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Review: Daredevil #1

The time honored rule that Daredevil is a sure bet to be a quality Marvel comic continues with his latest volume from Chip Zdarsky, Marco Checchetto, and Sunny Gho. Charles Soule’s previous run on Daredevil left him a mess as he recovered from being hit by a truck while he pushed a kid out of the way in a dark mirror of his Stan Lee and Bill Everett crafted origin story. Zdarsky and Checcheto’s Daredevil has lost a step and is taking more risks, such as casual sex with a side dish of almost torching buildings to stop shopliftters. And this is in a world where Wilson Fisk is mayor, and the NYPD has a new top cop that loves arrests, and collars, especially of vigilantes.

Marco Checchetto’s tortured artwork matches the plotline, and Sunny Gho spends a lot of time muting and keeping colors in the shadows even Daredevil’s red costume. The exception is the flashbacks to Matt’s visits to Mass as a boy because there’s a little light beaming through the windows. But Matt is in pain throughout Daredevil #1 as he writhes in bed, pops pain pills, hits the side of the rooftops he’s leaping, and has trouble with petty criminals, which is the sure sign of a rusty criminal.

And this rustiness doesn’t mix well with the fact that Zdarsky and Checchetto show that Daredevil enjoys beating on criminals. This is set up in the flashback when a priest tells a young Matt Murdock in a more professional/spiritual leader manner that it’s okay to break the law in the service of justice as long as he isn’t caught. This becomes a slippery slopes that starts at stealing back his friend’s baseball cards to beating men with his bare hands.

Zdarsky and Checchetto don’t rush these confession sequences showing Daredevil/Matt’s reactions to what he has done and giving the priest soliloquies. (The final one implies that Daredevil is playing God.) Even if he doesn’t even smell a church in the present day, Zdarsky and Checchetto do an excellent job of showing how Catholicism and an absent father influenced Daredevil. They craft scenes between the “big” events of young Matt’s life, namely, his accident and his father’s death that informs his character in the present day.

Although, Chip Zdarsky has written and/or drawn many comedic comics, like Sex Criminals, Jughead, and Howard the Duckhis fairly recent work for Marvel like Daredevil and Invaders has taken on a darker bent. Not in an edgy way, but in a “Never underestimate the propensity of humans to commit violent acts” way. Matt can be charming when he flirts with a stranger at the bar (Checchetto makes him quite attractive too), but all that charm is out the window as a red devil scampers the roof of Hell’s Kitchen purposefully putting himself on display to strike fear.

And this is where the arc title comes into play, “Know Fear”. Zdarsky and Checchetto have replaced the inward part of feeling no fear with the outward part of striking fear into everyone around Daredevil. He isn’t trying to sneak back into his life as life, but wants to make headlines even in a world where his worst enemy is the most powerful man in New York City. It’s the shadow child of the openly confident Daredevil of Mark Waid’s run. After what Daredevil went through at the end of Soule’s run and the tortuous Man Without Fear mini, it’s an earned darkness.

Daredevil #1 concludes its powerful exploration of Daredevil’s use of violence and life after a dangerous accident with Chip Zdarsky written and drawn backup story that’s a real treat. It’s a bit of a riff on the hallway fight sequence from Marvel Netflix’s Daredevil where the hero successfully cares a child to safety while being involved in a single take fight scene. Zdarsky uses grids to keep up the rhythm of the fight as well as strategic uses of overwhelming lettering and claustrophobic panels to show how he sometimes overwhelmed by loud noises. The entire exercise shows that Zdarsky is a formalist with heart, who can get to the essence of an iconic superhero.

Daredevil #1 is the dark, tortured, Old Testament God take on the Man without Fear that we deserve from Chip Zdarsky, Marco Checchetto, and Sunny Gho. You should read this comic instead of signing those silly Change.org petitions to bring the Netflix show back.

Story: Chip Zdarsky Art: Marco Checchetto
Colors: Sunny Gho Letters: Clayton Cowles
Story: 8.8 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.2 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Daredevil #1

Matt Murdock is bruised and beaten but that doesn’t mean Daredevil is dead. Chip Zdarsky, Marco Checchetto, Sunny Gho, and Clayton Cowles take us on the next adventure of Murdock and Daredevil as he starts his fight again.

Get your copy of Daredevil #1 in comic shops February 6! 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

Marvel 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: Justice League #12

It’s the third part of “Drowned Earth!” Batman defends the Hall of Justice from the Legion of Doom while Wonder Woman and Aquaman learn the truth about the invaders. With just one more part to go, this is an action packed issue.

Justice League #12 is by James Tynion IV, Frazer Irving, Bruno Redondo, Sunny Gho, and Tom Napolitano.

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/Kindle/comiXology
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

Exclusive Preview: Captain America #5

Captain America #5

Story: Ta-Nehisi Coates
Art: Leinil Francis Yu
Ink: Gerry Alanguilan with Leinil Francis Yu
Color: Sunny Gho
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover: Alex Ross
Variant Cover: Elizabeth Torque
Graphic Designer: Carlos Lao
Associate Editor: Alanna Smith
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Rated T+
In Shops: Nov 14, 2018
SRP: $3.99

“WINTER IN AMERICA” CONTINUES!
As the noose of betrayal tightens around the necks of Captain America and his closest allies, the Power Elite makes its move – in the person of the immortal Selene!

Review: Captain America #4

With Sharon missing, Cap must single-handedly invade the stronghold of his enemies! But even if he makes it through, what’s waiting for him is a hundred times more formidable: Taskmaster!

Writer Ta-Nehisi Coates has been delivering a run on Captain America that feels as much as a conversation about the state of America as it is Captain America.

Captain America #4 continues “Winter in America” with Cap attempting to save Sharon Carter. While the issue could easily just be one big fight scene, and it really is, Coates uses it to explore the reality of it all. Through the punching Cap reflects on where things stand including the apparent betrayal by Thunderbolt Ross. He laments that individuals who have in the past wrapped themselves in the flag.

We can take this on face value and Cap is just talking about those he’s been battling in these issues but it’s hard to not pull back and think how much this applies to our real world. Through Captain America, Coates feels like he’s making a statement on current American politics and the willingness for a certain party to so easily turn their backs on the ideals they’ve wrapped themselves in for decades.

The art by Leinil Francis Yu is fantastic as expected. Joined by Gerry Alanguilan on ink, Sunny Gho on color, and Joe Caramagna on lettering, the art is beautiful to look at. The issue has a lot of action and a battle between Cap and Taskmaster stands out. Some of the details, especially showing the pain of the battle, are solid. The small touches add a lot to it all. And the mix of such action with Coates’ more introspective thoughts by Steve are an interesting combination.

The issue is another excellent entry from the team and Cap has been one that’s a mix of action and exploration of today’s America and the situations we face. It’s a superhero comic that makes you think and is a prime example that you can easily mix politics with superhero comics.

Story: Ta-Nehisi Coates Art: Leinil Francis Yu
Ink: Gerry Alanguilan Color: Sunny Gho Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a Free copy for review

Review: Captain America #3

Cap and the Black Panther embark on a daring raid into the heart of the Nuke army, while Sharon Carter takes on a secret mission into danger!

There’s a brilliance in Ta-Nehisi Coates‘ run on Captain America that can be summed up in just one panel in Captain America #3. The issue has Cap heading the “middle America,” a town that was left behind before Hydra. When Hydra took over America, they brought back work, they improved the schools, they brought healthcare with them. These people, are those “left behind” in Marvel’s world reflecting the very real sense of the same in our real world.

Coates doesn’t go for the easy path of labeling them racist, or saying their racist in their association and acceptance of Hydra. Instead, Coates uses the situation to explore American ideals and how these individuals have abandoned them but at the same time they’ve been abandoned as well. These individuals feel they were made a promise in America’s excellence something they haven’t seen, something they lost. And, they were, are, willing to abandon their countrymen to again feel that.

It’s that promise that’s fascinating and Coates with one panel, the one above. “Morning in America” refers to the award winning campaign ad run by Ronald Reagan in 1984 which featured Americans going to work with a calm, optimistic narration. It suggested any improvement to the United States was due to Reagans policies enacted in 1980. The slogan is a metaphor for renewal. Nevermind America had to give up so much for those policies that led to genocide at home (AIDS crisis), an economy that left average Americans behind, and illegal wars throughout. We gave up many of our ideals, Americans helping each other, for Reagan and the Republican promise of “individualism.”

In one panel, Coates sums up the themes and ideas he’s exploring throughout this initial arc. He also shows that Captain America remains a politically centered character and series.

And even with that, Coates still manages to get some fight scenes in that reminds us, it’s still an action comic. It’s possible to mix the political with the entertaining. It’s possible to have the best of both worlds. And it can work and work really well.

Leinil Francis Yu’s art, with ink from Gerry Alanguilan and color by Sunny Gho, is fantastic as expected. There’s a weariness about it all and you can feel the weight and tiredness, the hope and loss, on the shoulders of every character. Yu is able to balance a quiet moment in a bar with an action scene in an evil group’s lair. There’s main street America and underneath an insidiousness of it all. All delivered through the art and tiny details.

The issue, the series so far, is utterly brilliant. It questions where we are as a nation. It questions what it is Captain America is standing up for. It makes us think and debate what America truly is. It also reminds us that we too easily trade our ideals for security and have on too many occasions abandoned those who live in the United States.

Story: Ta-Nehisi Coates Art: Leinil Francis Yu
Ink: Gerry Alanguilan Color: Sunny Gho Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Captain America #1 Mixes Ripped from the Headlines Relevance with Old School Marvel Action

On 4th of July aka Captain America’s birthday, Ta-Nehisi Coates and Leinil Yu began a new era for Steve Rogers, Bucky Barnes, and Sharon Carter in Captain America #1.  There’s a lot of plates to spin in Coates’ opening storyline from Russia-based vampires interfering in American politics to Cap trying to balance being an inspirational figure while being confronted by a horde of men dressed like Nuke and his relationship with Bucky, Sharon, and the flag on his shield and chest. However, the comic keeps from being overwhelmed by these things by leaning on action with gritty work from Yu, Gerry Alanguilan, and Sunny Gho. The clean art and lantern jaws of Chris Samnee’s run are replaced by pained face, sharp edges, and a muted, shadow filled and it fits a story where Thunderbolt Ross (Who is still a buzzkill). There’s even a well-placed use of a nine panel grid, which I hear is all the rage these days and kudos to Coates and Yu for using for a difficult interpersonal scene between Steve and Sharon and not just a knife fight or something. (Not that there’s anything wrong with knife fights.)

Probably, the boldest decision that Ta-Nehisi Coates makes in Captain America #1 is facing Secret Empire head on and having Steve still fighting to clear his name while also re-casting that whole debacle of an event in the real world light of the election of Donald Trump, Russian tampering of that election, and the increased boldness and acceptance of fascists and white supremacists, who have been here all along. The United States didn’t fight a war against Russia or an army of fascists and lose: they lost at the ballot box and have been losing since 1492, 1607, or 1619 when the first African slaves were transported to Jamestown. Coates and Leinil Yu deal with these real world issues and complicated nature of patriotic iconography through an icon himself: Captain America and explores how problematic he has become in-universe like when Thaddeus Ross benches him for a mission to see who is behind the opening attack of New York City. But somehow guys like Baron Strucker are okay because they helped lead the resistance against HYDRA.

Steve’s struggles with his iconography being co-opted first by HYDRA Cap and then in this issue, by the Nuke wannabes attacking Washington DC, is the emotional heart of Captain America #1. Yu and Gerry Alanguilan give readers plenty of prototypical Captain America shots like throwing his shield into battle, using the shield to protect an injured dad and his son, and then Coates gets to write a great Cap speech. But, then, the narration undermines these moments as Cap wonders what to say to a woman who has lost her daughters and looks around at the collateral damage surrounding the National Mall. And, after the battle, he is immediately undermined by Ross because “appearances matter” and the cloak and dagger spy and assassin skills of Bucky and Sharon are more useful than a guy running around in an American flag costume. A symbol is useful to any resistance, but not a tarnished one, and Yu eschews the heroic poses for middle distance disappointed faces.

But Captain America #1 isn’t all about Steve and his feeble attempts at restoring his legacy. Ta-Nehisi Coates and Leinil Yu using the opening and closing moments of the comics to set up a compelling villain: Selena, a millennia old mutant with “psychic vampire” abilities. She both uses her powers and a mysterious protege, Alexa, to take down HYDRA cells in Russia and to also influence the American government as the head of Faith Based Initiatives in a blink or miss TV screen cameo. In Captain America #1’s cold open, Selena and Alexa prove to be a formidable threat to a group of HYDRA soldiers with plenty of pyrotechnics and snow from Yu, Alanguilan, and Sunny Gho. Coates doesn’t go the secret villain cliche route and immediately introduces the threat while promising to unpack her connection to the U.S. government and finding some way for Steve to confront her in subsequent issues. Having a powerful Russian force interfere with the American government is compelling in light of current events, but that having that threat be a New Mutants villain with vampire-like abilities is a very Marvel way to go about it.

Playing off the classic Captain America quote from Frank Miler and David Mazzucchelli’s Daredevil: Born Again “I’m loyal to nothing except the dream”, Ta-Nehisi Coates and Leinil Yu unpack the role of Cap as an icon and hero in Captain America #1 while kicking off an action conspiracy storyline that is like our current reality, but draped in Marvel Comics lore.  There is a questioning aspect to this story as Steve, Bucky, and Sharon are consumed with doubt and separated by their new roles in this ever shifting new status quo. Also, it’s kind of sad that the weapon that Steve uses to finally take down the Nukes could also incapacitate his best friend.

Captain America #1 is thrilling, thought provoking stuff and hasn’t been this meaty and compelling since Ed Brubaker’s run on the title.

Story: Ta-Nehisi Coates Pencils: Leinil Yu Inks: Gerry Alanguilan
Colors: Sunny Gho Letters: Joe Caramagna 
Story: 9.2 Art: 8.4 Overall: 8.8 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Captain America #1

This week’s new comic book day sees a new beginning for Steve Rogers, aka Captain America!

Captain America #1 is by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Leinil Francis Yu, Gerry Alangulan, Sunny Gho, Joe Caramagna, Alex Ross, Carlos Lao, Alanna Smith, and Tom Brevoort.

Get your copy in comic shops starting July 4. 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/Kindle/comiXology or TFAW

 

Marvel 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: Teen Titans Special

It’s Wednesday which means it’s new comic book day with new releases hitting shelves, both physical and digital, all across the world. This week we’ve got the set up for the Teen Titans!

Teen Titans Special is by Adam Glass, Robson Rocha, Daniel Henriques, Sunny Gho, Rob Leigh, Trevor Scott, Hi-Fi, Andrea Shea, Alex Antone, and Brian Cunningham.

Get your copy in comic shops today. 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/Kindle/comiXology

 

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

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