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.
Soviet Daughter: A Graphic Revolution: two moving life-stories are encased in a graphic novel memoir by Julia Alekseyeva that intertwines her life as a Jewish immigrant and refugee living in Chicago with that of her great grandmother, Lola, whose birth in 1910 outside Kiev would pit her against revolutions, civil war, the Holocaust, and the rise and fall of the Soviet Union.
Oftentimes there is a member of your family that one connects with on a deep level.
Sometimes no one else but this special person understands you.
For Julia Alekseyeva, Lola was that special family member.
Living to be 100 years young, Lola left behind a loving family that had moved to the US as refugees from Kiev, and she also left behind a memoir that her great granddaughter Julia found and decided to bring to life with vibrant art and a deeply poignant look at her own life and relationship with her great grandmother, Lola, whose overcame incredible life obstacles in Eastern Europe for nearly a century.
Though the tumult of the pre-, present-, and post-Soviet Union era is exciting, frightening, and painful to witness through the eyes of the Jewish woman who grew up and lived through it all, the stories of both her and Julia resonate here for two very important reasons:
First, the art by Julia Alekseyeva is remarkable.
Using her own way to take the comic strip and comic book mediums she makes each page stand out, with strong emotion in the faces, in the weaving of different panels, almost like looking back on past dreams, and the overall detailed scenery, inside and outside, gives the reader a vivid sense of what is going on and why it is important to the two figures.
Second, the writing in Soviet Daughter: A Graphic Revolution in its subtlety resonates deeply.
Like many of the ups and downs of the region, Lola experiences stark terror and poverty, stability and success, in waves, while Julia grows up with much more perspective than many of her fellow Americans.
The horrific way Lola, as a child, witnessed her father nearly get killed for being Jewish during a nationalist pogrom is one instance.
The way Julia is scared of Germany and Germans until grad school because of her grandparents that lived through WWII and her grandfather who sang marching songs that spoke of bayonetting Germans and fascists is another.
This speaks to the times, to the people who have to live in such times, and to difficulties we all experience through our feelings of the ripples caused by the times of our lives.
At times the reader’s heart aches to hear things like the young newly married Lola, in 1930-1933, who had to survive consuming only a cup of hot water with a sugar cube and a piece of bread for breakfast because they could barely support themselves, like most around them.
The insightful look into these two amazing women’s lives set amidst a riveting account of history as they experienced it is truly remarkable.
OUTRUN This Cyber Punk Future Car Chase From Aces Weekly 10/10 rated, reviewed and rasterized by POWkabam.
OUTRUN by Matteo Filippi and Marco Morale is a claw into your seat thrill ride into the grim future!
There are a few vague similarities to Tank Girl here, in that we are in a post-apocalyptic future where areas outside of major cities, or the cities themselves, are ravaged from war, but that ends them.
OUTRUN is utterly unique in its bright, visceral style.
The art and writing take on cyber punk, burgeoning tech that is still shaping the future and one hell of an upgraded muscle car named Gyro – possibly a 68 Camaro RS merged with a 60’s Chevelle – complete with a stick shift, voice command, and a clutch pedal!
After the deadly events of the film Aliens, the spaceship Sulaco carrying the sleeping bodies of Ripley, Hicks, Newt, and Bishop is intercepted by the Union of Progressive Peoples. What the UPP forces don’t expect is another deadly passenger that is about to unleash chaos between two governmental titans intent on developing the ultimate Cold War weapon of mass destruction.
What could be more deadly than weaponized Xenomorphs after all?
How do you test this germ warfare?
How about on an enclosed space station where the inhabitants are trapped as government factions threaten war over the alien weapon.
The art is fantastic! It is eerie and reminiscent of the first Alien movie while giving it its own feel.
The dialogue and scenes are all top notch so far, not that writing is much of a concern when William Gibson is at the helm.
The suspense is building along with epic stakes and gory realities through the first two comic books, and I cannot wait for more!
ALIEN 3 THE UNPRODUCED SCREENPLAY
William Gibson, Johnnie Christmas
“ALIEN 3 THE UNPRODUCED SCREENPLAY: William Gibson’s Vision” was written by R.J. Huneke.
What can Bruce Wayne possibly do to contend with a Batman who always wins, laughing all the way, no matter the cost?
THE BATMAN WHO LAUGHS 1 was created by Scott Snyder [Writer], JOCK [Artist], David Baroni [Colors], Sal Cipriano [Letters], JOCK [Cover], Greg Capullo & FCO Plascencia [Variant Cover].
The story is chilling from start to close.
The artwork contains a classic depiction of the dark knight in blue-gray, and he is nearly always draped in shadow, like a ninja, amidst ominous sunset tones and cityscapes.
The differences are subtle but intriguing, the tale mysterious, bloody, and thrilling.
There has never been a Batman book quite like this.
The following look at this grisly tale, THE BATMAN WHO LAUGHS 1, contains **Spoilers**
What begins the comic is a heart warming tale of a four-year-old Bruce running to break past his parents and Alfred’s linked arms amidst all of their resounding laughter.
And then we are onto a rampaging runaway caravan of armored houses being trailered over a bridge and out of Gotham.
Batman has to save the lives of the citizens plowed over while figuring out a way to stop the exporting of Gotham’s dead Jane and John Doe’s.
Amidst the chaos, Scott Snyder adds the greatest Bat-joke this writer has ever heard when he tells Alfred the Batman Insurance Funds should be called ‘Dark Knight Returns’ in a nod to rank Miller’s book of the same name and Sean Gordon Murphy’s Emergency Bat Fund from The White Knight.
A badass Bat-tricycle, a one-handed-throw of three batarangs, and some bone crunching moves make for a grand kickoff.
But when the Batman gains access to the bodies, he comes upon a corpse of Bruce Wayne.
This Bruce is his exact duplicate and an autopsy reveals that it is indeed he, down to the scars, except that this body is devoid of all the marks from Batman injuries that took place after Bane’s back breaking occurred.
Meanwhile, The Grim Knight, a gray, gun-laden Rambo of a Batman breaks into Arkham and stabs skulls and kills guards and inmates alike as he approaches the Joker.
But the dealing blow does not fall to him, but rather to the Batman Who Laughs, bearing a chain in one hand and an enormous ax, which he uses to split the Joker’s skull.
And Batman is onto him.
He even warns Jim Gordon of the ramifications of a world destroying version of himself from the dark Multiverse.
But he has no idea how to go about stopping this psychopathic, albeit more humorous, embodiment.
Batman does some good old fashioned Gotham detecting and discovers the dead Joker was a decoy.
He locates the real one as he shows up at the Batcave.
The Joker is granted access by the Batman offering him protection.
A gun is brandished.
The Joker’s trick gun shoots himself and, as he dies, his heart releases Joker toxin so that Batman ‘can become him’, can become like the Batman Who Laughs in order to win.
And like when Bruce was a child, Alfred is no longer heard over the laughter.
POWKABAM Score For THE BATMAN WHO LAUGHS 1 = 10/10
Head down to your LCS and grab ’em before these books are sold out (Red Shirt Comics in Port Jefferson has got them for us Long Island’ers!)!
“THE BATMAN WHO LAUGHS 1 Review 10/10 HAHAHAHAHAHA!” 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.