Author Archives: Alex K Cossa

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 4/20

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.

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Ryan C

Oliver #3 (Image)** – An action-centric issue from Gary Whitta and Darick Robertson that doesn’t offer much by way of story or character development aside from our protagonist naturally stepping into a “heroic” or “leadership” role, but damn — what a visual storytelling clinic this is! The project’s origins as a screenplay are readily apparent as this is a very cinematic installment, and who knows? Maybe a movie might happen yet. Until then, we’ve got a gorgeous series of storyboards here to “oohh” and “aahh” over, don’t we? Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Black Badge #9 (Boom! Studios)** – A fun issue from Matt Kindt and Tyler Jenkins that takes us back to late-Cold War East Berlin before segueing back to the present day, the two segments joined by an event that will apparently have big repercussions. Can’t say enough about the art and colors on this series, it really fits the story to a proverbial “T” and makes even “side-step” chapters like this one well worth your time and money. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Batman #69 (DC)** So that’s it for the “Knightmares” storyline, huh? In with a whimper and out with much the same, this is arguably the weakest of a weak bunch, the Bat/Cat stuff coming across as way more flat and emotionless that writer Tom King apparently thinks it is, and Yanick Paquette turning in an uncharacteristically rushed-looking job on the art. Whatever comes next surely can’t be worse than this — can it? Overall: 2 Recommendation: Pass

Meet The Skrulls #3 (Marvel)** – Family secrets from the past come to the fore and old wounds are re-opened in Robbie Thompson’s lightning-paced script for this issue, and Nico Henrichon’s art is getting more individualistic and distinctive with each passing month. Could this be the long-awaited successor to “The Vision” in terms of “prestige” Marvel projects? It sure seems like it might be. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Shean

War Of The Realms: Punisher #1 (Marvel) In what plays out like Frank Castle in ” Assault On Precinct 13″, plus monsters is a fun debut issue. As we find Punisher having to defend the city by himself, as the Avengers are otherwise engaged. As the Dark Elves and Frost Giants have invaded the city and Frank has to get creative in order to defend the city and see tomorrow. By issue’s end, he somehow pulls the city together, and gained some allies but the fight is far from over. Overall: 9.6 Recommendation: Buy

Star Wars Age of Rebellion Special (Marvel)– We get three distinct Tales with 3 different creative teams. In the first story,” The Long Game”, we find IG-88, the robotic bounty hunter, as the reader finds out how he possesses bloodlust. In ” The Trial Of Dagobah”, we find Yoda as he is going stir crazy in exile alone until fate gives him a young Jedi to train whose last name just so happens to be Skywalker. In ” Stolen Valor” Biggs Darklighter and Jek Porkins go on vacation and find trouble hidden in paradise. Overall, an entertaining collection of stories which shows when you have superfans create stories like these, their love for the source material certainly shines through. Overall: 9.4 Recommendation: Buy

Star Wars TIE Fighter #1(Marvel)- We meet the pilots of Shadow Wing, the Empire’s elite fighter Squadron and who Vader believes can put down the Rebellion. As we meet each pilot, we find out just how much they’re like the rebels, just fighting for the Dark Side. As they soon hear whispers of some Intel of Rebellion fighters close by. By issue’s end, the Intel proves to be incorrect, it’s worse than they thought. Overall: 9.4 Recommendation: Buy

Logan

Mary Shelley, Monster Hunter #1 (Aftershock)– Adam Glass, Olivia Cuartero-Briggs, and Hayden Sherman combine Gothic horror with alternate history and a side of progressive feminism in Mary Shelley, Monster Hunter. The story is told from Mary’s POV as she believes she has a purpose beyond being the mother of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s child. An opportunity arises in a horror story writing contest, but then Gothic fiction becomes her new status quo. Glass and Cuartero-Brigg write a lovely pastiche of Universal Horror and the legends of Byron, the Shelleys, and Claire Clairmont’s journeys while Sherman has a scratchy horror style with strong reds and blacks in the color palette. The character movements and expression could be clearer though. Overall: 7.8 Verdict: Read

Spider-Man Life Story #2 (Marvel)– It’s the 1970s where Peter Parker works for Reed Richards’ Future Foundation, his wife Gwen Stacy works for the kinda creepy Miles Warren, and Mary Jane and Harry Osborn (who has a drug problem) are married. Mark Bagley still has his classic weakness of drawing women looking the same, but he and Chip Zdarsky tell a heart rending story of how Peter wallows in guilt because he feels he is responsible for both the death of Uncle Ben and Flash Thompson in Vietnam. He also lets ethical dilemmas get in the way of him being a great scientist and has some interesting conversations with Reed. Also, Zdarsky and Bagley pull off the Clone Saga somehow in this issue, and it makes sense and has high emotional stakes. I also liked the scene where Mary Jane calls out Peter’s bullshit before doing a disco DJ set. Zdarsky, Bagley, inker Drew Hennessy, and colorist Frank D’Armata soak up the drama in Peter Parker’s personal life to create a compelling second issue even if it’s not as visually interesting as #1. Overall: 8.7 Verdict: Buy

Buffy the Vampire Slayer #4 (BOOM!)– Jordie Bellaire and Dan Mora have done an excellent job differentiating this new reboot of Buffy from the original TV show, and it continues in issue 4 when Giles tells Buffy and the Scoobies to take a night off from slaying and training. This comic also focuses on Xander a little bit, who is probably the Buffy characters that has aged the least well as a “nice guy”. Bellaire and Mora go deep into his feelings of being left out and why he could potentially go “dark”, and it’s refreshing to him not written as a self-insert character. Another throughline in this episode is the idea of lying to people we care about from Buffy not letting her mom know about her being the Slayer to Willow, who is openly lesbian and kicks ass at magic and combat, not telling her girlfriend Rose. It’s a weakness that could definitely be exploited by this arc’s Big Bad. And yeah, this comic gets so much right from skipping the boring Master and making Spike and Drusilla the main villains to having modernist vampire Spike be adept and texting and yeah, the final page. Overall: 8.5 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 (**).

Those Two Geeks Episode Forty: Revisiting Release Barabbas!

On the docket this week: Alex revisits an interview from 2018 with Liam McKenna, the creative mind behind Release Barabbas!.

As always, Alex and Joe can be found on twitter respectively @karcossa and @jc_hesh if you feel the need to tell them they’re wrong individually, or @those2geeks if you want to yell at them together on twitter, or by email at ItsThose2Geeks@gmail.com.

Underrated: Cowboys And Aliens

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: Cowboys And Aliens.


I picked this book up from my LCS primarily because of how fondly I remembered the 2011 Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford movie of the same name. Although that movie generally received mixed reviews from critics and fans alike, it was one of those films that I thoroughly enjoyed because I had very little expectations when going into it.

When I saw the comic/graphic novel from which it was adapted sitting on the used shelf at my LCS, I picked up thinking that if I enjoyed the movie, surely I’d enjoy the book. And while for the most part I did enjoy the comic, this marks one of those times that the first place a story is experienced ends up being the stronger version.

That said, the messaging within the comic gives you more time to digest and process than the movie did.

Whereas the comic has a more traditional human verses alien angle where the humans are much more easily able to overcome the odds (the alien threat never really feels anything more than mildly troubling), the movie tries a more grim and gritty approach (that arguably doesn’t always work, but the antagonists come across as more dangerous). However that being said, the comic, written by Andrew Foley and Fred Van Lente, doesn’t shy away from calling out the European settlers for doing to the Native Americans exactly what the aliens are trying to do to the humans. It is within these moments that the comic truly shines through its foibles; Van Lente and Foley make no bones about their message, and while it can (and arguably should) be uncomfortable to read, it remains a surprisingly powerful moment in a book that otherwise doesn’t shine as brightly as it could.

Cowboys And Aliens is an entertaining story, whether you read the book or watch the movie. Despite having enjoyed the movie quite a bit, the original story deserves your attention if only as an example of how good science fiction can give you a renewed perspective on the world around us.


Join us next week when we look at something else that is, for whatever reason, Underrated.

Advance Review: Valiant: Bloodshot FCBD 2019 Special

Valiant: Bloodshot FCBD 2019 Special

Prepare yourself as the most ambitious moment in Valiant’s history launches forward with two original stories, exclusive to Free Comic Book Day 2019!

Before Sony’s live-action BLOODSHOT blockbuster film takes movie theaters around the globe by storm in 2020, discover a breathtaking new tale of Valiant’s brutal one-man army!

Then, the 41st century dawns anew with a pulse-pounding prologue to FALLEN WORLD, a shocking new event series starring Rai—the formidable protector of a future Earth— that launches just days before Free Comic Book Day…

Look, I don’t want to sound unfair, but this free comic contained one of the better Bloodshot stories since Jeff Lemire ended his run. It didn’t have the same level of impact as Lemire’s run did, but then to compare this thirteen page story to Lemire’s run is grossly unfair. Tim Seeley did, however, give me what I have been wanting since the end of Harbinger Wars II, and that is a continuation of Bloodshot’s story and not an unnecessary retelling of his origin.

With the thirteen page Bloodshot story serving as a prelude to the upcoming series, Seeley gives us a story that has a classic framework at its core; hero saves person from thugs – but reducing it to this base level means that I’m ignoring the nuance and foreshadowing that Seeley slips into the story. After having read the prelude to the series, I’m already looking forward to seeing where the writer takes the character once Bloodshot launches later this year.

Dan Abnett‘s Fallen World preview adds an interesting angle to his upcoming miniseries (and as of the first issue, you don’t need to read the prelude to enjoy the miniseries). This story centers around two people who are members of a religious movement dedicated to worshiping Father, New Japan’s AI Overlord before the satellite city came crashing to Earth. In the short nine page tale we get a good insight into the leader of said religious order as he receives a revelation as to the nature and source of his faith. In nine pages, Abnett delivers a surprising treatise on faith and how we choose to react when that faith is challenged; do we double down or open our hearts to the possibility of change?

Both stories feature art from two of the most visually exciting artists around; Tomas Giorello and Juan Jose Ryp on the first and second story, respectively. Given that this is a free comic, one could almost have expected Valiant to give the stories to a couple of up and coming artists, and not ones of this caliber. The effect of this is that despite there being two distinct art styles within the book, they’re both wonderful to look at and each artist adds a lot to the story despite the reduced page count.

The Free Comic Book Day special also includes an interview with each writer, which serves as another way to hook you into the upcoming stories (as if the two preludes weren’t enough). If this wasn’t free, I’d tell you to go buy it.

Bloodshot Prelude
Writer: Tim Seeley Pencils: Tomas Giorello
Colours: Diego Rodriguez Letters: Dave Sharpe
Story: 8.6 Art: 8.9 Overall: 8.8
Fallen World Prelude
Writer: Dan Abnett Pencils: Juan Jose Ryp
Colours: Andrew Dalhouse Letters: Jeff Powell
Story: 8.9 Art: 8.9 Overall: 8.9
Recommendation: It’s free. Pick it up.

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with an early FREE copy for review.

Review: War Of The Realms: Punisher #1

War Of The Realms: Punisher #1

PUNISHER: AVENGER OF MIDGARD!

The War of The Realms has brought monsters to the streets of New York City, but New York has a monster all its own…Frank Castle, A.K.A. THE PUNISHER! And he’ll be damned to Hel if he’s going to let a bunch of Ten Realms tin-pot tyrants terrorize his town. But given he’s one man against an army of monsters, Hel might soon have him! The War of Realms is about to meet Marvel’s One Man Army. Expect Punishment!

It has been a long time since I’ve bothered to read any of the spin off series that a Marvel event usually produces, but lately I’ve been on a bit of a Punisher kick (almost entirely due to the Netflix series), and so despite not having read either of the first two issues of War Of The Realms, I decided to pick this issue up.

I can honestly say that you don’t need to have read anything regarding the main series to enjoy this book because once the Punisher starts fighting giants and dark elves nothing else matters other than his surly one-liners and the explosive actions as Frank Castle shows the forces of Malekith why you don’t mess with New York and innocent lives.

There isn’t a whole lot of depth to this book, though there is an interesting scene with Frank on a bus that playing into your expectations of the Punisher. Instead, Gerry Duggan focuses on giving the reader something that we can all get behind; a really fun comic.

After decades of watching the Punisher battler monsters in human form, with War Of The Realms: Punisher #1 we’re treated to him shooting literal monsters. It’s not quite a fish out of water tale, as Frank seems more resigned to his current task than overwhelmed by the nature of the enemy he faces which leads to the previously mentioned dry one-liners.

The comic is drawn by Marcelo Ferreira with inks by Roberto Poggi and colours provided by Rachelle Rosenberg. The trio give the comic a clean style that conveys the weight and gravitas of the situation without ever coming off as cheesy (which would be an easy trap to fall into , given the nature of the story.

When it comes down to this comic, and its place in the greater arc, I assume it fits in, but seeing as how this can be read independently to the main series, there’s no real excuse for fan of the Punisher to pick this book up and enjoy the book you’re reading.

Story: Gerry Duggan Pencils: Marcelo Ferreira
Inks: Roberto Poggi Colours: Rachelle Rosenberg Letters: Cory Petit
Story: 8.1 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.3 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: X-O Manowar #26

X-O Manowar #26

This is it! This is Matt Kindt’s final issue of his Eisner Award-nominated, critically acclaimed run on X-O MANOWAR. 

X-O Manowar takes the final battle against the galaxy’s baddest bounty hunters into space to decide the ultimate fate of the universe.

As Matt Kindt‘s run on Valiant’s flagship title comes to a close, we’re treated to perhaps one of the best capstones of a series you’re going to read in a long time. Kindt ties together most of the loose ends of the series, giving the reader a true sense of closure in the chapter of the character’s life while leaving the door open for next writer to shape Aric’s destiny.

Tomas Giorello is an utterly phenomenal artist, and he once again shows why with this issue. Regarding last issue, I wrote that “each and every page is packed with more detail, emotion and life than some comics have in their entirety,” and the same is equally as true with X-O Manowar #26. I’m running out of superlatives to use to describe the visual impact of this series, which is a good problem to have at this juncture, and I almost wish I had more to say that I haven’t said before regarding the visual appeal of this book… but short of highlighting one of the pages below, I am truly at a loss for words.

X-O Manowar has been one of the most consistent series in terms of quality over the past two years, and has understandably garnered some pretty high expectations issue after issue – expectations that the series has met (and often exceeded) with each and every time. The series may have ended for now, but it’s going to go down in the annals of Valiant history as one of the most iconic runs in the publisher’s archives.

Aric of Dacia is bound to return sooner or later, but until that happens, this was a perfectly suited swan song – a love letter to the fans who have been reading since the first issue. This is an utterly perfect end to an amazing run.

Story: Matt Kindt Art: Tomas Giorello
Colourist: Diego Rodriguez Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review. I purchased the comic anyway.

Review: Incursion #3

The cosmic and supernatural sides of the Valiant Universe collide on Earth! Oh my!

Having crossed over into the Deadside, the Eternal Warrior comes face to face with Syntilla, the young girl who poisoned Tama on behalf of her master. Will the Eternal Warrior save his young charge or will the world suffer another catastrophic loss? Meanwhile, Doctor Mirage and Hwen do their best to keep Tama alive. Will the doctors find the right medicine or will the young Geomancer perish before help arrives? There is only one world left to conquer…

In the interest of full disclosure, I actually went into this comic expecting it to be a touch lower in quality than the first two because the first half of this series was remarkable. I was wrong – so far three out of four issues of Incursion are rating at a Must Buy for me.

The broader story centers around Imperatrix Virago, a necromancer who devours the life energy of planets and uses reanimated corpses as her armies; and the Eternal Warrior’s quest to save the Geomancer – a young girl who has been poisoned by the Imperatrix from succumbing to the sickness that rages through her.

To do this, Gilad Anni-Padda cut through the Deadside and Virago’s legions to find the one person that could save the Geomancer. Incursion #3 diverges a little from the action packed second issue to bring us a little more exposition and fewer scenes where Gilad is hacking apart soldiers. The balance between the plot progression and the action is struck perfectly, with each serving to crank the tension of the series as a whole up higher and higher.

Andy Diggle and Alex Paknadel  have crafted a story that is on pace to be one of the very best Valiant have to offer. Which brings me to an aspect of the comic that is unlikely to be missed; the dialogue between Gilad and Doctor Mirage. It’s incredibly well written, with each character clearly owning their own voice, culminating in an almost terrifying question for the Valiant universe (though the answer, one can argue, can be gleaned from The Valiant).

The art once again is phenomenal. Doug Braithwaite and Diego Rodriguez are a wonderfully complimentary pair, with each bringing their A game to a comic that has an ethereal beauty. There are fine details from Braithwaite that Rodriguez highlights that seem almost too subtle to be intentional. The look in Gilad’s eyes after his final confrontation (this issue) is oddly haunting. Once again, this comic is packed with subtle visual details that enhance the story.

With Incursion #3, Diggle and Paknadel et al have delivered upon the promise of the first half of the miniseries, and use the penultimate issue to set up an explosively powerful conclusion that could very well leave readers with something to think about long after the final page has been turned (speculation, obviously, but this series feel much more personal than it should given the stakes involved).

Incursion #3 is, once again a great comic. With one issue to go, there’s a better than average chance that this will be hailed as one of Valiant’s top offerings from the last couple of years.

Story: Andy Diggle and Alex Paknadel Art: Doug Braithwaite
Colours: Diego Rodriguez Letters: Marshal Dillon 
Story: 9.3 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.4 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Advanced Review: Psi-Lords #1

Psi-Lords #1

The Psi-Lords make their debut in the modern-era Valiant Universe in a brand-new ongoing series! 

But WHO are they? And where they heck are they?! Prepare for a cosmic adventure like no other! Seriously, it’s wild stuff.

Psi-Lords was teased in a Free Comic Book Day issue from… oh, at least a couple of years ago, now. To say that fans have been waiting a long time for the comic I’ve just read is a bit of an understatement. Having never read the original series from the original Valiant of the 90’s era, I have no basis for comparison or reference for these characters. I approached this as I would the first issue of any new property – with the expectation that all I need to know to enjoy the book will be within the book.

The book opens with four individuals in a high tech, or potentially alien, prison with little to no idea who they are. Guided by a disembodied voice, the four discover they have incredible powers, and may even be gods. What follows is a strangely disjointed prison escape tale that is little more than a couple of key moments surrounded by cliche designed to further the plot. And that’s the major gripe with this comic – it feels too much like Fred Van Lente is trying to get to a certain point that he’s moving the comic quickly while trying to provide some context, and it doesn’t work. Psi-Lords #1 is certainly not one of the writer’s finest works.

It isn’t quite clear what level of amnesia the characters have, nor why they only remember they have powers once they’re told about them – I’m willing to give the series the benefit of the doubt for another issue or two, but the writing doesn’t exactly fill me with confidence.

Thankfully, Renato Guedes is able to carry the load with some utterly phenomenal art. At the very least you need to see this book to believe it – it is breathtaking to watch Guedes navigate the characters through the unfamiliar environs and stark halls, the explosive action sequences leap from the page and pull your eyes into a comic you may have been otherwise tempted to ignore.

Psi-Lords #1 doesn’t require any real knowledge of the original series, but the plot doesn’t really stand out either. It’s a comic that is visually fantastic, but with a plot that barely rises above average. Whether it’s worth reading is up to you, but for me it wasn’t worth the wait.

Story: Fred Van Lente
Art: Renato Guedes Letters: Dave Sharpe
Story: 6.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 7.1 Recommendation: Read

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 4/13

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.

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Ryan C

Wonder Twins #3 (DC/Wonder Comics)** – As ever, Mark Russell keeps it topical and relevant in this examination of the backstory of Gleek the monkey, and Stephen Byrne’s art is competent and functional, if not exactly remarkable. Possibly the weakest issue to date, but still better than 95% of what’s out there. Definitely an enjoyable comic any way you slice it. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Batman #68 (DC) **– Amanda Conner does superb work on this one, as is her custom, but Tom King is back in “pointless run-around territory” in this lame “Knightmares” installment that features Batman imagining a bachelor “party” with Clark Kent that may or may not have been, while Catwoman and Lois Lane have a lot more fun than the guys at the Fortress of Solitude. Nothing special whatsoever, and the running-in-place this purportedly “major” arc is engaging in is really getting annoying at this point. Overall: 4 Recommendation: Pass

Detective Comics #1001 (DC) **– The new storyline “teased” in issue #1000 proves to be no more inspiring now that it’s underway than the little into hinted it would be. Dead bats all over Gotham — so what? Which is a fair summation of Peter J. Tomasi’s script in total. Brad Walker and Andrew Hennessy’s art is fine, but only that. Overall: 3.5 Recommendation: Pass

Invaders #4 (Marvel) **– Talk about a let-down, all the mysterious hints about Namor’s secret past are revealed here and — it ain’t much. To put it kindly. Chip Zdarsky had been crafting some fairly compelling scripts prior to this; let’s hope he gets back on track. The art tandem of Carlos Magno and Butch Guice continue to turn in strong work and each complements the other nicely, but that’s about all I can say in this issue’s favor. Overall: 4 Recommendation: Pass

Shean

Age of Conan: Belit #2 (Marvel) In this sequel, Belit comes into her own, taking control of the ship. As she is the only one that possesses the know how to subdue the monster. She leads the crew while drawing dissentions in the ranks. By issue’s end, they reached their destination, but only faces even more atrocities when they arrived. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Star Wars: Age of Rebellion: Grand Moff Tarkin#1(Marvel)-In what is a revealing examination of a polarizing character, we find out about Tarkin in a way concise could only convey.As we find about his family life as well as some key scenes that happened in and around the first few movies. As we see his heavy hand as a leader as well as his brutishness when he gets challenged. By issue’s end, the reader finally gets why he was such a formidable and respected leader. Overall: 9.6 Recommendation: Buy

Star Wars Age of Rebellion: Princess Leia#1 (Marvel) I will keep this one sweet and short. As much as I loved all these characters, it was hard to love this story. As this is a solid like only for Karl Story’s art who looks like their actor counterparts featured many of the characters who will be on Episode IX, so this comic serves as simply filler. Overall: 6.6 Recommendation: Borrow

Logan

Infinite Dark #5 (Image/Top Cow) Ryan Cady and Andrea Mutti’s existentialist, end of the world sci-fi saga continues in Infinite Dark #5, which reintroduces the characters and new status quo. Apparently, there’s a lot of unrest among the inhabitants of the not so good ship Orpheus, but this is mostly told via exposition and not shown. However, Mutti and colorist K. Michael Russell craft gritty sequences with an orange palette featuring Deva, the protagonist, teaming up with her old enemy to take down an even more horrific threat. And yeah, this book is straight up horor at the end. Overall: 7 Verdict: Read

Symbiote Spider-Man #1 (Marvel)– Peter David and Greg Land are trying to do some kind of Pulp Fiction non-linear crime narrative meets Kraven’s Last Hunt story with Mysterio and Spider-Man while adding a romantic subplot with Black Cat. (Oops, Kevin Smith and Joe Quesada already did Kraven’s Last Hunt with Mysterio in Daredevil: Guardian Devil.) The quality of the book really fluctuates from clever lines from David about the Power Pack beating Mysterio to generic black suit angst and weak attempts at flirting. This fluctuation continues to the visual department where Land’s weaknesses at faces continues with lots of stiffness for the female characters and a swipe of George W Bush by Bryan Hitch for one of the male ones. He does a good job any time the black suit is in action, but it’s more of a spandex costume and less of a fluid organism in his pencil and Jay Leisten’s inks. If you’re looking for a throwback Spider-Man story, then Chip Zdarsky and Mark Bagley’s Spider-Man: Life Story is much better option. Overall: 5 Verdict: Pass

Faithless #1 (BOOM!)– Brian Azzarello dips his toe into the world of romance comics with artist Maria Llovet, and the results are pretty fucked up. His good ear for dialogue combined with smooth, sleazy art from Llovet as Faith and Poppy wander around town, day drink, shoot the shit about magic, watch Poppy’s ex boyfriend become street pizza, and of course, end up in bed. Until the last possible moment, Faithless is in no rush to be some kind of plot driven thriller and feels out how Faith and Poppy look at each other, chat, and connect. Faith is a seriously flawed protagonist with money issues, an obsession with magic, and a self centered side, but she’s relatable too. Until the final page when this becomes a much different comic. Overall: 8 Verdict: Buy

Wonder Twins #3 (DC/Wonder Comics) Mark Russell and Stephen Byrne dig into Gleek’s (the Wonder Twins’ pet monkey) tragic past as Sir Lance-little as his poor self has some traveling circus-induced PTSD. This issue also has their climactic battle against the League of Annoyance and some damn great moments between Superman and Jayna. Byrne’s art is smooth and makes for an enjoyable reading appearance as he plays the weird nature of the Wonder Twins’ powers straight instead of spoofing them. The colorful comedy mostly comes from their enemies, and he and Russell hit some strong emotional beats every time Gleek’s past shows up, or Superman gives Jayna advice about being an alien hero on Earth. This comic really hits the right balance between silly and serious, episodic and serialized. Overall: 7.8 Verdict: Read

Joe Ryan

The Amazing Spider-Man #19 (Marvel) – I have enjoyed Spencer, Ramos, and company on Hunted for the most part so far. It has been a fast paced and fun mini-event that has been a bit better than I expected. I enjoyed the Gibbon issue quite a lot, and this was a decent follow up. It took a bit to get there, but by the end of the book left it at a solid point. Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Buy

Web of Venom: Cult of Carnage #1 (Marvel) – This book took me a few pages to get into it, but it finally got it hooks into me. It is a solid set up to what will be a big Absolute Carnage event, and it was good to see John Jameson/Man Wolf front and center in the main characters role, complete with a major part by Misty Knight. I enjoyed the art, though it is cartoony for such a mature title, it worked, and the set up at the end was exciting. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

 Age of X-Man: Marvelous X-Men #3 (Marvel) – I like the idea of this event, and enjoyed some of the earlier issues, but I think it is moving far too slow for how many series it has going on at once. We are 3 issues into this comic, and things are starting to move. The art is solid, and it isn’t bad by any means, I just want it to go somewhere. Uncanny by Rosenberg, and the excitement behind Hickman on X-Men is where my X-Fandom thoughts are, and I am mostly wanting to see how this wraps up. Overall: 6.0 Recommendation: Pass

Dtective Comics #1001 (DC) – With the big anniversary issue, we got a glimpse of The Arkham Knight in #1000, but this book gives us a little more as it kicks off the arc. Tomasi does a good job quickly moving us through the big set up, action, and cliffhanger ending. I am excited to see where this story goes, and at this point feel like I have changed my mind on whom The Arkham Knight is. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

The Batman Who Laughs #4 (DC) – This was the best issue I read of the big publishers this week, and it really made me miss Scott Snyder on Batman. I am kind of sad this is a mini, because I love Snyder and Capullo on Batman on The New 52. That being said, there is a lot of wacky story in these few issues, and if you like over the top Batman in that style, this book delivers. Between this and Detective, the main Batman book is falling behind both of them in quality in my opinion. Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: 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 (**).

Those Two Geeks Episode Thirty Nine: You’d Think Alex Would Have Learned From Last Week…

On the docket this week: Alex is alone, has only the slightest plan, and discovers that having no plan when starting usually works much better when both geeks are present.

As always, the Alex and Joe can be found on twitter respectively @karcossa and @jc_hesh if you feel the need to tell them they’re wrong individually, or @those2geeks if you want to yell at them together on twitter, or by email at ItsThose2Geeks@gmail.com.

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