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Mini Reviews: Zawa, Petrol Head, and G.O.D.S.!

Petrol Head #1

Sometimes, the staff at Graphic Policy read more comics than we’re able to get reviewed. When that happens you’ll see a weekly feature compiling reviews of the comics, or graphic novels, we just didn’t get a chance to write a full one for.

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews and Recommendations.


Zawa + the Belly of the Beast #1 (BOOM! Studios) – In Zawa #1, writer/artist Michael Dialynas puts a colorful and unique spin on the dystopian genre. He crafts a world centered around processed food and a feast honoring a corrupt mayor that screams factory town, but has a little bit of a Nintendo aesthetic. For example, the mayor looks like a Kirby baddie. The protagonists of Zawa run a bakery and try to scrounge together fresh food and remember a time when food was art and not just convenience. It all leads to some good trouble involving the aforementioned beast of the comic who is this series’ wild card. Dialynas handles coloring and lettering duties using colored font any time a character mentions a “rare” ingredient as well as bursts of brightness any time they have a breakthrough. The whole thing ends up being a visually charming version of a well-trodden genre. Overall: 8.2 Verdict: Buy

Petrol Head #1 (Image Comics)Petrol Head is the other new dystopia series that was launched this week, but it’s very different from Zawa. Rob Williams and Pye Parr channel classic 2000 AD comics with a day-glo sheen in this tale of domed cities, retired, gas (Or petrol for the Brits) powered racing robots, and sassy robot birds. I really enjoyed the flashback scene of Petrol Head in his prime, and the excitement of the racing scenes pair nicely with Williams’ satirical script of how the world is basically rigged. Parr’s designs for the different robots have both form and function, and it’s a sheer thrill ride to see Petrol head run over the robot cops from the O-Zone. (Yes, there are lots of great puns in this comic too.) Petrol Head #1 sets the table for this brave new world with action, hijinks, and a pitch black sense of humor instead of gloms of exposition, and I’m interested to see how this rag tag bang takes down the authoritarian corporations that run their world. Overall: 8.4 Verdict: Buy

G.O.D.S. #2 (Marvel) Jonathan Hickman and Valerio Schiti continue to cut off G.O.D.S. from the main Marvel Universe (Bye bye cameos) while having the bent of the series completely transcend and undergird it. And the final result is fantasy in a very sci-fi way as Aiko takes her soon-to-be sorcerer’s apprentice Mia to the Library of Worlds and offers this struggling, underprivileged college student a way to achieve. Even though G.O.D.S. is full of high concepts and powerful beings, Schiti’s skill with facial expression grounds the story and really let me connect with Mia. Of course, when you’re failing at life, the crazy white haired magic lady and library with supernatural beings might actually be appealing. Some other highlights of G.O.D.S. #2 are the flatness of the dialogue that Jonathan Hickman writes for Mia’s friends and the boringness of her life compared with the world of the Centivars. What sets apart G.O.D.S. from other Chosen One narratives other than the class consciousness is that Mia isn’t set up as some kind of messiah figure, but just gets to live an interesting life as the series progresses. Overall: 8.0 Verdict: Buy

Petrol Head #1 hits the gas for a familiar but entertaining start

Petrol Head #1

In a climate crisis-ravaged future metropolis, an old, grumpy, obsolete, smoke-belching, cigar-chomping, Hotrod-Racing Robot is one 12-year-old girl’s only hope. Together, can they outrace the chasing Robo-Cops with an invention that might just save humanity? Petrol Head #1 kicks off a race that feels familiar but delivers it in a hell of a fun way.

Written by Rob Williams, Petrol Head #1 delivers an opening chapter that is general a story we’ve seen before, but one that’s just done so well. It’s a future whose environment has been destroyed. The masses are generally distracted from the dystopia that surrounds them. And, all hope lies in the hands of a scientist and his daughter. Something is up which forces them on the run, them being pursued, and a former racer to help them escape.

It’s a concept done again and again (scientist being pursued and needing help) but Petrol Head #1 just does it so well. The build up, the characters, the world, the pacing, it’s all done at a fantastic level. It’s entertainment that leans into its racing nature and builds such a wonderful, strange, world. It’s pop culture consumerism at so many levels.

Williams’ world is just solid, with such well thought out detail, it’s hard to not appreciate it all. The racing has such a great background to it, you get a sense of this world from it. It’s the modern gladiator games, built to suck in and distract the people from the world around it. It’s very much a reflection of our on media and consumerism, irony as it’s exactly that delivering the story. It lays its cards on the table building things up to the end where you just want to see some awesome driving.

All of this is helped by Pye Parr’s art which is top notch. The design of the characters is so unique and solid and world feels like something that’s been thought out. This isn’t just some simple characters with a background, every detail feels like it has purpose, and there’s a lot of detail, especially for the characters who pop on the page. The robots especially are full of personality and every one feels unique.

Petrol Head #1 is a hell of a start and one of the better of the year. The story is familiar but the execution of this debut is so good. This is one that stands out this week and has us excited to see what’s next.

Story: Rob Williams Art: Pye Parr
Color: Pye Parr Letterer: Pye Parr
Story: 8.75 Art: 8.75 Overall: 8.75 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Purchase: Zeus ComicsTFAWKindle

Battle Action #3 has two entertaining stories and nice history, though one story is a bit odd

Battle Action returns with an all-new, five-issue mini-series of thrilling tales! Garth Ennis and John Higgins take a break from war stories to bring you a brutal tale set in 1981, featuring Dredger tracking down kidnappers and delivering justice in his own unique way. And Major Eazy makes a comeback in a brand-new story written by Rob Williams, as Eazy must ensure that his soldiers survive the Battle of El Alamein, drawn by Henry Flint.

Story: Garth Ennis, Rob Williams
Art: John Higgins, Henry Flint
Color: John Higgins, Sally Jane Hurst
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.

Zeus Comics

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Preview: Batman: The Brave and the Bold #6

Batman: The Brave and the Bold #6

(W) Guillem March, Ed Brisson, Rob Williams, Collin Kelly, and Jackson Lanzing (A) Guillem March, Jeff Spokes, Stefano Landini, and Jorge Molina
In Shops: Oct 24, 2023
SRP: $7.99

Guillem March writes and draws a poignant and heartfelt tale of redemption in Back to Year One. The shocking final chapter of Stormwatch has arrived from Ed Brisson and Jeff Spokes: What secret has Director Bones been withholding from the team all this time?! Emilia Harcourt returns…from the dead?! A mystery unfolds courtesy of Rob Williams and Stefano Landini! Plus: a no-holds-barred story of Batman from Collin Kelly, Jackson Lanzing, and Jorge Molina in their first Batman Black & White story!

Batman: The Brave and the Bold #6

Preview: Batman: The Brave and the Bold #5

Batman: The Brave and the Bold #5

(W) Ed Brisson, Rob Williams, Tom King (A) Mitch Gerads, Jeff Spokes, Stefano Landini, Jorge Fornes
In Shops: Sep 26, 2023
SRP: $7.99

The shocking finale to the horrific, groundbreaking first encounter between Batman and The Joker will leave you gasping for breath. The origin of the greatest duel in the history of comics is finally told! Stormwatch is on the trail of an old god who’s been slumming his way across Europe, leaving a mess of jilted lovers and bloody bodies in his wake. The god is protecting a powerful weapon that the team needs to defeat one of their greatest adversaries–a weapon he’s sworn to protect with his life Emilia Harcourt is back from the dead thanks to…Amanda Waller?! A shocking tale that will have huge ramifications for the Dawn of DC by Rob Williams and Stefano Landini! Ed Brisson and Jorge Fornes bring an epic story to the pages of Batman Black & White!

Batman: The Brave and the Bold #5

Rob Williams, Pye Parr, and Image Comics’ Petrol Head gets a trailer

Petrol Head #1 is on sale at your local comic shop on Wednesday, November 8!

Writer Rob Williams and artist Pye Parr team up for a pedal-to-the-metal, action-packed sci-fi series in the upcoming Petrol Head.

In a climate crisis-ravaged future metropolis, an old, grumpy, obsolete, smoke-belching, cigar-chomping, hotrod-racing robot is one 12-year-old girl’s only hope. Together, can they outrace the chasing Robo-Cops with an invention that might just save humanity? Readers will jump straight into the non-human race with this robo-gorgeous launch issue featuring 42 story pages.

Preview: Batman: The Brave and the Bold #4

Batman: The Brave and the Bold #4

(W) Collin Kelly, Jackson Lanzing, Ed Brisson, Rob Williams, Meghan Fitzmartin (A) Kelley Jones, Pasquale Qualano, Stefano Landini, Belén Ortega
In Shops: Aug 22, 2023
SRP: $7.99

KNIGHT TERRORS TIE-IN! In a Knight Terrors tie-in, Stormwatch members Flint, Phantom-One, Core, and Shado are trapped in a nightmarish world where their deepest fears lurk around every corner…and their fear is just the beginning, because a new enemy has emergedTempest! The return of Emilia Harcourt by Rob Williams and Stefano Landini! Featuring a classic Batman tale of Gotham City Horror by Collin Kelly, Jackson Lanzing, and Kelley! And this issue’s Batman Black & White tale by Meghan Fitzmartin and Belen Ortega tells a powerful and brutal story about family, life and death!


Batman: The Brave and the Bold #4

It’s Iron Giant meets Mad Max: Fury Road in Petrol Head this November

Writer Rob Williams and superstar artist Pye Parr team up for a pedal-to-the-metal, action-packed sci-fi series in the upcoming Petrol Head. This all-new ongoing series is set to hit the pavement this November from Image Comics.

In a climate crisis-ravaged future metropolis, an old, grumpy, obsolete, smoke-belching, cigar-chomping, hotrod-racing robot is one 12-year-old girl’s only hope. Together, can they outrace the chasing Robo-Cops with an invention that might just save humanity? Readers will jump straight into the non-human race with this robo-gorgeous launch issue featuring 42 story pages.

Petrol Head #1 will be available at comic book shops on Wednesday, November 8:

  • Cover A by Parr – Lunar Code 0923IM323
  • Cover B by Parr “Green” – Lunar Code 0923IM324
  • Cover C by Parr “Purple” – Lunar Code 0923IM325
  • Cover D by Laurence Campbell – Lunar Code 0923IM326
Petrol Head #1

It’s the “Dawn of DC” starting in January 2023

Dawn of DC” is kicking off in January 2023. It’s a year long storytelling initiative from DC Comics. The initiative picks up on the Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths and DC Universe: Lazarus Planet events. The world’s superheroes have emerged from the biggest, most devastating battles of their lives and are reinvigorated in their fights against evil. Readers can expect “epic new storylines,” over 20 exciting new titles, superstar creative teams, and villains that will push the heroes beyond their limits in bold adventures, this line-wide, multievent narrative initiative kicks off with January’s Action Comics #1051.

All year long, DC will be celebrating the classic characters while also embracing the next generation of new heroes, as everyone will be needed to help fight against the darkness. Dawn of DC will shine the spotlight on a number of fan-favorite superheroes and super-villains that haven’t been front and center for some time. 

Dawn of DC is an easy entry point for both lifelong readers and those picking up a comic for the first time to dive into the new stories. Over 20 new comic titles will be launching throughout 2023 as part of Dawn of DC, featuring Hal Jordan, John Stewart, Shazam, the Doom Patrol, Green Arrow, Cyborg, the Penguin, and more.

Kicking off in January with the previously announced Action Comics #1051, Dawn of DC features an exciting new era for the Man of Steel. Action Comics #1051 is the start of a format change that will see three new stories included in each issue from writers Phillip Kennedy Johnson, Dan Jurgens, and Leah Williams. In Superman #1 out in February, from writer Joshua Williamson and artist Jamal Campbell, Clark Kent is settling back into his life on Earth while iconic and new enemies erupt from the shadows to take him on. Jon Kent will also get to forge his own path and will take on the man responsible for his kidnap and torture, Ultraman, in Adventures of Superman: Jon Kent #1 by Tom Taylor and Clayton Henry available at local comic shops in March.

Spinning directly out of Lazarus Planet, the world’s strangest superheroes are saving the world by saving its monsters! In the team’s first main line series in over a decade, the Doom Patrol returns in Unstoppable Doom Patrol by Dennis Culver and Chris Burnham, available in March.

Clark and Jon won’t be the only Kent family members with their own series. Superboy: The Man of Tomorrow by Kenny Porter and Jahnoy Lindsay will launch in April. Determined to find his place in a strange universe, Conner Kent/Superboy leaves Earth behind. But his journey of self-discovery brings him face-to-face with a group of freedom fighters who challenge not just everything Conner stands for but what it means to bear the Superman crest.

Green Lantern fans will have their pick of Green Lanterns in 2023 when both Green Lantern: Hal Jordan and Green Lantern: John Stewart fly into comic book shops! Green Lantern: Hal Jordan by Mariko Tamaki and an artist yet to be announced will be available in April. Fan favorite Hal Jordan returns to Earth and to his blockbuster superhero action storytelling roots. Spinning out of that series and launching later in the year, Green Lantern: John Stewart is by writer Phillip Kennedy Johnson and an artist to be announced at a later date. The beloved John Stewart gets back to basics as the military-trained, gritty, but heroic Green Lantern.

Oliver Queen has been lost since Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths, and his family is determined to find him—but there are dangerous forces just as determined to keep them apart at any cost. Green Arrow by writer Joshua Williamson and artist Sean Izaakse, which launches in April, is an action-packed adventure across the DC Universe that sets the stage for major stories in 2023.

A classic title returns with tales of the Dark Knight and core stories building out Dawn of DC! Coming in May, Batman: The Brave and the Bold features top writers and artists, including Tom King, Mitch Gerads, Guillem March, Gabriel Hardman, Dan Mora, Rob Williams and more.

Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths forever changed Victor Stone, and now, as Dawn of DC rises, he might just hold the secret to Earth’s future! He gets his own series, Cyborg, in May from a talent team that will be revealed at a later date.

The creative team behind the smash-hit Batman/Superman: World’s Finest, writer Mark Waid and artist Dan Mora, is reunited once again on Shazam!, available in June. Billy Batson is back as the champion in the action-comedy comic about a boy with powers that rival Superman’s and a whole lot of growing up left to do. We’ll see Shazam hanging out at the Rock of Eternity, his secret clubhouse that can travel through space and time, as well as punching dinosaurs in the face, seeing how long he can hold his breath on the moon, and getting into wild and fun adventures with his tiger, Tawky Tawny, by his side.

After escaping Gotham City and his criminal past to happily retire to Metropolis, the Penguin is forced back into organized crime by the U.S. government! The feathered felon, and Gotham City, will never be the same. Spinning out of the pages of BatmanThe Penguin (working title) will be available in June from writer Tom King and artist Stefano Gaudiano.

Just in time for his 30th anniversary, John Henry Irons must bring Metropolis into the future while trusting his niece Natasha to carry the mantle of Steel. Steelworks will be available in June from a talent team that will be revealed at a later date.

Stay tuned as more from Dawn of DC, including the titles releasing in the second half of 2023, will be announced soon!

Review: Out #1

Out #1

Comics are a particularly fertile medium for different interpretations of the vampire mythos. From Vertigo’s Vamps, about a female biker vamp gang that spills the patriarchy’s blood wherever they go, to Image’s Dracula, Motherfucker!, a pulpy reinterpretation of the original vampire’s bloodsucking brides, there’s no shortage of examples about the storytelling possibilities the classic monster can still hold.

Rob Williams and Will Conrad’s Out, published by AWA Studios, is another great foray into vamp territory, but what makes it stand out is how well it tweaks the monster’s foundational myths to produce a more nuanced but infinitely more terrifying version of it. There’s enough classic horror here to satisfy veteran vampire fans with enough variation to keep those hungry for new blood well fed.

Out is essentially a prisoner of war story (P.O.W. for short) set in the final days of the Second World War, with the Allies quickly gaining on the Nazis in their home turf. Like any good POW story, the comic focuses on a small group of captured Allied soldiers that are being kept in a massive castle located deep in the mountains of Czechoslovakia. Dark priests and strange rituals are taking place inside the castle and they end with prisoners being fed to something that thirsts for blood, something ancient.

Out #1

A Native American soldier called Nocona emerges as the main character in all this, a code-talker that speaks several languages and that represents a whole group of First Nations servicemen that the American military enlisted to transmit coded messages during the war (codes the Germans didn’t know how to crack). His knowledge of languages figure greatly into the story and it’s one of the things that help make the vampire a deeper and more frightening character.

Without giving too much away, Nocona’s interactions with the vampire (who’s trapped by the Nazis in an effort to turn a losing war in their favor) are fascinatingly terrifying because of the character’s ability to speak in the same tongue as the creature. This allows Williams and Conrad to flesh out the monster beyond snarls, growls, and hisses.

Conrad creates a horrifying vamp here, bat-like in parts and almost alien-like in others, but William’s scripting choice to allow him to attempt communication means there’s more room afforded to its development as a multidimensional character. The comic shines in this regard.

Usually, vampire characters that are in a permanent bat monster mode rarely get the chance to speak or to add nuance to their personality. Williams and Conrad challenge this by doing the opposite, and it works well enough to set their vamp apart from the ones already out there in the field.

Nocona’s presence, though, isn’t just relegated to vampire whisperer. He’s also trying to help other POWs in the castle escape. It’s here that he meets a soldier that represents a level of attraction beyond any call of duty. His and Nocona’s interactions are among Out’s strongest and they help further differentiate this horror tale from the rest, especially in terms of how naturally it unfolds. Nothing is ever forced or propped up for shock value. It’s an organic type of development and it adds layers of emotion that pay off in the end.

Out #1

In a sense, it’s not unfair to describe Out as a cross between Dracula and The Great Escape. The elements of a POW escape yarn are firmly present and a lot of the tension Williams and Conrad produce comes from the same sense of urgency war movies of this iteration are known for. In turn, the horror elements turn the narrative two-tiered, a ‘busting out of captivity’ scenario paired with a creature feature that makes the need for escape all the greater. It’s smart and it makes for compulsive reading.

Out is a great example of how to take tradition and twist it into something that can appeal to more current sensibilities. It’s a classic horror story that reads like a POW war narrative with key adages and permutations that elevate it into more compelling forms of storytelling. Williams and Conrad came up with a clever and violently emotional exploration of war, death, and everything in between. In the process, they might also suggest learning other languages can be the deciding factor in some life and death situations. You never know when you might need to talk down a blood-sucking creature from using your head as a wine glass in its native tongue.

Story: Rob Williams Art: Will Conrad
Color: Marco Lesko Letterer: Sal Cipriano
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy and learn an ancient language or two.

Purchase: comiXology/KindleTFAW

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