Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 3/25
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.
Moon Knight #12 (Marvel) At this point I’m only reading this for the artwork. The story feels like a convoluted mess, especially when read twenty some pages at a time; maybe when the trade hits I’ll be able to make better sense of this because there are some folks who love what Lemire is doing here, but right now it’s over my head. Overall: 6.75 Recommendation: Read
Batman #18 (DC) I wanted to like this issue, I really did. But between almost nothing advancing the story in the modern times, and the interesting-at-first way that Tom King and David Finch bring out the vastly different yet similarly motivated early years of Batman and Bane that turned into an uncomfortable (and not in a good way) look into two men with mental issues surrounding their mothers… at least there are two other Batman books worth reading out there. Overall: 4.5 Recommendation: Pass
Nightwing #16 (DC) Damian Wayne make an appearance. If that’s not enough to make you run and buy it, then the fact that this is a great comic should. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy
Savage Things #1 (DC/Vertigo) A secret government program trains sociopaths to kill for them. An interesting debut in a series with a lot of promise, I’m excited to see what comes next. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy
Royal City #1 (Image) -I’ve longed for Jeff Lemire to return to his roots of indie drama, and “Royal City” is a proper return with a bit of magical realism added into the mix. A lot of the story is currently build up, giving the reader a sense of the setting and characters, but with a clever twist on the concept of ghosts and haunted towns. Lemire’s art is as fantastic as ever with the added addition of watercolor to give it an uncanny atmosphere. It’s too early to see where this series will go, but I’m hooked enough to wait on the next issue. Overal: 10 Recommendation: Read.
Paper Girls #12 (Image) – This recent arc of Paper Girls is still building up, but the introduction and development of new characters is satisfying, adding more rich narrative layers along the way. Cliff Chiang and Matt Wilson continue to be a dynamic duo on art, and the prehistoric setting gives their combo an especially fantastic feel. Also, there seems to be a lot of focus given on both KJ and Mac, opening up the possibility for some truly interesting character development if BKV plays it out right. It’s still a lot of build up going on, but the spark is promising to lead to an explosion. Overall: 9. Recommendation: Read
Batman #18 (DC) – This issue had a very cool storytelling element that showcased the differences and similarities in Bruce and Bane’s upbringing. They both lost their mothers and had mentors, but one was groomed for great things and cared for while another was locked in a cage like a wild animal. In modern time, Bane has arrived in Gotham and there’s no escape as he pummels Batman. Of course there was a plan all along, and we get a cliffhanger. This arc has been building for quite a awhile, and I hope it pays off in the next issue. Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy
Superman #18 (DC) – Wow. What an intense issue. It was heartbreaking, and made me want to read more. I didn’t expect this kind of pace out of the gate for the Superman Reborn arc, but okay! I cannot wait until Action Comics next week to see what the hell is going on with the creepy alternate Clark Kent. Who is this dude?! Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy
America #1 (Marvel) – America Chavez begins her solo debut, after she has helped clean up the universe with The Ultimates, she is here to find herself. The gay Latino daughter to two mothers, America is a great reflection of our country in this time period, also she punches Hitler. Overall, I wanted more, but this comic will definitely please a lot of people, and it is light and fun. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Read
Royal City #1 (Image) – It is no secret I am a massive Lemire fan. I am so glad he’s returning to his Essex County style, and telling a story that’s super grounded, but surrounded in some supernatural mystery. We get a real family with real problems in middle America. Royal City is a typical manufacturing town that is struggling with its identity of a time long lost. It is over fifty pages, but flew by because I truly cared to find out what this family is going through. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy
Royal City #1 (Image)– This comic is like a twee, small town Canadian version of The Big Chill as members of a dysfunctional family return to see their father who just had a stroke. There is also an interesting subplot about the town of Royal City going from a manufacturing town to a gentrified tourist haven that I wish Jeff Lemire focused more on instead of the visions of a long lost son. However, it’s nice to see Lemire back on art, and his style in this book is both ghostly and charming. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read
Shade, The Changing Girl #6 (DC/Young Animal)** – The first arc of this series has been up and down, with wild highs and only middling lows, but unfortunately it hits rock bottom with this final chapter. Marley Zarcone’s art is as lavishly bizarre and “trippy” as ever, but Cecil Castellucci’s script is a complete mess that doesn’t deliver anything like a satisfactory conclusion until the very last page. It’s wild stuff, to be sure, but not especially engaging. Overall: 4 Recommendation: Pass
The Flintstones #9 (DC)** – If you were hoping to see more of the friendship between vacuum (baby elephant) and bowling ball (armadillo), this issue builds on that magnificently and makes for a read this is by turns heartwarming and smartly satirical as Mark Russell turns his sharp critical eye to Social Darwinist religion, runaway capitalist excesses, and the loneliness and desperate sense of personal inadequacy that fuels greed and conspicuous consumption. Steve Pugh’s art is superb as usual, and at the end of the day I have no hesitation in saying this is the best ongoing monthly being published today, by anyone. Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy
Batman #18 (DC)** – Tom King and David Finch pad out their “I Am Bane” storyline by throwing in heavy-handed parallel flashbacks to Bruce Wayne and Bane’s similar-yet-dissimilar upbringings, but it can’t disguise the fact that nothing much happens in this issue other than a standard super-hero brawl. Pretty stupid stuff, on the whole, with a script that simply goes through the motions and illustrations that can most generously be described as terrible. Overall: 2.5. Recommendation: Pass
Nailbiter #30 (Image)** – Let’s call it like it is : Joshua Williamson and Mike Henderson really ended their narrative with last issue’s clumsy info-dump, and this is nothing more than an extended epilogue — complete with four totally blank pages. What a padded, unnecessary waste. Overall: 2 Recommendation: Pass
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 (**).