Mini Reviews For the Week ending 8/6
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 #4 (DC)* This series improves issue over issue for me, and is one of the highlights of the Rebirth titles right now. Tom King is giving us a Batman who doesn’t seem as god-like as he has been in the past. It’s interesting turn to the character as we’re reminded of his morality and the limits he faces when compared to somebody like Superman. Or the Gotham twins. While I’m still not keen on Gotham Girl’s name, the same cannot be said for the direction the story is taking, or for David Finch’s artwork. The series has really taken me by surprise with just how much I’m enjoying it. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy
Moon Knight #5 (Marvel)* Eh…. it’s okay. Visually stunning, really stunning at times with the sheer number of creative teams working on the issue – but the reason behind the army of artists is a good one – with the differing styles all pulled together by Jordie Bellaire’s colouring. With the first arc over, I can say that this wasn’t the best five issues of Moon Knight I’ve ever read, but it was far from the worst, either. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read if you’ve been following from the beginning. Wait till next issue if you haven’t.
Superman #4 (DC)* So. Superman, eh? This was an absolute blast to read and I enjoyed every panel. There’s something fantastic about having Superman have a family, and his struggle to protect them as well as everybody else is captivating. Overall:8.75 Recommendation: Buy
Vote Loki #3 (Marvel)* I don’t think I should be enjoying this as much as I am, but this is one of the best comics I’ve read all week. I say that in the same way that I say Army Of Darkness is a great movie -it’s a fantastic story that may not be as great as other movies, but as long as you just want to be entertained then you can’t go wrong. It’s that same with Vote Loki. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Read
Daredevil Annual #1 (Marvel)*: The first story written by Charles Soule with art by Vanessa Del Rey, reintroducing Maya Lopez, aka Echo, is passable, but nothing special. The second story by old school writer Roger McKenzie from the late 70s/80s, and penciled by Ben Torres, was more enjoyable, but rushed and limited to a scant 11 pages. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Buy, if you can get the Skottie Young cover, and remember who McKenzie is; otherwise pass.
Suicide Squad Rebirth #1 (DC)*: I’m guessing this was written for the movie fans that may be inspired to go out and buy a comic book. Pure cheese all the way to the “Let’s Save the World” ending. Overall:5 Recommendation: Pass.
Kill or be Killed #1 (Image)**: Brubaker’s and Philips’ latest crime series demonizes their new protagonist with a new angle on the “life for a life” motif, preying on the darker wish fulfillments of the physically weak. At first the supernatural bit was suspect, but Brubaker brings it all together to a cliffhanger finish. Phillips’ and Breitweiser’s art is superb per usual. Another Criminal hit that will keep current fans happy, and bring in new ones. Overall:10 Recommendation: Buy.
Shutter vol. 4 (Image): Act Two wraps up dramatically with the end of #22, the last comic collected in the series’ fourth trade. There’s a lot of ebb and flow in terms of action in this arc. Volume 4 explores the outcome of Kate’s time with Nero, finally clarifying Kate’s intentions for the future. It also focuses on Kate’s siblings, taking a breather and introducing the stories of background characters that readers don’t know very well. It gives the creative team a chance to do some experimental (and very fun to read) storytelling, while incorporating just enough real-time interaction to keep the momentum going. The end throws Kate and company right back into the thick of it, ending on an extreme cliffhanger that will keep everyone guessing until the series returns. As always, Leila del Duca is fabulous on art, and Joe Keatinge’s slow reveal storytelling is at times frustrating, but engrossing. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy. A must read for fans of the series.
Low #15 (Image)**: Not a bad wrap-up to this arc, with a gut-wrenching double-splash-page cliffhanger, but in other spots Greg Tocchini’s art feels rushed and nowhere near up to his usual standard. Solid story on the whole, I suppose, but Rick Remender’s “never give up on optimism” message is feeling a bit heavy-handed at this point, as well, and threatens to drown out necessary things like plot progression and character development. Hopefully the forthcoming break will be just what both creators need to recharge their batteries and elevate the quality of this title back up to the level we know they’re both capable of. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Buy if you’re already reading it, otherwise pass
Animosity #1 (Aftershock)*: The preview for this one that’s been running in the back of any number of Aftershock titles led me to believe that I would absolutely love this book, and whaddya know? I actually did. Marguerite Bennett’s story about animals developing heightened intelligence and the ability to speak is equal parts charming and terrifying, and Rafael De Latorre’s art is exceptional. This tale of a girl and her dog in a world gone mad feels like a classic in the making. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy
The Discipline #5 (Image)**: Peter Milligan and Leandro Fernandez conclude their first arc with a self-contained epilogue of sorts that’s actually far and away the strongest issue of the series to date. Which rather throws into stark relief what a bizarre and unsatisfying mess the others have been, more than anything else. It looks like a long hiatus is next with the volume one trade collection coming in October and issue six sometime after that — I wonder how many people will come back? I won’t be among them, that’s for sure — I always assumed that Peter was no relation to notorious film director/sexual reprobate Andy Milligan, but after five issues of this, I’m frankly not so sure. Overall: 5 Recommendation: Pass
Moon Knight #5 (Marvel)*: A murderer’s row of guest artists including none other than Francesco Francavilla go a long way towards salvaging what would otherwise be a relentlessly mediocre and unsatisfying conclusion to Jeff Lemire and Greg Smallwood’s first arc. Visually this comic has been tops from the outset, but the story has gone next to nowhere and we’ve seen this “what’s real and what’s not?” trope done with far more substance and style both too many times to count. Every page is an absolute feast for the eyes, though, it must be said, Overall : 6. Recommendation : Buy if you’re already onboard, pass if you’re not
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 (**).