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.
Man Thing #2 (Marvel) The first issue was pretty decent, and definitely made me want to continue with the series, but with this issue R.L. Stine brings a brilliant sense of old school comics storytelling with a more contemporary look at the character of Man Thing. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy
Old Man Logan #20 (Marvel) The second part of a story in which Logan wants to return to his past, our future, to retrieve the Hulk’s grandson from the original Old Man Logan arc in order to right a potential wrong. It’s a cool story that’s well executed, but ultimately serves to just set up the next arc and nothing more. And we’ll get a recap at the beginning of #21 anyway… this is a situation where the comic is solid but not required reading. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Pass
X-Men Prime #1 (Marvel) I haven’t read an X-Men comic regularly in quite some time, although I do tend to dabble here and there – case in point this issue that seems to set the stage for the future of the X-Men (or at least until the next yearly event). X-Men Prime #1 isn’t a bad issue, but there’s nothing here that you won’t be able to pick up from a recap page in X-Men Gold or Blue #1 , which means you can completely bypass this issue. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Pass
X-Men Prime #1 (Marvel) I am (was) one of the biggest X-fans there ever was. I came from the Claremont 80s where I was a child and along with Spidey and Batman, they pulled me into the wonderful medium of comics. I didn’t even hate the early 90s (mostly since I was a teenager) with the bulging steroid version of Cable. Whedon had a good run, as did Morrison, and so on. I like Old Man Logan by Lemire, and didn’t entirely hate what Bendis did (at least for a little while) with his run. What I am getting at, is that I was excited for this new relaunch. But if X-Men Prime is any indication, I am not. I still have hope that they will put the right creators on these books, or things can improve with the first issues, but in my opinion our muties are still not getting what they deserve. Nothing seemed creative, new, or even nostalgic in a good way. Overall: 5 Recommendation: Pass
Inhumans Prime #1 (Marvel) Similar to X-Men Prime, I left this book disappointed. Sure, this isn’t Royals #1, but it isn’t a free book, and it is serving as a status quo for what to expect for the Inhumans going forward. I enjoyed most of Soule’s run on Inhuman and Inhumans, and I like Al Ewing as a writer. That being sad, I felt like this book didn’t offer much, aside from letting us know where Royals will begin, and why they would be off of earth. We get an explanation to that, and some cleaning the slate on Maximus and where the Inhumans run left us. There is an interesting character that shows up at the end, so time will tell in Royals what that means. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Read
Suicide Squad / Banana Splits Annual #1 (DC) – This comic does have some quirky fun stuff, and with it having Suicide Squad characters with the Banana Splits, it isn’t trying to hide how silly it is. It worked for a little bit for me, but with it running as long as it did (like all of this weeks annuals), I lost interest toward the end. Kudos for having a preview for the new Mark Russell Snagglepuss in the back! Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read
Booster Gold / Flintstones Annual #1 (DC) Leave it to Mark Russell to hit this one out of the park. The Flintstones has been a great comic representing some of the themes we are seeing in the real world, but delivered with our favorite Bedrock family handling them. Booster is his usual goofy self, and the story makes sense within it’s own ridiculousness. The Jetsons backup was actually quite interesting as well. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy
Adam Strange / Future Quest Annual #1 (DC) Strange forgets who he is, as he relies on the crew from Future Quest to come to his aid. There’s mammoths and other huge beasts in a jungle and Andreyko even touches on Hawkman and Strange’s miniseries he wrote, and also gives a nod to someone who looked like Hawkman from Hanna-Barbera. Also, The Batman/Top Cat has a funny twist that was pretty good. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Read
Green Lantern / Space Ghost Annual #1 (DC) Tynion writes a pretty fun adventure story where Hal meets Space Ghost, and after a mixup and some fun fights using both of their powers, we see them work together. The art is “out of this world” in this issue as Sebella draws a classic photorealistic style within a sci-fi tale. The Ruff N Reddy backup is something I did not expect, and it went for something different with Chaykin writing, but it is one of the oddest and darkest things I’ve read in these annuals. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read
Deadly Class #27 (Image) Rick Remender and Wes Craig take a break from the new crop of assassins to tell the backstory of Saya, the violent, mysterious scion of an old Yakuza family in Japan. Remender’s script reads like a standalone gangster movie with conflict over family and honor punctuated by outbursts of violence. The jealousy between Saya and her brother Kenji is the central crux of the issue as she is willing to do the dirty work of a “honorable” criminal while he just wants the outward trappings of one. Jordan Boyd’s colors are standout as usual going from decadent and day-glo when the yakuza members are running up a tab at the local drinking to stern during the issue’s climactic seppuku sequence. Overall: 9.3 Recommendation: Buy
The Old Guard #2 (Image) Greg Rucka and Leandro Fernandez continue their tale of immortal mercenaries. Rucka’s story is a bit by the numbers – by which I mean it’s just surface action without any larger resonance as to what it means to be an immortal warrior in a world that is eternally at war with itself. But Fernandez’ chiaroscuro art is just gorgeous (and is it just me, or does anyone else think of Bill Willingham’s D&D ads in the early 80’s? Like, in a really good way?). Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy
Lazarus #26 (Image)** This one is brutal. Aren’t they all, though. Rereading it for the review, I was surprised at how short the battle with the Vassalovka monster-Lazarus feels, considering it lasts 11 pages. That means two things: 1) the setup for it is really well-done. Not every writer can make a silent panel say so much and really make you take the time to try to understand what’s not being said. 2) The battle itself, like a lot of fights, takes place in a kind of fast-motion bubble of total clarity, extremely high stakes, and sudden changes of fortune. The twist that happens in this fight shocked me both in terms of plot and character and reminded me of what absolute and total bastards the heads of the families really are. Also: you must buy this issue just for Greg Rucka’s essay on what happens when the fictional near-future dystopia you’ve built suddenly and horrifying turns this close to real. And what to do about it. Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy
Cinema Purgatorio #9 (Avatar) In “Revelations of the Bat,” Alan Moore & Kevin O’Neill take us into the life and death of Thelma Todd by way of a “lost” Roland West film, continuing to remind us that Hollywood was built on a pile of beautiful corpses. On to Ennis & Caceres’ “Code Pru,” in which we find out how NYC actually disposes of their zombies. Thanks for that full-page image, guys, I really needed to not sleep for a while. Gillen & Lopez’ “Modded” continues to grow on me, especially with the addition of “Lady Glasshat Dildobeast.” Overall: Purgatorio, 8.5, Code Pru 9, Modded 7.5 Recommendation: Read
Dark Knight III: The Master Race #8 (DC)** Remember when this series was only supposed to run eight issues? I guess Frank Miller, Brian Azzarello, Andy Kubert, and Klaus Janson decided it was more important to give us one extra installment of pure set-up instead, and DC editorial and accounting both salivated, I’m sure, at the thought of everyone shelling out another six bucks, What we have here, then, is just a bunch of treading water in “anticipation” of the big, climactic final battle, and it’s about as involving as you’d expect. Overall: 1. Recommendation: Pass. Like an idiot, I purchased my copy.
The Old Guard #2 (Image)** The first issue of Greg Rucka and Leandro Fernandez’s tale of immortal mercenary soldiers was only marginally involving in my own humble opinion, but a lot more detail is fleshed out this time around while expertly avoiding page after page of pure “info-dump.” So hats off to Rucka for that, and hats off to Fernandez for another serving of his finely-flowing, expressionistic art. Really good stuff that has hooked me on this series without question. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy
Animosity #6 (Aftershock)** Marguerite Bennett and Rafael De La Torre don’t miss a beat as they kick off the second major story arc of this series, and while the resolution to last issue’s cliffhanger is both ill-explained and a cop-out at the same time, they quickly recover and it’s nice to see some of the mystery surrounding Sandor growing as the long-form “survival quest” plotline gains steam at the same time. The art is getting more confident and distinctive with each passing issue, as well. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy
Unfollow #17 (DC/Vertigo)** With one issue left to go, Rob Williams and Mike Dowling are careening toward what looks to be a memorable, if forced, conclusion, and while lots of bodies fall here as you’d expect, the action is well-balanced with not-overly-wordy explanations of Larry Ferrell’s “master plan.” Unfortunately, I can’t praise Dowling as much as I can Williams this time, as the looser, more “scratchy” art style he adopted a couple months back doesn’t fit the material nearly as well as his cleaner, sleeker earlier work. It makes sense thematically, as it accentuates the rapid pace of events, but it still looks sloppy and rushed, even if by design. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read
X-Men Prime#1 (Marvel) We catch up with a Kitty Pryde in New York where she has returned to one of her passions before becoming a superhero, a dancer. That is until Storm asks her to return to the Academy, to take her place as headmaster. We also catch up with Lady Deathstryke as she gets forcibly recruited into a shadowy organization. By issue’s end, Kitty realizes she has gotten into more than she bargained for. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Read
Green Lantern/Space Ghost Special (DC) Hal Jordan has always been DC’s resident Alsace cowboy, defending the universe against evildoers across the galaxy.Space Ghost has been a buffoonish version of a superhero, a costumed Johnny Carson if you will. When these two meet, it a series of unfortunate events where they first baffle but collaborate to save a planet. The best thing of about this special is Olivetti’s art, which is spectacular, she is very much like the second coming of Alex Ross. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy definitely for the ART!!!
Titans Annual #1 (DC) There’s something to those “trapped in an elevator “episodes that many of our favorite shows tend to do, especially The Walking Dead, who do three to four of those episodes every season.The Titans do that very thing in this annual, as they get trapped in a space resembling the Danger Room in Xmen with the Justice League. Through out this issue, many of the members of the Justice League explore their relationships with their protégés in the Titans. Altogether, an interesting character study that shows that these heroes are also human. Overall: 8 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 (**).