Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 3/18
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.
All-Star Batman #9 (DC) Written with an almost prose style, this comic is easily the better of the two Batman books this week, giving us an interesting look at the Mad Hatter as Snyder continues his out-of-Gotham tour of Batman’s Rogues Gallery. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Read
American Gods #1 (Dark Horse) I have never read the prose version of this story before, although I have a vague idea as to what the basic premise is from conversations with a friend, but I wasn’t prepared for how quickly the story went from hinting at something just beneath the surface to throwing it into your face. I liked it, however. Quite a lot. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy
Batman #19 (DC) ….. it took me four minutes to read this, and that was four minutes I could have spent watching paint dry instead. Overall: 3 Recommendation: Pass
Deadpool The Duck #5 (Marvel) Stupid, yet fun. Overall: 7.25 Recommendation: Read
Venom #5 (Marvel) Despite the fast pace it feels like there’s not been too much happening yet in this series, and yet I’ve been enjoying it nonetheless. There’s some great art sequences here that more than make up for the comparative lack of substance. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read
Batwoman #1 (DC)– The Rucka / J.H. Williams III run of this character is the stuff of legends. I’ve eagerly awaiting the new creative team and this first issue is a promising start that should excite fans of the modern classic. Marguerite Bennett is the first queer woman to write Batwoman (and her cowriter for this, James Tynion IV is bi too). I’m relieved to have their perspectives on DC’s premiere lesbian heroine. The art from Steve Epting and Ben Oliver shares the striking noir glamor of of J.H. Williams’ original figures though their layouts are more traditional. Seeing a comic cover with 3 mysterious women of color on it is just what I needed. Recommendation: Buy
I Hate Fairyland #11 (Image)** – Welcome back, muffin fluffers! Now that Skottie Young
has liberated himself from the useless encumbrance of things like “story arcs” and “plot”, he can get on with what this series does best: pure mayhem. In this issue, Gert goes fangirl on Gwag the Barbarian and in return is subjected to the fannish attentions of Gert cosplayer Maddie. The usual fun. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: buy
Casanova: Acedia #8 (Image)** – And into flashback, with art this time by Gabriel Bà. This is an absolutely paint-by-numbers assassin’s-daughter story, you know the one: assassin tries to shield daughter from The Life but she embraces it anyway. Nary a note of the originality and twist I expect and deserve from a Matt Fraction story. This story is stuck in neutral and needs a swift kick. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Skip
Sex Criminals #17 (Image)** – In this issue, Fraction & Zdarsky do their best Brubaker & Phillips… and really made me wish that Brubaker & Phillips had in fact done this issue. In fact, “The Skell” would be a great start to a series where we really dig into the m.o.’s of the various other sex criminals that are being hunted by Myrtle Spurge and her sex cops. In short, this would have been great if Fraction would just have run with it instead of backing off. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read
Kill of Be Killed #7 (Image)** – And speaking of Brubaker and Phillips and Breitweiser, and issues that deviate from the main plot to focus on a secondary character… Now this is how it’s done. “What Kira Sees” takes us into the world of vigilante Dylan’s ex in a series of
family photos and therapy sessions, which leads her into Dylan’s closet and a very good, totally sensible, and really terrible decision. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy
Island #15 (Image)** – Sadly, this is the final issue of Brandon Graham and Emma Rios’ anthology series. We open with Grim Wilkins’ wordless “Mirenda”, a very nice fantasy piece with animation-like drawing. Not really my thing, but well done. Farel Dalrymple follows with a new installment of “Pop Gun War,” which is really my thing: freewheeling rock n’ roll urban crime whmsy. Where can I get more of this? Oh, here: http://fareldalrymple.com/ (trade collection in June!) Next up: this issue’s stunning highlight, Dilraj Mann’s “January”, a starkly-drawn meditation on young fame and the lies we tell to be pop. And then the series peaces out with Brandon Graham hisself in a delightfully surreal installment of “Multiple Warheads”. All I can do is quote the closing lines: “Good dream.” “… Hope so…” I have really loved this series and would happily take more of this sort of thing. Thanks, Brandon and Emma, you guys are the best. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy
Dead Inside #4 (Dark Horse)** – In the best crime/mystery story fashion, John Arcudi ramps up the unanswered questions just prior to wrapping things up next month, while continuing the strong characterization that’s been a hallmark of this series from the outset., and Toni Fejzula’s Wrightson-esque art drives home the dark atmospherics in a way that can only be described as “pitch perfect.” Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy
Batman #19 (DC)** – Is this story actually going anywhere? We get it, Batman and Bane are gonna fight, but this is the second straight installment comprised more or less entirely of build-up, and it leaves us off, bizarrely, further back than we were last issue, when at least the fisticuffs had already gotten underway. I wouldn’t mind at all if the characterization and backstory were enlightening or shed something new on the proceedings, but Tom King so far hasn’t managed to do that. Oh, and David Finch’s art is still lousy. Overall: 3 Recommendation: Pass
Batwoman #1 (DC)** – Writers Marguerite Bennett and James Tynion IV deliver a reasonably intriguing spy/noir thriller that suits artist Steve Epting’s considerable talents to a “T,” but it’s also fair to say it’s not exactly earth-shattering stuff and covers ground that’s very well-trod indeed. I liked it fine, but it was certainly predictable in the extreme. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Read
Black Panther: World Of Wakanda #5 (Marvel)** – Roxane Gay and Alitha E. Martinez put the wraps on their five-part story arc, which I loved at the beginning, with an issue that continues the sad trend of each installment getting progressively worse than the last. Granted, this is essentially a prequel and, as such, is hamstrung by the same problem all prequels are — namely, you know how it’s going to end — but Gay, who is a very skilled author, never really fleshed out her two intriguing lead characters beyond their very broadly-defined internal struggles, and the art is bog-standard stuff. All in all, a woefully wasted opportunity. Overall: 2.5 Recommendation: Pass
Black Panther: World Of Wakanda #5 (Marvel) The cliffhanger on the last issue, had hankering for what will happen next, and the creative team somewhat . We find Wakanda in the throes of an awakening amongst the country’s women, as everyone has heard by this point what Aneka has done , and want retribution as well. What the Dora Milaje doesn’t see coming is one of their own seeking revenge. By issue’s end, you do realize it’s a prequel, one much like a recent show, leaves you an unsatisfactory ending. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read
Odyssey Of The Amazons #3 (DC)– We catch-up with the Amazons as they meet the Valkyries. Their resolve tested and possibly new allies by their side, they are still searching for their lost sisters. Trolls and Jojins continue to battle them at every front , Tgemyra’s leadership continues to wane and the ship’s crew unity begins to dissipate.By issue’s end, it seems the Amazons have been dealt a fatal blow. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy
Batwoman#1 (DC)– Definitely one of the better reboots from The Big Two, as this spy thriller felt a little Iron Man/ James Bond -Ish as this has all the workings that one would expect of either character but as this gender switch deftly proves, it is even more interesting with a woman in this position. One should buy if you are enjoying Brubaker and Phillips “Velvet”, as Kate Kane is one smooth operator to be watched.
Overall: 9 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 (**).