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Mini Reviews and Recommendations For The Week Ending 1/09/2022

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.


Logan

One-Star Squadron #2 (DC)– One-Star Squadron is a pitch black workplace sitcom with superheroes courtesy of the self-deprecating Mark Russell, Steve Lieber, and Dave Stewart. Through hijinks like babysitting a tech billionaire whilst sipping Vitamin Water, drug deals gone bad, and a jab at comic cons, One-Star Squadron #2 skewers capitalism and the gig economy and shows how these things make us slowly chip away at our values to have money to live. For example, Minuteman is a superhero (With a really shitty power), but he has to rob his drug dealer to be able to access his power and make a few bucks at a birthday party. Lieber’s gift with comedic timing and facial expressions is really what puts this book over the top as he basks the pathetic tragicomedy of Minuteman, Red Tornado, and the other characters at Heroz4U. And, of course, there’s a villainous counterpart to Heroz4U so guys like Lex Luthor can look tough. Overall: 8.6 Verdict: Buy

Superman: Son of Kal-El #6 (DC)– Superman: Son of Kal-El’s throughline of real world problems and splashy action continues in Superman: Son of Kal-El #6. Tom Taylor and John Timms unpack what happened on Jay’s homeworld of Gamorra before bringing the stealth and explosions. However, they do take time to cut away and have time for touching moments like Damian Wayne giving his blessing to Jay and Jon’s relationship or rooftop pizza. It’s interesting to see the parallels between Jon and his dad’s actions against 2 different fascist regimes as Jon is a little more grassroots while Clark goes for the big guns. Bendix and his crew aren’t the most compelling baddies so far, but it’s interesting to see metahuman powers be used as a tool of exploitation and not freedom. Overall: 7.9 Verdict: Buy

A Thing Called Truth #3 (Image)– A Thing Called Truth #3 really kicks the series into fun road trip mode as Magdalene and Dorian reenact movies, run from cops, and grow closer together. Iolanda Zanfardino’s script gives them a growing rapport while Elisa Romboli’s art shows how uncomfortable Magdalene is getting out of her comfort zone at the beginning, but she starts to cut loose towards ripping up some divorce papers and going along with some of Dorian’s clothing choices for her. A Thing Called Truth #3 also hits some real moments of beauty in a few pages where Dorian isn’t mugging and performing and coming to terms that she has real romantic feelings for Magdalene whose sexuality is a big question mark. This combined with her missing her brother Faust makes Dorian a fully realized character and not some kind of manic pixie dream girl. Finally, I love the way Romboli draws the buildings and general setting of Rome flowing from panel to panel and almost dwarfing the page. She really captures that feeling of being somewhere magical and great. Overall: 8.6 Verdict: Buy

Grrl Scouts: Stone Ghost #2 (Image)– Grrl Scouts: Stone Ghost #2 is definitely more style than substance with Jim Mahfood flinging space graffiti everywhere and killing off/introducing new characters at a rapid pace. It does have some serious chops in the action and comedy departments with the Big Bad who is on the hunt for our protagonist/Grrl Scout Dio ending up being some teeth looking for a piece of floss. (The main bad guy in Lord of the Rings was a giant eye so there’s precedent.) Jim Mahfood’s loose art style is a lot different than most current comics, even ones put out by Image, but it can sometimes make the story hard to follow. However, that is made up by an extended flashback/diary comic sequence where Dio talks about her boyfriend whose ashes she carries, and it’s a cute and dirty little romantic comedy. The space stuff is nice, but honestly, that scene is what really stuck with me. Overall: 7.3 Verdict: Read

Monkey Meat #1 (Image Comics)– Juni Ba’s Monkey Meat #1 is utterly weird and immersive, and I love it. I came in expecting an anthology of short stories, but instead followed a story of what is inside “monkey meat” beginning with ads and ending with a coupon for a new product. Along the way, there are plenty of colorful moments and opportunities for Ba to strut his stuff as a cartoonist. He uses wild palettes for the side effects of the different chemicals, but can also use a more traditional grid structure like when Monkey Meat/Monkey Island is an out there metaphor for capitalism’s effects on humans. Monkey Meat is an experimental and one of a kind story, and I definitely want to check out more of Juni Ba’s work even though I don’t 100% “get” him yet. Overall: 8.1 Verdict: Buy

Inferno #4 (Marvel)– Inferno #4 isn’t the perfect ending to Jonathan Hickman’s X-Men run, but it’s good enough. He and blockbuster artists Stefano Casselli and Valerio Schiti take a page out of the Matrix playbook and pit mutants against machines in an epic battle where Professor X and Magneto take on Omega Sentinel and Nimrod. And the mutants get their asses handed to them in a glorious fashion with scintillating colors from David Curiel. Mystique and Destiny’s confrontation with Moira X is a little less blockbuster and a little more war of words, but it’s cool to see Hickman have Destiny use her precog abilities to see possible outcomes and, of course, settle for a kind of status quo. Because death is off the table (In most cases), Jonathan Hickman, Caselli, and Schiti don’t include any big twists in Inferno #4 and mostly set up a new seemingly transparent status quo for Kieron Gillen and Lucas Werneck to play with in Immortal X-Men plus showing that machines, not humans are the real threat to mutants as well as keeping Moira as a wild card. All in all, Inferno is a true bookend to House of X/Powers of X with memorable dialogue from those minis taking on new meanings in Inferno #4, and Hickman writes the pairs of Mystique/Destiny and Professor X/Magneto wonderfully. They’re honestly a metaphor for how revolution ends up being enveloped by the forces of the status quo, but it’s nice to see the result of the big battle be that Magneto and Professor X aren’t top dogs any more.Finally, he and Stefano Caselli and Valerio Schiti in a closing/Immortal X-Men setup montage also show how insular Krakoa truly is. His voice and embracing of SF coupled with soap opera will be missed, but Gillen is a worthy successor for sure. (I’m biased though.) Overall: 8.3 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 (**).

Zeismic