Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 10/5
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.
Batman #80 (DC Comics)** Having been critical on and off of Tom King, while I have really enjoyed the City of Bane arc and especially the interludes. This one was kind of just … there. The whole issue is essentially an action sequence to set up Batman’s triumphant return to Gotham and the show down with this estranged and deranged father and Bane. So while I certainly love me some JR JR art this was not the case this time as I felt it lacked the punch needed. I really dug the opening with Bruce taking down Bane’s deputies as his Matches Malone persona though.
Him doing the one on one showdown’s reminded me of an old school video game and just going up the tower. Also as much as I love King’s take on Kite Man, this Hell yeah stuff has to stop. It feels like when you knew Snyder couldn’t wait to get to issue #50 just to write the line “Who died and made you Batman?” Only this time it lacked any sort of emotion behind it. I am a very big fan of Bat/Cat relationship (damn the haters) but Selena didn’t do much here.
Since Bruce seems to already know Bane’s plan for Damian with Thomas, I find it doubly hard that he wouldn’t know that Alfred is dead. For me there lies the huge problem. He should not be cool and calm, he should be angry and outraged and ready to break his eternal killing rule. There has been no emotional fallout from Alfred’s death and that is beyond blasphemous. I don’t understand why kill him in such graphic fashion on screen back in issue #77 only to not mention it again?
There is a lot to wrap up here and I know we have a few more chapters but the placement of this issue and its content just seems wacky to me. Normally as of late I would give this rave marks but this one was a very meh of mill for me. Overall: I will be reading to see how this story fills out but this one certainly put a giant penny sized dent in my momentum. Score: 6.5.
The Immortal Hulk #24 (Marvel)** – The most creatively exciting series to come out of “The Big Two” in a good few years keeps on keeping on, with a new and interesting status quo being established by issue’s end while a plot twist NO ONE saw coming — or even fully understands at this point — threatens to complicate matters in some REALLY unexpected ways. Al Ewing is really stepping up his game here, and Joe Bennett’s art is just plain perfect for this kind of “body-horror” material. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy
Batman #80 (DC)** – With the “City Of Bane” storyline limping toward its anti-climax, Tom King tries his best to redeem another wasted arc with a big cliffhanger, but it’s probably a case of “too little, too late,” and John Romita Jr.’s art really can’t save the proceedings despite looking really nice. Overall: 4 Recommendation: Pass
Berserker Unbound #3 (Dark Horse)** – I dunno, Jeff Lemire just seems to be going through the motions with this barbarian-and-homeless-guy “buddy book,”but Mike Deodato Jr;’s art is so innovate and good-looking that it ALMOST makes the book worth a purchase. Notice I say “almost” — as in, not quite. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Pass
DCeased #5 (DC)** – It seems that DC has a legit hit on their hands with this series, but for the life (or should that be death?) of me, I can’t see why : Tom Taylor’s script pulls out every cliche you’d expect in a non-continuity yarn (“You mean I can kill ANYBODY”?), while Trevor Hairsine’s art tries its level best to spice up an overly-obvious story with some gruesomely fun panels that that WOULD be memorable — if they actually mattered to the DC Universe “proper.” Which, again, they don’t. All in all, pretty mediocre stuff. Overall: 5 Recommendation: Pass
Nomen Omen #1 (Image)– This translation of Marco Bucci and Jacopo Camagni’s horror magic story is a little too uneven for me to fully recommend. Bucci’s script never gets a handle over who these young people are supposed to be using shortcuts like social media, birthdays, and mommy problems to establish them. The visuals, especially during the more terror-stricken bits, fare a little better with fragmented panels and a pull away to an image of an overturned 18 wheeler and apples everywhere capturing the fear of being in a crash with a tractor trailer. The ending of the first issue is much more classic slasher, but takes itself too seriously for me to give the next one a try. Overall: 5.5 Verdict: Pass
Copra #1 (Image)– It’s about time I read this super hyped up comic from Michel Fiffe. Copra #1 is a distillation of what made comics like John Ostrander’s Suicide Squad and Larry Hama’s G.I. Joe great, but through a slick auteur lens. What draws me most to this comic is the unique look that Fiffe gives it through his art, layouts, color palette, lettering, and brusque dialogue. It feels like the best old fan comic from 1988, and that’s a compliment. Fiffe also knows there’s a lot of new readers jumping onto the Copra bandwagon thanks to its publication by Image Comics so he does a great job quickly introducing his large cast of characters and then distills the stories of the previous issues (Which I seriously want to read.) at the end of the main story in a way that feels a lot like “Copra Grand Design”. Overall: 8.8 Verdict: Buy
House of X #6 (Marvel) Jonathan Hickman and Pepe Larraz conclude the House of X miniseries with a glimpse of Krakoa in action as the Quiet Council creates the first laws and conducts the first trial in the new nation. I love seeing the variety of ethical POVs characters ranging from Jean Grey and Nightcrawler to freaking Apocalypse and, of course, Xavier and Magneto bring to the trial of Sabretooth even though he’s an easy target. Larraz’s grids are perfect for statecraft, and the second part of the comic is a mostly silent celebration of mutantdom complete with Dazzler fireworks and Jean Grey, Logan, Cyclops, and Emma Frost sharing beers. Larraz’s art does the bulk of the storytelling, and he and Hickman get to bask in this new world they’ve created that synthesized X-Men lore as well as acted as a fantastic exercise in speculative fiction, worldbuilding, and even a little statecraft. Overall: 9.5 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 (**).