Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 6/17
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.
Accell #1 (Catalyst Prime/Lion Forge) This was a really fun comic, and one I highly recommend you checking out. There’s quite a few variations on the speedster type hero, but I don’t think I’ve seen the power set done quite like this before – and then when you add in the brilliant nods to video games and gaming culture… then you’ve got a genuinely interesting comic that I want a lot more of. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy
Ben Reilly: Scarlet Spider #3 (Marvel) I can’t say this was bad… but then I can’t really say it was good either. At least Kaine was in it – that’s worth a point on its own. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Read
Noble #1 (Catalyst Prime/Lion Forge) Another solid win for the publisher this week. You could do a lot worse than this comic that’s basically twenty odd pages of well drawn action. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy
Weapon X #4 (Marvel) Meh… I’ve read worse comics. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Read.
X-Men Blue #5 (Marvel) I missed the last couple issues of this series, but ultimately that didn’t hamper my enjoyment of this issue. It was a fairly standard X-Men fight issue, which certainly helped my ease of reading, but there wasn’t a whole lot more than that if I’m being honest. Still, enjoyable for what it was. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read
Dark Days The Forge #1 (DC) I’ve been staying away from big events but DC goes all out for DARK DAYS THE FORGE #1 and it pays off with a “Dan Brown” historical, super cosmic mystery that only the Batman can solve. Without spoiling anything, Snyder & Tynion take full advantage of their all-star art team who help us follow a dark mystery of the DCU that Batman has been investigating for years. This dark secret has somehow connections to the Guardians and Nth metal. Besides the secret, the team and assets that Batman puts into play has some great twists and turns, bringing back some of my favorite characters. Recommendation: worth the buy.
Dept H #15 (Dark Horse) -Matt Kindt does an interesting flashback almost continuously throughout the issue. Revealing more of Mia’s past with her father. A romantic past with Alain, and his subtle influence of why she went down there in the first place. Lending a sense of time to the series overall. The watercolor artwork continues to stand out, as the story seems to deepen. Yet given how only a couple issue remain to be released, how will the story end? Will Mia find out who killed her father? Will they return the surface? Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy
Briggs Land: Lone Wolves #1 (Dark Horse)** – I guess they’re going the route of starting over with a new first issue for every arc of Brian Wood and Mack Chater’s series, and while I’m not sure how successful that will be in coaxing new readers to “jump on,” the high-stakes drama on hand here certainly will keep those of us who have been reading from the start onboard. A semi-accidental hostage standoff appears as though it’s going to be the focal point of this “new” run, and while I’m still highly dubious (to say the least) about the morals of an admitted serial sexual harasser chronicling the lives of racist white separatists, I have to admit this is addicting stuff, superbly illustrated. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy
The Black Hood #5 (Archie/Dark Circle)** – The final issue of “season” two of this series is the end of the road for it (and, I would assume, the Dark Circle label) altogether, it seems, and while Duane Swierczynski and Greg Scott build to a fairly satisfying climax between our two protagonists and their adversary for the bulk of this installment, the whiplash-inducing last couple of pages do wrap things up a bit too haphazardly — not that it could probably be helped, given that the book’s pink slip had come in. Nice to see things left open for the possibility of a return, though — even if it’ll never happen. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read
Kingpin #5 (Marvel)** – I was enjoying the heck out of the final issue of Matthew Rosemberg and Ben Torres’ mini-series, which plays on the classic “Daredevil” trope of a fixed fight, but then things get really oblique and ill-defined at the end, and it really does let the side down considerably. Lovely art throughout, though, it must be said. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Read if you’ve been doing so, skip if you haven’t.
Copperhead #14 (Image)** – Jay Faerber and Drew Moss put the wraps on the long-awaited return arc for this sci-fi/western amalgamation, and while the murder mystery plotline gets wrapped up a bit too quickly and conveniently for my tastes, the various subplots that have been converging on our sheriff start to bubble to the surface with some serious fervor, and the future for this book looks very exciting indeed — especially now that Moss is really hitting his stride on the art. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy
There’s Nothing There #2 (Black Mask) Still very mediocre. Still feels awkward and stilted. Still feels like writer quietly detests women who are socialites and the culture around them. Still no real clues into whatever intrigue is supposedhappening. Still doesn’t really feel like horror because nothing about it feels personal. Still very much a letdown. Recommendation: Hard Pass
Vision Directors Cut #1(Marvel) In what is truly a “slice of life”, the Vision builds a family : a wife, Virginia and kids, Viv and Val. As much as the family attempts to be normal, they run into a ton of conundrums which challenge their notion of normal. Eventually, their super-selves catch up with their lives and they have to fight the Reaper. As their daughter gets taken, the Vision goes on a mission to find her. Great book with all the extras you expect from a Directors cut. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy
The Defenders #1 (Marvel) In this debut issue of the soon to be Netflix miniseries, we catch up with the gang soon after Jessica gets shot. Apparently Diamondback is alive and well and the Defenders busted up one of his establishments. Meanwhile, Diamondback attempts to forge an alliance with Black Cat. Altogether, a great reintroduction to these heroes in a group dynamic but what is the real buyin to this book is Marquez’s gorgeous art, as he is almost like the second coming of Alex Ross. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy
Black Panther and The Crew #3 (Marvel) In the first few pages, the reader is taken into a hidden history of how some of the areas where indigenous peoples inhabited, where we find out much like Harlem, they also had their own heroes.Also, In this issue of this superior series, T’Challa and Ororo uncover what seems at first to be a project development to gentrify Harlem but something more sinister is at play. When the reader finds out what happened, a tragedy occurs. By issue’s end, another hero to Harlem shows up, Luke Cage, as Hydra will have their hands full. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy
Cinema Purgatorio #10 (Avatar)** Alan Moore & Kevin O’Neill crack open the door on a concept I want so, so much more of: kid investigators and Cthulhu. The idea is so strong (Lovecraftian haunted seaside cinema) that I couldn’t help but be disappointed with the execution, which is constrained by the format of the series. Think I’ll go and dig up some Ramsey Campbell stories. In Code Pru, Garth Ennis and Raulo Caceres dig into Pru’s past with her adoptive parents Annabelle and Alabaster. Maybe not for everyone, but I’m quite enjoying watching Pru try to be normal in a world of relentless horror. Line of the ish: “Mom, I’m not worshipping a thing that f*cks itself in the face.” – “You are or you’re grounded!” And onto Kieron Gillen and Nahuel Lopez’ Modded, which has grown on me, but this one’s a bit of a placeholder, setting up what should be a corker of a next chapter, in which our heroes go shopping for demons. Purgatorio: 8, Code Pru: 8.5, Modded: 8 Recommendation: read but it’s too expensive for what you get
Bitch Planet Triple Feature #1 (Image)** Interesting spinoff from the main series, letting other creators explore this world. Briefly: “Windows” by Cheryl Lynn Eaton and Maria Frôhlich features an interesting character in Lupe, a nurse on BP who’s hung out to dry and given a “soft landing” as a maid. “Without and Within” by Andrew Aydin and Joanna Estep goes behind the scenes of what seems to be Congress, and a poor secretary’s first day on the job. “The Invisible Woman” by Conley Lyons and Craig Yeung tells the story of a hairdo gone wrong. They were all okay, I guess, but I expected work that was much, much sharper – especially in short story mode. “Windows” felt like it was the only piece that was actually set in the world of BP, as the other two could almost have taken place today. The stories here don’t yet fully complement BP either in style or in substance, but I’m fairly confident that this will improve as the series progresses. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Read
Image‘s statement on Divided States of Hysteria. Having reviewed the new Chaykin last week, I felt compelled to look at Eric Stephenson’s statement about the “conversation”. I couldn’t disagree more with nearly everything in it. This book couldn’t be more escapist, relying on the exploitation of fears of the other (in just about every category: Muslims, POC, trans women) in the name of “rebelliousness” and “not pulling any punches”. But I reiterate: all of the punches are aimed down. The statement relies on a fallacy of false balance, i.e. that people who are factually wrong are just part of “the conversation” (in the way that creationism in science curricula is “teaching the controversy”). Completely absent from Chaykin’s book is, in fact, anyone actually working towards progress and justice, actually striving for “discourse, understanding, and cooperation”, and reducing what has become a life-and-death fight for rights and recognition to “opposing viewpoints.” Hysteria, in substance, is so one-sided, so cherrypicking in its choices of “worst aspects of reality” that it’s hard to see how it can add anything to a “productive conversation about the present state of our society.” Overall: 2 Recommendation: Read, but I sure as hell didn’t buy it.
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 (**).