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.
Peter Cannon, Thunderbolt #3 (Dynamite) **– Forget “Doomsday Clock,” Kieron Gillen and Casper Wijngarrd’s entirely unofficial “Watchmen” sequel is superior in every way, and this issue raises the stakes, includes some terrific (if obvious) “Easter eggs,” and regales us with sleek, stylish art, a pacy script, and one hell of a cliffhanger. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy
Freedom Fighters #4 (DC)** – This series is turning into my very own slow-motion car wreck, with me in the role of nosy-ass bystander. Robet Venditti sure doesn’t do subtle, as the first page features a Nazi soldier shooting a bald eagle, and it only gets more lame and ridiculous from there, with Uncle Sam rising from the grave in the Alan-Moore-without-the-brains “extradimensional realm of ideas,” while on Earth our heroes blow up the Hitler head on the new Forth Reich version of Mount Rushmore. Eddy Barrows really turns in some nice art, but it’s utterly wasted on this laughably stupid script. Overall: 2 Recommendation: Pass. I purchased my copy because I’m a glutton for punishment.
Invaders #3 (Marvel)** – I’m actually really liking this series so far, and this is probably the best issue yet, with the ever-morally-ambiguous Namor’s plans sort of coming into view in Chip Zdarsky’s script while artist Carlos Magno turns in his typical nicely-detailed work. Nothing Earth-shattering is going on here, but it’s competent and involving comic book storytelling that’s worth at least a look, if not four bucks of your money. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read
Black Hammer: Age Of Doom #9 (Dark Horse)** – After getting off track a little bit, Jeff Lemire is righting course here in this issue, as our heroes — or a couple of them, at any rate — fight to break free of yet another alternate reality, one in which they’re powerless and amnesiac for the most part. Dean Ormston’s art is, of course, spectacular, and all indications are that this series will be again on the whole quite soon. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy
Spider-Man Far From Home Prelude #1(Marvel)** – This book, I really can’t say too much about, as anyone who has watched Spider-Man Homecoming, will definitely have dejavu, as this is a Cliff Notes comic book version of the movie, an almost direct Telegraph of the movie. Either way, it probably what most of us comic book readers hate about comic book adaptations, though story still is decent. Overall: 6.7 Recommendation: Borrow
Daredevil #3 (Marvel) – Zdarsky on writing and Checcetto on pencils were meant for this book, and this character. The pacing, and excellent storytelling from Zdarsky are top notch, and the comic is accessible for long time readers or fans of the Netflix show. Checcetto’s panel work is great. It can’t be easy to showcase how Matt senses his foes, but this book nails it in such a unique way, and that is also in part due to Sunny Gho’s excellent color work. Great job all around. I love this book. Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy
Avengers: No Road Home #7 (Marvel) – This book is a summer blockbuster, and it is a blast. It is a quick but action packed read. Zub, Ewing, and Waid do a great job on the story, and balance the writing duties well. There isn’t a moment where I can tell the writing apart, and its very fluid. The art by Paco Medina and Jesus Aburtov balances the fantastical story somewhere between a classic animated film and traditional comic book well. The covers by Yasmine Putri have been excellent. This is a wild ride, and even with them throwing Conan in, it works, and works well. Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy
The Amazing Spider-Man #18 (Marvel) We are already on issue #18? Wow this book has flown by. For the most part, I am enjoying The Hunted arc, and what Nick Spencer is doing with Kraven is different enough to work. Ramos on art gives that familiar Spidey art we know, and it’s good, with his usual proportion defying character models. The event has been entertaining, and I am hoping for a big solid finale, because that is something Spidey events, have been lacking in my opinion. Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Buy
Heroes in Crisis #7 (DC) – This book is often times very controversial, and I am definitely a Tom King fan overall. This story is one that I do believe will be best read collected in trade, as it’s a slow pace, and has a lot of deception going on as far as the storytelling goes. I did like this issue overall, and we got some strong hints something else is going on, and Clay Mann is a beast on art. Especially that Heroes In Crisis spelt in flowers with Wally standing over them. Wow. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Read In Trade
Detective Comics #1000 (DC) It’s hard to grade an issue like this. It’s really an anthology and a celebration of 80 years of the most famous superhero of all time. But, it costs $10, so I will share my thoughts! The stories in the book are solid overall, with some standouts. There are many covers to pick from, and there are some great ones. I personally love the Jock and Michael Cho covers. The final story which will be the one that continues was a solid tease of The Arkham Knight (from Rocksteady’s game of the same name), and I am definitely hyped for what happens next. Tomasi and Mahnke have done a great job on the series, and I can’t wait to see who is under the mantle this time. I would say to buy this, because it’s the 1000th issue of a comic. That is a crazy feat that DC, and all of these creators should be very proud of. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy
Bad Luck Chuck #1 (Dark Horse)– Lela Gwenn, Matthew Dow Smith, and Kelly Fitzpatrick turn in an entertaining piece of speculative fiction about a woman named Chuck, who has an artifact that allows her to be a walking disaster. She’s a “cash in the insurance” rabbit’s foot for dozens of laundromats and parents whose kids got into cults all across the country. However, an investigator is finally on her trail (and think she’s a serial arsonist) adding tension to the mix although Gwenn and Smith use the first issue to let Chuck do her thing. Smith and Fitzpatrick’s visuals are very noir, which works for the criminal investigative type plotline and Chuck’s mysterious background. This is definitely the best magical artifact Dark Horse comic since The Mask. Overall: 8 Verdict: Buy
Action Comics #1009(DC)- In the last arc, Brian Michael Bendis crafted a Superman crime story, and in this one, he and Steve Epting are crafting a Superman spy story. They have a little bit of glee having Superman fly around the world connecting dots and give an all too short glimpse at the Question. But the real fun is the interactions between Lois Lane and Amanda Waller aka lots of arguing and even a punch. Bendis and Epting use them to ask the question of who is there to protect the DC Universe when all these secret organizations like ARGUS, the DEO, and Spyral all fry out. Epting’s art is smooth, yet shadowy and sucks all the bright, hopeful parts of Superman out. Also, he gets a chance to draw the dinosaur in the Batcave. This issue, and “Leviathan” in general, is proof that you can tell a dark Superman story without neck snapping and angst; just put him in a genre that he’s not super experienced in. Or is he. Overall: 8.6 Verdict: Buy
Sabrina The Teenage Witch #1 (Archie)– Kelly Thompson, Veronica Fish, and Andy Fish’s take on Sabrina the Teenage Witch is an occasionally pleasing mix of high school soap opera and current Archie horror. It starts with a horned monster in the woods and then cuts to Salem being grumpy (and talking) and waking Sabrina up. Thompson takes a lot of pages out of the early seasons of Buffy playbook connecting metaphorical monsters to real ones and the temptation of using one’s powers to make high school a little easier. However, there’s some clever and sweet writing here and there like her traditional love interest Harvey seeing her white hair in the sun even though she’s turned it blonde with a glamor. The Fishes’ art is also expressive and suitably dark when horror monsters grow up and gives the cast of character a range of body types, hairstyles, and clothing choices plus a unique color palette whenever magic is used. And the art is the real draw of a story that is really middling monster of the week stuff. Overall: 7 Verdict: Read
Age of X-Man: X-Tremists #2 (Marvel)– On the tin, it’s an alternate universe event tie-in, but in Age of X-Man: X-Tremists #2, Leah Williams, Georges Jeanty, and Roberto Poggi have given readers a full fledged slow burn romance comic. In a world where attachments are forbidden, Blob has strong feelings for Psylocke, and she’s psychic so she knows. Williams gives him a beautiful speech about unrequited love and makes him a three dimensional character, who is basically a rock of of the exercise in bureaucracy that is Department X and also loves books and art. On the other hand, Psylocke thinks she is a good, understanding person, but keeps a pregnant woman in the basement so she can keep up appearances with her superiors, the X-Men. This comic is a giant rush of moral dilemmas and forbidden love and basically all the feels filled parts of X-Men with no filler. I’m still not 100% sold on the art, but Jeanty and Poggi’s facial expressions and character acting are decent. Overall: 8.4 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 (**).