Author Archives: Alex K Cossa

With Great Power, There Must Also Come Great Responsibility: A Tribute To Stan Lee

Stan Lee

Source: sciencefiction.com

Stan Lee has passed away. Five words that comic fans knew would come, but hoped never to hear. But there they are.

TMZ reported that the legendary comic creator died in hospital in the early hours of Monday, November 12th. He was 95.  Upon hearing that news, like me, you’re in shock and your heart is probably broken. Stan Lee, a man who has had such a tremendous impact on the lives of so many people of all walks of life is no longer with us.

Stanley Martin Lieber never intended to have his birth name published in a comic because he always wanted to write the Great American Novel, so he would instead use Stan Lee to sign off his first Captain America story.  Stan Lee may have never written the Great American Novel, but he had an instrumental hand in creating and shaping something much more important; generations of comic and superhero fans.

stan spidey

AP Photo/Matt Sayles

For many of us, as kids we had no idea who created the comics or the cartoons they inspired. We had no idea that a lot of the colourful characters came from Stan Lee’s pen and Jack Kirby or Steve Ditko’s pencil. At least I didn’t. It wasn’t until much later that I discovered the man in the Soapbox was responsible for a lot of what I was reading and watching in my formative years. Whether it was X-Men: The Animated SeriesSpider-Man or the Marvel Power Hour my Saturday mornings were spent engrossed in superhero cartoons based upon characters from the comics Lee wrote in the 60’s.

Later I would find my way to the X-Men, and through comics I would be introduced to some of the best people I have ever known (including my wife), few of whom I’ve actually met in person. Because that is the magic of Stan Lee. His work connects people of all ages, all creeds and all nationalities. Through his work, my life has changed. I don’t know where I would be without comics, and  I don’t know who I would be. Uncle Ben’s often misquoted famous words came from Stan Lee, and with his great power he accepted the responsibility of his position – whether it was subverting the Comics Code to publish a story decrying drug use or giving every misfit or marginalized child a place at Xavier’s School For Gifted Youngsters, Stan Lee’s writing saved as many people as the characters he co-created.

I never knew Stan Lee, nor did I ever get the chance to meet him. But he has had an immense and unfathomable impact on my life. Comics have become such an integral part of my self identity over the years; they still make up the bulk of my reading materials, and have of late become the source of most of the movies I will see in the theater. Stan Lee has been synonymous with comics, despite his long association with Marvel Comics, and his passing marks the end of an era.

stanlee.jpg

thenewestrant.com

There will be hundreds, if not thousands of tributes to Stan Lee in the comings days and weeks. There will be people using this time to take issue with how much credit Stan Lee deserves with the  writing in those early X-Men, Fantastic Four and Spider-Man stories, among others. But this isn’t the time for those discussions. Not now. Now is the time for us to grieve for him in our own way; some will be feel the grief like a gamma radiated fist to the gut, and some won’t know what to do with themselves.

Stan Lee has passed away, and the world has lost a beacon of the comic book industry. A family has lost a father and grandfather; industry veterans have lost a mentor; and we have all lost a man who, through his stories and infectious energy, inspired us to be better than we were.

Stan Lee’s comics have influenced and permeated nearly every aspect of popular culture these days, and Stan Lee’s hand can be seen in many of the Marvel characters on screen. Characters he helped create have been part of some of the biggest movies in the 21st century, and have appeared on more pieces of merchandise than any of us can honestly fathom. His legacy will live on in the characters and stories he co-created. Stan Lee may be gone, but he will never be forgotten.

stanhulkspidey.jpg

Source: docnyc.net

‘Nuff Said.


Also published on Ramblings Of A Comics Fan

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 10/20

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

BDRTOWN_03_300-001.jpg Border Town #3 (DC/Vertigo)** – This book seems to be hitting a nice, strong stride very early on, with this being the best issue to date. Ramon Villalobos’ art has always been stellar and remains so, but Eric M. Esquivel’s scripting is evening out from some early rockiness, balancing real-world political issues with supernatural goings-on and even some well-placed (and well-considered) humor. In fact, there’s a laugh-out-loud scene in this issue that’s just plain awesome. Get on this series now if you’re not already. Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Batman #58 (DC)** – The welcome return of Mikel Janin on art is the highlight of this issue, which marks the beginning of a new “Penguin-centric” arc. Tom King’s script is at least competent this time out, but hardly the stuff memories are made of , mostly just jumping around between a couple of timelines in order to set the stage for the the rest of the story. It’s thoroughly readable and the cliffhanger packs a bit of a punch, but when Alfred comes off as being more interesting than Bruce Wayne/Batman, well — you’ve got a problem. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Read

Dead Rabbit #2 (Image)** – Good on Gerry Duggan and John McCrea to insert some “real world” socio-economic issues (most notably relating to health care) into this “criminal comes out of retirement” drama, but the strength of this series is in its cinematic pacing and stylish, high-impact art. Not a whole ton happens this time out, but what does adds depth to the characters and their situations while never slowing down from its breakneck tempo. Lots of fun, especially if you love a good car chase. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Outer Darkness #1 (Image/Skybound)** – A heavy debt is owed to Jack Kirby’s “Captain Victory And The Galactic Rangers” with John Layman’s premise for this book, but there’s a gut-churning occult twist to the proceedings and some solid humor added into the mix, and Afu Chan’s artwork is just straight-up spectacular, particularly on his Kirby-flavored “cosmic” double-page spreads. Nothing super ground-breaking here, but I had plenty of fun with this one and it seems like it’s a series that could go off in any number of interesting directions. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Shean

Han Solo: Imperial Cadet #1 (Marvel)– In probably one of the most authentic representations to a military boot camp I have ever seen or read, this book more than delivers. We catch up with Han after he separates from Qira, and right after he gets sent to boot camp, where he gains a few skills,that Star Wars fans will see later in life. As he gets as good as he gives, and we see his penchant for getting in trouble make him a terrible mismatch for the military. By issue’s end, he finds a way off base, but only to be caught and a whole lot to explain. Overall: 9 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 (**).

Underrated: Autumnlands: Woodland Creatures

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:  Autumnlands: Woodland Creatures



TheAutumnlands_vol02-1A few weeks ago I wrote about the first volume of The Autumnlands  in this column (which you can find in a horribly typo filled post here because apparently I forgot to spell check). I was quite taken with the book, and remarkably surprised that I’d never come across the story before, and as I’m sure you’ve figured out, I picked up the second trade. This time for full price.

The second trade, Woodland Creatures picks up, with the aftermath of the bridge battle sending Dusty and Learoyd left abandoned on the ground as the rest of the citizens are rehomed.

Whereas the first volume touched on the divide of rich and poor in a class-based society, the second really drives home the differences between the magic users and the rest of the woodland creatures, culminating in a shocking and remarkably relevant commentary on the imposition of one’s will over another.

Slavery, class divide, religion, environmental damage and technological abuses are all touched upon here in a way that doesn’t come off as Kurt Busiek standing on a soapbox, but rather encouraging us to think about the world around us. Maybe something that seems impossible has a rather obvious solution when approached from a different angle.

If you’re looking for a fun fantasy story, then you will find what you’re looking for with the second volume in the Autumnlands saga. Without question, this is a top notch comic book. But like any great science fiction or fantasy series, the messages barely beneath the surface are more powerful and relevant for their seemingly innocuous delivery and framing within the confines of the story.

As with all great works of fiction, Woodland Creatures asks exactly as much of the reader as it needs to in order to encourage you become a better person. Yup. But as deeply as I have read into this book, and possibly far deeper than I should have, you don’t need to do that. This is a book that can be enjoyed solely as a great story.

Image has a vast library of great books, and while we’re still waiting on the third volume of the series, this book is worth reading now. Yes, there’s a set up for the following issue, and yes there are unanswered questions, but nothing that will haunt you long into the night (though the wait for the next chapter  will suck).

As with most books covered in this column, it’s a book I don’t see getting the love it deserves – that’s why the book is Underrated. Go read it now. You won’t regret it.


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

First Impressions Featuring: Ghosts and Devils

Welcome to Graphic Policy’s First Impressions where we take a look at a handful of comics in order to discern just how accessible they are for new readers, because every comic could be somebody’s first – and that’s the first question that’ll be answered with this feature. The second is whether you should  start there because sometimes a book could be accessible to new readers but the quality could be less than average, and so each comic will receive a score out of ten based upon Graphic Policy’s typical ten point scale.

Where possible we’ll also be providing  recap of sorts for the relevant story beats up until the issue in question in order to help you figure out if the series is something you’re interested in, assuming we’ve read any part of the story thus far. All comics were provided for review purposes unless otherwise noted.


 

Faith: Dreamside #2 (Valiant)
Can you start here?
Yes
Recap & Review: 
Perhaps one of the most visually appealing comic that came out last week, and I won’t lie to you, also one of the easiest places for you to start with this series aside from the first issue. 
Score: 8.5

Daredevil #610 (Marvel)
Can you start here?
Yup
Recap & Review: 
Kingpin is mayor, and Daredevil wants to set things right (that’s about what I got from the recap text on the first page). A solid comic, and one worth checking out if you’ve been taken by the Netflix show.
Score: 8.6

Fence #11 (Boom!)
Can you start here?
More or less.
Recap & Review: Finally, the conclusion of the tournament to decide the fencing team rolls around, with more on the line for the spectators than you’d initially expect. For Nicholas, his entire future rests on making the team… but his destiny is out of his hands now…
Score:
7.8

Spider-Force #1 (Marvel)
Can you start here?
Yup
Recap & Review: 
All the Spiders you can handle in an event that, technically, you can just jump right into. It’s not a bad start, honestly, and it’s enough to pull me back in. Especially when it’s a comic that has Kaine as one of the focal points.
Score: 8.1

Planet Of The Apes: The Time Of Man #1 (Boom!)
Can you start here?
Yes
Recap & Review: As someone entirely unfamiliar with this franchise, all I can say is that this wasn’t impenetrable, and it was really quite enjoyable.
Score: 8.1

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 11/3

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.


 

FAITH_DS_002_COVER-B_MEYNETAlex

Faith: Dreamside #2 (Valiant) As a huge Valiant fan, I’ve always enjoyed seeing characters that don’t typically interact with each other come face to face on the printed page. With this comic we see Faith and Animalia meet Doctor Mirage for the first time in an attempt to figure out why ghosts are haunting Animalia; the extended sequence is filled with the awkwardness of Doctor Mirage tying to discern if the two psiots are crazed fans or in need of actual help. As a four issue miniseries, the story has been paced very well thus far, and seems to be avoiding the elongated build up to an explosive conclusion in the final issue.  Overall: 8.2 Recommendation: Buy

Old Man Logan #50 (Marvel) The final issue in the series, and with Young Man Logan having recently returned from the dead, it’s easy to assume that the elder Logan won’t be making out of this series (there has been a solicitation for a Dead Man Logan twelve issue series, so take that for what you will). When we first met Old Man Logan, way back in his original story, he was at odds with an old Hulk, and so with the finale pitting him against another version of an old Hulk, it feels as if his story has come full circle. Granted there are some loose ends with the plot that will likely never get resolved, but then that isn’t Logan’s story. End of the day, this was a satisfying enough conclusion to a fun 50 issue run. Overall: 7.8 Recomendation: Buy if you’ve read this far.

Ryan C

Shanghai Red #5 (Image)** – A superb finale to an equally superb series : every loose end tied up, every major plot thread resolved in thoroughly satisfying fashion, a clear “arc” from start to finish for all characters. Christopher Sebela’s script is smart, poignant, and well-paced, while Joshua Hixson’s art is moody, authentic, and just plain amazing. Honestly, one of the best comics of the year. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

 Ice Cream Man #8 (image)** – W. Maxwell Prince and Martin Morazzo wrap up the second arc of their stand-alone anthology series (yeah, I know, the idea of “arcs” seems counter-intuitive here) with a fairly strong installment, as a junkie ambulance crew HIC_Cv2_dsspreads terror and destruction in their wake. Prince’s stories are generally of a “good enough, not great” standard, this one being no exception, but Morazzo’s clean, refined, hyper-detailed art elevates the middling to the exemplary at all times. He’s one of the very best in the business right now. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Heroes In Crisis #2 (DC)** – I get it, we all want our heroes to be more “human.” Acknowledging that they might, on occasion, suffer from PTSD makes sense. So the premise here isn’t bad — but the “mystery” of who killed a bunch of heroes, half of whom (at least) will be back alive before we know it? That’s falling very flat indeed. Tom King’s stilted dialogue for every single character is really starting to grate, his penchant for letting most of the main action happen “off-camera” is doing the same, and no one’s gonna believe Booster Gold is a mass murderer, so not even main “red herring” here is any good. Clay Mann’s art is sharp and pretty — maybe even a little too pretty for a series that badly needs and injection of street-level grit and danger — but that’s about the only good thing I can think of to say about this comic, which isn’t anywhere near enough justify a four-dollar expenditure. Overall: 3.5 Recommendation: Pass

Doom Patrol #12 (DC/Young Animal)** – Better late than never? Uhhhmmm — no. Gerard Way and co-writer Jeremy Lambert pull a “Stranger Things” imitation out of their asses for reasons I can’t explain, while Nick Derington’s art finds itself buried under a thick layer of personality-negating Dan McDaid inks. I get that some or all of these guys were big D&D-heads growing up and wanted to pay homage to that, but do a one-shot special of some sort rather than adding an unnecessary epilogue onto a series that already came to a confusing (and confused) enough conclusion on its own. A gimmick in search of a reason for existing that never finds one. Overall: 3 Recommendation: Pass

Shean

What If? Magik #1 (Marvel)– In what plays out like Training Day but with Sorcerers, we get a different take on Magik’s origin story. She gets hurled into America where she shows that she is a product of her environment, by almost killing the first man to try and take advantage of her to only be stopped by Doctor Strange. Strange trains her in the mystical arts becoming more astute than him. By issue’s end, a final showdown between her and her tormentor leads to her ultimate absolution. Overall: 9.6 Recommendation: Buy

Joe Ryan

oml50.jpgAvengers Halloween Special (Marvel) – While I realize that these comics are sort of elseworlds tales, depicting some stories for the Halloween season, I really wasn’t a fan of most of them. This really felt like a sort of cash grab, and none of the stories felt that compelling. Some of them felt like lesser versions of Edgar Allan Poe or other classic writers, just rehashed a bit with Superheroes. If you are looking for that, you may enjoy the book more than I did. Overall: 4.0 Recommendation: Pass

Old Man Logan #50 (Marvel) – I have been a fan of this book, especially when Lemire was writing it, but even with Brisson, I enjoyed a lot of the issues. This final issue (before the Dead Man Logan maxi series starts) didn’t feel like it gave enough. It wasn’t bad, and continued the war between Maestro Bruce Banner and Logan, but overall it just felt okay. If you are invested in this tale, of course you will want to read this. Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read

Vault of Spiders #1 (Marvel) – There was some fun moments in this book, with the Cowboy Spider-Man, and the Japanese Spider-Man (from the old tv show), but overall this book felt like an excuse to throw a bunch of random Spider-characters into the Spider-Geddon event without necessarily having them take part in it (though they may). More of a montage of “spider-people” without much interesting stories behind them. Overall: 5.0 Recommendation: Pass

Spider-Force #1 (Marvel) – Kaine, Jessica Drew, and more work together to thwart the threat from Spider-Geddon, and this book tied into the overall narrative nicely. The ending gave a cliffhanger that is solid, and the dialogue between the characters was fun. I do think this will end up being the best book of the Spider-Geddon tie in mini series, at least so far. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Batman: Secret Files #1 (DC) – I really dug this comic. There were a few stories better than others (Taylor’s was really good), but all of them were good in my opinion. It gives us a peak into the Batman mythos a little more, which is impressive considering how many times we’ve peaked into such a popular character. A great team of writers and artists did solid work on this. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Justice League / Aquaman: Drowned Earth #1 (DC) – This was a solid comic. I do find that Tynion IV can be wordy, such as Snyder on the main book, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. He gives a solid set up (which really was continued from the core Justice League book that kicked off this mini event), and the art by is Porter is solid, though it may not fit everyone’s taste. Overall: 7.5 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 (**).

Underrated: Thrud the Barbarian

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:  Thrud the Barbarian



thrud.jpgAnother week, and yet another case of “Alex bought something for Underrated without knowing anything about it beforehand,” or it would be had Alex not received Carl Critchlow‘s Thrud the Barbarian  a few years  ago from the now defunct Comic Bento. Published by Titan Comics, the trade paperback collects the original Thrud the Barbarian five issue miniseries, as well as a couple of single page shorts from White Dwarf magazine, and was originally published in 2013. If you missed this when it first came out, don’t be surprised – I’m not sure it was ever released on a large scale outside Britain.

Thrud the Barbarian is what I’d consider a quintessentially British comic; it blends in equal parts the violence , chaos and destruction that one would expect from a Conan parody with the silliness and tongue in cheek humour that wouldn’t feel out of place in a Monty Python skit. But with a lot more smashed heads and limbs flying free of bodies. The Titan Comics collection consists of five stories that can be read independently of each other (seven if you’re counting the bonus strips), or in one go – which is what I did when rereading it recently.

Honestly, I reread it because I was reorganizing my bookcase and saw the cover again and wanted something fun, easy and not too deep or involved to read. Thrud was certainly that, and I loved every irreverent thought, every stunningly painted cover, and the computer coloured artwork. It was exactly the kind of book that I needed to read after a busy week, a book that I am glad I own, and one I am even happier that I noticed on the shelf.

Thrud2

As a fan of heroic fantasy books, I loved Critchlow’s send up of the genre; the visualization and sight gags and some brilliant punchlines across all the stories in in the collection. I loved every aspect of this book; the sound effects, the dumb-as-a-post hero just wants his beer and the cartoon-like hyper violence that ties it all together in such a lovely package.

Without a doubt this is one of my favourite books I’ve ever written about for this column, even if I did forget I owned it for a little while.

And yet, had it not been for the Bento box, I would never have heard of this book. Which is easily one of the best aspects of the online blind box subscription thingies – the introduction to new and exciting books and comics you otherwise would never have been exposed to. Consequently, this is a book I don’t see getting the love it deserves – that’s why the book is Underrated.


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

Review: Britannia: Lost Eagles Of Rome #4

BRITANNIA3_004_COVER-B_GILLDeep within the heart of Egypt, there is unrest…and Antonius and Achillia have stumbled right into the middle of it! On the hunt for the Roman Empire’s missing banners at the behest of Emperor Nero, history’s first detective and his fearsome gladiatrix companion find themselves on the brink of many revelations: Who is responsible for the plagues threatening their Roman brethren? And who is this new revolutionary calling himself Pharaoh?

And like that, another Britannia miniseries comes to a close. Another four issue toe-dip into the live of Antonius Axa and his friends, colleagues and enemies that ends with a satisfying conclusion that never once feels rushed. It does wrap things up in a way that leaves little a room for for a sequel without any loose ends dangling annoyingly as the fourth issue closes.

In a series that has, across the previous eleven issues, established a precedent for gorgeous artwork, brutal violence and a smattering if dark humour, Peter Milligan‘s script for Britannia: Lost Eagles Of Rome #4 once again delivers on the hallmarks of the series. And, once again, the art is spectacular. Robert Gill (with Juan Castro) has a deft hand when it comes to realising the emotions of the faces of his characters as well as the bloody swordplay they will inevitably engage in seemingly every issue. One could argue that each comic follows a basic formula of “Talky Bit, Fighty Bit, Talky Bit, Revalation!, Talky Bit”, and to some extent that’s true, but it’s an oversimplification of the plot and comic book itself. After all, can’t we break every comic down to that same basic formulae?

As a concluding chapter to the third Britannia series, I was impressed. Milligan kept the story a relatively simple affair that didn’t stray as deeply into the supernatural as it has in the past, instead allowing the characters to shine.

There’s a scene in which Nero’s growing madness is visible, and though he’s still a few year from burning Rome to the ground, you can see the emperors slow descent into the madness that we’ll continue to witness in the background of future installments to the series – something history aficionados and fans of the series will enjoy getting to witness in comic book form.

Lost Eagles Of Rome may be the third series under the Britannia  banner, but it can be read independently of the others  without giving the reader any real trouble when it comes to understanding the plot (though  I’m sure you know the blurb about getting the most out of the story, read it all, etc.). But whether you have read the first two volume or not, there’s plenty to enjoy with a detective story set nearly two thousand years ago spanning several countries wrapped up in a powerseizing conspiracy story that a gladiator and the detectioner tackle together.

I thoroughly enjoyed the series, and hope that Milligan and Valiant have another in the works for us.

Story: Peter Milligan Art: Robert Gill with Juan Castro Colours: Jose Villarrubia
Story: 8.1 Art: 9 Overall: 8.4 Overall: Buy if you’ve bought the rest

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

First Impressions Featuring: Shadows and Spiders

Welcome to Graphic Policy’s First Impressions where we take a look at a handful of comics in order to discern just how accessible they are for new readers, because every comic could be somebody’s first – and that’s the first question that’ll be answered with this feature. The second is whether you should  start there because sometimes a book could be accessible to new readers but the quality could be less than average, and so each comic will receive a score out of ten based upon Graphic Policy’s typical ten point scale.

Where possible we’ll also be providing  recap of sorts for the relevant story beats up until the issue in question in order to help you figure out if the series is something you’re interested in, assuming we’ve read any part of the story thus far. All comics were provided for review purposes unless otherwise noted.


 

Shadowman #8 (Valiant)
Can you start here?
Yes
Recap & Review: 
Perhaps one of the most visually appealing comic that came out last week, and I won’t lie to you, also one of the easiest places for you to start with this series aside from the first issue. 
Score: 9.1

Batman: Secret Files #1 (DC)
Can you start here?
Of course
Recap & Review:
A selection of short stories focusing on Batman written by Tom King at the top of his game? Hell yeah.
Score: 8.6

Daredevil #609 (Marvel)
Can you start here?
Yup
Recap & Review: 
Kingpin is mayor, and Daredevil wants to set things right (that’s about what I got from the recap text on the first page). A solid comic, and one worth checking out if you’ve been taken by the Netflix show.
Score: 8.6

Spider-Geddon #1 (Marvel)
Can you start here?
Yup
Recap & Review: 
All the Spiders you can handle in an event that, technically, you can just jump right into. It’s not a bad start, honestly, and it’s enough to pull me back in.
Score: 8.1

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 10/27

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.


 

Joe Hesh

BMB_Cv25.test_R1Batman Beyond #25 (DC) As a huge Bat Beyond fanatic, I have thoroughly enjoyed this series. It meshes cartoon and DC Canon continuity fairly well. There are some muddled parts here and there like Red Hood and Bruce being partners but for the most part hey, that’s comics. This one was the one I have been looking forward to building with the return of the original (not a clone, not a relative, not an alternate reality) Clown Prince of Crime: The Joker. Now we all know the Joker is supposed to be dead but oh well hes back! I like the way Dan Jurgens gives us some background using Dick Grayson as the narrator. What’s cool is we see Dick is actually living a good life. He is mayor of Bludhaven and has a healthy daughter Elainna. Finally a take on my favorite character that dont end in tragedy. The reason for Dick being in Gotham is the 100th anniversary of Thomas Wayne and the opening of the new Wayne foundation. Easy enough premise. All through we catch up with our cast of Bat Family with the backdrop being a rash of murders of Jokerz gang members. Terry is showing Matt the ropes as his new Robin so there is cool lineage. All in the background something is afoot with Joker plotting and murdering to get his revenge in motion. We get some cool story beats and a mention of characters we haven’t seen in a while and of course the issue leaves us on a cliffhanger and we are left with a Joker who remembers everything. Especially who Batman really is. That part intrigues me. So it’s not a question of if he’s back but more how is he back? We will have to wait and see. Also Joker was back in full The Killing Joke attire here so I enjoyed that. The words were good the art by Cully Hamner was pretty decent. All in all not a bad start but not great. Score: 7.5 Recommendation: Read 

Jon Carrol

AC_Cv1004.test_R1Action Comics 1004 (DC)** [insert spoiler tags as you see fit] Starting with Man of Steel I’ve enjoyed Brian Bendis’ run on Superman quite a bit but one thing hung over the whole enterprise as a cloud: the conspicuous absence of Lois Lane and Jon Kent. This issue solves that problem very well for Lois at least. There isn’t alot that happens but for the first time since he moved to DC Bendis really gets to work out his chops for characterful dialog and personal interplay. You really get a sense of the depth of affection Lois and Clark share for one another as well as how very different they are. This is a really good pushed to the verge of greatness by Ryan Sook’s pencils and Wade Von Grawbadger’s inks. Rating: 8. Recommendation: Buy with the Manapul variant cover if you can get it.

Ryan C

Days Of Hate #9 (Image)** – The title of this issue is “Tired, Tired, Tired,” and that’s not a bad, bad, bad summation of Ales Kot’s apparent attitude toward his own series. Danijel Zezelj continues to impress with his cinematic art, but the story is feeling incredibly lazy and listless at exactly the point where it should really be ramping up. Overall: 4 Recommendation: Pass

DaysofHate-09_cvrLodger #1 (IDW/Black Crown)** – An immediately arresting and involving new crime/noir series from David and Maria Lapham lands with a burst of energy and style, grabbing you from the outset with terrific characters, a simple but effective storyline, smart dialogue, and superb art. This promises to be a ride that’s both very fun and maybe even very memorable. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Scarlet #3 (DC/Jinxword)** – Well, it sure didn’t take long for this one to completely stall out. Brian Michael Bendis seemed to have a real head of creative steam behind him just a couple months ago when this series kicked off, but he’s fallen back into every single one of his by-now-legendary bad habits (stilted dialogue, minimal plot progression, deliberately eschewing obvious political angles that would add some real punch to the story), while poor Alex Maleev gets stuck with trying to keep the whole thing above water by means of his stylish, dynamic art. He almost pulls it off, but he could really use an assist from his co-creator here. Overal: 5 Recommendation: Pass

Moon Knight #200 (Marvel)** – The big culmination of Max Bemis’ decidedly up-and-down storyline finishes on the “up” side in this extra-sized milestone issue, thanks in no small part to main artist Paul Davidson, who just plain pulls out all the stops tograb you by the eyeballs, and guest artists Jacen Burrows, Jeff Lemire, and Bill Sienkiewicz, who all do exemplary work. All in all, it was enough to make me sorry that Marvel is pulling the plug on this title yet again, but at least they sent it out in style. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Shean

Black Panther Vs Deadpool #1 (Marvel)– The first thing that grabs you about this book is how fun it is intended to be, as this serves as a well intended mini vacation from the excellent epic storyline going on in the main Black Panther book. As we find T’Challa enjoying his time as king in Wakanda’s version of the Day Of the Dead, as he is especially wary of outsiders invading his kingdom during the celebration.We also find Deadpool , trying to save a schoolbus full of kids from the Wrecker who accidentally severely injures Deadpool’s mailman, leaving his only hope for survival in Vibranium therapy. This is where chaos ensues and you get everything you expect when Deadpool meets up with Black Panther, as some of the funniest pages of panels I have ever seen Deadpool in takes place. By issue’s end, T’Challa throws Wade out of Wakanda but we all know this won’t stop him from trying again. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

WW_Cv57Joe Ryan

Wonder Woman #57 (DC) – I love what James Tynion has done on this story, but I do feel like The Witching Hour plot could have ended by now, or be one issue shorter. That isn’t to say it’s bad, I just feel like it is being dragged out a bit. That being said, I cannot wait to see how it ends in the final one shot, with how this issue left it. Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

The Flash #57 (DC) – This is some old school superhero comic book fun. It’s over the top, and Kolins art has grown on me and meshes well with Williamson’s storytelling in this Heat Wave centric plot. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Spider-Gwen: Ghost Spider #1 (Marvel) – An okay set up issue that ties into Spider-Geddon. I didn’t feel like much happened though, and the dialogue seemed a little flat in my opinion. The art was also okay, and overall, that is what I would say this comic is. Just okay. That being said, it is a new #1, and if you are a fan of Gwen, this is probably a no brainer. Overall: 6.0 Recommendation: Buy (If you are a Spider-Gwen fan)

Spider-Geddon #2 (Marvel) – I am a big Spidey fan, and this is a big Spidey event. This continues in the style of Spiderverse with so many Spider-people (and pigs), you lose count. I have loved both the first issue, and this as well. The story is fun, the art is great, and Otto trying to be a hero is just awesome and fun to see. Overall: 8.5 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 (**).

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