Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 26/3/16
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.
Bloodshot Reborn Annual 2016 (Valiant) Annuals are a funny thing. Sometimes they work brilliantly, giving us a story that stands alone, sometimes even above the numbered issues. And others the annuals are largely forgettable. Unfortunately, this annual falls into the latter category with one good story, and one okay story and two I didn’t care for. With the price tag attached, the good parts don’t outweigh the bad enough to make this picking up. Overall: 5 Recommendation: Pass
Pencil Head #3 (Image Comics)**: Ted Mckeever, the “self-proclaimed bastard stepchild of the comic book industry”, throws out what little subtlety he has left in issue #3. This black and white semi-autobiographical comic book is strange, but funny as hell—in an awkward surreal way. He skewers “Crank Filler” and “Dil Krane” (if the “Krane” stories are in fact true, that alone is worth the admission price). At least he did us the favor of leaving “Alfie Wingood’s” unblemished memory sacrosanct. The only complaint so far is that there’s a side mystery story he hasn’t fully fleshed out yet, and with two issues left, I’m hoping it doesn’t get cast aside for the sake of giving us an unadulterated behind the scenes look at the big two’s comic book evil empires. By the way, I am drawing a blank on which real life artist “Marconi” is supposed to be: I was thinking maybe Nocenti or Ruffino; but if anyone else knows for sure, please fill me in. Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy
Klaus #4 (Boom! Studios)**: This book doesn’t come out very often, but when it does, it sure looks great. Dan Mora’s art is improving with leaps and bounds each issue, sadly the same can’t be said for Grant Morrison’s script. He’s giving Kris Kringle a backstory, sure, but so did the old Fred Astaire-hosted, stop-motion puppet Christmas special “Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town.” And this is no more original than that was. Overall: 4. Recommendation: Read (or more precisely, look at it for the art)
Batman #50 (DC)*: The end of the Scott Snyder/ Greg Capullo era is a pretty good representation in microcosm of the strengths and weaknesses of their entire five-year run : big storyline comes to a big conclusion with big changes. Until you realize that the “changes” are just a reversion to the status quo, of course. Apart from that, the quasi-emotional final scene between Batman and Gordon is telegraphed to us just two or three pages earlier, so it can’t even be called “clever,” Bloom’s “ultimate” assault on Gotham is a lot like his previous ones, and the new Bat-costume sucks. Snyder’s dialogue is stiff, overly-expository, and frankly a bit too ubiquitous, as well. And yet — it does feel and read like an “event,” and the Snyder/Capullo run will probably be remembered (rightly) as a non-stop string of blockbuster-style stories. It’s been fun, but I’m more than ready for something else. Overall: 6.5. Recommendation: Buy if you’ve been buying it to complete the run — otherwise, at six bucks, give it a pass
Jacked #5 (DC/Vertigo)*: There’s only one issue left of Eric Kripke and John Higgins’ series and I’ve already decided that I’m going to miss it, and the thoroughly likable heroes and dislikable villains that it’s given to us. Sure, in the end it’s probably just a therapy assignment to get Kripke to come to terms with his own mid-life crisis, but it’s a very entertaining and human one at that. This issue doesn’t quite prep us for the “holy shit!” conclusion I was hoping for at first, but in truth that’s probably never what this was about, anyway. And we should all be thankful for that. I hope writer and artist will team up again on something else soon, as this has been a joy. A depraved joy, to be sure, but a joy nonetheless. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy
Ringside #5 (Image)**: I haven’t heard too many people talking about this one since the first issue, but I hope that doesn’t mean everybody just dropped it. Joe Keatinge and Nick Barber wrap up their first story arc here with a little less by way of bloody surprises than last issue, but there’s definitely a solid twist at the end and the secondary plotline about an old wrestler on the way out and his up-and-coming protege finally seems to be coming together, as well. A good-not-great book that nevertheless seems to be flying much further below the radar than it deserves to be. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Buy
Independence Day#1 (Titan): it has been 20 years since the first movie came out and while we’re on the verge of the sequels, there definitely is a lot we need to know about what has happened since. As far as adaptations go , this definitely is one of the best I have ever seen, as this story delves into a parallel event at sea. We are introduced to different characters but in the spirit of the original movie. By issue’s end , there is definitely more to these alien invaders than what was expected. Art: 8 Story: 9.6 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy
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 (**).