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Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 10/1/2016

Sometimes, the staff at Graphic Policy read more comics than we’re able to get reviewed. When that happens you’ll see a weekly feature compiling short reviews from the staff of the comics, or graphic novels, we just didn’t get a chance to write a full review for. These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Alex

The Last Contract Main Cover by Lisandro EstherrenHeroes Vengeance #3 (Titan Comics) The more I read this series the less I seem to like it, but much like the  TV show I just can’t turn away. It might get better! Overall: 6.75 Recommendation: Read…?

Archie #5 (Archie Comics) This is one of those series that’s just fun. There’s no superhero action here what so ever, despite the writer, and it has been a breath of fresh air for me. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Read

Swamp Thing #1 (DC Comics)* is apparently far more polarizing than I expected. After reading Patricks’ review (you’ll find that a bit further on) I felt compelled to pick this issue up. In a time when comics often have numerous art focused scenes it’s nice to get a comic that has a lot of text within it’s pages, reminding me in many ways of both the earlier Swamp Thing comics and how the page layouts looked when I first started reading comics. There’s a bit of a slow build here, with Len Wein really taking his time in setting the story that has echoes of an early era. You’re either going to like this, or you’re really not. I expected this to be at best average, but I was pleasantly surprised. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read (with caution)

The Last Contract #1 (Boom! Studios) Well holy moly. This is great. Dark, gritty, with the promise of something lying just beneath the surface ready to tear you to pieces. This comic is a tour de force that is absolutely  worth your time – which is impressive coming from a guy who usually only reads superhero comics. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Gutter Magic #1 (IDW) A stunning mix of steam punk and magic, coupled with some jaw dropping artwork make this first  issue worth picking up, and the series something to add to your pull list. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

 

Brett

A-Force #1 (Marvel) – I enjoyed the miniseries this spun off from, but this first issue is a stumble. It’s not exciting, nor has enough to get me excited. It fills like a middling Avengers comic. Overall: 6.4 Recommendation: Pass

Bitch Planet #6 (Image Comics) – It’s been a whole since we’ve seen this series and while I anticipated its return, this issue was a bit of a stumble. A stand alone issue that pulls the curtain back, the story feels more like a sci-fi Law & Order: SVU than the smart commentary we’re usually accustomed to. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Pass

Black Science #19 (Image Comics) – Wrapping up the current arc in a way, we learn more about Grant and things begin for the next great adventure. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

The Last Contract #1 (BOOM! Studios) – I liked the first issue of a hit man finding out who wants him dead. There’s a solid homage of the genre that it clearly loves. Overall: 7.2 Recommendation: Read

Letter 44 #22 (Oni Press) – That reveal at the end, holy crap. Loving this mashup of politics and sci-fi. It continues to surprise. Overall: 7.7 Recommendation: Read

Nailbiter #19 (Image Comics) – One of my favorite comics. The search for the George serial killer is fantastic and there’s some great twists here. I seriously have no idea where it’s going. Overall: 7.8 Recommendation: Read

Rocket Racoon and Groot #1 (Marvel) – An interesting debut, but how this fits in to the other comics that are out featuring these characters makes it have little sense. This is an example of overuse of characters. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Pass

Spidey #2 (Marvel) – Much improvement over the first issue. There’s a lot of good, but the comic still is just missing something for me. It feels like a mediocre miniseries rehashing the character’s origin, updating it, but giving us little that’s new. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Read

Totally Awesome Hulk #2 (Marvel) – I hated the first issue, and this one is an improvement, but not enough to get me to continue reading. The strongest part is it’s mystery of what happened to Bruce. Overall: 6.2 Recommendation: Pass

 

Patrick

SwampThing_001_cvr_Jones_56240e9bab2e83.86181442Detective Comics #48 (DC Comics)*: While I’m still not used to Jim Gordon as the Batman, I do enjoy seeing him struggle to fill Bruce Wayne’s shoes. Watching him make mistakes adds something to the book you don’t get to see with Bruce Wayne… a guy in overhead his head trying his best. And the gimmicky nature of the murders he’s investigating harkens back to classic Batman stories, an interesting bit of nostalgia as everything else about Batman is new. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Read.

Injustice: Gods Among Us – Year Five #1 (DC Comics)*: The best comic book based on a video game based on a comic book ever written returns! Following Plastic Man inadvertently releasing all of the prisoners held by Superman’s regime, Superman and his cronies are trying to put everyone back while Batman sets out to create another unholy alliance. You might say you can’t expect it to go very far because it’s only the first issue (of its fifth year), but considering the story really started in the Year Four: Annual maybe some sort of plot development would have been fair. And stop making Hal Jordan a “funny man”. If you want a funny Green (or Yellow, in this case) Lantern, you should have picked Kyle Rayner. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Read

Swamp Thing #1 (DC Comics)*: This book was admittedly a disappointment. Unless what you have been demanding all this time was to watch Swamp Thing wrestle an alligator. In fact, the most implausible part of this book about a mass of vegetation with human consciousness hanging around a swamp is when two people show up in the swamp to ask said mass for help. As though it were on their list of errands. No, maybe the most implausible was Swamp Thing essentially responding with, “Okay, I have nothing better to do.” Overall: 3 Recommendation: Pass

Spider-Man/Deadpool #1 (Marvel Comics)*: Put two of the funniest characters in their own series and what to do you have? Two people bemoaning their own potty-humor, actually. Things don’t really need to make sense when Deadpool is involved, but a plot device that put the two together would have helped go a long way, rather than Deadpool hiring someone to pretend to be Dormammu for… actually, I’m not sure how that was supposed to aid Deadpool’s plan to get Spider-Man to work with him. Instead, you side with Spider-Man’s reluctance to have anything to do with the laugh-less title. Overall: 5 Recommendation: Pass

Star Wars #14 & Star Wars: Darth Vader #15 (Marvel Comics)*: Reviewed together because they came out on the same day, are of the same caliber and conclude the same story, “Vader Down”. The last half of the series really revved up and became increasingly entertaining. These last issues make for the most enjoyable Star Wars you can have, on paper or on the silver screen. If only Hollywood were taking their cues from Marvel. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Buy (but a collection would be better than title-jumping through your back issues)

Squadron Supreme #2 CoverSquadron Supreme #2 (Marvel Comics)*: Some good moments here and there. Nighthawk stands out as the character to watch, certainly the most intense and interesting of the Squadron. Hopefully the series isn’t suggesting that Hyperion is going to take a job as a truck driver. Squadron Supreme has been looking for its readership for decades and suffering a great many changes and incarnations along the way. Hopefully that balances out and this title holds its own until Marvel decides to cancel all its titles and relaunch everything again. So… give it a year. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Read

Uncanny X-Men #1 (Marvel Comics)*: What was one of the longest running titles in comic books is relaunched again as a blatant X-Force rip-off. It’s a bit like watching your dad get his ear pierced only to realize, “No… you’ll never be young again”. The cast is interesting, though Sabretooth as a good guy will always be a disappointing sell-out and the presence of the Psylocke/Archangel pairing really highlights the parallels to X-Force. X-Force was great… but Uncanny X-Men is supposed to be a prestigious flagship, not a transparent attempt to recapture the gritty eighties and nineties. Overall: 4 Recommendation: Pass

Four Eyes: Hearts of Fire #1 (Image Comics): Great art, so-so story. Yes, we all agree that dog-fighting is inhumane (most of us do, anyway) and plugging in dragons instead of dogs in a depression-era story… one of these things is not like the others. Someone walking into this without having read the previous work is likely to think it very odd the way dragons are almost a humdrum aspect of the story… and they wouldn’t be wrong. Overall: 5 Recommendation: Pass

Bitch Planet #6 (Image Comics): As always, a well-stylized, entertaining book. The one question, though, is if the read would have been as compelling if not for the disclaimer. The book leads with a warning that it features sexual assault, promising that the events of the sexual assault will be limited to this issue and not revisited later. It prepares the reader for the worst and consequently, the reader races through the book in dread anticipation of the horrific inevitable. In the end, not to marginalize sexual assault, I was left wondering if I missed a page. Considering the exploitive nature of Bitch Planet and the state of graphic content in comic books, the warning seems disconnected from the content. Are the editors really afraid of offending readers despite the gratuity of the book or was it a cheap ploy? Overall: 6 Recommendation: Read (and then tell me if I’m just desensitized).

 

Paul

the ultimates #3Ultimates #3 (Marvel) * The team has been successful in further evolving Galactus and has transformed him into a force of giving life..and his first act has been to restore life to the first planet he fed upon. The Shi’ar Imperial Guard discovered this and forwarded the information to Gladiator, who is, surprise surprise, not pleased with Earth for their actions. I wonder why it is the Shi’ar are never happy..I mean Galactus is no longer a devourer of planets, and still Gladiator gets all up in Earths face about it…maybe it’s the mohawk? I digress, now the team want to look into fixing the space/time continuum problem. Yeah, nothing can go wrong there. I do enjoy this team and the banter between them, but I find the scope of their missions a little ‘out there’ traveling through deep space, superflow, neutral zone, blah blah..starting to read like stereo instructions, to paraphrase Beetlejuice. Is this an Avengers team necessary of the time and resources they have been given? That remains to be seen. But the art is beautiful.  Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read 

Uncanny X-Men #1 (Marvel) * So the mutant population is facing yet another life changing event; the terrigen cloud making its way around the world is slowly killing the mutant population as well as sterilizing those who survive, ensuring that no new mutants will emerge. This leaves those mutants remaining as easy targets, and that threat needs a response just as threatening; enter the Uncanny X-Men. Magneto has gathered a group of X-Men not afraid to get their hands dirty to protect mutants from those who would take advantage of this current situation, but in this first issue, we see they aren’t going to let other mutants take the easy way out either. I really like the team roster in this book, though have a little issue with Archangel being some mindless ‘drone” being controlled by Psylocke (though I’m sure this will come to blow up in their faces in the upcoming Apocalypse story arc). I was a little let down with Magneto, as I enjoyed him more in his solo book then I did in this first outing in this first issue, but it didn’t ruin the book for me. I also enjoyed the blast from the past at the end of this issue. And Greg Land’s art is exactly what I expected, beautiful as ever. I enjoyed this book and look forward to the next issue. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

 

Shean
MIRAGE-SEC_001_VARIANT_EVANSThe Death Defying Doctor Mirage: Second Lives #1
 (Valiant) The story of Shan Mirage and her husband Hwen, is story of heartbreak , loss, redemption , justice and. Undying love, which the first volume of this ongoing series covered well. In the beginning of this new volume, deals with the reality of their lives since his untimely physical death,while they thrust themselves into new adventures.Van Meter Is seemingly getting more personal the more she writes these characters much to the reader’s benefit as the overall story becomes richer. The art by De La Torre is interesting, abstract and very much George Perez in the best way. Overall:10 Recommendation: BUY NOW

 


Well, there you have it, folks. The reviews we didn’t quite get a chance to write.

Please note that with some of the above comics, Graphic Policy was provided FREE copies for review. Where we purchased the comics, you’ll see an asterisk (*). If you don’t see that, you can infer the comic was a review copy. In cases where we were provided a review copy and we also purchased the comic you’ll see two asterisks (**).

Zeismic