Tag Archives: simon bowland

Review: Bloodshot: Rising Spirit #2

Bloodshot Rising Spirit #2

Bloodshot’s definitive origin story races forward! 

Bloodshot’s handlers have a problem: Their valuable asset isn’t quite the blank slate they’d hoped for and keeps rejecting the false memories they attempt to implant into his mind. Can Project Rising Spirit recoup their losses and produce the perfect supersoldier at last – or is their new prototype at risk of being shelved permanently?

I’ll lay my cards right down on the table – I am not fond of the concept of Bloodshot: Rising Spirit. This series is an origin story for Bloodshot that isn’t really needed if you’ve read any of the previous Bloodshot series published in the last few years (Bloodshot, Bloodshot: Reborn, Bloodshot USA and Bloodshot Salvation) because you already know how the story will end.

I understand why Valiant feel the need to revisit the character’s origin with a movie scheduled to hit theaters sometime in 2020, just as I understand that I may not be the target audience for this story as I already have some familiarity with the character.

The story aims to delve deeper into Bloodshot’s past, his creation and his training, but unlike another character with a mysterious past, we’ve already seen glimpses of what led to Bloodshot’s creation. We hadn’t seen any of the build up to what happened to Logan during his time at Weapon X, so the Barry Windsor Smith story was exciting, fresh and gave readers a new level of understanding for the character. Conversely, after two issues, Bloodshot: Rising Spirit is none of those things.

Kevin Grevioux seems to lose himself in the false memory implants that the story is shoving on Bloodshot, which has the effect  of leaving the reader doubting just what is, and what is not, real. Although this could be, and quite likely is, an intentional choice to further immerse the reader in Bloodshot’s journey, it left me waiting for the end of the comic.

Artistically, the comic is solid. Which is something that I was somewhat pleasantly surprised about after realising the art was handled by three different artists (all of whom are very talented); one was a touch worried that there may have been too many cooks in the kitchen, but in this case there seems to be just the right amount to produce a really good meal.

There are better Bloodshot stories out there. If you’re looking for an idea of where the character was before he breaks free from his masters, start with the 2012 Bloodshot. If you want to read a fantastic character breakdown and exploration of what it means to be human, superhuman and the bonds of responsibility that comes with that then start at Bloodshot: Reborn. Jeff Lemire’s run through to the end of Bloodshot: Salvation is a modern classic, and is arguably some of the writer’s best work. But if you do want to check this series out, rest assured that it isn’t a bad comic; it’s just not as good as what came before. At this point there’s very little here for existing fans, whereas new readers will have a wealth of things to discover with the character – and if Bloodshot: Rising Spirit is their gateway to Bloodshot and Valiant in general, then that’s no bad thing.

Story: Kevin Grevioux
Art – Breakdowns: Ken Lashley Finishes: Ryan Winn and Oliver Borges
Colours: Diego Rodriguez Letters: Simon Bowland
Story: 6.8 Art: 8.4 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Shadowman #10

Shadowman #10

Darque Destruction!

Sandria Darque’s vile plans are finally clicking into place… With his allies incapacitated, it’s up to Jack Boniface to stop the machinations of this vengeful sorceress – but can he trust in his ability to control the loa spirit bound to him, or will he have to face an ageless enemy completely alone?

Shadowman #10 is a comic so close to excellence that it is oddly frustrating. The  comic, written by Andy Diggle  with art by Renato Guedes and Eric Battle, and colours by Ulises Arreola, is very interesting to look at. The art in this comic, primarily handled by Guedes, is fantastic. There’s a lifelike realism to the pages where details jump out at you, grabbing your eyes by ink-stained fingers and pulling your attention to each and every page in your hand.

Ultimately, though, it’s within the intricately layered story where this reviewer’s frustration with the comic lays. Diggle brings a lot of the elements he had introduced earlier in his run back to play a part here (which is fantastic), but also relies upon the reader having read most, if not all, of Shadowman’s previous appearances since the Valiant relaunch in 2012. Material that, I haven’t fully read (specifically the first Shadowman series). So while there is just enough info provided for me to enjoy the series couple with my previous reading of Rapture and Operation Deadside (a self contained miniseries and an arc in Ninjak respectively), if you’re unfamiliar with either of those then you may struggle a little here – but if you’ve read the series thus far then there’s every chance that you’ll be more than able to follow the book along to a rather brilliant pay off that’s been building for several issues. 

Although it will undoubtedly be a benefit for you if you have read the entire Shadowman saga to date, it won’t be a gamebreaker if you haven’t. But, because of my annoyingly innate desire to know everything, I was a touch frustrated with the seemingly casual references to things I had no idea about, but can’t deny enjoying that Diggle has spent time researching the character and his previous appearances.

Ultimately what bothered me mot about the book may not be on your radar at all (like I said it’s an annoying desire), and so being aware of that I tried not to let that influence my judgement of a comic that propels the story forward into what promises to be at the very least an interesting and powerful conclusion that will set Shadowman up for some freaking amazing stories in the future.

Story: Andy Diggle Art: Renato Guedes and Eric Battle
Colours: Ulises Arreola Letters: Simon Bowland
Story: 8.3 Art: 9.0 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review, but I picked up my own copy.

Review: Goddess Mode #1

Technology is good. It’s at times magic. Magic is power. Goddess Mode explores the technology in our lives in what is and what might be with a bit of a fantasy twist.

Goddess Mode #1 is written by Zoë Quinn with art by Robbi Rodriguez, color by Rico Renzi, and lettering by Simon Bowland.

Get your copy in comic shops now! To find a comic shop near you, visit www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon/comiXology/Kindle
TFAW

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site

Review: Shadowman #9

SM2018_009_COVER-B_GRANTEvery 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?

Shadowman #9 begins to tie a lot of threads together that Andy Diggle has been letting dangle ever since he first took on the series. Whether it’s the early interactions between Jack and the Brethren, Jack’s journey through the history of the Shadowman or the growing threat of Master Darque, if you’ve been with the series for the past eight issues, you’re going to start to see a lot of things begin to come together. That’s not to say that new readers will be out in the cold – Diggle has still written a very compelling comic, and one that anybody can hop into. But he certainly is rewarding those who’ve been around the block with ol’ Jack Boniface.

The overwhelming impression the last issue left on me was just how special the art was… well for the most part that’s true again. The art, by Renato Guedes, remains fantastic; blending a touch of the classical styles into a comic book script that compliments the mystical nature of the character. It’s undoubtedly the highlight of this issue, and watching how Guedes moves the story along was worth my price of admission alone. However, Guedes isn’t the sole artist this time around; the superbly named Eric Battle takes charge for a few interspersed pages (coloured by Ulises Arreola), and the effect is almost jarring. Battle and Arreola make a great pairing, but the team isn’t as complementary to Guedes’ style as one would hope.

There’s a touch more development when it comes to the plot with this issue than last, and once again the comic is visually spectacular. I said it last month and I’ll say it again – some of the pages here should make non-comics folks rethink their definition of fine art.  I’ve every intention of adding this to my collection on release day, because Shadowman #9 is another brilliant addition to the Valiant library – and is once again one of the best visual experiences I’ve had in comics.

Story: Andy Diggle Art: Renato Guedes and Eric Battle
Colors: Ulises Arreola Letters: Simon Bowland
Story: 8.2 Art: 8.8 Overall: 8.6 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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”!

« Older Entries