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Preview: Quantum and Woody! (2017) #9

QUANTUM AND WOODY! (2017) #9

Written by ELIOT RAHAL
Art by JOE EISMA
Colors by ANDREW DALHOUSE
Letters by DAVE SHARPE
Cover A by TOM FOWLER
Cover B (Extreme Ultra-Foil) by GEOFF SHAW
Interlocking Variant by JOE EISMA
Q&W Icon Variant by SEAN CHEN
$3.99 | 32 pgs. | T+ | On Sale AUGUST 22nd

Breaking up is hard to do!

For Eric and Woody Henderson – adopted brothers, partners, and the erstwhile superhero twosome known as Quantum and Woody – the world has just turned upside down! Usually, they can’t stand to be near one another… Now, they literally can’t be – or their powers go on the fritz! That definitely makes being a “duo” difficult, especially when a perilous new threat is teaching you just how bad you are at superhero-ing solo!

Acclaimed writer Eliot Rahal (The Paybacks) and Eisner Award nominee Joe Eisma (Archie) divide the world’s worst superhero team in two as “SEPARATION ANXIETY” continues!

Review: The Sandman Universe #1

With a flourish of alliterative narration from Lucien the Librarian, the return to the Dreaming commences in The Sandman Universe #1, a one-shot with a story credit to original Sandman creator Neil Gaiman that sets up four separate books set in this universe. Each creative team gets an opportunity to set up their stories in this comic. Gaiman, Si Spurrier, and Bilquis Evely use the fluid and ever changing nature of The Dreaming to visit the settings of the other Sandman Universe titles in a more urban fantasy and mythology driven version of all those intriguing fake trailers shown in Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez’s Grindhouse double feature. However, The Sandman Universe #1 also has an overarching narrative and final page cliffhanger and isn’t just a sampler platter.

There is Spurrier and  Evely’s The Dreaming that focuses on supporting characters of The Sandman and their hunt for Daniel, the Dream of the Endless as his realm cracks and shatters. It also acts as the framing story of Sandman Universe with Matthew the Raven traveling between physical, spiritual, and dream dimensions in his quest to find Daniel. There is also Kat Howard and Tom Fowler’s reimagining of Books of Magic featuring the boy wizard Tim Hunter and his mysterious teacher Rose, Nalo Hopkinson and Domo Stanton’s House of Whispers that introduces the New Orleans Voodoo religion to The Dreaming and has a young African-American lesbian couple as protagonists, and finally, Dan Watters, Max Fiumara, and Sebastian Fiumara‘s tortuous and twisting take on Lucifer, who must suffer to find his son and not be a absentee father like Yahweh. The framing story and three interludes have a strong narrative continuity thanks to the consistent, yet versatile colors of Mat Lopes and Simon Bowland’s Eisner-worthy letters as he takes over for the legendary Todd Klein.

Spurrier and Evely’s story that is set in The Dreaming has big ideas, humor, tragedy, and even horror as they reintroduce familiar denizens like Lucien the Librarian and Cain and Abel and introduce a new character in Dora, a female monster who can jump between dreams. Her agility is evident when Evely draws her multiple times in one panel, and Spurrier makes her a fast talker. She also has a dark side and isn’t a fan of the realm of the Dreaming because Morpheus lied to her a long time ago. The heavily inked flashback is some of Evely’s best work, gave me chills, and is the only time any members of the Endless speak in Sandman Universe. Like telling the story of a dream to a friend after the night you’ve had it, The Dreaming is all about setting chaos to order, but this seems like a tall order even though the epic quest format is pretty conventional.

After being unable to jump into the waking world via the food-laden dream of a woman with esophageal cancer, Matthew enters it via the dreams of Tim Hunter. While Bilquis Evely’s work is well-rendered and exquisite like a novel that is a masterpiece of both craft and plot, Tom Fowler’s work is messier, yet still highly detailed. Warts and all, t’s perfect for the story of an adolescent wizard, who suffers the second worst nightmare of any teen on the first day of high school. Kat Howard’s plot for this short glimpse into Hunter’s world is more Agatha Christie than JK Rowling, and it looks like Hunter will have to fend for himself for the most part even though she does give him a friend in Ellie.

Following Books of Magic, Matthew jumps into New Orleans and into a queer love story between Latoya and Maggie. However, Nalo Hopkinson and Domo Stanton immediately throw them into world of conflict between gods and goddesses, boundaries between worlds, and magical items. The Louisiana Voodoo goddess Erzulie is introduced in this story and is quite the mystery. Hopkinson and Stanton craft a true urban fantasy story as the life of a family and two young lovers intersects with forces beyond their control. There’s a lushness and beauty to Stanton’s art, and he and colorist Mat Lopes create a wonderful effect that turns the bayou into a scrying mirror.

The last story that Matthew wanders into before reaching the “end” of his quest for Daniel is Lucifer’s, and it’s told in horror tinged, nine panel grid severity by Dan Watters, Max Fiumara, and Sebastian Fiumara. The Fiumaras strip away the David Bowie Lucifer that left his kingdom to open a club in L.A. and play piano and strip him down to something more malevolent with images that evoke more contempt than sympathy for the devils like starving ravens. Lucifer is on a journey again, but it’s not a fun field trip and more of a bloody vision quest. Along the way, Watters, Fiumara, and Fiumara riff off Lucifer’s first appearance in The Sandman where Morpheus defeats him in battle using the embodiment of hope. But hope might not win this time…

With carefully crafted artwork, writing that is both intelligent and down to Earth, and stories that have a distinct feel yet are connected through the wonderful device that is the Dreaming, The Sandman Universe #1 is a fantastic return of comics’ greatest creations as its creator, Neil Gaiman, hands off the torch to other skilled creators just like Morpheus did to Daniel over two decades in the first volume of Sandman. It’s a wonderful blurring of lines between reality and fiction.

Story: Neil Gaiman, Si Spurrier, Kat Howard, Nalo Hopkinson, Dan Watters
Art: Bilquis Evely, Tom Fowler, Domo Stanton, Max Fiumara, Sebastian Fiumara
Colors: Mat Lopes Letters: Simon Bowland 

Story: 8.5 Art: 9 Overall: 8.8 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics/Vertigo provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: The Sandman Universe #1

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 restart of the Sandman universe!

The Sandman Universe #1 is by Neil Gaiman, Simon Spurrier, Kat Howard, Nalo Hopkinson, Dan Watters, Bilquis Evely, Tom Fowler, Dominike Stanton, Max Fiumara, Sebastian Fiumara, Mat Lopes, and Simon Bowland.

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 or TFAW

 

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review
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Preview: The Sandman Universe #1

The Sandman Universe #1

(W) Si Spurrier, Nalo Hopkinson, Kat Howard, Dan Watters (A) Bilquis Evely, Dominike “Domo” Stanton, Tom Fowler, Max Fiumara, Sebastian Fiumara (CA) Jae Lee

From the mind of New York Times #1 bestselling author Neil Gaiman comes a new world filled with dreams, nightmares and wonderful characters living together in a shared universe for a new story unlike anything we’ve ever seen before.
A rift between worlds has opened, revealing a space beyond the Dreaming. Meanwhile, a book from Lucien’s library is discovered by a group of children in the waking world where it should not exist. Lucien calls for Matthew the Raven to seek out their master, Daniel, Lord of Dreams.

As Matthew flies across the Waking World and others, he finds a young boy named Timothy Hunter who, in his dreams, has become the world’s most powerful magician-but in his nightmares he is the world’s greatest villain. A new House has appeared in the realm of the Dreaming: the House of Whispers, with its proprietor, a fortune-teller called Erzulie. And elsewhere, Lucifer has fallen again, only this time he might be trapped in a Hell of his own design.

Spiraling out of this special issue will be four all-new series set in the Sandman Universe. It all starts here!

DC Releases a First Look at The Sandman Universe #1

We are just a few weeks away from the relaunch of DC Vertigo, and today marks the first look at story pages from The Sandman Universe #1, available on 8/8/18! 

Join us as we return to the Dreaming, a world filled with dreams and nightmares, with wonderful characters living together in this fantastical shared universe. From the mind of New York Times bestselling author Neil Gaiman, welcome to the sequel to the iconic series The Sandman, with new writers and artists, a new house and so much more.

The Sandman Universe #1 includes story by Neil Gaiman, written by Si Spurrier, Nalo Hopkinson, Dan Watters, and Kat Howard, with art by Bilquis Evely, Dominike “Domo” Stanton, Max Fiumara, Seba Fiumara, and Tom Fowler, and colors by Mat Lopes, lettering by Simon Bowland and cover by Jae Lee. Spiraling out of this exciting, oversized issue will be four new series beginning in September with The Dreaming and House of Whispers, followed by Lucifer and Books of Magic in October.

Advance Book Review: Fred Van Lente’s The Con Artist is a Nerd Noir Page Turner

In his second novel, Fred Van Lente, who is known for his comic books like Action Philosophers, Marvel’s The Incredible Hercules, and Valiant’s Archer and Armstrong  spices up the murder mystery genre by setting it at San Diego Comic Con where super fans, Hollywood types, and yes, even some comic book creators rub shoulders in a four celebration dedicated to things that they make Funko Pops of. His protagonist is Mike, a comic book artist known for his work on popular Atlas Comics (A stand-in for Marvel) character Mister Mystery and his indie pro wrestling book Gut Check, which has given him a decent level of fame. Mike is divorced and either lives out of his car or at the hotels at the various comic convention he attends and is only at SDCC to give Ben K, his long time mentor, a lifetime achievement award and to make sure his Artist’s Alley table isn’t given away in the future.

Unfortunately, Ben passes away as soon as Mike gets to San Diego. And, then, Van Lente kicks the actual murder mystery plot into high gear when Atlas editor, Mike’s arch nemesis, and his ex-wife’s boyfriend Danny Lieber turns up dead the night they got into a bar fight and was thrown out of the hotel bar. Mike’s weekend of drinking, drawing commissions, and self-loathing is transformed into police interrogations, basically becoming a private eye, and even more insane things as the novel continues.

The Con Artist is marketed as an illustrated novel, but Tom Fowler‘s illustrations aren’t just fanservice for the comic book crowd and actually connect to the events of the story. Something that might have seemed like a throwaway bit of surrealism, like “Eastboro Baptist Church” protesters juxtaposed with obsessive anime otakus trying to break a Guinness world record, ends up helping Mike piece together bits of the mystery. Early, in the book, Mike talks about how he likes making art, even sketches for fans because it has a “purging” effect for him, and several times, he mentions how much the act of creation means to him even though he hasn’t drawn a comic in a long time. And Mike’s ability to use comic books and what Scott McCloud calls “closure” (The concept is Ben K’s in the books.) to help put together pieces of this labyrinthine mystery, involving both the creative and corporate side of the comic book industry as well as Mike’s friends and foes.

The early scenes at parties or on the convention floor might seem like wheel turning or a chance for Van Lente to get out some great one-liners about the comics industry, geek culture, or conventions, but they establish the relationship that Mike has with a decent sized cast of characters from his BFF Dirtbag, who was Ben K’s assistant and now is volunteering at a The Walking Dead meets Orange is the New Block TV show attraction and his table buddy and successor on Mister Mystery Katie Poole to his number one fangirl Violet and my personal favorite character, Sebastian Mod, who is a pitch perfect combo parody of Mark Millar and Grant Morrison with Alan Moore’s religious beliefs thrown in for good measure.

The Con Artist definitely gets dark and violent from the get go, but Fred Van Lente balance things out with a wicked sense of humor and simultaneously satirizing and celebrating comic books and geek culture. For example, it might be weird that copyright friendly named Kevin Durant’s super rich cousin wants a commission of obscure Plastic Man villain Disco Mummy shaking her butt, but Mike and Katie have a good time watching the old Plastic Man Filmation shorts and see the elegance and humor in her design. (And, of course, weird commission guy is connected to the bigger mystery in some strange way.) When it comes to introducing characters and settings and transitioning between them, Van Lente doesn’t just merely describe them and move on. He does a comedic riff on them that gets you laughing, immersed in the story, and able to vividly picture the scene. Van Lente’s observational humor is also fresh and sharp if occasionally inside baseball for people who have never been to a con or aren’t familiar with the comics industry. For example, I love his running joke about people at comic book conventions picking up conversations like the last con never happened or just narrating their surroundings.

With a timely July release, Fred Van Lente’s The Con Artist is the perfect balm for readers, who have a love/hate relationship with geek culture just like its protagonist Mike. However, it’s also filled with some truly inspirational passages about storytelling, worldbuilding, and how awesome the comic book medium is, and these thoughts (and one great keynote speech) really make Mike an endearing character in spite of all his issues. It also happens to be a damn good mystery and a bit of a noir with jokes and funny descriptions to boot and hits the proverbial afterburners at the end.

Overall Rating: 8.8

Quirk Books provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

The Sandman Universe Gets Its Artists

Today Vertigo announced the incredible artists who will be bringing the Sandman Universe to life! Bilquis Evely, Dominike “Domo” Stanton, Max Fiumara, Sebastian Fiumara, and Tom Fowler will join the imprint as series artists for the recently announced Neil Gaiman-curated line of books. The Sandman Universe will kick off with the oversize special The Sandman Universe #1, followed by The Dreaming and House of Whispers in September, then Lucifer and Books of Magic in October.

Here are the creative teams behind these new series:

  • The Dreaming—written by Si Spurrier with art by Bilquis Evely

  • House of Whispers—written by Nalo Hopkinson with art by Dominike “Domo” Stanton

  • Lucifer—written by Dan Watters with art by Max Fiumara and Sebastian Fiumara

  • Books of Magic—written by Kat Howard with art by Tom Fowler

All writers and artists will collaborate on The Sandman Universe #1, available August 8, 2018. Check out artwork from all four artists, with colors by Mat Lopes above and below.

Exclusive Preview: Quantum and Woody! (2017) #8

Since it’s return in 2017, Quantum and Woody! has brought the (not so) dynamic duo back to our regular reading schedule delivering consistent laughs and lots of action (and becoming once again one of our favorite monthly comics).

With Quantum and Woody! #8, writer Eliot Rahal continues his run on the series with artist Joe Eisma kicking off a new storyline, “Separation Anxiety.”

Everything goes topsy-turvy as the two most dysfunctional defenders of our nation’s capital contend with a new status quo for their superhero skill set!

Valiant has hooked us up with an exclusive first look at the preview for the issue which comes to shelves July 18th.


QUANTUM AND WOODY! (2017) #8

Written by ELIOT RAHAL
Art by JOE EISMA
Cover A by TOM FOWLER
Cover B (Extreme Ultra-Foil) by GEOFF SHAW
Interlocking Variant by JOE EISMA
Q&W Icon Variant by JEN BARTEL

ALL-NEW ARC! ALL-NEW JUMPING-ON POINT! “SEPARATION ANXIETY” – PART ONE!

Quantum and Woody just barely escaped from a surreal atomic realm…and, unfortunately, they’ve brought some pieces of it back with them! As dangerous new threats plunge their city even deeper into chaos, they’ll soon realize that they have bigger problems and bigger grudges than ever before – now if the brothers are anywhere near one another, their powers stop working!

The world’s worst superhero team is going to have to go it alone as “SEPARATION ANXIETY” presents a super-powered stress test, courtesy of rising star Eliot Rahal (The Paybacks) and Eisner Award-nominated artist Joe Eisma (Morning Glories, Archie)!

$3.99 | 32 pgs. | T+ | On Sale JULY 18th (FOC  – 6/25/18)

Quantum & Woody! #8 Needs Therapy as Eliot Rahal & Joe Eisma Present “Separation Anxiety!”

Valiant has released a first look inside the pages of Quantum and Woody! (2017) #8 – the FIRST ISSUE of “SEPARATION ANXIETY,” RAUCOUS NEW STORY ARC and ALL-NEW JUMPING-ON POINT for the UNPREDICTABLE ONGOING SERIES from acclaimed writer Eliot Rahal and Eisner Award-nominated artist Joe Eisma! On July 18th, everything goes topsy-turvy as the two most dysfunctional defenders of our nation’s capital contend with a new status quo for their superhero skill set!

Quantum and Woody just barely escaped from a surreal atomic realm…and, unfortunately, they’ve brought some pieces of it back with them! As dangerous new threats plunge their city even deeper into chaos, they’ll soon realize that they have bigger problems and bigger grudges than ever before – now if the brothers are anywhere near one another, their powers stop working!

Featuring covers by Tom FowlerGeoff Shaw, Joe Eisma, and Jen Bartel.

Quantum and Woody! #8 – Eliot Rahal & Joe Eisma Go It Alone in “Separation Anxiety” This July!

Valiant has announced Quantum and Woody! (2017) #8 – the FIRST ISSUE of “Separation Anxiety,” RAUCOUS NEW STORY ARC and ALL-NEW JUMPING-ON POINT for the UNPREDICTABLE ONGOING SERIES from acclaimed writer Eliot Rahal and Eisner Award-nominated artist Joe Eisma! On July 18th, Quantum and Woody are about to divide their not-so-dynamic duo into a fractured pair of solo acts!

Quantum and Woody just barely escaped from a surreal atomic realm…and, unfortunately, they’ve brought some pieces of it back with them! As dangerous new threats plunge their city even deeper into chaos, they’ll soon realize that they have bigger problems and bigger grudges than ever before – now if the brothers are anywhere near one another, their powers stop working!

Featuring covers by Tom FowlerGeoff ShawJoe Eisma, and Jen Bartel.

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