Four Letter Nerd

Category - Comics

4LN Comic Review: Darth Vader #25

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Series: Darth Vader
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Salvador Larroca
Colorist: Edgar Delgado
Page Count: 46
Price: $5.99

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Summary from Comixology: “It has all built up to this! Vader’s trials against Cylo’s creations! His machinations against the Emperor! His covert missions with Doctor Aphra and her murderous droids! All comes to fruition in an ending you can’t miss!” (Not from Comixology but should be stated immediately, that cover is f*cking awesome.)

Darth Vader has been my favorite of all the Star Wars books since it’s release in February of last year. Darth Vader #25 is the perfect end to one of the best books being published. This book is a lot like Breaking Bad, I’m saddened that it had to come to an end, but I’m glad it didn’t drag out and become a chore to keep up with (*cough* Son’s Of Anarchy *cough*). Kieron Gillen understood the character of Darth Vader so well that he makes it completely unbelievable that Hayden Christensen could become the Sith Lord.

This issue was full of perfect conclusions for a 25 issue long story. My fellow 4LN writer Stephen Andrew and I agree that Vader Down had one of the most BRUTAL comic book lines in a long time, but I now believe that the most brutal line of Darth Vader was said in this final issue. There are two moments in this book that left my jaw literally hanging open because I just couldn’t believe how ruthless Darth Vader truly is. I want to go into detail, but I don’t want to give away any spoilers that will take away from the experience of reading this issue.

From beginning to end, Salvador Larroca’s art has been absolutely prepossessing and captures the grandness of space and Star Wars. From epic outer space light saber battles to intimate character designs, Larroca has thoroughly brought Darth Vader back to life in comics. When it comes to writing a villain, Kieron Gillen is truly one of the best writers for that bracket of characters. Gillen does a fantastic job of writing part of a story that we all know (I.E. Vader can’t die yet because we aren’t at Return Of The Jedi yet), but still leaving suspense and wonder with what will happen with all characters involved. Looking back on this book now that it’s over, I couldn’t think of a better creative team for it. Gillen and Larroca truly worked elegantly together.

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From issue one to twenty-five, Darth Vader has been one hell of a roller-coaster and full of surprises. I am really disappointed to see my preferred Star Wars book come to an end, but I’m also excited for whatever becomes the next on-going Star Wars book (crossing my fingers for Boba Fett or Kylo Ren).

(Writer’s Note: This review was written before the announcement that Doctor Aphra would be landing her own SW ongoing title)

Thanks for 25 distinguished issues of Darth Vader Salvador Larroca & Kieron Gillen. If you haven’t been reading Darth Vader, now is not the best jumping on point, since this is the epic conclusion; but, you will not be disappointed if you hunt down the previous issues (or trades) because they will be entirely worth the price. In my honest unabashedly biased opinion, this is one of the best final issues from Marvel. Ever.

Also, the book is $5.99 which really blows, but it is more pages than a typical issue, and part of that is an epic mini issue in the back about Darth Vader slaughtering Tusken Raiders while killing time on Tattooine waiting for a couple bounty hunters. Made it worth the extra couple dollars.

Music Pairing:
John Williams, like all Star Wars book reviews.

4LN Comic Review – The Chimera Brigade #1

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Series: The Chimera Brigade
Written by: Serge Lehman & Fabrice Colin
Art by: Gess, with Colors by Celine Bessonneau
Publisher: Titans Comics

Summary from Comixology: “Is the time for morality lessons truly over? The year is 1938, and a new generation of super-humans, born as a side effect of secret chemical weapons, have taken control of the capital cities of Europe… The Age of Super-science has arrived. A stunning period cross between The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Planetary and B.P.R.D. Beliefs can be as powerful as super-science – and just as deadly!”

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Chimera Brigade is a new book from Titan Comics that is set in 1938, which, for you non history buffs, is the year before World War 2. It is a comic about several people who have gotten superpowers from science during The Great War (World War 1) like X-rays, poisonous gases, and radium. Without giving the book away, it follows a character who is the daughter of a scientist who researched and treated these super humans. She goes into a special meeting in an underground facility with all of the other super humans from around the globe trying to figure out who this Dr. M character is and his plans. Of course crap hits the fan because duh it’s what happens in comics! Some of the super powers that were shown in this issue were super speed, metamorphosis, seeing in the dark, and there’s a mysterious American who no one knows his powers. If you are a fan of spies, espionage, super powers, and history this book is for you. I really enjoy reading history and it was pretty awesome seeing a new take on it with some secret superheroes! This issue is out today (10/12/16) and I implore all of you comic loving super hero history buffs to pick this one up and try it out! If you can’t make it down to your local comic shop then get it digitally by clicking the Comixology link at the top of the page. Check out a few preview pages below, and if you read it let us know what you thought down in the comments!

 

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(Editor’s Note: This review was written by guest contributor, Tyler Haines. Make sure to check out his YouTube Channel!)

4LN Comic Review: Cannibal #1

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Series- Cannibal
Written by Jennifer Young & Brian Buccellato
Art by Matias Bergara
Publisher- Image Comics

Summary from Comixology: “A BRAND NEW SERIES! From New York Times bestselling writer BRIAN BUCCELLATO & JENNIFER YOUNG, CANNIBAL is about the denizens of a small Everglades town desperately trying to hold onto their everyday lives at the dawn of a cannibal pandemic. With no cure in sight, the region has become split over what to do with the victims, though for Cash and Grady Hansen the answer is simple: Kill them. But all of that changes when the virus begins to infect people they love.”

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Brian Buccellato is probably most well known for his amazing color work in comics (which he graces the pages of Cannibal with as well), but he’s also a brilliant writer & storyteller as well, tackling series’ like The Flash and Detective Comics. Probably… no, DEFINITELY, my favorite thing he’s ever done is Sons of the Devil, which is also published by Image. There’s a really gritty vibe to it, and the 70’s era flashbacks give it this The Omen/The Exorcist feel which I just can’t get enough of. Cannibal is a different beast altogether. It maintains a similar family-at-the-center vibe, but it’s much more expanded in its overall tone. Where the urgency in SOTD mostly only effects a focused-on group of individuals, Cannibal’s setting is one where everyone has been affected by an urgency, but as the readers we’re only seeing the story that revolves around a focused-on group of individuals.

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I have family all strewn about in small Florida towns, so there’s a lot for me to relate to in Cannibal’s setting. The ornery southern attitudes and alcohol soaked temperaments of the characters is almost comforting. Not that comparison’s are always an effective way to describe something, but… if I *were* to compare Cannibal to other comics, I would probably say that it feels like Southern Bastards meets The Walking Dead. Down-home country folk, stubborn as a pack of mules, trying to navigate through the new way the world is but mostly refusing to accept reality.

Sharing in the writing duties, with Brian, is Jennifer Young. She was an editor on SOTD, but, as far as I can, tell this seems to be her first time out as a creator. The two share a creative dynamic that melds seamlessly, because there’s nothing, at least not in this first issue, that makes you feel like the book is torn in different directions.

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As I mentioned above, Brian does the color work on Cannibal, but all the pencils and inks are done by Matias Bergara, whose previously comic experience includes series’ such as Sons of Anarchy, and American Vampire. His style seems to blend cartoon-ish expressionism with more modern comic layering structure. You can tell he puts a lot of work into creating depth in his panels. My favorite page in the entire issue is page 7, which is also the title page I guess, and it’s just after the cannibalistic-burdened gentlemen you see in these preview pages devours the poor bus boy. The look on his face is guilt-stricken, and he’s covered in blood that is also dripping off of the deck and into the swap water below. It’s both gruesome and beautiful.

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The most ingenuous element of Cannibal is that the Cannibals don’t want to be. They’re affected by a virus that forces them to crave eating human flesh. Not only is that the most original take on apocalyptic horror you’re ever going to hear, but it almost feels like a metaphor for addiction. I’m not saying that’s what this creative team intended, but having seen my own family impacted by addiction in the past, I see similarities in what this sickness does to the host. It makes you do things you don’t want to do. You try to stop but you can’t. And, even when you beg people to get out of the way so that they don’t get hurt, they sometimes still do, and the addicted is left carrying the weight of what they’ve done. Maybe I’m over-analyzing it, but why not pick up a copy for yourself and see what you think.

Cannibal is on comic shelves right now, so head down to your local shop and grab one! You can also get it digitally by clicking on the Comixology link at the top of the page!

 

Music Pairing –
I decided to make you guys a mix of “Cannibal” themed songs for this music pairing because it was just too perfect and easy…

 

4LN Comic Review – Black #1

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Series: Black
Writer: Kwanza Osajyefo
Art: Tim Smith III, Jamal Igle (Pencils), Robin Riggs (Inks), Sarah Stern (Colors), Dave Sharpe (Cover)
Cover: Khary Randolph
Editor: Sarah Litt
Publisher: Black Mask

Summary from COMIXOLOGY: “IT’S HERE! The comic that blazed through Kickstarter during Black History Month 2016. In a world that already hates and fears them — what if only Black people had superpowers. After miraculously surviving being gunned down by police, a young man learns that he is part of the biggest lie in history. Now he must decide whether it’s safer to keep it a secret or if the truth will set him free.”

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I wasn’t sure what to expect when I opened up this comic. Being a 30something, middle-class white guy who lives in a southern suburb, I’d already resolved myself to the idea that I probably wasn’t going to relate to the story. I do believe, however, that not relating to a story should never keep you from enjoying or experiencing it. I’ve never been stranded alone on Mars, and forced to farm potatoes by using my own excrement, but that sure as s**t didn’t stop me from loving The Martian.

Black #1 just jumps right into the story. Initially being told through the eyes of a beat cop who witnesses a group of her fellow officers unjustifiably shooting down a trio of young black men, who just so happen to match the generic description of some robbery suspects, and then eventually transitions to a first person view of our emerging main protagonist, Kareem Jenkins.

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The pacing of this first issue is great for an introduction. We see Kareem meet a team of other people like him who can offer him answers and an opportunity to explore his newfound powers. There’s also several characters introduced that I’m sure we’ll be getting to know more about as the plot continues to unfold. This first issue cliffhangers very subtly, and just enough to intrigue you without divulging anything major. I wasn’t very familiar with Kwanza Osajyefo before reading this, I understand he did a lot of editorial work for Marvel and DC, but I’m very impressed with how he’s started the story he’s telling and I look forward to seeing how it plays out.

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Now, I believe that if you looked back enough, you could find documentation of me on the record saying that I do not like black & white comics. Hell, I’m pretty sure I just said it one of our recent podcasts. However… I’m not embarrassed to say that I’m eating crow on this one. Black is a black & white series and It never bothered me even once. This art team is like the comic art version of the Power Rangers, or the Captain Planet Planeteers. By their powers combined, this artwork is precise and perfectly balanced. Great line-work, great shading, and some absolutely incredible panels. The one in particular, where you see Kareem and his friends getting shot by the cops is especially intense. It’s made even more intense by the thought that, while he did, it’s possible Kareem’s friends didn’t come back to life. (Also, just take a look at the cover for issue #2 and try not to be emotionally affected. I dare you. If you aren’t then you’re soulless.)

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Comics are an excellent tool for escaping the real world and being able to, if only for a little while, hide from the deluge of negativity. At some point though, the escape has to be acknowledged as something more than that. Just telling us that everything is OK and there’s nothing to be afraid of isn’t enough because that isn’t true. There are plenty of “escape from reality” comics out there for you to choose from, but, while it does utilize fantasy to do so, Black chooses displays what is the painful reality for a huge portion of the American population. It isn’t “negative” to acknowledge that reality. Truth isn’t negative or positive. It is simply truth, plain and simple.

The potential social/political impact of Black is undeniable. “What if only black people had superpowers.” In a world where there are reports of black men, women, and children being killed by police almost daily, that premise is a pursuit to incite hope. I wondered why this story was just coming out now, but then I realized that this is an unfortunate result of our current state of society. Giving the black community a character like Kareem that they can relate to who survived being shot by police shouldn’t be necessary. But it is. We live in a time where it’s crucial that people take a stand against injustice, while at the same time inspiring faith. Black #1 sets out on a path to do just that. It’s an ambitious undertaking, but this first issue instills confidence that it can be done.

You can pick up a copy of Black #1 at your local shop today (unless they’re all sold out), or you can get it digitally by clicking the Comixology link at the top of the page!

 

Music Pairing –

I decided to go with two artists here because both of them felt right, depending on what era of hip-hop you’re more likely to relate to. For the new school I feel like Vic Mensa’s new album, “There’s A Lot Going On”, is a good example of raw honesty and focusing frustration at what’s going on in our world today. For the old school I picked Mos Def’s “Black on Both Sides”. A great representation of strengthening and empowering black culture in a world that either fears or hijacks it.

4LN Comic Review: Trinity #1

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Series: Trinity
Writer: Francis Manapul
Artist: Francis Manapul
Inker: Francis Manapul

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Summary from Comixology: “BETTER TOGETHER” part 1! Together again for the first time! Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. The core of the World’s Greatest Heroes…but with a new Man of Steel, the bonds these three share will be tested and redefined by super-star writer/artist Francis Manapul. In this premiere issue, see the trio travel from Metropolis to Gotham City and beyond to learn what forces launched their heroic careers. But how will this journey of discovery lead them to a new threat?”

This is the series that I have been most excited for regarding the DC Rebirth comics. I was instantly sold on this book just by finding out that Francis Manapul was doing the art for the book. If you aren’t familiar with his work, then you need to pick this book up just for the art alone. For $2.99 you won’t pick up another book as beautiful as this one. For those of you not familiar with Manapul he’s known for his work on other DC books such as New 52 Flash, Justice League, and my personal favorite Batman Detective (Icarus). If you are a fan of bright colors and crisp sharp line work, then Francis Manapul is the comic book artist you’ve been looking for!

The story of Trinity could be a bit confusing for those of us not following the Superman comic at the moment. The gist of what’s going on with Superman is: He’s from a different timeline. When he ended up in this universe, he decided that he wanted to stay on the down-low. New Clark and Lois Lane have a farm in Califonia where they are raising their son who is beginning to learn that his father is Superman, and he has superhuman abilities. After knowing this, it will make reading Trinity all that much easier to understand.

I think my absolute favorite part of this book were the three full page spreads that each of our heroes received. Wonder Woman arriving on the field with a boar and her invisible jet was one of my absolute favorite scenes in this comic. I’ve always loved Cliff Chiang’s and Frank Cho’s take on Diana Prince, but after reading this issue… Francis Manapul might draw my favorite Wonder Woman. It’s just so beautiful, The Batman and Superman splashes are equally as beautiful but I think you’ll greatly appreciate seeing it for yourself instead of having me describe for to you. (See our Review of Superman #7)

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Besides the art, Manapul does a fantastic job with telling the story. This series starts with Bruce and Diana coming to the farm to talk to and get to know, Clark and Lois along with their son. Batman isn’t very trusting but Diana wants to accept them for who they are and believes in time they will become as close of allies as they were with the original Superman. Manapul also does a fantastic job writing some comedy into this book so that it’s not so rigid and series. Bruce makes a comment about Clark’s son sleeping and looking so innocent. I couldn’t help but laugh and imagine Bruce watching Damien sleep and thinking/wishing he was innocent and a typical 10-year-old. Also, Bruce Wayne in plaid is a pretty hilarious image. Along with comedy, Manapul also makes references to much older DC Comics events, and some of the very interesting style choices that Batman made in the 60’s.

Overall, if you are a fan of DC’s Superhero trinity, this is the book for you. Manapul leaves many questions when you come to the conclusion of the issue, and you are going to be coming back to find out what the answers to those questions are. And, you’ll be itching for more beautiful Francis Manapul art come next month. So, head down to your local comic shop and pick this up before you live to regret it!

Music Pairing:
One of my favorite bands in an instrumental post-rock band called Balmorhea from Austin Texas. Their album All Is Wild, All Is Silent is absolutely beautiful and matches the art in the book perfect. So, spin the opening track from that album while reading this book. It’ll be a perfect fit.

4LN Comic Review: Superman #7

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Series: Superman
Writer: Patrick Gleason and Peter J. Tomasi
Artist: Jorge Jiminez, with colors by Alejandro Sanchez
Publisher: DC Comics

Summary from Comixology: “‘SON OF SUPERMAN’ part 7! In this epilogue issue, Superman considers the toll his battles with the Eradicator and Doomsday have taken on his family and the need for a normal life. But can the Man of Steel ever take a day off?”

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I love Superman.  If I had to choose just one superhero to helm my pantheon of favorite superheroes, it would definitely be him.  Unfortunately, outside of a couple of great arcs, the comics have been weak.  Like, the kind of weak Superman gets when he mainlines kryptonite under a red sun.  The N52 Superman was an attempt (I assume) to make the Big Blue Boyscout more edgy, and, for me anyways, it was really, really hard to read.  Luckily, DC’s Rebirth initiative has been pretty fantastic.  I picked up Superman on the off chance that it would do the Man of Steel justice.

What do you think of when I say a comic is “wholesome”? Sunday newspapers? Charlie Brown and Garfield?  Wholesome might be a major selling point for a superhero comic, especially in the age we live in, but I can’t think of another word for this issue.  And you know what?  I loved it.  As the summary above describes, this issue finds Superman realizing that his wife and son deserve some level of normalcy so he joins them on a trip to the county fair.  The simple story is accompanied by some really strong art, especially the short action sequence at the very beginning.  All told, this issue, while not for everybody, was a lighthearted Superman story that reminded me a lot of Superman for All Seasons, which is one of my all time favorite comics.

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I think what appeals to me most about this series is that it really puts an emphasis on the hopefulness of Superman.  This book is about him trying to be as good of a father and husband as he can, while figuring out his place in this universe’s world (quick side note: the New52 edgy, t-shirt wearing Superman died at the end of the New52 run. This is the pre-Flashpoint Lois and Clark from a different universe. They ended up in the N52 Superman’s universe somehow during Convergence. Anyway, this is why they are laying low in a small town in California). The optimistic tone stands in stark contrast to a lot of the previous Superman series’ and it’s been a joy to read them.  Parts 1-6 are great and are worth a read, so I won’t spoil them here, but 7, which serves as an epilogue, stands on its own.  It’s the reader’s chance to breathe after the Eradicator tried to do what his name suggests (and his name sure as hell doesn’t suggest that he makes bagels for a living).  It also serves as a fantastic jumping on point for new readers, since it doesn’t necessitate one go back and read the previous issues to fully grasp what’s happening (but I really liked those books, so I suggest you go back and read them as well).

It really feels like Peter J. Tomasi and company have their collective finger on the pulse of what makes Superman such a great character, and I can’t wait to see what they have in store in the upcoming arc.  One thing is for sure, Superman benefited greatly from DC’s Rebirth.

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4LN Podcast, Episode 4: Do The Big 2 Just Not Cut It Anymore?

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This week we discuss the differences in tone of story & content between The Big 2 and independent/creator-owned comics. Specifically, I share why, for the most part, I just can’t get emotionally invested in Marvel and DC comics anymore, and how that’s helped me fall more in love with lower-profile series’. How about you? Do the superhero stories of characters like Batman and Captain America just not do it for you? Let us know in the comments!

4LN Comic Review – Britannia #1

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Series: Britannia
Writer: Peter Milligan
Artist: Juan Jose Ryp, with Jordie Bellaire on Colors
Publisher: Valiant Comics

Summary from Comixology: “On the fringes of civilization, the world’s first detective is about to make an unholy discovery…

Ruled by the Fates. Manipulated by the Gods. Commanded by Caesar. In the year 65 A.D., one’s destiny was not his own. At the height of Nero’s reign, a veteran of Rome’s imperial war machine has been dispatched to the farthest reaches of the colonies to investigate unnatural happenings… In the remote outpost of Britannia, Antonius Axia – the First Detective – will become Rome’s only hope to reassert control over the empire’s most barbaric frontier…and keep the monsters that bridge the line between myth and mystery at bay…

From comics mastermind Peter Milligan (X-Statix, Shade the Changing Man) and incendiary artist Juan Jose Ryp (NINJAK, Clone) comes a psychological journey into terror, temptation, and bloodshed – presented in an all-new prestige format limited series!”

Britannia #1

Ever since Valiant announced their (at the time) forthcoming new wave of comic series’ at this years Valiant Summit a few months ago, Britannia was the one I most anticipated. Admittedly, It was Juan Jose Ryp’s involvement that most excited me because he’s quickly become one of my absolute favorite comic artists just within the last year. His style is so visceral and detailed, and there is no one who can capture violence and brutality the way he can.

So after seeing Ryp involved I check out the premise. “The world’s first detective”? I mean, what does that even look like? I barely understand what detectives do NOW, let alone what the very first one would have done. It’s intriguing to say the least. There were no hints to the greater Valiant Universe that I couple pick out, so I was also curious how it fit in. After finally reading the whole first issue for myself, I can confidently say that even though I still don’t know where it fits in the Valiant Universe, it might be my favorite thing Valiant has put out in I-don’t-know-how-long.

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Peter Milligan is one of those writers who does a ton of great work, but seems to mostly fly under the radar. In addition to (probably) writing every major Valiant character at some point in the past, he’s also done phenomenal work for Marvel and DC (go read his 5 Ronin series immediately), as well put out some great original series’ like The Discipline (Image) and New Romancer (Vertigo).

Britannia feels like a whole different beast than anything he’s done before (with *maybe* the closest thing being his brief run on The Eternal Warrior). To be honest, Britannia isn’t like anything that Valiant has even done before. It reads more like a creator-owned, independent series. The way it blends actual history and sci-fi/fantasy is incredibly brilliant, and the amount of mystery is perfect for keeping you hanging on without revealing too much.

The character interactions feel very natural, with the most compelling, in my opinion, being between Axia (our protagonist) and his servant/slave Bran. They have a very interesting relationship because Bran seems as if he’s a good friend to Axia, but he’s still very much aware of his place. I love how Milligan handles this. They’re like buddies, but also not because one of them is, essentially, a captive. I’m eager to see how their dynamic evolves over the rest of the issues.

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I know I’ve already fanboyed all over JJR, but really, the guy’s artwork is flawless and beautiful. Beautiful in the way a lion stalks, attacks, and consumes a gazelle, kind of. It’s pure, and raw. There’s a panel (above) at the beginning where Axia and his soldiers just slaughter a group of cultists who kidnapped a girl and were going to sacrifice her. The way he depicts the blades tearing through the men, and the look on Axis’s face… it’s just so… satisfying.

Comic art often feels sterilized nowadays and I like that Ryp doesn’t filter himself. He puts every bit of who he is into that art and it’s the most magnificent middle finger to the mainstream, cookie-cutter bulls**t.

Additionally, Jordie Bellaire’s colors on this are just fantastic. I can’t think of a comic colorist who better nails the tone of the story with their color-work. The beautiful parallels of those reds and greens you see in these preview pages are amazing. With those two colors being used it should look like a Christmas theme but it doesn’t all. It’s menacing and dark.

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One thing I’ll mention is… OK, so this book is rated “12+”. The thing about that is… there’s some elements at play here, and some situations that I can’t imagine most 12-year-old’s are mature enough for. Hell, I’M barely mature enough for it. As a parent who let his 9-year-old watch JAWS, I probably still wouldn’t be comfortable with him reading this comic at 12. Maybe… 14 or 15? I don’t believe in censorship of any kind, but I do think we do a disservice to our children by letting them consume stories with mature content sooner than they’re able to appreciate what it means to the plot. Like, yes, there’s a naked lady, but why is she naked and does it serve the story realistically or with a motivating purpose? What does the nudity mean? Not that it has to have a reason, but reason gives the story meaning.

Look, no judgement whatsoever if you do feel your adolescent child is mature enough to handle some of the themes in this book. Just wanted to put out a little PSA for parents who potentially might not know.

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I loved Britannia #1. It’s easily a 5 star issue, and may be my favorite single-issue Valiant comic of the year. I’m very much looking-forward to where this story goes, and seeing how Axia navigates the mystery. If you’ve never read a Valiant comic, read this. I promise you it stands out from anything else the publisher has ever put out, and you don’t need any backstory or context to understand.

Britannia #1 is on comic shop shelves tomorrow, or you can get it digitally by clicking the Comixology link at the top of the page.

 

Music Pairing – 

I jammed the new Heaven Shall Burn album, “Wanderer”, while reading this and it felt very right.

4LN Comic Review – Hadrian’s Wall #1

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Series: Hadrian’s Wall
Written by: Kyle Higgins and Alec Siegel
Art by: Rod Reis
Publisher: Image Comics

Summary from Comixology: “When an astronaut on HADRIAN’S WALL is murdered, pill-popping detective Simon Moore is dispatched to investigate the ship’s crew, including his own ex-wife. But if Simon’s not careful, what he finds could make the interstellar Cold War go red hot. From the creative team behind the critically-acclaimed series C.O.W.L. comes a gripping, locked room murder mystery where the secrets of everyone involved are as dark as the space that surrounds them.”

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This teams previous effort, C.O.W.L., was one of my first Image titles, and it was awesome (seriously, go track down the trades).  It was like Mad Men meets the Justice League, if the League was in a corrupt union in the 1950’s.  The story was really interesting, and Rod Reis’ art is so unique.  Anyway, whenever it ended it left a hole to fill, and HADRIAN’S WALL looks to fill that hole.

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While both of these titles could be considered noir, the settings are vastly different.  As stated previously, C.O.W.L. took place in 1950’s Chicago, while HADRIAN’S WALL takes place in space, aboard the titular ship.  After a member of the crew is murdered, Simon Moore is sent out to investigate.  Things get complicated when we learn about Moore’s history with both the deceased astronaut and said astronaut’s wife, who happens to be Moore’s ex-wife.  Not the best of circumstances considering they are confined on a ship in the middle of nowhere.

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The tone of this issue is really neat.  The set pieces look like they were pulled out of the 70/80’s sci-fi aesthetic, and the idea of a noir murder mystery is definitely intriguing.  Higgins and Siegel have already proven that they can spin a great noir yarn, and this issue is not an exception to that rule.

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I know that the sci-fi genre can be hit or miss, especially with the genre being flooded, but this creative team put out a great first issue that has enough humanity in it to ground it.  Not to mention the gorgeous visuals, particularly the two-page spreads, provided by the fantastic Rod Reis.  If you are a fan of 80’s sci-fi, murder mysteries, or James S. A. Corey’s Expanse series, this is definitely a book for you.

HADRIAN’S WALL is out today so make sure to pick up you copy ASAP!