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Review: Friday Chapter One, “The Girl in the Trees”

Friday

It’s always exciting to see a new release from Panel Syndicate as you know you’ll be treated to quality. When you get a release that’s completely unexpected, it’s hard to not want to dive in right away. Friday was a surprise announcement today featuring writer Ed Brubaker, artist Marcos Martin, and colorist Muntsa Vicente. A group of talent that makes you take notice right away. And it’s good, really good.

Friday Fitzhugh—girl detective—and Lancelot Jones—her best friend and also the smartest boy in the world—spent their childhoods solving crimes and digging up occult secrets. But that was years ago. And now Friday is in college and starting a new life on her own. She’s moved on. Until she returns home for the holidays and is immediately pulled back into Lance’s orbit.

Friday is what comes next after the young adult series. The protagonists have grown up and some have made steps into the bigger world. It’s that awkwardness we feel when returning “home” after a time away.

Brubaker delivers a horror tinged debut that really focuses on the relationship between the two main characters. At its heart, it’s an experience so many of us can relate to. While the young adult version of these two adventures might be more focused on the mystery, this more adult fair is about the two characters. It’s a comic about relationships, it just so happens to have some horror elements within.

And the mystery is solid.

Friday delivers numerous wtf moments but Brubaker’s focus elsewhere won’t have you frustrated at the lack of reveals in the mystery. The scares is more of the driver about the characters, not the initial focus and point of the debut issue.

The art by Marcos Martin and color Muntsa Vicente help deliver the horror flavor to Brubaker’s relationship focus. The art is amazing with detail to guide your eye and teasing so much more. There’s a use of teases throughout as the story mixes the visual and dialogue to build the greater mystery. We’re not shown what’s carved on a tree, we get a glimpse of that and then further hints as to what it means. It’s a solid mixture of show and tell giving the comic a more prose like feel.

Martin delivers expressive characters with unique designs that tell us much about their personality. The horror elements never dive into scare territory or even that creepy. Instead, there’s a general unease about it all. Muntsa Vicente’s colors help creating a dour and morose feel to the comic. It’s winter and you can feel the coldness of the town with the color choices of blues, blacks, and whites. The use of reds and yellows too help change the mood of panel and pages helping to create an emotional ride.

Friday was an unexpected release and one that is more than welcome. It’s the start of a great mystery where the relationship between the protagonists is the main point. The emotional driver and scares isn’t what’s being carved into a tree or an old tale but how Friday and Lancelot relate to each other. It’s a brilliant next step for those who want to see what’s possible after the young adult adventures.

Purchase: Panel Syndicate

Story: Ed Brubaker Art: Marcos Martin Color: Muntsa Vicente
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Ed Brubaker, Marcos Martin, and Muntsa Vicente Bring Friday to Wednesday

Friday

Writer Ed Brubaker, artist Marcos Martin, and colorist Muntsa Vicente have surprised readers with the debut of Friday, a previously unannounced comic on Panel Syndicate.

In the series, Friday Fitzhugh—girl detective—and Lancelot Jones—her best friend and also the smartest boy in the world—spent their childhoods solving crimes and digging up occult secrets. But that was years ago. And now Friday is in college and starting a new life on her own. She’s moved on. Until she returns home for the holidays and is immediately pulled back into Lance’s orbit. This is literally the Christmas vacation from Hell and neither of them may survive to see the New Year.

Friday Chapter One, “The Girl in the Trees,” is available now on Panel Syndicate in English and Spanish, with fans paying what they want to read the story.

Friday will be released on Panel Syndicate in two formats: one for computers and laptops where it’s a double-page spread, and one for iPad, where it’s a single page view. In 2013, Marcos Martin founded the online platform Panel Syndicate with writer Brian K. Vaughan and illustrator/colorist Muntsa Vicente, in order to distribute their creator-owned comic, The Private Eye. Friday marks the first major collaboration between Brubaker and Martin.

Review: Star Wars: Vader: Dark Visions

Star Wars: Vader: Dark Visions explores the Dark Lord of the Sith from the perspective of other individuals across a galaxy far far away.

Story: Dennis “Hopeless” Hallum
Art: Paolo Villanelli, Brian Level, David Lopez, Javier Pina, Stephen Mooney, Geraldo Borges
Color: Arif Prianto, Jordan Boyd, Muntsa Vicente, Lee Loughridge, Marcio Menyz
Letterer: Joe Caramagna

Get your copy in comic shops and book stores! 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.

Amazon
Kindle/comiXology
TFAW

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
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Review: Star Wars: Vader – Dark Visions #3 (of 5)

Star Wars: Vader - Dark Visions #3

Darth Vader, a name that strikes fear in the hearts of countless across the galaxy…but there is one lonely heart that beats just for him. What is it like to be in love with Lord Vader? And what fate will befall one who is infatuated with the tall, dark mystery behind the mask?

Tragedy. Is there any other expectation to come of this story? Writer Dennis “Hopeless” Hallum has been exploring Darth Vader through the eyes of others in a galaxy far far away. The first issue delivered us a tale of hope and heroics. The second horror. The third is a love story that can only end in one way.

Star Wars: Vader – Dark Visions #3 is a story that while expected is still very entertaining focusing on a medical assistant whose role brings her in to the orbit of Darth Vader. And that proximity brings obsessions and the belief of love. While there’s an aspect to the story about spiraling obsession there’s also a a tragedy as we see Vader’s reaction to someone who thinks they love him. There’s a monster destroying its maker aspect to it all giving the story a Frankenstein like spin to it.

The art by David Lopez and Javi Pina with coloring from Munsta Vincente and letterer Joe Caramagna is interesting as it’s able to balance a horror like sensibility about it but also in a stylized way. Vader himself looks off at times with an inconsistent design but overall it’s a look that feels fresh and unique and helps with the anthology aspect of the series.

The issue is predictable in some ways and not in others delivering another issue to get you to think about Lord Vader and how those in the galaxy view him. It’s a series that with each issue shows that he’s more than has been presented and no matter how you view him, he’s an interesting part of the Star Wars myhology.

Story: Dennis “Hopeless” Hallum Art: David Lopez, Javi Pina
Color: Muntsa Vicente Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Story: 7.85 Art: 8.05 Overall: 7.9 Recommendation: Read

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Vault of Spiders #1

Only a Spider-Army can stop the end of the Multiverse! Meet Web-Slinger, the Spider-Man from the Wild West,. He is the Emissary from Hell, he is SUPAIDAMAN! The Spider-Man from the live-action Spider-Man show that aired in Japan in the 1970s is back. And that’s just a glimpse into the Vault of Spiders!

One of the fun things about the Spider-Man multiverse events is that they’ve delivered utterly insane Spider-Man concepts and allowed Marvel, and creators, to explore their multiverse in a controlled way. Things still have to be Spider focused but they can be a little out there. That has made those events a lot of fun and entertaining. So, I was looking forward to Vault of Spiders #1, a spin-off of the excellent Spider-Geddon and walked away, a little bummed.

Vault of Spiders #1 is an anthology so the quality of stories and art is all over the place. Some are good and others head scratching. What’s good about this issue is there really are great concepts. All are great concepts. The executions though, some were a bit lacking.

Spider-Byte and Savage Spider-Man stand out from the four stories. The first stands out for the concept and creativity, and solid costume design, while the latter due to its fantastic art and twist at the end. Both are entertaining and deliver something a little different.

The Web-Slinger, a western set story, and Final Galaxy Battle!, the Japanese take on Spider-Man each have their charms but also stumble. The western aspect is played up a lot and in some ways entertaining but with the story relying on a twist of a character as far as the bad guy, there’s a shrug of the shoulders where a reveal should shock readers. A connection there is missing. The Japanese Spider-Man, while the art is fantastic reminding me of classic manga, the story is headscratching in every way. It makes no sense. That’s part of the point, I think, but when everything else in the comic winks and nods as to their roots (Savage is straight up Tarzan), this one maybe goes a bit too far.

Vault of Spiders #1 is a bit of a let down but fun to see the various versions of Spider-Man. I’d love to see this as an ongoing with longer stories, the brevity was a hindrance. Like a lot of anthologies, there’s some good here and some bad but if you’re a Spider fan it might be worth checking out.

Prologue
Story: Jed MacKay Art/Ink: Scott Koblish
Color: Andres Mossa Lettering: VC’s Travis Lanham

The Web-Slinger
Story: Cullen Bunn Art: Javier Pulido
Color: Muntsa Vicente Lettering: VC’s Joe Caramagna

Final Galaxy Battle!
Story: Jed MacKay Art/Ink/Lettering: Sheldon Vella

Spider-Byte
Story: Nilah Magruder Art/Ink: Alberto Alburquerque
Color: Andrew Crossley Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham

Story: 7.0 Art: 7.0 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy fore review

Barrier is Collected at Panel Syndicate

If you missed it, now’s your chance to get Barrier! Panel Syndicate has collected all five issues into a monster 190-page volume!

If you haven’t read the single issues, yet, this is the perfect way to catch up with the adventures of our kick-ass Texan woman, Liddy, and her unlikely partner, the no-nonsense undocumented Honduran immigrant, Oscar, in what’s surely got to be Donald Trump’s favorite comicbook series!

Check it out at panelsyndicate.com for whatever price you want to pay!

Review: Barrier #1

Barrier is an unconventional drama about violence, language, and illegal immigration…with a shocking sci-fi twist. Originally published on Panel Syndicate, the five issue miniseries is a deeply layered entertaining comic that will make you think.

In print for the first time by Image Comics, this first issue is a bit special. One version was released for free on Free Comic Day, but today sees the release of a special collector’s edition in a larger size to match the next four issues which will be released weekly through May. The comic features a cardstock cover, printed in the original landscape format, and is meant to be a durable work of art. You’ll need to get it as these print issues as there’s no plan to collect these issues in print.

So, the printing is special but how about the comic?

Barrier is amazing with a multilayered look at society and those things that divide us written by Brian K. Vaughan. Language, immigration, borders, class, it’s all touched upon and is as relevant today as when it was first released digitally. The story follows two individuals, Liddy, a rancher in Texas, and Oscar, an immigrant making his way to the United States from Honduras. That aspect of the story feels like it’s an even greater punch in the stomach considering the recent migrant train that has reached the border of the United States from Honduras attempting to escape violence and threats to their lives. Through the two of them we see the abuses when it comes to undocumented immigration and the story touches upon the horrors.

Presented in English and Spanish, without translation, the story at first leads you to believe the barrier is distance, or borders, and the ability to seek a better life. This alone is the material for a long comic series and one that would be emotionally heartbreaking. From there the barrier of compassion is explored with a focus on the white nationalism and racism that accompanies the Minutemen and their militant border protection. That too could be a story by itself. And going even further the story then leads you to believe the barrier is one of language as the story of Liddy and Oscar collide. Their inability to communicate due to language is a barrier. And finally there’s… well, I’ll leave that twist to the reader.

But, what especially amazes me is that the story and presentation itself is a barrier in some ways to the reader. My Spanish is near non-existent so reading Oscar’s story is a barrier in some ways to me. The same could be said for those who only speak Spanish. What’s interesting is even without knowing what is said, I still understood what was going on and that’s due to the power of the art by Marcos Martin with color by Muntsa Vicente.

And Martin’s art too is a barrier in some ways. It’s brilliant in that it can tell the story without dialogue but in a landscape it creates a small barrier for those that have traditionally read comics. Digitally I didn’t notice this as much but in a physical format, the holding of the comic in a non-traditional, Western-standard way, is in itself a small barrier in how you interact. It’s an interesting choice that enhances the story in many ways and I found myself enjoying it even more as a physical product.

Barrier is unconventional in every way exploring violence, language, and immigration in a story that weaves together in an unexpected way. Writing this review I have the hindsight of have read the entire series digitally but rereading it all this time later, I can’t help be amazed at how good this is. Now, more individuals can read what is a comic that’s as timely today as when it was first released a year ago.

Story: Brian K. Vaughan Art: Marcos Martin Color: Muntsa Vicente
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics to publish Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin’s miniseries Barrier

Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin, the Eisner Award-winning creative team behind The Private Eye, are reunited in Barrier, the five-issue miniseries originally published in digital format via Panel Syndicate and featuring color work by Muntsa Vicente. This May, all five issues will be available in print for the first time, exclusively from Image Comics.

Barrier is a truly unconventional drama that tackles violence, language, and illegal immigration—with a shocking sci-fi twist. Printed in its original “landscape” format and graced with gorgeous cardstock covers, each comic is meant to be a durable work of art.

Mature readers will be able to pick up the massive 50-plus-page first issue for free on Free Comic Book Day on May 5th. The following week, a special collector’s edition of the first issue will be released in a larger size to match the next four issues being released weekly throughout the rest of May.

Barrier #1 (Diamond code: MAR180571) and BARRIER #2 (Diamond code: MAR180573) hit comic book stores Wednesday, May 9th. The final order cutoff deadline for comics retailers is Monday, April 16th.

Panel Syndicate Releases Barrier #5, the Final Issue!

Panel Syndicate has announced that Barrier #5, the final installment of the series, is now available on the digital platform. Barrier is by Brian K. Vaughan, Marcos Martin, and Muntsa Vicente.

The digital comic is an unconventional take about aliens and immigration and “about the way language can divide us, by using the (hopefully?) universal language of comics.” As with all comics on the platform it’s pay what you want. Even coming in at an impressive 48 pages of story, it’s still pay what you want as is the previous four issues.

Panel Syndicate has also announced that it will be adding even more series to their platform in addition to Private Eye, Universe!, and Blackhand Ironhead.

Vaughan also announced that starting today, 100% of whatever is earned from contributions for this or any previous issues of Barrier will go directly to Marcos, Muntsa and their family.

Barrier #4 is Out Now from Panel Syndicate. A Must Get!

As of this month, Panel Syndicate has been around four whole years and what better way to celebrate than with the newest installment of their series Barrier!

In the penultimate issue things take a horrific turn, as alien abductees Oscar and Liddy press deeper into their captors’ craft.

Barrier is a digital comic series by Brian K. Vaughan, Marcos Martin, and Muntsa Vicente that explores immigration, and the “barriers” that keep us apart, like language.

Released through Panel Syndicate the comic is 30 pages of bilingual action for absolutely any price you think is fair. Yes, a pay what you want comic, and this is one well worth paying for.

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