Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 1/27
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.
DuckTales #5 (IDW): Even you haven’t watched the new DuckTales TV series these two stories of Uncle provide an entertaining series of hijinks and adventures featuring some of your favorite Disney Ducks by writers Joey Cavalieri and Joe Caramagna and artists Urbano, Greppi, Frare, Stella, Dalen, Razzi, Florio and Zanatta. The beginning is a bit to start with the plot lurching from event to event a little rapidly for my taste but the structure is solid overall and you can tell that the creators share a real affection for this world and these characters. The art is a spot on replication of the style of the TV show. Rating: 6.5 Recommendation: Buy.
Looney Tunes #241 (DC):After decades of cartoons, comics and other media it isn’t easy to come up with new scenarios for interspecies anthropomorphic mayhem but writers Sholly Fisch and Frank Strom and artists Robert Pope, Howard Simpson, and David Alvarez manage to do so with three stories of Sylvester the Cat in a theater, a library and an archaelogical excavation. There are several laugh out loud moments in each and the characters’ voices are captured so well that I wasn’t even distracted by Sylvester’s lisp or Porky’s stutter. A must for Loony Tunes fans and pediatricians’ waiting rooms.
Rating: 7 Recommendation: Buy.
Raven: Daughter of Darkness #1 (DC): Marv Wolfman and Pop Mhan return with a follow-up to last year’s Raven miniseries. That one flew under my radar but I’m definitely going to check it out. The good thing is that I don’t really have to because Wolfman does a great job of pulling in new readers who are only passingly familiar with the character and her complex continuity balancing frenetic action with compelling drama and well studied character moments. This one feels very much like Stranger Things rendered by the as a superhero story by Mhan’s always exceptional pencils. As Raven (aka Rachel) tries to figure out how to make her way in the ordinary human world, a mysterious girl capable of killing armed soldiers is on the loose. How is she connected to Raven’s destiny and what does the introduction of Baron Winters into the mix portend? I don’t know but after the cliffhanger I’m dying to find out. Rating: 8 Recommendation: Buy
Scooby-Doo Team-Up # 34 (DC): In the absence of Batman: The Brave and the Bold, writer Sholly Fisch and artist Dario Brizuela’s Scooby-Doo Team-Up remains the best way to introduce younger readers to the heroes and villains of the DC Universe. In this issue Daphne, Velma and Scooby join the Birds of Prey to solve the mystery of the giant mythical birds that are plaguing Gotham City. With its fast paced, humorous story and streamlined, approachable art, it’s almost as fun as a good episode of the classic cartoon. My one criticism is that they went for the sexier version of the Huntress’ costume in lieu of either of the superior post flashpoint variants . It looks out of place given the books overall tone and style. Rating: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy
Spy Seal Volume 1 TPB: This collected edition of Rich Tomaso’s Image series from earlier this year is a quirky curiosity: a fairly straightforward spy thriller cast with anthropomorphic animals and drawn in the style of Hergé’s Tintin minus the obsessively detailed backgrounds. It’s well executed and a clear labor of love but the combination of novelty and pastiche failed to hold my interest after about twenty pages or so. Rating: 6 Recommendation: Pass
The Demon: Hell is Earth # 3 (DC): After last issue’s gruesome cliff hanger the unexpected appearance of a figure from Etrigan’s past offers some much needed exposition and we begin to move toward the climactic confrontation with the party responsible for nuking Death Valley. As a fan of the character I’m really enjoying this newest take. Andrew Constant does a really good job of projecting Etrigan’s demented joy with some truly brutal rhymes. I liked Brad Walker’s work on Aquaman but he continues to do an even better job here, giving form to all of Hell’s perverse splendor. I really hope he continues to explore the darker corner’s of DC’s universe. I’d love to see him tackle Swamp Thing. Rating: 8. Recommendation: Buy
Marvel Two-In-One #2 (Marvel)– Chip Zdarsky and Jim Cheung’s Marvel Two-in-One #2 has your fully daily value of adventure, humor, and a heart that is three sizes too big. The Thing and Human Torch are looking for Reed Richards’ device for multiverse transport, and their journey takes them down memory lane and reminds them of their lost family. Cheung is a versatile artist who can bring everything from Kirby monsters to washed out undergrad flashbacks to life. He and Zdarsky reminded of why I used to love Marvel Comics, and maybe I still will if this book blossoms into a full fledged FF title. Overall: 9.3 Verdict: Buy
Sex Criminals #21 (Image)– Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky are back with some dirty jokes and relationship realness in this new arc of Sex Crims. They use a kind of a flip book structure to show how Jon and Suzie are in stable, yet unfulfilling relationships and kinda miss freezing time with orgasms and robbing banks. Chip Zdarsky can make the act of grocery shopping hilarious and kind of hot. Also, “cartslammo” is my favorite new sound effect. This is more of a new status quo establishing issue than a thrilling epic, but nails the “just okay” relationship. Overall: 8.0 Verdict: Buy
Sherlock Frankenstein And The Legion Of Evil #4 (Dark Horse)** – Jeff Lemire and David Rubin wrap up their mini-series with a superbly-illustrated issue that contains a major revelation sure to have implications for the main “Black Hammer” title, and set the stage for further intriguing spin-offs to come while they’re at it. Can’t ask for a whole lore more than this. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy
Postal #25 (Top Cow/Image)** – Speaking of pleasing conclusions, Bryan Hill and Isaac Goodhart put their long-running (by contemporary standards) series to bed with a killer final installment that contains surprises aplenty and leaves things on a “Sporanos”-esque note of ambiguity that really worked for me, but might piss some others off. I know we’ve got a pair of one-shots coming up to ease the separation anxiety, but this book will be missed by many, and I’m definitely one of them. Overall: 8. Recommendation: Buy
Ringside # 14 (Image)** – Keeping with our finale theme, Joe Keatinge and Nick Barber pull a conclusion to their wrestling series out of thin air that actually works quite well, and while numerous plot threads were abandoned along the way as this intermittently-released title lost its focus, more or less every storyline that the creators actually stuck with is resolved in satisfying fashion here. Still not too keen on Barber’s art, but this was a better wrap-up than I had been expecting. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read
Regression #6 (Image) **- I was very happy to see Cullen Bunn and Danny Luckert not only return for a second arc of their creepy-as-shit horror series, but to raise the stakes and scope of what they’re doing considerably with this opening salvo in a new “run” of issues. Luckert’s art is just plain awesome, and the characters and their various dilemmas are becoming more and more engrossing as events play out in these pages. Unease so thick you can cut it with a knife. Overall: 8. Recommendation: Buy.
Legion #1 (Marvel)– Considering the popularity of the television show, I was hoping this was going to be superior. Though it contains glimpses of promise, I just can’t buy into it. Overall: 5 Recommendation: Pass
Deadpool Vs Old Man Logan #4 (Marvel)– Fans get to see the “Versus” part in this issue as a particular fact separates the friends. As Logan and Wade tear through the lab to find the girl, Wade finds her but feels at odds with her. Logan on the other hand, tear through the scientists to find out she is more dangerous than either of them ever expected. The two friends clash and she shows them both who she really is. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy
Sex Criminals #21 (Image) **- Everything is fine as Matt Fraction & Chip Zdarsky bring us up to speed six months later in the lives of Jon & Suzie, sorry, Suzanne. The funny thing about where this series has gone is that, for me, the relationships are sostrong that I don’t need the chicken fat of porn jokes (which Zdarsky is damn good at), I don’t need the Kegelface subplot, I don’t even need Undercover Dewey (much as I do love him). The relationship stories are deep and real and awkward and funny and sad and great and horrible enough that I don’t need anything else. Suzie’s mom rebuilding their house just as it was, childhood room and all. Suzie’s mom and her “juicy crones” exploring their “deltas of venus” (and feeling the need to explain what that means to S.). Ana’s 34-year-old cat. This can be enough. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy
Black Magick #10 (Image) **- Greg Rucka & Nicola Scott continue to deliver in their magickal procedural. The circles continue to close in as the witch-hunter Laurent encounters Rowan’s familiar – and what is it about talking cats that brings out the best in their writers (Jim Davis notwithstanding)? Rucka & Scott master creeping dread here as Rowan’s cop partner Morgan’s wife gives birth and a pawn is born. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy
True Patriot Presents #7 (Chapterhouse)** – The all-Canadian anthology series continues with four stories. “Crude” is basically a swamp thing from the tar sands of Fort McMurray, only not scary or interesting. “The Red Ensign” is a fun black & white serial of a Canadian action hero vs. Nazi robot, courtesy Scott Chantler, in a lively cartoon style. “Dominion Jack” remains an incomprehensible mess of the worst superhero tropes, with horrible lettering not helping. J. Torres & Tim Levins’ “The Family Dynamic” is also bog-standard superheroing, but with no pretentions. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Skip (I bought mine, but I’m Canadian)
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 (**).