Mini Reviews: Vanish, Judgement Day, and Rings of Power

Vanish #1

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 reviews of the comics, or graphic novels, we just didn’t get a chance to write a full one for.

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews and Recommendations.


Vanish #1 (Image Comics) Vanish #1 is the edginess I craved from Donny Cates, Ryan Stegman, JP Mayer, and Sonia Oback. The story follows a former Chosen One-type figure around as he abuses drugs and alcohol to numb his pain and avoid getting the job done against his Big Bad’s former associates. Vanish takes the total piss out of the Harry Potter series (A handgun could definitely finish Lord Voldemort off) while paying homage to 90s Image comics like Spawn and The Darkness with high energy, violent storytelling from Stegman and Mayer. It’s full of cool poses and costumes too like a Black Parade-inspired get-up for our protagonist. Also, the combination of human struggles with an over the top setting and plot reminds me a lot of my other favorite Cates comics (Venom, God Country) Vanish is good, dumb fun: the comic book equivalent of throwing back shots at your local Emo Nite. Overall: 8.0 Verdict: Buy

Rings of Power S1E5 “Partings”Rings of Power turns up the intrigue as it begins the second half of the season. Every plotline becomes interconnected as Elrond finds out that Gil-Galad and Celebrimbor exploited his friendship with Durin and the Dwarves to find mithril and keep Elves alive while darkness spreads in Middle Earth. The triumph of evil continues in big and small ways whether that’s half the Southlanders joining Adar, the Stranger almost freezing Nori to death after saving the Harfoots from wolves, or Pharazon’s son Kemen burning 2 Numenorean ships to try to prevent them from helping the men of the Southlands. But “Partings” isn’t just cool Balrog flashbacks or the Numenorean navy flexing its power and is chock-full with small, interesting character moments. For example, Galadriel comes clean to Halbrand about how her last army mutinied, and she might have an obsession with ridding Middle Earth of every last Orc. Also, Durin and Elrond share a humorous moment where Durin repatriates an Elven table while working together to balance friendship, duty, and the fate of the Elven race after the mithril discovery. While waiting for the attack of Adar and his Orc legions, writer Justin Doble deepens the relationship between Arondir and the Southlanders he’s protecting showing some archery fundamentals to (future stepson, to be honest) Theo and understanding that there is a proclivity for evil among them, but they can also resist. All in all, “Partings” sharply draws the battle lines with the Southlanders, some Elves, and Numenoreans taking on the still mysterious Adar and his Orcs, but there’s also division in regards to the mithril, Pharazon, and even Halbrand, who may or may not want to be king. Overall: 8.3


A.X.E.: Judgement Day #5 (Marvel) – Overall, this event has gone down as one of Marvel’s best in a long time. There’s been a lot of action but also some depth about gods, destiny, and what living a good life means. Things look desperate in this issue but it delivers one hell of an ending that shakes things up in a major way. The art is solid as usual and the comic does a great job of capturing the desperate moment the world is in. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Vanish #1 (Image Comics) – Donny Cates, Ryan Stegman, JP Mayer, and Sonia Oback deliver a debut that I feel like I’ve seen before. The concepts and comic don’t feel original or new but there’s a slickness about it all that harkens back to earlier Image. The story involves wizards in our real world acting as heroes and villains. Take some Birthright, mix in Thunderbolts, add in whatever magical kids story you prefer, and throw in the look of 90s Spawn and you get Vanish. Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read

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 (**).