Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 1/26
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.
Superman #7 (DC) This is a week late but flu and such is life. This tale comes to you by the hyperbole filled mind of Brian Michael Bendis and the power pencil of Ivan Reis. The book opens with a returned from space Jon Kent and Clark clutching his sontight in mid air over Metropolis. It’s a touching scene and any father who missed his kid can identify. I love moments like this where Superman is shown his humanity. However Jon has come back aged several years and begins to tell his story. Here we hear about Lois, Jon and Jor-El and their time in the cosmos. It was pretty cool to see Lois in a Superman suit and it was beautifully rendered by Ivan Reis. They go to a near by planet and while they are walking Lois is revered as royalty because of her marriage to Kal El. Its a pretty slow issue and not too much but it is the set up for the big story to come. We get a quick pass through with Lobo encountering Jon and it is entertaining. The rest is just Jon filling in the blanks for his folks as the next task is they need to stop Grampa Jor-El as everything depends on it. Like i said the issue was pretty light but it was still enjoyable in parts. Overall: a quick pitstop on the next adventure but still well done. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read
Crypt of Shadows #1 (Marvel)– Al Ewing and artists Garry Brown, Stephen Green, and Djibril Morrissette-Pham revive Marvel’s classic horror tradition in a pretty messed up one-shot about man, who has a phobia of dogs, marriage problems, and his therapist isn’t super helpful. They successfully turn some of the world’s cutest creatures into bloodthirsty hellhounds beginning with the first page, a ferocious nine panel grid of dogs with teeth bared. These images continue as the protagonist (almost) literally digs a hole for himself, and the comic’s best scenes happen at the titular crypt. Crypt of Shadows is more nostalgic and less groundbreaking, but is an excellent bit of psychological horror with a fucked up twist that should really be a monthly title. Overall: 8.5 Verdict: Buy
Blossoms: 666 #1 (Archie) Jason and Cheryl Blossom join the Archie Horror family as initiates of a Satanic cult in Blossoms: 666 #1. Laura Braga’s depiction of Cheryl exudes evil as she seduces the timid Dilton and tries to get him to act more confidently and stand up for himself. But she’s really using him. Jason’s scheme is not so memorable, and Cullen Bunn and Braga’s comic doesn’t have the immediate hook of Vampironica or Jughead: The Hunger. However, Braga does a nice job showing the contrast in space between the crowded, mundane halls of Riverdale High and the wide, mysterious environs of the Blossoms’ mansion. It’s a cool setting, and Cheryl shines visually and personality-wise, but it’s just a standard Archie comic with hoods and pentagrams in the end. Overall: 7 Verdict: Read
Shazam #2 (DC) Marco Santucci’s art is pretty generic house style stuff, but Geoff Johns does an excellent job creating a new story for the Shazam Family in a modern setting while expanding Shazam’s lore like he did with Green Lantern and Aquaman. In this issue, the Shazam family take a magical subway ride to Funlands, which is the border between super fun and super creepy. There’s an ease to the interactions between the family and stealthily this is a team, not a solo book. And Johns and Santucci don’t skimp on the bad guys either and slowly reintroduce one of the best classic Captain Marvel villains and connect him to the new lore. There are lots of plates spinning plot-wise and the art doesn’t stand out, but Shazam #2 is magical family fun for the most part. Overall: 7.7 Verdict: Read
Batman #63 (DC)** – Always nice to see Mikel Janin back on art, but Tom King’s scripting is still falling flat, especially in this “Batman’s worst nightmares come to life” arc. Plus, what is it with his obsession with killing or otherwise destroying the women that his protagonists love, in this case repeatedly? Something’s not right there, and it’s becoming a very problematic pattern in King’s work. Overall: 2 Recommendation: Pass
Freedom Fighters #2 (DC)** – I must be a glutton for punishment, because the first issue of this 12-parter was embarrassingly bad, yet here I am, back for one more round. And you know what? It’s no better, and may even be worse. Problem number one is that the cover features a battle from LAST issue, not THIS one, and problem two is — everything else. Nothing much happens in Robert Venditti’s script apart from one long fight that sees the new Freedom Fighters beat a giant Nazi police robot, and we get to witness the sudden potential rebirth of Uncle Sam, who apparently resides in the Alan Moore-esque “extradimensional realm of ideas.” Where the fuck did that come from? A lame cliffhanger rounds out another “Razzie”-level comic, but at least Eddy Barrows and Eber Ferreira turn in art that’s up to their usual high standard here. That’s worth a point right there, but that’s it. Overall: 1 Recommendation: Pass. I purchased my copy, which was a really stupid mistake.
The Wild Storm #19 (DC/WildStorm)** – Really nice to see this series back after a bit of a hiatus, and it’s back with a bang — yeah, Warren Ellis’ script is something of an “info-dump,” but it’s a gripping and intriguing one that finally fills in so many of the blanks with just five issues to go. Jon Davis-Hunt turns in his best art to date, which is high praise indeed (there’s a double-page spread early on that will positively knock your socks off), and all in all everything is really ramping up for a memorable “third act.” Not to be missed under any circumstances! Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy
American Carnage #3 (DC/Vertigo)** – A high-octane installment in this promising new title that sees writer Bryan Hill, artist Leandro Fernandez, and colorist Dean White all running like a finely-tuned machine, as the momentum of the script kicks up a notch without sacrificing on the action, the illustration ups the ante on dynamic fluidity, and the colors — well, they’re just plain spectacular. This is a fun, reasonably thought-provoking series that seems to be hitting a nice stride very early in what will hopefully be a nice, lengthy run. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy
War Is Hell #1 (Marvel) In a return to the old War Comics the House of Ideas became famous for, thus one shot serves fans a book that suffice this comic book fan. in the first story ” Swing Verboten”, Howard Chaykin gives us a story about a Jazz loving Nazi pilot whose love for the music outweighs his patriotism to Nazi Germany. In ” War Devil”, we get a touch of the supernatural as an evil spirit inhabits different people only to survive another day. Overall, a great book that evokes those old comics like The Nam, but with a modern update. Overall: 9.6 Recommendation: Buy
Guardians of the Galaxy #1 (Marvel) – I have been hyped for this since Cates/Shaw were announced as the creative team. It’s the God Country team for crying out loud! One of the best series in the last few years, and Cates does wild and fun better than most anyone. This issue didn’t disappoint. It wasn’t the greatest thing ever, but it didn’t have to be. It was an awesome action packed wild ride with Beta Ray Bill, Cosmic Ghost Rider and Silver Surfer all hanging out, I mean what more does one need!? This book is only going to get better. Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy
Crypt of Shadows #1 (Marvel) – I have been going off about Al Ewing ever since he started his run on Immortal Hulk, and loved him back on Ultimates as well. He has been underrated for too long, but not any longer. Between this and Hulk, he has shown he is a master at writing classic horror. We get different artists teaming up with Ewing for a classic horror tale that felt straight out of the old horror comics Marvel themselves produced. This was absolutely a great representation of Marvel’s 80 years!. Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy
Batman #63 (DC) – I loved seeing Constantine walk into King’s world, and after we get more answers as to what is happening in this issue, I may change my score. I enjoyed the issue, and have been pleasantly surprised at these “filler” issues, which feel like they aren’t filler at all, while Williamson prepares to take over and we resume the “main” story a few issues later. Janin kills it on art as usual, and overall this was a decent entry and added a bunch of mystery to the series. King does have an odd thing for imagining bumping off his heroes significant others between this and Superman #7 Giant size though. Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Buy
Naomi #1 (Wonder Comics) – The opening spread of Superman vs. Mongul drawn by Campbell is jaw dropping. I love his layouts and panel work on this book. It’s creative, and so is this story. It was fun to step into the perspective of a young girl who keeps missing the most famous hero save the day in her small town where nothing happens. The end gives us a nice cliffhanger and a fun ending to a good first issue. I loved the optimism in this comic, and it was a nice change of pace. Walker was made for this book. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy
War is Hell #1 (Marvel) – We get two stories in this nod to Marvel’s 80 years, and an nod to the old war comics that share the same name. The first by Chaykin was interesting, and gave another perspective to WW2 and a fan of jazz, while Phillip KennedyJohnson and Alberqueue give us a prose driven dark tale in Afghanistan that fits the title of this book. I did enjoy the book for the most part, and it was a solid one shot. Overall: 7.0 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 (**).