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Review: Armorclads #1

Armorclads #1

As warring nations in a different solar system are locked in a continuing battle for supremacy wielding advanced exoskeletal known as Armorclads, a new rebellion is about to be sparked when one of the genetically engineered workers in construction-class mechs called Ironclads is killed. Now, by taking the fight to their oppressors, the Ironclads including Peris, Lela and Jac will soon discover a destiny defined by legacy.

I’ll be completely honest here – I always think that I am not the biggest fan of sci fi stories, armoured suits and the like generally don’t do it for me, but almost every time I read a comic set off planet I find myself enjoying it. Whether that’s because it’s a new flavour for my palette or I am a secret sci fi fan I honestly have no idea, but almost every time I come across a sci fi comic book I find something to like about it. With Armorclads #1 it’s not the art (which is fantastic), or the plot of the comic, but rather the very subtle middle finger to authority that writers JJ O’Connor and Brian Buccalleto have simmering just behind every page.

There’s a sense of rage and rebellion to the pages, and much to my surprise, it has transformed what I assumed (hoped?) would be a good comic into a really damn good one. Given how both the US and Canada (I’d say “the world” but honestly I’m not sure I want to make such a broad claim) seems to be learning that not only do workers have rights, but that in some cases if you lose those workers then you’re a little screwed on your bottom line, Armorclads #1 is a remarkably timely comic. As I hinted at earlier, the story of the comic is also really good, and will easily hold up on future readings in years to come, and focuses on a group of miners on a distant planet named Zeru who are about to become embroiled in a more than they would ever bargain for.

O’Connor and Buccalleto embue the characters with a sense of camaraderie that doesn’t feel forced at all, and will likely be familiar to any who have at least a passing familiarity with working in the trades or friends who do; the miners are a tight knit group, and it shows. The closeness of the characters drives the story, with everything that flows from the opening pages making complete sense within the context that we’ve been shown over the 20 odd pages of the comic.

The comic’s artistic team, penciller Manuel Garcia, inker Raul Fernandez, colourist Rex Lokus, and letterer Dave Sharpe, really give the book a visual identity that emphasizes the alien nature of Xeru whilst keeping it oddly familiar at the same time. Armorclads #1 looks like a dream; there’s really nothing I can say about what the artistic team have delivered that is anything less than positive. There’s lush vistas, technological backgrounds that aren’t overly flashy or beyond comprehensive, and creatures that are equal parts alien and familiar in their buglike creepiness.

Armorclads #1 is a rush, and serves to remind us all of why Valiant should always be on your radar whenever they’re releasing a new series.

Writers: JJ O’Connor and Brian Buccellato
Penciller: Manuel Garcia Inker: Raul Fernandez Colourist Rex Lokus Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Story: 8.8 Art: 9 Overall: 8.9 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXology/KindleZeus ComicsTFAW

Preview: Armorclads #1

Armorclads #1

Written by JJ O’CONNOR & BRIAN BUCCELLATO
Art by MANUEL GARCÍA
Inks by RAÜL FERNÁNDEZ
Colors by REX LOKUS
Letters by DAVE SHARPE
Cover A by BAGUS HUTOMO
Variant Covers by MARCO MASTRAZZO & JEREMY ROBERTS
Pre-order Cover by KAEL NGU
Distressed Metal 1/250 Variant by LIVIO RAMONDELLI, designed by TRAVIS ESCARFULLERY
On sale March 23rd | 32 pages, full color | $3.99 US | T+

Explore a brand new corner of the Valiant Universe!

In a different solar system, advanced mechs known as Armorclads are used to fight wars and build worlds. On Xeru, genetically engineered workers live out their short lives mining a valuable mineral called The Pure in construction-class mechs known as Ironclads. When one of their own is killed, the Ironclads’ world is turned upside down and they defy their oppressors. Along the way, they’ll discover they’re embroiled in a mystery dating back centuries that could change the world forever—as long as they band together.

Armorclads #1

Review: Future State: The Next Batman #1

Future State: The Next Batman #1

With John Ridley writing the main story, there’s no way I wasn’t going to read Future State: The Next Batman #1. A new Batman in a fascist Gotham written by Ridley is a combination that’s right up my alley. And even with a high bar to cover, I was not only pleased, but excited to read the next issue and wishing we were getting more than two.

In this future Gotham, a militaristic police called The Magistrate has taken over pushing the Gotham P.D. to the side. “The Bat” and masks are outlawed and hunted down. A new Batman is in town not just stopping crime but attempting to save masks from a fate at the hand of the Magistrate.

Ridley delivers such a strong opening and familiar but different take on the character. There’s a classic Batman vibe to it all going back to the basics of a man in a costume with his grappling hook and smoke. It’s theatrical in many ways and feels like a cross of the early years of the character and Batman 1989. Ridley also spins things a bit with layers on the fascism and vigilantism. Some take Batman as an extension of a rightwing agenda as far as justice but to see him rail against an overreaching government is a nice and different spin. It makes me want to see Ridley release a maxi-series further exploring the concepts touched upon here.

The art by Nick Derington is top-notch. There are so many panels and pages that evoke classic Batman with a few paying an homage to classic imagery. Derington is joined by Tamra Bonvillain on color and Clayton Cowles on colors. The combination creates a look and feel of a “classic Batman” story and some of the modern classics that use the shadows to evoke fear and excitement for what’s to come.

Future State: The Next Batman #1 is one of the expanded “Future State” issues featuring two other stories.

Outsiders” is written by Brandon Thomas with art by Sumit Kumar, ink by Kumar and Raul Fernandez, color by Jordie Bellaire, and lettering by Steve Wands. We get to see a new crew of Outsiders as they attempt to take down The Magistrate. It’s a great extension of the world in the main story showing more of the resistance against the fascist police. There’s a lot packed into the story really setting things up and creating a world out of a dozen pages or so. It feels in a way two short stories itself but is such a strong entry that expands the world and compliments the main story. The art is fantastic as well delivering some great action.

Arkham Knights Chapter 1 Rise” is written by Paul Jenkins with art by Jack Herbert, color by Gabe Eltaeb, and lettering by Rob Leigh. Much like the other story, this one also adds a lot to this new world. The Arkham Knights is a squad of Batman villains who have come together to take on The Magistrate. There’s a Suicide Squad vibe about it but the concept and how it’s presented is really interesting. It’s the specifics of the concept that really stand out. The art too is great with updates to classic characters.

Future State: The Next Batman #1 is a winner of a comic. I wanted to read more immediately and now I want an entire series exploring this world. There’s some great concepts here and an interesting exploration of the line between justice and fascism. Where the line is drawn is a great concept to dive in to and this comic dances around it with some fantastic writing and characters. A lot is packed into the extended issue and it’s such a welcome addition to the DC and Batman mythology.

Story: John Ridley, Brandon Thomas, Paul Jenkins Art: Nick Derington, Sumit Kumar, Jack Herbert
Ink: Sumit Kumar, Raul Fernandez Color: Tamra Bonvillain, Jordie Bellaire, Gabe Eltaeb

Letterer: Clayton Cowles, Steve Wands, Rob Leigh
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyAmazonKindleZeus Comics

Preview: Justice League Dark #19

Justice League Dark #19

(W) James Tynion IV (A) Alvaro Eduardo Martinez Bueno, Raul Fernandez (CA) Yanick Paquette
In Shops: Jan 29, 2020
SRP: $3.99

It’s Wonder Woman versus Circe in an all-out brawl for the fate of the magical world! Does the Justice League Dark stand a chance against their evil counterparts? Maybe, but one of our heroes will have to make a deal with their greatest enemy to secure a power that could turn the tide of this Witching War! Will it be enough? Find out in the thrilling conclusion to this tale!

Justice League Dark #19

Preview: Justice League Dark #18

Justice League Dark #18

(W) James Tynion IV (A) Alvaro Eduardo Martinez Bueno, Raul Fernandez (CA) Yanick Paquette
In Shops: Jan 01, 2020
SRP: $3.99

With Eclipso by her side, the new goddess of magic, Circe, is unstoppable! As she rewrites the rules of magic, the Justice League Dark must work to free themselves from Eclipso’s grasp. Can they escape in time to save magic from the clutches of the Injustice League Dark once and for all? Or are they doomed to spend eternity trapped in the shadows?

Justice League Dark #18

Preview: Marvel Vault of Heroes: Hulk: Biggest & Best

Marvel Vault of Heroes: Hulk: Biggest & Best

(W) Paul Benjamin (A) David Nakayama, Juan Santacruz, Gary Martin, Mario Gully, Scott Koblish, Raul Fernandez, Steve Scott, Nathan Massengill, Terry Pallot (CA) Carlo Pagulayan
In Shops: Jan 01, 2020
SRP: $17.99

Collecting the richest Marvel adventures for young readers! Break into the history of Bruce Banner and his transformation into the HULK, and then read along as heroes like the Fantastic Four, Silver Surfer, and Doctor Strange battle to protect Earth! They’ll face off against a rogues gallery of foes ranging from Radioactive Man, Dormammu, Terrax, Doc Samson, and even Juggernaut. Collects Marvel Adventures Hulk Issues #1-12.

Marvel Vault of Heroes: Hulk: Biggest & Best

Preview: Justice League Dark #16

Justice League Dark #16

(W) James Tynion IV (A) Alvaro Martinez, Raul Fernandez (CA) Yanick Paquette
In Shops: Oct 23, 2019
SRP: $3.99

Deep in the basement archives of the Hall of Justice, home to the most dangerous magic the Justice League has ever encountered, there is an artifact so powerful it could rip the world in half. Circe knows it’s there, and with the Injustice League Dark at her side, nobody can stop her from obtaining it. The Witching War strikes close to home in its deadliest chapter yet!

Justice League Dark #16

Preview: Justice League Dark #15

Justice League Dark #15

(W) James Tynion IV (A) Alvaro Martinez, Raul Fernandez (CA) Guillem March
In Shops: Sep 25, 2019
SRP: $3.99

The Floronic Man, Papa Midnite, Klarion the Witch Boy, Solomon Grundy…Circe has gathered her Injustice League Dark for a reason, and it is going to tear the world of magic apart! Just as Wonder Woman thought the realms of magic were back under control, a new witching war brought on by this unstoppable group of villains threatens to destroy everything. Can she find out what Circe is after, and stop her before it’s too late?

Justice League Dark #15

Preview: Justice League Dark #14

Justice League Dark #14

(W) James Tynion IV (A) Alvaro Martinez, Raul Fernandez (CA) Guillem March
In Shops: Aug 28, 2019
SRP: $3.99

The rules of magic have changed forever, and the Justice League Dark is ready to keep the peace in the magical world! But that peace will be shattered as Circe takes center stage, gathering a team of magic’s most dangerous monsters to take control of magic once and for all!

Justice League Dark #14

Preview: Justice League Dark #12

Justice League Dark #12

(W) James Tynion IV (A/CA) Alvaro Eduardo Martinez Bueno, Raul Fernandez
RATED T+
In Shops: Jun 26, 2019
SRP: $3.99

Newly powered up by Mordru, the Justice League Dark have become the Lords of Chaos to stop Doctor Fate before it’s too late! But will this deal with the devil cost more than Wonder Woman and her team bargained for?

Justice League Dark #12
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