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.
Eternity Girl #6 (DC/Young Animal)** – Certainly not a bad ending to this six-parter, but not an entirely satisfying one, either. Magdalene Visaggio pulls some Grant Morrison-esque “Lords Of Order/Lords Of Chaos” stuff out of her hat for a quick resolution that actually probably didn’t need the Deus Ex Machina as things were ramping up quite nicely without it, but other than that she wraps things up nicely enough — and Sonny Liew delivers his most eye-popping art yet with inventive page layouts, emotive facial expressions and body language, and some cool “Kirby-tech.” A fun little ride that comes to a fun little conclusion, but nothing like an essential buy. Overal: 7 Recommendation: Read
She Could Fly #2 (Dark Horse/Berger Books)** – The crown jewel in Karen Berger’s new crown so far, this engrossing four-part series is just getting better and better as it goes along. Christopher Cantwell’s complex script sees its disparate components begin to dovetail together this time out, but as intriguing as that all is, it’s the human core of the characters that makes this such a compelling read — well, that and Martin Morazzo’s gorgeously-detailed, crisply fluid art. Stunning stuff. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy
Lowlifes #3 (IDW)** – This fun little crime/noir series seems to be flying under the radar for the most part, and that’s a shame because it’s really solid, gripping stuff. Brian Buccellato’s crooked-cop drama takes a major twist in this penultimate installment after lots of shoe leather is spent tracking down leads, and Alexis Sentenac’s gritty, street-smart artwork is just plain perfect for this type of material. Can’t wait to see how this one wraps up! Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy
Daygloayhole Quarterly #2 (Silver Sprocket)** – Ben Passmore’s post-apocalyptic fable is quite possibly the most visually imaginative thing going right now, every page containing a plethora of utterly unexpected, and in many cases hitherto-unimaginable, delights for those with a warped bent to their tastes. This issue definitely has its stomach-churning moments, but that’s all part of the fun, and everything is undergirded with a deliriously deadpan sense of humor throughout. If I said comics got much better than this, I’d be lying. The best six bucks you’ll spend this week, probably even this month. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy
Amazing Spider-Man #3 (Marvel)– Nick Spencer and Ryan Ottley riff off both the original, kind of good Clone Saga and Spider-Man 2 in Amazing Spider-Man #3 where Peter Parker gets hit with a genetic splitter, and his clone gets all his superpowers and possibly more. Sure, Spider-Clone gets to punch a giant robot in this comic, but Ottley gets the opportunity to draw Peter in his civilian life bowling with MJ and some friends. He doesn’t have powers, and he’s okay with because maybe he can live a good life for once, have good relationships, hold down a job etc. Of course, it’s not that easy. Although Spider-Clone has Spidey’s ability to pop culture quip (The Arrested Development revival is his target.) and kick butt, there’s possibly something missing from him, and Spencer and Ottley keep this on lock just enough to hook you for the next issue.Overall: 8.2 Verdict: Buy
Hot Lunch Special #1 (Aftershock)– In Hot Lunch Special, Eliot Rahal and Jorge Fornes craft a fairly straightforward crime story set in the world of Midwestern prepackaged sandwiches. They don’t really settle on a protagonist just yet darting from different perspectives and make the creative choice of using a kid’s school report as exposition. This aforementioned kid gets caught in the crossfire eventually, and the intersection of mob warfare and ordinary suburban Midwestern life could pay dividends down the road. In his art, Fornes vivisects the page like the bits of bone and meat leftovers that go into the Khourys’ sandwiches and finds some disgusting juxtapositions between mass produced food and human slaughter that sets the book apart from your middle of the road crime yarn. Overall: 7.6 Verdict: Read
Titans #24 (DC)– Warhammer novelist Dan Abnetti indulges his fantasy roots in Titans #24 as the Titans face off against a failed fantasy novelist’s, Ernest Hinton’s, former creations. There are plenty of epic battles scenes to be drawn by artist Brent Peeples, including Beast Boy transforming into a unicorn, and FCO Plascencia uses a downright, demonic color palette. But the comic isn’t just hacking and slashing, there is the continued presence of the Titans’ Justice League liaison, er, babysitter Miss Martian, who keeps vetoing the team’s decisions and almost lobotomizes Hinton to take him out. Her pragmatism runs afoul of Raven’s empathy and leads to negative consequence even though the team “wins” the fight. Abnett also includes some great thoughts about escaping into a fantasy world when the real world is tough and the connection between creator and creation all in a fairly good superhero team comic. Oh, and the villain is a bisexual elf lord that hits on Nightwing so that’s fun. Overall: 8.1 Verdict: Buy
Detective Comics #986 (DC)- Detective #986 has a definite middle chapter, but Bryan Hill bolsters it with emotionally honest writing of Cassandra Cain to go with Philippe Briones’ kick ass fight choreography. This comic has a standard, stop the bomb action plot, but the real tension comes from the interpersonal clashes along the way. Barbara Gordon isn’t used to being benched so she lashes out at Black Lightning when he is mad at her at sending Cass to fight Karma. Speaking of Black Lightning, he has one great hero moment in Detective #986, and his metahuman abilities stop a threat that might have been too much for the Bat-family. All the while, Batman himself continues to get his ass handed to him and only escapes with some trickery and misdirection. The brutal, close quarters fights are really good in this comic even when the plot stalls out. Overall: 7.4 Verdict: Read
Hey Kids! Comics! #1 (Image) – Howard Chaykin returns with a look behind the scenes of our favourite industry, a subject he knows intimately. Interestingly, he chooses to spin his tale in non-linear fashion, hopping from 1967 to 1945 to 1965 to 2001, covering a lot of ground, starting with Broadway and ending in Hollywood. It is of course graphically sharp, and the storytelling is characteristically brisk, witty, and snarky. It’s also interesting that he chooses to include in what could have a been an all-white male cast a black man and a woman. But this is a roman à clef, and if you didn’t already know the stories of Matt Baker, Flo Steinberg, Gil Kane, Siegel & Shuster, Stan Lee, Jack Kirby et.al., I think you would easily get lost. Without a central protagonist, the main character is the American comics industry itself, which is a pretty big forest to get lost in. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read
Fantastic Four #1 (Marvel) – There has been so much hype and waiting for this series that it could have disappointed greatly. Really, the first issue didn’t need to a do a ton, but just give us back the fantastic family so many of us love, and then set up some new wild adventures through dimensions, time, and space. Well, this issue mostly does that, and the ending is wonderful. Slott and Pichelli seem ready to take on the huge task of handing Marvel’s first family with a great set-up and some fun art that works for the series. This is a fantastic first issue. Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy
The Sandman Universe #1 (Vertigo) – You always worry about such a classic series continuing without the original writer, but I am happy to say Gaiman has put this universe in some good hands so far. It may be only one issue to set up the four series that are coming, but each one of them left me with mystery and left me wanting more. The main story is such an interesting premise that I won’t spoil, and I am dying to know what is happening, and why the main character made choices he may have made. I am absolutely on board. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy
Superman #2 (DC) – We are now a few issues into Bendis-Supes (BendiSupes?) and I am enjoying it. There is more set up in this issue that sees the Earth in The Phantom Zone, the return of the new big bad from the Man of Steel mini-series, and Lois and Jon still off somewhere with Clark’s father, with no way to communicate with them. It was really good to see Supes vulnerable, yet so focused on his task in this issue. For a moment you can see a worried father and husband, but he quickly snaps back his attention to fix the massive mess he and The Justice League are in as his friends and all of humanity need him now more than ever. This is when Supes is at his best. A heart of gold, and a fist of steel. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy
Plastic Man #3 (DC) – I enjoyed the previous two issues more than this one, but it still had some fun moments. As always with Plastic Man, the forms he takes and sight gags are sometimes the best moments, and I am happy to report some of those are ridiculous and fun. The ending sets up something pretty potentially great for the next few issues that should hopefully wrap this mini-series nicely. Overall: 6.5 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 (**).