Category Archives: Reviews

TV Review: The Walking Dead S10E2 We Are the End of the World

The Walking Dead Season 10

The Walking Dead takes things back in the second episode with a flashback episode that reveals the origins of Alpha and Beta. Alpha attempts to toughen up Lydia as they prepare to walk with the dead. The Whisperers also create their herds.

The second episode of The Walking Dead is interesting. You could also call it “When Alpha met Beta.” That initial meeting isn’t quite as interesting as expected but it’s what unfolds that becomes really interesting, that of Lydia.

Through various glimpses, we get a sense of the horrors the Whisperers have done to survive in this new world. Those horrors eventually cracks Lydia and we see her break down and the repercussions of that. It highlights the abusive road that some have gone down and the deep psychological scars inflicted.

While not touched upon, contrast all of this with how the children of the various towns have endured and lived.

There’s some impactful moments that as a father of a daughter just chilled me. Lydia’s struggles. Alpha’s rejection of being called mother. It creates a cold and chilling experience. Add in Alpha’s actions and what she says it’s an interesting episode.

But overall, the episode focuses on the loss of self in this new world. Names are eschewed. It’s a shedding of identity and connection and with it humanity. Again, compare this to the communities and what they’ve done, endured, and built.

But despite that, there’s still something understandable about it all. These are individuals who have chosen a different way to survive. They see the walkers as both protection and destiny. This is a new reality and with it, new rules and norms are needed. And, as presented there’s a quasi-religious aspect to it all. But, Alpha still has depth and that’s in the form of her feelings for her daughter.

The episode creates a complicated relationship between Alpha and Beta and Alpha’s outlook on the world. It’s all much more complicated than what’s expected and the episode adds depth to characters who otherwise could easily have none. The revelations toward the end, such as where some of their walker masks come from, create a group that has layers.

It’s a creepy episode that focuses on the big evil of the season giving them history that makes them both more understandable and scarier at the same time.

Overall Rating: 8.35

TV Review: Supergirl S5E2 Stranger Beside Me

Supergirl Season 5

Supergirl, Alex and Braniac thwart an alien attack while William investigates Kara; J’onn J’onzz and Kelly use Obsidian tech to solve a problem.

What does J’onn J’onzz brother want? Why can’t J’onn remember details? This second episode reveals all of that and more. It’s an episode that balances reveals and battles each with good and bad. But, again, the most interesting aspect of the show is Kara’s work life.

Much like the season’s debut, the episode feels like it lacks some of the fun of previous seasons. There’s just something that feels off-kilter as far as tone and pacing.

The search of J’onn’s brother brings the team in contact and a quick battle ensues but it all feels a bit unnecessary. The episode would have been stronger have the hidden Martian among the team. It would have created a more tense episode and kept the viewer wondering who could be trusted. Stringing that along would create a bit more tension for the series and a unique aspect.

The episode mixes in humor with a focus on relationships that run from intriguing to a bit over the top (on purpose). It adds some levity and is closer to the “happier” tone of previous seasons. Though some of those relationships are unhealthy in reality.

Still, the best aspect is Kara and her work. With a new boss and a coworker whose actions are dubious, there’s a lot there to mine. The show dances around all of it but in a world where journalism struggles an staff are dismissed at a whim, it has the most potential of the season. A small detail at the end makes it all even more interesting and puts things in a gray zone.

The series continues to build up Lena as a villain and where that’s taken could make or break the season. It’s a bit of a shame as a Luthor as a villain feels a bit been there done that but Kara/Supergirl needs a big bad that can play out over seasons and Lena can be that.

The episode continues to set things up for the season and show continued potential. There’s a lot the episode dances around and while the tone of the episode and season is a bit different, it’s still an enjoyable hour.

Overall Rating: 7.35

TV Review: Batwoman S1E2 The Rabbit Hole

Batwoman

In the second episode of Batwoman, Jacob Kane and the Crows up the stakes; Kate continues to look to Bruce Wayne’s legacy for guidance as Luke Fox inadvertently gets pulled into Batwoman’s vigilante heroics; Sophie and Kate are forced to team up.

The second episode of Batwoman is interesting if not a bit dragged out. Much like the first episode, there’s something morose about the tone of the second. It’s slow and somewhat predictable but builds on aspects of the debut and improves in many ways.

While still serious, Ruby Rose is a bit more entertaining in her acting. Things aren’t quite as flat and there’s some subtle things she does in her delivery and movements that’s intriguing. Nicole Kang as Mary Hamilton, Kate’s stepsister, has a bigger role. Her character is playing an interesting aspect in the series as an exploration of the definition of family. Camrus Johnson as Luke Fox gets some acknowledgment as far as his family as well. Though it’s not dived into too much, it’s a nice touch. It plays into larger themes of the show and especially Kate’s relationship with her own father played by Dougray Scott. Rachel Skarsten‘s Alice is still the standout. The “reveal” that she’s Kate’s sister comes a bit too soon in the show and doesn’t deliver the emotional punch it should. The show does leave enough out there to create doubt of her identity.

Still, the show creates an interesting dynamic with Kate struggling with what to do with a villain who might her sister. That gets more complicated with the fact their father is also in pursuit and in denial that it’s his daughter.

Meagan Tandy‘s Sophie Moore is still the most interesting thing of the show though frustrating at the same time. Kate’s past relationship with her is present and the fact Sophie is now married to a man becomes more intriguing. The show acknowledging the bisexuality exists is nice, or there could be deeper denial at play as well with Kate being an out and confident gay woman and Sophie is still struggling. That’s the frustrating part but also potential further down the road in the show. But, as a whole, it’s nice to see the complicated reality of sexuality in real life.

There’s much improved in the second episode of Batwoman though some of the aspects such as Alice and Batwoman’s interaction is a bit predictable and frustrating. The show has touches of greatness and other moments not so much. Much like the debut, there’s potential there and it’s a show that has at least found a voice of its own, both for good and bad.

Overall Rating: 7.0

Review: Love Letters to Jane’s World

Love Letters to Jane's World

Growing up in the generation I did, though we thought of ourselves as progressive, we harbored some old-fashioned views. My generation grew up in the 1980s where crack cocaine was king and AIDS was still a taboo.  Time and education have done their best to dispel some of that ignorance but many long-held beliefs endure. One of those myths was that anybody who belonged to the LGBTQ community was the most at risk to such health concerns.

As we know I now these views are both dangerous and untrue. Stories told by Armistead Maupin and Ilene Chaikin made their way onto television and eventually into the mainstream where the world watched their stories serializations as they were both eye-opening and contained excellent storytelling. Many writers before them and since them have created a bird’s eye view of worlds they did not know that was right in front of them. One of those creators, Paige Braddock did it with her Jane’s World comic and the good people at Lion Forge has found a way to combine Braddock’s fan mail with some of her best comic strips in Love Letters to Jane’s World.

In the introduction by Howard Cruse, he gloriously fanboys Braddock’s impact on the LGBT community and comics as a medium. In “Amazon Island,” a boat trip leads our protagonist, Jane, and her friend Michelle, to an island full of women, where it turns out to be one fevered dream. In “Close Encounters,” Jane decides to ditch work for a road trip to Memphis, which leads to them out of all places, an alien ship. In “Camp Disaster,” Jane, Ethan and Dixie who has been turned into a chimp, go on a camping trip, one where the band of friends endures one mishap after another. “The Great Trailer Escape,” sees Ethan flies with Jane to pick up a Jeep she purchased on eBay, a trip that makes hers and Ethan’s bond stronger and sparks a possible romance. In “Road Trip,” faces some long lying demons about her current existence, and where she wants to be. In “Quest For Love,” Jane feels the need to find a romantic connection, as her escapades in love leaves her both hopeless and hopeful.  In “New Frontier,” Ethan and Jane have a break in their relationship, a respite that proves to be fruitful for both. In the last story I’ll highlight “Fools Rush In,”  Jane gives an earnest effort in pouring out of her heart to her one true love, Dorothy, one that leaves these two lovebirds in harmony.

Overall, an important and entertaining collection of stories from a landmark series that not only made an instant impact when it debuted but has earned more fans as time has gone by. The stories by Braddock are funny, heartfelt, true to life, and immensely enjoyable. The art by Braddock is captivating. Altogether, a treasure trove of stories that will make you fall in love with this protagonist and her lovable group of friends.

Story: Paige Braddock Art: Paige Braddock
Story: 10 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.7 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Vigilance #3

Vigilance #3

One of the best things to come of the Krypton television show’s short run is an expansion on some key canon characters. We got a different look at Zodd and saw just how connected his family is to Superman’s. Then there’s the evil genius of Brainiac and how he ruled over the power structure on Krypton. The one character that gave Superman fits and appears on the show, Doomsday, is a bit more realized here.

It’s true that the character had more of an arc on Smallville. It’s one which in the end, became quite a quandary rather than a cool entry into the show’s canon. At least in Krypton we find out exactly what Superman had to fear. In the third issue of Vigilance, our hero finds out what type of toll, physically and mentally, a defeat can impose on most.

We find Vigilance in Columbus, Ohio, where she’s fighting a new villain who goes the name Void. It’s a challenge and villain which actually overpowers our hero. As Void informs her of their connection, her stigma to the title of Destroyer is exposed as if there was something that Justice was holding back in his training. We rapidly find out Queen Ma’la had used her guilt and memories against to gain an unfair advantage in beating her. By the issue’s end, Vigilance tells her psychologist of the mental dismay this battle caused her, a fight she was never ready for.

Overall, probably the best issue in the series so far. It offers readers a deeper dive into what makes a superhero tick. The story by Alverne Bell is well characterized and evenly paced. The art by the creative team is engaging. Altogether, a story that seeks to push the definition of the superhero genre.

Story: Alverne Bell
Art: Eder Messias, Matt Keltner, Veronica Smith,
and Danny Cooper
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 10/5

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.


Joe Hesh

Event Leviathan #5 (DC Comics) This series has been a fantastic thriller from the beginning but that all has come to an abrupt halt as of this issue. I really dug the two teams of detective’s (Batman’s and Lois’ secret group) but this one had me scratching my head for sure. I know in an event that is large in scope you don’t want the identity to be easily guessed but this one is either going to be so left field that I’m not sure the breadcrumbs lead you there properly OR it will be someone so obscure that “Who cares anyways?” I had a lot of high hopes for this series and thought it would be a resurrected hero or someone who really needed a A list bump up but at this moment my interest has certainly waned. Alex Maleev does a great job on art and I have enjoyed his work since his run with Bendis on Daredevil many moons back. This time though with all the build up, unless Bendis can pull an ace out, this one is an utter dud. Score: 5 (mostly for the art) Recommendation: Pass

Logan

Die #8 (Image)- Die #8 focuses on the Matt the Grief Knight and Ash   the Dictator in the hierarchical land of Angria. Kieron Gillen and Stephanie Hans’ story isn’t as fun and interesting as last issue’s saga of drinking with hobbit type people and the male gaze applied to the fantasy genre. However, the deep dive into Matt is refreshing as he’s been happy the past 20 years and has a hate hate relationship with the grief blade he chose decades ago. This relationship changes in his big battle against the Knights of Joy when he realize home and family isn’t what it used to be and will be very different if he ever gets out of Die. The fight in the cave has a wonderful sense of atmosphere and a scarlet palette from Stephanie Hans. This isn’t my favorite issue of Die, but the bits focusing on Ash and Matt’s family dynamics both in the real world and Die ring true and a few mysteries are happened upon. Overall: 7.6 Verdict: Read

Ryan C

Detective Comics #1013 (DC) **– Another rather insubstantial script from Peter Tomasi that moves his pervy Mr. Freeze storyline forward just a nudge until a big last-page cliffhanger, at least Doug Mahnke’s art is as sharp as ever, but when that’s all you can say in a comic’s defense, well — that ain’t a whole lot, is it? Not when these things have a $3.99 cover price. Overall: 4 Recommendation: Pass

Ice Cream Man #15 (Image)** – Well, this one was creepy AF — -even by this series’ standards. How much we get stuck with by means of genetic inheritance is the question W. Maxwell Prince’s story asks — and the answer, not to give too much away, appears to be “more than we’d probably like.” Martin Morazzo’s art is, as always, crisp, expressive, and pitch-perfect for the material. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Oliver #4 (Image)** – Did you forget about this series? I forgot about this series — and so, apparently, did writer Gary Whitta, who wraps things up (for the arc or for the series? No telling either way)in slapdash and easy fashion — fortunately, Darick Robertson draws the hell out of every line, loads up every panel with stuff worth looking at, and just plain delivers the goods, plus interest. Am I really going to tell you to buy this comic just for the art? Oh, yes I am. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

 Batman Vs. Ra’s Al Ghul #2 (DC) **– The most gonzo book in the “Big Two” publishing schedule ups its game with more nonsensical dialogue, more pointless “talking head” scenes, more lame and uninvolving mystery, more way-off-base characterization, and more weird perspective shots and page layouts that make you realize Neal Adams isn’t just past his prime — he’s gone and left any memories of it in the dust. In other words, this comic will blow your mind, and you pass on it at your peril. Overall: 0 Recommendation: Buy. That’s not a typo.


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 (**).

Review: G-Raver Vol. 1

G-Raver Vol. 1

When it comes to television shows that have a rabid fan following, some can make you wonder exactly why? I never quite understood why so many people went down the rabbit hole with Lost. Especially since so many of the fans couldn’t explain it. Then there is the epic Whedonverse, which comprised initially of Buffy The Vampire Slayer. It went on to include its spinoff Angel. It can all seem weird to an outsider who doesn’t know or have ever watched either of these franchises.

It wasn’t until I sat and watched Lost and every series Joss Whedon brought to television that I understood exactly why their fans were as obsessed. It’s because it was very well written. One of those devoted franchises that is sadly ending with the upcoming season is Supernatural. Even with that show, I had to be coaxed into it and went on to become full-on obsessed myself. These series speak to a part of ourselves that is both skeptical and believes in these supernatural myths. In the first volume of G-Raver, we find a protagonist like the Winchesters, who hunt monsters but whose alter ego would make you think different.

We meet G-Raver, a professional wrestler on the XWW Extreme Wrestling circuit and who is the current champion. He’s secretly what those in the monster-hunting business refer to as a “cleanser,” someone who vanquishes anomalies on a human plane. Through the comic, he battles the supernatural like vampires, gargoyle type creates, the undead, and more. But why is this happening and what, or who is behind it all?

Overall, an action-packed book which travails the urban fantasy genre with probably its coolest protagonist. The story by Eric Watkins, is entertaining and well characterized. The art by the creative team is vivid and breathtaking. Altogether, a story which brings a new mythology and protagonist which will give readers another hero to root for.

Story: Eric Watkins
Art: Nick Wentland, Landon Franklin, Brandon Franklin,
and Justin Birch
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Review: The Unforgiven Vol. 1: Of Ashes Born

The Unforgiven Vol. 1: Of Ashes Born

Before his foray into films, Jordan Peele was most known for his comedic flair. On his show, with fellow comedian, Keegan Michael-Key, we found flashes of his rather ubiquitous and grim mind. Though many of his sketches were shrouded in parody, there were flashes of distortion amongst many of them.

He shifted his comedic focus to horror as he shifted to film. He employed some of his scare tactics in the movie Us. The mere thought of people being casted out just because they are doppelgangers is both despicable and terrifying.  In the first volume of The Unforgiven: Of Ashes Born, we get a world where the good have lost the war and cast out. Much like the Tethered in that movie they have not lost hope.

Within the first few pages, we get background of how the world became one big government, and how 25 years later, there are still detractors, who are The Unforgiven. As we find out that in this world, there are people who trust in the government, and those who don’t, who disappear, and the lucky ones become part of The Unforgiven. We meet Jared Patton, a normal guy, until one day when he steps the state police from harassing a young woman. As he takes her to his apartment, we find out that the state police is also after Jared, unbeknownst to him, as one of the government officials, Kensington Radcliffe, the Minister Of Order, about to choke him to death, is stopped by a fire breathing being, one that is there to help Jared. As Jon Diamond, his friend and roommate, finds out that there is more to this mysterious woman than meets the eye, as the very reason why Ministry of Order was after her, was her association with the leader of the Unforgiven, Christian Caine, as he shows both Jared and Jon , what really lies beyond The Edge, as millions of homeless people live there. As Caine brings them into the fold, as we meet his support personnel, Jeff, Coriander and Jon’s father’s old friend, Charles.  By volume’s end, we find out Radcliffe will stop at nothing to find Jared and Jared might not be out of danger quite yet.

Overall, an excellent beginning to what looks to be a refreshing take on the dystopian genre. It’s one which keeps readers heads on a swivel. The story by Tyler B. Ruff is canny, solid and possesses excellent character development. The art by Ruff is awe-inspiring. Altogether, one of the best comics I’ve read by a brave new voice in a genre that seems well-traveled but with Ruff’s broad strokes has been renewed.

Story: Tyler B. Ruff Art: Tyler B. Ruff
Story: 9.3 Art: 9.2 Overall: 9.4 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files: Welcome to the Jungle #2

Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files: Welcome to the Jungle #2

As a child, I remember the first time I saw Cujo. I’d heard from an older cousin just how scary Stephen King’s books were and how it would stay with you for days. I remember how she told me how Salem’s Lot was the scariest book she read. She had her own misgivings about the movie and the miniseries, but she said they were pretty much the same.

 Then I watched Cujo and the way me and my cousins saw stray animals became something completely different for our adolescent minds. We were instantly scared of strange animals, even if they were domesticated. That movie has left such an imprint on our minds 36 years later, that when I do see a dog, the name, “ Cujo” comes to mind every time. In the second issue of Dresden Files: Welcome To The Jungle, we find Harry fighting a whole zoo who’s being controlled by an evil entity.

We find Harry and Will running from a pack of leopards, who back them in a corner and where Harry notices something mystical emanating from their eyes. His instincts lead him to the zoo’s veterinarian’s office, Dr. Watson, where he uncovers traces of blood magic, something he doesn’t hold the knowledge of. He eventually returns to his abode and discovers through speaking with Bob, his spectral guide, exactly what Watson is. By the issue’s end, Harry and Will, armed with this new knowledge, depart to confront her.

Overall, an engaging issue which displays Jim Butcher’s innate skill to blend genres as the heat gets turned on this issue. The story by Butcher is intense and well characterized. The art by Adrian Syaf is gorgeous. Altogether, an issue that proves Butcher’s genius and Syaf’s brilliance.

Story: Jim Butcher Art: Adrian Syaf
Story: 9.6 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Review: Meyer

Meyer

Al Pacino is one of those actors whose onscreen magnetism makes every movie he makes a must see. Movie audiences have been drawn to the iconic actor ever since he graced the screen in the original Godfather. His penchant for tough guys has been his calling card, often playing rough characters whose lives have not always been the best. His role in Donnie Brasco was probably some of his best work and he didn’t even occupy the titular role.

One of his best roles of recent, and probably one that is so underrated, is Stand Up Guys. It’s a movie about aging gangsters trying to find equity one last time. It’s a nod to a long-celebrated genre which hadn’t had entries in recent years and to a generation whose contributions had largely been forgotten. In a fictional telling of a historical figure we get a reimagining of the infamous gangster, Meyer Lansky, in Meyer, where he gets to pull off one last job.

We meet Meyer in a retirement home in Florida where he is operating an assumed name of Morris Gluck. He suffers endless disrespect and feels as though the community is sucking the life out of him. This all changes when one of the orderlies David breaks Lansky out for one last con job.

Overall, Meyer is an excellent graphic novel which is across between Bubba Ho-Tep if it had gangsters and Pineapple Express if it was a serious drama. The story by Jonathan Lang is engaging and intense. The art by the creative team is captivating. Altogether, a story that is both fun and a love letter  to those gangster movies everyone loves.

Story: Jonathan Lang
Art: Andrea Mutti, Shawn Martinbrough,
and Andre Szymanowicz
Story: 9.7 Art: 9.6 Overall: 9.66 Recommendation: Buy

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