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Review: Non-stop Spider-Man #2

Non-Stop Spider-Man #2

There are so many different ways to tackle Spider-Man. You can have a series more focused on Peter and those around him. You can have takes where he takes on global threats. Then there’s the version that’s focused on the action with a kinetic spin to it all. Non-Stop Spider-Man #2 continues that last take with an issue that’s full of energy and over-the-top action.

Joe Kelly keeps up the adventure as Spider-Man is on a personal mission to find out what’s going on with the drugs being sold to smart individuals. As the comic teases, there’s clearly something going on with who the drugs are being targeted but the comic dances around that reveal.

Instead, Kelly keeps the action coming with big explosions and big sequences you can really only do in a comic. Buildings explode from a helicopter attack, a truck makes its way into the sewer, it’s all so insane it’s hard to not smile and just enjoy.

What Kelly also does is give us a Spider-Man that’s off his game in a way. The drug use has hit him close and impacted a friend. He’s working on anger as much as anything else which has the character a little off his usual leading to small mistakes. He’s a half-step off and makes things more of a challenge.

Chris Bachalo‘s art is the draw. As much as Kelly’s story is entertaining, it’s the insane visuals that really draw the reader in. Bachalo is joined by Tim Townsend, Al Vey, and Wayne Faucher on ink, Marcio Menyz on color, and Travis Lanham on lettering. The situations Kelly concocts are so insane but Bachalo delivers it all with an energy and style that only he can pull off. You can hear the explosions. The page layouts continue to impress as well with a flow and look that’s so unique.

Non-Stop Spider-Man #2 is a lot of fun. The art pops from the page. The story is interesting. It’s a second issue that delivers as much excitement as its debut, not an easy thing to do. There’s debates as to how many series are too many for characters but when they’re as unique as this, bring more on!

Story: Joe Kelly Art: Chris Bachalo
Ink: Tim Townsend, Al Vey, Wayne Faucher Color: Marcio Menyz Letterer: Travis Lanham
Story: 8.25 Art: 8.85 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Exclusive Preview: Conan the Barbarian #20

Conan the Barbarian #20

(W) Jim Zub (A) Cory Smith (I) Roberto Poggi (C) Israel Silva (L) VC’s Travis Lanham (CA) Geoff Shaw
Parental Advisory
In Shops: Apr 07, 2021
SRP: $3.99

INTO THE WILD!
• CONAN must escape the Khitai royal guard while stalking through an uncharted land and battling the forces of nature that would see him fall!
• But is his new comrade MEIWEI everything she seems?
• And what secrets do HENG THE INSURGENT and his roving bandits hide?

Review: Non-Stop Spider-Man #1

Non-Stop Spider-Man #1

There’s a certain kinetic flow that can happen with Spider-Man comics. When the writer and artist click, you get a comic that flows with energy and excitement. Non-Stop Spider-Man #1 is that type of comic nailing the chaotic and energetic nature of Spider-Man.

Joe Kelly handles the writing which has Spider-Man taking on a grounded issue that’s a bit fantastical as well. In this debut issue he’s up against drug dealers while a drug called A-Plus is causing college students to overdose. His opponents are a little unclear other than bad guys with tech and tricks but it’s all about the action and visuals.

Chris Bachalo‘s art is over the top. With Tim Townsend on ink, Marco Menyz on color, and Travis Lanham handling the lettering, the comic is a visual treat. What stands out isn’t the contortion that Spider-Man displays and is a standard. What really stands out is the use of panels of the comic . Peter Parker’s life is on display in your standard squares and rectangles, though the page layouts still stand out with that. What jumps is the use of angles. Spider-Man’s action is on full display with comic pages that beg you to turn the page so everything is upright. White space is plentiful and emphasizes the action. It’s a display you rarely, if ever, see in comics today.

There’s a visual brilliance that goes with, and emphasizes, the action and flow of the comic.

But everything isn’t just in the action and visuals. Kelly and the team makes sure to keep things grounded as well. There’s tragedy with individuals overdosing and dying from drug use. It’s a detail that drives the comic but brings a sense of urgency and makes the comic more than a visually amazing fight comic. There’s something more than the action.

Non-Stop Spider-Man #1 feels like non-stop action. It’s a solid debut that visually stands out. There’s nothing (that I know of) that’s on the comic stand that looks like it. Its use of angled panels, really angled pages, is unique and memorable. It exudes enthusiasm and energy about it that fits Spider-Man. You might eye-roll at yet another Spider-Man comic on the shelf, but when it’s this good, it’s worth it and the wait.

Story: Joe Kelly Art: Chris Bachalo
Ink: Tim Townsend Color: Marco Menyz Letterer: Travis Lanham
Story: 8.0 Art: 10 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy


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Review: Children of the Atom #1

Children of the Atom #1

After a lot of anticipation and some head-scratching, Children of the Atom #1 is here and it’s not quite what’s expected. The story revolves around a teenage group of heroes whose looks and powers seem close to classic X-Men. But, while this starts off as “Junior X-Men”, the end delivers an unexpected twist.

Written by Vita Ayala, there’s been a lot of mystery behind Children of the Atom #1. That surface focus feels like it’s helped the series creating expectations that are off. This isn’t New X-Men the New Class, it’s something different. Ayala introduces us to Cherub, Marvel Guy, Cyclops-Lass, Gimmick, and Daycrawler, the group of heroes at the center of the story. We’re thrown into battle with them, quickly learning their powers and personalities. And, for the most part, the debut issue feels like a weird riff on the X-Men. Like bad toy knock-offs, the characters remind us of the originals but are a bit off.

Ayala, brings it all together though. These are kids who know the X-Men and idolize them in some ways, so of course they’re going to riff on them with their looks and even names. Why their powers are similar is generally unknown and part of the mystery.

But Ayala doesn’t leave it just focused on the kids. She brings in a moral debate to the story as well. With underage heroes “outlawed” and little training, there’s a debate if there’s a moral imperative to bring them to Krakoa to train. Jena Grey, Cyclops, Wolverine, and Storm debate the various positions as to what to do and what they should do. It’s an interesting discussion that frames things in ways that makes the comic more than young heroes trying to figure things out. It also questions what’s the role of Krakoa towards new mutants not on the island.

Bernard Chang handles the art are generally nails it. Marcelo Maiolo handles the color with Travis Lanham on lettering and Tom Muller on design. The comic looks great with the character designs top notch. There are some issues during the battle where some of the action isn’t as clear with too much being covered. It took me re-reading those pages a few times to make it clearer as to what was going on. The comic has a nice youthful energy about it that fits its young cast and you can feel some of the emotional ups and downs of the comic through the art.

Children of the Atom #1 is a solid debut that’s not quite what’s expected. While it might seem like “Junior X-Men”, there’s something else going on that’s not clear as of yet. It delivers a bit of mystery in what originally seemed like a pretty straightforward adventure.

Story: Vita Ayala Art: Bernard Chang
Color: Marcelo Maiolo Letterer: Travis Lanham Design: Tom Muller
Story: 8.25 Art: 8.05 Overall: 8.2 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Review: America Chavez: Made in the USA #1

America Chavez: Made in the USA #1

American Chavez is a character I only know a bit about. She’s been in various comics I’ve read as a member of a team but as far as her origin and the specific details I know very little. I know about her moms, her general powers, and the dimension-hopping but there are absolutely gaps in my knowledge. In a way, America Chavez: Made in the USA #1 feels refreshing as a comic I could step in to and get caught up.

America Chavez: Made in the USA #1 drops the reader into the world of America Chavez. The initial battle is a way to catch up on the character delivering a bit of her personality and setting up what’s to come. It teases her families and “origin” in some ways. Though specifics aren’t all laid out, the comic does a solid job of giving the reader enough to feel like they’re not missing anything. Writer Kalinda Vazquez delivers an inclusive comic in that way. New readers shouldn’t feel overwhelmed while long-time fans should be intrigued by what’s new and the direction of the series.

America Chavez: Made in the USA #1 has an interesting theme and aspect to it in an exploration of “home”. The comic’s title is “Made in the USA” and it’s that aspect of Chavez’s life that seems to be the focus here. She might be from another world but this is a look at the family that raised her in the USA. If this is all new to the character, that’s news to me, but the direction seems interesting.

Carlos Gomez handles the art with Jesus Aburtov on color and lettering by Travis Lanham. The art is pretty solid delivering a lot of action throughout. This is a comic with a quick pacing as much of it is America doing battle with either giant moles or a mysterious dome. Things look good and the comic has a certain energy about it that feels fitting for the character. There’s a lot packed in with pages filled with so much to check out and look at. But, witht hat, things get a bit cluttered with the visuals not quite delivering a clear message as to what’s going on. There’s a choppiness in both art and narrative at times.

America Chavez: Made in the USA #1 is a decent start. While it could have been improved in some ways, it’s a solid introduction to the character for new readers. It sets up an intriguing mystery and has a clear voice about it. With the character about to be in the spotlight, the comic does a solid job as a starting point for people to discover America and her world.

Story: Kalinda Vazquez Art: Carlos Gomez
Color: Jesus Aburtov Letterer: Travis Lanham
Story: 7.5 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Review: Iron Fist: Heart of the Dragon #1

IRON FIST: HEART OF THE DRAGON #1

One of my favorite characters in the Marvel universe is Iron Fist and I’ve been excited for Iron Fist: Heart of the Dragon written by Larry Hama. Iron Fist: Heart of the Dragon #1 is pretty straightforward: A bunch of undead fighters are looking to kill off the dragons that Iron Fist is protecting and we have bad guys and gals such as Taskmaster and Lady Bullseye in the mix. Taskmaster gets the best of Iron Fist and the heroes are left with a lot of questions as an unexpected death shows up.

Hama mixes a lot of action with a bit of humor, which overall, makes for a pretty good story. It’s a given that Luke Cage is going to be around and his involvement makes for some of the biggest fun. And this is just my opinion but when Taskmaster is involved, I feel like he knows enough people’s fighting styles that he’s even going to beat Danny Rand. When the child Pei struck Lady Bullseye, I thought it was quite hilarious. I really like what I read of Iron Fist: Heart of the Dragon #1.

David Wachter did the art on this issue. I’m not at all familiar with him but he’s got a great-looking style. An Iron Fist book should be filled with action and this book is wall-to-wall action so Wachter had a lot of action sequences to pencil. I love the look and feel of what is put to the page. Neeraj Menon’s colors compliment the pencils and have the proper color pallette for a penciller like Wachter.

This was a really enjoyable first issue that’s got me excited for the next issue. Iron Fist managed to stop the bad guys in this issue. I have been reading Hama’s work on G.I. Joe for years and I’m glad to see him working on a character like Iron Fist. I might not like this as much as his work on the Joes but add in a fantastic artist and this ends up being just what a fan of this half of the Heroes For Hire needs.

Story: Larry Hama Art: David Wachter
Color: Neeraj Menon Letterer: Travis Lanham
Story: 7.0 Art: 6.0 Overall: 6.5

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Review: Shang-Chi #5

Shang-Chi #5

Shang-Chi has revitalized the character and brought what was a troublesome past into modern times. With a new movie on the horizon, Marvel has put their trust into a creative team to update the character. That team has done so while also honoring the roots of the character as well. Shang-Chi #5 wraps up the first volume of this new direction while planting the seeds for much more to come.

Writer Gene Luen Yang delivers a solid finale as Shang-Chi and his newly found allies battle his sister who has attacked London. The motivations for the attack are rather thin but really, the action and visuals are more the point. There’s a lot to overlook in the comic as far as story. But, it’s the type of thing where you don’t ask too many questions and just roll with it. There’s things that aren’t quite explained and some plot points dropped but it’s a comic you can just pick up and enjoy without thinking too much.

With Shang-Chi #5, it feels like Yang has taken inspiration from zombie/disaster films mixed with a martial arts flavor. There’s some good action and beautiful art to go with it but it’s the big picture and motions that matter more than the small details.

The art, provided by Dike Ruan and Philip Tan, is top notch as it has been for the series. Sebastian Cheng‘s colors give the comic an amazing look overall that pops off the page. The art team does a fantastic job of mixing emotion and action. You get a sense of the exhaustion the characters experience and some of the trauma experienced. Travis Lanham‘s lettering too adds a punch to it all really bringing the art and dialogue together. Visually, the comic is top-notch stuff.

Shang-Chi #5 wraps up this chapter of the new direction for Shang-Chi but sets up what’s to come. The team has done a great job of resetting the character and delivering a fantastic groundwork to launch many more stories to come. There’s a lot of potential here and it should be interesting to see where this goes and the impact on the rest of the Marvel Universe. Overall, a solid story that’s worth checking out.

Story: Gene Luen Yang Art: Dike Ruan, Philip Tan
Color: Sebastian Cheng Letterer: Travis Lanham
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.85 Overall: 8.25 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Review: Iron Fist: Heart of the Dragon #1

Iron Fist: Heart of the Dragon #1

Writer Larry Hama brings his talents to Marvel’s Iron Fist. Iron Fist: Heart of the Dragon #1 kicks off a new adventure for the character which has him attempting to protect the Heavenly Cities as someone is hunting the dragons that power them.

The debut issue is an interesting one dropping readers mostly into the story and only slightly teasing details out. Iron Fist: Heart of the Dragon #1 feels much like Hama’s G.I. Joe work. There’s lots of focus on action sequences as the issue goes from one beat to another. It works in some ways but the packed in issue that has not one, but two major villains to battle, feels a bit too much like a video game. The first level has been cleared, so lets move on to the next.

In his journey, Iron Fist is joined by Fooh who feels more like a comedic extra and also the inventory screen in this video game like story.

Iron Fist: Heart of the Dragon #1 only slightly works as is. It might have been due to the high expectations from Hama writing but there’s something off overall. The comic is a bit choppy and doesn’t feature a natural flow as much as it does levels. First up is Taskmaster to battle and after is Lady Bullseye. There’s little explanation other than they have a mission to get a dragon’s heart, so it all comes off a bit as a thin plot mostly focused on the action. There’s a lot thrown in there but it’s all very thinly connected.

Dave Wachter‘s art is decent. With colors by Neeraj Menon and letterer Travis Lanham, the art captures the action and the packed in sequences. Iron Fist himself looks a little off with the face a bit too round and feels off. The eyes feel apart and face just looks odd. But, there’s some good action sequences and battles, each having a nice flow to them. As the comic moves along there feels like there’s more packed in which is handled without things being overwhelming and it being pretty clear to follow.

Iron Fist: Heart of the Dragon #1 is a bit mixed overall. It might have helped to have slowed things down a little and give more time to let the story be explained and details filled in. As is, the comic is pretty quick paced with the actual story being a little thin and specifics. There’s potential here with a turn your brain off sort of adventure. While it doesn’t meet of expectations, Iron Fist: Heart of the Dragon #1 still delivers some fun.

Story: Larry Hama Art: David Wachter
Color: Neeraj Menon Letterer: Travis Lanham
Story: 6.95 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Review: M.O.D.O.K.: Head Games #2

M.O.D.O.K.: Head Games #2

It’s hard to say how much I love M.O.D.O.K.: Head Games #2. Much like the first issue, the second delivers action, humor… really a lot of humor. It’s a madcap issue as M.O.D.O.K. turns to Tony Stark to help him figure out what’s going on and it leads to them having to steal a device.

Writers Jordan Blum and Patton Oswalt deliver a belly’s worth of laughs in a second issue that feels like Looney Tunes has come to the Marvel Universe. The laughs are plenty and the concept fantastic. The duo have me excited for more issues and to see their vision come to the television screen in a series that riffs off of similar concepts.

Tony and M.O.D.O.K. head to a villain convention where an auction will be held for the device they need. It has them interacting with so many C and D list villains all of which is pure gold. What’s fantastic is how many memorable moments Blum and Oswalt deliver in the issue. There’s lots to point to and laugh about with friends. There’s lots I want to share here but I don’t want to spoil the good time.

Blum and Oswalt’s insanity is brought to the page by artist Scott Hepburn who is joined by Carlos Lopez on color and Travis Lanham in lettering. The art just nails everything. The situations are funny but it’s how they’re delivered that really drives home the humor. I can describe physical humor but it’s a different level to see it for yourself. Each panel and page will have you looking at the details and the exaggerated style drives home the good-natured comedic aspect of it. Lanham gets a special mention for the block text and the glitches within. Such a fantastic addition that adds so much to the comic.

M.O.D.O.K.: Head Games #2 is a fantastic second issue that has me wanting to read the third right now. I laughed out loud multiple times. Really laugh out loud. It’s a comic that put a smile on my face. It’s beyond good and is the exact escape we sometimes need and look for in our comics.

Story: Jordan Blum, Patton Oswalt Art: Scott Hepburn
Color: Carlos Lopez Letterer: Travis Lanham
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Review: Power Pack #2

Power Pack #2

Within a few pages of Power Pack #2, I found myself laughing. The comic delivers a fun spin on the rather serious issue of kids under the age of 21 being superheroes, part of the “Outlawed” storyline running through various series. But, this one does so with intelligence and spin that fits the personality of the team.

Written by Ryan North, Power Pack #2 does a solid job of balancing being a part of an “event” storyline and having its own voice. Like the first issue, it’s folded into the story as opposed to it being an event the characters are plopped into. With the second issue opening, the team has been surrounded by C.R.A.D.L.E. who’s ready to arrest them for breaking the law. While you’d expect the confrontation to turn into a fight and then the kids running, North handles it in a very unique and interesting way. The kids show off their intelligence and attitude delivering what feels like a solid and satisfying end to the situation.

Ryan peppers the issue with laughs as the kids have to find a mentor so they can continue to do good. The comic is filled with a series of short encounters as they attempt to recruit one, each resulting in laughs. The comic is funny. Very funny. I found myself sporting a smile throughout and literally laughing out loud multiple times. There’s a cute, fun, playful sense of it all and again North has me longing for this to all continue for a long time.

North is helped by Nico Leon who handles the art and Rachelle Rosenberg who does the colors. Travis Lanham handles the lettering. The art helps nail the jokes as many are as much the visuals as they are the dialogue. The body language, the facial expressions, the lingering of a kid, it all comes together to perfect the delivery. The art and lettering as well help convey a youthful enthusiasm that makes it all really fun. That’s the big thing about this issue, it’s just a hell of a lot of fun.

Power Pack #2 is an event tie-in done right. It doesn’t get dragged down by its constraints and instead uses it to really make its characters stand out and just have fun with it. The issue tackled is a potentially serious one, a tone that doesn’t match the team. So, the creative team keeps things in the Power Pack’s court making sure they’re front and center and the event is just another storyline.

Story: Ryan North Art: Nico Leon
Color: Rachelle Rosenberg Letterer: Travis Lanham
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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