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Review: Eden’s Fall #1


Who are we kidding? Crossovers, by and large, always suck. The yearly JLA/JSA team-ups of days gone by may have been fun, but the early ’80s ushered in the era of the “mega-crossover” event with Marvel’s Secret Wars and DC’s Crisis On Infinite Earths, and while those two seminal series may have had their charms, pretty much everything that’s followed in their wake has been pure drivel. It’s well past time, in my own humble opinion, for the crossover to redeem itself.

Don’t count on it happening at the “Big Two” anytime too soon, though. Marvel’s allowing its entire line to be swallowed whole by Civil War II as we speak (mere months after doing the same with their re-tooled version of Secret Wars) and DC seems to be slowly building up to a “blockbuster” of their own that will feature their characters taking on the so-called “Watchmen Universe.” Count me as being decidedly unimpressed — and deathly uninterested — in any of that. So, if anybody’s gonna give us a crossover worth reading, it’ll have to be one of the indies.

Enter Top Cow Productions, who have a corporate “universe” of their own (published, as always, under the auspices of their partnership with Image Comics) centered around WitchbladeCyber Force, and other franchises, but are eschewing the obvious (perhaps too obvious?) possibilities there and are instead tying together three of the ostensibly “real-world”- set series from the mind of writer Matt Hawkins — PostalThink Tank, and The Tithe — for a mercifully brief three-part series titled Eden’s Fall that, at least if the first issue is any indication, promises to actually make good use of the characters and concepts from all three titles in order to tell a satisfying, self-contained story.


Hawkins is sharing the scripting duties on this one (which, for the record, I purchased, although an advance digital “copy” was also made available to Graphic Policy for review purposes) with frequent collaborator Bryan Edward Hill (who’s handling the writing chores on Postal solo these days — and doing a bang-up job of it), so characterization for all parties involved is as spot-on as you’d expect, and Atilio Rojo is on board to illustrate the proceedings in a no-frills, workmanlike fashion that serves the story quite well and is somewhat reminiscent of 1980s indie comics artwork (which I don’t mean as a “knock” in any way because I love that era). Toss in some competent if less-than-flashy color work from K. Michael Russell and what you have here is a book that both looks and reads quite well without being overtly stylish on any front, and I’ll take that any and every time.

Newbies to the “Hawkins-verse” needn’t worry, either — any backstory you need to know is recapped nicely on the opening “what has gone before—” page, and more detailed breakdowns of each individual series (as well as web links to sample issues of all three titles for free) are provided on the text pages at the back, so this is a very accessible “jumping-on point” for new readers.


Just what there is to jump on to, though, is something of an open question and makes me wonder what they’re hoping to gain by co-mingling these franchises in the first place. Postal — which has apparently been optioned for television by Showtime — is the only of the titles involved here that’s a going concern at the moment, with both Think Tank and The Tithe in sales-related limbo for the time being. Maybe the idea is to breathe some new life into these books and drum up enough interest to precipitate a revival of one or both of them, but a quick little three-parter seems a curious vehicle for such an endeavor. The computer “super-hacker” protagonist of Think Tank and the former FBI agents of The Tithe are both central to the proceedings here, with events in this story picking up more or less exactly where the last issue of The Tithe left off, though, so clearly they’re not playing “second-fiddle” to the Postal cast even though the story itself is set in that series’ “off the grid” haven for ex-cons of Eden, Wyoming. I guess rather than worrying about the business logistics behind this “event,” then, I might be better served to just relax and enjoy it for what it is.


Fortunately for us all, “what it is” happens to be pretty darn good. Hot on the trail of the duplicitous engineer of a series of “false flag” terrorist attacks designed to provoke a violent response against American Muslims, our aforementioned ex-G-men (and women) and their “Dark Web”-traversing buddy track him to Eden (which proves to be suspiciously easy for them to find), but other outside parties seem interested in the goings-on in the town that doesn’t exist for reasons as yet shrouded in mystery. Events move along at a nice clip, “screen time” is shared fairly equally among all parties, and a number of the more intriguing sub-plots from each of the respective series are “ported over” here in a way that won’t seem alienating to new readers. The plot construction in this issue is very solid, the mystery reasonably gripping, and the dialogue nicely expository without being overly so. Chances are pretty good, then, that even if you’re unfamiliar with any and/or all of these individual comics, you’ll find plenty to like here.

The “Hawkins-verse” has been one of the best-kept secrets in four-color funnybooks for a long time (even if we didn’t know it was an interconnected “universe” until a few months ago), and if Eden’s Fall maintains the standard of quality on display here throughout its brief run, odds are good that it’ll steer more people in the direction of Postal, at the very least (which is really hitting a nice creative stride right now) and perhaps even convince the powers-that-be that the other books deserve another arc or two, as well. That’d be a darn good thing on the whole for fans of intelligent, topical books that are relevant to — and resonant with — the world we actually live in.

Story: Bryan Edward Hill and Matt Hawkins Art: Atilio Rojo
Story: 8 Art: 7 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 20/2/2016

Sometimes, the staff at Graphic Policy read more comics than we’re able to get reviewed. When that happens you’ll see a weekly feature compiling short reviews from the staff of the comics, or graphic novels, we just didn’t get a chance to write a full review for. These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Kennel_Block_Blues_001_A_MainKennel Block Blues #1 (Boom!) Was a pretty odd comic about an anthromorphic dog living in a state of  half hallucinated reality as he enters prison. It’s good, and  it is worth looking into, but likely more a “wait for the trade” kind of book. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

The Last Contract #2 (Boom!) A comic about a retired hitman getting back into the game long after his retirement, The Last Contract has been a fantastic ride so far, with the eighty-plus year old killer taking no shit from anybody. Well aware of his physical limits, he’s a refreshing change from protagonists that can take on the world with their hands behind their back. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Gutter Magic #2 (IDW) This has got to be one of the most entertaining comics I’ve read in a long time. The art is fantastically detailed without being overly cluttered, and the characters are inhabiting a rich and vibrant world that feels fully formed before you turn the page. Highly, highly recommended. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Deluge #2 Is an indie comic set during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. After reading the first issue, I’d actually thought it was just a one shot comic until I saw this. I actually found that the second issue was more enjoyable than the first, and I liked the first issue’s story about an undercover FBI agent infiltrating the New Orleans underworld amidst a layer of corruption from the local police. It’s a solid book that deserves a wider audience than it’ll end up getting. Overall: 8.75 Recommendation: Buy

Will Eisner’s The Spirit #8 (Dynamite) I have nothing to say here that hasn’t already been said. A solid comic book that’s well written, well drawn, and above all it’s very, very fun. Overall: 8.75 Recommendation: Buy

Huck04_CvrBHuck #4 (Image) I just… wow. Just wow. Overall: 9.75 Recommendation: Buy it now, or buy the trade. You need to own this.

Black Hood #9 (Dark Circle) Is a solid comic. It’s not my favourite comic from this publisher (that honour belongs to The Fox), but it’s a very good gritty vigilante thriller with a hero who is very much just a man. A decent series that’s worth checking out. Overall: 7.75 Recommendation: Read



Catwoman #49 (DC)* When the Messina/Valentine creative team ended their landmark run of Catwoman as a crime boss I thought Catwoman would go down hill. And while the comic did return to its roots with a far more traditional Catwoman story it’s still a really good comic! It’s a smart, interesting story suspensefully told. The lines are almost delicate and the splash pages pack in far more visual information that you think at first glance. Selina fighting Croc in front of a Nosferatu billboard? That’s cool! And the intrigue is high. I keep reading because it’s quality comics. So should you. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Read


Ryan C

American Monster #2 (Aftershock) *: Brian Azzarello and Juan Doe’s journey into the dark underbelly of America’s sleaziest small town continues with some revelations of both the major and minor variety that will serve to suck readers into the web they’re spinning ever deeper. Two issues in, I remain convinced that this has the potential to be Azzarello’s best series since “100 Bullets,” and Doe’s art, while first striking me as being a bit too “cartoonish” for the dark subject matter, is quickly starting to grow on me. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

american monster 2Lucifer #3 (Vertigo) *: The devil went to The Dreaming, and all I got was this lousy t-shirt. Oh, and a damn good story — Gaiman-esque myth-spinning anchors one of Holly Black’s two main plot threads while the other, involving a trapped demon on Earth scheming to be set free, is pure Delano-era “Hellblazer.” Combine the two with Lee Garbett’s fun-yet-appropriately-grim artwork and a guest appearance by Matthew the Raven (who just turned up in his human form in the latest issue of “Swamp Thing”) and you’ve got yourself a heck — sorry, hell — of a book here. They say everything old is new again, and after three issues this series is proving that to be absolutely true. Overall: 8  Recommendation: Buy

The Tithe #8 (Image/Top Cow) **: Not a bad extra-length issue from writer Matt Hawkins and artists Rashan Ekedal and Phillip Sevy, but not a great one, either. The problem with the whole “Islamophobia” story arc isn’t that it was poorly done, just that it only had one big revelation in store and it gave that away in the opening installment. After that, we knew exactly where events were headed, and they simply proceeded to go there. It apparently pissed off a handful of right-wing dumbfucks online, though, so points to the creators for at least raising the blood pressure of all the right people. Overall: 6. Recommendation: Read.

The Shield #2 (Dark Circle) : Normally I’d say this isn’t a half-bad little issue because, well, it isn’t, but given that the gap between numbers one and two was something like five or six months in length, it should have — perhaps even needed to — return with a big splash, and it didn’t. I’m sure Adam Christopher and Chuck Wendig’s script was “in the can” some time ago, but some tinkering around the edges to re-engage readers into the storyline more fully would have been welcome, and the art-by-committee approach with Drew Johnson and Ray Snyder doing the first half of the book and Al Barrionuevo taking over the second half is jarring and messy. Still, we’ve got a Steve Rude painted cover as one of the variants this time out, so how petty am I for bitching about anything? Dark Circle’s been plagued with delays on pretty much all of their titles barring “The Black Hood,” though, so Archie really needs to get their shit together with this line or it will die the same quick death that these characters always seem to bring upon themselves in one decade after another. Overall: 6. Recommendation: Read



Bill and Ted Go To Hell#1 (Boom!): we catch up with the Wild Stallyns shortly after their adventures in the Triumphant Return.Colonel Oats and gang of baddies are enroute to Hell , kidnapping Bill And Ted’s buddy, the Grim Reaper, with them. The boys have to call on the help of Rufus and company to rescue him. By issue’s end , there is a bigger plan in play, than either of them expected. Overall:9.3 Recommendation: Buy

Well, there you have it, folks. The reviews we didn’t quite get a chance to write.

Please note that with some of the above comics, Graphic Policy was provided FREE copies for review. Where we purchased the comics, you’ll see an asterisk (*). If you don’t see that, you can infer the comic was a review copy. In cases where we were provided a review copy and we also purchased the comic you’ll see two asterisks (**).

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 19/12/2015

Sometimes, the staff at Graphic Policy read more comics than we’re able to get reviewed. When that happens you’ll see a weekly feature compiling short reviews from the staff of the comics, or graphic novels, we just didn’t get a chance to write a full review for. These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Klaus_002_A_MainThe Paybacks #3: Two words: Hell. Yes. Overall Rating: 9 Recommendation: Buy 

Klaus #2** This is easily one of the best looking comics on the racks this month, and it’s also one of the most entertaining. I’m really enjoying the sense of soul within it’s pages. Overall Rating: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Huck #2 was another comic released this week that just screams goodness. When an entire town conspire to keep the secret of a superhero, how can you not fall in love with the story? Overall Rating: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Invincible #126. I’ve not really read much Invincible lately, so reading the final issue of a three part reboot/not reboot probably wasn’t smart on my behalf, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. Overall Rating: 8 Recommendation: Read

Judge Dredd #1 is an interesting new direction for the character. I’m curious to see what happens next, and this was just good enough to bring me back for more. Overall Rating: 7.75 Recommendation: Read

Will Eisner’s The Spirit #6: If you’ve been reading the series, then this is just more of the same, which is far from a bad thing. Well worth checking out if you haven’t been reading it. Overall Rating: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

King Conan: Wolves Beyond The Border #1 is the first Conan comic I’ve read in months, and it was awesome. There’s a lot of set up here for what’s going to come in the next few issues, and I’m looking forward to see what that’ll be – especially with the renewed interest in the character that’s bound to stem from the new movie. Overall Rating: 8.25 Recommendation: Read



B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth #138 – Mignola has put together one of the best comic universes out there, and this issue feels like it’s building to something epic and huge for it all. Love each issue not just for the entertaining story but the amazing distinctive art that screams Mignolaverse. Overall Rating: 8.2 Recommendation: Read

Batman Europa #2 – Batman and Joker do battle together in a weird team-up that has the two trying to figure out who’s out to kill them. It’s a strange story, but the art is fantastic and to see these two team-up is really entertaining. A solid miniseries that I’m enjoying much more than I thought I would. Overall Rating: 8.6 Recommendation: Buy

Justice League #46This issue felt very off to me. It picks up after a month of one-shots and catches folks up to where we’re at, at least that’s what it feels like. It’s a meh issue that has some important moments, but comes off more as a recap than anything else. Overall Rating: 6.7 Recommendation: Pass

Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer and the Vampire Zoo – I’ve generally enjoyed the Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer series, and was looking forward to this comic. While this one has some funny moments the overall issue feels more like a video game going from one level to the next. Compared to what’s come before, this one just doesn’t stand up in quality. Overall Rating: 6.3 Recommendation: Pass

Descender #8 – I love this series and this one has a great feel of what I expect from a space opera epic. The art is top notch and this one has some cool trippy aspects to it that I look forward to seeing where they go. Overall Rating: 8.4 Recommendation: Buy

The Goddamned #2 – I’m still trying to figure out this series. It’s Jason Aaron’s twisted Bible tale and while I’m enjoying it, I’m still not quite sure what to think overall. I feel like I’m missing something. Overall Rating: 7 Recommendation: Read

Goddamned02_CoverAHuck #2 – Just loving this series. It’s a fun innocent take on the superhero myth. Overall Rating: 8.1 Recommendation: Buy

I Hate Fairyland #3 – Holy shit is this series messed up. Twisted fairy tales that I feel a little dirty by the fact I’m enjoying it so much. Overall Rating: 8 Recommendation: Read

The Tithe #7 – Really relevant, Matt Hawkins has put together an interesting series that follows FBI agents tracking down folks using religion to manipulate elections. Sound familiar? Overall Rating: 7.9 Recommendation: Read

All-New X-Men #2 – The second issue feels like a middle tier X-Men run of the past. Some interesting ideas here and potential, but not blowing me away. Overall Rating: 7 Recommendation: Read

Darth Vader Annual #1 – A one-shot that I feel will have some impact down the road. Marvel’s Star Wars comics are consistently fantastic reads. Overall Rating: 8.6 Recommendation: Buy

Illuminati #2 – This series focusing on some of Marvel’s villains getting together has been a really interesting read. One that I’m really enjoying with a good mix of humor and characters. Overall Rating: 7.7 Recommendation: Read

Monster World #1 – A throwback in many ways of a detective comic with a mystery on a movie studio plot. A little mixed on what I think overall, but not bad. Overall Rating: 7 Recommendation: Read



WickedDivine17-coverThe Wicked + The Divine #17. Guest artist Brandon Graham’s style combines manga and graffiti styles. Perfect match for Sakmet. His art steals the show on this issue and carries much of the storytelling. The character remains elusive in many ways but I did come away with more. I’d still like more from her. Overall Rating: 9

No Mercy #5. Really brutal. Great reveals and character beats. A few moments of characters shouting things I’ve been itching for them to say. I feel for Sister Inez here. She just wanted a roof for her school damnit! Overall Rating: 8

Weirdworld #1. Mike del Mundo’s art was central to the disturbing awesomeness and beauty of the Elektra series a couple of years back and his new sword and sandals on drugs series is a wonderful expansion on it. I enjoy the world they’re building and their Latina protagonist is a great new creation.  Overall Rating: 8.5



King Conan: Wolves Beyond The Border #1: With all the rumblings surrounding the new Conan movie starring Arnold Schwarzenegger as an older and wiser King, it is so cool of Dark Horse to expose some of those dimensions.The story by Timothy Truman is gritty, bloody, stinks of the Medieval Age, and a whole lot of fun. The art by Tomas Giorello, harken back to the old Conan comics I grew up reading with a touch of Frank Frazetta. Altogether , Great start to a promising miniseries, and seems to be the type of excitement the Bastard Executioner only hoped to come close to. Overall: 9.8

Well, there you have it, folks. The reviews we didn’t quite get a chance to write.

Please note that with some of the above comics, Graphic Policy was provided FREE copies for review. Where we purchased the comics, you’ll see an asterisk (*). If you don’t see that, you can infer the comic was a review copy. In cases where we were provided a review copy and we also purchased the comic you’ll see two asterisks (**).

Around the Tubes

The weekend is almost here! Some of our team will be at Baltimore Comic Con, others are still recovering from other cons, and more of us are planning for New York Comic Con. Busy, busy, busy!

While you count down the hours until the day ends and weekend begins, here’s some news and reviews from around the web to keep you entertained.

Around the Tubes

ICv2 – TV Loses 20% of Young Viewers in One Year – Well that’s an interesting shift.


Around the Tubes Reviews

Talking Comics – Captain Marvel and the Carol Corps #4

CBR – Fight Club 2 #5

Talking Comics – The Tithe #5

Preview: The Tithe #3

The Tithe #3

Story By: Matt Hawkins
Art By: Rahsan Ekedal
Cover By: Rahsan Ekedal
Price: $3.99
Diamond ID: APR150680
Published: June 24, 2015

The penultimate issue of the first arc turns up the tension as the media and public celebrate the outlaw while legal issues and angry politicians interfere with the FBI’s attempts to stop the last two mega-churches on “the list” from getting robbed.


Preview: The Tithe #2

The Tithe #2

Story By: Matt Hawkins
Art By: Rahsan Ekedal
Cover By: Rahsan Ekedal
Price: $3.99
Diamond ID: MAR150609
Published: May 20, 2015

Another mega-church is robbed despite the FBI’s surveillance. Tension ratchets up as a member of Samaritan’s “heist” team is killed and the “Robin Hood” act isn’t quite as fun as they thought.


Around the Tubes

The weekend is almost here. How are folks enjoying it? Getting out now that the weather’s getting nicer?

Around the Tubes

The Beat – Ty Templeton in critical condition after a heart attack – We wish Ty the best and a speedy recovery.

Newsarama – George Reeves’ SUPERMAN Returns to Network Primetime… Sort of – This is pretty cool.

New Voices – Retconning History: Comic Books and the Holocaust – A really good read.


Around the Tubes Reviews

CBR – American Vampire: Second Cycle #7

CBR – Bloodshot Reborn #1

The Beat – Bloodshot Reborn #1

CBR – Chilling Adventures of Sabrina #2

CBR – Ei8ht #3

CBR – The Tithe #1

Talking Comics – Uncanny X-Men #33

Review: The Tithe #1

Tithe01_CoverAA heist story unlike any before! Mega-churches are being robbed for millions of dollars by a crusader hacker group known as Samaritan who is giving the money to causes they deem more worthy. This modern day “Robin Hood” is being pursued by two FBI agents who actually admire their quarry but want to stop the theft before it escalates.

I’m not a fan of religion, and especially not a fan of mega-churches which I think fleece individuals to fund opulence. Why does that statement matter? The Tithe #1 hits this exact subject as writer Matt Hawkins and artist Rahsan Ekedal give us a heist story with a bit more of a modern, and blasphemous, twist. The story is like any heist story out there, that part isn’t particularly new, it’s the fact our thieves are focusing on mega-churches as their targets. The series, has me at least, cheering for the thieves as they reveal hypocrisy and what is essentially a scam.

The series wears its disdain for this type of preaching on its sleeve, as the comic opens up with facts about the very real Jim Bakker and the fact the host of the 700 Club was convicted of financial fraud in 1989, served five years of his forty-five year sentence, and was back on tv in 2003 up to his old schtick. The comic focuses on that level of godliness, and for good reason.

The story is interesting, and for me with my views, I had a sense of glee reading what Hawkins lays out and the corruption that’s hinted at. It’ll be interesting to see where this all goes, especially due to Hawkins’ habit of working in real world stats and issues into the comics he writes.

Ekedal on art is wonderful as always. I really enjoy his style ever since I was introduced to it in 2010 with the series Echoes that he did with write Joshua Hale Fialkov. The style is consistent, clean, and each character has a bit of “personality” in their looks that make them unique. That’s especially interesting since part of the story hinges that the thieves look the same in their get-up they use to rob.

While the main cops and robbers story is very familiar, the setting has changed. The fact the target is rather appropriate and in the news as to largesse makes it all the more familiar. The Tithe might be a bit blasphemous, but it’s the type of blasphemy I enjoy.

Story: Matt Hawkins Art: Rahsan Ekedal
Story: 7.75 Art: 7.75 Overall: 7.75 Recommendation: Read

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: The Tithe #1

The Tithe #1

Story By: Matt Hawkins
Art By: Rahsan Ekedal
Cover By: Rahsan Ekedal
Price: $3.99
Diamond ID: FEB150488
Published: April 15, 2015

A heist story unlike any before! Mega-churches are being robbed for millions of dollars by a crusader hacker group known as Samaritan who is giving the money to causes they deem more worthy. This modern day “Robin Hood” is being pursued by two FBI agents who actually admire their quarry but want to stop the theft before it escalates.


Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Tithe01_CoverAWednesdays are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

We’re bringing back something we haven’t done for a while, what the team thinks. Our contributors are choosing up to five books each week and why they’re choosing the books.

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this Wednesday.


Top Pick: Nutmeg #1 (Action Lab Entertainment) – There’s been such a fresh amount of releases of comics that break the mold of the traditional comic recently. This new series is another example of that focusing on some high school girls and their revival. Yup, it’s that simple, yet so welcome.

Archie vs. Predator #1 (Archie) – The first issue is great, mixing in classic Predator moments with a style that’s all Archie. So subversive. So much fun.

Bloodshot Reborn #1 (Valiant) – The Valiant left a very different Bloodshot out there at the end. This series picks up from there with a new status-quo and one I’m fascinated to see.

The Fox #1 (Archie/Dark Circle) – Archie’s going dark and mature with their new line of superhero comics. So far so good, and this first issue has very lofty expectations from me.

Letter 44 #15 (Oni Press) – It’s been six months since the last issue, and all hell has broken loose.


Top Pick: The Tithe #1 (Image Comics) – Comics are all the much better when they mix interesting concepts with social commentary.  Such seems the case here with a group that robs from mega-churches and gives the money to the poor.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad #2 (Marvel/Disney) – This is not just a Disney ride.  Instead it gives a different take on the Western genre, while staying true enough to the roots of the story.

Ms. Marvel #14 (Marvel) – Those getting caught up in the Batgirling of all comics forget that Marvel did it here first without the fanfare.  This standout series delivers more of what has given it such acclaim.

Thor #7 (Marvel) –  This “Love It or Hate It” title should just be just the former.  Since the introduction of the new Thor there has hardly been a misstep.

Grimm Fairy Tales Presents Wonderland #34 (Zenescope) – Erica J. Heflin’s run on Wonderland has been great so far, and this story arc promises more to come for Zenescope’s most complex superhero.

Almost American