Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 1/6
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.
Runaways #5 (Marvel) After lots of moping and different varieties of angst, the Runaways finally have a team reunion and team up to spring Molly and Gert from Molly’s mad scientist grandmother. Kris Anka hits a new level of fluidity in his artwork that ups the comedy and emotional level of different scenes like Gert and Molly having heart to heart’s at night, Nico and Karolina’s complex reunion, and Chase and Victor picking up on their frenemy routine like Victor had never been disembodied. Rainbow Rowell’s plot hits a new level of urgency in this issue while maximizing character relationships by splitting the Runaways into pairs. Runaways #5 might have a little more razzle dazzle than previous issues, but Rowell and company continue to lean into the pain and awkwardness of Gert being snatched out of the timestream before her death in the previous Runaways volume. There are definite consequences. Overall: 8.1 Verdict: Buy
Mister Miracle #6 (DC)– Tom King and Mitch Gerads’ work in Mister Miracle #6 is a near flawless example of the ability of story and art in comics to create parallel narratives and contrasts. In the issue, Scott and Barda are running away from Orion’s executioners in a series of nine panel grids (And variants) while having Tracy and Hepburn rapid fire banter about how they’ll renovate the bedroom. It’s technically an argument, but Scott and Barda clear all kinds of obstacles in a fluid manner so they’re definitely on the same page relationship-wise. King gets to spend a whole issue focusing on Scott and Barda’s personalities while Gerads gets to unleash his inner video game level designer and give them on hell of a gauntlet to run through. Gerads’ colors on the “underwater level” are especially striking, and there’s a tinge of sadness any time Scott or Barda bring up their upbringing on Apokolips. Mister Miracle #6 seems like a study in formalism a la Watchmen’s “Perfect Symmetry”, but King and Gerads break the rules and page in the end and provide a suitable mid-series climax. Overall: 9.6 Verdict: Buy
Action Comics # 995 (DC)** – The only thing that could make this bog-standard “What If Krypton Had Survived?” Superman/Booster Gold team-up any less inspired would be having Brett Booth come on board as artist, and whaddya know — that’s exactly what happens in this issue. Dan Jurgens obviously has more time for his own creation than he does for this book’s ostensible protagonist, but in this case that’s not such a bad thing because what’s happening with Booster is a lot more interesting than what’s happening with Supes. Which is probably all you need to know about what’s wrong with this comic right there. Overall: 2.5 Recommendation: Pass
Old Man Hawkeye #1 (Marvel)** – I bought this book on a lark, and I guess it wasn’t too bad — but I’d probably rather have my four bucks back. Marco Checchetto’s art is striking and dynamic, aided in no small part by Andres Mossa’s more-than-solid colors, but writer Ethan Sacks delivers more or less exactly the type of story you’d expect given the premise he’s operating with, so — if you’re really into this sort of thing, you’ll probably enjoy it okay, but for the casual and/or curious reader, like myself, there’s nothing on offer to “grab you” in any sort of significant way. Overall: 4.5 Recommendation: Pass
Deadman #3 (DC)** – If you thought Neal Adams wasn’t making any sense before, you ain’t seen nothing yet! Both story and art are completely off the rails here, to the point where not only do I not understand what the fuck is going on, I no longer think it even matters. In other words, this is the most fun I had reading a comic this week. Is it good? Dear God no. But I wouldn’t want to miss out on it for anything in the world. Overall: 0. Recommendation: Buy. Yes, you read that right.
Grass Kings #11 (Boom! Studios)** – After a little bit of a lull, Matt Kindt and Tyler Jenkins deliver what could very well be the best issue of this series to date, as the central mystery that’s been anchoring the plot is finally resolved — until it isn’t. This book could certainly use some tighter editing of Kindt’s script, as he engages is some weirdly repetitious dialogue, but most of it’s just fine, the plotting is killer, and Jenkins’ watercolor-esque art makes the pages absolutely sing. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy
Mister Miracle #6 (DC Comics) This could very easily be the comic book of the year for me. Yes I know that it is early. However it is THAT good. Tom King is my superstar writer. The selling point of this series continues to be how he takes these “Gods” and puts them in every day human situations without ever making them feel they are above the fray. The way Barda and Scot talk to eachother about making home improvements while effortlessly making their way through assorted death traps, fearsome foes, a sea dragon and fellow New Gods is an absolute joy to read and watch unfold. Mitch Gerads captures each moment with perfection. This has become THE series for me. No joke. I’d give this an 11/10 if I could. Overall: 10/10 Recommendation: Buy. (twice if you can)
Old Man Hawkeye#1 (Marvel) – In a “set in the same universe “ type story, the creative team gives us a peak into a different and older Clint Barton. As this being the first issue, a lot of it was mostly setup. My first impression is that they look to get into a “ bucket list “ adventure with a last page cameo from Bullseye. Overall, it was merely an okay story so far, I am hoping for more with the second issue. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Borrow
Stray Bullets #31 (Image/El Capitan)** – Even with only one good arm, Kretch is still a killer. David Lapham shows us in just a few pages exactly what kind of guy he is by giving him a perfectly normal but frustrating situation – his reaction is perfect. Annie’s too. And Beth and company’s. I have never been so anxious about seeing a rainbow at the end of a story. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy
Minky Woodcock: The Girl Who Handcuffed Houdini #2 (Hard Case)** – So Arthur Conan Coyle has hired 20s girl detective Minky Woodcock to investigate Harry Houdini and prove that he is actually a spiritualist. Houdini’s wife has hired her as Harry’s assistant to keep an eye on him. Neither of these things works out as planned. I picked this one up because, as a Montreal theatre guy, we all know about the punch to the stomach he got from a McGill University student, and that event is featured here. Cynthia Von Buhler’s art has a kind of paper-doll quality to it that’s interesting for a 20s series (if a bit stiff for a mainstream comic), but it’s her writing that really shines here. She balances historical events with a fast-moving plot and captures the thrill of watching Houdini work – on stage, debunking spiritualists, and seducing women. It’s tough to not make him the main character, but Minky herself is a treat. Overall: 7.5 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 (**).