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Shang-Chi: Master of the Ten Rings #1 is a fun debut issue

Shang-Chi: Master of the Ten Rings #1

Crispin Glover is one of those actors whose filmography is pretty prolific. Like many actors you feel as though he leaves a piece of themselves within their characters. As many play a version of themselves. This why many actors relish their roles , especially when it comes to a character who is a bit unhinged.

This is why he really shined in his role in American Gods, which shows how he could tap into eccentricities to sculpt a masterful character. Then there is his role in Cabinet of Curiosities  where he showed his range more so than most of his roles. But for me and many genre fans, he will always be George McFly in Back to The Future. In Shang-Chi: Master of the Ten Rings #1, our protagonist travels back in time to meet his father like Marty did in those BTTF movies , but in  a much more complex paternal portrayal.

We are taken to the Temple of Zheng Zu in China, the bones of Zheng Zu have been found, leading some nefarious characters to resurrect this ancient evil. We also find Shang Chi and his siblings tracking this mysterious group, where we soon find out are former warriors of the Deadly Hand. This leads to a fight between the two and unexpected turn, where a time portal is opened and Shang is transported back in time, to when his father and uncles were still young. AS he gets to know him, he understands just how different he was, and how life’s complications made him the father would become. By issue’s end, Shang’s siblings find a way to bring him back.

Overall, Shang-Chi: Master of the Ten Rings #1 is a fun debut issue which shows off why Gene Luen Yang is a master storyteller. The story by Yang is exquisite. The art by the creative team is gorgeous. Altogether, a story that fans of the movie and the character will surely enjoy.

Story: Gene Luen Yang Art: Michael Yg
Color: Erick Arciniega, Fer Sifuentes-Sujo Letterer: Travis Lanham
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Purchase: comiXology/Kindle

Review: A.X.E.: Judgement Day Omega #1

A.X.E.: Judgement Day Omega #1

With the main story wrapped up, A.X.E.: Judgement Day was one of the best events Marvel has had in some time. The Eternals battled the X-Men with the Avengers in the middle. But, the story pivoted when the three groups had to then face a mad god bent on judging the world. A.X.E.: Judgement Day Omega #1 wraps things up setting up the status quo for the Eternals as they deal with the fallout of events.

Written by Kieron Gillen, A.X.E.: Judgement Day Omega #1 focuses on the Eternals as they pick up the pieces of the event and chart a new path. Split into factions, there’s new rules for each to follow as their secret has been revealed to the world and these former heroes are seen as villains. They also have a new outlook on things as the Machine and a new god are there to deal with.

Gillen charts a path that feels more like a prequel for whatever Eternals comic book series is to come as opposed to a follow up end chapter of the current event. Unless you really care about the Eternals, the comic is generally forgettable. Which is interesting. This is an event whose tie-ins have felt like they’ve filled gaps and expanded the story. This one though feels like the bad habit of the past of an event tie-in that doesn’t really need to exist. Everything said within in could, and likely will, be repeated in an Eternals series. There’s little that really stands out beyond a scene with Ikaris.

Not helping is the art by Guiu Vilanova. Vilanova is joined by colorist Andres Mossa and lettering by Travis Lanham. The art of the issue isn’t bad in any way. But, it also doesn’t excite either. There’s something rather melancholy about it all include the art. The body language of the Eternals screaks defeated reminding me of the many I’ve dealt with over the years after an election defeat. There’s a sluggishness about it all and the issue nails that well.

A.X.E.: Judgement Day Omega #1 doesn’t excite. It’s what I’ve run into with the Eternals over and over. There’s something rather dour about them. What I’ve read has been good but there’s only so long you can read a bunch of depressing people before having to move on. This issue captures that aspect and hopefully it gets jettisoned before we see more of the Eternals.

Story: Kieron Gillen Art: Guiu Vilanova
Color: Andres Mossa Letterer: Travis Lanham
Story: 7.25 Art: 7.0 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Purchase: Zeus ComicscomiXology/Kindle

Review: Deadly Neighborhood Spider-Man #1

Deadly Neighborhood Spider-Man #1

As much as superhero origins are lauded, they often feel like they are also well worn. The “orphan “ trope has been used in the genre for decades. It has been recycled and remixed to  make fans buy into the protagonist’s story and change things slightly. This more imbues us to them, we may find ourselves within pieces of their stories.

That is primarily why we make certain allowances for them when they do things that are morally questionable. As the way Batman deals with villains, is more than vigilantism, its street justice. One wonders if Spider-Man had been borne of such a savage atrocity, would he be forgiven? In Deadly Neighborhood Spider-Man #1, we find out what happens if that spider bite turned Peter insane?

We find Spider-Man as he has been having lucid dreams which blend reality and the supernatural, often making him question everything and everyone. He eventually looks to research the answer at a research laboratory in Los Angeles to understand what has been happening to him. As he finally deduces that his waking nightmares are tied to a rock that he discovered, while saving people as Spider-Man. By the issue’s end, he discovers that the rock he found is more than something that causes hallucinations but something otherworldly.

Overall, Deadly Neighborhood Spider-Man #1 is a different take on everyone’s favorite web slinger. The story by Taboo is powerful. The art by the creative team is awesome. Altogether, a story those fans will soon not forget.

Story: B. Earl, Taboo Art: Juan Ferreyra Letterer: Travis Lanham
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Purchase: TFAWZeus Comics comiXology/Kindle

Review: Savage Avengers #6

Savage Avengers #6

With the Conan arc wrapped up, where can our group of time displaced heroes go next? The year 2099! Savage Avengers kicked things off with a Deathlok on the hunt for Conan sending the Cimmerian and a group of heroes back in time. The battle was fierce delivering a nice final arc for Conan in the Marvel Universe. The heroes adventure wasn’t over yet, with the end of the issue leaving them in the future. Savage Avengers #6 continues the shocking adventure as the series delivers more twists, turns, and reveals.

Written by David Pepose, Savage Avengers #6 continues to features the strength of his writing, the mix. Pepose, the writer behind indie comics like The Oz and Spencer & Locke, has a knack for taking familiar properties and delivering a new twist to them. So far, he’s done that in the first arc by both changing its setting from the previous “Savage” series, but also the ending. In this new arc we get the far flung 2099 but also some spins on characters.

The Savage Avengers are being pursued by the Punisher 2099 and eventually an army of Deathloks, hinting at the meta story from the first arc. But Pepose twists things further in ways having fun with the possibilities of a story in the future that can take advantage of the past.

The art by Carlos Magno helps it all with color by Espen Grundetjern and lettering by Travis Lanham. The comic is non-stop, a race in a way from the beginning. A pursuit leads to an escape which leads to further pursuit. With different “levels” and settings, the comic has an almost Warriors vibe about it. The art team help that frenetic space with visuals that deliver the action and it all looks great in its over the top ways (in a good way). Pepose delivers opportunity for some great visual “hell yeah” moments and everyone takes advantage of it.

Savage Avengers #6 continues a wild ride of a series that’s a hell of a lot of fun. It’s popcorn entertainment in the best way with crazy concepts and ideas that hint anything can happen. It’s the fun that comics should be.

Story: David Pepose Art: Carlos Magno
Color: Espen Grundetjern Letterer: Travis Lanham
Story: 8.25 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.25 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Purchase: TFAWZeus ComicscomiXology/Kindle

Review: X-Terminators #1

X-Terminators #1

What are friends for? Real friends know you better than you know yourself. They know when you are acting outside of your norm. They can sense when your energy has changed.

They also know what you need before you do sometimes. Of course I am talking about good friends, which are hard to find and as you get older you learn to ascertain those nuances. Good friends will always have your back. In the X-Terminators #1, three of our favorite X-Men start a wild night that goes off the rails quickly.

We open up on Dazzler as she catches her boyfriend cheating on her, which prompts her to call Jubilee and Boom Boom , who  wants to take her out , so she can start to get over him.  They go to o local bar, where they realize they had been drugged by Alex, Dazzler’s now ex-boyfriend, who has decided to kidnap the girls and put them in a crazy death game. The three friends gets separated and put in dangerous games, where each must fight to the death. By the issue’s end, they each survive the first round, and are reunited but they also find out that they are not the only X-Men, who got taken.

Overall, X-Terminators #1 is a pretty screwed up version of The Hangover but with mutants. The story by Williams is pure joy. The art by the creative team is gorgeous. Altogether, X-Terminators #1 is a story that comic book fans will both enjoy and cringe.  

Story: Leah Williams Art: Carlos Gomez
Color: Bryan Valenza Letterer: Travis Lanham
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Purchase: TFAWZeus ComicscomiXology/Kindle

Review: A.X.E.: Death to Mutants #2

A.X.E.: Death to Mutants #2

A.X.E.: Judgement Day has been an interesting event so far. It’s pivoted in some ways from its opening battle to become a far more interesting event story. Debates about roles, actions, judgment, and gods, have created a story that’s as much philosophy as it is action. It’s also a story that overflows. Often we get events with miniseries and one-shot tie ins that feel more like cash-ins than really enhancing the story. Here, we get something a bit different, as each tie-in so far feels more like an addendum, adding to the overall story. As if writer Kieron Gillen can’t fit everything into the main series and needs more notes to really flesh things out. A.X.E.: Death to Mutants #2 is an example of that delivering a mix of new and events we’ve seen before.

A.X.E.: Death to Mutants #2 continues the trend showing us the battle on Krakoa and the Deviants joining forces with the mutant nation. We’ve seen that asking for an alliance elsewhere, but here we get greater detail as to the motivation, adding depth and sympathy to Kro and his decisions. We also get to see how this decision impacts Kor’s judgement as well as the entire Deviant nation.

But beyond that, we see the struggle of so many to deal with the current situation. The Eternals themselves are torn in multiple ways as to what to do. They’re confronted by a new god who is here to judge them and some want to reason while others see the Eternals as a force that’s long past its use. There’s also the introduction of a new player on the board, one who should shake things up. It’s an event we’ve seen elsewhere but here we get more details about it all.

Guiu Vilanova‘s art is good. I’m not the biggest fan of the style overall but it looks generally good. With color by Alex Guimarães and lettering by Travis Lanham the team balances big battles with more subdued moments. There’s also a lot packed in with a lot of settings, dozens of characters, and just such varied situations. But, it all flows together nicely and even as different “segments,” it all works and works well.

A.X.E.: Death to Mutants #2 feels like the expanded version of A.X.E.: Judgement Day. It fleshes out characters and events giving us more depth as to what’s going on. It enhances the story, not working on its own but instead building on what’s elsewhere creating a greater tableau.

Story: Kieron Gillen Art: Guiu Vilanova
Color: Alex Guimarães Letterer: Travis Lanham
Story: 8.25 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.1 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Purchase: comiXology/Kindle

Review: Ms. Marvel and Moon Knight #1

Ms. Marvel and Moon Knight #1

Life is full of unexpected events that no one can see coming. As the most diligent people often plan and plan for contingencies, and still it does not cover everything. There things we cannot anticipate, and there are people we do not anticipate being part of those events either. This is exactly how life throws those curveballs at you, which is why I tend to believe anything can happen.

There are certain people that will come into your life although it seems like it can take a millennia before you realize their purpose. As this is when you realize you can only control your own actions and react accordingly. This is where a strange alchemy between karma and purpose often intertwine. In Ms. Marvel and Moon Knight, Kamala is lead to find Marc, to hunt down a diabolical threat.

We are taken to New York City, where a swarm of tiny robots attacks a woman in an alley, and leaves a message for Moon Knight, “The Harvest is coming!”. The next night, Ms Marvel is tracking down those samer robots, who incidentally attacked Wolverine and is lead to Moon Knight’s storefront, where he hears the grievances of those who dwell in this neighborhood.  They decide to team up together and hunt them, as the bots qucily adapt, the two use water to counteract them this time, while electricity helped the last time. Knowing that they are outnumbered, Moon Knight enlists the help of another disciple of Konshu, Hunter’s Moon, who offers a hand in neutralizing the threat once and for all.  By issue’s end, they stop the threat,  but another element’s of the main perpetrator’s plan has gone into play.

Overall, Ms. Marvel and Moon Knight is a fun mystery that uses superheroes a little differently. The story by Houser is exciting. The art by the different creators is awe inspiring. Altogether, a story that is only one piece to a grander mystery.

Story: Jody Houser Art: Ibraim Roberson
Color: Erick Arciniega Letterer: Travis Lanham
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Purchase: TFAWZeus ComicscomiXology/Kindle

Review: Shang-Chi and the Ten Rings #2

Shang- Chi and The Ten Rings #2

There are times when it seems like the weight of the world is on you. This can make or break many people. As it how that person deals with that stress talks to how strong minded they are.  Some people would let it crush them and would wait too long to ask for help.

Other people would find it an opportunity to thrive. Sometimes, it is more than one thing that comes at you, and your problems do get compounded.  As the question then becomes , can you deal with more than one problem?  In Shang-Chi and The Ten Rings #2, Shang-Chi is still dealing with every villain in the Marvel Universe hunting him but he also has to help save an old friend.

We find Master Ling and Shang Chi at a hidden location, where he has decided to lock away the rings, hoping it would deter the villains searching for them, a plan Master Ling see fallacy in. We are taken back to the Five Weapons Society headquarters, where Leiko Wu is looking for help in finding her ex-husband, Clive Reston, who has enemies in every corner of the world. This leads the two to the grotto of Carlton Velcro, who wants revenge on Shang Chi and uses Clive’s kidnapping as a trap. Meanwhile, the Hand steals flight coordinates from Five Weapons Society headquarters.  By issue’s end, the rings have been stolen and a key betrayal leaves Shang, powerless and close to death.

Overall, Shang-Chi and The Ten Rings #2 is a twisted second issue that makes this series even more intriguing. The story by Yang is exciting. The art by the creative team is enthralling. Altogether, a story that shows that those closest cannot be trusted sometimes.

Story: Gene Luen Yang Art: Marcus To
Color: Erick Arciniega Letterer: Travis Lanham
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Purchase: TFAWZeus ComicscomiXology/Kindle

Review: Shang-Chi and the Ten Rings #1

Shang-Chi and The Ten Rings #1

“With great power comes great responsibility”, is one of the most quoted lines made famous in comics that those who aren’t part of the fandom know. It’s an iconic line that feels like it’s been uttered in every iteration of Spider-Man onscreen.  Most people repurpose the quote to show the magnitude of the responsibility one may have. The responsibility isn’t just what you will do with your talents but also what you won’t do.

You can see firsthand the flipside of Spider-Man’s responsibility in his rogues gallery. It’s filled with individuals who also have amazing powers but instead of using them in altruistic ways, they use it for personal gain. This dynamic is also true for other heroes and the villains they face. In Shang-Chi and The Ten Rings #1, Shang-Chi finds out firsthand how just about anyone would want to possess those ten rings.

We’re taken to the headquarters of the Five Weapons Society, where Shang Chi now runs his father’s organization, also where the Ten Rings reside. Unfortunately, a few of Shang Chi’s men foolishly underestimated their power, but thankfully he was there to prevent any further damage. This incident only adds to his confirmation that he may be turning into his father, as he is well aware of the corruption that the Ten Rings brings its holder.  As he tries to find some semblance of normal, his girlfriend, Delilah looks for him to open up to her,  but their day out gets interrupted by an assassination attempt by Razor Fist.  We soon find out that  he is not the only one, as Hydra decides to come after the Ten Rings as well, as they invade the Five Weapons Society headquarters, and brings with him, Lady Iron Fan. By issue’s end, he finds out a key close betrayal has opened him to every threat in the Marvel Universe and that he must protect it at all costs.

Overall, Shang-Chi and The Ten Rings #1 is an action packed debut that shows the world who Shang Chi really is. The story by Yang is intricate and powerful. The art by the creative team is awe inspiring. Altogether, a fun story that will remind readers of Deadpool Vs Marvel Universe.

Story: Gene Luen Yang Art: Marcus To
Color: Erick Arciniega Letterer: Travis Lanham
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Purchase: TFAWZeus ComicscomiXology/Kindle

Review: A.X.E.: Death to the Mutants #1

A.X.E.: Death to Mutants #1

A.X.E.: Judgement Day has been an intriguing event so far. There’s a lot to do with religious extremism as the Eternals’ new leadership has declared mutants to be deviation. With an initial devastating strike the Eternals have declared war and the mutant nation is on the defensive. Caught in the middle are the Avengers who are attempting to bring peace. For the most part, we’ve seen events from the perspective of the Eternals who are front and center with a small group against the current actions. A.X.E.: Death to the Mutants #1 also focuses on the Eternals, but the “rebels” who are standing up against Druig and their role in current events.

Event mastermind Kieron Gillen writes this story filling in some of the gaps of the events that have taken place and showing us what the rebel Eternals are up to. This is the group that has a plan to create a new god and as we find out, have helped the mutants in other ways. There’s some small details that are nice here and makes the comic feel more like a companion read than something that stands on its own. Without reading the main series, this miniseries wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense overall.

The art by Guiu Vilanova is just ok for me. With color by Dijjo Lima and lettering by Travis Lanham, the characters look a like off at times and there’s a smoothness of the main series that’s missing here. The art at time looks a bit rough like there’s a final step missing. Characters have either a lot of detail or very little but also there’s an inconsistency in the looks, shapes, details of their faces. Inconsistent and incomplete is the general sense. The comic has its visual moments but overall falls very short.

A.X.E.: Death to the Mutants #1 is ok. It adds in details from the main event but that’s the entire draw of the issue. It feels like it should have been a part of the main series but the flow wouldn’t work combining everything. As is, you’re left with a comic that acts more like an addendum than a story on its own. It doesn’t work without all of the other issues released while those are fine without this. It’s a comic that feels like it’s the “director’s cut” that adds some context but overall it’ll be mixed as to whether it really enhances the experience.

Story: Kieron Gillen Art: Guiu Vilanova
Color: Dijjo Lima Letterer: Travis Lanham
Story: 7.35 Art: 6.85 Overall: 7.2 Recommendation Read

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Purchase: TFAWZeus ComicscomiXology/Kindle

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