Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 3/3
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.
Lockjaw #1 (Marvel)– Daniel Kibblesmith and Carlos Villa create a funny, adorable comic that starts out as a riff on the “Pizza Dog” issue of Hawkeye and turns into the story of a broken, depressed man trying to find redemption with the help of a giantteleporting dog. Kibblesmith finds the humanity in perpetual Z-lister and even adds him to the too small pantheon of queer male superheroes. Villa and inker Roberto Poggi really bring the visual comedy, especially when Lockjaw interacts with Karnak. The one knock on the book is that a trans character is called by her dead name as sin as she’s introduced. Overall: 8 Verdict: Buy
Mera #1 (DC)– This is kind of Mera’s solo comic, but Dan Abnett, Lan Medina, Richard Friend, and company also make it Ocean Master’s too. For reasons beyond their control, they are both living normal lives on Earth. The plot barely gets off the ground, but Abnett and Medina do a good job of showing Mera balance the roles of exiled queen, wounded warrior, diplomat, and separated wife in this issue with the help of sepia toned flashbacks. Mera barely has any of her aquakinetic abilities so it’s riveting to see her use her martial art skills she picked up as the crown princess of the militaristic nation of Xebel. Hopefully, this mini ends up truly being her story and not the 100th iteration of sad white boy villain relapse. Overall 6.8 Verdict: Read
Calexit #2 (Black Mask) Calexit #2 lacks the balls to the wall action of the first issue, but Matt Pizzolo and Amancay Nahuelpan take a step back and look at the messiness and moral greyness of revolutions. Sure, most people in California/L.A. don’t like Trump, but are they ready to pick up guns and fight against him and the militias keeping Cali down like the Mulholland Resistance? Like a good journalist, Pizzolo frames scenes from both resistance leader Zora and her nefarious counterpart’s POV. What I got most out of this issue is that Nahuelpan is a skilled master of body language and character “acting” using multiple panels to unearth people’s emotions in real time. Overall: 8 Verdict: Buy
The Terrifics #1 (DC) ** – Jeff Lemire and Ivan Reis won me over pretty quickly with this quirky lineup — Metamorpho and Plastic Man on the same team? I’m down for that — and everything was going along swimmingly with sharp characterization, a simple-but-fun premise, etc. Then came the final-page cliffhanger, and all I can say is : I’m out. At this point I honestly wonder whether DC knows how to do anything other than strip-mine Alan Moore’s imagination for all its worth and then some. Overall: It would have been 8, but it’s lucky to end up with 2. Recommendation: Pass
Thanos #16 (Marvel)** – After two issues of pretty dull recap stories, a switch seems to have been flipped, and now Donny Cates and Geoff Shaw are just throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks. The origin story of the so-called “Cosmic Ghost Rider” is the focus this time out, and given his less-than-secret identity (revealed last issue, but what the hell, I’ll refrain from “spoiling” it anyway), seeing how he got from points “A” to “B” is a blast. This is brainless stuff in the extreme, to be sure — but fun brainless stuff, superbly illustrated. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy.
Royal City #10 (Image)** – Jeff Lemire is hitting a real groove here, and this chronicle of the final night of Tommy’s life is equal parts absorbing and heartbreaking. Sophisticated, emotive storytelling with powerfully understated art and authentic chracterization makes this possibly the best thing coming out under the Image label right now. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy
Underwinter: A Field Of Feathers #5 (Image)** – Ray Fawkes puts his melancholic and moody horror series to bed with a finale that comes entirely out of left field — and makes perfect sense in context. If you saw this coming, congratulations on having ESP. For the rest of us, though, it’s going to take a couple of re-reads before we fully absorb what’s happened here — and that’s a rather beautiful thing. Overall: 8. Recommendation: Buy
Batman: Sins Of The Father #1 (DC) Based off the Tell Tale series of video games, this comic is some form of sequel to said games so despite being well written and artistically solid, it’s hamstrung by the reader needing patience to allow the background information to filter out. It’s not a bad story, but I’m tired of reading another Batman story set in another new universe so I doubt I’ll be back for the next issue, but for fans who want a story free from continuity then the bones are here for a great story. Overall: 6.75 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 (**).