Category Archives: Mini Reviews

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 10/14

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

FALCON_LEGACY_CVRThe Falcon #1 (Marvel)** – I didn’t think anything could be clumsier and more heavy-handed than Nick Spencer’s take on Sam Wilson, but new scribe Rodney Barnes is giving him a run for his money. Dour, humorless, and personality-free Sam? No thanks. I’m all for the timely and topical in my funnybooks, and generally agree with the points Barnes is making about economic disparity and lack of opportunity leading to the gang “crisis,” but I guess I prefer a subtle narrative to a heavy-handed polemic. Joshua Cassara’s art is fine, on the whole, if unexceptional, but I don’t see any particular reason being put forth to stick around for more of this. Overall: 4 Recommendation: Pass

 Action Comics #989 (DC)** – Dan Jurgens and Viktor Bogdanovic serve up another mediocre installment of “The Oz Effect” complete with the heavily-expository dialogue and dull “continuity porn” that we’re quickly becoming used to here. The art’s fine as far as it goes, but it doesn’t go very far : clunky pages laden with backstory followed by fight, followed by crisis that hits home, followed by more clunky pages laden with backstory. Rinse and repeat as necessary. This is assembly-line stuff all the way. Overall: 3 Recommendation: Pass

The Wild Storm: Michael Cray #1 (DC/WildStorm)** – The surprise hit of the week, Bryan Hill (who’s been killing it on “Postal”) comes on over to “The Big Two” and makes a splash with this story (apparently plotted by Warren Ellis) that sees his protagonist taking aim at the “Earth-WS” (or whatever it’s called) version of Green Arrow. I suppose the idea of analogues to characters we’re familiar with existing on this alternate Earth is kind of an obvious tack to take, but it really works here, probably because Hill spends near-equal time filling in the blanks of both Cray’s and Ollie Queen’s pasts. Nice, clean, crisp art from N. Steven Harris adds to the overall professionalism of the package, and if this creative team remains together for the duration, this should be a very memorable 12-issue run indeed. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Ragman #1 (DC)** – A confused, lackluster, and contrived “re-imagining” of a little-used but interesting character from Ray Fawkes and Inaki Miranda that sure looks cool, but reads like a lame and unnecessary “re-vamp” because, hey, that’s exactly — and all — MMIR_Cv3_open_order_varthat it is. Can’t think of any compelling reason to ride this one out for five more issues. Overall: 3 Recommendation: Pass

Logan

Mister Miracle #3 (DC) Tom King and Mitch Gerads make Orion one seriously disturbed individual in Mister Miracle #3 while also showing Scott pull off one of his signature escape routines in a classic, yet dream-like use of the grid layout that evokes Winsor McCay’s work. Mister Miracle is ostensibly a cosmic war comic, but King and Gerads continue to keep the focus on Scott’s emotions, fears, and his relationship with Big Barda. This, along with the delicious surrealism and formalism of Gerads’ art, is what makes this book one of DC’s most intriguing. Overall: 8.4 Recommendation: Buy

Defenders #6 (Marvel) Brian Michael Bendis can still write the heck out of a street level superhero story, and his Jessica Jones is way more powerfully written in this book than her solo title. This issue is mostly table setting for the upcoming New York/Kingpin gang war, but action seems to be on the way with the appearances of characters like Wilson Fisk and Deadpool. Finally, Dave Marquez has added a grittier sensiblity to his wide screen, blockbuster art and really shines when Luke and Jessica get in the trenches and beat the crap out of Diamondback. Overall: 7.3 Recommendation: Read

Joe

Dark Nights: Metal #3 (DC) – What a fun and crazy event. It walks a razor-thin line between ridiculous and awesome. If you described this in an elevator pitch, or to your friends, it sounds absurd, and that’s because it is. Yet it is also the reason it is so good. It just works. I have to give props to Snyder and Capullo as a creative team, because they are proving once again they know how to write one hell of a fun, silly, and wonderful page turner. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Mister Miracle #3 (DC) – Tom King and Mitch Gerads continue to tell an interesting and dark tale of the possible mental breakdown of a classic Kirby character. Scott Free’s spiral is something that is hard to look away from, because I found myself rooting for him, and for Barda, and their desire for happiness together. They are soldiers, and Ragman-1-2017Generals, and they are being used. It’s an excellent series so far, with some shocking moments in just three issues. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Ragman #1 (DC) – An interesting character that isn’t new, but has a cool look and a horror vibe that meshes well with the Halloween season. There isn’t anything groundbreaking or spectacular here, and really I would describe it as “Okay”. If you are unfamiliar with the character, I would describe it as a cross between The Mummy and Venom. Overall: 5 Recommendation: 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 (**).

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 10/7

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

Savage Things #8 (DC Comics/Vertigo)* – Justin Jordan and Ibrahim Moustafa had themselves a pretty decent little conclusion to their eight-parter going here — until the very last page, when they set things up for a sequel that, let’s be honest, is probably never going to happen given this book’s typically-lackluster (remember when Vertigo comics were a big deal?) sales. I love Moustafa’s art, and Jordan’s sparse, economic script moves along at a nice clip, but an actual ending would have served the narrative — and its readers — a lot better. Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read

Postal #23 (Image/Top Cow)* – Bryan Hill and Isaac Goodhart deliver what feels very much like the penultimate issue in their long-running series, and I’ll say this much — if it’s ending, at least it’s ending on a high note. This is some seriously high-octane shit, nicely illustrated, with every chess piece being moved expertly into place. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Ringside #12 (Image)* – Joe Keatinge and Nick Barber’s wrestling series manages to pull out of its narrative tailspin a bit here with some genuinely intriguing developments added into the mix and a solid final-page cliffhanger, but damn, Barber’s art just keeps getting more rushed- and sloppy- looking. It’s pretty much hard on the eyes at this point. Overall: 5.0 Recommendation: Pass

Batman #32 (DC Comics)* – And so, “The War Of Jokes And Riddles” comes to an end not with a bang, but a whimper — as I, for one, was certainly expecting given the disjointed nature of this sorry arc. Again, Mikel Janin does a great job on art — lousy cover aside — but in the end all Tom King’s “biggest” Bat-story yet turned out to be was a months-long delaying tactic to postpone Selina’s answer to Bruce’s marriage proposal.The “major confrontation” between Batman and his two chief nemeses proves to be anything but, and that “shocking twist” we were promised in the fight? To call it “underwhelming” is to pay it too high a compliment. Overall: 2.5 Recommendation: Pass

 

 

Shean

Punisher: The Platoon #1 (Marvel) – In what plays out as a cross between Miracle at Santa Anna and an episode of Tour of Duty, the reader finally gets to see a different side of Frank Castle. The story plays between modern day and 1968, the modern day talks about Frank as a memory a different the past gives the reader an impression of how he was as an Army officer.In what would be a routine reconnaissance mission turns into his unit exposing a secret unit. By issue’s end, someone is Korea than they seem. Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Spirits Of Vengeance #1 (Marvel) In the debut issue, we find a travel weary Johnny Blaze, who unexpectedly gets gifted something powerful from a demon. Blaze ends up going on a fact finding mission, where he encounters different characters who would have a stake in the war that’s coming.What inadvertently does happen, is finding others to help him in fighting those demons. By issue’s end, the one person we get introduced to, doing what he does best, killing vampires and that is Blade. Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 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 9/30

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.


 

Patrick

BitchPlanetTF_04-1Bitch Planet Triple Feature #4 (Image)** – This is how you do a spinoff series. First: “Life of a Sportsman” by Marc Deschamps and Mindy Lee goes into the toxic patriarchy of Megaton, with a story (and commentators) that are depressingly familiar to any pro sports fan (I’m thinking especially of Hockey Night in Canada’s Ron & Don). Sara Woolley hits us with “Bodymods,” which takes an extreme situation and renders it even more gross via the banality of the dialogue, Finally, Vita Ayala & Rossi Gifford present “To Be Free…” where a master thief breaks into the Archive of Corruptive Materials. Good stuff all around. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Big Trouble in Little China: Old Man Jack #1 (Boom!)** – I’m always happy to see a new Jack Burton series, and this one is super fun. Basically: ten years ago Jack accidentally helped bring about the apocalypse. As a reward, he was given his very own retirement spot in Florida behind a wall of fire, where he continues to monologue into his CB – which is no longer attached to anything. A call for help comes from a self-described Very Attractive Woman, and he springs back into action. Things don’t go quite as hoped for (for Jack) but pretty much as expected (by me). John Carpenter & Anthony Burch deliver a fun script that doesn’t mess around, and Jorge Corona’s art is energetic and just cartoony enough without scrimping on detail. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Ryan C

 

Black-Panther-18-2017Black Panther #18 (Marvel)** – I think it’s time I just admitted it to myself : this thing isn’t going to get any better. My respect for Ta-Nehisi Coates has kept me reading this book long after most folks have apparently left the building (sales started huge, followed by a standard attrition period, but lately they’ve been absolutely nose-diving), but as flawed as “A Nation Under Our Feet” was, at least there were some interesting, if overwrought, ideas at its core —the second major storyline, though, “Avengers Of The New World,” is just completely uninspired drivel. Coates seems to have made the quantum leap from struggling to find his footing in a new medium to bored veteran going through the motions without ever passing through the “solid pro storyteller” phase, and the once-reliable Chris Sprouse is turning out the worst work of his career on pencils here, as well (with Karl Story’s lackluster inks not helping matters), while back-half-of-the-book artist Wilfredo Torres’ stuff is just straight-up embarrassing. In theory, an issue that functions as a lead-in to the long-awaited resuming of hostilities between T’Challa and Klaw should at least be interesting, but in practice this issue is just a frigging drag. It took a year and a half for me to finally get it through my thick skull that this series isn’t ever going improve, but finally got the message. I’m out. Overall: 1 Recommendation: Pass

Action Comics #988 (DC)** – The second part of “The Oz Effect” is as listless as the first, with a rote and workmanlike recap of how Jor-El survived Krypton’s destruction taking up pretty much the entire issue and a big sign reading “Pure Set-Up For ‘Doomsday Clock’ And Nothing More” hanging over the proceedings. Ryan Sook’s art is okay, although nowhere near his usual standard, and Dan Jurgens’ script is a competent enough hawkeye generationsexecution of editorial dictates, but that’s about it. Overall: 3.5 Recommendation: Pass

Detective Comics #965 (DC)** – While we’re on the subject of Mr. Oz/Jor-El and “Doomsday Clock” lead-ins, that’s really all that’s happening in part one of “A Lonely Place Of Living,” as well. James Tynion IV hashes out a re-telling of Tim Drake’s life, and the art team of Eddy Barrows and Eber Ferreira, who did such stellar work on “Martian Manhunter,” cranks out one mediocre page after another here. Really uninspired stuff all around. Overall: 3 Recommendation: Pass

Kamandi Challenge #9 (DC)** – Yeah, Tom King’s script for this issue is over-stylized and literally begging to be noticed, but it’s still an effective and harrowing portrayal of captivity and uncertainty, and the glorious black-and-white art from Kevin Eastman (!) and Freddie Williams II is the most visually interesting stuff you’re likely to see in a “Big Two” comic this year. I was having (yet another) “Why do I even bother with Marvel and DC anymore?,” and this comic reminded of why I do. Borderline-magical stuff, this is. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Shean

Generations: Hawkeye and Hawkeye #1 (Marvel)** – In what is probably the most “Back to the Future” installment of the Generations series, Kate gets sent back in time to when Clint wore the old school pink and blue suit. In what plays out much like the classic movie, Battle Royale, but with superheroes and supeevillains,Kate and Clinton face of a rogues gallery including his former mentor, Swordsman. The best part of the book is Kate’s thoughts of certain people and events, knowing what she knows, which is always hilarious. By book’s end, Clint finds out who’s been pulling the strings in this game, but to everyone’s surprise, Clint nor Kate are the ones who serve the perpetrator justice.
Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

DTC_Cv965_dsLogan

Detective Comics #965 (DC) Tim Drake begins his escape from the prison of Mr. Oz, who is keeping him in prison because he’s intelligent (?). Oz’s motivation isn’t the clearest, but James Tynion and Eddy Barrows successfully make an argument for the importance of Tim Drake to the DCU and by extension, Robin to Batman. It’s another example of how Rebirth is restoring the relationships of the DCU, and I love the snapshot style layouts that Barrows uses. Plus two of the smartest characters in the DCU pulling a prison break should be fun. Overall: 7.7 Recommendation: Read


Well, there you have it, folks. The reviews we didn’t quite get a chance to write. See you next week!

Please note that with some of the above comics, Graphic Policy was provided FREE copies for review. Where we purchased the comics, you’ll see an asterisk (*). If you don’t see that, you can infer the comic was a review copy. In cases where we were provided a review copy and we also purchased the comic you’ll see two asterisks (**).

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 9/23

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.


 

Ryan C

ViolentLove_08-1Violent Love #8 (Image)** – Frank J. Barbiere and Victor Santos continue to quietly toil away on the best book almost nobody reads, and ya know what? It’s their loss for passing on it. Our two protagonists finally “hook up” in this issue, and it’s well worth the wait as Santos proves that the only thing he’s better at drawing than noir-esque violence is — noir-esque love, hence the title. Some double-dealings are brought to light, as well, all delivered with a heavy (and awesome) sheen of ’70s grindhouse low-fi panache. The backup strip by Ryan Ferrier and Jamie Jones also continues to impress. Overall: 8.5. Recommendation: Buy

Batman #31 (DC)** – So, now we know what all that build-up surrounding Kite Man was for — he’s a convenient plot device that we had to give a shit about first in order for the timing gimmick he’s put to use as to have any impact. Guess what? It still doesn’t — because telling a long-form storyline through a series of disconnected vignettes just plain doesn’t work. Bless Mikel Janin for still clearly giving his all on art, but man, Tom King just straight-up doesn’t know what he’s doing with this book. Overall: 3. Recommendation: Pass. I purchased my copy because I clearly never learn.

unholy grail 3.jpgUnholy Grail #3 (Aftershock)** – If you’re a sucker for Arthurian lore, as I admit I am, this series pretty much has it all — but man, if you’re unfamiliar with the “source material” (a term I will always hate), I can only imagine how confusing this all would be at this point, because Cullen Bunn’s script pre-supposes fairly solid knowledge of the subject and the heavily-compressed timeline more re-interprets events than it does actually explore them. The whole Guinevere/Lancelot tryst takes center stage this time out, with an intriguing new origin for Morgana LeFay rising from it, and Mirko Colak’s art? Hey, it’s just plain gorgeous. DC needs to put these two on their next re-launch of “The Demon” fast. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

The Unsound #4 (Boom! Studios)** – Speaking of Cullen Bunn, this “haunted insane asylum” mini-series is getting pretty damn trippy, and this time out we’re treated to a group therapy session from hell — or a neighboring nether-realm of some sort — that brings to light some genuinely creepy shit and leads to another pretty solid cliffhanger. Jack T. Cole’s art is the real star of the book, though, and the fact he’s not cut in on the copyright action for this title is a real crock of shit because he’s the best reason to be buying the comic — and buy it you should. Overall: 8. Recommendation: Whoops, my bad, I already gave that part away.

Shean

defenders 5.jpgDefenders #5 (Marvel) We catch up with our heroes shortly after they battle and capture Diamondback, which leaves Danny Rand hurt. On the way to jail,he is locked up with the Punisher,where a short skirmish takes place in the paddy wagon, where he escapes.The gang splits up scouring the city to find him. The reader finally sees he lands at Black Cat’s lair,where he unloads a striking betrayal. Overall: 9.4 Recommendation: Buy

Luke Cage #5 (Marvel) What started out as way to pay tribute to someone who he thought was a mentor becomes a fact finding mission and an unlikely reunion. As Luke finds out his mentor is not dead and has steadily experimented on dozens of others. We catch up with him and KevLar who has just killed all his friends as he just realized they were turning them into weapons. By issue’s end, everything comes full circle, justice gets served but not everyone gets out of it clear. Overall: 8.9 Recommendation: Buy

Generations: Captain Marvel and Ms. Marvel #1 (Marvel) Another bending of time and space allows Ms Marvel to enter the same Universe as Captain Marvel. She enters vintage Metropolis where Carolina Danvers works for the Daily Planet and Khamala is am intern. The step back in time is not without is troubles, as Nightscream, a Shiar who has a vendetta with Danvers. By issue’s end, a final skirmish ensues between the three,but both Marvels end victorious. Overall: 9.3 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 9/16

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.


 

Alex

PESTILENCE_04Old Man Logan #28 (Marvel)** The last Marvel comic on my pull list these days, and were it not for a very sentimental attachment to Wolverine I’d have likely dropped it awhile back for no other reason than I’ve largely stopped reading Marvel. That said, I’m still really enjoying this series, and seeing Old Man Logan back with Hawkeye again as they confront the Hulk Gang is a nostalgic throwback for the reader (and possibly Logan). Ultimately, a really solid book – and one I don’t regret picking up in the least. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

Pestilence #4 (Aftershock)** There’s something to be said about reading about zombies in the medieval times. Frank Tieri has always been hit or miss for me (though truthfully far more hit than miss), and this series one of the hits. The covers are always brilliantly well done and the interior art, to me at least, has an almost Mignola feel to it. If you want something a bit different from the spandex and capes of the Big Two then you could do a lot worse than this medieval zombie story. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Ryan C

Briggs Land: Lone Wolves #4 (Dark Horse)** – Brian Wood and guest artist extraordinaire Vanessa R. Del Rey (way to leave her name off the cover, Dark Horse) deliver a stunning stand-alone story about a teenage girl looking to get off “The Land” to have an abortion that depicts the topic with the intelligence and sensitivity that it deserves while eschewing any sign of preachiness. Highly skilled stuff, wonderfully illustrated, with no easy answers provided. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Harrow County #25 (Dark Horse)** – Cullen Bunn and Tyler Crook celebrate a milestone issue in their rural horror series with a story that not only moves, but downright propels, the narrative forward into dizzyng new territory. I’ve been “on the harrow county 25.jpgfence” about this book for some time despite Crook’s utterly gorgeous art, but as of now, I’m “all in” again, no question. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Action Comics #987 (DC)** – Lenticularize me, baby! Or, ya know, don’t, since the first issue of the much-hyped “The Oz Effect” storyline is the very definition of comic book mediocrity. Viktor Bogdanovic’s art has a little bit more personality (and a little bit less technical proficiency) than most “Rebirth” stuff, but Dan Jurgens’ script is rote and predictable in the extreme, even if “Mr. Oz” doesn’t turn out to be exactly who you assumed he was. In addition, they seem to have laidall their cards on the table with their “big reveal” on the final page of this issue, and it’s hard to see where they go from here — as well as why I should care. Overall: 4 Recommendation: Pass

Mister Miracle #2 (DC)** – Tom King and Mitch Gerads settle things down a bit after their “Mulholland Drive”-esque first issue, but it’s still fairly obvious that all is not quite as it appears here. Orion is running the show on New Genesis now, Granny Goodness apparently ain’t so bad, and Barda doesn’t really get killed even though it looks like she does for a minute there. Certainly interesting stuff, but I’m not sure “dialing back” the high weirdness was the right call (hey, time will tell), and Gerads’ art, while certainly damn good for the most part, is so murky in the final two panels that it’s hard to discern what’s even going on in the big “cliffhanger” ending. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

Patrick

Mage: The Hero Denied #2 (Image)** – I’m up in the air over this one, but I think so is Kevin. On the one hand, he likes his quiet family life, so he’s trying to minimize the threats he’s facing. On the other, he has to take the necessary steps to protect his family. I think that it’s just that Matt Wagner hasn’t seemed to make up his mind yet about what MageTheHeroDenied_02-1Kevin wants most and what he’s prepared to do to get it, so the story is passive and reactive. There are just enough interesting hooks to keep me going, though: I love Mags’ magic crockpot, for instance, and Kevin’s relationship with his son is complex and real. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

Kill Or Be Killed #12 (Image)** – This issue is strictly prosaic and procedural, which isn’t a bad thing necessarily, coming from Ed Brubaker. Dylan starts hitting back at the Russians, and he and Kira inch closer. But Sean Phillips’ portrayal of Dylan struck me: he looks ten years older and seriously haunted, especially sitting next to Kira at the movies. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy.

Time & Vine #3 (IDW)** – The mystery – that of Megan’s Aunt Alice – kind of… meanders along here. Three issues in, I’m starting to wonder what this story is really about and what’s driving it. The historical vignettes are interesting – we go back to 1863 and a meeting of the Emancipation Society of New York to talk about slavery, suffrage, and economics – but I’m starting to lose the emotional connection. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Pass

Christopher

Dept H #18 (Dark Horse) Writer and Artist: Matt Kindt Just when you thought things couldn’t get worse, they give you a view of the surface world as a tease. Showing how they have reacted to the H-virus, as it spreads. As what may be their last hope for surfacing falls short. This series continues to draw me, as it progresses. Hopefully, with only two issues scheduled to remain after this, we will be shown how things end. Overall: 8.5 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 9/9

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

BM_Cv30_dsBatman #30 (DC)** – It seems we’re getting as many “interludes” with “The War Of Jokes And Riddles” as we are actual chapters, but I probably shouldn’t complain too much since these Kite-Man stories are a lot better than the confused and disjointed main narrative which just can’t seem to gel. Tom King seems to have a real handle for this character, and Clay and Seth Mann’s art is sharp and striking. As a stand-alone, then, this is plenty good, but as part of the larger narrative, it just adds one more ingredient (albeit a better one) to a murky stew of storytelling. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Read

World Reader #6 (Aftershock)** – A surprising and quite good wrap-up to Jeff Loveness and Juan Doe’s series that features beautiful, “trippy” cosmic illustration and leaves things on a decidedly metaphysical note. A quick read, to be sure, but one that asks some fairly profound questions and provides no easy answers. My kind of thing all the way. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Postal #22 (Top Cow/Image)** – Another strong issue of the most consistently-underrated comic around, as Bryan Hill and Isaac Goodhart build up to what’s starting to feel very much like a conclusion. Or perhaps just a conclusion to this book as we know it before taking things in a whole new direction? Whatever the case may be, big trouble is headed for Eden, Wyoming, and both creators are hitting a nice stride as the tension ramps up. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy.

Outcast #30 (Skybound/Image) – After a nice run where things really seemed to be happening at a breakneck pace, Robert Kirkman has reverted to his dull and laconic storytelling style with this one, and the dialogue is clunky and contrived as shit. It seems Kyle Barnes is welcoming a new addition to his little makeshift army of exorcists and a new “main bad guy” is on the scene, but whatever. This issue is so poorly scripted that I dare you to care about what’s happening in it. Paul Azaceta’s art continues to be nicely moody bordering on the abstract, but in this installment he’s simply not given much interesting stuff to draw. One big yawn. Overall: 4 Recommendation: Pass

Logan

giant days 30Giant Days #30 (BOOM! Studios)– The latest Giant Days is a delightful bit of relationship drama stew from writer John Allison with the usual hilarious reaction shots by artists Max Sarin and Liz Fleming. Daisy’s German girlfriend Ingrid is becoming a little too much for her friends Susan and Esther, whose respective affair with her ex-boyfriend McGraw and friendship with his current girlfriend Emilia all come to a head in one of the more serialized issues of the series. And it works thanks to years of character developments, and laugh out loud visual comedy like the goth Esther transforming into witch phase, shower curtain wearing Stevie Nicks as she tries to keep all the drama straight. Overall: 8.6 Recommendation: Buy

4 Kids Walk Into A Bank #5 (Black Mask)– Matthew Rosenberg and Tyler Boss’ juvenile crime/80s period piece comes to a close in dark, exciting fashion. There’s plenty of great pop culture references per usual and some fun uses of nine panel grids for heist planning. However, shit gets real about 2/3 through the book, and there are real consequences to Paige and company’s actions Best of all, Rosenberg and Boss avoid the cardinal sin that some heist stories (Reservoir Dogs gets a pass, obviously) and show the bank robbery in all its glory and tragedy instead of just yammering about it. Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Patrick

Black Magick #7 (Image) – “Sometimes you need to make a flame.” That is the BlackMagick_07-1understatement of the issue. Greg Rucka and Nicola Scott continue their fascinating occult police procedural. What I dig about this series is how totally grounded and un-pulp-y it is (unlike, say, Weird Detective). Its magic has nothing to do with mysticism: it’s methodical and precise and not for nothing is the word “work” used to describe it. I trust this team that, in the image of this issue, the slow burn of the series will get explosive soon. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Lazarus X+66 #2 (Image) – Greg Rucka has created a raft of tortured and compromised characters for the world of Lazarus, and he’s at his best when he’s exploring the themes of “duty”. So it was great to get a look at Joacquim Morray’s return to his family. It’s pretty emotionally messed-up: though they of course created Joacquim as a Lazarus, they make him feel heartless and mechanical as if he had a choice in the matter; though they forced him to betray Forever, they now require him to prove his loyalty to them. Really nice. Mack Chater’s art is, I think, too Lark-like for what I want out of this sidecar series. If Rucka is going to explore the nooks and crannies of his world, I would like to see art that diverges from the mainline as well. It’s not bad, just not bold enough for me. Overall 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Lady Killer Vol 2 #5 (Dark Horse) – DAYUM Joëlle Jones! The first 4 pages of this one are my favourite thing of the week, and a perfect, quiet introduction to the sheer mayhem that follows. Simply impeccable and full of gorgeous brutality. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Stray Bullets #27 (Image/El Capitan) – So Kretch and Annie hit the road and things go badly wrong immediately. David Lapham takes two emotionally damaged people, gives them some pretty serious physical damage, and then finds a way to have them try to have nice things. Spoiler alert: David Lapham’s characters cannot have nice things. Another clusterf*ck issue of a magnificently f*cked up series. Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

New Teen Titans TP Vol 7 (DC Comics) – One of the two last great Wolfman/Perez Titans stories, “The Judas Contract”, is reprinted here, along with its weaker coda, “The End of the H.I.V.E.”. What blows my mind about this period is that, while they were closing the loop on the Trigon/Raven story begun in the Preview and NTT #1 in comic shops, at the very same time they were sending Dick Grayson on his new path as Nightwing AND ending the Terminator/H.I.V.E. story begun in NTT #2. All that was left after this was to give Donna Troy her happy ending, which we’ll see in vol 8. Perez’ covers, inking himself, are stunning. I remember when these were coming out and noticing inkers for the first time. Romeo Tanghal left big shoes to fill. Dick Giordano did a great job on the first 3 parts of “Judas” but I always thought Mike DeCarlo’s style just imposed itself too much on Perez’ pencils. Bonus: the Steve Rude one-shot! Overall: 7.5 (the second story is just too GENERATIONS iron.jpgweak) Recommendation: Buy

Shean

Generations : Ironman/Ironheart #1 (Marvel)-In a true example of quantum physics, Riri Williams get sent to the future, one in which Doctor Strange is 126 years old. The Sorcerer Supreme uses his powers to pull her into a battle with Morgan Le Fay. Although they win the battle, the war is far from over. As she consults with an even older Steve Rogers, she soon realizes the power of change is in her hands. By books’ end, she returns to the present, only to find Tony Stark has gone missing. Overall: 9.2 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 9/2

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.


Ryan C

rebels6.jpgSecret Empire #10 (Marvel) – So Nick Spencer and his bosses at Marvel editorial decided we needed one more issue of this nonsense than the originally-solicited nine, I guess, and aside from the fact that the army of artists (specifically Steve McNiven, Rod Reis, David Marquez, Paco Medina, and Ron Lim) at least turn in competent work for the most part, the best you can say for this thoroughly uninspired, predictably-resolved mess is — hey, at least it’s over with. Overall: 2 Recommendation: Pass. I purchased my copy, dumb-ass that I am.

Ringside #11 (Image)** – I’m honestly surprised that Joe Keatinge and Nick Barber are continuing this series with a new arc given that a) it almost never comes out, and b) doesn’t sell worth a damn when it does, but at least all the various characters in this wrestling-themed book have interesting, if apparently quite disparate,”arcs” — unfortunately, the farther Barber’s art devolves into pure abstraction (and not the interesting sort of abstraction, just the lazy one), the more difficult it gets to justify shelling out $3.99 a pop for this stuff. Overall: 4 Recommendation: Pass

Rebels: These Free And Independent States #6 (Dark Horse)** – Apparently Brian Wood and Andrea Mutti are wrapping up the second iteration of their Revolutionary War-era historical with a smattering of short stories just as they did last time, and this one, entitled “The Virginian,” is an especially good one, focusing on what a self-serving, reckless, back-stabbing, and arrogant asshole a young George Washington was. Not sure how accurate all the details are, but it’s gotta be more truthful than the old “I can’t tell a lie, I did chop down the cherry tree” yarn. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Generations: The Archers #1 (Marvel)** – Kelly Thompson and Stefano Raffaele give us the first one of these vaguely-connected oversized one-shots that’s actually worth a damn, and while it’s still a thowaway story quickly put to wraps, at least the characterization and dialogue are equal parts charming and effective, and the art is smooth-flowing and nicely expressive. Not worth five bucks by any stretch, but not worthless, as the rest of them have essentially been. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Read

 

Shean

Black-Panther-17-2017.jpgBlack Panther #17 (Marvel)– Wakanda has been in disarray for some time and T’Challa’s problems keep piling up. We find out the gods of Wakanda have gone missing, and the portals they have protected has been left unguarded, allowing rogues from T’Challa’s past to come through as well as other supernatural creatures.Lucky for him and Wakanda, Storm has come back into his life as his companion but also as queen and goddess for a people looking for a deity to believe. By books end, a fight with spider like creatures has affirmed T’Challa’s and Ororo’s belief in their path as heroes. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Black Panther and the Crew #6 (Marvel) this series is probably one for the best to come from Marvel in a while and as this is the last issue, it ends on its strengths. We get a history lesson as we find out that the Crew Frank was part of, became broken and some, even corrupt.We also return to modern day, as the all new all different crew, with Black Panther, Luke Cage, Misty Knight, Manifold,and Storm fight Americops. One of Ezra’s nephews were behind the chaos in Harlem and for now, Hydraulic plans are foiled. Overall: 10 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 8/19

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

shipwreck5Shipwreck #5 (Aftershock)** – The fifth issue of Warren Ellis and Phil Hester’s dimension-hopping odyssey is a similarly breezy read to the first four, but it certainly looks bleakly gorgeous and both the plot and characterization are beyond intriguing. The one big problem? This title comes out so infrequently, and reads so quickly, that I can’t justify picking it up in singles from a financial perspective. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Pass — but only for now; you’ll definitely want to buy this when it comes out in trade.

The Hard Place #1 (Image/12-Gauge)** – I’m a sucker for “ex-cons trying to stick to the straight and narrow” stories, and the first issue of Doug Wagner and Nic Rummel’s new mini-series promises to be a terrific addition to that genre. Rummel’s art is a bit rough around the edges but works nicely for this sort of material, and Wagner’s script has a nicely authentic “street-level” feel. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Plastic #5 (Image/12-Gauge)** – Speaking of Doug Wagner-scripted crime books, this one that he’s had going with Daniel Hillyard wraps up nicely, if a bit predictably, since our deranged protagonist and his sex-doll “girlfriend” were obviously doomed from the start. Still, it’s a good, if bizarre, read, gorgeously illustrated. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read 

Underwinter #6 (Image)** – Ray Fawkes wraps up the first arc of this harrowing horror series with a gut-wrenching conclusion that seems to leave little to no path forward — so I’ll be curious to see where and how he picks things back up, because it could end here and feel like a fairly complete story. Frankly this is fairly devastating stuff, and while I admit that Fawkes’ art is an acquired taste, I think it fits his subject matter to a proverbial “T.” Good and grim, just how I like it. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Shean

generations thorGenerations: The Unworthy Thor and Mighty Thor #1 (Marvel) Two Thors walk into a room, Yada Yada Yada, what could be a joke of a story provides new revelations into the character we know own and the character we are still getting to know. In a convergence of time and space, Thor(Unworthy) and Thor(Mighty) are called to Egypt in a battle with Apocalypse who has amassed an army to fight our heroes.What Mighty Thor soon finds out that the Princeton Of Lies is behind this recent skirmish. By story’s end, the reader gets into the minds of both characters which reveals a secret of Odin.
Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Deadpool Kills The Marvel Universe Again #4 (Marvel) We find Wade Wilson still being mind controlled by the Cabal Of villains but this time inhabiting the armor of Ultron.He ends up taking out just about all the Avengers and what us hilariously depicted, thr kid heroes of the Marvel Universe. Gwenpool ends up intervening realizing that the Tinkerer is the mastermind behind his current condition. By the end of the issue, Deadpool kills a few more heroes but finally breaks free of their control and his purpose has turned back on his oppressors. Overall: 9.5 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 8/19

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

iwishiwasjoking.jpgBatman #29 (DC)** – Didn’t we already have an “interlude” in the middle of “The War Of Jokes And Riddles” a couple issues back? Well, this “extended-set-piece” issue feels like another one. It’s reasonably clever in terms of its construction, but not earth-shattering, and Tom King’s dialogue often feels stunted and slightly “off.” The idea of Bruce Wayne and his most of his rogues’ gallery sitting down to dinner doesn’t give Mikel Janin much to dig his considerably artistic chops into, either. All told, this is just more running in place. Overall: 4 Recommendation: Pass

Dark Nights: Metal #1 (DC)** – I guess as far as crossover “event” stories go, this one’s not too bad — but as far as comics go, it’s not too good. Scott Snyder’s laborious script is loaded with enough continuity baggage to make even fanbys-turned-pros of the past like Roy Thomas blush, Greg Capullo’s art is a solid notch or tow beneath his previous “Batman” work (and the cover is positively awful), and the “cliffhanger” ending, while surprising, isn’t especially smart in that it opens a whole can of worms that a lot of readers — myself included — would just as well see left alone. Overall: 4.5 Recommendation: Pass

 I Wish I Was Joking #1 (Poochie Press)** – Don’t look now, but Tom Van Deusen might just be the funniest carttonist in the business. Toning down his obviously-exaggerated “asshole persona” from previous books, here he’s very nearly likable as he conducts (okay, concocts, since they’re all fake) interviews with vapid media celebrities like Dave Matthews, Jeff Bezos, and the cast of MTV’s “The Real World : Seattle” that portray them to be every bit the dickheads we know they are, but do so in a manner far more clever, and less directly insulting, than one would expect. Subtlety is a new weapon in the Van Deusen artistic war chest, and he wields it very skillfully indeed — and his art keeps imporving with each successive project, as well. Definitely “must-buy” material. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Briggs Land: Lone Wolves #3 (Dark Horse)** – An immensely satisfying wrap-up to the second three-issue “arc” of this series (Jesus, though — are we going to get a new “first” issue every four months?) sees Brian Wood and Mack Chater coming up with a damn smart and unexpected way to resolve the hostage stand-off at the core of this story, and the final few pages over tantalizing clues as to what each character is thnking — and may be prepared to do — going forward. Way better than any comic about a white separtist sect has any right to be, and Chater’s art suits the gritty and authentic tone of Woods’ Spy_Seal_01_cvr_FULLscript to a proverbial “T.” Ready-for-TV melodrama doesn’t get much better than this. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Ben

Spy Seal #1 (Image) Most ideas we have as teenagers aren’t worth reviving, but that’s not the case for Rich Tommaso’s new Image series. “Spy Seal” #1 is a colorful, quirky debut that aesthetically harkens to Herge’s “Tintin” while having modern sensibilities in pacing. The story is a little predictable in terms of cold war-era spy thrillers, but manages to keep the reader informed on what’s happening. Characterization is light, but it gets better in the later half of the issue. The real issue are some of the tired cliches of fridging/harming women in order to advance the male protagonist’s story. Reviving old school styles and narratives shouldn’t mean repeating their mistakes. Overall, I recommend “Spy Seal” on the pure amount of joy you get from the reading experience. It shines with the eagerness of a creator fully invested in his concept and manages to pull off an appeal to both the adult side of us that enjoys a good mystery along with the inner child that grew up on cartoons of talking animals. Overall: 9

Shean

Luke Cage #4 ( Marvel)-When Luke goes to New Orleans for his the funeral of the scientist who gave him powers, he finds more than he expects. As he is reunited with Warhawk, he soon finds our that Dr. Bursting has kept on experimenting. As he is introduced to KevLar, a younger version of himself who has joined a street gang. As the this family reunion of sorts endures some skirmishes, the reason fight is the evil organization looking to take them out. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Gwenpool #19 (Marvel) – In this issue, Gwenpool breaks the fourth wall and enters an alternate universe. Teddy ends up showing her more than what she expected as she finds out about the different circumstances her family would have taken. Also, in this world, she is actually a villain and Spider-Man’s main tormentor. He traps her to kill her but what both don’t see coming is a another version of herself from her comic showing up. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

George

generations wolverineGenerations: Wolverine & All-New Wolverine (Marvel) It’s all about the last few pages, the interaction between Logan and Laura throughout the book is great, but the ending is the best payoff of this Generations event so far. If you didn’t get it go back and pick it up.

Dark Knight: Metal #1 (DC) And here we are again with another mega crisis that will change the DCU as we know it, again. To be fair, the previous comics Dark Days: The Forge and The Casting setup this great premise of a dark corner of the DCU and some type of connection to Nth metal and Batman. Not sure how far down this rabbit hole I’m going to go but Snyder knows how to tell a story and Capullo and Glapion turn in solid art. If you like big events, this will be right up your alley.

Christopher

Dept H # 17 (Dark Horse) Writer and Artist: Matt Kindt While their only way out is charging up, the story jumps to the past. Revealing the history of Lily, and her tragic past with different more vibrant color schemes. Along with showing how Mia and Lily bonded as kids. Despite some incidents with Hari along the way, one thing is certain she didn’t kill him. Now with the H-virus spreading, will they finally be allowed to surface, or is humanity doomed? Overall: 8.5

 

 


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 8/6

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

Redlands_01-1Redlands #1 (Image)** – Not sure what to make of this one yet. On the one hand, Vanessa R. Del Rey’s free-flowing and expressive artwork is gorgeous, and Jordie Bellaire’s colors are always top-notch. It’s as a writer, however, that Bellaire clearly has something of a learning curve ahead of her — plunging us into the middle of the action right off the bat, we never learn many of the characters’ names, have no clue as to their motivations, and frankly, beyond some sort of siege on a redneck sheriff’s station, we don’t even get much of an idea of what’s going on, never mind why. The creators seem to have an admirable agenda that they’re working towards here, but they have a long way to go to get readers invested in it and at $3.99 a pop, I simply wasn’t given a clear enough idea of the basic premise of this comic to justify sticking with it. Overall: 4. Recommendation: Pass.

 The Divided States Of Hysteria #3 (Image)** – Whoever’s still left reading Howard Chaykin’s latest will find this installment to be something of a bummer as very little happens by means of plot progression, and all we get is a re-hash of the few particulars we already know. Okay, everyone’s a bastard — we get that much. Beyond that, all this issue does is run in place. Still love Chaykin’s art and Ken Bruzenak’s one-of-a-kind lettering and effects, though. Overall: 5. Recommendation: Buy if you’ve come this far, pass if you haven’t.

Unholy Grail #2 (Aftershock)** – I’m really digging Cullen Bunn and Mirko Colak’s revisionist take on the Arthurian legend, and like the first issue, this one successfully “time-jumps” around to fill us in on all the particulars in a breezy, rapid-fire manner. Colak’s lavish artwork is definitely the star of the show here, but the script does what it needs to in order to maintain your interest, as well. Overall: 7.5. Recommendation: Buy.

Grass Kings #6 (Boom! Studios)** – Matt Kindt and Tyler Jenkins wrap up the first arc of their series in fine style as the showdown between our drop-outs and local law enforcement comes to a head, with potentially far-reaching consequences for all parties involved. There’s some great character development in this issue, and Kindt delivers at least one genuinely touching moment, all aided and abetted by Jenkins’ gorgeous and moody watercolor art. Overall: 8. Recommendation: Buy.

Patrick

 Kill Or Be Killed #11 (Image)** – And here we are, right back where we came in, with the fight in #1. Although our guy Dylan is trying to get his life back together, get back on his meds, catch up on his schoolwork, go to a party with his ex, his demon just won’t let him be. Nothing spectacular, just a solid issue that sets up the third arc quite nicely. 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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