Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 1/15/17
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.
Daredevil #15 (Marvel) You know, as the first issue of Daredevil that I’ve read in a long time, this was actually pretty good. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read
Doctor Strange / The Punisher: Magic Bullets #2 (Marvel) You’d be surprised at how well the team up of Doctor Strange and Punisher actually works for the reader’s enjoyment. I don’t
really remember too much about the previous issue, nor did I fully follow the story (I got distracted by the art…), but I enjoyed it nonetheless. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read
Hulk #1 (Marvel) Holy crap, this was a fantastic issue. We’re given a wonderful comic that explores the results of some pretty traumatic events in Jennifer Walter’s life. I didn’t expect to read this, but I am so glad I did. Hulk #1 was simply incredible. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy
Inhumans Vs X-Men #3 (Marvel) The X-Men’s assault on the Inhumans takes place in the issue, and for all intents and purposes it’s a well executed plan of attack, with a comic that matches up pretty well to the story. Another solid book from Marvel this week. Overall: 7.75 Recommendation: Read
Red Dog #2 (415 Media) I missed the first issue of this comic when it came out, but after Graphic Policy’s Blogger in Chief Brett suggested I give it a go I sat down and started reading the second issue. Sci fi comics typically aren’t my cup of tea, although the more I say that the less true it seems to become, but this story about a boy and his robot dogs is quite interesting. There’s also a battle of sorts at the onset of the comic, likely a culmination of issue #2, which took a different direction than you’d typically expect but it wasn’t the highlight of the issue for me. Overall, this is a cracking comic that deals more with lonliness and companionship than it does the sci fi element. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Buy
Detective Comics #948 (DC) – Advertised as the new start for Batwoman, the issue starts off strong enough. Marguerite Bennett and James Tynion IV open with a scene between Kate Kane and her dad that brought back a lot of happy memories of Batwoman: Elegy and Ben Oliver’s art is solid, with strong and dark colors that evoke a certain sense of heaviness and danger in Gotham. However, the wind was knocked out of my sails a bit when I got to the introduction of Dr. Victoria October. Now, I’m no expert, but it doesn’t exactly bode well when nearly every trans person I know in comics reacted to that panel on Twitter with “Oh no.” Not only is it massively insulting, but it also just reads awkward and stilted. I hope better for Bennett and Tynion, but they haven’t exactly hit the ground running here. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Pass
Motor Crush #2 (Image) – Picking up from the action packed first issue, the second issue of the new hit from Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher and Babs Tarr scales back a bit to let us get to know Domino a bit more. Well, Domino and her ex-girlfriend/mechanic Lola Del Carmen. There’s still plenty of mystery, suspense and action to be had, but it’s nice to get to know Domino on a personal level. Not to mention that Lola might be one of the prettiest characters Tarr has ever drawn. She brings a beautiful pastel balance to the neon world of Nova Honda, and shows that Tarr is second to none when it comes to using fashion to describe a character. Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy
Inhumans vs X-Men #2 (Marvel) – While Queen Medusa prepares for war, the mutants deliver it. In this issue we see the Inhumans home world attacked, and some pretty cool matchups as all hell breaks loose. It would certainly seem that the battle is very one sided so far, but I’m sure the scales will too soon. I enjoyed the fights, and it is still so far so good for this series. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read
Justice League of America: Vixen Rebirth #1 (DC) – I am sure there are those that will like that comic, and though I tried, I didn’t really enjoy it. I love Orlando on Midnighter and Apollo, but just couldn’t get into the story here. That’s okay because not every comic is for everyone. Don’t get me wrong, there is an origin story, and some interesting moments. I just didn’t enjoy the flow of the book overall. I thought The Atom Rebirth issue last week was solid, and will continue to read each of these one shots leading to JLA, but this book is a pass for me. Overall: 5.0 Recommendation: Pass
Justice League vs Suicide Squad #4 (DC) – . This series has been summer blockbuster popcorn fun, and this issue continues that. We finally get a big brawl with our actual villains, and some JL/SS team up moments. This is how you do an event. Make it weekly and come out guns and powers blazing and get it over with. This is a fun book. Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy
Justice League vs Power Rangers #1 (DC) – In an unexpected turn of events, this was one of my favorite books this week. I am not a big Power Rangers fan, but it didn’t matter. Tom Taylor does a great job here balancing the action and the campiness, and there was a moment where Zach first sees Batman and it is awesome and funny. It shows that any property with a good writer can work, because this seems like such a silly premise, but it works. I will be reading this going forward. Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy
Stray Bullets #20 (Image/El Capitan)** – The Amy Racecar issues are always a bit problematic for me: Sunshine & Roses generally moves so briskly that, ironically, the
Racecar slows it down. Much as I love seeing Mini-Monster work, and fun as it is to watch David Lapham go to town on superhero/science adventure stuff (the little elephant-boy Zzwerks are adorbs), I just want to get back to it. Overall: 8 Recommendation: keep reading! (I bought my copy)
Black Hammer Giant-Sized Annual (Dark Horse) – I have to admit, I would have liked some guest writers on this jam as well. It’s like Jeff Lemire is freeriding on his Silver Age foundations and not digging anything up from underneath them (I can’t help but contrast with the Alan Moore/Rick Veitch flashbacks in Supreme). Even though this is a roster of artists I really like, their work seems rushed and run-of-the-mill here (but run-of-the-mill Dustin Nguyen, Emi Lenox, and Mike Allred is still pretty damn good). Cute, but no substitute for a regular-sized Gardner Fox/Mike Sekowsky ish of JLA. Overall: 5 Recommendation: Skip
God Country #1 (Image) – I wanted to like this way more than I actually did. I was attracted to the concept of mythical sword & sorcery deep in the heart of Texas – but I needed it to be like I need my country music: way more outlaw. Writer Donny Cates could have given us more time with his main characters and setting, such that that storm really did blow me away. Geoff Shaw’s art almost worked best for me when there weren’t any people around. In short, there wasn’t enough contrast for me between God and Country and it fell into the mushy middle. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: try it and see.
Motor Crush #2 (Image) – Well, this is fun and breezy! Brenden Fletcher, Cameron Stewart, and Babs Tarr look like they’re having a ball with this slightly sci-fi’d-up motorcycle racing soap. The story is fairly by-the-numbers, but the numbers in question are a straight four on the floor, so I’m okay with that. This is the kind of thing that I would love to see as a Sunday comic strip, and if nobody’s signing this up for an animated version, those nobodys are fools. It’s not enough of my thing to keep following, but it’s a really good ride. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Read
Violent Love #3 (Image) – I am already deep in the tank for Victor Santos, so I’m happy to see him let loose on a crime romance like this one. Frank Barbieri does a good job keeping things moving and working the spring between tense and crazy. This is a solid book – not quite great writing-wise, but that Victor Santos art! Does he do his own coloring, too? The credit would imply as much, and the color is so integrated into the pencils and inks that it would make sense. I’ll be back for more of this. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy
Foolkiller #3 (Marvel)**– Word is that this book has already been axed, but I have to admit I’m going to miss it. Granted, this issue, which sees the now-current (and once-former) second Foolkiller meet up with the now-former (but maybe still current, after all) third Foolkiller is probably only going to be of interest to hard-core, long-terms fans of the character (in all of his iterations), but Max Bemis and Dailbor Talajic exhibit a good handle on their charge (or should that be charges?), the dialogue is crisp and fun, and the revelation that all is far from perfect in “Foolkiller 2” Greg Salinger’s paradise leads to some solidly shocking plot developments. For the 10,000 or so folks left reading this comic, then — myself included — this is all kinds of bleak, twisted fun. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy
Southern Bastards #16 (Image)** – Jasons Aaron and Latour keep the pedal to the metal with part two of the “Gut Check” arc, and while there’s nothing that happens in this issue that wasn’t absolutely telegraphed in the last, it’s certainly every bit the visceral read we figured it would be — and there’s one mean sumbitch of a surprise in store when we learn that Coach Euless Boss may just have himself a rival in another county who plays just as down n’ dirty as he does. Buy the Mockingbird homage variant cover and support some good causes that could definitely use your help in the new dark age of Trump that’s descending upon us. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy
Spread #18 (Image)** – Nice to see this series back after what seemed to be a rather lengthy hiatus, and while I miss Kyle Strahm on the art, John Bivens is filling in/taking
over (not sure which is the case at this point) quite well, and Justin Jordan is taking his storyline in an interesting direction by showing much more of the world beyond the “Spread Zone” than we’ve seen previously — which proves to be quite surprising indeed. The only drawback? No is nowhere to be found this time out — get him back in there soon! Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy
Wonder Woman #14 (DC)** – A curiously (and uncharacteristically) uninvolving conclusion to the “Year One” story arc that sees our main baddie, Mars, dispatched far too easily and gives seriously short shrift to the battles that have been brewing here from the outset. Nicola Scott delivers perhaps her finest art yet for this series — which is really saying something considering the staggeringly high standard established by previous issues — but Greg Rucka seems a little too eager to wrap this one up. All that buildup for — this? Oh well. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Read (or, more precisely, look at, since the art’s the reason to check it out).
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 (**).