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Mini Reviews and Recommendations For The Week Ending 11/20/2021

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.


Logan

Echolands #4 (Image)– Hope and her band of adventurers are on the run from the wizard’s daughter and the double-dealing, Kirby homaging Romlus IV in JH Williams, Haden Blackman, and Dave Stewart’s Echolands #4. Williams uses insane washes to show the protagonists struggling to find an exit of the trap with Stewart layering ink black darkness on the line art. Blackman and JH Williams’ plotting and writing is also praise-worthy as they use the device of a meal laid out in a double page spread to flesh out Echolands’ ensemble cast that also functions as a breather and ties into some of the backmatter of previous issues. Echolands continues to be the best-looking ongoing comic with its fusion of art styles and genres all woven together into a narrative of adventure, political intrigue, and something perhaps a bit more cosmic and philosophical. It’s worth reading for Williams’ mastery of the spread alone. Overall: 8.8 Verdict: Buy

Grrl Scouts: Stone Ghost #1 (Image)– Grrl Scouts is back with a new lead character, Dio, and a crazy supporting cast like bounty hunter Turtleneck Jones, the shifty Geordi, and a whole lot of folks who wanna fuck shit up. Most importantly, Jim Mahfood’s free-flowing, street art tinged art style is in full effect and a perfect fit for the lawlessness of space some time in the future. Grrl Scouts: Stone Ghost #1 isn’t bogged down by explanations or exposition, but just in being a good and sad time. I love how Mahfood uses black and white notebook style pages and a loose art style to talk about Dio’s experiences with her dead boyfriend, and how much she misses him. Grrl Scouts: Stone Ghost is a cool looking, fast moving comic that also packs an emotional punch and has an air of mystery. Jim Mahfood is a true treasure, and you shouldn’t definitely check out his sweet storytelling. I mean, the cartoonist makes the rhythm of buying and downing a beer and a shot compelling. Overall: 9.2 Verdict: Buy

Amazing Spider-Man #79 (Marvel)– Cody Ziglar, Michael Dowling, and Jesus Aburtov lean into the corporate satire (Of the Beyond Corporation) in Amazing Spider-Man #79 while also telling an action-packed, poignant Spidey tale. Joking to mask the pain is definitely a recurring thread in this one beginning with a laugh out loud opening sequence of a Beyond Corporation pencil pusher disappearing while singing a drunken rendition of “What A Fool Believes”. Although it’s hard to tell the Beyond folks apart (And maybe that’s the point), Dowling’s clean art style makes Spider-Man’s fight scenes look smooth while adding a little chaos to the mix once this issue’s bad guy shows up. Because deep down, this is a story where Spider-Man literally and metaphorically gets his ass kicked with Michael Dowling and Aburtov bringing the pain while Ziglar’s anxious narration highlights every missed dodge, block, and opening. I hadn’t read many Ben Reilly stories before this run, but Cody Ziglar and Dowling do a great job of making me interested in a guy, who has the dual struggles of pleasing corporate masters and stepping into the legacy of one of the greatest heroes of all time. Plus the usual fisticuffs, scum, and villainy. Overall: 8.1 Verdict: Buy

Wolverine #18 (Marvel)– Wolverine #18 is an action movie in single comic form with heart and humor from Benjamin Percy, Paco Diaz, and Java Tartaglia. Percy threads in some of the most successful elements of his run, like supporting characters Jeff Bannister and Maverick, to give this story some stakes. Wolverine can really be himself and have a good time around Bannister and his daughter so threatening is a sure fire recipe for suspense. Diaz uses wide, inter-cutting panels to intensify the big truck/Krakoan chase sequencek and also shows that Maverick is better as a profit-driven anti-hero instead of an ally. Throw in some funny data pages and Johnny Cash karaoke, and this is an enjoyable installment of Wolverine even though Adam Kubert’s art is sorely missed. Overall: 8.0 Verdict: Buy

Black’s Myth #5 (Ahoy)– Eric Palicki and Wendell Cavalcanti wrap up this werewolf PI mystery in a neat bow placing previous scenes in the series in a new context. I love the character growth for Strummer and Ben too as he runs point on a case, and she finds a little romance. Black’s Myth #5 definitely had me wishing there were more cases in store for this LA Noire meets Fables duo. Overall: 7.7 Verdict: Read

Brett

Task Force Z #2 (DC Comics) – The first issue debuted the crazy concept of Batman rogues returned from the dead after A-Day to join a team led by Red Hood. It was so out there and worked so well. The second issue delivers more of the same with a greater focus on what’s going on. When I heard the pitch, I rolled my eyes. But, some great character interaction, action, and solid art, it’s a comic I’m excited to see how far it goes. Overall Rating: 8.35 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 142: General Banter About Movies, TV, and Toys

The two geeks spend some time talking about the things they’ve been enjoying watching over the last few months, and also start chatting about the status of the Star Wars Black Series Haslab for the Rancor.

As always, Alex and Joe can be found on Twitter respectively @karcossa and @FirstRonin4 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: Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace

I may have spent far too much time over the last week watching Disney+. Because of that, I wanted to rerun an older column, and what better column than one focusing on the first chronological Star Wars movie? For no other reason than I’ve been watching a lot of Mandalorian.


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: Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace


Star_Wars_Phantom_Menace_poster.jpg

Released in 1999, Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace was written and directed by George Lucas, produced by Lucasfilm and distributed by 20th Century Fox. It is the first installment in the Star Wars prequel trilogy and stars Liam Neeson, Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Jake Lloyd, Ian McDiarmid, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Ahmed Best, Pernilla August, Brian Blessed, Ray Park, and Frank Oz. It  is also widely known for being a stonking pile of manure.

Released sixteen years after Return Of The JediThe Phantom Menace was set 32 years before Star Wars, and follows Jedi Knight Qui-Gon Jinn and his apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi as they protect Queen Amidala, in hopes of securing a peaceful end to a large-scale interplanetary trade dispute. Joined by Anakin Skywalker—a young slave with unusually strong natural powers of the Force—they simultaneously contend with the mysterious return of the Sith.

Now that you’ve read (basically) the first two paragraphs of the Wikipedia entry, allow me to tell you why this movie is underrated.

Look, I’m not claiming it’s good, just that it isn’t (quite) as bad as you think it is. And it does have good moments. If I can’t convince you, maybe I’ll make you laugh…?

Anyway.

If you’re of a certain age, or your parents are, then you would have been beyond excited to see this movie when it hit the theaters in 1999. I remember watching the lines on the local news back in England being in awe that anybody would care about a movie that much, but nearly twenty years later I can begin understand the level of excitement people would feel surrounding the return of such a beloved franchise – indeed, as I type this I am already planning to line up for the latest Star Wars flick, The Last Jedi, two hours before the screen doors open. But that’s after having two good movies released in the last two years, so can you imagine the excite fans of the franchise would have had in the weeks and months (hell, years) leading up to May 19th, 1999 when the movie finally opened for the masses. It would have been incredible! In the years before the widespread usage of the Internet (in comparison to what we see now), there were conversations in schools, at the water cooler and frankly anywhere fans would gather. The excitement was palpable wherever nerds and fans gathered. It’s hard to overstate how much hype was in the air surrounding the first Star Wars movie in sixteen years.

And then the movie was released.

fanboys.jpg
If you’ve never seen this movie, then you should check it out. It’s a great send up of nerd culture circa 1998 with a touching heart. Rumour has it the movie is based on real events – whether that’s true or not I’m unsure.

Look, without beating around the bush, it’s safe to say that it didn’t live up to expectations. At all. The movie is widely regarded as the worst live action entry into the saga, and rightly so, and fans have often said that the movie is best left forgotten in the deep recesses of history. Which is a touch harsh, but I understand where they’re coming from. But here’s the thing; despite the movie’s obvious flaws, I still feel like it gets the short end of the stick quite a bit.

Why? Well let me break out the bullet points…

  • Firstly, it was the first Star Wars movie in a generation, and as such it was the first time that many of us were able to sit in a chair and experience that title sequence – next time you see a Star Wars movie in the theatre and those titles start to roll with that music… you tell me that isn’t an incredible moment. Almost makes what came after those titles worth watching.
  •  Secondly, you can’t tell me you weren’t grinning from ear to ear with the extensive lightsaber duels. Everything is better with lightsabers.
  •  Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, there were people for whom this was the first Star Wars movie they’d experienced and as such it served, for those folks at least, as a gateway into the franchise.
  •  How many of you who did see, and loath, this movie in the cinema rushed out to see Episode II – Attack Of The Clones opening night because it couldn’t have been as band as this one, right? It wasn’t, was it? If nothing else, that the first movie was the worst in the new trilogy should be seen as a bright spot.
  • Dual lightsaber! Darth Maul’s dual blades were the first time we had seen a break from the standard style lightsaber from the original trilogy, which opened up a breadth of on-screen options for the iconic weapon going forward.
    darth maul.jpeg

Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace was always doomed to fail. No movie with as much hype as this one will ever meet expectations. But eighteen years on, while the movie may not hold up visually any more with the advances in digital technology, and Jar Jar Binks is still an annoying fuckwit, I came to realize that the movie isn’t as bad as you would think. Aside from Jar Jar, and a little too much time spent on the pod racing subplot, the movie isn’t bad. Could it have been better? Absolutely – I won’t argue that. But it wasn’t as  bad as you’ve heard, certainly not as bad as its reputation would have you believe.



Next week we’ll return to a more comic themed Underrated. Until next time!

Review: The Harbinger #2

The Harbinger #2

Peter Stanchek is one of the most powerful psiots on the planet and one of the most feared as well, but now he’s lost his memories. As he confronts the only message left behind when he first awoke, demanding him to “BE BETTER”, Peter begins to understand the people of Psiot City need more than who he was. They need a superhero. With a new group of state sanctioned oppressors called The Warning bearing down on them, an all-new psiot raises his voice and spurs on a confrontation that only Peter Stanchek can hope to face.

I’m a sucker for a good redemption story. I’ve never made a secret of that, and so given the direction that writers Colin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing have taken with this story, it seems like it’s going to be a no-brainer for me to enjoy it. There’s not “but” coming, because I’ve really enjoyed the two issues I’ve read so far. Being able to say that comes as something of a relief given the pedigree of the Harbinger name and the weighty expectations I had as a result.

Robbie Rodriguez artwork is once again fantastic. The artist has a quality to his work that pulls you in and then throws you around. The comic looks like it is barely controlled chaos at times, reflecting what’s occurring in the story as Stanchek struggles to hold himself together. Colourist Rico Renzi enhances everything about the chaos, whilst also being able to soften the art as the story’s pacing slows down. The Harbinger #2 is a visually stimulating journey from beginning to end, and while there may be the odd page where you’re trying to make out what’s going on that really only adds to the book’s story. It’s strange to say that, because usually that’d be something I’m not a fan of, but here we are.

Stanchek’s superhero origin story continues, edging toward the inevitability of a new costume and mask emphasized by the reaction people within the story are having to his name alone (though how he’ll hide his identity with his powerset remains to be seen, so I’m curious just how much I’ll need to suspend my disbelief). So far, however, the story has been solid, and the new memory-free Stanchek means there’s a blank slate for the writers to create a new version of the Psiot without necessarily needing to keep to previous characterization.

The Harbinger as a series has delivered two really good issues so far, which is giving me a lot of excitement for to see how the creative team (rounded out by letterist extraordinaire Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou) continue Peter Stanchek’s journey. As I said, I’m a sucker for a redemption story, and so far this is delivering in every way.

Story: Collin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing Art: Robbie Rodriguez
Colours: Rico Renzi Letters: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Story: 9 Art: 8.8 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus ComicsTFAW

Mini Reviews and Recommendations For The Week Ending 11/20/2021

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.


Logan

Amazing Spider-Man #78.BEY (Marvel)– Amazing Spider-Man #78.BEY is a fun Daughters of the Dragon adventure with witty banter, explosive action, pop culture references, and also digs into how unethical the Beyond Corporation is. Fittingly, Jed MacKay and Eleonora Carlini really channel the series that Beyond originated in: Nextwave (And there’s even a cameo from a cast member from that series). So, the comic is laser focused on explosiones, one-liners, and sketchy science. There are all kinds of cool super gadgets, and MacKay is constantly changing the parameters of the mission from saving the day to finding a special power source for the Beyond Corporation. He and Carlini give Misty Knight and Colleen Wing a great rapport, and this issue is a must read for fans of these characters even if you’re not following what’s going on in Amazing Spider-Man. Overall: 8.6 Verdict: Buy

X-Force #25 (Marvel)– Benjamin Percy and Robert Gill pivot from the Mikhail Rasputin manipulating Colossus plotline to Wolverine surfing and Quentin Quire telepathically calming the Krakoan babies. They kick into romance mode a little bit with Wolverine connecting with a surfer named Pike over death-defying waves while Quentin starts to imagine a future with Phoebe Cuckoo. Everything is illustrated in loving detail by Gill, who does some cool layouts like a double page spread of Wolverine hanging ten, or fractals of the Stepford Cuckoos. X-Force #25 very much has side quest vibes, but Percy has fleshed out both Wolverine and Quentin Quire across X-Force and Wolverine so this could be a fun ride. Overall: 7.5 Verdict: Read

Chicken Devil #2 (Aftershock)– Chicken Devil #2 is more utter chaos from Brian Buccelato and Hayden Sherman. The exaggerated nature of the visual and the colors makes the scenes of Mitch and Antonio arguing just an intense as shootouts with the Russian mob. This whole issue is full of anxiety as Mitch tries to balance the death of his family with coming into possession of a lot of heroin and just trying to stay afloat. There’s a lot of comedy of the darker variety, especially when he has to think on his feet. Overall: 8.3 Verdict: Buy

Alex

X.O. Manowar #8 (Valiant) I’ve found this series enjoyable so far, and while there have been some dips in quality for the most part it’s been solid. This issue reveals what has been going on with Shanhara in the background over the last six or seven issues, and it’s an interesting tale (perhaps I may be unique in this because of my interest in cyber security), if a little redundant at this point as Shanhara’s journey has been heavily hinted at already. Still, it’s a solid issue and sets up the series conclusion pretty well. Overall: 8 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 141: The Final Spider-Man Trailer

The two geeks spend almost the entire podcast talking about the final Spider-Man: No Way Home trailer and offer some speculation as to what they think will be happening during the movie.

As always, Alex and Joe can be found on Twitter respectively @karcossa and @FirstRonin4 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: Starlight

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: Starlight.


Conceived by Hollywood darling Mark Millar (with art by Goran Parlov), Starlight was a six issue miniseries that was released beginning in March of 2014 and ending in October 2014. Telling the story of the superbly named Duke McQueen, an Air Force pilot who went to space and saved the alien planet of Tantalus from tyranny forty years ago, before returning home and raising a family instead of staying to rule the planet. His exploits, sadly, were written off as the ravings of a attention seeker, and Duke became a joke to all but his sweetheart.

Now, with his wife dead, his family not giving him the time of day, and people still treating him as a joke, a spaceship arrives to take the old man on one last grand adventure to save the planet Tantalus once again.

One of the less Mark Millar-y comics that have come from his keyboard in the last half decade, this mini series had none of the hyper violence seen in things such as Kick-Ass, Wanted and Kingsman. Surprisingly Starlight is a sentimental yarn about a former hero redeeming himself in his own eyes and saving the planet from a tyrannical despot once again.

Starlight is a pleasure to read. Although criticism can be levelled at the sudden change as Duke McQueen goes from couch-bound crank to crack aimed space hero over the course of only a couple of issues, for me that misses the spirit of the book. Think not of Starlight in terms of the modern, more realism based stories we’ve become accustomed to, and instead fall back into the nostalgia of the classic stories of yesteryear as Millar embraces the straight forward nature of the story – almost against type, as McQueen battles against an antagonist who doesn’t measure up to the rich and deep characterization of the hero; Kingfisher is a perfectly adequate villain, but make no mistake, Starlight is a redemptive story for Duke McQueen.

Perhaps in seeing McQueen struggle against overwhelming odds, himself, and the reputation he had been given, we can find hope and inspiration in our own lives. Not quite the lesson I expected to take from a Mark Millar book.

I had forgotten how much I loved Starlight until I saw a tweet mentioning the series a few days ago that inspired me to dig the comics out and reread them.  It’s a love that I genuinely believe you’ll share when you give the series a chance – it’s an underrated gem that you wouldn’t typically expect to come from Mark Millar.


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

Those Two Geeks Episode 140: TALKING tOYS WITH aRTIST jASON mUHR

Alex and Joe are joined by artist Jason Muhr to talk about toys (and not about the fantastic comics he draws such as Voracious, By The Horns, Doctor Strange/Punisher: Magic Bullets, and quite a few others).

You can find Jason online at http://www.jasonmuhr.com, and @jasonmuhr on Twitter.

As always, Alex and Joe can be found on Twitter respectively @karcossa and @FirstRonin4 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: Incognito

Time got away from me this week, so we’re rerunning an older column from yesteryear.

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: Incognito


My local comic shop recently got the hardcover edition of Incognito in, and it last all of ten minutes on the table where it was in line for pricing as I picked it up and read what amounted to half the first issue before scooping it up before it ever actually made it to the shelf.

Written by Ed Brubaker, with art by Sean Phillips and colours by Val Staples, the hardcover collects both Incognito and the sequel Incognito: Bad Influences within its 360-odd pages as well an essay, a series cover gallery and some interesting process pieces. If you’ve read any of Brubaker and Phillips other work together, such as Criminal, Fatale or Kill Or Be Killed, then you probably have an idea what you’re in for. If you don’t… well, let’s just say you’re in for a very compelling story that you’ll probably want to read multiple times.

If you want to read the series’ synopsis, it’s below. If you don’t… well, skip the next paragraph, I guess. Either way, you’ll find the core premise of the comic below.

What if you were an ex-super villain hiding out in Witness Protection… but all you could think about were the days when the rules didn’t apply to you? Could you be a humdrum office clerk after being the best at years of leaving destruction in your wake? And what if you couldn’t stand it? What would you do then? 

This story is steeped in the pulp fiction of the 30’s and 40’s, stories that undeniably inspired the superhero fiction of today. Brubaker takes those early influences and fills out a world that has descended from them; there’s a very clear path in Incognito back to characters like the Shadow and the Spider (or rather Brubaker’s version thereof), and it gives the reader the sense that we’re barely scratching the surface with the characters and history revealed through the course of the hardcover’s 360-odd pages.

I was immediately taken in by the story as we learned more about Zack Overkill and how he went from a heavy hitting super villain to a lowly file clerk barely noticed by his coworkers. We see flashes of his mandated psychiatric appointments, the oh-so-real struggles he’s facing in a life that he’s not accustomed too. If you remove the super powered aspect from the opening part of the story, you can see a man struggling with his mental health amidst an unfulfilling life of boredom and depression. Is it any wonder that he eventually turns to drugs in order to find an escape?

Zach Overkill is an oddly likable guy despite never hiding (at least from us) what kind of man he used to be; whether this story is about his trying to find redemption, or a larger tale about whether a leopard can truly change its spots is one of the best parts about this book. Brubaker asks you not whether you can change for the better after making a horrible series of life choices, but whether others can accept your change. Whether they truly believe it, or if once they’ve labelled you a villain then that’s how they will always see you.

I should have expected good stuff from this book, but I wasn’t quite prepared with just how good it would be.

In a story that can be so much to so many, we’re left asking ourselves who we really are; are you really the person you think you are, or are you just a product of what this world has made you?


Join us next week where there will doubtless be another movie, series, comic or comic related thing discussed that is, for whatever reason, Underrated.

Mini Reviews and Recommendations For The Week Ending 11/07/2021

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.


Logan

My Bad #1 (Ahoy)– Mark Russell, Bryce Ingman, Peter Krause, and Kelly Fitzpatrick unleash the silliness and superdickery in My Bad #1. The free-wheeling two story plus fake ads (Which are the best part of the comic) format gives the book a great old school feel while poking fun at soon-to-be popular IP products, Chandelier Man, Accelerator, and Rush Hour plus their shared nemesis Emperor King. Chandelier Man is white privilege personified and spends his entire issue trying to get rid of bomb. The mixture of classic, yet off-kilter superhero art from Krause, and Russell and Ingman’s irreverent scripting is a winning combination. My Bad #1 reads a lot like a Keith Giffen book from the 1980s with update cultural references. Finally, as a life long traffic hater and recent car accident sufferer, I need Rush Hour to have a showcase story. Overall: 8.3 Verdict: Buy

Crush and Lobo #6 (DC)– Crush and Lobo #6 is another hilarious, bittersweet, and action-packed installment of my favorite smol gay comic from Mariko Tamaki, Amancay Nahuelpan, Tamra Bonvillain, and Nick Filardi. The entirety of this issue takes place in Space Vegas where Crush fruitlessly looks for her dad. Tamaki’s running, fourth wall commentary mixed with Nahuelpan’s debauchery-filled crowd scenes make this an amusing read with clever ideas like a cookie place where you eat a life-sized cookie of yourself. Between the jokes and double page spreads of mayhem, Crush and Lobo #6 has a lot of heart as Crush accidentally goes on a date and realizes maybe she’s a jerk who doesn’t like herself very much. She’s cursed with self-awareness (Thank you Mariko Tamaki narration) yet still makes mistakes, which makes her incredibly relatable and worth a monthly hang. Overall: 8.9 Verdict: Buy

Crossover #9 (Image)– In Crossover #9, Donny Cates tries to do what Brian Michael Bendis did in the first volume of Powers and parody a writer’s style through an entire issue. (Warren Ellis is Bendis’ case; Brian Michael Bendis in Cates’ case.) However, the whole thing feels like a Family Guy cutaway gag with Cates aping Bendis’ style instead of having any kind of actual jokes. Although the entire issue is *fittingly* talking heads, there is a lot of plot progression in the whole comic book creations murdering their creators. However, Crossover continues to grow more inane and be less about the characters and more about Donny Cates showing off his knowledge of Powers lore and namedropping other, better comics. Geoff Shaw’s art and Dee Cunniffe’s colors are almost its saving grace with cool interrogation scenes that had me feeling for early 2000s Marvel instead of the book I was reading. They deserve way better than the scripts they’ve been handed, and the lack of blockbuster-style action is a reminder of how thin and shallow Crossover’s characters and themes are. Overall: 4.7 Verdict: Pass

Dark Knights of Steel #1 (DC)– Although it features gorgeous, story book-style art from Yasmine Putri, her and Tom Taylor’s Dark Knights of Steel #1 starts off slow and has a pretty obvious plot twist if you know basic DC lore. The opening sequence with Jor-El unleashing heat vision on medieval soldiers is unsettling, and Putri nails a similar line and page breaking scene with Banshee later in the book. However, the conflict between medieval Black Lightning and the House of El is a pretty basic one between magic and metahuman abilities. It really feels like a kind of re-skinned Injustice, and lots of Taylor’s faves like Constantine, Harley Quinn, Green Arrow, and Black Canary make appearances. But towards the end, Dark Knights of Steel starts to find its footing by focusing on the family dynamic with Bruce and the Els, which is vastly more intriguing that two factions slugging it out. Overall: 7.5 Verdict: Read.

Chilling Adventures in Sorcery #1 (Archie)– Chilling Adventures in Sorcery is an old school horror anthology with wonderfully atmospheric visuals. Eliot Rahal and Vincenzo Federici frame the book around horror host/Greendale High teacher, Madam Satan, trying to escape Hell, and she runs into 2 souls aka Archie and Jughead, who tell her Twilight Zone-style stories. There is a controlled chaos to Federici’s line art, and Madam Satan is quite the charismatic lead. Evan Stanley’s story follows Archie as he works at a haunted arcade and has a Amblin Entertainment-meets-Five Nights at Freddie Vibe. It’s followed by a Jughead story from Amy Chu and Derek Charm that turns burger eating into something cinematic and the comedic into the grotesque. Speaking of grotesque, the anthology wraps up with a one pager from Pat and Tim Kennedy and Bob Smith that perfectly combines the Archie house style with super gore. Classic Archie characters plus an EC horror format with memorable art and wry dialogue makes this one-shot a spooky good time. Overall: 8.6 Verdict: Buy.

Knighted #1 (AWA/Upshot)– A middle management loser named Bob takes up the mantle of the city’s greatest superhero, The Knight in Knighted #1 by Gregg Hurwitz, Mark Teixeira, and Brian Reber. The comic has the feel of The Boys or Kick-Ass with cringy dialogue and an asshole on every corner to go with Teixeira and Reber’s grimy visuals. Most of the issue is Bob being humiliated until he has a potentially golden opportunity fall in his lap. I mostly enjoyed the back half of the comic where Hurwitz and Mark Teixeira mess around with elements of the Batman mythos through the spitting image of Morgan Freeman, Ash DeVane, who basically steals the entire comic. Knighted #1 reads like a Millarworld Book with Marvel Knights art, but it didn’t take itself super seriously so I didn’t hate it and am here for more Bob cringe. Overall: 7.3 Verdict: Read.

Out of Body #5 (Aftershock)– Peter Milligan, Inaki Miranda, and Eva De La Cruz stick the landing in Out of Body’s very dark conclusion. Most of the issue takes place in the astral plane where our protagonist Dan and the psychic Abi try to break free out of the creepy occultist August Pryne’s trap. The wild card is Dan’s deadbeat brother, Luke, and Out of Body’s throughline of how other people’s perception of us is different from our own self-perception continues by elucidating their relationship. Milligan and Miranda put together all the pieces of why Dan is in a coma and give one last glimpse about how his hubris and workaholism has doomed all his relationships. Inaki Miranda and Eva De La Cruz’s take on the astral plane continues to be gorgeous and surreal and goes into pure puffs of color and smoke to match Peter Milligan’s perceptive narration. If you’re into weird occult shit, dysfunctional relationships, and are tired of happy endings, Out of Body is definitely the book for you. Overall: 8.9 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 (**).

Almost American
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