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Graphic Spotlight – Motor Crush Vol. 1

Her name is Domino Swift and you’re going to want to hang on for the ride.

Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher, and Babs Tarr were a beloved terrific trio on their popular run of Batgirl. When the Rebirth era of DC Comics was announced and creative teams were being rolled out, these three were noticeably absent. Many readers were wondering where they were going and why did they leave? Turns out, they went to the land of Image Comics, where creators go to unleash their imaginations. What came out of them? Domino Swift and the extreme vivid world of Motor Crush!

Domino Swift’s story is one of badass battles. Except her battles are ones of extreme sports, painful secrets, and addiction. She’s addicted to a new drug known as Crush. She’s addicted to winning. She’s addicted to the possibility of losing and all that entails. She’s battling demons oftentimes can be beaten, you can only do your best to stay ahead of.

Motor Crush is sci-fi action adventure in a world built on adrenaline and filled with characters who are racing against for themselves, each other and who see life is a race that can either never be won or has to be won. The trophy? The finish line? The fame and fortune? Come find out what it all really means.

Oftentimes after working on major properties, creators are looking for an outlet to bring out stories they can’t tell for anyone else but themselves. Image has proven to be the home for creator-owned work. Fletcher, Stewart, and Tarr came to the land of the creator-owned with a world that felt like was revving to get out of them. A lot of the praise from critics and readers alike have gone to the artist. Babs Tarr is the star of the book, as she tackles some of the most daunting challenges in the comic book medium and makes it look effortless but elegant. Her style is now very often imitated but she’s been in rare form on this series.

If you’re looking for a vibrant, violent, and vigorous turbo boost to your reading pile then pick up Motor Crush.

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Graphic Spotlight – Justice League Of America: The Road To Rebirth

Say hello to the NEW Justice League of America!

Arguably the best part of the new Justice League of America series actually came before the book even had its first issue hit our shelves. Upon announcing the roster of the new team there were a lot of questions as to how the dynamic would work and it had promised to bring on characters that hadn’t been seen either much or at all since the New 52 continuity of DC Comics began back in the late summer of 2011. I mean, The Ray? Ryan Choi as The Atom had been teased in DC Universe: Rebirth #1 last year but hadn’t been seen or mentioned since. Vixen had been pretty much MIA and outside of a villain month one-shot, Killer Frost hadn’t been in the spotlight either. How were these characters going to get fleshed out and, more importantly, how the frack do they end up representing one of the most important teams in the DC Universe?

Now you can find out in Justice League of America: The Road To Rebirth, a collection featuring the one-shots spotlighting these very different metahumans as they’re about to be recruited for a higher purpose. DC touted this grouping as “the most diverse Justice League of America” and writer Steve Orlando has been the scribe to bring all of these combative personalities together. There’re plenty of highlights in this collection, particularly, in this reader’s opinion, the chapters on Ryan Choi becoming The Atom and The Ray’s fantastic backstory. Plus, see how Batman builds his new team with the JLA’s official Rebirth one-shot tying everything together. Sometimes, the journey’s really worth it and this is one such case.

Collects Justice League Of America: Rebirth #1, Justice League Of America: Killer Frost #1, Justice League Of America: The Ray #1, Justice League Of America: The Atom #1 and Justice League Of America: Vixen #1

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Graphic Spotlight – Moonshine Vol. 1

The team that brought you 100 Bullets is back with southern roots!

I’m a crime guy. There are certain contemporary writers that when their name is on a new crime book, I’m on the hook. Brian Azzarello is one of them. If you haven’t read 100 Bullets, what’s the matter with you? He and Eduardo Risso created a masterpiece for every fan of the genre to enjoy forever. Now, they’re back with a new story and under a new publishing banner.

Moonshine Vol. 1 is a collection of what we hope is merely the beginning of this epic prohibition era southern gothic noir. It’s a hardcore crime book about gangsters with a layer of horror on top. Moonshine is about Lou Pirlo, a “city-slick ‘torpedo'” that’s been sent from the Big Apple, New York City, to get a deal done with the best moonshiner in West Virginia. That moonshiner’s name is Hiram Holt and in this era where liquor could get you sent to prison, Hiram Holt is a king over a kingdom of his own making. Lou thinks he’ll take this country bumpkin for everything he has but Lou’s going to learn, in a real painful way, that Hiram Holt will do whatever it takes to protect his boozy operation and a bloody Holt family secret.

Do you like 100 Bullets? Do you like Southern Bastards? Do you like creators like Jason Aaron, Ed Brubaker, or David Lapham? Then you have zero excuses, especially at the reasonable price of $9.99 not to pick up this exciting new story from one of the most iconic comic book teams of the modern age.

Collects Issues 1-6

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Graphic Spotlight: Atomic Blonde

Blondes do have more fun…guns help, too.

Oni Press re-releases a gem of an espionage thriller, Atomic Blonde, that you need to stop and gawk at for a few minutes this week. Yeah, that’s Charlize Theron on the cover, there’s a new movie coming out that’s got a badass trailer for it. But that’s all window dressing to get your eyes to stop on this title and appreciate what’s before you. If you’re a crime and spy genre enthusiast like me then you need to pay bloody attention.

It’s November 1989. The Berlin Wall is getting ready to fall. MI6 spy Lorraine Broughton has been sent to Berlin to investigate the death of another agent and track down a list that would reveal the names of every operative working there. Lorraine’s returned from the formerly titled coldest city of the Cold War to tell her tale and what she has to say is shocking.

Double crosses, assassinations gone wrong, bodies popping up where they shouldn’t be and enough twists to knot you into a pretzel layer this spy thriller. If you’re looking for a straight up adrenaline rush that’ll make James Bond blush and Jason Bourne want to forget everything all over again, congrats because this is the read you’ve been wanting. It’s not about reinventing the wheel of what makes a great spy thriller, sometimes it’s a treat to experience an excellent execution of the basics, with some twists of course. Why are you still reading this? Don’t you see Charlize Theron’s on the cover? Pick it up or face the wrath of Furiosa!

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Graphic Spotlight: Bloodshot USA

In Jeff Lemire we trust!

It’s rare for a writer to go back-to-back for our Graphic Spotlight but Jeff Lemire’s a rarity. Last Wednesday he returned to his roots with the intimate and epic Roughneck. This week, Jeff Lemire builds to a crescendo of his two years writing Valiant’s super soldier with Bloodshot USA.

For those of you die-hard Jeff Lemire fans who haven’t been following his run on Bloodshot Reborn, you might have been missing out on the best book he’s been crafting on a monthly basis. A treatise on violence in america within an impossible redemption tale, Bloodshot Reborn has showcased an octave of Lemire’s voice unlike anything else he’s done in his prolific career. Fortunately, any reader can pick up his biggest Bloodshot story yet.

The most dangerous virus is a weapon created by Project Rising Spirit. Now this virus has been unleashed on New York City. It can turn the frailest of civilians into an army of indestructible soldiers. This end of days pathogen is meant to destroy enemy nations from the inside out and it’s turned on a city of eight million people. It’s designed to recreate Project Rising Spirit’s crowning achievement up to this point in any man, woman, or child: Bloodshot.

Who released the virus turning millions into unstoppable killing machines? Only one person can find out the answers, Bloodshot himself. He must go on the greatest mission of his life and invade native soil in order stop a pandemic that could topple governments around the world if it escapes New York.

Jeff Lemire continues his hot streak and is joined by a top-of-his-game Doug Braithwaite to tell one of the most ambitious and high stakes story since Valiant returned to comics five years ago.  A couple things are for sure: there’ll be traffic on the tunnels, the L train won’t be running, and you’re in for one bloody hell of a good time.

Collecting BLOODSHOT U.S.A. #1-4 and BLOODSHOT REBORN #0.

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Graphic Spotlight – Superman Vol. 2: Trials of the Super Son

Superman continues to soar in Superman Vol. 2: Trials of the Super Son

The DC Rebirth trade paperbacks continue to come out at a surprisingly consistent pace. While there are some once-monthly titles that we’re awaiting their first collections of, the twice monthlies are beginning to release their second waves. Why not start that second wave with the first of the first? The birth of the Super Sons in the post-New 52 era of DC Comics begins here! Superboy! Robin! Teaming up and leading into one of DC’s best current titles on the shelves.

Truly, one of the great core books since the DC Rebirth publishing initiative began has been Superman. No, that’s not a typo. Superman is good again. Heck, a lot of the time, Superman is great again. It’s the best Supes stories fans have had, arguably, since Geoff Johns’ run a decade ago (but who argues about such things about comics?). As crazy as it sounds what has made Superman relevant hasn’t been epic clashes with Doomsday or Lex Luthor. It hasn’t been depressive episodes about the responsibilities of his powers to the greater world. It hasn’t been about hiding his identity from Lois Lane or worrying about saving her every issue. No, it’s Jon Kent, Superboy, the first son of the Last Son of Krypton.

Superman has grown into Pa Kent and that has allowed the team of Peter J. Tomasi, Patrick Gleason, Doug Mahnke, and now additions in Jorge Jiminez, Jaime Mendoza, Trevor Scott, Mark Morales, Christian Alamy, Keith Champagne, and Norm Rapmund, to explore what feels like fresh character-driven territory for the Man of Tomorrow. Tomorrow isn’t just about what his legacy might be anymore, his and Lois’ legacy will be Jon Kent and everything he does must have him as a consideration. As Damian Wayne has led to discovering incredible depths to his pointy-eared father, so too has Jon tugged on Kal El’s cape in a new way. Think I’m exaggerating? Pick up this read and prove, me, wrong!

Collects Superman Issues 7-13

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Graphic Spotlight – Black Hammer Vol. 1: Secret Origins

What happens when the world’s greatest heroes are trapped on a farm?

Okay, so that seems like a bit of a crazy setup, right? Well, it is and it isn’t. The first collection of writer Jeff Lemire (Royal City, Descender, Bloodshot Reborn), artist Dean Ormston (The Sandman), and colorist Dave Stewart (Hellboy), brilliant new series, Black Hammer,  has at last arrived. Here’s your choice to get to know the mysterious past of the heroes of Spiral City. In these first six issues you’ll learn more about Abraham Slam, Golden Gail, Colonel Weird, Madame Dragonfly, and Barbalien! Get glimpses of what happened ten years ago that forced them into seclusion on a timeless farming town where they lead simple lives including dinner parties the likes of which you’ll never forget. As they attempt to free themselves from this pastoral limbo, a new outsider will force them back into one heroic action, perhaps, for the last time.

The creators will take you on a whirlwind tour-de-force of character-driven storytelling. There’s so much love for superheroes in this series while at the same time Lemire, Ormston, and Stewart are fearless in offering twists on all the familiar tropes. Your expectations about who these heroes are and were will be exploded and rewarded. The plotting is structured in such a way as to keep you guessing but without feeling as though anything is unearned. Everything you love about heroes is in here and everything you’ve come to be weary about the genre is addressed. There’s almost nothing you can’t enjoy about this series.

Evoking classic tales of 1950’s superheroics and still presenting a “family” of compelling characters, this may be the best new superhero universe in years. If you’re looking for a book to rekindle your love of what superhero comics are capable of, then read Black Hammer. ‘Nuff said.

Collects issues #1–#6 of the series.

 

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Graphic Spotlight – BATGIRL VOL. 1: BEYOND BURNSIDE

Batgirl’s world tour starts here!

No corner of the DC Universe hasn’t been touched by the events of Rebirth. For most all of DC’s titles it’s been an incredible fresh slate, not a reboot, but a new point to jump on and take the characters towards stories that feel earned, logical, self-contained without being disconnected, and delivering some the strongest stories from the publisher in a long time and on time. DC’s promise of a new direction for its characters in a way that doesn’t discount the last five years while still providing a new jumping on point for new or casual fans continues in the first collection of Batgirl’s newest adventures, Batgirl Vol. 1: Beyond Burnside.

Barbara Gordon’s return to the cape and cowl was met with great trepidation back in the old days (you know, 2011). Gail Simone wrote a three year story of healing, both physically and emotionally, grounding Barbara in overcoming the trauma that put her in a wheelchair for years of her life. It was a tricky line to walk and Simone began with a good jumping off point that grew into one of the best books DC was publishing. Then came the pop-tastic makeover by Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher, and artist Babs Tarr.

Barbara was given a neighborhood of Gotham to call her own, the eponymous Burnside. It was a fresh new take on Babs and her world, where she was a brilliant student and a superhero establishing her own independence from the Bat-family.

Now, New York Times best-selling creators Hope Larson (A Wrinkle in Time) and Rafael Albuquerque (American Vampire) will take Batgirl on a journey to elevate her skills. The trek will include stops in hotspots like Okinawa, Singapore, Seoul, and even Shanghai. Everywhere she goes, Batgirl’s life will be threatened by lethal warriors who all bear a mysterious mark indicating “The Student.” Which, of course, baits the question that if there are students, Batgirl will need to track down their teacher…

As Batgirl goes on her own international hunt for the leader of this mysterious group of fighters, she’ll improve her own skills and cross paths with legendary heroes. If you’ve been waiting for Barbara Gordon to ascend into the grander scale of the superhero community then the wait is over.

Collects Batgirl #1-6

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Graphic Spotlight – SNOTGIRL VOL. 1: GREEN HAIR DON’T CARE

Bryan Lee O’Malley‘s new series is #BuyMeNow

It’s finally here! Let’s face it, we’ve all kind of been spoiled with Bryan Lee O’Malley’s previous cult hits that include the never duplicated Scott Pilgrim series and his masterful OGN Seconds. Here’s a creator where we’re used to getting a big chunk of awesomeness at once but this time, O’Malley opted to do his first monthly series. At long last, the first volume if this #addictedtofabulous tale of Lottie Person is available in trade paperback form.

For those of you living in a superhero bubble, you’re probably wondering, “Who is Lottie Person?” That’s a rather complicated and, thus far, very fun question to answer. Lottie Person is an influential fashion blogger. She has a “[redacted] number of followers and is always on forefront of what’s hot and what’s not. As far as the digital world’s concerned, she’s the epitome of a fun-loving celebrity social media star. Every pic of her is fierce and fabulous. All of her [redacted] followers hang on her every post. Except the reality might be a little less glam-tastic. What the world doesn’t see is that Lottie suffers from ridiculously severe allergies. Which is what makes her the eponymous #Snotgirl. It’s a world of snot, blood, tears, and where nothing is exactly as it appears.

Mr. O’Malley’s brought on a newcomer for art duties in Leslie Hung. While some were at first a little disappointed that he wouldn’t be the one behind the pencils and inks, there’s no denying he’s picked a perfect collaborator to capture the complex and duplicitous world of Lottie Person.

Collects Snotgirl 1-5 for only $9.99!

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Graphic Spotlight: THE SHERIFF OF BABYLON VOL. 2: POW. POW. POW.

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Deals with the devil rarely go right. See how the web of terror and intrigue ends in one of 2016’s best received series.

Chris came to Iraq after the 2003 American invasion to recruit and train a new generation of post-Saddam police. The murder of a recruit forced the Florida cop turned military consultant into an investigation that tangled the old government, new government, the jihadist network, the criminal underground, and American military machine together in a surefire suicide mission. Fortunately, Chris wasn’t alone chasing down the killer amidst the layers of lies and hidden agendas.

Aided by a Baghdad cop, Nassir, and the politically savvy Sofia, Chris thought he’d found the people responsible for the crime. Now, with Nassir captured, the stakes are ramping up as one man’s murder has dug Chris and everyone around him into a much deeper hole. In the violence’s aftermath, everybody’s lost something and now a debt must be paid even if it’s in blood. They say never trust a deal with the devil. In Baghdad, those kinds of deals can be explosive.

Written by one of 2016’s breakout comics writers and CIA veteran Tom King (Batman, The Vision, Omega Men) and gorgeously illustrated by Mitch Gerads (Batman, The Punisher) THE SHERIFF OF BABYLON VOL. 2: POW. POW. POW. brings one of the decade’s most critically acclaimed series to its stunning conclusion. Collects issues #7-12.

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