Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 5/28
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.
4 Kids Walk Into A Bank (Black Mask) Why haven’t you read this comic yet? I assume because you’re waiting for a rainy day to read one of the most charmingly brilliant comics released in a long time. Buy this, read this, love this issue. It’s fantastic. Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy
Captain America: Steve
Rogers #1 (Marvel) You know the twist at this point, and depending on where you fall on whether it’s an interesting set up for a redemption arc verses a line that should never have been crossed for that specific character, will decide how much you enjoy this comic. I didn’t. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Pass
DC Rebirth #1 (DC) I understand why people love this idea – DC writing off the New 52 as an in-continuity master plot – but I can’t say I care for it too much. Still, $3 for an 80 page comic that’s actually not that bad. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read.
Dresden Files: Wild Card #2 (Dynamite) While I’m still not sold on reading a Dresden story in comic form (I prefer being able to read them all at once, whether that be in a book or graphic novel), this is still enjoyable. The art is solid, vibrant, and does justice to my own mental pictures from the books. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read
Johnny Red #7 (Titan) Just go read it. It’s great. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy
Judge Dredd #6 (IDW) I don’t know what I just read. I honestly don’t, but it was pretty fucked up. And yet, it was a good comic, so there’s that. It’s also one that I think you should give a chance too even if you haven’t been following the series. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Read
Lobster Johnson: Metal Monsters Of Midtown #1 (Dark Horse) Despite never really having read any Hellboy before, I’ve always enjoyed reading about the adventures of the Lobster – usually in one shots that Dark Horse publish every couple of months or so, so I’m pretty excited to get a three issue miniseries about the vigilante. The first issue has giant steampunk-like robots, a grenade launcher and some art that’s a perfect fit for the story. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy
Old Man Logan #6 (Marvel)* – Old Man Logan verses the Reavers? Amazing fun. This is a classic Wolverine tale with the flavour of an old man that won’t take shit from anyone. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy
Welcome Back #8 (Boom! Studios) – There’s nothing more tragic than a series that was cancelled way too soon. In some ways, this issue feels rushed, like Sebela and Roe had to cram the intended ending for the series about two or three arcs too early, leaving some confusion in the wake. However, the series still gets to end with Tessa and Mali getting their weird sort of happily ever after, which is all that really matters to me in the long run. Plus, Sebela manages to get one subtle reference to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s ‘Ten Duel Commandments’ in there, which I will never argue with. Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Read
Afterlife With Archie #9 (Archie Comics) After a break that was WAY too long, the series is back with a focus on Reggie that’s so damn good. The series is beyond dark, but such an amazing read. Overall Rating: 9 Recommendation: Buy
Aliens Defiance #2 (Dark Horse Comics) If you’re a fan of Aliens, holy crap is this a good series. It just captures the tension so well. Overall Rating: 8.1 Recommendation: Read
Divinity II #2 (Valiant) An absolutely brilliant issue that ups the danger and sets up the third volume as we get a glimpse of the Stalinverse to come. This is beyond a fantastic series and I feel in awe with each issue. It puts the super back in superhero comics. Overall Rating: 9.3 Recommendation: Buy
Letter 44 #25 (Oni Press) Well that was a hell of a twist to what I thought we knew… guess things are much different in this political sci-fi series. I seriously have no idea what’s happening next. Overall Rating: 8.2 Recommendation: Read
Tomboy #5 (Action Lab: Danger Zone) Why aren’t you reading this!? Seriously! Overall Rating: 8.65 Recommendation: Buy
Transformers: Robots in Disguise #53 (IDW Publishing) Some massive twists and turns here and the debut of the new Combiner Sky Reign! Such fun for Transformers fans. Overall Rating: 8.05 Recommendation: Read
Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye #53 (IDW Publishing) The quiet before the storm of the battle. But that quiet is used as to what many do in stories, to add emotional heft and really connect the characters (and reader) together. That just means you know Transformers are dying in the next issue as the battle begins. Overall Rating: 7.8 Recommendation: Read
Nighthawk #1 (Marvel) This one I’m really torn on. While it deals with real world issues, and integrates them well, the character of Nighthawk just feels like a more socially aware Batman with the violence of Midnighter. I’m intrigued, but not completely sold. Overall Rating: 7.6 Recommendation: Read
Captain America: Steve Rogers #1 (Marvel) How do you rate something when the art and storytelling is good, but you think the twist is moronic? It’s not easy. The comic is well executed stupidity that’s clickbait in comic form. Overall Rating: 7 Recommendation: Pass
Tomboy #5 (Action Lab Danger Zone) – We are into the second arc in this issue, written and drawn by Mia Goodwin, with colors by Michelle Wong. Our murderous avenging protagonist, Addison, is put the test when forced to keep her secret and protect her family by sacrificing her kidnapped friend, or rescue her instead. We also get to see bad cop Tico in a different frame, as a caring loving uncle. The storytelling so far is solid, with Goodwin’s and Wong’s vivid and colorful manga style giving it a false pretense of innocence behind the impending bloody violence. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy
Clandestino #3 (Black Mask) Amancay Nahuelpan’s (creator, writer, artist, & letterer) revolutionary road trip comes to a violent stall, as Leena and Clandestino hole up in a in a mangy hotel to lick their wounds. Enter scene: severely jealous and cyborg enhanced ex-boyfriend, aka Clandestino’s abandoned for dead best friend. How this will all come together is beyond my faculties; but I expect the cybernetic technology mad dictatorship to begin taking a larger role in subsequent issues. The storytelling is far from original, but somehow it comes off fresh and new in this Pinochet inspired noir setting; and the ocher colored art gives it a brutal primitive feel. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy.
Afterlife With Archie #9 (Archie Comics): This series could easily have been a one-note parody, but Roberto Aguierre-Sacasa and Francesco Francavilla have deftly managed the trick of using the zombie premise to really test the character of America’s favorite teenagers. In this case of this issue, they plumb the depths of Reggie Mantle, using his guilt, jealousy, and desire to push the Archiepocalypse one step further over the edge. Francavilla’s art, especially his coloring, is just perfect. PS: I couldn’t have been more excited to read the words “Next: At last… The Pussycats!” Overall: 10. Recommendation: Buy.
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas #1 (IDW): When the bar for visual depictions of Hunter S. Thompson is set by Ralph Steadman and Terry Giliiam, you have two choices: top it or go around. Troy Little chooses to go around, but doesn’t convince me that he’s ready to go far enough around to really put his stamp on the piece. I liked the contrast between the typewriter narration and the cartoony everything else, but I just wasn’t sure why this nice Canadian guy felt the need for this particular kind of American speed. I think I enjoyed the back-pages tour diary more – Little’s engaging style was looser and breathed better. Overall: 6. Recommendation: Pass.
Captain America #1 (Marvel) This was one more horseshit book in a week overflowing with them. It’s probably not even in need of “retconning” again as it is pseudo-cleverly edited. Next issue they can reveal that Steve’s mom never joined Hydra as clearly as they could show her joining, and the “Hail Hydra” cliffhanger can be written off as Cap imitating Zemo’s (it’s a comic, how would we know?) because there’s a hidden mic aboard the plane and that low-rent Bucky clone he supposedly “killed” ? He was probably equipped with a concealed parachute. This is just assembled to look like a betrayal, when it’s anything but, I’m willing to bet. Is it an insult to Jack Kirby and Joe Simon? Without question. But it’s probably an even bigger insult to your intelligence. Overall: 2 Recommendation: Pass
The Omega Men #12 (DC)*: Well, whaddya know? The one knock on Tom King’s resume (besides his “former” status as a CIA case officer) was that he hadn’t previously shown that he knew how to wrap up a series, but this issue does precisely that, offering a very satisfying, morally-ambiguous conclusion to what’s been, on the whole, a damn good book. Barnaby Bagenda delivers one more dose of his eye-poppingly gorgeous artwork, and all in all, “The Omega Men” goes out on top. One of the better titles to come out under the DC imprint in many years. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy
Shaft: Imitation Of Life #4 (Dynamite)*: Speaking of going out on top, David Walker and Dietrich Smith’s sequel to last year’s superb “Shaft” six-parter does so, as well, wrapping things up with a bow and some clever-if-somewhat-obvious “metafictional” nods to John Shaft’s place in popular culture history. Can we get another series next year, please? Overall: 9. Recommendation: Buy
Superman #52 (DC)*: Not every book can go out on top, though, and while “The Final Days Of Superman” started with a bang, it definitely ends with a whimper. The previous installment (which ran in the pages of “Superman/Wonder Woman”) was a complete time-waster that featured a two-page script extended out to 22 pages, and this was much the same. After finally managing to get us emotionally invested in the “New 52” Superman for the first time, writer Peter Tomasi gives him a very lazily-scripted, flat, predictable ending. Odds are that he’ll be back at some point, but even the worst iteration of the character ever conceived of deserves a more dignified exit than this. Mikel Janin’s art is far from his usual standard, as well. Overall: 3 Recommendation: Pass
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 (**).