Category: Reviews

Preview Review for the Week of 8/26/20: Broken Gargoyles #1

Preview Review for the Week of 8/26/20: Broken Gargoyles #1

Welcome to the latest installment of Preview Reviews.  This is where we give advanced glimpses at some of the comics that will be coming out this Wednesday.

Here at Pop Culture Squad, we are decidedly Anti-Spoiler.  We feel that ruining someone’s experience with something for the sake of getting a scoop or clicks is the wrong thing to do. Therefore, we have decided to publish this column, as necessary, with mostly spoiler-free reviews of upcoming issues.  Hopefully, the information that we share with you will increase your excitement for these books.

This week we feature Broken Gargoyles #1 from Source Point Press.

You can find it at your LCS on August 26, 2020 or on September 2, 2020. Comic shipping for Independent publishers in today’s world is still a little hit or miss.


Broken Gargoyles #1
Source Point Press
Written by Bob Salley
Art by Stan Yak
Colors by Marco Pagnotta & Robert Nugent
Letters by Justin Birch
Cover Art by Raymond Gay, Jeremy Clark, & Juan Fernandez

Original Solicitation:

In this Dieselpunk post-WWI mini-series, two men come home from the war scarred and forgotten. One man is looking for redemption as the other looks for revenge. Both are on a collision course toward each other and nothing can stop them.

PCS Review:

The world building in this book is well crafted. There are subtleties that are woven into the narrative that give the reader the right frame of reference to navigate how this interesting new world fits in our existing historical backdrop. The characters are intriguing, and Bob Salley does an excellent job of differentiating the voices of each character that is introduced. The story in this issue is built through various scenes of action and dialogue, and Salley and Stan Yak manage to produce a very good understanding of what this series is going to be about.

The art in this book by Yak with Marco Pagnotta and Robert Nugent is beautiful. The character designs have a strong influence on the tone of the book. The retro-futuristic setting is gorgeously rendered and adds an exciting aspect to the book.  The lettering by Justin Birch  is strongly executed and over all the production value of this book is very good.

This is a fun and intriguing story that we are looking forward to exploring.

Preview Review for the Week of 8/5/20: Atlantis Wasn’t Built For Tourists #1

Preview Review for the Week of 8/5/20: Atlantis Wasn’t Built For Tourists #1

Welcome to the latest installment of Preview Reviews.  This is where we give advanced glimpses at some of the comics that will be coming out this Wednesday.

Here at Pop Culture Squad, we are decidedly Anti-Spoiler.  We feel that ruining someone’s experience with something for the sake of getting a scoop or clicks is the wrong thing to do. Therefore, we have decided to publish this column, as necessary, with mostly spoiler-free reviews of upcoming issues.  Hopefully, the information that we share with you will increase your excitement for these books.

This week we feature Atlantis Wasn’t Built For Tourists #1 from Scout Comics.

You can find it at your LCS on August 5, 2020.


Atlantis Wasn’t Built For Tourists #1
Scout Comics
Written by Eric Palicki
Art by Wendell Cavalcanti
Colors by Mark Dale
Letters by Shawn Lee
Cover Art by Caspar Wijngaard

Original Solicitation:

Lovecraft meets Sergio Leone in a modern tale of corruption, family legacies, and nightmarish dread. Lucas Lewis drifts into Atlantis County, Oregon wanting nothing more than a hot meal and a soft bed for the night. What he finds instead is a small town in thrall to eldritch creatures lurking in the surrounding wilderness, possibly guided by an even more sinister force. Lucas becomes determined to eradicate all Atlantis’s demons, but these monsters are not what they seem. Unfortunately for the monsters, neither is Lucas.

PCS Review:

Continue reading “Preview Review for the Week of 8/5/20: Atlantis Wasn’t Built For Tourists #1”

With Further Ado #104: Johnny Dynamite Is Back

With Further Ado #104: Johnny Dynamite Is Back

Back in the day, I was a big fan of Ms. Tree by Max Allan Collins and Terry Beatty. I liked hard-boiled fiction (and still do), but this comic was different.  Somehow Collins and Beatty took everything that private-eye fans liked, jumbled it all up and delivered a new series that seemed fresh as a counterfeit sawbuck and as enticing as a nightclub singer’s over-the-shoulder wink.

Collins and Beatty developed a rapport with the readers, and soon we all began to understand the stuff that influenced their work on Ms. Tree.  Soon it become clear that it all started with the hard-boiled detective author Mickey Spillane, although there was a little Dragnet in there too.  They also revealed they were influenced by a 50s Private Eye comic series, Johnny Dynamite.

Johnny Dynamite was a character who – “ahem” – borrowed many of the attributes of Spillane’s detective, Mike Hammer. Ms. Tree comics reprinted the old Johnny Dynamite  stories, and the character Johnny Dynamite even ended up crossing paths with Ms. Tree. Eventually, Collins and Beatty created a new Johnny Dynamite mini-series (with great Mitch O’Connell covers).

And it’s taken a while, but now, in the summer of 2020, there’s an explosive new Johnny Dynamite collection just published by the good folks at Yoe Books. It’s a stunner.

I reached out to Max Allan Collins to provide some details: Continue reading “With Further Ado #104: Johnny Dynamite Is Back”

PANDEMIX Is the Comic Anthology You Need to Be Reading Today

PANDEMIX Is the Comic Anthology You Need to Be Reading Today

We are living and surviving today in a world with a virus that has changed so much of how we were used to living. It has affected everyone in America and most of the world whether you “believe” in it or not.

Talented artistic folks have invariably impacted significantly. While many artists were used to the working at home that has become the new norm for so many more, the world is different than it was pre-COVID19, and we knew that it would be only a matter of time before we saw creative expression of what the pandemic has wrought in comic form.

That time is now. We present to you PANDEMIX: Quarantine Comics in the Age of ‘Rona!! Available Today!!!

A group of nineteen talented artists and writers have come together to share their impressions of how they are seeing the world that we live in today. It is a wonderful collected anthology of comic goodness, but wait there’s more. This self published digital edition is available on Patreon , and all proceeds go to charity with donations to The Hero Initiative.

Continue reading “PANDEMIX Is the Comic Anthology You Need to Be Reading Today”

Everything We Read This Week – 7/15/20

Everything We Read This Week – 7/15/20

Welcome back to Everything We Read This Week. This is the place that we make our weekly trip through this week’s pull-list. It features mostly spoiler-free brief analysis and commentary of each book.

This week we read a bunch great comics.  We encourage you to go out (or order in) and find the comics you like, and remember, Read More Comics!!

We reviewed books from DC Comics, Vault Comics, Marvel Comics, Dynamite, AfterShock Comics, Boom! Studios, and Image Comics this week. There were plenty more good books out there this week but this list is all we have gotten through so far.

As always, we hope you might find what we say interesting enough to try some of these comics. Don’t forget we welcome comments on these and any other comics that you read. Feel free to leave a comment and get the conversation moving.

And here are the books we read in alphabetical order: Continue reading “Everything We Read This Week – 7/15/20”

Preview Review for the Week of 7/15/20: Engineward #1

Preview Review for the Week of 7/15/20: Engineward #1

Welcome to the latest installment of Preview Reviews.  This is where we give advanced glimpses at some of the comics that will be coming out this Wednesday.

Here at Pop Culture Squad, we are decidedly Anti-Spoiler.  We feel that ruining someone’s experience with something for the sake of getting a scoop or clicks is the wrong thing to do. Therefore, we have decided to publish this column, as necessary, with mostly spoiler-free reviews of upcoming issues.  Hopefully, the information that we share with you will increase your excitement for these books.

This week we feature Engineward #1 from Vault Comics.

You can find it at your LCS on July 15, 2020.


Engineward #1
Vault Comics
Written by George Mann
Art by Joe Eisma
Letters by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Cover Art by Eisma

Original Solicitation:

Earth is an ancient myth, long forgotten. Now, the word of the god-like Celestials is absolute, and they rule with brutal efficiency. When Joss, an Engineward, discovers and reactivates the head of an ancient ghoulem, she finds all is not as intended. Her destiny-and that of her world-lies somewhere far beyond the borders of her shantytown.

PCS Review: Continue reading “Preview Review for the Week of 7/15/20: Engineward #1”

Brainiac On Banjo #090: Powers Roughly Equivalent of God’s

Brainiac On Banjo #090: Powers Roughly Equivalent of God’s

Deep in the dark / I don’t need the light / There’s a ghost inside me / It all belongs to the other side / We live, we love, we lie – “The Spectre” written by Gunnar Greve, Jesper Borgen, Tommy Laverdi, Marcus Arnbekk, Anders Froen, Alan Olav Walker, and Lars Kristian Rosness, 2018

The comment expressed in our headline above was made by the fabled Jules Feiffer in his groundbreaking 1965 book The Great Comic Book Heroes. It was groundbreaking because Feiffer was the first to take the history and craft of comic books seriously — so seriously, in fact, that it was excerpted in Playboy.

The Spectre was created by Jerry Siegel, and if truth be told it’s probably my favorite of his creations — including the Big Red S. Feiffer was right: it’s a bitch to write a series where the lead isn’t really a “hero” and yet has, as Jules noted, powers roughly equivalent of God’s. And we’re not talking about the New Testament’s cosmic muffin — this is the Old Testament’s hoary thunderer, and The Spectre is his personal instrument of vengeance. Yup, the after-life might not be as sweet as you’d hoped.

I don’t know if the kids who were reading comics at the every end of 1939 were ready for that. Within two years the series was lightened up by a bumbling guardian angel called “Percival Popp, the Super Cop.” Think Frank Capra, but stupid. The Spectre became a founding member of the Justice Society, but when World War II ended he was out of the group, out of More Fun, and living off of Officer Popp’s police pension.

Still, the character made an impression and when Julie Schwartz was looking for another golden age character to revive after The Flash, Green Lantern, The Atom, and Hawkman, he chose The Spectre. That was odd, but with the arguable exception of Zatanna (or, really, her dad Zatara), The Spectre was the first character he brought back that Julie hadn’t edited during the Golden Age. Despite some decent scripts from Gardner Fox and artwork from the always amazing Murphy Anderson, it just didn’t click. The series was handed over to a relative newcomer named Neal Adams, who did some truly wonderful artwork, but it also did not find success.

But the guy still remained in the hearts of DC’s creative community. Editor Joe Orlando needed a new lead for Adventure Comics, so he brought in Michael Fleisher and Jim Aparo and let them go nuts. The Spectre took this “vengeance of God” thing to a fundamentalist level, and he would kill the bad guys with such creative cruelty that they might have made EC artist “Ghastly” Graham Ingles genuflect at his porcelain throne. It was great. And it lasted 10 issues.

Since then The Spectre has been floating around the DC Universe in all its forms, incarnations, and mistakes. Lots — and I mean lots — of A-listers handled his adventures, including my buddies John Ostrander and Tom Mandrake. They enjoyed one of the longest runs.

So it was with absolutely no surprise whatsoever that I stumbled across a DC Digital First thing called Ghosts. At first I thought that odd — thus far they hadn’t done resurrections of their mystery anthologies in their new digital line. Then I saw “Ghosts” was just another way of saying “The Spectre” and then I noted it was written by Dan Jurgens.

I really like Dan’s work, both as an artist and a writer. We worked together on Green Arrow for a long time, and instead of just leaving the series to do something new, he told me he was making a play to do Superman and, if he got it, he’d be moving on. As much as I liked Dan’s stuff — he and Mike Grell made a great team — he certainly earned the right to take a shot at the Man of Steel. I successfully fought back my overwhelming desire to mindfuck him into staying, although I did think about it. Dan did some remarkable work with the brightest of DC’s corporate jewels. Right now he’s writing Nightwing, and is damn good.

Dan, along with artists Scott Eaton and Wayne Faucher, did a fine job on the story. I don’t know if Ghosts is a one-shot or a play to resurrect The Spectre again, this time without having to resort to paper and staples. They were somewhat restrained in their story… if you compare it to the Fleisher / Aparo run. Then again, a head-on collision between two 10-car passenger trains would seem equally restrained.

DC has done a number of very entertaining stories in their almost-daily Digital First line, unburdened by a continuity that mutates as often as amoebas commit mitosis. Seeing The Spectre pop up in this format evoked a response characters rarely have when they cross his path: I was pleasantly surprised.

New Number Ones for the Week of 6/24/2020: Ash & Thorn, Bleed Them Dry, and Dead Body Road: Bad Blood

New Number Ones for the Week of 6/24/2020: Ash & Thorn, Bleed Them Dry, and Dead Body Road: Bad Blood

Welcome Back to NEW NUMBER ONES!

If you are new here, this column is designed to bring you reviews of new comic book series that came out this week. We will try to focus on independent and original series for the most part. This week we have three books for you. They are from Ahoy Comics, Vault Comics, and Image Comics.

You will usually find the books that we review in this space on our month list of New Number Ones. As the distribution of new comics is still getting underway, expect a monthly look ahead for July’s new series.

The books this week are all introducing massive conflicts that will threaten the status quo of the newly introduced protagonist. Interestingly, all three books feature a female badass protagonist.

This week we will bring you our thoughts on: Ash & Thorn #1, Bleed Them Dry #1, and Dead Body Road: Bad Blood #1

Check out the reviews below in alphabetical order: Continue reading “New Number Ones for the Week of 6/24/2020: Ash & Thorn, Bleed Them Dry, and Dead Body Road: Bad Blood”

Everything We Read This Week – 6/17/20

Everything We Read This Week – 6/17/20

Welcome back to Everything We Read This Week. It’s been a long time. Too long. This is the place that we make our weekly trip through this week’s pull-list. It features mostly spoiler-free brief analysis and commentary of each book.

This week we read a bunch great comics.  We encourage you to go out (or order in) and find the comics you like, and remember, Read More Comics!!

We reviewed books from DC Comics, IDW Publishing, AWA/ Upshot Studios, Albatross Funnybooks, AfterShock Comics, Boom! Studios, and Image Comics this week. There were plenty more good books out there this week but this list is all we have gotten through so far.

As always, we hope you might find what we say interesting enough to try some of these comics. Don’t forget we welcome comments on these and any other comics that you read. Feel free to leave a comment and get the conversation moving.

And here are the books we read in alphabetical order:

Continue reading “Everything We Read This Week – 6/17/20”

New Number Ones for the Week of June 17, 2020

New Number Ones for the Week of June 17, 2020

Welcome Back to NEW NUMBER ONES!

If you are new here, this column is designed to bring you reviews of new comic book series that came out this week. We will try to focus on independent and original series for the most part. This week we have two books for you. They are from Boom! Studios, and Image Comics.

You will usually find the books that we review in this space on our month list of New Number Ones. As the distribution of new comics is still getting underway, expect a monthly look ahead for July’s new series.

The books this week are both original series which is refreshing. There are so many fantastic ideas out there, and we are thrilled when new characters and stories are published.

This week we will bring you our thoughts on: A Man Among Ye#1, and Wynd #1 

Check out the reviews below in alphabetical order: Continue reading “New Number Ones for the Week of June 17, 2020”