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.
God Country #1 & 2 (Image) I missed the first issue when it came out last month, but when I found out that Donny Cates was the series writer I made a point to go back and find the first issue – and bot am I ever glad I did. God Country has got to be one of the most well narrated stories I’ve read in some time, with such an interesting idea behind it; a man suffering from Alzheimer’s disease is cured when holding a giant sword. The two issues I’ve read have both been fantastic in every way a comic should be. Overall: 9.25 Recommendation: Buy
Kill Or Be Killed #6 (Image) After reading the first issue of this series on the recommendation of a fellow member of the Graphic Policy team, I’ve been constantly surprised at how gripping this series has been. The creative team have been producing such a fantastic story that evokes the feeling of the old pulp vigilante novel with a distinctly modern reinvention. Highly recommended. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy
Old Man Logan #18 (Marvel) You’re probably going to want to read this twice just so you can take in the phenomenal art work courtesy of Andrea Sorrentino and Marcelo Maiolo. Jeff Lemire is also on top form here, too, making this a fantastic comic to sit down with. Overall: 8.75 Recommendation: Buy
Venom #4 (Marvel) While I love the relationship between the symbiote and host, I care less for the rest of the comic. It’ okay, but only worth reading if you’re into the series already. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read
The Wild Storm #1 (DC) Having never read any Wildstorm before I had no idea what to expect going it to this comic, but I enjoyed it quite a bit. Ben has a bit more detail below, so I’ll let you read his review now. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy
The Wildstorm #1 (DC): Despite never having read the Wildstorm imprint, I was excited about this comic because the idea of Warren Ellis world-building an entire superhero universe makes me squeal with joy. The result is an audacious beginning for what could be one of the most impressive imprints in DC since Gerard Way launched Young Animal.
Jon-Davis Hunt is on art duty here. I love his work with Gail Simone on Clean Room, modern and polished yet with an unnerving supernatural horror atmosphere. The Wildstorm is geared to science fiction, however that doesn’t stop Hunt from excelling, particularly when it comes to scene decompression and panel layout.
I didn’t know what to expect from Ellis’ writing as I’m more familiar with his blatantly political and brutally mean-spirited indie work. However, his approach here seems to be inspired by cyberpunk, particularly Ghost In The Shell and The Matrix. It may be a superhero story, but Ellis is much more centered on powerful corporations, conspiracies, and the continually dysphoric nature between man and machine in the modern world.
There’s a lot of audacious, big-idea concepts going into this book, best of all without the sacrifice of character development. Each character comes in with their own personalities, goals, and complex morality. I have no idea what’s in store next, but I’m excited to find out. Story: 9 Art: 10 Overall: 9.5
Kill or be Killed #6 (Image)** – Not sure how I feel about the abrupt switch of focus away from Dylan and his demonic vigilante spree. Much as I like NYPD detective Lily Sharpe, the sheer hard-driving intensity of this series gets diluted here. For me, this is just too much setup and a bit of a placeholder. Hopefully next issue will return to the suffocating, sweltering atmosphere I’ve gotten to love from this series. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Buy if you’re following, but this isn’t a good point to jump on.
Sex Criminals #16 (Image)** – Oh hey, this series is still going on! It’s been so long since last issue that Fraction & Zdarsky have to give us 8 PAGES of recap. I will stand by what I’ve been saying lately about Sexcrims: the plot is boring and getting in the way of my enjoying the hell out of two characters just trying to figure out how to be in the world together. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Pass.
Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turles Adventures #4 (IDW/DC)** – Picking up right where we left off, with the Scarecrow giving New York a dose of fear gas, and the Joker and Harley giving the hyenas (I’d forgotten they were called Bud and Lou!) a dose of mutagen. Pity this series will only go 6 issues, both my inner 5-year-old and my actual 5-year-old are loving it (even if this ish is a bit of a 4th-issue placeholder). Whatever Matthew K. Manning and Jon Sommariva have cooked up next, I’m down. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy.
Freelance #1 (Chapterhouse) – I’m not really sure what’s going on in this series – I’m not sure who Lance/Freelance is, what he’s about, what he wants, what his plans and goals are, who his friends are, and there is absolutely nothing in this comic to help me want to know more. What we’re really given is a continuation of the Aurora Dawn cult from the other Chapterhouse comics, which I guess is supposed to be the glue that holds the Chapterverse (nice name!) together. But feels more like a narrative sunk cost fallacy – does anyone really care about these guys? Jim Zub & Andrew Wheeler are pro writers and Vaneda Vireak’s art is OK enough, but it just doesn’t have a beating heart all its own. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Pass.
Agents of PACT (Chapterhouse) – One more time for the people in the back: if you don’t know Quebec French, get somebody who does to check it! This may seem like a quibble coming from a fluently bilingual Montrealer, but it’s a flaw that shows the other flaws in Kalman Andrasofsky and Blake Northcott’s characterizations. As for the plot, you really have to be invested in what’s been going on in Captain Canuck and Northguard to get who’s who and what’s what. And while it’s kind of nice to see the North given such focus, would it kill these guys to show us more of Canada than ice and snow? Anyway, Federica Manfredi does a good job on the art, but this is nothing to write home about. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Pass.
Kill Or Be Killed # 6 (Image)** – A bit of a curious issue, as Ed Brubaker’s script abruptly switches perspective to a new character, whose actions are related via semi-omniscient narration provided by — our usual protagonist, who doesn’t even know who this woman is yet? Sean Phillips’ art is uncharacteristically askew as well, with people drawn in bizarre and almost miniaturized proportions. I don’t get it, but events do, at least, still move forward in various and interesting ways. Overall: 5 Recommendation: Read if you’re following this series, pass if you aren’t.
Batman #17 (DC)** – After an issue that marked something of an uptick last time out, Tom King reverts to his now-customary disappointing form with this one, as a lackluster forthcoming confrontation with Bane is set up in lackluster and obvious ways. Alfred once again comes off as much more confidently-written than his boss, which is likewise becoming the norm, and David Finch’s art is — well, what it is. If you like it, you still will — if you don’t, you won’t. Overall: 4 Recommendation: Pass.
Dead Inside #3 (Dark Horse)** – John Arcudi and Toni Fejzula ramp their superb prison-murder-themed noir toward its conclusion with some truly surprising plot twists, painfully human character interactions, and the kind of quietly-omnipresent tension that makes for truly memorable reading. This series isn’t even done yet and I’m kinda missing it already. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy
Mother Panic #3 (DC/Young Animal)** – Jody Houser’s storyline is really gathering steam, with effective action scenes delivered with an economy of words deftly balanced against solid plot progression that shows Violet Paige/Mother Panic’s long-range plans coming into place while dropping more revealing hints about her tragic backstory at the same time. Tommy Lee Edwards’ sketchy art style serves the material on offer incredibly well, and one really gets the sense that this creative team is on the verge of hitting a serious — and potentially memorable — stride. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy
Black Panther: World Of Wakanda#4 (Marvel)– The team behind this book have brought issues to the forefront that rarely get dealt with in this medium.In this issue, the nations is steal dealing with the fallout of the death of Queen Shuri , this leads to a splinter groups of those who still oppose TChalla. Anneka and Ayo get sent to sea with Village Chieftain who is imposing sex slavery on the village women. By issue’s end, an unexpected death occurs while a long hidden secret is revealed. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy
Odyssey Of The Amazons#2 (DC)-The Giants our heroines were fighting at the end of their last chapter have turned out to be Trolls. After a successful fight, they find refuge in a village full of Vikings. Their commander soon find dissent amongst the ranks and even starts his question her own decisions. Before the end, we find out the Trolls’ intention for the Amazons they kidnapped. Overall: 9.3 Recommendation: Buy
Doctor Strange Monsters Unleashed #1 (Marvel)– Marvel’s most recent silly universe event, Monsters Unleashed feels more like a filler than anything canon changing, with no real death toll to even be seen. In this one-shot, we catch-up with the Sorcerer Supreme in the middle of a fire fight. Strange is less powerful and actually more cunning as his magic seems to be waning at this point. By issue’s end, an unusual team up occurs that shifts the edge on the side of the good guys. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Read
Super Sons#1 (DC) Robin and Superboy have always been footnotes in a very crowded hero universe , serving more as gimmicks than actual heroes with stakes. This all changed when DC decided to introduce Damien, as he not the typical Suitor to the Robin mantle, as he isn’t only Bruce Wayne’s actual son but he brings a whole new attitude and set of the skills to the job. So when Damien’s Robin seeks help from Jon’s Superboy , not only teen angst sets in , but their unusual circumstances pervade their assemblance of a life. By issue’s end, their famous fathers intervene in what seems like a hair brain plan.
Overall: 9 Recommendation: Read
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 (**).