Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 2/8
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.
Marauders #7 (Marvel)– Marauders #7 feels more like a collection of scenes than a coherent whole, but it’s another intriguing and humorous chapter in the series from Gerry Duggan and Stefano Casselli. In this issue, we get to see what the Morlocks have been up to in the Dawn of X era, and it’s worth picking up to alone to see Callisto verbally and physically snipe with Storm and Emma Frost while apparently Masque has picked up golf. In comparison to the Callisto/Emma scenes, the rest of the book seems like plot housekeeping with the Marauders picking up more intel on the Homo Verendi and vice versa. Plus the shocking events of the previous issue slowly start to bear fruit. Casselli’s art is solid even if it’s a little house style for my taste, but he does draw some hilarious reaction shots like mutant fashion designer Jumbo Carnation’s reaction to Callisto’s new “do it herself” look. Overall: 7.7 Verdict: Read
X-Men/Fantastic Four #1 (Marvel)– X-Men/FF #1 is a coming of age tale meets beat ’em up superhero crossover. Chip Zdarsky, the Dodsons, and Laura Martin showcase an ethical debate between Professor X and Reed Richards, Invisible Woman putting Magneto in a forcefield bubble, and of course, an Iceman/Human Torch throwdown among other spectacles. But this comic is really about a father not letting his son grow up and try new things. Reed, Sue, Johnny, and Ben really care about Franklin’s well-being, especially with the slow loss of his powers and reassure him that it’s okay if he’s just “human”. But, then, there’s the allure of the X-Men and Krakoa where he can be around a found family that understand what he’s going through. The pairing of Kate Pryde and Franklin Richards in a big sister/little brother found family way is a genius move from Zdarsky and the Dodsons as well as a shout out to the first X-Men/Fantastic Four crossover mini. Zdarsky writes her with great empathy while not skimping on the action beats, which is sure to ramp up in the following issue. One critique I did have with the comic is that the art sometimes isn’t up to the Dodsons’ usually standards with some weird framing of the Krakoa gates and facial expressions from Sue Richards that don’t match up to what she’s doing in the story. This might be due to the presence of two guest inkers as well as Rachel Dodson. Overall: 8.4 Verdict: Buy
Crowded #11 (Image)– In the penultimate issue of the second arc of this fun social media dystopia/love story from Christopher Sebela, Ro Stein, Ted Brandt, and Triona Farrell focus on Charlie and Vita’s new life in a cult-ish compound in New Mexico. They’re connected to Vita’s past (Of course.), and Sebela does a great job of toeing the line between them being just a little weird and overly family friendly and totally messed up. There’s a muted, sanitized feel to Farrell’s colors after glitz, glam, and ultraviolence of Vegas and L.A. However, the intensity of Charlie and Vita’s relationship (They’ve been sleeping together the past couple issues.) reaches new heights in this issue as they try to be open and vulnerable, and it doesn’t really work out. The table is definitely set up for wild story arc conclusion with plenty of guns and sexual tension. Overall: 8.7 Verdict: Buy
After Realm Quarterly #1 (Image)– This is an oversized fantasy comic from Michael Avon Oeming and Taki Soma about an elf named Oona, who is too clever for her own good and wants to go on adventures in a world bereft of them. The book is setting after Ragnarok in which the Elven realm decided to isolate itself from the other eight and act as a prison for Loki. Loki’s preying on Oona’s outsider status is the key conflict of After Realm as she doesn’t quite fit in with the other Elves and is always getting kicked out of the ranks of the Elf rangers. Oeming working in fantasy adventure mode is a real treat, and Soma’s color palette sings any time magical powers are used bringing light and intrigue to this grim, post-apocalyptic world. Overall: 8.5 Verdict: Buy
X-Men/Fantastic Four #1 (Marvel)Queer and Jewish themes abound in this new crossover series. As Steven Attewell pointed out on twitter https://twitter.com/StevenAtte…/status/1225117205647581194 — Magneto shows up in the Jewish Homeland (the Lower East Side) telling Franklin to go on Birthright (the Zionist propaganda program that enables Jewish young adults to visit Israel for free— but not Palestine of course). Meanwhile, Sue and Reed are conspiring to suppress their son’s identity and freedom as a mutant. He can “come out when he’s older” more or less. Sounds like a lot of unsupportive parents of queer kids. Damn Chip Zdarsky is good! The Dodson’s art is okay. I don’t love how they do the kids faces but their Kate Pryde is tender and wise. Really excited by this series. Recommendation: Buy it!
Conan: Battle For The Serpent Crown #1 (Marvel)– In probably the most exciting and funny story to come from the House Of Ideas, is this fish out of water story starring everyone’s favorite Cimmerian. In a story that unfolds like a mix between Birthright, and the movie version of Masters Of The Universe, Conan gets thrown into modern day Las Vegas. Here he gets into some shenanigans with a cat burglar named Nyla who recruits the Barbarian into a dangerous score and run into another skilled thief, Blackcat. By issue’s end, another player may be involved, as we find out they have captured the interest of Mephisto. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy
Star Wars Darth Vader #1 (Marvel)– I must say, the comic books from The Marvel Star Wars Universe, has been fun and even has given us more than we could have ever asked for in some cases( Doctor Aphra) but it seems the original trilogy has been treated as consecrated grounds until now. In the hands of Greg Pak, he gets to tell a story very reminiscent of Shadows Of The Empire.As we find Vader searching for Luke, shortly after revealing he was his father. By issue’s end, his search takes him to Tattoine and eventually Coruscant, where a person from his past surprisingly reappears. Overall: 10 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 (**).