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  • The Walking Dead TPB Volume 17: Something To Fear- A World Ruled By The Dead

    Review of The Walking Dead vol 17

    the walking dead vol 17SPOILER ALERT: I do my best to write spoiler free reviews, but this is an interesting situation. The next season of the television series is loosely based off The Walking Dead TPB Volume 17. The show runners don’t always treat events in the exact same manner as the graphic novel and I will try my best not to spoil the book, so it may even be a moot point, but be warned. Spoilers (maybe).

    In Volumes 14, 15, and 16 of The Walking Dead TPB, a horde of walkers breach the walls of Alexandria and threaten to overrun the gated community. Alexandria’s residents face down the horde and save their community. In the commotion, Carl is shot in the face and goes into a coma. The residents become restless and start questioning Rick’s leadership abilities. Rick quells the mutiny and the community begins the process of rebuilding.

    While scouting for supplies, Alexandrians meet a man named Paul Monroe who claims he is from a nearby band of more than 200 people, called the Hilltop Colony. Rick and the others go to scout out Hilltop, and find a walled community that appears even safer than Alexandria. The Hilltop folks warn Rick about a dangerous band of men, known as the Saviors and led by man called Negan, who take half of Hilltop’s food and supplies in exchange for “protection” from walkers and rogue agents.

    In The Walking Dead TPB Volume 17, Rick and crew encounter a group of the Saviors, who demand tribute from Alexandria. Rick refuses and the crew lays waste to all but one of the Saviors, sending him back to Negan with the message Alexandria will not bow. Mistake.

    Turns out, the Saviors are a much larger group than Rick anticipated, and their leader makes the Governor look like a school yard bully by comparison. When Negan catches up to Rick, he mercilessly beats one of Rick’s group to death with a barbed wire wrapped baseball bat while Rick and company are forced to watch helplessly. (This is where season 6 of the television show left viewers hanging.)

    Robert Kirkman spent the last three volumes, roughly 15 issues, setting up this punch to the gut. Just when it seems like Rick and company are making some headway, getting to a comfortable place where they can relax and pretend like the world is an okay place again, the hammer drops. All feelings of hope, optimism, and celebration that were left over from the recent victory over the zombie horde have disappeared. Once again, we’re shown that while the walkers are dangerous, the real monsters are still breathing.

    The Walking Dead television show picks back up on October 23rd. If you’re looking to get your fix in the mean time, The Walking Dead graphic novels are available through Volume 25. Go back to Volume 1 and start the series all over again, or pick up Volumes 17 and 18 to follow along with the current storyline.

    The Walking Dead TPB Volume 17: Something To Fear, Image Comics, released November 21, 2012, written by Robert Kirkman, pencils and ink Charlie Adler, gray tones Cliff Rathburn, letters by Russ Wooton, $11.99

    Review by Brendan Allen.

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  • Review: Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps: Rebirth #1 – One Ring to Rule Them All

    Review of Hal Jordan and the Green Lanterns Rebirth #1

    hal jordan green lantern corps rebirth #1I was looking forward to Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps: Rebirth #1 quite a bit before getting my hands on it. Sure, we may all have our favorite Lantern. Sure, it may NOT be Hal Jordan. But we all have a spot in our heart for that brash pilot who paved the way for the lantern corps to be what it is today.

    Right away, Venditti catches readers up on a little origin for new readers as well as where we have last seen the mighty Hal Jordan in his most recent book. As a reader who hasn’t read many lantern comics since the New 52 happened, this was greatly appreciated. Venditti quickly brings readers up to speed while still asking questions that would keep any reader turning the pages. All the while, Hal Jordan still holds on to that messiah complex that makes him so accessible to the every-man.

    Venditti gives his readers a preview of what is to come without letting too much slip in terms of spoilers. All we know as readers is that Hal is back in action, and he is connected to the rest of the corps in ways that will excited us as we dive further into the series. This issue promises us that yes, Hal will be at the forefront of the book, but we as readers also get to explore our favorite lanterns and their connections to each other.

    With Ethan Van Sciver delivering brilliant art as always, connecting the dots between Hal and the rest of the lanterns is going to be an epic ride if the series is going to be anything like this rebirthing issue.

    Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps: Rebirth #1, written by Robert Venditti, art by Ethan Van Sciver, and colors by Jason Wright. Published July 13, 2016.

    Review by Alex Mitts

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  • Review: Spider-Man Deadpool #8 – Patient Zero, I Presume?

    Spider-Man Deadpool #8 Review

    spider-man deadpool #8After taking a two-month hiatus, Joe Kelly and Ed McGuiness have returned! Two filler issues, guest authored by Comedy Bang! Bang! host Scott Aukerman and Gerry Duggan, author of the regular Deadpool series, were good (one was dead brilliant), but they broke up the continuity of this fantastic series that has sold out every issue. Spider-Man Deadpool #1 is currently in its 5th printing!

    Way back in Spider-Man Deadpool #5, Peter Parker was twice iced by Deadpool. Instead of going to hell, where ‘Pool expected, Parker ended up fighting for his soul against Mysterio’s manifestations of Gwen Stacy, Uncle Ben, and Doc Ock. DP, realizing his mistake in killing Parker (twice), arrived to help Pete fight his way out and ended up having to call in a favor with an old flame, Death, to get them both sent home. It turns out the whole setup was a ruse to get Parker out of his office at Parker Industries so that Patient Zero could sneak in, brilliantly disguised as Pete, in order to steal something.

    In Spider-Man Deadpool #8, get ready to see a darker side of Spider-Man. He has donned a sinister looking new suit, black with an angular red spider on the chest and back. Spidey is pissed, and has every right to be. He has figured out that the Degenerate Regenerate used friendship to blind him to the fact that he intended on killing Peter Parker all along. Though they still have to work together to fight Patient Zero, there is palpable tension between the pair, and the web slinger has some choice, pointed words for Deadpool. The only thing keeping these two from going at it at this point in the story is their shared intense hatred for Patient Zero.

    Joe Kelly and Ed McGuiness have delivered again. The script is on point. The artwork is brilliant. This is honestly my favorite series to read and review right now. I’m excited to know how this story will end, but I really don’t like that there are only two more issues planned for this title. With any luck, the suits over at Marvel will consider making this summer series into a regular ongoing title.

    Spider-Man Deadpool #8, Marvel Comics, released August 10, 2016, written by Joe Kelly, pencils by Ed McGuiness, Inks by Mark Morales and Livesay, color by Jason Keith, letters by VC’s Joe Sabino, $3.59

    Review by Brendan Allen.

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  • Review: Moon Knight #5 – Turning Chaos Into Gold

    Moon Knight #5 by Jeff Lemire & Greg Smallwood

    moon knight #5A hero with multiple personalities is trying to escape what may or may not be a mental institution while battling the Egyptian god that gave him his powers.

    If all of that sounds confusing, you’re not alone. Moon Knight has never been the most accessible hero. And it’s not the sort of thing we expect from Marvel with his demigods, billionaire heroes and voluptuous vixens.

    In writer Jeff Lemire’s hands, the book feels like a title from an independent publisher, not mighty Marvel. Instead of giving you straightforward answers about Moon Knight and his situation, he gives a partial answer, but then raises more doubts and questions. While that could come off as frustrating, in Lemire’s hands it’s gold.

    Amazing too is the issue’s artwork. Tapping four different artists, Moon Knight 5 takes us on a journey where each flip of the page brings the reader to a different reality with completely distinctive feels. As many colorists also contribute to the mood – giving you the feeling you’re reading four different – but amazing – books.

    As the last installment in the initial story arc, Lemire gives us a satisfying conclusion yet few answers. That’s no easy task, and sets up his challenge as he starts the second arc (where our hero will produce a big budget movie about Moon Knight).

    So if you are a fan of straightforward superhero storytelling, this is a title to skip. But if you are looking for a flawed hero, great writing and artwork as well as a mystery with more layers than an onion, Moon Knight may be your thing.

    Moon Knight #5, Marvel Comics, Released Aug. 3, 2016, Written by Jeff Lemire, Art by Greg Smallwood, Wilfredo Torres, Francesco Francavilla and James Stokoe, Color by Jordie Bellaire, Michael Garland, Francesco Francavilla and James Stokoe, Lettering by VC’s Cory Petit; $3.99.

    Review by Tom Smithyman

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  • Review: Chew #54 — Ray-Jack’s back: Enter Chog-mania!

    Chew #54 by John Layman & Rob Guillory

    Chew #54Mason Savoy is pissed, and understandably so. He’s gone to great lengths to convince Tony Chu why they should join forces to uncover the truth behind the bird flu cover-up. But not even a trip back in time to the Cretaceous period (see issue #53) can persuade Tony. Tony’s mind is made up: He is NOT going to work with Savoy, period, end of story. (Sheesh, you bite off a guy’s ear one time and he never lets it go…)

    As it becomes clear to Savoy that diplomacy isn’t going to work with Tony, he resigns himself to the fact that more extreme measures will be necessary.

    Meanwhile, Amelia continues to hit a wall with the ending of her celebrated sci-fi novel series. However, it isn’t writer’s block she’s struggling against—after all, she’s not conceiving the story so much as channeling it from an unknown source. After repeated attempts to circumvent the seemingly inevitable conclusion (The world goes kablooie!), she finally manages to channel a new one. However, this alternate ending isn’t any more auspicious, and leaves her with a particular sense of unease.

    Amelia calls Tony to relay her new premonition, but Tony’s not picking up—he’s working. There’s been an incident over at Montero Industries, and he and Colby have been sent to investigate. Ray-Jack Montero, genetically-modified food-turned-genetically-modified-creature tycoon, is back from his abbreviated prison stint, and is wasting no time making the most of his laboratory’s capabilities, adding to the Chog family such creations as the Chonco and the Orchog (take a guess…). However, when one of his researchers’ experiments goes catastrophically awry, Ray-Jack finds himself once again in hot water with the FDA.

    After wrapping up the Montero situation, Tony returns to his apartment, where he makes a disturbing discovery…

    Chew #54, Image Comics, released January 2016, written and lettered by John Layman, drawn and colored by Rob Guillory, $3.50.

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  • Review: The Rocketeer At War – Surprise! He’s Not Dead!

    Focketeer at War TPB

    The Rocketeer At WarThe retro story The Rocketeer at War is set in England. It’s 1942, the height of WWII, and the US Air Force continues to test out its Rocketeer jetpack, hoping to create an army of flying men. Then private Cliff Secord is pulled into the story after rescuing the comely pilot Roxy and thwarting a Nazi attack on one of the American bases. But this is WWII and the Nazis have their own secret army of flying men they’re trying to build, an army that will let the Third Reich spread across the planet and win the war.

    But mild mannered Cliff Secord has a secret: He is the original Rocketeer, and when his country asks him to resume his efforts on behalf of the Air Force, how can he say no? That his girl back home has signed up for the Women’s Army Corps (the “WAC”) is just a coincidence. He’s suiting up and back in the air, attacking the Axis powers both Japanese and German, while zipping and swooping like a bird. A bird with a machine gun.

    Of course the Rocketeer suit doesn’t work very well under water, which proves to be an issue. On the bright side, his hallucinations while running out of oxygen are at least entertaining. Problem is, when his WAC girlfriend Betty is kidnapped by the Nazi regime, Cliff is put in a bind because the last thing he’s going to do is put her life at risk. But he’s a patriot and certainly isn’t going to choose anything where the Axis might get the upper hand in the war!

    Fortunately he’s already dragooned some of his old Rocketeering chums from back the good ole US of A and together they might just come up with a solution that has Betty rescued, the Allies on top and the hated Nazis finding out that you just don’t mess with the US Air Force. No sirree.

    If you’re a fan of retro 40’s comics and stories, there’s a lot to really enjoy in The Rocketeer At War. It’s clear that artist Dave Bullock and writer Marc Guggenheim have done their homework with vehicles, fashions, even the weapons of WWII and the major battles (the action ranges all over the globe as the story unfolds), showing a deft nostalgic touch while remembering to keep story front and center. Turns out, this is your father’s comic book. And that’s a good thing.

    The Rocketeer At War, collecting issues #1 thru #4. Written by Marc Guggenheim, art by Dave Bullock, colors by Ronda Pattison, letters by Gilberto Lazcano, edited by Scott Dunbier. Published by IDW Dec 2015 thru April 2016.

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  • Review: Nightwing: Rebirth #1 – The Bird is Back!

    Nightwing Rebirth #1 by Tim Seeley & Javi Fernandez

    Nightwing: Rebirth #1When I first picked up Nightwing: Rebirth #1, I could almost feel how heavy the issue was with loose ends to tie up. Normally, I flip through the pages first to get an idea of what I’m getting myself into, and I realize that I am right. Nightwing: Rebirth #1 is going to answer all the questions I still had at the end of Grayson as well as give Dick Grayson a nice, warm welcome back into the DC Universe.

    The issue opens and gives avid bat-readers something familiar in a trip to the arcade with Damian. Though this makes me nostalgic for Morrison’s “Batman and Robin” series, it serves as the platform for Dick catching us up on our story as Damian becomes the surrogate audience.

    The issue does seem to rush cleaning things up a bit in Dick’s life by bouncing from loose end to loose end, but as a reader, this may be the best-case-scenario for how to handle all of the stuff the readers never wanted to see in Dick’s life anyway. In essence, this comic closes a lot of open doors in Dick’s life and lets us, the readers, and them, the writers, get on with how Dick Grayson should be.

    This issue turned out to be a fun little read, but this issue mainly exists to serve a purpose. This issue fills in gaps in stories that got out of hand and gets Dick back into the blue and black costume that readers know and love. Furthermore, this book also serves as a stepping stone and lets readers say goodbye to Agent 37 while welcoming back our old friend, the real NIGHTWING.

    Nightwing: Rebirth #1, written by Tim Seely, art by Yanick Paquette, and colors by Nathan Fairbairn. Published July 13, 2016.

    Review by Alex Mitts.

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  • Review: Lobster Johnson: Metal Monsters of Midtown #3

    Review of Lobster Johnson - Metal Monsters of Midtown #3

    Lobster Johnson Metal Monsters of Midtown #3The latest Lobster Johnson adventure concludes with a bang — not to mention a few “KRASH”es, “KRANG”s and “BOOM”s — as our hero once again goes head-to-head with the eponymous automatons. This time, however, he’s found a way to level the playing field, having located the secret control station for the decommissioned member of the robotic trio. Now in the virtual driver’s seat of the titanium titan, the Lobster heads downtown, where he finds one of the others waiting for him. What follows is a showdown of colossal proportions, with the two behemoth bots slugging it out while the intrepid Cindy Tynan gives the play-by-play from her mobile radio station.

    As the Lobster works the robot’s controls, we see his sanity begin to slip. This was a peril he knew of beforehand, that of becoming addicted to the mania that overtook Emin Aliyev and the other robot jockeys. When he begins speaking in a long-dead demoniac language, it’s clear he’s become possessed by the ancient Hyperborean spirits that authored this nefarious machinery. Will Johnson be able to win the day without losing his soul? Or will he degenerate into a “fiend” as Emin and his cohorts did?

    In the end, thanks to the help of his capable crew and his own off-the-cuff resourcefulness, the Lobster is able to put the kibosh on the massive mechanical menace, ruling out any loose ends by finishing the job in characteristic fashion: blowing things to smithereens.

    Lobster Johnson: Metal Monsters of Midtown #3, Dark Horse Comics, released July 27, 2016, written by Mike Mignola and John Arcudi, art by Tonci Zonjic, colors by Dave Stewart, letters by Clem Robins, cover by Tonci Zonjic, $3.50.

    Review by James Florence.

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    Review of Hadrians Wall #1

    Hadrian's Wall coverKyle Higgins, Alec Siegel, and Rod Reis launch an all-new sci-fi noir tale, set nearly 70 years in an alternate future in which the Cold War was ended through a joint space colonization effort between the U.S. and Russia.

    The story opens with the mysterious death of Edward Madigan, a worker for Antares Interspace, with ties to our protagonist, Simon Moore. Simon’s tasked to investigate this death on the labor ship, Hadrian’s Wall, located in an area with mounting hostilities. The story that begins to take shape has all the hints of intrigue, conspiracy, personal relationships, and seedy characters that are cornerstones of great noir tales.

    The book takes on a tone reminiscent of classic sci-fi films such as Blade Runner and Alien, while also delivering it’s own unique contribution in the form of ship design, fashion, and use of technology. The main character’s life seems to be more sterile and organized, which is at odds with the world around him that’s shown as more gritty and industrial.

    Hadrian's Wall page 1Hadrian's Wall page 2Hadrian's Wall page 3

    Kyle Higgins (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Batman Beyond) and Alec Siegel (Batman Beyond, C.O.W.L.) work great as a writing team. The dialogue seems to bounce with ease from character to character. The pacing of the panels is done with precision. And most impressively, the quiet moments in space are beautiful, lonely, and terrifying.

    Rod Reis (C.O.W.L.) delivers beautiful visuals that, even when full of blood, darkness, and scope, still feel focused, clean, and easy to follow. The aesthetic, while obviously inspired by sci-fi staples, feels like it’s a fresh take on those classics with interesting choices for fashion and interior design. Unlike a lot of sci-fi that feels like the creator’s idyllic world or worst nightmare, Hadrian’s Wall is more realistic in its depiction of the future.

    Hadrian’s Wall has the unique ability to stand on its own as a noir crime tale with a sci-fi setting, that we don’t often get exposed to. If you’re a fan of either genre, Hadrian’s Wall is something you should definitely check out.


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  • Review: Invincible Iron Man #12 – The Stark Reality of War

    Invincible Iron Man #12 by Brian Michael Bendis & Mike Deodato

    invincible iron man #12Readers are finally starting to see the impact of Civil War II – which pits Tony Stark’s Iron Man faction against Carol Danvers’ Ms. Marvel Brigade – in the pages of the core Iron Man book. Iron Man has been off in Japan dealing with threats to his company, only to come back to the US and find the smoking pit that was once Stark Tower.

    Through a series of flashbacks, writer Brian Michael Bendis walks us through the events of the Civil War II, including the loss of Stark’s best friend (and one-time Iron Man) James Rhodes (War Machine). We learn the Stark board of directors has lost faith in Tony and is trying to oust him. Meanwhile, Bendis is setting up the post-Civil War storyline by filling us in on Riri Williams, the wunderkind who is about to take over the title this fall with armor she created herself. It also lays the groundwork for the fall’s related title, Infamous Iron Man, in which Dr. Doom becomes yet another version of the character.

    While Invincible Iron Man #12 lacks much in the way of action, it’s a needed transition as we move back from Stark’s Asian adventures and begin to look to the future. To his credit, Bendis never lets the story feel unimportant even though nary a repulsor is fired over the course of the issue. Will we see fireworks in the future? Count on it. Will Stark be the one to fire them? That part is unclear.

    Invincible Iron Man #12, Marvel Comics, Released Aug. 3, 2016, Written by Brian Michael Bendis, Art by Mike Deodato, Color by Frank Martin, Lettering by VC’s Clayton Cowles; $3.99.

    Review by Tom Smithyman

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  • Review: All Star Batman #1 – Synder Returns, Offers Batman Twist

    All-Star Batman # by Scott Snyder at

    all star batman #1Of all the New 52 titles, Batman was least in need of a makeover in DC’s Rebirth. Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo did such an amazing job with the Dark Knight mythos during that time that it was hard to conceive anyone else at the helm of the Batman Rebirth title. Luckily, Tom King and David Finch are killing it, and now Scott Snyder has moved on to All Star Batman. The art duties will rotate between such names as John Romita Jr., Declan Shalvey, Jock, Sean Gordon Murphy, and Tula Lotay, so that “All Star” label applies as much to the creative team as it does the villains in this series. Greg Capullo fans can look forward to a mysterious collaboration he has promised with Snyder after he finishes his current project with Mark Millar.

    Scott Snyder got the idea for a new take on Batman from a southwest road trip he took with his nine-year-old. While he had the whole trip planned out, the most fun and craziest moments they had were when the plan failed and they ended up off road. Essentially, Snyder decided to pitch a road trip where Batman would end up facing all the villains he wished he had written during his New 52 tenure.

    All Star Batman #1 cleanly establishes the plot of this new series: Batman has promised to take Harvey Dent out of Gotham and deliver him to a house where Dent believes he can rid himself of his villainous alter ego. Two-Face doesn’t want to be eliminated, so he offers a bounty equal to the fortunes of the three richest crime lords in Gotham on Batman’s head. As added incentive, Two-Face promises that if Batman is not brought down, he will reveal all of the illicit information that he has collected during his time as DA.

    Two-Face’s split personality, alternately helping and hindering Batman’s progress, makes him simultaneously interesting as a sidekick and a foil. The rotating cadre of artists keeps the individual chapters looking fresh. Batman even has a few moments of levity in the script. Wait. Batman has jokes?

    Stephen King once said, “There’s one thing I’m sure about. An opening line should invite the reader to begin the story. It should say: Listen. Come in here. You want to know more about this.”

    As an opening line, All Star Batman does its job in spades. I definitely want to know more about this.

    All Star Batman #1, DC Comics, released 10 August 2016, written by Scott Snyder, art by John Romita Jr. and Declan Shalvey, inks by Danny Miki and Declan Shalvey, colors by Dean White and Jordie Bellaire, letters by Steve Wands, cover by John Romita, Danny Miki and Dean White, variant covers by Jock, Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire, $4.49

    Review by Brendan Allen

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  • Review: Sons of Anarchy Redwood Original #1 – Jax Teller prospects Sons of Anarchy

    Sons of Anarchy: Redwood Original #1 at

    sons of anarchy redwood original #1Sons of Anarchy is a television show created by Kurt Sutter about a 1% outlaw motorcycle club operating many charters in the United States and a couple charters overseas. The mother charter and main focus of the show, Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club, Redwood Original (SAMCRO), runs guns throughout the Western United States, making enemies of rival gangs, politicians, and law enforcement. The show ran for 6 seasons, from 2008-2013.

    Jackson “Jax” Teller is first seen on the show as Vice President of SAMCRO, later President. Many of the show storylines focus around Jax trying to reconcile his personal life, the business of the club, and living up to the legacy of his father, John “JT” Teller, who founded the club and served as its first President until he was killed in a “motorcycle accident.” Much of the conflict within the club is between V.P. Jax and President Clay Morrow, who was JT’s best friend and V.P. (also, incidentally, the guy who was sleeping with JT’s old lady and had him murdered so he could marry JT’s wife and take over his club).

    Sons Of Anarchy: Redwood Original #1 sets up this series as a prequel to the television show, taking us back to Jax Teller’s youth. Eighteen years old and straight out of high school, Jax has decided to prospect for SAMCRO. Jax’ (Jax’s?) longtime friend Opie has gone the college route, but still hangs out at the SAMCRO clubhouse, where his father, Piney, is one of the First Nine. All the favorite characters from the TV show are present and none will be dying soon. Prequel, remember. The likenesses of Bobby “Elvis” Munson, Chibs, Tig, Clay, Piney and Clay are spot on.

    Many of the themes from the show are shown here in their infancy. Jax is torn between honoring the memory of his father and trying desperately to gain the approval of his step-dad, Clay. Opie is conflicted between fulfilling his old man’s legacy, earning with the club, and going legit with a college degree and a 9-5 job. The club’s long-standing policy to strictly run guns and stay away from illicit drugs is also put to the test.

    sons of anarchy redwood original - detail

    Fans of the show will recognize many of the show’s cast in the background of this issue, which focuses mainly on Jax, but new readers will have no problems following along. Ollie Masters consulted with Kurt Sutter before penning the script and it shows. The overall feel of the club, the clubhouse, the city of Charming, and the interaction between the characters feels very natural and true to the source material.

    Kurt Sutter’s prequel television series, The First Nine, won’t debut until at least 2017. Until then, Sons Of Anarchy: Redwood Original is a great place to get your SOA fix.

    Sons Of Anarchy: Redwood Original #1, BOOM! Studios, released August 10, 2016, written by Ollie Masters, art by Luca Pizzari, colors by Adam Metcalfe, letters by Ed Dukeshire, cover by Chris Brunner, cover colors by Rico Renzi, variant covers by Ricardo Lopez Ortiz and Brian Level, $3.99

    Review by Brendan Allen

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