Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 6/10
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.
Shade the Changing Girl #9 (DC/Young Animal)– Shade attends a Sonic Booms concert. They’re a band from the 1960s that was featured in her favorite Earth TV show Life with Honey, and she is sad and puzzled when they look so old. This leads to a chaotic series of events when Shade de-ages a bunch of Gothamites and looks for the actor who played Honey. Cecil Castellucci, Marley Zarcone, and Kelly Fitzpatrick produce an ode to nostalgia and add some heat to the plotline of the Metans looking for her M-Vest. The scenes in Meta are pretty trippy, and Shade interacting with “ancient” computers is quite a rush color-wise. Overall: 7.8 Recommendation: Buy
Giant Days #27 (BOOM!)– Esther going “woke” is predictably hilarious, and John Allison, Max Sarin, Liz Fleming, and Whitney Cogar also manage to skewer performative social justice culture without punching down. To catch the eye of an attractive lad, Esther decides to help protest the opening of a new chain grocery store with the help of lots of yelling, inane slogans, and barring the path of people getting food and necessary supplies for their family. Any time Esther is the center of a plot, the drama and comedy are both on high alert, and Sarin and Fleming produce some of the series’ most hilarious moments when she invites her woke beau into her apartment. The reaction shots alone are worth picking this issue up, and there’s also a simmering subplot with Susan and her ex McGraw, who still have feelings for each other. Overall: 8.4 Recommendation: Buy
Dark Knight III: The Master Race #9 (DC)** – Go on, admit it : you knew that Brian Azzaello and Andy Kubert, (and maybe even Frank Miller, assuming his involvement amounted to anything more than a courtesy credit) were going to stick the landing on this one along with every other thing that’s been wrong with it. And they surely do. All this issue proves is that they easily could have wrapped this series up in the originally-allotted eight issues, probably even six. But hey, Batman’s young again, so you know what that means : a “Dark Knight Universe” monthly series is probably on the way at some point. Try to contain your excitement. Overall: 1 Recommendation: Pass. I purchased my copy, which proves I need a brain transplant.
Batman #24 (DC) – Just as I thought. A stunt. Nothing happens in this issue apart from an over-wrought conversation between Batman and Gotham Girl until — that last page that we all knew about going in, anyway. Tom King just can’ seem to find his usual mojo as writer on this book, and while the fill-in pages by Clay and Seth Mann look really nice, David Finch’s art on the bulk of the comic is as terrible as ever. Overall: 3.5. Recommendation: Pass.
The Flintstones #12 (DC) – If the best book in the DC line had to go, this is the way to do it, as Mark Russell and Steve Pugh deliver a love letter to their characters, readers, and really to humanity in general. I miss this series already, and if you haven’t been reading it in singles, then by all that’s holy, please pick it up the trades! It’s not so much an extension and/or revamp of “The Flintstones” as it is the thematic and spiritual successor to another legendary comic that used prehistoric tropes to talk about then-contemporary (and timeless) issues : Howie Post’s sublime “Anthro.” Yes, this has really been that good. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy
Green Arrow #24 (DC) – Benjamin Percy and Juan Ferreyra wrap up their “The Rise Of Star City” arc with a reasonably solid issue that leaves Seattle completely fucked and Ollie in a pretty tough little pickle himself. The cliffhanger ending feels more than a bit forced and basically comes out of nowhere, but the gorgeous, vibrant art more than makes up for any story deficiencies. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy
Bankshot #1 (Dark Horse Comics) Writer: Alex de Campi, Artist: ChrisCross, Colorist: Snakebite Cortez. I had a major synaptic disconnect this past weekend, I literally had 5 minutes with Alex de Campi (a cool person by the way) at Book Expo America 2017, we talked about her other book Mayday and just never put the name to Bank Shot which I had just finished reading on the train up to BEA. I missed my opportunity to ask her about this latest kick-ass book. And kick-ass it is, from de Campi’s blazing plot and tight dialog, to ChrisCross’s amazing flair for action scenes and ability at drawing a tight fade, coupled with Cortez’s choices for lighting a panel with dramatic flare, Bank Shot is a solid jumping on point for fans of action and adventure. The hero Marcus King is a former US soldier, turned soldier of fortune, imagine a one man A-Team with a James Bond budget. Dark Horse has a track record for gritty comics and Bank Shot continues that legacy with this mini-series.
Stray Bullets #24 (Image/El Capitan) – After getting beat up and kicked around and generally treated like a dog, Orson gets his day when the gang takes a detour to New Orleans for a little R&R. One of the things I love about David Lapham’s work is how he can lull you into some deep, quiet moments for pages at a time and then you hit the bottom of the bottle and everything turns upside down and inside out and that’s how the fire in the bar got started. Also: the most terrifying line in this book is “Derek would like his mustache back.” Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy already!
Agents of PACT #2 (Chapterhouse) – The moment I’ve been dreading: the meeting of Fleur de Lys and Kebec. But first: more of this incomprehensible plotline and Marla’s inexplicable gold… generating? manipulating? conjuring? Gold-type powers. Back to Manon and Yvette. Uh, Yvette? Really? For a 20something Québécoise? Yvette is a name that hasn’t been given to girls here since about 1957, and it’s easy to find the most popular 100 names for any given year on the internet. Also, for someone as supposedly starstruck as Yvette is by Manon – as in, meeting Fleur de Lys is the sole and entire reason for Kebec to come back to the fold – there is not one panel depicting their meeting. Kalman Andrasofsky & Blake Northcott’s writing is painfully by-the-numbers (including the scene between Redcoat and Marla where R. explains how she had to make the tough call in the field). Federica Manfredi does a solid job on the art, though Caroline Nolasco’s colours muddy it rather than enhance it. Overall: 5 Recommendation: Skip
The Divided States of Hysteria #1 (Image) – Howard Chaykin returns to the present(ish) day with a political thriller designed, by his own admission, to offend liberals and conservatives alike. First things first: master letterer Ken Bruzenak absolutely crushes it here – the relentless noise of internet chatter that pervades the background is both maddening and perfect for not only the tone but for Chaykin’s writing in general. In terms of art, Chaykin’s page design smartly drives the story forward in a dense but crisp televisual style. Now, the story. Really basically, the President and cabinet have been assassinated. Frank Villa, our usual cynical lantern-jawed hero/schmuck, is a CIA field officer now (apparently) in charge of counter-terrorism stuff. Things go wrong and a group of Muslim women set off a bomb in the middle of New York City. Meanwhile, various serial killers are arrested in sordid circumstances. This book is dirty and messy and grimy, bloodshot and cum-stained, every page a crime scene. Which does not mean it’s provocative – rather, it reminds me of Kathy Griffin’s Trump-decapitated photo, where the targets are easy and the punches aimed squarely downwards. Chaykin’s work is, as always, remarkable and unique and relentless. But the politics are too reactionary to be truly provocative, too angry and confused to be really incendiary, and overall so overwrought that I’m left with the impression that what we’re seeing is not so much the state of America as the pure, unadulterated state of 21st-century Chaykin. Overall: 9 and 4 Recommendation: Read
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 (**).