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Review: The Amazing Spider-Man #75

Amazing Spider-Man #75

I’ve never been a Spider-Man superfan. While I’ve enjoyed some stories and arcs, it’s a character (and various series) that I dip in and out of. Beyond Slott’s run, I can’t think of any long run I’ve read. He’s a character I enjoy in doses and generally feel things get redone to a point that it just doesn’t quite interest me (swing with cool image, fight bad guy, smart comment, something goes wrong, repeat). But, when a major start of a run begins, I do like to check them out and see what’s going on. Amazing Spider-Man #75 kicks off a new era for the webcrawler and it’s a start that will have me sticking around for a while.

While Amazing Spider-Man #75 is written by Zeb Wells, Spider-Man is currently being handled by the “Beyond Board” of Kelly Thompson, Cody Ziglar, Saladin Ahmed, Patrick Gleason, and Wells. The group, along with artists, will rotate arcs and issues which is needed as the comic is upping how often it’s coming out. What is “Beyond” though? That gets answered in this issue as Ben Reilly is back in the picture and donning a Spider-Man costume. He now has sponsorship by a corporation called Beyond that feels like it can do the superhero thing a bit better than it’s been done. They also have the “rights” to Spider-Man. It’s all a very intriguing twist to the series and a bit brilliant in some ways.

Amazing Spider-Man #75 dips into Spider-Man history. There’s obviously Reilly himself but the issue takes a lot from Slott’s run when Dock Ock was in Peter’s body. It’s a solid use of that arc and makes a lot of sense when presented. It’s a great way to use continuity and add some more to the history. “Additive” is a direction Marvel has been going for a while and it plays out well here. It dips back into Peter having run a company, there’s some ramifications of that which is great as that entire chapter feels like it was dumped rather quickly. There’s also some questions as to what Peter should do. He has had a lot of heavy hits lately and you can see he’s worn out. Should he let Reilly take over? Should he just go on a vacation for a bit? There’s a lot of options here now and it all feels natural. Amazing Spider-Man #75 deals with Peter’s trauma while also setting up an “out” and we the readers have to guess where it’s going to go… or do we?

The issue ends with a punch that’s been teased but what exactly is that punch? Based on some dialogue, this doesn’t feel like the usual beaten hero story we’ve seen so many times and potentially we’re going to get something very new and interesting, and hopefully relevant (if what I think is going to happen is really going to happen).

The art by Patrick Gleason is top notch. With color by Marcio Menyz and lettering by Joe Caramagna, the comic has style and pops on the page. There’s a modern classic feel to it with body bending swinging but doesn’t take that over the top like others. It’s a bit more grounded in some ways but nails the over the top action as well. What the team really delivers on is the weariness of Peter. You can feel his tiredness. This is a person who’s emotionally beat down and it shows. That sort of small detail really stands out and is impressive.

But there’s more!

Kelly Thompson, Travel Foreman, Jim Campbell, and Joe Caramagna give us a back-up story that adds a twist to everything we just read up to that point. Colleen Wing and Misty Knight!? What are they doing in the comic!? The two are kicking ass is the answer but “Love and Monsters” adds a lot to the direction the series is going as it presents a wrinkle in everything we’ve read.

And there’s more!?

“Kafka” by Wells, Ivan Fiorelli, Edgar Delgado, and Caramagna adds even more to the new direction of the series. We learn a bit more about Beyond delivering an even greater ominous feel about it all. It’s solid work that also examines Electro and some of what his powers mean. Like the main story, it’s the details and hints that are great and will suck you in.

This is a hell of a debut that feels like it’s a natural direction building off of the last two major runs and setting Peter and Spider-Man up for a new direction. It’s good, really good. And it has this on-the-fence Spider-Man reader coming back for more… and excited about it.

Story: Zeb Wells, Kelly Thompson Art: Patrick Gleason, Travel Foreman, Ivan Fiorelli
Color: Marcio Menyz, Jim Campbell, Edgar Delgado Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Preview: Superman and the Authority #3

Superman and the Authority #3

Written by: Grant Morrison
Art by: Travel Foreman, Mikel Janin

Superman put the Authority back together, but why? What threat is out there that only this group can contend with? The Ultra-Humanite, of course! This fearsome foe is forming a team of his own, one designed to go fist-to-fist with the Authority. It will be their baptism in battle to prove if Superman is right that regardless of who we are, there is a hero lurking inside even the worst of us. This penultimate issue is an important chapter in the new Superman mythos, helping to set up where Clark Kent goes next…and who he goes there with.

Superman and the Authority #3

Review: Superman and the Authority #3

Superman And The Authority #3

The shape of Grant Morrison’s storyline becomes clearer in the penultimate issue of Superman and the Authority #3 with the team going on their first mission and a larger (and very old school) foe rears its ugly head even as the recruitment drive continues. Yes, the final member of The Authority is Lightray aka Lia Nelson from Earth-9 aka the Tangent Comics universe giving the book a continued 1990s/early 2000s feel a la the original team. This extends to Travel Foreman and Alex Sinclair’s visuals in an early sequence where the team must rescue June Moone aka the Enchantress from her old nemesis Dzamor that features edgy, energy-filled art work and a delicate Sandman-esque script from Morrison, whose Superman uses cleverness not punching to win the day. However, this art goes bye bye and is replaced by the sleek, modern stylings of Mikel Janin and Alex Sinclair for the inter-team banter and battles to come.

Superman and the Authority #3 really builds off the previous issue’s character-driven focus to put team members which we already care about in intense situations with Grant Morrison splitting the team up in smaller groups except for their leader, Superman, who gets to go mano a mano in his situation. As mentioned in the last paragraph, Superman’s cleverness, not his waning super strength gets a workout in this issue until the final few pages, and the Authority lineup covers up his weaknesses while also acting like variables in equations. For example, Enchantress has no upper limit to her magical abilities when she merges June Moone and Enchantress as one, Manchester Black’s psychic skills and general bad attitude come in handy rescuing and merging said technologies, and Apollo’s solar powered strength slots in nicely for Superman’s old abilities. Plus he treats Superman with the most respect and deference with the exception of Steel, who has a personal relationship with him through her uncle.

Even if this Authority team doesn’t have a multi-adventure/arc future mapped out for them, the interpersonal dynamic that Morrison and Janin craft for the team through dialogue, facial expressions, and body language make for an entertaining time. Manchester Black plays the role of punching bag, (*groans*) devil’s advocate, and general wise-ass, and his continued being cut down to size is more memorable than the bigger plot. Six months from now, I won’t care what the Big Bad was up to (I do admire Grant Morrison’s nod to history and Mikel Janin’s body horror design choice.), but I will remember that Old Man Superman praised the activist-minded nature of late millennial/Generation Z and showed how shallow the “old is good, new is bad” paradigm of books like Kingdom Come were in a two panel exchange with Black. This Superman doesn’t have a no-killing policy because of the Comics Code Authority or Mark Waid, but because death ultimately prevents restorative justice, which is what he seems to be aiming for with this new team.

Yes, that’s the actual Round Table

Superman and the Authority #3 is titled “Grimdark”, and it fits the active violence of the story as well as the literal darkness enshrouding Lightray at her crash pad where Apollo and Enchantress try to snag her. Lightray gets an abbreviated version of the solo sub-stories that Steel, Midnighter and Apollo, and Enchantress got in the previous, and Jordie Bellaire’s palette does a lot of the heavy lifting as she goes from being the first child born on Mars to an influencer type figure and then hiding in the dark talking to a mysterious figure. Bellaire uses a dark red panel for her birth because she was the child of an affair then uses a bright palette for her superhero identity and then turning to utter darkness until Apollo pops in with his whole solar deal. The brightness doesn’t let up as Apollo ends up in physical combat with Lightray’s “body guard”. Introducing a new cast member this late in the game is a risky, but Morrison, Janin, and Bellaire roll the dice and resurrect a wild card character that brings an element of sadness, vulnerability, and pure potential. I’m excited to see the role Lightray plays in Superman and the Authority‘s endgame.

For the most part, Superman and the Authority #3 avoids the “middle chapter” issue in serialized comics as Grant Morrison, Mikel Janin, and Jordie Bellaire bring out the team’s opponent, show an aging Superman using his mind instead of his powers and playing the role of strategist instead of tank, and give a glimpse of the actual Authority team in action. It hits that sweet spot between light and darkness kind of like June Moone/Enchantress and her fun new look. (Her attempts at flirting with Apollo are pretty pathetic though.)

Story: Grant Morrison  Art: Mikel JaninTravel Foreman
Colors: Jordie Bellaire, Alex Sinclair Letters: Steve Wands
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.7 Overall: 8.3 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus ComicsTFAW

Preview: Superman and the Authority #3

Superman and the Authority #3

Written by: Grant Morrison
Art by: Travel Foreman, Mikel Janin

Superman put the Authority back together, but why? What threat is out there that only this group can contend with? The Ultra-Humanite, of course! This fearsome foe is forming a team of his own, one designed to go fist-to-fist with the Authority. It will be their baptism in battle to prove if Superman is right that regardless of who we are, there is a hero lurking inside even the worst of us. This penultimate issue is an important chapter in the new Superman mythos, helping to set up where Clark Kent goes next…and who he goes there with.

Superman and the Authority #3

Review: Pyrate Queen #1

Monday Ryan is one of the best pirates on the high seas. This is her story of revenge.

Story: Peter Milligan, Matt Kindt
Art: Adam Pollina, Travel Foreman
Color: Tamra Bonvillain, Ulises Arreola
Letterer: Simon Bowland, Dave Sharpe

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Zeus Comics


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Preview: Avengers Annual #1

Avengers Annual #1

(W) Jed MacKay (A) Travel Foreman, Juan Ferreyra (CA) Federico Vicentini
Rated T+
In Shops: Aug 25, 2021
SRP: $4.99

“INFINITE DESTINIES” CONCLUDES!
The last secret of the Infinity Stones and Infinity Stone-Bearers is revealed here. Meet the new character who beats Captain America and Iron Man within an inch of their lives. What saves them? This character’s other desires.
ALSO IN THIS ISSUE: The conclusion of “Infinite Fury”!

Avengers Annual #1

Review: Superman and the Authority #2

Superman and the Authority #2

Superman and Manchester Black assemble the new Authority squad in Superman and the Authority #2, and the issue goes about the ol’ recruitment drive issue in a creative way while still leaving time for plenty of interactions between the Man of Steel and his predominantly fans turned teammates. Grant Morrison structures this comic in a really engaging way collaborating four artists and four colorists to tell a frame story featuring Superman, Manchester Black, and their new teammates (Mikel Janin and Jordie Bellaire), a Natasha “Steel” Irons solo adventure (Fico Ossio and Sebastian Cheng), an Apollo and Midnighter team-up (Evan Cagle and Dave Stewart), and a June Moone aka Enchantress spookfest (Travel Foreman and Alex Sinclair). Each of these small units of story allow Morrison and the artists to play in different genres and flesh out each member of The Authority while building to a bigger whole.

The Grant Morrison-penned banter between Manchester Black and Superman along with the clean lines of Janin and strong colors tie together the disparate art styles and sub-stories of Superman and the Authority #2. This older Superman is vulnerable and self-aware about it taking Black’s snipes about his power set reduction in stride while quipping about being “a samurai in autumn” and not caring if he has to take a spaceship (That’s quite cool) everywhere instead of flying. He also is straight up revered by his teammates with Natasha Irons joining the team simply because he’s on it, and Midnighter using the Authority team membership as his anniversary present for Apollo, who breaks his usual reticence and gushes about how Superman was an inspiration to him. (Even if he’s a bit more violent than the Man of Steel.) June Moone gets the last story, and the team doesn’t really interact with her that much, but almost silently, Superman’s silhouette acts as a figure of hope in the middle of the utter hopelessness of the Hilltop Sanitorium.

Natasha Irons gets the first short story, and Morrison, Ossio, and Cheng craft a story that in a previous age might be called cyberpunk. Basically, her and her uncle, John Henry Irons’ Metropolis headquarters has been overrun by sentient Internet beings endangering their operations as well as their city and the whole world. Grant Morrison and Fico Ossio take a literal approach to the enemies they fight, such as trolls, “eternal edgelords”, and of course, plain ol’ misinformation that continues to take the world especially in a world ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic. (If you’re reading this review and haven’t been vaccinated, please get the vaccine.) Sebastian Cheng’s garish color palette as Irons battles the racist, sexist slime of the Internet feels like you’re in the middle of a flame war, and Ossio overwhelms the page with figures. However, Steel is no damsel in distress and uses her empathy and intelligence to deal with the threat and prove that she’s a worthy successor to Superman as hero of Metropolis and will fill the tech role (Think Angela Spica in the original Authority) well.

As a known Midnighter fan, of course, the second sub-story from Grant Morrison, Cagle, and Stewart is my favorite as Midnighter and Apollo bicker like an old married couple while trying to save some psychic kids that are being trafficked in a very high tech, body horror kind of way. Evan Cagle and Dave Stewart’s art showcases the dark badass nature of Midnighter with sweeping shadows and minimalist imagery in panels like guns falling or bloods dripping to just show how in control of the situation he is. However, there’s a bit of the hiccup in the action, and this gives Apollo a chance to play hero and then murder children with his yellow glow getting a little sadder. The atomic sheen that Stewart gives Apollo gives Morrison a chance to do some political commentary via Superman and Manchester Black about “idealistic liberals” and basically how a Democrat was responsible for dropping the only atom bombs in history. It’s a fitting observation as leftists and progressives become increasingly disgruntled with a party that won’t do squat while it has control of the legislative and executive departments and negotiates with a party that was responsible for and tolerated a right wing insurrection. Personally, Midnighter and Apollo have a fun, flirtatious dynamic, but their good intentions (Saving Middle Eastern children) turned downright genocidal is a spot-on metaphor for American foreign policy as well as the failure of “liberal” ideals.

Finally, the June Moone story is for fans of Grant Morrison’s work on Arkham Asylum and is a little bit like a less gory, easier to follow Nameless. Travel Foreman and Alex Sinclair’s visuals are suitably atmospheric with plenty of dark shadows and corridors plus a mainly monochromatic palette with hints of red. It’s a Lovecraftian psychodrama as June Moone’s boyfriend has been having an affair with the Enchantress and wants to unleash her tonight with the help of an elder, purple god. After the science fiction and superheroics of the majority of Superman and the Authority #2, Morrison, Foreman, and Sinclair capture hopelessness in a house with the door held slightly ajar in the end. Out of the Authority team members, Enchantress is the least traditionally heroic, but every Authority squad needs a shaman or wizard type figure, and she’s a powerhouse on that account. But first the team will have to play Orpheus to her Eurydice.

Superman and the Authority #2 is a master class in how to assemble a superhero team in the space of a single issue. Grant Morrison, Mikel Janin, Fico Ossio, Evan Cagle, and Travel Foreman seamlessly combine multi-genre short stories with a thematically rich overarching narrative of an aging Superman and a chaotic Manchester Black trying to do this superhero thing the right way. (No genocides, please!) I can’t wait to see this merry band fight through Hell, and Apollo fangirl over (hot dad) Superman some more!

Story: Grant Morrison Art: Mikel Janin, Fico Ossio, Evan Cagle, Travel Foreman
Colors: Jordie Bellaire, Sebastian Cheng, Dave Stewart, Alex Sinclair Letters: Steve Wands
Story: 8.6 Art: 9.2 Overall: 8.9 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Review: I Am Batman #0

John Ridley delivers the start of Jace Fox’s next chapter and steps to becoming Batman.

Story: John Ridley
Art: Travel Foreman
Ink: Norm Rapmund
Color: Rex Lokus
Letterer: Dave Lanphear

Get your copy now! To find a comic shop near you, visit http://www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

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Kindle
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TFAW


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Preview: I Am Batman #0

I Am Batman #0

Written by: John Ridley
Art by: Travel Foreman

Future State gave readers a preview of things to come with Jace Fox as the new Batman…but his debut in the core line arrives with a bang! Picking up immediately from the events of The Next Batman: Second Son, Jace thrusts himself into action when the Magistrate’s crackdown on Alleytown begins, using armor he’s found in the abandoned Hibernaculum. The age of a new Dark Knight starts now!

I Am Batman #0

Review: I Am Batman #0

I Am Batman #0

In DC’s Future State, we met a new Batman, Jace Fox. The future Gotham has turned into a neon fascist nightmare where masks are outlawed and the Gotham PD are overshadowed by a private military police force called the Magistrate. The result created a nightmare future where Batman was the enemy and freedom as an illusion. When DC launched its current line and focus, the Batman comics started to lay the ground for that nightmare future. One of those series was The Next Batman: Second Son which laid the groundwork for Jace’s new role. I Am Batman is the next chapter in Jace’s evolution as he takes his first steps in the Batman persona.

Writer John Ridley returns to tell Jace’s story and continues to explore how his family dynamic and past mistakes drive his focus. Ridley’s storytelling has a brilliance about it. He does an amazing job of balancing outright telling the reader what they need to know and seeding enough hints and details for them to put things together themselves.

What Ridley also gives us is a flawed hero. Jace messes up, a lot. He doesn’t know everything he’s doing and we’re really getting an “origin’ story with some pretty hard lessons for the hero to learn. And that extends beyond just the physical part. Jace has to deal with public relations and perception as well and due to the past Ridley has driven home, we understand why.

But, Ridley also delivers a story that has relevance. The issue’s tension, at multiple times, is about the clashes between the Gotham PD and protestors. It’s hard not to think about Black Lives Matter and the real life protests that regularly occurred over the past year. Ridley is a master of mixing entertainment and social relevance.

Travel Foreman‘s art is good though never quite excites. With ink by Norm Rapmund, color by Rex Lokus, and lettering by Dave Lanphear, the art does its job of conveying the tension, emotion, and action. But, it misses the mark for those iconic moments. The comic’s art works best during the quieter moments like when Jace has trouble talking to a potential romantic interest. The protests, and Batman’s moments, never quite deliver the punch needed. It does well but not great.

I Am Batman #0 is a nice bridge from the previous series and this one. We get to see Jace’s initial steps as Batman after his discovery in the previous series. We get more of his thoughts, motivation, and his view as to what he needs to do next to succeed. It gives us a flawed individual who we can see grow and while we might not always agree with what he does, we can understand his viewpoint. It gives us a well-rounded character that could very well be the future of the DC Universe.

Story: John Ridley Art: Travel Foreman
Ink: Norm Rapmund Color: Rex Lokus Letterer: Dave Lanphear
Story: 9.0 Art: 7.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus ComicsTFAW

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