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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.


Alex

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

 

Elana

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-Ted-Go-to-Hell-1Shean

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 (**).

Listen to Graphic Policy Radio with guest Bryan Edward Hill on Demand

This Monday was a brand new episode of Graphic Policy Radio and we welcomed our first time guest Bryan Edward Hill to the show!

Bryan is a writer for both comics and films. He currently writes Postal for Image Comics/Top Cow Productions as well as the upcoming Romulus. He was also recently brought on board as the story editor for Top Cow.

You can listen to the show on demand here, or download it and take it on the road.

Graphic Policy Radio with guest Bryan Edward Hill this Monday at 10pm ET

GP Radio pic MondayThis Monday is a brand new episode of Graphic Policy Radio and we’re welcoming our first time guest Bryan Edward Hill to the show! The show airs LIVE this Monday at 10pm ET.

Bryan is a writer for both comics and films. He currently writes Postal for Image Comics/Top Cow Productions as well as the upcoming Romulus. He was also recently brought on board as the story editor for Top Cow. You can follow him through Tumblr or Twitter.

We want to hear what questions you have too! Tweet them to us @graphicpolicy and we’ll ask them live on the air.

You can listen in live this Monday at 10pm ET.

Witchblade Celebrates Milestone Anniversary

Top Cow’s long-running Witchblade series, first launched in 1995 and created by Marc Silvestri, David Wohl, Brian Haberlin, and Michael Turner, will celebrate its 20th Anniversary with a deluxe Witchblade 20th Anniversary “Art Of” hardcover, a Commemorative Lithograph, and will come to a jaw-dropping conclusion with Witchblade #185—the final issue.

In Witchblade #185, an era comes to a close with a double-size final issue of Sara Pezzini’s twenty-year run. Several previous Witchblade artists return to the title to send her off in style. The story resolves Sara’s return to New York, her relationship with Gleason, and her attempt to find a suitable bearer to give the Artifact to. Cover A by Michael Turner can be pre-ordered using Diamond Code AUG150499. Cover B by Keu Cha can be pre-ordered with Diamond Code AUG150500. Both will be available on October 14th.

Image/Top Cow is also pleased to release a deluxe Witchblade 20th Anniversary “Art Of” hardcover. This special, over-sized Witchblade hardcover will be a veritable who’s-who of comic artists with original content not previously seen in The Art of Witchblade. It can be pre-ordered using Diamond Code AUG150570, will hit shelves on October 28th, will be limited to 1,000 copies, and will never be reprinted.

There will also be a limited number of 11” x 17”, full-color Witchblade 20th Anniversary Commemorative Lithographs featuring art by Michael Turner available on October 28th that can be pre-ordered using Diamond Code AUG150504.

Switch—A teen girl, a mysterious gauntlet, ancient power

Bestselling cartoonist Stjepan Sejic brings to print his popular web-comic Switch. The new Top Cow series gives nod to the classic Witchblade Universe, but welcomes surprise crossover characters and—at its heart—explores the story of a teen girl trying to understand her mysterious new powers. Top Cow’s Witchblade meets New 52’s Batgirl in this fresh series told in delectable Sejic fashion and hitting stores on October 14th.

In Switch, a teenage girl must bear a mighty artifact that grants her immense powers… the catch? It’s a bit haunted!

Switch #1 (Diamond Code: AUG150506) will be available on Wednesday, October 14th. Final Order Cutoff deadline for retailers is Monday, September 21st.

Switch

Review: Apollo IX #1

ApollolX_01-1I remembered when Image Comics first came on the scene, more than 20 years ago, and what seems like a millennia, but yet seems just like yesterday, which I guess is another symptom of getting older. It seemed as though the whole world turned upside down, as comics’ readers all over the world, including myself, was finally reading comics which they not only enjoyed but finally identified with. These characters felt as though they jumped off the page and gave readers, heroes, that seemed more human and logical than the” Big 2” had given readers to this point.

In fact, up to this point, no comic book character had been killed, by any disease, before the death of Shadowhawk. No character had been an effective anti-hero, at least not realistically, before Spawn. No character, had dealt with dementia, and how it would be to have in alternate realities, before Maxx.No character, had not dealt with the long lasting effects of amnesia, before Savage Dragon and Aphrodite IX.

Aphrodite IX, is one of Image’s best comics, and for the un-initiated reader, it is about is a female android who suffers from amnesia after being sent on undercover missions, which leads to ongoing confusion about what she does and for whom, but she becomes aware that she is an assassin and begins to have dreams and desires much like a human and soon set out find out why, where she discovers a conspiracy involving a secret organization of cyborgs attempting to disenfranchise the governmental structure. What Image has set out to do over the last few months is to tell the story of other eight heirs of the IXth Generation. This story centers on Apollo IX, who is obsessed with his newest research project, a material transporter, which is experiencing multiple failures, resulting in the death of his latest head of research, which causes Apollo to hire a new cyborg, Psyche, which actually furthers, his latest venture. Ultimately, he is betrayed, and his nature as a member of the IXth Generation, comes to the surface.

This collaboration, is more than equal to the one shots, which have been released up to this point, and in fact, excels in certain aspects. The story by Ashley Victoria Robinson is much a character study as it is fable on trust. The art by Fernando Argosino and Chris Northrop lives up to the stylized renderings that Top Cow, is more than famous for. Overall, a great one shot, that for fans of Aphrodite IX, will be more than satisfied.

Story: Ashley Victoria Robinson Art: Fernando Argosino and Chris Northrop
Story: 9 Art: 9 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

LINE Webtoon Announces Deals with Marc Silvestri and Stan Lee

LINE WebtoonStan Lee Headshot, the digital comic service, has unveiled some interesting new partnerships including one with Stan Lee and POW! Entertainment and Top Cow founder Marc Silverstri.

Along with Lee and POW!, the company has unveiled an initiative to discover new talent through the company’s Superhero Comics Contest. The contest will give aspiring creators the opportunity to submit their Superhero-themed comics for the chance to win $30,000 and the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to receive Stan Lee’s guidance and feedback.

The Superhero Comics Contest is the third contest in LINE Webtoon’s Challenge League system, which is proven to be a new and innovative way to find new comic talent. To enter, artists over the age of fourteen can upload at least three chapters of an original superhero comic directly to the contest’s entry page. Finalists will be chosen by Stan Lee and his team at POW! Entertainment along with LINE Webtoon’s editorial team. The grand prize winner will receive $30,000 and the opportunity to receive guidance and feedback from Stan and have their comic published by LINE Webtoon.

A second place winner will receive $10,000 and, along with the third and fourth place winners, will have the opportunity to become paid, featured LINE Webtoon artists.

Marc Silvestri HeadshotThe company has also announced that renowned creator Marc Silvestri will be launching the next chapter of his hit comic series, Cyber Force, created by Silvestri and written by famed comics scribe Matt Hawkins, exclusively on LINE Webtoon beginning in Fall 2015. The latest two trades of Cyber Force will be reformatted and available on LINE Webtoon for new readers to catch up before the new chapters begin.

Additionally, LINE Webtoon and Top Cow are developing the series as a multi-platform experience for fans who keep up with the rest of the Top Cow universe. The title Aphrodite IX, written by Top Cow president Matt Hawkins, will be deeply tied to the events of Cyber Force on LINE Webtoon, driving fans from the print editions of Aphrodite IX to the weekly chapters on LINE Webtoon and back.

With more than 10 years of experience in Korea, LINE Webtoon launched in the U.S. in 2014, and its partnership with POW! continues the company’s major expansion in the U.S., which includes new artists, partners, ways to interact with the content, and much more.

Preview: Witchblade #183

Witchblade #183

Story By: Ron Marz
Art By: Laura Braga
Cover By: Laura Braga
Variant Cover By: Stjepan Sejic
Price: $3.99
Diamond ID: DEC140773
Published: July 8, 2015

Revelations abound as Sara Pezzini confronts her mysterious assailants, learning not only their true nature, but also the shocking truth of the power they serve. Have Sara and the Witchblade merely been pawns all this time? And will the fallout push her back to New York City, the one place she swore she’d never return?

Witchblade183_CoverA

Preview: Athena IX One-Shot

Athena IX One-Shot

Story By: Ryan Cady
Art By: Phillip Sevy
Cover By: Phillip Sevy
Variant Cover By: Stjepan Sejic
Price: $3.99
Diamond ID: MAY150461
Published: July 1, 2015

FROM THE PAGES OF IXth GENERATION COMES A ONE-SHOT SPECIAL EVENT! Ever the didact, Athena IX specializes in cruel, calculating instruction, manipulating her siblings and supplicants with the intellectual upper hand. But this is the Chairwoman’s future, not hers, and some lessons must be taught more harshly than others.

AthenaIX_01-1

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.

Tithe03_CoverA

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