Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 8/25
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.
Fantastic Four#1 (Marvel) Finally its here! Dan Slott brings me back my favorite Superhero team of all. I know this came out weeks ago but life and excitement got in the way. First off I think Sara Pichelli is a very underrated artist. She was terrific on Ultimate Spider Man and does great on Marvel’s First Family here. Everything looks crisp and vibrant thanks to the art and colors. Where I’m happy most though is Dan Slott. In his first outing he just gets these characters. The emotional beats and the light heartedness dance back and forth well. Now is this a blockbuster first issue? Welll… no. However this was a much appreciated partial return for me. Over the years the FF work best at family driven moments. They are a family first and heroes second. Continuing on that theme, the moment I enjoyed the most was **spoiler** Big Ol Ben Grimm proposing to the long time love of his life Alicia Masters. Of course I might have enjoyed it a tad more because I had just gotten engaged that week and it struck a chord with me. The part with Ben asking Johnny to be his best man was fantastic and so was Johnny’s reply. That’s the real key to getting the FF right is the family drama and story. Just everything was spot on and I enjoyed the back up as well and looks like we will be getting a Doom true to form again shortly. Not every issue has to be Galactus but with that said FF welcome back and bring on Galactus! This was a great first issue and I can’t wait till next month to call the Four! (Now I have the cartoon theme song in my head) Score: 9 Recommendation: Buy
Mother Panic: Gotham A.D. #6 (DC/Young Animal)** – Jody Houser and Ibrahim Moustafa are in full wrap-up mode here, clearly rushing things to a overly-convenient (but at least well-illustrated) conclusion. Not a bad read, but one is left with a deep and abiding sense of “huh, what was all that for”? Overall: 6 Recommendation: Read if you’ve come this far, otherwise pass
Days Of Hate #7 (Image)** – Thank goodness for Danijel Zezelj’s extraordinarly moody and cinematic art, because all that Ales Kot does in this kick-off installment of this series’ second arc is tread water. No progress, just stage-setting and re-introductions of characters who are only slated to be around for 12 issues, anyway. Overall: 4 Recommendation: Pass
Redneck #14 (Image/Skybound)** – Donny Cates and Lisandro Estherren are really putting the petal to the medal in this arc, and it’s pretty dizzying how the Bowman family’s entire situation has done a complete 180 in a very short time. The art continues to be grim, gritty, and great, and the story unpredictable and fun. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy
Black Hammer: Age Of Doom #4 (Dark Horse) – Okay, in absolute fairness, Jeff Lemire’s script for this issue is nothing but ramping up to its cliffhanger, but damn — what a cliffhanger it is! And Dean Ormston’s art continues to be incredibly atmospheric and keenly focused on his characters’ humanity. Shit’s getting really great here — and it was already pretty great to begin with. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy
Avengers Wakanda Forever #1 (Marvel) In the finale of this event, we get a final showdown. As Nakia becomes dispossessed of the Mimic creature, thanks to T’Challa , she fulfills her duties as the Dora Milaje one final time. As we find the Avengers fighting a mimic copy of She Hulk, the Dora Milaje looks to end this evil being once and for all. By book’s end, a fateful sacrifice ensures the end of the cewarj and safety of the city but ends bittersweet for all. Overall: 9.3 Recommendation: Buy
Punisher #1 (Marvel) In what I can surmise as a reboot, fans get the the gritty Frank Castle that they deserve in this hard hitting debut issue. As we pick up right at the end of The Punisher’s work for Hydra and Baron Zemo as he carries out a round of assassinations to move things in Hydra’s favor. His contentious relationship with Baron Zemo, finally is on its last straw, as Frank takes matters in his own hands and starts atoning for the evil he had a hand in. By issue’s end, Castle seemingly has taken out a powerful figure and a manhunt is on its way for his head, definitely feels like the action movie the character deserves. Overall: 9.4 Recommendation: Buy
Venom #5 (Marvel)– Apparently, Venom can fly and has dragon wings in the latest issue of Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman’s sleeper hit Venom. The war against the symbiote god, Knull, continues, and Eddie realizes he’s literally not alone in this fight joining up with Vietnam War era Venom host, Rex Strickland. Stegman and inker JP Mayer’s artwork continues to be deliciously gooey with spreads and transformation reminiscient of Todd McFarlane’s best early work while Cates taps into pure existential horror in his writing. From the early pages where he almost lets Miles Morales become street pizza onward, Eddie struggles with control, but finds cameraderie in the most unlikely places. Grotesque trappings aside, Venom #5 might actually be a comic about friendship. Overall: 8.4 Verdict: Buy
Action Comics #1002 (DC)– Action Comics seems like a book more in line with Brian Michael Bendis’ talents with its web of street level mysteries, criminals, and journalists plus a dash of humor and strained relationships. Patrick Gleason brings a high level of detail and naturalism to his artwork beginning with the title page of Clark Kent’s workspace to the shadows of Mr. Strong’s lair and the sloppiness of the dive bar where Kent goes undercover to find info about the mass arson in Metropolis. Bendis and Gleason also use this issue to build up the threat of the Red Cloud, particularly in a searing single page splash where Alejandro Sanchez’s crimson colors show her taking out street level hero, the Guardian, in one fell swoop. And all this is nice, but best of all, Action Comics #1002 advances the plotline everyone has cared about since the beginning of Man of Steel: what’s the deal with Clark and Lois’ relationship. Overall: 8 Verdict: Buy
Mother Panic Gotham AD #6 (DC/Young Animal)– Jody Houser, Ibrahim Moustafa, and Jordan Boyd’s run on Mother Panic comes to a close with fights, emotions, and great uses of grids. The fight between Violet and Arkham Knight costumed Jason Todd shows that sometimes we fall short in living up to our hero’s legacy, and Houser wisely takes an empathetic route with Jason as he renounces his Bat-cult and finds healing with Mrs. Paige. The fight between Violet and her brother and the Collective doesn’t end so smoothly with sharp colors from Boyd and painful flashbacks. It’s a cathartic sequence, and Houser and Moustafa continue to make good use of the Bat-characters (Mr. Freeze in this case for maximum feels.) without having them overwhelm Violet’s personal journey. This arc is all about Violet Paige remaking herself for a literal new era, and Houser, Moustafa, and Boyd deliver giving her a big win and leaving room open for them or other creators to do a third volume. Overall: 9 Verdict: Buy
The Life of Captain Marvel #2 (Marvel) – While not many answers are given in this issue, Carol’s journey to learning more about herself is just beginning. With a little bit of awkward flirting with an old crush and hard conversations, we do learn that Marie Danvers was well aware of Joseph’s infidelity and that she couldn’t stop the fact that her husband was looking for more. The emphasis on “more” in the issue definitely harkens back to the way Helen Cobb said it in Kelly Sue Deconnick’s first issue, so I’m definitely putting a pin in Margaret Stohl’s choice of words there. The art is once again beautiful with Marguerite Sauvage’s black and white flashback to Joseph’s funeral and Carlos Pacheco’s entire page of Carol on the moon are worth the price of the comic alone. The suspense racked high in the final pages though, so I am all in for #3. Overall: 8.5 Verdict: 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 (**).