Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 12/24
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 #3 (Black Mask) After a long absence for entirely understandable reasons, we saw the return of this fantastic gem of a series to the shelves. While you may want to reread the first couple of issues (whether you remember the story or not), I can’t tell you how happy I was to read this issue. Matthew Rosenberg very subtly recaps the previous events in the opening few panels, and whether this was art of the original script or not, it’s a great way of easing you back into this incredible story again. I can’t recommend this enough. Overall: 9.75 Recommendation: Buy
Batman #13 (DC) “But that’s impossible!” “No, that’s Batman.” I’m still trying to decide if that exchange is as smart as it wants to be, because after the series high of Batman #12 we’re right back down to earth with this Deus Ex machina of an issue that feels like such a let down after #12. Still, at least it looks good…? Overall: 5.25 Recommendation: Pass
Black Hammer #6 (Boom!) Oh man. I feel like this is such an underrated gem. This issue marks the conclusion of the first volume – or at least the most logical trade collection point – of the series. Whether you read the trade or the floppies, expect a slower paced story that will keep you glued to your seat. Overall: 875 Recommendation: Buy
Klaus And The Witch Of Winter #1 (Boom!)** You remember how good the first miniseries was? Well this one-shot… to use a popular movie analogy, if the first mini is the first Star Wars trilogy, then this would be The Phantom Menace. In other words it’ not worth your money; the story is a wee bit of a confusing mess, although the art remains at a high quality, it’s not enough to justify plonking down $8 or so for the comic. A genuine shame considering how good it could have been. Overall: 5 Recommendation: Pass
Mycroft Holmes and The Apocalypse Handbook #4 (Titan) An ideal comic for fans of herlock Holmes style detective work blended with the American West. Well written, illustrated, and with more than enough to bring you back next issue. Overall: 8.75 Recommendation: Buy
Nightwing #11 (DC) I wasn’t too keen on the first nine issues of this series, but the tenth saw writer Tim Seeley take the character back to Bludhaven. This is another brilliant issue that manages to both distance itself from and embrace Nightwing’s association with Batman all at once while simultaneously telling a story about Dick finding himself in a new city. If you read one Bat-book this week, make it this one. Overall: 8.75 Recommendation: Buy
Solo #3 (Marvel) Is the perfect comic to read just as you wake up when your brain doesn’t want to think too much. An entertaining story that had me chuckle in a few places. Solo #3 won’t blow you away, but it could be the cherry on top of your day. Overall: 8.25 Recommendation: Buy
Venom #2 (Marvel) I am loving the idea behind this take on Venom, with the symbiote trying to be a force for good; Flash Thompson clearly had an impact on it. The execution falls a little below my hope for the concept, but it’s still very much worth picking up if you’re curious. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy
World War X (Titan) The world faces an awful alien enemy, and there’s an immortal man to stop them. World War X has an epic feel about it and we’re only an issue in thanks largely to the way Jenny Frison bounces cohesively between time periods. If you’re looking for a bit of escapism, then look no further. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy
Gamora #1 (Marvel) – This one really took me by surprise. Written by Guardians of the Galaxy and Captain Marvel co-writer Nicole Perlman with art by Marco Checcetto and Andres Mossa, Gamora’s first solo series is effectively a prequel explaining how she became the most dangerous woman in the galaxy. Perlman and Checcetto show Gamora as a complicated and still sympathetic character, showing her drive for revenge and sadness and anger towards Thanos and Nebula. However, the most intriguing part of the issue comes from the interactions between Thanos and Nebula, with Thanos completely dismissing Nebula’s constant attempts for favor and favoring Gamora, who wants absolutely nothing to do with him. With the issue leaving off on Gamora heading on a suicide mission to complete her bloody revenge on the Badoon, I was clawing for more. Out of all the Guardians solo books that have come out since the movie, this is easily the strongest debut issue of them all. Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy
Slam! #2 (Boom! Studios) – The Boom! Studios series about Roller Derby players/besties Knockout and Ithinka Can continues in stellar fashion. With the friends being placed on separate teams, we see the two in their own struggles on and off the track. For Knockout, she struggles for acceptance from the Pushy Riots star jammer Velvet Coffin while juggling schoolwork. For Can, it’s her own doubt of self on the Meteor Fights while her love life actually seems to be progressing somewhere for the first time since her breakup. The non-linear and fast-paced storytelling from Pamela Ribon mixed with the colorful and expressive art from Veronica Fish and Brittany Peer keeps the story going strong from the first issue as we get more into the world of the East Side Roller Girls and see how the lives of our heroes push and pull with roller derby. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read
Star Lord #1 (Marvel)** – Most of what I knew going into this series was that Kris Anka was doing the art so therefore abs on abs on abs were promised and it definitely delivers in that regard. However, for someone who mostly skipped Civil War II, it also gave me a decent amount of feelings over seeing Peter Quill in a place where he doesn’t know where to pick up next after the dissolution of the Guardians and his breakup with Kitty Pryde. Honestly, it’s probably some of the most serious writing I’ve seen from Chip Zdarsky, which is not a bad thing. Not to say there isn’t humor. There’s a few lines I legitimately laughed out loud at and it was nice to see a return of Chip’s writing for Howard the Duck for a couple of panels. Also, Anka’s art definitely delivers not just on eye candy, but on body language meant for the more quiet moments of this book. Overall, come for the abs, stay for the story. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy
Occupy Avengers #2 (Marvel) – While I did not enjoy this as much as the first issue, I still thought it was a lot of fun. While sometimes it felt like there was a lot of speaking where I felt the action could have told the story, I still enjoyed it overall. We get some nice conversation between Red Wolf and Clint Barton, and some more fun with Hydro-Man. I am very interested to see where this series goes, and I am a big David Walker fan. I also cannot wait until we see Nighthawk enter the book. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read
Gamora #1 (Marvel) – I have always enjoyed the dynamic between Thanos, Gamora, and Nebula. That is what most of this issue is, besides showing Gamora slaying a ton of Badoons. The story is interesting, and gives us more backstory into Gamora’s relationship with her “sister” Nebula, who hates her, and her “father” Thanos. The art is quite good, and the story was entertaining. I am interested to see where this is going. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy
Thanos #2 (Marvel) – After the shocking ending of the first issue, I was excited to read the next chapter in the story of The Mad Titan. This issue continues where we left off, and deals with that major problem that he uncovered. Well, the problem he actually knows about, because there is the matter of Thane and company scheming against him. Lemire gives us another really solid issue where we get more set up to the bigger picture. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy
Batman #13 (DC)** – Just when things seemed to be looking up for this title, Tom King reverts to his disappointing form and delivers a lame and anti-climactic conclusion to the “I Am Suicide” story arc that can’t find a consistent tone, can’t wrap things up in a satisfying manner, can’t stay focused, and can’t make the last several issues seem like a worthwhile expenditure of your time and money. Lovely Mikel Janin art, as usual, but it’s all in service of a decidedly limp script. Overall: 4.5 Recommendation: Pass
Animosity #4 (Aftershock)** – Another superb installment from Marguerite Bennett and Rafael De LaTorre that propels the storyline forward with considerable gusto, fills in some blanks in terms of Jessie’s pre-world-gone-mad history, and drops some hints that loyal and lovable Sandor may be hiding some decidedly dark secrets. Go figure! One of the most consistently imaginative and readable series out there these days. Overall: 8. Recommendation: Buy.
The Fix #7 (Image)** – Nick Spencer and Steve Lieber know how to craft a fun, sleazy crime “caper” comic like nobody’s business, and making drug-sniffing dog Pretzels the de facto “star” of this issue is a stroke of pure genius — just be prepared for your heart to sink something fierce when you get to the last page. Forewarned is forearmed, after all. Still, regardless of how it ‘s all destined to play out, I have more than full confidence that getting to wherever it is we’re going here is sure to continue to be an absolute blast. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy
Cage! #3 (Marvel)** – Genddy Taratkovsky comes back to Earth, so to speak, this time out, as does Luke Cage himself, and while the plan of the “big bad,” once revealed, sure seems like standard-issue stuff, there’s no doubt that this issue is a more substantive read than the last two, and the art is as jaw-droppingly awesome as ever. I still think “trade-waiting” is the way to go with this series, but if you’re already this far in, what the heck — why not stick it out? Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read
Power Man and Iron Fist Sweet Christmas Annual #1 (Marvel)-There truly is nothing like Christmas time and the way comics portrays it have always been the ones I enjoy the most. So when I saw that David Walker wrote a Xmas special with one of my favorite duos, I wanted first dibs. In this special , Luke Cage and Danny Rand, are in line for a toy for Luke’s daughter. The toy is more than either ever expected, as it released the evil spirit of Krampus. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy
The Mighty Captain Marvel#0 (Marvel)-The Marvel Cinematic Universe has created renewed interest in characters most of the non comic book reading world does not know about.One of those characters is Captain Marvel, the one which Carol Danvers currently inhabits and the one whose buzz was sparked by the writing of Kelly Sue Deconnick. In this new incarnation, another great writer of note,Margaret Stohl, has her own take, which is both fresh and grounded. In this first issue, we get two different views of Danvers , one in her element and the other, her origin story, quite a nice start down this rabbit hole.
Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy
Black Panther:World Of Wakanda#2 (Marvel)– In the second issue of this already intriguing story, finds Wakanda in much disarray after Namor attacks . Within this issue, an attempted assassination against Shuri, finds a nation at odds. Ayo finally opens her self to love . Lastly, we find just what made the Dora Mijae turn against T’Challa, which is more than a harrowing scene to see. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy
Well, there you have it, folks. The reviews we didn’t quite get a chance to write. See you next week!
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 (**).