Mini Reviews For the Week Ending 7/16
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.
Old Man Logan *8 (Marvel)* Okay, I get it. Old Man Logan is from an alternate fucking future where the world went to hell. Stop telling me this every bloody issue. This falls somewhere between being a place holder comic between story arcs, and a waste of money. Whether it was designed to help new readers get into the series, or MArvel just needed n issue, telling a tory of Logan having insomnia because the fture he’s from may happen is beyon frustrating – especially since the last arc was all about Logan accepting this was a new tmeline. A bloody redundant comic. Spend your money on the Paybacks instead. Overall: 5 Recommendation: Pass
Nightwing: Rebirth #1 (DC)* I didn’t read Grayson, so this was a nice catch up for me, but if you did read that critically acclaimed series, then you can probably skip this glorified recap page – as good as it was, there’s unlikely to be anything new here for you. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Read if you’re getting back into Nightwing, Pass it otherwise.
Wonder Woman #2 (DC)* A fantastic issue. Only the second Wonder Woman comics I’ve ever truly read, and I thoroughly enjoyed it; much more so than the first issue.Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy
Mickey Shorts #1 (IDW) Based of the newer cartoon show, this anthology comic mixes an innocent Ren and Stimpy style artwork with Disney’s famous mouse. If you’ve seen much of the show, then this will feel familiar to you. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read
Walt Disney Comics and Stories #733 (IDW) Sometimes Disney reprint comics are just the kind of easy reading that you want to enjoy, especially after some of the shittier comics from other publishers. You know exactly what you’re getting here before you open the cover, and that’s often more refreshing than you realize. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation Read
Nightwing: Rebirth #1 (DC Comics) – A decent bridge comic that should catch folks up on what Dick Grayson has been up to. It isn’t super exciting at all and feels like an extended recap more than anything. But, it does set up what we can expect in the ongoing series. If you have no idea what has happened and need to catch up, this should scratch that itch. Otherwise, there’s little that’s groundbreaking or vital. Overall Rating: 6.8 Recommendation: Pass
4001 A.D. Shadowman #1 (Valiant) – A very interesting new take on Shadowman and the Deadworld. Valiant has been knocking this event out of the park, so much so I want to see this world going forward. More please! Overall Rating: 8.3 Recommendation: Buy
The Adventures Of Miru #1 (Action Lab Entertainment) – A very cute all-ages fantasy series. The first issue does a great job of setting up the world and teasing lots of mysteries. This is one to keep an eye on. Overall Rating: 8.1 Recommendation: Buy
Aspen Universe Revelations #1 (Aspen Comics) – Aspen is bringing together their properties into one cohesive universe and while this first issue begins to lay the groundwork for that, it’s probably not the best for folks that have read previous Aspen comics. Still, I want to see how it’s brought together into one world. Overall Rating: 6.5 Recommendation: Pass
The Bounty #1 (Dark Horse) – A fun new series from Kurtis Wiebe and Mindy Lee that’s a sci-fi spin on bounty hunters. The first issue is entertaining and had me wanting to see what comes next. Wiebe does fun comics, and he keeps up that streak here. Overall Rating: 7.75 Recommendation: Read
The Bunker #18 (Oni Press) – Well that was a hell of a twist! This is an issue that REALLY shakes things up. Though it’s not new reader friendly, it’s a comic series folks should be checking out and this issue emphasizes that. Overall Rating: 8.7 Recommendation: Buy
The Paybacks #1 (Heavy Metal Comics) – Absolutely amazing. I loved the first miniseries and this new series is just as good. If you haven’t checked this series out, here’s a perfect issue to start with. Overall Rating: 8.6 Recommendation: Buy
Rough Riders #4 (Aftershock Comics) – Continuing the fantastic mix of history and weirdness. Aliens. Roosevelt. Lasers. Rasputin!? So much fun. Overall Rating: 8.4 Recommendation: Buy
Wacky Raceland #2 (DC Comics)* – This re-imagining of the classic television cartoon is out there, but entertaining. This one adds a lot of depth for Dick Dastardly. Definitely not one for kids, but well worth checking out. Overall Rating: 8.05 Recommendation: Buy
Warp Zone #1 (Rosarium Publishing) – Really trippy and really weird. The comic has a style that reminds me of Ed Roth and Garbage Pail Kids. An indie comic worth checking out. Overall Rating: 7.3 Recommendation: Read
All-New X-Men #11 (Marvel)* – While it’s great Marvel tied in their X-Titles to Apocalypse with the film out (evidence the Fox/Marvel split is bullshit) the various stories are a bit lacking, especially this one. The issue wraps up the arc as Evan and Hank deal with proto-Apocalypse. Maybe there’ll be some decent long term implications, but the issue and arc is rather blah, especially the art. It’s been a long time since the X-Titles were worth praising, and this is a prime example. Overall Rating: 6.7 Recommendation: Pass
Millwarworld Annual 2016 (Image Comics) – It’s great to see new talent, but the art and stories here are all over the place as far as quality. It’s great to see new stories for various series like Chrononauts, Kingsman, and Starlight, nothing here is must have for fans of the various series. Still, cool to see an anthology of this type. Overall Rating: 7 Recommendation: Read
Archangel #2 (IDW)** – I am sticking with this series with the hopes that Gibson will pull it all together in subsequent issues, but so far I am finding it harder and harder to enjoy. Gibson himself, in the afterword, says, “… this particular flavor combination has never openly turned up in [his] prose fiction.” However, I have come across the OSS, WWII, and alternative timeline/history motifs in a large number of other sci-fi and comic book works –and I suspect so have others. Butch Guice’s art is a saving grace, but not enough to recommend it too highly. Plus, Gibson’s fans, like me, will be disappointed by the surprising lack of cyberpunk tones. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Pass.
House of Penance #4 (Dark Horse)** Tomasi’s and Bertram’s mythic re-telling of the nonstop building of the infamous Winchester Mystery House continues to please. Sarah’s blood and bile soaked mad quest to atone and appease the spirits, bumps up against the pragmatic realities of her family’s business. What role (aside from being a possible love interest) Warren will play in all of this is yet to be fully revealed.
Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy.
Daredevil #9 (Marvel)* – In the conclusion to Soule’s two part tale entitled “Blind Man’s Bluff,” Daredevil and Spider-Man team-up to get their hands on a mysterious briefcase held by the Chinese Triad atop one of Macau’s hottest gambling spots. The art is decent, with DD sporting the Netflix inspired dark costume, and Spidey on his right side. The story was entertaining, with hints at the importance of the briefcase’s contents impacting future storylines. Overall: 7. Recommendation: Read.
Violent #5 (Image)** – Another well-written indie victim of low sales, Ed Brisson concludes the first arc of Violent with promises of a second via KickStarter. I was digging this Canadian inside look at our Northern neighbor’s seedier side. If you missed this series, and are into crime stories, I highly recommend you pick up the TPB when available.
Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy.
The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina #6 (Archie Comics) **– The other half of Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa’s horrific take on the Archie universe is superb story telling. In this latest issue we get two origin stories with references to Kipling’s “Rikki-Tikki-Tavi”, Jacob’s “The Monkey’s Paw”, and Egger’s “The Witch”. Salem’s origin story is appropriately set within the historic context of America’s Salem Witch Trials to chilling effect; and Robert Hack’s artwork expertly captures the pulpy 1950’s tradition of horror art.
Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy.
Z’isle #5 (Miscellaneum Studios)*: This is a zombie comic set in my hometown of Montreal, so I was curious. (You can read the title as Zombie Island/Île or Asile/Asylum) I was even more curious to see, on the inside back cover, a cast credit page featuring a large number of my actor friends. Unfortunately, Lateef Martin’s drawing is too off-model for its cinematic premise: I didn’t easily recognize either the actors nor many of the settings. Also unfortunately, Isabelle Duguay & Lateef Martin’s writing doesn’t take advantage of Montreal’s uniqueness and delivers a generic post-apocalyptic story with generic dialogue and generic characters. I always say, “No man is an island, but Montreal is.” Overall: 5. Recommendation: Pass.
Descender #13 (Image)**: In this one, we get into Captain Telsa’s story – and it is hugely, massively, generic and dull. Jeff Lemire hits basically every single beat from every single cheap sci-fi movie that ever cribbed from cheap adventure serials: childhood trauma, daddy issues, bar on the Fringes full of scum and villainy, rebellious cadet, etc. Not one note of originality in the entire issue. Which Dustin Nguyen paints the hell out of. Sigh. Overall: 6 (thanks to Dustin) Recommendation: Pass
Midnight of the Soul #2 (Image)**: I still maintain that, with a stronger editorial hand, this series could have ranked with great Fifties literature (for the record, Hugh MacLennan’s The Watch That Ends the Night is one of my favourite novels). Howard Chaykin remains a bit too caught up in his own tropes to really push Joel Breakstone’s story beyond a kind of cheap revenge pulp noir. But there’s a hint of something, in the last pages, of a character who is finding his own redemption back-asswards, riding a motorcycle through the bottom of the barrel. And that will keep me coming back, despite all of my misgivings. Overall: 7 (because Howard Chaykin art). Recommendation: Read
Hal Jordan And The Green Lantern Corps: Rebirth #1 (DC)*: Another typical “stage-setter,” this “special” is only notable for being, if anything, even less ambitious than its “Rebirth” counterparts in that it does nothing else other than recap what’s come before with almost no emphasis placed on where writer Robert Venditti is looking to take things from here. When they waste two full pages on Hal Jordan reciting the Green Lantern oath that almost anyone reading the book knows by heart anyway, you know they’re padding things. Meanwhile, Ethan Van Sciver’s art is, as always, terrible. All in all this comic is completely indistinguishable from the worst “New 52”-era pablum. Overall: 1. Recommendation: Pass.
Wonder Woman #2 (DC)*: Greg Rucka and Nicola Scott kick off their every-other-issue “Year One” storyline, and aside from the fact that events in this installment take up well over a year in and of themselves, thus negating the arc’s title, I have no real complaints. Scott’s art is gorgeous, Rucka has a masterful handle on Diana, Steve Trevor, and everyone else involved, and the various plot threads — with which we’re, admittedly, already quite familiar — are imbued with some real pathos thanks to some expert fleshing-out of the backstory involving one of the other guys on Trevor’s mission who doesn’t make it out alive. Another re-telling of Wonder Woman’s origin may not be strictly necessary, but if it’s told well and sheds some of the “new light” on proceedings that Rucka has promised, well — it should at least make for some interesting reading. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Buy.
The Vision #9 (Marvel)*: Another “holy shit they really went there” issue from Tom King and Gabriel Hernandez Walta, with tragedy so thick you can cut it with a knife, a highly intriguing new take on Vision’s “brother,” and a painfully drawn-out demise of one of our principal characters making for, you guessed it, another essential chapter in comics’ most doom-laden series. Miss it at your peril, this book is at the top of everyone’s “read pile” for good reason. Overall: 8.5. Recommendation: Buy
Nightwing: Rebirth #1 (DC)*: I’ve got all the respect in the world for Tim Seely, but his talents — as well as those of Yanick Paquette — are wasted on this long-form “what has gone before” nonsense. There’s some solid interaction between Dick Grayson and Damian Wayne, though, and you do, at least, get some hint of where things are headed in the future, so it’s a slight step up from the other “Rebirth” book that hit shelves this week. Still not worth your three bucks, though. Overall: 4. Recommendation: Pass.
Joe Golem Volume 1 (Dark Horse)-Crime Noir has been popular in comics for a while thanks to the likes of Ed Brubaker, but when combined with the supernatural, the alchemy is more than interesting, it is addictive, for lovers of both genres such as this writer, when done right. Mike Mignola, is in rare form here, exercising muscles that he wasn’t able to do with Hellboy. Golem is more than a relatable character, but is definitely a realistic one as he reacts as most people would do in both of the cases seen in this first miniseries. You will definitely cheer for him as he saves the children he could in the Rat Catcher and one would be remiss to see the comparisons to the Returned, in Sunken City. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy
Horizon#1 (Image) Growing up watching Captain Planet, the message of saving the earth by not destroying it was not lost on me. Still years have passed and it seems as though the world is still doomed for this inevitable demise. This comic aims to pose the question if we have time travel on our side can we still leave this world inhabitable for all mankind. By issue’s end, you somehow feel more hopeful about the future. Overall: 9.3 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 (**).