Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 3/23

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.

Ryan C

High Level #2 (DC/Vertigo) **– Another slice of solid science fiction “world-building” from writer Rob Sheridan and artist Barnaby Bagenda firms up the relationship between our two main protagonists, fleshes out the unique socio-political-economic statusof the “city” of Onida, and throws in some brisk action near the end before leaving this on a very agreeable cliffhanger. Superb art and colors elevates the proceedings a good few notches, cementing this as a series well worth following. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy 

American Carnage #5 (DC/Vertigo) **– The tangled web being woven by writer Bryan Hill and artist Leandro Fernandez becomes even more labyrinthine here, with intrigues aplenty brewing between all the major characters just as the stakes are raised for the American electorate at large. The art and colors continue to improve with each issue, and here approach genuinely “amazing” status, more than making up for the occasional foray into overly-expository or “preachy” dialogue. One of the most interesting monthlies out there right now. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

The Wild Storm #21 (DC/WildStorm) **– As we near the conclusion of Warren Ellis and Jon Davis-Hunt’s “reimagining” of the WildStorm universe, the chess pieces are all in place, the last few secrets remain tantalizingly out of reach, and the art gets more and more cinematic and breathtaking. You could ask for more from a monthly comic, but you’d be hard-pressed to find it anywhere. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Batman #67 (DC) **-Thank goodness for the sensational artwork of both Lee Weeks and Jorge Fornes, because Tom King’s script for this fifth installment of “Knightmares” is simply a lazy-ass Batman/Joker run-around with little to recommend in its favor apart from a late-inning connection between it and the (much better) “Batman/Elmer Fudd Special” #1. Pretty much a total waste, barring the very pretty pictures. Overall: 4 Recommendation: Look at it, but there’s hardly anything to read


Spider-Man: Life Story #1 (Marvel)– Chip Zdarsky turns in some of the smartest and most emotionally resonant work of his career in Spider-Man: Life Story #1, the first chapter of a miniseries in which Spider-Man ages in real time. Mark Bagley, John Dell, and Frank D’Armata handle the art chores and excel at both intense conversation sequences between Peter and Captain America, Peter and Norman Osborn, and especially Peter and Gwen Stacy as well as setpieces like a classic showdown between Spidey and the Green Goblin and something more subversive set in Vietnam. In fact, one of the many internal conflicts that Spidey has in this issue is if he’s going to Vietnam or not, especially when he finds out that Flash Thompson’s inspiration for volunteering was Spider-Man. The miniseries format allows Zdarsky and Bagley to introduce stakes and consequences that wouldn’t fit in an ongoing comic as they use the 1960s and Vietnam era not as psychedelic window dressing, but as a source of tension and growth for Peter Parker. And, wow, Zdarsky writes one hell of a Cap. He’s a larger than life figure, but also has extremely mixed feelings about the Vietnam War, especially after what he lost in WWII that still feels recent to him. Overall: 9 Verdict: Buy

Firefly: Bad Company #1 (BOOM!)– Josh Lee Gordon, Francesco Mortarino, and Gabriel Cassata finally tell the “origin” story of Saffron, the artist formerly known as Mrs. Reynolds and also Christina Hendricks’ breakout role. Her life story might be completely made up, but it’s still a tragic story of class warfare, patriarchy, and how the one percenters don’t give a shit about how many they trample on their way to wealth and power. Gordon and Mortarino also do a fair bit of worldbuilding and showing the relationship between the Companions Guild and the Alliance. Mortarino’s art is also bright, expressive, if a little melodramatic at times. If you’re not already a Browncoat, then this one-shot would be a little dense , but it’s worth picking up for the initiated. Overall: 7.7 Verdict: Read


Spider-Man: City At War #1 (Marvel)– In what looks to be a one do those game interpretation comics, we get quite surprisingly a fun read. We get a world weary Peter Parker and Spider-Man. As his world has been more than hectic and we also get a different origin story for Doctor Octopus. We also see how a post relationship friendship between Peter and MJ is, which also quite mature. Overall, a great read for fans of the game but an excellent story for the rest of the Marvel fans. 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 (**).