Mini Reviews and Recommendations For The Week Ending 05/02/2021
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.
Robin #1 (DC)– Joshua Williamson and “Big” Gleb Melnikov team up to kick off Damian Wayne’s new solo series as he fights to be a part of the League of Lazarus aka Mortal Kombat (Not vs.) DC Universe edition. Because it’s a tournament arc, there’s a couple expertly choreographed fights from Melnikov, but we also get to see his flaws, arrogance, and how much he misses Alfred and how much the Bat-family cares for him. Williamson and Gleb Melnikov create a new character who cuts through his bullshit and is a real challenge for him, and I’m excited to see more of them going forward. It’s been ages since a proper Robin solo title, and this one is the perfect fusion of Bat-family and shonen manga. (Melnikov even creates an in-universe manga.) Overall: 8.6 Verdict: Buy
Cable #10 (Marvel)– Gerry Duggan and Phil Noto continue to build up the return of old man Cable to help fight Stryfe storyline, but that plot mainly stays on the backburner for some father/son bonding between Kid Cable and Cyclops. The Arrakii mutants have been causing trouble in a London pub, and they break it up in a showcase of cool powers, tender love, and loathing of one’s past self. The Stryfe plotline has gotten a little elongated and timey wimey for its own good (See the one scene with old Cable), but I enjoyed the tension between what Cyclops wants for his son and what Kid Cable wants for basically his future. Overall: 7.4 Verdict: Read
New Mutants #17 (Marvel)– Vita Ayala continues to keep lots of plates spinning plot-wise and explores the nooks and crannies of Krakoa while Rod Reis brings the kick-ass, and in Otherworld’s case trippy visuals in New Mutants #17. Ayala is the master of the check-in as they resolve Mirage and Karma’s journey to Otherworld and see what some of the younger mutants are experimenting with, have Anole talk about not being able to pass as human, and have Wolfsbane confide in Shadow King. (Uh oh) The data pages act as a kind of verbal check-in. Reis goes all out with different textures, palettes, layouts, and even plays with perspective to show the danger, adventure, and magic of Otherworld, and although this storyline seems to have wrapped, I would like to see more of his take on it. New Mutants has a pretty big cast, but Ayala always take time to showcase individuals’ perspectives on the mutant experience and what Krakoa is like, which is why I keep reading it. Overall: 7.9 Verdict: Buy
Destiny, NY #2 (Black Mask Studios)– Destiny, NY #2 is like an emotionally mature and queer as hell continuation of Buffy the Vampire Slayer with a New York setting from Pat Shand and Manuel Preitano. Preitano brings clean, beautiful lines to his present day art and grey scale fuzziness as our protagonist Logan tells her current fling, Lilith, about how mundane saving the world was. And, of course, Lilith is the ultimate evil in the universe, and there are wheels in motion to take her down. However, what makes Destiny, NY a good read is how attuned Shand and Manuel Preitano are to their characters’ emotions with an extended sequence of Logan being told by her ex that she has narcissistic personality disorder that turns into a giant argument and makes you really feel for this book’s protagonist. Destiny, NY #2 has the right blend of slice of life, supernatural intrigue, and relatable and charismatic characters, and I definitely look forward to future issues at Pat Shand and Preitano are only scratching the surface of this complex, urban fantasy world. Overall: 8.8 Verdict: Buy
Shadowman #1 (Valiant)– Shadowman #1 boasts gruesome, eye-catching art from Jon Davis-Hunt, and that alone makes it worth checking out as he, writer Cullen Bunn, and colorist Jordie Bellaire go deep into a world where the barrier between our world and the supernatural is quite thin. This comic introduces Jack Boniface and his loa-derived powers in an exciting way as he teams up with his frenemy Baron Samedi to investigate an Eyes Wide Shut death cult. Bunn takes a heavy touch with the narration, but he and Davis-Hunt use this first issue to show Shadowman in action rather than going blow by blow about his lore and backstory. They also use the Deadside as a source of monthly monsters and create a little bit of intrigue for upcoming issues while Shadowman banishes blood eating locusts from our plane of existence. As seen on his work on Clean Room, Jon Davis-Hunt is a gifted storyteller who isn’t afraid to gaze into the abyss of human depravity, and these talents make him well-suited for Shadowman #1, which is one of the best looking superhero books of 2021. Hopefully, less of the issue will be covered by frankly repetitive text boxes. Overall: 8.0 Verdict: Buy
Witchblood #2 (Vault)– Witchblood #2 is a big improvement from its previous issue, but I don’t think I’m in love with this fantasy Western as much as the rest of the comics Internet seems to be. I do enjoy Matthew Erman’s southern fried dialogue, Gab Contreras’ candy color palette, and Lisa Sterle’s general aesthetic for the series. It has a sense of humor featuring vampires who have feelings about country music and get into crystals, but I feel like all the reasons I should care about plot developments are happening off panel. Witchblood is a cute, sassy comic, but it hasn’t found its footing yet. Overall: 7.4 Verdict: Read
Teen TItans Academy (DC Comics) – There’s some solid twists and turns in the issue, especially the ending. The series is doing a good job of introducing the students while building a mystery. There’s some drama, and it’s evenly split between the students and teachers. This feels like a nice successor to classic X-Men stories. Overall Rating: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy
Black Widow #2 (Marvel) – Fantastic visuals and action-packed story. After a hell of an opening story arc, this issue kicks off the next one and is able to keep up with the high bar and high expectations. There’s a solid setup of a villain for Black Widow to take on but it’s the visuals and fun attitude that really pop in this issue. A great starting point and those already reading will be more than happy. Overall Rating: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy
Shadowman #1 (Valiant) – The debut issue is fantastic with a solid mix of horror and action and some great visuals. I actually felt bad about a demon! The series is a solid introduction to the character and I think universal praise from the GP team says it all. Overall Rating: 9.0 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 (**).