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.
X-Men #13 (Marvel)– With Apocalypse on the verge of death, Jonathan Hickman and Mahmud Asrar go deep into his past and look into his familial connection with Arakko. It’s a lot of table-setting, magical, fantasy backstory stuff from Hickman, but it’s nice to see Apocalypse vulnerable for once, both in the past and present. It all builds to a nearly-cinematic sequence of him picking up his old, very huge blade in an Egyptian pyramid and ruminating about survival of the fittest. Having one of the X-Men’s greatest foes taking lead against their new enemy adds a general factor to both this issue and the first couple chapters of X of Swords. However, I’ll admit my eyes glazed over a little bit during the flashback sequences as X-Men #13 rounds out a middling week for X of Swords. The characters look cool and have badass names, but I don’t have an emotional connection to them yet. Overall: 6 Verdict: Pass
Tales from the Umbrella Academy: You Look Like Death #2 (Dark Horse)– Even though it features emotionally heart-rending flashbacks, the specters of Hollywood stars past, and hard drug use, You Look Like Death #2 is a bit of a comedown from the first installment of the Klaus Hargreeves solo series. Writers Gerard Way and Shaun Simon and artist INJ Culbard go down lots of rabbit holes in this issue and spend almost as much time on the chimpanzee vampire Shivers taking over the Hollywood vampire underworld as on Klaus hitting the town. There’s a kind of flat, unreality to Culbard’s art that works for a world that is a little bit, well, off. His best work comes in flashbacks of Reginald Hargreeves traumatizing Klaus to unleash his great potential, and Way and Simon find a throughline between this trauma and his current con-man ways and substance abuse. You Look Like Death #2 doesn’t have the high-wire energy of the first issue of the series, but Way, Simon, and Culbard start to develop the character who would be the most charismatic member of the Umbrella Academy cast even if the Shivers sequences aren’t as exciting. Overall: 7.9 Verdict: Buy
King Tank Girl #1 (Albatross)**- Tank Girl’s move to Albatross Funnybooks (Home of Eric Powell’s Goon) has writer Alan Martin and artist Brett Parson channeling her Deadline days with a series of funny pop culture riff stories. The lead story, which has Booga looking for a rare, treasured action figure (Based on the Kenner Boba Fett) and Tank Girl accidentally being King of England, is the best of the bunch with lots of visual and verbal humor. Another favorite is a one-off story about a shoe sale, and Martin and Parson also make fun of surf culture turning a straightforward action story into something utterly absurd. Filled with silly puns, faces, and even some explosions, King Tank Girl #1 is just a general good time. Overall: 8.5 Verdict: Buy
Iron Man #2 (Marvel)– Christopher Cantwell and Cafu really seem to be having a good time putting retro-suit wearing Tony Stark through the wringer in Iron Man #2 while giving a glimpse at the legit Big Bad behind the scenes. Tony’s death wish is on display this whole comic as he lets Arcade capture him so he can get his ass kicked by Absorbing Man and then breaks almost every bone in his body rescuing some Stark Unlimited employees. Cafu’s art is slick and fluid, especially during the action sequences, but he also nails how out of sorts Tony is and the total snark and contempt that Hellcat has for him. Her calling out Tony’s behavior and the lack of any romantic element in their relationship is definitely the best part of Cantwell and Cafu’s Iron Man so far. Overall: 8.0 Verdict: Buy
Edgar Allan Poe’s Snifter of Blood #1 (Ahoy)– Ahoy’s all-star horror anthology with an inebriated American author host is back with Paul Cornell and Russ Braun doing an adaptation of Poe’s “Black Cat” (But with a dog). There’s also Dean Motter spinning a yarn about Poe’s fictional paleontologist buddy Atlas that turns into a battle between science and faith, truth and con artistry, and eventually, good versus evil. Thankfully, a hammered Poe is there to break the tension between stories, but “Black Dog” is fairly traumatizing thanks to Cornell telling the story from the dog’s POV and Braun’s straightforward, even-keeled art. “Atlas Shrugged” is a little more complex, but Motter’s eye for design and ability to draw shifty figures suits a story with a cast of characters that includes luminaries like Poe and PT Barnum as well earnest scientists and overbearing fire and brimstone preaching. Motter letters the story too and adds to the accusatory tone of some of the cast with intense use of fonts. In addition to these two comics, there are also some interesting illustrated prose stories to make this worth your purchase, especially during the Halloween season. Overall: 8.5 Verdict: Buy
Werewolf By Night #1 (Marvel) – I’d had some high hopes for this debut and direction for the classic series/character. The overall concept has some good ideas but the end overall product falls short. The comic feels like a forgettable release from the 90s. It’s not bad but also doesn’t excite. It’d be a comic I’d have read in 15 minutes, shrugged my shoulders then moved on to the next comic in the pile. The interesting aspect is the tie-in to the Outlawed storyline but the dialogue is a bit cheesy at moments and some art makes little sense. There’s a lot of potential with the direction of the series to start but the end result feels like a story we’ve seen too many times before and doesn’t take advantage of the potentially interesting perspective and views of the writers and artists. Lots of potential not taken advantage of. Overall Rating: 6.5 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 (**).