Tag Archives: richard starkings

Review: X-Factor Epic Collection Vol. 8 X-Aminations

X-Factor: X-Aminations is volume 8 in Marvel’s Epic Collection. It collects issues #84-100 and Annual #8

Story: Peter David, Scott Lobdell, Skip Dietz, J.M. DeMatteis, Shana David, Joe Quesada
Art: Jae Lee, Joe Quesada, Chris Batista, Buzz, Jan Duursema, Terry Schoemaker, Paul Ryan, Greg Luzniak, Cliff Van Meter
Ink: Al Milgrom, Mark McKenna, Andrew Pepoy, Jeff Albrecht, Cliff Van Meter
Color: Brad Vancata, Glynis Oliver, Marie Javins, Ariane Lenshoek, Tom Smith, Joe Rosas, Mike Thomas, Matt Webb, Carlos Lopez
Letterer: Richard Starkings, Steve Dutro, Lois Buhalis, Janice Chiang, Dave Sharpe, Pat Brosseau

Get your copy in comic shops now and bookstores on November 26! 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
TFAW

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
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Review: X-Men Milestones: X-Cutioner’s Song

Cable has assassinated Professor X! Wait, what!? This “X-Men Milestones” collects the classic story that helped define the 90s X-Men.

X-Men Milestones: X-Cutioner’s Song collects Uncanny X-Men (1991) #294-297, X-Factor (1986) #84-86, X-Men (1991) #14-16, X-Force (1991) #16-18, and Stryfe’s Stryke File.

Story: Peter David, Scott Lobdell, Fabian Nicieza
Art: Greg Capullo, Andy Kubert, Jae Lee, Brandon Peterson, Larry Stroman
Ink: Terry Austin, Harry Candelario, Andy Kubert, Al Milgrom, Jimmy Palmiotti, Dan Panosian, Mark Pennington
Color: Steve Buccellato, Marie Javins, Glynis Oliver, Joe Rosas, Mike Thomas, Brad Vancata
Letterer: Steve Dutro, Chris Eliopoulos, Richard Starkings

Get your copy in comic shops now and in bookstores on November 5! 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
TFAW

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy 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

Review: Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity #1

Harley Quinn is a profiler working with the GCPD and Joker is a serial killer she’s trying to track down.

Story: Kami Garcia
Art: Mico Suayan and Mike Mayhew
Letterer: Richard Starkings of Comicraft

Get your copy in comic shops now! 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
TFAW

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy 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

Review: The Batman’s Grave #1

The Batman's Grave #1

The Batman’s Grave #1 is a wonderfully minimalist, detective procedural story from Warren Ellis, Bryan Hitch, Kevin Nowlan, and Alex Sinclair, but it’s also a saga of man who is obsessed with death, both his parents’, those of the cases he takes, and his own. So, it’s fitting that Ellis and Hitch open the comic on a panel of the Waynes’ graves as Alfred dutifully trims the area around Thomas and Martha Wayne’s final resting spots and Bruce’s future one before going into the action/murder mystery bits. It gives the comic a somber, thoughtful tone, but Hitch and Nowlan are always there with the big splash page, kick in the teeth, or superhero action scene while Ellis is quick with a quip like a Gotham family thinking that a copyright friendly version of It is family fare. (Maybe, it is in a city where the Joker tries to poison the water supply on a weekly basis.)

My personal favorite part of The Batman’s Grave other than Nowlan’s inking giving Hitch a more explosive, cartoon-y art style than, say, his work on Ultimates is how Warren Ellis writes Alfred. He is world weary, worldly, deeply caring, and also deeply concerned about how Batman is spending his life. Ellis gives him the voice of a million socially conscious Batman fans when he says that buying Gotham City would be better than him going around to poor neighborhoods and beating up criminals like he does in the first action scene of the comic.

But Bruce Wayne: Philanthropist would make a pretty boring comic, and Ellis knows this as he lets Hitch, Nowlan, and Sinclair loose with a cape trailing, Gotham skyline-featuring double page spread very early on and then treats us to some close-ups of Batman fighting goons, who threaten a police officer’s kid. It’s more unique than your usual superhero fight scene with Nowlan adding cool details like showing the grooves on Batman’s boot when he kicks. The extra detail doesn’t take anything away from the motion and the fact that the fight scene shows that Batman beats the shit out of people to get a small measure of catharsis in his life even if it won’t heal his neverending sadness.

However, The Batman‘s Grave is more of a psychological detective comic than an action book, and Alex Sinclair’s colors add a precision to Batman’s virtual lab where he gets into the mind of a murder victim. His investigation acts as a bit of a character study too, and Ellis, Hitch, and Nowlan give us a fairly detailed story of a man, who became overwhelmed with his job in the Gotham D.A’s office and turned to Batman as a metaphor of stability and justice. These extra character details kept me connected to the case instead of nodding like it was a Law and Order SVU rerun and also expertly set up the final page cliffhanger with Hitch and Nowlan indulging their horror side just a little bit.

The Batman’s Grave #1 is a fantastic Batman detective story and character study for both super fans and those who have only kept up with the Caped Crusader via other media or the occasional trade paperback. Bryan Hitch, Kevin Nowlan, and Alex Sinclair’s are the right blend of epic and psychologically searing while Warren Ellis’ script is sharp and momentum filled. I love the humanity that he brings to Alfred and the murder victim, Vince and kind of pity Batman after reading this one. His car is still cool though.

Story: Warren Ellis Pencils: Bryan Hitch 
Inks: Kevin Nowlan Colors: Alex Sinclair Letters: Richard Starkings
Story: 8.5 Art: 9.2 Overall: 8.9 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Shang Chi: Master of Kung Fu #6

Shang Chi: Master of Kung Fu #6

When it comes to James Bond movies, to say that the endings are nothing short of satisfying, is definitely a disservice to the theatrics connected to it. The movies that Sean Connery starred in are probably some of the most iconic movies of all time. The style and flair that he brought to every scene is what has made the character so immortal. Even George Lazenby’s foray into the character, though only lasting one movie, was probably the best in the series. Three more actors would inhabit the role but the one that has always stood out in my mind is, Sir Roger Moore.

Moore was James Bond for a good part of the 1980s, the era when I fell in love with movies. His interpretation of the character brought what is fun about spy movies, and what The Kingsmen movies can’t help but steal in the best ways possible. His best Bond movie in my mind, Octopussy, which was both funny and action-packed but showed moviegoers how to build up a story to a satisfying big bang ending. In the final issue of Shang Chi, Master Of Kung Fu-The Hellfire Apocalypse, we find Shang Chi as he confronts both his brother and father in a fight which may cost many including his, their lives.

We find Moving Shadow and Shang Chi facing off as Fu Manchu spectates in delight, as his two sons face off for the first time, testing if this fateful battle is his will. Meanwhile, Leiko, Blackjack and Clive, meetup with up Spetz and the Omega team, as they fight Fu Manchu’s men on their way off the island, as Spetz suffers his own death. Eventually, Leiko,Blackjack, Clive and what’s left of the Omega team neutralize the threat Fu Manchu was about to unleash.

Overall, the satisfying conclusion that gives diehard fans of this character what we expect from Doug Moench’s masterwork. The story by Moench is brilliant and amazing. The art by the creative team is mesmerizing. Altogether, a well-woven tale that feels as epic as the stories it was inspired from.

Story: Doug Moench
Art: Jimmy Palmiotti, Paul Gulacy, Paul Mounts, Richard Starkings,
and Wes Abbott
Story: 9.4 Art: 9.3 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Shang Chi: Master of Kung Fu #5

Shang Chi: Master of Kung Fu #5

Netflix’s venture with Marvel Studios is one of the most fruitful partnerships in modern entertainment. It’s true that DC has been making their own splash on television for a few years but comic book fans wanted more. They wanted shows that showcased more than the studios were offering. We mostly had to rely on movie offerings, from the two houses, and some offshoots like Image, i.e. Kick-Ass series.

The buzz radiated from when comic book fans first saw the television version of Matt Murdock. Then comic books fans got to see Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, and Iron Fist onscreen soon after. It made fans more than happy. In the television version of the Avengers movies, The Defenders saw a team-up between these Heroes of New York culminating in a final big fight. In the fifth issue of Shang Chi, Master Of Kung Fu-The Hellfire Apocalypse, we find Shang Chi and Leiko in the fight of their lives.

We catch-up with Spetz and his MI-6 Omega team as they reach the shores of Fu Manchu’s island, where they are met crossfire as soon as they arrive on the beach. Meanwhile, Blackjack and Clive, reach the other end of the island, to rescue Leiko and Shang, unknowing of what lies in their way. We also find Leiko and Shang finally finding their way out, as they help the Omega team get to Fu Manchu’s lair. By issue’s end, Shang fights his way to exactly where Moving Shadow is, as they begin their final fight.

Overall, the story ramps up on the action, giving fans the penultimate issue the story requires before a satisfying conclusion. The story by Doug Moench is wonderful and remarkable. The art by the creative team is spellbinding. Altogether, this issue is a callback to the best kung fu films of the 1980s. It’s enough to make you want to pull out your old VHS tapes of Kung Fu Theatre.

Story: Doug Moench
Art: Jimmy Palmiotti, Paul Gulacy, Paul Mounts, Richard Starkings,
and Wes Abbott
Story: 9.4 Art: 9.3 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Shang Chi: Master of Kung Fu #4

Shang Chi: Master of Kung Fu #4

Denzel Washington is known most for these days, his work with Antoine Fuqua, in Training Day and The Equalizer movies. One of my favorite movies by him was Out Of Time where he starred with Eva Mendes and Sanaa Lathan. In the film, an old flame reignites something in Washington’s character while a new obsession gets him in hot water. In the fourth issue of Shang Chi, Master Of Kung Fu-The Hellfire Apocalypse, we find Shang Chi finding that his love for Leiko is still there which may lead to more trouble than he ever foresaw.

Leiko and Shang Chi are reliving their past for a short moment when Shang Chi regains some semblance of honor and gets Leiko to reveal what she found about the Mandarin’s plans. The Mandarin is in his hidden lair where we find out the full power of the weapon he created as it eviscerates everything in a nearby fishing village. Lieko’s husband is caught in the crossfire between a group of commandos that work for Reston and the Omega team. Spetz saves her husband only to imprison him. By issue’s end, Leiko and Shang reunite with Tarr and we find out exactly who Moving Shadow is.

Overall, the story gets even more exciting, giving readers a spirited tale, which keeps readers wanting more. The story by Doug Moench is delightful and impressive. The art by the creative team is entrancing. Altogether, a book that gives readers a deeper understanding of who this character is.

Story: Doug Moench
Art: Jimmy Palmiotti, Paul Gulacy, Paul Mounts, Richard Starkings,
and Wes Abbott
Story: 9.7 Art: 9.8 Overall: 9.7 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Shang Chi: Master of Kung Fu #3

Shang Chi: Master of Kung Fu #3

Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy was quite ahead of this time. Movie critics rarely had heralded superhero movies up until the trilogy’s release, many did Nolan’s vision. The movies did something that adaptations struggle with. It satisfied the diehard comic book fan and the regular movie watcher. It pulled from the different stories already in canon while remembering that a good story must always be told.

One of the gifts that the movies gave audiences was the introduction of Ra’s Al Ghul, a storied character, who never saw his time onscreen until Nolan used him. As the character’s influence is evident not only those movies but the Gotham television show. In the third issue of Shang Chi: Master Of Kung Fu, we find Shang Chi’s father in an omnipotent position much like Ras Al Ghul, giving our heroes an intimidating adversary to face.

We find Leiko in the middle of who is behind the Hellfire Apocalypse, and it just so happens to be Shang Chi’s father, who faked his own death so no one would be the wiser. As Shang Chi enters the lair, he is able to reach Leiko and escape only to take on a hail of gunfire, as the truth is revealed about what his father had been up to, and where this doomsday weapon may be headed. As Leiko and Shang Chi look to escape the fortress, these two must fight their way out, through the failed experiments that his father created, where they were once humans but are mindless ravaged beasts who no wonder the compound. As the two are alone, Shang realizes he still feels some sort of way about Leiko, knowing that she is married only complicates his intentions. By issue’s end, the Omega team is getting closer, someone close to Leiko and Shang has other intentions and things between the two are reignited.

Overall, the story feels like a James Bond movie that more than tilts its hat at the famous spy. The story by Doug Moench is thrilling and commanding. The art by the creative team is enchanting. Altogether,  a story that maybe Shang’s big-screen debut may aspire to.

Story: Doug Moench
Art: Jimmy Palmiotti, Paul Gulacy, Paul Mounts, Richard Starkings,
and Wes Abbott
Story: 9.7 Art: 9.6 Overall: 9.66 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Master of Kung-Fu #2

Master of Kung-Fu #2

Bruce Lee’s influence on film cannot truly be put into words. His impact is far reaching and ineffaceable in so many ways. He was one of a kind and his mark on everyone who has seen him in action can be seen in every action movie to this day.  You can see his mark on every martial artist to grace the screen from Steven Seagal to Jean Claude Van Damme to Donnie Yen to Jet Li and to the one man who can be called his contemporary, Jackie Chan. David Carradine even referred to him as the James Dean of Martial Arts.

His first movie made in the west and probably the first commercialized worldwide martial arts film, was Enter The Dragon. The movie had some well-established American actors, like Jim Kelly, but anyone who has seen the film has no doubt in their mind, that Bruce Lee was the star. The idea of a fight amongst the greatest fighters continues to be a recycled idea since that iconic movie. In the second issue of Shang Chi, Master Of Kung Fu-The Hellfire Apocalypse, to find Leiko, he must fight his way to her.

We are in Singapore, where Chi and Reston are surrounded by a ninja clan, as Chi fights them off, Reston find escape, one that will give the way to fight another day. We are taken back to France, where we find more about the Hellfire Objective, and its mission to recruit zealous men to become part of the army of Saint Germain, the same secret operation Leiko was sent by MI-6 to investigate. They also find out about the Omega Team, lead by Morgan Spetz, who MI-6 has assembled to find Leiko. By issue’s end, another assassin looks for Chi’ while Leiko finds out that the person behind everything, is the one-person Chi is the closest to.

Overall, the story begins to get better, as we soon find out just how big of a conspiracy Leiko was looking into, making this story resemble Lee’s classic western made crossover. The story by Doug Moench is electrifying and powerful. The art by the creative team is captivating. Altogether, an exhilarating introduction to a hero which everyone will soon know.

Story: Doug Moench
Art: Jimmy Palmiotti, Paul Gulacy, Paul Mounts, Richard Starkings, and Wes Abbott
Story: 9.5 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Master of Kung Fu #1

Master of Kung Fu #1

With all the buzz coming from SDCC from the past few weeks, the most interesting news, as usual, came from Hall H. This is where some of the biggest news gets released and the world holds their collective breath until it does. As in previous years, this year was no disappointment. It was a sign of things to come. One of the biggest announcements to come was from Marvel and the next phase of movies that will be released over the new few years.

One of the surprise announcements, though there had been some industry buzz over the last few months, had been that Shang Chi, Master Of Kung Fu, would be making getting how own Marvel Cinematic Universe movie. Most of the world doesn’t know who he is but serious comic book fans do. Much of his original story had been marred with distasteful racist stereotypes and outdated ideas. In a reboot of sorts, the original writer returned in 2002 to update the story for a new generation in the debut issue of Shang Chi, Master Of Kung Fu-The Hellfire Apocalypse.

We’re taken to France, where Agent Leiko Wu is infiltrating a crime syndicate’s fortress, one that she realizes soon enough that she just walked into a trap. We also find Shang Chi, in solitude on an island, where his meditation supernaturally syncs with Leiko, the woman he once loved, as he knows what he must do next, but his actions are interrupted by an intruder in sanctum sanctorum. We also find Leiko being tortured, as the crime organization is trying to find just how deep MI-6 is into investigating them. By issue’s end, an old friend looks for Chi’s help, while his exploits bring him to Singapore retracing Leiko’s trail.

Overall, an interesting story thus far, slow-moving, but well developed. The story by Doug Moench is exciting and intense. The art by the creative team truly stands out, simply beautiful. Altogether, an exhilarating introduction to a hero which everyone will soon know.

Story: Doug Moench
Art: Jimmy Palmiotti, Paul Gulacy, Paul Mounts, Richard Starkings,
and Wes Abbott
Story: 9.6 Art: 9.8 Overall: 9.8 Recommendation: Buy

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