Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 2/25
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.
Deadpool The Duck #3 & #4 (Marvel) When I started reading this series, I expected not to like it. I’ve never been a huge Deadpool fan but because I am partial to Howard The Duck, I wanted to at least check out the first couple issues. After finishing the 4th issue a few minutes ago I realized that I’ve been thoroughly enjoying the charmingly violent chaotic story. It’s got some genuinely amusing moments, some of which likely unintentional (such as the “emotional” moments that feel a little shoehorned in), but overall it’s worth a read if this is your cup of tea – and you’ll know pretty quickly whether it is or not. Overall: 7.75 Recommendation: Read
Hulk #3 (Marvel) The unfortunate thing about this comic is that it wasn’t as good as the first two issues. It’s still be enjoyable, but it’s not as memorable as the first issue. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read
Solo #5 (Marvel) It’s hard to explain why I like this as much as I do. Solo is a freelance operative currently on S.H.I.E.L.D.’s payroll who is trying to stop a fairly extensive black market weapons ring. The series has been as deep as a puddle with a what-you-see-is-what-you-get mentality that’s actually worked very well for the previous four issues, and continues to do so here. There’s nothing inherently wrong with the series, but if you’re after anything more than an easy to read fun action comic then you’ll be left wanting. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read
Stray Bullets #21 (Image/El Capitan) – One of the things I love about this series is that every issue kind of has its own music. In this chapter, it stays quiet and reserved for a long time. And then all of a sudden its gets really loud really fast. I’m amazed at David Lapham’s ability to keep up this kind of quality over the nearly 600 pages so far of Sunshine & Roses. Also, as a testament to his skill: daughter Beth dresses as her mother
Annie and looks identical in every respect but body language, which even on the page totally gives her away. That’s an artist who’s all about characters. Respect. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Page 563 might not be the time to jump on board. But this will be a hell of a read in trade.
Curse Words #2 (Image) – So here’s the premise as I understand it: powerful wizard Wizord gets sent to destroy Earth, but winds up digging it instead and decides to become its champion and save it from his now-former wizard bosses. This could be a superfun, really charming comic: Ryan Browne draws the hell out of it and the colors (courtesy Michael Garland with Ryan Browne and Michael Parkinson) pop like candy. But Charles Soule’s writing is a tad generic and the mix of farce and drama just dilutes what could have been an absolute romp through what would an interdimensional wizard love about New York City? Overall: 7 Recommendation: Take a look, this might be your thing.
Shaft: Imitation of Life TPB (Dynamite) – I’m a child of the 70s, so the New York City of my imagination remains that of the Deuce and any number of exploitation movies. David F. Walker and Dietrich Smith do a pretty good job with going back to John Shaft’s world, though for my money the art and story both could have been a lot rougher around the edges, faster and looser and with more swagger and style. I wonder if, by having nothing to really prove and dealing with a known property, the stakes are lowered too much. Where the film has a constant rage and fire underneath the surface, this is more of a slick, professional production. I don’t know if that serves the character best. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Take a look.
Descender #19 (Image) – All we are left with at this point is Jeff Lemire moving the plot forward without raising the stakes much. Dustin Nguyen’s art is gorgeous as usual. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Skip
The Manara Library vol.1: Indian Summer and Other Stories (Dark Horse) – Milo Manara’s main claim to fame is his erotica – a claim to fame which is subverted here in two Westerns. The first, Indian Summer, is a collaboration with Hugo Pratt of Corto Maltese fame – bringing to the fore Pratt’s love of American adventure fictiron and meticulous research. The second, Paper Man, is a Manara solo. In both cases, we are given an absolute feast for the eyes: an Old West that is firmly grounded in its natural wilderness, lush and free. Populated by Native American tribes struggling to understand the new European settlers and settlers trying to make the land their own, the sensibilities are distinctly Italian here: privileging fools and lovers over law and order, Pratt and Manara weave a spell that is utterly magical while adhering firmly to both human nature and the American fictions that inspired them both. The late Kim Thompson’s translation is perfect. Magnificent. Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy.
Justice League Of America #1 (DC)** – I’ve heard it said that even the worst comic you’ve ever read took more work to get into your hands than you can possibly imagine. Steve Orlando and Ivan Reis must have worked really hard on this one. Overall: 0. Recommendation: Pass
Frostbite #6 (DC/Vertigo)** – A surprisingly quick, but nevertheless effective, concluding segment from Joshua Williamson and Jason Shawn Alexander for their dystopian sci-fi six-parter, but I do have to wonder why they pulled a cliffhanger ending out of their ass when you know already that, given this title’s low sales, a sequel is never gonna happen. In fairness, though, it doesn’t feel at all out of place. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read
The Belfry #1 (Image)** – An interesting and gorgeously-illustrated horror one-shot from Gabriel Hardman that, dare I say it, is probably the best “Batman” book of the year so far. If you didn’t get that joke, definitely check out the comic! Granted, it takes all of about two minutes to read, but those are two enjoyable minutes, and you’ll go back and ogle the artwork on this one over and over again. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy.
Black Road #7 (Image)** – Brian Wood and Garry Brown’s small-scale Norse epic never seems to get anything like the attention it deserves, perhaps due to the fact that Wood’s been down this road before. But as far as I’m concerned, a good comic is still a good comic, and as the mystery surrounding the actions of the would-be “Breakaway Pope” and his growing horde of cultists continues to deepen, this is proving to be a very good comic, indeed. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy
Elektra #1 (Marvel) – Elektra has always been the type of character which can only be great when done with the right creative team. This just so happened to be one of those times. We catch up with Elektra shortly after leaving NY as she is hunting for a criminal mastermind in Las Vegas. By issue’s end, she proves to be more than they expect which leads her into a “Running Man” situation. Overall:9.1
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 (**).