Tag Archives: rob steen

Review: The Stringbags

The Stringbags

In today’s fast-paced world, not necessarily intentionally, we tend to dismiss those of an older generation. When I was in the military, I often found myself being given advice by those who came before me. Sometimes, it was something useful. I would use these gems in future situations. Some of the best stories I ever heard were the guys who went to Desert Storm.

 Much of what they did was unheralded and often it was an important contribution to the overall mission. In my fascination with history and finding those rarely told stories, I’ve found hundreds of them. Many brave men and women did missions that didn’t give them medals and deserved photo ops. Those endeavors threaded that invisible needle to ensure the proper outcome. One of those stories where these men and women, most of them deceased, finally got their recognition, was the WWII veterans of native Filipino descent who fought for America. One of those being my grandfather. In Garth Ennis, PJ Holden, Kelly Fitzpatrick, and Rob Steen’s brilliant The Stringbags, we find out about another ragtag crew whose exploits may have saved the world.

We are taken to 1940, where crews of young men in the British Royal Navy were flying what is then considered an artifact, the Fairey Swordfish, also known as Stringbag, because of its simplistic structure. As we meet the crew of one these flying wonders, Archie, Ollie, and Pops, whose banter and camaraderie make an easy lane for cohesion and the long missions just a bit shorter. They are soon tasked with Operation Judgment, as Britain is hanging on to the forwarding operating bases by skin of their teeth, and the lone nation at the time fighting against Nazi Germany and looking to keep the ground at Malta, as this particular crew volunteers to scout, a mission that could mean their ultimate fate. At They soon find they could are outnumbered but if can take out one of their vessels, they can tilt the odds in their favor, as they soon catch heavy fire from one of the Italian Battleships, which they responded with a torpedo, taking out the Taranto, and soon the rest of the Stringbag squadron would take out the remaining fleet of the Regia Marina. As glory did not last long, eventually the German Blitz hit London and all of England was under attack from the “axis of evil”, as the UK sought some type of victory, as the expansion of Nazi Germany into England seemed almost imminent. Soon, the German Navy became a powerful force at sea, as we find Archie, Ollie, and Pops, flying U Boat patrols, but are soon tasked with a covert mission to escort the Ark Royal, one of the best aircraft carriers of the Royal Navy. As the crew lands on the Ark Royal, they soon find out that the HMS Hood, one their battleships had been blasted in half by the German Battlecruiser, the Bismarck. Soon our heroes take on two missions to destroy the battleship, one which was unsuccessful but the other, landing a crucial blow, which our protagonists’ plane did not survive but they did, and would lead the way for the rest of the squadron to ensure it was the Bismarck’s final voyage. Soon Germany would need to shore up its more vulnerable territories, which lead Hitler to recall three of their Battle cruisers, going the fastest route, through the English Channel. Of course, the Royal Navy guessed this would happen, and in February 1942, would deploy Operation Fuller, but rattled by the success of the Japanese fleet, they would need the fearlessness of the Stringbag squadron. By the book’s end, this would be the last mission of this crew, as they would not survive this mission, which was a complete failure, leaving only five survivors.

Overall, a book that is very much a throwback to the war movies of yesteryear, which gives these unsung heroes their proper day in the sun. The story by Ennis is funny, relatable, action-packed, and well developed. The art by the creative team is simply breathtaking. Altogether, a story that will make you want to go watch movies like Midway, to remember the heroism of those who fought despite the odds.

Story: Garth Ennis Art: PJ Holden, Kelly Fitzpatrick, and Rob Steen
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Ash & Thorn #1

Ash & Thorn #1

It’s the end of the world as we know it… and it’s in the hands of an elderly woman. Yes, it’s now who you’d expect at all. Ash & Thorn #1 takes the well-worn story of a champion standing up for the planet and delivers something new. We’ve seen the heroic individual in the past. We’ve seen the utter screw up as well. This? Well, this gives us a hero who’d fit more in a Golden Girls reboot.

Written by Mariah McCourt the story revolves around Lottie Thorn, reluctant savior of the world and her also-elderly trainer Lady Peruvia Ashlington-Voss. It’s an entertaining start taking a story that’s been done so many times and twisting it a bit. It not only takes on so many tropes and familiar stories but it adds some comedic timing to it all to keep readers on their toes. It’s a send-up and love letter to this type of story.

What’s truly great about the comic is that it can be read completely with a straight face. McCourt has fun with it all and if you just want a kick-ass world-saving story, it’s all here. But, McCourt fills the comics with moments that it’s hard to not laugh and take it for the comedic tone it’s going for. There’s a bit of Grosse Point Blank in the comic where the weapon of choice is a frying pan, not a broad sword. And that keeps the readers on their toes. You never know what’s going to happen as we’re taught to expect the unexpected.

Soo Lee provides the art and is able to balance the serious and humor. There’s a solid sense of flow to the action. But, that flow also comes with a bit that feels like it fits Thorn’s age. Maybe it’s my 41 years but I could at times feel the ache from the swinging of a weapon. The color by Pippa Bowland is really nice with great use of it in the background to really set the time and thus a mood for each segment. There’s a cool glow about the colors that make the images pop. The lettering by Rob Steen stands out too as he switches gears in settings. There’s a lot of dialogue packed in and Steen gets it all in there and readable.

Ash & Thorn #1 is a fun comic. It doesn’t take itself too seriously and delivers a wink and nod with the material. But, it’s also an Ahoy Comics release which means some extras as well. Beyond “Editor’s Notes” there are two recipes. I can’t cook worth anything, so it’s all a foreign language. I have no idea how yummy these are but… the images make me want to try to cook them, even though they’re drawings. There’s also a story, “No Smoke Without” by writer Dan Micklethwaite and artist Meredith McClaren. It’s an interesting story mixing technology and horror that doesn’t quite fit the comedic tone of Ash & Thorn‘s main story but is itself quite good.

Ash & Thorn #1 is a fun debut featuring some interesting protagonists you don’t see every day. It has a light tone and is just going with the flow of fun. Sit back and enjoy something new and different and a new series featuring a type of main character we don’t see too often.

Story: Mariah McCourt, Dan Micklethwaite Ar: Soo Lee, Meredith McClaren
Color: Pippa Bowland Letterer: Rob Steen
Story: 7.75 Art: 7.75 Overall: 7.75 Recommendation: Read


Purchase: comiXologyTFAW

AHOY Comics Announces Dragonflyman Day on June 16

Dragonfly & Dragonflyman

AHOY Comics has announced that June 16th will henceforth be known as “Dragonflyman Day.” This historic occasion will coincide with the bookstore publication date of the upcoming trade paperback release of Dragonfly & Dragonflyman — the prequel to the dazzling series The Wrong Earth — by writer Tom Peyer, artist Peter Krause, colorist Andy Troy, and letterer Rob Steen.

In the darkness of Earth-Omega, The Dragonfly exacts vengeance from sadistic killers and corrupt authorities. On sunlit Earth-Alpha, the upstanding Dragonflyman fights for justice alongside the police. Now, for the first time ever, all five issues of the series, plus the 2019 AHOY Free Comic Book Day story, will be available in one dimension-smashing volume—and, coincidentally, just in time for everyone’s new favorite summer holiday: Dragonflyman Day.

A brand-new but already beloved tradition wherein people from all over earth—Omega, Alpha, and otherwise—celebrate this all-too-misunderstood superhero, Dragonflyman Day will be full of exciting festivities, such as the aforementioned bookstore release date of the trade paperback. 

Dragonfly & Dragonflyman will be available in comic stores on June 3rd and bookstores on June 16th.

AHOY Comics Returns with All New Releases and New Schedule

AHOY Comics will resume publishing new comic book magazines in June. The updated summer publishing schedule includes:

ASH & THORN

A 5-issue miniseries by bestselling writer Mariah McCourt (True Blood, Stitched), artist Soo Lee (Analog Sci-Fi Magazine, Charlie’s Angels vs. the Bionic Woman), and colorist Pippa Bowland (2000AD), with lettering by Rob Steen and covers by legendary artist Jill Thompson (Scary Godmother, Wonder Woman: True Amazon).

Originally scheduled to debut on April Fool’s Day, the highly-anticipated debut issue #1 of ASH & THORN will be published on June 24, 2020, followed by issue #2 on July 8, issue #3 on July 29, issue #4 on August 19, and issue #5 on September 9, 2020.

ASH & THORN

BILLIONAIRE ISLAND

A 6-issue miniseries by acclaimed writer Mark Russell (Second Coming) and artist Steve Pugh (Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass), and colorist Chris Chuckry, with lettering by Rob Steen. Issue 1 features a cover by series artist and co-creator Steve Pugh and a variant cover by bestselling artist Pia Guerra (Y The Last Man).

The critically acclaimed series returns on July 1, 2020 with an all new second issue, followed by issue #3 on July 22, issue #4 on August 12, and issue #5 on September 16.

BILLIONAIRE ISLAND

CAPTAIN GINGER SEASON 2: DOGWORLD

A 6 issue mini-series by acclaimed writer Stuart Moore (Bronze Age Boogie) and artists June Brigman (Power Pack) and Roy Richardson, and colorist Veronica Ghandini, with lettering by Rob Steen.

CAPTAIN GINGER: DOGWORLD, which had two issues published at the time of lockdown, will complete its serialization in exclusive digital editions from Comixology. The first new issue of CAPTAIN GINGER SEASON 2: DOGWORLD, issue 3, will be released digitally on June 10, followed by issue 4 on July 8, issue 5 on August 5, and issue 6 on September 2.

Each upcoming issue of CAPTAIN GINGER: DOGWORLD will contain a special Digital Bonus Book at no additional cost: issue #3 features DRAGONFLY & DRAGONFLYMAN #1, issue #4 features BILLIONAIRE ISLAND # 1, issue #5 features BRONZE AGE BOOGIE #1, and issue #6 will feature will feature a selection from EDGAR ALLAN POE’S SNIFTER OF TERROR, including Hunt Emerson’s Black Cat comics.

CAPTAIN GINGER SEASON 2: DOGWORLD

In June, AHOY will also be publishing the trade paperback of DRAGONFLY & DRAGONFLYMAN, the prequel to the dazzling series THE WRONG EARTH—by writer Tom Peyer, artist Peter Krause, colorist Andy Troy, and letterer Rob Steen. The trade paperback will be released in comic book stores on June 3rd and in bookstores on June 16th.

DRAGONFLY & DRAGONFLYMAN

Originally scheduled for release this summer, as part of the company’s fourth wave of releases, PENULTIMAN, the new super hero title by Tom Peyer and Alan Robinson, will be resolicited at a later date.

Review: The Stringbags

The Fairey Swordfish was an outdated biplane in the age of monoplanes. It was underpowered and undergunned and obsolete. Instead, it flew into legend during World War II.

Writer Garth Ennis delivers three interconnected stories taking place during World War II about this legendary plane.

Story: Garth Ennis
Art: PJ Holden
Color: Kelly Fitzpatrick
Letterer: Rob Steen

Get your copy now! 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.

Amazon
Kindle
Bookshop.org

Dead Reckoning 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: Bloodshot: Definitive Edition

Want to know what inspired the Bloodshot film starring Vin Diesel? Bloodshot: Definitive Edition has you covered collecting issues #0-13!

Story: Duane Swierczynski, Matt Kindt
Art: Manuel Garcia, Arturo Lozzi, Barry Kitson, Matthew Clark, Matt Ryan, Stefano Gaudiano, Mark Pennington, Clayton Crain, ChrisCross
Color: Ian Hannin, Moose Baumann, Brian Reber, Chris Sotomayor
Letterer: Rob Steen, Dave Sharpe

Get your copy in comic shops and bookstores! 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.

Amazon
Kindle/comiXology

Valiant 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

AHOY Comics’ Fourth Wave of Releases Has Been Revealed!

Comic book creators Mark Russell and Steve Pugh, Mariah McCourt and Soo Lee, and Tom Peyer and Alan Robinson are launching three all new series for the fourth wave of AHOY comic book magazines. The three series all tackle 21st century fears and anxieties with a heavy dose of humor. The new wave of titles from the Syracuse-based company will launch next spring.  

AHOY Comics’ fourth wave includes three all-new titles:

  • BILLIONAIRE ISLAND, a 6 issue mini-series by acclaimed writer Mark Russell (Second Coming) and artist Steve Pugh (Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass), and colorist Chris Chuckry, with lettering by Rob Steen. Issue 1 features a cover by series artist and co-creator Steve Pugh and a variant cover by bestselling artist Pia Guerra (Y The Last Man).

Debuting in March 2020.

Welcome to Billionaire Island, where anything goes…if you can afford it. But the island’s ultra-rich inhabitants are about to learn that their ill-gotten gains come at a VERY high price. BILLIONAIRE ISLAND is a savage satire that reunites the creative team behind DC’s The Flintstones.

BILLIONAIRE ISLAND tells the story of Freedom Unlimited (FU Island), a private island created and populated by billionaires hoping to wait out the end of the world,” said writer and co-creator Mark Russell. “But because they are in international waters and not subject to any law, their haven is a nightmarish police state for anyone on the island who crosses them. In a broader sense, it’s a series that asks the question: how do we save the world when all its resources are partying offshore?”

BILLIONAIRE ISLAND
  • ASH & THORN, a 5 issue mini-series by bestselling writer Mariah McCourt (True Blood, Stitched), artist Soo Lee (Mine!, Charlie’s Angels vs. the Bionic Woman), and colorist Pippa Bowland, with lettering by Rob Steen and covers by legendary artist Jill Thompson (Scary Godmother, Wonder Woman: True Amazon).

Debuting in April 2020.

The apocalypse is nigh! The world needs a Champion, and the only heir to a sacred mystical lineage is…a little old lady? Meet Lottie Thorn, reluctant savior of the world, and her also-elderly trainer Lady Peruvia Ashlington-Voss. They might not look it, but these women are prepared to take on any Big Bad that comes along. But first, perhaps a nice cup of tea?

“Everyone knows Chosen Ones are supposed to be young and extremely expendable, but even the Universe makes mistakes sometimes,” explained McCourt. “And sometimes the mistakes are big ones. Like when it taps an 80+ year old retired art teacher to be the Champion who fights the next Apocalypse. Can an octogenarian overcome age and arthritis to save the world from cosmic monsters, world eaters, and gross creepy crawlies?”

ASH & THORN
  • PENULTIMAN, a 5 issue mini-series by writer Tom Peyer (The Wrong Earth), artist Alan Robinson (Planet of the Nerds), and colorist Lee Loughridge, with lettering by Rob Steen and covers by Robinson.

Debuting in May 2020.

Penultiman is the greatest, best-looking, and most admired superhero in the world. Penultiman is The Next-To-Last-Stage In Human Evolution. So how can he stop hating himself? Only Penultiman’s android understudy, Antepenultiman, knows the answer. Or, at least, he thinks he does!

“Penultiman, The Next-To-Last Stage in Human Evolution, is hailed as the godlike epitome of beauty, power, and compassion in the year 2020,” said Peyer. “In the far-future century he came from, however, his more advanced contemporaries saw him as a brutish evolutionary throwback and exiled him to our era. Paragon or primitive? His one chance for peace is to deny the haters and admirers alike, and discover who he really is–if he only knew how to begin.”

PENULTIMAN

AHOY Comics’ fourth wave also includes 2 trade paperback collections:

  • SECOND COMING: Volume One trade paperback by Mark Russell, artists Richard Pace and Leonard Kirk, and colorist Andy Troy, with lettering by Rob Steen and a cover by Richard Pace. The book will be released timed to Lent and will be on sale in comic shops on February 26th and in bookstores on March 10, 2020.
SECOND COMING: Volume One
  • DRAGONFLY & DRAGONFLYMAN: NIGHT & DAY trade paperback by Tom Peyer, artist Peter Krause, and colorist Andy Troy, with lettering by Rob Steen. The book will be released timed to dragonfly season on the east coast and will be on sale in comic shops on May 27th and in bookstores on June 9th, 2020.
DRAGONFLY & DRAGONFLYMAN: NIGHT & DAY

Since its debut in September of 2018, AHOY Comics has pledged for readers to “expect more” from its line of comic book magazines and graphic novels with full length comic book stories, accompanied by “extras” including short prose fiction, the occasional recipes, and even a crossword puzzle.

Review: Punisher Soviet #1

Someone is killing off Russian mobsters but it’s not Frank Castle! The Punisher wants to know who and why and of course kill those mobsters himself. It’s the return of Garth Ennis writing the Punisher to the MAX!

Story: Garth Ennis
Art: Jacen Burrows
Ink: Guillermo Ortego
Color: Nolan Woodard
Letterer: Rob Steen

Get your copy in comic shops November 13! 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.

Amazon
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: Dragonfly & Dragonflyman #1

Dragonfly & Dragonflyman #1

The Wrong Earth introduced us to Dragonfly and Dragonflyman. Similar heroes from very different Earths. Each represented an era of superhero comics. One is innocent with some levity while the other is dark and gritty. Dragonfly & Dragonflyman #1 picks up their adventures in a funhouse mirror version of each.

Writer Tom Peyer continues to nail the two different worlds and able to flow from one tone to another without issues. One version of the character is friendly and nurturing while the other is a jerk.

The adventures of the two heroes are interesting as they each deal with a different version of the same villain. The two depictions is fascinating as it emphasizes how much has changed in the depiction of comics in the twenty-ish years between these two styles (60s vs 80s). The storytelling style too is slightly different in their pacing and focus.

Peter Krause handles the art with Andy Troy on colors and Rob Steen on lettering. Like the dialogue and story itself, the art shifts effortlessly between the two eras. The Dragonfly/Dragonflyman characters have so many subtle differences between the two, many of them visual. The artistic team captures the body language along with the details of each world. It’s impressive to be able to change styles like this and the visuals really enhance the story and is key in making it work.

With it being an AHOY comic, Dragonfly & Dragonflyman #1 is packed with extras. Writers Matt Brady, Tyrone Finch, and Kek-W along with illustrations by Joe Orsak and Shawn Crystal deliver a wide range of topics and prose to enjoy. It’s a bonus as the main comic itself is solid and a draw by itself.

AHOY Comics continues to deliver a series that celebrates and examines the superhero genre. It’s a must for fans who like the concept of deconstruction and those who just enjoy an entertaining tale.

Story: Tom Peyer, Matt Brady, Tyrone Finch, Kek-W
Art: Peter Krause, Joe Orsak, Shawn Crystal
Color: Andy Troy Letterer: Rob Steen
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

AHOY Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Erf

Erf

Writer: Garth Ennis
Art: Rob Steen
Cover: Rob Steen
48 pages | $6.99 | Fantasy, Humor | All Ages

At the dawn of time, Erf and his three amphibious friends, Figwillop, KWAAAH, and the Booper, take their first nervous steps out of the ocean, the beginning of an adventure into the primordial world. As they explore the exciting new lands beyond the shore, they discover that the prehistoric jungle is home to the mighty and terrifying Colossux. What follows is an evolutionary fable of love and loyalty for readers of all ages!

Erf
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