Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 3/6
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 #90 (DC) This book has been a breath of fresh air since the new creative team of Tynion IV and Daniel and March right from the jump. The pacing and art and story just breeze right on by The backstory in this issue with Selena explaining to Bruce the meeting between herself and the other Bat Villains and the new villain The Designer was fantastic. I definitely want more of him, he seems to be a welcome addition to the ever-growing rogues gallery. Let’s hope so. I always like when backstories can provide never before seen new facets to the mythos. The art has been great rotation between the talents of Tony Daniel and Gulliem March. I think the trade off on ever other book is a fantastic one two punch. Tynion IV has done a great job of keeping this book fresh and exciting which is not easy to do (looking at you Tom King) and keeping the Bat – Cat dialogue almost non existent. Still can’t wait to see what Deathstroke is up to in the long run and I’m already awaiting next issue. Score: 9. Recommendation: Buy.
Superman: Villains #1 (DC) I was extremely looking forward to this book after the Superman: Heroes one shot but this was not what I expected. It was one of those books with tons of creators and short stories from many POVs but it just didn’t work here. I wanted nothing but all of Superman’s greatest villains reactions but we only got a few and then lots of shameless plugs and set ups for stuff coming down the pipe. The writing was alright and some of the art was okay but this just wasn’t what I expected. Superman’s ID reveal is monumental to DC Universe and this fell so flat in capitalizing on that moment. More time should have been dedicated to Lex’s reaction than the few throwaway pages we got. I hope they follow up much better in Superman’s main titles. Overall this was not what I expected in the least and big time miss on my end. Score: 6 Recommendation: Pass.
Strange Adventures #1 (DC/Black Label)– In Strange Adventures #1, Tom King, Mitch Gerads, and Evan Shaner deliver a deconstruction of the space pulp hero genre through the lens of (Of course) the War on Terror and 24 hour mass media as well as an intense character study of Adam Strange. Gerads handles the earth sequences, and there is vulnerability and vitality to his figure work and use of grids. On the other hand, Shaner does the Rann flashbacks and does it in his trademark clean line, classic pulp style while using a darker color palette to show that Adam wasn’t 100% a lantern jawed, upright hero or even the perfect family man. King probes at the connection between war and heroism and sets up *yet another* murder mystery plot, but takes it in an interesting direction with the series’ unlikely deuteragonist investigating Adam’s actions, both at home and abroad, and holding him accountable. Their interactions in future issues are a big reason why I’ll continue to check out this book. Overall: 8.1 Verdict: Buy
Billionaire Island #1 (Ahoy!)– The Flintstones’ Mark Russell and Steve Pugh hit satirical gold again in this skewering of the 1%. They take things the ultrawealthy have, such as private islands, offshore bank accounts, panic rooms, and eugenics programs, and turn it up to eleven. Russell’s plot doesn’t kick in until the last few pages, but Billionaire Island #1 does a fairly good job of setting up the comic’s premise and various locales. Pugh’s artwork exaggerates the right bits and goes deadpan at the right times too with some memorable imagery. The panel of a former tax accountant drinking from a hamster cage water bottle while waiting for a billionaire to give him the time of day is one that will be seared into my brain. Basically, Billionaire Island makes class warfare entertaining. Overall: 8.7 Verdict: Buy
Spider-Man Noir #1 (Marvel)– From its opening action scene featuring pulp magazine cover-style art and monochromatic palette from Juan Ferreyra, Spider-Man Noir #1 exudes old school cool. Margaret Stohl’s dialogue stumbles at times when she tries to combine superhero platitudes with world-weary, gumshoe detective one-liners, but she nimbly shifts genres from a noir mystery to an adventure serial. She and Ferreyra immerse you in this world of violence, mystery, and conspiracy where a Nazi or a gangster is just around the corner. As an added bonus, Stohl and Ferreyra give Spider-Man Noir’s female characters agency and substantial time with Dr. Huma Bergmann basically kickstarting the plot, Mary Jane throwing punches and reminding Peter of his mission and basically to stop being mopey, and Aunt May running a community center. This comic is definitely worth picking up for fans of Into the Spider-Verse who wanted to see more of Nicolas Cage’s Spider-Man Noir or see a different visual or genre approach to the familiar environs of the Marvel Universe. Overall: 8.5 Verdict: Buy
Excalibur #8 (Marvel)– An issue-concluding conversation between Rachel Grey and Betsy Braddock almost turns Tini Howard, Victor Santos, and Marcus To’s Excalibur #8 from an okay to good/great comic. The Warwolves/Cullen Bloodstone storyline is wrapped with some incoherent action scenes and some flirting from Rictor and Cullen. It’s frustrating to hear about the cool things that Rogue, Gambit etc are doing from Howard’s exposition instead of seeing it in Santos, To, and way too many inkers’ art. Thankfully, she doesn’t pad out the storyline, and the aforementioned Rachel/Betsy conversation and a chat between Rictor (Love his new Druid design!) and Cullen about being gay in the Marvel Universe are the standout moments. Excalibur has a lot of potential as a series, especially when Marcus To is the artist, but it hasn’t reached it yet in issue 8. Overall: 7.4 Verdict: Read
Marauders #9 (Marvel)– This is the second straight week with good Emma Frost content as the Marauders finally discover that Yellowjacket has been spying on them via Pyro. To counteract this, Gerry Duggan and Matteo Lolli introduce several doses of psychic fantasies as Emma Frost and the Stepford Cuckoos quickly try defuse the situation. The illusions work because Lolli doesn’t switch up his art style except for maybe turning up the violence a little bit when Yellowjacket shoots his way past Emma and Bishop. In the big picture, Marauders #9 contributes to the ongoing issue of Krakoa having leaks of various kinds, and the actual player aka Sebastian Shaw doesn’t even make an appearance in this issue. Marauders #9 isn’t this series’ finest moment, but it’s a solid piece of connective tissue that also tapers off the Homo Verendi plotline. Duggan and Lolli should also be applauded for their creativity with the psychic powers. Overall: 8.0 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 (**).