Indie Comics Review Roundup #3: Space Marines And Boarding Schools

Welcome to Graphic Policy’s Indie Comics Roundup where we take a look at a handful of indie comics and try to work out just how accessible they are for new readers. Where possible we’ll also be providing  recap of sorts for the relevant story beats up until the issue in question in order to help you figure out if the series is something you’re interested in, assuming we’ve read any part of the story thus far.

Each comic will receive a both a rating of Friendly or Unfriendly as well as a score out of ten. The former is based upon how easy it was for new readers to pick the issues up; expect miniseries or first issues to be rated as friendly by default. For second or third issues, more consideration regarding the comic’s accessibility will be given for the specific issue being read rather than the series overall, but if reading a back issue will help, then that will be mentioned. The score out of ten is Graphic Policy’s typical ten point scale, which is there to help you pick between issues if you only want to check out one or two.

We’d rather feature comics from smaller publishers, but from time to time you may notice an Image, Dark Horse or Dynamite book here. Ultimately it depends on what catches our eye, but we’ll always aim to spotlight lesser known comics.

All comics were provided for review purposes unless otherwise noted.

Warhammer 40,000: Deathwatch #1 (Titan) The world of Warhammer 40,000 is deep and full of history, characters and technology that simply can’t be explained in a recap page to open a four issue miniseries. Likewise there is no way someone unfamiliar to the franchise can ever hope to catch up just to read this comic, so don’t worry about it; you will feel a little confused, and maybe a touch lost, but never so much that you won’t enjoy this comic. It is just about accessible enough to newcomers to earn a Friendly rating, and it’s also a pretty interesting read to boot. Rating: 7.2

Fence #6 (Boom! Box) Funnily enough, not a comic about fences.  Fence follows a group of boys at a boarding school trying to make the fencing team. One is a prodigy, one is full of raw talent with minimal training, one is a playboy sleeping his way through the team and another is the All American athlete. Each of the characters feel fully realized, and there’s a surprisingly accurate fencing backdrop to the boys competing with each other to make the team. Even six issues in, this is still Friendly. Rating: 8

Relay #1 (Aftershock) The first issue of a new science fiction based series that seems to be positioning the traditional villains, those who assimilate worlds and cultures, as the protagonists. Relay is an interesting beast from the outset, but the comic seems to struggle as it both establishes the universe it is set in, the characters and the plot within the first issue. That said, this is still a series that has a tremendous amount of promise, and is one you really should be reading. Friendly, because it’s the first issue. Rating: 7

Grimm Tales Of Terror Volume 4 #2 (Zenescope) A single issue story in the vein of the classic horror comics of yesteryear, this is by it’s nature a Friendly comic. If you’re into b-movie style horror stories then this’ll be right up your alley. With a knife. Waiting for you…. Rating: 6.8



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