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Preview: Power Pack #5 (of 5)

Power Pack #5 (of 5)

(W) Ryan North (A) Nico Leon (CA) Mirka Andolfo
Rated T
In Shops: Apr 14, 2021
SRP: $3.99

• It all comes down to this! Over the course of this series, the Power Pack has been manipulated, exploited and stolen from, and YOU’VE paid to see it happen! But don’t worry, because with this issue, NOW you’ll be paying to see them SUCCEED!!!
• …Unless, SOMEHOW, the problems they’ve got CAN’T be solved, not even if they team up with a guy with knives that pop out of his hands?
• That’s right, Wolverine completionists, your favorite Canadian is in this issue too! Along with Jack and Katie and Julie and Alex and THRILLING EVENTS REACHING AN ULTIMATE CONCLUSION, whose details shall not be spoiled here!!!
• The PACK is BACK! At least until you finish this issue.
• Aww, now I just made myself sad.

Power Pack #5 (of 5)

Preview: Power Pack #4 (of 5)

Power Pack #4 (of 5)

(W) Ryan North (A) Nico Leon (CA) Javi Garron
Rated T
In Shops: Mar 03, 2021
SRP: $3.99

• Hey guys, what’s up? Jack “MASS MASTER” Power here, and I’m narrating this issue of Power Pack, so they also let me do the solicit! JULIE narrated the last issue, and we all saw how well THAT went (aw, just kidding, Julie) (…unless?), so it’s time for the big guns! Let’s master some mass in this thing!!
• Anyway, bad news, Massheads – in this issue I get PLAYED by my HATERS into FIGHTING FOR MY LIFE against someone who is trying to MESS UP MY ENTIRE FAMILY, so let’s just say: Things get a little TOO real!
• Also there’s a special guest star…WOLVERINE!! He’s on the cover. I tried to get them to add a red arrow to it, pointing toward him with a circle around his claws, but they said that was “clickbait,” and I said, “Lol, I know.”
• And remember: Real heroes don’t forget to like (this comic) and subscribe (to this comic through their local comic book store).

Power Pack #4 (of 5)

Preview: Power Pack #3 (of 5)

Power Pack #3 (of 5)

(W) Ryan North (A) Nico Leon (CA) Carlos E. Gomez
Rated T
In Shops: Feb 10, 2021
SRP: $3.99

• The Power Pack is in over their heads (metaphorically) as their powers are (literally) about to start misbehaving and shutting down!
• Only they don’t know that yet, which is what’s known to STUFFY OLD LITERATURE PROFESSORS as “dramatic irony” and known to everyone else as “oh dang, that’s some exciting and suspenseful comic soliciting!” Sophocles used it! Shakespeare used it! Now it is our turn to experience dramatic irony.
• As if that weren’t enough, the Power Pack faces ANOTHER threat they never saw coming, delivered to them by special guest…TASKMASTER!
• Honestly, given how badly things are going, it really seems that one or more of the Power Pack should die in this issue. DO THEY?
• Heck, you’ll have to buy this (Julie-narrated!) issue to find out!

Power Pack #3 (of 5)

Review: Power Pack #2

Power Pack #2

Within a few pages of Power Pack #2, I found myself laughing. The comic delivers a fun spin on the rather serious issue of kids under the age of 21 being superheroes, part of the “Outlawed” storyline running through various series. But, this one does so with intelligence and spin that fits the personality of the team.

Written by Ryan North, Power Pack #2 does a solid job of balancing being a part of an “event” storyline and having its own voice. Like the first issue, it’s folded into the story as opposed to it being an event the characters are plopped into. With the second issue opening, the team has been surrounded by C.R.A.D.L.E. who’s ready to arrest them for breaking the law. While you’d expect the confrontation to turn into a fight and then the kids running, North handles it in a very unique and interesting way. The kids show off their intelligence and attitude delivering what feels like a solid and satisfying end to the situation.

Ryan peppers the issue with laughs as the kids have to find a mentor so they can continue to do good. The comic is filled with a series of short encounters as they attempt to recruit one, each resulting in laughs. The comic is funny. Very funny. I found myself sporting a smile throughout and literally laughing out loud multiple times. There’s a cute, fun, playful sense of it all and again North has me longing for this to all continue for a long time.

North is helped by Nico Leon who handles the art and Rachelle Rosenberg who does the colors. Travis Lanham handles the lettering. The art helps nail the jokes as many are as much the visuals as they are the dialogue. The body language, the facial expressions, the lingering of a kid, it all comes together to perfect the delivery. The art and lettering as well help convey a youthful enthusiasm that makes it all really fun. That’s the big thing about this issue, it’s just a hell of a lot of fun.

Power Pack #2 is an event tie-in done right. It doesn’t get dragged down by its constraints and instead uses it to really make its characters stand out and just have fun with it. The issue tackled is a potentially serious one, a tone that doesn’t match the team. So, the creative team keeps things in the Power Pack’s court making sure they’re front and center and the event is just another storyline.

Story: Ryan North Art: Nico Leon
Color: Rachelle Rosenberg Letterer: Travis Lanham
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Preview: comiXologyKindleZeus Comics

Exclusive Preview: Power Pack #2 (of 5)

Power Pack #2 (of 5)

(W) Ryan North (A) Nico Leon (C) Rachelle Rosenberg (CA) Stefano Caselli
Rated T
In Shops: Dec 30, 2020
SRP: $3.99

THE PACK IN PRISON?!
• Okay, so MAYBE it’s illegal for minors to fight crime in costume, dispensing vigilante justice as they see fit. MAYBE.
• But not if they have a mentor! Then it’s totally fine! So now all the Pack need is an adult willing to let them do whatever they want.
• It’s a voyage (or at least a two-page spread) across the Marvel Universe to find a mentor!
• But what if everything doesn’t go smoothly? What if there’s CONFLICT and EVENTS?
• The Power Pack faces adversity, betrayal and more in this Alex-narrated issue!

Power Pack #2 (of 5)

Review: Power Pack #1

Power Pack #1

Power Pack is a team that’s always been the “guest stars” to me. I remember reading some of their adventures when I was really young. A “special message” comic stands out, a simple public service announcement in comic form. I think the topic was staying off of drugs. It was the 1980s and that was a pretty common thing then. Then again, brushing my teeth as a topic also feels like a thing. The 80s were weird. Over the decades, my exposure has generally been limited to the characters appearing in other comics. But, after years in that role, the team is back in the spotlight with Power Pack #1. They’ve also stepped into a very different Marvel landscape.

Writer Ryan North delivers a fun start as the team is back together after their various adventures. They’re also struggling with what to do next. While there might be more enjoyment for those who have kept up with the characters, Power Pack #1 does a fantastic job of laying things out so you don’t need to. There’s references to aging up and space adventures but for this comic, those are more explanations for long-time fans than anything that impacts the story.

Instead, the story keeps things focused and simple. Through an amazing comic within a comic, new readers learn the history of the characters and team as the Power Pack struggle with whether they should tell their parents their secret. The interactions, the humor, it all comes together for a first issue that’s fun, funny, adorable, and has me wanting to come back for more and more. This feels like kids being kids at times and North nails their voices down when it comes to that.

What North also does is throw them directly into the frying pan. The “Outlawed” storyline has been a mish-mash of various series and impacts this one too. It doesn’t feel backed in at all but rather organic, something so many event tie-ins do not. “Outlawed” has underage superheroes banned unless they register and get a mentor to be trained. What’s not explained is why the Power Pack is completely unaware of the law but easily can be explained that they just don’t watch television or read the newspaper. But, no matter the reason, it works and works well for this miniseries.

The entertainment value of it all is helped by Nico Leon‘s art. Joined by Rachelle Rosenberg on color and Travis Lanham‘s lettering, the comic has a youthful look to it. There’s an style about it that fits the kids at the center of it all. The colors pop and the excitement of the character’s at times pop off of the page. There’s also an interesting use of panels with the more mundane family life framed in squares and rectangles and the action featuring more angled panels and images that break them. There’s just something very unique in how it’s all presented and the art pops.

Power Pack #1 is a fun start to the series. There’s a youthful energy about it befitting the characters and it’s hard to not smile while reading it. There’s so much to love about this first issue and it already has me hoping for more after this run is up. Power Pack #1 is exactly what comics should be, a hell of a lot of fun.

Story: Ryan North Art: Nico Leon
Color: Rachelle Rosenberg Letterer: Travis Lanham
Story: 8.4 Art: 8.4 Overall: Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus Comics

Preview: Power Pack #1 (of 5)

Power Pack #1 (of 5)

(W) Ryan North (A) Nico Leon (CA) Ryan Stegman
Rated T
In Shops: Nov 25, 2020
SRP: $3.99

Power Pack is back! Katie, Julie, Jack and Alex Power have been ssuper-heroing since they were learning to tie their own shoes. It’s been ages since they fought side by side as a family, but a special occasion – and an old grudge – is about to put the gang back together. There’s just one teeny tiny hiccup: a brand-new law restricting underage super heroes! But surely, if the fate of all New York City is at stake, the powers that be will make an exception? Keep your fingers crossed as the Power siblings fight for their right to save the world!

Power Pack #1 (of 5)

DC Reveals Covers and First Looks at their 2021 Middle Grade Titles

DC Comics has released a first look at some of their middle-grade titles being released in 2021. The graphic novels are geared towards readers ages 9-12.

The standalone stories introduce DC’s iconic characters to a whole new generation of readers. They’re accessible for new readers who are coming to comics, or DC, for the first time.

Metropolis Grove

Written, Illustrated and lettered by Drew Brockington
Colored by Wendy Broom
On sale everywhere books are sold on May 4, 2021
MSRP: $9.99
Pre-order: Amazon

The big city is full of Superman sightings, but here in Metropolis Grove? Every kid in this suburb knows that he’s not real…except newcomer Sonia Patel, who convinces her friends Duncan and Alex to believe! When the trio discover a mysterious cave full of Super-memorabilia, they can’t keep it to themselves, and that sets off a school year full of drama and adventure and more than a few opportunities for a newfound friendship to test its limits.

And when they finally figure out the resident of the cave is Bizarro, things get even more out of control!

Metropolis Grove

The Mystery Of The Meanest Teacher: A Johnny Constantine Graphic Novel

Written by Ryan North
Illustrated and colored by Derek Charm
Lettered by Wes Abbot
On sale everywhere books are sold on June 1, 2021
MSRP: $9.99
Pre-Order: Amazon

After angering a number of hostile spirits in England, 13-year-old magician Johnny Constantine has to find a way out of the country. Persuading his parents to send him to America, John arrives at the Junior Success Boarding School in Salem, Massachusetts. But once there,he finds himself to be something of an outcast. And he is also convinced that his homeroom teacher really has it in for him. Worse, he’s convinced that’s she’s really a witch. Fortunately, John is able to find one kindred spirit at school with whom he’s able to form an alliance–another misfit named Anna, who also happens to have her own developing magical powers. John recruits Anna in his efforts to uncover the truth about Ms. Kayla and expose the Meanest Teacher’s real identity to the world. Joined by a friendly demon named Etrigan, these two amateur sleuths will uncover clues and stumble upon forces beyond their control in a humorous series of misadventures.

The Mystery Of The Meanest Teacher: A Johnny Constantine Graphic Novel

Green Arrow: Stranded

Written by Brendan Deneen
Illustrated and colored by Bell Hosalla
Lettered by AndWorld Design
On sale everywhere books are sold on July 6, 2021
MSRP: $9.99
Pre-Order: Amazon

Following a plane crash on a deserted island, 13-year-old Oliver Queen must learn the skills he needs to survive and to protect his injured father. Ollie has always hated the idea of hunting, but his dad insisted they go on this trip with his business partner, Sebastian, and his son, Tyler. When Ollie fails to take a perfect shot, the teasing starts, and he wonders if his dad will ever be proud of him again. But just when he thought their trip couldn’t get any worse, their private jet is struck by lightning and crash lands on a deserted island. Ollie awakens to find his dad seriously injured and the other passengers nowhere in sight. If they hope to survive, he’s going to have to learn skills he’s been avoiding developing so far. He has never felt less sure of who he is…or if he will be able to hang on until help arrives.

Green Arrow: Stranded

Review: Slaughterhouse-Five OGN

Slaughterhouse-Five

Slaughterhouse-Five is one of my favorite books, and is hands down my favorite of Kurt Vonnegut’s novels. I happened upon it in college, with no prior knowledge of its content and no awareness of who Vonnegut was. Something about the book cover just drew me to the novel. I ended up missing class the next day because I stayed up all night reading it. Then once I’d finished, I turned right around and read it again. I may not have learned anything in class the day after buying the book, but Slaughterhouse-5 taught me a lot about what good fiction can deliver to the reader.

Published by Archaia, a division of Boom! Entertainment, Slaughterhouse-Five has now been adapted into an original graphic novel. Vonnegut’s classic anti-war allegory disguised as science-fiction is presented by writer Ryan North as it never has been before. Presenting the story, and its purposely non-linear narrative as a graphic novel is brilliant. Linking visuals to Billy Pilgrim’s time displacement fills out the storylines in a satisfying way. This adaptation is pretty faithful to the original novel. North uses much of Vonnegut’s prose and includes nearly every scene from the novel, even those small scenes casual readers may have forgotten. North does leave out one detail, however, the narrator from the novel, who is meant to represent the voice of Vonnegut himself.

Instead, North provides a bit of his own narration and exposition via text boxes placed throughout the story. In essence, he inserts himself as the narrator. Although these asides occasionally leaned toward humorous, I don’t feel like they added much to the narrative. To be frank, it felt to me like adding lines to a production of Shakespeare. In trying to retell one of Vonnegut’s stories, North effectively cuts him out of the narrative completely, and the representative character out until the very end. There are also some asides during scenes in the German prison camp where North points out Vonnegut (who was actually captured by the Germans during the war). Altogether, I think these asides are meant to mimic Vonnegut’s technique in the novel. Unfortunately, what is a sophisticated meta-textual literary device in Vonnegut’s hands feels more like pandering under North’s.

Along those same lines, I could have done without the seven pages of illustrated introduction. If a reader picks up this graphic novel, and has no idea it’s based on a Vonnegut novel, they should be allowed to enjoy it without pretense. North also gives a timeline of Billy Pilgrim’s “journey” through time, which basically amounts to a huge spoiler for a story that hasn’t even started yet. Plus, illustrating this introduction just felt unnecessary. One page of printed introduction, as is common in other graphic novels, would have sufficed. Or the illustrated introduction could have been tacked on to the end. The context it tries to impart would have had more impact after a reader has finished the graphic novel. Place at the beginning, it seemed like a waste of time for fans of Slaughterhouse-5, and wasn’t a good way to engage new readers.

Albert Monteys artwork is but not spectacular. The best way to describe my feelings of the illustrations is with the phrase “missed opportunity.” Slaughterhouse-five offers an artist the chance to draw battlefields, prison camps, flying saucers, an alien zoo, and the ward of a mental institution. Although Monteys renders all these settings well, they all look too similar. His linework rarely changes and the result is the exotic settings have the exact same look as the mundane ones. He does change his style at a few points, producing some cool visual effects, including: several underwater panels where the reader can see the ripples in the water, the scene where Billy Pilgrim watches a documentary on the war is drawn like a storyboard, and the pages of the Tralfamadorian book are appropriately abstract and psychedelic.

Luckily, Monteys’ use of color compensates for his uniform illustrative style. His color deviations accurately depict the settings within the story. Even without reading Vonnegut’s prose, the reader can instantly distinguish Germany during WWII from Billy Pilgrim’s optometry office in the 1950’s. The colors Monteys uses not only visually sum up the setting, they also convey the tone of each scene.

This graphic novel presentation of Slaughterhouse-Five is a great adaptation, but not necessarily a one-hundred percent faithful one. The story and most of the dialogue and text are purely Vonnegut. Unfortunately, North’s artistic liberties and literary additions don’t add to the quality of the story. In my opinion, North’s additions are actually more of a distraction then a quality accompaniment. Monteys’ artwork is a bit uniform despite the varied settings within the story, but all of his illustrations clearly covey the life of Billy Pilgrim to the reader. For those who have never read Slaughterhouse-five, I highly suggest starting with the novel, then checking out this graphic novel adaptation. Fans of Vonnegut’s work will probably want to add this graphic novel to their bookshelves, moreso to add to their collections than for the quality of the product.

Story: Kurt Vonnegut Written: Ryan North Art: Albert Monteys
Story: 10 Adaptation: 3.0 Art: 8.5 Overall: 7.2 Recommendation: Read

BOOM! Studios provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Preview: Slaughterhouse-Five

Slaughterhouse-Five

(W) Kurt Vonnegut, Ryan North (CA) Scott Newman (A/CA) Albert Monteys
In Shops: Sep 16, 2020
SRP: $24.99

Kurt Vonnegut’s classic adapted in graphic novel form for the first time!

With Kurt Vonnegut’s seminal anti-war story, Slaughterhouse-Five, Eisner Award-winning writer Ryan North (Unbeatable Squirrel Girl) and Eisner Award-nominated artist Albert Monteys (Universe!) translate a literary classic into comic book form in the tradition of A Wrinkle in Time and Fight Club 2.

Billy Pilgrim has read Kilgore Trout and opened a successful optometry business. Billy Pilgrim has built a loving family and witnessed the firebombing of Dresden. Billy Pilgrim has traveled to the planet Tralfamadore and met Kurt Vonnegut. Billy Pilgrim has come unstuck in time.

Slaughterhouse-Five is at once a farcical look at the horror and tragedy of war where children are placed on the frontlines and die (so it goes), and a moving examination of what it means to be a fallible human.

Slaughterhouse-Five
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