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Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 8/18

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.


 

Logan

Extermination #1Extermination #1 (Marvel)– The grim dark is strong with Extermination #1 where a time traveling figure is gunning for the time displaced, original 5 X-Men. Like its sort-of companion book Death of Inhumans, Ed Brisson and Pepe Larraz have turned in a brutal board clearer to set up future X-books. Larraz and colorist Marte Gracia nails the tone of danger and destruction with their shadow filled artwork and action scenes done in tight close-up instead of stylized team up battles. However, there’s no real depth beyond continuity porn and the young X-Men being in peril beginning with a highly telegraphed character killing. The final twist is a little jazzier though and definitely fits a certain character’s M.O. It’s all very Looper. Overall: 7.2 Verdict: Read

Crowded #1 (Image)– In the future, everything can be crowdfunded, including death. Crowded #1 tells the tale of Charlie, a bubbly, side hustle happy, and slightly obnoxious woman who has an enormous Reapr bounty on her head. Luckily, she has the help of stoic Dfender Vita, who has a low rating on the app and hasn’t killed many people, but has protected all her clients. Christopher Sebela uses conversations to craft this not-so-different from our own world and create the two leads’ personality while leaving plenty of room open for mystery. Artists Ro Stein and Ted Brandt are masters of expressions and body language from Vita’s controlled movements and the austere layouts of her safehouse to Charlie flailing all over the place. They occasionally play with layouts to make the story more exciting like a mid-first issue car chase. Crowded #1 has it all: social satire, inviting art and splashy colors, two well-developed protagonists, and a thriller plot. It has the potential to be one of my new favorite Image series. Overall: 9 Verdict: Buy

Pearl #1 (DC/Jinxworld)– Brian Michael Bendis’ first creator owned work for DC is all style and no substance. There’s lots of banter about tattoos, yakuza gangs, and the main character’s attractiveness, but at the end of the comic, I don’t really know much about her except she’s a good tattoo artists and has a nice apartment. Michael Gaydos’ art still has a refined elegance to it, and his colors hit some intense notes during a shoot out sequence. Still, this issue is a snooze and is definitely dwarfed by the reprint of the clever “Citizen Wayne” story by Bendis and Gaydos. Overall: 5 Verdict: Pass

Batgirl #25 (DC)– Mairghread Scott instantly makes a strong impression as the new Batgirl writer and finds a balance between Gail Simone’s darkness and the cheeriness of the Burnside era. Her first story is all about the emotions as she secretly attends the funeral of a man she saved and was later gunned down by the Joker, and it shows that there can still be hope in the darkness of Gotham. The second story, which is aptly drawn by Paul Pelletier (Tom Derenick on the lead story does weird anatomy stuff.) sets up Scott’s ongoing series plot and shows that Batgirl takes time to think about the humanity of a serial killer’s victims even as she tracks him down. But the real crown jewel of this issue is Marguerite Bennett and Dan Panosian’s Dick and Babs story, which made me an emotional compromise and makes a strong argument for them as a couple. It’s also nice to see characters in-universe processing the events of Batman #50. Also, there’s another backup where Paul Dini and Emanuela Lupaccino have Batgirl fight a copyright friendly Playboy bunny armed with Mad Hatter tech. Overall: 8.8 Verdict: Read

Ryan C

BM_Cv53Batman #53 (DC)** – Tom King and Lee Weeks wrap up their little three-part “Bruce Wayne On Jury Duty” story with another well-illustrated (as you’d expect) installment that nevertheless fails to entirely satisfy. Mr. Freeze beats the rap on him, but the villain could just as well have been anyone, while Batman has a mid-life crisis that ends with him returning to his original costume, which seems to be the plot contrivance this whole thing was designed to facilitate. Readable enough, but nothing special by any means. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Read

Batman #53 (DC)** – Tom King and Lee Weeks wrap up their little three-part “Bruce Wayne On Jury Duty” story with another well-illustrated (as you’d expect) installment that nevertheless fails to entirely satisfy. Mr. Freeze beats the rap on him, but the villain could just as well have been anyone, while Batman has a mid-life crisis that ends with him returning to his original costume, which seems to be the plot contrivance this whole thing was designed to facilitate. Readable enough, but nothing special by any means. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Read

 The Grave Diggers Union #9 (Image)** – The final issue of Wes Craig and Toby Cypress’ supernatuaral horror/comedy wraps up every major and minor plot thread, is loaded with smartly-executed action, and even manages a wry laugh or two. This was a good series, and I’m sorry to see it wrap up so soon. Cypress’ art was the star of the show, of course, and he pulls out all the stops with this one, including an acid-trip/vaguely Lovecraftian double-page spread that will blow your mind and is worth the price of admission alone. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Crude #5 (Image/Skybound) – I’ve really been digging what Steve Orlando and Garry Brown are laying down with their Russian crime thriller, and this penultimate issue delivers a real body-blow of a plot twist that shows both “sides” in the struggle at the heart of the series are being played for suckers and milked for profits. You’ll feel the floor give out under your feet as you read this one, trust me, and Brown’s gritty, back-alley artwork is pitch-perfect for the script. Overall: 8.5 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 (**).