Category Archives: Mini Reviews

Mini Reviews and Recommendations For The Week Ending 8/8

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. Given the lack of new comics, expect this weekly update to begin featuring comics that we think you’ll enjoy while you can’t get anything new to read – only new to you.

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews and Recommendations.


Joe Hesh

Batman #96 (DC Comics)** Wow. I knew Tynion was planning something good, but I didn’t think it would be THIS good. This is shaping up to be the Joker story for the ages. He has really got to Batman this time and he’s not F$%&@*%g around. Not only is he using all of Bruce’s tech and toys, the psychological warfare is leveled up so severe I don’t want it to stop. This needs to be the last battle between these two at least for a long long while (or until Three Jokers) I really dug the effects of Bruce on the toxin seeing his version of a perfect Gotham and the Mr. Freeze children were just so cool! (Yeah it’s an ice pun, sue me) The story keeps escalating at a frenetic pace which is what these events should do. Also that last closing scene. WOW. Chills for that. The art by Jorge Jimenez is so dynamic and ever improving I feel a bit of Greg Capullo in the visuals. That can only be a good thing. I’m loving this team. Loving this book. It shouldn’t be a shock what the verdict is. Overall: 9.6 Verdict: Buy

Brett

Vampire: The Masquerade #1 (Vault Comics) – An interesting adaptation of the classic roleplaying game. It gets the setting of the world down but is to focused on clans and in-game terminology. For fans of the property, it should be interesting but for new readers, it might be a bit difficult to get in to. Overall Rating: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

Dark Nights: Death Metal Legends of the Dark Knights #1 (DC Comics) – There’s some really solid stories in this anthology. For those that aren’t really tied into the main event and just having fun, they work really well riffing on the concept. The one story that’s really tied into the main event, it feels like maybe it’s info should have been in the main event somehow. Still, there’s a lot in here that fans not paying attention to Dark Nights will enjoy and make it worth the price of admission. Bat baby! Overall Rating: 7.95 Recommendation: Buy

Far Sector #7 (DC’s Young Animal) – One of the best series DC is putting out right now. Though this issue might not have the socio-political aspects of the previous six issues, it’s much deeper than its cyberpunk/jacked into the net story might seem. It throws out some really interesting concepts and deepens this interesting world even more. Overall Rating: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Strange Adventures #4 (DC Black Label) – This series has been an interesting one shifting its focus from Adam Strange to the man investigating him, Mr. Terrific. His investigations take him to Rann where it’s pretty clear things aren’t what Strange is claiming and there’s a whole conspiracy going on. Hopefully, that conspiracy really pays off beyond “good PR.” Overall Rating: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

Logan

Young Justice #17 (DC/Wonder Comics)**– Young Justice #17 is an aftermath after a huge battle/Brian Michael Bendis hangout issue. (But co-written by David Walker and drawn by Scott Godlewski.) With the exception of Teen Lantern and John Stewart, this comic slows down the pace a little bit and lets the members of Young Justice spend some time with their mentors in the Justice League while also showing their world from the POV of Yolanda Chan, the daughter of a food truck owner outside the Hall of Justice. Godlewski gets some good acting and facial expressions out of his artwork while using a lot of double spreads to show how superheroes bond like Wonder Girl and Wonder Woman lifting a truck together and talking about leadership, and Impulse and The Flash having a chat about living in the moment in super speed. The issue has the heartwarming effect of getting a genuine compliment from a mentor and adds a dimension of heart to the knock ’em, sock ’em, mediocre storyline in Action Comics with the JL, Young Justice, and Legion of Doom. These are characters I definitely want to spend more time with even if the overarching plot grinds to a halt in Young Justice #17, and it sometimes seems like Bendis and Walker are doing Action Comics damage control. Overall: 7.6 Verdict: Read

Giant-Size X-Men: Fantomex #1 (Marvel)– Rod Reis channels Bill Sienkiewicz (Think New Mutants/Elektra Assassin era) and turns in career best work in Giant-Size X-Men: Fantomex #1, which is basically just Fantomex pulling misdirections on hapless “superteams” ranging from Sgt. Fury and the Howling Commandos to the Hellfire Club and, of course, Grant Morrison-era New X-Men. This is basically Jonathan Hickman’s biggest acknowledgement to that run yet as he and Reis build an arc for Fantomex showing how he’s changed over the decades with Reis’ art shifting to match his personality from more abstract collage to his usual pencils-to-colors style. Beneath the flashiness, Hickman and Reis pop under the hood to explore a man whose entire life is a fiction. (The Commandos’ jokes about which flavor of Western European he is are priceless.) It’s the best Giant-Size issue since the silent Emma/Jean one and is a flawless marriage of visuals and character study. Maybe, Hickman is at his finest when riffing off Grant Morrison… Overall: 8.8 Verdict: Buy

Bad Mother #1 (AWA)– With a different artist, Bad Mother #1 could be a middling vigilante exploitation story with a house wife lead. However, Mike Deodato is the artist and combined with Christa Faust’s writing, the book is like a Lifetime movie with a little more violence and “fucks” thrown in. Deodato’s work is stiff and lifeless like the suburb the protagonist lives in, and his usual bag of tricks, such as inset panels muddle his storytelling even more. Plotwise, Faust blows her big reveal pretty early on, and her characters easily come across like caricatures. I’m a total ACAB guy and think that most cops totally mishandle any kind of domestic violence/sexual assault situation, but even I felt bad for how poorly the police were written in Bad Mother #1. Overall: 4.0 Verdict: Pass

The Dreaming: Waking Hours #1 (DC/Black Label)– Featuring a queer, blue haired nightmare named Ruin cut loose in the waking world, a English Lit PhD student named Lindy, and the Shakespeare authorship hour, G. Willow Wilson, Nick Robles, and Mat Lopes’ The Dreaming: Waking Hours #1 is really my cup of tea. Robles’ art is gorgeous and filled with humanity; you can see the sadness in Lindy’s eyes when her dissertation advisor says she has nothing original to add to Shakespeare scholarship, and on the flipside, he can do horror and fear when Ruin switches places with Lindy in the Dreaming. (Lopes adds the deepest blues to this sequence.) The Dreaming: Waking Hours #1 gives each character an introduction and makes them three-dimensional before dropping a Sandman-connected plot hook. But Wilson and Robles aren’t weighed down by lore and use the expansive canvas of The Dreaming to tell a love story of an angel and a nightmare while digging into why we love certain authors and works of art. It’s also beautifully laid out, colored, and has funny bits too. (See the interactions with Shakespeare and his “writer’s room”.) Overall: 9.0 Verdict: Buy. I purchased a copy from Comixology.


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 and Recommendations For The Week Ending 8/1

Sometimes, the staff at Graphic Policy read more comics than we’re able to get reviewed. When that happens you’ll see a weekly feature compiling short reviews from the staff of the comics, or graphic novels, we just didn’t get a chance to write a full review for. Given the lack of new comics, expect this weekly update to begin featuring comics that we think you’ll enjoy while you can’t get anything new to read – only new to you.

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews and Recommendations.


Brett

Empyre: Captain America #1 (Marvel) – There’s something just pure about this comic which is very ra-ra in fighting the evil invading forces. It’s simple and a bit of a throwback to war comics of old and it really works because of that. There’s also a nice attention to detail to the area (which GP HQ is actually not far from) which is fun to see. A nice addition to the Empyre event that delivers a little more as to what’s going on. Overall: 7.75 Verdict: Read

Logan

X-Factor #1 (Marvel)– In X-Factor #1, Leah Williams and David Baldeon have crafted a fun addition to the X-Men line with quirky dialogue, a procedural plotline and tone, and plenty of connections to Krakoa and resurrection protocols. From page 2 on, Williams and Baldeon dig into the implications of resurrection on the community of mutants, and it’s very much like waiting in line for the newspaper or trying to get coverage on healthcare.gov. X-Factor isn’t just an arbitrary super team, but fits a role in Krakoan society to bring closure and the possibility of new life for many mutants. Williams and Baldeon establish this through humor and a mini-mystery with Daken getting most of the best lines and his “disaster bisexual” on full display. X-Factor #1 is a fun read with comedic, expressive art from David Baldeon, who is working in the vein of Amanda Conner, but much less detailed, and the ensemble has instant chemistry. Overall: 8.4 Verdict: Buy

Spider-Man Noir #2 (Marvel)– Margaret Stohl and Juan Ferreyra continue the globe-trotting adventures of private eye Peter Parker and mysterious museum curator Huma Bergmann as they try to figure why a cicada gemstone means so much to everyone from rich patrons of the arts to Nazis. Spider-Man Noir is really a style over substance book. I definitely read for the dialogue that sounds like it came straight out of Nicolas Cage mouth in Into the Spider-Verse, and Ferreyra lush monochromatic visuals, especially in a London chase scene and not the plot per se. But it has a lot of momentum and dash of wit from Stohl, who gets a lot of comedy out of Queens boy Peter Parker trying to hob nob with the rich, famous, and probably fascist at a London soiree. Overall: 8.0 Verdict: Buy

Lost Soldiers #1 (Image)– Ales Kot, Luca Casalanguida, and Heather Moore tell a harrowing story of two Vietnam vets that have been through shit and continue to wallow in it as part of a clandestine CIA unit that fights for US interests across the Mexico border. This first issue is less about plot and more about establishing the psyche of the characters from flashbacks with different line weights from Casalanguida that fade in and out with a topping of red spot colors from Moore, who calibrates each panel to the emotional state of the character. Kot’s dialogue and captions shifts from the technical (Mission briefs) to poetic as he really tries to capture the spirit of a man who killed a man and can’t stop killing. He and Casalanguida do an excellent job with this non-linear narrative showing how these men progressed from a couple of youngsters shooting the shit about Superman and John Wayne to hardened killers crossing the border. Lost Soldiers #1 is a war comic with a holistic view of its characters instead of hammering home well-worn points or being an action book in realism’s disguise. Overall: 8.8 Verdict: Buy

That Texas Blood #2 (Image)– In That Texas Blood #2, Chris Condon and the excellent Jacob Phillips shift perspectives from Sheriff Joe Bob to Randy Terrill, who has left the town for work as a writer elsewhere, and whose brother Travis is the murder victim from the previous issue. The dark underbelly of the town starts to get poked just like the buzzards on Travis’ body. Mundane activities like checking into a hotel and getting a sandwich and coffee at a diner turn into melodrama. And this is where Phillips’ gift with faces comes in handy. By playing with a few lines on a face, he can really convey an emotional state from Randy’s steady emptiness to a waitress’ pure rage and more mysterious look on others. Chris Condon and Jacob Phillips make That Texas Blood #2 a much more interesting read by adding to its narrative tapestry and showing the murder from the victim’s surviving family’s perspective as well as just from the investigator. Overall: 8.7 Verdict: Buy


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

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

Mini Reviews and Recommendations For The Week Ending 7/25

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. Given the lack of new comics, expect this weekly update to begin featuring comics that we think you’ll enjoy while you can’t get anything new to read – only new to you.

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews and Recommendations.


Joe Hesh

Batman #95 (DC) Wow. The war is officially ON. Joker has all of Bruce Wayne’s money and all his toys, but he’s playing for keeps. Clearly he knows Bruce is Batman but doesn’t want to tip his hand yet. We’ve never seen Batman at a complete disadvantage like this before. I got to say it is FUN. Not to mention the Joker buying the theater in Crime Alley where the Wayne’s were murdered is just evil. No quick fix for this jam and I’m really enjoying the inclusion of Punchline. She is getting some good scream time and not a Harley clone. The art by Jorge Jiminez is gorgeous and spectacularly crisp. He’s going to be a superstar for sure. We leave Batman in quite a precarious position at the end and I can not wait to see where it goes. First event in a long time that has already lived up to the hype. Overall: 9.8  Verdict: BUY

Brett

Bliss #1 (Image Comics) – An intriguing start which looks to explore addiction, crime, and what we’d do for our children. It’s visually impressive with a world that’s slightly different but at the same time familiar. The story’s framing is interesting in that it seems to defend the actions of one of the main characters in a trial. This is one that has you stopping to think a lot about it’s themes and world and delivers more than enough to get you to want to come back and explore more. Rating: 8.25 Recommendation: Buy

Logan

X-Men/Fantastic Four #4 (Marvel)– Of course, the battle between the X-Men and Fantastic Four over Franklin Richards wanting to be a part of Krakoa is chalked up to one big misunderstanding, and they end up fighting against Dr. Doom. And for a minute, Chip Zdarsky and the Dodsons indulge in fun, simple superheroics with epic moments like Nightcrawler teleporting across panels to take out Latviathans, and Kitty Pryde and Franklin Richards sharing an empowering moment. The semi-interesting stuff comes in the clean-up where Xavier and Magneto show how far they’ll go to protect Krakoa and the mutant nation. The Illuminati are no more; it’s all about the mutants. Having Xavier and Magneto work in concert instead of being ideologically opposed is one of the best concepts that Hickman has introduced to the X-line, and Zdarsky does a nice riff of it in X-Men/FF #4 even if most of the book/miniseries conclusion is paint by numbers. Overall: 7.6 Verdict: Read

Die #12 (Image)– I don’t know if it’s my unfamiliarity with table top RPGs or what, but Die is starting to become one of my least favorite Kieron Gillen comics although Stephanie Hans’ art is still glorious and horrific as she skillfully riffs and leaps from genre to genre. Die #12 is about a big, fantasy war and is trying to subvert the usual tropes, but it ends up reading like a rulebook than a narrative. The bits with Angela, Matt, and Chuck are a bit more compelling as Angela is confronted by the shade of her daughter and has to figure out what to do with this revelation within the rules of Die. I was pretty bored with this issue, but then Gillen and Hans trot out yet another famous author to spice up the narrative. I don’t have as deep a connection with HG Wells as with J.R.R. Tolkien, but hopefully, his appearance will make the story more interesting and less clinical a la Tolkien’s appearance in Die’s first arc. Overall: 5.8 Verdict: Pass

Decorum #3 (Image)Decorum #3 is less metaphysical and more Morley finally taking her shower-resistant, shorts and noodles obsessed ward Neha Noori Sood to the Sister of Man assassin school. Jonathan Hickman’s dialogue informs character as Morley sees small talk and niceties as a kind of dance to keep the social contract alive while the Sister of Man headmistress uses her words for verbal abuse and making sure only the most hardened of sociopaths join her school. Mike Huddleston channels Ralph Steadman during her moments of beration using sketchy sparse linework before cutting to digital paintings of this more murderous Themiscyra complete with a statue of Zeus popping out of Athena’s head in a reversal of the famous myth. The first two issues of Decorum have been filled with disparate world-building plus the data pages that Hickman loves. On the other hand, Decorum #3 advance the plot of our two leads in a middle chapter that made them even more endearing. Overall: 8.3 Verdict: Buy


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

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

Mini Reviews and Recommendations For The Week Ending 7/18

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. Given the lack of new comics, expect this weekly update to begin featuring comics that we think you’ll enjoy while you can’t get anything new to read – only new to you.

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews and Recommendations.


Joe Hesh

Once and Future #9 (BOOM Studios)** Kieron Gillian and Dan Mora do it again. They make that dreaded F word present in comics. Fun. This book is just straight smashing from first panel to last. Duncan and Gran are up to their arse in mythical BS but they keep their cool the whole ordeal. This book is not just a joy to read but it is comic porn to look at. The pacing and action are just spectacular. Not to mention the coloring by Tamra BonvillIain (such a BA name) is breathtakingly vivid and the use of pinks and pastels make this book pop. Why isn’t this on Netflix now? I seriously hope this goes more than twelve issues because I can’t get enough of this book. Overall: 9.5 Verdict: Buy

Amazing Spider-Man #44 (Marvel)** Now this is more like it! Me likey. Finally Nick Spencer after months and months of roommate hijinx and tablet chasing whoohah gives us something with menace. Kindred makes the move in total Freddy Krueger mode goes right at Peter in his sleep. Meanwhile the Sin Eater may or may not be back. Not sure as this kind of all could have been a whole dream issue. What isn’t a dream is that Peter is in all kinds of deep spider defecation here. It is about time. The stakes are upped and Peter needs to get his webbing on point. As we know this storyline ties into something bigger. ASM 850 anyone? So it would not be surprising if we are not heading for a large family affair with the Osborn clan and Kindred is really Harry Osborn but maybe not the Harry we know. We just have to wait and see Web heads! Overall: 9  Verdict: Buy

Dark Nights: Death Metal #1 (DC)** Encore Encore! That’s what I was saying after the closing pages of issue 1. This issue though, not so much. Sure the art is phenomenal (it is Capullo after all) but it’s just a touch less inspired. Not sure, just this issue doesn’t have the same kick as usual. The talking heads don’t really help matters much as not much goes on except for the mega twist which in all honesty felt like.. meh. I’m really hoping my favorite Bat Duo of all time can pull out of this one. It has so much potential. The visuals alone are other worldly just this issue felt like it was holding back for what’s to come. I hope that’s the case. We don’t need any more interludes. We want face melting solos from here out. Hope we get it next. Same Mega Bat time. Same Mega Bat channel. Overall: 7  Verdict: Read

DCeased: Hope at World’s End #5 (DC DIGITAL) The new Trinity (Jon, Damian, & Cassie) head on out to brave the undead to find Damian’s mother: Talia Al Ghul in a rescue mission. This issue was incredibly well rounded for a comic that is so quickly paced. I think the digital format lends itself great to this story. We get comedy with Damian stealing the Invisible Jet and some nice touching beats with him dealing with his father’s sudden loss (I know the feeling) and some really crisp art from Marco Failla. So far Tom Taylor has really done well with this DCeased franchise. It even exceeds Marvel Zombies for my tastes. Although the issue was far too quick it left me with a hunger for more. Really digging it. Overall: 8.5   Verdict: Read

Venom #26 (Marvel)** On this episode of Donny Cates can’t lose, Donny does it again. Never ever has Venom ever been this good. This run is so stellar. I loved the twist The Maker (Evil Reed from the Ultimate universe) and the dynamic between Dylan and Eddie is fantastic. Eddie is fast becoming one of the big heroes in the 616 and I LOVE it. Knull is coming this December and everyone is effed. Between this and Thor, Donny Cates is building himself one super spectacular super nova mega run. The art in this issue is great. Not that Bagley isn’t fantastic himself but I don’t feel his style adapts to this book well. Iban Coello and Juan Gedeon really kicked it here. The pages were so kinetic it almost felt like reading Manga. As for Virus, color me intrigued but I need to see more. To the symbiotes, and beyond!
Overall: 9.7  Verdict: Buy

Logan

Giant Size X-Men: Magneto #1 (Marvel)– Jonathan Hickman, Ramon Perez, and David Curiel compose a tale of the power elite of Krakoa as Magneto goes on a journey to procure an island for Emma Frost to, I guess, do her own thing away from prying eyes. The trouble is that it’s owned by Namor. What follows is an underwater adventure team-up meets a conference of two powerful and arrogant kings. Perez and Curiel go widescreen with the visuals throughout the issue showing Magneto’s vast power, and that he can basically get and do whateve rhe wants. This story happens on the thin line between brute force and diplomacy as Hickman writes Magneto differently when he interacts with mutants versus the Atlanteans that have disappeared some of Namor’s explorers. It shows how willing he is to go in protecting mutantkind. Giant-Size X-Men: Magneto #1 isn’t my favorite of these one-shots and Perez’s work isn’t as interesting or breathtaking as Russell Dauterman or Alan Davis on previous issues in the series, but it has the right blend of quiet character moments and big spectacle while also having an impact on the Krakoan status quo, especially in regards to Emma Frost. Overall: 8.0 Verdict: Buy

Once and Future #9 (BOOM!)– Duncan and Bridgette throw down against Beowulf in Kieron Gillen, Dan Mora, and Tamra Bonvillain’s Once and Future #9. With scintillating oranges and pinks, not to mention the pyre-like flames that surround the Geatish warrior, Bonvillain ups the ante in her color palette to go with the epic scale of Mora’s art. Throw in bits of cheeky humor from Gillen, and the battle is quite a tasty dish. And there’s more as Gillen pulls back the curtain and shows this new take on Merlin playing the puppet master of the myth cycle juxtaposed with Bridgette back at the old folks’ home. Once and Future is a comic that’s always moving from one adventure and scheme to another and issue nine is no exception with pages interspersed between so Duncan, Bridgette, and in a fleeting appearance, Rose can (Literally in Duncan’s case) rest, reflect, crack a joke, and get ready to fight the next legendary/mythical baddie. Overall: 8.8 Verdict: Buy

Brett

Fantastic Four #21 (Marvel) – A tie-in to Empyre, it’s an ok issue that has Spider-Man and Wolverine reliving their FF days as a threat emerges. It’s an issue that’s all set up but has its moments of entertainment. Overall: 7.0 Verdict: Read

Transformers ’84: Secrets & Lies #1 (IDW Publishing) – It’s fun to head back to the 1984 version of the Transformers and this issue sets up a lot in the battle for Cybertron and moments before the departure that leads to Earth. There’s a lot there for fans of the series and definitely captures the feel of the old school comics. Overall: 7.75 Verdict: Read

Snake Eyes: Deadgame #1 (IDW Publishing) – Blew away my expectations and it’s a hell of a lot of fun. A really solid setup and the crazy action art you’d expect from Rob Liefeld. It’s just an entertaining comic in a summer blockbuster sort of way. Overall: 8.0 Verdict: Buy

Venom #26 (Marvel) – The next arc for Venom is here and it heads in a direction I’m wasn’t expecting at all. This series is going to be key for all the Knull stuff coming so it’s one to keep your eyes on. A spot that should be a decent jumping-on point. Overall: 8.0 Verdict: Buy

Strange Adventures #3 (DC Comics) – Another solid issue for this series that mixes a detective story with that of political/public relations. It’s intriguing to see where each issue goes and this one shows there are some games being played when it comes to public perception. Overall: 8.5 Verdict: Buy


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

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

Mini Reviews and Recommendations For The Week Ending 7/11

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. Given the lack of new comics, expect this weekly update to begin featuring comics that we think you’ll enjoy while you can’t get anything new to read – only new to you.

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews and Recommendations.


Logan

X-Force #10 (Marvel) – Benjamin Percy and Joshua Cassara’s telefloronic/killer plant people arc wraps up in an ooze of body horror and horniness in X-Force #10. Cassara and eGuru-FX’s visuals carry the action bits while Percy sinks his teeth into the moral quandaries of X-Force in a conversation between Beast and Jean Grey. This is nicely coda’d by Wolverine and Jean Grey chatting in a hot tub about the team’s status quo with side of polyamory and bisexuality that’s in that grey area between text and subtext. She is fully in the camp of not giving a shit about humanity as long as mutants are united and working towards the greater good, and her actions in the field (Majestically portrayed by Cassara) show that she’s better than the calculator in the chair, Beast. This is issue is full of goodies and gives each member of the ensemble cast a memorable moment of humor, action, or pathos from Sage showing up with a bunch of pouches for her field-work to Quentin Quire facing the abyss and for once, being left with nothing to say. This is truly an epic return for the series after about a 4 month hiatus. Overall: 8.8 Verdict: Buy

Money Shot #6 (Vault) – Sarah Beattie, Tim Seeley, and Rebekah Isaacs’ saga of scientists doing intergalactic, extraterrestrial research and funding it by creating intergalactic, extraterrestrial porn takes a bit of a pause in Money Shot #6. Beattie, Seeley, and Isaacs juxtapose the tragic love story of two aliens in a Klingon-esque society where battle is constant and what determines who gets to have sex for reproduction purposes with some slice of life stories featuring protagonists Ocampo, Wander, and Steinberg in a kind of bisexual love triangle. For the love story, Beattie and Seeley’s writing is downright noble compared to their usual double entendres and sexy science quips. It’s also some of the best art from Isaacs and colorist Kurt Michael Russell, who turn a buckets of blood and space ooze Geof Darrow joint into a touching love story. Isaacs’ skill with expressive faces come in handy later as Ocampo has come down with something and spends literally an entire night Googling STI symptoms and alien planets for them to explore/film porn on. There’s a quiet tragedy in Ocampo’s relentless search for a narrative while one is unfolding light years away. Money Shot #6 is a tone poem for this series, which isn’t just sex jokes and Star Trek riffs, but about the emotional bonds between people. Overall: 8.6 Verdict: Buy

Adventureman #2 (Image) – Less overwhelming than the previous issue, Matt Fraction and the Dodsons masterfully merge portal fantasy and pulp fiction in Adventureman #2. Armed with a mysterious missing book in the Adventureman series, single mom and ex-cop Claire Connell maneuvers a side of New York she’s never seen before even though she’s a lifelong resident. The Dodsons craft gorgeous Art Deco architectural settings and use double page spreads to give a real zest to the sequences where Claire is dodging robots at Adventure Inc’s not-so-fictional headquarters. This vibrance extends to the scenes in the “real world” where they don’t skimp on Claire’s son Tommy awkwardly trying to help his mom navigate by texting in class, or a souffle date with her sisters gone wrong. Each page is packed with personality and retro cool as fact and fiction collide, and it’s awesome to see a badass single mom be a hero in a genre that’s all lantern jawed men and femme fatales. I’m starting to really enjoy this comic. Overall: 8.0 Verdict: Buy

Brett

Detective Comics #1023 (DC Comics) – A lead up to “Joker War” the comic features either Joker awakening Owls to take on Batman and Batman searching for Two-Face. It’s well into the series arc and transitioning what’s to come. It’s definitely not a starting point for those interested in “Joker War” and it’s a bit of a headscratcher due to where the main Batman series is. It’s probably fine as part of the arc but as a single issue it lacks a bit. Overall Rating: 7.0 Verdict: Read

Young Justice #16 (DC Comics) – What’s up with Bart Allen? We find out the truth here and it’s a pretty intriguing concept and story. The anticipation makes it a bit of a letdown but big picture it sets things up nicely. There’s some real emotion to the comic and you feel where Bart is coming from. If you want to know where the series is going, this is an issue to check out. Overall Rating: 7.75 Verdict: Buy


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

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

Mini Reviews and Recommendations For The Week Ending 7/4

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. Given the lack of new comics, expect this weekly update to begin featuring comics that we think you’ll enjoy while you can’t get anything new to read – only new to you.

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews and Recommendations.


Joe Hesh

Batman The Adventures Continue #7 (DC Digital) Now this is more like it! After the last few snoozefest issues finally we have something new. Really love how Azrael is introduced as an ally rather than a foe. His Azrael non Batman design rocks too. It is very reminiscent of the Phantasm design which I dig a lot. Also love the mock title cards that are homage to the original Batman The Animated Series. That is such a nice touch. Ty Templeton does such a great job keeping the characters on model and this issue was good to just have Bruce and Alfred at work without being bogged down by the rest of the fam. Seeing Catwoman show up too was such a joy. The animated series always seemed to get the Batman/Catwoman relationship right. Lot happened in this issue and we still have Jason Todd waiting in the wings. I am looking forward to what’s next. I got that old Bat feeling back! Mr. Dini and Mr. Burnett, don’t let me down! Score: 9 Verdict: Buy

Logan

The Boys: Dear Becky #2 (Dynamite) – The Boys: Dear Becky #2 is a marked improvement from the first issue with Garth Ennis and Russ Braun with silly dialogue galore and darkly, hilarious parodies of Thor and the Thunderbolts. However, they go deeper than these broad satires of megacorporations, superheroes as IP, and British tabloids and look at the addiction to violence that Butcher experiences in the past and Hughie does in the present day. These are men who have found good women, but maybe don’t deserve them with both Annie and Becky staying off-panel. Braun’s art in this issue really caught my eye as he goes from Butcher torturing a Thor-expy in a crematorium burner to using somber lighting and sober facial expressions for Hughie and Butcher to express their feelings. The comic The Boys just might work in 2020… Overall: 8 Verdict: Buy


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

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

Mini Reviews and Recommendations For The Week Ending 6/27

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. Given the lack of new comics, expect this weekly update to begin featuring comics that we think you’ll enjoy while you can’t get anything new to read – only new to you.

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews and Recommendations.


Logan

Die #11 (Image)– Kieron Gillen and Stephanie Hans’ Die is back with the first rumblings of an epic war between factions and ensemble drama of the split party sandwiched between. Ash and Izzy have taken on ruling roles in the world of the game, but the crown lies uneasy while the other characters struggle to come up with ways to get them to leave the game. Hans has a gift for big fantasy landscapes to go with the intense conversations with designs and costumes that define character. The conversation between Ash and creator-turned antagonist-turned-prisoner Sol is both powerful and mundane, and it’s about a popular band from the 90s. Die #11 is at its best when the lives and motivations from the cast’s “real world” existence seeps in, and Gillen wisely uses this connection to raise the stakes and differentiate the build up in this issue from yet another fantasy war book. Overall: 8.1 Verdict: Buy

Once and Future #8 (BOOM!)– Kieron Gillen opens Once and Future #8 with one of the funniest lines of the series as our protagonist Duncan’s grandmother Bridgette, who told him that all the Arthurian legend cycles are real, is skeptical about the existence of Beowulf. Boy, is she wrong, and artist Dan Mora gives the Geat hero an aggressive physicality to go with Tamra Bonvillain’s flame colors and Gillen’s poetic dialogue. As far as antagonists go, he’s a shot in the arm while Merlin plays the string pulling, behind the scenes role. However, Once and Future isn’t all action and cool split screen panels as Duncan and Bridgette struggle to repair the relationship post-ceremonial wounding, but that gets put on hold for Beowulf. Overall: 8.4 Verdict: Buy

Wicked Things #2 (BOOM!) In the hilarious, fast-paced, Wicked Things #2, John Allison and Max Sarin focus on teen detective Lottie Grote trying to maneuver the British legal/penal system and prove her innocence. It doesn’t go too well (Her British equivalent of a public defender isn’t very helpful), and this leads to a new normal for her and the book. Allison does a quick and brilliant bit of world-building by using Lottie’s appearances as a teen detective in Scary Go-Round to inform how the police react to her character in Wicked Things, and it adds to Lottie’s legend. You really want her to solve this case. As usual, Sarin’s art is a delight, and Lottie’s reaction to prison food and Claire’s disdain for the other teen detectives that were up for Lottie’s reward must be seen to believed. Sarin’s surreal side also comes out when Lottie’s kind mother and angry older sister visit her; nothing like a classic storm cloud over one’s head. Overall: 8.9 Verdict: Buy


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

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

Mini Reviews and Recommendations For The Week Ending 6/20

Sometimes, the staff at Graphic Policy read more comics than we’re able to get reviewed. When that happens you’ll see a weekly feature compiling short reviews from the staff of the comics, or graphic novels, we just didn’t get a chance to write a full review for. Given the lack of new comics, expect this weekly update to begin featuring comics that we think you’ll enjoy while you can’t get anything new to read – only new to you.

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews and Recommendations.


Logan

Strange Adventures #2 (DC/Black Label)Strange Adventures #2 is part Adam Strange doing his Lawrence of Arabia thing in the deserts of Rann and part day in the life of Mr. Terrific with Evan Shaner illustrating the former and Mitch Gerads drawing the latter. King and Gerads establish Mr. Terrific’s vast intellect as he answers trivia questions from across all academic disciplines while going about his day and applies these skills in his dealing with Batman. However, they also understand that despite his dedication to truth and fair play that world (and Justice League’s) reaction to his investigation into Strange will be treated differently because of the color of his skin, which is driven home by a well-placed quote from Richard Wright before his head hits the pillow. The Strange scenes indulge in one of King’s favorite story beats: a loving husband and wife trying to overcome despite great odds and problematic morals. But there’s an imperialist twist, and it’s nice to see the evolution in Shaner’s art as his once clean lines and bright colors start to break down in the desert and connect well to the Alex Toth quote on the final page. The jury’s still out if Tom King is still telling the same story he did in Vision, Mister Miracle, and bits of Batman with the war/PTSD elements of Omega Men and Sheriff of Babylon, but Shaner has definitely evolved as an artist. Overall: 8.0 Verdict: Buy

Ludocrats #2 (Image)– This comic from Kieron Gillen, Jim Rossignol, Jeff Stokely, and Tamra Bonvillain is such a delight. Ludocrats #2 is a verbose/incredibly gross, yet hilarious riff on your basic heist storyline by mashing it up with the go inside one’s anatomy plot (e.g. Osmosis Jones, Magic School Bus, that one episode of Rick and Morty) as Hades and Otto assemble a crew to save Otto’s steam-powered lady love from a sky caterpillar. But, of course, it ends up being a little more complicated than that in the end. Like the previous issue, Ludocrats #2 is a masterpiece of worldplay from Gillen and Rossignol, color palettes from Bonvillain, and wacky character designs from Stokely. It’s a world that can be savored and dug into for character motivations and comparing form to content or just enjoy as a funny, fast-paced caper. It’s the opposite of dull, meat and potatoes fair, and it looks like the sex and violence will be upped in issue three. Overall: 8.9 Verdict: Buy

A Man Among Ye #1 (Image/Top Cow)– Plain and simple, Stephanie Phillips, Craig Cernak, and Brittany Pezzillo’s A Man Among Ye is a damn fun pirate comic featuring Anne Bonny, a badass female pirate, who takes no shit throughout the book. Bonny works for Calico Jack Rackham, and most of the first issue is their battle against a British colonial ship along with dealing with being a woman in a predominantly male profession. Phillips and Cernak also set up an antagonist for Bonny and Rackham that isn’t afraid to think like a pirate to rid the Caribbean of this threat. On the art front, Cernak and Pezzillo don’t turn in flashy work, but the combat scenes are easy to follow, and Bonny has a real swagger with her red pirate coat popping compared to her shipmates. This comic doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it’s an entertaining piece of historical/pirate fiction. Overall: 8.0 Verdict: Buy


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

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

Mini Reviews and Recommendations For The Week Ending 6/13

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. Given the lack of new comics, expect this weekly update to begin featuring comics that we think you’ll enjoy while you can’t get anything new to read – only new to you.

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews and Recommendations.


Joe Hesh

Batman #92 (DC) Here it is! The long awaited return of main stream comics. Finally! This one does not disappoint. We open with a game of mental chess between Batman and yep you guessed it, The Riddler. Oh and did I mention Bats is in a deadly duel with Deathstroke? Couldn’t make the game too easy. So we have Batman playing crossword with Riddler using they entire Gotham City as a grid. Up and down and all that. Very cool as Batman seems to solve each clue with ease and unravel the Riddler more and more. Meanwhile Selena and Harley are trying to access an underground stronghold that doubles as a bank. The problem? The teller at the window is the Joker’s new partner: Punchline. Naturally Harley doesn’t take too kindly and they square off gal to gal. The rest of the issue is these two plot threads woven together and it makes for a pretty damn good entertaining time. However it’s the last page that will really change this course going forward and its a killer. I don’t know if I liked this so much more because we been new comic starved for months or it really was that good, but I can’t wait until next issue. The art by Gullam March was a bit off, but the story by James Tynion IV was right on. I cannot wait to see where this goes and you should pick it up. Score: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Logan

New Mutants #10 (Marvel)**- Ed Brisson and Flaviano’s New Mutants #10 is a really tale of two comics. On one hand, it’s a pretty straightforward team book with a team of mutants rescuing a young mutant from the fictional country of Carnelia, who isn’t really happy they’re interfering. On the other hand, Flaviano and colorist Carlos Lopez trip balls with their art as Armor uses her abilities to shield a small team from the nightmares surrounding them while Dani Moonstar keeps them on a telempathetic rope. It takes a while for this plan to formulate although Brisson throws in some interesting worldbuilding flashes like a creepy network of doxxers for mutants and Glob Herman being into the culinary arts. This comic definitely has a very middle chapter vibe and Brisson struggles to flesh out a larger cast of characters compared to Jonathan Hickman in a previous arc. Overall: 7.3 Verdict: Read

Excalibur #10 (Marvel)**– Tini Howard and Marcus To unleash Jamie Braddock in Excalibur #10 as he constantly uses his omega mutant abilities to warp reality and keep Excalibur on their toes. The sense of unreality is most evident in his use of nostalgia like when former Excalibur members show up to evacuate the team back to Krakoa even though we know that they are elsewhere/dead. To’s art is big and bold and matches the crazy plot developments that happen in the last third of the issue. The stakes are raised, reality is fucked, and costume changes are a thing while Howard continues to write these characters with spunk, personality, and flaws. Overall: 8.0 Verdict: Buy


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

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

Mini Reviews and Recommendations For The Week Ending 6/6

Sometimes, the staff at Graphic Policy read more comics than we’re able to get reviewed. When that happens you’ll see a weekly feature compiling short reviews from the staff of the comics, or graphic novels, we just didn’t get a chance to write a full review for. Given the lack of new comics, expect this weekly update to begin featuring comics that we think you’ll enjoy while you can’t get anything new to read – only new to you.

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews and Recommendations.


Logan

Aggretsuko #3 (Oni Press) – In Aggretsuko #3, a staff member (Fittingly named Karen.) from the company’s Canada office visits Retsuko’s job in Japan to see why their employees scored so low on a moral survey and to increase “workflow synergy”. Writer/artist Brenda Hickey expertly satirizes corporate speak, sticky notes, and outside consultants who babysit you all day so that you get no work done. However, as the story progresses, Hickey fleshes out the character of Karen and finds out that she and Retsuko have a lot in common, and she takes some of her feedback to not jump down everyone’s throats. This comic is cathartic for anyone who has had a terrible boss that has made them to do tasks unrelated to their job, and Hickey’s art has a great energy that fits into the show’s aesthetic. Overall: 8.5 Verdict: Buy

Youth #4 (Comixology Originals) – Curt Pires, Alex Diotto, and Dee Cuniffe’s Youth wraps up with a bit of a bang and a bit of a whimper. Even though he’s a Nick Fury expy, Youth #4 shows how much a badass Thunder is as he survives being gutted by one of the posthumans and returns to wreak vengeance. This fits in with Diotto and Cunniffe’s visceral approach to superpowers with abilities having intense bodily effects on both their users and recipients. Probably, the best part of this comic is showing how River and Frank met and a conversation that shows that they really care about each other. There’s a bit of symbolism to one of the character’s names. The bad part of this comic is that the story and final battle feels rushed, and I feel like I don’t know the characters beyond River and Frank. Pires quickly adds powers to wrap up the story/set up the new one and superhero cliches like a secret hideout instead of subverting them. Frank does get some funny lines roasting his friends’ attempts at starting a super-team. It really seems like a story device to extend the run of the comic/upcoming Amazon Prime TV show instead of something organic and naturalistic. Overall: 6.8 Verdict: 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 (**).

« Older Entries