Nicholas Cage is one of those actors whose films have given him iconic status. In each role, he has not only proven his talent but has made each character incredibly indelible. I remember the first time I saw him, it was in Moonstruck, as the brother of her fiancee whom she falls in love with. Every film after that would just add to his legend.
Cage has touched every film genre and is such a chameleon, that people often identify with certain roles. He can play someone meek, like his character in The Rock. Then there is devil may care character he played in Drive Angry where his character came back from hell to save his daughter. In a rare crossover between two of comics most imaginative universes, Locke & Key/Sandman: Hell & Gone #1 begins Mary Locke’s adventure to do anything to save her brother’s soul.
The comic features a prelude in how Jack got lost in Hell, but we’re taken to 1927 Wych Cross, England, where Mary has just been summoned from study abroad in the United States. A strange rich royal, Roderick Burgess, has summoned her back home to recreate one of her late father’s inventions. His offers her a way to get back her brother Jack. We soon find out he has Dream captured in his basement and leads Mary to take on some extraordinary measures and finesse her way through the House of Mystery. By the issue’s end, Mary might have found the back door to Hell, but what is on the other side she might not be ready for.
Overall, Locke & Key/Sandman: Hell & Gone #1 is an excellent debut issue, which highlights why everyone loves both franchises. The story by Joe Hill and Neil Gaiman is both dour and fascinating. The art by Gabriel Rodriguez, Jay Fotos, and Shawn Lee is astounding. Altogether, the debut issue is an exhilarating trip “down the rabbit hole”. It’s one that enchants and frights.
Story: Joe Hill, Neil Gaiman Art: Gabriel Rodriguez, Jay Fotos, and Shawn Lee Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy
IDW Publishing provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
(W) Joe Hill, Neil Gaiman (A/CA) Gabriel Rodriguez In Shops: Apr 14, 2021 SRP: $6.99
If you think you can unlock the gates of Hell and just invite yourself in, you must be Dreaming!
The epic crossover between two of the most beloved fantasy universes in comics begins here. John “Jack” Locke is ten years dead, but that hasn’t stopped him from posting the occasional letter home… from Hell. Now Mary Locke will do anything to save her brother’s soul, including cut a deal with Roderick Burgess-the most evil man in England-to search for answers in the House of Mystery and risk the walking nightmare known as the Corinthian to find help in a disintegrating Kingdom of Dreams!
Seduced by the sensual wiles of the realm of Faerie, Ruin and Heather After have not only been separated from the angel Jophiel, they’ve completely forgotten why they even set foot in this delightful place. But Faerie’s charms (literally) are lost on Jophiel, and he remains firmly on a mission…unfortunately for him, the king of Faerie has his own ideas on just what Jophiel’s power can do for him!
“The Faerie King,” the next major arc of The Dreaming: Waking Hours, begins here! Heather After has a theory about just where Ruin’s lost love might be found…but the realm of Faerie is a dangerous place under the best of circumstances, and as Ruin, Heather, and Jophiel will quickly find when they cross between worlds, the circumstances there have changed quite a bit! Don’t miss this jumping-on point for the series The Hollywood Reporter calls “a contemporary version of what Gaiman had achieved with The Sandman”!
Written by: G. Willow Wilson Art by: Javier Rodriguez
Bleeding out in a hospital bed from a magic wound that will not heal, sorceress Heather After must swing open the gates of reality to find herself a protector…but is she prepared for the deal she’ll have to strike once she finds a champion with the dangerous power she needs? And speaking of dangerous power…what happens when Matthew the Raven catches a glimpse of one of the artifacts Heather’s been hiding away?
After his escape to the waking world went terribly awry, Ruin finds himself face to face with his creator, Dream…and Dream is not happy. Is there any force in this world that could stop him from unmaking his most unpredictable creation?
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 short reviews from the staff of the comics, or graphic novels, we just didn’t get a chance to write a full review for. Given the lack of new comics, expect this weekly update to begin featuring comics that we think you’ll enjoy while you can’t get anything new to read – only new to you.
These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews and Recommendations.
The Dreaming: Waking Hours #4 (DC/Black Label)– G. Willow Wilson and Nick Robles turn in a strong middle chapter and undercut moments of triumph and insight with horror and literal nightmares. The references to the original Sandman are free flowing in this one as the version of Shakespeare that put on a play for Dream shows up, and The World’s End plays a key role in the plot. However, Wilson and Robles continue to put their own spin on the narrative with our protagonist Lindy and Shakespeare navigating parenthood, and Ruin realizing he’ll miss the mortal world very much. Mat Lopes’ colors are gorgeous when he illustrates the boundaries between the Dreaming and waking world, but they are soon replaced by sheer horror as Ruin and Lindy realizes that returning to the Dreaming and waking world aren’t as easy at it seemed. Overall: 8.1 Verdict: Buy
Crossover #1 (Image)– Donny Cates and Geoff Shaw’s premise of a superhero comic crossover breaking out in the real world is pretty fun. But what’s not so fun is their portrayal of comic book fans as oppressed minorities. However, even this might be tongue cheek with Crossover’s mask and cape wearing protagonist Ellie snarking at the gatekeepers and their ironic Frederic Wertham tees at the local sanctuary/comic book store. Shaw’s storytelling is smooth, and Dee Cunniffe’s colors seamlessly transition from the comic book world to the real world. Cates definitely seems to be making his big statement about superhero comics, and for now, it seems like he’s embracing them all: the good, the bad, and the Extreme studios. For better or worse, he’s a hyperactive fanboy with an audience of 100,000+, but at least, he’s creating his own characters and worlds instead of being a corporate IP parasite like Geoff Johns. He definitely comes across as a less edgelord-y and more centrist Mark Millar in Crossover #1 down to this book really being a showcase for the immense art talents of Geoff Shaw getting to cut loose with blockbuster action and intense conversations. Overall: 6.9 (Nice) Verdict: Read
X-Men #14 (Marvel)– No sword fighting yet, just more back story for Apocalypse, his ex-wife Genesis, Arakko, and the Summoners of Amenth, who are on the prowl. Jonathan Hickman, Mahmud Asrar, and Leinil Yu are laser focused on giving more information on the X-Men’s foes and the potential consequences to Apocalypse if he loses his battle with a big ass sword. But the information could have easily been shown in some kind of handbook instead of breaking X of Swords’ narrative flow. I really hope the book regains momentum as it’s shifted from being about to mutants to Arraki even though Krakoa and the life Apocalypse has made for himself is mentioned a lot. Overall: 5.9 Verdict: Pass
Marauders #14 (Marvel)– This issue is slightly more exciting than X-Men and has a quirky side with Gerry Duggan, Benjamin Percy, and Stefano Casselli showing a formal dinner party featuring Opal Saturnyne and the sword bearers of Krakoa and Arakko plus some Otherworld leaders like Mad Jim Jaspers. Many jokes are made at Pogg-Ur-Pogg’s expense, and the scenes where Magik and Gorgon size up their opponents’ weaknesses are really fun. There is an air of tension that you cut with a knife that leads to a raucous final page with Wolverine playing the wild card. Finally, Duggan and Percy continue Storm’s story from the previous issue of Marauders with Casselli drawing a gorgeous sequence of her dancing with death. There is definitely a “thumb-twiddling” quality to the plotting, but Marauders #14’s amusing moments make it not a total wash. I’m excited to see what kind of carnage Magik and Gorgon cause. Overall: 7.4 Verdict: Read
Red Atlantis #1 (Aftershock)– Stephanie Phillips and Robert Carey combine old Cold War fears with practically ripped from the headlines fears of vote tampering in swing states in the timely Red Atlantis #1. Some issue with cellphones and electricity triggers normally peaceful voters to turn on each other and literally rip each others heads off as Phillips lets Carey and colorist Rosh do the heavy lifting and show the mundane turn to violence. They also introduce our protagonist Miriam, a college student originally from Russia, and a couple of sharp FBI agents that aren’t looking too sharp by the end of the issue. And the cherry on top is that the story was originally created by an ex-Russian intelligence agent named Jan Neumann with Phillips, Carey, and Rosh executing his vision. Red Atlantis is a blood and guts conspiracy thriller and definitely worth checking out. Overall: 8.6 Verdict: Buy
U.S. Agent #1 (Marvel)– Everyone’s favorite knockoff Captain America, John Walker, gets his own miniseries courtesy of Priest, Georges Jeanty, and Karl Story. Priest’s trademark non-linear narrative, snarky sociopolitical commentary, and tongue-in-cheek humor is fully intact as he puts Walker through his paces in his new role as basically a babysitter for the U.S. government. This is while setting up a plotline featuring a town in W. Virginia where a mine closed, was replaced by an off-brand Amazon distribution center that was actually a front for SHIELD to maximize the absurdity. However, the real find of U.S. Agent #1 is Morrie, an elder Asian-American pizza delivery driver, who’s great at martial arts, quips, and calling out John’s racism as well as being an enigma. He and Jeanty and Story’s straight-up parodying of traditional elements of Captain America comics/stories keep this story moving until it takes a soapy twist. Overall: 7.7 Verdict: Read
Well, there you have it, folks. The reviews we didn’t quite get a chance to write. See you next week!
Please note that with some of the above comics, Graphic Policy was provided FREE copies for review. Where we purchased the comics, you’ll see an asterisk (*). If you don’t see that, you can infer the comic was a review copy. In cases where we were provided a review copy and we also purchased the comic you’ll see two asterisks (**).
Written by: G. Willow Wilson Art by: Nick Robles SRP: $3.99
Ruin has traveled to Worlds’ End to seek help from the denizen of the Dreaming who set him free in the first place…unfortunately, Brute and Glob have followed him there-on the orders of Dream himself! And back in the Dreaming, Lindy has taken on the challenge of discovering who the “true” Shakespeare is, via a staging of the apocryphal play The Birth Of Merlyn. But when you tell a tale inside the Dreaming, it has a strange way of becoming very real indeed…
A message from Clem Thurso, the most virulently bigoted politician in the UK, unexpectedly sends John on a journey deep into the heart of occult evil-and down into a chamber below Parliament where something truly unspeakable waits…
In the waking world, Ruin and the fallen cherub Jophiel have teamed up with the sorceress Heather After to try to pull Lindy out of the Dreaming, and home to her newborn daughter…but they’d better work fast. Lindy’s mind is rapidly disintegrating as she reckons with thousands of possibilities for who Shakespeare really was, each one alive and walking around in front of her-and if she can’t keep it together, then she’ll be lost forever!