge Blade Runner off its first five minutes.  As it stands this is a fascinating use of the legendary character, using what has come and putting her in an unusual future setting.  Although the use of the character might be misleading, this is a cyberpunk/dystopian story as good as the medium allows and is definitely worth a look.

Story: Marc Andreyko and Robert Alter Art: Micah Kaneshiro
Story: 9.1 Art: 9.1 Overall: 9.1 Recommendation: Buy

Dark Horse provided Graphic Policy with a free copy for review

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

We Are RobinWednesdays 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!

We’re bringing back something we haven’t done for a while, what the team thinks. Our contributors are choosing up to five books each week and why they’re choosing the books.

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this Wednesday.

Brett

Top Pick: Raputin #6 (Image Comics) – The end of the first story arc caught me off-guard as it left Rasputin dead from being shot. Fast forward 100 years, and the mad monk is now working as a political aide for a Presidential Candidate. Wait, what!? The first arc was solid, this second one starts off with a bang. If you missed that first arc, the trade paperback is out this week too!

Fight Club 2 #2 (Dark Horse Comics) – The first issue was fantastic, and this second one is a world wind in madness. Chuck Palahniuk continues Tyler Durden’s story, and so far it’s amazing.

Legacy of Luther Strode #2 (Image Comics) – Give me some of that good ole ultraviolence. The kung-fu action is over the top, and over the top bloody, and beyond entertaining too.

Material #2 (Image Comics) – Ales Kot’s first issue got me to think. I’m expecting more of the same for the second issue as things hopefully become clearer and the various stories begin to merge in some way. A comic that’s socially conscious and relevant.

Transformers: Windblade #4 (IDW Publishing) – A new lost colony has been found, and Starscream and Windblade vie to make them part of the new Transformers world. Who will win out, and who will gain influence? This series focuses on Windblade’s effort with absolutely beautiful art that makes it stand out from the other Transformers series.

 

Edward

Top Pick: Mulan Revelations #1 (Dark Horse Comics) – Although it comes off looking a bit like Image’s Lazarus, this futuristic dystopian cyberpunk uses an unlikely heroine for its lead as the actual historical character is transported through time to the future of China.

Batgirl #41 (DC Comics) – The new Batman didn’t really go over all that well as the story arc to follow after End Game, but Batgirl has been running as one of the best quality comics for a few months now.  What happens when the two meet?

Grimm Fairy Tales Presents the Little Mermaid #5 (Zenescope) – Although it has been a little up and down in terms of its story telling, this miniseries is likely to launch the Little Mermaid back into relevance as one of Grimm Fairy Tales main heroines.  What that means is decided here.

Jem and the Holograms #4 (IDW Publishing)  – The subject matter has not been very deep, but neither has there really been any misstep in this entire series thus far.  This is a series for those that can let their comics be fun and not only about superheroes.

MODOK Assassin #2 (Marvel) – The first issue of this series was unquestionably the biggest surprise of the Secret Wars tie-ins thus far and undoubtedly one of the most fun as well (and violent).  Whether it can carry on this momentum will be interesting to see.

 

Elana

Top Pick: Secret Six TP Vol. 2: Money for Murder (reissue) (DC Comics) – This TP contains the rightfully legendary panels in which Dick!Batman punches Catman saying “If you must know…I had a burrito!”

This is peak Gail Simone and it’s some of the best comics ever.

This TP is a reissue of “Unhinged” and some subsequent issues, which is really the 3rd volume of Gail Simone’s groundbreaking series in the 00s that started with Villains United. All if it is a must-read.

This series is about a team of bad men and bad women learning to take care of each other. If you like complex but funny characters, like your humor dark and enjoy laughing while you are being gutted by metal claws (metaphorically), your heat-strings played upon by deranged masked killers — and who doesn’t– then you need to buy this book to survive.

Top Pick: Fight Club 2 #2 (Dark Horse) – This series is smart and fun. If you loved Fight Club (like I do) and your the right kind of fan (you know, the good kind, that appreciates the story as an examination of the crisis of masculinity and as a queer text) then you need to be reading this series. It is a continuation of the original book taking place some years into the future and written by Palahniuk himself. The art is first-rate too.

Batgirl #41 (DC Comics) –  I was sure that we were about to get a new Oracle in the form of Frankie, Bab’s awesome coder roomate (who also uses crutches). But now I don’t know! Based on last night’s podcast where we interviewed writer Brenden Fletcher I’m now calling this issue Schrödinger’s Oracle. It may not happen. Open the box.

Kaptara #3 (Image Comics) – I’m just getting into this unprecedentedly creative space opera/comedy. Nothing else like it out there. The art style has a look thats somewhat psychedelic. Our lead character is a gay scientist of indian descent who drips sarcasm and insecurity and is a pleasure to read.

Material #2 (Image Comics) – Writer Ales Kot is doing something completely unique in comics. This book feels a bit like post modernist literary fiction. Except its a comic. And unlike literary fiction these days I actually enjoy it. A lot. Smart and political and worth your attention. He was our guest on the podcast a few weeks back. Have a listen.

We Are Robin #1 (DC Comics) – I want to like this. The youth of Gotham unite and declare themselves Robin. That sounds like a sentiment I can get behind. I don’t know the creative team. Will have to check it out!

 

Johnny with Comixstravaganza Live

Top Pick: We Are Robin #1 (DC Comics) – I’ve never been a huge Batman fan, so I’ve never actively read or collected any bat titles. But this concept of the collective youth of Gotham adopting Robin as their symbol is intriguing. I’ll be picking this one up just to see how it is executed.

Ant-Man: Larger Than Life (Marvel) – I’m a little shocked that this book stars THE Ant-Man, Hank Pym instead of Scott Lang. As a long time Hank Pym fan, this has me hopeful about his character in the upcoming film and MCU as a whole, but more than that, could this be signaling a change in direction for Pym? Recent storylines suggest he sacrificed himself to stop Ultron in Rage of Ultron, but could this book be signaling a new return of Pym? Probably not, but I like to hold out hope.

Captain Midnight #24 (Dark Horse Comics) – It all ends here. This title has been for me the most satisfying monthly book over the last two years. Josh Williamson knows how to write these pulp-era characters, and this series has shown it in a big way!

Rasputin #6 (Image Comics) – Just when you though the story had ended, we jump forward 100 years to the present where the “Mad Monk” may still be alive? I’ve loved the way Alex Grecian portrayed Rasputin in a heroic way as a healer, and Rossmo’s art is absolutely gorgeous! If you missed issues 1-5 you can also pick up the collected TPB out this week too!

The Shadow #100 (Dynamite Entertainment) – My top pick! I got the preview copy last week and just fell over with the writing and art. This is an anthology issue with various creators, but most notable is Francesco Francavilla, and Howard Chaykin. I’ve always said Chaykin was born to draw the Phantom, but Francavilla’s work is unbelievable! He is definitely another artist who was born to draw The Shadow! I hope we see more Shadow from him soon!

 

Mr. H

Top Pick: We are Robin #1 (DC Comics) – Social Media Superheroes? This one sounds so intriguing just cannot pass up. A true team that is reflective of the world right outside our window.

Batgirl #41 (DC Comics) – The new Batman (Commissioner Gordon) encounters his (Batgirl) daughter. A can’t miss father/ daughter showdown!

Grayson #9 (DC Comics) – Dick Grayson: Secret Agent? Yes Please! DC Comics reimagining of one of it’s most beloved characters into a super spy continues after the long Convergence break. Plus adding Helena Bertenelli (Huntress) into the mix sounds fantastic!

Green Lantern: The Lost Army #1 (DC Comics) – Power Rings, survival journey and adventure along the way with everyone’s favorite cosmic cops? This one’s a no brainer. Can’t wait to see them light em’ up!

The Walking Dead #143 (Skybound/Image Comics) – It’s The Walking Dead. Can you ever get enough?

 

Paul

Top Pick: X-Men ’92 #1 (Marvel) – The X-Men from the 90s are back?? *Insert fanboy squeal here*  I might be getting ahead of myself, not knowing how Secret Wars will be portraying my merry mutants, but I am so excited to see this line up back, just as I remember they looked when I would walk into my comic shop all those years ago eager to read their latest adventure.  Here’s hoping myself and other fans are not disappointed.

E is for Extinction #1 (Marvel) – I’ve picked this title because I am a fan of all things X.  Secret Wars, to me, has not been the earth shattering event it was promoted to be.  But I am looking forward to a title devoted to the X-Men and what they’ve become in Battleworld.  I like the premise described as mutants really being ‘homo SUPERIOR’ and look forward to seeing a world where they are idolized and not feared.

Loki Agent of Asgard #15 (Marvel) – I have loved this book from day 1.  The journey of a twenty-something Loki, trying to escape his future self; finding a friend he actually cares about; finding himself doing the right thing (in his own special way) has been a Loki I easily got on board with.  Things are changing for him however, and I for one can’t wait to see how it all goes down.

 

Pharoah

Top Pick: X-Men ’92 #1 (Marvel) – Definitely had my interest piqued when I saw it in Previews for this month’s solicitations. We take nostalgic look at X-Men, from 23 years ago, with none other than JIM LEE returning for this series!!!!!

Evil Dead 2: Beyond Dead by Dawn #1 (Space Goat Productions) – Horror comics seem to be what is all the rage, and the fact they have this comic which picks up where the movies end, this sounds like it will be fun, if anything it gives the average Evil Dead fan something to look forward to before the new show premieres on Starz.

Fight Club 2 #2 (Dark Horse Comics) – Chuck Palahniuk continues Tyler Durden’s story in this new series from Dark Horse, the first issue did not disappoint, so  I am hoping Palaniuk has even more surprises in store in this issue.

Mulan Revelations #1 (Dark Horse) –  Another interesting reboot, to a well told legend, this time the guys at Dark Horse tackle Mulan , but in the same way the anime , 7 Samurai, reboots Akira Kurosawa ‘s classic film, hoping the execution lives to the promise.

We Are Robin #1 (DC Comics) – From the DCYou reboot going on at DC, hundreds of teenagers all over Gotham, are adopting the ”R”, adding a new dimension to the Batman mythos.

Marc Andreyko Reveals a New Legend with Mulan: Revelations

This June, the legend of Mulan continues—but with a completely new twist.

Though the future boasts endless technological wonders, only a very few can afford access to them. As a deadly new virus rages through the rich and the poor, threatening all of humanity, a warrior is awakened to stop the evil puppeteers behind it all! Centuries after her ancestor and namesake fought for China, a new Mulan has been chosen by the ancient Chinese Immortals to fight in a final battle for the world!

Helmed by writer Marc Andreyko, artist Micah Kaneshiro, and newcomer creator Robert Alter, the series is set to usher in a new age for a beloved legend. A must-read for science-fiction fans, Mulan: Revelations sees a battle not only for China, but the entire world. The exciting series begins in June with a thrilling genre blend of Chinese martial arts and futuristic cyberpunk sure to excite fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Mass Effect.

mulan revelations

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