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Review: The Walking Dead #193

The Walking Dead #193

It’s near impossible to review The Walking Dead #193 without spoiling it. So, you’ve been warned.

*Spoiler Warning*

This is it, the end of this series. An unexpected finale sprung upon us much like the walker-filled world was sprung upon Rick Grimes.

With Rick murdered, there was a question looming over the series future and the direction it might go. We have that answer, and it’s on in our imaginations.

Writer Robert Kirkman delivers a finale that sticks the message and point he’s been building to throughout these years. The Walking Dead isn’t about the scares, it’s about building a future, a new society, from the ashes of the old one.

The Walking Dead #193 skips ahead with Carl Grimes now married with a child and a society rebuilt. It’s more Western than modern but “the trials” are now over. There’s law and order and protection. With that though comes forgetting of what was. And that’s the focus of the issue.

Walkers are now a traveling road show to be used to scare individuals. They’re a carnival act, not the dangerous things they once were. And that’s what the issue revolves around. Should the past be celebrated, forgotten, or is there a mix of that.

Rick Grimes helped forge this world and the issue celebrates that while also questioning the end impact. The world has forgotten its struggles. Carl still remembers it and does so to protect his family and so his daughter has a future.

And that’s where Kirkman soars. His story is about heart. It’s about family. And as a fairly new father, the scenes presented between Carl and his daughter got me right in the heart. They’re touching and the absolutely perfect end note. Carl reminds his daughter things are better though there are still dangers in the world. It’s a message that reflects in our every day lives. It’s a reminder of what we should be imparting on the next generation. We experience that complacency with our own walkers right around the corner. The underlying message Kirkman presents is one that we can take away with us today. It challenges the reader to do better and be better. It also focuses in on the point of the whole series from the beginning.

The art by Charlie Adlard with gray tones from Cliff Rathburn is fantastic. Along with lettering by Rus Wooton, we’re presented with an emotional issue. It’s not one full of scares or death and destruction. It’s all about human nature and feelings. And with the time jump, the art becomes key. It tells as much about where society is as to where it was. There’s a limited amount of pages to deliver the full story so the art details become a messenger for the reader to figure everything out. The art goes out on a high note matching an optimistic tone.

Fans of The Walking Dead might be both sad and happy with how things have wrapped. We’re not totally without future stories. From television shows to books, there’s much more life into this world yet to come and experience. And we can go into that with the knowledge that there’s hope for a future that’s a little better. A series whose message is that through trials and tribulations we can all make a better future. For a world built off of a bleak premise, its gift is one of a brighter future we can all make together.

Story: Robert Kirkman Art: Charlie Adlard
Gray Tones: Cliff Rathburn Letters: Rus Wooton
Story: 9.5 Art: 10 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Diary of Night Vol. 1: Distant Thunder

Diary of Night Vol. 1: Distant Thunder

When it comes to stories about vampires, everyone has one that they consider their ideal story. People who grew up watching Hammer horror movies can’t deny that they loved Christopher Lee as the notorious Dracula. Then there’s Gary Oldman’s turn as the legend in what could be considered a pulp classic Bram Stoker’s Dracula. As newer writers came into the Ethisphere, more imaginative creators decided to inject what they saw as vampires.

One such auteur is Guillermo Del Toro who brought the world The Strain, a nightmarish vision of vampires and actually made these infamous creatures scary again. I can truly say that the first movie I saw of his was Blade II which was action entertaining and downright scary. I wished that he would have written the next movie and the television show as his take on these classic aberrations is both frightening and fascinating. In Will Allred, Gene Gonzales, and Rus Wooton’s Diary Of Night Volume 1 we find a character much like Blade with even more inner turmoil.

We meet Catherine Morrison, a vampire who has been alive for more than 900 years, and who is having her weekly talk with her friend, Fran, who she reveals to her, that she has been having increasingly worst nightmares.  As a clash between two powerful vampires have had an impact on the current vampire population, as someone Catherine had been looking after has gone missing, this is only further complicated when she finds out that vampires have gone missing under mysterious circumstances over the last year. As we soon find out that her friend, Tim, had been kidnapped and tortured only to trap Catherine for the kill. This gives our hero, flashbacks of the cruelty that she endured which lead her to become a vampire and what ultimately lead her to kill her creator.

Overall, not your typical vampire story, as what Allred and his team have created is a superior murder mystery, The story by Allred is exhilarating and packed with suspense. The art by the creative team is awe inspiring. Altogether, a story that redefines the genre for the better, remembering to always tell a great story.

Story: Will Allred Art: Gene Gonzales Letters: Rus Wooton
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Robert Kirkman and artist Lorenzo De Felici’s Oblivion Song is Being Adapted for Film by Universal

Oblivion Song Chapter One

Skybound Entertainment and Universal Pictures announced this morning that the sci-fi drama Oblivion Song—based upon the New York Times bestselling Robert Kirkman and artist Lorenzo De Felici’s bestselling comic book series of the same name—is being developed for film. 

Universal’s Executive Vice President of Production Jon Mone and Director of Development Lexi Barta will oversee the project on behalf of the studio. The Oblivion Song adaptation will be produced by Skybound’s film team, including Robert Kirkman, David Alpert, Bryan Furst, and Sean Furst, with Sean O’Keefe attached to write the script. 

O’Keefe’s latest project, Wonderland, which stars Mark Wahlberg with Peter Berg directing, recently wrapped filming. O’Keefe sold the first script based on the Robert B. Parker bestselling Spenser book series in a deal with Netflix.

Oblivion Song Chapter Two

Image and Skybound Entertainment’s Oblivion Song by Kirkman and De Felici is colored by Annalisa Leoni, lettered by Rus Wooton, and edited by Sean Mackiewicz. It takes place a decade after 300,000 citizens of Philadelphia were suddenly lost in Oblivion. The government made every attempt to recover them but after many years they gave up. Nathan Cole won’t. He makes daily trips, risking his life to try and rescue those lost, alone and afraid, living in the apocalyptic hellscape of Oblivion. But maybe… Nathan is looking for something else. Why can’t he resist the siren call of the Oblivion Song?

Oblivion Song, Vol. 1 (ISBN: 978-1534306424) and Oblivion Song, Vol. 2 (ISBN: 978-1534310575) trade paperbacks are available now in comic shops and at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, IndieBound, and Indigo.

The Walking Dead #192 Gets a Second Printing with a Commemorative Cover

Image Comics and Skybound Entertainment has announced that The Walking Dead #192 by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard is immediately being rushed back to print in order to keep up with overwhelming customer demand for this event issue and will get a commemorative cover treatment. 

The Walking Dead #192 commemorative cover will feature imagery showcasing the latest twist to the series and will be on shelves the same day as The Walking Dead #193 hits stores.

The Walking Dead #192 (Diamond Code APR198094) will be available on Wednesday, July 3. The final order cutoff for comic shop retailers is Monday, June 10. 

SPOILER AHEAD IF YOU HAVEN’T READ THE WALKING DEAD #191 & #192!

Review: The Walking Dead #192

The Walking Dead #192

*Spoiler Warning*

Major events in comics are often left for big numbers like 25, 50, or 100. Writer Robert Kirkman shakes things up in The Walking Dead #192 delivering an emotional issue that’ll leave you in tears.

I have no shame in admitting the issue hit me emotionally. Like a ton of bricks. I choked up. Multiple times. I fought back tears.

For 191 issues, I’ve gotten to know Rick Grimes and his son Carl. They’re characters I’ve followed their ups and downs. And in this issue I, and we, say good-bye to Rick. We get to see Carl deal with the emotional pain of losing his father. We get to feel that sadness ourselves.

The Walking Dead #192 nails it in saying good-bye.

As Carl prepares to bury his father the realization of what Rick has done. What Rick has helped bring to the world hits you. And you realize the comic is truly about hope and the world we can create, together. It’s also about the wisdom parents pass to their kids. And as a father, I can hope I’m just a sliver of Rick was. The good he’s done. The positive outlook on the world he’s passed down. Civility. Justice. These are the lessons of The Walking Dead.

Even though this comic is a tear filled emotional ride, I know there’s more to go and come. This isn’t the true good-bye.

Charlie Adlard continues to amaze bouncing between the zombie gore and the human emotion. Brought to life with the inks of Stefano Gaudiano and gray tones of Cliff Rathburn, the issue’s visuals show the emotion when words can not do. Simple looks are all you need to see. Rus Wooton‘s lettering drives home the emotion of Kirkman’s words. The anger and sadness drip from the page.

The Walking Dead #192 is an issue I dreaded to read. I knew what was likely to come. I’ll be on the couch now curled up in a ball working through some stuff.

Story: Robert Kirkman Art: Charlie Adlard
Ink: Stefano Gaudiano Gray Tones: Cliff Rathburn Letterer: Rus Wooton
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Jesusfreak

Jesusfreak

The year is 26 C.E. A young Nazarean carpenter is having some trouble adjusting to the violent world around him-and finding his place within it. He knows he’s different, but he doesn’t know why. Not yet, anyway.

Take some kung-fu, mix in a little 70s exploitation films, stir some of the Bible, and you get Jesusfreak, a gonzo take on Jesus Christ.

The comic is a mix of over the top insanity and sort of “grounded” Biblical tale that mixes into a comic that feels like it’s not quite sure what it wants to be.

Writer Joe Casey and artist Benjamin Marra go back and forth between a story that’s a spin on the Biblical story we know and something else. That something else is a kung-fu infused action/adventure featuring giant lizard people and a style that’s a bit 70s exploitation. It never quite commits one way or another and without doing so never quite gels in a way that makes sense. Aspects seem to come out of nowhere and never quite explained like there’s pages missing to the story.

Marra’s art, with color by Brad Simpson and lettering by Rus Wooton is good. The art style really helps deliver that retro feel to it all. There’s some odd art here and there (one panel has Jesus’ finger looking like they’re broken as he performs kung-fu) but there’s a charm to it all that makes it entertaining. One also can’t overlook the fact that Jesus isn’t white and those depicted are of a darker complexion as they should be.

There’s a lot of potential here but the comic never quite commits as to what it wants to be. It’s entertaining in a pulp/grindhouse sort of way but at times it feels like it wants to be serious and other times it wants to be something like a John Carpenter film. With a bit more focus, the story would be amazing and a lot of fun. As is, it feels like it’s unsure as to what it wants to be much like the Jesus it depicts.

Story: Joe Casey Art: Benjamin Marra
Color: Brad Simpson Letterer: Rus Wooton Design: Sonia Harris
Story: 7.0 Art: 7.0 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Die!Die!Die! #6

Die! Die! Die! #6

I read the first issue of this series and while I enjoyed it, it also felt like it was an over the top violent series whose violence is the draw. It was Bond mixed with Tarantino where it’s not enough to dispatch the enemy, it’s about how you do it. Does the head explode? What instrument do you use to stab?

Die!Die!Die #6 had an opportunity to bring in new readers in a week where there’s not much on the shelves and instead of a solid entry point, we’re delivered an issue deep into the story with a rather confusing plot and too many references not explained. Die!Die!Die #6 is for those already in the know and reading the series.

Robert Kirkman and Scott M. Gimple deliver an issue that’s an origin of sorts but has so many sidetracks it’s hard to stay focused an interested. Instead of just delivering on an origin, that’d be a draw, it meanders through the grand conspiracy that only really makes sense if you’ve read the previous five issues.

There is a lot that’s great here though and that’s what’s frustrating. Instead of just focusing on one or two aspects the issue packs too much in with too little explanation. We get the “origin” of the “Beatles kids” and that alone should have been the focus of the issue. But, we also get agents in the field and bits about political jockeying. There’s a bit too much and the comic comes off as unfocused.

The art by Chris Burnham with color by Nathan Fairbairn, and lettering by Rus Wooton is solid. There’s brothers involved, quadruplets actually, and each is given a style unto themselves to differentiate them. There’s the expected blood and gore and all together the art creates a stage that defies the violent and twisted content within. And that seems to be part of the point. It comes together as if classical music is played during a murder scene and the scene itself is rather calm and serene.

The issue is a fine one if you’ve been reading the series put it comes off a bit as a bit unfocused with the wrong lessons taken from Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s work. All violence and flash and little more. An issue that just told one or two aspects of everything covered within would have not just been more of a winner but also a better entry point, and hook, for a week when there’s so little on the shelf and higher chance folks will check the series out.

Story: Robert Kirkman, Scott M. Gimple Art: Chris Burnham
Color: Nathan Fairbairn Lettering Rus Wooton
Story: 6.0 Art: 7.5 Overall: 6.0 Recommendation: Pass

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Die!Die!Die!

Die!Die!Die! bills itself as a blood-soaked, no holds barred, action-packed, irreverent story. The series focuses on a world where evil people do evil stuff all the time. A secret cabal within the United States government influences world matters through targeted assassination. The world around us is manipulated right under our noses, mostly for the better… but sometimes for individual gain, and sometimes for the fun of it.

Written by Robert Kirkman and Scott M. Gimple, Die!Die!Die! feels like the creative team channeling Garth Ennis with over the top torture, blood, copious amounts of drugs, and some nudity. The story too feels very Ennis with a secret cabal sending out killers to… well kill.

The story itself is over the top and feels like a departure in a way from what I’d expect in the more character focused Kirkman series like The Walking Dead and Oblivion. That’s not the focus here, it’s clearly the action, and that’s not a bad thing.

The bloody action is presented by Chris Burnham with colors from Nathan Fairbairn and lettering from Rus Wooton. And boy is that bloody action presented. Things are over the top in an almost comedic fashion that turns it from gross to something almost mocking the genre in a way. The characters are interesting and action decent but again, like the writing, the art is a reminder of Ennis’ partnership with Steve Dillon, in particular their work on Preacher.

There’s a clear reader who will absolutely enjoy this debut issue, fans of Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon. There’s an over the top aspect of it all that desensitizes the violence in a way that makes it comedic. The comic was a surprise for fans and retailers and what’s inside too is surprising as it’s a departure from Kirkman’s other current series. If you like a little bit of ultraviolence to the point of borderline spoof, this is one to check out.

Story: Robert Kirkman, Scott M. Gimple Art: Chris Burnham
Color: Nathan Fairbairn Letterer: Rus Wooton
Story: 7.75 Art: 7.75 Overall: 7.75 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Skybound Announces a Surprise Release with Die!Die!Die! Out Wednesday

In a shocking move, Image Comics and Skybound Entertainment dropped the first issue of an all-new series by comics titans Robert Kirkman, Scott M. Gimple, and Chris Burnham, with colors by Nathan Fairbairn and lettering by Rus Wooton, titled Die!Die!Die! which will be available for sale tomorrow.

Die!Die!Die! promises to be a blood-soaked, no holds barred, action-packed, irreverent story that fans won’t be able to rip their eyes from. We live in an evil world where evil people do evil stuff all the time and Die!Die!Die! lifts the veil on a secret cabal within the United States government that influences world matters through targeted assassination. The world around us is manipulated right under our noses, mostly for the better… but sometimes for individual gain, and sometimes for the fun of it.

So if you’re hurting people, somehow making the world worse than it already is, or even just standing in the way of something good happening… someone could right now be giving the order for you to… DIE!DIE!DIE!

Die!Die!Die! #1 is available in stores tomorrow. Don’t miss it!

Review: The Walking Dead #177

Meet Officer Mercer, the newest individual we’re introduced to living in the “New World Order” that is the Commonwealth. The Walking Dead #177 is broken up into a few parts and while each segment varies greatly, each emphasizes the focus on the living with the series.

Rick is with Mikey who is working through issues through poetry an interesting aspect in a world where danger is around every corner and the dead have risen. There’s a focus on addressing loss and trauma of what’s going on and with Rick involved he is of course still dealing with the loss of Andrea. It’s an interesting an important segment as it shows that things are relatively stable but there’s still emotional turmoil. A segment with Maggie as well shows this aspect of stability. After everything that has happened, this is a time when you can let your guard down and enjoy things a bit.

Emotion is the name of the game of this issue as Michonne is reunited with her daughter Elodie. We learn Elodie’s story and are reminded of the horrible things everyone has done or had done to them to survive. It’s emotional and writer Robert Kirkman as usual does a solid job of focusing on the human aspect of the story. The series isn’t about surviving the dead, it’s about living in a world of the dead.

We’re also introduced to Mercer and Governor Milton’s son. This is the first sign that things aren’t perfect in the world of the Commonwealth and indicates where the next bit of turmoil is coming from. The series has done a good job of keeping the crazy hidden but we readers know there’s no way this new community can be as good as it’s presented. The cracks are visible here and it’s hard to know who’s right and who’s wrong in this situation. Unlike with other communities, the sides are a bit grey. Kirkman gives us something familiar but changes it up just enough to keep it interesting.

The art by Charlie Adlard, with ink by Stefano Gaudiano, and gray tones by Cliff Rathburn is excellent as always. Each new character has so much personality and the emotion of the story is driven as much by the art as it is by the story itself. That’s equally impressive since the story is in black and white which changes up how we “read” the scenes a bit more. It emphasizes Adlard’s line work and the detail, or lack of, added to each scene and character. The lettering by Rus Wooton too adds to the emotion of it all making it a bit clearer how dialogue is delivered. Slight bolding helps emphasize a word.

This new arc has been a slow but solid build introducing us to this new world and letting the malice (or expected malice) build. Is it in our minds considering the series history? Or, is there something up with these new characters and community that spells trouble for our heroes. Is it all too good to be true and this is the quiet before the storm? Kirkman and team know how to build to a cathartic explosion and this latest arc feels like it’s building to something, I just don’t know what.

Story: Robert Kirkman Art: Charlie Adlard Cover: Charlie Adlard Cover Color: Dave Stewart
Ink: Stefano Gaudiano Gray Tones: Cliff Rathburn Letterer: Rus Wooton Editor: Sean Mackiewicz
Story: 8.15 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.2 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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