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Preview: Power Pack #5 (of 5)

Power Pack #5 (of 5)

(W) Ryan North (A) Nico Leon (CA) Mirka Andolfo
Rated T
In Shops: Apr 14, 2021
SRP: $3.99

• It all comes down to this! Over the course of this series, the Power Pack has been manipulated, exploited and stolen from, and YOU’VE paid to see it happen! But don’t worry, because with this issue, NOW you’ll be paying to see them SUCCEED!!!
• …Unless, SOMEHOW, the problems they’ve got CAN’T be solved, not even if they team up with a guy with knives that pop out of his hands?
• That’s right, Wolverine completionists, your favorite Canadian is in this issue too! Along with Jack and Katie and Julie and Alex and THRILLING EVENTS REACHING AN ULTIMATE CONCLUSION, whose details shall not be spoiled here!!!
• The PACK is BACK! At least until you finish this issue.
• Aww, now I just made myself sad.

Power Pack #5 (of 5)

Preview: Power Pack #4 (of 5)

Power Pack #4 (of 5)

(W) Ryan North (A) Nico Leon (CA) Javi Garron
Rated T
In Shops: Mar 03, 2021
SRP: $3.99

• Hey guys, what’s up? Jack “MASS MASTER” Power here, and I’m narrating this issue of Power Pack, so they also let me do the solicit! JULIE narrated the last issue, and we all saw how well THAT went (aw, just kidding, Julie) (…unless?), so it’s time for the big guns! Let’s master some mass in this thing!!
• Anyway, bad news, Massheads – in this issue I get PLAYED by my HATERS into FIGHTING FOR MY LIFE against someone who is trying to MESS UP MY ENTIRE FAMILY, so let’s just say: Things get a little TOO real!
• Also there’s a special guest star…WOLVERINE!! He’s on the cover. I tried to get them to add a red arrow to it, pointing toward him with a circle around his claws, but they said that was “clickbait,” and I said, “Lol, I know.”
• And remember: Real heroes don’t forget to like (this comic) and subscribe (to this comic through their local comic book store).

Power Pack #4 (of 5)

Preview: Power Pack #3 (of 5)

Power Pack #3 (of 5)

(W) Ryan North (A) Nico Leon (CA) Carlos E. Gomez
Rated T
In Shops: Feb 10, 2021
SRP: $3.99

• The Power Pack is in over their heads (metaphorically) as their powers are (literally) about to start misbehaving and shutting down!
• Only they don’t know that yet, which is what’s known to STUFFY OLD LITERATURE PROFESSORS as “dramatic irony” and known to everyone else as “oh dang, that’s some exciting and suspenseful comic soliciting!” Sophocles used it! Shakespeare used it! Now it is our turn to experience dramatic irony.
• As if that weren’t enough, the Power Pack faces ANOTHER threat they never saw coming, delivered to them by special guest…TASKMASTER!
• Honestly, given how badly things are going, it really seems that one or more of the Power Pack should die in this issue. DO THEY?
• Heck, you’ll have to buy this (Julie-narrated!) issue to find out!

Power Pack #3 (of 5)

Brett’s Favorite Comics of 2020 and a Reflection on the Past Year

The Recount #1

It feels weird writing a “best of” list for the past year since it’s been so difficult for so many. Writer Ron Marz Tweeted something like any comic that helped to get you through it is a favorite, and deep down I agree with that. It’s been a rough year for so many and it’s one where the comic industry was forced to mature and face reality in many ways.

Things shifted for everyone.

Publishers canceled projects, shifted schedules, and looked to go directly to the consumer. Creators looked for new ways to earn money and also go directly to the consumer. Stores were forced to market more taking to video, email, and social media to keep customers aware of the latest offerings and remind them of classics they might have missed. Some stores didn’t make it through the year. Others expanded. New ones joined the industry. Consumers had more choices than ever before that made it easier to escape the world burning around them and find enjoyment in make-believe worlds where justice prevails in the end.

In the end, though 2020 looked bleak, it left the comic industry as a whole stronger than ever before.

It feels weird doing this “best of” but at the same time I feel like I want to “honor” and spotlight the comics that got me through the year and had me excited to read the next issues. This is what I’ve read so if you don’t see something mentioned it’s not that I didn’t enjoy it, I just might not have read it. Sorry, I can’t read everything (there was a massive glut in webcomics and manga for me).

So, in a bit different spin I’ve split this list into three sections.

  1. Comics where I’ve only read one issue so far, because that’s what’s been released, but am excited to see what comes in the new year.
  2. Comics I enjoyed each month and are kind of a “silver medal” for me. I wanted to acknowledge them but also didn’t want this to be an overwhelming essay. They’ll get more of a nod when I do a video of this.
  3. The ones I was excited to read each month or had an impact on me. These are the ones that go into my regular suggestions of comics to read down the road. The art, the stories, the presentation, they’re all at that “top of the game” level.

All of these are listed in no particular order (hell it’ll probably just be in alphabetical). Enough with the rambling… lets get on with some comics!

2020 gave us one, here’s ones I’m excited to read their second issues in 2021!

  • Batman: Black & White #1 – The first issue had some solid stories but it’s the art that really stood out. It was mind-blowing and one of the best comics visually released this year. Almost every story broke away from standard panels and was just amazing to look at. I have no idea if future issues will be like this but here’s hoping.
  • Black Cat #1 – The last volume was a lot of fun to read and this first issue continued that. Despite being a King in Black tie-in, the issue kept the focus on what Black Cat does best, steal things as everything collapses around her. There’s just a certain style and attitude that the creative team nails with this. It was a fun debut that you could just sit back, laugh while reading, and enjoy.
  • M.O.D.O.K.: Head Games #1 – Marvel’s trying to make M.O.D.O.K. a thing. It’s kind of been his year between an upcoming HULU series, a popular miniature in Marvel: Crisis Protocol, and this comic. The first issue had me laughing and I’m hoping that continues.
  • The Other History of the DC Universe #1 – John Ridley is one of my favorite creators out there. His work in film and television have blown me away. It looks like DC has given him the opportunity to deliver a brutally honest take about the DC Universe from the perspective of people of color and the first issue is one of the best things I read all year. I can’t wait until the second and this man should be allowed to do whatever he wants.
  • The Recount #1 – The issue hit a bit close to reality. The President is a crook and assassinated and there’s an uprising to purge the country of everyone who supported him, from the Vice President down to voters. It was a hell of an opening issue and one that was chilling in so many ways.
Shang-Chi #1

Comics to check out…

These were all great reads and should go on your reading pile. These are ones I made sure to read every month and jumped at reading as soon as they crossed my desk. They’ll all get more love in my video version of this.

The comics that really stood out for the year.

All of these comics were ones that kept me thinking well after I read them and I’d be happy to read them again. Many are still ongoing while others have wrapped up their runs. Each stands out in its own special way.

Ginseng Roots #3
  • Black Widow – Kelly Thompson, Elena Casagrande, Jordie Bellaire, and Cory Petit are the main creators on what’s been released so far and every issue has been amazing. Black Widow has been captured and brainwashed into believing a domestic life is real and hers. There’s been a great mix of humor, action, in this spy thriller and it’s sure to ramp up now based on the latest issue’s final moments. This is a great mix of storytelling and visual coolness.
  • Dead Day – Man, I really want this to be done as a television series and absolutely need more comics. Ryan Parrot, Evgeniy Bornyakov, Juancho!, and Charles Pritchett deliver a masterclass in world-building. Not only do they deliver an interesting story but have crafted a bigger world. For one night, the dead return, and while the comic really told the story of one family, each issue fleshed out enough of what this event’s impact would be elsewhere to get you to think and imagine.
  • Far Sector – N.K. Jemisin, Jamal Campbell, and Deron Bennett have breathed a breath of fresh air into the Green Lanterns with this series. We’re taken to an alien world where a new Lantern named Jo must solve a murder which takes her deep into a corrupt society. It does what science fiction does best, explore our real world. The visuals are stunning as well in what is a comic that’s timely capturing the current zeitgeist.
  • Ginseng Roots – Craig Thompson explores his childhood in what’s one of the most original comics this year. In a small format and with minimal colors, the comic tells us the history of ginseng and Thompson’s childhood.
  • Harley Quinn Black + White + Red – DC really shook things up this year and one way was a greater focus on digital releases. This series was an anthology that delivered a different creative team with every chapter. We got to see over a dozen different takes on Harley Quinn each of which was entertaining. If you want to see how much the creators matter when it comes to the storytelling, here you go. This is also a perfect example of where digital comics should be going from major publishers.
  • Kill a Man – This story focused on a gay man’s battles within the world of MMA was an updated take on the Rocky formula and done so well. You can come at it as a fan of MMA, as someone who’s LGBTQ, both, or just wanting good storytelling. Emotional with great action, it’s a home run from the team of Steve Orlando, Phillip Kennedy Johnson, Al Morgan, and Jim Campbell.
  • Superman Smashes the Klan – The miniseries was collected and it’s amazing. Gene Luen Yang, Gurihiru, and Janice Chiang deliver a comic that captures the heart of Superman. Based on the groundbreaking radio play where Superman takes on the KKK, this comic is amazing in every aspect, from the story to the visuals. Add in some extra material from Yang about his own experiences and it becomes a comic everyone should read and one that helps define Superman in one of his best depictions ever.
  • Vlad Dracul – Matteo Strukul, Andrea Mutti, Vladimir Popov, and Joel Rodriguez tell us the story about the very real Vlad, the inspiration for Dracula. I learned a hell of a lot and would love to see more comics like this. It’s a crazy read that can be enjoyed for the history and education and/or the brutal story itself that would fit any fantasy world.
  • We Live – The first issue was perfection and got me to choke up. Each subsequent issue has built upon the world. In this story humanity is almost over but a mysterious entity from space will save 5,000 children but first they must get to extraction points. This is a few kids’ stories and their journey of survival. By Inaki Miranda, Roy Miranda, Eva De La Cruz, and Dave Sharpe each issue is visually amazing plus there’s some awesome bonus music you can listen to while reading.
  • Yasmeen – Talk about an emotional gut-punch with each issue. Saif A. Ahmed, Fabiana Mascolo, and Robin Jones tell the story of Yasmeen who was captured and tortured by Isis and her attempt to deal with the PTSD while settling after in the United States. Just an amazing blend of storytelling and real recent history.

Review: Power Pack #2

Power Pack #2

Within a few pages of Power Pack #2, I found myself laughing. The comic delivers a fun spin on the rather serious issue of kids under the age of 21 being superheroes, part of the “Outlawed” storyline running through various series. But, this one does so with intelligence and spin that fits the personality of the team.

Written by Ryan North, Power Pack #2 does a solid job of balancing being a part of an “event” storyline and having its own voice. Like the first issue, it’s folded into the story as opposed to it being an event the characters are plopped into. With the second issue opening, the team has been surrounded by C.R.A.D.L.E. who’s ready to arrest them for breaking the law. While you’d expect the confrontation to turn into a fight and then the kids running, North handles it in a very unique and interesting way. The kids show off their intelligence and attitude delivering what feels like a solid and satisfying end to the situation.

Ryan peppers the issue with laughs as the kids have to find a mentor so they can continue to do good. The comic is filled with a series of short encounters as they attempt to recruit one, each resulting in laughs. The comic is funny. Very funny. I found myself sporting a smile throughout and literally laughing out loud multiple times. There’s a cute, fun, playful sense of it all and again North has me longing for this to all continue for a long time.

North is helped by Nico Leon who handles the art and Rachelle Rosenberg who does the colors. Travis Lanham handles the lettering. The art helps nail the jokes as many are as much the visuals as they are the dialogue. The body language, the facial expressions, the lingering of a kid, it all comes together to perfect the delivery. The art and lettering as well help convey a youthful enthusiasm that makes it all really fun. That’s the big thing about this issue, it’s just a hell of a lot of fun.

Power Pack #2 is an event tie-in done right. It doesn’t get dragged down by its constraints and instead uses it to really make its characters stand out and just have fun with it. The issue tackled is a potentially serious one, a tone that doesn’t match the team. So, the creative team keeps things in the Power Pack’s court making sure they’re front and center and the event is just another storyline.

Story: Ryan North Art: Nico Leon
Color: Rachelle Rosenberg Letterer: Travis Lanham
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Preview: comiXologyKindleZeus Comics

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Avengers #40

Wednesdays (and now Tuesdays) 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

Each week our contributors choose what they can’t wait to read this week or just sounds interesting. In other words, this is what we’re looking forward to and think you should be taking a look at!

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

Avengers #40 (Marvel) – “Enter the Phoenix” begins as the cosmic force returns to Earth looking for a new host.

Bad Reception (AfterShock) – If you missed the individual issues of this slasher horror comic, now’s your chance to see what you missed.

Batman Annual #5 (DC Comics) – Clownhunter gets the spotlight in this issue where we learn more about the intriguing character.

Dark Nights: Death Metal The Last 52: War of the Multiverses #1 (DC Comics) – The event wraps up next week but we’re getting one final spin-off one-shot before the big finale.

Ghost Rider: Return of Vengeance #1 (Marvel) – The rather interesting Ghost Rider gets the focus in the next chapter in that pocket of the Marvel universe.

Kaiju Score #2 (AfterShock) – A robbery under the cover of a kaiju attack is a nice twist on the genre. The first issue had a lot of personality and details that stood out and where this all goes should be a lot of fun.

Nailbiter Returns #8 (Image Comics) – The horror series wraps up the year and it’s been a great addition and return. It’s proof not all horror sequels have to stink.

Power Pack #2 (Marvel) – The first issue was a fun return of the team of kids. The tie-in to “Outlawed” also has worked out well so far. There’s a nice mix of event and standing on its own and it has us wanting an ongoing series.

Transformers: Escape #1 (IDW Publishing) – A new limited series that spins out of “World War”. With war raging, the Ark program is reactivated to get those caught in the crossfire off the planet.

Exclusive Preview: Power Pack #2 (of 5)

Power Pack #2 (of 5)

(W) Ryan North (A) Nico Leon (C) Rachelle Rosenberg (CA) Stefano Caselli
Rated T
In Shops: Dec 30, 2020
SRP: $3.99

THE PACK IN PRISON?!
• Okay, so MAYBE it’s illegal for minors to fight crime in costume, dispensing vigilante justice as they see fit. MAYBE.
• But not if they have a mentor! Then it’s totally fine! So now all the Pack need is an adult willing to let them do whatever they want.
• It’s a voyage (or at least a two-page spread) across the Marvel Universe to find a mentor!
• But what if everything doesn’t go smoothly? What if there’s CONFLICT and EVENTS?
• The Power Pack faces adversity, betrayal and more in this Alex-narrated issue!

Power Pack #2 (of 5)

Review: Power Pack #1

Power Pack #1

Power Pack is a team that’s always been the “guest stars” to me. I remember reading some of their adventures when I was really young. A “special message” comic stands out, a simple public service announcement in comic form. I think the topic was staying off of drugs. It was the 1980s and that was a pretty common thing then. Then again, brushing my teeth as a topic also feels like a thing. The 80s were weird. Over the decades, my exposure has generally been limited to the characters appearing in other comics. But, after years in that role, the team is back in the spotlight with Power Pack #1. They’ve also stepped into a very different Marvel landscape.

Writer Ryan North delivers a fun start as the team is back together after their various adventures. They’re also struggling with what to do next. While there might be more enjoyment for those who have kept up with the characters, Power Pack #1 does a fantastic job of laying things out so you don’t need to. There’s references to aging up and space adventures but for this comic, those are more explanations for long-time fans than anything that impacts the story.

Instead, the story keeps things focused and simple. Through an amazing comic within a comic, new readers learn the history of the characters and team as the Power Pack struggle with whether they should tell their parents their secret. The interactions, the humor, it all comes together for a first issue that’s fun, funny, adorable, and has me wanting to come back for more and more. This feels like kids being kids at times and North nails their voices down when it comes to that.

What North also does is throw them directly into the frying pan. The “Outlawed” storyline has been a mish-mash of various series and impacts this one too. It doesn’t feel backed in at all but rather organic, something so many event tie-ins do not. “Outlawed” has underage superheroes banned unless they register and get a mentor to be trained. What’s not explained is why the Power Pack is completely unaware of the law but easily can be explained that they just don’t watch television or read the newspaper. But, no matter the reason, it works and works well for this miniseries.

The entertainment value of it all is helped by Nico Leon‘s art. Joined by Rachelle Rosenberg on color and Travis Lanham‘s lettering, the comic has a youthful look to it. There’s an style about it that fits the kids at the center of it all. The colors pop and the excitement of the character’s at times pop off of the page. There’s also an interesting use of panels with the more mundane family life framed in squares and rectangles and the action featuring more angled panels and images that break them. There’s just something very unique in how it’s all presented and the art pops.

Power Pack #1 is a fun start to the series. There’s a youthful energy about it befitting the characters and it’s hard to not smile while reading it. There’s so much to love about this first issue and it already has me hoping for more after this run is up. Power Pack #1 is exactly what comics should be, a hell of a lot of fun.

Story: Ryan North Art: Nico Leon
Color: Rachelle Rosenberg Letterer: Travis Lanham
Story: 8.4 Art: 8.4 Overall: Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus Comics

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

THE RED #1

Wednesdays (and now Tuesdays) 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!

Each week our contributors choose what they can’t wait to read this week or just sounds interesting. In other words, this is what we’re looking forward to and think you should be taking a look at!

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

Ever: The Way Out (Abstract Studios) – Terry Moore shifts to graphic novels and while we love his serialized comics, a complete story has us excited. This one about prophecies and fallen angels has us very intrigued.

I Walk With Monsters #1 (Vault Comics) – A story about the monsters within as a woman runs into the man who took away her brother.

Kaiju Score #1 (AfterShock) – It’s the most dangerous heist ever attempted. Four desperate criminals are going all in on a once-in-a-lifetime chance to steal millions in art and turn their miserable lives around. The catch? They have to pull it off under the nose of a one thousand-ton Kaiju.

Nailbiter Returns #7 (Image Comics) – The series has been a blast as its had fun with horror tropes keeping readers on their toes and delivering laughs.

The Other History of the DC Universe #1 (DC Comics/DC Black Label) – The first issue is absolutely brilliant as the talented John Ridley explores the DC Universe through the viewpoint of its minority characters.

Paris 2119 (Magnetic Press) – Instantaneous teleportation has altered almost every facet of human civilization but that progress has a price. The sci-fi/cyberpunk story has us intrigued.

Power Pack #1 (Marvel) – The Power Pack is back! But, with a law restricting underage superheroes, will they be able to continue to save the day?

The Red #1 (Heavy Metal Virus) – A single government runs the world after a nuclear war and content deemed emotionally dangerous is prohibited. A group of musicians discovers they’re the key to overthrowing the totalitarian government.

Science Comics: Rocks & Minerals (First Second) – Fun for kids and adults, this series are great graphic novels to learn about their topics.

Shang-Chi #3 (Marvel) – The first two issues have been fantastic as the team has reworked a problematic character. It’s full of action and adding so much depth to the character’s history.

Undiscovered Country #10 (Image Comics) – The series has kept us guessing as to what will happen next. The fact we’re constantly surprised is a good thing.

Yasmeen #4 (Scout Comics) – One of the best comics to come out this year, it’s been heartbreaking every issue.

The Witcher: Fading Memories #1 (Dark Horse) – If you’re a fan of the show, check out the new series!

X-O Manowar #2 (Valiant) – The series has been an interesting look at modern superheroes so far as X-O Manowar attempts to figure out his place in the world. The second issue really focuses on what the impact of superheroes would be in a real-world setting.

Preview: Power Pack #1 (of 5)

Power Pack #1 (of 5)

(W) Ryan North (A) Nico Leon (CA) Ryan Stegman
Rated T
In Shops: Nov 25, 2020
SRP: $3.99

Power Pack is back! Katie, Julie, Jack and Alex Power have been ssuper-heroing since they were learning to tie their own shoes. It’s been ages since they fought side by side as a family, but a special occasion – and an old grudge – is about to put the gang back together. There’s just one teeny tiny hiccup: a brand-new law restricting underage super heroes! But surely, if the fate of all New York City is at stake, the powers that be will make an exception? Keep your fingers crossed as the Power siblings fight for their right to save the world!

Power Pack #1 (of 5)
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