Category Archives: Mini Reviews

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 8/17

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.


Ryan C

Silver Surfer Black #3 (Marvel)** – Tradd Moore is doing such a magnificent job channeling his inner Kirby that it makes this book a joy to experience even with a mediocre, uninspired Donny Cates script. I guess there’s a plot twist at the end here that might intrigue some people, but whatever. It’s not like the story really matters here, it’s a “closed loop” anyway. The art is why you buy this book, and buy it you should. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Gideon Falls #16 (Image) **– Jeff Lemire is mailing in his third-rate “Twin Peaks” rip-off scripts at this point (literally and figuratively), but Andrea Sorrentino just keeps on getting better and better on art — in fact, there are a couple of double-page spreads here that will simply blow your mind. A book worth buying just for the art? Seems to be a theme this week. Overall: 7.5. Recommendation: Buy

Outer Darkness #9 (Image/Skybound) **– The best series no one seems to be talking about just keeps getting better. A brutally violent issue this time out gives Afu Chan a real chance to shine on art, and John Layman’s dark AF scripting is really firing on all cylinders. Not for all tastes, but for those who are on a very particular wavelength, comics don’t get a whole lot better. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Detective Comics #1009 (DC) **- Not a bad “rebound” issue this time out, as Peter J. Tomasi’s “Bruce Wayne in a plane crash” script is thoroughly readable if uninspired, Deadshot comes off as a formidable foe, and Christian Duce’s art is sleek and stylish. Nothing overly awesome or anything, but a step in the right direction compared to recent stuff served up in this series. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Read

Logan

Ghosted in LA #2 (BOOM!)– Daphne settles into living with her ghost buddies in Rycroft Manor, and I really love how Sina Grace and Siobhan Keenan give them different personalities depending on which era they passed away in. This plot centers around Daphne going out with a total jerk named Brint, who is pretentious and thinks he’s owed sex, because she saw her ex with a new girl and wants to make her jealous. Ghosted in LA #2 is a great skewering of fuckboys and has some sweet interactions between Daphne and a ghost, who she is supposed to get a new album by his favorite band. Keenan’s expressive art and cute outfit designs plus these little wholesome moments keep the comic afloat in the middle of the melodrama. Overall: 7.5 Verdict: Read

Powers of X #2 (Marvel) – This was my least favorite chapter in Jonathan Hickman’s X-Men work as he and RB Silva do a great job integrating the Moira MacTaggart retcon into the foundation of the X-Men, show some strong scenes with Cyclops as a pragmatic leader, and have a similar salt of the Earth pragmatism with Wolverine 100 years in the future. 1,000 years in the future is when it falls apart and feels like a filler issue of his Avengers run with lots of talk about how future societies are like and hives and intelligence. However, it doesn’t have the emotional resonance of the other eras with characters we have gotten to know or just damn cool concepts like Apocalypse leading the X-Men. This is 3/4 of a good comic and the turbulent middle chapter in a series that has been firing on all cylinders up to this point. Overall: 7 Verdict: Read

Collapser #2 (DC/Young Animal) – In the second installment of Mikey Way, Shaun Simon, and Ilias Kyriazis’ series, Liam struggles with controlling his collapsing black hole abilities.
Before the opening credits roll, he’s out there wrecking Stonehenge and the Great Pyramids and seeing visions of cryptids and aliens that no one else can see. Way and Simon focus a lot on mental health in this issue, and Liam’s girlfriend Joss helps him check into a psych hospital because he’s been off his meds. Of course, all the aliens and phenomena are real, but Way, Simon, and Kyriazis take mental health seriously in Collapser #2 and work through what Liam sees and feels before throwing him back into action. Finally, Liam’s black hole abilities allow Kyriazis and colorist Cris Peter to play without layouts and provide different visuals than your usual alien invasion/superhero comic. Overall: 8.2 Verdict: Buy

Shean

Age of Conan Valeria #1 (Marvel) – In what looks to be probably the best book to come from this niche line at Marvel, we find a character worthy to occupy the same space as Conan. As we find one hero whose childhood has been marred by tragedy. As the death of her parents, leads her to live with her brother, who is ultimately betrayed by someone close to him. By issue’s end, our hero is focused on her goal in mind, as the story instantly brings comparisons to the underrated ” Quick and The Dead” movie, as both stories showcased strong female protagonists with tragic backgrounds.
Overall: 9.6 Recommendation: Buy

Conan The Barbarian Exodus #1 (Marvel) – In a rather bold move for a one shot, we get mostly vacant of dialogue story about Conan in the wild. As he tests his skills for survival as he fights every dangerous animal. He would soon test his skills against a ruthless oligarch who would get the better of him to have him imprisoned. By story’s end, not only has Conan escaped his Bondage but has killed the man responsible for putting him there. Overall: 9.8 Recommendation: Buy

Sword Master #2 (Marvel) – We find Lie as he finds out that his father’s enemies have been close to him the whole time, which he also finds out the powers of the sword.. He also catches the eye of another demon hunter, who has been searching for who occupies the title of Sword Master. In the second tale, we find Lie and Shang Chi in the midst of hell and a hand basket. As a fight with Ares army leads to an unfortunate situation that has put both heroes at a disadvantage. Overall: 9.6 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 (**).

Advertisements

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 8/10

Sometimes, the staff at Graphic Policy read more comics than we’re able to get reviewed. When that happens you’ll see a weekly feature compiling short reviews from the staff of the comics, or graphic novels, we just didn’t get a chance to write a full review for.

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Ryan C

Savage Avengers #4 (Marvel)** – Story-wise, this mini has basically been treading water since the first issue, and that trend continues here, in the penultimate chapter — but just because Gerry Duggan is mailing it in, don’t take that to mean Mike Deodato, Jr. is following suit. This comic looks absolutely great — but unfortunately, that alone doesn’t make it worth either your time or your money. Overall: 4. Recommendation: look at it at the shop, then give it a pass. 

Batman #76 (DC)**– After a lackluster start to the “City Of Bane” arc, Tom King at least cobbles together a nominally readable script here, even if the mystery as to what’s going on continues to fall a bit flat. Tony S. Daniel’s art is what it is — a continuation of the tired “New 52” aesthetic, but I dunno. If you like that sort of thing, you’ll like how this one looks. All in all it’s pretty much just a middling comic. If that’s good enough for you, have at it, otherwise follow the advice in the very next sentence… Overall: 5 Recommendation: Pass

Postal: Deliverance #2 (Image/Top Cow) **– This welcome return to Matt Hawkins’ so-called “Edenverse” builds on a strong first issue with Bryan Hill dishing out some Biblical “justice” and the corruption of a new generation in his script, while Raffaele Ienco delivers some serious goods with his fine, detailed art. Killer stuff, not for the faint of heart. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Descendent #4 (Aftershock) **– Not sure what happened with this conspiracy thriller, but after a strong pair of issues to start things off, Stephanie Phillipss scripting is getting seriously contrived and hakneyed, and the art by Evgeniy Bornyakov seems equally uninspired. I think there’s one installment left to go here, but I doubt I’m interested enough in things at this point to see whether or not they can pull off a last-second course correction. Overall: 3 Recommendation: Pass

Joe Hesh

 Absolute Carnage #1 (Marvel) Wow. Just wow. Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman deliver the best Marvel comic of the year. Not only is the writing and art just fantastic, but they give me the best Eddie story I’ve ever read. Love the love/hate relationship with Peter and Eddie and they managed to something with Carnage that the original Maximum Carnage story never could: Make Carnage a scary leviathan like force. Cletus Kasady alone was terrfying but Cletus tied to an age old evil God, is the thing of joy and nightmares. I love how this comic didn’t end after the first chapter and gave you 3 solid chapters to wet your appetite before leaving you hanging. The plot is awesome and just reprehensible at the same time. Grave robbing to make Carnage even more powerful. I love the relationship bond between Eddie and his other and Tom Hardy should have had this book to read before playing him in the movie. It might sound like I’m gushing here, but I am. I have nothing bad to say about this issue at all and as something I wasn’t even going to glance at, now might be my comic of the year. Overall: 10 just plain 10. Recommendation: Buy this. I read my copy but I’m damn sure buying this.

Logan

Doom Patrol Weight of the Worlds #2 (DC/Young Animal) Round 2 of Gerard Way, Jeremy Lambert, and James Harvey’s Doom Patrol features more weirdness, empathy, and mind expanding double page spreads. The highlight is Harvey’s diagram of Dannyland aka a genderqueer street on steroids that doubles as the Doom Patrol’s HQ and much more. This issue follows a throughline of positive reinforcement from Robotman’s new body getting cool new powers and upgrades (Like a flamethrower) for every good deed he does to Lotion the Cat realizing that the children of two potential planetary divorcees just need a hug, and finally Larry Trainor finding peace with the Negative Spirit that used to reside within him. The hug scene and another early one where Robotman sees the world through his new, though sadly non-human body marry words and pictures with an immersive spread from James Harvey combined with almost lyrical writing from Way and Lambert. The book feels more like an experimental art piece or a warm and fuzzy therapy session with tripped out dream imagery than a superhero comic, but I assure you that some day saving happens in Doom Patrol #2. Overall: 8.4 Verdict: Buy \

Die #6 (Image)- In an issue based on the annoying RPG concept of grinding, the party must find enough fair gold to kickstart an escape from the city of Glass which is in perpetual war with Eternal Prussia. Angela’s hacking/cyberpunk Neo abilities are crucial to this plan so Kieron Gillen and Stephanie Hans spend some time with her while she walks her dog looking for gold. She finds parallels between the world of Die and her past life as a game developer, which destroyed her marriage and personal life. Hans’ artwork captures the beautiful tragedy of her solo quest and the mechanics of games with everything having a choice or consequence. The art and Gillen’s writing lightens up a little bit towards the end with an epic escape sequence featuring a cool dragon. Then, Die’s anti-fantasy theme pops up in the conclusion, and Gillen and Hans remind us that this isn’t an adventure comic, but a horror one about being trapped in relationships and patterns of one’s past for too long. Overall: 8.6 Verdict: Buy

Absolute Carnage #1 (Marvel)– Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman lean into the absurdity, blood guts, and cosmic horror aspects of the symbiote and turn in a thrilling issue of this crossover. It’s divided into three acts: Eddie Brock and son (Who think he’s his brother) Dylan escaping Carnage in the New York subway tunnels, Eddie forging an unlikely alliance with Spider-Man and the Maker, and finally, a close doors chase and fight between Venom, Spider-Man, John Jameson, and a symbiote Norman Osborn. Stegman and inker JP Mayer revel in the utter chaos of the several big fight scenes in this issue and can slow things down too like when Eddie confides in Spider-Man that Dylan is his son and not his brother. The plotting can be a little clunky or exposition heavy at times, but Cates get the information across that Carnage is a god and is trying to absorb the little bits of symbiote left in anyone who was ever a host for it. The mechanics are a little absurd, but Stegman’s takes on the “Carnage-ized” version of characters are a treat, and Cates wisely continues to put the relationship between Eddie and Dylan at the center of this ever expanding story. Overall: 8 Verdict: Buy

Daredevil #9 (Marvel)– I’m really enjoying Chip Zdarsky’s and Lalit Kumar Sharma’s recent work on Daredevil and exploring a Hell’s Kitchen with no Daredevil, Kingpin, or even Matt Murdock practicing law. My most favorite part of Zdarsky’s run (Other than the previous Punisher reactions) is his nuanced look at Matt’s faith, and this is a big part of Daredevil #9 with a large portion of the issue being devoted to him and Reed Richards discussing the existence of God over a game of chess. As a lawyer and Catholic, Matt strives to believe in some order and justice in the universe, but that’s difficult for him in a world of corrupt cops, child trafficking, and bookstores that are mob fronts. Sharma turns in some wonderful visual transitions like the tears of a nun about a lost child turning into Matt going after the trafficker while wearing a variation of his “Man without Fear” costume. And to go along with all the philosophizing and bare knuckles brawls, there is time for romance as Zdarsky and Sharma continue to create some steamy chemistry between Matt and Mindy Libris, a bookstore manager and wife of a crime family scion that likes the business a little too much. Overall: 9.0 Verdict: Buy

 Future Foundation #1 (Marvel)– FF #1 has a great cast, fun cartooning from Will Robson, and Jeremy Whitley gives each member of this very large teenage superhero/science team at least one page to shine and have a voice. However, it’s more concerned with setting up future plot developments than telling an exciting done-in-one prison escape featuring Julie Power and guest starring Yondu. Whitley and Robson do a great job showing the prison break, including Onome fixing Yondu’s giant gun so it actually works and talking about how Shuri inspired her to be the next great Wakandan engineer and Julie traveling at light speed so their rescuee, Rebecca can find her personal effects. But, then, they get caught up in flexing that the Maker is the next villain that they don’t wrap up the story. Future Foundation has characters I want to spend more time with, art that makes me smiles, and is only missing the story mechanics to be solid teen superhero/Fantastic Four spinoff title. Overall: 7 Verdict: Read

Shean

Agents of Atlas (Marvel) – In this miniseries, we get reacquainted with this new superteam, as they take on a dragon terrorizing the Pacific. This is until the Protector intervenes, as a new addition to the group. We are taken to the various bunkers, where each of them find each major city being attacked by Dragons. By issue’s end, the team goes all out while we find exactly what happened to the original team. Overall: 9.6 Recommendation: Buy

Aero#1 (Marvel)– In two different stories, we find about this import from Shanghai. In the reprint of this character’s original run, we find her origins. In the second half, we get a team up adventure with her and Wave, where we get some of Wave’s origin story. By issue’s end, the writers provide a perfect setup for this character. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Aero #2 (Marvel)– In this second issue we find our hero struggling with her powers and how to defeat supervillains. We also find out just how normal her life was, having a boyfriend and a comfortable job, both which looks boring to what she becomes. Inthe second half, we meet Wave’s mentor, Red Feather, who takes her weapons back. By issue’s end, we find out even more about characters, setting up Wave’s solo book to be one to watch. Overall: 9.7 Recommendation: Buy


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

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

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 8/4

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.

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Shean

Star Wars: Age of Resistance Special #1 (Marvel)– In a collection of stories of some of Star Wars most interesting new characters, we get deeper character dives. We join Maz Kanata in an adventure with the crew of the Millennium Falcon where they hunt down a Sith relic. In a different tale, we find a young Amilyn Holdo long before she became minister, as we see that she’s used to people doubting her and to proving them wrong everytime. In the last story, we find BB-8 providing reconnaissance for Poe Dameron but actually pulls off thr mission off by themselves, getting the Intel and blowing up the Empire stronghold. Out of these three stories, Holdo’s tale is probably the most impactful to the overall Star Wars narrative, giving us the much needed back story to someone we should care about in Star Wars: The Last Jedi movie, but was definitely lacking until now.
Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Logan

Powers of X #1 (Marvel) In Powers of X, Jonathan Hickman and RB Silva (Whose art has drastically improved) tell the story of different eras of mutants from the birth of Xavier’s dream to a 1,000 years in the futures when the last mutants are like dinosaurs in a museum. They remix past X-Men villains like Sinister and Nimrod to give them more a big picture role, and best of all, to make them actually win. The bulk of the story happens 100 years in the future and features a Rasputin and an overly, pacifist offshoot of Nightcrawler’s DNA that comments on how sometimes each mutant’s powers are only seen useful by their use in battle. These moments of action or an engaging conversation between Professor X and Moira McTaggert that works thanks to Silva’s facial expressions help the book break out of its history textbook rhythm, for better or worse. Overall: 8 Verdict: Buy

Manor Black #1 (Dark Horse)– In Manor Black, Cullen Bunn, Brian Hurtt, and fantastic artist Tyler Crook spin of a tale of retiring magicians, blood rituals, and spontaneous combustion. There is a jarring juxtaposition between the ordinary people of thetown freaking out about a car crashing and burning in a perfect circle and the nine panel grids of Roman Black communing with his ancestors and having to find a successor before he descends to Hell. There is a kind of aristocratic order to his world compared to the chaos that surrounds it and threatens to engulf the sleepy, nearby town. However, what makes Manor Black a decent comic isn’t its plot or characters yet, but Crook’s striking visuals, and his fluid, illustrator’s touch that he’s brings to everything from charred bodies and coffee shops to the bowels of the titular manor. Overall: 7.5 Verdict: Read

Death’s Head #1 (Marvel)– I liked Kei Zama’s 2000 AD-esque art and the way he showed the world from Death’s Head POV and also the way that Tini Howard wrote the loving relationship between Hulkling Wiccan, who basically are co-leads of this comic. However, after a slapstick funny opener where Death’s Head gets the shit beaten out of him by some “new models” and gets used as an amp in New York, the book loses focus. It’s not sure if it’s a Death’s Head book or a Hulkling and Wiccan one. Howard and Zama will come up with some cool character beats for Wiccan like when he looks at all future paths he can take, and then it’s robot rock time. Hopefully, in future issues, the trio will be better integrated into each other’s stories. Overall: 6 Verdict: Pass

Joe Ryan

Powers of X #1 (Marvel) – Hickman gives another great reason to be reading the X-Men again after the excellent House of X. As a long time X-fan, I am in. RB Silva gives us some awesome action in the artwork (with great inks and colors by Benedetto and Gracia). We get new characters that are actually cool (and I hope at least 1 or 2 have some staying power), and a the usual fun Hickman messing with time stuff. I wish the novelized parts came a little later, as I felt the paragraphs came a little too soon while I was hooked in the book, but that’s my only small gripe. Overall, the book was fantastic. It had everything I wanted, and didn’t know I wanted in a return to X-Men Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Fantastic Four #12 (Marvel) – Slott has done a solid job overall on this book, and this was a fun campy issue. It felt like a throwback to the more lighthearted adventures we saw the Fantastic Four go on many years ago. We get a classic battle between The Hulk and The Thing again (kind of), and Izaakse does a great job on the art, bringing their epic battle to life. Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Buy

Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #9 (Marvel) – Tom Taylor gives a slower, character building issue where we see the history of The Rumor, and how she worked with Captain America, and a surprising use of that time period and how she tied into it. I have enjoyed this run, and I like that we get issues like this that can slow down, and tell a different story, even in a Spidey book. Both Cabal and Lashley do a solid job on the interiors, showing both the modern action scenes and classic emotional scenes very well. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

 Batman: Last Knight on Earth #2 (DC Comics) – I am a big fan of Snyder and Capullo on Batman. Their New 52 run was a highlight of DC during that time and it went down as one of my favorite runs. Of course Capullo does a great job on the art work. This is a wild and crazy post-apocalyptic world that is having a lot of silly fun (much like they did with Metal). I like how they can make a dark world, but also have so much fun with the characters of the universe. This book makes me miss them doing a monthly ongoing Batman book, but I will enjoy this while it lasts. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

The Batman Who Laughs #7 (DC Comics) – Snyder double dips in Batman this week, and I enjoyed this one as well. I am not sure we needed another issue for this run (that was originally solicited at 6), but I still had fun with this issue and this series overall. When I first saw the character, The Batman Who Laughs, I wasn’t sure it had staying power, and believe me, I could still have a moment where I get tired of it, but for now, I enjoyed this quite a bit. Jock and Snyder, like Capullo and Snyder are peak modern Batman for me. Great mini series. Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy


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

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

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 7/27

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.

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Logan

House of X #1 (Marvel) Jonathan Hickman’s back at Marvel with big ideas cobbled together from the Grant Morrison, Fraction/Gillen, and even some of Mark Millar’s Ultimate X-Men and Alan Davis’ work at the end of the 1990s. But his biggest influence seems to be the nation of Israel circa 1948, which makes it even more intriguing that Holocaust survivor, Magneto, gets the lion’s share of the action and speech-ifying. In House of X #1, Hickman and artists Pepe Larraz and Marte Gracia have created a wide-ranging sandbox of concepts and organizations that have the potential to revitalize the X-Men line of comics. The mutant vs human struggle isn’t (For the most part.) through the usual fisticuffs, but through espionage, diplomacy, corporate restructuring, and yes, the problem of our age: healthcare. House of X #1 did its job in hooking me into sampling more of Hickman and company’s world. It even had some excellent grace notes like Hickman’s design pages that filled out backstory and exposition in a visually interesting way, and his writing of Cyclops as an ultracompetent, unapologetic badass. The panel composition where he stares down Reed Richards will be stuck in my mind for a bit and is, in a sense, Hickman throwing down the gauntlet at of his old characters/runs. Overall: 9 Verdict: Buy

Dark Red #5 (Aftershock) Dark Red #5 marks the end of Tim Seeley and Corin Howell’s first arc in their vampire epic meets satire of states that vote red, wear red MAGA hats, and yes, bleed red in a gory, action-packed issue. Throughout the storyline, Seeley and Howell have done a fantastic job of fleshing out the backstory of protagonist, Chip Ipswich, a WWII veteran turned kinda good guy vampire/convenience worker. He gets to give a big speech to a bunch of Nazi redneck vampires about how their leader, like Hitler, saw them as cannon fodder to create a new world order and used their white supremacy and insecurities to gain power and cause havoc. And then Howell illustrates a fun one page spread of him biting, wounding, and killing various Nazi vampires. Where the story struggles is its structure as Seeley sets up a romance between Chip and a Native American woman named Evie, who becomes a vampire in the issue, but then he immediately separates them after their big moment. The next arc will focus on her in Chicago and Chip in the small town, and honestly, Chip’s letters have less emotional resonance than the touches and glances they share thanks to Howell’s art. But it’s nice to see a story where a character actually tries to change their rural, hateful settings instead of running away so kudos for that. Overall: 8.3 Verdict: Buy

Joe Ryan

House of X #1 (Marvel) – Wow. What a first issue. Hickman on story, Larraz on art and Marte Garcia on colors give me everything I wanted on this book and so much more. I have been a massive X-Men since I began reading comics, and while this is very different, it is very good. Hickman is a master at high level event stories and setting up all kinds of dimension and time threads while keeping the overall plot moving forward. His Avengers run, FF, and Secret Wars are some of my favorite modern Marvel stories. This is a heck of a first issue. Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

History of the Marvel Universe #1 (Marvel) – I think Waid did a great job the story (which is really a Marvel history lesson). Rodriguez and Lopez also did a fantastic job showing all of the characters Marvel has had over the years. This is a fantastic book for any new or old Marvel fan. It is a lot of fun to go through and see all of the characters and depth this universe has. At times I felt like I was looking at some of Kirby’s own work with the art, and that made me smile. Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

Valkyrie #1 (Marvel) – I was excited when I saw Ewing and Arron were writing this book together. I really enjoyed Jane Foster’s run as Thor and love what Aaron does on the book and Ewing on most of his work. I thought the issue was a solid first issue, but I wanted a bit more from it. I do think they felt the need to summarize some things for new readers, so I think that took away from some of the story that we get by the end. The set up was solid and I am excited to see what happens going forward. The art by Cafu and Aburtov was great with bright colors and great panel work. Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Buy

Guardians of the Galaxy #7 (Marvel) – Donny Cates loves to torture his characters. There were parts of this issue that made me uncomfortable, and at multiple moments I thought he was going to do some shocking things (even for him). I won’t spoil if he did or didn’t do those things. The art by Cory Smith and colors by David Curiel did a great job showing the action and big set piece moments. There are times when this comic felt like a horror title, and for that, I really enjoyed it. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Batman: Curse of the White Knight #1 (DC) – I really enjoyed the first run of the White Knight elseworlds tale by Sean Murphy, and this issue only made me enjoy it even more. You should get the first White Knight book in trade so you know what happened, or at least get a summary online, because going into this will confuse you. The art is fantastic, and the story is mostly different enough from the same old Batman/Joker dynamic we’ve seen for ages. I love the ending and the set up to what is to come should be crazy and fun. Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Shean

Sword Master #1 (Marvel) – In what I see as a lead up to Shang Chi’s big screen reveal, we meet a character that is part of his universe. We meet Lin Lie whose father and brother has gone missing thanks to a gang of grave robbers. As he seeks the truth from them, he uncovers even more mysteries connected to their disappearance. By issue’s end, Shang Chi makes his entrance, looking for the sword and so does an unlikely and powerful threat. Overall: 9.6 Recommendation: Buy

Valkyrie Jane Foster #1 (Marvel) – In a rather introspective debut issue, we fet a conflicted titular hero. As she stops a gang of supervillains, one of them dies by mysterious causes. Meanwhile, at her day job, it seems as though her focus is split,leaving her supervisor and coworkers to doubt in her abilities. By issue’s end, in a quest for answers, she goes back to the Asgardian Halls of the Dead, where a powerless villain who has somehow wielded magic is behind all the chaos. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Age of Conan: Belit #5 (Marvel) – In what is a spectacular finale, we finally get a hero that can stand toe to toe with Conan, as we find a woman hell bent on conquering the world by sea and invasion. As this issue feels like they kept the best for lastas compared to the rest of the series, this is the level they should have been operating thr whole time. I can’t quite recommend the series on this issue alone but if you want a strong narrative, this is it. By issue’s and series end, the reader will gladly follow Belit anywhere she leads. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Borrow


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

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

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 7/20

Sometimes, the staff at Graphic Policy read more comics than we’re able to get reviewed. When that happens you’ll see a weekly feature compiling short reviews from the staff of the comics, or graphic novels, we just didn’t get a chance to write a full review for.

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Joe Hesh

Batman #75 (DC Comics) ** This is it. The big story that Tom King has been building to since Batman #1 and what we’ve determined is… he likes Bane. He likes him a LOT. Now I’m a big Bane fan too and love the original Chuck Dixon and Graham Nolan version but I feel like we’ve seen everything to do with Bane and what he can offer but i was wrong. This issue opens up with the two most unlikely detectives of all time with Joker and Riddler. Riddler works for me as he was a PI in Paul Dini’s Detective run and the Joker? Well it’s just batshit and I love it. Couple it in with Hugo Strange as Commissioner and you have an opening to a badass elseworlds tale right? Wrong. This is all canon. It’s all happening. The gist is Thomas Wayne survived the fight with Bruce in the pit last issue and not only survived, but he won. Which is very cool because Thomas is a great dark Batman. So basically what we get here is Bane runs Gotham completely now, which the title is City of Bane so yeah. It works so well as the bad guys are now self imposed “good guys” doing Batman’s job and doing it well. There are a lot of great touches such as the Ventriloquist being the Alfred to Thomas’ Batman and him surgically taking down Two Face. Really really cool stuff. The art is crisp as per usge from Tony Daniel as he thrives on a Batman title. So the first issue gives us a lot of questions but a lot to look forward to. This certainly feels all new. I can’t wait to see more and where the hell is Damian and Gordon here? Hopefully all those questions get answered next Bat Time. Overall: Fantastic opening and very intriguing premise. Great art and moves along strikingly. Score: 9 Verdict: Buy

Elana

War Scrolls #2 (Marvel) Yes it’s late but I finally got my hands on # War Scrolls issue with Anthony Oliveira, Nick Robles, and Cris Peter’s story “My Drag Brunch with Loki”. It’s one of the top two back-up stories of 2019. So happy to see these voices in Marvel making art about morality, symbolism, family, what friends owe each other & of course drag queens, all rooted in canon. Featuring a drag brunch from people who’d know. Dante’s Inferno (because of course Anthony) and Billy and Teddy actually styled like gay men (because of course Nick Robles). More comics about LGBTQ characters by LGBTQ creators. We do it best. The rest of the issue is good too. I hadn’t read the series thus far and it still all made sense thanks to strong writing and a good In Last Issue page. Verdict: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Jughead’s Time Police 1 & 2 (Archie)Unlike every other reader of American Comics I didn’t read Archie comics as a kid. Since the relaunch I’ve dipped my toes in and out of various titles. Seeing Sina Grace’s name as writer on this series piqued my interest. What would this acclaimed newish queer voice in comics bring to the newish queer-er Archie world? Derek Charm’s art combines the classic Archie look with a modern aesthetic. It reminds me of a less zany Ericka Henderson and more zany Elsa Charretier. Regardless it’s fun, funny and pretty. The comic’s Many jokes earth their chuckles. Pop culture references are written by someone who knows what’s up, and the twist was something I did not guess and that I’m excited to read more about next month. It’s a fun comic. 

Logan

Blade Runner 2019 #1 (Titan)** After the bloated, yet beautiful mythology of Blade Runner 2049, writers Michael Green and Mike Johnson and artist Andres Guinaldo return to its film noir roots as mysterious Los Angeles blade runner Ash looks for the missing child and wife of a corporate magnate, who have mysteries all of their own. There is definitely an Euro-comic influence to Guinaldo’s visuals with boxy panels as Ash searches the rain drenched streets of L.A. for leads for her case occasionally punctuated by a gorgeous, thickly inked splash page of this alternate present world. Green and Johnson also give us a pretty good idea of Ash’s personality and vulnerabilities even if the narration is overbearing at times. Obviously, this comic isn’t as good as the classic film, but it’s a compelling side story for fans of the franchise like myself, who want to explore more of the nooks and crannies of this rich vision of the future. Having Syd Mead, who did the concept art for both Blade Runner and Blade Runner 2049, be the cover artist is a nice treat too. Overall: 7.7 Verdict: Read

Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #1 (DC) This was such a fun, zippy read that the final page was unexpected. Matt Fraction and Steve Lieber create comedy gold in Jimmy Olsen #1 beginning with a fantastic satire of New Amsterdam/New York and the birth of America in general, finding some slapstick along the way, and finishing it up with a side of deadpan reaction shots and panels. Along the way, they reinvent Superman’s inexplicable BFF for the Buzzfeed era with some hilarious moments like Perry White realizing that Jimmy’s “viral” shenanigans are the only reason people click on articles from the Daily Planet and the grudging respect he gets from Planet publisher/crime kingpin Ms. Leone. Fraction and Lieber structure the comic like a series of short vignettes that are high energy, joke packed, and easy to follow. This breezy, free wheeling feel makes Jimmy Olsen #1 one of my favorite debuts of 2019, and I can’t wait to see where Fraction and Lieber take Superman’s pal next. Overall: 9.3 Verdict: Buy

Loki #1 (Marvel) After the events of War of the Realms, Loki is now the king of Jotunheim, and Daniel Kibblesmith and Oscar Bazaldua show what he does with his newfound kingdom, namely, delegate, come up with solutions straight out of the Hebrew Bible, and of course, piss off Thor. Bazaldua nails the half-mocking, half-serious tone of the first page which is a recap of Loki’s recent history while also roasting his new status quo. This flow throughout the first issue, which has funny moments and little adventures, but doesn’t find its focus until Kibblesmith via Thor lays some connective tissue to Kieron Gillen’s excellent work on Journey into Mystery. It introduces some much needed consequences to the story without getting rid of the jokes that are mostly Loki trying to be good, but ending up trickster-y. Honestly, this comic is worth reading for the snowman sidekick alone. Disney should take notes for the next Frozen installment. Overall: 8 Verdict: Buy

Shean

Ghost Panther Annual #1 (Marvel) In a world of Mashups this is a story that will bewilder and spellbind. As we Johnny Blaze or T’ Challa in the midst of being killed by Bushman The Hunter, but as we soon find out his powers are immense, making his escape and inevitable defeat of said villain, a mere turn. As the Defenders gather, Captain Peace a cross between Captain Nova and Captain Marvel, brings their attention to the Martian Invasion, Ghost Panther assumes the difficult task of hiding the Time Diamond. By issue’s end,the Defenders get an unexpected surprise by another superhero team from another Universe. Overall: 9.2 Recommendation: Buy

Star Wars Age of Rebellion: Captain Phasma #1 (Marvel) In a story surrounding one do the Star Wars Universe’s most mysterious characters, we get a tale that shows what is really beneath that armor. As we find Phasma leading a battalion where casualties are far too regular. A brave Stormtrooper stands up to her which Phasma admires and makes her, second in command. By issue’s end, we find out that Phasma truly believes that Stormtroopers are mere necessary casualties, as no one is above the mission.Overall: 9.2 Recommendation: Buy

Wolverine Vs Blade Special #1 (Marvel) – I will keep this one sweet and short. GO BUY NOW!!! The art by Wilkins alone is rather impressive with shades of influence from Alex Ross and Jim Lee. If that is not your cup of tea, than the story of a vampire cult turning mutants into vampires which both Wolverine and Blade with the help of Doctor Strange must find and destroy. 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 7/13

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.

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Logan

Second Coming #1 (Ahoy)**- Some might find Mark Russell and Richard Pace’s portrayal of the Old Testament God as a wine swilling, fried chicken devouring misanthrope blasphemous. But I find his ideas both funny and profound beginning with the Garden of Eden’s “forbidden fruit” being shaped like genitals. There’s a lot of ideas in Second Coming #1, but his portrayal of Jesus is as a man full of empathy, who genuinely cares about his father’s creation. For now, his interactions with the violent superhero Sunstar comes across like an old Hawk and Dove comic, but Russell gives Sunstar a sensitive side because he can’t have kids with his girlfriend and keeps missing adoption consultations because of his life as a hero. On the other hand, Russell’s Jesus is the most emotionally captivating and likable comics protagonist of 2019 thanks to Pace’s roughly inked flashback story about him and his friend Shimon, who he takes in and teaches him carpentry. Second Coming #1 is a wonderful exploration of perceptions of Jesus Christ, organized religion, and belief with a side of the superhero genre and is a great conversation starter to boot. Overall: 9.5 Verdict: Buy

Event Leviathan #2 (DC)– In true drawing room detective fashion, we get our red herring, who happens to be the Red Hood. (And maybe throws a little shade on the Arkham Knight video game.) Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev continue to rehash the events of previous issues, but at least, there is some forward momentum thanks to the Question, Plastic Man, and most surprisingly, Sam Lane. I love the way the fight scene between Question and the Leviathan goon with plenty of cut up panels, dark shadows, and one hell of a final move. The scene with Plastic Man has some soul searching dialogue as Leviathan preys on the stretchy jokester’s insecurities. Bendis has a biting skill with dialogues, and he and Maleev can pace a conversation like a fight scene which comes in handy with Batman and Red Hood. There’s a lot of summarizing and the final page is obviously foreshadowed on like page 3, but overall this a pretty good comic especially in the art department. Overall: 7.6 Verdict: Read

Invisible Woman #1 (Marvel)– With sleek Phil Noto-esque art from Mattia De Iulis, Mark Waid tries his hardest to differentiate the Invisible Woman solo from Fantastic Four beginning with a cold open set in a fictional Eastern European country. This is a straight up spy book, and it’s fun to see De Iulis showcase Sue’s powers for all kinds of stealth moves and takedowns. Honestly, it’s like Incredibles 2 without the pesky husband and kids, and that was a decent movie so Invisible Woman #1 is a decent comic and a final page guest star/setting shift set up an intriguing team-up for issue two. Overall: 8 Verdict: Buy

Invisible Woman #1 (Marvel)– With sleek Phil Noto-esque art from Mattia De Iulis, Mark Waid tries his hardest to differentiate the Invisible Woman solo from Fantastic Four beginning with a cold open set in a fictional Eastern European country. This is a straight up spy book, and it’s fun to see De Iulis showcase Sue’s powers for all kinds of stealth moves and takedowns. Honestly, it’s like Incredibles 2 without the pesky husband and kids, and that was a decent movie so Invisible Woman #1 is a decent comic and a final page guest star/setting shift set up an intriguing team-up for issue two. Overall: 8 Verdict: Buy

Avengers #21 (Marvel)– In the first post-War of the Realms Avengers issue, Jason Aaron and Jason Masters tell the story of most of the Avengers hanging out in a hot tub and talking about their feelings while Black Panther deals with Phil Coulson and his nationalist hit team aka the Squadron Supreme of America. Honestly, these kind of issues are my favorite parts of superhero stories, and it’s not just because a lot of this comic is Tony Stark making, er, Mjolnir jokes at Thor while they’re both naked in a hot tub. Except for the Squadron bits, which are really tense and move the team to the top of the Avengers; current baddies, Aaron uses the issue to take stock on how this team has started to bond in an unlikely way. I mean, Ghost Rider and Captain Marvel are fishing for fire sharks, and Blade and She-Hulk are flirting clumsily with each other. This issue is a lot of fun, and it’s nice to chill out with the Avengers Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and take a break from the punching and a villain that is a kiss of death for superheroes. (See One More Day) Overall: 8.2 Verdict: Buy

Thor #15 (Marvel)– Jason Aaron and Mike Del Mundo spend this issue rounding off some of the character arcs they’ve constructed in the latest volume of the series. Thor spends most of the issue struggling with if he feels worthy enough to be All-Father,and Del Mundo’s big compositions are perfect for soul searching. However, he realizes that by working hard to earn his status as a god and the respect of his people that he will stay worthy. This issue also features some scenes with Freyja and Odin, who have been written well recently by Aaron, and their reactions to the redemption of Loki and the rise of Thor. There’s one scene featuring a hug that is one of the finest of Aaron’s full run even though Del Mundo’s strength is epic battles and layouts and not subtle emotion. And while this is happening, Hela devises a fate for Malekith in the afterlife that are similar to the contrapassos (poetic justice) that Dante gaves his sinners in Inferno as he gets a painfully fitting fate for a character whose only character trait is starting war. Although, this is a “clean up” issue and the visuals aren’t perfect, Aaron’s arc with Thor Odinson continues to be a delight. Overall: 7.8 Verdict: Buy

Venom #16 (Marvel)– After a War of the Realms interlude, Donny Cates is back on Venom with a fill-in artist Juan Gedeon. This issue is about a broke, symbiote-less Eddie Brock trying to get some money for food/medicine for his son. Cates and Gedeon give readers a glimpse of Eddie’s old life as a reporter at the Daily Globe, but then they dive back into the old ultraviolence. Even though he doesn’t have a symbiote, Eddie sees Venom every time he throws a punch or bites a guys arm off, and it’s kind of a shorthand for a fight scene. Venom #16 is a lethal protector-type one off story, but it’s really just a palate cleanser before Absolute Carnage and doesn’t add much beyond some freaky imagery and a reminder that Eddie actually had a life before Venom or going on the run as a fugitive. Overall: 6 Verdict: 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 7/7

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.


Logan

Lois Lane #1 (DC)– It’s been my theory that Lois Lane’s exploits as an investigative reporter would be more interesting than any superhero, and Greg Rucka, Mike Perkins, and Paul Mounts partially prove me wrong. Lane gets to confront an ersatz version of Sarah Huckabee Sanders about making money of concentration camps at the US border as well as send a mystery character to chase a lead about a journalist in Russia being poisoned. Perkins and Mounts go for smokey noir with their visuals with plenty of shadows, liquor bottles, parking lot rendez vous, and even a steamy shower hookup with Superman. Even if Rucka’s plot has yet to find its focus, his take on Lois Lane is whip smart and definitely the most dangerous woman alive as one stroke of her keyboard or pointed question at a press conference can make the powerful tremble as she speaks truth. Overall: 8 Verdict: Buy

Doom Patrol: Weight of the Worlds #1 (DC/Young Animal)– Doom Patrol is back and weirder than ever thanks to Gerard Way, Jeremy Lambert, and James Harvey. In this new issue, the team rescues a planet from working itself out to death while Cliff Steele struggles with being mortal again and “not real”. Harvey’s art is dream-like while Way and Lambert using the ancient device of editor captions reintroduce the team and do body positivity the Doom Patrol way. The main story feels very much like an old superhero done in one while Cliff Steele’s story is more emotionally devastating with James Harvey using a gritty art style and big Frank Miller style grids to show how he deals with his mom rejecting him. This creates tension in the series, but the rest is one big, strange adventure from Way, Lambert, and Harvey. Overall: 9 Verdict: Buy

No One Left to Fight #1 (Dark Horse)– Aubrey Sitterson and Fico Ossio have created the comic for people who ask, “Why the hell are they still making Dragon Balls decades later?” and “Thank God, Naruto finally ended?” No One Left to Fight is a loving riff on fight manga with power punching art from Ossio and good sense of self-awareness from Sitterson as the world saving hero Vale reunites with his old friend, wife, and kids. However, his friend think he’s flirting with his wife, is jealous that his kids fight over who wants to play as Vale in their background games, and this leads to lots of tension and awkwardness punctuated by epic fighting moves. No One Left to Fight is the perfect fusion of shonen and slice of life and has hyperactive visuals to go with its life insights. Overall: 8.6 Verdict: Buy

Charlie’s Angels vs. Bionic Woman #1 (Dynamite)– I don’t see the appeal in either the Charlie’s Angels (Ok, Kristen Stewart looks pretty rad in the latest reboot.) or Bionic Woman franchise, and Charlie’s Angels vs. Bionic Woman #1 didn’t change my mind. Soo Lee has a luscious art style that works for the characters’ outfits and driving scenes with a great use of speed lines any time Jaime Sommers does something out of the ordinary. However, Cameron DeOrdio’s story fails to get me interested in these characters and this world beyond the occasional secret agent trope and cheeky quip like one of the Angels flirting with a government employee to get access. It’s a paint by numbers spy story, and the cast of characters aren’t well-differentiated enough for me to keep my interest with the exception of some weird speaking pattern things for Bionic Woman. Overall: 5.0 Verdict: Pass

Ryan C

Lois Lane #1 (DC) ** The Daily Planet meets “All The President’s Men” — or women — in this fun, smart, briskly-paced suspense thriller that teams Lois with the Rene Montoya iteration of The Question. Solid scripting from Greg Rucka, lush Lee Bermejo-esque art from Mike Perkins — all in all, a very promising debut. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Doom Patrol: Weight Of The Worlds #1 (DC/Young Animal) ** After spiraling down from “high weirdness” to “highly annoying” in the last arc, the new DP run gets things off on the right foot with a tight core cast, a fun Danny-centric premise, and even anhomage to Frank Miller’s “The Dark Knight Returns.” Maybe it’s the addition of co-writer Jeremy Lambert or new artist James Harvey, or maybe it’s just Gerard Way getting a new jolt of creative energy, but whatever the case may be, this comic really works. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Female Furies #6 (DC)** Cecil Castellucci and Adriana Melo wrap up their revisionist look at the “Fourth World” as feminist parable with a generally satisfying — and certainly well-drawn — conclusion, but I dunno. It all seems a bit too pat and we all know how things really turned out since this story is set so far back in the past. I love a happy ending, and it was great to see the women finally come out on top. but it all comes together just a bit too quickly and conveniently. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Read

The Wild Storm #24 (DC/WildStorm)** Speaking of middling conclusions, Warren Ellis and Jon Davis-Hunt deliver a rather subdued finish to this two-year-long story, with maybe a few too many loose ends to completely satisfy most readers. The art’s, terrific, that’s for sure, but as “final chapters” go, this one’s a little bit of a let-down. Not bad, but just — not quite everything it could have been. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Read

Shean

Star Wars Target Vader #1 (Marvel) When Vader and the Emperor get whim that an arms dealer is stealing from the Empire and selling to the Rebellion, something neither can stand for. As Vader sent to find every faction of this arms dealer known only as The Hidden Hand. The Hidden Hand is also aware that Vader is looking for them and decides to hire Beilert Valance and ragtag team of hired guns to kill Vader. By issue’s end, we find out Valance has a personal history with Vader and the Rebellion has their own plans. Overall: 9.6 Recommendation: Buy

Star Wars: Age of Rebellion Finn#1 (Marvel)– In a prequel tale of Finn as an Empire Stormtrooper, we find the same character but before he knew who he was. As we soon find out that his job in the Empire was waste protection, this changes one say when Captain Phasma requests his skill set. As he is recruited it get rid of an infestation, one which Phasma has grossly underestimated. By issue’s end, Finn becomes the vigilant hero tee know him to be in the movies, doing the right thing even when it’s hard. Overall: 9.6 Recommendation: Buy


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

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

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 6/29

Sometimes, the staff at Graphic Policy read more comics than we’re able to get reviewed. When that happens you’ll see a weekly feature compiling short reviews from the staff of the comics, or graphic novels, we just didn’t get a chance to write a full review for.

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Ryan C

Batman: Damned #3 (DC/Black Label)** – Remember this thing? Well, it’s back, just in time to finally end. Brian Azzarello puts forth minimal “effort” on the script, Lee Bermejo busts his ass on the art, and the end result is some seriously middling stuff. They probably should have just released it as a wordless art portfolio, as the dialogue and captions just clutter up the grim-but-beautiful pictures. Overall: 5 Recommendation: Give it a look, but not a read. 

Detective Comics #1006 (DC)** – Another one that would have been better served released sans script, as Peter Tomasi’s Batman/Spectre team-up is an absolutely unreadable mess, but Kyle Hotz just plain kills it on the art. What’s with the Bat-books this week, anyway? Same story as far as the scoring goes for this one. Overall: 4 Recommendation: Give it a look, but not a read

Major X #6 (Marvel) **– The big draw for this final issue is Rob Liefeld returning to handle the art as well as the scripting duties. And, of course, that’s the big problem, as well. A comic that’s exactly what you think it is. Overall: 2 Recommendation: Pass

X-Men Grand Design: X-Tinction #2 (Marvel) **– This, too, is exactly what you think it is — only in this case that means it’s absolutely great. Sorry to see Ed Piskor’s “X-history” come to an end, but what a breathtakingly refreshing take on it all this series has been. Marvel needs to give this guy another grand-scale project ASAP. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Shean

X Men Grand Design: Xtinction #2 ( Marvel) – Ed Piskor is at it again with the second issue of this monumental book, giving readers snapshots from the X-men’s vast history. As I am fan of his, and what he is doing in this book, I wholeheartedly recommend this book. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Star Wars Age of Rebellion: Darth Vader #1 (Marvel) – In probably the most interesting story from this series, we finally get a solo Darth Vader story. As Vader finds his way, a power hungry Governor tries to show him up in front of the Emperor. As he gets sent on a few missions where if it was not the villain we know, he would have been killed by now. By issue’s end, he gets rid of a threat and the Governor and ultimately gaining favor with The Emperor once again. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Logan

Marilyn Manor #1 (IDW/Black Crown)– Marilyn Manor #1 is a high concept comic about the First Daughter throwing a New Wave rager in the White House while her parents are gone. Magdalene Visaggio writes the protagonist Marilyn as a little bit insufferable and a little bit of a rebel hero while Marley Zarcone nails the period fashions and nooks and crannies of the White House. Irma Kniivila’s flat colors fit the tone of story too, and there’s a really expensive 1980s music video vibe to some of the ways the panels are staged like when Marilyn is laying in JFK and her namesake Marilyn Monroe’s old love nest. Marilyn Manor has a lot of energy and a fun tone, but the first issue lacks a real hook for the rest of the series beyond the party and some supernatural stuff. Overall: 7.7 Verdict: Read

Wolverine Exit Wounds #1 (Marvel) Three legendary Wolverine creators, Larry Hama, Chris Claremont, and Sam Kieth, return to tell stories about him with the help of artists Scot Eaton and Salvador Larroca. Hama and Eaton’s story, which is set in the Weapon X days, is the most long winded and least memorable as Dr. Cornelius triggers Wolverine’s past memories to make him kill a bear without remorse. The story is an okay dark Wolverine yarn, but Eaton is unfortunately no Barry Windsor-Smith. In the second story, Claremont and Larroca, who is sporting a looser and less stiff art style, check in with Wolverine and Kitty Pryde in Japan as he protects the secrets of ramen recipe from some gangsters. The story is fun because you get to see Wolverine make ramen even if the “twist” at the end is a bit of head scratcher. It’s nice to see Wolverine settle back into his classic role as ronin even if Kitty Pryde is annoying as hell. The final story is the best one as Kieth writes and draws a simple one on one battle between Wolverine and Venom. There’s violence, wacky proportions, and the fight is choreographed like a dance. Kieth even gets to use his painted style in one of the best depictions of Wolverine’s berserker rage. Overall: 7.3 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 (**).

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 6/22

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.


Logan

Glow #2 (IDW)– I wish to bestow this book with the highest compliment you can give a licensed comic: I wish it was a plotline on the Glow TV show. Tini Howard and Hannah Templer pit the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling against La Prima, who are wrestlers being wrestlers, not actors being wrestlers. This issue is full of attempts at bonding with their opponents as Ruth wants to prove that they’re legit. The best character beat is Carmen sharing a sweet moment and some power bomb lessons with Desdemona, who is from a family of luchadors and is someone she can relate to. As far as visuals, Templer hits that sweet spot between capturing characters likenesses and being expressive for dramatic or (mostly) comedy purposes. Howard has a fantastic handle on all these women’s voices, and this comic is the perfect thing to tide fans over who are waiting for Glow Season 3 as well as a swan song to their Southern California days. Overall: 8.8 Verdict: Buy

Superman Year One #1 (DC/Black Label)– Woo, the discourse has been spicy about Superman Year One, but Frank Miller’s poetic inner monologue nails Clark’s adolescent discomfort with his abilities and status as an alien on Earth. I got a press copy of the comic, but actually want to pony up the dough to get a physical copy because I want to see how John Romita Jr’s wide open panels and muscular poses look in the prestige format.Also, Clark joining the navy is a smart bit of revisionism because to many young people in rural areas, the military seems to be the best way to escape their small towns and see the world. I might be reading too much into it, but it’s clever foreshadowing at Superman’s future role as a weapon of war/Reagan stooge in Dark Knight Returns. (I would love to see Miller/Romita’s take on Superman and Batman’s 1st meeting.) Rating: 9.0 Overall Verdict: Buy

Excellence #2 (Image)– Brandon Thomas and Khary Randolph craft an intoxicating world of magic, consequences, legacy, and daddy issues in Excellence #2. The protagonist, Spencer, has just come into his own as a magic user and earned a rare hug from his dad when his grandmother becomes ill, and there’s nothing he can do. Or is there. Excellence is a comic about breaking boundaries and hierarchies, and the connection between magic and emotion. It perfectly fits Randolph’s high energy art style and Emilio Lopez’s crescendo of colors. I really felt for Spencer throughout this comic as his main fear isn’t losing his powers, but his father’s disapproval. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Elana

Glow #2 (IDW) Can’t wait for more of the humor, warmth, wild 80s wrestling aesthetics and believable women’s community of the Netflix show GLOW? This comic is absolutely for us! Writer Tini Howard perfectly channels the voice of each character in the show. It’s truly uncanny. Is she in the writers room? Can she be? Artist Hannah Templer has a lively style and her take on the costumes and clothes is exuberant, fun and 80s as hell. This month’s issue focuses on Carmen and gives her a chance to succeed in a space where the other women are fumbling. It’s gratifying and fun.
Recommendation: Must read! 

Ryan C

Superman: Year One #1 (DC)** – As bad as you’ve heard. Maybe even worse. Is it okay to hope this version of Clark Kent gets killed in combat when he joins the navy? Also, “Year One”? Huh? This issue alone covers like 18 years of his life. I’m done talking about — hell, even thinking about — this thing. Overall: 0 Recommendation: Pass. I purchased my copy. That was a stupid idea.

American Carnage #8 (DC/Vertigo)** – This series has been great, and with just one issue left, Bryan Hill and Leandro Fernandez are setting the stage for a barn-burner of a conclusion. If you’ve been passing on this in singles, get the trade — and if Vertigo’s going out, as rumored, at least it’s going out with a bang. Not that anyone’s really paying attention. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Clue: Candlestick #3 (IDW)** – Dash Shaw is doing more just-plain clever and inventive stuff with this modest three-parter than mainstream comics have seen in forever. Superb cartooning that I dearly hope gets more folks to pay attention to his small-press work. This guy is the real deal. Overall: 10. Recommendation: Buy

Batman #73 (DC)** – Mikel Janin delivers some astonishing art here, particularly with a double-page spread that’ll knock your socks off. Tom King mails in a lazy script that wastes a rather intriguing “Batman and his dad in the desert” premise. You know the drill by now. Overall: 5 Recommendation: Look at it, then put it back on the comic store shelf.


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

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

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 6/15

Sometimes, the staff at Graphic Policy read more comics than we’re able to get reviewed. When that happens you’ll see a weekly feature compiling short reviews from the staff of the comics, or graphic novels, we just didn’t get a chance to write a full review for.

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Ryan C

Silver Surfer: Black #1 (Marvel) **– There’s no sadder statement on the current state of comics than the fact that more readers seemed excited by the prospect of Donny Cates WRITING the Silver Surfer than they were about Tradd Moore DRAWING the Silver Surfer. Well, this first issue should shovel dirt on the notion that the writer is the “star” of this book, because Cates serves up an absolute go-nowhere mediocrity of a script, while Moore absolutely kills it with his mind-boggling, phantasmagoric art. A visual feast and a literary snooze that loses two full points for Cates’ nauseating postscript page where he says than the Surfer was “Stan Lee’s favorite of all his creations.” News flash, “company man” Cates : Lee had nothing to do with creating the Surfer and even said he was surprised to first see him inserted into a story and wondered who he was and how and why Jack Kirby came up with him — then, of course, he went on to take credit for creating him anyway. Confused overall score for this one: 3. Recommendation: Buy it anyway, but solely for the art. And fuck anyone who says Jack Kirby didn’t create the Silver Surfer — or pretty much the rest of the entire Marvel universe, for that matter.

The King

The Immortal Hulk #19 (Marvel) ** – I have no idea how Al Ewing and Joe Bennett are managing to maintain such a high standard on a book that comes out twice a month, but damn if they aren’t doing precisely that, and this issue sees more of the horrific transformation of Betty Ross counter-balanced with a hell of a fight between the big green guy and the latest iteration of The Abomination. Solid script, spectacular art, consistently one of the best “Big Two” comics around. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Detective Comics #1005 (DC) ** – About the best you can say for the poorly-conceived and incompetently-scripted “Medieval” storyline is that, hey, at least as of this issue it’s finally over. Brad Walker’s art remains nice, but Peter J. Tomasi just embarrassed himself with this arc, and ends it with his most poorly-written issue yet, loaded with cumbersome expository dialogue, wooden characterization, and the most dull-as-dry-toast “climax” you’ll ever see. Overall: 1 Recommendation: Pass

Event Leviathan #1 (DC) ** – I guess in order to understand what the fuck is going on here, you need to have purchased that absurd 10 dollar “Superman” lead-in book a few weeks back, and since I didn’t — I was extremely hard pressed to find any reason to buy into the proceedings in this book. Alex Maleev’s art is nice, but Brian Michael Bendis writes his DC characters just like he wrote his Marvel characters, which is to say — not very well at all, and interchangeably. No need to ride out this one, as it seems exceptionally lousy even by the low standards we all have for these “crossover” events. Overall: 3 Recommendation: Pass

Logan

Jughead’s Time Police #1 (Archie)– Sina Grace and Derek Charm remind readers that Archie isn’t just a horror publisher in Jughead’s Time Police, which features the wacky humor of the late, great Jughead ongoing with a sci-fi twist. The premise is that Jughead wants to go back in time to add a special ingredient to his lemon meringue pie so he isn’t disqualified from the contest. Of course, it goes horribly wrong. (That’s what you get when your dog ends up doing all the math/physics part.) Charm continues to show why he’s one of the most underrated comics artists with his aesthetically pleasing, cartoonish art style, and Grace nails the brisk slice of life pace of the first issue. This is probably the first Archie comic to mention Jenny Lewis. Overall: 8.5 Verdict: Buy

Shean

Silver Surfer Black #1( Marvel) I will keep this one sweet and short. For the most part, this book really feels Blah. This script reads like an acid trip with Silver Surfer doing a crap load of brooding. The art by Moore is a gem though, as every character looks new especially Beta Ray Bill and definitely Silver Surfer whose look got the gloss finish that you would think he would have in real life. Overall, I would wait for the TPB. Overall: 5 Recommendation: Wait for the Trade

Star Wars Age of Rebellion Luke Skywalker #1 (Marvel) In a tale where Luke Skywalker’s path as a Jedi is tested, he becomes who we see in The Last Jedi. As he is sent on a mission where the Emperor sees it as prime opportunity to turn him to the dark side. As he leans into the same rage as Anakin more than a few times but never gives in completely. By issue’s end, he and his commanding officer save a colony and he gives all the credit to him. Overall: 8.8 Recommendation: Buy

Joe Ryan

Silver Surfer Black #1 (Marvel) – When you give me Donny Cates and Tradd Moore, you’ve got my interest. Add Silver Surfer, and you’ve raised my interest. This book is a crazy yet beautiful psychedelic trip through space with the usual Donny Cates tense cliffhangers that makes you want the next issue right away. The way this book connects to another book of his by the end is exciting. Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

The Immortal Hulk #19 (Marvel) – Ewing and Bennett keep raising the bar on the insane story between the covers of this comic. This book steps on the gas even harder and by the end crashes and burns in the best way. The final page had my eyes wide and my mouth opened in shock. Another must buy. Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

The Batman Who Laughs #6 (DC) – Snyder had one of my favorite Batman runs on his New 52 run. This continues his over the top “the world is going to end”, destroy everything style in great fashion. This is straight out of Snyder’s Metal event, and follows that craziness with the fantastic artist who did Black Mirror with him, Jock. One more issue to go! Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy


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

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

« Older Entries