Mini Reviews and Recommendations For The Week Ending 10/16/2021
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.
Black Hammer Reborn #4 (Dark Horse)– Jeff Lemire, Caitlin Yarsky, and Dave Stewart dig deep in the emotion department in Black Hammer Reborn #4 as Lucy Weber is confronted with her past failures and family’s failings while in the Para-Zone with Colonel Weird. Lemire reveals the reason behind the “Reborn” part of the new title, and Yarsky revels in the skewed POV of the Para-Zone with panels flipping all over each other in the vacuum of space. However, she also nails the crucial reaction shots of Lucy as she springs into action as Black Hammer again. There are a couple references to the year 1986, and they’re fitting because Black Hammer Reborn #4 is a total homage to a time period when superheroes went from being paragons of virtues to total screw-ups. This may be a tough issue to read for long time fans of Black Hammer, but it’s the first comic of the new run that pulled my heart strings like the previous Jeff Lemire and Dean Ormston issues. Overall: 8.6 Verdict: Buy
Joker #8 (DC)– In Guillem March’s final issue on interior art, he, James Tynion, and Arif Prianto snap some big pieces into place like the origin and motivation of the female Bane. Plus after some European/Court of Owls diversions, Tynion’s plot is back to focusing on getting revenge on Joker. But there’s also a ride to enjoy, and it’s very brutal thanks to March and Prianto’s visuals. There’s real power behind the female Bane’s punches, throws, and fighting moves, and Prianto’s palette feels a lot like the original Knightfall storyline with bright rashes of color in the dark, Gotham night. Like the original Bane, the female Bane is designed to take revenge on one person. But it’s Joker, not Batman, and Gordon’s experiences with him could act as fuel in her quest. In the backup story, Rosi Kampe takes over the art and adds some extra brutality to the fight scenes as Harper Row and unexpected ally Orca try to break Kelly out of prison to testify against Punchline. James Tynion and Sam Johns cast Orca as a sympathetic figure that has been screwed over and treated like a monster by Punchline so she throws in her lot with Harper and company. This installment of the backup definitely has plenty of forward momentum. Overall: 8.6 Verdict: Buy
Amazing Spider-Man #76 (Marvel)– Of course, Peter Parker will be happy, healthy, and back as Spider-Man eventually. But, for now, Zeb Wells, Patrick Gleason, and Marcio Menyz are wringing every ounce of drama as Peter fights for his life in a hospital surrounded by Aunt May, MJ, and his “successor” Ben Reilly. Gleason’s versatility as an artist is on display in this issue as he uses body horror elements and surreal shapes to show Peter battling the radiation in his body as his loved ones watch on. Wells and Patrick Gleason also include some great character growth for Ben as he starts to understand what it means to take on the mantle of Spider-Man for real instead of just being voluntold by a corporation. In this issue, I can really start to understand why Ben Reilly has a nice fanbase. Also, Zeb Wells and Patrick Gleason use this weekly structure to take a (mostly) break from the fisticuffs and focus on the rich connections between Peter and his supporting cast that are enhanced by Gleason’s skill with character acting. Overall: 8.1 Verdict: Buy
Black’s Myth #4 (Ahoy)– This is the classic reveal something emotional about the protagonist’s backstory before taking them off the board issue, and Eric Palicki and Wendell Cavalcanti nail it. We get gorgeous nine panel grids of Strummer’s werewolf dad handing her the headphones to listen to The Clash while his picture flashes on TV as a murderer, and then she’s thrown in a van by an unknown party. This gives Strummer’s partner Ben to a bit of a badass and rally the rescue party while also fleshing out his character. He’s like a non-toxic, post-colonial John Constantine, and I love the banter Palicki writes for him at the vampire bar. After all the swarming subplots and worldbuilding, Black’s Myth has turned into a rescue mission, and action is on tap. 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 (**).