Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 9/14
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.
Spawn #300 (Image Comics) Ok so everyone knows I’m a sucker for anniversary issues. It just always gets me. As I open the pages I am flashed back to 1992 when I cracked open Spawn #1. It was so so different than everything I’ve currently read other than Spawn looked and suspiciously posed a lot like Spider-Man. However given that the hottest artist to have touched that character at that point was helming this i shouldn’t have been surprised. Now it wasn’t ground breaking like The Maxx was, but it was pretty awesome. Awesome enough that I came back for 100 consecutive issues straight. At that point i had been worn down and exposed to the awful 1997 live action movie and the superb HBO animated series. However after the beheading of Malebolgia I thought there really wasn’t much more to explore.
Wow was I wrong because well here we are. Also this is a humongous accomplishment for an independent property. Other than Dave Sims Cerebus, I can’t think of another character that had achieved this number. Spawn is certainly worthy despite the up and down of quality through the decades.
With that said, here we are #300. I shamelessly joined back here on issue 299. Now having been absent for so long I was still able to pick up and not feel totally lost. I don’t know if that’s a detriment or a compliment. I know Spawn is Spawn and war is war and Al Simmons is still in the middle.
However I really like that he’s much more assertive and even without the uniform he’s still Spawn and he’s still fucken badass. The basics haven’t changed. It’s not Shakespeare but it is a very provocative take on philosophy and something that i am glad I invested my time in. 300 issues a lot has changed but the basics are still there. I believe that is the hallmark of all the greats. 600,700,800 and so forth, the adventures might have changed but the spirit is still the same. It’s instantly recognizable and pleasing the moment you pick it up. I for one am very glad that Spawn has made it here. I think he’s stood the test of time and will continue on. Now did it blow me away? No. But it certainly reminded me why I love demonic imagery and semi religious ambiguous storytelling in the first place. Like 1992. I felt that little jolt and now I’m back again. I can’t wait for #301 and #600 years from now. Kudos team. Here I am. Thanks for welcoming me back. Good job Todd. You did it. However it wouldn’t have happened without Greg. EVER.
See you next month. Score 9: Recommendation: Buy. Either way guys, it’s history. Well deserved.
Dr. Mirage #1 (Valiant) This story plays to Nick Robles’ strengths: drawing beautiful, realistic figures in beautiful psychedelic environments that break the waking world into a kaleidoscope—- which famed colorist Jordie Bellaire explodes into beautiful color. I’m generally not a Valiant reader and my unfamiliarity with that world wasn’t a problem. Magdalene Visaggio’s narration gives you what you need to know. The reality tv framing she uses is promising and her character’s internal monologue feels real. Color me intrigued!
Star Wars Age of Rebellion: Supreme Leader Snoke #1 (Marvel)– As much as I wanted a like this particular book, this felt like filler more than a prequel as it is merely a showing of how sadistic Snoke was but not how he came to be. Leaving much to be desired. Overall: 6.7 Recommendation: Borrow
Age of Conan Valeria #2 (Marvel) In what feels like a Western, Valeria starts asking questions about her brother’s sword and gets wrong type of attention. As someone looking to silence her, underestimates he skills, leaving him to answer her questions. She gets closer to finding out how her brother got his sword in the first place. By issue’s end, her trail leads her to a temple but not without running into trouble from some mercenaries, as she barely makes it out alive. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy
Batman #78 (DC)** – Let’s just call it like it is : Tom King has had 78 issues to make the Batman/Catwoman relationship compelling, and still hasn’t managed to do so. He’s back to trying again with this one — and back to failing. Clay Mann’s art is cheesecake crap. A pretty damn lame comic, all in all. Overall: 0. Recommendation: Pass
Detective Comics #1011 (DC)** – This book has been quietly ticking up after a disastrous start for the new creative team, and this issue is probably the strongest yet. The Batman/Deadshot confrontation is pretty standard stuff, but there’s some nice supporting-cast interaction, and damn, is it nice to see Batman smile for once!Christian Duce’s art is fairly generic “New 52”-ish stuff, but it’s not actively bad so much as it is just bland. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read
Silver Surfer: Black #4 (Marvel) **- I threw in the towel on Donny Cates’ lackluster scripting for this book after issue 1, but who gives a shit? Tradd Moore’s cosmic phantasmagorias are this series’ raison d’etre, and damn if he doesn’t deliver some breathtaking ones here. The best-looking “Big Two” comic on the racks, bar none. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy
Daredevil #11 (Marvel) **– The first arc of this new run didn’t do much to grab me, but Chip Zdarsky’s got a healthy head of steam under him with the character now, and seems to take real delight in messing up Matt Murdock’s life. An uneasy alliance with the cop who was out to bust him, an affair with a woman married to a mobster, an out-of-control Owl, and a bunch of copycat Daredevils all happening at once? Sign me up for that shit! Marco Checchetto’s moody, gritty art is a nice complement to the “street-level” scripting. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy
Ghosted in LA #3 (BOOM!)– The cutest, spookiest comic continues to chug along as Sina Grace and Siobhan Keenan explore Daphne’s relationship with her ex-boyfriend, Ronnie, who comes to terms with his own sexuality while chatting with Bernard, a closeted gay entertainment lawyer from the 1980s. However, Maurice, who is a ghoul and the de facto caretaker of Rycroft Manor, become increasingly tired with the mortal world’s interference with their privacy. Grace and Keenan ramp up the tension a lot while still having the fun character interactions, vivid cartooning, and amazing styles of the previous two issues. They also deal with two characters “opening up” their sexuality in a very natural, non after school special way and make Ronnie a round character and not just a one dimensional ex. Overall: 8 Verdict: Buy
Gotham City Monsters #1 (DC)- Set in the Monstertown created several years ago in the Steve Orlando co-written “Night of the Monsters” crossover, Gotham City Monsters #1 brings back characters and situations from Grant Morrison’s Seven Soldiers of Victory in a kind of creature commando way. And along the way there’s puns on cancelled New 52 series, an opera adaptation of a 19th century Irish Gothic novel, and fantastic character studies of various “monster” characters. Plus Amancay Nahuelpan going balls out with his artwork for vampire attacks, monster transformations, and a Gothic take on Gotham that makes the rest of the city look normal, or well, Christopher Nolan-esque. Gotham City Monsters isn’t an “assembling team” issue, but more of a set the tone issue, and I’m excited to see more of Orlando and Nahuelpan’s monstrous vision of Gotham. 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 (**).