Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 4/16
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.
No Mercy #9 (Image) Holy shit. This is a phenomenal comic that requires no understanding of the backstory to have an impact upon you. It’s a comic that you simply must read, and one that’ll give you an emotional punch even when you can guess what this is about. For more information, and a longer review, go read Elana’s review here. Recommendation: Buy
Voracious #3 (Action Lab Entertainment) I love this series. It’s pure brilliance on every level. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy
Dark Souls #1 (Titan) I’m a huge fan of the video game series, so I was hoping that this would be a half decent comic. It was, but there’s nothing spectacular here; as an adaptation it was okay, but it’s verging on tough territory; by adapting a video game that is guaranteed to kill you at least seven times in the first level, you’ve a tough job when trying to incorporate that. That said, it was a solid start for a fantasy series. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Read if you’re half curious, pass if you’re not.
The Last Contract (Boom!) I don’t tend to read as many crime comics as perhaps I should, so my yard stick doesn’t get much use when it comes to a comparison, but this was a solid series with a very well done conclusion. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy
Captain Canuck #7 (Chapter House Comics) – Kicking off the next adventure, this is the logical next step in the story arc that sees the team trying to be exactly that, a team. The series continues to be entertaining and fun with a superhero concept that has little of the grim and gritty of others. This is a superhero series that continues to be fun. Overall: 8.1 Recommendation: Read
Black Road #1 (Image Comics) – Brian Wood’s newest series that takes the writer back to Vikings. This one isn’t as historically accurate as his past series, but this is an intriguing one. Looking forward to seeing where it goes. Overall: 8.2 Recommendation: Read
Citizen Jack #5 (Image Comics) – Continuing to skewer politics and continuing to entertain. So funny and this is one you’ll want to pick up in trade if you missed individual issues. Overall: 8.15 Recommendation: Read
Heartthrob #1 (Oni Press) – A good first issue whose premise is predictable. It’s still entertaining, but I wish there was something a bit more original. But, it’s still a good read. Overall: 7.7 Recommendation: Read
Letter 44 #24 (Oni Press) – This is a comic that’ll get you thinking. Really good direction that’s starting to mix religion into the politics and sci-fi. Overall: 8.35 Recommendation: Read
The Massive: Ninth Wave #5 (Dark Horse) – This issue answers a big question as to why Callum Israel is wanted by the FBI and also has a hell of a quandry as to doing what’s right. Overall: 8.45 Recommendation: Buy
Starve #8 (Image Comics) – The series seems to get better with every issue. I have no idea where it’s going but it’s exploration of food in poor areas of inner cities is a fantastic direction. Overall: 8.65 Recommendation: Read
Starve #8 (Image) – I was more intrigued by the first two issues of the currently-running second story arc than I was by this one, which sees Chef Gavin Cruikshank essentially blow off his neighborhood restaurant concept the minute after its doors open, and then goes on to show us that TV network “suits” are every bit as petty, vindictive, and generally shitty as we always figured they were, anyway. Danijel Zezelj’s art continues to impress, but every third or fourth issue so far Brian Wood has just turned in a dud of a script. This is one of those occasions. Overall: 4 Recommendation: Buy if you’re following the series in singles, otherwise pass.
Slash & Burn #6 (DC/Vertigo): Damn, am I sorry to see this series cancelled prematurely. Si Spencer does a beyond-adequate job of wrapping up his storyline and max Dunbar and Ande Parks continue to impress on art with one exception — they draw the little-girl version of Rosheen seen in flashbacks as a miniaturized adult, and always have. It’s like looking at a grown-up face on a kid body and it’s a fucking mess, there’s just no nice way of putting it. Other than that though, the creators have nothing to hang their heads about here and plenty to be proud of. The last page is a heavy-handed, excruciatingly “purple”-prosed send-off, but I blame the editors and bean counters for necessitating its existence in the first place. This book deserved much better from its publisher. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy
Moon Knight #1 (Marvel)* – Another year, another “Moon Knight” first issue. By now you know the drill, don’t you? If you want a watered-down version of a character coming off a celebrated run that captures the superficial “spirit” of the work the last folks did but none of its substance, then Jeff Lemire is your man. He followed up the Fraction/Aja “Hawkeye” run with a series that aped its look but had none of its heart, and editorial seems to have tasked him with much the same job here. Not that every story arc in the last MK series was necessarily great, mind you, but they were all exponentially more original than this tepid “is-he-crazy-or-is-all-that-shit-in-his-head-real?” story. You’ve seen this done a thousand times previously, and usually with more success. Greg Smallwood’s art is gorgeous, to be sure, and it’s fun to watch him play around with a number of different styles for a few pages each, but the book is hardly worth five bucks just for that. Overall: 5 Recommendation: Pass.
Black Road#1 (Image): There have been a dozen stories where they have gone on actual road trips where they endure a series of trials and Brian Wood ‘s latest does the same but with Vikings. We meet Magnus, a Viking who has been immersed into the Christian invaders culture and takes up a job where nothing death and violence are its very inhabitants. Within the first few pages, his mission goes sideways, but a surprise awaits him when he thought he was dead. Altogether, an interesting introduction to this brutal atmosphere,one which will have readers coming back for more.
Story: 9 Art: 9 Overall: 9.7 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 (**).