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.
Man Thing #1 (Marvel) So… yeah. This is not what I expected it to be in any way shape or form – although I’ve never really read any Man Thing before. R.L Stine has an almost throwback style to his comic writing that I really enjoyed, although there are a couple stumbles, for the mot part this is worth a read at the very least. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read
Redline #1 (Oni Press) Although I tend to avoid space comics, the preview text led me to believe that this first issue would be right up my alley, so I figured I’d check it out – and I wasn’t disappointed. Although this isn’t strictly a comedy there are some pretty funny one liners and character interactions throughout the comic, and the art is suitably dusty and dry feeling, which is perfect for the Mars setting. Story wise, there’s a lot of interesting things here beneath the copious amount of F-bombs, and more than enough for genre fans to come back next issue. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Read
The Unbelievable Gwenpool#13 (Marvel) I think this is a love it or hate it comic. I didn’t love it… Overall: 5 Recommendation: Pass
Inhumans vs X-Men #6 (Marvel) – We finally come to a close to the end of the Inhuman/Mutant war. I will say this could have been better, but it also could have been worse. The story definitely felt tighter and more organic than Death of X, but I still felt with the talent involved, a lot was left on the table. There are some cool set ups for future villains, the status quo of the earth Inhumans vs the Royals going to space, and the new X-teams, but I wanted more. Still, this was a decent event, especially when I am usually let down lately by Marvel’s events. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read
Justice League / Power Rangers #3 (BOOM!). This is another fun and light issue that works much like the first two. This book takes itself just seriously enough to pull off its premise. While it comes off more of a Power Rangers tone than Justice League, the Justice League characters fit right into the story. No one felt out of character to me and Tom Taylor juggles a lot of personalities including the villains. A really fun comic that is accessible to anyone. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy
Man-Thing #1 (Marvel) – RL Stine has come to Marvel Comics! This was a really fun story, and a perfect piece for Stine to write. It never apologizes for its old school horror feel, which is mixed with an interesting fish out of water (beast out of swamp?) plot. We see Man-Thing (aka Ted) in Hollywood with a failing career as an actor, and a theme of being mocked and not accepted by “normal” people. The comic ends with a cool cliffhanger that kept me interested. The art is fantastic, and I look forward not only to the rest of the miniseries, but more comic books from Stine as well. Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy
The Dregs #2 (Black Mask)** – I am loving this series. Writers Zac Thompson & Lonnie Nadler give us a take on the private eye story we’ve never seen: a homeless Marlowe navigating the underworld of derelict Vancouver. Artist Eric Zawadski gives us bold drawings and effortless storytelling that also lets us into the cracks of Marlowe’s mind. Just great stuff. Overall: 9.5. Recommendation: Buy
Cinema Purgatorio (Avatar)** – Moore and O’Neill continue their history of the underside of American cinema with a cartoon that turns Chuck Jones’ classic “Duck Amok” idea pitch black. Doesn’t quite hold together, though. In “Code Pru,” Garth Ennis and Raulo Caceres continue their ghostbusting EMT series with an actual ghost – one who happens to get off on watching other ghosts get it on in a haunted orgy. I am not making this one up. And other series as well. Overall: 6 (but I give Code Pru a 7.5). Recommendation: Skip
Lady Killer #4 (Dark Horse)** – It seems like forever since last issue but if that’s how long it takes for Joêlle Jones to draw this gorgeously, it’s worth the wait. The care that goes into every single panel, both in terms of writing and art, makes this series a must for me. That Josie herself is not conflicted about her dual roles as killer and housewife, but has that conflict imposed on her by an old man, is pure genius. Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy
The Old Guard #1 (Image)** – I had no idea we were getting a new Greg Rucka military fantasy series, and was delighted to spot this one. Basically: a crew of immortal warriors led by your now-typical Rucka female messed-up protagonist takes on a mercenary gig they come to regret. Nice to see an action comic that, despite its fantastial elements, is firmly grounded in the present-day realities of armed conflict. Leandro Fernandez draws a chiaroscuro world that borders on cartooniness but uses it to draw us in and blow us away – kind of the way Eduardo Risso does it. Nothing super new here, but it’s a fun ride. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy
Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys: The Big Lie #1 (Dynamite) – I was a huge Hardy Boys reader as a kid, so I was really looking forward to this series by writer Anthony Del Col and artist Werther Dell’Edera. But I felt the whole “let’s show the ugly underside of Bayport and its crooked cops” approach lazy and generic – unlike the Hardy Boys novels themselves, which at least made the effort to use authentic (for the 1930’s) police and detection methods. And where the hell is Chet? Overall: 6 Recommendation: Skip
Jessica Jones #6 (Marvel)** – Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos wrap up the “major” part of their first story arc while leaving some relatively massive subplots dangling, and you can’t help but feel we’ve been down this road a thousand times before — Bendis, after all, is the master of “decompressed” storytelling, and while you can’t point to anything too overtly “bad” on an issue-by-issue basis, by the time all is said and done the whole thing feels like a cheat when you realize it could just as easily (indeed, quite likely more effectively) been told in two or three parts rather than six. Overall: 4.0 Recommendation: Pass
Copperhead #11 (Image)** – My excitement at seeing this series return from a way-too-long hiatus is somewhat tempered by an art change : exit Scott Godlewski and enter Drew Moss, who does a reasonable enough approximation, but yeah — it’s just not the same. That being said, Jay Faerber’s story hasn’t missed a beat ,and there is some intriguing ramped-up tension between our two leads that should make things even more addictive as events progress. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy
Mother Panic #4 (DC/Young Animal)** – I guess this is the start of the second story arc, but so many subplots are held over that maybe that designation is effectively meaningless. Jody Houser continues to build on Violet Paige’s extremely fascinating and tragic backstory to an even greater extent this time out, and a new foe makes an entrance every bit as bizarre as that of a new ally a few pages earlier. Shawn Crystal fills in on art, and while his a more detailed look than that of series regular Tommy Lee Edwards, it’s no less effective. And there’s a huge surprise for old-school Ditko fans waiting in the back-up strip. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy
Earth 2: Society #22 (DC)** – I know, I know — I’m not sure how this series managed to last this long into the “Rebirth” era, either, but Dan Abnett and Vicente Cifuentes (one of about a half-dozen artists who have worked on this run, none of them appearing consistently enough to be called a “regular”) give what few fans are left in the building a canned and predictable “happily ever after” that at least wraps up all loose ends. Still, as the saying goes, not with a bang, but a whimper, is the order of the day here. Overall: 4 Recommendation: Pass, unless you’ve been following from the outset, in which case you may as well see it through to the end.
The Unbelievable Gwenpool#13 (Marvel)– In this issue of Gwenpool, she accidentally meets her off the wall inspiration, Deadpool. As they both get stuck in a real time RPG , with an interesting set of characters. Eventually, they face off , damn near killing each other . By issue’s end, they find out it is all for entertainment by a game executive. Overall: 9.8
The Lost Boys #6 (DC)- In the final issue of this incredible follow up to the movies, the Frog Brothers finally figure out who is carrying out the recent vampire threat. This leads The to a retirement home, where they battle some geriatric vampires. The Frog Brothers end up victorious but another threat rises by sea. By issue’s end, this was a fun trip back to the characters from the movie. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy
Guardians Of The Galaxy:MU #1 (Marvel)– Soon after losing their ship, the team finds themselves in a quandary as Gamora finds that Peter knew Thanos was on Earth. To pile on that, Leviathans have been rampaging on Earth since they landed and the GOTG have been pulled into the fight.In the midst of battle, Groot, fights a Kaiju sized match against another alien. By issue’s end, the team finds themselves at a crossroads. Overall: 8.4
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 (**).