Author Archives: Alex K Cossa

A Cup Tea & A Few Comics Issue Three: The Marvels Project

In what may or may not become a new feature – although with this being the second post under that tagline, it’s looking more likely that it will be – I decided to make a cup of tea (PG Tips again) and sit down and read a comic or two whilst I drank said cuppa. My intention isn’t to read review copies, or digital copies if I can help it, but either graphic novels, TPBs, or floppy comics because I much prefer to relax with a physical comic. I may have read them before, or they may have been on my To Read pile for far too long.  Whether this happens monthly, weekly, daily… never again… will depend entirely on the time I have.

This week, I sat down with Marvel’s The Marvel Project graphic novel.

 

I should probably switch up my cup for these pictures sooner or later, eh?

Anyway, I really enjoyed this. It’s told from the perspective of The Angel, a long forgotten hero from the Golden Age of superhero comics, and set in the year or so before the U.S.A. entered into WWII. Despite Captain America featuring on the front cover, this isn’t a Captain America story. It’s a tale of the time during which Americans were aware of the war in Europe but had yet to enter the fray. The Marvels Project is a genuine page turner – I devoured the entire trade in a single sitting, bar a bathroom break, and never actually touched my tea until I was several issues in.

Reading about superheroes and vigilantes from the late 30’s to the 50’s or so has always been a (not-so) guilty pleasure of mine. I love the that time period in American history, and as most of the pulp novels and superhero stories set in that time are typically based in New York or Chicago, it’s always a win-win for me. But with my misgivings about Hydra-Cap prevalent in my head as I finally decided to read this TPB, I was worried that I’d not enjoy the story – and I’ll admit they did cloud my judgment initially when Steve Rogers appeared in the comic, but after a few pages I was reminded just how great a character he is when written well, and consequently I was able to enjoy Captain America’s presence in the remainder of the comic.

For me the highlight was the way the story was presented; by having The Angel as both the narrator and the closest thing to a central character in the comic. The story telling style was very reminiscent of Hollis Mason’s autobiography snippets in Watchmen adapted to comic form. Every page was a joy to read, and thankfully the TPB is a completely standalone story.

I picked this up for $5 at my LCS. It’d be a bargain at twice the price.

Writer: Ed Brubacker Art: Steve Epting Colourist: Dave Stewart

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Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 6/24

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.

 


 

Logan

lobo-the-road-runnerBatman #25 (DC Comics) Batman #25 is a prologue to Tom King, Mikel Janin, and June Chung’s anticipated “War of Jokes and Riddles” storyline. It’s told in flashback by Batman himself and shows both the Joker and Riddler at their peak spreading chaos and crime through their humorous and puzzling M.O.’s respectively. I enjoyed King’s characterization of the Riddler as a kind of twisted tutor, who helped the GCPD with their homework, er, cases while using his personal knowledge about them to escape. Janin’s panels featuring him are symmetrical and occasionally look like prison bars because he feels like Batman’s the only riddle he can’t solve. The ones with Joker are much freer flowing and help set up an arc-long personal mystery of something Batman has done in his past that he regrets and hasn’t told anyone until now. This continues Tom King’s tradition of telling epic stories while remaining grounded in Batman’s own psyche.  Overall: 8.7 Recommendation: Buy

Lobo/Road Runner Special #1 (DC Comics) In Lobo/Road Runner Special #1, Bill Morrison, comics legend Kelley Jones, and Michelle Madsen fit the classic Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner cartoons into an interconnected mythology that involves mad scientists and secret experiments. Then, Lobo shows up for the Road Runner and blows it all to hell. Seeing Lobo’s hopeless attempts to kill Road Runner with the annoying “Beep beep” in his ear as he regenerates over and over again is super hilarious. There’s also a B-plot where Wile E Coyote hunts down Kilowog for Lobo’s employer, and it’s nice to see him be competent and not just a punching bag for Road Runner. Jones’ take on Wile E is a little freaky, and he looks just like a mutated science experiment. Throw in a Morrison written and drawn backup where Lobo tries and fails to hunt Road Runner in the “kid-friendly” (Cartoon violence is more than okay.) Looney Tunes universe, and this is another excellent addition to the DC/Looney Tunes crossovers. Overall: 9.2 Recommendation: Buy

Life with Kevin #4 (Archie) Life with Kevin is back with plenty of pratfalls, smooching, and Veronica drama courtesy of writer/artist Dan Parent and inker J.Bone. Kevin has to deal with the social media fallout of his going on a prom date with a young gay high school student and uses this as an opportunity to call out networks for exploiting this touching moment for ratings. Young queer kids aren’t commodities. In the second half of the story, Kevin runs into his cheating ex Michael, who has become the star of a Spanish language soap opera. Parent pokes fun at soap opera tropes in the middle of a comic that has become one while still bringing the emotion because Kevin pines for Michael even though he know he’s bad for him. Life with Kevin #4 is super adorable, super funny, and has just the right amount of the feels to go with Parent’s great Archie house style art and baby blue palette. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Ryan C

black hammer 10.jpgRoyal City #4 (Image)** – Another fine, character-driven installment in Jeff Lemire’s beautifully laconic series, this issue probably would have benefited from having an editor give things a look as some of the internal monologues veer toward being overblown, but on the whole this book’s artfully-constructed humanity continues to impress and inspire. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Black Hammer #10 (Dark Horse)** – If you thought Jeff Lemire and Dean Ormston unloaded a whopper of a cliffhanger on readers last issue,wait until you see this one! My sole (and very slight) concern is that they may have given away just a bit too much about what’s really going with their jaw-dropper this time out, but they’ve consistently surprised me so far, and there’s probably no reason to doubt that they have further surprises up their sleeve. Consistently magnificent stuff that really does reward folks who read it in singles. Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

God Country #6 (Image)** – A superb wrap-to Donny Cates and Geoff Shaw’s heartbreakingly humane cosmic drama, this is a beautifully-scripted paean to love and loss between fathers and sons that will leave a lump in your throat and a tear in your eye, amazingly illustrated by Shaw and even more amazingly colored by Jason Wordie. The one and only strike against it is that it reduces the previous few issues of Kirby-esque space battles to a mere redundancy and once you regain your composure, you’ll realize this whole thing could have been told just as — perhaps even more — effectively in three or four chapters rather than six. Still, this is agonizingly powerful stuff, especially for those of us with aging parents who we want to say a lot to while they’re still with us. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Batman #25 (DC)** – A fairly solid start to the new “The War Of Jokes And Riddles” storyline that doesn’t “wow” by any means, but is definitely a continuation of the recent quality uptick we’ve seen on the book. Tom King seems to be easing into something of a “groove” with the scripting on this series, and Mikel Janin’s artwork is simply stunning, and whileI’m a bit concerned about the fact that this is yet another journey back into Batman’s past rather than a story that will move the narrative — and the character — forward, what the hell? So far, so (pretty) good. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

Patrick

IHateFairyland_13-1.pngI Hate Fairyland #13 (Image) – You know you’re onto something when you can start handing over your creator-owned series to guest artists and know that they won’t skip a beat. Dean Rankine handles the art on the story of Larry’s dream of a Gert-less life and he absolutely kills it. From the opening shot of fly maternity (which cannot be unseen), to the dung mines, to his ultimately meltdown on the Ellfen Show, every page is a wicked delight. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

The Old Guard #5 (Image) – Greg Rucka & Leandro Fernandez conclude their tale of immortal soldiers with many, many prices paid. Nothing earth-shaking here; it’s loud and fast-moving, but the action is solidly driven by the desires of the characters and everything actually makes dramatic sense, which is more than I can say for most action comics and movies. I think I’ve said it before, but if these two want to make more war comics I will buy them all. 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 (**).

A Cup of Tea & A Comic Issue Two: Commando 5017

In what may or may not become a new feature – although with this being the second post under that tagline, it’s looking more likely that it will be – I decided to make a cup of tea (PG Tips again) and sit down and read a comic or two whilst I drank said cuppa. My intention isn’t to read review copies, or digital copies if I can help it, but either graphic novels, TPBs, or floppy comics because I much prefer to relax with a physical comic. I may have read them before, or they may have been on my “To Read” pile for far too long.  Whether this happens monthly, weekly, daily… never again… will depend entirely on the time I have.

This week, I sat down with one of the issues of Commando I picked up in the UK.

As big as my cup is, Commando is half the size of a regular sized modern comic.

Commando is an incredibly long running bi-weekly series that tends to feature a standalone story in each issue (though I could be wrong), with multiple issues being released each month. I actually picked up two different issues, but I only sat down and read #5017 today.

Despite having lived in England for near twenty years (at least ten to twelve of which I would have been capable of reading this series) I had never read, or really even heard of, Commando until I saw it pop up in a feature in the British magazine Comic Heroes – but I couldn’t tell you which one at this point. Needless to say when I saw the issue on the shelves of a newsagent, I grabbed it.

commando 5017 interior

The comic itself was finished long before the tea, as although it had 60 plus pages of black and white artwork that has, on average, two panels a page. Because the artwork isn’t as crisp as some of the larger size comics, there was a little more narrative description than you would typically see in comics today, instead echoing back to the 60’s where comics were heavier with the narration text boxes. This issue focused on the exploits of a German tank crew during the second World War, and I’ll admit to being unsure of how I should feel reading a story that positioned the side of the conflict that has traditionally been positioned as The Enemy in almost every WWII story I have ever read, watched, or played. At the end of the day, however, not every member of the German army during that time was complicit in the horrific crimes perpetrated by the Nazi party, and I think stories such as these will do their part in reminding us of that.

The story itself was pretty decent, nothing special, but still worth the two pounds (roughly $3.50 Canadian) I spent on it. Had I known that the story focused on the characters it did prior to purchase… I don’t know whether I’d have picked it up. It wasn’t until I got a couple pages in that I figured out where the story was going.

Overall, not a bad comic to sit for a cup of tea with, and certainly not one I would have typically picked up had I not been trying to grab some British comics on my trip over back in May.

Story: Colin Watson Artist: Vicente Alcazar

Underrated: Great Comics Not In Diamond’s Top 100 Sellers For May

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: Comics not in Diamonds top 100 sellers for May.


This week we’re going to be looking at a list of comics that are all fantastic, but don’t get the attention that they deserve. Now I’m not even going to pretend to have a definitively exhaustive list of underrated comics here, because we’re hoping  that you decide to check at least one of these series out next time you’re looking for something new either online or at your LCS, and giving you a huge list to check out would be counter productive to that. Instead, you’ll find six(ish) comics that are worth your attention that failed to crack the top 100 in sales. You’ll notice that there’s only one comic from a publisher featured – this was done to try and spread the love around, rather than focus exclusively on one publisher.

Where possible, I’ve also avoided comics that have appeared on the last version of this list, but the only hard stipulation for this week: not one of the comics made it into the top 100 for May’s comic sales, according to Comichron, which is why they’re Underrated.

 

croak 1.jpgCroak #1 (Alterna)
May Sales Rank/Comics Sold: 424 /2,906
Alterna’s range of newsprint comics have been a fantastic addition to my pull list, with the stories on offer crossing numerous different genres and styles, and each one easily being worth the price of admission. Croak is a fantastic little horror tale that’ dripping atmosphere from every panel – if horror isn’t your thing, I’d still recommend you give this a shot. It’s more a thriller/psychological horror style of comic, and one that benefits from the newsprint adding a murky, retro feel to the art. I’m a big fan of the newsprint idea, and thankfully this comic lives up to the promise.

4 Kids Walk Into A Bank #4 (Black Mask)
May Sales Rank/Comics Sold: 263 /6,706
There have been some significant delays surrounding this series, which is a genuine shame because the momentum the series had been gathering seems to have dissipated a little bit, but if you can find the individual issues then this is a series that’s going to take you on quite an unexpectedly brilliant ride.

TMNT #69 (IDW)
May Sales Rank/Comics Sold: 169 /13,726
Ninja Turtles fan? You’ll love this. It’s a brilliant series that has been quietly chugging along for nearly seventy issues for a good reason.

XO2017_003_COVER-B_ROCAFORTX-O Manowar #3 (Valiant)
May Sales Rank/Comics Sold: 152 /16,002
Perhaps my most loved on going series right now, X-O Manowar can be best described as Space Conan. Every issue is a joy to read and experience. Seriously I can’t express just how great a series this has been over the last few issues, and Matt Kindt’s reluctant-soldier story meshes really well with the phenomenal artwork of Tomas Giorello and Diego Rodriguez give an almost effervescent quality to the pages in your hands. Quite simply, this series is one you have to check out.


Unless the comics industry ceases any and all publication look for a future installment of Underrated to cover more comics that aren’t cracking the top 100.

Review: Plague #2

plague 2 coverIn Plague, the bubonic plague that ravages Europe in the 1370s is actually a biological weapon created by the Catholic Church to kill off the magical creatures of the world: fairies, trolls, sprites, etc.  One man, Warbishop Jean de Moray, has made it his personal mission to spread the plague, but an unlikely trio rises up to oppose him: Twylyth Tegg, the brash new King of the Fey, Danann Atreyu, a refugee fairy who still harbors hope for the goodness in humankind, and Robb Aubert, a country friar who can’t believe his church is behind this horrible disease.

The above description is actually from the solicitation of the first issue, but I included it here to give you a general sense of the comic’s direction. I quite enjoyed the first issue, and due to a sorting snafu on my end, I only read it a few days ago so it’s still pretty fresh in my mind – which is good  because this issue picks up right where the first one left off.

Zach Brunner remains consistent throughout the series; his art certainly has a unique flavour to it that blends well with the alternate history take on the origins of the Black Plague. With Brunner handling full duties here, he shines brightest during the scene that is shown on the cover above. Just like the first issue, the art is once again the highlight of the comic, but unlike the previous issue the quality gap feels a little more pronounced.

The promise shown in the first issue hasn’t materialized quite yet, held back by dialogue that doesn’t have a natural feel about it, with the same thing often being said in a slightly different way which has a knock on effect to the pacing of the issue which suffers a little as a result. Of course, you may feel differently, and if you do then I hope you feel I’m being overly harsh; Plague has a really awesome concept behind it, but as yet the comic isn’t quite as good as I wanted it to be.

That being said, when reading Plague #2 you’ll notice narration text boxes throughout the pages which lend a nice throwback feel to the comic’s story telling, and also reminded me of how much I enjoy a well placed narration box which is something that works well in this issue.

I wanted to enjoy this comic more than I did, so while it didn’t quite leave me desperate for more, I’m still not done with the series yet; the aforementioned promise still feels as though it’s lurking just behind the next tree.

Story: Dennis MaGee Fallon, Jason Palmatier
Art: Zach Brunner Letters: Dave Sharpe
Story: 6.0 Art: 7.75 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read

Graphic Policy was provided with a FREE copy for review

Review: Britannia: We Who Are About To Die #3

“Wrath of the gods!

The women of Rome march to rebellion! Magic and mystery continue to intertwine as the clock ticks down to Rubria’s final hours. Will Antonius Axia and his mysterious new partner—the brutal female gladiator known as Achillia—untangle the knots that threaten to hang the Roman Empire…or will Nero finally obtain the dark power he lusted for? As the beaten ghost of Apollo finally rises to cast his dark judgment on all of Rome, history’s first detective must act swiftly before humanity’s final hours slip into madness!”

There are three glaring questions I had upon reading this issue that I really want to talk about first and foremost because ultimately they took me out of the comic too early. Now, I am aware that I may be overly tough on the comic, and that you may not agree, but I feel that these things warrant a mention. There will be minor spoilers for certain events within We Who Are About To Die #3, but I will attempt to avoid plot spoiler where possible.

  • “We’re doomed anyway. You might as well talk…” Because having a conversation during intense physical exercise where you are fighting for your life is a priority – or even an easy thing to do.
  • Ten minutes is a long time when fighting. I don’t have much experience in gladiatorial fighting, but I have fenced and regularly play archery tag. Ten minutes… the fight would have been long over, and the time was used as a brief pause. Had it been ten seconds, I wouldn’t have noticed. But ten minutes?
  • How the hell did a certain character get back on the streets after casually walking into an arena and have Nero call for his death? Did Nero forget that he’s not a prisoner? Did he care? Did nobody else think to stop him?

These three bullet points aren’t the only problems I had with this issue, but they’re the most glaring ones. Unfortunately, despite Juan Jose Ryp‘s hyper detailed art (that’s so great during the action scenes), We Who Are About To Die #3 continues the downward trend set by the second issue (which I didn’t review) as Peter Milligan takes a very interesting concept with a lot of potential and throws the baby out with the bathwater because of a few simple things that I outlined above.

I haven’t mentioned that the story seems to hover between wanting to be a supernatural tale and wanting to be a realistic story. This isn’t helped by Antonius Axia’s stubborn refusal to believe in the supernatural despite all he’s seen so far – at this point it’s probably time he opened his bloody eyes and pulled his head out of his arse. Nor have I mentioned how for a comic that should be detail orientated with Axia acting as the first detective, he seems to have information dropped onto his head more than he does figure it out.

And in what world would a smart man willingly walk into an arena commonly used for fighting to the death to ask somebody a question? Apparently this one (in issue #2)!

Look, it may seem as though I’m being overly harsh on the comic, but with the promise shown both during the first miniseries and in the synopsis of this series… I just feel like there’s a better story beneath the flaws of this issue. I don’t know whether we’ll get it at this point. Ultimately, this is still worth reading if you’ve read this far into the series, but just be aware that it’s not as solid as previous issues in the series.

Story: Peter Milligan Art: Juan Jose Ryp Colourist: Frankie D’Armata
Story: 6 Art: 8.25 Overall: 6.75
Recommendation: Read if you’re invested. Pass if you’re not

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review. 

Review: God Country #6

GodCountry_06-1Emmet Quinlan, an old widower rattled by dementia, isn’t just a problem for his children—his violent outbursts are more than the local cops can handle. When a tornado levels his home—as well as the surrounding West Texas town—a restored Quinlan rises from the wreckage. The enchanted sword at the eye of the storm gives him more than a sound mind and body, however. He’s now the only man who can face the otherworldly creatures the sword has drawn down to the Lone Star State…

The first paragraph above is the sales pitch for the first issue, but still works very well as a series overview because it gives very little away.

Anyway.

God Country has one of the more interestingly unique concepts in comics; that of an Alzheimer’s patient who is cured when his hand touches a twelve foot sword, only to be drawn into the soap  opera like world of space gods that have more than a passing resemblance to the Greco-Roman pantheons. Written by Donny Cates, who also co-wrote The Paybacks with Eliot Rahal; that series looked at the other side of superheroing with a starkly funny focus on a group of knock off characters serving as superpowered repomen (and women) struggling to emerge from the crippling debt their equipment put them in. On the surface, God Country may have little in common with The Paybacks other than half of the writing team (and Geoff Shaw‘s art), that’s certainly true on a superficial thematic level, but at their core both series focus on something quite relatable: people and their struggles against every day adversity.

Emmet Quinlan’s family have been struggling with the horror of watching a loved one slip away whilst suffering from Alzheimer’s, and their struggles are all too relatable to far to many of us. Cates doesn’t make light of that struggle, nor does he glamourize it, and instead has chosen to portray it as the familial devastation that it so frequently is. Of course, with this being a comic book called God Country, that’s not what the comic is about. At least not in it’s entirety. While Emmet’s disease does form the backbone of his desire to keep his hand on the sword that returned his mind, it’s the conflict with the space gods who want the sword back that provides the more immediate physical threat.

Ultimately though, this story is so much more than it seems on the surface.

God Country is that rare beast that uses a well thought out high concept science fiction or fantasy premise to tell the most human of stories. It is truly a work of art that had my eyes sweaty with respect – and that doesn’t happen very often when I read comics.

If you haven’t read this series, then you’re missing out on one of the best stories in fiction this year.

Story: Donny Cates Art: Geoff Shaw Colours: Jason Wordie with Dee Cunniffe
Story: 10 Art: 9 Overall:  9.5 Recommendation:  Buy

Image provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review.

Review: Rapture #2

“Might meets magic!

As Babel’s dark forces in the Deadside rise, the afterlife’s last chance at survival rests in the living’s greatest champions. But to save heaven itself, MI-6 agent Colin King – aka Ninjak– must confront his greatest fears…and place his trusted steel against the fantastic and unknown powers of sorcery. With Punk Mambo, Tama the Geomancer, and the fallen hero Shadowman at his side, Ninjak will lead the supernatural’s greatest champions into a suicide mission against beasts and barbarians…and the very gods themselves!”

You know those comics that you read and genuinely liked but don’t have much to say about it? That’s where I am right now with this issue, so this review may be shorter than normal, but these things happen.

Usually when talking about the art in a comic you’d start with the line artist, or inker, but I’m bucking the trend today because Andrew Dalhouse‘s colouring work is transcendent. His work bringing the various Loa to life adds some genuine brightness to the pages; I don’t always say how impressive  Dalhouse is in a comic because he’s always so consistent, but he seems to have stepped up a notch here, although that could also be a result of the kinetic line work from Cafu with some assistance from Roberto De La Torre. The art team have delivered a beautiful looking comic, and thankfully Matt Kindt is on form here.

I’m a big fan of the relationship between Ninjak and Punk Mambo (seriously, you could have told me this was a team-up comic with these two and I’d have brought it – Shadowman was a secondary consideration for me), and his stubborn refusal of magic is done in a way that enables some entertaining one liners while also setting up a believable technological counter weapon – I won’t elaborate more.

I genuinely enjoyed this issue; the story and the art were both on point, and combine for a comic that’s greater than the sum of its parts.

Story: Matt Kindt Art: Cafu with Roberto De La Torre
Colour Art: Andrew Dalhouse
Story: 8 Art: 8.75 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

DC Rebirth Recap And Review For Comics Released 6/14

Welcome to Graphic Policy’s DC Rebirth: Recap And Review where we take a look at the comics released under DC‘s Rebirth banner and try to work out just how accessible they are for new readers – 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.

Each comic will receive a rating of Friendly or Unfriendly based on how easy it was for

new readers to pick them up; the ratings are based solely on the issues released in the post-Rebirth ongoing series. More consideration regarding the comic’s accessibility will be given for the specific issue being read rather than the series overall, but if reading a back issue will help, then that will be mentioned. Generally, the quality of an issue won’t be discussed unless it directly impacts a new reader’s enjoyment of the series.

You may notice that not every comic is covered week to week, and that’s because I  sometimes forget to read them  (although that doesn’t happen often). If I have missed an issue, typically I won’t go looking for back issues to catch up on events – this feature is all about accessibility for new readers, after all.


AC_Cv981_dsAction Comics #981 Superman’s greatest enemies are teaming up to destroy him. The Eradictor and Cyborg Superman have just freed General Zod, and Superman has been caught in an unpenetrable darkness called the black vault where he’s face to face with his failures… oddly a Friendly comic.

Dark Days: The Forge #1 Technically a first issue, this comic pulls heavily from the end of Scott Snyder’s run in the New 52, and beyond into DC’s past. I feel as though I’m missing something here, but I’m pretty sure I’m not – for a brand spanking new fan this may not be too accessible, but if you’re willing to let the mystery unfold for you then it is Friendly.

Detective Comics #958 The first part of a new story that is an entirely new jumping on point. The only relevant bit if you’re utterly unaware as to the happenings in this comic is that Batman has a team in Gotham (he seems to have a lot of teams lately), and Clayface is on it. It’s a Friendly issue.

Hal Jordan And The Green Lantern Corps #22 A new story, Fracture, starts up here, and it’s as Friendly a place as any to start.

Justice League Of America #8 I really don’t enjoy reading this series all that often… but this is a Friendly place to start, assuming you’re aware of the line up. And funnily enough, it’s not a bad place to start, either.

NSM_Cv12_dsNew Super-Man #12 A relatively Unfriendly place to start, but an enjoyable comic nonetheless. The issue has some pretty interesting revelations regarding the New Super-Man’s past, Wonder-Woman’s past… and really a lot of things to reward those who have been with the series for a few issues (or are reading in trade).

Red Hood And The Outlaws #11 So here’s the thing: this is a Friendly comic because of Red Hood’s narration. I couldn’t remember any of the previous issue (at least not enough to give you a recap), but was able to enjoy this nonetheless.

Suicide Squad #19 Unless you’re reading this because it’s a tie-in to the Action Comics story currently running through that series, then this is an Unfriendly issue that new readers will really struggle to follow along with if you want to follow a plot… but this is a greatly entertaining comic nonetheless.

Superwoman #11 This is actually the second part of a new story, and I clearly missed the first part. Lana Lang’s powers somehow returned after they vanished (it’s explained later in the issue), making this issue quite Friendly, despite my utter lack of a recap.

The Flash #24 Barry actually gives a pretty decent recap of the the first part of the story himself during his internal monologue, and the rest you can piece together easily enough yourself as this Friendly issue progresses.

Titans #12 If you give the comic time to breath, this is a Friendly issue that doesn’t need a recap. You can piece together the bit of info you need for the issue to make sense from the included dialogue, and anything you can’t isn’t that relevant just yet.

Wonder Woman #24  The finale of a twelve issue story may not be ideal to start with, and I don’t want to ruin the story because it’s worth reading…  so I won’t. But, oddly, this is somewhat Friendly.

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 6/17

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.


Alex

CATALYST PRIME ACCELL #1Accell #1 (Catalyst Prime/Lion Forge) This was a really fun comic, and one I highly recommend you checking out. There’s quite a few variations on the speedster type hero, but I don’t think I’ve seen the power set done quite like this before – and then when you add in the brilliant nods to video games and gaming culture… then you’ve got a genuinely interesting comic that I want a lot more of. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Ben Reilly: Scarlet Spider #3 (Marvel) I can’t say this was bad… but then I can’t really say it was good either. At least Kaine was in it – that’s worth a point on its own. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Read

Noble #1 (Catalyst Prime/Lion Forge) Another solid win for the publisher this week. You could do a lot worse than this comic that’s basically twenty odd pages of well drawn action. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Weapon X #4 (Marvel) Meh… I’ve read worse comics. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Read.

X-Men Blue #5 (Marvel) I missed the last couple issues of this series, but ultimately that didn’t hamper my enjoyment of this issue. It was a fairly standard X-Men fight issue, which certainly helped my ease of reading, but there wasn’t a whole lot more than that if I’m being honest. Still, enjoyable for what it was. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

George

DDFORGE_Cv1_Andy_Kubert_varDark Days The Forge #1 (DC) I’ve been staying away from big events but DC goes all out for DARK DAYS THE FORGE #1 and it pays off with a “Dan Brown” historical, super cosmic mystery that only the Batman can solve. Without spoiling anything, Snyder & Tynion take full advantage of their all-star art team who help us follow a dark mystery of the DCU that Batman has been investigating for years. This dark secret has somehow connections to the Guardians and Nth metal. Besides the secret, the team and assets that Batman puts into play has some great twists and turns, bringing back some of my favorite characters. Recommendation: worth the buy.

Christopher

dept h 15Dept H #15 (Dark Horse) -Matt Kindt does an interesting flashback almost continuously throughout the issue. Revealing more of Mia’s past with her father. A romantic past with Alain, and his subtle influence of why she went down there in the first place. Lending a sense of time to the series overall. The watercolor artwork continues to stand out, as the story seems to deepen. Yet given how only a couple issue remain to be released, how will the story end? Will Mia find out who killed her father? Will they return the surface? Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Ryan C

Briggs Land: Lone Wolves #1 (Dark Horse)** – I guess they’re going the route of starting over with a new first issue for every arc of Brian Wood and Mack Chater’s series, and while I’m not sure how successful that will be in coaxing new readers to “jump on,” the high-stakes drama on hand here certainly will keep those of us who have been reading from the start onboard. A semi-accidental hostage standoff appears as though it’s going to be the focal point of this “new” run, and while I’m still highly dubious (to say the least) about the morals of an admitted serial sexual harasser chronicling the lives of racist white separatists, I have to admit this is addicting stuff, superbly illustrated. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

BlackHood-SeasonTwo_05-0VThe Black Hood #5 (Archie/Dark Circle)** – The final issue of “season” two of this series is the end of the road for it (and, I would assume, the Dark Circle label) altogether, it seems, and while Duane Swierczynski and Greg Scott build to a fairly satisfying climax between our two protagonists and their adversary for the bulk of this installment, the whiplash-inducing last couple of pages do wrap things up a bit too haphazardly — not that it could probably be helped, given that the book’s pink slip had come in. Nice to see things left open for the possibility of a return, though — even if it’ll never happen. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

Kingpin #5 (Marvel)** – I was enjoying the heck out of the final issue of Matthew Rosemberg and Ben Torres’ mini-series, which plays on the classic “Daredevil” trope of a fixed fight, but then things get really oblique and ill-defined at the end, and it really does let the side down considerably. Lovely art throughout, though, it must be said. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Read if you’ve been doing so, skip if you haven’t.

Copperhead #14 (Image)** – Jay Faerber and Drew Moss put the wraps on the long-awaited return arc for this sci-fi/western amalgamation, and while the murder mystery plotline gets wrapped up a bit too quickly and conveniently for my tastes, the various subplots that have been converging on our sheriff start to bubble to the surface with some serious fervor, and the future for this book looks very exciting indeed — especially now that Moss is really hitting his stride on the art. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Allie

There’s Nothing There #2 (Black Mask) Still very mediocre. Still feels awkward and stilted. Still feels like writer quietly detests women who are socialites and the culture around them. Still no real clues into whatever intrigue is supposedhappening. Still doesn’t really feel like horror because nothing about it feels personal. Still very much a letdown. Recommendation: Hard Pass

Shean

Vision Directors Cut #1(Marvel) In what is truly a “slice of life”, the Vision builds a VISIONDIRCUT2017002family : a wife, Virginia and kids, Viv and Val. As much as the family attempts to be normal, they run into a ton of conundrums which challenge their notion of normal. Eventually, their super-selves catch up with their lives and they have to fight the Reaper. As their daughter gets taken, the Vision goes on a mission to find her. Great book with all the extras you expect from a Directors cut. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

The Defenders #1 (Marvel) In this debut issue of the soon to be Netflix miniseries, we catch up with the gang soon after Jessica gets shot. Apparently Diamondback is alive and well and the Defenders busted up one of his establishments. Meanwhile, Diamondback attempts to forge an alliance with Black Cat. Altogether, a great reintroduction to these heroes in a group dynamic but what is the real buyin to this book is Marquez’s gorgeous art, as he is almost like the second coming of Alex Ross. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Black Panther and The Crew #3 (Marvel) In the first few pages, the reader is taken into a hidden history of how some of the areas where indigenous peoples inhabited, where we find out much like Harlem, they also had their own heroes.Also, In this issue of this superior series, T’Challa and Ororo uncover what seems at first to be a project development to gentrify Harlem but something more sinister is at play. When the reader finds out what happened, a tragedy occurs. By issue’s end, another hero to Harlem shows up, Luke Cage, as Hydra will have their hands full. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Patrick

Cinema Purgatorio #10 (Avatar)** Alan Moore & Kevin O’Neill crack open the door on cinema purgatorio 10.jpga concept I want so, so much more of: kid investigators and Cthulhu. The idea is so strong (Lovecraftian haunted seaside cinema) that I couldn’t help but be disappointed with the execution, which is constrained by the format of the series. Think I’ll go and dig up some Ramsey Campbell stories. In Code Pru, Garth Ennis and Raulo Caceres dig into Pru’s past with her adoptive parents Annabelle and Alabaster. Maybe not for everyone, but I’m quite enjoying watching Pru try to be normal in a world of relentless horror. Line of the ish: “Mom, I’m not worshipping a thing that f*cks itself in the face.” – “You are or you’re grounded!” And onto Kieron Gillen and Nahuel Lopez’ Modded, which has grown on me, but this one’s a bit of a placeholder, setting up what should be a corker of a next chapter, in which our heroes go shopping for demons. Purgatorio: 8, Code Pru: 8.5, Modded: 8 Recommendation: read but it’s too expensive for what you get

Bitch Planet Triple Feature #1 (Image)**  Interesting spinoff from the main series, letting other creators explore this world. Briefly: “Windows” by Cheryl Lynn Eaton and Maria Frôhlich features an interesting character in Lupe, a nurse on BP who’s hung out to dry and given a “soft landing” as a maid. “Without and Within” by Andrew Aydin and Joanna Estep goes behind the scenes of what seems to be Congress, and a poor secretary’s first day on the job. “The Invisible Woman” by Conley Lyons and Craig Yeung tells the story of a hairdo gone wrong. They were all okay, I guess, but I expected work that was much, much sharper – especially in short story mode. “Windows” felt like it was the only piece that was actually set in the world of BP, as the other two could almost have taken place today. The stories here don’t yet fully complement BP either in style or in substance, but I’m fairly confident that this will improve as the series progresses. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Read

Image‘s statement on Divided States of Hysteria. Having reviewed the new Chaykin last week, I felt compelled to look at Eric Stephenson’s statement about the “conversation”. I couldn’t disagree more with nearly everything in it. This book couldn’t be more escapist, relying on the exploitation of fears of the other (in just about every category: Muslims, POC, trans women) in the name of “rebelliousness” and “not pulling any punches”. But I reiterate: all of the punches are aimed down. The statement relies on a fallacy of false balance, i.e. that people who are factually wrong are just part of “the conversation” (in the way that creationism in science curricula is “teaching the controversy”). Completely absent from Chaykin’s book is, in fact, anyone actually working towards progress and justice, actually striving for “discourse, understanding, and cooperation”, and reducing what has become a life-and-death fight for rights and recognition to “opposing viewpoints.” Hysteria, in substance, is so one-sided, so cherrypicking in its choices of “worst aspects of reality” that it’s hard to see how it can add anything to a “productive conversation about the present state of our society.” Overall: 2 Recommendation: Read, but I sure as hell didn’t buy it.


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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