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Review: X-23 #1

Cloned from a warrior, raised as a killer, Laura Kinney has gone through hell and come out the other side a hero. After a stint as the All-New Wolverine, she returns to her roots as X-23 to make sure no one ever has to go through the horrors she did. With her sister Gabby and their pet Jonathan in tow, X-23 forges her own destiny.

Writer Mariko Tamaki is an amazing talent. She’s released some modern classic graphic novels and luckily, the “big two” publishers took notice having her take the reigns of two of their properties where Tamaki delivered two impressive stories. Now, she’ll work her magic with Laura Kinney, aka X-23.

In X-23 #1, Tamaki has a focus, and that’s Laura’s history as a clone. In charting her future, we’ll explore her past. And Tamaki is doing that in an interesting way, by bring in the Cuckoo sisters, another set of clones. Within the mutant community, there’s also a lot of clones, something that’s been touched upon, but not really addressed front and center. This series seems to be doing that by exploring what one misses when they’re a clone. It starts with an unknown birthday and goes from there.

Though the comic begins with a fantastic action sequence, it’s the heart that Tamaki focuses on. Laura and Gabby interact and speak their thoughts so that you’re feeling for them. It’s as much about the depth of the characters as it is how far one can sink their claws. Action is one thing, but if you don’t care for the characters, it doesn’t work and Tamaki has proven she knows how to mix both in every issue.

Helping Tamaki is Juann Cabal‘s art with color from Nolan Woodard, and lettering from Cory Petit. The art is fantastic with a style that’s hard to describe. The opening feels like an action film in the use of panels. It feels like the opening from a movie. The characters have tons of personality and their body language delivers as much of their feelings and thinking as what they say. That’s especially true for Gabby who feels like she’s bouncing up and down in excitement on the page.

I’ve enjoyed X-23’s adventures over the years but she’s never been a character I’ve cared about. Tamaki in one issue has me beginning to care about her. There’s a focus on character as well as the action and together it creates a comic that’s a wonderful read and fantastic debut.

Story: Mariko Tamaki Art: Juann Cabal
Color: Nolan Woodard Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: All-New Wolverine #34

All-New Wolverine #34

Story: Tom Taylor
Art: Ramon Rosanas
Recap Page: Leonard Kirk, Jesus Aburtov
Color: Nolan Woodard
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Cover: David Lopez
Graphic Designers: Jay Bowen, Anthony Gambino
Editors: Mark Paniccia, Christina Harrington
Rated T+
In Shops: Apr 25, 2018
SRP: $3.99

• Though most of the world’s problems have been solved in the future, that doesn’t mean there are no opportunities to SNIKT every now and then…
• …and now that Laura’s back in the suit, she’s finding those opportunities aplenty.
• Plus: GUEST STARS you’d never believe and exotic locales you never thought you’d visit!

Preview: Hunt for Wolverine #1

Hunt for Wolverine #1

Story: Charles Soule
Art: David Marquez, Paulo Siqueira
Color: Rachelle Rosenberg, Walden Wong, Ruth Redmond
Letterer: VC’s Joe Sabino
Cover Art: Steve McNiven, Jay Leisten, Laura Martin
Variant Covers: Marco Checcetto, Elizabeth Torque, Nolan Woodard, Adam Kubert, Dan Brown, Mike Deodato, Morry Hollowell
Editors: Jordan D. White, Mark Paniccia
Assistant Editors: Annalise Bissa, Christina Harringnton
Rated T+
In Shops: Apr 25, 2018
SRP: $5.99

The RETURN OF WOLVERINE begins here, providing the first piece of a mystery that will leave no corner of the Marvel Universe untouched. Just as the X-Men have finally come to terms with Logan’s death, they learn a terrible secret. Old wounds will be re-opened, truths questioned, and an epic quest begun. The earliest clues to the mystery of Wolverine’s return are laid down here… who will solve it first?

Review: Phoenix Resurrection: The Return of Jean Grey

It’s Wednesday which means it’s new comic book day with new releases hitting shelves, both physical and digital, all across the world. This week we’ve got the return of Jean Grey!

Phoenix Resurrection: The Return of Jean Grey collects issues #1-5 by Matthew Rosenberg, Leinil Francis Yu, Gerry Alanguilan, Carlos Pacheco, Rafael Fonteriz, Joe Bennett, Lorenzo Ruggiero, Ramon Rosanas, Belardino Brabo, Rachelle Rosenberg, VC’s Travis Lanham, Sunny Gho, Romulo Fajardo, Jr., Marte Gracia, Nolan Woodard, Christina Harrington, Chris Robinson, Darren Shan, and Mark Paniccia.

Get your copy in comic shops today and in book stores May 1. To find a comic shop near you, visit www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon/Kindle/comiXology or TFW or TFW



Marvel​ provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review
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Preview: All-New Wolverine #33

All-New Wolverine #33

Story: Tom Taylor
Art: Ramon Rosanas
Color: Nolan Woodard
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Cover: David Lopez
Venom 30th Anniversary Cover: Dustin Weaver
Recap Page Art: Leonard Kirk, Jesus Aburtov
Graphic Designers: Jay Bowen, Anthony Gambino
Editors: Mark Paniccia, Christina Harrington
Rated T+
In Shops: Apr 04, 2018
SRP: $3.99

In the not-too-distant future, the world is a utopia where heroes have succeeded in bringing peace worldwide. At the head of this utopia is none other than Laura Kinney, who’s passed on her mantle of Wolverine and is living her best life as Madripoor’s benevolent queen. But a long simmering evil will force Laura, out of retirement and back into the blue-and-yellow. This final journey will take everything Laura has to give….maybe even her life.

Preview: All-New Wolverine #32

All-New Wolverine #32

Story: Tom Taylor Art: Djibril Morissette-Phan
Color: Nolan Woodard Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Main Cover: David Lopez
Varian Cover: Mike Deodato, Jr., Carlos Lopez
Rated T+
In Shops: Mar 14, 2018
SRP: $3.99

• The last time we saw the Orphans of X, they were hunting Laura and other Wolverines for revenge.
• And now they’ve returned. But for what purpose? And will WOLVERINE be able to survive this encounter with her deadliest enemy yet?

Exclusive Preview: Star Wars: Thrawn #2 (of 6)

Star Wars: Thrawn #2 (of 6)

Story: Jody Houser Art: Luke Ross Cover Art: Paul Renaud
Color: Nolan Woodard Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Variant Cover: Declan Shalvey, Matthew Wilson
Production Design: Anthony Gambino
Editor: Heather Antos Supervising Editor: Jordan D. White
Rated T
In Shops: Mar 14, 2018
SRP: $3.99

Mitt’hraw’nuruodo, better known as Lieutenant Thrawn of the Galactic Empire, has graduated the Imperial Academy with the highest marks possible, as well as been assigned his own personal assistant, Ensign Eli Vanto, but that doesn’t mean that everyone in the Imperial army wants him to succeed. Tensions run high in the ranks of the Empire as Thrawn continues to defeat new enemies.

Review: Star Wars: Thrawn #1

Star Wars: Thrawn #1 CoverReleased from the continuity limbo of “Legends”, fan favorite Star Wars EU character (The future Grand Admiral.) Thrawn gets his own solo comic, a six issue adaptation of his creator Timothy Zahn’s novel Thrawn. In Star Wars: Thrawn #1, writer Jody Houser, artist Luke Ross, and colorist Nolan Woodard tell the story of how a blue skinned Chiss alien almost immediately became the favorite of Emperor Palpatine and shed insight into how he became one of the greatest strategists and most complex villains in the Star Wars mythos. It’s less origin story/Easter Egg cutesiness and more the first move in a chess game that goes beyond Empire versus Rebels. (Fingers crossed that the Yuuzhan Vong are a thing in the Disney Star Wars-verse.) Plus Thrawn is just flat out cool even if he’s a lieutenant and not a grand admiral in this comic.

To go along with the chess metaphor, it’s fitting that the first few pages of Thrawn #1 are arranged in a neat nine panel grid from Ross that complements his precise figure work. Without a single word out of his mouth, Houser and Ross establish Thrawn as both a wily fighter and tactician, who eludes a platoon of stormtroopers and smuggles himself onboard their ship. Colorist Woodard lays out a dark palette and only relents for Thrawn’s blue skin and red eyes, and this gift for cloak and dagger fights serves the book well later.

Even though he seems like he’s always in control, Thrawn has one weakness: his difficulties speaking Basic, the lingua franca of the Galactic Empire. This leads him to bond with Eli, who just wants to keep his head down, crunch numbers, and run calculations on an Imperial supply ship, but ends up becoming the closest companion to one of the most ambitious men in the galaxy. Eli also allows Houser to keep some of the Thrawn mystique intact by having him as the narrator instead of letting readers have a glimpse into Thrawn’s tactical, unorthodox mind. Unlike, say the Prequel trilogy where we find out that Darth Vader used to be a nine year old who had the penchant for saying ThrawnInterior“Yippee” and grew into a whiny 19 year old that complained about sand, Thrawn #1 forms a portrait of its protagonist’s youth by showing how other people react to him.

And one of those people is Emperor Palpatine himself, who is illustrated in wrinkly lines from Luke Ross and a mix of darkness and light showing the glow of Coruscant and the power of the Dark Side of the Force. Even though he’s an exile from his people, Thrawn talks and bargains with the Emperor like an equal in a epic tete a tete. However, Palpatine is definitely playing dirty when he says that Thrawn’s old war companion, Anakin Skywalker, is dead, and this undisclosed fact might be the most intriguing element of the series so far as well as being a great callback to Obi Wan telling Luke that Anakin is dead. During these scenes, Ross and Woodard tap into the epic vein of Star Wars with blue tinged background shots of Anakin and red flames for Vader hinting that he and Thrawn will most likely come face to face some day.

But Thrawn #1 isn’t all foreshadowing and foreboding. The main portion of the book reminded me of the early scenes in J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek where Kirk and Spock are at Starfleet Academy and starting to adjust to the roles they’ll later take on as legendary pop culture figures, but with an evil twist. Thrawn immediately has an handicap at the Academy when his instructor, Deenlark, gives him a lieutenant’s plaque even though he’s a cadet. Of course, he uses this to his advantage. Houser also executes a pragmatic twist on the old “rookie hazing” trope with Thrawn devising an interesting punishment-by-way-of-promotion for his tormentors, who are at officer school because of nepotism. Thrawn doesn’t join the Empire for hubris or power trip reasons, but to solve problems in productive ways. He’s not a villain; he’s a consultant.

Thanks to Luke Ross’ screen toned, yet easy to follow art, Nolan Woodard’s blue and black color palette, and Jody Houser’s precise writing and plotting, Thrawn #1 is a riveting read even for the most origin story fatigued comic book/Star Wars fan.

Story: Jody Houser Art: Luke Ross Colors: Nolan Woodard
Story: 8.3 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.4 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Astonishing X-Men #5

The Shadow King and Charles Xavier continue their twisted game in the Astral Plane, competing for the very lives of Gambit, Rogue, Old Man Logan, Fantomex and Mystique. And back in the real world, this game is leaving lasting repercussions as Psylocke, Bishop and Angel attempt to defend London from Shadow King’s psychic attacks. With two of their allies fallen, can Xavier rally his X-Men for one final push against their foe?

Astonishing X-Men #5 continues the action as the Shadow King’s infection continues to spread and Charles gathers his troops for the final battle on the psychic plane. What’s interesting is that writer Charles Soule gives us a story where I’m not too sure that Xavier is the hero. His actions, words, and just something else, shows a duplicitous and dark nature since his “death.” While it’s great to see Xavier back, here we get a colder version far from the teacher he once was.

The story itself has a nice throwback vibe about it all reminding me of earlier stories where the X-Men and Shadow King do battle. There’s visuals from artist Ramon Rosanas that absolutely reflects back on what’s happened before. A prime example is the “battle armor” while on the psychic plane. The story that Soule has set up honors what’s come before while folding in a lot that’s new too, mostly the current dynamic of the characters.

The are for the issue is decent though doesn’t quite hook me. There’s some aspects that call back to what’s come before and some scenes that are interesting when it comes to the battle between Xavier and the Shadow King. The thing that’s really interesting is some dual stories as Xavier lays out his plan to some of the team while also talking to Fantomex. The way the two play out on the page is notable and enhances Soule’s script adding a sense of dread about where Xavier is leading Fantomex.

This is an interesting first arc that honors the past while setting up… something. I’m not 100% sure where Soule is going and have some guesses based on this issue. Out of the various “X” series out there, this one comes the closest to really capturing the X-Men of old and at the same time delivering something that feels new at the same time.

Story: Charles Soule Art: Ramon Rosanas Color: Nolan Woodard Letters: Clayton Cowles
Story: 7.5 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: W.M.D.: Weapons of Mutant Destruction #1

untitledTHE WEAPON X PROGRAM IS BACK! For years, the Weapon X Program has engineered the deadliest mutant killers on planet Earth, until they mysteriously vanished. Now, the Weapon X program is back, and it’s deadlier than ever, and it isn’t to use mutants for their lethal ends. Under the leadership of its mysterious new director, Weapon X has a new mission – ERADICATE ALL MUTANTS! And they’re starting their hunt with the most dangerous group of mutants on planet Earth – Old Man Logan, Sabretooth, Domino, Lady Deathstrike, Warpath and…the Hulk?! But with an army of genetic cyborgs at their disposal, this may just be the beginning.

I didn’t know what to expect when I heard about this crossover. I’m not very familiar with Amadeus Cho’s Hulk, other then what I read of him in The Champions, and wasn’t quite sure how he would meet up and work with this group of mutants. After the events in Weapon X that set up this crossover, and seeing Hulk join them, I’m excited to see this whole thing play out. Weapon X has just been ‘okay’ to me; nothing really exceptional was happening, except for the mystery of the new Weapon X program and how they now seem aimed at destroying mutants. And I have to say that I’m impressed with Greg Pak‘s opening issue into this story. I really like his handling of the characters, some allies and some enemies, working together to end a mutual threat. There is some fun banter back and forth, quips and sarcastic comments made between some of the reluctant allies and some moments that really let you see the person behind these would be heroes. I won’t reveal who it is running Weapon X now (but those reading Weapon X will know) and I love the hypocrisy of this persons methods to see their ultimate goal fulfilled. It’s a fitting character to be leading this new department and I can’t wait to see them come face to face with our band of heroes.

I am also liking the art that is being shown in this story. Mahmud Asrar does a really good job of showing us just how different this band of mutants are, by giving each their own distinct look and personality. And the action scenes, though few in this opening issue, really give each character a moment to shine. Even the opening scenes revealing the villains base of operations really set the tone of the Weapon X facility, thanks to Asrar and colorist Nolan Woodard. There is a dark feel to every panel, when it isn’t necessarily a dark scene, and I think it fits very well into this story and the characters at play here.

Overall, I really enjoyed the start of this crossover. These characters are being shown exactly how I would expect them to after being put into a group situation and the threat is very real for all involved, and mutants worldwide. I know, some may think ‘oh yeah, another worldwide disaster for mutants’ but this one isn’t some green poison cloud or a fiery cosmic bird; this is something more close to home. Weapon X is back in a deadly way but they’re about to meet up with some equally deadly mutants who aren’t very happy with what they’ve been up to. And I will definitely be along for the ride to see how it all comes to an end.

Story: Greg Pak Art: Mahmud Asrar Colors: Nolan Woodard
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Read

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE issue for review 

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