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.
X-Men #6 (Marvel)– Jonathan Hickman and Matteo Buffagni build off the Orchis space mission plot thread from House of X to tell a Mystique-centric story, show that Orchis is still a threat, and make Krakoa even a more morally ambiguous place. Basically, Xavier and Magneto have made Mystique a one woman Suicide Squad, who spies on Orchis and their new technology for the hope of getting her wife, Destiny back. Buffagni is a wonderful artist choice for this issue with all of its tech floating around, and he uses skinny panels to nail the emotional beats between Mystique, Xavier, and Magneto as they continue to manipulate her. But she has sort of an ace up her sleeve that could be the downfall of Krakoa as Hickman brings back the multiple timelines in this issue.Finally, X-Men #6 is another example of Hickman forsaking the multi-issue arcs of modern, mainstream comics for single issue stories that help convey the larger tapestry of life on Krakoa. Overall: 8.4 Verdict: Buy
New Mutants #7 (Marvel)– Jonathan Hickman and Rod Reis wrap up the old school New Mutants in space arc in an experimental and occasionally abrupt fashion. Hickman definitely is having a ball writing the relationship between Sunspot and Cannonball and opens the issue with Sunspot breaking the fourth wall to complain about how the series has been broken up. Then, because they ran out of room or something, the climactic fight scene is decided by you, the reader, rolling D6’s. (In my case, the Shi’ar Imperial Guard won, and Mentor was the last one standing.) The intergalactic politics thing ends up just being a joke and an excuse for Cannonball and Sunspot to hang out more and banter. However, Rod Reis’ art and colors continue to be lush and emotive, perfect for the space-scapes and scenes of conflict between the New Mutants and Guard. Overall: 7.5 Verdict: Read
Wolverine #1 (Marvel)– Logan returns to solo comics is suitably guilt-ridden, claw-slashing, and bloody fashion in a pair of stories penned by Benjamin Percy and drawn by Adam Kubert and Viktor Bogdanovic. Both are crafted around his role as Krakoa’s last line of defense, the man of the wall, who will do whatever it takes to keep mutants safe. He might open the comic playing hide and seek with mutant children in a brightly colored sequence, but he probably has more in common with Omega Red in the 2nd story or the visions of his actions in the Old Man Logan comic in the first one. The 1st story basically throws Wolverine into a Narcos-like situation where he’s trying to figure out who is using the Krakoan flowers to whip up a human cult that wants to literally drink mutant blood. It’s solid, but the second story featuring vampires, the Paris catacombs, and the story of Catholic saints is much more exciting and pure pulp goodness. Percy and Bogdanovic work in tandem knowing when to cut between panels and when to open up and let Logan or Omega Red cut loose. The Vampire Nation is a powerful threat for Krakoa as well as its twisted mirror. Finally, the real highlight of this excellent, yet overpriced comic is Magneto using the CIA as an example of why Wolverine, and by extension, Krakoa, will never have the moral high ground. Overall: 9.0 Verdict: Buy
Marauders #8 (Marvel)– This is the big reaction issue to the death of Kate Pryde with some Sebastian Shaw maneuvering in the background. Most of the comic is Gerry Duggan and Stefano Caselli turning Iceman loose as he’s less Northstar and more Midnighter in the violence spectrum of queer characters because of his friendship with Kate. Caselli brings the big screen, elemental action showing the effects of Bobby’s power before showing his emotional reaction to Kate’s death. It’s cathartic and bookends nicely with Storm and Emma Frost’s interactions as this issue really drives home how much Kate meant to the X-Men and her Marauder teammates. Throughout the series, Duggan and Caselli have been able to pull off these kind of *water cooler* moments in Marauders, and this issue is no exception. Overall: 9.2 Verdict: Buy
Bang! #1 (Dark Horse)– The new comic from Matt Kindt and Wilfredo Torres is a spy thriller that starts as an overt deconstruction of James Bond and then becomes much more metafictional. Think “fiction suits” from the works of Grant Morrison. Bang #1 is that fan theory that James Bond isn’t one man, but a codename given to different men (For now) written larger than life. Wilfredo Torres’ art is smooth and perfectly fit for both sleek action, pop culture/pulp homages, and something a little more mindbending. He uses grids for the hand to hand combat and splash pages for the big reveal. Nayoung Kim keeps the colors reasonably flat because this is pop reality, not reality. Bang! has an interesting concept and examines the misogyny and imperialism of pulp paperbacks while also indulging in its best tropes. Overall: 9.5 Verdict: Buy
Valkyrie: Jane Foster #8 (Marvel)– Norwegian writer Torunn Gronbekk joins Jason Aaron and Cafu on the issue of Valkyrie: Jane Foster, and they tell a middling, disaster movie-esque, guest star heavy story of Valkyrie, the Avengers, and Thor against the forces of anti-life that were guarded by the All-Father and are now released. The best part of this comic is the two pages that Jane and her friend Lisa get to chat and talk about their lives until the ground opens up. I honestly don’t blame Gronbekk choosing the biggest toys in the box to play with in her first Marvel outing, but with the exception of the aforementioned two pages and the end of the comic, it feels more like an Avengers comic than a Valkyrie one. Also, this issue’s villain is a little bit of a retread of the last arc’s, but with more of a connection to Norse mythology. However, Cafu has a nice photorealistic style that isn’t stiff and makes for pleasant reading. Overall: 5.8 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 (**).