Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 8/10
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.
Savage Avengers #4 (Marvel)** – Story-wise, this mini has basically been treading water since the first issue, and that trend continues here, in the penultimate chapter — but just because Gerry Duggan is mailing it in, don’t take that to mean Mike Deodato, Jr. is following suit. This comic looks absolutely great — but unfortunately, that alone doesn’t make it worth either your time or your money. Overall: 4. Recommendation: look at it at the shop, then give it a pass.
Batman #76 (DC)**– After a lackluster start to the “City Of Bane” arc, Tom King at least cobbles together a nominally readable script here, even if the mystery as to what’s going on continues to fall a bit flat. Tony S. Daniel’s art is what it is — a continuation of the tired “New 52” aesthetic, but I dunno. If you like that sort of thing, you’ll like how this one looks. All in all it’s pretty much just a middling comic. If that’s good enough for you, have at it, otherwise follow the advice in the very next sentence… Overall: 5 Recommendation: Pass
Postal: Deliverance #2 (Image/Top Cow) **– This welcome return to Matt Hawkins’ so-called “Edenverse” builds on a strong first issue with Bryan Hill dishing out some Biblical “justice” and the corruption of a new generation in his script, while Raffaele Ienco delivers some serious goods with his fine, detailed art. Killer stuff, not for the faint of heart. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy
Descendent #4 (Aftershock) **– Not sure what happened with this conspiracy thriller, but after a strong pair of issues to start things off, Stephanie Phillipss scripting is getting seriously contrived and hakneyed, and the art by Evgeniy Bornyakov seems equally uninspired. I think there’s one installment left to go here, but I doubt I’m interested enough in things at this point to see whether or not they can pull off a last-second course correction. Overall: 3 Recommendation: Pass
Absolute Carnage #1 (Marvel) Wow. Just wow. Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman deliver the best Marvel comic of the year. Not only is the writing and art just fantastic, but they give me the best Eddie story I’ve ever read. Love the love/hate relationship with Peter and Eddie and they managed to something with Carnage that the original Maximum Carnage story never could: Make Carnage a scary leviathan like force. Cletus Kasady alone was terrfying but Cletus tied to an age old evil God, is the thing of joy and nightmares. I love how this comic didn’t end after the first chapter and gave you 3 solid chapters to wet your appetite before leaving you hanging. The plot is awesome and just reprehensible at the same time. Grave robbing to make Carnage even more powerful. I love the relationship bond between Eddie and his other and Tom Hardy should have had this book to read before playing him in the movie. It might sound like I’m gushing here, but I am. I have nothing bad to say about this issue at all and as something I wasn’t even going to glance at, now might be my comic of the year. Overall: 10 just plain 10. Recommendation: Buy this. I read my copy but I’m damn sure buying this.
Doom Patrol Weight of the Worlds #2 (DC/Young Animal) Round 2 of Gerard Way, Jeremy Lambert, and James Harvey’s Doom Patrol features more weirdness, empathy, and mind expanding double page spreads. The highlight is Harvey’s diagram of Dannyland aka a genderqueer street on steroids that doubles as the Doom Patrol’s HQ and much more. This issue follows a throughline of positive reinforcement from Robotman’s new body getting cool new powers and upgrades (Like a flamethrower) for every good deed he does to Lotion the Cat realizing that the children of two potential planetary divorcees just need a hug, and finally Larry Trainor finding peace with the Negative Spirit that used to reside within him. The hug scene and another early one where Robotman sees the world through his new, though sadly non-human body marry words and pictures with an immersive spread from James Harvey combined with almost lyrical writing from Way and Lambert. The book feels more like an experimental art piece or a warm and fuzzy therapy session with tripped out dream imagery than a superhero comic, but I assure you that some day saving happens in Doom Patrol #2. Overall: 8.4 Verdict: Buy \
Die #6 (Image)- In an issue based on the annoying RPG concept of grinding, the party must find enough fair gold to kickstart an escape from the city of Glass which is in perpetual war with Eternal Prussia. Angela’s hacking/cyberpunk Neo abilities are crucial to this plan so Kieron Gillen and Stephanie Hans spend some time with her while she walks her dog looking for gold. She finds parallels between the world of Die and her past life as a game developer, which destroyed her marriage and personal life. Hans’ artwork captures the beautiful tragedy of her solo quest and the mechanics of games with everything having a choice or consequence. The art and Gillen’s writing lightens up a little bit towards the end with an epic escape sequence featuring a cool dragon. Then, Die’s anti-fantasy theme pops up in the conclusion, and Gillen and Hans remind us that this isn’t an adventure comic, but a horror one about being trapped in relationships and patterns of one’s past for too long. Overall: 8.6 Verdict: Buy
Absolute Carnage #1 (Marvel)– Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman lean into the absurdity, blood guts, and cosmic horror aspects of the symbiote and turn in a thrilling issue of this crossover. It’s divided into three acts: Eddie Brock and son (Who think he’s his brother) Dylan escaping Carnage in the New York subway tunnels, Eddie forging an unlikely alliance with Spider-Man and the Maker, and finally, a close doors chase and fight between Venom, Spider-Man, John Jameson, and a symbiote Norman Osborn. Stegman and inker JP Mayer revel in the utter chaos of the several big fight scenes in this issue and can slow things down too like when Eddie confides in Spider-Man that Dylan is his son and not his brother. The plotting can be a little clunky or exposition heavy at times, but Cates get the information across that Carnage is a god and is trying to absorb the little bits of symbiote left in anyone who was ever a host for it. The mechanics are a little absurd, but Stegman’s takes on the “Carnage-ized” version of characters are a treat, and Cates wisely continues to put the relationship between Eddie and Dylan at the center of this ever expanding story. Overall: 8 Verdict: Buy
Daredevil #9 (Marvel)– I’m really enjoying Chip Zdarsky’s and Lalit Kumar Sharma’s recent work on Daredevil and exploring a Hell’s Kitchen with no Daredevil, Kingpin, or even Matt Murdock practicing law. My most favorite part of Zdarsky’s run (Other than the previous Punisher reactions) is his nuanced look at Matt’s faith, and this is a big part of Daredevil #9 with a large portion of the issue being devoted to him and Reed Richards discussing the existence of God over a game of chess. As a lawyer and Catholic, Matt strives to believe in some order and justice in the universe, but that’s difficult for him in a world of corrupt cops, child trafficking, and bookstores that are mob fronts. Sharma turns in some wonderful visual transitions like the tears of a nun about a lost child turning into Matt going after the trafficker while wearing a variation of his “Man without Fear” costume. And to go along with all the philosophizing and bare knuckles brawls, there is time for romance as Zdarsky and Sharma continue to create some steamy chemistry between Matt and Mindy Libris, a bookstore manager and wife of a crime family scion that likes the business a little too much. Overall: 9.0 Verdict: Buy
Future Foundation #1 (Marvel)– FF #1 has a great cast, fun cartooning from Will Robson, and Jeremy Whitley gives each member of this very large teenage superhero/science team at least one page to shine and have a voice. However, it’s more concerned with setting up future plot developments than telling an exciting done-in-one prison escape featuring Julie Power and guest starring Yondu. Whitley and Robson do a great job showing the prison break, including Onome fixing Yondu’s giant gun so it actually works and talking about how Shuri inspired her to be the next great Wakandan engineer and Julie traveling at light speed so their rescuee, Rebecca can find her personal effects. But, then, they get caught up in flexing that the Maker is the next villain that they don’t wrap up the story. Future Foundation has characters I want to spend more time with, art that makes me smiles, and is only missing the story mechanics to be solid teen superhero/Fantastic Four spinoff title. Overall: 7 Verdict: Read
Agents of Atlas (Marvel) – In this miniseries, we get reacquainted with this new superteam, as they take on a dragon terrorizing the Pacific. This is until the Protector intervenes, as a new addition to the group. We are taken to the various bunkers, where each of them find each major city being attacked by Dragons. By issue’s end, the team goes all out while we find exactly what happened to the original team. Overall: 9.6 Recommendation: Buy
Aero#1 (Marvel)– In two different stories, we find about this import from Shanghai. In the reprint of this character’s original run, we find her origins. In the second half, we get a team up adventure with her and Wave, where we get some of Wave’s origin story. By issue’s end, the writers provide a perfect setup for this character. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy
Aero #2 (Marvel)– In this second issue we find our hero struggling with her powers and how to defeat supervillains. We also find out just how normal her life was, having a boyfriend and a comfortable job, both which looks boring to what she becomes. Inthe second half, we meet Wave’s mentor, Red Feather, who takes her weapons back. By issue’s end, we find out even more about characters, setting up Wave’s solo book to be one to watch. Overall: 9.7 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 (**).