Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 12/3/16
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.
The Hangman #3 (Dark Circle) Look at this cover. It’s bloody stunning. This series has been getting better and better each issue, and with #3 I realized that my reservations about the series that began in the first issue would have been more accurately applied to a specific character. It’s a subtle thing, but one that gave me a new appreciation for the writing. The comic itself, though gives us more of a set up for the future. Not the best comic to read without the intention to keep going with the series, but worth picking up f you’re into the series. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read
The Troop #4 (Titan) I really want to love this, but it feels like it’s missing something, but I’m not quite sure what. The story is enjoyable, if brutal at times, and the quality is consistently good across the four released issues, so that’s not my problem. I don’t know, but I intend to keep reading till I find out. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Read
Samurai #1 (Titan) This is a genuinely visually stunning series that is also pretty damn good. Pick it up for the artistic feel, stay for the story. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy
Kennel Block Blues #2 (Boom!) I have no idea how the creative team came up with this issue, and it won’t make any sense if you haven’t read the last one, but it’s worth buying for the panel layouts and artwork alone. Mind bending stuff. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy
The Last Contract #3 (Boom!) I can’t help but think of my grandfather when reading this comic. Not because he shot people – he didn’t. Well, actually he did fight in WW2, so he may have. I digress. No, I can’t help but think of my grandfather because the old man in this comic just feels like a genuine bad ass. As a miniseries about a retired contract killer this is fantastic. There’s echoes of great movies here, but more than enough originality to keep me enthralled. You need to buy this. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy
Spider-Man #2 (Marvel Comics)* Holy whallopin’ websnappers! That was a great read. Just when I think Bendis couldn’t continue the streak he pulls a pair of rabbits out of his hat. Miles and Peter are in the middle of the city and having a heart to heart in the aftermath of the battle with the evil demon Blackheart. Peter is having second thoughts about giving Miles his blessing because he’s worried about the bad PR. (hmmm such a Jonah move Pete) Blackheart comes too and Miles makes short work of him but shredding his costume in the process. Not an issue right? Well in today’s instantaneous society someone films the showdown and is smitten with the idea of a new Spider-Man. She’s smitten because he’s a man of color. No not a bright costume, real ethnic color. Here’s where the book shined the most. She points out that we have such a diverse cast of characters in the Marvel Prime U now. (Thor, Ms. Marvel, Captain America) The blogger calls Miles, the Black Spider-Man. He gets bent out of shape at this. He wants to be Spider-Man and not characterized. I swear it’s like Bendis read my thoughts and printed them. Miles is one of the best characters in all of Marveldom and this issue just cemented it for. From Peter Parkers blessing to Miles humility, this is the read of the week for me. Oh and Sara Pichelli is stellar on art. One of my favorite artists currently. She always brings it. Whatever you do, don’t let this book sit on the shelf True Readers. Score: 9.5 Recommendation: Definite buy (I did)
Action Comics #50 (DC)*: If this comic is any indication, expect the fiftieth issues of the various “New 52” titles that are coming out this month to be a complete hustle. Sure, you get some more pages, but the story is just stretched-out from an obviously standard-length script, and a number of the “extra” pages are done by fill-in artists. The current “Savage Dawn” storyline got off to a surprisingly good start in the most recent “Superman Annual,” but it’s been a complete waste -of -time, money-grubbing “mini-crossover” event since, and while I’ve generally been impressed with Greg Pak and Aaron Kuder’s run on this particular series, it’s gone right to shit in recent months as they’ve found themselves rounded up by editorial to participate in this nonsense. Old-school fans will be glad to see Supes get his powers and costume back, I’m sure, but the big moment is ruined by an uncharacterisically horrendous double-page splash from Kuder of a grinning Superman that’s one of the most absurd things you’re like to see this year (or, for that matter, in any other). I couldn’t give a crusty fuck about DC’s forthcoming “Rebirth” initiative, but a clean slate of some sort on this and the other Superman titles is clearly in order. Overall: 2 Recommendation: Pass
Shaft: Imitation Of Life #2 (Dynamite)**: At the halfway point of this way-too-short series it’s clear that David F. Walker’s script isn’t as tight and structured a narrative as his first foray into the world of the black private dick who’s a sex machine to all the chicks was — and it’s equally clear that it doesn’t matter, because it’s still arguably the coolest goddamn book on the stands. John Shaft has dumped the missing-persons case from issue one and moved on to an “easy money” gig as a consultant on a P.I. movie, but first his new gay Latino sidekick needs someone to drag his ass out of some quite-likely-self-inflicted trouble. Dietrich Smith’s art is deceptively clean and straightforward and does an excellent job of conveying the gloriously sleazy feel of early-’70s Times Square. You say you’re not picking this book up? Shut your mouth! Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy
Crossed + One Hundred #14 (Avatar)**: For awhile there it looked like opting to continue this series beyond Alan Moore and Gabriel Andrade’s fantastic initial six-issue run was probably a mistake, but now that we’re into the third arc and the machinations of long-dead serial killer Beauregard Salt are becoming even more fleshed-out, I gotta say that Simon Spurrier is proving himself to be more than able to fill what is surely still the most demanding pair of shoes in comics. There’s been a rotating crop of artists on the book lately, to its detriment —but of them, Rafa Ortiz is the best of the bunch, and since he drew this issue it invariably looks really good. All the stuff going on with Future Taylor and Mustaqba’s baby ought to prove to be fairly — interesting, as well. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy
Snow Blind #4 (Boom! Studios)**: Ollie Masters and Tyler Jenkins wrap up their memorable and atmospheric little “rural noir” with a a final chapter that’s actually quite predictable — but still oddly satisfying. It’s a quick, breezy read that doesn’t deliver anything like the gut-punches of previous issues, but they’ve done such a good job with characterization in this series that we’re actually happy to see Teddy both do what he’s gotta do (admittedly harrowing as that is) and come out the other side with, one would hope, a reasonably promising future ahead of him. If you didn’t pick this up in singles, I’m sure it will make for great reading in trade. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy
Tokyo Ghost Volume #1: I was a huge fan of Blade Runner and Buckaroo Banzai, and never has those worlds converged more than in Tokyo Ghost. Rick Remender and Sean Murphy masterfully evokes nostalgia for yesteryear thoughts on what we expected our future to be and what it could actually be. We follow a pair of Bounty Hunters who have to take a job where technology is not as all consuming, in fact , one without. Overall, an intelligent, fast paced heat seeker of a book , which will make you question your own obsession with technology. Overall: 9.8 Recommendation: BUY NOW
The Baker Street Peculiars #1 (KaBOOM): millions of readers worldwide have read Sherlock Holmes and never has one character been reimagined and reinvigorated than Sherlock. In this particular yarn, Mrs. Hudson , is the actual detective, as she disguises herself as a man to be taken more seriously. Meanwhile, a group of street kids feel it is their job to help solve the cases. Overall, a funny read , that is meant for all ages , a nice entry point into Sherlock Holmes lore. Overall: 8.3 Recommendation: Read
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 (**).