James Hepplewhite's Comic Reviews

Reviewer For: Bleeding Cool Reviews: 54
6.5Avg. Review Rating

6.5
Alice in Leatherland #1

Jun 19, 2022

One hears every so often romance comics are dead. Perhaps at the absolute top of the Marvel and DC, they are, but romance is doing just fine at the scale that publishers like Black Mask and Iron Circus exist at.

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7
Amazing Spider-Man (2022) #1

May 8, 2022

Maybe writing one of these major properties is best compared to a cover song. Everyone already knows it, but the point is what a different artist adds or subtracts from the song. Romita Jr. is as safe a pair of hands as you can imagine, and Wells is well known to the Spider-Office already. Through that lens, 2022's Amazing Spider-Man #1 is a largely faithful cover executed well by a team of old hands. The tune's stuck in my head, and I never thought I'd say that about the Web-Head.

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8
Batman: One Bad Day (2022): Catwoman #1

Jan 1, 1970

Wilson leaves the reader with a fun philosophical question, the reveal of which would spoil you. In my dreams, DC would reunite the Batman – One Bad Day: Catwoman #1 team next year for another run. Maybe for a #2 in 2024?

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8.5
Blacksad: They All Fall Down Part 1

Aug 21, 2022

In short: Blacksad: They All Fall Down Part One is the good stuff. Savor it. Dark Horse hosts a preview here.

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7
Boys Run the Riot #1

Apr 17, 2022

I closed volume one wanting to know what would happen to Ryo and Jin. I think you will too.

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6.5
Boys Run the Riot #2

Jun 9, 2022

While everyone would like more pages and space to tell their story, four volumes are approachable for readers new to manga and also for more seasoned readers not looking for a 40 volume commitment. Gaku & Co. make the best use of their limited space, and Boys Run The Riot rewards readers swiftly. A review of the previous volume is available here.

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7
British Paranormal Society: Time Out of Mind #1

Jun 2, 2022

The reading experience of British Paranormal Society: Time Out Of Mind #1 is like putting on an old pair of slippers: It's comfortable and familiar. It's more difficult than it appears, but this team (which includes letterer and Mignola-verse veteran Clem Robins) makes it look easy.

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6.5
Captain America: Symbol of Truth (2022) #1

Jun 2, 2022

A panel from Captain America: Symbol Of Truth #1It's too soon to say anything meaningful about the series yet, but Captain America: Symbol Of Truth #1 is a strong start, and Onyebuchi's voice (aided by Caramagna) is distinctive. Here, we host a preview here that Rich Johnston dressed up as a potted plant to procure. (Spoilers: He didn't, but Jude needed to make word count.)

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8
Carmilla: The First Vampire (2023) OGN

Jan 15, 2023

Inspired by the gothic novel that started a genre, this queer vampire murder mystery is a mesmerizing tale of identity, obsession, and fateful family secrets by fan-favorite writer Amy Chu (Red Sonja, Netflix's DOTA: Dragon's Blood and fine-line illustrator Soo Lee (Ash and Thorn).

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8
Criminal (2019) #1

Jan 9, 2019

If, like me, youre an old hand, its more of what weve come to love Criminal for. If youre new, the team made this for you. Give it a try.

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6.5
Cyberpunk 2077: Big City Dreams OGN

Jun 9, 2022

Lord knows what's happening with the video game these comics tie in to, but Cyberpunk 2077: Big City Dreams stands on its own.

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6
Cyberpunk 2077: Blackout #1

Jun 17, 2022

Cyberpunk 2077: Blackout #1 can be compared to the Death card in tarot. In tarot, the Death card doesn't mean death exactly; it represents a significant change in your life. And that's the first issue of Cyberpunk 2077: Blackout. In Cyberpunk 2077: Blackout #2, presumably, Arturo will really have to live.

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7
Cyberpunk 2077: Blackout #2

Jul 25, 2022

Cyberpunk 2077: Blackout #2 continues the story of Arturo, the brain dance repairman with an unplayable debt due much too soon.

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7
Cyberpunk 2077: Where's Johnny OGN

Jun 9, 2022

Cyberpunk 2077: Where's Johnny ends abruptly with knowing laughter. If you like detective stories, you'll relish the comic.

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6.5
Defenders: Beyond (2022) #1

Jul 31, 2022

A page from Defenders: Beyond #1, courtesy of MarvelAnd that's enough, at least for now. Ewing's good at cosmic scale stories, and Rodríguez is a versatile artist with a keen eye, reminiscent of Marcos Martin's work. Bottom line: Defenders: Beyond #1 is a #1 that makes me want to read more from this team. If you'd like to be spoiled about who could join the Defenders in a comic with the subtitle Beyond, we host a preview of the issue here. Odds are the reveal won't surprise you, but you never know.

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7
Demon Days (2021): Mariko #1

Jun 26, 2022

Demon Days: Mariko #1 might be best described as a fairly traditional Japanese supernatural story with Marvel characters added for flavor.

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6
Doctor Strange (1968) #1

Jan 1, 1970

If McKay can keep Ferry drawing neat-looking demons and dragons, the ongoing series will be something to keep an eye on.

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8
Doctor Strange: Fall Sunrise (2022) #1

Dec 18, 2022

While art isn't a competition, it's easy to call Doctor Strange: Fall Sunrise #1 a highlight for Marvel this year.

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6
Entropy (2022) #1

Jul 5, 2022

A panel from Entropy #1Heavy Metal refers to Entropy as an event series, which might be what a publisher has to say these days. In plain language, Entropy #1 is a good cosmic comic that doesn't require knowledge of a gigantic universe to read or enjoy.

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7
Faithless: III #1

May 8, 2022

I believe Faithless III #1 maintains the strong standard of quality that the series is known for. Llovet's (who apparently colors and letters herself) has only gotten better at drawing since the first issue, and Brian Azzarello's dialogue remains as sharp as ever. However, little the Faithless series resembles the rest of the Boom! publishing catalog, I remain grateful Boom! publishes it.

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4.5
Fortnite X Marvel: Zero War #1

Jun 19, 2022

In Fortnite X Marvel: Zero War (2022) #1, the toys play nicely with each other, but the end result is an oversized issue that's somehow less than the sum of its parts. Maybe the best everyone can hope for is that the Fortnite player who bought the comic for the in-game cosmetic will read this issue between games?

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6
Ghost Rider (2022): Vengeance Forever #1

Sep 5, 2022

Ghost Rider: Vengeance Forever #1 is a fun, dumb comic. The issue is exquisitely realized from Avatar Press (who is Bleeding Cool's publisher) alum Juan Jos Ryp, who'se detailed and vile style is perfect for Ghost Rider: Vengeance Forever #1.

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6.5
Grim (2022) #1

May 15, 2022

If you can find a copy, give Grim a look. If not, give it a month or two for Boom to reprint the comic. There are many worse things than familiarity.

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6.5
Grim (2022) #2

Jul 24, 2022

A page from Grim #2Rich notes that sales are all the way up for Grim, and speculators notwithstanding, it's for a good reason: The comic is good and feels fresh. If Grim can keep up the quality bar maintained by Grim #2, Boom just might have a reliable hit on its hands. Boom hosts a preview of Grim #2 on its website, which includes all of the variant covers for the issue.

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6.5
Grim (2022) #3

Jul 25, 2022

Grim #3 is reliably good and consistently surprising. Often, a reader can kind of tell what's going to happen next in a series if they read enough comics or get an idea of three-act structure. While Grim is probably still a three-act structure comic, there's often something a reader can intuit. It's to the credit of Grim #3's team that's as scarce as possible. While it's not as oblique or as vulgar as Faithless (my favorite series from Boom), Grim is quickly becoming one of Boom's best series.

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6.5
Grim (2022) #4

Aug 28, 2022

And while Grim isn't my personal favorite series from the explosive publisher (that'd be the now-completed Faithless), it's a fine, reliable series nonetheless. Boom hosts a preview of the issue here.

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5
Gun Honey: Blood for Blood #1

Sep 5, 2022

Gun Honey: Blood For Blood #1 frustrates me because it's not consistent. If it was only a cheesecakey James Bond ripoff, it'd be easy to ignore. As it stands or, perhaps, relaxes, it's a brisk, action-packed read. As long as that's all you expect from Gun Honey: Blood For Blood #1, it'll reward you. Titan Comics' page for the issue is here.

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8
Heaven's Door: Extra Works OGN

May 1, 2022

The answer, apparently, is Ultra Heaven, which doesn't have an English language publisher. Hopefully, Last Gasp will take the plunge soon. Until then, open the door. You won't forget it.

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8
Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: Night of the Cyclops #1

Jun 15, 2022

Hellboy behaves as Hellboy should. He's stoic, willing to help out the little guy, with just a hint of being a smartass. In this case, it helps that the little guy is the literal most gorgeous woman in the world, but Hellboy's gone out of his way to help people far less attractive, and in the case of Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: Night of the Cyclops, he behaves no differently here. In an almost throwaway moment, Hellboy rejects a crown, even if it was a crown of leaves. Doomed, against gods, and new to the party, Hellboy puts himself in harm's way and tries to do the right thing. Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: Night of the Cyclops is a pleasure to read.

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6.5
Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: Time is a River #1

Aug 7, 2022

At this point, it'd be more surprising if a Hellboy one-shot wasn't a solid buy month in, month out.

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7.5
Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: Old Man Whittier #1

Jul 24, 2022

The story about this one shot is the same as the other self-contained stories: The artists are top notch, and the stories are always right for them.

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6
Hulk vs. Thor: Banner of War (2022): Alpha #1

May 22, 2022

Hulk Vs. Thor: Banner Of War is a fun comic. If Jude still calls Cates the bad boy of comics, then Hulk Vs. Thor: Banner Of War is that bad boy faithfully writing one of the oldest Marvel standards in the book. Rich put together an eleven-page preview here.

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5.5
Hulkling & Wiccan (2022) #1

Jul 24, 2022

A panel from Hulkling & Wiccan #1Marvel Unlimited feels like the right venue for these stories. They can get the issue out to readers quickly, and since the Young Avengers fanbase is already tech-savvy, they'll find Hulkling & Wiccan #1 (and stories like it) quick. There are downsides too. On Marvel.com, someone named Jasmine Alvarez is credited as the artist, whereas in the solicit and the comic, it's Jodi Nishijima. Whether that's an artifact of software error or human error, it makes the enterprise seem more fly by night than it ought to be. We host a preview of the comic here.

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4
Legion of X (2022) #1

Jun 15, 2022

There's no other way to put it: Legion Of X #1 arrives at the wrong time because of issues out of its control. Marvel, allegedly, is the world outside your window, and the disconnect between it and reality is too much to bear this week.

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7
Mind MGMT: Bootleg #1

Jul 25, 2022

It's worth underlining: Until this comic, the only Mind MGMT artist was Kindt (Kindt's daughter did a couple of panels in one issue), and Dalrymple's work on Mind MGMT: Bootleg #1 is strong enough that the transition between artists never felt jarring.

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7
Mind MGMT: Bootleg #2

Aug 21, 2022

While we apparently do not host a preview of Mind MGMT: Bootleg #2 (neither Jude nor Rich dressed up as potted plants or disguised themselves as Bothan spies), Dark Horse does, and you can read pages for yourself right here:

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6.5
Moon Knight: Black, White & Blood (2022) #1

May 16, 2022

Moon Knight: Black, White & Blood #1 is a strong start to the series. We host a preview of the issue here.

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5.5
Pearl (Dark Horse): III #1

Jun 16, 2022

Pearl III #1 has an explosive finish, but it's too little, too late.

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5.5
Pearl (Dark Horse): III #2

Jul 24, 2022

In Pearl III #2, a reader can see (or intuit) what writer Brian Bendis (and artist Michael Gaydos) do well: show character.

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7
Poison Ivy (2022) #1

Jun 19, 2022

Admittedly, there are a lot of backstories that went over my head, but Wilson makes it easy to follow along. The team makes a compelling first issue and breathes life into a tough character to imagine. Where it goes from here, only the team knows, but the premise makes the return of the rest of Gotham feel like a threat or a famous sword looming over Poison Ivy's head. Time will eventually run out, but until then, let's see how far she can get.

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6
Predator (2022) #1

Aug 28, 2022

It's been a while since a hard-edged adventure or war comic crossed my radar, and the cliffhanger to Predator #1 flips the script on Theta. It's probably best left to people who know the franchise better than me to speak authoritatively about the issue.

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6
Promethee 13:13 #2

Jun 26, 2022

Andy Diggle (Green Arrow: Year One, James Bond, The Losers, Hellblazer), Shawn Martinbrough (Thief of Thieves, Batman: Detective Comics, The Black Panther, Hellboy), Dave Stewart (Hellboy, DC: The New Frontier, The Umbrella Academy), and Jock (Batman, The Losers) bring you a psychological sci-fi horror comic full of alien conspiracy… Promethee 13:13 tells the thrilling fast-paced space drama leading up to the moments of September 21, 2019 at 13:13.

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6.5
Promethee 13:13 #3

Jul 25, 2022

A panel from Promethee 13:13 #3, courtesy of Ablaze PublishingPromethee 13:13 #3 is creepy and moody while also compressed. In an era where every arc is five or six issues, Promethee 13:13 resonates because it's quality over quantity. There's enough page count for the important elements, but not to linger.

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4
Punisher War Journal (2022): Blitz #1

Jul 24, 2022

It's difficult to recommend Punisher War Journal: Blitz #1. Medina and colorist Antonio Fabela combine for a couple of evocative panels, but it's too little.

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7
Rare Flavours (2023) #1

Jan 1, 1970

Credit: BOOM! StudiosIn short, Rare Flavours #1 Tasting Menu Ashcan achieves its goal of getting me excited for the series, which debuts this month. Rich notes that Boom locked the ashcan behind some pre-order silliness. If you can find it, Rare Flavours #1 Tasting Menu Ashcan is a neat little thing, but if you can't, no pressure.

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5
Shang-Chi and the Ten Rings (2022) #1

Jul 31, 2022

Shang-Chi And The Ten Rings #1 isn't bad, and some panels of Marcus To drawing kung fu are fun, but there wasn't a spark or a surprise. Not for me, this reviewer supposes. We host a preview of the comic here. Surprisingly, no snarky commentary from Jude or the preview bot. Maybe next time.

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7
Spy Superb #1

Jan 1, 1970

The Kindt drawn bibliography doesn't include too many comedies, but Spy Superb #1 is a fine start.

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6
Star Wars: Obi-Wan (2022) #1

May 22, 2022

The story of Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi #1, courtesy of Chris Cantwell, is essentially Obi-Wan writing his memoirs. The real story of Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi #1 is artist Ario Anindito's versatility.

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7
The Chuckling Whatsit OGN

Jan 1, 1970

One imagines Universal Studios looks at The Chuckling Whatsit approvingly or like a distant relative. If, like museums, there's the best way to view or read The Chuckling Whatsit, it's on Halloween, directly in the middle of a run of gothic monster movies, popcorn close to hand.

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6
The Lonesome Hunters #1

Jul 24, 2022

While it's a bit premature to say Howard's a coward, the first scene shows Howard freezing up during a raid. He was pressed into service by his father, and in the course of an attack on "paganist heresy," his father was stabbed in front of him.Crook's spectacular painted pages.A panel from The Lonesome Hunters #1, courtesy of Dark Horse ComicsLupe, an innocent, moody teenage thief, brings the series fully into modernity and out of Howard's head. More to say about what happens next, but as John Updike said, go easy on the plot summary. Jude previously covered The Lonesome Hunters #1 here.

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6
The Metabaron (2016): The Bastard & The Proto-Guardianess #4

Jan 1, 1970

Writer/director/ producer David S. Goyer (Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice) called The Metabarons: "The greatest work of graphic fiction ever produced," and it has sold millions of copies globally.

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6
The Roadie (2022) #1

Oct 30, 2022

Maybe The Roadie #1 is self-selecting? If you like demons, magic, and metal, you'll like The Roadie #1.

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6
Vampirella: Year One (2022) #1

Dec 18, 2022

Both art teams (Ergün Gündüz and Giovanni Tmpano with Flavio Disepnza) are solid. Apparently, a retelling of Vampirella's origins, Vampirella Year One #1 welcomed me into reading the series with open arms, so long as no one's making coffee.

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6
X-Men (2021): Hellfire Gala #1

Jul 25, 2022

a page from X-Men: Hellfire Gala #1, courtesy of MarvelSomething that did halt the flow of the issue was the inclusion of real-life celebrities. The inclusion of actual people who aren't politicians is a choice that has little upside and a large downside. That downside being there's now a non-zero chance the reader asks, "why is this person here" and ruins immersion. X-Men: Hellfire Gala #1 survives Jon Hamm's and Brian Posehn's inclusion, but it could've been avoided all the same. With a cursory knowledge of recent X-Men activity in the last couple of years, a reader can buy this issue and see the major throughlines of the story, and if they want to, come aboard.

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