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.
Echolands #4 (Image)– Hope and her band of adventurers are on the run from the wizard’s daughter and the double-dealing, Kirby homaging Romlus IV in JH Williams, Haden Blackman, and Dave Stewart’s Echolands #4. Williams uses insane washes to show the protagonists struggling to find an exit of the trap with Stewart layering ink black darkness on the line art. Blackman and JH Williams’ plotting and writing is also praise-worthy as they use the device of a meal laid out in a double page spread to flesh out Echolands’ ensemble cast that also functions as a breather and ties into some of the backmatter of previous issues. Echolands continues to be the best-looking ongoing comic with its fusion of art styles and genres all woven together into a narrative of adventure, political intrigue, and something perhaps a bit more cosmic and philosophical. It’s worth reading for Williams’ mastery of the spread alone. Overall: 8.8 Verdict: Buy
Grrl Scouts: Stone Ghost #1 (Image)– Grrl Scouts is back with a new lead character, Dio, and a crazy supporting cast like bounty hunter Turtleneck Jones, the shifty Geordi, and a whole lot of folks who wanna fuck shit up. Most importantly, Jim Mahfood’s free-flowing, street art tinged art style is in full effect and a perfect fit for the lawlessness of space some time in the future. Grrl Scouts: Stone Ghost #1 isn’t bogged down by explanations or exposition, but just in being a good and sad time. I love how Mahfood uses black and white notebook style pages and a loose art style to talk about Dio’s experiences with her dead boyfriend, and how much she misses him. Grrl Scouts: Stone Ghost is a cool looking, fast moving comic that also packs an emotional punch and has an air of mystery. Jim Mahfood is a true treasure, and you shouldn’t definitely check out his sweet storytelling. I mean, the cartoonist makes the rhythm of buying and downing a beer and a shot compelling. Overall: 9.2 Verdict: Buy
Amazing Spider-Man #79 (Marvel)– Cody Ziglar, Michael Dowling, and Jesus Aburtov lean into the corporate satire (Of the Beyond Corporation) in Amazing Spider-Man #79 while also telling an action-packed, poignant Spidey tale. Joking to mask the pain is definitely a recurring thread in this one beginning with a laugh out loud opening sequence of a Beyond Corporation pencil pusher disappearing while singing a drunken rendition of “What A Fool Believes”. Although it’s hard to tell the Beyond folks apart (And maybe that’s the point), Dowling’s clean art style makes Spider-Man’s fight scenes look smooth while adding a little chaos to the mix once this issue’s bad guy shows up. Because deep down, this is a story where Spider-Man literally and metaphorically gets his ass kicked with Michael Dowling and Aburtov bringing the pain while Ziglar’s anxious narration highlights every missed dodge, block, and opening. I hadn’t read many Ben Reilly stories before this run, but Cody Ziglar and Dowling do a great job of making me interested in a guy, who has the dual struggles of pleasing corporate masters and stepping into the legacy of one of the greatest heroes of all time. Plus the usual fisticuffs, scum, and villainy. Overall: 8.1 Verdict: Buy
Wolverine #18 (Marvel)– Wolverine #18 is an action movie in single comic form with heart and humor from Benjamin Percy, Paco Diaz, and Java Tartaglia. Percy threads in some of the most successful elements of his run, like supporting characters Jeff Bannister and Maverick, to give this story some stakes. Wolverine can really be himself and have a good time around Bannister and his daughter so threatening is a sure fire recipe for suspense. Diaz uses wide, inter-cutting panels to intensify the big truck/Krakoan chase sequencek and also shows that Maverick is better as a profit-driven anti-hero instead of an ally. Throw in some funny data pages and Johnny Cash karaoke, and this is an enjoyable installment of Wolverine even though Adam Kubert’s art is sorely missed. Overall: 8.0 Verdict: Buy
Black’s Myth #5 (Ahoy)– Eric Palicki and Wendell Cavalcanti wrap up this werewolf PI mystery in a neat bow placing previous scenes in the series in a new context. I love the character growth for Strummer and Ben too as he runs point on a case, and she finds a little romance. Black’s Myth #5 definitely had me wishing there were more cases in store for this LA Noire meets Fables duo. Overall: 7.7 Verdict: Read
Task Force Z #2 (DC Comics) – The first issue debuted the crazy concept of Batman rogues returned from the dead after A-Day to join a team led by Red Hood. It was so out there and worked so well. The second issue delivers more of the same with a greater focus on what’s going on. When I heard the pitch, I rolled my eyes. But, some great character interaction, action, and solid art, it’s a comic I’m excited to see how far it goes. Overall Rating: 8.35 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 (**).