Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 11/3
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.
Faith: Dreamside #2 (Valiant) As a huge Valiant fan, I’ve always enjoyed seeing characters that don’t typically interact with each other come face to face on the printed page. With this comic we see Faith and Animalia meet Doctor Mirage for the first time in an attempt to figure out why ghosts are haunting Animalia; the extended sequence is filled with the awkwardness of Doctor Mirage tying to discern if the two psiots are crazed fans or in need of actual help. As a four issue miniseries, the story has been paced very well thus far, and seems to be avoiding the elongated build up to an explosive conclusion in the final issue. Overall: 8.2 Recommendation: Buy
Old Man Logan #50 (Marvel) The final issue in the series, and with Young Man Logan having recently returned from the dead, it’s easy to assume that the elder Logan won’t be making out of this series (there has been a solicitation for a Dead Man Logan twelve issue series, so take that for what you will). When we first met Old Man Logan, way back in his original story, he was at odds with an old Hulk, and so with the finale pitting him against another version of an old Hulk, it feels as if his story has come full circle. Granted there are some loose ends with the plot that will likely never get resolved, but then that isn’t Logan’s story. End of the day, this was a satisfying enough conclusion to a fun 50 issue run. Overall: 7.8 Recomendation: Buy if you’ve read this far.
Shanghai Red #5 (Image)** – A superb finale to an equally superb series : every loose end tied up, every major plot thread resolved in thoroughly satisfying fashion, a clear “arc” from start to finish for all characters. Christopher Sebela’s script is smart, poignant, and well-paced, while Joshua Hixson’s art is moody, authentic, and just plain amazing. Honestly, one of the best comics of the year. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy
Ice Cream Man #8 (image)** – W. Maxwell Prince and Martin Morazzo wrap up the second arc of their stand-alone anthology series (yeah, I know, the idea of “arcs” seems counter-intuitive here) with a fairly strong installment, as a junkie ambulance crew spreads terror and destruction in their wake. Prince’s stories are generally of a “good enough, not great” standard, this one being no exception, but Morazzo’s clean, refined, hyper-detailed art elevates the middling to the exemplary at all times. He’s one of the very best in the business right now. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy
Heroes In Crisis #2 (DC)** – I get it, we all want our heroes to be more “human.” Acknowledging that they might, on occasion, suffer from PTSD makes sense. So the premise here isn’t bad — but the “mystery” of who killed a bunch of heroes, half of whom (at least) will be back alive before we know it? That’s falling very flat indeed. Tom King’s stilted dialogue for every single character is really starting to grate, his penchant for letting most of the main action happen “off-camera” is doing the same, and no one’s gonna believe Booster Gold is a mass murderer, so not even main “red herring” here is any good. Clay Mann’s art is sharp and pretty — maybe even a little too pretty for a series that badly needs and injection of street-level grit and danger — but that’s about the only good thing I can think of to say about this comic, which isn’t anywhere near enough justify a four-dollar expenditure. Overall: 3.5 Recommendation: Pass
Doom Patrol #12 (DC/Young Animal)** – Better late than never? Uhhhmmm — no. Gerard Way and co-writer Jeremy Lambert pull a “Stranger Things” imitation out of their asses for reasons I can’t explain, while Nick Derington’s art finds itself buried under a thick layer of personality-negating Dan McDaid inks. I get that some or all of these guys were big D&D-heads growing up and wanted to pay homage to that, but do a one-shot special of some sort rather than adding an unnecessary epilogue onto a series that already came to a confusing (and confused) enough conclusion on its own. A gimmick in search of a reason for existing that never finds one. Overall: 3 Recommendation: Pass
What If? Magik #1 (Marvel)– In what plays out like Training Day but with Sorcerers, we get a different take on Magik’s origin story. She gets hurled into America where she shows that she is a product of her environment, by almost killing the first man to try and take advantage of her to only be stopped by Doctor Strange. Strange trains her in the mystical arts becoming more astute than him. By issue’s end, a final showdown between her and her tormentor leads to her ultimate absolution. Overall: 9.6 Recommendation: Buy
Avengers Halloween Special (Marvel) – While I realize that these comics are sort of elseworlds tales, depicting some stories for the Halloween season, I really wasn’t a fan of most of them. This really felt like a sort of cash grab, and none of the stories felt that compelling. Some of them felt like lesser versions of Edgar Allan Poe or other classic writers, just rehashed a bit with Superheroes. If you are looking for that, you may enjoy the book more than I did. Overall: 4.0 Recommendation: Pass
Old Man Logan #50 (Marvel) – I have been a fan of this book, especially when Lemire was writing it, but even with Brisson, I enjoyed a lot of the issues. This final issue (before the Dead Man Logan maxi series starts) didn’t feel like it gave enough. It wasn’t bad, and continued the war between Maestro Bruce Banner and Logan, but overall it just felt okay. If you are invested in this tale, of course you will want to read this. Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read
Vault of Spiders #1 (Marvel) – There was some fun moments in this book, with the Cowboy Spider-Man, and the Japanese Spider-Man (from the old tv show), but overall this book felt like an excuse to throw a bunch of random Spider-characters into the Spider-Geddon event without necessarily having them take part in it (though they may). More of a montage of “spider-people” without much interesting stories behind them. Overall: 5.0 Recommendation: Pass
Spider-Force #1 (Marvel) – Kaine, Jessica Drew, and more work together to thwart the threat from Spider-Geddon, and this book tied into the overall narrative nicely. The ending gave a cliffhanger that is solid, and the dialogue between the characters was fun. I do think this will end up being the best book of the Spider-Geddon tie in mini series, at least so far. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy
Batman: Secret Files #1 (DC) – I really dug this comic. There were a few stories better than others (Taylor’s was really good), but all of them were good in my opinion. It gives us a peak into the Batman mythos a little more, which is impressive considering how many times we’ve peaked into such a popular character. A great team of writers and artists did solid work on this. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy
Justice League / Aquaman: Drowned Earth #1 (DC) – This was a solid comic. I do find that Tynion IV can be wordy, such as Snyder on the main book, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. He gives a solid set up (which really was continued from the core Justice League book that kicked off this mini event), and the art by is Porter is solid, though it may not fit everyone’s taste. Overall: 7.5 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 (**).