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It’s The Last Ride of Pillar & Pryde this November

The Last Ride of Pillar & Pryde #1

Writer: John Lees 
Artist: Joe Mulvey 
Colorist: Doug Garbark 
Letterer: Shawn Lee 
Cover: Joe Mulvey 
Incentive Cover: Alex Cormack
$4.99 / 32 pages / Color / On Sale 11.09.22

When Ben Pillar and Eli Pryde were kids, they did something incredible. They saved a young girl’s life and stopped a madman. They were heroes. But that was a long time ago. Now, with their career as young adult adventure novelists in decline, and their friendship in similar dire straits, the pair embark on a road trip back to their old hometown in hopes of mending their relationship. But a new evil has emerged in the town of Tarragon Falls. Can Pillar and Pryde be heroes again? 

Written by John Lees (And Then Emily Was Gone, Oxymoron: The Loveliest Nightmare, The Standard) and illustrated by Joe Mulvey (Scam, Happy Hill, Wailing Blade), lifelong friends embark on a road trip back to Tarragon Falls where evil has set up camp. 

Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #5

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #5

After a rather extended wait, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #5 is finally here wrapping up the anticipated miniseries. The issue delivers a lot of action, wrapping things nicely, though in a rather predictable fashion. Will Michelangelo get revenge for the death of his family? Will the rebellion succeed?

The previous issue left us with a major blow against the fascist government and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #5 kicks things off with the next steps and the anarchy that has spread due to the lack of power and lack of law enforcement. It’s not quite the rally the people feel I was expecting which has the comic delivering at least one surprise. It also helps add to the rather chaotic story that shows how unprepared the resistance was to deal with their oppressors.

The comic really bounces between three plots. There’s April who attempts to save her home from flooding due to the lack of power. There’s her daughter who bounces around not quite knowing what to do. Finally, there’s the Last Ronin seeking his revenge.

The first two plots feel like filler in some way. It gives each of these characters something to do and explains why they don’t help Mikey in his battle. That final battle is satisfying at times with some interesting twists though a few that feel familiar and been there in other stories. The conclusion too is a little predictable where things end. Overall, it’s a final piece of the story that wraps things up in a somewhat ok fashion.

That ok fashion extends to the art which lacks some of the flair and excitement from the previous issues. There’s a lot of action but much feels like odd poses and none of which is memorable. It feel rather anticlimactic in some ways. None of it is bad but there’s an excitement that just lacks at times. Cool moments don’t really come off as such instead just delivering beats and never really taking advantage to build up to anything. The exhaustion and difficulty of the battle is told more than shown leaving things disconnected between the visuals and dialogue.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #5 isn’t a bad finale but it also doesn’t quite have the punch that’s expected. For a series that has been so good, it’s a little bit of a letdown. It does deliver a rather touching final moment but beyond that, this went from a series that was one of the best TMNT stories to just another miniseries that doesn’t stick the landing.

Story: Kevin Eastman, Peter Laird, Tom Waltz Script: Kevin Eastman, Tom Waltz
Layouts: Kevin Eastman Pencils/Inks: Esau and Isaac Escorza, Ben Bishop, Kevin Eastman
Color Assistance: Samuel Plata Color: Luis Antonio Delgado, Ronda Pattison Letterer: Shawn Lee
Story: 7.0 Art: 7.0 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read

IDW Publishing provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXology/KindleZeus Comics

Get a Look at Joe Hill’s Rain #2

The award-winning creative team consisting of writer David M. Booher, artist Zoe Thorogood, colorist Chris O’Halloran, and letterer Shawn Lee brought Joe Hill’s Rain to life in comic book form last month and fans have responded with floods of enthusiasm. Image Comics is pleased to reveal an exciting sneak preview of what’s to come in next week’s Rain #2.

In Rain #2, as tragedy strikes around her, Honeysuckle does the only thing she knows to do—she devises a plan to walk to Denver to make sure her loved ones are okay. Though the deadly rain could fall at any moment, she quickly learns there are things just as dangerous as the corrupted weather: other people.

Rain first appeared in author Joe Hill’s acclaimed novella collection Strange Weather, and tells the story of a seemingly normal August day in Boulder, Colorado—the skies are clear and Honeysuckle Speck couldn’t be happier. She’s finally moving in with her girlfriend, Yolanda. But their world is literally torn apart when dark clouds roll in and release a downpour of nails—splinters of bright crystal that shred the skin of anyone not safely under cover. 

Rain makes vivid this escalating apocalyptic event, as the deluge of nails spreads across the country and around the world, threatening everything young lovers Honeysuckle and Yolanda hold dear. 

Rain #2 will be available at comic book shops on Wednesday, February 16:

  • Cover A Thorogood – Diamond Code DEC210321
  • Cover B Elizabeth Beals – Diamond Code DEC210322
  • Cover C 1:25 copy incentive Renae DeLiz & Ray Dillon – Diamond Code DEC210323
  • Cover D 1:50 copy incentive Thorogood – Diamond Code DEC210324
Joe Hill's Rain #2

Joe Hill’s Rain Launches Chris Ryall and Ashley Wood’s Syzygy Publishing

 A graphic adaptation of Joe Hill’s Rain will serve as the debut offering from Syzygy Publishing, Chris Ryall and Ashley Wood’s new publishing venture. This first, five issue miniseries will kick off the new line of comics, graphic novels, and art books—from the Zombies vs Robots co-creators—beginning in January 2022

The award-winning creative team consisting of writer David M. Booher, artist Zoe Thorogood, colorist Chris O’Halloran, and letterer Shawn Lee will come together to bring Joe Hill’s Rain to sequential form. Ryall and Wood contribute editorial and logo/production design, respectively.

Rain first appeared in author Joe Hill’s acclaimed novella collection Strange Weather, and tells the story of a seemingly normal August day in Boulder, Colorado—the skies are clear and Honeysuckle Speck couldn’t be happier. She’s finally moving in with her girlfriend, Yolanda. But their world is literally torn apart when dark clouds roll in and release a downpour of nails—splinters of bright crystal that shred the skin of anyone not safely under cover. 

Rain makes vivid this escalating apocalyptic event, as the deluge of nails spreads across the country and around the world, threatening everything young lovers Honeysuckle and Yolanda hold dear. 

Rain’s debut issue features a primary Klimpt-inspired cover illustrated by Thorogood; while Elizabeth Beals offers up a vibrant variant cover. Wood also pays tribute to Klimpt in a special painted 1:25 copy incentive cover. 

As an added highlight, each issue of Rain will feature a bonus story from Unnamed, an upcoming series by Ryall and Wood following immortal hunters in pursuit of a fanged creature and set during swingin’ ’60s London. 

Rain #1 (of 5), a 32-page, $3.99 comic, will hit shelves on January 12, 2022:

  • Cover A by Thorogood – Diamond Code NOV210023
  • Cover B by Beals – Diamond Code NOV210024
  • Cover C Blank cover – Diamond Code NOV210025
  • Cover D 1:25 copy incentive by Wood – Diamond Code NOV210026
  • Cover E 1:50 copy incentive De Liz – Diamond Code NOV210027
  • Cover F 1:100 copy incentive Thorogood sketch – Diamond Code NOV210028

Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #4

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #4

It feels like a long amount of time has passed since the previous issue but Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #4 throws you right into the mix with a trio of stories all packed into a single issue. It’s one that is filled with emotion, action, and a little bit of hope.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #4 is broken up into three different segments. In the present, Mike and his allies are in a full assault against Stockman in hopes of getting the upper hand against Hiroto. It’s the desperate battle we’ve seen so many times before in other stories but it works and works well. What Tom Waltz and Kevin Eastman deliver in their script is desperation but a lot of hope. Things look grim and like the heroes will lose but it’s done in a way that you’re convinced it won’t happen. There’s a glimmer of success within. It keeps the issue from being a complete downer because…

The issue also gives us the fate of Splinter and Donatello. Talking to April, Mike recounts his trip to try to find his Master and brother and what he discovered about their fates. It’s a sad moment that’s full of expected tragedy. While it’s sad to see the death of these two, how it’s delivered is done so in an epic manner that feels befitting.

The final piece of the comic focuses on Casey as we learn a little bit more about April and Casey Jones’ daughter. There’s some interesting revelations with the character that adds to her and opens up some possibilities for how she’ll fit into the future story. Beyond that, her interaction with Mikey is fantastic taking what used to be the “jokey” Turtle and turning him into an adult in many ways.

The art and color of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #4 is intriguing. There’s varying styles depending on when the story takes place creating distinct chapters visually. Kevin Eastman‘s layouts with Esau and Isaac Escorza‘s pencils and inks look fantastic. With color by Luis Antonio Delgado and lettering by Shawn Lee, the issue takes us through the history of TMNT with its styles and look. There’s moments that feel modern and others that are a throwback to the early days of the original series.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #4 a chapter that feels desperate but never feels depressing. There’s a lot of action and a lot of loss but it never quite hits you emotionally, because the issue keeps things focused on the living and the future. Through all of it, it focuses on the hope of success and what’s next making sure to remind readers this is but a chapter in the greater story.

Story: Kevin Eastman, Peter Laird, Tom Waltz Script: Tom Waltz, Kevin Eastman
Layouts: Kevin Eastman Pencils: Esau & Isaac Escorza Ink: Esau & Isaac Escorza
Color: Luis Antonio Delgado Letterer: Shawn Lee
Story: 8.25 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.4 Recommendation: Buy

IDW Publishing provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus ComicsTFAW

Review: Batman/The Maxx: Arkham Dreams

Batman/The Maxx: Arkham Dreams

When it comes to who is the most fascinating character in all of comic books, no one comes close to Batman. Bruce Wayne is a modern-day case in childhood trauma. He somehow manifested the death of his parents into a lifelong crusade against evil. As many fans who have read the comic books know, he is much darker than the cartoon version.

Many of us who grew up reading him know the dark recesses of this conflicted hero. This is why we are drawn to him and are attracted to heroes similar to him such as Moon Knight. His crossover adventures with other heroes are legendary, and it helps if his partners are a bit like him. In Batman/The Maxx: Arkham Dreams, we find him with another complicated protagonist, as they hunt down an incessant evil.

We are taken to Gotham City, where Maxx’s delusions have led him to be amongst the homeless, which draws the attention of Batman, who thinks he belongs in Arkham Asylum. As Maxx gets admitted into Arkham, Batman soon unleashes chaos as the world Maxx sees and Gotham merges because of the experiments conducted by an unconventional doctor at Arkham, Dr.Disparu,  leading Batman to take drastic measures. He and the doctor must use the evil minds, some of which are Batman’s rogues, to find a solution to stop the worlds from converging. Eventually, Batman searches out Julie Winters, to enter a dimension hole, where they meet an alternate version of Harley Quinn while Disparu continues his experiments on the Joker, The Penguin, and Harley, which causes unsettling effects on Maxx. By book’s end, Disparu’s secret is revealed and our heroes fight one last stand against the deadliest versions of Batman’s rogues to protect the Outback, in a glorious victory.

Overall, Batman/The Maxx: Arkham Dreams is a true mind-bending journey with the Dark Knight and one of Image Comics’ most complex protagonists. The story by Keith is fun. The art by the creative team is gorgeous. Altogether, an adventure that takes the reader on a bunch of twists and turns, an adventure that will have readers revisiting to see what they missed.

Story: Sam Keith Art: Sam Keith, Ronda Pattison, 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


Purchase: comiXologyAmazonKindleTFAWBookshop

Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #3

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #3

What the hell happened to the Turtles and their allies? Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #3 takes us into the past as April recounts the history and battle that left so many dead or wounded. It’s an interesting issue that in itself opens up even more questions about what’s presented. But, even so, it’s an engaging issue that answers questions and gets readers pumped for what’s to come.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #3 is a fascinating issue as it balances the past, present, and future. It does a fantastic job of devoting enough pages to each. The issue feels like a rarity that a story really delivers that perfect balance. It also brilliantly teases what was and what’s to come. We learn about the betrayal that led to the downfall of the Turtles and the control of the Clan. Through that, we’re presented with epic battles, last stands, and lots of tragedy. You can envision the animated sequences that would play out on the screen. It’s a hell of an issue that takes us through a tragic moment in the Turtles’ history. As a reader, you find yourself yelling at the page knowing what’s to come.

The art of the story is fantastic as usual. The amount of detail that builds the world is amazing. Each character is so unique. Each setting tells a story. The amount of weariness on so many is shown through every scar. The issue also throws back to the classic style of the TMNT comics in an unexpected twist that reminds us that the team behind the phenomenon is a part of this all. The visuals presented have epic all about them with scenes that feel like they should be on the big screen.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #3 is a hell of an issue. It shows us the Turtles that were, the Turtle that is, and the battle that is to come. It’s a comic that celebrates what was, is, and will be. There’s an epic nature about the issue that has to be experienced to really understand. This is a comic that’s pure love for the Turtle fans.

Story: Kevin Eastman, Peter Laird, Tom Waltz Script: Tom Waltz, Kevin Eastman
Layouts: Kevin Eastman Pencils: Esau Escorza, Isaac Escorza, Ben Bishop, Kevin Eastman
Ink: Esau Escorza, Isaac Escorza, Ben Bishop, Kevin Eastman
Color Assistance: Samuel Plata Color: Luis Antonio Delgado Letterer: Shawn Lee
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

IDW Publishing provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyAmazonKindleZeus ComicsTFAW

Review: Usagi Yojimbo: Homecoming

Usagi Yojimbo: Homecoming

For those of us who live far away from where we were born, going back home can be a surreal experience. As we get older, we often have feelings of trepidation and nostalgia when something reminds us of that place. Many memories of why you left home in the first place are part of that internal consternation. We also are reminded of the things and people who are only in that place you came from.

Every time I have been home to New York I’m reminded of growing up there including both good memories and bad memories. I still call it home, even after being away from it for 25 years. What holds true is that every time you go back it feels different every single time. In Usagi Yojimbo: Homecoming, our protagonist goes home but to some unexpected reactions.

In “Tatami”, we find Usagi going back home to the North Province of Tatami, a place he had not been for a very long time, and he is flooded by memories of why he left in the first place, and where he and Chizu protect a valuable transport for the Lord who killed his master, a journey the Neko Ninja Clan looks to foil, but not without a fight from our protagonist, Chizu, and the vassals. In “Mon”, Usagi meets resistance in Tatami and finds trouble in those still bitter from a war long ago, where Usagi lets them meet their ends. In the last story“ The Return”, we find Usagi soon after he defeats the samurai in Tatami, where he ends in his home village and meets some old friends, but their reunion is cut short, when a band of ronin looks to avenge their master, but not before Usagi, his Sensei, and his friends defend their homes.

Overall, Usagi Yojimbo: Homecoming is an excellent collection of stories that proves Sakai still has many tales to tell. The stories by Sakai are exciting. The art by the creative team is beautiful. Altogether, this set of tales proves why everyone should read Usagi Yojimbo.

Story: Stan Sakai Art: Stan Sakai, Shawn Lee, Tom Luth, and Peach Momoko
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

IDW Publishing provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyAmazonKindleZeus ComicsTFAWBookshop

Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin Director’s Cut #1

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin Director’s Cut #1

As a kid who grew up in the 1980s and a fair amount into the 90s, I saw where cartoons evolved and newer ones launched making a splash. I grew up in a time when shows like He-Man and The Masters Of The Universe was everywhere and everything to kids. I remembered asking my parents to go to Toys R Us back then to pick up my favorite character’s action figures. This was also true for shows like G.I. Joe and Robotech. They gripped my imagination in ways that they still d. Eventually, those shows faded into memory and newer shows would take their place.

We went from watching shows like those mentioned on Saturdays to watching after school every day. One of my favorites being Gargoyles and the another being Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I found out The Turtles’ stories were much darker in the comics and actually were a precursor for Marvel MAX in so many ways. The creators of these beloved characters return in a story that only they can put together. Now, the hit debut gets a “director’s cut” in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin Director’s Cut #1.

We are taken to the not distant future, where NYC is deeply polluted, and human survival is pretty scarce, where we find Michaelangelo, without his brothers and Master Splinter, who all have died because of some mysterious circumstances. As Michaelangelo makes his way through what used to be his home, the sewers, he is met by fully integrated robotic security, as a man named Oroku Hiroto, the master of The Foot Clan, who now rules what used to be known as New York City. As Michaelangelo dismantles the security every step of the way, he gets closer to Hiroto’s lair, as Hiroto uses every contingency to delay Michaelangelo’s progress. By the issue’s end, before Michaelangelo can get any further, he gets badly injured, by Hiroto’s security, and gets aided by an old friend.

The comic is an expanded first issue. It not only comes with the excellent story but now also features notes about the comic itself. Expanded material features script information, sketches for characters, and rough page layouts. They add to the depth and excitement of the series.

Overall, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin Director’s Cut #1 is a timely yet worthy story added to TMNT’s canon, while this edition, gives fans a peak into the creative teams’ process, and more than elevates the franchise. The story by the creative team is harrowing and powerful. The art by the creative team is beautiful. Altogether, probably one of the best books of 2020, and with this edition, gets the Criterion Collection treatment for comic books.

Story:  Kevin Eastman, Peter Laird, Tom Waltz Script: Tom Waltz, Kevin Eastman
Layouts: Kevin Eastman Pencils/inks: Esau Escorza, Isaac Escorza Page 39 art: Ben Bishop
Colors: Luis Antonio Delgado Color Assistance: Samuel Plata Letters: Shawn Lee
Edits: Bobby Curnow Additional Editorial coordination: R.G. Llarena
Story: 9.7 Art: 9.8 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

IDW Publishing provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: Zeus Comics

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #2 Delivers IDW’s Highest Comic Print Run Ever

Building on the success of its highly-anticipated first issue, IDW Publishing has announced that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #2 has achieved an astounding new milestone: the largest print run for a single comic book in the company’s 22-year history, with over 130,000 copies printed!

Out in comic shops today, The Last Ronin #2, set in a dark possible future for the TMNT, delves deeper into the tragic history of the last surviving Turtle, and delivers one of the most heartrending scenes in TMNT history: the final moments of a beloved character! Longtime TMNT fans and newcomers to the comics alike will not want to miss this new chapter’s twists and turns as The Ronin’s mission of vengeance becomes all the more clear.

In anticipation of a rapid sell-through of issue #2’s first printing, IDW has already committed to a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #2 Second Printing featuring new cover artwork illustrated by the Escorza brothers. Slated for release on March 31st, the Second Printing is now listed via Diamond for retailer pre-order (Item Code: DEC209476, UPC 82771401991900212).

Three decades in the making, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin is based on an unpublished 1987 story concept by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird; with script by Eastman and Tom Waltz; layouts by Eastman; pencils and inks by Esau EscorzaIsaac Escorza, and Ben Bishop; colors by Luis Antonio Delgado, and letters by Shawn Lee.

The Last Ronin is a five-part comic book miniseries shipping quarterly, with each oversized issue measuring 7” x 11” and 48 pages in length. The high demand for issue #1 has led to multiple printings and over 200,000 copies in the market. A special 64-page Director’s Cut edition will be released on March 17th, including the full story from issue #1 plus bonus content (character designs, script pages, and much more).

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