Tag Archives: valiant

Review: Livewire #7

Livewire #7

The masterminds behind the Psiot Security and Education Program are uncovered in Livewire #7! Can Livewire save Phoebe and avoid being captured? Plus: Phoebe’s backstory is revealed!

You know that feeling you get in your gut when something isn’t quite right? It’s like when you know you’ve forgotten something. You leave the house to take the dog for a walk, but can’t quite place it. You pull up to the dog park and the pooch is being unusually quiet? It’s only then you realize that something isn’t quite right (I don’t have a dog, by the way).

That’s the feeling I got when reading Valiant’s Livewire #7 written by Vita Ayala and featuring Kano‘s artistic talents.

And speaking of talent, Kano is a tour-de-force in this issue. There’s a brutally intense fight scene early in the comic. As the scene progresses the colors become more and more red as the anger and rage between the combatants increases. And then it stops suddenly, the fight over. There’s a flash of the anger red hue a moment later. How Kano has framed the action and facial expressions the intensity never leaves the comic. Then there are the softer yellows and colder blues of the later comic. Kano matches the color scheme to the emotional content of the story. You’re never explicitly told how to feel. You know how the characters are feeling because of the backgrounds and the panel layout before you ever have to look at the art itself.

Ayala’s pacing with Livewire #7 leaves this as one of the better issues in the series so far; we see beneath Livewire’s reputation and get to glimpse the woman who just wants to help people – despite her actions in the past, we’re being reminded that at her core, Amanda McKee is still a hero. But the characters within the Valiant Universe may not realize that just now. This series may not have had the immediate connection with me that some of Valiant’s other series have, but the deeper that Ayala dives into Livewire’s psyche, the more I am enjoying the series.

Livewire is one of the rare series Valiant has right now that has more than five issues, and Ayala is proving why a longer run with a character can pay dividends in the long run. This is an incredibly enjoyable comic on every level, and it comes highly recommended from yours truly.

Story: Vita Ayala Art: Kano
Letterer: Saida Temofonte
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.2 Overall: 9.1 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Psi-Lords #1

Psi-Lords #1

The Psi-Lords make their debut in the modern-era Valiant Universe in a brand-new ongoing series! 

But WHO are they? And where they heck are they?! Prepare for a cosmic adventure like no other! Seriously, it’s wild stuff.

Psi-Lords was teased in a Free Comic Book Day issue from… oh, at least a couple of years ago, now. To say that fans have been waiting a long time for the comic is a bit of an understatement. Having never read the original Valiant 90s series, I have no reference for comparison. I approached this with the expectation that all I need to know to enjoy the comic will be within.

The book opens with four individuals in a high tech, or potentially alien, prison with little to no idea who they are. Guided by a disembodied voice, the four discover they have incredible powers, and may even be gods. What follows is a strangely disjointed prison escape tale. that is little more than a couple of key moments surrounded by cliche designed to further the plot. And that’s the major gripe with this comic – it feels too much like Fred Van Lente is trying to get to a certain point that he’s moving the comic quickly while trying to provide some context, and it doesn’t work. Psi-Lords #1 is certainly not one of the writer’s finest works.

It isn’t quite clear what level of amnesia the characters have, nor why they only remember they have powers once they’re told about them – I’m willing to give the series the benefit of the doubt for another issue or two, but the writing doesn’t exactly fill me with confidence.

Thankfully, Renato Guedes is able to carry the load with some utterly phenomenal art. At the very least you need to see this book to believe it – it is breathtaking to watch Guedes navigate the characters through the unfamiliar environs and stark halls, the explosive action sequences leap from the page and pull your eyes into a comic you may have been otherwise tempted to ignore.

Psi-Lords #1 doesn’t require any real knowledge of the original series, but the plot doesn’t really stand out either. It’s a comic that is visually fantastic, but with a plot that barely rises above average. Whether it’s worth reading is up to you, but for me it wasn’t worth the wait.

Story: Fred Van Lente
Art: Renato Guedes Letters: Dave Sharpe
Story: 6.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 7.1 Recommendation: Read

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Usagi Yojimno #1

Wednesdays 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 Wednesday.

Crucified #1 (Scout Comics) – A contract killer is hired to take out a person that some believe to be the modern Jesus Christ. It sounds blasphemous and kind of awesome.

Drawing Blood: Spilled Ink #2 (Kevin Eastman Studios) – Written by Kevin Eastman and David Avallone, the series feels like a weird spin on real life. Kind of mockumentary style, and we’re digging it.

Excellence #2 (Image Comics/Skybound) – If you read the first issue, you know why this is on the list. It’s a solid new spin on modern magic and fantasy.

Go Go Power Rangers: Forever Rangers #1 (BOOM! Studios) – The series has been leading to this as the team must take on Alpha-1 and Rita!

Lab Raider #1 (Black Mask Studios) – Matt Miner’s series about animal rights activists is back. The politically infused series is a fascinating one that blends real-world action with comic aesthetics.

No Ones #1 (Cave Pictures Publishing) – The religious focused publisher has been interesting and this new series is about superheroes who have become corrupted after they kill a man.

Psi-Lords #1 (Valiant Entertainment) – The classic characters return to the Valiant Universe!

Superman: Year One #1 (DC Comics/DC Black Label) – Frank Miller and John Romita, Jr. taking on Superman? Yeah, that alone has us wanting to check out this series.

Usagi Yojimbo #1 (IDW Publishing) – Stan Sakai’s classic series has a new home at IDW and a new number one for you to jump in to and experience it.

Warlord of Mars Attacks #1 (Dynamite Entertainment) – Ack! Ack! Ack! Ack! Ack!

Preview: X-O Manowar (2017) Vol. 7: Hero

X-O MANOWAR (2017) VOL. 7: HERO TPB

Written by MATT KINDT
Art by TOMÁS GIORELLO, ISAAC GOODHART
Colors by DIEGO RODRIGUEZ, ANDREW DALHOUSE
Letters by DAVE SHARPE
Cover by KENNETH ROCAFORT
On sale June 19th, 2019
$14.99 | 112 pgs. | T+ | Full Color
 

The past catches up with Earth’s Visigoth guardian!

Aric of Dacia may have left Planet Gorin behind, but its people still remember the ruin they felt in his wake…and so do the bounty hunters who sought to end his barbaric reign! Now, they’ve arrived on our world to finish the job they started – and this time, they don’t plan on taking X-O Manowar alive!

Collecting X-O MANOWAR (2017) #23–26.

X-O MANOWAR (2017) VOL. 7: HERO TPB

Early Preview: Killers #1 (of 5)

KILLERS #1 (of 5)

Written by B. CLAY MOORE
Art by FERNANDO DAGNINO
Colors by JOSÉ VILLARRUBIA
Letters by JEFF POWELL
Cover A by JONBOY MEYERS
Cover B by DIEGO BERNARD
Cover C by KEN LASHLEY
Pre-Order Edition Cover by WHILCE PORTACIO
Blank Cover Also Available 
On sale July 31st, 2019 (FOC July 8th, 2019) (FOC July 8, 2019)
$3.99 | 32 pgs. | T+ | Full Color

Five deadly assassins are recruited into a game of cat and mouse by their former sensei, the mysterious Jonin!

But what does the Jonin want from them, and what do they gain out of helping him?

Each of these assassins can channel their ki—the spiritual energy within all beings—in different ways, granting them incredible powers, essentially making them “superninjas”!

KILLERS #1 (of 5)

Preview: Livewire #7

LIVEWIRE #7

Written by FRED VAN LENTE
Art by KANO
Letters by SAIDA TEMOFONTE
Cover A by KENNETH ROCAFORT
Cover B by FRANCIS PORTELA
Cover C by BECCA FARROW
On sale June 19th, 2019
$3.99 | 32 pgs. | T+ | Full Color

The masterminds behind the Psiot Security and Education Program uncovered! Can Livewire save Phoebe and avoid being captured? Plus: Phoebe’s backstory is revealed!

LIVEWIRE #7

Preview: Psi-Lords #1

PSI-LORDS #1

Written by FRED VAN LENTE
Art by RENATO GUEDES
Letters by DAVE SHARPE
Cover A by ROD REIS
Cover B by JONBOY MEYERS
Cover C by ALAN QUAH
Cosmic Variant Cover by MARCO RUDY
Pre-Order Edition Cover by PAULINA GANUCHEAU
Blank Cover Also Available 
Available 
June 19th, 2019
FOC is May 27th
$3.99 | 32 pgs. | T+ | Full Color

The Psi-Lords make their debut in the modern-era Valiant Universe in a brand-new ongoing series! 

But WHO are they? And where they heck are they?! Prepare for a cosmic adventure like no other! Seriously, it’s wild stuff.

PSI-LORDS #1

Review: The Life And Death Of Toyo Harada #4

The Life And Death Of Toyo Harada #4

Wait, did THAT really just happen in the last cliffhanger? Oh, man… Can Toyo’s team recover in The Life And Death Of Toyo Harada #4 or will they never be the same again? Trust us, you don’t want to miss the acclaimed limited series about the world’s most powerful man.

The Life And Death Of Toyo Harada has become more than a typical miniseries. It is the capstone of Joshua Dysart‘s phenomenal run with the character that spans Harbinger and Imperium. It’s more than just the story about the end of a character’s life. It’s also a story about how sometimes the best of intentions don’t justify the means to achieve them – and yet sometimes the end does justify the means, but that not everybody will be happy with the results and chaos can still ensue.

The fallout to the last issue begins The Life And Death Of Toyo Harada #4 in earnest, with the character’s each coming to their own realization and dealing with the emotional fallout from The Life And Death Of Toyo Harada #3 (you can probably guess what it is, but because I am staunchly anti-spoiler I am refraining from just outright saying what it is). The scope of the series is vast, but the focus this issue on a handful of characters brings you back to a more human – such that they are – look at the messianic Toyo Harada through their eyes. It’s a reminder that for all his vast power, he’s also had an incredible impact on those around him.

This is also reinforced with the subplot set during the sixties with an amnesiac Harada becoming an all together different sort of messiah as his philosophy of emptiness resonates with the drug fueled hippy commune that forms around him. It’s another aspect to the character, that he can’t help but inspire people, that’s brilliantly explored in this issue.

Toyo Harada is the kind of character that doesn’t come around often, and when they do, they’re always divisively popular as they begin to make one question whether they are truly villainous or merely driven by their goals. Harada was often framed as the villain in Harbinger, though one can argue that was simply because of the side of the story we were following, rather than the character being evil (again, there’s the divisive aspect of the man – there are more times than not that I find myself agreeing with his goals, but not always his methods). As Alan Moore wrote in Watchmen “I understand. Without condoning or condemning, I understand.”

I wrote this in the review of the second issue, and felt it needed repeating. This is a book that lives in the moral grey areas, and I love it.

Artistically, The Life And Death Of Toyo Harada #4 is freaking awesome. Cafu and Diego Yapur is joined by colourists Andrew Dalhouse and Diego Rodriguez. The artists craft yet another visual masterpiece that perfectly compliments the depth of Dysart’s writing. This book is one of the very finest things on the racks this week. Either the art or the writing alone would be enough to earn my recommendation. Together, they’re like peanut butter and chocolate. Two great things that are made even better together (if you like that combination).

I don’t know what you’re reading this month. If it isn’t The Life And Death Of Toyo Harada then you’re missing out on a comic that all comics fans should be reading. Because this is a series that highlights what comics are capable of; telling a great story whilst also exploring some very interesting themes about saviors, hope and the government military machines.

Story: Joshua Dysart Art: Cafu and Diego Yapur
Colours: Andrew Dalhouse
and Diego Rodriguez Letters: Dave Sharpe
Story: 9.5 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided a FREE copy for review, but this is a book I’ll be buying when it hits the racks.

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 6/8

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.


Ryan C

Meet The Skrulls #5 (Marvel)** – A thorough and satisfying conclusion to Robbie Thompson and Niko Henrichon’s superb mini-series that leaves open some possibilities for the future while delivering that rarest of things in mainstream comics — a genuine self-contained story. Great art, smart and emotive writing, you really can’t ask for much more than this. Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Savage Avengers #2 (Marvel)** – Terrific art from Mike Deodato, Jr. still can’t manage to do much to elevate Gerry Duggan’s lazy script. By the end of the second issue we’re really no further along than we were after the first, and that’s just plain inexcusable. Let’s just call it like it is : this book is predicated on a gimmicky premise that’s already running out of gas. Overall: 2 Recommendation: Pass 

Batman #72 (DC)** – Gotta love the Mike Golden variant cover to this one — and the interior art by Jorge Fornes and Mikel Janin is a pleasing one-two punch — but dear God, is this script a mess. It’s meant to be one long “Eureka!” moment that reveals all of Tim King’s run to have been a long-form master plan engineered by Bane, but seriously : it all falls completely flat, and I think that’s true even for the VERY few readers out there who have emotionally “bought into” this inept run. Overall: 2 Recommendation: Pass

Female Furies #5 (DC)** – The Scott Free/Big Barda relationship as portrayed in this book is a bit too “Cliff’s Notes” for my taste and fails to resonate much for that reason, but apart from that, writer Cecil Castellucci is hitting all the right notes in her “Fourth World as feminist parable” story, which finally starts to deliver some richly-deserved comeuppances here, and Adriana Melo’s Perez-inspired art continues to impress. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Logan

Buffy the Vampire Slayer #5 (BOOM!) Jordie Bellaire and David Lopez definitely “zag” when it comes to the often criticized “nice guy” character of Xander in Buffy #5, who some critics/fans have read as an author avatar for his creator Joss Whedon. Even if it doesn’t stick, the glimpse we get of vampire Xander as an entitled, misogynistic loser is a wonderfully dark bit of subtext becoming text that lands visually thanks to Lopez’s heavy inks and Raul Angulo’s palette that is more noir and last pastel than the previous issues. Lopez’s take on Willow and Buffy are weirdly malformed compared to Dan Mora’s stylish art in the previous issues, but he definitely nails an air of psychological unease as Drusilla’s threat to Sunnydale continues to ramp up. Buffy #5 has plenty of snarky dialogue, Jenny Calendar/Giles cuteness, and mystical objects for fans with nostalgia for Buffy Seasons 2 and 3, but its smarter writing of Buffy, Willow, and Xander are what keep it fresh and worth reading. Overall: 8.2 Verdict: Buy

Giant Days #51 (BOOM!) John Allison and Max Sarin deal with the fallout of McGraw’s father’s untimely passing coupled with Esther finding luck through winning a writing prize for an essay completely typed on her phone and getting an interview at bank because they have money. Allison and Sarin take a nuanced approach to grieving that’s in-step with the stoic character McGraw, who tries to avoid conversation and talking about his dad until he has one powerful emotional moment after playing checkers with Ed’s girlfriend. For this scene, Sarin uses a rush of extra lines and Whitney Cogar greys out her color palette to emphasize McGraw’s words about how moving away from his dad made him think that he was immortal. Giant Days #51 earns its pathos and shows the comic can look at the sad as well as the funny side of being a twentysomething in Sheffield, UK. Overall: 8.7 Verdict: Buy

Fallen World #2 (Valiant) I didn’t read 4001 AD and am not super steeped into the Valiant Universe, but I found Dan Abnett and Adam Mollina’s Fallen World #2 a fairly enjoyable post-apocalyptic tale of cults, archetypes, and ruthless AI. It’s more action-driven than cerebral although Abnett makes a smart move by centering the narrative around the father/son relationship between the evil Father (Who is in the body of Bloodshot) and his son, the pacifist/Messianic figure Rai. Underneath the weighty lore, there is a core of a survival story at Fallen World’s heart, and I enjoyed Mollina’s creative, fluid visuals for the Father’s different form like the red pteranodons he morphs into to purse the main characters. If you have a tolerance for dense worldbuilding with a side of futurism, Fallen World #2 is a fairly okay read. Overall: 7 Verdict: Read

Shazam #6 (DC) Geoff Johns’ plotting in Shazam is the opposite of decompressed as he and artists Santucci, Dale Eaglesham, and Scott Kolins juggle four plots and one flashback this issue. Splitting up the Shazam family was a smart idea because we get to know Gene and Pedro a little bit more as they try to get out of the Ready Player One-esque realm, The GameLands. Gene using his skills at video games to escape the “real world” is sad, yet resonant and connects to the overall theme of escapism and fantasy that pervades the Captain Marvel mythos. Even though Johns hasn’t resolved the plots featuring King Kid and a fight between Sivana and Mr. Mind and Black Adam, he dumps another one featuring Billy and his real dad C.C. Batson that is beautiful and realistic compared to the New 52-esque over rendering of the Black Adam fight. Honestly, Johns really needed a Shazam and a Shazam family book to tell all these stories and do this kind of world building, but I’d rather having a book full of content than a threadbare one. Overall: 7.7 Verdict: Read


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 (**).

Preview: The Life and Death of Toyo Harada #4 (of 6)

THE LIFE AND DEATH OF TOYO HARADA #4 (of 6)

Written by JOSHUA DYSART
Art by CAFU, DIEGO YAPUR
Colors by ANDREW DALHOUSE
Letters by DAVE SHARPE
Cover A by MICO SUAYAN
Cover B by KEN LASHLEY
Cover C by NEN CHANG
Pre-Order Edition Cover by CAFU
On sale June 12th, 2019
$4.99 | 40 pgs. | T+ | Full Color 

Wait, did THAT really just happen in the last cliffhanger? Oh, man… Can Toyo’s team recover or will they never be the same again? Trust us, you don’t want to miss the acclaimed limited series about the world’s most powerful man.

THE LIFE AND DEATH OF TOYO HARADA #4 (of 6)
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