Tag Archives: nathan fairbairn

Review: The Despicable Deadpool #298

F6B941B0-6E78-4459-9135-97409830283DReading Deadpool can feel like a darker, more adult version of Looney Tunes. If you took Wile Coyote, Bugs Bunny, and made them swear more, you’d basically have the Merc with the Mouth. The Despicable Deadpool #298 continues those over the top cartoon moments in a big way, and this title is going to miss Gerry Dugan writing it. The next run of the book is bringing on Skottie Young, who while he may be more known for his art, is no stranger to wacky over the top tales with his own I Hate Fairyland. That being said, I am still sad that Duggan is done in a few issues.

As a series, Deadpool usually doesn’t pretend to portray a kind, caring, or compassionate hero like we usually get with our heroes in Marvel Comics. Sure, he had a moment in this run and when he was on The Uncanny Avengers and aspiring to be better, since he looked up to Steve Rogers so much, but that was short lived. After the events of Secret Empire, and Hydra-Cap tricking Wade to do horrible things, Deadpool has given up the hero idea. Not only has he lost people, and killed people that he regrets killing, Deadpool now also has a bounty on him. This issue brings some great villains like The Juggernaut, Taskmaster, and Bullseye, who are all out to get the $20 million reward on Deadpool’s head.

The pencils by Mike Hawthorne are great throughout the book. He keeps everything moving at a fast and funny pace with non-stop action as Deadpool tries to fight off the villains who are trying to collect the bounty. Juggernaut, Taskmaster, and Bullseye all look fantastic, and so does Wade. The style by Hawthorne walks the line between realism and cartoonish. It balances the ridiculousness of a cartoon style story perfectly with the real world setting, and it works perfectly for a Deadpool book. Jordie Bellaire on colors and Terry Pallot on inks bring the pencils to life. The combination of the three of them really make the artwork standout on the book, and give even more humor to an already funny book. A Deadpool comic has to have funny moments in the artwork, and not just the words alone, and this issue is no different.

If you like Deadpool comics, you will be right at home with this issue. It’s silly comfort food, much like cartoons. Sometimes this book makes me laugh, sometimes it makes me surprised, but it always makes me smile. I don’t need to think of multiverses, or timelines, or anything deep, and while those things are wonderful in other titles, I love that Deadpool is simply unapologetic. You know what you’re getting most of the time in this series, and that’s okay.

Story: Gerry Duggan Pencils: Mike Hawthorne
Inks: Terry Pallot Colors: Jordie Bellaire Letterer: Joe Sabino
Cover: Mike Hawthorne & Nathan Fairbairn

Story: 8.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Raven: Daughter of Darkness #2

Raven: Daughter of Darkness #2

Story: Marv Wolfman Art: Pop Mhan Cover: Yanick Paquette, Nathan Fairbairn
Color: Lovern Kindzierski Letterer: Saida Temofonte
Group Editor: Marie Javins Assistant Editor: Michael McCalister Faceless Adversary: Joey Cavalieri
In Shops: Feb 28, 2018
SRP: $3.99

Trigon attacks! Raven must defend herself from her own father! The balance between good and evil is upset, and Baron Winters predicts Raven will die! Is she beyond the help of the Night Force?

Underrated: Lake Of Fire

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: Lake Of Fire



It is 1220 AD, and the gears of the Albigensian Crusade grind on. When an alien spacecraft infested with a horde of bloodthirsty predators crash-lands in the remote wilderness of the French Pyrenees, a small band of crusaders and a Cathar heretic are all that stand between God’s Kingdom and Hell on Earth.Lakeof-Fire-vol.1.jpg

When the owner of my LCS not so subtly recommended this to me by putting it in my pull box, I figured that she’s never steered me wrong yet, so why not give it a go? A few hours ago I opened the cover to the five issue collection, unsure of what I’d be getting beyond the notion that it was essentially aliens verses knights, and I didn’t stop reading until the story was done.

I devoured the entire tpb in one sitting and immediately wondered why I hadn’t read about this somewhere before. Why had nobody told me about this before the owner of my LCS told me to read it?

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Published by Image, Lake Of Fire was written, coloured and lettered by Nathan Fairbairn with art by Matt Smith (no, not the guy who played Doctor Who), the comic does have a fairly straight forward knights verses aliens feel to it – not that that is a bad thing as it allows the characters, action and art to really pop.

Yes, there are the fairly standard typical characters within the story, but while Fairbairn does tread familiar ground with the characters, the major players all feel as though they have a weight about them. You have the grizzled old warrior, the naive young knights and the dark priest all present and accounted for, and yes they are popular fantasy archetypes, but they’re well written archetypes which goes a long way in my book. I’d rather a well written archetype than a shallow character for the sake of originality.

That being said, rather than having the characters face off against a supernatural threat Fairbairn instead pits them against a horde of alien predators. I’ve always been partial to seeing how our ancestors would fair against an extraterrestrial threat, and the collected edition of Lake Of Fire scratches that itch remarkably well.

Matt Smith‘s art couldn’t be better suited to the past-meets-future story; the action sequences are easy to follow and once the comic reaches the midpoint the atmospheric art really amps up the threatening feel of the story itself in a case where Fairbairn’s colouring melds so well with Smith’s line art that it’s hard to believe that two people were involved in creating the visuals for the story.lakeoffire-01_cvrb.jpg

It may seem as if I’m being a little harsh on the story for being relatively straight forward, and that’s not my intent. Lake Of Fire is a fairly easy tale to follow from start to finish, but there are a more layers to the characters than you’d initially expect from the story – such as the relationships between some of the characters – and there’s an underlying theme about acceptance and tolerance in a time when neither of these were encouraged or widely practiced.

As far as recommendations from my LCS go, this is one of the more surprising ones; I didn’t expect much more out of this story than to be able to just pop my feet up with a cup of tea and just relax with a half the story before moving on to something else. Instead I ended up finishing the entire trade in one go and immediately start writing this column. Lake Of Fire is a really enjoyable story that surpasses a lot of the comics currently on the racks – and it’s also entirely self contained.

There are a lot of reasons why I wanted to spotlight the comic this week, but chief among them is that I haven’t heard anything about it anywhere – and that’s why it’s Underrated.


That’s all for this week folks. Join us next week when we talk about something else that falls under the Underrated banner in the comic book world.

Review: The Flintstones #12

You are now leaving Bedrock! The Great Gazoo is on his way home to the stars, while Fred and company leave the Church of Gerald, and Mr. Slate leaves behind being a jerk- at least for a little while. Say good-bye to Pebbles, Bowling Ball, Philip the turtle, Fred and Barney, and the whole cast in this final issue!

Some times we can’t have nice things. That’s how I feel about The Flintstones which wraps up its run and does so in a emotional way that feels like a solid end chapter to what is some of the smartest writing in comics today.

Writer Mark Russell has delivered some of the best social and political commentary anywere in his twelve issues and here he wraps up that run focused on whether science and religion can live side by side. For twelve issues the series at times has felt a little sarccastic and on the down side of things, but here we get an issue that’s weirdly positive and hopefully.

Russell nails the ending with an issue that’s bookended with thoughts from Gazoo about humanity and its likelihood for survival and ability to flourish. The words spoken are truly an observation about today’s world and ends in a way that gives a glimmer of a smiler and wink. That includes giving us a satisfying conclusion to the animal appliances in what feels like an almost revolutionary statement in this issue.

Artist Steve Pugh along with colorist Chris Chuckry deliver the usual solid art that has grown on me over the twelve issues. This isn’t the traditional style, but the team has constantly given us art that forces you to disect every inch of the page to catch all of the jokes that drive as much of the story as the words themselves. Just solid work.

This had to end eventually and twelve issues feels too short in many ways. Hopefully we get more Russell soon because I know this usual satisfied my craving for smart commentary through comics. Some of the smartest writing anywhere wraps up that way and shows off why it’s exactly that.

Story: Mark Russell Art: Steve Pugh
Main Cover: Yanick Paquette, Nathan Fairbairn
Variant Covers: Rick Leonardi, Scott Hana, Steve Buccellato

Color: Chris Chuckry Letters: Dave Sharpe
Story: 9.0 Art: 8.45 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Flashback Friday Review: Old Man Logan

oldmanloganPublished in 2008 in Wolverine #66-72 and Old Man Logan Giant-Size, the story known as “Old Man Logan” would be one that would go on to impact the character known as Wolverine, and Marvel Comics, 9 years later. Written by Mark Millar with art by Steve McNiven, “Old Man Logan” fuses classic dystopian future X-Men tales like “Days of Future Past” with Mad Max, and western heroes made famous by the likes of Clint Eastwood.

“Old Man Logan” is a road trip story at its heart. A now blind Hawkeye enlists a retired Logan to help drive across the country to deliver a package. The United States is now a hellscape ruled by supervillains who have carved the country up into their own kingdoms after having banded together to defeats the world’s heroes.

It’s been 9 years since this story was first released and I remember picking it up in single issues and as a trade all these years later, it still holds up. Interestingly, the story beyond holds up, and definitely is a modern classic in many ways.

Millar doesn’t give us anything really new with the story, but how he packages it and its setting is what really makes it all stand out. We’re given a new Logan who is a pacifist, refusing to pop his claws or take part in any violence. He’ll take a beating instead of giving one. It’s a fascinating shift for the character who at one point was one of the most deadly superheroes out there. What caused him to be this way? That’s teased out through numerous issues getting to the emotional reveal that packs a punch. It’s not just a fall from grace for the character, but a reminder that deep down he’s an animal in many ways. Millar gives us humanity for a character who often is depicted as a killing machine.

Joining Logan is Hawkeye, Clint Barton, who is now blind and been up to some shady shit. Having to get a package across the country, out of the two, Barton is the badass letting arrows fly and talking up a storm.

The story is packed with winks and nods as we move across the country to see the devastation. From bones laying around to tokens of the villain victory, this is a comic that is full of Easter eggs for comic fans.

That’s delivered by Steve McNiven who’s backed up on inks and color by a team of individuals and the art is fantastic. McNiven is a talented artist who gives us both wide expanses and close up action scenes. There’s emotional moments and moments full of rage and destruction. With a sparse choice of colors that enhance the situation, the art will have you linger on every page looking at the details that tease the story within the story.

“Old Man Logan” holds up and in some ways, I appreciate it more reading it in one sitting and really taking in the details. The story falls back on tropes a bit too many times with twists that are easy to see coming, but it’s still enjoyable and entertaining. A classic in every sense of the word and something that’s been copied, but yet to be improved upon.

Story: Mark Millar Art: Steve McNiven
Inkers: Dexter Vines, Mark Morales, Jay Leisten
Colorists: Morry Hollowell, Christina Strain, Justin Ponsor, Jason Keith, Nathan Fairbairn, Paul Mounts
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Story: 9.5 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics and Skybound’s 25¢ Issues in Celebration of 25 Years

Image Comics/Skybound has announced that The Walking Dead #163 by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard, Invincible #133 by Robert Kirkman, Ryan Ottley and Nathan Fairbairn, and Outcast by Kirman & Azaceta #25 by Robert Kirkman, Paul Azaceta, and Elizabeth Breitwieser, will all hit stores this February 2017 with a $0.25 price point in celebration of Image Comics’ 25th anniversary.

The Walking Dead #163 begins an all-new story arc and readers are met with the aftermath of the Whisperer War.

Ryan Ottley returns as artist on Invincible #133 just as “THE END OF ALL THINGS” begins. This 12-part mega-story will touch every corner of the INVINCIBLE universe, and when it’s over… IT’S OVER. Every single story for the past 13 years has been leading up to this last finale story arc.

Outcast by Kirman & Azaceta #25 begins an all-new story arc as well and provides a major turning point in the series. New characters are introduced and big things are in store for Kyle Barnes as he’s faced with something he never could have prepared for—hope. Everything changes in this 25th issue, for $0.25, in celebration of the 25th anniversary.

The Walking Dead #163 (Diamond Code DEC160627) will be available on Wednesday, February 1st. The final order cutoff deadline for retailers is Monday, January 9th. Invincible #133 (Diamond Code DEC160639) will be available on Wednesday, February 15th. The final order cutoff deadline for retailers is Monday, January 23rd. Outcast by Kirman & Azaceta #25 (Diamond Code DEC160664) will be available on Wednesday, February 22nd. The final order cutoff deadline for comics retailers is Monday, January 30th.

invincible-133 outcast-by-kirman-azaceta-25 the-walking-dead-163

Review: Wonder Woman 75th Anniversary Special #1

ww75as_cv1_dsWhen it comes to Wonder Woman, it never surprises me, that although her stature in the comics world is as immense as it is, that she has never had a solo movie until next year. This character who, has inspired women of all ages for decades, and has even been on Ms. Magazine, never truly has gotten her due. Her life in the comics world, is as just as big as her contemporaries, Batman and Superman. Her backstory is also just as interesting, if not more, as she ascends from royalty, revealing a long extenuating misogyny within the fandom.

Surprisingly, most people still don’t know that she was created by a doctor, who researched bondage and other depravities, but also sought to understand the human condition. Wonder Woman, is the perfect example of the human experience, as she does take the hero’s journey, becoming a stronger character by leaving her home. Since her inception, her character has grown with society, as she initially followed tropes but eventually came to challenge each one. She even challenges the trope of relationships, where she takes the more dominant roles in her relationships with Batman and Superman.

In the Wonder Woman 75th Anniversary Special, several writers and artists collaborate to create stories in which makes us all look at Diana different. “Big Things One Day Come” has Diana and a new superhero by the name of Star Blossom take on a kryptonite powered gorilla, which is both funny and action packed. “Gives Us Strength” follows Diana as she fights some Nazis and actually helps liberate France during World War II. The last piece that stands out is the interview Lois Lane does with Wonder Woman, which answers some questions, but brings up even more.

Altogether, this special is more a love letter to this character which has inspired millions and continues to every day. The writers all bring their love to the story. The artist more so as they see her in each, a different light. Overall, a fun tribute to an icon.

Story and Art by: Liam Sharp, Rafael Scavone and Rafael Albuquerque, Brenden Fletcher and Karl Kerschl, Fabio Moon, Hope Larson and Ramon Bachs, Renae De Liz and Ray Dillon, Jill Thompson, Annie Wu, Yanick Paquette and Nathan Fairbairn, Sebastian Fumara, Claire Roe and Jordie Bellaire, Marcio Takara and Marcelo Maiolo, Phil Jimenez and Romulo Fajardo Jr, Brian Bolland, Marguerite Bennett and Marguerite Sauvage, Jenny Frison, Gail Simone and Colleen Doran
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

The Wicked + The Divine: Depiction of Baal in Majesty, AD 2014

baal

Baal’s atrium in Wotan’s Valhalla features a gigantic mural of Baal dressed in an understated black suit and tie. His suit is the only thing understated about his portrait, and I love him for that. The mural is a fresco, pigment painted onto a wet plaster wall. It reaches from vaulted ceiling to floor on a Heroic scale. Baal is the central figure, positioned like a god—which of course he is—attended by archangels and cherubs. At his feet and supplicant are the devil, the Egyptian god Horus, Zeus and another angel. That bearded figure might be “God the Father” but it’s probably Zeus, a lightning god.

The arrangement of figures evokes traditional depictions of “Christ in Majesty” or “Christ in Glory,” but with some key differences. Christ in Majesty is usually seated and serine whereas Baal’s face and posture are determined, he is ready to confront world. Others have pointed out the image looks a bit like Kanye West’s video for “Power”.

Artist Jamie McKelvie renders the fresco differently from his standard bold and graphic illustrations because making this art resemble a hand-painted fresco is significant.

We never saw the full fresco within the comic as published. We only see it in issue #4 of The Wicked + The Divine, obstructed by the characters viewing it. The image above is taken from the backmatter of the trade paperback. It shows that the fresco was important enough that it was made separately from the panel and then set at an angle. It was drawn digitally by McKelvie and then colored over by Nathan Fairbairn. In issue #4, we see scaffolding for painters in front of it, indicating that the work is not yet complete.

Why does it matter that we read the fresco as a painting executed on wet plaster? Because Baal’s wall isn’t decorated by poster art, or by airbrush or any modern technique– it’s Renaissance Art. Baal is positioning himself in a European pantheon. He is showing the lineage between himself and eurocentric culture and he is dominant over it.

He is Baal Haddad, a Canaanite god but painted like this he could also be Zeus or Jesus. Or Yeezus (aka Kanye).

This powerful statement reminds me of the heroic scale paintings of Kihinde Wiley. Wiley is one of the most important contemporary visual artists. He’s an African-American artist depicting black subjects. In many of his jaw-dropping traditionally executed oil paintings he casts contemporary black men (some famous, some not) as the central figure in paintings like: “Napoleon Leading the Army Over the Alps” or “Equestrian Portrait of the Count-Duke Olivares”.

equestrian-portrait-of-the-count-duke-olivares

From the National Portrait Gallery’s website :

For most of Kehinde Wiley’s very successful career, he has created large, vibrant, highly patterned paintings of young African American men wearing the latest in hip hop street fashion. The theatrical poses and objects in the portraits are based on well-known images of powerful figures drawn from seventeenth- through nineteenth-century Western art. Pictorially, Wiley gives the authority of those historical sitters to his twenty-first-century subjects.

In 2005, VH1 commissioned Wiley to paint portraits of the honorees for that year’s Hip Hop Honors program. Turning his aesthetic on end, he used his trademark references to older portraits to add legitimacy to paintings of this generation’s already powerful musical talents. In Wiley’s hands, Ice T channels Napoleon, and Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five take on a seventeenth-century Dutch civic guard company.

In Wiley’s own words he “posit[s] young black men, fashioned in urban attire, within the field of power reminiscent of Renaissance artists such as Tiepolo and Titian.”

While Wiley’s depictions generally cast his subjects in the position of historical figures, never religious ones, Baal’s fresco depicts him in the position of the Christian god– the most important figure in European culture. And why not?! He is a god!

We may not have seen it on the page yet, but I’m confident Baal has one of Wiley’s paintings somewhere in his room because if Baal is sort of Kanye then Wiley has already created his portrait.

Plus, Baal does have impeccable taste. As of course does this comic’s creative team Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKevlie for using expert visual strategies to show us how Baal sees his place in the world especially in relation to the eurocentric culture of the past.

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I’m aware of the criticisms of his Wiley’s work, particularly from a socialist perspective. But a lot of criticism of his work is racist and homophobic. Here’s a really nice defense of him.

The Walking Dead—Excited Whispers Spread Among Fans

Image/Skybound Entertainment has announced that The Walking Dead #157 by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard will be fast-tracked to a second printing in order to keep up with the overwhelming customer demand.

The mind-blowing new story arc to the New York Times bestselling series and pop culture phenomenon—The Whisperer War—launched to much fan buzz and featured the first in a sequence of connecting covers by Arthur Adams with colors by Nathan Fairbairn. Fans of The Walking Dead and comics collectors flocked to stores for an opportunity to get their hands on the hot new issue.

In The Walking Dead #157 the time has come. The forces are aligning. The war has begun! Has Rick brought about the demise of everything he’s built? Or will he triumph once again? Know this… there will be a cost.

The Walking Dead #157 , 2nd printing Cover A (Diamond Code JUN169197) and Cover B by Arthur Adams with colors by Nathan Fairbairn (Diamond Code JUN169198) will be available in stores on Wednesday, September 7th.

THE WALKING DEAD #158 2nd printing A THE WALKING DEAD #158 2nd printing B

Preview: Jeff Steinberg: Champion of Earth #1

JEFF STEINBERG: CHAMPION OF EARTH #1

(W) Joshua Hale Fialkov and Tony Fleecs
(A) Tony Fleecs
(C) Luigi Anderson
(CA) Tony Fleecs (Cover A), Chris Burnham with Nathan Fairbairn (Cover B)
AGE RANGE: 15 and up
GENRE: Humor, Sci-fi
PRICE: $4.99
48 PAGES

The double-sized debut issue of the new sci-fi-rom-com-dram-actioner from the writer of THE BUNKER and the artist of MY LITTLE PONY—wait, really? Okay. INVASION! Aliens are real. They’re here, they’re mean and they’re standing in judgement over the citizens of Earth. Final countdown. Representing humanity (by some fluke) is your boy Jeff Steinberg. Romantically challenged idiot, video store clerk, constipated, confused, distractible. In other words, the planet is totally doomed. Also, robots!

JSTEIN-#1-MARKETING_Preview-1

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