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Preview: Shadowman (2018) #9

SHADOWMAN (2018) #9

Written by ANDY DIGGLE
Art by RENATO GUEDES and ERIC BATTLE
Letters by SIMON BOWLAND
Cover A by TONCI ZONJIC
Cover B KERON GRANT
Cover C JEFFREY VEREGGE
Interlocking Variant by RYAN LEE
Pre-Order Edition by HANNAH TEMPLER

Every family has skeletons in their closet…but these ones are ready to kill!

As Jack Boniface and Alyssa Miles hunt for the remains of Master Darque, their search brings them to the enchanted home of his sorceress sister – none other than Sandria Darque herself! Face to unearthly face with the sorceress responsible for binding his fate to that of the deadly shadow loa, Jack now stands at a crossroads… Will he achieve his greatest desire and free himself from the monster within?

Renowned writer Andy Diggle (Green Arrow: Year One) delivers a powerful portent of horror as “RAG AND BONE” creaks onward, gorgeously rendered by artist Renato Guedes (BLOODSHOT SALVATION)!

$3.99 | 32 pgs. | T+ | On Sale NOVEMBER 21nd

Review: Bloodshot: Rising Spirit #1

BSRS_001_COVER-B_MACKBefore a weapon is deployed in battle, it must be designed, refined, field-tested. Bloodshot was no exception.

In the early days of the private military contractor Project Rising Spirit, the nanite-infused super-soldier who would one day become their most violent and valuable asset was a resource to be mined – and it was up to one enterprising employee, the Memory Weaver, to ensure he did what he was told. But memory is a tricky thing…and the man Bloodshot used to be won’t let go of his past so easily…

Valiant Entertainment return to Bloodshot’s origin with a new first issue. It’s not uncommon for first issues to see a sales bump in the modern era before settling into a more regular pattern. Although some fans decry the renumbering of a character’s series as a cheap cash grab (and in some cases that’s entirely justifiable), Bloodshot: Rising Spirit would have required a lot of finagling to carry on as a substory within the previous Bloodshot led series so it only makes sense that the writing team of Zac Thompson and Lonnie Nadler, who handle the story, and Kevin Giroux who’s taking on the actual scripting of the comic, have been given a new number one.

With that out of the way, Bloodshot: Rising Spirit  is a very pretty comic. There’s a hell of an art team on the book, and not once in the issue does the imagery suffer because of all the hands involved. If you’ve ever heard the old “too many cooks” phrase, then it doesn’t ring true with this issue. It is an astonishingly wonderful comic to read from start to finish.

In the interest of full disclosure, I wasn’t fond of the idea of going back to the origin of Bloodshot after Jeff Lemire’s run across Bloodshot Reborn and Salvation, and came into this comic wanting to like it but genuinely nervous about my perception of the intended direction. I needn’t have been, because by the time I had finished the comic I understood. Not only that with the Vin Diesel helmed movie on the horizon an easy jumping on point for new fans would be needed, but the writers’ direction had much more in common with Barry Windsor Smith’s Wolverine origin story Weapon X. The similarity lays more in the feeling and overall theme of the two stories – two men changed by science into killing machines. The homage to a Valiant great, whether intentional or not, is fantastic.

This comic has surprised me. Obviously I hoped to enjoy it, but I never honestly expected it to turn into a must read book. Next month is too far away…

Story: Zac Thompson and Lonnie Nadler Script: Kevin Giroux
Pencils: Ken Lashly Finishes: Ryan Winn with Brian Theis and Olivier Broges
Colors: Diego Rodriguez Letters: Simon Bowland
Story: 8.9 Art: 9.6 Overall: 9.4 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Bloodshot Rising Spirit #1

BLOODSHOT RISING SPIRIT #1

Written by LONNIE NADLER & ZAC THOMPSON
Art by KEN LASHLEY
Inks by RYAN WINN
Colors by DIEGO RODRIGUEZ
Letters by SIMON BOWLAND
Cover A by FELIPE MASSAFERA
Cover B by DAVID MACK
Variant Cover by STAZ JOHNSON
Glass Variant Cover by DOUG BRAITHWAITE
Pre-Order Edition by KEN LASHLEY
Blank Cover Also Available

NEW ONGOING SERIES! DISCOVER THE TRUE ORIGIN OF VALIANT’S MOST UNRELENTING HERO!

Before a weapon is deployed in battle, it must be designed, refined, field-tested. Bloodshot was no exception.

In the early days of the private military contractor Project Rising Spirit, the nanite-infused super-soldier who would one day become their most violent and valuable asset was a resource to be mined – and it was up to one enterprising employee, the Memory Weaver, to ensure he did what he was told. But memory is a tricky thing…and the man Bloodshot used to be won’t let go of his past so easily…

Celebrated writer Kevin Grevioux (New Warriors) teams up with the incomparable writing duo of Lonnie Nadler and Zac Thompson (The Dregs) and comics legend Ken Lashley (Black Panther) to open a door once closed and reveal answers to questions that Bloodshot himself would never think to ask!

$3.99 | 32 pgs. | T+ | On Sale NOVEMBER 14th

AfterShock Comics Announces Stronghold from Phil Hester, Ryan Kelly, Dee Cunniffe, and Simon Bowland

Our planet is actually a prison designed to both trap and shelter an amnesiac alien entity of incalculable power. Now known as Michael Grey, this cosmic angel of destruction currently believes himself to be an ordinary, midwestern insurance underwriter, who belongs to a global secret society dedicated to making sure he never discovers the truth about his past.

To make matters worse, our hero has fallen in love with Michael Grey. And for their love to be born, Earth must die. 

Phil Hester and Ryan Kelly weave a tale of cosmic horror, high adventure and tragic romance unlike anything else in comics.

Out February 20, 2019, Stronghold #1 is written by Hester, with art by Kelly, colors by Dee Cunniffe, and lettering by Simon Bowland. It ships with a cover by Kelly and another by Tyler Walpole.

Review: Shadowman #8

SM2018_008_COVER-A_ZONJICAs Shadowman returns to New Orleans with a revelatory new understanding of the immense abilities within himself, he won’t have long to adjust…because a war for control of the ultimate magical artifact – the bones of Master Darque, his old arch-nemesis – is about to erupt out of the underground and into the harsh view of day!

On one side: The Brethren, a society of wealthy and powerful occultists obsessed with Darque’s resurrection and ushering in a millennia-long reign of darkness. On the other: Shadowman’s old allies from The Abettors…and Darque’s own sister, Sandria, who would like nothing more than to grind her brother’s bones to dust…

The overwhelming impression this comic left on me was… well. It was something special. The art, by Renato Guedes, was fantastic; blending a touch of the classical styles into a comic book script that compliments the mystical nature of the character. It’s undoutedly the highlight of this issue, and watching how Guedes moves the story along was worth my price of admission alone. Part of the reason for the delay in this review is that I needed to see the art in person, and so I waited until I had my print copy before confirming my opinion of the visual presentation.

Conversely, my love of the art didn’t quite translate to the story. Oh, it was good, but it didn’t have the same impact on me that the art did. And that’s not a complaint about Andy Diggle‘s script, but rather a testament to the quality of the imagery.

Unfortuntely, aside from trying to convey a senses of awe and wonder at the art, I really don’t have a lot to say about this comic. As I said, I’ve added it to my collection, not just for the art, but I did put my money where my mouth is. Shadowman #8 is a brilliant addition to the Valiant library – and is one of the best visual experiences I’ve had in comics in a long time.

Story: Andy Diggle Art: Renato Guedes Letterer: Simon Bowland
Story: 8.0 Art: 10 Overall: 9.4 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Shadowman (2018) #8

SHADOWMAN (2018) #8

Written by ANDY DIGGLE
Art by RENATO GUEDES
Letters by SIMON BOWLAND
Cover A by TONCI ZONJIC
Cover B by KERON GRANT
Cover C by RYAN BODENHEIM
Interlocking Variant by RYAN LEE
Pre-Order Edition by HANNAH TEMPLER
$3.99 | 32 pgs. | T+ |  On Sale OCTOBER 24th

NEW ARC! NEW JUMPING-ON POINT! “RAG AND BONE” – PART 1!

As Shadowman returns to New Orleans with a revelatory new understanding of the immense abilities within himself, he won’t have long to adjust…because a war for control of the ultimate magical artifact – the bones of Master Darque, his old arch-nemesis – is about to erupt out of the underground and into the harsh view of day!

On one side: The Brethren, a society of wealthy and powerful occultists obsessed with Darque’s resurrection and ushering in a millennia-long reign of darkness. On the other: Shadowman’s old allies from The Abettors…and Darque’s own sister, Sandria, who would like nothing more than to grind her brother’s bones to dust…

The endless cycle of death and rebirth stops here as Shadowman and the Darque clan usher in the reckoning they’ve waited ten lifetimes to achieve – with massive repercussions for the future of the Valiant Universe – as renowned writer Andy Diggle (Green Arrow: Year One) and high-octane artist Renato Guedes (Action Comics) return to heed the call of “RAG AND BONE”!

Dead Reckoning Announces New Graphic Novels for Spring 2019

Dead Reckoning, the new graphic novel imprint of Naval Institute Press, has announced new comics they’re releasing in Spring 2019.

Things kick off in March 2019 with The Night Witches by Garth Ennis, Russ Braun, Tony Avina, and Simon Bowland as well as Katusha: Girl Soldier of the Great Patriotic War by Wayne Vansant.

April 2019 sees the release of Riff Reb’s Men at Sea which is translated by Joe Johnson.

Stalingrad: Letters from the Volga by Antonio Gil and Daniel Ortega with a translation by Jeff Whitman is out May 2019.

June 2019 sees the graphic novel adaptation of Erich Maria Remarque‘s All Quiet on the Western Front by Wayne Vansant.

Check out below for the full descriptions.

The Night Witches

by Russ Braun, Garth Ennis

As the German Army smashes deep into Soviet Russia and the defenders of the Motherland retreat in disarray, a new squadron arrives at a Russian forward airbase. Like all night bomber units, they will risk fiery death flying obsolete biplanes against the invader—but unlike the rest, these pilots and navigators are women. In the lethal skies above the Eastern front, they will become a legend—known to friend and foe alike as the Night Witches.

With casualties mounting and the conflict devouring more and more of her comrades, Lieutenant Anna Kharkova quickly grows from a naive teenager to a hardened combat veteran. The Nazi foe is bad enough, but the terrifying power of her country’s secret police makes death in battle almost preferable. Badly wounded and exiled from her own people, Anna begins an odyssey that will take her from the killing fields of World War II to the horrific Soviet punishment camps—and at the top of the world, high above the freezing Arctic Ocean, the Night Witch finds she has one last card to play.

Katusha: Girl Soldier of the Great Patriotic War

by Wayne Vansant

On Sunday, June 22, 1941, the morning after Katusha’s graduation, the Germans invade the Soviet Union. As enemy forces occupy Kiev, Ukraine, Katusha and her family learn the Nazis are not there to liberate them from harsh communist rule, but to conquer. They discover there is a special danger for the Jews, and in saving her friend Zhenya Gersteinfeld, Katusha finds her whole family in danger.

During the next four years, Katusha experiences the war on the Eastern Front with all its ferocity and hardship: first as a partisan, then as a Red Army tank driver and commander. From Barbarossa to Babi Yar, from Stalingrad to Kursk, from the Dnipro to Berlin, follow the footprints and tanks tracks of Katusha’s journey through a time of death, hopelessness, victory, glory, and even love.

Seen through the eyes of a Ukrainian teenage girl, Katusha is both a coming-of-age story and a carefully researched account of one of the most turbulent and important periods of the twentieth century, where women served in the hundreds of thousands, and Russians died by the millions.

Men at Sea

by Riff Reb’s

Men at Sea is an opus of eight spectacularly drawn dark, poetic stories adapted by Riff Reb’s.

This collection offers:

  • “A Smile of Fortune,” from Joseph Conrad
  • “The Sea Horses” and “The Shamraken Homeward Bound,” from William Hope Hodgson
  • “The Galley Slaves” and “The Far South,” from Pierre Mac Orlan
  • “A Descent into the Maelstrom,” from Edgar Allan Poe
  • “The Three Customs Officers,” from Marcel Schwob
  • “The Shipwreck,” from Robert Louis Stevenson

These eight tales, themselves interspersed by seven double-page spreads dedicated to extracts from illustrated classics, deliver a rich, poetic, and masterfully crafted work of life and death on the sea.

Stalingrad: Letters from the Volga

by Antonio Gil, Daniel Ortega

Stalingrad. From August 1942 to February 1943 this model industrial city, bathed by the waters of the Volga, was home to the bloodiest battle of World War II. Stalingrad: Letters from the Volga offers a fast-paced depiction of this titanic struggle: explicit, crude, and without concessions—just as the war and the memory of all those involved demands.

The battle rendered devastating results. Almost two million human beings were marked forever in its crosshairs, a frightening figure comprised of the dead, injured, sick, captured, and missing. Military and civilians alike paid with their lives for the personal fight between Stalin and Hitler, which materialized in long months of primitive conflict among the smoking ruins of Stalingrad and its surroundings.

Stalingrad: Letters from the Volga presents the battle, beginning to end, through the eyes of Russian and German soldiers. Take a chronological tour of the massacre, relive the fights, and feel the drama of trying to survive in a relentless hell of ice and snow.

All Quiet on the Western Front

by Wayne Vansant

Hailed by many as the greatest war novel of all time and publicly burned by the Nazis for being “degenerate,” Erich Maria Remarque’s masterpiece, All Quiet on the Western Front, is an elegant statement on a generation of men destroyed by war.

Caught up by a romantic sense of patriotism and encouraged to enlist by authority figures who would not risk their lives to do the same, Paul Bäumer and his classmates join the fighting in the trenches of the Western Front in World War I. He is soon disenchanted by the constant bombardments and ruthless struggle to survive. Through years in battle, Paul and those he serves with become men defined by the violence around them, desperate to stay as decent as they can while growing more and more distant from the society for which they are fighting.

This graphic novel recreates the classic story in vivid detail through meticulous research. The accurate depictions of uniforms, weapons, trenches, and death brings the horrors of the Western Front to life in a bold new way.

Preview: Mech Cadet Yu Vol. 2 SC

Mech Cadet Yu Vol. 2 SC

Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Writer: Greg Pak
Artist: Takeshi Miyazawa
Cover Artist: Takeshi Miyazawa
Colorist: Triona Farrell
Letterer: Simon Bowland
Price: $14.99

The second Sharg war has begun. As the alien invasion grows to a worldwide threat, the Mech Cadets answer the call alongside their robos to defend the planet. First year students, however, are grounded and forbidden from fighting on the front lines. But while training in secret, Stanford, Park, Olivetti, and Sanchez will discover that their enemy takes more shapes than they could have ever known.

Collects issues #5-8.

Review: Shadowman #7

SM2018_007_COVER-A_ZONJICWho is Shadowman? It’s a question Jack Boniface has asked himself ever since he was called to protect our world from the demonic forces that lie beyond… Now, as he rides backseat in the body of a Paleolithic hunter, eons before his own birth, he will finally learn the shocking true identity of the loa spirit bound to his soul! And, as a shadow begins to spread across West Africa, Jack must defend his fellow tribesmen…or else be trapped in 40,000 B.C. forever!

This issue holds the distinction of being both the concluding part of a two issue arc, and also the fourth part of a longer story. That sounds more confusing than it is, honestly. Jack Boniface is in the middle of a multi-part arc, and while his consciousness is piggybacking with a Paleolithic hunter we see the origin of the shadow loa first bonding with a human being, which is told as a two part story (and is honestly a must read for any Valiant fan remotely curious about Shadowman). This two part story opens a vast array of possibilities for the character going forward, something that Jack seems to be aware of, and after the barrage of revelations about the shadow loa, Andy Diggle has opened the door of possibility. Dead and Gone  is poised to give Valiant fans a new era and direction for Shadowman, and I can’t wait to see where we’re taken from here.

Not all the revelations will be immediately apparent to a reader unfamiliar to the history and lore of Shadowman, but pay attention closely and you’ll notice some of the more nuanced tidbits that Diggle dangles just out of the periphery of your vision – in fact you should notice them about the same time Jack does.

But as good as the story is in this issue (and it really is), Renato Guedes is utterly fantastic in bringing the script to life. His art is haunting, and the body language and facial expressions of his figures bring forth an emotional response as you realize that the people you are reading about feel far more lifelike than most other comic characters.

Shadowman #7 is the kind of comic that you should show to new readers as an example of what can be achieved within the medium.

Story: Andy Diggle Art: Renato Guedes Letters: Simon Bowland
Story: 8.8 Art: 9.1 Overall: 8.9 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Shadowman (2018) #7

SHADOWMAN (2018) #7

Written by ANDY DIGGLE
Art by RENATO GUEDES
Letters by SIMON BOWLAND
Cover A by TONCI ZONJIC
Cover B by DAVID MACK
Cover C by PAULINA GANUCHEAU
Interlocking Variant by DAVID LAFUENTE
Pre-Order Edition by HANNAH TEMPLER
$3.99 | 32 pgs. | T+ | On Sale SEPTEMBER 19th

Who is Shadowman? It’s a question Jack Boniface has asked himself ever since he was called to protect our world from the demonic forces that lie beyond… Now, as he rides backseat in the body of a Paleolithic hunter, eons before his own birth, he will finally learn the shocking true identity of the loa spirit bound to his soul! And, as a shadow begins to spread across West Africa, Jack must defend his fellow tribesmen…or else be trapped in 40,000 B.C. forever!

“DEAD AND GONE” reaches a monumental climax as renowned writer Andy Diggle (Green Arrow: Year One) and superstar artist Renato Guedes (BLOODSHOT SALVATION) lay the building blocks that will define the Shadowman mythos for years to come!

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