Tag Archives: sonia harris

Review: All-America Comix

All-America Comix #1

In 2011, Joe Casey and Nick Dragotta created America Chavez/Miss America with Marvel, a character that has gone on to earn a cult following and sporadic use by the publisher. Nine years later, Casey is at it again, this time with artist Dustin Nguyen for a new spin on a similar concept. All-America Comix feels a bit like an attempt to reclaim his creation but at the same time a meta statement about Casey’s time with Marvel.

We’re introduced to America Vasquez who has flight, super-strength, and the ability to travel through dimensions… pretty much the same as Chavez. She has encounters with a star-spangled hero with a shield and a despotic ruler of a nation encased in a suit of armor. It’s all familiar and that’s what makes the first issue fascinating and frustrating.

With All-America Comix, Casey had an opportunity to show us where he’d have gone with the character and what direction he’d have taken her. Instead we get a spin on Marvel characters and a frenetic story that spends little time with any concept. The only real uniting bit is Vasquez as she reflects on her life and world. Through Vasquez it feels like Casey is venting his frustrations with his time with Marvel and where the character has gone.

What’s very frustrating is that Casey could have done anything with the comic. Instead, it just feels like a rant through the lens of Michel Fiffe’s Copra. Unlike Copra, there’s no deconstruction here, it’s just been there done that and some meta-commentary.

What does stand out, and shows the potential of the comic is Nguyen’s art. There’s some breathtaking visuals and the combo of the two could deliver a hero to challenge the big two. Along with colors by Brad Simpson, design by Sonia Harris, and lettering by Rus Wooton, the comic and character stand out for the visuals. Nguyen takes advantage of the dimensional aspects of the character and has fun with it all. There’s potential, lots of potential.

For those that might not know Casey’s history with Miss America, they may find a hero they want more of. For those that know the character, it’s hard to not examine every word and every decision made. It’s a fascinating comic on multiple levels but a frustrating one. Where Casey could have shown us what he’d have done with his creation that was far superior than what we’ve seen, instead we get what feels like a creator venting about having their toys taken away.

Story: Joe Casey Art: Dustin Nguyen
Color: Brad Simpson Design: Sonia Harris Letterer: Rus Wooton
Story: 6.75 Art: 8.15 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read


Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus Comics

Review: Jesusfreak

Jesusfreak

The year is 26 C.E. A young Nazarean carpenter is having some trouble adjusting to the violent world around him-and finding his place within it. He knows he’s different, but he doesn’t know why. Not yet, anyway.

Take some kung-fu, mix in a little 70s exploitation films, stir some of the Bible, and you get Jesusfreak, a gonzo take on Jesus Christ.

The comic is a mix of over the top insanity and sort of “grounded” Biblical tale that mixes into a comic that feels like it’s not quite sure what it wants to be.

Writer Joe Casey and artist Benjamin Marra go back and forth between a story that’s a spin on the Biblical story we know and something else. That something else is a kung-fu infused action/adventure featuring giant lizard people and a style that’s a bit 70s exploitation. It never quite commits one way or another and without doing so never quite gels in a way that makes sense. Aspects seem to come out of nowhere and never quite explained like there’s pages missing to the story.

Marra’s art, with color by Brad Simpson and lettering by Rus Wooton is good. The art style really helps deliver that retro feel to it all. There’s some odd art here and there (one panel has Jesus’ finger looking like they’re broken as he performs kung-fu) but there’s a charm to it all that makes it entertaining. One also can’t overlook the fact that Jesus isn’t white and those depicted are of a darker complexion as they should be.

There’s a lot of potential here but the comic never quite commits as to what it wants to be. It’s entertaining in a pulp/grindhouse sort of way but at times it feels like it wants to be serious and other times it wants to be something like a John Carpenter film. With a bit more focus, the story would be amazing and a lot of fun. As is, it feels like it’s unsure as to what it wants to be much like the Jesus it depicts.

Story: Joe Casey Art: Benjamin Marra
Color: Brad Simpson Letterer: Rus Wooton Design: Sonia Harris
Story: 7.0 Art: 7.0 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review