Comics Roundup #26: Free Comic Book Day Samples

In an attempt to clean up my bookshelves, I decided to spend a day reading and reviewing all the comic book samples I got on this year’s Free Comic Book Day back in May. Here are my thoughts on the samples. Some of them I’ll certainly get when my piggybank is once again full.


The Metabaron, Book 3: The Meta-Guardianess & the Techno-Baron by Alejandro Jodorowsky and Jerry Frissen, illus. Valentin Secher

Genre: Sci-fi

Pubbed: September 2018

What it’s about:

The bit I read is about an android who visits a planet in a parallel universe to learn more about Epyphite, a substance that is used as fuel and seems to have many other properties. The story is narrated by the consciousness, or rather the robotic memory, of the protagonist’s apprentice (well, the narrator refers to the protagonist (the Metabaron) as “master,” so I assume the narrator is the apprentice).

My thoughts:

This is a fail for me and I knew it would be when I picked it up because a) it’s not a genre I usually go for (I don’t mind sci-fi stories sometimes but I can’t do this hardcore sci-fi with all the robots and bots and parallel universes and things) and b) this is the third volume, so I’ve missed much of the story.

I was confused when I started reading this. On the plus side, I slowly began to understand what’s going on because the narrator spends a lot of time catching up the reader on where the story is now, but because I don’t know what happened before this volume, certain things didn’t have an impact on me, so I lost interest.

Art style:

It’s okay. I like how realistic the illustrations are and that though bright colors are used, they are muted a bit so as not to distract the reader from the illustrations. I also liked the use of lights and highlights and how they play across the characters’ faces. However, in some panels I wish the figures in the foreground popped out a bit more from the background.

Overall: ★★★☆☆

Meh, it’s okay. I liked the art and I probably would have been more interested in the story if I knew what had happened in the previous volumes.

Buy | Borrow | Bypass

It’s Bypass for me because I don’t plan to get it; however, it’s a decent story, so I’d recommend it if it’s something you’d usually go for.


Barrier by Brian K. Vaughan, illus. by Marcos Martin and Muntsa Vicente

Genre: Sci-fi

Pubbed: May 2018

What it’s about:

The bit I read gave the impression that the story is focused on 2 characters — a woman named Liddy who owns a ranch in Pharr, Texas, close to the U.S.-Mexico border, and a man named Oscar from San Pedro Sula, Honduras, who’s an illegal immigrant.

Liddy believes a gang is trying to threaten her by killing her horses in gruesome ways, and Oscar is trying to make his way to the United States. He treasures a little red book. The story alternates between the two characters’ perspectives and parts of it (Oscar’s sections) are in untranslated Spanish.

My thoughts:

I liked it, and it’s such a damn tease! This sample ends right as weird shit starts to happen and left me looking like 😮 Not fair! So now I want to get the first volume when it’s out. I can’t do the single issue thing. I have no patience.

And speaking of patience, the parts that are in Spanish annoyed me because I only know a little Spanish. I struggled. I had to use Google Translate and that took time. I had to painstakingly type out every word of what a character says and try to keep the translation in mind while I type out every word of the reply so I could understand what was going on. It made me slow down and work, and I was deeply annoyed by the inconvenience.

But, because of the topics that the story touches on so far — illegal immigration, language barrier, and a bit of xenophobia, — I think forcing readers who aren’t well versed in Spanish to work to understand the story plays well into what I hope the story is trying to achieve and teach. The protagonists are from two different backgrounds and because of the weird situation they are drawn into at the end of the sample, I believe they will have to push past their differences and strong opinions of each other to work together and survive.

So…similar to Saga! 😀 Lol! Maybe not, but it is similar in that it’s about overcoming barriers. 😉

Art style:

I’m not a fan of the illustration style, but I love the layout of the panels. The illustrations are good, but I’m not a fan of how the faces are drawn (picky me). I do like how certain scenes are drawn though, like the night scene when the truck carrying the immigrants is caught by the police. It’s night, it’s raining, police have their guns pointed, people are running: I like the atmosphere of the scene — the storm and chaos of the moment. I think it captures that experience well. I also liked the scene when the train, “La Bestia,” comes for the immigrants and everyone runs toward it. That scene tugs a memory that doesn’t fully come to mind, so I keep flipping back to look at it hoping the full memory will pop up.

But my favorite thing is the panels and how they are arranged. They run horizontally, so I had to turn the book on its side to read it. I guess it gives the artist more space to work with, but I didn’t mind it because I liked the layout, especially toward the end of the sample when we’re given Liddy’s story in the panels on the left and Oscar’s story in the panels on the right with a large panel in the middle to show the passing of time. This middle panel gets smaller as the two characters’ plot lines draw closer together and vanishes when, at the end, they’re thrown into a single plot that promises loads of weird shit.

Overall: ★★★★★

I’m interested. I’ll continue with it because I want to know what happens next.

Buy | Borrow | Bypass

I’ll get the first volume when it’s out. The series is currently on its fifth issue.


A Brief History of Tank Girl by Alan Martin, illus. by Brett Parson, Warwick Johnson-Cadwell, Jonathan Edwards, and Jamie Hewlett (cover)

Genre: Sci-fi

Pubbed: 2018

What it’s about:

It’s exactly as the title says. Basically, it’s Tank Girl’s birthday but it’s not going how she wants it to. To cheer her up, her friends talk about all she’s accomplished so far and in that way, we get a brief history of the Tank Girl comics.

My thoughts:

Meh, it’s not for me. I’m not one for comedic comic book stories, I guess. But it kept my interest because the entire time I read I wondered if Tank Girl was an older comic book series. I googled it when I was done and learned that it’s a British comic book series that has been around since the late 1980s.

Art style:

It’s okay. It’s the usual comic book style but some parts were very cartoony. Both the illustrations and the comedic feel of the story made me think of the Archie comics, but from my Google search, I get the impression that Tank Girl is grittier than Archie.

Overall: ★★☆☆☆ ½

It’s okay, but I’m not feeling it.

Buy | Borrow | Bypass

For me, it’s a Bypass, but it might interest those who are familiar with this comic book series.


Relay, #0: The Farmer and the First World by Zac Thompson, Eric Bromberg, and Donny Cates, illus. by Andy Clarke

Genre: Sci-fi

Pubbed: July 2018

What it’s about:

In this sample, a man takes a space ship to a primitive planet he intends to colonize by making the people conform to a new faith – the Monolith. He teaches them how to farm and other basic aspects of civilization, like irrigation, while subtly inveigling them to accept the Monolith.

My thoughts:

Yea, it’s hardcore sci-fi, but the topics it touches are stuff I go crazy for – development of religion, coercion of people, etc. I’m eager to see where the creators plan to go with this story.

“It takes unwavering dedication to build the reality of tomorrow. You have to alter the details until they’re just right.”

Art style:

Meh, it’s okay. It didn’t stand out in any way to me, but it was easy to understand what’s happening and follow the story’s progress.

Overall: ★★★★★

I’m really interested in the story.

Buy | Borrow | Bypass

I plan to tell my comic bookstore to subscribe me to it, if they can, but only get me the volumes.


Valiant Comics previews

Shadowman, #1 (preview) by Andy Diggle, illus. by Stephen Segovia

Genre: Fantasy

Pubbed: March 2018

What it’s about:

The bit I read shows a young woman visiting a bayou in New Orleans because the water is making kids sick. She has cartomancy abilities – map magic – and after asking around, she was able to locate the water source and learned that the water there is cursed. The story begins with the woman going to the swamp in the night with an old dude. I guess she’s visiting there to un-curse the water.

My thoughts:

The story immediately jumps into action because the young woman is attacked by a monster by the second page, but despite that, I wasn’t too interested. I do like that the protagonist is a Black woman and that she calls out to Papa Legba, a Haitian voodoo trickster diety who guards crossroads, when she accesses her magic. That was interesting.

Art style:

It’s not a style I like, but that David character, who I guess is the Shadowman, looks kinda sexy popping up outta nowhere.

Overall: ★★☆☆☆

It wasn’t enough to interest me…

Buy | Borrow | Bypass

…but I’d Borrow it if I saw it available at my library or something.

X-O Manowar, #14 (preview) by Matt Kindt, illus. by Ariel Olivetti

Genre: Sci-fi

Pubbed: 2017

What it’s about:

The bit I read shows a dude named Aric who seems to be some sort of superhero figure flying into the sun. He gets a call that says his help is needed on earth and decides to go there instead.

My thoughts:

It’s the beginning of the 14th issue of this series so…I dunno what is going on and the preview doesn’t appeal to me so I have no interest in finding out more.

Art style:

The illustrations are a bit realistic, almost similar to what I saw in The Metabaron. It was okay, I guess.

Overall: ★★☆☆☆

It isn’t enough to interest me.

Buy | Borrow | Bypass

I’m not feeling it.

Harbinger Wars 2: Prelude, #1 (preview) by Eric Heisserer, illus. by Raúl Allén

Genre: Sci-fi

Pubbed: May 2018

What it’s about:

This bit begins with a young Black woman named Amanda McKee visiting a no-technology café, a reprieve for her because she seems to have a mental connection to all technological devices. She’s approached by a member of the FBI who wants to take her into their offices to discuss what happened in Oklahoma City. Amanda wants to talk to them too about what happened in Rook. (I don’t know what happened in either of those places.)

My thoughts:

Well, this one caught my attention. I’d like to read the story that preceded this and then continue with this one once the first volume has been published. I’m curious about Amanda and find her supernatural ability very interesting. Her ability makes me think of the kid Micah Sanders from the TV show Heroes because he could communicate with technological devices too.

Art style:

Meh, it’s the usual comic book style. It’s okay.

Overall: ★★★☆☆ ½

I’m interested. I really need to get cracking on these Valiant comics. This looks good and I also have Faith somewhere on my bookshelves.

Buy | Borrow | Bypass

But chances are I’ll end up Buying it.


The Wormworld Saga by Daniel Lieske

Genre: Fantasy

Pubbed: May 2018

What it’s about:

The bit I read is about a boy named Theo who shows off the magical world his father painted, and told him not to tell anyone about, to a girl he has a crush on. The painted world is fantastical and promises many and great adventures.

My thoughts:

I love it and I want more! This is the only all-ages comic book I picked up. I was drawn to the title, which, along with the cover, made me wonder what exactly it’s about. It looks like it will be a fun fantasy adventure.

Apparently, this started out as a webcomic and was published for the first time in the U.S. in May.

Art style:

It has a digital/animated quality to it that I don’t always like, but I don’t mind it here. I like the bright colors used in the painted world.

Overall: ★★★★★

I’m really interested and want to read it.

Buy | Borrow | Bypass

Yep! I plan to get it.


Shadow Roads by Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt, illus. by A.C. Zamudio

Genre: Paranormal; Western

Pubbed: June 2018

What it’s about:

The bit I read shows a young Native American man named Henry Grey visiting an exhibit at the British Museum of Natural History on Native American culture with his friend Barry. Henry was trying to learn more about his culture but became frustrated because the exhibit is extremely offensive. While there, a mysterious man gives Henry a knife and a message to “go home.”

Meanwhile, a man named Chester Smith is traversing the New Mexico Territory in search of a girl who’s a skilled gunslinger to get her to help him catch some creatures. We get a glimpse of these creatures when we see them go after Henry while on a train ride through a tunnel.

My thoughts:

I don’t usually go for westerns, but the bit I read had me hooked. It’s the mystery (I don’t know exactly what’s going on) and the paranormal bits that have me interested. Westerns aren’t my thing, so I don’t care much for that part of it.

Art style:

It’s the usual comic book style. It didn’t stand out to me in any way.

Overall: ★★★★☆

The story is good, but I don’t know yet if I want to continue with it.

Buy | Borrow | Bypass

For now it’s Borrow, but if I’m in a good mood when I see it in the store, I’ll most likely Buy it.


Street Angel’s Dog by Brian Maruca and Jim Rugg (illus.)

Genre: Fantasy

Pubbed: May 2018

What it’s about:

The bit I read is about a girl named Street Angel, a homeless ninja on a skateboard. She saves a dog, they become friends and have adventures, and she later helps the dog to get back home.

My thoughts:

I enjoyed it. It was a fun quick read and I liked the character Street Angel too. I wouldn’t mind reading more.

Art style:

It’s not a style I like because it borders on being cartoony, but I love the full-page spread of when Street Angel punched a kid in the nose.

Overall: ★★★☆☆

It’s good.

Buy | Borrow | Bypass

I’d prefer to Borrow it, but I doubt I’ll find it at my library. 😦


That’s it for the comic book samples I picked on Free Comic Book Day back in May. Hopefully you found something of interest here. I def plan to get all the ones I said I’d Buy when their first volume is published.

3 thoughts on “Comics Roundup #26: Free Comic Book Day Samples

  1. Pingback: Book Haul #59: We’re in 2020 Now For Sure | Zezee with Books

  2. I’ve heard some interesting things about Barrier by Brian K. Vaughan. I’m definitely a fan of the man’s work, he has amazing ideas. Just look at Saga alone for example. I also heard there were no plans to collect those issues together into a volume… You might have to get your hands on each issue, which, also, I think, are already all out. 😮

    Liked by 1 person

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