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Review: Shadowman #4

Shadowman #4

Shadowman #4 finds Jack Boniface in London, England to track down another villain of the week. The way in which writer Cullen Bunn has been telling standalone stories every issue linked by an over arching theme has been a strong feature of the series so far, and I’m loving how the story is coming together.

Before we get to that though I’ve got to mention, once again, how much I love the recap page as told by Samedi. It adds a brilliant flavour to the book and lets you know to look out for the odd dry line here and there which turn out to be far funnier than one would necessarily expect from a horror book. Well, at least far funnier than I would expect, at any rate. Shadowman has been one of the incredibly rare comics that has me reading this page even though I know what happened before, because I enjoy the way it’s retold.

I also love the relationship between Shadowman and Samedi within the comic, too. It’s easily one of the highlights for me every issue.

The comic, written by Bunn, with art by Jon Davis-Hunt and colors by Jordie Bellaire, is by far and wide the best thing Valiant has published in a while, but it’s also among the very best of comics that are coming out right now. For my money (and despite getting review copies, I’m still buying this) Shadowman tops everything being published right now – the only asterisk is Scout Comic’s By The Horns, which is also simply incredible. It’s hard for me to overstate how much I love this book, and even harder to stay away from too much hyperbolic wording.

The combination of Davis-Hunt and Bellaire balance Bunn’s writing with a beautifully vibrant and often grotesque imagery. The art isn’t of the photo-realistic variety, but I wouldn’t change it for a moment – this is how I see Shadowman man now, and I hope we continue to see this creative team together on the character long after the story is concluded.

Shadowman is simply amazing in every way. There’s not much else to be said.

Story: Cullen Bunn Art: Jon Davis-Hunt
Colors: Jordie Bellaire Letters: Clayton Cowles
Story: 9.7 Art: 9.7 Overall: 9.7 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXology – Kindle – Zeus Comics – TFAW

Today’s New Digital Releases Includes Marvel, Image, IDW, and More!

Amazing Fantasy #1

Today’s new comic book day! ComiXology has your digital comic needs covered. You can start shopping now or check out the individual releases by the publisher below.

A Wave Blue World

AAM-Markosia

Ablaze

Abstract Studio

AfterShock

Archie Comics

AWA Studios

Behemoth

BOOM! Studios

comiXology Submit

Dark Horse Comics

Drawn & Quarterly

Dynamite Entertainment

Fantagraphics

Harlequin

IDW Publishing

Image Comics

Marvel

Papercutz

SelfMadeHero

Tidalwave Productions

Titan Comics

Valiant Entertainment

Vault Comics

Zenescope


This site contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from these sites. Making purchases through these links helps support the site.

A New Era of Valiant Begins with New Hires and Event

Rob Levin

 Big changes are happening at Valiant Entertainment.

The future of the award-winning publisher’s slate of comics will fully embrace the potential that its shared universe of compelling characters has to offer, and Rob Levin has joined the team as Executive Editor to help move this vision forward.

While 2021’s titles ShadowmanNinjak, and the upcoming series The Harbinger (on sale 10/27) will publish new arcs in 2022, the upcoming year will also see a concentrated focus on reminding comic fans about what sets the Valiant Universe apart from other shared universes. The direction will see Valiant double down what has worked best for the company, individual series that can be enjoyed on their own and play a part in the larger tapestry that is the Valiant Universe.

Valiant’s comics in 2022 will see epic new stories from fan-favorite and critically-acclaimed creators, all working together to move the universe forward with stories that make an impact and have lasting repercussions. Next year will see the release of a thrilling event that brings Valiant’s iconic characters together and will pave the way for new launches and the creation of a whole new team. That includes the return of many beloved and missed faces.

The release promises that “2022 is the year that Valiant will be forever changed”.

Mini Reviews and Recommendations For The Week Ending 07/17/2021

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. Given the lack of new comics, expect this weekly update to begin featuring comics that we think you’ll enjoy while you can’t get anything new to read – only new to you.

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews and Recommendations.


Logan

Ninjak #1 (Valiant)– Ninjak #1 is probably the best-drawn Valiant book I’ve read with Javier Pulido bringing his creative attitude to page layouts, flat colors, and spot-on cartooning to a world of super spies and superpowers. Ninjak has all kinds of lovely storytelling touches like Pulido and Dave Sharpe switching up the lettering font when someone isn’t the greatest at speaking a foreign language. Jeff Parker’s plot feels a lot like a Daniel Craig-era James Bond film, but with katanas and superpowers. He and Pulido show Ninjak in action from the POV of someone he lets trail and seeing the effects of his fighting skills creates a feeling of intrigue like he’s the bogeyman or something. However, all of the secrets are blown at the end, and Parker and Javier Pulido raise the stakes sky high on the last few pages without being close to revealing this series’ Big Bad. Overall: 9.0 Verdict: Buy

Joker #5 (DC)– James Tynion and guest creators Matthew Rosenberg and Francesco Francavilla spin a gorgeous, yet seriously unsettling yarn about the Joker’s first night in Arkham that contextualizes why he’s been in Jim Gordon’s head throughout the Joker series. Any time Francavilla does interior art is a treat, and Joker #5 is no exception as he brings a deadpan creepiness to the titular character compared to the overly righteous of Jim Gordon. Francavilla’s colors were really my favorite part of the issue from faded greys for any scenes featuring Gordon’s family to his bright, eye-popping red hair that adds sound and fury to any sequence. But it ends up signifying nothing, and this is really a tragic comic. You could definitely slot it in after Batman Year One and Man Who Laughs, it’s that good and a high point of one of my current DC faves. In the backup story, Sweeney Boo’s art has a slick, queer af vibe perfect for a story featuring the Row siblings. Tynion and Sam Johns juggle Harper Row and Cullen Row’s stories perfectly as Cullen deals with his crush’s immature Punchline-fanboy friends while Harper Row is ready to spring back into action. It’s a nice dessert to the robust main story. Overall: 9.4 Verdict: Buy

Die #18 (Image)– The cast of Die continue to wander through a dungeon to the center of the world so they can finally escape this nightmare. Kieron Gillen and Stephanie Hans make the dungeon less full of loot and enemies and more like the Mines of Moria in Lord of the Rings aka emptiness, a touch of psychological dread, and a big, god-like monster towards the end. They hone in on the character of Sol, who was killed by the Gamemaster and became the first Fallen, and show how terrible his life was being stuck in the game for decades and having his eyes replaced with a literal D20. Even though he ran the game and wanted to take revenge on the game, he’s weary of it. Hans’ art wrings some real emotion out of his transformation, and she also gets to turn her gifts into the real world in a 1990s flashback set in a pub in Stafford, UK right after the cast originally returned from Die. Finally, what really got me in this issue was Ash, who deep down doesn’t want to leave Die because she can truly be her authentic self in this fantasy world versus the “real” one. It’s really powerful character even as Gillen and Stephanie Hans start to call time on the series. Overall: 8.8 Verdict: Buy

Way of X #4 (Marvel)– Si Spurrier, Bob Quinn, and Java Tartaglia’s Way of X continues to be the book that pokes at the flaws of Krakoa. There’s the obvious build-up to Onslaught 2: Electric Boogaloo, but they also examine the trauma around life in Krakoa from Gorgon dealing the fallout of being resurrected weirdly to the new mutant Lost coping with Fabian Cortez killing her parents pre-amnesty and even some geological issues on Mars aka Arakko. With expressive figure work and faded out backgrounds, Quinn shows the every day mutant struggle as well as Nightcrawler trying to find a unifying theory for everything to center his mutant religion around. Also, the Gorgon resurrection thread is one that’s been begging to be explored since X of Swords, and Spurrier and Bob Quinn do a good job of using it to reinforce the themes of Way of X as well as showing there’s still heightened tensions between humans and mutants. All this plus Legion and Professor X have their version of a heart to heart, and he continues to be a great co-protagonist of the series. Overall: 8.2 Verdict: Buy

X-Corp #3 (Marvel)– X-Corp #3 rights the series’ ship with better art from Valentine De Landro and improved focus from Tini Howard as she makes Jamie Madrox the heart of this issue. Madrox has to demonstrate an important X-Corp product launch, but he also doesn’t want to miss his son’s first steps. This tension between work and family runs in the background while Monet spars with Sara St. John, who works for X-Corp’s competitor in their bandwidth project, and makes cracks about women in technology panels/summits. De Landro’s art is more fluid and less cold than Alberto Foche’s on the previous two issues of X-Corp and fits the tone of a fast-paced, wheeling and dealing tech summit. X-Corp might have the power of mutants on its side, but their competitor Noblesse does have a few literally killer apps. A one page modular bonus story from Jason Loo puts everything Madrox-related in context and shows that maybe the straits aren’t so dire though. I really enjoy how Howard, De Landro, and Loo use his abilities to create the ultimate tech work flow. If the visuals of this book continue to be as clear and engaging as this issue, X-Corp could start to grow on me. Overall: 7.9 Verdict: Buy


Well, there you have it, folks. The reviews we didn’t quite get a chance to write. See you next week!

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 (**).

Review: Ninjak #1

Ninjak #1

Previously in the pages of the book Ninja-K, it was brought to light that MI-6, the organization that employs Colin King, AKA Ninjak (and also Ninja-K), had a lot of skeletons in the closet and was doing a lot of manipulation to make their agents see their way. Ninjak wanted no part anymore of this and bailed on MI-6. Ninjak #1 kicks of a brand-new series that sees the pieces of that puzzle start to take shape. While MI-6 has someone tailing Colin, MI-6 takes an even bigger blow in that someone has leaked the identities of all of their secret agents, resulting in a lot of death. Ninjak, being one of the best spies and assassins around, knows quite well of his tracker, Myna, and brings her into the fold as forces now want both of them dead.

I love the story that Jeff Parker has crafted with this. For one, he did the work and saw where the character was left. Some of Valiant’s work lately seems so detached from the previous continuity that it almost felt like no one cared to see how the characters work. Parker, picking up from the previous Ninja-K series, seemed to know exactly where to take the character and amplify the threats and action. There’s a lot going on inside the cover and I think if someone gives this book an honest chance, I think there’s a lot to like with Ninjak’s story.

The real obstacle of this book is going to be whether you can handle the art. Javier Pulido’s artwork is going to win some fans over and help lose some. It’s just such a departure from what your typical Valiant comic looks like. In my opinion, Javier’s panel layouts are top-notch and help his style. The colors are simple, as is the amount of detail in his work. Ultimately, I do like how this volume of Ninjak looks so far, but I’m not faulting the Valiant faithful who are turned off by what they see.

I’m glad to see Ninjak back and I’m even happier that someone read Ninja-K and built the story off where that one seemed to leave off. Ninjak is on the run and for those chasing, they face one of the most dangerous men alive. Ninjak #1 is chock full of action and has a very interesting art style to accompany it. While I do think some won’t fully appreciate the visuals, I do hope they give the story a chance because it’s exactly what’s needed with Ninjak.

Words and Art: Jeff Parker and Javier Pulido
Letters: Dave Sharpe and Javier Pulido
Story: 9.0 Art: 6.0: Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXology – Kindle – Zeus Comics – TFAW

Review: Ninjak #1

Ninjak #1

Out of the shadows and into the spotlight in Ninjak #1… the world’s greatest superspy has been exposed!

Colin King is Ninjak and he has a target on his back like never before. With enemies lurking around every corner, how will Ninjak survive when there’s nowhere left to hide and the world is gunning for him?

Let’s talk about the elephant in the room right away, shall we? Javier Pulido‘s art is going to be divisive – though judging from what I’ve seen on various social media platforms there seems to be more people who are, to put it politely, less than thrilled with the art style in the comic, than there are those who are excited to see what can be done with this style of art in a Ninjak story.

If you’ve yet to see the art, scroll down a bit – I’ve included the preview pages so that you can form your own opinion.

For me, I’ll fully acknowledge that this art style wouldn’t be my cup of tea – this isn’t the kind of look that would get me to pick up a comic based solely on the art (but to be completely transparent, I don’t remember the last book I picked up solely because of the art, so that’s nothing but an observation), but I do find myself enjoying what Pulido brings to the table.

This book reminds me of Wrath Of The Eternal Warrior #1. It took me a couple of issues to get used to Raul Allen and Patricia Martin’s art style (which I now love), and so I’m expecting that the art’s going to grow on me over the course of the story. There’s no denying that it’s a different look for the character, and it’s fairly far from what we’ve seen in the past but I don’t think it’s a bad look, either. There’s something exciting about a fresh look for the character’s stories.

Style aside, there were a couple of moments in the comic where it felt as though a panel or two was missing (which is the reason for the score on the art, not because of how it looks). The first, and most obvious is actually in the gallery below on the fourth page; a goon is threatening somebody with an angle grinder before it’s suddenly in Ninjak’s hands and somebody else’s neck. My interpretation of the sequence is that we’re seeing Ninjak’s speed on display, but I’d have preferred at least another panel in the sequence. While there are others examples, since they occur later in the book than I’m showing you I won’t go into specifics – especially since they’re not as obvious as the one below.

The story in this issue of Ninjak picks up several months after the close of Christos Gage’s Ninja-K, and finds Ninjak as a freelance operative being trailed by MI-6. Jeff Parker paces the story well, and sheds light on the events of the last few months that we don’t see by utilizing the internal monologues of Ninjak and the MI-6 agent tailing him – at times their thought bubbles are in synch, and at times they’re slightly off which did give me a pause when trying to figure out what order to read the words on the page. Not the end of the world, ultimately. Given that the story is just beginning, Parker balances exposition with action admirably, with the comic moving at a brisk pace while still allowing Pulido to flex his creative muscles. That Parker wastes no time in dragging the story out longer than necessary is to be commended; he uses Ninjak #1 to reintroduce us to the purple ninja and his supporting cast, catch us up with what’s been going on in the time since we last saw them and set the stage for what’s to come. All in all, this is an impressive book for that reason alone.

Ninjak #1 is almost exactly what I wasn’t expecting after seeing the previews; though not perfect, a genuinely good comic. Yes, the art isn’t for everyone, but at the end of the day this is a comic visually unlike anything Valiant have put out, and I’m happy that they’re willing to take the chance. Parker builds a solid foundation for what’s to come, while ensuring new readers can pick up the comic and not be muddled down with mountains of unexplained backstory.

I’m biased because of my love for the character, but Ninjak #1 is a welcome return for Valiant’s purple hero.

Words and Art: Jeff Parker and Javier Pulido
Letters: Dave Sharpe and Javier Pulido
Story: 7.9 Art: 7.5: Overall: 7.7 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Pre-order: comiXologyKindleZeus ComicsTFAW

New Marvel, Image, AfterShock, IDW, BOOM!, and More are Available Now on comIXology

Sinister War #1

It’s new comic book day and comiXology has your digital comic needs covered. You can start shopping now or check out the individual releases by the publisher below!

Ablaze

AfterShock

American Mythology Productions

Archie Comics

AWA Studios

Behemoth

BOOM! Studios

comiXology Submit

Dark Horse Comics

Drawn & Quarterly

Dynamite Entertainment

Harlequin

Heavy Metal

IDW Publishing

Image Comics

Marvel

Oni Press

SelfMadeHero

Titan Comics

Valiant Entertainment


This site contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from these sites. Making purchases through these links helps support the site.

Preview: Ninjak #1

NINJAK #1

By JEFF PARKER & JAVIER PULIDO
Letters by DAVE SHARPE & JAVIER PULIDO
Cover A by DAVID NAKAYAMA
Cover B by CASPAR WIJNGAARD
Cover C by DAMION SCOTT
Preorder Cover by IBRAHIM MOUSTAFA
1:100 Prisma Glass Variant Cover by JAVIER PULIDO
Pre-order Deadline is June 21st
On sale JULY 14th | 32 pages, full color | $3.99 US | T+

Out of the shadows and into the spotlight… the world’s greatest superspy has been exposed!

Colin King is Ninjak and he has a target on his back like never before. With enemies lurking around every corner, how will Ninjak survive when there’s nowhere left to hide and the world is gunning for him?

NINJAK #1

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Skybound X #2

Wednesdays (and now Tuesdays) are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in

Each week our contributors choose what they can’t wait to read this week or just sounds interesting. In other words, this is what we’re looking forward to and think you should be taking a look at!

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this week.

Aliens: Aftermath #1 (Marvel) – 35 years after Aliens, return to Hadley’s Hope!

Beyond the Breach #1 (AfterShock) – A trip to California goes wrong as a dimensional breach plunges the area into chaos.

Bunny Mask #2 (AfterShock) – The first issue had a nice Silence of the Lambs feel about it and it’ll be interesting to see what this one delivers in tone and direction.

The Joker #5 (DC Comics) – A story from the past exploring the relationship between James Gordon and the Joker. A very interesting and disturbing tale.

Mouse Guard: The Owlhen Caregiver & Other Stories (BOOM! Studios/Archaia) – Three new tales from David Petersen as he returns to this beloved series.

Never Never #1 (Heavy Metal Magazine) – A twisted take on Peter Pan. Read our review.

Ninjak #1 (Valiant) – A new direction and volume for Valiant’s action spy! Read our review of the first issue.

Savage Hearts #1 (Dark Horse) – It’s an action-comedy romance as a barbarian bruiser with a broken heart teams up with a lonely beastman who talks to dinosaurs.

Sinister War #1 (Marvel) – Doctor Octopus is back and he has a new Sinister Six! It’s an all-out war between them and the Vulture’s Savage Six!

Skybound X #2 (Image Comics/Skybound) – The first issue sold out due to the debut of a certain character and we’re expecting each issue to deliver pretty big “firsts”. Don’t miss out on this if you’re a collector.

Dive Into Valiant with the Valiant Deluxe Edition Sale

If you’ve never experienced the world of Valiant, here’s your chance. ComiXology currently features the Valiant Deluxe Edition Sale.

The sale features 42 releases and you can experience 4001 A.D., Archer & Armstrong, Bloodshot, Divinity, Harbinger, Ninjak, Quantum & Woody, Rai, Shadowman, and more!

Take advantage and discover some amazing series. The sale runs until Thursday, June 24.

Divinity: The Complete Trilogy Deluxe Edition

This site contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from these sites. Making purchases through these links helps support the site.

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