Category Archives: Mini Reviews

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 3/18

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

All-Star Batman #9 (DC) Written with an almost prose style, this comic is easily the better of the two Batman books this week, giving us an interesting look at the Mad Hatter as Snyder continues his out-of-Gotham tour of Batman’s Rogues Gallery. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Read

american gods 1.jpgAmerican Gods #1 (Dark Horse) I have never read the prose version of this story before, although I have a vague idea as to what the basic premise is from conversations with a friend, but I wasn’t prepared for how quickly the story went from hinting at something just beneath the surface to throwing it into your face. I liked it, however. Quite a lot. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Batman #19 (DC) ….. it took me four minutes to read this, and that was four minutes I could have spent watching paint dry instead. Overall: 3 Recommendation: Pass

Deadpool The Duck #5 (Marvel) Stupid, yet fun. Overall: 7.25 Recommendation: Read

Venom #5 (Marvel) Despite the fast pace it feels like there’s not been too much happening yet in this series, and yet I’ve been enjoying it nonetheless. There’s some great art sequences here that more than make up for the comparative lack  of substance. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

Elana

BW_Cv1_dsBatwoman #1 (DC)– The Rucka / J.H. Williams III run of this character is the stuff of legends. I’ve eagerly awaiting the new creative team and this first issue is a promising start that should excite fans of the modern classic. Marguerite Bennett is the first queer woman to write Batwoman (and her cowriter for this, James Tynion IV is bi too). I’m relieved to have their perspectives on DC’s premiere lesbian heroine. The art from Steve Epting and Ben Oliver shares the striking noir glamor of of J.H. Williams’ original figures though their layouts are more traditional. Seeing a comic cover with 3 mysterious women of color on it is just what I needed. Recommendation: Buy

Patrick

I Hate Fairyland #11 (Image)** – Welcome back, muffin fluffers! Now that Skottie Young
has liberated himself from the useless encumbrance of things like “story arcs” and “plot”, he can get on with what this series does best: pure mayhem. In this issue, Gert goes fangirl on Gwag the Barbarian and in return is subjected to the fannish attentions of Gert cosplayer Maddie. The usual fun. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: buy

Casanova: Acedia #8 (Image)** – And into flashback, with art this time by Gabriel Bà. This is an absolutely paint-by-numbers assassin’s-daughter story, you know the one: assassin tries to shield daughter from The Life but she embraces it anyway. Nary a note of the originality and twist I expect and deserve from a Matt Fraction story. This story is stuck in neutral and needs a swift kick. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Skip

Sex Criminals #17 (Image)** – In this issue, Fraction & Zdarsky do their best Brubaker & Island_15-1Phillips… and really made me wish that Brubaker & Phillips had in fact done this issue. In fact, “The Skell” would be a great start to a series where we really dig into the m.o.’s of the various other sex criminals that are being hunted by Myrtle Spurge and her sex cops. In short, this would have been great if Fraction would just have run with it instead of backing off. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

Kill of Be Killed #7 (Image)** – And speaking of Brubaker and Phillips and Breitweiser, and issues that deviate from the main plot to focus on a secondary character… Now this is how it’s done. “What Kira Sees” takes us into the world of vigilante Dylan’s ex in a series of
family photos and therapy sessions, which leads her into Dylan’s closet and a very good, totally sensible, and really terrible decision. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Island #15 (Image)** – Sadly, this is the final issue of Brandon Graham and Emma Rios’ anthology series. We open with Grim Wilkins’ wordless “Mirenda”, a very nice fantasy piece with animation-like drawing. Not really my thing, but well done. Farel Dalrymple follows with a new installment of “Pop Gun War,” which is really my thing: freewheeling rock n’ roll urban crime whmsy. Where can I get more of this? Oh, here: http://fareldalrymple.com/ (trade collection in June!) Next up: this issue’s stunning highlight, Dilraj Mann’s “January”, a starkly-drawn meditation on young fame and the lies we tell to be pop. And then the series peaces out with Brandon Graham hisself in a delightfully surreal installment of “Multiple Warheads”. All I can do is quote the closing lines: “Good dream.” “… Hope so…” I have really loved this series and would happily take more of this sort of thing. Thanks, Brandon and Emma, you guys are the best. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

 

Ryan C

Dead Inside #4 (Dark Horse)** – In the best crime/mystery story fashion, John Arcudi ramps up the unanswered questions just prior to wrapping things up next month, while continuing the strong characterization that’s been a hallmark of this series from the outset., and Toni Fejzula’s Wrightson-esque art drives home the dark atmospherics in a dead inside 4 coverway that can only be described as “pitch perfect.” Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Batman #19 (DC)** – Is this story actually going anywhere? We get it, Batman and Bane are gonna fight, but this is the second straight installment comprised more or less entirely of build-up, and it leaves us off, bizarrely, further back than we were last issue, when at least the fisticuffs had already gotten underway. I wouldn’t mind at all if the characterization and backstory were enlightening or shed something new on the proceedings, but Tom King so far hasn’t managed to do that. Oh, and David Finch’s art is still lousy. Overall: 3 Recommendation: Pass

Batwoman #1 (DC)** – Writers Marguerite Bennett and James Tynion IV deliver a reasonably intriguing spy/noir thriller that suits artist Steve Epting’s considerable talents to a “T,” but it’s also fair to say it’s not exactly earth-shattering stuff and covers ground that’s very well-trod indeed. I liked it fine, but it was certainly predictable in the extreme. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Read

Black Panther: World Of Wakanda #5 (Marvel)** – Roxane Gay and Alitha E. Martinez put the wraps on their five-part story arc, which I loved at the beginning, with an issue that continues the sad trend of each installment getting progressively worse than the last. Granted, this is essentially a prequel and, as such, is hamstrung by the same problem all prequels are — namely, you know how it’s going to end — but Gay, who is a very skilled author, never really fleshed out her two intriguing lead characters beyond their very broadly-defined internal struggles, and the art is bog-standard stuff. All in all, a woefully wasted opportunity. Overall: 2.5 Recommendation: Pass

 

Shean

Black Panther: World Of Wakanda #5 (Marvel) The cliffhanger on the last issue, had hankering for what will happen next, and the creative team somewhat . We find Wakanda dead inside 4 coverin the throes of an awakening amongst the country’s women, as everyone has heard by this point what Aneka has done , and want retribution as well. What the Dora Milaje doesn’t see coming is one of their own seeking revenge. By issue’s end, you do realize it’s a prequel, one much like a recent show, leaves you an unsatisfactory ending. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

Odyssey Of The Amazons #3 (DC)– We catch-up with the Amazons as they meet the Valkyries. Their resolve tested and possibly new allies by their side, they are still searching for their lost sisters. Trolls and Jojins continue to battle them at every front , Tgemyra’s leadership continues to wane and the ship’s crew unity begins to dissipate.By issue’s end, it seems the Amazons have been dealt a fatal blow. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Batwoman#1 (DC)– Definitely one of the better reboots from The Big Two, as this spy thriller felt a little Iron Man/ James Bond -Ish as this has all the workings that one would expect of either character but as this gender switch deftly proves, it is even more interesting with a woman in this position. One should buy if you are enjoying Brubaker and Phillips “Velvet”, as Kate Kane is one smooth operator to be watched.
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 (**).

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Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 3/11

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

man_thing__1-9Man Thing #1 (Marvel) So… yeah. This is not what I expected it to be in any way shape or form – although I’ve never really read any Man Thing before. R.L Stine has an almost throwback style to his comic writing that I really enjoyed, although there are a couple stumbles, for the mot part this is worth a read at the very least.  Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

Redline #1 (Oni Press) Although I tend to avoid space comics, the preview text led me to believe that this first issue would be right up my alley, so I figured I’d check it out – and I wasn’t disappointed. Although this isn’t strictly a comedy there are some pretty funny one liners and character interactions throughout the comic, and the art is suitably dusty and dry feeling, which is perfect for the Mars setting. Story wise, there’s a lot of interesting things here beneath the copious amount of F-bombs, and more than enough for genre fans to come back next issue. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Read

The Unbelievable Gwenpool#13 (Marvel) I think this is a love it or hate it comic. I didn’t love it… Overall: 5 Recommendation: Pass

Joe

Inhumans vs X-Men #6 (Marvel) – We finally come to a close to the end of the inhumans_vs__x_men__6Inhuman/Mutant war. I will say this could have been better, but it also could have been worse. The story definitely felt tighter and more organic than Death of X, but I still felt with the talent involved, a lot was left on the table. There are some cool set ups for future villains, the status quo of the earth Inhumans vs the Royals going to space, and the new X-teams, but I wanted more. Still, this was a decent event, especially when I am usually let down lately by Marvel’s events. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

Justice League / Power Rangers #3 (BOOM!). This is another fun and light issue that works much like the first two. This book takes itself just seriously enough to pull off its premise. While it comes off more of a Power Rangers tone than Justice League, the Justice League characters fit right into the story. No one felt out of character to me and Tom Taylor juggles a lot of personalities including the villains. A really fun comic that is accessible to anyone. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Man-Thing #1 (Marvel) – RL Stine has come to Marvel Comics! This was a really fun story, and a perfect piece for Stine to write. It never apologizes for its old school horror feel, which is mixed with an interesting fish out of water (beast out of swamp?) plot. We see Man-Thing (aka Ted) in Hollywood with a failing career as an actor, and a theme of being mocked and not accepted by “normal” people. The comic ends with a cool cliffhanger that kept me interested. The art is fantastic, and I look forward not only to the rest of the miniseries, but more comic books from Stine as well. Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

Patrick

The Dregs #2 (Black Mask)** – I am loving this series. Writers Zac Thompson & Lonnie Nadler give us a take on the private eye story we’ve never seen: a homeless Marlowe navigating the underworld of derelict Vancouver. Artist Eric Zawadski gives us bold dreggs 2 coverdrawings and effortless storytelling that also lets us into the cracks of Marlowe’s mind. Just great stuff. Overall: 9.5. Recommendation: Buy

Cinema Purgatorio (Avatar)** – Moore and O’Neill continue their history of the underside of American cinema with a cartoon that turns Chuck Jones’ classic “Duck Amok” idea pitch black. Doesn’t quite hold together, though. In “Code Pru,” Garth Ennis and Raulo Caceres continue their ghostbusting EMT series with an actual ghost – one who happens to get off on watching other ghosts get it on in a haunted orgy. I am not making this one up. And other series as well. Overall: 6 (but I give Code Pru a 7.5). Recommendation: Skip

Lady Killer #4 (Dark Horse)** – It seems like forever since last issue but if that’s how long it takes for Joêlle Jones to draw this gorgeously, it’s worth the wait. The care that goes into every single panel, both in terms of writing and art, makes this series a must for me. That Josie herself is not conflicted about her dual roles as killer and housewife, but has that conflict imposed on her by an old man, is pure genius. Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

The Old Guard #1 (Image)** – I had no idea we were getting a new Greg Rucka military fantasy series, and was delighted to spot this one. Basically: a crew of immortal warriors led by your now-typical Rucka female messed-up protagonist takes on a mercenary gig they come to regret. Nice to see an action comic that, despite its fantastial elements, is firmly grounded in the present-day realities of armed conflict. Leandro Fernandez draws a chiaroscuro world that borders on cartooniness but uses it to draw us in and blow us away – kind of the way Eduardo Risso does it. Nothing super new here, but it’s a fun ride. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys: The Big Lie #1 (Dynamite) – I was a huge Hardy Boys reader as a kid, so I was really looking forward to this series by writer Anthony Del Col and artist Werther Dell’Edera. But I felt the whole “let’s show the ugly underside of Bayport and its crooked cops” approach lazy and generic – unlike the Hardy Boys novels themselves, which at least made the effort to use authentic (for the 1930’s) police and detection methods. And where the hell is Chet? Overall: 6 Recommendation: Skip

Ryan C

Jessica Jones #6 (Marvel)** – Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos wrap up the CopperHead_11-1“major” part of their first story arc while leaving some relatively massive subplots dangling, and you can’t help but feel we’ve been down this road a thousand times before — Bendis, after all, is the master of “decompressed” storytelling, and while you can’t point to anything too overtly “bad” on an issue-by-issue basis, by the time all is said and done the whole thing feels like a cheat when you realize it could just as easily (indeed, quite likely more effectively) been told in two or three parts rather than six. Overall: 4.0 Recommendation: Pass

Copperhead #11 (Image)** – My excitement at seeing this series return from a way-too-long hiatus is somewhat tempered by an art change : exit Scott Godlewski and enter Drew Moss, who does a reasonable enough approximation, but yeah — it’s just not the same. That being said, Jay Faerber’s story hasn’t missed a beat ,and there is some intriguing ramped-up tension between our two leads that should make things even more addictive as events progress. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Mother Panic #4 (DC/Young Animal)** – I guess this is the start of the second story arc, but so many subplots are held over that maybe that designation is effectively meaningless. Jody Houser continues to build on Violet Paige’s extremely fascinating and tragic backstory to an even greater extent this time out, and a new foe makes an entrance every bit as bizarre as that of a new ally a few pages earlier. Shawn Crystal fills in on art, and while his a more detailed look than that of series regular Tommy Lee Edwards, it’s no less effective. And there’s a huge surprise for old-school Ditko fans waiting in the back-up strip. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Earth 2: Society #22 (DC)** – I know, I know — I’m not sure how this series managed to last this long into the “Rebirth” era, either, but Dan Abnett and Vicente Cifuentes (one of about a half-dozen artists who have worked on this run, none of them appearing consistently enough to be called a “regular”) give what few fans are left in the building a canned and predictable “happily ever after” that at least wraps up all loose ends. Still, as the saying goes, not with a bang, but a whimper, is the order of the day here. Overall: 4 Recommendation: Pass, unless you’ve been following from the outset, in which case you may as well see it through to the end.

Shean

The Unbelievable Gwenpool#13 (Marvel)– In this issue of Gwenpool, she accidentally meets her off the wall inspiration, Deadpool. As they both get stuck in a real time RPG , with an lost boy 6interesting set of characters. Eventually, they face off , damn near killing each other . By issue’s end, they find out it is all for entertainment by a game executive. Overall: 9.8
Recommendation: Buy

The Lost Boys #6 (DC)- In the final issue of this incredible follow up to the movies, the Frog Brothers finally figure out who is carrying out the recent vampire threat. This leads The to a retirement home, where they battle some geriatric vampires. The Frog Brothers end up victorious but another threat rises by sea. By issue’s end, this was a fun trip back to the characters from the movie. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Guardians Of The Galaxy:MU #1 (Marvel)– Soon after losing their ship, the team finds themselves in a quandary as Gamora finds that Peter knew Thanos was on Earth. To pile on that, Leviathans have been rampaging on Earth since they landed and the GOTG have been pulled into the fight.In the midst of battle, Groot, fights a Kaiju sized match against another alien. By issue’s end, the team finds themselves at a crossroads. Overall: 8.4
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 3/25

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

 

moon-knight-12Moon Knight #12 (Marvel) At this point I’m only reading this for the artwork. The story feels like a convoluted mess, especially when read twenty some pages at a time; maybe when the trade hits I’ll be able to make better sense of this because there are some folks who love what Lemire is doing here, but right now it’s over my head. Overall: 6.75 Recommendation:  Read 

Batman #18 (DC) I wanted to like this issue, I really did. But between almost nothing advancing the story in the modern times, and the interesting-at-first way that Tom King and David Finch bring out the vastly different yet similarly motivated early years of Batman and Bane that turned into an uncomfortable (and not in a good way) look into two men with mental issues surrounding their mothers…  at least there are two other Batman books worth reading out there. Overall: 4.5 Recommendation: Pass

Nightwing #16 (DC) Damian Wayne make an appearance. If that’s not enough to make you run and buy it, then the fact that this is a great comic should. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Savage Things #1 (DC/Vertigo) A secret government program trains sociopaths to kill for them.  An interesting debut in a series with a lot of promise, I’m excited to see what comes next. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Ben

royal-city-1-coverRoyal City #1 (Image) -I’ve longed for Jeff Lemire to return to his roots of indie drama, and “Royal City” is a proper return with a bit of magical realism added into the mix. A lot of the story is currently build up, giving the reader a sense of the setting and characters, but with a clever twist on the concept of ghosts and haunted towns. Lemire’s art is as fantastic as ever with the added addition of watercolor to give it an uncanny atmosphere. It’s too early to see where this series will go, but I’m hooked enough to wait on the next issue. Overal: 10 Recommendation: Read.

Paper Girls #12 (Image) – This recent arc of Paper Girls is still building up, but the introduction and development of new characters is satisfying, adding more rich narrative layers along the way. Cliff Chiang and Matt Wilson continue to be a dynamic duo on art, and the prehistoric setting gives their combo an especially fantastic feel. Also, there seems to be a lot of focus given on both KJ and Mac, opening up the possibility for some truly interesting character development if BKV plays it out right. It’s still a lot of build up going on, but the spark is promising to lead to an explosion. Overall: 9. Recommendation: Read

Joe

Batman #18 (DC) – This issue had a very cool storytelling element that showcased the differences and similarities in Bruce and Bane’s upbringing. They both lost their mothers bm_cv18_dsand had mentors, but one was groomed for great things and cared for while another was locked in a cage like a wild animal. In modern time, Bane has arrived in Gotham and there’s no escape as he pummels Batman. Of course there was a plan all along, and we get a cliffhanger. This arc has been building for quite a awhile, and I hope it pays off in the next issue. Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

Superman #18 (DC) – Wow. What an intense issue. It was heartbreaking, and made me want to read more. I didn’t expect this kind of pace out of the gate for the Superman Reborn arc, but okay! I cannot wait until Action Comics next week to see what the hell is going on with the creepy alternate Clark Kent. Who is this dude?! Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

America #1 (Marvel) – America Chavez begins her solo debut, after she has helped clean up the universe with The Ultimates, she is here to find herself. The gay Latino daughter to two mothers, America is a great reflection of our country in this time period, also she punches Hitler. Overall, I wanted more, but this comic will definitely please a lot of people, and it is light and fun. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Read

Royal City #1 (Image) – It is no secret I am a massive Lemire fan. I am so glad he’s returning to his Essex County style, and telling a story that’s super grounded, but surrounded in some supernatural mystery. We get a real family with real problems in middle America. Royal City is a typical manufacturing town that is struggling with its identity of a time long lost. It is over fifty pages, but flew by because I truly cared to find out what this family is going through. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Logan

Royal City #1 (Image)– This comic is like a twee, small town Canadian version of The Big Chill as members of a dysfunctional family return to see their father who just had a stroke. There is also an interesting subplot about the town of Royal City going from a manufacturing town to a gentrified tourist haven that I wish Jeff Lemire focused more on instead of the visions of a long lost son. However, it’s nice to see Lemire back on art, and his style in this book is both ghostly and charming. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

 

Ryan C

flintstones-9-coverShade, The Changing Girl #6 (DC/Young Animal)** – The first arc of this series has been up and down, with wild highs and only middling lows, but unfortunately it hits rock bottom with this final chapter. Marley Zarcone’s art is as lavishly bizarre and “trippy” as ever, but Cecil Castellucci’s script is a complete mess that doesn’t deliver anything like a satisfactory conclusion until the very last page. It’s wild stuff, to be sure, but not especially engaging. Overall: 4 Recommendation: Pass

The Flintstones #9 (DC)** – If you were hoping to see more of the friendship between vacuum (baby elephant) and bowling ball (armadillo), this issue builds on that magnificently and makes for a read this is by turns heartwarming and smartly satirical as Mark Russell turns his sharp critical eye to Social Darwinist religion, runaway capitalist excesses, and the loneliness and desperate sense of personal inadequacy that fuels greed and conspicuous consumption. Steve Pugh’s art is superb as usual, and at the end of the day I have no hesitation in saying this is the best ongoing monthly being published today, by anyone. Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Batman #18 (DC)** – Tom King and David Finch pad out their “I Am Bane” storyline by throwing in heavy-handed parallel flashbacks to Bruce Wayne and Bane’s similar-yet-dissimilar upbringings, but it can’t disguise the fact that nothing much happens in this issue other than a standard super-hero brawl. Pretty stupid stuff, on the whole, with a script that simply goes through the motions and illustrations that can most generously be described as terrible. Overall: 2.5. Recommendation: Pass

Nailbiter #30 (Image)** – Let’s call it like it is : Joshua Williamson and Mike Henderson really ended their narrative with last issue’s clumsy info-dump, and this is nothing more than an extended epilogue — complete with four totally blank pages. What a padded, unnecessary waste. Overall: 2 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 2/25

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

deadpool_the_duck__3Deadpool The Duck #3 & #4 (Marvel) When I started reading this series, I expected not to like it. I’ve never been a huge Deadpool fan but because I am partial to Howard The Duck, I wanted to at least check out the first couple issues. After finishing the 4th issue a few minutes ago I realized that I’ve been thoroughly enjoying the charmingly violent chaotic story. It’s got some genuinely amusing moments, some of which likely unintentional (such as the “emotional” moments that feel a little shoehorned in), but overall it’s worth a read if this is your cup of tea – and you’ll know pretty quickly whether it is or not. Overall: 7.75 Recommendation: Read

Hulk #3 (Marvel) The unfortunate thing about this comic is that it wasn’t as good as the first two issues. It’s still be enjoyable, but it’s not as memorable as the first issue. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

Solo #5 (Marvel) It’s hard to explain why I like this as much as I do. Solo is a  freelance operative  currently on S.H.I.E.L.D.’s payroll who is trying to stop a fairly extensive black market weapons ring. The series has been as deep as a puddle with a what-you-see-is-what-you-get mentality that’s actually worked very well for the previous four issues, and continues to do so here. There’s nothing inherently wrong with the series, but if you’re after anything more than an easy to read fun action comic then you’ll be left wanting. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

Patrick

Stray Bullets #21 (Image/El Capitan) – One of the things I love about this series is that every issue kind of has its own music. In this chapter, it stays quiet and reserved for a long time. And then all of a sudden its gets really loud really fast. I’m amazed at David Lapham’s ability to keep up this kind of quality over the nearly 600 pages so far of Sunshine & Roses. Also, as a testament to his skill: daughter Beth dresses as her mother
curse-words-2-2nd-printingAnnie and looks identical in every respect but body language, which even on the page totally gives her away. That’s an artist who’s all about characters. Respect. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Page 563 might not be the time to jump on board. But this will be a hell of a read in trade.

Curse Words #2 (Image) – So here’s the premise as I understand it: powerful wizard Wizord gets sent to destroy Earth, but winds up digging it instead and decides to become its champion and save it from his now-former wizard bosses. This could be a superfun, really charming comic: Ryan Browne draws the hell out of it and the colors (courtesy Michael Garland with Ryan Browne and Michael Parkinson) pop like candy. But Charles Soule’s writing is a tad generic and the mix of farce and drama just dilutes what could have been an absolute romp through what would an interdimensional wizard love about New York City? Overall: 7 Recommendation: Take a look, this might be your thing.

Shaft: Imitation of Life TPB (Dynamite) – I’m a child of the 70s, so the New York City of my imagination remains that of the Deuce and any number of exploitation movies. David F. Walker and Dietrich Smith do a pretty good job with going back to John Shaft’s world, though for my money the art and story both could have been a lot rougher around the edges, faster and looser and with more swagger and style. I wonder if, by having nothing to really prove and dealing with a known property, the stakes are lowered too much. Where the film has a constant rage and fire underneath the surface, this is more of a slick, professional production. I don’t know if that serves the character best. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Take a look.

Descender #19 (Image) – All we are left with at this point is Jeff Lemire moving the plot forward without raising the stakes much. Dustin Nguyen’s art is gorgeous as usual. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Skip

The Manara Library vol.1: Indian Summer and Other Stories (Dark Horse) – Milo Manara’s main claim to fame is his erotica – a claim to fame which is subverted here in two Westerns. The first, Indian Summer, is a collaboration with Hugo Pratt of Corto Maltese fame – bringing to the fore Pratt’s love of American adventure fictiron and meticulous research. The second, Paper Man, is a Manara solo. In both cases, we are given an absolute feast for the eyes: an Old West that is firmly grounded in its natural wilderness, lush and free. Populated by Native American tribes struggling to understand the new European settlers and settlers trying to make the land their own, the sensibilities are distinctly Italian here: privileging fools and lovers over law and order, Pratt and Manara weave a spell that is utterly magical while adhering firmly to both human nature and the American fictions that inspired them both. The late Kim Thompson’s translation is perfect. Magnificent. Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy.

Ryan C

blackroad_07-1Justice League Of America #1 (DC)** – I’ve heard it said that even the worst comic you’ve ever read took more work to get into your hands than you can possibly imagine. Steve Orlando and Ivan Reis must have worked really hard on this one. Overall: 0. Recommendation: Pass

Frostbite #6 (DC/Vertigo)** – A surprisingly quick, but nevertheless effective, concluding segment from Joshua Williamson and Jason Shawn Alexander for their dystopian sci-fi six-parter, but I do have to wonder why they pulled a cliffhanger ending out of their ass when you know already that, given this title’s low sales, a sequel is never gonna happen. In fairness, though, it doesn’t feel at all out of place. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

The Belfry #1 (Image)** – An interesting and gorgeously-illustrated horror one-shot from Gabriel Hardman that, dare I say it, is probably the best “Batman” book of the year so far. If you didn’t get that joke, definitely check out the comic! Granted, it takes all of about two minutes to read, but those are two enjoyable minutes, and you’ll go back and ogle the artwork on this one over and over again. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy.

Black Road #7 (Image)** – Brian Wood and Garry Brown’s small-scale Norse epic never seems to get anything like the attention it deserves, perhaps due to the fact that Wood’s been down this road before. But as far as I’m concerned, a good comic is still a good comic, and as the mystery surrounding the actions of the would-be “Breakaway Pope” and his growing horde of cultists continues to deepen, this is proving to be a very good comic, indeed. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Shean

Elektra #1 (Marvel) – Elektra has always been the type of character which can only be great when done with the right creative team. This just so happened to be one of those times. We catch up with Elektra shortly after leaving NY as she is hunting for a criminal mastermind in Las Vegas. By issue’s end, she proves to be more than they expect which leads her into a “Running Man” situation. Overall:9.1

 



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 2/18

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

godcountry_01-1God Country #1 & 2 (Image) I missed the first issue when it came out last month, but when I found out that Donny Cates was the series writer I made a point to go back and find the first issue – and bot am I ever glad I did. God Country  has got to be one of the most well narrated stories I’ve read in some time, with such an interesting idea behind it; a man suffering from Alzheimer’s disease is cured when holding a giant sword. The two issues I’ve read have both been fantastic in every way a comic should be. Overall: 9.25 Recommendation: Buy

Kill Or Be Killed #6 (Image) After reading the first issue of this series on the recommendation of a fellow member of the Graphic Policy team, I’ve been constantly surprised at how gripping this series has been. The creative team have been producing such a fantastic story that evokes the feeling of the old pulp vigilante novel with a distinctly modern reinvention. Highly recommended. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Old Man Logan #18 (Marvel) You’re probably going to want to read this twice just so you can take in the phenomenal art work courtesy of Andrea Sorrentino and Marcelo Maiolo. Jeff Lemire is also on top form here, too, making this a fantastic comic to sit down with. Overall: 8.75 Recommendation: Buy

Venom #4 (Marvel) While I love the relationship between the symbiote and host, I care less for the rest of the comic. It’ okay, but only worth reading if you’re into the series already. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

The Wild Storm #1 (DC) Having never read any Wildstorm before I had no idea what to expect going it to this comic, but I enjoyed it quite a bit. Ben has a bit more detail below, so I’ll let you read his review now. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Ben

The Wildstorm #1 (DC): Despite never having read the Wildstorm imprint, I was excited the-wild-storm-1about this comic because the idea of Warren Ellis world-building an entire superhero universe makes me squeal with joy. The result is an audacious beginning for what could be one of the most impressive imprints in DC since Gerard Way launched Young Animal.

Jon-Davis Hunt is on art duty here. I love his work with Gail Simone on Clean Room, modern and polished yet with an unnerving supernatural horror atmosphere. The Wildstorm is geared to science fiction, however that doesn’t stop Hunt from excelling, particularly when it comes to scene decompression and panel layout.

I didn’t know what to expect from Ellis’ writing as I’m more familiar with his blatantly political and brutally mean-spirited indie work. However, his approach here seems to be inspired by cyberpunk, particularly Ghost In The Shell and The Matrix. It may be a superhero story, but Ellis is much more centered on powerful corporations, conspiracies, and the continually dysphoric nature between man and machine in the modern world.

There’s a lot of audacious, big-idea concepts going into this book, best of all without the sacrifice of character development. Each character comes in with their own personalities, goals, and complex morality. I have no idea what’s in store next, but I’m excited to find out. Story: 9 Art: 10 Overall: 9.5

Patrick

killorbekiled_06-1Kill or be Killed #6 (Image)** – Not sure how I feel about the abrupt switch of focus away from Dylan and his demonic vigilante spree. Much as I like NYPD detective Lily Sharpe, the sheer hard-driving intensity of this series gets diluted here. For me, this is just too much setup and a bit of a placeholder. Hopefully next issue will return to the suffocating, sweltering atmosphere I’ve gotten to love from this series. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Buy if you’re following, but this isn’t a good point to jump on.

Sex Criminals #16 (Image)** – Oh hey, this series is still going on! It’s been so long since last issue that Fraction & Zdarsky have to give us 8 PAGES of recap. I will stand by what I’ve been saying lately about Sexcrims: the plot is boring and getting in the way of my enjoying the hell out of two characters just trying to figure out how to be in the world together. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Pass.

Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turles Adventures #4 (IDW/DC)** – Picking up right where we left off, with the Scarecrow giving New York a dose of fear gas, and the Joker and Harley giving the hyenas (I’d forgotten they were called Bud and Lou!) a dose of mutagen. Pity this series will only go 6 issues, both my inner 5-year-old and my actual 5-year-old are loving it (even if this ish is a bit of a 4th-issue placeholder). Whatever Matthew K. Manning and Jon Sommariva have cooked up next, I’m down. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy.

Freelance #1 (Chapterhouse) – I’m not really sure what’s going on in this series – I’m not sure who Lance/Freelance is, what he’s about, what he wants, what his plans and goals are, who his friends are, and there is absolutely nothing in this comic to help me want to know more. What we’re really given is a continuation of the Aurora Dawn cult from the other Chapterhouse comics, which I guess is supposed to be the glue that holds the Chapterverse (nice name!) together. But feels more like a narrative sunk cost fallacy – does anyone really care about these guys? Jim Zub & Andrew Wheeler are pro writers and Vaneda Vireak’s art is OK enough, but it just doesn’t have a beating heart all its own. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Pass.

Agents of PACT (Chapterhouse) – One more time for the people in the back: if you don’t know Quebec French, get somebody who does to check it! This may seem like a quibble coming from a fluently bilingual Montrealer, but it’s a flaw that shows the other flaws in Kalman Andrasofsky and Blake Northcott’s characterizations. As for the plot, you really have to be invested in what’s been going on in Captain Canuck and Northguard to get who’s who and what’s what. And while it’s kind of nice to see the North given such focus, would it kill these guys to show us more of Canada than ice and snow? Anyway, Federica Manfredi does a good job on the art, but this is nothing to write home about. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Pass.

Ryan C

Kill Or Be Killed # 6 (Image)** – A bit of a curious issue, as Ed Brubaker’s script abruptly switches perspective to a new character, whose actions are related via semi-omniscient narration provided by — our usual protagonist, who doesn’t even know who this woman is yet? Sean Phillips’ art is uncharacteristically askew as well, with people drawn in bizarre and almost miniaturized proportions. I don’t get it, but events do, at least, still move forward in various and interesting ways. Overall: 5 Recommendation: Read if you’re following this series, pass if you aren’t.

bm_cv17_open_order_varBatman #17 (DC)** – After an issue that marked something of an uptick last time out, Tom King reverts to his now-customary disappointing form with this one, as a lackluster forthcoming confrontation with Bane is set up in lackluster and obvious ways. Alfred once again comes off as much more confidently-written than his boss, which is likewise becoming the norm, and David Finch’s art is — well, what it is. If you like it, you still will — if you don’t, you won’t. Overall: 4 Recommendation: Pass.

Dead Inside #3 (Dark Horse)** – John Arcudi and Toni Fejzula ramp their superb prison-murder-themed noir toward its conclusion with some truly surprising plot twists, painfully human character interactions, and the kind of quietly-omnipresent tension that makes for truly memorable reading. This series isn’t even done yet and I’m kinda missing it already. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Mother Panic #3 (DC/Young Animal)** – Jody Houser’s storyline is really gathering steam, with effective action scenes delivered with an economy of words deftly balanced against solid plot progression that shows Violet Paige/Mother Panic’s long-range plans coming into place while dropping more revealing hints about her tragic backstory at the same time. Tommy Lee Edwards’ sketchy art style serves the material on offer incredibly well, and one really gets the sense that this creative team is on the verge of hitting a serious — and potentially memorable — stride. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Shean

Black Panther: World Of Wakanda#4 (Marvel)– The team behind this book have brought issues to the forefront that rarely get dealt with in this medium.In this issue, the nations is steal dealing with the fallout of the death of Queen Shuri , this leads to a splinter groups of those who still oppose TChalla. Anneka and Ayo get sent to sea with Village Chieftain super-sons-1who is imposing sex slavery on the village women. By issue’s end, an unexpected death occurs while a long hidden secret is revealed. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Odyssey Of The Amazons#2 (DC)-The Giants our heroines were fighting at the end of their last chapter have turned out to be Trolls. After a successful fight, they find refuge in a village full of Vikings. Their commander soon find dissent amongst the ranks and even starts his question her own decisions. Before the end, we find out the Trolls’ intention for the Amazons they kidnapped. Overall: 9.3 Recommendation: Buy

Doctor Strange Monsters Unleashed #1 (Marvel)– Marvel’s most recent silly universe event, Monsters Unleashed feels more like a filler than anything canon changing, with no real death toll to even be seen. In this one-shot, we catch-up with the Sorcerer Supreme in the middle of a fire fight. Strange is less powerful and actually more cunning as his magic seems to be waning at this point. By issue’s end, an unusual team up occurs that shifts the edge on the side of the good guys. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Read

Super Sons#1 (DC) Robin and Superboy have always been footnotes in a very crowded hero universe , serving more as gimmicks than actual heroes with stakes. This all changed when DC decided to introduce Damien, as he not the typical Suitor to the Robin mantle, as he isn’t only Bruce Wayne’s actual son but he brings a whole new attitude and set of the skills to the job. So when Damien’s Robin seeks help from Jon’s Superboy , not only teen angst sets in , but their unusual circumstances pervade their assemblance of a life. By issue’s end, their famous fathers intervene in what seems like a hair brain plan.
Overall: 9 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 2/3

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

Blood Blister #1 (Aftershock Comics) Far from what I expected, especially the last few pages, this series has me intrigued to see what’s next. There’s some imagery that’s a little monsters-unleashed-2on the schlock horror side of things, but nothing too horrible. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read.

Monsters Unleashed #2 (Marvel) So… the plot is paper thin, the art isn’t too bad… if you like your heroes actually working together rather than trying to have a punch up with each other for no reason, then you may enjoy this. Just don’t expect a deep story. Or even a shallow one. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Read. I suppose.

Moon Knight #11 (Marvel) Jeff Lemire is a great writer, who sometimes writes above my head. I’d like to this this is one of those comics… but the thing is, is that I’m not entirely sure what the hell is going on any more in this series, and there’s only so long that I’m going to keep reading just for the artwork. Overall: 6.75 Recommendation: Pass if you’re not already reading it.

Star Wars: Darth Maul #1 (Marvel) This is the first Star Wars comic I’ve read, and honestly it was okay. Nothing great, however, but not bad overall. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read.

The Walking Dead #163 (Image)** It’s a bloody quarter (or 33 cents if you’re Canadian), so it’d have to be pretty damn terrible to pass this up. Thankfully it’s not (and no, I usually don’t read this series, but that wasn’t an issue here). Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Joe

Blood Blister #1 (Aftershock) – This was a good introduction to a dark cautionary tale. Our main character, at least so far, is a crooked rich man who gets rich off the backs of the poor blood-blister-1and uneducated. There are a lot of biblical references, and foreshadowing. There are a few gross scenes, but it helps the overall tale. After all the book is called Blood Blister, so some of that is to be expected. After the crazy ending, I am definitely looking forward to reading the next issue, and seeing where this series is headed. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Star Wars: Darth Maul #1 (Marvel) – It always felt like Darth Maul never had enough screen time. He was such an awesome looking, and overall badass character. Maybe it was because there wasn’t a lot of depth to him besides those things, and that is what this issue feels like it is telling me. Darth Maul is an angry sith (aren’t they all?), but the interesting thing to him is he is tired of waiting and biding his time. He wants to kill Jedi, and so this issue sets up some things that may give us some more Maul vs. Jedi fights. We get some cool looking alien beasts, and Maul taking over a ship of pirates, but not much else. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Read

Bullseye #1 (Marvel) – I am quite familiar with Bullseye. I have enjoyed the character for what he is when it is within the context of Daredevil comics, but not here. You don’t get much depth into what makes Bullseye tick besides he’s a killer and loves it. In one scene he is talking to his “agent” for jobs and is murdering innocent people out of his window with paperclips. I felt like it was trying way too hard to be edgy, and it didn’t leave me with any urge to come back for the next issue. Overall: 4.0 Recommendation: Pass

Monsters Unleashed #2 (Marvel) – Once again, some decent art is the highlight of this issue and event that I found hard to get through. I usually do not have an issue finishing a comic, but I found myself wanting to skip dialogue, and entire pages as the book went on. Perhaps it is a little bit of Marvel event fatigue as well since Civil War II had ended in December, but so far, I have not enjoyed Monsters Unleashed. Sure it seems like it should be the big blockbuster event and dumb popcorn fun, but Justice League vs. Suicide Squad which just finished did a far better job of making me care about it. Overall: 5.0 Recommendation: Pass

Patrick

Big Trouble in Little China/Escape From New York #5 (Boom)** – This one starts out with a neat narrative trick, courtesy Greg Pak and Daniel Bayliss: the story of legendary blues guitarist Blind Apple Mary, as told simultaneously by Mary herself and by Bob Hauk to the killorbekilled_05-1President. So we’re in good comics hands here. Things escalate, and then escalate some more, until David Lo Pan must summon The Greatest Snake Plissken in the Multiverse. Final words from Jack Burton: “C’mon, this is gonna be awesome!” I concur. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Kill or Be Killed #5 (Image)** – The first trade is out and this issue starts a new story, so it’s an excellent time to jump onto an excellent series. Artists Sean Phillips and Elizabeth Breitweiser continue their outstanding work. Ed Brubaker is getting more confident in our ability to follow vigilante Dylan as his stories ramble around in time, I’d love to see more of this as Dylan becomes more and more isolated in his demonic mission. Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures #3 (IDW/DC)** – My 5-year-old son is in love with this comic, and I can see why. Writer Mathew K. Manning and artists Jon Sommariva and Sean Parsons have been bringing the fun. Their Batman is the Animated Series version (aka the Best Version IMHO), and it’s a hoot to watch the Bat-Family and the Turtles trade nemeses as the Joker and Harley take over from Shredder and his gang. Also in this issue: Shredder laughs. Delightful and kid-friendly. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy.

The Dregs #1 (Black Mask) – I was visiting a friend in Vancouver and when he told me where to meet him, he also made sure to tell me not to go through the Downtown Eastside. What he said about the area was this: if you turned Canada up with Vancouver at the bottom and gave the country a shake, everyone who couldn’t hold on ended up on Hastings & Main. This is where writers Lonnie Nadler & Zac Thompson and artist Eric Zawadski stake their claim in a murder mystery whose case is taken up by a homeless junkie of a private eye. In the mix is a study of gentrification, crime, and how late capitalism literally feeds on the poor. Tightly written and drawn with graphic verve and an almost-cartoony style that makes humanity out of tragedy, this is definitely a series to watch. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Ryan C

The Unstoppable Wasp #2 (Marvel)** – You’re either going to love scribe Jeremy Whitley’s perpetually-spunky iteration of the new Wasp or hate it, but for my money the real star of the show here is artist Elsa Charretier — unfortunately, this issue’s script doesn’t give wasp_2_coverher any big, bold, fun stuff that really shows off her wares until the last few pages. Moon Girl fans will be glad to see her make a brief guest appearance, but beyond that, this feels like something of a wasted opportunity. Whitley is teamed with a truly superb illustrator here, and he needs to figure out how to play to her strengths quickly. Overall: 4.0 Recommendation: Pass

The Fall And Rise Of Captain Atom #2 (DC)** – After feeling more than a bit underwhelmed by the first issue of this six-parter, it’s nice to see veteran writer Cary Bates and his co-plotter, Greg Weisman, get a confident grasp on their storyline in short order with this time-travel yarn that does a much better job of laying out the particulars of where this book is headed than did the debut installment. Unfortunately, as we all know, second issues are lucky to garner half the readership of #1s, and it’s not like this was a blockbuster seller out of the gate. It also doesn’t help that artist Will Conrad’s illustrations are fairly standard-issue “New 52”-esque stuff. A welcome early-course correction, sure, but still far from an essential addition to your pull. Overall: 6.5  Recommendation: Read

The Flintstones #8 (DC)** – I was hoping this was where Mark Russell was going with his story, and in this latest issue he finally lays down a scathing critique of civilization itself, and a full-throated defense of hunter-gatherer life, that would make anarchist theorists like John Zerzan proud. A sub-plot involving Wilma’s strained relationship with her mother is admittedly underdeveloped and resolved a bit too quickly, but the main storyline is so solid, and Steve Pugh’s return to the artistic reins so welcome, that I still can’t help but absolutely love this comic, weaknesses and all. Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Batman # 16 (DC)** – Whaddya know? Tom King manages a nearly-flawless script for the first time since taking over DC’s most-prized assignment, with some terrific character “beats” for Bruce, Dick, Jason, Damian, and Alfred (the one member of the cast he’s always had a firm “handle” on), all of which lead up to a heck of a cliffhanger — unfortunately, David Finch is back on art, and when you consider that action sequences are all he’s really good at and the bulk of this issue involves our key players sitting around a table at a “Batburger” fast food joynt, well — let’s just say it doesn’t make for a very visually-involving comic. Still, I can’t help but feel optimistic about “I Am Bane” going forward — but this book has consistently let me down, so I’m very much taking a “wait-and-see” approach for the time being. Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read

poagl1Shean

Planet Of The Apes/ Green Lanterns (Boom /DC)– When crossovers are done right , they can be as good as the Cannonball Run movie with Jackie Chan, and this book aims to do the same . We catch up with Cornelius shortly after the events of the last movie, where he is trying to find his friend, but instead stumbles an ancient ring, not from his world. Hal Jordan, Guy Gardner and Kilowog are firefight with some Red Lanterns when his unexpected run-in with Sinestro leaves him in a strange new world. Although, this issue is whole lot of setup , it is so much fun watching these deft explorations of both canons.  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 1/28

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

Daredevil #16 (Marvel) I really wasn’t a fan of this one, but I recognize that it was a better comic than I thought. It just wasn’t my cup of tea the day I read it (which was about an hour before I wrote this). Overall: 7 Recommendation: Readspiritcorpse01-cov-a-franca

Hulk #2 (Marvel) There aren’t enough comics like this one being published anymore, especially from Marvel. This is essential reading for folks who want a character driven Hulk story that’s a lot deeper than you’d expect. Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

The Spirit: The Corpse-Makers #1 (Dark Horse) The art in the comic has an unearthly quality to it; you’re never quite sure what’s going on, and yet you just seem to understand – and enjoy it – all at the same time. I know that doesn’t make sense,  and nor should it, but there’s no other way I can describe the book to you. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read.

Solo #4 (Marvel) I’m not sure how long Marvel will keep this book around, but while it’s here it’s worth giving it a read. Solo may not be setting the world on fire critically or commercially, but it’s filling an entertaining niche; the lone agent taking everybody down, and having fun while he does it. This is a silly, fun comic that you just can’t help but enjoy. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

Joe

Inhumans vs X-Men #3 (Marvel) – This is how you do an event. Similar to Justice League vs Suicide Squad, this gets straight to the action, and doesn’t waste much time on other things. Sure you get the “we are going to die!” from the mutants and the “we are at war!” from the Inhumans, but it’s the fun fight sequences that really make this series shine. Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

jlareb_kfrost_cv1_dsJustice League of America: Killer Frost Rebirth #1 (DC) -In the final one shot before we get the new JLA, the spotlight is on Killer Frost. I really love what Orlando and Williamson have been doing with her character and I am intrigued by JLA and her part on the team. This issue was solid, as most of these one shots were, and focuses on Frost and Waller. It was an interesting premise and at times felt like I was watching a small section from an episode of Oz or another prison drama. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

Teen Titans #4 (DC) -I have enjoyed this series, and this issue continued the story of Damian, his evil grandfather, his former team of assassins and his new team of titans. With Robin returning home, we see him take on a trial by combat against his former teammate who is now the leader of this young team of assassins. There is some nice conversation with the team on coming to Robin’s aide, and even comparing him to their former friend, Tim Drake. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

Thanos #3 (Marvel) – This must be a fun series for Lemire to write. Thanos is a walking army and we see him take on three phases of the Shiar guard in this issue, as they work together to defeat him. After a classic character takes Thanos on, you have to wonder what is next, and if this ties into The Mighty Thor and it’s current storyline and event. Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

Ryan C

Black Panther #10 (Marvel)** – Don’t look now, but this was the second perfectly readable (if far from great) issue of this comic in a row. Unfortunately, it comes with just one more black_panther__10chapter to go (funny, I thought it was supposed to run 12?), and is probably a classic example of “too little, too late.” Ta-Nehisi Coates’ philosophizing may be a bit “wordy” for some, but it’s what he does best, and all the sitting around and talking actually leads to something by the end this time out. Brian Stelfreeze does a nice job of keeping the story flowing visually despite having next to nothing to sink his artistic “teeth” into, so what the heck — two fine creators hitting something of a stride on their way out the door certainly beats them never hitting it at all, right? Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Read

Doom Patrol #4 (DC/ Young Animal)** – Better late than never, Gerard Way and Nick Derington deliver the fourth installment of their surreal spectacle of super-heroics, and it’s honestly quite surprising to see how quickly and easily things are coming together after their all-over-the-place (but in an enjoyable way) opening salvo. Heck, even that seemingly-out-of-left-field two-page epilogue in issue #1 finally makes sense — thanks to a very old and dear friend who all long-time DP fans will love to see back in the fold, even if it’s only in flashback (for now) form. Lots and lots and lots to like in these pages. Overall: 8.5. Recommendation: Buy

Surgeon X #5 (Image)** – We lost the great John Watkiss this week, and that makes this issue and the next of “Surgeon X” worth picking up even though it remains, as it has been from the start, a pretty lousy comic. Sara Kenney has an interesting premise going for her with this series, but she can’t write worth a damn — clunky, preachy, overly-expository dialogue weighs down every single fucking word balloon in this book, characterization is subsumed under a tidal wave of points that she’s trying to make, and each individual no-angel-2-1issue’s “central topic” is forced to the foreground seemingly from nowhere, only to completely disappear next time out. Virtual reality surgery is the “hot topic” she’s set her sights on this time, and it’s shoved down your throat with the sort of accidental glee that can only arise from sheer incompetence. Karen Berger is one of the best editors to ever work in comics, but she seems to be spending all her time co-ordinating the various aspects this project, rather than whipping her author’s downright embarrassing scripts into something vaguely approximating readability. Watkiss’ art, however, is as meticulous, visionary, and engrossing as ever, each panel representing a veritable feast for the eyes. All this leads me to the most unconventional “final score” I’ve ever given a comic. Overall: 5  Recommendation: Buy — for the art alone

No Angel #2 (Black Mask)** – A massive step back from a highly readable and thoroughly intriguing first issue, this time out Eric and Adrianne Palicki choose to info-dump all their story’s secrets out onto us in one go, removing all sense of mystery from the proceedings over the course of just a handful of pages. Ari Syahrazad’s art starts strong on page one, but devolves as things progress, and frankly I’d rather see him doing a poor man’s approximation of Alex Maleev like he did last time than the poor man’s approximation of John Watkiss that he does here. What first looked like a book that could have a nice, long, healthy run suddenly seems like a four-parter that ran out of gas halfway through. Overall: 2 Recommendation: Pass

Shean

odyamz_cv1_dsOdyssey Of the Amazons#1 (DC)– As legendary as Amazonia is , one would think that there were adventures before Wonder Woman and this book tells such a story. We are introduced to General Hessia and her band of warriors from every part of the globe who are incidentally on a five year journey. We meet a lot of battle fatigued warriors with their own vices and indiscretions. Before book’s end , the crew must rescue their sisters from Giants from the land of Odin. Overall: 10 Recommendation:Buy NOW!!!

Spider-Man/Deadpool MU#1 (Marvel)– Taking place during Marvel’s Monsters Unleashed event, we catch-up with everyone’s favorite odd couple in out of all places, Canada. Spider-Man and Deadpool are transported to girls boarding school in Toronto via seance. The seance didn’t only transport these two goofballs but also one of the monsters they were fighting in Philadelphia. What soon follows is Spidery being taken over by a monster and Deadpool being eaten by one. 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 1/15/17

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

Daredevil #15 (Marvel) You know, as the first issue of Daredevil that I’ve read in a long time, this was actually pretty good. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

red-dog-2-coverDoctor Strange / The Punisher: Magic Bullets #2 (Marvel) You’d be surprised at how well the team up of Doctor Strange and Punisher actually works for the reader’s enjoyment. I don’t
really remember too much about the previous issue, nor did I fully follow the story (I got distracted by the art…), but I enjoyed it nonetheless. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

Hulk #1 (Marvel) Holy crap, this was a fantastic issue. We’re given a wonderful comic that explores the results of some pretty traumatic events in Jennifer Walter’s life. I didn’t expect to read this, but I am so glad I did. Hulk #1 was simply incredible. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Inhumans Vs X-Men #3 (Marvel) The X-Men’s assault on the Inhumans takes place in the issue, and for all intents and purposes it’s a well executed plan of attack, with a comic that matches up pretty well to the story. Another solid book from Marvel this week. Overall: 7.75 Recommendation: Read

Red Dog #2 (415 Media) I missed the first issue of this comic when it came out, but after Graphic Policy’s Blogger in Chief Brett suggested I give it a go I sat down and started reading the second issue. Sci fi comics typically aren’t my cup of tea, although the more I say that the less true it seems to become, but this story about a boy and his robot dogs is quite interesting. There’s also a battle of sorts at the onset of the comic, likely a culmination of issue #2, which took a different direction than you’d typically expect but it wasn’t the highlight of the issue for me. Overall, this is a cracking comic that deals more with lonliness and companionship than it does the sci fi element. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Buy

Ashley

Detective Comics #948 (DC) – Advertised as the new start for Batwoman, the issue starts off strong enough. Marguerite Bennett and James Tynion IV open with a scene between Kate Kane and her dad that brought back a lot of happy memories of Batwoman: Elegy and Ben dtc_cv948_dsOliver’s art is solid, with strong and dark colors that evoke a certain sense of heaviness and danger in Gotham. However, the wind was knocked out of my sails a bit when I got to the introduction of Dr. Victoria October. Now, I’m no expert, but it doesn’t exactly bode well when nearly every trans person I know in comics reacted to that panel on Twitter with “Oh no.” Not only is it massively insulting, but it also just reads awkward and stilted. I hope better for Bennett and Tynion, but they haven’t exactly hit the ground running here. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Pass

Motor Crush #2 (Image) – Picking up from the action packed first issue, the second issue of the new hit from Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher and Babs Tarr scales back a bit to let us get to know Domino a bit more. Well, Domino and her ex-girlfriend/mechanic Lola Del Carmen. There’s still plenty of mystery, suspense and action to be had, but it’s nice to get to know Domino on a personal level. Not to mention that Lola might be one of the prettiest characters Tarr has ever drawn. She brings a beautiful pastel balance to the neon world of Nova Honda, and shows that Tarr is second to none when it comes to using fashion to describe a character. Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Joe

Inhumans vs X-Men #2 (Marvel) – While Queen Medusa prepares for war, the mutants deliver it. In this issue we see the Inhumans home world attacked, and some pretty cool matchups as all hell breaks loose. It would certainly seem that the battle is very one sided so far, but I’m sure the scales will too soon. I enjoyed the fights, and it is still so far so good for this series. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

jlareb_vix_cv1_dsJustice League of America: Vixen Rebirth #1 (DC) – I am sure there are those that will like that comic, and though I tried, I didn’t really enjoy it. I love Orlando on Midnighter and Apollo, but just couldn’t get into the story here. That’s okay because not every comic is for everyone. Don’t get me wrong, there is an origin story, and some interesting moments. I just didn’t enjoy the flow of the book overall. I thought The Atom Rebirth issue last week was solid, and will continue to read each of these one shots leading to JLA, but this book is a pass for me. Overall: 5.0 Recommendation: Pass

Justice League vs Suicide Squad #4 (DC) – . This series has been summer blockbuster popcorn fun, and this issue continues that. We finally get a big brawl with our actual villains, and some JL/SS team up moments. This is how you do an event. Make it weekly and come out guns and powers blazing and get it over with. This is a fun book. Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

Justice League vs Power Rangers #1 (DC) – In an unexpected turn of events, this was one of my favorite books this week. I am not a big Power Rangers fan, but it didn’t matter. Tom Taylor does a great job here balancing the action and the campiness, and there was a moment where Zach first sees Batman and it is awesome and funny. It shows that any property with a good writer can work, because this seems like such a silly premise, but it works. I will be reading this going forward. Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

Patrick

Stray Bullets #20 (Image/El Capitan)** – The Amy Racecar issues are always a bit problematic for me: Sunshine & Roses generally moves so briskly that, ironically, the
Racecar slows it down. Much as I love seeing Mini-Monster work, and fun as it is to watch David Lapham go to town on superhero/science adventure stuff (the little elephant-boy Zzwerks are adorbs), I just want to get back to it. Overall: 8 Recommendation: keep reading! (I bought my copy)

Black Hammer Giant-Sized Annual (Dark Horse) I have to admit, I would have liked some straybullets-sr-20_cvrguest writers on this jam as well. It’s like Jeff Lemire is freeriding on his Silver Age foundations and not digging anything up from underneath them (I can’t help but contrast with the Alan Moore/Rick Veitch flashbacks in Supreme). Even though this is a roster of artists I really like, their work seems rushed and run-of-the-mill here (but run-of-the-mill Dustin Nguyen, Emi Lenox, and Mike Allred is still pretty damn good). Cute, but no substitute for a regular-sized Gardner Fox/Mike Sekowsky ish of JLA. Overall: 5 Recommendation: Skip

God Country #1 (Image) – I wanted to like this way more than I actually did. I was attracted to the concept of mythical sword & sorcery deep in the heart of Texas – but I needed it to be like I need my country music: way more outlaw. Writer Donny Cates could have given us more time with his main characters and setting, such that that storm really did blow me away. Geoff Shaw’s art almost worked best for me when there weren’t any people around. In short, there wasn’t enough contrast for me between God and Country and it fell into the mushy middle. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: try it and see.

Motor Crush #2 (Image) – Well, this is fun and breezy! Brenden Fletcher, Cameron Stewart, and Babs Tarr look like they’re having a ball with this slightly sci-fi’d-up motorcycle racing soap. The story is fairly by-the-numbers, but the numbers in question are a straight four on the floor, so I’m okay with that. This is the kind of thing that I would love to see as a Sunday comic strip, and if nobody’s signing this up for an animated version, those nobodys are fools. It’s not enough of my thing to keep following, but it’s a really good ride. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Read

Violent Love #3 (Image) – I am already deep in the tank for Victor Santos, so I’m happy to see him let loose on a crime romance like this one. Frank Barbieri does a good job keeping things moving and working the spring between tense and crazy. This is a solid book – not quite great writing-wise, but that Victor Santos art! Does he do his own coloring, too? The credit would imply as much, and the color is so integrated into the pencils and inks that it would make sense. I’ll be back for more of this. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Ryan C

Foolkiller #3 (Marvel)**– Word is that this book has already been axed, but I have to admit I’m going to miss it. Granted, this issue, which sees the now-current (and once-former) second Foolkiller meet up with the now-former (but maybe still current, after all) third Foolkiller is probably only going to be of interest to hard-core, long-terms fans of the character (in all of his iterations), but Max Bemis and Dailbor Talajic exhibit a good handle on their charge (or should that be charges?), the dialogue is crisp and fun, and the revelation that all is far from perfect in “Foolkiller 2” Greg Salinger’s paradise leads to some solidly shocking plot developments. For the 10,000 or so folks left reading this comic, then — myself included — this is all kinds of bleak, twisted fun. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Southern Bastards #16 (Image)** – Jasons Aaron and Latour keep the pedal to the metal with part two of the “Gut Check” arc, and while there’s nothing that happens in this issue that wasn’t absolutely telegraphed in the last, it’s certainly every bit the visceral read we figured it would be — and there’s one mean sumbitch of a surprise in store when we ww_cv14_dslearn that Coach Euless Boss may just have himself a rival in another county who plays just as down n’ dirty as he does. Buy the Mockingbird homage variant cover and support some good causes that could definitely use your help in the new dark age of Trump that’s descending upon us. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Spread #18 (Image)** – Nice to see this series back after what seemed to be a rather lengthy hiatus, and while I miss Kyle Strahm on the art, John Bivens is filling in/taking
over (not sure which is the case at this point) quite well, and Justin Jordan is taking his storyline in an interesting direction by showing much more of the world beyond the “Spread Zone” than we’ve seen previously — which proves to be quite surprising indeed. The only drawback? No is nowhere to be found this time out — get him back in there soon! Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Wonder Woman #14 (DC)** – A curiously (and uncharacteristically) uninvolving conclusion to the “Year One” story arc that sees our main baddie, Mars, dispatched far too easily and gives seriously short shrift to the battles that have been brewing here from the outset. Nicola Scott delivers perhaps her finest art yet for this series — which is really saying something considering the staggeringly high standard established by previous issues — but Greg Rucka seems a little too eager to wrap this one up. All that buildup for — this? Oh well. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Read (or, more precisely, look at, since the art’s the reason to check it out).



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 1/7

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.


Alex

Moon Knight #10 (Marvel) Uh… yeah. I  want to love this, I really do. But Jeff Lemire’s take moon_knight__10on  Moon Knight seems to have lost me somewhere along the way, and I have no idea why. That said, if you’re enjoying the series, then there’s no reason you won’t enjoy this comic. Overall: 7.75  Recommendation: Read

Old Man Logan #16 (Marvel)** If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to read a story with Wolverine in the Alien universe, then pick this issue up. It’s an atmospheric tour de force with some amazing artwork from Andrea Sorrentino and Marcelo Mialo – well worth checking out. Overall: 8.75 Recommendation: Buy

The Unworthy Thor #3 (Marvel) A series that started out very promising takes a bit of a stumble here. Although this wasn’t a bad issue, and will probably work very well when sandwiched between #2 and #4 in trade, it just failed to grab the goat by the horns and ride off into the sky. The art is spectacular, the story less so, but if you’ve been following Jason Aaron’s run on the Thor comics he’s been writing, then you’ll still find enough here to enjoy. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

Joe

Superman #14 (DC) – I really liked how crazy this issue got so quickly. We get multiple Supermen as well as other heroes from different earths as a new threat chases the Russian Superman (nice call back to Red Son), Chinese Superman, Earth 23 Superman, and more. We realize they are keeping all of the Supermen captive, and our Superman decides he wants to help Earth 23 Superman and his team rescue the others. It was a solid first issue of this short arc. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Batman #14 (DC) – Many of this run of Batman by Tom King has been controversial, and there are some who do not enjoy it. I get that. I have enjoyed the run, and I think he is playing the long game here and setting up quite a bit. I was shocked a little at this issue, and how far it went into the Bat and Cat relationship, but King further doubled down on the vulnerability of Batman. He is showing him giving more into impulses, and he bm_cv14_dscertainly does that in this issue. We also get Batman saying that Catwoman did not kill all of those people, so I am hoping for a payoff there as this series continues forward. Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read

The Unstoppable Wasp #1 (Marvel) – This was a fun comic filled with a lot of positivity and optimism. Nadia is fun and charming as heck. I liked the exchange with her and Ms. Marvel, as well as her and Mockingbird. There is a touching moment between them about Bobbi’s past that as she says, most forget about. Also, science! The tone and art style reminds me very much of a classic Archie book. This was a good first issue for a semi new character that we haven’t yet learned a ton about. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

Patrick

Big Trouble in Little China/Escape From New York #4 (IDW)** – I should be loving this way more. On one level, I’m enjoying Greg Pak & Daniel Bayliss’ romp through the Plisskenverse – but deep in my Canadian soul, I’m all “enough with the Multiversal Snakes, let’s see post-apocalyptic John Carpenter Toronto already!” Also, there’s something that’s so awesome about Jack Burton’s dumb luck that I was disappointed to see it codified so neatly. I would like to see more disorder and chaos in a series like this. Overall: 7 Recommendation: read

Ryan C

Batman #14 (DC)** – Nice to see the creative team from “The Sheriff Of Babylon” reunited for this two-part “extended intermission” between arcs, and Mitch Gerads’ art is truly gorgeous — unfortunately, Tom King’s story is a four-pager spread out to cover 20, and Batman and Catwoman calling each other “Cat” and “Bat”? I’m sorry, but that’s just plain ridiculous. Worth looking at for the pretty pictures, but they tell the tale better than the actual script does. Overall: 5. Recommendation: Pass

The Flintstones #7 (DC)** – Mark Russell’s script for this one is a notch below his usual flint_7_dsstandard, but he still takes aim at the commercialization of religion with typically glorious results and greedy bosses come under fire, too, so — all in all, it’s still a very worthwhile read. Rick Leonardi (there’s a name you don’t see often anymore) and Scott Hanna fill in for Steve Pugh on the art, and it’s — okay, I guess, but far from the near-greatness we’re used to. Even a sub-par issue of “The Flintstones” is still better than just about everything else out there, though, and I’m very intrigued by next issue’s promised exploration of the origins of agriculture. Could Russell be transitioning from an anti-capitalist/anti-consumerist critique to an anti-civilization one? The prospect certainly seems exciting, and fans of “Green Anarchist” authors/philosophers like John Zerzan would do well to pay attention to where this book is going. Overall: 7.5. Recommendation: Buy

Unfollow #15 (DC/Vertigo)** – It’s nice to see Mike Dowling back on the art after a couple months off, but his style looks to have taken a turn for the “scratchier” and less defined, and Rob Williams appears to be moving into rather abrupt wind-up mode with his storyline. I haven’t heard anything about this book being cancelled (not that I pay a ton of attention to what passes for “news reporting” in today’s comics scene), but we go from 86 survivors at the beginning of this issue to 40 at the end with no explanation (as of yet), and events appear to be steamrolling toward a conclusion that I still hoped was a long way off. Overall: 6. Recommendation: Read.

Nailbiter #28 (Image)** – Speaking of books in wind-down mode, Joshua Williamson and Mike Henderson are concluding their long-form horror series in just two months (of their own volition, they both insist) which means that this issue has to move things along quickly — and it does, perhaps to its detriment, as the destruction of the entire fucking town of Buckaroo, Oregon feels forced and falls curiously flat. Consequently, what should have been a seismic read ends up registering barely a blip. Hopefully they close out with a couple of chapters that are much stronger than this one. Overall: 5. Recommendation: Pass

Shean

The Fall and Rise of Captain Atom #1 (DC) – When it comes to misunderstood superheroes, captamfr_cv1_open_order_varmany do not come more tragic than Captain Atom. In this series , we find a hero still searching for who he is while at the same time trying to change public perception. He saves a cruise ship from sinking but catches the attention of the Justice League. By issue’s end, his struggle becomes harder, and the reader finds a fight more human . Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Guardians of The Galaxy Volume 2 Prelude (Marvel) – Popular culture has clung on to Comics like it has never done before and it looks like nothing will change soon.This never more evident when one talks about Guardians of the Galaxy. In this Prelude tot he upcoming movie, the reader pretty much pickups from when Peter Quill loses his mother. From what this first issue sets up, I think anyone familiar with their most popular storylines, will know now what the upcoming film will be about. Overall: 9.4 Recommendation: Read

Deadpool The Duck#1 (Marvel )- What happens when you put three of Marvel’s fan favorites in one space together? Seems to be a lot of crazy crap happening. In this series, Deadpool and Howard the Duck both get a call that a High value alien target is no its way to Earth . What they don’t know is that target is Rocket Raccoon, and he definitely isn’t himself, as he wreaks enough Havoc to mess with Deadpool’s teleportation device. By issue’s end, we find our heroes conjoined telling each other’s story. 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 12/31

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

All-Star Batman #5 (DC)** Continues to be the most exciting Bat-book around. Wrapping up the first arc in a way that I enjoyed more than I expected; this was a breath of fresh air after the less than steller conclusion to I Am Suicide. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Joe

Detective Comics #947 (DC) – Wow. This is how you handle smaller arcs during a longer one dtc_cv947_open_order_varwhere you can call back to things you set in place earlier. James Tynion IV has masterfully pulled off the ending of The Victim Syndicate and set up something big for the future. Instead of giving us a big bad in the already impressive Batman villain section, he instead hands us someone who has good points about the bad side of Batman, and who has direct ties to heartbreak which may or may not have happened directly because Batman exists. This is one of DC’s best titles, and one of my favorite comics in general of 2016. We also get another massive tease at the end of the issue. It is hard to remember that while it ships bi-weekly, this comic only costs $2.99, and it is a massive value. Each issue packs so much into it. Also, I love this version of Clayface. Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Hulk #1 (Marvel) – After all of the amazing Jeff Dekal cover teases, the first issue is finally here. This issue focuses mostly on Jen as a lawyer starting at a new firm, and fighting the monster that lies just under the surface. While we get some setup to something big, I felt this issue didn’t give quite enough of a story for a character that deserves it after Civil War II and what she went through. That being said, it was decent, and I want to see where it goes. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Read

Teen Titans #3 (DC) – This was a solid issue, with many of the characters getting to know each other, and Robin better. We get the usual shadowed past character in Robin fearful he cannot truly be good, with the usual positive reinforcement by the rest of our bunch as they empathize with him now instead of not trusting him. It may be somewhat cliché, but it works well, and I enjoyed it. So far, this has been a fun book. Overall: 7.5 tt3-cvrRecommendation: Read

Civil War II #8 (Marvel) – I am torn on this comic. At one hand, we get a resolution, and the event has ended. On the other hand, we get more complications from the ending, and really just an unknown to what this all means. I am okay with leaving things in the dark, but after buying these more expensive issues, and the idea that the creators said it needed an extra one (which is this one), I am a little perplexed at where we are now that it is over. Especially with the advertisement for Civil War 2: The Oath #1 in the back of the book. While I am sure it is just extra things or transitioning things into the new Marvel 2017 status quo, especially Carol’s solo title coming, I am just a bit lost at all of it. Overall: 5.0 Recommendation: Pass (Unless you are a collector like me and own the others).

Mother Panic #2 (Young Animal) – I had to re-read this issue before I appreciated it fully. I read it quickly the first time, and this is a comic to take your time with. You may miss subtle things in the panel or what the story is doing if you do not pay attention. That being said, I enjoyed it. It is a very dark issue and we see more into Violet’s very rough past as a child and her relationship with her father and mother. We also see her find her target and deal with him as Mother Panic. Also, there is a short cameo from one of Gotham’s best heroes, and I hope we get more from that in the future. Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Read

Patrick

Black Hammer #6 (Dark Horse)** – This issue really put the nail in the coffin for me. The plot, which is far too thin, just kept getting in the way of the Madame Dragonfly story, which could have been darker and richer and stranger if Jeff Lemire would have let it. The resonances are only there for people like me who grew up on the Alan Moore Swamp Thing and used it as a gateway to the Wein/Wrightson oeuvre (hence this issue’s hat tip to Len and Bernie), the House of Mystery/Secrets, and back to the EC horror hosts. Unlike Moore, Lemire doesn’t build anything on this foundation, he just leans on it. Overall: 5 Recommendation: Skip

Superf*ckers Forever #5 (IDW)** – I had higher hopes for this one, Like, that it would be more dumb and vicious and hit harder on the dumb superhero tropes. But it was a fairly superf-ckers-forever-05-pr-1standard escape from Dimension Zero, and although we were treated to a page of Princess Sunshine going dark (thanks, it would seem to the power of Omnizod), it didn’t go full-on Dark Sunshine. There’s a difference between punk and just bratty, and at the end of 2016, I need more f*cking punk in comics like this. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Skip

Descender #17 (Image)** – Unfortunately, we have come to the end of Lemire and Nguyen’s beautiful run of character portraits and are back to the dull plotline. All I have to say about this issue is that it got really good as soon as it activated silent mode. Dustin Nguyen’s art is so expressive and breathtaking that Lemire’s dialogue just takes up unnecessary space. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: read

Saga #41 (Image) – I keep coming back to something Howard Chaykin once said in an Amazing Heroes interview, about how people thought he overplotted, but really it was just that everyone else underplotted. Saga is like this: overwhelmingly underplotted, with large panels that don’t convey large emotion or information. Case in point: this issue has three full-page shots, two of which occur in the last three pages. But the emotion that, to my mind, should be driving this story, the ticking timebomb that is the temporary home of our family, isn’t front and center, but diluted by the very size of the panels depicting it. As a consequence, time isn’t as graphically tight as the narrative says it should be, and the spring is too loose to really pack a punch when it is sprung. Overall: 7 Recommendation: read

Ryan C

Black Panther #9 (Marvel)** – Well, whaddya know. An issue of this series that I actually nearly liked. Will wonders never cease? Certainly having Brian Stelfreeze back on art for the final four-issue arc helps, but the characterization and dialogue from Ta-Nehisi Coates seem to have taken a modest step forward here, as well, as the once-disparate subplots begin to coalesce into something vaguely resembling a concerted opposition force against T’Challa and his regime. Still far from essential reading, and still so serious and self-important that it makes even Don McGregor’s run on The Panther look subtle by comparison, but on the whole a perfectly readable comic. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Read

Infamous Iron Man #3 (Marvel)** – Ditto for this one. After two decidedly sub-par introductory issues, Brian Michael Bendis finally lays out some of the dubious “reasoning” infamous ironman 3.jpgbehind Victor Von Doom’s decision to take up the mantle of Iron Man, and in its own way it makes a kind of — sense? Alex Maleev seems to be doing his best to match the somewhat better material he’s given here, as well, and we’re treated to some seriously nice double-page spreads in the second half of the book. This title is still on a very short leash with me, but for the time being, it’s at least still on it rather than being cut loose. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

Dark Knight III: The Master Race #7 (DC)** : Am I detecting a trend this week? After six issues that consistently plumbed new depths of worthlessness, Brian Azzarello, Andy Kubert, and Klaus Janson give us the first remotely readable installment of this (let’s face it) naked cash-grab, as some genuinely surprising developments that may inject some new life (both literally and metaphorically) into the so-called “Dark Knight Universe” propel the story toward what could be, at least in theory, a reasonably interesting conclusion. I still think this will prove to be a mirage rather than a trend, but what the hell — I didn’t want to pluck my eyes out after reading this issue, and the Frank Miller-drawn mini-comic insert actually looks, dare I say it, pretty good for a change. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Read

All-Star Batman #5 (DC)** – Scott Snyder, John Romita, Jr. and a veritable army of inkers put the wraps on the opening Two-Face arc of this series with the most satisfying and well-drawn issue yet, but it’s probably too little, too late, as the first four parts were such a clusterfuck of bad ideas, half-assed subplots, and surprisingly off-target characterization. All of the purported “mysteries” you’d forgotten about from earlier chapters are wrapped up, and there are some nice emotional “beats” hit in the dialogue between Batman and Two-Face and Batman and Alfred, but on the whole an average issue isn’t nearly enough to save a lackluster story that was crushed under the weight of its own self-indulgence way too early. Overall: 5 Recommendation: Pass

Shean

Rocket Raccoon #1 (Marvel)– When it comes to beloved characters within the Marvel rocket-1Universe, it is usually because they strike a chord with each of us. Within the Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 1 movie ,the whole world pretty much fell in love with the relationship between Rocket Raccoon and Groot. In this series , we find Rocket on his own in New York and on the run from the authorities, where he meets up with the Human Torch. By issue’s end, we find that Rocket is in even more serious trouble than when he began.
Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Spider-Man/Deadpool #12 (Marvel)– what happens everyone’s favorite webslinger and everyone’s favorite mercenary with a mouth join forces ? Probably one of the best comics Ihave ever read. In this issue, they have a guest writer and artists to write a special Xmas story. We find Spider-Man and Deadpool enjoying Xmas with friends and creating mayhem where they traverse. By issue’s end, they fight the originator of Xmas and show him that it is more than he ever imagined. 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 (**).

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