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.
The Falcon #1 (Marvel)** – I didn’t think anything could be clumsier and more heavy-handed than Nick Spencer’s take on Sam Wilson, but new scribe Rodney Barnes is giving him a run for his money. Dour, humorless, and personality-free Sam? No thanks. I’m all for the timely and topical in my funnybooks, and generally agree with the points Barnes is making about economic disparity and lack of opportunity leading to the gang “crisis,” but I guess I prefer a subtle narrative to a heavy-handed polemic. Joshua Cassara’s art is fine, on the whole, if unexceptional, but I don’t see any particular reason being put forth to stick around for more of this. Overall: 4 Recommendation: Pass
Action Comics #989 (DC)** – Dan Jurgens and Viktor Bogdanovic serve up another mediocre installment of “The Oz Effect” complete with the heavily-expository dialogue and dull “continuity porn” that we’re quickly becoming used to here. The art’s fine as far as it goes, but it doesn’t go very far : clunky pages laden with backstory followed by fight, followed by crisis that hits home, followed by more clunky pages laden with backstory. Rinse and repeat as necessary. This is assembly-line stuff all the way. Overall: 3 Recommendation: Pass
The Wild Storm: Michael Cray #1 (DC/WildStorm)** – The surprise hit of the week, Bryan Hill (who’s been killing it on “Postal”) comes on over to “The Big Two” and makes a splash with this story (apparently plotted by Warren Ellis) that sees his protagonist taking aim at the “Earth-WS” (or whatever it’s called) version of Green Arrow. I suppose the idea of analogues to characters we’re familiar with existing on this alternate Earth is kind of an obvious tack to take, but it really works here, probably because Hill spends near-equal time filling in the blanks of both Cray’s and Ollie Queen’s pasts. Nice, clean, crisp art from N. Steven Harris adds to the overall professionalism of the package, and if this creative team remains together for the duration, this should be a very memorable 12-issue run indeed. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy
Ragman #1 (DC)** – A confused, lackluster, and contrived “re-imagining” of a little-used but interesting character from Ray Fawkes and Inaki Miranda that sure looks cool, but reads like a lame and unnecessary “re-vamp” because, hey, that’s exactly — and all — that it is. Can’t think of any compelling reason to ride this one out for five more issues. Overall: 3 Recommendation: Pass
Mister Miracle #3 (DC) Tom King and Mitch Gerads make Orion one seriously disturbed individual in Mister Miracle #3 while also showing Scott pull off one of his signature escape routines in a classic, yet dream-like use of the grid layout that evokes Winsor McCay’s work. Mister Miracle is ostensibly a cosmic war comic, but King and Gerads continue to keep the focus on Scott’s emotions, fears, and his relationship with Big Barda. This, along with the delicious surrealism and formalism of Gerads’ art, is what makes this book one of DC’s most intriguing. Overall: 8.4 Recommendation: Buy
Defenders #6 (Marvel) Brian Michael Bendis can still write the heck out of a street level superhero story, and his Jessica Jones is way more powerfully written in this book than her solo title. This issue is mostly table setting for the upcoming New York/Kingpin gang war, but action seems to be on the way with the appearances of characters like Wilson Fisk and Deadpool. Finally, Dave Marquez has added a grittier sensiblity to his wide screen, blockbuster art and really shines when Luke and Jessica get in the trenches and beat the crap out of Diamondback. Overall: 7.3 Recommendation: Read
Dark Nights: Metal #3 (DC) – What a fun and crazy event. It walks a razor-thin line between ridiculous and awesome. If you described this in an elevator pitch, or to your friends, it sounds absurd, and that’s because it is. Yet it is also the reason it is so good. It just works. I have to give props to Snyder and Capullo as a creative team, because they are proving once again they know how to write one hell of a fun, silly, and wonderful page turner. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy
Mister Miracle #3 (DC) – Tom King and Mitch Gerads continue to tell an interesting and dark tale of the possible mental breakdown of a classic Kirby character. Scott Free’s spiral is something that is hard to look away from, because I found myself rooting for him, and for Barda, and their desire for happiness together. They are soldiers, and Generals, and they are being used. It’s an excellent series so far, with some shocking moments in just three issues. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy
Ragman #1 (DC) – An interesting character that isn’t new, but has a cool look and a horror vibe that meshes well with the Halloween season. There isn’t anything groundbreaking or spectacular here, and really I would describe it as “Okay”. If you are unfamiliar with the character, I would describe it as a cross between The Mummy and Venom. Overall: 5 Recommendation: Pass
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 (**).