Tag Archives: sina grace

Valiant High #1 – Daniel Kibblesmith & Derek Charm Bring Valiant’s First All-Ages Escapade to Comic Shops Everywhere on May 30th!

Valiant has announced that Valiant High #1 (of 4) – the FIRST ISSUE of AN UPROARIOUS ALL-AGES ESCAPADE from rising star Daniel Kibblesmith and Eisner Award-winning artist Derek Charm – is coming to comic shops everywhere just in time for summer vacation! On May 30th, get ready for your first day of school inside a hilarious reimagining of Valiant‘s award-winning superhero universe – one where the next world-ending cataclysm will have to wait until after prom night!

Before they became legends, the world’s most formidable heroes were roaming the halls at Valiant High – a super-powered preparatory academy where Aric “X-O Manowar” Dacia is a record-setting running back, Colin “Ninjak” King is a debonair foreign exchange student, and Coach Bloodshot is way, way too into dodgeball. Now, Amanda “Livewire” McKee and her best friend, Faith “Zephyr” Herbert, are taking it all in for the first time at the one high school where power trumps popularity!

You’ve never seen the heroes of the Valiant Universe quite like this before! In the tradition of Archie and DC Super Hero Girls, this side-splitting adventure takes place outside of Valiant‘s standard continuity…and comes packed with all-new incarnations of virtually every Valiant hero and villain!

Featuring covers by David Lafuente and Sina Grace!

Preview: Jem and the Holograms: Dimensions #4

Jem and the Holograms: Dimensions #4

Story: Sina Grace, Kevin Panetta Art: Hannah Templer, Abby Boeh
Lettering: Shawn Lee Color: Heather Danforth
Editor: Sarah Gaydos Assistant Editor: Chase Marotz

In “Jemojis,” by Kevin Panetta with art by Abby Boeh, The Misfits go to war with The Holograms over Jem’s themed emoticon app for phones. Will The Holograms rule the app store, too?! Not if Pizzazz (and Techrat) can help it!

And in a special story from Sina Grace with art by Hannah Fisher, Pizzazz struggles to control her own narrative amidst a nightmare combo of reality TV, social media, and social climbers.

FC • 32 pages • $3.99

Review: Iceman #11

ICEMAN #11 1Sina Grace ends his run on Iceman with a strong standalone story where Bobby overcomes his neuroses, freakouts about his past and possibly leading his own X-Men team, and a trigger happy team-up buddy in Rictor to help his parents’ neighbor, Mr. Poklemba, come to terms with being a mutant. Robert Gill and Rachelle Rosenberg handle the art duties for the main story while Grace does his first Marvel interiors with flashbacks of Bobby’s life as a young boy and X-Man as he comes to terms with being both a mutant and gay. Grace looks at how religion can (Catholicism in Bobby’s case.) influence one’s coming out as queer in a negative way and provides a fuller look at

Even if Iceman #11 deals with some heavy subject matter, like a priest repudiating young Bobby Drake’s status as a mutant and his parents discussing if they did something wrong with him to be one, Grace and Gill don’t abandon the comedy and dad jokes. After a one page cold open of Bobby’s ideal life, they cut to an extremely awkward pho “date” featuring him and Rictor where they talk about their exes way too much Also, lunch dates are the unsexiest of all dates.

One of my qualms with Iceman as a series has been Bobby’s  lack of interactions with other queer superhero  in a non-hostile way (*cough* Daken), and Grace and Gill remedy this in Iceman #11. Bobby and Rictor banter about how Iceman’s neurotic jokes might be a little bit of a turn-off and then they get to go on a mission together and talk the mutantphobic, telekinetic mutant Mr. Poklemba off the ledge. Rictor sees this team-up as a straight-up neutralizing a violent mutant adventure of the week while it’s more personal for Bobby. Either way, Rosenberg’s scarlet palette coming from a house is never a good sign.

NotAMutant

Sina Grace, Robert Gill, and Rachelle Rosenberg hit the right sweet spot between action spectacle and character introspection in Iceman #11. There’s a sort of silly scene where Rictor is getting tired of Bobby musing over how to reach out to Mr. Poklemba and is about to just knock the new mutant out, and Gill draws a montage of Bobby offering him an ice flower and wearing an ice helmet and wielding an ice sword until he finally ices down, introduces himself as Bobby and Madeline’s kid, and generally interacts with Poklemba on a human level.

Mr. Poklemba is pretty terrible with a house that is the opposite of clean, press clippings about all the bad things the X-Men have done, and has a religious hatred towards mutants, but Bobby doesn’t attack him and tries to help him through a heart to heart conversation. These scenes exhibit his growth as a character, and why he would make a great X-Men team leader because he chooses empathy over brute force and uses his abilities to defuse situations and not ramp them up. For example,  because he has the ability to manipulate the temperature of water molecules, he tells Mr. Poklemba to lower his body temperature so that the rage fueling his ability subsides. He is calm and a helping hand (And has a great ass, I had to.) in the middle of a storm and helps Poklemba  realize that maybe being a mutant isn’t as bad as he thought. Just because you have powers doesn’t mean you have to be a superhero or terrorist.

Iceman #11 has insightful flashbacks where Sina Grace shows his skill as an artist and riffs off the style of Jack Kirby, (possibly) Steve Ditko for the sad young Bobby at home scenes, Jim Lee, and even Stuart Immonen plus a plot featuring a one two-punch of cool ice/earthquake powers and human empathy. The series as a whole has been up and down, but Grace, Robert Gill, and Rachelle Rosenberg end it on a positive note with Bobby starting to realize his potential as both an X-Man and a single, gay man.

Story: Sina Grace Art: Robert Gill, Sina Grace Cover: Kevin Wada
Color: Rachelle Rosenberg Letterer: VC’s Joe Sabino
Graphic Designers: Jay Bowen, Anthony Gambino
Group Editor: Mark Paniccia Editor: Chris Robinson Consulting Editor: Darren Shan
Story: 8.2 Art: 8.6 Overall: 8.4 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Celebrate Saban’s Power Rangers 25th Anniversary With A New Comic Book Special!

BOOM! Studios and Saban Brands announced the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Anniversary Special #1, an all-new oversized comic celebrating 25 years of Saban’s Power Rangers. Superstar creators Magdalene Visaggio, Joe Quinones, Sina Grace, Marcus To, and more pay homage to the global phenomenon with original standalone stories set throughout the Power Rangers universe, including the original Ranger team from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, which premiered on August 28, 1993, as well as other fan-favorite Ranger teams.

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Anniversary Special #1 features a main cover by Steve Morris, along with variant covers by Rahzzah, and Joe Quinones.

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Anniversary Special #1 will be available for sale in June 2018.

Exclusive Preview: Iceman #11

Iceman #11

Story: Sina Grace Art: Robert Gill, Sina Grace Cover: Kevin Wada
Color: Rachelle Rosenberg Letterer: VC’s Joe Sabino
Graphic Designers: Jay Bowen, Anthony Gambino
Group Editor: Mark Paniccia Editor: Chris Robinson Consulting Editor: Darren Shan
Rated T+
In Shops: Mar 07, 2018
SRP: $3.99

• After the shocking events of last issue, Iceman is on the trail of a powerful new mutant that can’t get his abilities under control…
• Will the Xavier Institute have a new student or will Iceman do the unthinkable?
• Kitty’s offer still stands: Is Iceman ready for his own team of X-Men?

Preview: Iceman #10

Iceman #10

(W) Sina Grace (A) Robert Gill (CA) Kevin Wada
Rated T+
In Shops: Feb 07, 2018
SRP: $3.99

ICEMAN VS. DAKEN Part 2
• With the X-MEN trapped in the Danger Room, it’s up to ICEMAN to protect the Institute and the students from DAKEN!
• Will having Omega-level powers be enough to go against an activated APOCALYPSE SEED?
• Are Bobby Drake’s students ready to fight and protect the mansion?!

Iceman #10

Why I Won’t Miss Marvel’s Iceman Comic

I have had such a love/hate relationship with Sina Grace‘s Iceman run over its nine issues, but issue nine tipped the scales from “Hey, this is a fun book. I’m feeling it” to “Daken is hot, and it’s nice to see Northstar and his husband, but wow, this is bad.” After spending the five issues having Bobby summon up his courage to come out as gay to his parents via letter, Grace and new series artist Robert Gill have had him let down his hair and relax in the four issues of the “Legacy” era. While having a reunion with his old Champions teammates, Bobby met a cute boy named Judah Miller in L.A. and was thinking about leaving the X-Men and moving to Southern California. This was really a big step for him as a character, and it seemed like Iceman was starting to explore his sexuality more for the first time since he came out in November 2015’s Uncanny X-Men #600.

But that didn’t happen. In Iceman #9, Gill continued to bring the beefcake, and it looked like he and Sina Grace were turning in yet another fun issue with Bobby introducing Judah to his X-Men family and a fight against the mutant-phobic (And probably homophobic) Purifiers while setting up Daken and his edgelord acolyte Amp as the main villain. A throwaway line about the gay former X-Force/X-Factor member Rictor breaking up with his longtime partner Shatterstar should have foreshadowed that events were going to take a turn for the sinister. This is when Daken stabs Judah and makes a joke about fridges, and the plot reason is basically to make Iceman angry and use more of his potential powers.

It’s the “bury your gays” trope in a comic that up to this point has seemed to be about finding your own unique identity even when people hate and criticize you like Bobby’s parents about his life as an X-Man and a gay man.

This trope is even more disappointing coming from Sina Grace, who is a gay man himself, and has written insightful graphic memoirs like Self-Obsessed Nothing Lasts Forever , and even Not My Bag is a humorous, relatable look at balancing an artistic career with a dead end retail job.

Instead of mining the potential of Iceman moving three time zones away from the X-Men and beginning his first romantic relationship with a man, Grace and Gill go for cheap drama and stale story elements. They don’t make an attempt to add Judah Miller to the great stable of “civilian” X-Men supporting characters, like Moira MacTaggert or Stevie Hunter, and just kill him off to further Iceman’s story and make Daken a “more evil” villain.

Also, changing Daken from a seductive manipulator who kisses Judah right in front of Bobby into a remorseless killer makes him much less interesting character. Sure, his powers might have an upgrade, and he might have a new look thanks to the Apocalypse death seed inside him, but the whole sexy bad boy thing goes away. After Daken kisses Judah, there’s a great opportunity for Bobby and Judah to have a talk about their difference in sexual experience, but I guess that’s too mature for a Marvel comic and takes time away from edgy jokes, fight scenes, and mind control drama.

In a very later seasons of The Walking Dead way, killing off Judah does up the stakes of Iceman and finally gives the book a real Big Bad after going more of a villain/antagonist of the week route ranging from Purifiers to Juggernaut and weirdly and slightly more sympathetically, a woman trying to make it in Hollywood by jerry-rigging her own Sentinels. However, Sina Grace falls into the trap of writing gay men as wholesome Modern Family/Will and Grace types, who enjoy fashion and brunching and bisexual men (Really man because Daken is the only bi character in Iceman.) as sexually predatory and villains.

We’re good for fun sexy times and intense flirtation, but definitely aren’t someone to bring home to the X-Men or parents.

I’m not saying that Grace really thinks bisexual men are sociopaths, but it’s a little sad that gay characters, like Bobby, and to a lesser extent after this issue, Judah, can be fully fleshed out human beings with desires, interests, and neuroses while a bisexual character gets coded as the bad guy, who, oops, makes funnier jokes than the good guys. Daken going completely off the rails without having a solid villain motivation beyond his “edgy” bisexual coding is a regressive, boring throwback to the queer coding of Disney villains and using society’s implicit biphobia to make them seem both evil and seductive. It’s up there with connecting Deadpool’s pansexuality to mental illness.

Daken doesn’t have to be a cuddly, Drag Race watching superhero with a strict, no kill policy, but he has to have a stronger character motivation beyond adolescent nihilism or “for the evils”. For example, Steve Orlando wrote the gay anti-hero Midnighter as a murderer, but he killed those who exploited others like he was exploited by the men who experimented on him and implanted his brain with technology to see the outcome of every fight. This is much more fascinating than depraved bisexual serial killer.

Throughout its run, Iceman has suffered from inconsistency in quality from the constantly changing artists to the heavy decompression and sometimes after school special tone of Bobby coming out to parents his in the first storyline. Up to this point, the “Legacy” storyline hasn’t been bad thanks to some fun guest stars like the younger Iceman, Champions, and Northstar and Kyle in Iceman #9, but then Sina Grace decided to sacrifice character growth for hackneyed plot “twists”.

Instead of doing something revolutionary with a rare opportunity to have a gay male character headline his own Marvel book, he falls back on the same old story patterns of mind controlled, queer coded villains and a dead, barely fleshed out love interest to make the light hearted hero darker and more vengeful.

It’s nice to have a mainstream comic book featuring a queer male character as a headliner, but we as readers deserve more than Will and Grace meets Women in Refrigerators, which is why I’ll be missing Iceman less than I probably should. His solo title had an excellent opportunity to zero in on Bobby’s relationships and growth, but now he’ll probably be back as the X-Men’s resident dad jokester and source of untapped potential without even getting to take a shot and see what his life would be outside that world.

Preview: BOOM! Box Mixtape SC

BOOM! Box Mixtape SC

Publisher: BOOM! Box, an imprint of BOOM! Studios
Writers: John Allison, Ryan North, Kate Leth, and more
Artists: Sina Grace, John Kovalic, Veronica Fish, and more
Cover Artist: Jake Lawrence
Price: $19.99

The annual BOOM! Box Mix Tape is an eclectic collection of stories featuring beloved characters from established BOOM! Box series as well as original stories showcasing up-and-coming creators and brand-new content. With original stories featuring Lumberjanes, Giant Days, Cyanide & Happiness, Goldie Vance, The Backstagers, and many more! Collects the BOOM! Box Mix Tape specials from 2014, 2015, and 2016.

Exclusive Preview: Iceman #8

Iceman #8

(W) Sina Grace (A) Robert Gill (CA) Kevin Wada
Rated T+
In Shops: Dec 06, 2017
SRP: $3.99

Iceman vs. Iceman Part 1
• Iceman and his younger counterpart must team up…
• …against their parents?!
• The Drakes have discovered the existence of the young, time-traveling Iceman. But what are their true motives with this meeting?

Review: Iceman #7

Iceman #7 has Bobby making an Ice-kaiju to use in battle with his old Champions teammates and also has many character defining moments for him. Writer Sina Grace combines the quick banter and pitched fights of old school superhero team fights with some relationship bits like Iceman going a little further in a sexy way with Judah and chatting with the Champions about his overcompensating, macho ways back in the day at a Russian bakery. Robert Gill’s art is serviceable, and he does something interesting things with spacing like making the new X-Men headquarters in Central Park seemed very crowded compared to Judah and Bobby’s nightly walks in L.A. Rachelle Rosenberg’s colors are much the same way even though she makes Bobby’s ice powers look extra badass.

Even though the story is chock full of superhero guest stars, Grace and Gill manage to chisel out an image of Bobby as a hero and man. Iceman is comfortable in team settings, making the jokes, and teaching the younger heroes, but he also wants to strike out on his own, date a new cute guy, and knows that the X-Men are in capable hands. The “villain” in this issue are special effects designers who are hoping to impress a Hollywood studio with their almost lifelike Sentinel replicas. Some heroes would throw these women in jail or in The Raft or somewhere, but Bobby realizes their mechanical talents and desperateness to be significant somewhere and helps find them professor jobs. He can make dad jokes and be honest, empathetic, self-aware, and sometimes impulsive like the end of this issue.

Even though the Champions don’t have their own movie or TV show, like the X-Men, Avengers, or even the New Warriors, Robert Gill and Rachelle Rosenberg deliver on a monster setpiece to open Iceman #7 and cash in on the promise of last issue’s cliffhanger. Bobby displays so much swag, creativity, and leadership in this fight and basically wants to get it over with so he can Netflix and chill with his man. Gill also draws some close-ups of Angel because he is sexy and hell and also because he and Iceman have a close relationship. Later, Grace and Gill use him for innuendo and class consciousness purposes when his wingspan can barely fit in Iceman’s New York apartment. Tempting as it maybe to transform Iceman into a slice of life, romance book, Bobby Drake has been a hero since the 1960s (In comic book years.), and he’s not going to stop even if he goes solo for real this time.

It looks like the Champions team-up isn’t going to continue beyond Iceman #7 although Sina Grace did a nice job of using it to set up an L.A. setting, connect Bobby to non-X-Men related parts of the Marvel Universe, and also dig into why he acted like a macho wannabe flirt in older comics. Grace, Gill, and Rosenberg use Ben-Day dot flashbacks from Bronze Age comics to explore and critique Bobby’s toxic masculinity when instead of treating Black Widow like a powerful ally, he hit on her and was immediately cut down to size. However, he has learned his lesson over the years and is starting to come into his own as a gay man. And this whole freedom thing goes into overdrive towards the end of the issue. But not after he roasts each and every X-Man before movie night.

Iceman #7 is a real turning point issue for the series in both sexy and non-sexy ways as Bobby Drake shows that he can do both the self-realization and transforming his body into Godzilla ice shapes thing. Also, it’s nice to have the same artist on two (not so) straight issues.

 

Story: Sina Grace Art: Robert Gill Colors: Rachelle Rosenberg
Story: 8.5 Art: 7.5 Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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