Mini Reviews and Recommendations For The Week Ending 09/04/2021
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.
Static Season One #3 (DC/Milestone)- Static Season One continues to be a master-class in modern teen superhero comics from Vita Ayala, Nikolas Draper-Ivey, and ChrisCross. The book bakes in relevant themes of the American police state preying on young Black people and bigoted white men being eager to sign up and be their lackeys while also having beautiful touching moments throughout. Draper-Ivey masterfully melds manga and Western comics in a thrilling escape sequence before slowing things down and digging into the influences for Static’s costume rooted in his love of science, DIY, and escapist fiction like anime and SF. He, ChrisCross, and Ayala also turn in an emotional sequence with him and his father as they realize that they are both alike in their love of creation and building something from nothing even though that manifests itself in science experiments for Virgil and home repair for Mr. Hawkins. Even after all this, there’s time to flesh out Virgil’s supporting class at his high school and escalate the threat as the Feds are coming after the folks affected by the Big Bang, which is quickly becoming a heightened metaphor for government reprisal against anyone who challenges the white supremacist, cop-exalting status quo. Overall: 9.0 Verdict: Buy
Black Hammer Reborn #3 (Dark Horse)– A relationship ending can feel like the end of the world, especially a marriage with two kids. Jeff Lemire, Caitlin Yarsky, and Dave Stewart combine both the conclusion of Lucy Weber (Aka Black Hammer II) and Elliot (Formerly, the two bit supervillain Lightning Rod)’s relationship with yet another apocalypse for Spiral City. Yarsky’s character acting is superb as she illustrates the difference in emotions between Lucy and Elliot arguing with their therapist to their “meet cute” where Elliot’s “lightning finger” powers have little to no effect on her. Even though they’ve grown distant and Elliot cheated on Lucy, you can see their rapport as Elliot had put on a costume to rob a laundromat and pay rent. This kind of everyday relationship stuff combined with superhero tropes is what the Black Hammer books such compelling reads, and Lemire and Caitlin Yarsky get back to this in Black Hammer Reborn #3 while also showing the threat that’s coming might be beyond her. Overall: 8.5 Verdict: Buy
Dark Ages #1 (Marvel)– Tom Taylor brings his brand of disaster movies meets large fictional universe with a side of character specific hope to what is definitely not Earth-616 in Dark Ages #1. This first issue is focused on the incident that led to the Marvel Universe basically losing electricity, and Taylor, Iban Coello, and Brian Reber are game for a bleak, hopeless take on the the summer crossover with a battle against the Celestial-looking Unmaker that does what his name describes and does insane shit like turning Thing into a pile of rocks and sinking Atlantis among other things. What’s really interesting is that Tom Taylor and Coello do what so many Marvel writers can’t really do and say what if defeating the summer event’s Big Bad cost everything and led to an even worse reality. However, there are little bits of hope, including one that elicited a total “Aww” reaction from this reader and riffs on one of the most famous moments in all of Marvel history. Peter Parker is the narrator for much of the comic, and Taylor has a great handle on his humorous, salt of the Earth voice while Iban Coello and Reber bring the powerhouse wide screen visuals with a touch of cartooning to make everything a little more human. Overall: 7.9 Verdict: Buy
Money Shot #14 (Vault)– Money Shot continues to be outrageous as ever as the XXXplorers and the alien parody of the XXXplorers band together to rescue two members of their team from a matriarchal hunter-gatherer society of deer-people who keep giant, horny clay pigeons as pets. And along the way, Tim Seeley and Sarah Beattie throw in a legit plot twist about the identity of the alien porn stars while Caroline Leigh Layne continues with her pitch perfect riffs on the filmography of Andy Sidaris combined with soft eroticism and some primalness. In its third arc, Money Shot has really learned the value of taking it slow and focusing on its character between the sexy, violent, or body of a bogeyman bounty hunter merging bits. It’s one of those comics where I’m like “What the fuck will they think of next” and am usually satisfied and amused by it. Overall: 8.1 Verdict: Buy
Second Coming: Only Begotten Son #4 (Ahoy)– Unlike the first miniseries, Mark Russell, Richard Pace, and Leonard Kirk continue to explore the parallel lives of Jesus and Sunstar in more character-driven vignettes all centered around a moral throughline. The moral this issue is compassion, and Jesus’ empathy and compassion through the form of a story of forgiveness gets Sunstar’s mom a reprieve from eviction from her retirement. However, the main plot of this issue is centered around the villain Cranius causing massive earthquakes because he wants to get back at how Sunstar treated him in high school. In lesser hands, this would be a typical disaster storyline, but Russell, Pace, and Kirk turn it into a story of change and forgiveness. Sure, there is great retirement home banter, but Only Begotten Son #4 is one of the saddest chapters of Second Coming with consequences that will resonate for the rest of the arc. 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 (**).