Cover #5 Creates New Levels Of Extraordinary Story Art, with stories within stories full of sharp humor, wit, and magnificent art.
Make no mistake, this tale reaches epic heights in its penultimate chapter.
Rarely do entertainment, philosophy and art appear as elegantly and impactfully together as they do in Cover #5 from David Mack and Brian Michael Bendis (and Ivan Reis on the variant cover).
This article will have SPOILERS*** for Cover #1-Cover #5.
Last we saw Max, he was tied to a chair and being beaten to a bloody pulp by fellow comic book creator and rival spy Essad Sinns.
Like all of the issues of Cover, the story begins on a surprising note.
A Thanksgiving dinner shows Max’s tightknit family: friends, their spouses and children, and talk of comic book legends and the stories surrounded their geeking out when confronting their heroes.
The sequence only gets funnier as Max listens to the conversation from the toilet where he does some research reading comic books.
It is a hilarious and endearing sequence of the desire to be ‘cool’ in the eyes of the ‘cool guys.’
When all of them get an all expenses paid trip to Brazil for a highly lucrative gig at a convention, Max becomes suspicious and nervous.
As the plot turns, Max’s hit story Ninja Sword Odyssey emerges.
In a gorgeous sequence, he learns that ancient calligraphers changed their name and mark after a new art style was adopted.
An old skin, an old life is left behind, and a new one is embraced.
The boy draws birds, trees, cats, and his father, clear as day, though the visage is different every time, because of his wavering memories.
The land is in turmoil and the young traveling apprentice changes his name over and over again.
A giant set of scrolls depicting a fearsome tiger is unfurled at the new ruler’s and he, being the man to kill the apprentice’s father and banish the swordmaker is faced with the unexpected.
The apprentice leaps from the fourth scroll with his tanto sword brandished and ready to change everything or die.
The swordmaker’s apprentice is reborn for the last time.
It is truly a remarkable story and the watercolor artwork is stunning, full of feeling and depth.
In Brazil, Max meets Julia who informs him that all of his friends did indeed get paid and the convention is real.
It is just funded by the CIA for the sake of espionage and foreign relations.
For the first time in months, Essad Sins is appearing in public too.
And Julia thinks, with Max having called out the man for being a fan of Jack ‘King’ Kirby who would have punched Sins out for being in league with fascists that Max’s mind rattling quip can help turn him to their side.
But it is Max who must flip him . . .
POWKABAM Score For Cover #5 = 10/10
“Cover #5 Creates New Levels Of Extraordinary Story Art” was written by R.J. Huneke.
Cover 3 Review 10/10: comic con creator spy showdown breaks out amidst the most unlikely of scenarios, and Max Fields is swept up in the direst of consequences.
Should Max have ever agreed to moonlight for the CIA, however simple his role or staunch his patriotism?
Cover 3 crafts a deeply impactful conglomeration of art forms to flesh out the resonating characters masterfully.
Cover 3 from Jinxworld is Created by Brian Michael Bendis and David Mack, with Essad Sinns’ Art by Bill Sienkiewicz, Digital Coloring by Zu Orzu, and Lettering by Carlos M. Mangual, and a noir-esque Variant Cover by Nick Derington.
The following review of Cover 3 contains SPOILERS***** for the series.
We know from Cover issue #2 (read about it here, folks) that Max is tied to a chair and beaten for information by fellow comic creator Essad Sinns.
And yet the next book starts off with Max’s own comic, Ninja Sword Odyssey.
The son of the samurai-turned-ninja has his own story and it is progressing in the wake of his father’s death.
The words ring home: ‘In the night, we wore our cover.’
The young ninja learns the art of the brush, just as Max learns the art of the cover.
And then the story pivots drastically.
To space . . .
Cover 3 is edited, like Pulp Fiction, for gut-wrenching suspense.
An incredible dive into Max’s next project reveals an astronaut floating above a vibrantly water-colored planet who receives horrible, life changing news.
And then Essad is tearing into Max’s work, calling it ‘shit’ and hurling art pages across the room.
Max is tied to a chair, and his captor is menacing.
Yet the two peers rank on each other’s work, and it even touches a nerve in the interrogator, as he self-consciously asks if Max still likes ‘[his] painting.’
The scene is fantastically built within slate and black shadows, humor and intense danger, with an Ian Fleming-like feel.
When Essad wants to know what Max did next, he relays an awful experience.
On a blind date Max’s colors gradually fade, with his interest in the woman seated with him.
She cannot see, or take seriously, the beautiful connection between fans who want to ‘live in the skin of their favorite character . . . in the real world.’
And perhaps worse than that, she does not care that Max is moved by his own fans’ cosplay.
The comic book creator and fan boy (or fan girl) quips add enough true-to-life hilarity to give a touching account of the connection between artists and their appreciators.
And the painfully funny art of explaining to people with 9-5 jobs that artists working from home still work every day is all too true.
And it acts as further comedic relief (as many great thrillers need) amidst the damnable predicament.
Max is still caught and tied to a chair.
The reader needs to take a breath amidst the espionage intensity and the overbearing present condition that Max finds himself in.
We meet Julia as she greets Max at a comic convention in France.
She pushes Max to get to know Essad.
And Essad is not buying it.
The chair is knocked over and the beating commences.
Make no mistake, the realistic perspectives of the comic book creators, of the passionate fans, and the operatives, like Julia, drive this tale, like an Aston Martin DB5 furling bullets and speeding on.
Max’s art, past and present, combined with Essad Sinns’, is intertwined within Bendis and Mack’s tale so that it has significant impact on the protagonist and reflects emotions, actions, foreshadowing, and suspense.
The artwork, from panel to panel, page to page, speech-bubble to speech-bubble, forms a riveting and poignant experience.
Go grab this book at your LCS before it sells out! I have never seen a story told in this medium like this before.
POWKABAM Score For COVER 3 = 10/10
“Cover 3 Review 10/10: Comic Con Creator Spy Showdown” was written by R.J. Huneke.
COVER #2 reveals secret Comic-Spy world’s long history, and it is far more extensive and intense than you would expect.
Two issues in, the Jinxworld series COVER, created by David Mack and Brian Michael Bendis, is an absolute gem.
Simply put: COVER #2 is a smart web of a spy thriller!
Max Field could not possibly imagine that his life as a successful comic creator would make for the perfect cover, as the CIA and US intelligence community seek to monitor some very chaotic areas of the world in an extraordinary manner: with a paintbrush rather than a gun . . . at least for now.
Max’s CIA recruiter, Julia, is a big fan of the art form and seems to exude a coy attraction for the creator of Ninja Spy Odyssey.
But she is also an extremely intelligent agent with great wherewithal for societies and, in particular, for managing people.
The writing and story pick up at a great pace.
And COVER’s riveting narrative is told with a menagerie of art styles that feed into and off of each other powerfully.
If you are familiar with David Mack’s work, you know that his unique vision features all manner of mediums in a way that is all his own, and for COVER he dares to tread further and further into new territory.
The colors by Zu Orzu are impactful and essential to the plot as it is revealed on the pages.
Mack and writer Brian Bendis’ words are realistic, tight and effective, and the letters from Carlos M. Mangual provide punch to the right annunciations making for a life-like experience.
The stakes are monumental in COVER #2 . . . right out of the gate.
The art spurred by emotion goes from heavily inked sections emitting fierce emotion and brilliant themes of color that shift to vivid watercolor reminiscing.
Max even seems to lose detail on the page when he is confused and indecisive.
The following look at COVER #2 will have *SPOILERS*
To start, the issue features an all black panel and one ominous line: “Do you think you were the first?”
An impassive face talks of “Nazi hunters, magicians”, and people who he is grouping in with Max as being missing for over forty years.
And out of the blackness there is Max tied to a chair making quips at the interrogator who is a fellow creator that he recognizes, named Essad Sinns.
How did Max go from dinner with Julie the fan and CIA recruiter to being beaten and threatened by a fellow creator turned intelligence op?
That is a question that will need to be explored as the series progresses.
We do seem to get Max squirming in the face of a large knife and spilling his recent history with Julia at the Istanbul comic convention where he is cooperative in gifting Julia’s bugged Limited-Edition Ninja Sword Odyssey pendant to the President of Turkey.
Max’s character was at first reluctant to even stand next to Julia as she surprised him at the airport, incognito.
And his trepidation and symbolic feeling of being lost and unsure of his role in the world is reflected in the pages of his comic book that he creates and are featured via an artist’s silhouette and then stark water color panels telling the tale of the ninja’s son.
As Max has issues with his own father that could be considered hairy and unsettled, the father-son pairing in Max’s comic have a reflective, though far different message.
The son’s teacher was his father.
The father’s teacher left him a tsuba without a sword, and it was this teacher who taught the father how to survive.
One day the father promises he will give his son the sword to fill it.
And he instructs on the new world: the days of the samurai are being replaced with a “new kind of war. Of secrecy and information. Of subtlety.” and the ninja conducts their battles “in between the lines.” [COVER #2]
The making of a sword and the making of a person fulfilling a vital role in the world come across poignantly.
COVER #2’s coming of age sword sequence is marvelous.
When Max starts to get actively involved and inquisitive, the vague visuals from the start of the book become more vivid with bright watercolors and detailed looks at Julia who he is trying to measure up.
She has built quite a relationship with Max, and slips from her diplomatic mask to get personal and rant about the importance of books being lost in today’s world.
The words and art closing COVER #2 have a meaningful message and are incredibly moving.
Rarely does art and writing and storytelling get across such a powerful message in so short a space and do it so personally and beautifully.
Emanating some of Ray Bradbury from Fahrenheit 451, and much more, Julia reveals herself to be the only reader she knows and is even looked down upon for it.
Ignorance in the world, she states, can be solved through the sharing of story.
It is touching and remarkable.
And then Max is back to the present, and gray tones, and is being beaten to a pulp.
COVER #2 is an amazing piece of standalone art.
It is inspiring.
Get this book, in both incredible covers, A by David Mack and B by Bill Sienkiewicz, at your local comic store (Red Shirt anyone) STAT!
When does Issue #3 come out?
“COVER #2 Reveals Secret Comic-Spy World’s Long History” was written byR.J. Huneke.
Cover #1, from powerhouse creators Bendis and Mack, is ingenuity and incredulity at its best!
Blast off into a whole new territory of comic book creation complete with comic artist humor, scintillating spies /slash/ love interests, and a much more creative CIA recruitment process than this writer previously suspected possible.
Cover #1 is fresh and page-turningly addictive
The art, from character building that is good enough to feel their very bones, to the sharp dialogue, to the insanely surreal artwork that echoes feeling, suspense and often transcends panels, is fresh and page-turningly addictive.
Cover #1 from Jinxworld by writer Brian Bendis, artist David Mack and colorist Zu Orzu truly captures the imagination of James Bond fans, artists, and comic con fans alike.
Both covers are so rad!
Both covers of issue #1, by David Mack and the variant by Zu Orzu, have readers floored.
Each encompasses the main characters Max and Julia in stark silhouettes filled with words.
These point to secrecy in the CIA and a nearly subliminal and powerful new dynamic between the recruiter and artist.
The colors in the book itself (and on the covers) by Zu Orzu bring amazing tones where pieces of color and story significance jump out at the reader.
And the father-son samurai flashbacks are absolutely gorgeous.
The father-son dynamic for Max is something that must be of extra importance to the character and must be further explored in the series.
The premise is fairly simple at the onset: a talented comic book creator, Max, who travels a lot to showcase his craft meets a fan of his, Julia, who purchases some of his original artwork and coyly states that she follows him online.
It is likely not a chance encounter.
We will not spoil anything.
But comic book creators can make for the perfect cover as operatives in an ever-volatile world where intelligence and counter-intelligence operatives tread dangerously.
Artist David Mack has worked with the US Embassy to volunteer his art and mentoring to help youths across the globe after all.
He certainly has insight and perspective and has been collaborating with writer Brian Michael Bendis to birth Cover for years now.
Cover #1 is the launch of another creator-owned gem from Jinxworld
Cover #1 is the launch of another creator-owned gem from Jinxworld and with an award-winning team like Bendis and Mack at the top of their games, not to mention artist Zu Orzu’s accentuating colors, readers are hungry for Cover #2!
The Sandman Universe 1 one-shot is riveting, visually visceral and stimulating, and features impactful storylines that merge for one hell of a tale.
Speaking of hell, Lucifer is in a bad state.
It seems he has a son, though impossible, and while the mysterious son seeks to destroy his father’s new sense of humanity, mortality, and mantra of hope, despite a potential wheel of fate forcing Lucifer to relive his pains over and over, Lucifer is off to find the mother of his child.
Lucifer’s bar is in shambles, as is his state of mind, his world, and his ravens (all but one at least).
And Dream’s raven (not Lucifer’s) has possibly the best line in the book when referring to Lucifer and his current predicament:
“It couldn’t happen to a nicer guy . . .”
The Sandman Universe 1 has many familiar faces, though Lucien is losing his memory and the Cain and Abel murders are helping to hold back the entire universe of Dreaming from cracking at the seems.
Daniel, Dream of the Endless, is gone.
And Lucien charges the all-knowing raven with finding him to help them save their increasingly brittle dreamscape.
The raven crosses dreams and stories in his search.
Another familiar face the raven flies over is Tim Hunter.
This sharp story sticks out immediately.
Tim’s life as a teenage magician living in the real world offers all kinds of complications.
Getting up late, showing up at school late, and finding your book blank when you go to read aloud in class is scary.
Finding out that your new teacher knows your secret and has plans for your magic is even more alarming.
What Tim does not know, but the raven sees, of course, is that Dr. Rose, with her scarlet scarf, has bloodily murdered Tim’s old teacher in his office with a fountainhead pen to the ear.
The Sandman Universe comes from master storyteller Neil Gaiman whose original work on Sandman has been nothing short of groundbreaking.
He is working with the talented writers of four new titles to come from the Sandman Universe.
The Sandman Universe 1 introduces the overall state of Dream, Daniel, and the Dreaming.
Because the raven knows, he hones in on Daniel in a city dressed as a teenager in Converse All Stars (donning white threads, of course), but he misses him before getting to speak to him.
It was like he had him and could not remember the Dream . . .
The Sandman Universe 1 story is by Neil Gaiman, and Simon Spurrier, Kat Howard, Nalo Hopkinson and Dan Watters write the yarn here as they set up their upcoming titles.
The illustrators of The Sandman Universe 1 are Bilquis Evely, Tom Fowler, Dominike “Domo” Stanton, Max Fiumara and Sebastian Fiumara.
Daniel does not want to be found. Has he given up his post as Dream?
At the end of the credits in The Sandman Universe 1 we get a post-credits scene if you will:
The Story Continues In . . .
The Dreaming #1 that comes out on 9/5/18, The House Of Whispers #1 coming out on 9/12/18, Lucifer #1 out 10/17/18, and Books Of Magic #1 released on 10/24/18 (just in time to get your magic up and running before Halloween).
Get ready for a journey through anything and everything dreams car offer and all while the infinite realms possibilities of the Dreamscape are unraveling!
Go grab a copy from your LCS, mine is Red Shirt Comics, before all of the coolest cover variants are gone!
“Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman Universe 1 Unravels Dreaming” was written by R.J. Huneke.
“Minky Woodcock: The Girl Who Handcuffed Houdini Interview” by R.J. Huneke is the first in a series of articles resulting from our interviews with the creators at New York Comic Con 2017 and discusses the classic mystery graphic novel from Hard Case Crime and Titan Comics.
Cover Art By Robert McGinnis
Based on facts and questions surrounding Harry Houdini’s bizarre death in 1926, Minky Woodcock: The Girl Who Handcuffed Houdini is an imbued look into a female private detective taking on a whopper of a first case from long-time Houdini friend Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
The vibrant history, the tenacious protagonist Minky Woodcock, and the stunning aspects of the art make this book a classic.
Impactful surprises, intricate looks into character personalities, and a fully-fledged and almost surreal world is built to exude the many mysteries of the day.
*The following MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS for Minky Woodcock ISSUE 1*
Renowned artist Cynthia von Buhler had me on page one of Minky Woodcock: The Girl Who Handcuffed Houdini.
The graphic novel’s first page has two panels: one remarkable overhead shot of Minky at a typewriter CLICK clicking away in a letter to Agatha Christie about their meeting at Minky’s mother’s funeral, which takes up all of the left side of the page, and the sub-panel to the right tying two images top-to-bottom of the funeral and furthering along the letter telling of Ms. Christie knowing Benedick Woodcock, a private investigator and Minky’s father.
The character of Minky is already established as both ambitious and a member of an interesting family and family business.
The sound of the writing implement, the scarlet locks of Minky’s hair, down to her red nails on the keys in such a stark close-up and unique angle are vivid and intriguing, while on the sub-panel a subdued brown and black coloring scheme goes back in the past to the early twentieth century and a sad and poignant funeral.
The art is utterly spell-binding and unique as it emanates the Roaring Twenties and the young woman who graces the next pages with a trench coat, a hint of bare leg, and a flask in her hand, as she still grieves for her lost mother, which had a great impact on her life.
Minky is not content to be a private detective’s secretary (her father’s request) when she can be one herself.
A case presents itself in her father’s absence, as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wants Minky to investigate Harry Houdini, and she smartly says that she can take the case without arousing suspicion, which her father – a well-known P.I. – might very well attract.
Doyle aks Minky to join him for a séance with world renowned Margery, who he says is “adept at manifesting spirit ectoplasm from her orifices.”
This is historically accurate, and it is portrayed with all the zeal that a talented nude spiritualist can bring to a séance for society’s high rollers.
What is overlying all of this . . . a piece of tragic history:
On Halloween of all days, October 31, 1926, Harry Houdini died of very mysterious and suspicious circumstances, and though this is not touched on in the first issue, I suspect Ms. von Buhler’s tale does so as it progresses.
The rich depth of Minky and the portrayal of famed author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle are posed, depicted and brought to life through an innovative use of art that is invigorating.
I succinctly asked artist Cynthia von Buhler about this:
R.J.H. – ‘I love your style [in this book].’
C.V.B. – ‘I’m doing more drawing it and ink [on paper] and color on the computer . . . this is my drawing style.’
Cynthia added that she was lucky to have Pearls Daily to model for the character of Minky.
C.V.B. – ‘She’s [Pearls is] great because she’s posing . . . she’s like that all the time.’
And with that Pearls, donning her detective’s trenchcoat did a little twist of her leg in a pose on the floor of New York Comic Con after the Minky Woodcock: The Girl Who Handcuffed Houdini signing.
Pearls Daily’s acting abilities helped to give life to the vivacious rendition of Minky Woodcock that Cynthia von Buhler puts on the page masterfully, and you can see it from panel to panel throughout the piece as Minky struts into the ritzy home for the séance, as she deftly grasps a martini glass, and as she flees the scene in a tight and curvilinear dress.
What is Minky running from exactly? Her mother’s ghost?
Well I leave that to you, the reader, to find out!
Get down to your local comic book shop and pick up this book, it just came out this week, before it sells out forever.
I will be scouring my LCS, Red Shirt Comics, for whatever variant covers are left on the shelf.
And check out all of the beautiful cover variants. The alternatives are stark in contrast from Charles Ardai’s photograph of Pearls Daily as Minky, to Cynthia von Buhler’s cover, to David Mack’s portrait, and last but not least to a legend that Cynthia spoke on with reverence:
C.V.B. – This cover [she said holding up the cover bearing Margery] is by Robert McGinnis . . . he’s ninety years old and he’s doing this style of painting for years in the James Bond movie posters . . . and it’s such an honor for him to do this cover.
All of the covers are unique and excellent views of the book, and the Robert McGinnis cover seems to pull you to it, as though it were magnetic.
The biggest qualm with this issue is that there is not enough Houdini (though he does pass through a wall briefly). But he is almost certainly lurking not far from Minky’s investigation in the future pages to come.
The hardcover graphic novel for Minky Woodcock is soon to be held!
And in the meantime check out the evidence and real history that was used in creating Minky Woodcock’s tussle with Houdini, Doyle, and the séance craziness of the time at minkywoodcock.com.