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Review: Unmade

UNMADE PREVIEW - COVERAl Vacarro is a made-man, with all the honors and responsibilities that entails. But after a lifetime of violence in service of the Castella crime family, the mob no longer holds any allure for Al. For the sake of his own family and his very soul, he needs out of “the life.” But how does a man escape the only world he’s ever known? Unmade is a tale of blood and desperation, and these are the last twenty-four hours of life as Al knows it.

I’m a fan of a comic you can pick up and read the entire thing front to back without needing to know anything, one-shots feel like a rarity these days. Unmade is just that, bringing the mob to comics. Even though this type of subject is a genre that we’ve seen dozens of times on film, television, comics, and books, Unmade still feels unique and I honestly had no idea where it was going.

Writer Brandon Barrows makes the main character Al just despicable enough to feel like he fits in the world of the mob, but at the same time we kind of want him to get out of the world for his family. What I think is really impressive is even though Barrows uses a lot of what might seem common in these types of stories, how he weaves the story, and the small details feel new. He’s done the impressive thing taking a well worn genre and giving us something new.

The art by Johnnie Christmas with colors by Josh Jensen is really solid and it reminds me a lot of what I’d expect from 80s British comics. The coloring especially has a bit of a “retro” vibe to it all. The story and style have a solid mix and compliment each other well.

This was a one-shot, but I actually want more! That’s the funny part, here’s a comic I’d love to see more of, or an anthology series. There’s lots of different options here, especially the way the comic ended. Barrows is a talented writer, and this comic shows off his abilities. If you’re a fan of indie comics, or classic mob stories, this is one to absolutely check out.

Writer: Brandon Barrows Artist: Johnnie Christmas Colors: Josh Jensen
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Reasonably Priced Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Unmade

Unmade

Writer: Brandon Barrows
Artist: Johnnie Christmas
Colors: Josh Jensen
Letters: E.T. Dollman
Cover: Johnnie Christmas & Shari Chankamma
comiXology, DriveThruComics, Physical Copy

Al Vacarro is a made-man, with all the honors and responsibilities that entails. But after a lifetime of violence in service of the Castella crime family, the mob no longer holds any allure for Al. For the sake of his own family and his very soul, he needs out of “the life.” But how does a man escape the only world he’s ever known? UNMADE is a tale of blood and desperation, and these are the last twenty-four hours of life as Al knows it.

UNMADE PREVIEW - COVER

RP Comics Review – Science #1, Jack Hammer: Political Science #3, Reasonable Priced Comics #2 and #3

Science #1

Science! CoverRP Comic’s latest entry into their anthologies, the comic lives up to its name and focuses on science fiction.  Five stories all too varying quality but overall a solid collection.

Surefire Means follows a crashed spaceship’s two remaining members and the one way to escape.  The story telling is great and the ending just caught me off guard.

Yours, Mine and Ours is the second entry and follows a squabbling couple on a remote base in space.  There’s some great humor here and has a nice Twilight Zone feel to it.

A Place in History, two explorers are caught underground in a cave.  The story is ok, and the twist is somewhat M. Night Shamalan.  I’m not quite sure it fits into the theme, but is a decent short story.

R-Net is another good Twilight Zone type story following a man who wants to take down a corporation.  He has a device that’ll allow him to do it over and over if he fails.  So what happens when he confronts the evil corporate head?

Lateral Murder is a murder mystery with detectives trying to figure out how someone was killed in a society that doesn’t allow murders.

All of the stories are good, some are in fact great.  RP Comics is a company that should definitely get your attention, as this issue shows, they do quality.

Writer: Brandon Barrows, Ted Woods, Jay Townsend, Martin Brandt II Art: Joel Cotejar, Ted Woods, Rowel Roque, Jay Townsend, Ionic Publisher: Reasonably Priced Comics

Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Jack Hammer: Political  Science #3

Jack Hammer: Political Science #3The third in a four part limited series.  The protagonist Jack Hammer is still on the trail of the murder and winds up going against a villain from his past.  The series is good.  It’s an entertaining mix of super heroes and a crime story and the dialogue of the characters, action of the story are all great.  There’s great flow to the story.

There’s also been a lot of growth over the three issues as far as the look and style of the characters.  It’s grown into its own and the style has grown on me.  Hair stands out a bit more which adds a bit of  depth to the characters (this was a problem in earlier issues).  The angles and use of panels is solid as well.

But with one more issue to go, we’ll see how the overall story holds up.  The third is just one chapter, but, it’s a pretty decent one.

Writer: Brandon Barrows Art: Ionic Publisher: Reasonably Priced Comics

Story: 7.5 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Reasonably Priced Comics #2 and #3

Reasonably Priced Comics #2The original anthology from Reasonably Priced Comics shows off some of what it does best.  Each issue has three stories in it, all by some talented folks.  This is a good group of folks coming together to put out some fun reads.

Voyaga continues in both issues following our stranded NASA pilot and the future world he’s wound up on.  It’s very Planet of the Apes but stands up on its own.  It’s a very entertaining story that’s almost worth picking up the three issues on its own.

My Way an extraterrestrial Rat Packer has to ditch the mob.  It’s a funny story that has its moments.

The Communicators, two individuals sit across from each other working for their entire lives.  Then the ending just comes up and hits you in the gut.

In the third issue along with Voyaga we have two more entries.Reasonably Priced Comics #3

Kidthulhu has a following and you can see why.  A really funny comic that involves Kidthulhu playing fetch with his dog.  It got me to laugh a few times throughout it.

Western Addition – “Dinner Guests” is a western shoot out that just comes out of nowhere.  Lots of bullets fly around and then it just kind of wraps up.  I’m not the biggest western fan but this was decent with a feel that fits the genre.

These two issues are just solid examples of what this company does.  All of those involved are talented writers and artists and I have them on my radar to expect some solid work in the future, because what they’re doing now is pretty damn good.

Writer: Brandon Barrows, Alex De-Gruchy, Michael Nichols, Martin Brandt II Artist: Ionic, Robert Durham, Joshua Calloway, Jason Stephens, Leandro Panganiban Publisher: Reasonably Priced Comics

Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Reasonably Priced Comics provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review

Review – Jack Hammer: Political Science #2


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Jack Hammer Political Science #2The second issue of Jack Hammer: Political Science continues much of what I’d expect. The series is an interesting mix of noir, detective and super hero comics, with a lot I like. There’s just something entertaining about it, and helps it’s an indie comic which I’m a fan of supporting.

Jack McGriskin has been many things: a juvenile delinquent, a soldier, a boxer…a superhero. Now he’s a private investigator who keeps finding that while he can ditch the spandex, he can’t leave behind the heroics!

In his first limited series, the ”Political Science” storyline, Jack is hired to find a missing business executive only to have him turn up dead under bizarre circumstances. When the company that hired him tells him to back off, he is even more determined to get to the bottom of the case and the leads he follows may lead him back to a world he thought he’d left behind.

The second issue starts to get more into that whole political end of things, giving hints as to who’s behind things.  There’s a lot that’s going on here with the usual detective novel traps.  And it works, even with the genre being flooded with choices.  The series continues to impress me, and hopefully you’ll give it a shot too.

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Review – Reasonably Priced Comics #1


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Reasonably Priced ComicsI like anthologies, even when the stories are so varied as the first issue of Reasonably Priced Comics #1.  It’s best to take each story on their own to really explain how much I enjoyed each.

Voyaga – “One Small Step”

Written by Brandon Barrows with art by Rudolf Mantemayor, this sci-fi story is a great pulp tale reminiscent of great B-movies.  The story follows an astronaut who will make a journey to another planet but something goes horribly wrong.  It’s pulp fun, and reminds me a lot of Planet of the Apes.  Great cheesy sci-fi and I ate it up.

Chu’s World – “My Girlfriend is a Gamer”

The story and art is by Chu Wei and it’s hilarious looking at the relationship one person has with his video game playing girlfriend.  I love my video games and really appreciated it, finding myself laughing at numerous times.  Great stuff.

Laces

Written by Martin Brandt II with art by Silvina Rinaldi this is a horror story that’s pretty twisted and involves shoe laces.  It definitely needs a second part to explain what the hell was going on.

The three stories couldn’t be any more different, but all of them are quite solid.  Reasonably Priced Comics as a company is a great find, and I’m looking forward to seeing what they produce down the road.

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Review – Jack Hammer: Political Science #1


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Jack Hammer: Political Science #1I get excited when I come across a comic book company I’ve never heard of and get a chance to check out what they have to offer.  Reasonably Priced Comics is one of those companies and I got a chance to check out two of their offerings, the first of which is reviewed here.

When I saw the title Jack Hammer: Political Science #1 I imagined a series of political intrigue that might hearken back to my days as a political science major.  Instead I’m thrown for a loop as it’s a pretty entertaining detective comic with superhero elements.

Jack McGriskin has been many things: a juvenile delinquent, a soldier, a boxer…a superhero. Now he’s a private investigator who keeps finding that while he can ditch the spandex, he can’t leave behind the heroics!

In his first limited series, the “Political Science” storyline, Jack is hired to find a missing business executive only to have him turn up dead under bizarre circumstances. When the company that hired him tells him to back off, he is even more determined to get to the bottom of the case and the leads he follows may lead him back to a world he thought he’d left behind.

The writing is actually very solid, to the point I want to see what comes next in the second issue.  The art is a little rough, but also good.  You can see a lot of potential and there’s only some minor issues I have with it.

Overall, if you like detective stories, Jack Hammer: Political Science is worth checking out because 1) you’re supporting a smaller independent publisher and 2) it’s a really good read.

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