Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 8/6
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.
Generations Banner Hulk & Totally Awesome Hulk #1 (Marvel) If this is how the rest of the Generations series goes, I’ll happily continue to ignore it. An utterly pointless comic that either suffers from Secret Empire not actually being over or from being the beginning of a poor emulation of DC’s Rebirth. Save yourself some money and walk away from this – I’d have been furious if I’d have plonked down money for this, but instead I’m merely miffed that I’ve wasted my time reading a review copy. Overall: 4 Recommendation: Pass
Hadrian’s Wall #8 (Image)** – Having wrapped up the “whodunnit?” portion of their story in this series’ penultimate issue, Kyle Higgins, Alec Siegel, and Bill Sienkiew — sorry, Rod Reis — focus on the personal side of things for their highly satisfying, lavishly-illustrated conclusion. The result? A comic that definitely exits on a very high note indeed. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy
Black Bolt #4 (Marvel)** – Saladin Ahmed and Christian Ward take a side-step with this issue into the backstory of Crusher Creel, as told from his point of view, and it’s absolutely awesome. Gorgeous art, compelling characterization, razor-sharp dialogue, and a gut-punch of an ending that shows just how much of a bastard our ostensible “hero” can be. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy
Batman #28 (DC)** – You knew the good times wouldn’t last, and with this segment of “The War Of Jokes And Riddles,” Tom King slides back into the kind of rudderless, slipshod writing that’s characterized far too much of his run on this book to date. Gorgeous art from Mikel Janin with innovative layouts and stirring action sequences aren’t enough to save this sorry installment of a storyline that suddenly seems in danger of completely going off the rails. Overall: 4 Recommendation: Pass
Elsewhere #1 (Image)** – Jay Faerber and Sumeyye Kesgin appear to have a winner on their hands if the first issue of their immediately-charming “Amelia Earhart washes up in cosmic fantasyland” story is anything to go by. Quick, pacy,and fun storytelling with spot-on characterization and lushly-rendered art makes for a very compelling opening salvo indeed, and I can’t wait to see where this one goes from here. Killer cliffhanger, too! Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy
Nick Fury #5 (Marvel)– Vacation time is usually a signal to most people for some respite and relaxation. Not so much for spies, as their minds stay working most rooms as is the case with Fury in this issue. As he is ordered to take a vacation, everything is not what it seems. As his bosses have sent him to a town where everyone, and I mean everyone is an assassin, even the little kids, as this issue proves despite the faults that Marvel has enacted on other books and characters, they know exactly what to do with Fury and how to do it right. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy
Stray Bullets #26 (Image/El Capitan)** – Just like clockwork, when you think that a) things can’t get any worse and b) you can never like these horrible characters, David Lapham comes up with the goods. It never feels forced; Kretchmeyer and Annie really are the worst, but their characters are so clear and they are so obviously in way over their heads that a crazy humanity shines through. Kretch: “I always have this nagging feeling… that I’m doing something wrong.” Annie: “I never feel that way.” OH, DAMN. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy
Sex Criminals #20 (Image)** – Even when they don’t succeed, Fraction & Zdarsky are always trying something. But I think two things are getting in my way these days: their formal experiments and their plotting. I have the feeling that both of these things are being laid on top of what are very strong and interesting characters and a very necessary theme. What Dr. Kincaid says is, I think, true of this book as well: the creators are spending so much time chasing a “that” when all I really want is for it to be about “us”. When Matt and Chip just spend time with the actual human beings in the book, they are really brilliant. But they can’t seem to resist undercutting their own humanity with corny jokes and their need for “plot” and “action”. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read
Love and Rockets #3 (Fantagraphics)** – And here I thought Jaime had nothing more to say about the old punk days in Hoppers, and now all I want is more stories about Del Chimney and the Island of Lost Souls. His take on superheroes in “Animus” is breathtaking, like old black and white Mara Corday movies. There’s something so weird and pure about it, just moving from one strange confrontation to the next – but his figure drawing is so grounded, his characters have such actual weight, that what could be just cartoonish becomes really horrific. On the Beto side, it looks like all of his Baby and Fritz stories are leading us back to Palomar, and none too soon for my tastes. Where Jaime’s characters are grounded, Beto’s seem to be floating; but that’s not exactly a weakness, either. It feels to me like there’s a cord that’s been cut, that the characters are bereft and mournful – and that the last panel in this issue, Baby and Rosario in silhouette, holding hands and walking away, is the most real thing Beto’s drawn in a while. Overall: 8 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 (**).