Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 6/18
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.
Batman #1 (DC)* I don’t know what I was expecting out of this comic, but I ended up really enjoying this. Seeing Batman struggle to do what the more powerful heroes can do without thinking was interesting, and led to some great character interactions as the comic progressed. Overall: 8.75 Recommendation: Buy
Dark Knight Returns: The Last Crusade #1 (DC Comics)* You could spend $7 on this, or you could spend give me $7 to slap you in the eye. Same thing, really. Overall: 2 Rec0mmendation: Pass and buy Vote Loki #1 and A&A# 4 instead
Klaus #6 (Boom!) Still an enjoyable comic, and with art that has been fantastic through out, this isn’t one to jump on for new readers. The series itself is absolutely worth reading, but either read them all or wait for the trade – don’t jump on here. Overall: 7.75 Recommendation: Read (one way or another)
Weird Detective #1 (Dark Horse) – Definitely living up to its title, the first issue is entertaining and fun. The writing is solid, especially getting Detective Greene’s strangeness down. It’s a good read and not one that was on my radar, but after reading this first issue, it definitely is. Overall Rating: 7.8 Recommendation: Read
Dark Knight Returns: The Last Crusade #1 (DC Comics)* – What should have been an amazing comic filling in events only hinted at, the issue doesn’t stand out as anything particularly special. There’s just nothing new, or interesting about this at all. In fact, it feels more like an abbreviated retelling of why folks didn’t like Jason Todd, not even Batman. Overall Rating: 4 Recommendation: Pass
Justice League #51 (DC Comics)* – Definitely feels like a fill in issue, but, it does look like it’ll lead into the new Titans series. So that’s interesting. Overall Rating: 6 Recommendation: Pass
Scooby Apocalypse #2 (DC Comics)* – I’m still making up my mind about this series. There’s a lot I like about it. There’s a lot I dislike about it. I think my biggest issue is the series doesn’t feel subversive enough, such as Afterlife with Archie. It just feels like a action monster comic with these familiar characters. Overall Rating: 7 Recommendation: Read
Transformers #54 (IDW Publishing) – Optimus is dealing with being attacked by human forces while trying to take on Galvitron. And that ending! Holy crap is it awesome. Overall Rating: 7.6 Recommendation: Read
Transformers: Till All Are One #1 (IDW Publishing) – The comic feels like it should be scenes in More Than Meets the Eye as opposed to a comic on its own. While it’s not bad, I expected a bit more political intrigue or something more to justify it’s own series. It is nice to see the Swindle situation be addresses, but again, I’m not sure why it’s not part of the other comics (other than there just being too much story to be told). Overall Rating: 7.3 Recommendation: Read
Civil War II: X-Men #1 (Marvel)* – An ok comic that only slightly sets up a conflict. It doesn’t really feel like it’s part of the Civil War II storyline other than involving the tensions of Mutants with Inhumans. In other words, nothing special that makes this deserve to be a miniseries. Overall Rating: 6.8 Recommendation: Pass
Scarlet #10 (Marvel)* – After a long break the series is back and wraps up before returning next year. There was something that was really interesting when it first came out, especially as tension between government/police and citizens was building. But now, it all feels somewhat behind the times. Hopefully the series reflects even more the real world situation when it returns. Overall Rating: 7.5 Recommendation: Read
A&A: The Adventures of Archer & Armstrong #4 (Valiant) – One of the funniest, most entertaining comics on the market. Absolutely amazing. Overall Rating: 8.4 Recommendation: Buy
The Joyners #1 (Archaia/BOOM! Studios) – I remember when this graphic novel first was released in 3D (I had trouble reading it due to that). And it being released as single issues is solid, as it deserves more eyes on it. The first issue is a solid crime-ish comic surrounding a powerful tech industry person in the future. A great concept and definitely unique. Overall Rating: 8 Recommendation: Read
Lazarus #22 (Image)**: And so “Cull” begins, and what an ominous title that is for our Lazari. I was thrilled to see Forever Carlyle out of action here: Greg Rucka has built a hell of a supporting cast and Sonia Bittner is someone I want to see more of. As usual, Michael Lark draws the hell out of this (the sheer weight he gets in his drawings of swordfighters truly impresses me). And as usual, Rucka brings the drama of horrible people using horrible people to do horrible things to other horrible people is sickeningly compelling. No one ever has simple, single motivations, and you can even feel pity for some of these awful people. Overall: 9.5. Recommendation: buy.
Descender #12 (Image)**: I really loved the story of boy robot Tim-21 and his abusive human owner, right up until the issue came back to the fight between Tim-21 and Tim-22. I don’t know if it’s true of all Jeff Lemire comics, but in Descender his huge strengths in character study are constantly undermined by generic plotting. Oh, that Dustin Nguyen watercolor art, though. Overall: 7. Recommendation: read
Weird Detective #1 (Dark Horse)**: A new Fred Van Lente series dealing with a Lovecraftian occult detective? Sign me up! Sebastian Greene was an ordinary NYPD detective until a few months ago, when he became a supercop. Now internal wants to find out why and makes counterterrorism specialist Sana Fayez his partner in “Minor Crimes”. Which is cop code here for weird shit no one else can deal with. Van Lente hits exactly the right blend of horror and humor, and Guiu Vilanova’s art can be Law & Order procedural one page and then damn it’s the Great Old Ones! Overall: 8.5. Recommendation: buy
I Hate Fairyland #6 (Image)**: My favorite series of the year is back in force! The rundown: girl from portal story gets stuck in Fairyland and her little girl body for twenty-odd years looking for the key to get her back home. Just as she was on the verge, she killed her archnemesis Queen Cloudia, making Gert Queen of Fairyland and therefore stuck there until someone comes along and kills her. Skottie Young gets muffin-fluffin’ medieval on this book with so much glee I can practically hear him cackling behind every page. His exploration in this issue of just what an Evil Queen does is brilliant, and I am totally down with roaming around Fairyland blowing up toadstool castles and gutting adorable fluffy animals as long as Gert needs to. Overall: 9. Recommendation: buy.
Kaijumax season 2 #2 (Oni Press): This is my first issue, and to Zander Cannon’s credit, I felt like I knew everything I needed to know to get into the story. Basically, it’s a prison drama featuring Japanese monsters and cops in giant robot suits. Now, I’m a sucker for puns and invented language, so I’m biased towards monsters who call each other “lizza” and engage in rap battles. But I’m also a sucker for stories about creatures who are trying to overcome who and what they are, or at least have been so far, and in that respect, this issue is heartbreaking. The battle between gundam suit and the Black Humungo is devastating and the end of the issue gutted me. Overall: 9. Recommendation: buy
Dark Knight Returns : The Last Crusade #1 (DC)* : What a complete waste. Brian Azzarello and Frank Miller’s script is a poorly-paced travesty, giving us a throwaway Poison Ivy story that takes up most of the page count, with the promised “last stand” of Jason Todd’s Robin being relegated, essentially, to an epilogue. Characterization is off-base throughout, the dialogue is lame and clunky, and while Peter Steigerwald’s inks and colors (uhhhmmm — wasn’t Bill Sienkiewicz originally attached to this project on inks?) do what they can to “streamline” the look of this book with other “Dark Knight” titles, there’s no disguising the fact that John Romita Jr.’s pencils are, as has become his custom lately, a mess. Seven bucks for this pile of dogshit? Be serious. Overall : 1. Recommendation : Pass.
Pencil Head #5 (Image/Shadowline)**: I’ve been loving this series, but it seems liked Ted McKeever had no idea where it was headed, much less how to wrap it up. In fact, the last couple pages — after a gratuitous plug for his other work is inserted into the story — more or less admit as much. All in all, what we got here was an artist looking to get some stuff off his chest, with no real idea how — or even why — to tie it all together. Overall : 4. Recommendation : okay, buy it if you’ve been following from the start, otherwise pass.
Batman #1 (DC)*: Well, this is it — the big debut of the new creative team we’ve all been waiting for. It’s funny how everyone seemed to love the Snyder/Capullo run, but that same faceless, amorphous “everyone” was ready for a new take on the character. Tom King nails the Bruce Wayne/Alfred dynamic, that’s for sure, but otherwise all we’ve got here is a Batman-preventing-a-plane-crash story with no real villain to speak of that makes for a rather lackluster debut on the whole — and speaking of lackluster, David Finch’s art is bog-standard “New 52”-era crap. I think that “everyone” group of folks I’ve been droning on about frankly expected better than this. Overall : 5. Recommendation : Pass.
Superman #1 (DC)*: Not so much actively bad as hopelessly hum-drum, Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason make their much-heralded debut on “Superman” with a family-centric story that’s working a little bit too hard on being iconic with splashes and double-splashes that absolutely trash the pacing of the issue, all in service of a barer-than-bare-bones plot. It’s a likable enough premise that’s established here, but beyond that, well — it’s tough to say where anything is going and, perhaps even more crucially, why we should be interested in finding out. Overall : 6. Recommendation : Read if you’re genuinely curious about the new direction, otherwise 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 (**).