Mini Reviews and Recommendations For The Week Ending 05/29/2021
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.
Mister Miracle: The Source of Freedom #1 (DC)– Featuring day-glo color palette from Rico Renzi, exciting layouts from Fico Ossio, and poignant commentary on being a Black man in the United States (and entertainment industry) from Brandon Easton, Mister Miracle #1 really has it all. Shilo Norman gets put into a variety of situations in Mister Miracle #1 from an eye popping stunt in the opening scene to dealing with microaggressions from his manager and even acting like an asshole on a date and only talking about his job. He’s a character struggling to find an identity in a click driven, late capitalist hellscape, and the villain that Easton and Ossio set up for him seems derivative at first, but it actually comments on racist comics fan who are angry that characters of color are picking up the mantles of white characters. Mister Miracle #1 balances all these excellent elements and looks gorgeous too, especially in the color department. Overall: 8.8 Verdict: Buy
Made in Korea #1 (Image)– Made in Korea is a nice, little sci-fi story about a middle class family that gets a discount on a “proxy”, or some kind of robot child is manufactured in South Korea. Writer Jeremy Holt and artist George Schall spend a good portion of the book showing the parents bonding with their new daughter, Jesse with plenty of adorable sequences. However, Schall’s sterile color palette and the starkness at his art senses at something a little more sinister going on in a parallel story of a workaholic, Korean computer programmer. Jesse might not be the nice, shy, yet curious girl that she seems to be from the outset. Overall: 8.0 Verdict: Buy
Beta Ray Bill #3 (Marvel)– Daniel Warren Johnson and Michael Spicer’s Beta Ray Bill continues to be a flat out good time of bright colors, big sound effects, and even bigger guns as Bill, Pip, Skurge, and a newly humanoid Skuttlebutt try to find the Twilight Sword of Muspelheim. This issue is heavy on action and adventure with Skurge living life like he’s in a first person shooter, and Skuttlebutt going all Optimus Prime in another impressive widescreen setpiece from Johnson. However, Beta Ray Bill #3 isn’t just an epic quest, but it’s turning into a surprisingly sweet love story with Bill and Skuttlebutt going on what is basically a first date. Daniel Warren Johnson writes them in a charming, yet awkward way, and I’m rooting for these crazy Korbinite/AI ship kids. Overall: 8.7 Verdict: Buy
Reptil #1 (Marvel)– It’s been a long time since Avengers Academy and Avengers Arena, but Reptil finally gets a solo series thanks to Terry Blas, Enid Balam, Victor Olazaba, and Carlos Lopez. Blas, Balam, and Olazaba know that readers might be unfamiliar with Reptil’s backstory so they catch us up to speed in a double page spread that also doubles as dinosaur tracks. He has a genuinely cool power set, but (for now) Reptil is done with the hero thing and just wants to focus on helping his grandpa get better, which is why he moves to L.A. with his aunt and cousins. Plotwise, Terry Blas takes his time setting up the dynamic between Reptil and his twin cousins Eva and Julian before introducing any superhero elements. However, Enid Balam and Victor Olazaba seem to truly have a ball when Reptil transforms into a dinosaur for the first time as the panels shift and move across the page. A fairly generic villain aside, Reptil #1 is a charming reintroduction to a hero with cool powers, who also happens to be one of Marvel’s few Mexican-American superheroes. Overall: 7.9 Verdict: Buy
The Blue Flame #1 (Vault)– Christopher Cantwell and Adam Gorham mash up the cosmic space hero and the blue collar, street level hero in The Blue Flame #1. I love how Gorham and colorist K. Michael Russell shift their art style from something feathery and ethereal when Blue Flame is exploring an uncharted planet to a more meat and potatoes, 1980s superhero style (pre-Image founders) when he’s on Earth with his team, the Night Brigade. The Blue Flame #1 establishes the duality of our protagonist, who is curious about exploring different planets and alien civilizations, but also does every day shit like clear out his drive way, fix boilers, and have romantic tension with one of his teammates. Christopher Cantwell and Adam Gorham don’t deconstruct or add anything new to the superhero genre, but combine two subgenres and focus on characterization while also having a big, damn hook in the final pages. Overall: 8.5 Verdict: Buy
Money Shot #11 (Vault)– The new arc starts with the XXXPlorers adding a new scientist/porn star to their team, Yasmin, because their leader Christine thought she looked attractive as a talking head on a TV show. However, she doesn’t really have “chemistry” with the rest of the team, and ratings go high, plummet, and plateau off. New series artist Caroline Leigh Layne hits the right balance between humorous and erotic while Sarah Beattie and Tim Seeley’s script shows the importance of being a responsive and giving partner, which Yasmin is not. There’s also some good satire as the planet that the XXXplorers go to is similar to Earth and has similar issues with climate change, but because they can’t reverse these problems, they just enjoy a psychedelic plant. Between the sexy hijinks and mishaps, Money Shot #11 has a tone of existential crisis as the characters start to question whether they’re doing this to get ratings and stay solvent or to actually make the world a better place. 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 (**).