Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 9/1
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.
Euthanauts #2 (IDW/Black Crown) – This book… this book. The second issue picks up where the first issue left off as we begin to see what Mercy left behind. We get to know some of the characters briefly introduced in the last issue such as Circe, Guillame, and Indi. Indi is especially fascinating in his introduction because of his involvement in the world of the Euthanauts, but also his hesitation. I’m curious to see where that goes as the series goes on. Nick Robles’ art is beautiful as usual and is given extra flair by Eva de la Cruz on colors as she injects new color into Thalia’s strange new world. While the scary things out in death space abound, I think what resonates with me the most in this issue is how Tini Howard writes relationships and touches on what it means to be left behind on the mortal plane. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy
Edge of Spider-Geddon #2 (Marvel) – Welp, this is a depressing one. The sequel to Edge of Spider-Verse #5, we see Peni Parker back to her usual life as SP//dr. However, she is approached at school by a new girl named Addy Brock who knows her identity, and… well… it goes off the rails in terms of teen/superhero angst from there. The story is by Gerard Way with the script by Lonnie Nadler and Zac Thompson. The team is very good at writing Peni as the conflicted 14 year old she is, but there’s a punchiness/lyricism to Way’s writing that seems to be missing here in the follow up. Nadler and Thompson do make up for that in complete gutpunching sadness by the end though that makes me want to see more of where Peni goes from here. Of course, Rafael Albuquerque’s art is fantastic as usual. What it misses in being 90s anime, it makes up for in complete horror with Ven#m. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy
Runaways #12 (Marvel)– Rainbow Rowell, Kris Anka, and Matthew Wilson turn in a classic issue by having a laser focus on the character pairings of Nico and Karolina and Victor and Gert. They expertly weave together continuity from Runaways Vol 1 and Vision with romance and real emotion. Anka is both the master of fashion and a slow burn conversation, and Wilson’s palette is straight up beautiful. Runaways #12 is a master class is character relationships with a tasty side dish of romantic pairing off. Overall: 10 Verdict: Buy
Rick and Morty vs. Dungeon and Dragons #1 (IDW/Oni)- Jim Zub, Patrick Rothfuss, and Troy Little’s crossover comic is a tale of gatekeeping, puns, and thirst about podcasters. Morty wants to learn DnD so he can impress a worker at his local comic book store, who invited him to a game so, of course, he turns to his grandpa Rick to give him some knowledge. A game with a bunch of Gary Gygax contemporaries ensues, but then the real crossover starts. Like the show itself, Zub and Rothfuss aptly balance slice of life/school drama with fantasy realms, VR, and general craziness. Little’s art is bright and cartoony like the show, but also a little gross like Rick’s constant alcoholism induced belches. Overall: 8.3 Verdict: Buy
Lex Luthor/Porky Pig Special (DC)– Mark Russell and Brad Walker take aim at cryptocurrency, big pharma, Twitter, and the billionaires that use them in the deliciously satirical and wise Lex Luthor/Porky Pig Special. After his PorkyBux goes under, Porkytakes a job with Lex Luthor to help run a social media network whose first audience is people who got kicked off other social media platforms. (This is probably the first time incel has been used in a DC comic.) Walker’s art is wrinkly and jowly with all the Looney Tunes charm sapped away even though there are some of funny faces. It’s really a tragic story of moral compromise and “soul renting”, and that some rich, evil men will always get away with it. Jim Fanning and John Loter’s backup story is cuter and more cartoonish story of good versus evil, and xenophobic Lex Luthor drawn in the Looney Tunes house style makes for a great villain. Overall: 9.5 Verdict: Buy
Brothers Dracul #5 (Aftershock)** – A ho-hum ending to a ho-hum series that started out reasonably promising, but quickly devolved into a tinkering-at-the-margins revision of the Dracula origin story. This issue isn’t helped by the fact that the normally-striking art of Mirko Colak is, uncharacteristically, as dull and workmanlike as Cullen Bunn’s script. Decidedly uninspired stuff. Overall: 2 Recommendation: Pass
Bone Parish #2 (Boom! Studios)** – We’ve got “Bad Bunn” and “Good Bunn” this week, and this is the good one. Two issues in, this is shaping up to be a damn good little horror mini-series, and the insertion of a third competing gang in the trade revolving around the remains-of-the-dead drug known as “Ash” is upping the tension considerably. Striking, moody art from Jonas Scharf completes a very impressive package. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy
House Amok #1 (IDW/Black Crown)** – Christopher Sebela is doing all kinds of good stuff these days — see “Shanghai Red” and “Crowded” — but if this first issue is any indication, this five-parter may be the best of his current projects. Twin girls share an elaborate fantasy world that the rest of the family weaves into an elaborate QAnon-on-bad-acid-style conspiracy theory and uses as a crutch to justify heinous crimes — but now one of he twins is waking up and smelling the bullshit? I’m all in, and veteran artist Shawn McManus illustrates the proceedings in an entirely different style than the slick, “cartoony” look he built his career on — with amazing results. Do not miss this one under any circumstances. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy
Euthanauts #2 (IDW/Black Crown) – The first issue of this series was just oblique enough that it seemed to offer near-endless possibilities for a re-interpretation of death on a conceptual level, but now that the parameters of what writer Tini Howard has in mind are becoming more concrete, a good deal of the mystery and ingenuity are reined in considerably. A truly lackluster cliffhanger doesn’t help matters, either. Still, I’m not ready to throw in the towel justl yet and will give this one more installment to win me back; certainly the art by Nick Robles is pleasingly “cosmic” and “trippy,” and makes it worth hanging around to see whether or not this chapter was an unfortunate hiccup, or the start of a downward trend. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Read
The Wicked + The Divine 38 (Image)** How is there anyone not reading this yet? The latest delves in to the anthropology of religion via an infamous historical figure who absolutely belongs in the series. Art and colors are gorgeous as ever. PS if you aren’t listening to Steven Attewell’s WicDiv podcast on SoundCloud. Check it out https://graphicpolicy.com/…/godscast-issue-2-gods-as…/ Overall: 10 Recommendation: Read
Adventure Time: Beginning of the End #1-3 (Boom) With the beloved cartoon series wrapping up I decided it was time to dip my toe back into the Adventure Time comics. I’d always liked them but I hadn’t been able to keep up with how many were out. This 3-part miniseries is an excellent stand-alone for lovers of the show. The creature design is fabulous and the story highlights the character growth of so many favorites from the cast. Creative team (W) Ted Anderson (A) Marina Julia (CA) Victoria Maderna have absolutely got me excited to catch up with Adventure Time comics again. Overall: 9
PS if you love the show be sure to check out this week’s episode of Graphic Policy Radio where we’ll discuss the finale with Oliver Sava and Jameson Hampton
Mage: The Hero Denied #11 (Image)** – The cover is the best thing about this issue: a powerful image of father and daughter, hand in hand through the woods, in silhouette: his icon a lightning bolt, hers a heart. It brought up my own feelings about fatherhood and what we pass on, what we hope our kids turn out to be, what they want to be, how we help them dream, the magic we weave, the magic we leave. None of this, unfortunately, has anything to do with the story inside, which continues from last issue without really revealing anything more about any of the characters or why they are in danger. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Skip
Proxima Centauri #3 (Image) – Farel Dalrymple is just so good at capturing a certain kind of adolescent boyhood. I think Sherwood is pretty rad, but of course he’s also trying too hard to impress a girl who isn’t really there. The adults around him, like Scientist, are so busy trying to give him advice that they don’t realize he doesn’t understand any of it. He treats his best friends like shit because they’re closest to him, and then has to find a way to apologize without losing face. He goes on adventures to stave off the boredom (Dalrymple’s take on the Spielbergian flying BMX’s is very welcome here), and then gets in real, serious trouble. The last page was a gut-punch and I’m terrified to see what happens next. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy
Big Trouble in Little China: Old Man Jack #12 (Boom|) – The final issue of this romp is on firm par with the rest of it. John Carpenter & Anthony Burch’s script is full of twists and turns and sharp dialogue, and what more can I say about the awesomeness of Jorge Corona’s art? The action is comic, the comedy is active, and there’s even a happy ending for good measure. I’m going to miss this series showing up at my LCS. Overall: 8 Recommendaton: Buy
Venom: First Host#1 (Marvel)– Venom is one of those characters you either liked or hated, but as of recent, he has been gaining favor with the Marvel faithful. This new book proves why as we get an origin story but not about Eddie Brock but about the first person to Don the symbiote. As we get dropped in the middle of the Kree / Skrull war, where the species was more weaponized for good. Fast forward to present day, and Eddie gets attacked by a Skrull which is where things gets really interesting. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy
Web Of Venom: Ve-Nam #1 (Marvel)– In this one off story, before Eddie Brock, we find out that SHIELD. Had knowledge of the Venom symbiotes before Brock got his. As the reader gets treated to a story that is a cross between The Predator, Leviathan and Punisher Platoon, as we get dropped into the Vietnam War and SHIELD has been busy trying to create a different supersoldier since Captain America was frozen. Eventually the program is no longer under their control, so they ask Wolverine to help find them. By book’s end, he finds a way to control them and Nick Fury recruits one of his first agents. Overall: 9 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 (**).