Author Archives: Alex K Cossa

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Review: The Visitor #5

The Visitor #5

With only two of the Visitor’s targets left standing, what extreme lengths will he go to in order to finish the job? Find out as The Visitor #5 returns the series to the stands.

It has been more than a year since I read an issue of The Visitor, and in that time I’ve read a lot of comics (unfortunately due to a harddrive crash I’ve lost the pdfs that I would have used to refresh myself on the story, and my floppy issues are in a short box somewhere that isn’t as organized as I want it to be), and so I’m going into this using only my memory and the recap page to catch up with the story so far. The recap page does well enough to bring a person up to speed with the events of the previous four issues, thankfully, because I don’t know how well my memory was doing.

After over a year waiting for The Visitor to return, I’ll freely admit that I’m not sure it was worth the wait. The comic wasn’t bad, but it definitely suffers from the extended break; a lot of the characters were unfamiliar to me once again, but this is an easy fix if you reread the previous couple of issues.

The Visitor #5 is written by Paul Levitz and features artist MJ Kim, colorist Ulises Arreola, and letterer Simon Bowland. I previously wrote that “[the comic] follows the titular character as he’s trying to eliminate something that the Japanese scientists he’s hunting are working on and the UN Security agent Dauber assigned to protect them. Levitz keeps things entirely believable when the scientists keep frustrating Dauber’s efforts to keep them safe by insisting on their secrecy as they all underestimate the Visitor.” It’s still true. so I’m leaving it here because I don’t need to update the summary from the second to the fifth issue, really. The chase is now just a little further ahead, although with the fifth issue of The Visitor we finally understand what the program is that the scientists are working on, and knowing what it is will give some longtime Valiant readers an idea as to how the book will end.

There were a couple of moments where the art didn’t make sense to me from a chronological point of view; specifically when the Visitor confronts Dauber, initially it looks like he does so in front of a crowd of armed guards, though the following panels indicate she’s nowhere near any guards. It’s not a story breaker for me, but it definitely took me out of the comic for a bit.

The Visitor‘s return wasn’t bad, but this isn’t a comic for anybody other than those who have read the first four issues and want to know how the story ends.

Story: Paul Levitz Art: MJ Kim
Color: Diego Rodriguez Letterer: Simon Bowland
Story: 6.9 Art: 7 Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus Comics

Review: By The Horns #2

By the Horns #2

I always try and be objective when writing a review,though how successful I am is usually debatable, especially when I’m as excited to read a book as I am By The Horns #2. I’ve made no secret of my admiration for the work from this creative team, across the three Voracious miniseries and the first issue of By The Horns, although I will also freely admit that I tend to have higher expectations from the creative team (writer Markisan Naso, artist Jason Muhr, and colorist Andrei Tabacaru) than I do other comics. And yet despite those higher standards, I am constantly astonished at what arrives in my inbox.

By The Horns #2 is no exception.

This is a book I have been waiting to read for almost four months, and it did not disappoint.

This issue finds our unicorn hating and hunting hero Elodie and her deer/wolf/pony/friend Sajen make their way to the island home of Futen, the Dark Demon Sorcerer of the Western Wind, to have a chat about unicorns. The chat… well let’s just say that it makes for a fantastic read.

The opening of this book explains why Elodie has a mad hate on for unicorns, and I have to say that there’s more emotion and heartbreak in those near silent three pages than I’ve seen in some Nicholas Sparks movies. For comparison, it’s like the opening to Up with Carl and Ellie’s love/life story, but focusing on a specific moment. Those three pages set you up for what to expect from Muhr and Tabacaru for the rest of the comic; some pretty bloody gorgeous art work.

Muhr’s visual storytelling is wonderful, and I’ll always enjoy how he lays out his pages. There’s an elegant simplicity to his panels, though the first double page spread has more of an ethereal sense to it – in part I’m sure because of the colouring. The darker hues are at odds with the brightness in the following pages which adds a layer of unease for the reader upon opening the comic.

By The Horns is a fantasy series set in a universe that’s akin to a typical steampunk setting in terms of technology; on the surface it looks like a typical fantasy setting, but one you start paying attention you’ll notice some fantastic things; I won’t lie, I obsessed over Elodie’s boat far too much for a boat in a comic.

It’s within this rich tapestry of art that Naso’s story springs to life. I swear to you, this dude knows how to write a compelling comic; he’s one of the few writers I’d pick up anything he writes because he’s incredibly consistent (well technically that’s a lie – as with Muhr and Tabacaru, Naso is a better writer now than when he first penned Voracious, but you get the point I’m making; I’ve yet to read a bad comic from this man). By The Horns #2 is so much fun; there’s an incredible amount of detail and subtle nods within the art – more than I want to specifically mention because half the fun is in seeing how the team have framed the story within the comic.

By The Horns #2 is probably the best issue to come from this creative team, which surprises me because my expectations were sky high already. Naso, Muhr and Tabacaru are one of those rare teams where everything just clicks into place, and we end up with a fantastic comic book.

Story: Markisan Naso Art/Lettering: Jason Muhr Colors: Andrei Tabacaru
Story: 9.5 Art: 9.8 Overall: 9.7 Recommendation: Buy

Scout Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: Zeus ComicsTFAWScout Comics

Mini Reviews and Recommendations For The Week Ending 05/29/2021

Sometimes, the staff at Graphic Policy read more comics than we’re able to get reviewed. When that happens you’ll see a weekly feature compiling short reviews from the staff of the comics, or graphic novels, we just didn’t get a chance to write a full review for. Given the lack of new comics, expect this weekly update to begin featuring comics that we think you’ll enjoy while you can’t get anything new to read – only new to you.

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews and Recommendations.


Logan

Mister Miracle: The Source of Freedom #1 (DC)– Featuring day-glo color palette from Rico Renzi, exciting layouts from Fico Ossio, and poignant commentary on being a Black man in the United States (and entertainment industry) from Brandon Easton, Mister Miracle #1 really has it all. Shilo Norman gets put into a variety of situations in Mister Miracle #1 from an eye popping stunt in the opening scene to dealing with microaggressions from his manager and even acting like an asshole on a date and only talking about his job. He’s a character struggling to find an identity in a click driven, late capitalist hellscape, and the villain that Easton and Ossio set up for him seems derivative at first, but it actually comments on racist comics fan who are angry that characters of color are picking up the mantles of white characters. Mister Miracle #1 balances all these excellent elements and looks gorgeous too, especially in the color department. Overall: 8.8 Verdict: Buy

Made in Korea #1 (Image)– Made in Korea is a nice, little sci-fi story about a middle class family that gets a discount on a “proxy”, or some kind of robot child is manufactured in South Korea. Writer Jeremy Holt and artist George Schall spend a good portion of the book showing the parents bonding with their new daughter, Jesse with plenty of adorable sequences. However, Schall’s sterile color palette and the starkness at his art senses at something a little more sinister going on in a parallel story of a workaholic, Korean computer programmer. Jesse might not be the nice, shy, yet curious girl that she seems to be from the outset. Overall: 8.0 Verdict: Buy

Beta Ray Bill #3 (Marvel)– Daniel Warren Johnson and Michael Spicer’s Beta Ray Bill continues to be a flat out good time of bright colors, big sound effects, and even bigger guns as Bill, Pip, Skurge, and a newly humanoid Skuttlebutt try to find the Twilight Sword of Muspelheim. This issue is heavy on action and adventure with Skurge living life like he’s in a first person shooter, and Skuttlebutt going all Optimus Prime in another impressive widescreen setpiece from Johnson. However, Beta Ray Bill #3 isn’t just an epic quest, but it’s turning into a surprisingly sweet love story with Bill and Skuttlebutt going on what is basically a first date. Daniel Warren Johnson writes them in a charming, yet awkward way, and I’m rooting for these crazy Korbinite/AI ship kids. Overall: 8.7 Verdict: Buy

Reptil #1 (Marvel)– It’s been a long time since Avengers Academy and Avengers Arena, but Reptil finally gets a solo series thanks to Terry Blas, Enid Balam, Victor Olazaba, and Carlos Lopez. Blas, Balam, and Olazaba know that readers might be unfamiliar with Reptil’s backstory so they catch us up to speed in a double page spread that also doubles as dinosaur tracks. He has a genuinely cool power set, but (for now) Reptil is done with the hero thing and just wants to focus on helping his grandpa get better, which is why he moves to L.A. with his aunt and cousins. Plotwise, Terry Blas takes his time setting up the dynamic between Reptil and his twin cousins Eva and Julian before introducing any superhero elements. However, Enid Balam and Victor Olazaba seem to truly have a ball when Reptil transforms into a dinosaur for the first time as the panels shift and move across the page. A fairly generic villain aside, Reptil #1 is a charming reintroduction to a hero with cool powers, who also happens to be one of Marvel’s few Mexican-American superheroes. Overall: 7.9 Verdict: Buy

The Blue Flame #1 (Vault)– Christopher Cantwell and Adam Gorham mash up the cosmic space hero and the blue collar, street level hero in The Blue Flame #1. I love how Gorham and colorist K. Michael Russell shift their art style from something feathery and ethereal when Blue Flame is exploring an uncharted planet to a more meat and potatoes, 1980s superhero style (pre-Image founders) when he’s on Earth with his team, the Night Brigade. The Blue Flame #1 establishes the duality of our protagonist, who is curious about exploring different planets and alien civilizations, but also does every day shit like clear out his drive way, fix boilers, and have romantic tension with one of his teammates. Christopher Cantwell and Adam Gorham don’t deconstruct or add anything new to the superhero genre, but combine two subgenres and focus on characterization while also having a big, damn hook in the final pages. Overall: 8.5 Verdict: Buy

Money Shot #11 (Vault)– The new arc starts with the XXXPlorers adding a new scientist/porn star to their team, Yasmin, because their leader Christine thought she looked attractive as a talking head on a TV show. However, she doesn’t really have “chemistry” with the rest of the team, and ratings go high, plummet, and plateau off. New series artist Caroline Leigh Layne hits the right balance between humorous and erotic while Sarah Beattie and Tim Seeley’s script shows the importance of being a responsive and giving partner, which Yasmin is not. There’s also some good satire as the planet that the XXXplorers go to is similar to Earth and has similar issues with climate change, but because they can’t reverse these problems, they just enjoy a psychedelic plant. Between the sexy hijinks and mishaps, Money Shot #11 has a tone of existential crisis as the characters start to question whether they’re doing this to get ratings and stay solvent or to actually make the world a better place. Overall: 8.0 Verdict: Buy


Well, there you have it, folks. The reviews we didn’t quite get a chance to write. See you next week!

Please note that with some of the above comics, Graphic Policy was provided FREE copies for review. Where we purchased the comics, you’ll see an asterisk (*). If you don’t see that, you can infer the comic was a review copy. In cases where we were provided a review copy and we also purchased the comic you’ll see two asterisks (**).

Those Two Geeks Episode 116: The Eternals Trailer, and Hasbro’s Fan First Thursday Thoughts.

Alex and Joe go over the Eternals trailer and this week’s Marvel Legends reveal from Hasbro.

As always, Alex and Joe can be found on Twitter respectively @karcossa and @jcb_smark if you feel the need to tell them they’re wrong individually, or @those2geeks if you want to yell at them together on twitter, or by email at ItsThose2Geeks@gmail.com.

Underrated: The Bill Schelly Reader

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: The Bill Schelly Reader.


I’ve never been shy about my interest in comic book history, and it was when I was searching for some new books to scratch the itch, I came across The Bill Schelly Reader, a book by Bill Schelly that collects some of his finest prose work on the early history of comics and fandom.

Borrowing the text from the back of the book, because that’ll give you a better synopsis than anything I’ll write:

Bill Schelly has been writing about comics and fandom since 1965. In over 50 years one can do a lot of writing, and The Bill Schelly Reader includes some of the author’s best work on subjects ranging from the golden age of comic fandom to James Bond.

Schelly takes us back to the very beginnings of comic fandom with such articles as:

  • “Batmania”: a short history of the early 1960s fanzine (the first fanzine Bill Schelly ever read) credited for a resurgence of interest in Batman comics during a time of dwindling sales
  • “The First Comicons”: a retrospective on the first conventions organized by comics fans, from the Alley Tally Party to larger events in major cities like New York and Chicago
  • “It Started on Yancy Street”: an issue-by-issue look at the first fanzine devoted entirely to Marvel Comics, and why an unwelcome decision by Marvel led to its demise

In addition, book includes articles about the Silver Age Batman, Hawkman by Joe Kubert, the James Bond books by Ian Fleming, and an interview with the author. With dozens of vintage photos and images!

I’d never knowingly read one of Schelly’s essays before, though that’s mostly because I never got much of an opportunity to read Alter Ego where a lot of his essays were published. Over the course of The Bill Schelly Reader, Schelly dives into the early stages of comic fandom in the 1960’s, exploring the emergence of fanzines and the very first conventions. His essays are deep and incredibly interesting for those of us who want to learn more. A lot of the information that Schelly presents, while by no means the definitive history, paints enough of a picture so that you grasp what those days were like for fans. Remember this was long before any websites or even widely published magazine like Wizard, and so fanzines often had circulation numbers running at less than a thousand issues – and were put together by folks who also had other jobs (not unlike a lot of comics websites, but we don’t need to worry about publishing, printing and distribution of our content).

The essays run an average of ten pages or so each with a lot of additional images that add flavour to the text, and it’s amazing how much info Schelly crams into each one. There’s the odd moment where I found my interest waning, but for the most part the book held my attention from cover to cover (though I’d only read an essay or two a night).

If you’re at all curious about the early days of comic fandom, then I’d highly suggest you take a look at this book. Schelly’s literary work often goes out of print (well, as far as I know from my fifteen minutes of research, anyway), and then inevitably the prices spike. Grab this one if you’re at all interested.


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

Review: Shadowman #2

Shadowman #2

The hellscape known as the Deadside has pried open a doorway to Earth in Enoch, Arizona in Shadowman #2! And our only chance at survival against the awakening desert beasts is Shadowman.

It’s often the smaller details that really impress me about a comic, things standing out that I generally wouldn’t pay attention to. In this case, that’s the recap page. Now, I’m always in favor of a recap page partly because I’m old and like a reminder, but also because it serves as an introduction to the story for new readers. Shadowman #2‘s recap page is in the form of Baron Samedi regaling us about the previous issue, and I found it funnier than it probably should be.

Shadowman #2 continues the pattern set in the first issue of having a complete story within the comic, minus a lingering hint of something else that hovers in the background. If I was a poetic person, I’d find a way to leave you with the idea that there was a hint of the ethereal evil laying just out of reach, but I’m not (no matter how much I try to be), so instead I’ll just flat out say it.

Written by Cullen Bunn, with art by the incredible Jon Davis-Hunt and colours by Jordie Bellair, this issue has Shadowman stepping away from New Orleans into the Arizona desert to confront a bloody disgusting looking demon. It’s about as horrifying as my cat is adorable (an unusual statement, yes, but he’s currently sat next to me with a paw on my hand trying to get scritches). I can’t pinpoint what it is about this issue, but it’s an absolute beast. Bunn’s story about a demon gathering followers for his nefarious scheme, Shadowman’s uneasy relationship with Baron Samedi… Davis-Hunt and Bellaire are spectacular in the book as the scene shifts from our world to the Deadside and back frequently, often from one panel to the next, and the pair show you the shift in a way that you can’t mistake.

Davis-Hunt’s artwork is brilliant on its own, but his heavy inks are given spectacular life by Jordie Bellaire‘s use of colour, who contributes an underrated and unstated character to the pages. But it’s Bunn’s writing that really adds the cherry to an already fantastic comic. I never expected Shadowman to feature in one of my most anticipated series this year, but I am so happy to have been proven wrong.

As a series, Shadowman is easily one of the best things Valiant has put out in a long time, and for my money is the best thing on the racks right now.

Story: Cullen Bunn Art: Jon Davis-Hunt
Colours: Jordie Bellaire Letters: Clayton Cowles
Story: 9.7 Art: 9.7 Overall: 9.7 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Pre-order: comiXologyKindleZeus ComicsTFAW

Mini Reviews and Recommendations For The Week Ending 05/21/2021

Sometimes, the staff at Graphic Policy read more comics than we’re able to get reviewed. When that happens you’ll see a weekly feature compiling short reviews from the staff of the comics, or graphic novels, we just didn’t get a chance to write a full review for. Given the lack of new comics, expect this weekly update to begin featuring comics that we think you’ll enjoy while you can’t get anything new to read – only new to you.

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews and Recommendations.


Logan

Nightwing #80 (DC)– One of the Dick Grayson’s strengths is that he has a network of friends and allies in the DC Universe that he gets help from on missions, and he’s making new friends. Tom Taylor, Bruno Redondo, and a literally electrifying Adriano Lucas lean on this character trait in Nightwing #80 as he, Tim Drake, and Barbara Gordon try to find a serial killer who’s taking out the hearts of homeless people. Redondo uses soft lines and open facial expressions to show how sad Dick is that a kid named Elliott, who he helped get food and hotel room last issue, had to see his father murdered and his heart removed. However, Bruno Redondo can also do comedy and action too drawing a frustrated chibi Oracle when Tim starts to pry about their relationship status, and he and Lucas are a true Bash Brothers team in the fighting video game-worthy choreography of Dick and Tim taking down a couple of Blockbuster’s henchmen. Empathetic scripting from Tom Taylor, kick-ass action sequences from Redondo and Adriano Lucas, and a cute dog to top things off, and Nightwing is back to being one of my favorite DC titles. Overall: 8.8 Verdict: Buy

Wonder Girl #1 (DC)– Wonder Girl #1 is part character intro, part table-setting intrigue, and 100% a visual tour de force from Joelle Jones and Jordie Bellaire. Jones handles the writing duties too, and she gives Yara Flor just as much charisma and personality as she had in Future State. However, her place in the DC Universe (As seen in a truly breathtaking splash page from Joelle Jones.) isn’t set in stone, and Wonder Girl #1 shows various Amazon and divine factions maneuvering and trying to get her while Yara just wants to have a nice trip to Brazil. Wonder Girl hits a range of tones from jarring scarlets from Bellaire and intense visuals during Yara’s “origin” sequence to breezy fun as she dresses down a vlogger. My one qualm with the book is that the scenes with the different factions don’t flow as well as the scenes with Yara and feel like teaser trailer rather than compelling foreshadowing. Overall: 8.0 Verdict: Buy

Wonder Girl #1 (DC)– Wonder Girl #1 is part character intro, part table-setting intrigue, and 100% a visual tour de force from Joelle Jones and Jordie Bellaire. Jones handles the writing duties too, and she gives Yara Flor just as much charisma and personality as she had in Future State. However, her place in the DC Universe (As seen in a truly breathtaking splash page from Joelle Jones.) isn’t set in stone, and Wonder Girl #1 shows various Amazon and divine factions maneuvering and trying to get her while Yara just wants to have a nice trip to Brazil. Wonder Girl hits a range of tones from jarring scarlets from Bellaire and intense visuals during Yara’s “origin” sequence to breezy fun as she dresses down a vlogger. My one qualm with the book is that the scenes with the different factions don’t flow as well as the scenes with Yara and feel like teaser trailer rather than compelling foreshadowing. Overall: 8.0 Verdict: Buy

The Many Deaths of Laila Starr #2 (BOOM!)– Another intelligent, emotional issue of what is turning into a potential modern classic from Ram V and Filipe Andrade. V focuses on class differences, the curiosity of a child, and a goddess experiencing mortality yet again with the help of Andrade’s bendy figure work, grids, and flat colors. The Many Deaths of Laila Starr #2 is centered around the idea that death isn’t physical death, but when the person with the last memory of you passes away. The idea of Death herself experiencing a funeral is a poignant one, and this is definitely a comic to sit with and pore over Ram V’s beautiful words and Filipe Andrade’s beautiful compositions and color palettes. Overall: 9.4 Verdict: Buy

Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters #3 (Oni Press)– Jonna #3 features the same high energy line work and layouts from Chris Samnee as Jonna continues to bound from rock to rock looking water, for her and Rainbow’s dad, or maybe just a monster to fight. However, he and co-writer Laura Samnee use this issue to supply much-needed backstory about this post-apocalyptic world and introduce Jonna and Rainbow to some fellow survivors. There’s a real dissonance between Jonna making shapes against the cave wall and talking about punching monsters, and the rest of the survivors’ very serious discussions about who they’ve lost. The Samnees and skilled colorist Matthew Wilson do a good job of showing how Jonna is really just a kid who thinks this is one big adventure instead of not how the world should be. After the previous action-driven two issues that focus mainly on Jonna and Rainbow’s relationship , the time is perfect for expanding the world of this comic. The Samnees time each piece of information very well and also throw in a killer cliffhanger. Overall: 8.8 Verdict: Buy

Fantastic Four: Life Story #1 (Marvel)– Mark Russell, Sean Izaakse, and Nolan Woodard’s Fantastic Four aging in real time kicks off with a retelling of their classic origin. However, Russell and Izaakse immediately throw spanners in the work by having Reed Richards have a vision of Galactus while he’s bathed with cosmic rays and becomes Mr. Fantastic. This is definitely an oversimplification, but the 1960s in the United States were defined by fear whether of the USSR and “communists”, fear of people with a different skin color than you, or even fear of that guy down the street, who had longer hair and listened to different music than you. Russell and Izaakse tap into this existential fear in Fantastic Four: Life Story between all the parades, superhero montages, and celebrity cameos. Basically, the universe is chaotic and doesn’t give a shit about us, but we can still care about helping our fellow human beings and being good people. Finally, I really enjoyed how Mark Russell wrote Ben Grimm as truly having an antagonistic relationship with Reed Richards and only pretending to like the team for the cameras because the accident ruined his life and relationships. Overall: 8.3 Verdict: Buy


Well, there you have it, folks. The reviews we didn’t quite get a chance to write. See you next week!

Please note that with some of the above comics, Graphic Policy was provided FREE copies for review. Where we purchased the comics, you’ll see an asterisk (*). If you don’t see that, you can infer the comic was a review copy. In cases where we were provided a review copy and we also purchased the comic you’ll see two asterisks (**).

Those Two Geeks Episode 115: Last Week’s Marvel Legends

Alex and Joe go over the last week’s Marvel Legends reveal.

As always, Alex and Joe can be found on Twitter respectively @karcossa and @jcb_smark if you feel the need to tell them they’re wrong individually, or @those2geeks if you want to yell at them together on twitter, or by email at ItsThose2Geeks@gmail.com.

Underrated: X-Men: Assault On Weapon Plus

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: X-Men: Assault On Weapon Plus


I’ve been collecting X-Men comics for the last year and a half, and while I’ve been focusing mainly on the Uncanny X-Men, I’ve also been picking up issues of X-Men (and later New X-Men), which is how I stumbled across Assault On Weapon Plus. The four issue arc originally appeared in New X-Men #142-145, and was written by Grant Morrison, penciled by Chris Bachalo, inked by Tim Townsend, coloured by Chris Chuckry and lettered by Chris Eliopoulos. The story has been collected in the last two decades, but I’ve no idea how hard those collections are, and given the price and availability of the single issues right now, it’s easy enough to pick up the floppies.

The plot picks up after Emma Frost has been shot, shattered and reassembled (though the only relevance to of that to this story is to explain why Cyclops is drowning his sorrows because Jean caught him in a psychic affair and this is sounding more like a soap opera than I thought it would). There’s a little more to it, but the recap in #142 will catch you up for what is effectively a Wolverine, Cyclops and Fantomex story. Wolverine frequently reminds Cyclops, and by extension the audience, that this isn’t an X-Men mission.

It may seem strange that I’ highlighting a Grant Morrison story, but of the man’s often incredible body of work, this four-parter isn’t one that you hear people talking about all that often (although the run in general does get praise), and the story is more accessible than some of the writer’s other work. Assault On Weapon Plus is more of a straight shooting story about a trio of mutants trying to break into the Weapon Plus program for reasons (Fantomex wants to burn everything to the ground, Wolverine wants to know who he was and Cyclops wants to watch Logan’s back).

It’s a fun story, and definitely one that spurs you from issue to issue.

The story does end on a cliffhanger though, and while the following issues aren’t expensive either, there’d probably be a bit of an annoyance if you only picked up the four issues then you’d be left a touch stranded at the end of New X-Men #145. Ultimately though, this story is so much more than it seems on the surface, as with any Grant Morrison story, but you can’t just read the four issues and stop because there’s no conclusion to the story – although it’s not a bad thing to want to keep reading into the five issue Planet X, which I’ll be doing now.


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

Mini Reviews and Recommendations For The Week Ending 05/15/2021

Sometimes, the staff at Graphic Policy read more comics than we’re able to get reviewed. When that happens you’ll see a weekly feature compiling short reviews from the staff of the comics, or graphic novels, we just didn’t get a chance to write a full review for. Given the lack of new comics, expect this weekly update to begin featuring comics that we think you’ll enjoy while you can’t get anything new to read – only new to you.

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews and Recommendations.


Logan

Children of the Atom #3 (Marvel)– Vita Ayala, Paco Medina, and David Curiel take a break from the superhero fights and cameos in Children of the Atom #3 to help readers get to know the characters underneath the costume. They predominantly focus on Carmen aka Gimmick in this issue, and her struggles with finding value in what she does rather than who she is as a person. This extends from her cosplay tutorials and streams to helping her family with chores and childcare as well as her role on the team. Medina draws a lot of wistful glances between her and Buddy aka Cyclops-Lass and uses a fairly pedestrian escape from a spaceship to build that romantic tension between them. Carmen’s arc is definitely the best part of Children of the Atom #3, and I love the emotionally resonant way that Ayala writes her. However, Children of the Atom #3 also sets up the story’s villain and ties this into the very relatable event of using someone for what they can get you, or in this case Cole’s access to Krakoa. After a high-wire, yet uneven beginning, Children of the Atom is finding its footing even with the art shift from Bernard Chang to Paco Medina. Overall: 8.0 Verdict: Buy

Joker #3 (DC)– Joker #3 is like a more psychologically compelling and less focused on shock value Killing Joke meets David Simon’s Homicide: A Year on the Killing Street and Anthony Bourdain’s oeuvre with just a dash of the Batgirls comic I wish was an ongoing. James Tynion, Guillem March, and Arif Prianto are firing on all cylinders as they show how deep Joker has gotten into Jim Gordon’s psyche. This is tempered with salt of the Earth narration of Gordon’s detective techniques and gift for conversation and empathy that turns totally chaotic by the last few pages with the book switching to yet another genre. March’s art is a little Neal Adams and Kelley Jones by way of Brian Bolland, but his ability to carry the main plot while Tynion focuses on character development is all him. They are doing special work in Joker, which has escalated from a focused character study to gonzo action by the end. And the Punchline backup from James Tynion, Sam Johns, and Mirka Andolfo is the best it’s ever been as Andolfo gets to draw a physical confrontation between Punchline and Orca and dig into the messed up mind of her old roommate Aiden. Poor Harper Row, and apologies to all you true crime fans out there! Overall: 9.0 Verdict: Buy

The Silver Coin #2 (Image)– This genre-bending, writer switching anthology turns its sights to the slasher genre with Kelly Thompson and Michael Walsh telling the story of a young girl who goes off to summer camp, gets bullied, and finds revenge with the help of the titular silver coin. The Silver Coin #2 is derivative of classic horror films, and it knows it with its retro VHS filter opener as Fiona watching a video nasty might actually come in handy in summer camp. Walsh hits all his paces as a storyteller from the sickly, wholesome palette he uses when Fiona arrives at camp to the various and sundry ways she gets her revenge. He and Thompson have a lot of fun turning the victim into the baddie, and The Silver Coin #2 is a very cathartic and nostalgic read in the end. Overall: 8.3 Verdict: Buy

X-Corp #1 (Marvel)– I didn’t hate X-Corp #1, and Tini Howard creates some good chemistry between board members Monet, Angel, Multiple Man, and Trinary, but this book’s initial public offering (I had to!) is a little tepid. Some of that comes from the Alberto Foche’s visuals, which are middle of the road Marvel house style with Sunny Gho adding some flourishes with the color palette. They definitely pale in comparison to David Aja’s bleeding edge cover and don’t fit the tone of a book about disrupting tech sectors, intense business negotiations, and yes, flashy gadgets and abilities. Howard’s script isn’t that bad, especially her dialogue, but the first issue’s climax breaks a rule of suspense as she treats readers (who have more knowledge) with the in-universe characters who have less. With Trinary “selling out” and going corporate, Monet suppressing her rage during constant meetings, Angel trying to be a good rich guy, and Multiple Man as the wild card, X-Corp has potential and fills a gap in the X-line. However, this issue is more like smelling something yummy at another diner’s table than having your own meal. Overall: 6.0 Verdict: Pass


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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