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Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 7/14

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.


 

Ryan C

FLS_Cv50_dsThe Flash #50 (DC)** – I guess this is a “landmark” issue, but you could have fooled me: same sort of lackluster Barry Allen vs. Wally West race around the world and through time comes to an end, the villain (Hunter Zolomon) gets away, angst-ridden wooden dialogue that would make Chris Claremont blush dominates the day — and all in service of one big character resurrection (or should that be “rebirth”?) that I can’t imagine anyone giving a shit about. Joshua Williamson has done some okay writing work, but not here, and the same is true of Howard Porter as far as the art is concerned. I’ve heard that people are enjoying this run — but I literally can’t see how or why. Overall: 1 Recommendation: Pass.

Superman #1 (DC)** – More a continuation of the sloppy, uninteresting “Man Of Steel” mini-series than a debut issue in its own right, Brian Michael Bendis is doing nothing but stage-setting here : Superman “grows” a new Fortress Of Solitude in the Bermuda Triangle with no explanation, J’Onn J’Onzz uncharacteristically implores Superman to take over the world with no explanation, and at the end the Earth appears to have been swallowed up by the Phantom Zone — again, with no explanation. Ivan Reis’ art is competent, but that’s about it — which, as you can already tell, is more than can be said for the story. Overall: 2.5 Recommendation: Pass.

Eternity Girl #5 (DC/Young Animal)** – Magdalene Visaggio’s scripting on this mini-series has been up and down, but fortunately it’s ticking “up” again as we near the conclusion. Our protagonist appears to be getting close to realizing her goal of non-existence — but she’s about to “achieve” it in a decidedly involuntary fashion. Smart, sharp, philosophical dialogue and captions paired with Sonny Liew’s stunning, post-psychedelic art makes for a pretty compelling little issue, and I’m looking forward to seeing how all this wraps up. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Elsewhere #8 (Image)** – Sadly, Jay Faerber and Sumeyye Kesgin’s lighthearted sci-fi series is being put to bed with this issue, but the story of Amelia Earhart and D.B. Cooper’s dimension-hopping at least comes to a pleasing, if obviously rushed, conclusion. One gets the feeling that there was a much longer story waiting to be told here, but on the whole I’m pretty satisfied with one we got — bright, crisp, lively art paired with a breezy, fun, smart script that doesn’t have any goal beyond simply being entertaining? I’ll take that — heck, I’d have taken much more of it. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy.

Logan

amazing spider-man 1 2018.PNGAmazing Spider-Man #1 (Marvel) Nick Spencer and Ryan Ottley’s debut on Marvel’s flagship title is funny, moving, and also is a mini Superior Foes reunion, which is never a bad thing. Other than the bad luck, worse jokes, and scientific know how, Spencer understands that having a good reputation is key to Spidey and Peter Parker’s character, which is why a plagiarism scandal connected to the days when Doc Ock’s mind was in his body hurts worse than an alien invasion. Dealing with real problems, like work troubles and bad roommate in this case, has been part of Spidey’s charm from the beginning, and Spencer and Ottley infuse plenty of that in their comic. On the visual side, Ryan Ottley gets to cut loose and draw epic, guest starred filled battles as well as potent interpersonal scenes like Aunt May being disappointed in Peter and a reunion with a major supporting character. And like a cherry on top, there’s a funny, melodramatic backup story starring Mysterio with art by perennial Spider-Man artist Humberto Ramos. Overall: 9 Verdict: Buy.

Incredibles 2 #1 (Dark Horse) Incredibles 2 #1 is a collection of three stories mostly centered around Mr. Incredible penned by Christos Gage and Landry Walker with fantastic art by Gurihuru, J. Bone, Urbano, and Greppi. The first story is about Mr. Incredible not feeling as strong as he used to and transitioning from being a main superhero to teaching his kids how to be better superheroes. Gurihuru draws in a Disney Golden Book style so this story stuck with me the most. The second story by Gage and drawn in a more satirical style by J. Bone is Rashomon meets bed time stories as Violet and Dash press at their dad to find out the real, non-boring story of his old superhero days. And the final story is a beautiful, little one and done Jack Jack yarn as he uses his vast powers to save his new friend from an evil playground terrorizer. This story is a lot like a Pixar short film. Overall: 7.7 Verdict: Read

X-23 #1 (Marvel)– Mariko Tamaki and Juann Cabal’s first issue of X-23 has some snikty snikt action, good one-liners from Honey Badger, and leans on the whole clone thing more than ever with the introduction of the Stepford Cuckoos as Laura and Gabby’s foils. X-23 #1 is really a tale of two tones: a black ops mission against scientists who want to use Wolverine’s DNA to make super soldiers and then psychological horror with an interlude at the Xavier Institute. I love how Tamaki writes the “sister” relationship between Gabby and Laura and Cabal is good at clearly choreographed action and twisted psychic imagery so this is a fairly solid first issue. Overall: 7.7 Verdict: Read

Joe

The Amazing Spider-Man #1 (Marvel) – Nick Spencer returns to the fun writing he knew on Superior Foes of Spider-Man, and Ryan Ottley brings the cool character design he pulled off so well on Invincible. This is a good jumping on point Spidey fans. Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

Superman #1 (DC) – This is a good start to a new jumping on point with a whole new creative team. Reading Man of Steel that came out before this helps, but isn’t needed. This issue sets up some huge things going forward and it will be fun to see where it goes from here. Overall: 7.0 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 (**).

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 7/1

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.


 

Batman50CoverMr H

Batman #50 (DC) Not many times does a comic bring out such emotion but wow. I feel like this could be Tom King’s masterpiece. This was fantastic from beginning panel to end. The way countless artists and creators were woven in, was so fitting considering how they have had such an impact on Batman’s history. The simple elegance of a secret rooftop wedding was genius. In a medium where most fictional weddings are over the top fiascos this was so nice and refreshing. I loved the double story narration throughout from both Bruce and Selina. Having doubted their true connection, Tom King has made a believer out of me. If Batman is to marry anyone, it has to be Catwoman. I believe that now. There was no over the top villain showdown but a definite surprise ending. This book had me mulling and contemplating true love. Rarely does a comic bring this kind of emotion out of me. There were a couple beats that did it though. I cannot say enough good about this book. It lived up to all the hype and I am so happy it did. Overall: Incredible. Tom King pulled another miracle out of his hat and it had nothing to do with Scot Free. This was all aces from me. Still astonished how well it was done. Score: 10/10 I’d give a 20/20 If I could.

Ryan C

Dark Ark #8 (Aftershock)** – Continuing the recent and highly successful storytelling trope of alternating between “past” and “present” that this series has settled comfortably into, Cullen Bunn deepens the mystery considerably in this issue while offering some tasty, if not exactly surprising, revelations to balance things out while Juan Doe, for his part, offers one stunning, eye-popping image after another, including a couple of double-page spreads that will absolutely knock your socks off. One of the best books that no one is talking about. Overall: 8. Recommendation: Buy.

dark ark 8.jpgThe Man Of Steel #6 (DC)** – Ho-hum. Brian Michael Bendis “ends” the “threat” of Rogol Zaar with predictable Deus Ex Machina nonsense, the dangling subplot of the arson fires is left that way, and Lois and Jon are temporarily ushered out the door by means you’ve seen coming for at least a couple of issues now. Jason Fabok’s art is perfectly competent in a “New 52”-esque sort of way, but all I can say about this at the end of the day is “thank Rao it’s over with.” Overall: 3. Recommendation: Pass.

Cosmic Ghost Rider #1 (Marvel)** – Kinda dumb, kinda fun, but probably leaning more toward the dumb, Donny Cates goes the pure set-up route with his script here, which is fine, but the fireworks — assuming any are to be had — will probably kick in next issue when the Immortal-Spirit-Of-Vengeance version of Frank Castle starts tooling around the cosmos with Baby Thanos. Dylan Burnett’s art is fine, but in fairness he’s no Geoff Shaw. Overall: 6. Recommendation: Read.

The Grave Diggers Union #8 (Image)** – With one issue left to go, Wes Craig kicks things into high gear story-wise with pathos and family drama necessarily overshadowing the comedic elements for this installment, while Toby Cypress matches the mood with some great, horrifying, highly idiosyncratic artwork. If you’ve been enjoying the series so far you’ll find a lot to like with this one — and I’ve been enjoying it quite a bit. Overall: 7.5. Recommendation: Buy.

Shean

cosmic_ghost_rider_cover_1Cosmic Ghost Rider #1 (Marvel)– Cool concept of Frank Castle being brought back from the dead by Odin to become the Ghost Rider in outer space, pretty funny overall. The story feels like if Bruce Campbell played Groo The Barbarian met Hells Angels in outer space . Was expecting a more serious take , but hopefully the 2nd issue fulfills the promise of the premise. As far as how good this first issue is, it’s mainly alright, not great.
Overall: 6 Recommendation: Borrow

Patrick

I Hate Fairyland #20 (Image)** – The final issue of Skottie Young’s rampage through this muffin hugger. Gert faces off against Dark Cloudia with the Hearts of the Council – then faces off against the Council. Not a bad way to go out – but not great, either. If I had had my heart’s desire, it would have been that Young had used his last arc to really dig into what makes Fairyland fun and Gert’s wishes to escape. Still, I look forward to the possibility of seeing more of the adventures of Larry, Duncan Dragon, and company, and I’ll miss Fairyland. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Buy. 

The Kurdles Adventure Magazine 1The Kurdles Adventure Magazine #1 (Fantagraphics)** – This is the brainchild of artist Robert Goodin, intended to be a “kid-friendly comic magazine”. Featuring the adventures of a grumpy unicorn, a concerned teddy bear, and the star of the show, a kindly pentapus named Phineas, Goodin’s work is charming and funny – though I think my 6-year-old would find it a bit dull (so many words!). His one-page stuff is great. Guest artists include Cesar Spinoza (Pacho Clokey, a b&w cartoon in a photographed world), Andrew Brandou (with a take on Paul Bunyan and Babe that’s kind of fun), and Cathy Malkasian (the brilliant “No-Body Likes You, Greta Grump”). The book is almost worth the price of admission just for the 5-page “Forbidden to Love Him!”, starring Phineas Pentapus, an absolutely pitch-perfect 50’s romance comic. And I mean perfect on every level: the plot, the dialogue, the art, colouring, lettering, and print effects. This is a little masterpiece. Do I really have to wait a whole year for the next issue? Overall: 8 but Goodin’s material is a solid 9. Recommendation: Buy.

Logan

Catwoman #1 (DC) In one issue, Catwoman shows that it’s one of DC’s most beautiful books with art that is both grotesque and well-rendered by Joelle Jones and a palette from Laura Allred that stays in the shadows. Jones’ story isn’t too bad either as Selina is trying to reinvent herself in Villa Hermosa, Mexico, but her peace of high stakes gambling is broken up by copycats in Catwoman costumes killing cops. The initial villain is pretty freaky: kind of like a female Peter Thiel, and I look forward to more rooftop chases and gorgeous architecture and fashions from Jones and Allred. Overall: 9.0 Verdict: Buy

Assassinistas01Assassinistas #6 (IDW/Black Crown) Sure, the final issue of Tini Howard, Gilbert Hernandez, and Rob Davis’ mini has daring escapes, sniper shots, and even retro flashbacks. But it’s also the forging of a family as it’s revealed that Dominic does have a relationship with his father, and that Octavia is still coming to terms with coming out as gay. However, by the time, the finale rolls about, his boyfriend Taylor is outwitting the series’ villain Blood Diamond, and the day is saved by an unexpected source. Assassinistas #6 has it all: a quirky family dynamic, retro aesthetic, and lively cartooning from Hernandez. Overall: 8.5 Verdict: 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 (**).

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 6/30

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.


Alex

XO2017_016_COVER-B_MAHFOODX-O Manowar #16 (Valiant)** A tale set in Aric’s youth as the character features heavily in Harbinger Wars II, this story faces the same problem all stories set in a character’s past do; you already know the outcome.  But it’s the journey that matters most, and this journey is at least pretty to look at and gives us, oddly, a better look into the armour as it narrates the book. Probably not essential reading, but enjoyable nonetheless. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Read

Pestilence: A Story Of Satan #2 (Aftershock)** There’s a warning on this book that indicates it is for mature readers only. It’s not bloody wrong. But underneath the tream of profanity from Satan’s mouth, underneath the gratuitous nudity and a rape scene that’s not explicitly shown (but there is no doubt about what happened), underneath these things that seem to be trying to draw your attention away, there is a little bit of plot movement that could be summed up in two lines. For that reason more than anything, this isn’t really worth picking up. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Pass

Multiple Man #1 (Marvel) An oddball of fun and chaotic humour, this is the kind of book that you can pick up and just have a laugh with from start to finish. Overall: 8,2 Recommendation: Buy

Ryan C

prisoner 3Man Of Steel #5 (DC)** – It’s always nice to see Adam Hughes do non-cheesecake art, but who are we kidding? Brian Michael Bendis’ script is dull and hopelessly padded. This thing is limping toward the finish line, and the “new era” of Superman looks very far from promising, indeed. Overall: 3. Recommendation: Pass

The Wicked + The Divine #37 (Image)** – I griped about last issue being lazy, but this one has it beat. A ten-page yearly “countdown clock” of all-black panels? Please. Jamie McKelvie makes up for it with a stunning battle sequence toward the end, but Kieron Gillen mailed in half his script for this issue, and that’s simply inexcusable. Nice cliffhanger, though, I’ll give him that. Overall: 4 Recommendation: Pass

Brothers Dracul #3 (Aftershock)** – Cullen Bunn joins the lazy brigade, as well, turning in a script that probably took all of 20 minutes to write, and takes less than five to read. Some stuff happens in terms of the story moving forward and that’s all well and good, and Mirko Colak’s art is stunning as always, but four bucks for this thing? Be serious. Overall: 4 Recommendation: Pass

The Prisoner: The Uncertainty Machine #3 (Titan)** – Last issue had a stunning cliffhanger, but Peter Milligan takes the easy way out to resolve it, which is a bummer — still, he comes close to earning complete forgiveness with the rest of the installment, which moves events along at a nice, smooth clip and he leaves us with a terrific cliffhanger that promises a hum-dinger of a finale is in store. Colin Lorimer’s art is, as we’ve become accustomed to/spoiled by, flat-out amazing. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Logan

mm1Man of Steel #5 (DC) Adam Hughes doing interiors is a real treat beginning with the outer space beatdown between Rogol Zaar and Superman even if he has some issues with the current designs for the Justice League. Unfortunately, Rogol Zaar has proven to be the most generic of villains, like Darth Maul in Phantom Menace without all the mystique factor. Brian Michael Bendis’ writing is up and down in this one from fantastic moments featuring Jon Kent and a chance to get into Supergirl’s head to The Flash saying “caca poo poo” not once, but twice. Honestly, the Superman/Lois/Jon Kent sub-story could have been the main story, and Man of Steel would be a much more interesting miniseries. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Pass

Multiple Man #1 (Marvel) Matthew Rosenberg’s zippy scripting, Andy McDonald’s clean art, and Tamra Bonvillain’s murky, yet bright colors make a comic centered around clones, er, duplicates and time travel a breezy read. Jamie Madrox is back from the dead, but he’s also dying and will do anything in his power to stay alive, include punch Bishop in the face. Rosenberg and McDonald have a lot of fun with the classic X-Men tropes of death and time travel all culminating in a “Wtf” type battle sequence. Kudos to them for throwing readers straight into the action and not getting hung up on reintroductions and exposition. Overall: 7.8 Verdict: Read

Modern Fantasy #1 (Dark Horse)– Rafer Roberts and Kristen Gudsnuk combine three of my favorite genres (crime, fantasy, slice of life) into a pleasing package as data entry worker Sage yearns for some kind of great, epic quest to give her life meaning. Adventure does come her way, but in a very unexpected manner. But, before the plot really gets moving, Roberts and Gudsnuk dive head first into world building, romantic pairings, and of course, some drug use. Until the crime part kicks in, Modern Fantasy #1 has a really casual pace helped my the chill, comedic art style of Gudsnuk. The book reads like a slice of life fantasy webcomic you’d idly click through during breaks from work, but with a little more urgency. Overall: 8.2 Verdict: Buy

Patrick 

KillOrBeKilled_20-1Kill or Be Killed #20 (Image)** – The final issue of Brubaker, Phillips & Breitweiser’s ode to 70’s vigilante movies (and, apparently, Spider-Man stories). Although the art is gorgeous as ever, the story is something of a let-down, focusing on narrative tricks rather than really digging down to the core of its central theme. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Read

Stray Bullets #36 (Image/El Capitan)** – Somehow David Lapham manages, nearly 1000 pages (!) into Sunshine and Roses, to introduce a great new character. Love Yourself is a samurai, a poet, a lover, a feeder of pigeons, a fighter of monsters – and, most importantly, a fighter of Monster. Where this is all going, I have no idea – the wheel just keeps turning and all of the pieces keep moving, the plot doesn’t thicken, it just keeps swirling and swirling and I like it just fine that way. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Blackwood #2 (Dark Horse)** – Evan Dorkin and Veronica and Andy Fish continue their trot through the Magic School genre. Gotta say, if it wasn’t Evan Dorkin I would never have bothered, and even though it is Evan Dorkin – you can tell in the sharp dialogue and the fun details (two-headed monkey!), the story is pretty paint-by-numbers. Okay if you’re into this genre, but I’m not, so I’m dropping out. Overall: 7 Recommendation: skip

Sex Criminals #25 (Image)** – Well, here we are at the last issue of what Fraction says is the next-to-final arc, and now that Suzie’s house has burned down… what? What is happening? Is nothing happening? Some sort of plot or “plot”? As usual for me, the most intriguing and interesting stuff is happening off the page while Fraction and Zdarsky contnue to insist on the dull mechanical grind of their “story”. What’s maddening is how great even those few panels or pages are where it’s just about how these humans are figuring out their humanity in relation to the other humans figuring out their humanity. That’s what keeps me here. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer #1 (Titan/Hard Case) – I’m a bit of a sucker for Hammer and will always fall for a Robert McGinnis cover. It’s based on an unproduced script by Spillane, adapted for comics by noir expert Max Allan Collins. So this should have been a no-brainer. Unfortunately, it’s a pretty lackluster effort. Artists Marcelo Salaza and Marcio Freire serve up a world that is too delicately-painted for Spillane’s postwar New York, a Hammer that’s too pretty, dolls that are too plastic and fragile. The danger of Hammer walking into that bar isn’t palpable, nobody seems to sweat or stink, and Collins’ narrative captions need to tell us a lot because we’re not being shown enough. Do yourselves a favour and go read Max de Radigues & Wauter Mannaert’s excellent Weegee instead. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Skip.

Shean

omh6Old Man Hawkeye #6  (Marvel) Clinton and his old partner catch up with each other but not on the best of times. As the Army of Venoms are banging on the doors of Kate’s fortress. Clint and Kate lead time away into a trap, which decimates the Venoms. By issue’s end, an old friend is resurrected and Bullseye is still hot on Clint’s trail.
Overall: 9.2 Recommendation: Buy

Amazing Spider-Man: Wakanda Forever #1 (Marvel) I was hoping for this book to be as cool a team up as it sounds, but sadly it stumbles out of the gate. Hopefully, the next book in this series will make up for it. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Pass

Lando: Double Or Nothing #2 (Marvel) I will keep this one sweet and short, if you enjoy Donald Glover’s portrayal of Lando, you will like this book but if you prefer yours Billy Dee Williams, stay clear, as it’s full of quips that are not quite the Colt 45 man.
Overall: 9 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 (**).

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 6/23

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.


Patrick

DryCounty_01-1Dry County #4 (Image)** – “Ready?” – “Mnn–not really.” Rich Tommaso serves up the penultimate issue of his Florida Noir as Lou Rossi loses his job but gets a step closer to finding Janet. This of course turns out badly for our frankly lousy detective in another excellent installment. I’ll be sad to see this end but happy to have discovered Tommaso. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Mage: the Hero Denied #9 (Image)** – There are times, like at the start of this issue, that Kevin Matchstick actually seems to be worthy of wielding Excalibur. It is great to see him wade into the redcaps and just whale on them like the warrior king everyone tells us he is. But then the stakes return to their weirdly low level and he just kind of goes along with whatever anyone (say, his sister-in-law Isis) tells him. Also: I hate to tell you, bud, but your son Hugo is either one of the dumbest kids in fiction or you’ve raised him to be completely clueless about the world he is living in. Either way, he’s basically a personality-less character with no apparent desires or wants of his own, which makes it easy to not care too much about what happens to him except insofar as it might continue to kick Kevin’s lazy ass into gear. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Skip 

I Hate Fairyland #19 (Image)** – Nice to see Gert and Larry together again, united in mayhem – even if it is in Hell and Gert knows everything that’s going to happen. So we get a nice little space adventure with Buster Booster to get us started, and thenDuncan Dragon shows up to bring Gert to the Council to save the Fairyland she despises from Dark Cloudia. Dire times indeed! A bit of a placeholder, it’ll be nice when Skottie Young ditches his plot and returns to simpler and more fun stuff. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy 

Proxima Centauri #1 (Image)** – Hell yes I will buy a new Farel Darlymple series, here is my money thank you very much. Here, he’s doing, uh, it looks kind of like space opera, telling the story of Sherwood from The Wrenchies in his teenage years on a “stupid planet or space station or whatever it is”. First off: a space suit with a cape is cool. Second: Sherwood is a whiny teenager on a mission to save the world. So of course he’s not very good at it, and he’s distracted by trying to impress a girl, saying things that he’s gotten from movies that sound tough but realizing they actually sound stupid, getting mad at himself and laying the blame on the world, just a very regular teenage boy who believes “…the whole world is only what’s happening to you.” I love that Dalrymple never resorts to explaining anything, just keeps us in the action and in our hero’s perception of the action at the same time. Which is a hell of a trick when you think about it. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy 

Logan

Archie's Superteens Versus the Crusaders #1.jpgMan of Steel #4 (DC)– The battle between Superman, Supergirl, and Rogol Zaar is joined, and Brian Michael Bendis’ DC debut miniseries takes a leap in quality thanks to insightful writing and earth shaking action drawn by Kevin Maguire. Maguire can do the big action of Rogol Zaar trying to kill the last two Kryptonians as well as scenes with more character acting and facial expressions like when Hal Jordan shows up, and Bendis writes him as an empathetic space cop. Bendis also takes things like ethnic cleansing and collateral damage seriously in Man of Steel #4, and a lot of the suspense comes from Superman trying to take the fight outside Metropolis and figure out a way to counter this new threat. The cherry on the top of this fine comic book is actual plot development in the short Jon/Lois/Clark flashback sequences that have been threaded throughout the mini. Overall: 8.7 Verdict: Buy

Archie’s Superteens Versus the Crusaders #1 (Archie)– Ian Flynn, David Williams, Gary Martin, and Kelsey Shannon turn in a fun, no frill superhero extravaganza in Superteens vs. The Crusaders. When a supervillain reject turned substitute teacher wreaks havoc on Riverdale High, the superpowered Archie, Betty, Veronica, and Jughead must hold him off until the, er, grownups come to town. Flynn, Williams, and Martin don’t bother with origin stories and just throw the gang into action until the cliffhanger comes a little too quickly. Unlike the Dark Circle, everything is played fairly straight, and there are some great jokes along the way like a random student wondering if this giant robot attack is going to be on the test… Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Justice League #2 (DC)– Scott Snyder and Jorge Jimenez throw about a dozen crazy ideas on the proverbial dart board of this comic, such as Batman and Hawkgirl, piloting Superman and Martian Manhunter’s bodies, and some of them actually stick. This is because they balance blockbuster action with introspective characterization even though the quiet moments get lost in the noise of the big stuff. Honestly, the Legion of Doom is more compelling than the JL at this point, especially a fly off the handle Lex Luthor, who begins the book by blowing up his dad’s country club and continues by giving each of his teammates something they didn’t know they desired. There’s an ease and elasticity to Jimenez’s art work, and he’s well suited to a big time book like this. Overall: 7.7 Verdict: Read

Runaways #10 (Marvel)– Damn, this comic was emotionally destructive. Rainbow Rowell, Kris Anka, and Matthew Wilson deal with the fallout of Karolina’s girlfriend Julie Power eating a cupcake that will make her thirteen forever, tell the origin story of the “villain” Abigail,and wrap up this fantastic arc about growing up and life transitions. Wilson’s colors capture the vibe of each scene from a happy go lucky Abigail getting immortality from the Enchantress in the carefree 1960s to the dark car ride home after the Runaways prevent her from ever growing up and watching everyone around her grow old Highlander style. Many superhero story arcs conclude with a “big win”, but Rowell and Anka go for the more relatable “big bummer” and end the book on an interpersonal moment that has been long marinating than a punch fest. There is action in the book, however. Overall: 9.4 Verdict: Buy

Ryan C

BM_Cv49_varBatman #49 (DC)**- Not a bad issue in the scheme of things, as some of the dialogue between The Joker and Catwoman is genuinely clever and interesting, and of course Mikel Janin’s art is spectacular, but Tom King is still basically treading water here, and as a lead-in to one of the biggest events in Bat-history next issue, it’s somewhat lackluster, if competent, stuff. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Read.

Days Of Hate #6 (Image)** – A decent enough return to form after a “major” chapter in this saga fell curiously flat last time, but Ales Kot’s script leans a bit too heavy on the preachiness and his imitation of John Smith’s prose — well, it ain’t John Smith, I’ll leave it at that. Danijel Zezelj’s art is superb and enthralling, as always, and there’s a pretty jaw-dropping cliffhanger, so on the whole this was at least worth the time, if not the money. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

Deadly Class #35 (Image)** – Rick Remender and Wes Craig wrap up their “Love Like Blood” arc with a huge, action-centric issue that puts its foot right on the gas and never lets up. A major character dies (for real this time), the status quo is shaken to its core, and it really does feel like nothing will ever be the same again. Overall: 9. Recommendation: Buy

Black Hammer: Age Of Doom #3 (Dark Horse)** – Jeff Lemire and Dean Ormston ramp up the revelations considerably this time out, and set the stage for what promises to be a very key issue next month, and manage to poke good-natured fun at “The Sandman” and evoke fond memories of “Sweet Tooth” while they’are at it. What’s not to love, I ask? Overall: 8. Recommendation: Buy

Mr. H

amazingspidermanryv20Amazing Spider-man: Renew your vows #20 (Marvel) This book both has a dated yet fresh feel at the same time. I have always clamored for a continuity where Annie “May” Parker survived her throw away fate at the end of the first Clone Saga in 90s. The family dynamic of all three Parkers having powers is just fantastic and you don’t see that happen enough in comics. Even MJ having powers I’m fine with. Having little Annie learn the webs was a joy now she’s a moody teen with a mix of her moms spirit and dad’s morals. I am digging this but when they said they would be introducing a Clone Saga for Annie I definitely winced. So far it’s a quick start and any time we get Peter and Logan teaming up is always great fun. Him saying Logan was 500 years old was hilarious. Sure the book has a 90s feel but with way less pouches everywhere. So that isn’t a bad thing. I am enjoying this title and the villain behind this madness might have been a better route to have behind it in the original saga. All in all it feels like a trip down memory road but I’m hoping for a detour or two to have me consult my GPS. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read. It’s fun.

 

 



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 (**).

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 6/16

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.


Ryan C

mrmiracle9.jpgMister Miracle # 9 (DC)**  Tom King and Mitch Gerads tread a lot of water in this issue, as a series of overly-stylized, minimalist negotiation scenes between Scott, Barda, and Kalibak go around in circles, Scott is treated/subjected to yet another of King’s painfully obvious apocryphal/anecdotal yarns, and then, just when things look like a complete waste of time, along comes a gut-punch of a cliffhanger that nearly redeems what had heretofore been, frankly, a pretty lackluster issue. Almost — but not quite. And goddamn, Gerads keeps burying his his stunning art under the most heavily-saturated color scheme seen in years. I’m not quite ready to say things are going off the rails with this title, but all those breathless proclamations in the series’ early going that said “this book is revolutionizing comics” and “this is the ‘Watchmen’ of the 21st century,” and what have you? Those are starting to look pretty silly right about now. Overall: 5 Recommendation: Pass

A Walk Through Hell #2 (Aftershock)** I honestly had no clue what Garth Ennis and Goran Sudzuka were getting at in the first issue of this series, but I figured I’d stick it out for one more — and I’m glad I did. There’s still a shitload of the oblique and mysterious on offer here, but the outline of what this book is about and where it’s going is coming into view, and it’s very disturbing indeed — maybe even harrowing. The art’s really solid, too, driving home the terrors both known and (mostly) unknown with professionalism and panache. My opinion of this comic just took a hard 180 for the better. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

 Dry County #4 (Image)**  Rich Tommaso is dragging his stand-in protagonist, Lou Rossi, through the wringer just prior to wrapping this pleasing little crime series up, and while it doesn’t look like he’s gonna have much of a life left by the time all is said and done, you do find yourself hoping against hope that he’s at least around to live it. Superb, fluid cartooning that reels you in and doesn’t let you off the hook. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

The Man Of Steel #3 (DC)**  Brian Michael Bendis really thinks he’s got quite the “epic” story going here — but he’s wrong. New baddie Rogol Zaar busts into the fortress of solitude, but it’s all a lame pretext to draw Superman into open combat using the bottle city of Kandor as bait, the string of arson fires that no reader gives a shit about are still going, and the whole issue is just lead-up to what looks to be a book-length fight next time out. Yawn. Ryan Sook’s art is every bit as uninspired as the story, too, in case you were wondering. Overall: 3.5 Recommendation: Pass

Shean

deadpool assassin 1Deadpool Assassin #1 (Marvel) In what looks like a book about military operations, Deadpool kills a complete team of special ops operators on a plane. The book also reintroduces the original comic book version of Weasel, a rather straight laced less cynical version of the character in the movies and usually is the button of the jokes in this book. Eventually the plane crashes because Wade killed everyone, but crashes near a powerful threat. By book’s end, he kills everyone he is hired to assassinate but due to the collateral damage he leaves behind, can’t find too many jobs. Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Star Wars Thrawn #5 (Marvel) As much as I loved this book, this issue falters close to the end, as this issue stands as this book’s “penultimate episode”, there lies a great premise gone off the rails. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Borrow

Mr H

Mister Miracle #10 (DC) Each release the book continues to astound. Tom Kings clever dialogue as well as his niche for taking God like characters and acclimating them to every day is fantastic. There is nothing bad I can say about this book. At all. Mitch Gerads is a dynamo on the pencils and finds new was to make Scott in costume so expressive. Kalak and Scott trying to find common ground over a treaty is just wonderfully written as well as the bit about the artist and the apprentice. Seriously this book is all aces. I’d make this longer but I’d never stop. Hands down the series and issue of the year for me. Overall 10/10 Sidenote: I love Tom King but …. I wish he could write Batman this well.



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 (**).

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 6/9

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.


Ryan C

man of steel 2.jpgBatman #48 (DC)** – Can this wedding just happen (or not) already? Because all this treading water in advance of it is getting pretty old. Tom King churns out another drab “prologue”-type script here, which shows The Joker being especially brutal even byhis standards, and Batman more or less taking it all as a matter of course. Mikel Janin’s art is absolutely stunning — it always is — but that’s about the most I can say for this one. Overall: 4. Recommendation: Pass

The Man Of Steel #2 (DC)** – A rather lackluster debut from Brian Michael Bendis leads into an equally-lackluster second installment, and both the “mystery” of the new villain and the series of arson fires plaguing Metropolis aren’t doing much to grab the attention of at least this reader. Evan “Doc” Shaner’s art is uncharacteristically toned-down here, as well, and far more dull and conservative than his typical Steve Rude-influenced work. Fortunately for us all, none other than the estimable Mr. Rude himself is on hand to illustrate the back half of the book, and it’s downright glorious to look at — too bad that reading it simply isn’t much fun. Overall: 5.5. Recommendation: Pass

Dark Ark #7 (Aftershock)** – Cullen Bunn and Juan Doe are having a blast with this revisionist take on the Noah’s Ark story, and it shows on every page. Some pre-flood drama is nicely balanced against “current” (and quite major) developments this time out, and there’s a gorgeous double-page spread that you’ll ogle over for a good long while. It’s a brisk read, to be sure, but you won’t want to put this book down too soon, as the art is just plain stunning. Overall: 8. Recommendation: Buy.

Xerxes: The Fall Of The House Of Darius And The Rise Of Alexander #3 (Dark Horse)** – Frank Miller utilizes double-page spreads nearly exclusively in this issue, and results are mixed — a few really do pack that classic “MIller Punch,” but most are half-hearted attempts to capture a sense of magic that just isn’t there anymore. As for the multi-panel pages, as well as the jumbled and frankly stupid script, well — the less said, the better. Overall: 3. Recommendation: Pass

Mr H.

BM_Cv48Batman #48 (DC) So continues my on again off again love affair with Tom King (deep down he might be the one) After some dreadful dreck churned out the past few issues, he brings me back into the fold. This entire issue takes place with a standoff between Batman and Joker inside a church. Kings Joker has the ability to make you laugh uncomfortably at the carnage he causes with very interesting dialogue choices. Mikel Janin as always is so amazing that he really makes you feel involved in the events taking place. All in all it was very fun filler before the wedding of the summer and next issue should be more of the same. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

Patrick

About Betty’s Boob (Archaia) – I work in burlesque here in Montreal and I have absolutely loved Julie Rocheleau’s artwork ever since The Wrath of Fantomas (which I cannot recommend highly enough), so I was very much looking forward to this about-bettys-boobcollaboration with French writer Véro Cazot. Let’s take first things first: it’s a mostly-silent tale about a woman who loses her left breast to cancer and has to redefine herself, finding acceptance and empowerment in the world of burlesque. Second: Julie Rocheleau is an unbelievable talent with a total command of the artform. Not only can she draw with stunning craft, not only is her storytelling top-notch, but her work – both here and elsewhere – has musicality. Here, she alternately swings hard, lays back, stomps, dives into pure lyricism, and clowns around, all in service to the emotional ride that Betty is taking. This is a bravura performance of the highest level. I wish I was as much of a fan of Véro Cazot’s writing. As much as I love the ideas in her story, she serves it up with too many side dishes and way too much arch Parisian-ness for my liking (and I’ve lived in Paris). What could have been simple and heartbreaking or really fun clowning goes on too long and trips over itself. There is so much to love here – the way Betty’s relationship falls apart, the fantastic idea of a burlesque theatre on a barge on the Seine (if this is a real thing, please contact me immediately) – that Cazot often gets in the way, like when a burlesque show host takes too much space. As soon as the script gets offstage and out of Rocheleau’s way, this book Lando-DoubleorNothing-1shimmies, twirls, and shakes off its veneer to show us its true heart.

Shean

Deadpool #1 (Marvel) In what feels like hanging out with your best friend, this reboot of the ongoing series feels fresh and even funnier. As we catch up with Wade on one of his hit jobs which goes too far as usual. We also find the Avengers and the Guardians trying to figure out how to stop impending doom in the form of Thanos. By issue’s end, Wade gives fan a long awaited peak behind his origin story but eventually steals from a rather well known origin story from the DC Universe, quite a sick burn. Overall: 9.3 
Recommendation: Buy

 Lando: Double Or Nothing#1 (Marvel) As a fan of the current Star Wars movie, I went into this book with hopes of seeing more of Lando with L3-337 and this book doesn’t disappoint. As Barnes captures the spirit of these characters from the movie, as Lando’s arrogance and L3’s ill subliminal is on full display in this heist story. As we meet Kristis, a Ray Donovan type character who fixes whatever for her clients. By issue’s end, once the Republic catches wind of the plan, our heroes are able to outgun and outrun some TIE fighters, as this is where the heist begins. Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Black Panther: Rise of the Black Panther #6 (Marvel) We get deeper into the drama surrounding the volatile infiltrations into Wakanda. As T’Challa and Shuri are still coping with their half brother’s betrayal, they soon find another invader in their midst.Soon they find out that Eric Killmonger has broken their ranks and eventually unleashes Wakandan technology on its population. By book’s end, T’Challa neutralizes the threat and realizes much like in the movie, that barriers often become like prisons, and helpful knowledge must be shared. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Logan

Giant Days #39 (BOOM!) The girls go to their university’s career fair, and lots of jokes are made about the drudgery of 9 to 5 life. Daisy is inundated with job offers and private jet rides while Esther feels like a square peg in a round hole. This issue is Julia Madrigal’s last as a fill-in artist, and her characters are on model, but they lack the elasticity and pure humor of Max Sarin and Liz Fleming’s work. However, for the most part, Giant Days #39 is a fantastic satire of the bullshit that is job applications and has a cliffhanger that could be a game changer for Ms. Esther DeGroot. Overall: 8.4 Verdict: Buy

Vagrant Queen #1 (Vault) Elida is the scion of an intergalactic monarchy, but she’s cvagrant queen.jpgontent to shoot first, ask questions later, and make a profit. However, when the former owner of her ship (The proverbial Lando to her Han.) offers a deal to find her mom, she embarks on an epic intergalactic road trip with the Admiralty on her trail. Mags Visaggio and Jason Smith traffic in a lot of space opera tropes in Vagrant Queen, but a snarky sense of humor, Moebius-esque architecture, and brutal fight choreography keep things entertaining. Overall: 7.4 Verdict: Read

Nightwing #45 (DC) Benjamin Percy, Chris Mooneyham, and guest inker Klaus Janson open Nightwing #45 with Dick in bed next to Barbara Gordon. Dick and Babs have a highly, complex relationship so something is definitely off. This uneasy tone pervades the entire book in Dick’s narration and the bloated body of a drug snitch, who was completely and utterly doxxed. Nightwing is quickly becoming a body horror, cyberpunk comic, but Mooneyham’s Romita Jr-esque figures and detailed landscapes keep the story in the analog and old school like Dick himself. However, a high tech neural networked, VR rig could change all this, and the last several pages of the issue craft an almost insurmountable foe for Nightwing to “fight”. Overall: 8.5 Verdict: Buy

Nightwing vs. Hush #1 (DC) Well, this is Batman’s bachelor party, and it involves burgers at a Batman themed restaurant. However, the Superman, Batman, and Nightwing’s interdimensional fishing trip goes terribly wrong when Hush crashes and gets caught in a kind of Limbo with Nightwing. Tim Seeley and Travis Moore create a study in duality with Dick and Hush anchored in Wayne Manor, but whereas Hush wants to be Bruce, Dick just wants a relationship with him. And this leads to a very sweet moment towards the end. Moore’s art is slick and pretty, especially when he draws Dick’s face. There need to be more buddy comics featuring Bruce, Dick, and Clark. Overall: 8 Verdict: 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 (**).

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 6/2

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.


Mr. H

amazing-spider-man-800-covers-mark-bagley-1112230Man of Steel #1 (DC Comics) So here it is folks, BMB takes on Big Blue and its……. ok. Yeah just okay. I figured he’d start with something more world burning but all we get is more on the conspiracy to eliminate Krypton and introduced to a new female face in Malorie Moore who is the Metropolis Fire Chief. Ivan Reis does a great job on pencils as does Jason Fabok on fill ins but there isn’t a lot to work with here. Also where the hell is Lois and Jon?? I am not interested in a non family Superman at this point in my collecting career. I hope they pop up soon. I know Bendis can start out slow and build something magnificent, but I hope this doesn’t turn out to be some uninspired Jenga piece of work. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Read

Amazing Spider-Man #800 (Marvel Comics) If you read one Spidey story this year make this be it. It is not just a tagline, to not do it would be a miss. Dan “the man” Slott brings us to the crescendo here. Norman Osborn vs Peter Parker for all the marbles. Norman mixed with Carnage symbiote is more deadly than ever and way more ruthless. He goes right for the heart and threatens all of Peter’s nearest and closest. There are many good scenes in this one and everyone of the characters get facetime. There is a death in here that was beautifully written and very touching. Even though this character is gone. They get an amazing sendoff. There are many pencils all over this one, too many too name but not enough to complain. All I know is when ever I see Mark Bagley draw Spidey it makes my heart happy. This one had action, heart, and consequence. With great power comes great responsibility and everyone who touched this proves it. It was definitely make mine Marvel. I’m going to miss Dan Slott for sure. Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Ryan C

Man-Of-Steel-1-2018.jpgThe Man Of Steel #1 (DC)** – So, this is it, huh? The “new era” of Superman begins with Brian Michael Bendis retconning some shit vis a vis the destruction of Krypton, there’s something about a rash of arson fires, and we don’t know where Lois and Jon are. The issue ends on flashback cliffhanger, never a smart idea since what’s happened has already happened, and Ivan Reis’ art is pretty generic, “New 52”-esque stuff. Bendis has a pretty solid immediate handle on how to write Superman, but beyond getting the overall tone right, there’s nothing much on offer here. Overall: 4. Recommendation: Pass

Grass Kings #15 (Boom! Studios)** – I was expecting a great finale to this series, and Matt Kindt and Tyler Jenkins definitely deliver with an extra-sized issue that wraps up the main mystery, sends off every character with an appropriately oblique coda, and even includes some last-second surprises that make for a truly memorable conclusion. Both creators put a lot of heart into this title, and I’m really going to miss it. Take a bow, gents, for a job very well done indeed. Overall: 9. Recommendation: Buy

Harrow County #31 (Dark Horse)** – From ultimate issues to penultimate ones, Cullen Bunn and Tyler Jenkins set the stage for what promises to be an epic wrap-up to Emmy’s story with an action-packed installment that ramps up the tension until we hit a cliffhanger that will leave you wondering how you can possibly wait 30 days to find out how everything ends. Crisply written, gorgeously illustrated, and atmospheric as hell, this has been a wild ride from the get-go, and I’ll be bummed out when it’s gone. Alas, all good things must come to an end, and this book has been a very good thing, indeed. Overall: 8.5. Recommendation: Buy

Abbott #5 (Boom! Studios)** – Saladin Ahmed and Sami Kivela put their terrific little 1970s Detroit period-piece to bed, but never fear — there’s sure to be more. Yes, they spend a bit too much time setting up their inevitable sequel, but the main narrative wraps up nicely, the characters are all left in situations that are begging to be explored further, and the smart social commentary adds a tremendous amount of depth an nuance to the proceedings. I’m very much looking forward to what comes next. Overall: 8. Recommendation: Buy.

Logan

The Last Siege #1 (Image) A stormy night, a weather beaten stranger, a city at its TheLastSiege_01-1darkest hour. Landry Q. Walker and Justin Greenwood craft a lean, gritty medieval fantasy tale in The Last Siege #1 and spend the initial issue showing how much a badass their main character, who should be played by Keanu Reeves in a film adaptation, is. Walker doesn’t overdo it on the dialogue and lets Greenwood put their protagonist through his paces showing the determination on his face and the leverage he creates as he outlasts the hordes of the power hungry Feist, who want to exploit the young ruler, Kathryn. Colorist Eric Jones adds to the grim atmosphere, and I’m really excited to learn more about our unnamed protagonist and his leadership/fighting/survival style. Overall: 9 Verdict: Buy

Hong Kong Phooey/Black Lightning Special #1 (DC) Bryan Edward Hill, Denys Cowan, and Bill Sienkiewicz serve up a jive talking, kung fu punching throwback spectacular in Hong Kong Phooey/Black Lightning. Sienkiewicz’s scratchy inks give the fights a loose, chaotic feel, and Hill creates a fantastic buddy chemistry between Phooey and Jefferson playing everything straight until the very end. The story has a bit of a moral backbone to it and explore the corrupting nature of power through the lens of a grindhouse kung fu flick. Jeff Parker and Scott Kolins’ Funky Phantom backup story is a funny, yet sobering bit of political satire as the Phantom makes jokes about Hamilton and is appalled by some “patriots'” take on the Second Amendment. Overall: 9.5 Verdict: Buy

Judge Dredd: Siege #1 (IDW) Mark Russell and Max Dunbar borrow a little bit from the excellent 2012 Dredd film by taking Judge Dredd off the streets of Mega City One and in an enclosed space: a block apartments that were created as affordable housing and were abandoned by the city. But whereas Dredd had a clean, minimalist plot, Russell thrives in the complexities of Mega City One’s society by having the inflexible Dredd team up with the gangs he thinks he’s going against versus the mutants who have taken over the apartments. Russell’s plot is an ever tightening noose as things go from bad to worst, and Dunbar’s art has some of the ultraviolence and darkly humorous background gigs of the original 2000 AD comic to break up the unrelenting action. Overall: 8.5 Verdict: Buy

Blackwood #1 (Dark Horse)– What if freshman orientation other than being awkward as hell featured Lovecraftian nightmares too? That’s the premise of Blackwood #1 from writer Evan Dorkin and artists Veronica and Andy Fish. Fish is known for her stylish characters in Archie and Spider-Woman, but Blackwood really proves her horror chops as Blackwood features tentacles, monsters, and lots of icky fluids. In the early going, Dorkin makes all the characters hate each other and only creates a grudging, not even camaraderie through the strange phenomena they see. It’s nice to see a college/school story where everyone isn’t BFFs from day one. Overall: 7.7 Verdict: Read

Patrick

conceptual heist.jpgConceptual Heist #1 (self-published)** – In three words: sci-fi art heist. Hooked yet? Writer Jay D’Ici and artist Matt G. Gagnon have been putting this out as strips online for a couple of years now in black and white and blue, and now (thanks to Kickstarter) they’ve collected the first cycle into a full-color comic. Briefly: Jemma is a cool-as-cucumber-in-gin-and-tonic thief looking to steal art from the rich, specifically Picasso’s “The Old Guitarist”. Now that the entire plot is out of the way, let’s talk about how much fun this is. First, Jay D’Ici is clearly having a ball putting all of these sci-fi security toys into the cat-and-mouse game, and Jemma is a main character in classic sympathetic cat burglar style. No baggage to drag us down, this is all about action and style. And what style! Matt G. Gagnon brings a 1920’s flapper vibe that is a perfect visual language to talk about the hyper-rich. His characters’ acting and body language is great, and the sci-fi setting never gets in the way of the action, it’s just the nano-particle-charged air they breathe. This is as good as anything being published by Black Mask, and that’s high praise coming from me. Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: buy – or at least follow them here: https://www.facebook.com/conceptualheist/

Love And Rockets #5 (Fantagraphics)** – On the Jaime side, “I This How You See Me?” concludes (and provides the title to) Maggie & Hopey’s Hoppers punk rock reunion. Having spent nearly 30 years with these two (I’m a latecomer, I know), I’d like to single out Jaime’s writing here – going back and forth between 1980 and now, it’s a treat to watch how both of these women have both changed and not changed since their teens, how the world has both toughened and softened them, how their relationships to other lovers and significant others have both given them anchors and dragged them out to sea. And Ape Sex is playing in the supermarket. Over to Gilbert, and Rosy-not-Rosie, wandering through Fritz’s massive, empty house, watching the massive, empty sky or looking at the massive portraits of Fritz’s massive (censored) or lying in a massive, empty bed, or standing in a massive, empty soundstage. Gilbert is an expert at depicting this kind of loneliness, a void that no amount of B science fiction can fill. In their alien and arid Hollywood, only the passage of time and the turning of pages can change the hearts of Gilbert’s characters these days. Overall: 8 Recommendation: buy 

Blackwood #1 (Dark Horse)** – Evan Dorkin and Veronica & Andy Fish bring us their magickal school story, in this case the clearly cursed and haunted Blackwood College. Nothing earth-shattering here, unfortunately – it seems that all you can do with this trope is either embrace it or destroy it, and I have enough class prejudice against private schools that I’m firmly on the side of “destroy” and was hoping for the same from Dorkin. It’s certainly well-done, and for my money best when it focuses on the archness of main character Wren. Veronica Fish’s art is clear and lovely, just cartoony enough to let us in, but not enough to be a commentary on the Lovecraftian proceedings – which, I suppose, is my real complaint. It’s a very professional and competently done take, neither hot nor cold nor just right. Overall: 7 Recommendation: skip. 

Kill Or Be Killed #19 (Image)** – In this penultimate issue, detective Lily Sharpe makes her way through a blizzard to Bellevue to ask Dylan a question. What she gets – once Dylan realizes that the case is actually closed – is a full confession. And then the power goes out and the Russians show up. Brubaker, Phillips, and Breitweiser bring the usual excellence, and I have to single out Phillips’ depiction of Lily here – her expressions, somewhere between hangdog and guard dog, are absolutely priceless, and when she gets swept up in way more action than she had ever bargained for, the way she just bites her lip and slogs her way through is great. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: buy.

Stray Bullets #35 (Image/El Capitàn)** – Well, didn’t Vic Kretchmeyer just sneak up and steal the story. Sweating out withdrawal in a bad science fiction movie in his head and dragging Rose through that swamp, trying to ignore what the flowers are telling him while trying to protect the inside of his skull from Annie and the outside of Rose’s skull from Kretch, running off into the night through the parking lot of the Space Lodge motel with tinfoil hats… Another great issue from David Lapham. Could this story really be closing in on 1000 pages? Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: buy

Lazarus #28 (Image)** – From the letters page, Greg Rucka: “… the only response I can offer is the one that Michael [Lark] has said time and again – when we started Lazarus we were writing science fiction; now we’re writing a documentary.” Jonah Carlyle escaped the war and started a little life and a little family in a remote Danish fishing village, but now the war closes in on him in the most heartbreaking way possible. Rucka and Lark give us a place that is cold and grey and totally alive, a place that is centuries in the past and years in the future, where the Russians invade your screens with porn as a vector for propaganda delivery and suddenly everything around you is… well, is the year X+67. Next up: Fracture. Overall: 9 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 (**).

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 5/26

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.


Mr. H

Iron-Man-600-variantInvincible Iron Man #600 (Marvel Comics) This is the big Bendis swan song from Marvel before he takes on big blue from that other company. As a huge fan of Iron Man the character albeit a casual reader of his core title I had to view this one. So this has Brian Michael Bendis on writing chores and Daniel Acuna, Stefano Casselli, David Marquez and Mark Bagley and more on the art chores. Fitting for a swan song on a Tony Stark book that there would be so many moving pieces. Now the deal is we get told the story through Tony’s uber pretentious self AI. We get the resurrection of the one and only Tony Stark and the showdown between his biological mom and dad as well as a few big surprises and a really cool end. Now though I’ve been out of the loop a bit on these goings, Bendis does a great job of keeping me up to speed with all that matters. Oh and did I mention that it has Doom in it?? Not impeding doom, Dr. Victor Von Doom! (One of my all time faves) so immediately this issue gets a bit of a boost for me. The writing was good, not BMB best for me. That honor still goes to his Daredevil run imo. The art was great, even though switching between so many pencil “engineers” they keep the story moving brisk. All in all I thought it was a great job for an oversized anniversary issue which I’m a sucker for. I am excited to see where the next chapter goes with Tony under the pen of Dan “the man” Slott, but BMB did really well here. Also like the Marvel movies stay for the epilogue. Very cool stuff. Overall: 8.2 Recommendation: Buy

Ryan C

 

black panther 1Black Panther #1 (Marvel)** – Thank goodness for Daniel Acuna, because Ta-Nehisi Coates’ script for this debut issue is a discombobulated mess. “T’Challa In Space” probably isn’t the most well-considered idea coming on the back of a hugely successful film — “now that we’ve got a slew of potential new fans, let’s confuse the shit out of them!” not being what most would consider a sound strategy for building sales — but at least this muddled would-be “cosmic epic” looks good. Unfortunately, it doesn’t read well at all. Oh well, at least one issue is all I needed to convince me that this book isn’t for me. Overall: 3 Recommendation: Pass

Days Of Hate #5 (Image)** – While we’re on the subject of “thank goodness for artists,” Danijel Zezelj carries pretty much all the weight of this installment, with Ales Kot more or less coasting through what could (hell, should) be a tense, climactic issue, but that instead just falls flat. We’ll see what happens story-wise now that the writer has essentially taken a month off to gear up for the back half of the series, but this comic was really just pretty to look at, and not much else. Overall: 3 Recommendation: Pass

Black Hammer: Age Of Doom #2 (Dark Horse)** – Franchising the world of “Black Hammer” out “Mignolaverse”-style doesn’t seem to have hurt the main title in the least, as Jeff Lemire and Dean Ormston continue to deliver the goods with this brisk, pacy issue that sees good forward narrative momentum paired with stunning artwork of nasty-looking hellscapes. As always, this book is more fun than just about anything else out there. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Incognegro: Renaissance #4 (Dark Horse/Berger Books)** – Mat Johnson and Warren Pleece do some pretty good stage-setting in this penultimate chapter of their “Harlem Murder Mystery,” but maybe it’s a little too good — or too much, at any rate, since the identity of the murderer is essentially given away here with one issue to go.Maybe they’ve got one more big surprise up their sleeves, but even if they don’t, provided they manage to avoid flubbing the landing, this should end up going down as a pretty compelling period piece, and the black-and-white art has been nothing short of sensational. Overall : 7.5. Recommendation : Buy

Shean

you are deadpoolYou Are Deadpool #3 (Marvel) I will keep this one sweet and short, this has got to be the best Deadpool book going on right now, as it encompasses everything everyone loves about Deadpool and puts him in the craziest situations that only he knows how to get into to and make worse, the hardest I have laugh in awhile on a Deadpool book. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Old Man Hawkeye #5 (Marvel) We finally meet President Red Skull as Bullseye’s exploits has reached the White House, which causes him to send more assassins. Clint also finds himself in a standoff with the Venoms inside a bar, one that only brings death and destruction. Clint finally finds a way out as he realizes he needs sanctuary now. By issue’s end, solace comes in the former of an ex-partner, one that is weary of Clint’s intentions. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Logan

 Invincible Iron Man #600 (Marvel) Brian Michael Bendis’ last comic for Marvel has a lot of fun moments and also a lot of convoluted, not so fun ones. Some highlights include Dr. Doom (As drawn by Alex Maleev.) making a self-sacrificing play to cap offhis arc in Infamous Iron Man, which will go down as Bendis’ last great Marvel run, Rhodey coming back from the dead and kicking ass and joking with Tony again, and of course, Bendis’ final artist jam. However, Invincible Iron Man #600 also cops out on a lot of things like Leonardo Da Vinci, Tony’s dad, and decides to end on a relatively obscure scene connected to Bendis’ X-Men run. Hopefully, Bendis learns how to write endings when he comes to DC… Overall: 6.0 Verdict: Pass

mystery in madripoorHunt For Wolverine: Mystery in Madripoor #1 (Marvel) A team of female X-Men, including Kitty Pryde, Psylocke, Rogue, Storm, Jubilee, and Domino, head to Madripoor to investigate Magneto’s connection to Wolverine’s missing body. They end up in the middle of a gang war, and along the way, get to ponder their relationship to Wolverine by looking through the items in his old room. Jim Zub expertly weaves past and present together and crafts an argument for another all female X-Book through the banter that the characters share. Unfortunately, Thony Silas’ figures are stiffly posed and is more suited for superhero costumes than the high fashion outfits that the teams wears to blend in. This mini is another case of solid story, unspectacular art, but Felipe Sobreiro’s Glynis Wein/late Bronze Age inspired color palette is delightful. Overall: 7.3 Verdict: Read

Mother Panic Gotham AD #3 (DC/Young Animal) The war between Mother Panic, her uberviolent sidekick Fennec Fox, and the evil Gotham PR firm The Collective reaches new heights, and Ibrahim Moustafa gets to draw some exhilarating, bloody action scenes. Jody Houser and Moustafa craft some wonderful scenes of reunion between Mother Panic and her mom and continue to put an almost meta-fictional twist on the Joker even if it doesn’t feel as connected to the main narrative. This series is shaping up to be a chaotic, punk rock take on Elseworld stories, and the backup story by Houser and the wonderful Paulina Ganucheau is a beautiful, tragic take on the Harley/Ivy romance. Overall: 8.5 Verdict: Buy

Deadly Class #34 (Image)– This arc where Marcus, a band of rebellious freshmen, and their enemies get caught in Yakuza crossfire has been super intense, and issue 34 is no exception. Writer Rick Remender and artist Wes Craig has been channeling their inner Frank Millers recently, and this issue has its own version of the “mudhole” scene from Dark Knight Returns. But it’s Marcus’ girlfriend Maria doing the ass kicking and helping him get revenge against the murderer of his best friend, who also disrupted his peaceful life in Mexico away from King’s Dominion school.Moral murkiness is really what rules the day, and it goes great with Jordan Boyd’s muddy color palette. Overall: 9 Verdict: 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 (**).

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 5/20

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.


Ryan C

Batman #47 (DC Comics)** – Thank God this story arc is over. Tom King and Tony S. Daniel really hit rock bottom with this Batman/Booster Gold team-up that feels like exactly what it is — a lame stop-gap measure between the last “major” storyline and the forthcoming Bat/Cat wedding. The whole “alternate timeline” is undone on the last couple pages, as you knew it would be, but done in such a rushed and sloppy way that it very nearly makes no sense. A truly embarrassing effort all the way around. Overall: 0 Recommendation: Pass

A Walk Through Hell #1 (Aftershock)** – I’m all for first issues that don’t give too much away and leave you wanting more, but the outline of what’s happening in Garth Ennis and Goran Sudzuka’s new series is so oblique that it’s difficult to even discern what the hell the book is about. Something scares some SWAT cops so bad that they’d rather kill themselves than face it, some terrifying shit of some sort goes down at a shopping mall, and some detectives are looking into all of it. Uhhmmm — okay. Nice art, though. Overall: 3 Recommendation: Pass

The Wicked + The Divine #36 (Image)** – By and large I still enjoy this series, but this one of those issues where Kieron Gillen’s “too cool for school” style gets the better of him : the first story is basically an exercise in repetitive self-indulgence that advances the plot very little, while the second story does, in fact, advance the plot, but does so with three pages of nothing but an all-red color backdrop.Jamie McKelvie, at least, knocks it out of the park, but we’re spoiled and have come to expect no less from him. Overall: 4.5 Recommendation: Pass

Dry County #3 (Image)** – Another strong issue in Rich Tommaso’s 1990s noir, as protagonist Lou Rossi’s entirely unofficial missing-person “investigation” kicks into another gear. Inventive, atmospheric, and supremely well-drawn, this book single-handedly restored my faith in my Wednesday comic shop visits after an otherwise-rough week. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Logan

Batman #47 (DC Comics) – Tom King and Tony Daniel’s current arc of Batman wildly shifted in tone from grim dark to comedic, and issue 47 definitely leans on the dark side with Bruce Wayne wielding an assault rifle for most of the book. It’s not a great Batman story and doesn’t adequately explore the “what if” premise of Thomas and Martha Wayne dying, but is a sneaky good Booster Gold story. Even though the reset button is obviously hit, King and Daniel imbue Booster with a real sense of guilt for his actions all leading up to an introspective final page. It’s obvious they like the character and understand his three dimensionality even if Batman’s story and relationship with Catwoman doesn’t really progress. Overall: 7.0 Verdict: Read

Gideon Falls #3 (Image) – Jeff Lemire, Andrea Sorrentino, and Dave Stewart’s rural/urban Canadian horror conspiracy thriller continues to build in Gideon Falls #3. Sorrentino’s trademark inset panels and Stewart’s splotches of red come in handy to show how obsessive compulsive trash collector Norton booby traps his lab to protect from the mysterious Black Barn as well as point out which of Father Fred’s parishioners are connected to it. The series hasn’t gone all out supernatural horror yet, and its dual protagonists Fred and Norton have to deal with “realistic” problems like breaking the news that the town’s last priest was a murderer or being readmitted into a mental hospital. This series as a whole is a great exploration of duality: sacred and secular, rural and urban, and of course, God and the devil and also synthesizes Jeff Lemire’s career up to this point, who has found success in genre (Marvel/DC stuff) and slice of life work (Essex County). It’s an exciting, scary, and beautiful read. Overall: 9.2 Verdict: Buy

Patrick

Dry County #3 (Image)* – Rich Tommaso’s Florida noir series continues to impress, as “everyman” Lou Rossi attempts to send messages to missing Janet through his comic strip. Tomasso’s drawing is perfectly matched to the tone of the story: bright, clammy, and hot with little bursts of fresh air, like being in a Miami apartment wth only one office fan for ventilation. Really nice stuff. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Cinema Purgatorio #14 (Avatar)* – I could really do without the framing sequences of Alan Moore & Kevin O’Neill’s title track, but I love the meat of the matter: in this case, the career of Tod Browning as carnival sideshow, guided by one of his Freaks. Can I just gush for a moment about Kevin O’Neill? Sometimes you forget, when an artist has such a singular style, that they are also in total command of the fundamentals; O’Neill’s figures and faces in Purgatorio are so on point, always choosing just the right moment to go for a realistic closeup to remind you that he can just flat-out draw the hell out of anything at any time he chooses. Next up, in “Code Pru”, Garth Ennis and Raulo Caceres give us an actual normal day in bed with Pru and Sal – normal right up until the end, in a mysterious twist whose resolution I dread. And in the final of the series I’m following, Kieron Gillen & Nahuel Lopez’ “Modded,” Tommy and Fringe duel it out high on Blue Sky, consuming mushrooms as they go kart-to-kart with a guest appearance by what appears to be a very fucked-up hedgehog. This is actually how I like Gillen: in short bursts of high energy and black humour. Overall: Purgatorio solid 8.5, Code Pru 8, Modded 8. Recommendation: Buy if you’ve already bought in. (I am already bought in)

Mr. H

Batman #47 (DC Comics) – So I missed the middle of this wild tale and I have to say, I probably didn’t miss much. Despite having one of my faves Tony Daniel on the art chores it didn’t do this story any favors. Sure it started intriguing but then it quickly devolved into the manic mess that the core Batman title has become associated with in recent history off and on. Unfortunately I guess using Booster Gold was not the right catalyst to get us to the Bat/Cat wedding. After the shock of Frank Castle Bruce Wayne there wasnt much else tying this together. I know I say it’s Tom King but… when this guy is pumping out Mr. Miracle it’s just a shame. I know I shouldn’t but I expected more. Overall: 2 Recommendation: Pass. I had my copy for free and I still feel ripped off.

 

 


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 (**).

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 5/12

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.


Ryan C

eternity girl 3Eternity Girl #3 (DC/Young Animal)** – Magdalene Visaggio seems to get a bit lost in the intricacies of her own plot with this issue, which is a bummer because the first two chapters were so good, but Sonny Liew gets a chance to draw all kinds of cool Kirby-tech, so that (mostly) makes up for the story’s big step back. I’m confident things are still headed in the right direction overall given the fact that the cliffhanger here is solid, but I guess we’ll just have to wait and see — and make no mistake, this series is worth a look for the art alone, even if it turns out that the narrative doesn’t recover. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Read

Analog #2 (Image)** – Gerry Duggan and David O’Sullivan’s look at a post-internet world takes a turn for the more comical with this second issue, and results are pretty good as we get to see our protagonist’s family and romantic life fleshed out considerably. The art seems to be getting better and better with each page, as well, which is really saying something given that it was pretty damn strong to start with. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Port Of Earth #5 (Image/Top Cow)** – It’s nice to see Zack Kaplan and Andrea Mutti’s sci-fi take on nativism and xenophobia back for a second arc, but the TV interview vignettes are becoming lazy info-dump crutches, and frankly distract from a plenty compelling main narrative thrust. Mutti’s grim and gritty art is stunning as ever, but it’s time for Kaplan to up his game and match his collaborator’s efforts. Overall : 7. Recommendation : Readhere are still seven issues to go, but I’m missing Rick Remender and Matteo Scalera’s pulp sci-fi masterpiece already. This is more a self-contained story focusing on the doomed McKay marriage, but ties into the overall narrative quite nicely and the art, as always, is spectacular. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Hungry Ghosts #4 (Dark Horse/Berger Books)**– Joel Rose and Anthony Bourdain’s lackluster horror anthology limps to a conclusion with two insipid tales that are considerably elevated by absolutely stellar artwork, which has been the pattern here from the start. Kudos, then, to Irene Koh and Francesco Francavilla for making a gorgeous silk purse out of a couple of sow’s ear stories. Overall: 6. Recommendation: Read

Logan

Justice-League-No-Justice-1-Cover-600x923Venom #1 (Marvel)– This was my first time reading a Venom comic, and it was pretty good work from Donny Cates, Ryan Stegman, J.P. Mayer, and Frank Martin. Cates relies a little too heavily on dueling narrative captions, but leaning on the horror elements in both a Lovecraftian and a very real horrors of war way is a smart move. There is a jagged, heavy metal edge to Stegman’s art, and Mayer brings out the little details like the beads of sweat on Eddie Brock’s face when he loses control of his symbiote while Martin enjoys spraying black everywhere. It’s very early McFarlane in the best way, and I’m intrigued by Cates and Stegman’s millennia spanning cosmic symbiote melodrama. Overall: 8 Verdict: Buy

Justice League: No Justice #1 (DC)– With lots of superheroes (and supervillains), big tapestry like spreads from Francis Manapul, and big explosions, Justice League: No Justice #1 is a summer popcorn movie of a comic book. The book starts traditionally enough w/ the JL, Suicide Squad, Titans, and Teen Titans fighting Brainiac, but then Scott Snyder, Josh Williamson, and James Tynion make the villain an unlikely ally and point man for the new Justice League strategy. No Justice #1 tries to be clever, but ends up turning into Captain Planet/Attack on Titan crossover fanfic. The team lineups are pretty fun though with a particularly tense encounter between Lex Luthor and Martian Manhunter being the highlight of the book. Overall: 7.2 Verdict: Read

Eternity Girl #3 (DC/Young Animal)– Mags Visaggio, Sonny Liew, and Chris Chuckry make Eternity Girl #3 very cosmic and very Jean-Paul Sartre. The more abstract and occasionally metafictional concepts of being and nothingness and death and rebirth are grounded in Caroline just wanting to die by any means possible. I don’t think I’ve ever read a comic book where the protagonist represents despair, and the antagonist represents hope. Kudos to Visaggio and Liew for bringing deep, sad, and self-destructive emotions we sometimes feel to the forefront. Liew’s visuals span the gap between the cosmic and the mundane, and it is a real treat to have such a talented cartoonist on a “mainstream” comic. Overall: 8.8 Verdict: Buy

Patrick

nuclear-winter-9781684151639_lg.jpgNuclear Winter vol 1 (Boom! Box) – I actually just read this in its original French (as Hiver Nucléaire), so I was happy to see Cab’s delightful and charming post-apocalyptic Montreal in English. It’s been perpetual winter ever since the nuclear accident (who builds a nuclear reactor in Montreal anyway?, as one character points out), and Flavie is a ski-doo courier who would rather stay home knitting. When she takes a shift for a friend and has to get bagels for a temperamental hipster chick, things get a bit crazy. Cab’s cartooning style is generous, warm, and fun, and so is Flavie. I love the way she just accepts all of the mutants at the diner, is friendly to the arctic raccoons, and loyal to friends old and new. Cab depicts my Plateau Mont-Royal and Mile End neighbourhoods with similar good humour and style. The translation (for which I can’t seem to find any credit!) is excellent, with one minor quibble: it’s just Mile End, no “the”. Nuclear Winter is an excellent addition to the Boom! Box stable. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy.

Come Into Me #2 (Black Mask)** – The Cronenbergian creepiness continues thanks to writers Zac Thompson & Lonnie Nadler and artist Piotr Kowalski. As Sebastan tries to maintain control with the mind of a dead woman inside him, he also has to come to grips with the advantages of having a second personality who is more articulate, empathetic, and likeable than himself to interact with VC’s and family. Meanwhile (did I mention Cronenbergian?) his now-shared flesh is morphing and changing into something new. Chilling and thought-provoking, Come Into Me is one of my favourite series right now. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Sex Criminals #24 (Image)** – I am thinking about something Fraction wrote in the latest newsletter: “Comics mimic the way we remember, the way we dream, not as fluid constants but in pulsing recreations of sound and space and time, interrupted by gaps where the memory stops.” The more Fraction & Zdarsky’s comic actually does this, the better I like it. Anyone can write banking conspiracies and dick jokes, but only SexCrims can really dig into the messiness of how we work out our dreams and impulses with the people around us. I must admit, I did really enjoy the roller disco setting (and the joke of the name “Roll! You Pretty Things”). Overall: 8ish Recommendation: Buy

Stray Bullets #34 (Image)** – “Now everybody’s killin’ everybody”. You said it, Roses. Annie and Vic hit Baltimore and have to look for Rose’s son Joey before killer Spanish Scott finds out. And just how should junkie Vic find this kid? “Use your druggie instincts.” As usual, Annie is an absolute fountain of the worst possible advice. Advice that, in true David Lapham style, leads to blackly hilarious mayhem. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy 

Alex

VENOM2018001_CovVenom #1 (Marvel) In a case of following a creator (or two) rather than a character, I took the plunge on this comic solely because of Don Cates and Ryan Stegman writing and drawing it; I wasn’t disappointed. Of course the last time I had read a Venom comic, some dude named Lee Pace had the symbiote – obviously not the case anymore as Eddie Brock has the giant tongue again (which I’m sure has nothing to do with a movie later this year). Cates takes the interesting route of exploring the symbiote’s history and emotional story rather than Eddie Brock’s, and it lends a unique lens over how the two coexist in their anti-hero life. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know Venom (but really, who doesn’t know a little about him?); this is a good comic and it will pull you back for more. Overall: 8 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 (**).

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