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Devin Grayson, Yana Adamovic, Sal Cipriano, and Berger Books Deliver an Environmental Punch in Rewild

Writer Devin Grayson is joined by rising star artist Yana Adamovic in her American comics debut, along with letterer Sal Cipriano to put a powerful, modern twist on an ageless fantasy tale in Rewild, the latest graphic novel from Karen Berger’s award-winning imprint, Berger Books.

The lines between fantasy and reality are blurred in this dark, environmentally-themed magical realist tale. Poe is a mysterious young homeless woman and self-proclaimed fairy changeling. Demond is an enterprising engineer with a troubled past. When Poe demands that a park be built to appease a dangerous new mutation of mythical creatures, ravaged by climate change and furious with the human race, Demond must question not only his own sanity, but the rationality of our entire species as he struggles to save his city– and maybe even the world.

Rewild arrives in comic shops on October 27, 2021 and bookstores on November 9, 2021 for $19.99.

It’s an Out of Body Experience in June with Peter Milligan, Inaki Miranda, Eva De La Cruz, and Sal Cipriano

Out of Body #1

Writer: Peter Milligan
Artist: Inaki Miranda
Colorist: Eva De La Cruz
Letterer: Sal Cipriano
Cover: Inaki Miranda
Incentive Cover: Charlie Adlard
$4.99 / 32 pages / Color / On Sale 6.02.2021

When Dan Collins wakes to finds his life hanging by a thread, he must use his astral projection to discover who tried to kill him. Who is the beautiful mystic who tries to help him? Why does August Fryne want Dan’s soul – and what does it have to do with a demon who seems to be Dorian Gray?  A weird, occult detective thriller about life, death – and whatever lies in between. 

From award-winning comic book writer Peter Milligan (X-Force, X-Statix) and artistic sensation Inaki Miranda (WE LIVE, Harley Quinn) comes an awesome new dimension in horror and mystery!

Out of Body #1

Review: Byte-Sized #1

Byte-Sized #1

An army base has had something break out. It disabled the vehicles so no one could follow. It hitched a ride through the snow to end up in the home of a family, hidden safely in its Christmas tree. It’s a robotic creature of sorts and it’s sights, whether friendly or not, are set on the family’s daughter.

The timing on this book is a bit perfect, as it’s set during Christmas and we’re a few weeks away. Byte-Sized #1 is that kind of book for those who want a holiday story that is a bit more kid-friendly. That said, I thought this book was a bit boring. Really, so much does not happen in this book. We don’t see the creature break out. We don’t see much of anything except glowing eyes and we get a reveal at the end. The most action is when the family dog chews up a sock. I think writer Cullen Bunn maybe took it a bit too easy with this one. Hey, I might not even be the targeted audience for this but I just didn’t dig it. It happens.

Nelson Blake II’s art is a bit basic. There’s not a lot of detail but he does a good job of telling a story. It certainly fits the tone of Byte-Sized #1 well and was probably my favorite part of this book. Snakebite Cortez’s colors are good but would be suited better with some art that was a bit more detailed.

Do you love stories where robotic creatures break free from the government stooges and eventually befriend some young child? I’m pretty sure that’s where we’re going with Byte-Sized. I get that there’s probably a lot of inspiration from the likes of Gremlins or Batteries Not Included but maybe I need more issues to get some enjoyment from Byte-Sized. Kudos to AWA Studios for continuing to do different material with everything. Their scope is so wide in what they put out that you are bound to find something you’ll like. It just might not be this.

Story: Cullen Bunn Art: Nelson Blake II
Color: Snakebite Cortez Letterer: Sal Cipriano
Story: 4.0 Art: 5.0 Overall: 4.5

AWA Studios provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyKindle

Review: Byte-Sized #1

Byte Sized #1

Cullen Bunn, master of science-fiction storytelling, brings his talents to a Christmas story in Byte-Sized #1. The first issue of this four-part series from AWA Upshot is due to hit stands on December 9th. Every kid looks forward to opening presents on Christmas morning. On this particular Christmas morning, siblings Katy and Ben are in for a surprise bigger than whatever Santa Claus is planning to bring them. A group of robots possessing artificial intelligence had escaped from a government research facility and has found their way beneath Katy and Ben’s Christmas tree.

A sense of mystery bubbles beneath the surface of the entire first issue, culminating in an exciting cliffhanger. Bunn does a great job of setting up the story while keeping the robots’ intended purpose and full capabilities unknown. The combination of the magic of Christmas, the innocence of children, and the mysterious agenda of the robots make for a very compelling start to this limited series. I would have liked to see a little more happen in this first issue as several scenes seemed to drag. More panels were dedicated to certain events in the story than seemed necessary. Out of all the characters in this issue Gizmo, the family’s dog, stood out the most by far. Gizmo drives the second half of the plot forward and is adorable while doing it. In my opinion, one thing that would have improved on the story is if the entire thing was told/drawn from the perspectives of Gizmo and the robots. Those panels where this was the case were the strongest in the entire issue.

Nelson Blake II’s artwork fits the story of Byte Sized #1 perfectly. His style makes the characters look realistic while always capturing the tone conveyed by Bunn’s script. Even locales as mundane as a truck stop or a laundry room are brought to life by Blake’s artwork. He does a great job of rendering expressive faces, especially the characters’ eyes. Each character’s eyes are vibrant and perfectly capture the emotions that character is feeling in any given scene. Colorist Snakebite Cortez ups the ante on Blake’s illustrations with an expert use of shading, adding depth to the character designs. Every panel in this first issue, even the ones where people are just standing around talking, has a dynamic look and feel to it because of the art team’s collaboration.

In Byte-Sized #1 Cullen Bunn once again showcases his talent for blending genres. This first issue has horror and sci-fi elements, all wrapped up in a Christmas bow. The last few pages left me legitimately excited to see where the story will go from here. The art team breathe life into Bunn’s script and give each panel a unique look. Plus, you can’t go wrong with cute doggie action! Get in the holiday spirit and pick up your copy of Byte-Sized #1.

Story: Cullen Bunn Art: Nelson Blake II
Color: Snakebite Cortez Letterer: Sal Cipriano
Story: 8.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

AWA Studios provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase:

Early Review: Byte-Sized #1

Byte Sized #1

Cullen Bunn, master of science-fiction storytelling, brings his talents to a Christmas story in Byte-Sized #1. The first issue of this four-part series from AWA Upshot is due to hit stands on December 9th. Every kid looks forward to opening presents on Christmas morning. On this particular Christmas morning, siblings Katy and Ben are in for a surprise bigger than whatever Santa Claus is planning to bring them. A group of robots possessing artificial intelligence had escaped from a government research facility and has found their way beneath Katy and Ben’s Christmas tree.

A sense of mystery bubbles beneath the surface of the entire first issue, culminating in an exciting cliffhanger. Bunn does a great job of setting up the story while keeping the robots’ intended purpose and full capabilities unknown. The combination of the magic of Christmas, the innocence of children, and the mysterious agenda of the robots make for a very compelling start to this limited series. I would have liked to see a little more happen in this first issue as several scenes seemed to drag. More panels were dedicated to certain events in the story than seemed necessary. Out of all the characters in this issue Gizmo, the family’s dog, stood out the most by far. Gizmo drives the second half of the plot forward and is adorable while doing it. In my opinion, one thing that would have improved on the story is if the entire thing was told/drawn from the perspectives of Gizmo and the robots. Those panels where this was the case were the strongest in the entire issue.

Nelson Blake II’s artwork fits the story of Byte Sized #1 perfectly. His style makes the characters look realistic while always capturing the tone conveyed by Bunn’s script. Even locales as mundane as a truck stop or a laundry room are brought to life by Blake’s artwork. He does a great job of rendering expressive faces, especially the characters’ eyes. Each character’s eyes are vibrant and perfectly capture the emotions that character is feeling in any given scene. Colorist Snakebite Cortez ups the ante on Blake’s illustrations with an expert use of shading, adding depth to the character designs. Every panel in this first issue, even the ones where people are just standing around talking, has a dynamic look and feel to it because of the art team’s collaboration.

In Byte-Sized #1 Cullen Bunn once again showcases his talent for blending genres. This first issue has horror and sci-fi elements, all wrapped up in a Christmas bow. The last few pages left me legitimately excited to see where the story will go from here. The art team breathe life into Bunn’s script and give each panel a unique look. Plus, you can’t go wrong with cute doggie action! Get in the holiday spirit and pick up your copy of Byte-Sized #1 when it hits shops on December 9th.

Story: Cullen Bunn Art: Nelson Blake II
Color: Snakebite Cortez Letterer: Sal Cipriano
Story: 8.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

AWA Studios provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase:

Review: American Ronin #1

American Ronin #1

At times, American Ronin #1 is quite the cathartic read. Basically, a cold, sunglasses wearing asshole takes out rich assholes by psychologically manipulating them in addition to the other, more traditional action hero skills like hand to hand combat and motorcycle chases through Hong Kong. Peter Milligan‘s elegant, yet brutal writing balances Aco’s zoom panels, grids, and decadent, mayhem-filled layouts. And then Dean White’s colors adding a finishing touch of atmosphere along with Sal Cipriano’s stern, straightforward letters. They all team up to tell the story of a day in the life of a very badass assassin.

Unlike his previous work on Midnighter and Nick Fury, Aco, for the most part, doesn’t use his grids, close-ups, and inset panels to show rapid-fire action. Instead, he uses these storytelling techniques to show the protagonist do his social engineering thing on the utterly empty and pathetic corporate billionaire Barrett Cornell and his cheekier counterpart, the billionaire heiress Gigi Lo, whose foot fetish and cheetahs on a leash are straight out of a Lana Del Rey music video. Aco frames Cornell and Lo in close-up as she teases and emasculates him and makes one of the most powerful men in the world suck her toes. Maybe a little kink shame-y, but Milligan and Aco do a good job building on it as they expand on Cornell’s emptiness. He might have wealth, power, sex workers at his beck and call, and an army of highly trained bodyguards, but this is meaningless because he’s just a pawn for a corporation. So, he just wants to die, and our protagonist has every intention of granting Cornell his wish.

For the most part, Peter Milligan and Aco find a happy medium between mind and body, or psychic and traditional action moments in American Ronin #1. Conversation is also a weapon in our protagonist, Lo, and by extension, Milligan’s hands. It’s a nice bit of schadenfreude to see Cornell go from holding court in a mansion or helicopter to falling on the ground in front of Lo, or having a breakdown as the protagonist (With a help of a DNA injection.) whispers his deepest, darkest thoughts at him. Aco channels a psychological horror director in this sequence with all kinds of ghoulish panels of Cornell’s eyes or the sweat and pills that surround him, and the openness of his penthouse that show how lonely he really is. It really works in tandem with Milligan’s dialogue and captions that cast him as a man in pain, who just wants release from his corporate overlords, but without a little psychic push from the protagonist, he would have continued to live his life of luxury.

Although, it is full of violence, both of the physical and mental variety, American Ronin #1 is actually a slice of life comic. The life of a special kind of enhanced and enigmatic assassin though. But, honestly, I give kudos to Peter Milligan for showing the ronin in action before peeling away layers of backstory or involving him in some mystery master plot. He has a simple job: get a very wealthy man to give into his suicide fantasies, and we get to see him execute this job throughout the first issue. It establishes the ronin’s competence and his role as a rugged individualist in a world that’s run by corporations, not nation states. And as far as individualists, our protagonist is more John Wick than John Galt. He’s not afraid to make a quick friend like Lo to get closer to his real target.

Also, it would be a waste of Aco and Dean White’s visual talents to have them draw just talking heads even though some of the dialogue sequences in American Ronin are more intense than the action ones. I do have one criticism of the art, and that is that it seems Aco is holding back as far as the scale and epicness of some of his layouts, especially in the action sequences, but that might just be him holding something in reserve for a big set piece in issue 3 or 4. The ballet of violence and viscera that he throws down in the last few pages are especially promising and show that the ronin isn’t as control of things as he seems.

American Ronin #1 is a fairly visual interesting action/assassin comic from Peter Milligan, Aco, and Dean White that isn’t weighed down by unnecessary exposition. Except for the last few pages, the book is fairly standalone and has a grindhouse (But slicker.) or darkly humorous tone. If you like John Woo movies, but also want to guillotine Jeff Bezos, then American Ronin is worth checking out.

Story: Peter Milligan Art: Aco
 Colors: Dean White Letters: Sal Cipriano
Story: 7.5 Art: 8.2 Overall: 7.9 Recommendation: Buy

AWA/Upshot provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus Comics

Review: Devil’s Highway #1

Devil's Highway #1

Rosario Dawson is one of those magnetic presences on the screen which pulls you in from the first words she utters. I remember seeing her in the underrated cautionary tale, KIDS. Then I would not see her in another movie until He Got Game. She played Ray Allen’s girlfriend in that movie, in a role, which compared to the roles she has played since is much more than her more sophisticated roles.

In one of her most recent roles, she played an interesting protagonist whose world gets thrown for a loop in Briarpatch. Her character goes back to her hometown where her sister got killed in a mysterious car bomb. The show played up its crime noir roots and utilized Dawson’s strengths. In the debut issue of Devils Highway, we find a protagonist much like Dawson’s character in Briarpatch, who finds out the secrets family keeps, can be dangerous.

We are taken to Drift County, Wisconsin, where a young woman frantically walks into a diner drenched in blood and scared out of her mind, as someone looks to kill her. Three days later, we meet our protagonist, Sharon whose father was killed and she came home to find out exactly why. She would retrace the clues that the police never did, where their due diligence faltered. By issue’s end, Sharon uncovers a serial killer at play, one whose fingerprints are all over Drift County.

Overall, an excellent debut issue which will give readers vibes of Briarpatch, but also, Fargo. The story by Benjamin Percy is tremendous. The art by the creative team is breathtaking. Altogether, another fine addition to the canon of crime noir.

Story: Benjamin Percy Art: Brent Schoonover
Color: Nick Filardi Letterer: Sal Cipriano
Story: 10 Art: 9.6 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

AWA Studios provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXology – Kindle – Zeus Comics

Review: The Resistance #3

The Resistance #3

In our new world of social media, life has become different. People who are normally introverts in person may find their voice behind a keyboard. People who cannot express their views in a normal setting find their platforms online. It is through this new medium, that the taste of celebrity can be intoxicating.

Some people use it for good, bringing attention to much-needed causes. Then there are those who use it for their own ignorance. Which makes you wonder how would superpowered beings operate in a climate like we have now? In the third issue of The Resistance, a hero must make a moral choice

We’re taken to the Swan Kirby Chase Powers Placement Agency, which is a one-stop shop for these newly superpowered people. We meet  James, one of the new super-powered beings. We also meet Hector Alvarez, the man who outfits all these “superheroes” and leads him to find his superhero name. We also get some background on James how his family abandoned him soon after finding out his new abilities. By the issue’s end, he senses there may be something he doesn’t want to be part of and becomes his own hero.

Overall, a powerful third issue, which gives readers a hero to root for. The story by J. Michael Straczynski is gripping. The art by the creative team of Mike Deodato Jr., Lee Loughridge, and Sal Cipriano is splendid. Altogether, a story that gives readers a new perspective.

Story: J. Michael Straczynski Art: Mike Deodato Jr., Lee Loughridge, Sal Cipriano
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

AWA Studios provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus Comics

Review: Hotell #3

HOTELL #3

The Old Guard has created a lot of chatter since it premiered. The film starring Charlize Theron offered a new take on the hitman genre. My first thought was that it may be another Wanted. Also based on a comic series, it turned out to be much more, as these particular hitmen are mostly immortal.

Just like the book, it got into the backstories of several important characters. We find out Charlize Theron’s character knew another immortal that got imprisoned underwater for the rest of her days. The mere thought of never being able to die and being held captive for the rest of your days is in effect hell on earth. In the third issue of Hotell, the Pierrot Courts have a guest who may not leave.

We are taken to the Pierre Courts Hotel, where we meet Kirsten Clements, who is driving in the rain to right to the Pierrot Courts. As we soon find out she is tracking the whereabouts of a woman who went missing at the hotel and never left. She soon has a nightmare where the victim finds her, which leaves her restless, and leads her down a tunnel where an ungodly discovery captures her. By the issue’s end, Kirsten realizes she now faces the same fate as the victim she came to look for.

Overall, a skin-crawling entry into an already spooky story. The story by John Lees is devastating. The art by the creative team of Dalibor Talajić, Lee Loughridge, and Sal Cipriano is stunning. Altogether, a story understands the power of the anthology.

Story: John Lees Art: Dalibor Talajić, Lee Loughridge, and Sal Cipriano
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

AWA Studios provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus Comics

Review: Devil’s Highway #1

Devil's Highway #1

Devil’s Highway #1 is an interesting comic as far as a debut. As part of the larger story, it feels like it’s a solid entry. But, on it’s own it’s a slow start whose pacing is along the line of a psychological thriller. Written by Benjamin Percy, the story follows a young woman who returns to town after her father has been murdered. She decides to take the investigation of his death into her own hands in what looks to be a serial killer situation.

As said above, the issue is slow. It heavily relies on the art of Brent Schoonover the deliver the story as characters look at crime scenes and evidence to piece together what has happened. This is a comic whose every detail has been thought out and in some ways is asking the reader to play along as detective.

And that’s where it’s all interesting as well.

Percy and Schoonover in a way beg the reader to go further into the story and linger on the images and what’s said to figure out the mystery. We’re shown things for a reason and go along the ride to see what this mystery is all about. We’re delivered evidence and like everyone else are challenged put the pieces of the puzzle together.

Those images too are key in invoking the emotion of it all. Many pages take on a nine panel view with little to no dialogue. Instead they rely on the positioning of the character and body language to tell the story. And it does an excellent job at that.

But, there’s also something unsettling about it all as well. Victims feel fetishized in a way with the final one being particularly unnerving. It doesn’t go over the top in an y way but it still feels a bit off to stare at these images. We get a voyeuristic view into into all.

Percy and Schoonover are joined by Nick Filardi on color and Sal Cipriano on lettering. The color choice of the comic really helps set the mood. With blues and whites, there’s a coldness to it all. It adds to the comic creating a dour mood beyond the at times horrific images.

Devil’s Highway #1 is an intriguing debut. It’s mostly wordless relying on body language and imagery to really drive the narrative. It’s absolutely unsettling at times with images that are disturbing. But, for those that enjoy murder mysteries, it’s a start that has a lot of potential. It doesn’t quite stand on its own but the technical execution is impressive and what they’re doing is rather unique.

Story: Benjamin Percy Art: Brent Schoonover
Color: Nick Filardi Letterer: Sal Cipriano
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Read


Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus Comics

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