Tag Archives: renzo podesta

Review: Among the Willows #5


One of the best shows of this year,was an incomplete idea by the iconic Bruce Lee. Based on a story idea he drafted almost thirty years ago, his daughter ended up reviving it in one of the most tumultuous times in history. The stories of people of color throughout history are now being told and this particular one is not only timely but significant as it brings up the issue of sex slavery.

It’s an issue that’s still a world epidemic. Within the show, we find a complicated world where passage to America means doing work that is less than desirable. The show also displayed in equal measure the fortitude required to rise above your station, as Olivia Cheng’s Ah Toy does. In the fifth issue of Among The Willows, the boys’ new ally, who reminds me of Ah Toy, takes us to a place where their reason for fighting becomes multiplied.

We find the gang deliberating about helping their new ally, Liu, with a set of unknown risks that can lead them to their death. As tensions rise, so do the differences between them. Liu’s cousin enters the picture. As he reaches the saloon he has Gideon’s men hot on his trail which forces one of our heroes to act. Liu’s cousin reveals to the gang the horrors that he and others endured making Mathis’s and Dawson’s minds up once and for all. By issue’s end, the gang prepares for the final showdown, one that can spell death for each of them

Overall, an electrifying issue that is slower in pace but remembers to tell a great story. The story by Adam Meadors and Sam Romesburg is superb and cerebral. The art by the creative team is remarkable. Altogether, a story that crackles with heat, utilizing story devices from modern action movies.

Story: Adam Meadors and Sam Romesburg
Art: Bruno Chiroleu
and Renzo Podesta
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Among the Willows #4

Among the Willows #4

What happens when revenge consumes you? Does it merely encapsulate every thought in your mind, trying to figure out how you would react? Some people internalize it, knowing how these consequences can affect the rest of their lives. Then there’s those who just see red and will only stop at decimation.

I once served with someone who would constantly get in fights and he was more than a few years older than me. Once he got mad, he wouldn’t stop fighting until he saw blood flow from whomever he was beating on. I always wondered what would get a normal person this angry? In the fourth issue of Among The Willows, the boys’ new ally certainly has her reason for fighting Gideon.

As this issue starts, Sam’s father finds out the awful truth about how his mother died in a fire a year prior. We also catch up with the new stranger who showed up at the end of the last issue, as she reveals to Adam the sex slave ring that Gideon has been circulating near their town giving the boys a reason to respond. The boys find out who exactly killed the Sheriff. By issue’s end, Adam and his new ally find the bodies of several townspeople hanging from the tree leading to avenging their deaths.

Overall, an exciting issue that pushes this story forward. The story by Adam Meadors and Sam Romesburg is brilliant and intellectual. The art by the creative team is spectacular. Altogether, a story that brims with tension and crackles with intrigue.

Story: Adam Meadors and Sam Romesburg
Art: Bruno Chiroleu and Renzo Podesta
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Among the Willows #3

Among the Willows #3

Eric Douglas, son of Kirk Douglas and brother of Michael Douglas, was one of the actors who though his time was short, left an impression. His talent never met the wattage his parents or his brother enjoyed.

The one role many genre fans know him from was an episode of Tales From The Crypt named “Yellow.”  In the episode he starred alongside and outshined his famous father and gave viewers a brief glimpse of how talented he really was. In this particular episode, he played a military officer who abandons his men in a firefight for fear of dying. It’s a reaction, though human, is frowned upon, especially during battle. In the third issue of Among The Willows, Sam finally finds out how his father survived the war.

He recounts his time during the War, when his company had to guard the supply lines along Cold Harbor, one where he finds Adam’s father on the Northern side, one which causes tension in the ranks. This leads to Sam’s father’s company emerging victorious but due to a bloodthirsty commander, had to execute every man, include Adam’s father, as Sam’s father did not do anything to stop hi skilling, something that has haunted him since that day. As Sam’s family is reunited, they cannot rest on their laurels as the posse known as The Damned is headed their direction. By the issue’s end, a disturbing surprise is awaiting the boys as well as possibly a new ally.

Overall, an exciting issue that pushes this story forward. The story by Adam Meadors and Sam Romesburg is excellent and intelligent. The art by the creative team is stunning. Altogether, a series that adds even more dimensions with each issue to the Western genre.

Story: Adam Meadors and Sam Romesburg
Art: Bruno Chiroleu
and Renzo Podesta
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Among the Willows #2

Among the Willows #2

Anyone who has been in combat can tell you the importance of making the right decision. This is where either your training or instincts kicks in. That can be the difference between surviving or a nail in the coffin. Then there are those rare times, both work in concert to ensure the best possible outcome.

This is why the military developed the rules of engagement. It ensures you respond properly and the decisions are made on multiple levels to include the field. Thinking on your feet becomes a useful skill and could be a matter of life or death. Which is why if you make the wrong decision, the question becomes will you survive? In the second issue of Among The Willows, Sama and dam must decide who they are looking is the person that they believe it to be.

As Sam and Adam try to assess if the person, they are looking at is the person who they believe it to be, they trust him with a gun to gauge if it really is Sam’s father. As they take out the rest of the shooters, the townspeople realize along with Sam and Adam, that their watch party is closing in, to return fire. They hatch a plan to draw them out to the nearby valley where they split them up and shoot them one by one from higher ground. By the issue’s end, Sam’s father starts to explain where he has been and why a posse is after the boys.

Overall, an action-packed issue that extends this story to the powder keg of intrigue and six-shooters. The story by Adam Meadors and Sam Romesburg is superb and intellectual. The art by the creative team is gorgeous. Altogether, a story that feels cinematic in the best ways possible.

Story: Adam Meadors and Sam Romesburg
Art: Bruno Chiroleu
and Renzo Podesta
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Among the Willows #1

Among the Willows #1

The current political climate in the United States has given many people pause and has driven our divisions deeper. More often than not, your political leanings have either gained you or lost you friends, often in the same breath. It makes you wonder if a simple difference as political allegiance can divide friends, what can divide families? This was the reality of the American Civil War, where families divided by geography were divided because of war.

Depending on who you talk to, the war was fought because of states rights, which is a common explanation especially for anyone who lives in the South. If you live up North or as the world saw it, the war was fought because the southern states disagreed with the Federal government over slavery. Needless to say, whichever you believe, one can connect dotted lines to what is going on right now to some of those same tensions that existed before. In the debut issue of Among The Willows, we’re taken to the Reconstructionist America where the country is still healing from the Civil War and where we find two childhood friends who protect a town from outsiders.

It’s 1886 and a small town in Southern Texas where a friendly card game turns damn deadly as a cheater is ousted by two men, Sam, and Adam, who the reader soon finds out, run the town. We’re taken to 25 years prior in Virginia where we meet a younger Sam as his father has his final heart to heart with son before going to war. Knowing this may be the final time he gets to and we find out how close the bond is between these two. Just as they emerge from the card game at the saloon, a troublemaker from out of town calls both men to the middle of the town square where he foolishly underestimates both men. By issue’s end, Sam and Adam eviscerate the man and his posse and one of our protagonists is happily reunited with someone he had not seen in a very long time.

Overall, a stunning debut issue that culminates in one of the best western comics ever written. It takes what we love about Westerns and what we love about action movies and puts it in a gorgeous gumbo. The story by Adam Meadors and Sam Romesburg is evenly paced, action-packed, and well characterized. The art by the creative team of Bruno Chiroleu and Renzo Podesta is more than breathtaking. Altogether, a story that feels both modern and of its time,  making this an instant classic.

Story: Adam Meadors and Sam Romesburg
Art: Bruno Chiroleu and Renzo Podesta
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Skip to the End

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 a graphic novel that mixes music and comics.

Skip to the End is by Jeremy Holt, Alex Diotto, Renzo Podesta, Adam Wollet, and Tim Daniel.

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




Insight Comics provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site

Rock out and Skip to the End this June from Jeremy Holt, Alex Diotto, and Insight Comics

Bassist-turned-junkie Jonny Wells is addicted to his past, but the only way to get there is through his music.

This June, Insight Comics is publishing Skip to the End, a riveting graphic novel created as an allegory to the history of the legendary band Nirvana.

Skip to the End tells Jonny’s story as he tries to cope with his band mate and best friend Kirk’s suicide. Twenty years later he struggles with heroin addiction, lost in the songs they created and desperate to relive the past—unitl one day he discover he can. With the aid of a mysterious guitar, Jonny begins to make trips back in time, searching for the roots of Kirk’s unraveling. At Nar-Anon meetings and in conversations with his sponsor Emily, he starts to cope with the events that led to Kirk’s death. But by the time Jonny realizes that his visits can’t change the present, he might be too addicted to stop.

Skip to the End explores music’s transportive property, while sharing a story of friendship, combating addiction, and suicide awareness.

Skip to the End is written by Jeremy Holt, with art by Alex Diotto, designed by Tim Daniel, colored by Renzo Podesta, and lettering by Adam Wollet.

Review: Howard Lovecraft and the Three Kingdoms

howard lovecraft and the three kingdoms coverThe advent of steampunk as a somewhat established genre has brought along a lot of friends from the past. Rooted most strongly in the works of Verne, the genre has also deviated a bit from Verne’s original works as it has evolved in the modern pop culture. Seemingly in the search for more steampunk material, fans of the genre have delved deeper into the past and found some other source material, namely steampunk horror. Although potentially typified by Poe or Shelley, the real resurgence in horror from this time has no doubt been H.P. Lovecraft. His horror stories are more popular today than probably at any other time (including when he was alive) and other mediums (including board games and video games) use his inspiration to create their own works.

The collected volume of Howard Lovecraft and the Three Kingdoms from Arcana Studios is not so different. It opens with a quote from Poe and quickly introduced us to a dying elder Lovecraft and his son. A part of Lovecraftian fiction was his own interaction with his work, in which he himself explored his own horrors through his pen and paper. In this case it would seem as though the elder were the one to really undertake the journey into this dark despair and to record the thoughts by way of the book. As a reading of this work this makes more sense, because although the younger Lovecraft is in fact the Lovecraft, it doesn’t exactly read like that.  The father’s weeping is more consistent with the author’s works, not the dynamic nature of the youngster.

lovecraftBefore I get too far ahead of myself though, I would like to talk about Santa Claus. It is not because Santa Claus plays a very important role in this book, but rather because he shouldn’t play one at all. The idea of Santa Claus providing gifts to children is an idea that is purely 20th century, and as this book is based in 1894, it is a bit of an anachronism when little Howard gets his first Lovecraftian torture novel from jolly old Saint Nick. Am I being too picky on the anachronism?  Not really, because it is the anachronism which actually makes this graphic novel work. For those more familiar with Lovecraft’s work, they will find among the author’s thoughts some subtle and not-so-subtle opinions on race and gender, neither of which would really fly in the modern world as opinions to be held outside of the far right of the spectrum. These opinions which exist in his work are also anachronisms, and if they are replaced by clearly misunderstood aspects of modern day Yuletide, then it is for the better. Out go the remnants of outdated thinking, in comes a tentacled creature named Spot (the name Spot for a pet being a bit of an anachronism as well.)

The end process of this selective process of finding the right balance between modern and past is something akin to a children’s book, which to be fair seems to be the point anyway. Dark and dangerous is replaced with cuddly and squishy, with the terrible Lovecraftian monsters being no scarier than the creatures in “Where the Wild Things Are.” The end result is basically a Lovecraftian tale aimed at children, and one which is successful in removing the scariest parts of the writer’s bag of tricks. Is it for adults? I would say equally yes, particularly those that do like a bit of dark Victorian to go with their daily lives. It is maybe not a groundbreaking work, but pays homage to the writer without taking itself too seriously and ends up being a fun read with matching artwork to complement the stories.

Story: Bruce Brown Art: Renzo Podesta and Thomas Boatwright
Story: 7.5 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read for Adult, Buy for Child

Arcana Studios provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Art Monster #3

Art Monster #3

Writer: Jeremy Holt
Artist: Frances Ciregia
Colorist: Renzo Podesta
Letterer: Adam Wollet
Price: $0.99
Pages: 25
Rating: 15+

As Victor and Ivan struggle with their experimentations, an equally macabre series of events take place across the street at the town’s funeral home. Operated by the enigmatic owner known simply as Leland, the questionable undertaker’s expansive property houses more than it appears.


Preview: Art Monster #2

Art Monster #2

Writer: Jeremy Holt
Art: Francesca Ciregia
Letterer: Renzo Podesta
Colorist: Adam Wollet
Price: $0.99
Pages: 20
Rating: 15+

Unsure of how to prevent his imminent expulsion, Victor’s thoughts are sidetracked when Erin introduces him to her twin sister Emma, who is visiting for spring break and unexpectedly takes an immediate liking to him. Too preoccupied to notice her interest, Victor enlists Ivan to assist with a revolutionary art piece inspired by a vision of death and reanimation.


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