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Review: No. 1 With A Bullet #3

In No. 1 With A Bullet #3, writer Jacob Semahn, artist Jorge Corona, and colorist Jen Hickman go full David Fincher while still spending plenty of time showing Nash Huang coming to grips with the public’s reaction to a leaked video (Via high tech contact lenses.) of her having sex with her old boss Jad Davies. She also has a stalker who likes to leave Bible verses in blood in her apartment, and the first bits of the comic are Nash talking to a fairly friendly and empathetic police officer. The midway point of this series starts as a lot of (good) unpacking and fallout, but then Semahn, Corona, and Hickman slam down on the gas with an adrenaline packed sequence that seems to all be in the protagonist’s head, but actually has very real consequences. Because “it was all a dream” is such a cop out.

Corona’s layouts in the first half of No. 1 With A Bullet #3 are fairly traditional with nine panel grids and talking TV heads that wouldn’t be out of place with some of the big comic book hits of 1986. But his figures are quirky and idosyncratic as ever. As exhibited by books like Mister Miracle this past year, there’s nothing wrong with a nine panel grid if it’s used in a creative way to add layers to a story instead of having talking head dialogue. For the most part, Corona and Hickman nail this part like when Jad, who is a little apologetic after losing his big shot media job, is maybe a little too “sorry” on the phone with his sleazy fixer/PR buddy Maddox. Corona never shows Maddox; he is the man behind the curtain, and instead focuses on a freaking out Jad or the news cameras slowing wheeling up to his house. To pick a very contemporary example, he is like YouTuber Logan Paul and is backpedaling and freaking out not because he understands that he has violated a woman’s privacy and sexually assaulted her via technology, but because he got caught and has less chances at getting money and power. Hickman chooses grey for most of these panels that fits perfectly with his glum mood and the fact that Maddox is using “grey areas” to protect his client.

However, No. 1 With A Bullet #3 isn’t all media reactions and excellent commentary about how men who “perform” in leaked sex videos are treated like studs or at least are allowed a second chance while women are slut shamed. This second theme does give the book real world relevance, including sobering commentary from the victim of the Black Dahlia Murders about how people would rather have a lurid tabloid story than think about victims as people. This sequence happens in a semi horror/semi hallucination/not-so-guided tour of the Museum of Death, which Nash’s hemorrhaging artist friend thinks would be a great way to get her to relax. When they’re in the museum, all bets and Jorge Corona grid compositions are off and replaced with tilting and moving panels plus plenty of negative space. There’s the usual harbingers of the macabre, like skeletons and clowns, coupled with negative social media comments about Nash that make her feel trapped in a scary space. It’s a reminder of that classic horror saying that humans, especially powerful, unapologetic men, are the real monsters.

Even though the events of the story take a much needed turn for the traditional horror, Jacob Semahn, Jorge Corona, and Jen Hickman continue to find No. 1 with a Bullet #3’s scariest and most insightful moments in a slightly heightened version of the real world.

Story: Jacob Semahn Art: Jorge Corona Colors: Jen Hickman
Story: 7.5 Art: 9.0 Overall: 8.2 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review.

Review: No. 1 With A Bullet #1

Unlike their previous Image series Goners, which was inspired by the classic 1980s kids vs monsters genre, writer Jacob Semahn, artist Jorge Corona, and colorist Jen Hickman go for the present and future in No. 1 With A Bullet #1. The comic’s protagonist Nash Huang, a young queer woman, who is the assistant to celebrity talk show host Jad Davies and tests out special contact lenses that record everything around her and create artificial stimulus and sensations. In the wrong (or anyone’s) hands, this new tech could be creepy as hell. Jad is like Chris Hardwick yet creepier even if Semahn and Corona don’t flesh him out a lot in the first issue choosing to focus on a day in the life of Nash that starts freaky when she puts, gets normal, and yes, gets freaky to close out the book.

Jen Hickman’s disorienting yellow, black, and bloody red color palette is the real MVP of No. 1 With A Bullet‘s opening sequence. The leeching and bloodletting of Hollywood is almost literal from Corona’s opening title page of spurting blood covering the office of Jad Davies. The first few pages are intense and immersive with colors that shock and awe before pulling back and starting to build up the character of Nash and the series’ theme of invasion of privacy, and the fact that through the Internet almost anyone could ruin our lives. Conversations and activities that we once thought we thought are private could be recorded either through audio or video or live tweeted by some complete or utter stranger.

The ability to be hacked, framed, or having your private moments made public is the engine that drives the horror of No. 1 With A Bullet. It’s scary because its real; this comic (and sort of the recent Instagram generation dark stalker comedy Ingrid Goes West) made me seriously consider putting all my social media accounts or private or locked. However, Corona’s bendy anatomy and Hickman’s sometimes desert sunset, sometimes zonked out urban wasteland (The scenes where Nash runs errands in the city.) color palette keep the comic more stylized and less documentary style.

Along with the Jen Hickman’s colors and the surreal, futuristic meets this-could-be-the present images of Jorge Corona, Jacob Semahn’s strong characterization She isn’t a Final Girl, damsel in distress, or pick your trope and take a shot character, but a human woman with flaws, virtues, realistic relationships, and a sense of humor. She loves her partner, Violet, checks Twitter way too much, sometimes says problematic things, and maybe works a little too hard at her low rung on the Hollywood ladder job. Semahn’s grounded writing of Nash gives readers an anchor in the reality bending weirdness of No. 1 with A Bullet.

Social media offers a way to become famous, infamous, or something between with a hacked iCloud server or an unintentional drunk tweet or private message having scary consequences. Jacob Semahn, Jorge Corona, and Jen Hickman channel this primal, yet technological fear in No. 1 with A Bullet and chase it with colorscapes that will be seared into your brain and a main character that you will want to grab a drink and maybe hug.

Story: Jacob Semahn Art: Jorge Corona Colors: Jen Hickman
Story: 7.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review.

Advance Review: No. 1 With A Bullet #1

Unlike their previous Image series Goners, which was inspired by the classic 1980s kids vs monsters genre, writer Jacob Semahn, artist Jorge Corona, and colorist Jen Hickman go for the present and future in No. 1 With A Bullet #1. The comic’s protagonist Nash Huang, a young queer woman, who is the assistant to celebrity talk show host Jad Davies and tests out special contact lenses that record everything around her and create artificial stimulus and sensations. In the wrong (or anyone’s) hands, this new tech could be creepy as hell. Jad is like Chris Hardwick yet creepier even if Semahn and Corona don’t flesh him out a lot in the first issue choosing to focus on a day in the life of Nash that starts freaky when she puts, gets normal, and yes, gets freaky to close out the book.

Jen Hickman’s disorienting yellow, black, and bloody red color palette is the real MVP of No. 1 With A Bullet‘s opening sequence. The leeching and bloodletting of Hollywood is almost literal from Corona’s opening title page of spurting blood covering the office of Jad Davies. The first few pages are intense and immersive with colors that shock and awe before pulling back and starting to build up the character of Nash and the series’ theme of invasion of privacy, and the fact that through the Internet almost anyone could ruin our lives. Conversations and activities that we once thought we thought are private could be recorded either through audio or video or live tweeted by some complete or utter stranger.

The ability to be hacked, framed, or having your private moments made public is the engine that drives the horror of No. 1 With A Bullet. It’s scary because its real; this comic (and sort of the recent Instagram generation dark stalker comedy Ingrid Goes West) made me seriously consider putting all my social media accounts or private or locked. However, Corona’s bendy anatomy and Hickman’s sometimes desert sunset, sometimes zonked out urban wasteland (The scenes where Nash runs errands in the city.) color palette keep the comic more stylized and less documentary style.

Along with the Jen Hickman’s colors and the surreal, futuristic meets this-could-be-the present images of Jorge Corona, Jacob Semahn’s strong characterization She isn’t a Final Girl, damsel in distress, or pick your trope and take a shot character, but a human woman with flaws, virtues, realistic relationships, and a sense of humor. She loves her partner, Violet, checks Twitter way too much, sometimes says problematic things, and maybe works a little too hard at her low rung on the Hollywood ladder job. Semahn’s grounded writing of Nash gives readers an anchor in the reality bending weirdness of No. 1 with A Bullet.

Social media offers a way to become famous, infamous, or something between with a hacked iCloud server or an unintentional drunk tweet or private message having scary consequences. Jacob Semahn, Jorge Corona, and Jen Hickman channel this primal, yet technological fear in No. 1 with A Bullet and chase it with colorscapes that will be seared into your brain and a main character that you will want to grab a drink and maybe hug when the comic drops in November.

Story: Jacob Semahn Art: Jorge Corona Colors: Jen Hickman
Story: 7.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review.

Review: Batgirl #38

bg038Since the launch of the new creative team on this title, this series has been less of a pure comic book superhero series and more of a hybrid with other elements, notably a story line which closely mirrors that of new adult fiction.  So far it has been a refreshing take on the superhero genre, instead of infallible and inhuman superheroes, the reader is treated to a hero that is forced to deal with the problems of day-to-day life in addition to the perils of superheroics.  So far one of the major themes that this series has been focusing on is the spread and importance of social media in young people’s lives, in that it is essentially something that is impossible to live without in the modern day.  This issue focuses once again on this same theme, here pitting Barbara against a living representation of the easy-social-media-celebrity, a reality television star that breaks the rules and gets away with it.  In this case the villain is no real supervillain, rather just a drag racer that gets away with it because of celebrity.

While this forms the backbone of the story, there is more going on here, in that there are some personal developments for Barbara, as Dinah continues to act as an unlikely voice of reason, sometimes in unforeseen or unconventional ways.  The story here does get a little bit weaker towards the end.  There are some consequences of Barbara’s heroics that she did not realize, and what is worse is that she only seems to get the message by checking into her social media account and seeing what it is that people think of her and how quickly their opinions have changed.  It highlights one of the problems going forward for this series, in that it is OK to explore such a theme as the proliferation o social media, but that other themes also need to be explored.  If this just becomes an odyssey of a heroine to balance her superheroics and her twitter account, then there is not going to be as much promise here in the long run, even if the new direction is impressive.

As an entire experience, the story here comes across, even with the reliance on the same general theme for storytelling.  There are a lot more directions in which to point this series while still staying edgy, and the creative team is talented enough to do so.  There is no sense of immediacy yet, because they are still keeping the story relevant, well paced and full of strong characters.  This issue is proof of what the ensemble is capable of, still ending up being a good finished product, even if there is a minor cause for concern.

Story: Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher  Art: Babs Tarr
Story:  8.6 Art: 8.8  Overall: 8.6  Recommendation: Buy

Join the Graphic Policy Google+ Comics Community!

There’s now a new way to consume Graphic Policy and all the latest news and reviews, on Google+. With the recent launch of communities, we’ve decided to take this opportunity to launch a new community, where fans of comic books and graphic novels can chat and discuss their fandom.

We’re also looking to push the envelope with chats and discussions where folks can participate in the discussion. So, please join and share your own thoughts, opinions, reviews and news you find interesting! Lets see what fun and creative things we can do with this new tool!

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Read your Archie Comics on Facebook via the Graphicly Comics App

Read your ARCHIE COMICS on FACEBOOK via the GRAPHICLY COMICS APP

Already considered a leader in the realm of digital comics, as The Huffington Post reports, Archie has now taken it one step further by integrating digital comics directly onto the Archie Facebook page, giving over one hundred thousand fans access to Archie’s digital library via Graphicly. Archie CEO Jon Goldwater expounds on this new initiative with this, “We want Archie to be available to everyone everywhere. We want to create a one-stop shop — an Archie “superstore” that’ll serve everyone’s needs. That’s the goal. Digital is part of that over-arching plan.”

Whether it’s the Archie Meets KISS crossover or Kevin Keller’s wedding in Life with Archie, one word keeps coming up again and again to describe the current state of the decades old publisher – Progressive. Capitalizing on this perception, Archie continues to go where no comic book publisher has gone before; stretching the limits of what is possible in the digital market and making it easier than ever for fans to have access to Archie’s array of titles.

In terms of Facebook numbers, Archie is in league with the top publishers having the third highest fan base online overall illustrating Archie’s viral reach. This should see continued growth as digital sales continue to rise. Goldwater states, “Our Archie Comics app, which is powered by the team at iVerse, has been downloaded close to 4 million times, and our comics are routinely among the most downloaded titles.” To top it off, Archie will also launch the first-ever digital superhero universe with our Red Circle Comics app just to cover all bases. In addition, Robot 6 picked up on this major step in digital distribution.

Marvel Celebrates 3 Million True Believers On Facebook!

Marvel Celebrates 3 Million True Believers On Facebook!

All day long, Marvel is celebrating over 3 million fans on the Marvel Facebook Fan Page, and  thanking you – the Marvel Universe! Be sure to head on over to www.facebook.com/marvel for your first look at exclusive art from upcoming comics, news, & previews from Marvel video games all day long! And that’s not all because we’ll have even more Mighty Marvel surprises up our sleeves that you’ll have access to ONLY through our Facebook fan page! Don’t forget to check us out on Twitter, YouTube, GetGlue, and Google+ to further enhance your Marvel experience because this is YOUR UNIVERSE! With so many ways to get your daily dose of all things Marvel, there’s no reason not to get involved! But in order to get your exclusive look on tons of great Marvel stuff, stay tuned to www.facebook.com/marvel! With over 3 million fans strong on Facebook, thank you for making yours Marvel!

Around the Tubes

We’ve got a big announcement at 10am!  Come back then, trust me….

SOPA/PIPA News:

Mashable – Reddit Announces Blackout to Protest SOPA

GamePolitics – Change.org Petition Asks EA to Oppose SOPA

GamePolitics – Center for Democracy & Technology’s Big List: Who is Against SOPA

GamePolitics – The Jimquisition: A Bleak Future With SOPA as Law

 

Around the Blogs:

Marvel – Attend Class at the Jean Grey SchoolGreat use of social media.

MTV Geek – CES 2012: Mimoco Reveals New MimoMicro Card Readers And USB Drives – Want!

Bleeding Cool – Parallel Universes Teach Polygamy – A “Christian” Response To Gay Archie WeddingFunny and sad.

Bleeding Cool – London Comic Mart Organiser Gets One Year Suspended Sentence For Collection Of One Million Paedophile ImagesWhat the hell is wrong with people!?

Kotaku – Here’s Lex Luthor (and More Villains) from the Superman Video Game That Got Hit by Cancellation KryptoniteYeah, guessing it was bad.

Kotaku – The Heroes and Villains of DC Universe Online Are a Crafty BunchI really need to get around to playing this.


Around the Tubes Reviews:

Ely Standard – Fear Itself: Ghost Rider

Library of Economics and Liberty – Health Care Reform

Publishers Weekly – Comics Reviews January 2012

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