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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


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Vanesa Del Rey and Erica Henderson Rock Heavy Metal Variants for Murder Falcon

Image Comics and Skybound Entertainment have revealed two more “Heavy Metal” variant covers for Daniel Warren Johnson’s Murder Falcon.

Each issue of the head-banging action series features a variant cover that pays tribute to a different classic heavy metal album cover. Murder Falcon #6’s “Heavy Metal” variant cover, with art provided by acclaimed Redlands artist Vanesa Del Rey, homages Megadeth’s Rust in Peace. Eisner Award-winning artist Erica Henderson provides the art for Murder Falcon #7’s “Heavy Metal” variant cover, which salutes Dio’s iconic debut album Holy Diver

Murder Falcon #6 will hit stores on Wednesday, March 13th, and the final order cutoff deadline for comics retailers is Monday, February 18th. 

Murder Falcon #7 will be available on Wednesday, April 10th, and the final order cutoff deadline for comics retailers is Monday, March 18th.

  • Murder Falcon #6 Cover A by Johnson (Diamond code: JAN190339)
  • Murder Falcon #6 Cover B “Heavy Metal” variant by Del Rey (Diamond code: JAN190340)
  • Murder Falcon #7 Cover A by Johnson (Diamond code: FEB190168)
  • Murder Falcon #7 Cover B “Heavy Metal” variant by Henderson (Diamond code: FEB190169)
Murder Falcon #6
Murder Falcon #6
Murder Falcon #7
Murder Falcon #7

Unboxing: Skybound’s The MegaBox “What if Rick”

Geek boxes are all the rage and Skybound Entertainment has one of their own! Skybound is the company behind The Walking Dead, Outcast, Invincible, and more!

The latest MegaBox celebrates 15 years of The Walking Dead and Rick Grimes and delivers us a what if Rick Grimes went down the road of Negan? We get that, some comics, and a t-shirt in this latest box!

So join us as we crack open the latest MegaBox and show off what’s inside!

The MegaBox ships once a quarter and you can order the next one now!

Murder Falcon Gets Variants by Tyrell Cannon, Ryan Ottley and Lorenzo de Felici

Image and Skybound Entertainment unleash three more jaw-dropping covers in the “Heavy Metal” variant line for Daniel Warren Johnson’s Murder Falcon—this time with artwork by Tyrell Cannon and Jean-Francois Beaulieu, Ryan Ottley and Cliff Rathburn, and Lorenzo de Felici for issues #3-5 of the series respectively.

Cannon and Beaulieu’s artwork will pay homage to Bolt Thrower’s War Master album cover, Ottley and Rathburn’s to Pantera’s Vulgar Display of Power album cover, and de Felici’s to Yngwie Malmsteen’s Trilogy album cover.

Each issue of the head-banging action series, Murder Falcon, features a “Heavy Metal” variant that pays tribute to a different classic heavy metal album cover. A variety of brutally talented artists will contribute to this variant cover line.

Murder Falcon #3 Cover B by Tyrell Cannon & Jean-Francois Beaulieu (Diamond Code SEP188094) will hit stores on Wednesday, December 12th. The final order cutoff deadline for comic shop retailers is Monday, November 19th.

Murder Falcon #4 Cover B by Ryan Ottley & Cliff Rathburn (Diamond Code SEP188095) will hit stores on Wednesday, January 9th. The final order cutoff deadline for comic shop retailers is Monday, December 10th.

Murder Falcon #5 Cover B by Lorenzo De Felici (Diamond Code DEC180265) will hit stores on Wednesday, February 13th.

Murder Falcon #1 Rocks Out and Gets a Second Printing

Image Comics and Skybound Entertainment have announced that the first issue of Daniel Warren Johnson’s heavy metal action series Murder Falcon is being fast-tracked for a second printing in order to keep up with overwhelming customer demand.

In Murder Falcon, the world is under attack by monsters, and mega-talented guitarist Jake’s life is falling apart: no band, no girl, no future…until he meets Murder Falcon. He was sent from The Heavy to destroy all evil, but he can’t do it without Jake shredding up a storm. Now, with every chord Jake plays on his guitar, the power of metal fuels Murder Falcon into all-out kung fu fury on those that seek to conquer Earth. It’s time to shred!

Murder Falcon#1 2nd printing (Diamond code: AUG188892) and Murder Falcon #2, Cover A (Diamond code: SEP180192) and Cover B “Heavy Metal” variant by Andrei Bressan and Adriano Lucas (Diamond code: AUG188893), will be available on Wednesday, November 14th. The final order cutoff for comics retailers is Monday, October 22nd.

Around the Tubes

It was new comic book day yesterday! What’d you get? What’d you like? What’d you dislike? Sound off in the comments below. While you think about that, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web in our morning roundup.

Kotaku – Jesse Jackson’s 1988 Presidential Campaign Lives On In South Korea – Well ok then.

CBR – DC’s Secret Six in the Works as TV Series at CBS – That’s an interesting station for the series…

Newsarama – Top Cow and Skybound’s The Darkness, Nailbiter, Think Tank, Thief of Thieves in Development for TV – Is anything not being developed at this point?

Publisher’s Weekly – A Record 250,000 Fans Mob New York Comic Con 2018 – That’s a lot of people.

The Beat – The Winners and Losers of New York Comic Con 2018 – Agree? Disagree?

The Comichron – Heroes in Crisis leads first reorder chart for October – Remember, no one wants to read events. That’s why they top the charts.

 

Reviews

The Beat – Bastard

Newsarama – Murder Falcon #1

Comics Bulletin – Sparrowhawk #1

Review: Murder Falcon #1

img_0368-1**POSSIBLE SPOILERS BELOW**

Comics can be many things. They can be funny, scary, sad, action-packed, and so much more. Like any medium of artistic storytelling, they can represent fantasy, science-fiction, or a grounded tale similar to that of our own world. They can talk about political themes, and be controversial. That’s what makes Murder Falcon #1 so great. It’s so many different things. It’s about loss, and regret. It’s about self-worth and our value in the world. It’s about… okay, it’s mostly about a badass Falcon Humanoid thing called Murder Falcon (or Murf for short) who asks a guy who plays guitar to shred heavy metal licks while he kicks monsters ass. I never asked for this comic, but it was given to me like an awesome head-banging gift from the gods of 80s Heavy Metal.

Daniel Warren Johnson is both the writer, and artist on this book, and he must have had a ball with this. You may or may not know him for his comic, Extremity, which I was a big fan of. This comic jumps way more off the deep end though. It’s an unapologetic 1980s hard-rock love song to the time of heavy metal, garage bands, old beat up vans, and sick guitar solos. Just you know, with a Murder Falcon. I had a smile on my face the entire time I read it. The main protagonist Jake plays the down on his luck dude who doesn’t jam with his friends anymore, and as you learn toward the final pages of the book, has gone through some pretty rough stuff in life. Enter the Falcon and his new transformed guitar to give him a new lease on life fighting monsters to save humanity. The catch is that, Jake doesn’t fight, he shreds on his guitar while the Murder Falcon fights. Think of the music as fuel, like spinach for Popeye.

I have talked about how fun the story is, but no comic is complete without art, and Daniel Warren Johnson rocks it in that department as well. The pencils and inks by Daniel, and the colors by Mike Spicer match the energy of the music this book is celebrating. I didn’t feel like any panel or scene was wasted, and even the words had an energy to them that was meant to make you feel like the volume was turned up to 11 when Jake shreds and Murder Falcon fights. The art is fast paced, over the top, and you can tell they had a blast creating it. The design on the monsters are great, and felt like a mix of classic fantasy and Kaiju. I can’t wait to see what they look like as more issues come out.

In conclusion, I highly recommend Murder Falcon #1. Especially if you love heavy metal, or were born in the 1980s or lived through them. Now that doesn’t mean that everyone can’t find something to love about this book. It is a ton of fun, and I only imagine it getting better from here. What about the rest of Jake’s band? What kind of ridiculous fights or powers will Murder Falcon have with more instruments? To be honest, I don’t care if I find any of this out, because this comic is about sitting back, strapping in, and letting this book take you on a fun ridiculous heavy metal ride.

Story: Daniel Warren Johnson
Pencils/Inks: Daniel Warren Johnson Colors: Mike Spicer
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Advance Review: Murder Falcon #1

img_0368-1**POSSIBLE SPOILERS BELOW**

Comics can be many things. They can be funny, scary, sad, action-packed, and so much more. Like any medium of artistic storytelling, they can represent fantasy, science-fiction, or a grounded tale similar to that of our own world. They can talk about political themes, and be controversial. That’s what makes Murder Falcon #1 so great. It’s so many different things. It’s about loss, and regret. It’s about self-worth and our value in the world. It’s about… okay, it’s mostly about a badass Falcon Humanoid thing called Murder Falcon (or Murf for short) who asks a guy who plays guitar to shred heavy metal licks while he kicks monsters ass. I never asked for this comic, but it was given to me like an awesome head-banging gift from the gods of 80s Heavy Metal.

Daniel Warren Johnson is both the writer, and artist on this book, and he must have had a ball with this. You may or may not know him for his comic, Extremity, which I was a big fan of. This comic jumps way more off the deep end though. It’s an unapologetic 1980s hard-rock love song to the time of heavy metal, garage bands, old beat up vans, and sick guitar solos. Just you know, with a Murder Falcon. I had a smile on my face the entire time I read it. The main protagonist Jake plays the down on his luck dude who doesn’t jam with his friends anymore, and as you learn toward the final pages of the book, has gone through some pretty rough stuff in life. Enter the Falcon and his new transformed guitar to give him a new lease on life fighting monsters to save humanity. The catch is that, Jake doesn’t fight, he shreds on his guitar while the Murder Falcon fights. Think of the music as fuel, like spinach for Popeye.

I have talked about how fun the story is, but no comic is complete without art, and Daniel Warren Johnson rocks it in that department as well. The pencils and inks by Daniel, and the colors by Mike Spicer match the energy of the music this book is celebrating. I didn’t feel like any panel or scene was wasted, and even the words had an energy to them that was meant to make you feel like the volume was turned up to 11 when Jake shreds and Murder Falcon fights. The art is fast paced, over the top, and you can tell they had a blast creating it. The design on the monsters are great, and felt like a mix of classic fantasy and Kaiju. I can’t wait to see what they look like as more issues come out.

In conclusion, I highly recommend Murder Falcon #1. Especially if you love heavy metal, or were born in the 1980s or lived through them. Now that doesn’t mean that everyone can’t find something to love about this book. It is a ton of fun, and I only imagine it getting better from here. What about the rest of Jake’s band? What kind of ridiculous fights or powers will Murder Falcon have with more instruments? To be honest, I don’t care if I find any of this out, because this comic is about sitting back, strapping in, and letting this book take you on a fun ridiculous heavy metal ride.

Story: Daniel Warren Johnson
Pencils/Inks: Daniel Warren Johnson Colors: Mike Spicer
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Murder Falcon Raises a Salute to Metal with Variants

Image Comics and Skybound Entertainment have revealed the first “Heavy Metal” variant cover for Daniel Warren Johnson’s Murder Falcon. Each issue of the head-banging action series will feature a “Heavy Metal” variant cover that pays tribute to a different classic heavy metal album cover. A variety of brutally talented artists will contribute to this variant cover line, kicking off with series artist Daniel Warren Johnson on Murder Falcon #1 Cover B.

Murder Falcon #1 will hit stores on Wednesday, October 10th. The final order cutoff deadline for comics retailers is Monday, September 17th.

  • Murder Falcon #1 Cover A by Johnson (Diamond code: AUG180044)
  • Murder FalconN #1 Cover B “Heavy Metal” variant (Diamond code: JUL189235)

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