Mini Reviews and Recommendations For The Week Ending 11/7
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.
Marauders #15 (Marvel)– Marauders #15 opens in a very cool, stakes raising way as Opal Saturnyne gives Wolverine a glimpse of what would happen if he actually followed through with killing her. The X-Men have dealt with dark futures, but this is pretty freaking bleak. Gerry Duggan, Benjamin Percy, and Stefano Caselli show in an economical way before returning to the irresistible weirdness of the feast. The Krakoans and Arakkii continue to size each other up, and the weakest member of both parties is almost taken out, but saved by White Sword’s paladin-esque sense of honor. Marauders #15 definitely continues the decompression theme of the past couple issues, but Caselli gets to show off his comedy chops a little bit with Magik and Cable messing around with Isca the Unbeaten and seeing she can lose at anything, including silly table games. This sequence is paid for laughs, but shows just how difficult the upcoming battle is. And speaking of upcoming battles, it’s a logical, yet exciting one. It’ll be nice to finally see some swords clash after 14 (!!) issues of build-up. Also, Wolverine eats unicorn meat this one and definitely enjoys it a little too much; it’s a pickle transformation sequence away from the funniest shit I’ve ever seen. Overall: 7.3 Verdict: Read
Excalibur #14 (Marvel)– The tournament has begun in the X of Swords storyline with Captain Britain facing off against Isca the Unbeaten, who lives up to her name. It’s fitting that Tini Howard gets to write Betsy’s big moment, and she and artist Phil Noto walk the tightrope between comedy and tragedy winningly and turn in an entertaining chapter of this crossover that rights the ship after a few lackluster ones. Howard zigs where most crossover events will zag with Noto’s full page spreads capturing the shocking moment before going into funny mode for the second half of the issue. This also is truly an issue of Excalibur as Jubilee and Shogo join the fun and end up being an example to show Opal Saturnyne’s unparalleled power set while acting as emotional tether for the Krakoans to rally together with. Who cares about the tournament? If Jubilee is harmed, Wolverine will filet someone, and Storm will zap you with lightning. Also, Howard and Noto do something a bit shocking and compelling with Cypher, who has been the fan favorite to be killed first so far. Verdict: 8.8 Verdict: Buy
Wolverine #7 (Marvel)– Benjamin Percy, Gerry Duggan, and an excellent Joshua Cassara turn in more weirdness as Krakoa keeps getting their ass kicked in a tournament that is so much more than a simple sword fight thanks to the wiles of Saturnyne. The issue opens with much of the same vein of humor as the last few issues of X of Swords as Magik and Pogg Ur-Pogg talk trash and end up arm wrestling instead of fighting to the death. After this fun diversion, we get a reality bending fight between Wolverine and the Summoner where Cassara switches art styles on a dime as they duel to the death, and the backgrounds shift behind them. It’s a thrill with a twist ending, and Wolverine #7 as a whole follows the consequences of its protagonist’s actions during his appearances in X of Swords. Chief among them is that it doesn’t look like Krakoa will be able to pull it out in this one. Overall: 7.6 Verdict: Read.
True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys: National Anthem #2 (Dark Horse)– After shutting of his TV in the previous issue, Mike Milligram, the original Killjoy, has realized that basically all of the U.S. is under a form of sophisticated corporate mind control through different products and pills. For example, the Civil Rights movement doesn’t exist in its reality, and this causes kindly school teacher Maxwell to “wake up” and rejoin the Killjoys with Sofia whose son Jaime has been bullied. Gerard Way, Shaun Simon, and Leonardo Romero give us a solid snapshot of these key characters while leaving time for some shootouts and car chases with the aid of Jordie Bellaire’s Day-Glo color palette. Killjoys: National Anthem #2 satires things like revisionist history and 24 news cycle, but it’s also a fun action comic. It’s punk with a side of pop. Overall: 8.0 Verdict: Buy
Terminal Punks #1 (Mad Cave)– Matthew Erman and Shelby Criswell’s Terminal Punks #1 is part punk coming of age story, part disaster movie, and part creature feature with plenty of skewering of out-of-touch billionaires that see majestic, endangered animals as simply inspiration for vape juice. Criswell does a good job portraying the total anxiety that the members of a still-unnamed feel as they descend into New York City for their big post-winning-battle of the bands show. She draws in a style that reminds me a lot of current YA comics so it’s very unexpected when monsters jump out and bodies go flying. Along with this, Erman tells some of Terminal Punks’ story from the POV of the CDC workers trying to figure out what diseases and critters are getting loose. There are parallel discussions between them and the billionaire’s employees about their responsibility and why they have to put their life on the line instead of the rich guy who owns the things. Terminal Punks really captures the spirit of our current era with a spunky cast of rock kids, thrilling escapes, and gruesome monsters. Overall: 8.5 Verdict: Buy
Getting It Together #2 (Image)– This comic has so much drama, and I’m living for it. Sina Grace, Omar Spahi, and Jenny D. Fine start the book by actually focusing on protagonist, Lauren’s band Nipslip finding success and being signed to an indie label that sometimes gets reviews in Pitchfork (Baby steps!) However, a seemingly laidback conversation with ex/friend, Sam, turns into a physical altercation when he says that her talking about Nipslip reminds him that she cheated on him with her bass player. Oh, and while this is going on, tritagonist (Sam’s best friend/Lauren’s brother) Jack is having a hot hookup with a cute guy and wants to talk about that instead of the drama. Struble’s color palette goes steamy for that page before turning to bleakness as the drama spills out from these friends to Nipslip itself. Basically, the lesson of this comic is the classic “don’t shit where you eat”. However, Spahi and Grace add plenty of character-driven jokes to make Getting It Together #2 earn its dramedy classification, and Fine and Struble are along for the messy ride. Also, its takes on queer men using Tinder, the effects of vodka cranberry on the human consciousness, and the ripple effect of breakups are too real Overall: 9.4 Verdict: Buy
Warhammer 40,000: Marneus Calgar #2 (Marvel)– Kieron Gillen and Jacen Burrows continue to tell the origin story of the great Ultramarine Marneus Calgar while setting up a threat on the moon where he did his training. We see more of the Chaos God side of things in this issue, and seeing what seemed like a gruff instructor doing blood sacrifices shows how fucked up this world is and connects nicely to the other antagonist killing Adepts on the same moon. Gillen fills in the pieces of Marneus’ personality and adds a twist to the usual “young boy becomes legendary soldier” story steeped in revenge and something personal. Finally, I really am digging Jacen Burrows’ art as he renders the machinery, blood, and guts nicely while not skimping on the faces, especially in scenes where Marneus and his buddy Tacitan are running for their lives. Overall: 7.8 Verdict: Read
Champions #2 (Marvel) – The series had a solid debut and the second issue keeps up the interesting new direction for Marvel’s young heroes. An exploration of “child soldiers” and the role of youth having a voice in their future is something that’s long overdue. There’s just a solid grasp on these characters and the art and energy about the comic fit its subjects. A strong series so far and well worth checking out. Overall rating: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy
Pantomime #1 (Mad Cave Studios) – Young kids stealing stuff seems to be a hot (semi) new genre as this is the second series to launch recently with the concept and a third has been optioned for film. This one has a twist in that the characters are students at a school for the deaf. It’s an interesting debut and it has a lot going for it, especially the direction it’s going towards the end. The kids’ personalities really stand out and there’s something great to see the signing within the comic. There’s more than enough unique qualities of the series to make it a debut to get. Overall Rating: 7.9 Recommendation: Buy
Scarenthood #1 (IDW Publishing) – One of my favorite comics of the week. It’s the story of parents who go ghost hunting while their kids away to solve a mystery. As a parent, there’s a lot to relate to with this one with tons of humor mixed into the scares. Between the really adorable kids and the art, it’s beyond a solid debut and the surprise of the week for me. There’s a lot of creepy aspects to it as well that has me excited to see what happens next as well. Overall Rating: 8.75 Recommendation: Buy
Seven Secrets #4 (BOOM! Studios) – The first four issues of this series has been great with a mix of James Bond and manga. This episode has a lot of twists, turns, and reveals and feels like it’s really kicking things off for what’s to come. Here’s hoping the series doesn’t stumble under it twists so far, as there’s quite a few. Just a great action comic that’ll keep you at the edge of your seat like a popcorn film. Overall Rating: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy.
Strange Academy #5 (Marvel) – This continues to be one of my favorite Marvel comics. There’s still a lot of set-up going on here as prophecies begin to fall into place and the kids meet their first enemies. Great characters with amazing art combo for yet another solid issue. If you’re looking for a new wizarding school to enroll at, Strange Academy is where it’s at. Overall Rating: 8.6 Recommendation: Buy
Terminal Punks #1 (Mad Cave Studios) – A disaster film with a twist. The story follows a punk band stuck in an airport with mutated animals on the loose. There’s a lot to really like about this debut. It’s also a little scattered in thought as well. It definitely has something to say with its constant digs at the rich/corporations/elected officials but that commentary doesn’t feel like it’s really given enough to shake out. It’s all quick hits and punches with the debut, a very punk attitude about it. Definitely a series I want to read more of but the first issue left me a little mixed on the end result. Overall Rating: 7.0 Recommendation: Read
Villainous #2 (Mad Cave Studios) – The villains are the heroes and the heroes are the villains in this take on the popular exploration of superheroes. The second issue improves in many ways on the first with having a stronger voice as far as if it’s a spoof, homage, or playing it straight. It’s definitely a series to keep an eye on, it’s going in really interesting directions with this issue and what it sets up to come. There characters too could easily build into a great world spinning out of it. If you want a superhero series from someone other than the big 2, this is one to check out. Overall Rating: 7.95 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 (**).