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Graphic Breakdown: ‘Archie V.2’, ‘X-O Manowar V. 12’, ‘Empress #1-7’, & ‘Cages’

Welcome back to Graphic Breakdown!

Very excited to talk comics today…let’s get started!!

61ndx2vzatlArchie Vol. 2

(Collecting issues #7-12)
Written by Mark Waid
Illustrated by Veronica Fish and Various
Published by Archie Comics

I just am in love with this title. Mark Waid is writing some of the best Archie stories I have ever read. He continues with this volume.

I’ll confess: when I got this I read it from cover to cover. It’s so cool and the entertainment value is huge.

This book follows the fallout of the relationship Archie and Betty once shared. It shows the two trying to reconcile and become friends. It’s funny, sweet, and endearing. From start to finish I was immersed in this world and didn’t want to leave it.

The story in #8 concerning Archie’s father may have been the best Archie story ever. I read that twice.

Waid continues to soar on this title. It’s like he reinvented himself completely writing this.

The art is pretty slick too…modern yet respectful.

If you haven’t read Archie yet, pick up Volume 1 and then pick up this book. I am so happy to read it and cannot wait for Volume 3. Bravo!

RATING: A

 

stl021868X-O Manowar V. 12: Long Live The King

(Collecting issues #47-50)
Written by Robert Venditti
Illustrated by Joe Bennett and Robert de la Torre
Published by Valiant Comics

Robert Venditti finishes up his impressive run on this title with this arc, one of the best in the series. This has been a great 50 issue run. Kudos to Venditti for writing them all and making the whole thing pretty excellent.

The story for this goes like this:

They’re here! The Torment – a world-devouring race older than history itself ― has arrived on Earth.

And now, all that stands between our existence and complete annihilation is Aric of Dacia, heir to the Visigoth throne and wielder of the X-O Manowar armor!

But as the Torment unleash a wrath unlike anything the galaxy has seen, even Earth’s most powerful protector will find himself hopelessly outmatched. With humanity standing on the brink of extinction, X-O Manowar must turn to his greatest adversary for help – the savage Commander Trill!

Folks, this was a great series of books. Action packed, thrilling, with great characters. Pick up all 12. You owe it to yourself to read one of the best runs in recent years.

RATING: A-

 

empress-cover-1_0Empress #1-7

Written by Mark Miller
Illustrated by Stuart Immonen
Published by Marvel Comics

Oh, Mark Millar. He always finds a way to make a new series exciting and accessible. And this was great. I reviewed individual issues but now that they are all out I figured I would review them all.

And I’m glad I am…this is pure awesomeness.

Imagine you’re married to the worst bad guy from your favorite sci-fi movie.

An alien dictator feared throughout the universe, who will kill you if you leave, but you need to escape for the sake of your three children.

All you have are your wits, your bodyguard, and three guns.

And so the adventure begins.

This book moves at a quick place and never lets up.

The writing is Mark Millar at his finest. The art is Immonen at his best. It’s exciting, exhilarating, and just one of the best from Millar’s factory.

Mark Millar has done it again. He really has. Give him props. Pick it up. It succeeds on all levels.

RATING: A

 

BURIED TREASURE:

15031Cages

Written and Illustrated by Dave McKean
Published by Dark Horse Comics

In my estimation, this is the last great book Dave McKean ever did. And what a book!

Ever since it’s completion, his work leaves me cold, whether it’s children’s book or books with prose.

This however, is a great accomplishment.

But what the hell is it about?

Well, that’s the thing: you can’t really put it in a category. You actually have to just read it and experience it.

Basically the story is pretty simple: a painter, a writer and a musician who live in the same apartment building find their lives intersecting.

But the book’s gradual shift from literalism to fanciful allegories and stories-within-stories mostly serves as the springboard for a visual tour de force.

This is a book with a hell of a lot of heart and emotion in there. McKean has never been better than he is here. Panel after panel, everything is just beautiful. The writing is a tad overwrought, but that is a small price to pay. This is brilliance through and through and if you don’t have it? Ask for it for the holidays. And then pore over it like I have so many times over the years.

RATING: A

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