Mini Reviews and Recommendations For The Week Ending 8/29
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. Given the lack of new comics, expect this weekly update to begin featuring comics that we think you’ll enjoy while you can’t get anything new to read – only new to you.
These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews and Recommendations.
40 Seconds #1 (comiXology Originals) – An interesting debut about a group of explorers setting off using gate technology sent by aliens. It’s very Stargate in the concept. There’s a lot teased out but the “meat” to make it stand out is never quite delivered. Not a bad start but it needs to show off a little more before it really stands out. So far, it’s a bit too familiar. Overall Rating: 7.5 Recommendation: Read
Hellions #3 (Marvel) – It’s quickly becoming my favorite of Marvel’s X-relaunch. While the series is getting away from the promise of exploring the concept of justice, it is delivering action and surprising humor with a tone that’s straight horror. Overall Rating: 8.35 Recommendation: Buy
Mega Man: Fully Charged #1 (BOOM! Studios) – I don’t know the animated show but very familiar with the original video games and loved the previous comics. This was a surprising debut for me as it’s much more adult than expected. A good mystery and really interesting premise of a debut, it’s a lot more political than expected. Just a solid series start. Overall Rating: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy
Nailbiter Returns #4 (Image Comics) – I’m a sucker for this series which is just over the top slasher horror. While this volume shifts things a bit to feel a bit more “Scream” in tone, there’s something fun and off the wall about it that just makes it fun. We’re starting to get a better idea as to what’s up with all of the Buckaroo Butchers being back but the big picture mystery is still there. Solid characters and great art combine for one of my favorite reads each month. Overall Rating: 8.4 Recommendation: Buy
Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #3 (Marvel) – Not quite as good as the previous volume, the series still does a solid job of mixing Indiana Jones and Star Wars. The issue delivers a lot of twists and turns and double-crosses keeping readers on their toes. Overall Rating: 7.75 Recommendation: Read
X-Factor #2 (Marvel) – The other X-relaunch that’s fighting for the top spot of my favorite right now. The comic is just a hell of a lot of fun as the team head to the Mojoverse to investigate a murder. The concepts are fantastic and it’s a great update to Mojo’s world. The character interactions are what really stand out as every team member shines and are full of personality. Everyone has their moments and deliver laughs in their own way. Overall Rating: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy
Chu #2 (Image Comics) – I always enjoyed the original Chew series and this prequel has me wanting to go back and re-read it to see how much of that is rose-colored glasses. This new series has lots of humor but also is a bit more sophomoric than what I remember from the previous series. There’s kinetic energy to it all but some jokes are cringeworthy with a bit too much of a focus on bodily functions. Maybe I outgrew the series in between them? This has been an odd first two issues to read. Like an old friend that you don’t quite get along with as you used to after a long time apart. Overall Rating: 7.0 Recommendation: Read
Amethyst #5 (DC/Wonder Comics)– Amy Reeder drops the big reveal in Amethyst #5 as Amy and her friends travel to the realm of Diamonds, who are responsible for keeping law and order in Gemworld. And Amy’s parents have definitely been found lacking. Reeder is definitely in flashback city mode in this issue as she and colorist Marissa Louise clearly delineate Amy’s parents’ moral failing and the real reason they’re “frozen” in a crystal and keep it interesting by using actual gems as layouts. Coupled with how Reeder shows how Amy and her friends react to everything, it’s more engaging than it has any business being. The lore of Gemworld is dense in a meant to sell toys 80s cartoon way, but it’s rendered less annoying by the universality of discovering that your parents aren’t angels and have done some fucked up things. Even if said fucked up things involve elemental MacGuffin thingies. To wrap things up, Amy Reeder’s art continues to be the main draw of Amethyst, and this series could have used more room to breathe plotwise instead of cramming all the big reveals into one issue. Overall: 7.5 Verdict: Read
The Question: Deaths of Vic Sage #4 (DC/Black Label)– Jeff Lemire, Denys Cowan, Bill Sienkiewicz, and Chris Sotomayor stick the landing perfectly in The Question #4 even tying together the multiple timelines. The books acts as both a tribute to Dennis O’Neil’s iconic work with the character, who turned him from an avatar of Objectivism to a more nuanced figure, and as ripped from the headlines work of almost-moral-philosophy about the pervasiveness of evil. (The opening comic could just as well take place in 2020 Louisville, Kentucky as fictional Hub City.) Basically, even if Donald Trump loses the election (Or suffers a similar fate as the antagonist of this miniseries.), white supremacism, racism, and oppression will continue to fester. Lemire and Cowan interrogate the futility of black and white thinking whether that’s big electoral politics, or on a genre-specific level, the slugfest that ends the majority of superhero comics. Big double page spreads filled with grids of ass-kicking or splashes of explosions come across as holding actions as Question’s mentor Tot acts as the voice of reason along the way. The Question #4 is a worthy conclusion for a series that had soul-searing visuals from Denys Cowan, Bill Sienkiewicz, and Chris Sotomayor to go with dark night of the soul writing from Jeff Lemire. Overall: 10 Verdict: Buy
Fantastic Four: Antithesis #1 (Marvel)– When Mark Waid isn’t infusing his dialogue with pure boomer energy via his unfunny references to memes and transformation of Reed Richards into stretchy, technobabble spouting Homer Simpson, Fantastic Four: Antithesis #1 is a decent, throwback FF comic. Neal Adams and inker Mark Farmer draw crowd scenes and fight scenes with plenty of power and energy and vivid facial expressions. This book has a high concept hook and arrives at it in a visually memorable way. Waid and Adams are truly in summer blockbuster mode in FF: Antithesis with no fewer than three apocalypses being averted. The stakes are high, but have these two veteran creators blown their wad early? I guess we’ll find out down the road. Overall: 7.0 Verdict: Read
Mega Man: Fully Charged #1 (BOOM!)– I’m not super familiar with the Mega Man franchise beyond the music of the Protomen and Mega Man Battle Network for the Game Boy Advance. However, I quite liked this comic book continuation of a recent Mega Man anime. There’s a beauty, motion, and expressiveness in Stefano Simeone’s art where he makes characters like Dr. Light, Skull Man, and Mega Man, of course, his own and really drives home the father/son story that AJ Marchisello and Marcus Rinehart were trying to tell. Igor Monti’s colors had a bleak, dystopian feel to the comic except when Mega Man is doing his thing during one of the several exciting action sequences. For the most part, Mega Man #1 isn’t really lore-driven and centers around the relationship between Mega Man, Dr. Light, and his sister Suna as well as the human/robot war. It’s worth a look if you like sci-fi dystopia or robot stories. 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 (**).