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Review: Sun Eater #1

Sun Eater #1

Ninth century Norway is a land of bloody and civil strife, fanatical religious upheaval, and exploration. At its center is the warrior Kveldulf Bjalfisson, a drug addict and father willing to become a monster in order to save his son from his sworn enemy – King Harald Fairhair. 

I don’t know what I expected when I picked up a comic written by Dylan Sprouse with Joe Harris. It wasn’t a story with dialogue that reads like a Shakespearian play. At first, I felt the character’s conversations were like it was being written in a blend of the traditional pirate style of speech and the English version of Latin from the AMC show Spartacus. It’s slightly off-putting after you realize that it isn’t just being used for the sacrifice that opens the comic. Instead, it’s a conscious choice throughout the book, and then you fall into it. The speech patterns of the characters mean that you have to actively read every word so that you’re not missing the meaning of the words on the page, which helps you understand the story a touch more.

The first issue of SunEater doesn’t do a whole lot more than establishing the ground rules for the story; we learn who the major players are, get an idea what Kveldulf Bjalfisson is motivated by and what he’s aiming to do. And behind it all we see Woten, or Odin, is playing a game entirely his own. You’ll also see a large number of hard to pronounce names that look authentically Norse and are subsequently hard to pronounce (I say look authentic because I’m not well versed in historical Norse names and so won’t pretend that I am), but add another layer of immersion to the comic.

Sun Eater #1 is brought to life by Diego Yapur and D.C. Alonso, responsible for the line work and colors respectively. Yapur’s artwork is decisive and striking; detailed where it needs to be, and barren when you need to focus on something specific. The facial expressions are without a doubt some of the most honest and realistic I’ve seen in a while; it also helps that most characters wouldn’t be seen on a runway – these characters look like a snapshot of the Norse people of yesteryear; grubby, angry, ugly… it’s a grimy looking comic, but Alonso makes it look beautiful. Frankly, the art is some of the best sequential work I’ve seen in a while.

I won’t lie; I picked Sun Eater #1 up because I was morbidly curious what a story created by Dylan Sprouse would be like, and I’m more than happy to say that it left me impressed. As the first issue in a longer miniseries (it was originally billed as nine, but I think it may have increased to twelve now), the creative team has delivered exactly what you want in the opening chapter of a story. Sun Eater #1, published by Heavy Metal, is a fantastic read. Whether you’re just into capes and cowls, or you like to dabble in fantasy, this is a comic you really need to check out.

Story: Dylan Sprouse with Joe Harris Art: Diego Yapur
Colorist: D.C. Alonso Letterer: Saida Temofonte

Story: 8.9 Art: 9.4 Overall: 9.2 Recommendation: Buy

Heavy Metal provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyHeavy MetalZeus Comics

Review: Sun Eater #1

Sun Eater #1

Ninth century Norway is a land of bloody and civil strife, fanatical religious upheaval, and exploration. At its center is the warrior Kveldulf Bjalfisson, a drug addict and father willing to become a monster in order to save his son from his sworn enemy – King Harald Fairhair. 

I don’t know what I expected when I picked up a comic written by Dylan Sprouse with Joe Harris. It wasn’t a story with dialogue that reads like a Shakespearian play. At first, I felt the character’s conversations were like it was being written in a blend of the traditional pirate style of speech and the English version of Latin from the AMC show Spartacus. It’s slightly off-putting after you realize that it isn’t just being used for the sacrifice that opens the comic. Instead, it’s a conscious choice throughout the book, and then you fall into it. The speech patterns of the characters mean that you have to actively read every word so that you’re not missing the meaning of the words on the page, which helps you understand the story a touch more.

The first issue of SunEater doesn’t do a whole lot more than establishing the ground rules for the story; we learn who the major players are, get an idea what Kveldulf Bjalfisson is motivated by and what he’s aiming to do. And behind it all we see Woten, or Odin, is playing a game entirely his own. You’ll also see a large number of hard to pronounce names that look authentically Norse and are subsequently hard to pronounce (I say look authentic because I’m not well versed in historical Norse names and so won’t pretend that I am), but add another layer of immersion to the comic.

Sun Eater #1 is brought to life by Diego Yapur and D.C. Alonso, responsible for the line work and colors respectively. Yapur’s artwork is decisive and striking; detailed where it needs to be, and barren when you need to focus on something specific. The facial expressions are without a doubt some of the most honest and realistic I’ve seen in a while; it also helps that most characters wouldn’t be seen on a runway – these characters look like a snapshot of the Norse people of yesteryear; grubby, angry, ugly… it’s a grimy looking comic, but Alonso makes it look beautiful. Frankly, the art is some of the best sequential work I’ve seen in a while.

I won’t lie; I picked Sun Eater #1 up because I was morbidly curious what a story created by Dylan Sprouse would be like, and I’m more than happy to say that it left me impressed. As the first issue in a longer miniseries (it was originally billed as nine, but I think it may have increased to twelve now), the creative team has delivered exactly what you want in the opening chapter of a story. Sun Eater #1, published by Heavy Metal, is a fantastic read. Whether you’re just into capes and cowls, or you like to dabble in fantasy, this is a comic you really need to check out.

Story: Dylan Sprouse with Joe Harris Art: Diego Yapur
Colorist: D.C. Alonso Letterer: Saida Temofonte

Story: 8.9 Art: 9.4 Overall: 9.2 Recommendation: Buy

Heavy Metal provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyHeavy Metal

Review: DCeased: Dead Planet #3

DCeased: Dead Planet #3

When we last left the world of DCeased, John Constantine and his team were beat while the mystery of the new green was teased. DCeased: Dead Planet #3 picks up on that mystery and adding so much more depth to the story. DCeased as a whole has transcended the concept of zombies in the DC world. This issue is a good example of exactly that. DCeased: Dead Planet #3 adds concepts and ideas that give us more than the shambling “anti-life.”

Writer Tom Taylor reveals there are more survivors. This group is made up of the rich and elite. Unlike Gotham, they’ve created a caste system with haves and have nots. Taylor clearly sets this up not to just create some more tension and a greater threat but also to have us reflect on what has been built by Ivy, Harley, and others in Gotham.

But Taylor has some greater themes going on. The hard-realism and brutal society built beyond Gotham emphasizes the hope that exists with the arrival of our heroes and the promise of a cure. But, Taylor’s story resonates further.

In today’s world, with a pandemic around us and divisions in philosophy clear, Taylor has captured the current zeitgeist. We have those who would be happy to create a society of evil with roles clear and defined. They would deliver a safety predicated on fear. Compare that to the heroes within Gotham. While their plan isn’t clear, the steps not defined, they’ve staked their future on teamwork and an all-in together mentality. Whether Taylor has adjusted his story based on the current reality is unknown but what he’s produced has captured the current real-world situation.

Trevor Hairsine delivers some intriguing visuals that emphasize the desperation of it all. Along with ink from Gigi Baldassini, color by Rain Beredo, and lettering by Saida Temofonte, the art pops on the page. It’d be easy to go the “scare” route but the series has never been about that. There’s some crazy visuals but it’s more along the line of action than scares. But, what stands out to me is the art’s ability to emphasize the wear of it all. There’s a reveal at the end of the issue whose visuals tell you so much of what has happened without spelling it out.

DCeased: Dead Planet #3 adds a lot to the series and world. There’s a concept thrown out that really drives the direction of what’s at stake and what might be coming. There’s so much more than a battle to find a cure and what the anti-life zombies have tipped as far as balance is interesting. The series continues to mix things up a bit delivering ideas and concepts far more than you’d expect in a typical “zombie” story.

Story: Tom Taylor Art: Trevor Hairsine
Ink: Gigi Baldassini Color: Rain Beredo Letterer: Saida Temofonte
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Preview: Sweet Heart #4

SWEET HEART #4

Writer(s): Dillon Gilbertson
Artist Name(s): Francesco Iaquinta (Pencils/Inks), Marco Pagnotta (Colors), Saida Temofonte (Letters)
Cover Artist(s): Francesco Iaquinta and Marco Pagnotta
26 pgs./ M / FC $3.99

Maddie gets wrapped up in a risky plan to save a child’s life. Is it worth the price? Or is it destined to fail?

SWEET HEART #4

Get a First Look at DCeased: Dead Planet #3

The sequel to the bestselling miniseries continues in DCeased: Dead Planet #3! The new Justice League is trapped on Earth, and they’ve discovered that life still survives on this dead planet! Survival is precarious, though—and with billions of anti-life-infected still roaming the surface, death lies around every corner.

In September’s DCeased: Dead Planet #3, a mysterious second “garden” has been located on the other side of the planet, and John Constantine and Swamp Thing lead a mission to investigate…but what they discover will fundamentally change everything! The road to “Earth War” begins!

DCeased: Dead Planet #3, written by Tom Taylor with art by Trevor Hairsine, Gigi Baldissini, Rain Beredo, and Saida Temofonte hits shelves on Tuesday, September 1 with a main cover by David Finch, a card stock variant cover by Francesco Mattina, and a card stock movie homage variant cover by Ben Oliver.

DCeased: Dead Planet #3

Preview: Sweet Heart #3

Sweet Heart #3

Writer(s): Dillon Gilbertson
Artist Name(s): Francesco Iaquinta (Pencils/Inks), Marco Pagnotta (Colors), Saida Temofonte (Letters)
Cover Artist(s): Francesco Iaquinta and Marco Pagnotta
26 pgs./ M / FC
$3.99

In this issue, Maddie goes hunting, catches up with an old enemy, and visits a family friend. 20 years after she was first chosen by the Stringer, she’s doing everything she can to fight back against the creatures the town of Ellicott City has long since surrendered to.

Sweet Heart #3

Review: DCeased: Dead Planet #2

DCeased: Dead Planet #2

DCeased: Dead Planet kicked things off in the first issue with lots of dread and foreshadowing the horror to come. As expected, the issue was full of tragedy as a rescue/scouting mission went south really quickly. DCeased: Dead Planet #2 picks up from that expanding the world and letting us see what has survived. It also addresses the fallout from the first issue. Of course, there’s even more tragedy.

Writer Tom Taylor has been killing it on every DCeased series. Each has a role building out a world and taking us on a rollercoaster ride full of highs and lows. Taylor does stick to tropes at times and plot points we’ve seen elsewhere but it feels like it’s partially done so that what’s new is truly shocking.

Take, for instance, this issue’s travels of Constantine and his team as they head to Australia to find out about a patch of green Swamp Thing is trying to figure out. Things go as expected until they don’t Taylor sets things up and then delivers a unique twist that catches you off guard.

The issue dives a bit more into the world that has sprung up after the Anti-Life virus has spread. A sanctuary has been created by Poison Ivy creating a new role for her, Harley, and many more. It’s an interesting shift in positions that has former heroes and villains working together to keep the world functioning.

In that way Taylor keeps the focus on the characters. They get their moments to show where that are in life and some emotional moments between each other or reflecting upon the situation. This series could easily go for scares and gore but the team keeps it focused on the characters and survival which makes what shocks stand out more.

And this issue delivers on that.

Artist Trevor Hairsine, inker Gigi Baldassini, colorist Rain Beredo, and letterer Saida Temofonte deliver on the visuals. So much of Taylor’s story feels like the calm before the storm and when the last segment of the issue hits, it really hits. The team delivers the beauty and the horror in the issue. But, what feels more impressive is that it’s all done without going over the top into the fore territory. The final segment is horrific when you think about it but between what’s presented and Taylor’s dialogue with Temofonte’s lettering it hits as much as just going with over the top visuals.

DCeased: Dead Planet #2 is another winner of an issue for the series. It expands the world that we know showing us the impact of the Anti-Life virus and what remains. We get a better idea of the society that has sprung up. The issue too takes us on an emotional rollercoaster of hope and despair giving us everything in between. While some might see this series and think “zombie,” it’s far more than a simple genre.

Story: Tom Taylor Art: Trevor Hairsine
Ink: Gigi Baldassini Color: Rain Beredo Letterer: Saida Temofonte
Story: 8.10 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.15 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Review: DCeased: Hope at World’s End #6

DCeased: Hope at World's End #6

DCeased: Hope at World’s End has been an interesting venture for DC Comics and its DC Digital First initiative. The series has been a mix of one-shot reads and interconnected issues, though the latter is rare. DCeased: Hope at World’s End #6 feels like the first release that’s the middle of a story. It’s the middle section of an arc and with that, it’s very different than what’s come before.

The issues revolves around the stand at Jotunhueim as Black Adam and his Anti-Life forces numbering in the millions attack. It’s a desperate situation and one that you just expect the worst. There’s little hope or a clear path for those hunkered down to survive.

That feeling of desperation partially comes from what writer Tom Taylor has set up so far in the previous five issues. This is a series mixed with sorrow and hope. When things look good there’s a moment where the rug is pulled out from under you. With most of the chapters so far, there’s an “oh no” moment when you get hit in the gut with how bad things are and tragedy strikes.

This being a “middle chapter” there’s a mix of things here as well. The survivors do what they can, including trying to find help. There’s a creative moment where there’s a glimpse of hope and then things begin to collapse and you expect the worst. Taylor gives us those trope-ish moments that one might expect in a last stand (someone heads off for help but will they get back in time!?) and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s expected but also gives us some moments of true emotion from the characters.

The art by Renato Guedes is pretty solid. DCeased: Hope at World’s End #6 feels like the weakest chapter so far when it comes to the art. There’s some characters that feel off to me but they’re also characters I’m generally unaware of so I don’t know if that’s how they’re supposed to look. The characters are elongated and avian like but that could be by design. Compared to other characters it’s a bit noticeable and for those unfamiliar, it might look off. There are also some moments that should be jaw-dropping that never reach that aspect. A mountain is cleaved in two and that you’d expect a splash page for the ages but what’s shown doesn’t quite deliver. It looks good but doesn’t reach the level of great. Rex Lokus‘ colors are solid as well as Saida Temofonte‘s lettering.

DCeased: Hope at World’s End #6 isn’t bad in any way. It’s a middle chapter so not a place to start and not an issue you can pick up and dive in to. It has its roller coaster of a ride moments and leaves us awaiting the next chapter to see what happens next. As part of the larger picture, it does its job well but this isn’t a chapter that really stands on its own. As part of the series its a nice chapter and for those who have been reading, you should enjoy it. For those new to the series, there’s other places to start.

Story: Tom Taylor Art: Renato Guedes
Ink: Renato Guedes Color: Rex Lokus Letterer: Saida Temofonte
Story: 7.5 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Preview: Sweet Heart Vol. 1

SWEET HEART VOL. 1

Writer(s): Dillon Gilbertson 
Artist Name(s): Francesco Iaquinta (Pencils/Inks), Marco Pagnotta (Colors), Saida Temofonte (Letters) 
Cover Artist(s): Francesco Iaquinta
124 pgs./ M / FC
$5.99
Digital-Release

The award-winning series collected at last, Sweet Heart is a bone-chilling, emotional horror story about growing up in a town where being “chosen” by bloodthirsty monsters is an everyday risk. Follow the life of Maddie who, being chosen herself, must overcome self-loathing and public ridicule in order to save herself, her family, and a town with no interest in being saved.

SWEET HEART VOL. 1

DCeased: Dead Planet #1 Set to Return in a New, Second Printing

After a corrupted Anti-Life Equation turned billions into monsters-including Earth’s Greatest Heroes-our planet was as good as dead in DCeased: Dead Planet #1. But hope is not lost, because this sold-out issue is set to return in a new, second printing!

DCeased: Dead Planet #1 Second Printing will feature a black and white version of the original cover art by David Finch, and reprints the story written by Tom Taylor with art by Trevor HairsineStefano Gaudiano, Gigi Baldissini, Rain Beredo, and Saida Temofonte. This new printing is set to arrive in stores on August 4.

If you didn’t pick up DCeased: Dead Planet #1 when it hit shelves last week, you can catch up with Dinah Lance Queen, Damian Wayne, Jon Kent, and Cassie Sandsmark—the Green Canary, Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman of Earth 2—on August 4 as they respond to a distress call from a dead planet. DCeased: Dead Planet #2 will also hit shelves Tuesday August 4.

DCeased: Dead Planet #1 Second Printing
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