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Review: Deadly Class #45

Deadly Class #45

Even though it’s been several years since his trauma-filled days as a pretentious douchebag at King’s Dominion Atelier for the Deadly Arts, Marcus Lopez Arguello is still full of shit, literally and metaphorically in Deadly Class #45. The new arc of Rick Remender, Wes Craig, and Lee Loughridge’s teen assassin comic picks up in 1991, and you can be sure that Marcus has some unsolicited opinions about grunge music that ends up taking too much of the comic’s running time. However, he meets/grooms a girl named Dawn, who deconstructs his opinions and mansplaining and of course, they end up hooking up. I’m really ready for Marcus/the comic to be put out of its misery.

However, before talking about how insufferable Marcus is, and how I smile at his shitty existence reading Matt Groening comics in a bathroom and telling uninterested girls about the difference between geek and nerd, I have something positive to say about Deadly Class #45. And that’s even though the book has gone by the wayside by deciding to focus on its very unlikable protagonist instead of a diverse ensemble cast like in its previous arc, Wes Craig and Lee Loughridge bring their A-game on the visuals.

Craig’s cut-up panels and Loughridge’s red and black against insets of Marcus’ morning routine show up his fucked up mental state, and why he ends up getting an enema. One thing I’ve loved about Wes Craig’s art on Deadly Class is how he uses different inking styles to convey different moods like lush brush strokes for Marcus and Dawn kind of to the chaotic slinging of the issue’s climax where he becomes John Wick sponsored by Pitchfork.com. Loughridge’s palette gets dirtier during this scene going from flat background colors for Marcus’ new suburban digs to something with a little more edge as befitting a protagonist covered in a blood with an enema up his ass.

Despite Craig and Loughridge firing on all cylinders, Deadly Class #45 is a slog to get through because even after 45 issues of trials and tribulations, he’s really an insufferable character. I miss when he wanted to assassinate Ronald Reagan. Unlike most real life annoying nerds/hipsters, he’s definitely had a rough life, but his treatment of women and propensity for never shutting the hell up makes him a character that I don’t want to spend a lot of time around. In past issues of Deadly Class, Rick Remender got around this by surrounding him with an interesting ensemble cast of characters. However, no one except Dawn even rates a second glance in Deadly Class #45, and they’re all kids who want to party with his drugs, an annoying boss, or people who want him dead. When Marcus was “dead” for an arc, Remender and Wes Craig did an excellent job creating a new cast of King’s Dominion students to replace him as the series’ lead, and the book could really use some of that magic now.

Because there’s so much dialogue and overwrought narrative captions, Deadly Class #45 never gets to settle into Marcus’ emotional state during the time skip. Ennui isn’t really visually interesting, but Remender only works in long one-sided conversations, broad humor, and bold action. (The third one is fine.) He’s too busy catching up readers on Marcus’ opinions of different bands and driving the point home that he’s an outsider even though he likes Todd McFarlane’s Spider-Man. Throughout Deadly Class, Remender and Craig have used bands and fashion as a kind of verbal and visual shorthand to introduce characters before really getting to know them via their choices, schemes, and how they interact with others. But Marcus is the protagonist so maybe we should have gone beyond that. His interactions with Dawn and general apathy has shown that he hasn’t grown much as a character and honestly regressed since the early days of Deadly Class.

Although Wes Craig and Lee Loughridge continue to bring the stylish visuals that drew me to Deadly Class way back in 2014, Deadly Class #45 is basically mansplaining the comic and squanders its new setting and status quo. It’s definitely not a good jumping on point and made me realize I’m only following the title because of sunk cost fallacy.

Story: Rick Remender Art: Wes Craig
Colors: Lee Loughridge Letters: Rus Wooton

Story: 5.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 5.8 Recommendation: Pass

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyKindle Zeus ComicsTFAW

Tokyo Ghost Gets Adapted by Legendary with Cary Fukunaga Directing

From comic page to big screen, Tokyo Ghost is being adapted into a film with Cary Fukunaga directing. Fukunaga is the director behind the eagerly awaited James Bond entry, No Time to Die. Legendary Entertainment is the studio developing the film.

Based on the comic series by writer Rick Remender artist, Sean Gordon Murphy, letterer Rus Wooton, and colorist Matt Hollingsworth the comic series was published by Image Comics. Remender will pen the film project.

Tokyo Ghost is set in 2089 when humanity has become addicted to technology. It’s a way to escape reality. Two peacekeepers are given a job that takes them to the tech-free nation of Tokyo, the last tech-free country on Earth.

Tokyo Ghost was originally released in 2015 and lasted ten issues. The 10 issues were then released in two volumes as well as a deluxe edition featuring all ten issues.

Tokyo Ghost

Anthrax’s Among the Living Full Lineup Revealed

Among the Living

The Among the Living graphic novel pulls together a who’s who of names from around comics and music for a track-by-track storyline inspired by one of heavy metal’s most iconic albums, with the full creative lineup announced today.
 
An anthology narrated by the longtime mascot “The Not Man” newly designed by Greg Nicotero and written by Jimmy Palmiotti and illustrated by classic Aliens artist Nelson; Among the Living unites bandmembers Joey Belladonna, Frank BelloCharlie Benante, and Scott Ian, with writers, artists, and other rock legends in a tribute to their landmark 1987 album, featuring covers by JG JonesEric Powell, and a preorder variant from Charlie Benante

As previously announced, Scott Ian will contribute an original story inspired by the fan-favorite anthem “I Am the Law,” featuring the legendary comic book antihero Judge Dredd, in partnership with 2000 AD. This will make official the decades-long connection between the character and the band, rewarding comic book fans and metalheads alike, and features art by longtime Dredd artist Chris Weston.
 
The full lineup can be found below:

1- Among the Living 
Writer: Brian Posehn
Artist: Scott Koblish and Alladin Collar

2- Caught in a Mosh 
Writer: Gerard and Mikey Way
Artist: Darick Robertson and Diego Rodriguez

3- I Am the Law (featuring Judge Dredd)
Writer: Scott Ian 
Artist: Chris Weston and Alladin Collar

4- Efilnikufesin (N.F.L.)
Writer: Rick Remender and Joe Trohman
Artist: Roland Boschi and Dan Brown

5- A Skeleton in the Closet 
Writer: Corey Taylor 
Artist: Maan House 

6- Indians 
Writer: Grant Morrison 
Artist: Freddie Williams II and Andrew Dalhouse

7- One World  
Writer: Frank Bello 
Artist: Andy Belanger and Tatto Caballero

8- A.D.I./Horror of it All
Writer: Brian Azzarello 
Artist: Dave Johnson

9- Imitation of Life
Writer: Rob Zombie 
Artist: Erik Rodriguez and Steve Chanks

This graphic novel event of the year will be released in finer comic shops and bookstores on May 12 and is available to preorder with your favorite retailer now. Exclusive deluxe and super deluxe editions packaged with special vinyl and more are available to order directly from Z2’s website now, with Charlie Benante’s Judge Dredd variant exclusive to Z2 preorders of the standard edition!

All Four Members of the Classic Anthrax Lineup Will Contribute to the Among the Living Graphic Novel

Last fall, Z2 Comics announced an upcoming graphic novel inspired by Anthrax, the titans of thrash metal’s landmark 1987 album. The Among the Living graphic novel pulls together a who’s who of names from around comics and music for a track-by-track storyline inspired by one of heavy metal’s most iconic albums. All four members of the classic Anthrax lineup will contribute to the upcoming graphic novel, with Frank Bello writing a chapter, and Joey Belladonna penning the foreword.

An anthology narrated by longtime mascot “The Not Man” newly designed by Greg Nicotero, Among the Living unites bandmembers Joey Belladonna, Frank Bello, Charlie Benante, and Scott Ian, with writers Brian Azzarello, Grant Morrison, Jimmy Palmiotti, Brian Posehn, Rick Remender, Corey Taylor, Joseph Trohman, Gerard and Mikey Way, and Rob Zombie, with more to be announced. Artists include Roland Boschi, Maan House, Dave Johnson, Scott Koblish, Darrick Robertson, and Erik Rodriguez, and more, with covers by Charlie Benante, JG Jones, and Eric Powell. As previously announced, Scott Ian will contribute an original story inspired by the fan-favorite anthem “I Am the Law,” featuring the legendary comic book antihero Judge Dredd, in partnership with 2000 AD. This will make official the decades-long connection between the character and the band, rewarding comic book fans and metalheads alike.

Among the Living

Z2 and Anthrax are Among the Living

Among the Living

Just ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, Z2 gives music fans something to celebrate with news of one of the publisher’s most ambitious projects yet! The Among the Living graphic novel pulls together a who’s who of names from around comics and music for a track by track storyline inspired by one of heavy metal’s most iconic albums! Today’s announcement brings news that Anthrax has teamed with the publisher of music tie-in graphic novels to assemble an all-star cast of famous fans to bring the band’s breakthrough album to the printed page for the first time!

An anthology narrated by the longtime mascot “The Not Man” newly designed by Greg Nicotero; Among the Living unites Charlie Benante and Scott Ian with writers Brian Azzarello, Grant Morrison, Jimmy Palmiotti, Brian Posehn, Rick Remender, Corey Taylor, Joseph Trohman, Gerard and Mikey Way, and Rob Zombie, with more to be announced. Artists include Roland BoschiMaan House, Dave Johnson, Scott Koblish, Darrick Robertson, and Erik Rodriguez, and more, with covers by Charlie Benante, JG Jones, and Eric Powell. Bandmembers Benante and Ian will collaborate on an original story inspired by the fan favorite anthem “I Am the Law,” featuring the legendary comic book antihero Judge Dredd, in partnership with 2000 AD. This will make official the decades-long connection between the character and the band, rewarding comic book fans and metalheads alike!

This extensive project will be offered in multiple formats, with deluxe and super deluxe editions inclusive of special picture disc vinyl, an exclusive MadBalls™ toy, art prints, and even a gold record plaque! All editions are available to order directly from Z2’s website now, with Charlie Benante’s Judge Dredd variant exclusive to preorders of the standard edition!

Rick Remender and Jerome Opeña’s Seven to Eternity Returns November 18

The fourth and final story arc of the bestselling fantasy series Seven to Eternity by writer Rick Remender and artist Jerome Opeña will begin with issue #14 this November.

The series is projected to come to its breathtaking conclusion in 2021 with an extra-length Seven to Eternity #17.

Adam and The Mud King must make a final sacrifice before it does. The origin of the Springs revealed. One giant evil consumes everything, and you celebrate it excitedly.

Seven to Eternity #14 Cover A by Opeña & Hollingsworth (Diamond Code SEP200054) and Seven to Eternity #14 Cover B by Julian Totino Tedesco (Diamond Code SEP200055) will be available at comic book shops on Wednesday, November 18.

Seven to Eternity #15 Cover A by Opeña & Hollingsworth (Diamond Code OCT200223) and Seven to Eternity #15 Cover B by Tula Lotay (Diamond Code OCT200224) will be available at comic book shops on Wednesday, December 16.

Review: The Scumbag #1

The Scumbag #1

Everyone wants to be a hero. Or at the very least, everyone loves to root for the hero. They’re good looking and they’re tough. They’re smooth and they’re smart. They may have a troubled past, but they always have a chance for redemption. Plus, they always get the girl. Ernie Ray Clementine, the hero of The Scumbag #1, is none of these things. Yet, he’s the only thing that can save the world from Armageddon in this new ongoing series from Image Comics.

This series, penned by Rick Remender, takes a crass, illiterate, drug addict, injects him with an experimental super serum, and throws him into the world of high stakes espionage. The first issue introduces us to Ernie and sets the stakes for the first arc. Unfortunately, it doesn’t go much further than set up. Which wouldn’t be a bad thing, except that everything in this first issue, and some of the best lines within the issue for that matter, were laid out in the synopsis to the comic book.

A character profile and introductory letter to the reader, written by Remender and included at the end of the issue, actually give us more of Ernie’s background than the comic does. Full disclosure, if you buy the first issue, maybe flip to the back and read the letter, as it gave me more of an appreciation for the type of character Ernie is supposed to be than the actual comic did.

The story does have a science-fiction element that I found surprising. Though, outrageous and fantastical as this comic’s premise is, the sci-fi element just seems like one story element too many. For a comic where the plot doesn’t move forward beyond the synopsis, there’s almost too much going on in this first issue. That all being said, one thing I did love about this issue was that the background characters break the fourth wall. As the narrator’s voice is introducing us to Ernie, these characters affirm or add to the details being shared.

Each issue of this series will be drawn by a different artist. In The Scumbag #1, Lewis LaRosa gets first dibs. LaRosa’s art style is like a cross between an impressionist painting and street graffiti. His line work is sparse, yet the images in each panel are always clear. The artwork really sells the locations of each scene and makes the one fight sequence in this first issue look amazing. The colors used by Moreno Dinisio are bright, but were obviously applied digitally. I’m not sure either of these details act as the best compliment to LaRosa’s illustrations. In addition to a rotation of main artists, each issue of this series will have will have multiple variant covers drawn by a string of A-List artists.

The Scumbag #1 is not for everyone. The first issue alone has blood, gore, diarrhea, masturbation, and heavy drug use. Fans of action movies and anti-heroes will surely find something to like about this series. Those who enjoy character development and complex plots should probably choose a different title. Honestly, considering the string of artists slated to draw covers for each issue, this might be the type of series a person buys just for the cover art. In any case, give this one a browse before you commit to purchasing it.

Story: Rick Remender Art: Lewis LaRosa
Colors: Moreno Dinisio Letters: Rus Wooton
Story: 3.0 Art: 8.5 Overall: 5.8 Recommendation: Read

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus Comics

Early Review: The Scumbag #1

The Scumbag #1

Everyone wants to be a hero. Or at the very least, everyone loves to root for the hero. They’re good looking and they’re tough. They’re smooth and they’re smart. They may have a troubled past, but they always have a chance for redemption. Plus, they always get the girl. Ernie Ray Clementine, the hero of The Scumbag #1, is none of these things. Yet, he’s the only thing that can save the world from Armageddon in this new ongoing series from Image Comics.

This series, penned by Rick Remender, takes a crass, illiterate, drug addict, injects him with an experimental super serum, and throws him into the world of high stakes espionage. The first issue introduces us to Ernie and sets the stakes for the first arc. Unfortunately, it doesn’t go much further than set up. Which wouldn’t be a bad thing, except that everything in this first issue, and some of the best lines within the issue for that matter, were laid out in the synopsis to the comic book.

A character profile and introductory letter to the reader, written by Remender and included at the end of the issue, actually give us more of Ernie’s background than the comic does. Full disclosure, if you buy the first issue, maybe flip to the back and read the letter, as it gave me more of an appreciation for the type of character Ernie is supposed to be than the actual comic did.

The story does have a science-fiction element that I found surprising. Though, outrageous and fantastical as this comic’s premise is, the sci-fi element just seems like one story element too many. For a comic where the plot doesn’t move forward beyond the synopsis, there’s almost too much going on in this first issue. That all being said, one thing I did love about this issue was that the background characters break the fourth wall. As the narrator’s voice is introducing us to Ernie, these characters affirm or add to the details being shared.

Each issue of this series will be drawn by a different artist. In The Scumbag #1, Lewis LaRosa gets first dibs. LaRosa’s art style is like a cross between an impressionist painting and street graffiti. His line work is sparse, yet the images in each panel are always clear. The artwork really sells the locations of each scene and makes the one fight sequence in this first issue look amazing. The colors used by Moreno Dinisio are bright, but were obviously applied digitally. I’m not sure either of these details act as the best compliment to LaRosa’s illustrations. In addition to a rotation of main artists, each issue of this series will have will have multiple variant covers drawn by a string of A-List artists.

The Scumbag #1 is not for everyone. The first issue alone has blood, gore, diarrhea, masturbation, and heavy drug use. Fans of action movies and anti-heroes will surely find something to like about this series. Those who enjoy character development and complex plots should probably choose a different title. Honestly, considering the string of artists slated to draw covers for each issue, this might be the type of series a person buys just for the cover art. In any case, give this one a browse before you commit to purchasing it.

Story: Rick Remender Art: Lewis LaRosa
Colors: Moreno Dinisio Letters: Rus Wooton
Story: 3.0 Art: 8.5 Overall: 5.8 Recommendation: Read

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus Comics

Rick Remender’s Scumbag Gets Four Incentive Covers

The forthcoming humor series The Scumbag by Rick Remender will feature four scumily rare incentive covers—a pretty scummy 1:10 by Tula Lotay, a scumtastic 1:25 by Yanick Paquette & Nathan Fairbairn, a 1:50 silver scum-foil by Jerome Opeña and colored by Moreno Dinisio, and an extra, super scumtacular 1:100 gold foil edition of the same Opeña cover, but GOLD like our hero Ernie Ray’s front tooth! All this stunning scumbaggery available this October from Image Comics.

In addition to these highly collectible and totally scummy variants, The Scumbag will feature a murderers’ row of Rick’s favorite all-star artistic talent rotating interior art duties on each issue, with Punisher superstar artist Lewis LaRosa on deck for issue #1.

The Scumbag is the story of Ernie Ray Clementine, a profane, illiterate, drug addicted, biker, with a fifth-grade education and the only thing standing between us and total Armageddon because this dummy accidentally received a power-imbuing serum making him the world’s most powerful super spy.

Ernie is a relic of a bygone era, the living embodiment of sex, drugs and rock and roll—so, this doesn’t make things easy for the spy organization that needs his help as they bribe, cajole, and manipulate Ernie to choose between his own self-interests and doing what’s right.

The Scumbag will join Remender’s growing Giant Generator Studios empire, alongside such salesbeasts as Death Or Glory with Bengal, Seven to Eternity with Jerome Opeña, Low with Greg Tocchini, Fear Agent with Jerome Opeña and Tony Moore, Tokyo Ghost with Sean Gordon Murphy, Black Science with Matteo Scalera, Strange Girl with Eric Nguyen, Deadly Class with Wes Craig, and more.

The Scumbag #1 will be available at comic book shops on Wednesday, October 21st.

  • The Scumbag #1 Cover A LaRosa & Dinisio – Diamond Code AUG200010
  • The Scumbag #1 Cover B Robinson – Diamond Code AUG200011
  • The Scumbag #1 Cover C Blank Sketch – Diamond Code AUG208188
  • The Scumbag #1 Cover D Lotay 1:10 incentive – Diamond Code AUG208008
  • The Scumbag #1 Cover E Paquette 1:25 incentive – Diamond Code AUG208009
  • The Scumbag #1 Cover F Opeña & Dinisio 1:50 Silver Foil incentive – Diamond Code AUG208010
  • The Scumbag #1 Cover G Opeña & Dinisio 1:100 Gold Foil incentive – Diamond Code AUG208191

Underrated: Tokyo Ghost: The Atomic Garden

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet-pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week:  Tokyo Ghost: The Atomic Garden.


I had never heard of Tokyo Ghost: The Atomic Garden. until I saw the cover of the trade at my LCS, which doesn’t really mean much other than sometimes I miss things. Something about the cover caught my attention as I was putting it on the shelf. There was something about a motorcycle rider stuck full of arrows that made me stop and wonder what the hell I was putting on the shelf, so I flipped the book and read a synopsis that was just curious enough to be immediately interesting, saw Rick Remender’s name and immediately purchased the book.

It never made it to the shelf.

The synopsis that helped to hook me in: The Isles of Los Angeles 2089: Humanity is addicted to technology, a population of unemployed leisure seekers blissfully distracted from toxic contamination, who borrow, steal, and kill to buy their next digital fix. Getting a virtual buzz is the only thing left to live for. It’s the biggest industry, the only industry, the drug everyone needs, and gangsters run it all. And who do these gangsters turn to when they need their rule enforced? Constables Led Dent and Debbie Decay. This duo is about to be given a job that will force them out of the familiar squalor of Los Angeles to take down the last tech-less country on Earth: The Garden Nation of Tokyo. You can check out the first issue on Image’s website from this link if you’re curious.

The promise of a story that deals with the dangers of technology wasn’t lost on the person who works with technology every damn day across two jobs and sees the impact of it on another as digital comics are an always present conversation piece at the shop (usually in how they don’t compare, but then that’s to be expected given the people in the conversation are literally buying physical comics at the time).

Remender takes our current obsession with technology to an extreme with Tokyo Ghost, imagining a world that reminds me of the dystopian future of the Matrix with the worst of a Hollywood drug den spread across LA. If Snake Plisken was here, he’d be trying to escape. Through the haze and horror of a tech addicted world, Remender focuses on a Constable, Led Dent, and his tech-free partner Debbie Decay. We see Debbie try to break Led’s all encompassing tech addiction by forcing him to detox… it’s an oddly uncomfortable story that’s all the more powerful by the striking nature of the addiction.

Look, I know you’re reading this on your phone, tablet, laptop or whatever. But this is a book that’ll remind you to go outside in an oddly non-preachy way. It doesn’t hurt that the art is perfectly suited to do what it needs to do; whether in the hell of LA or the relative paradise of Japan… this is a book that you really should be reading.

That the story is good is a byproduct of it’s message – and that’s one we probably all need to listen to (he says as he goes back to surfing the interwebs, where, incidentally, I discovered this is volume one of two, so maybe technology isn’t all bad…).


Join us next week when we look at something else that is, for whatever reason, Underrated.

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