Category Archives: Mini Reviews

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 4/14

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

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Alex

redline2Redline #2 (Oni Press) I’m always surprised when I come across a series like this that is so far from my normal stomping grounds, and yet I enjoy it so much. Despite being set on Mars, the story has more in common with a hardboiled detective story – and I’m a huge fan of the blended story and setting. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Old Man Logan #21 (Marvel)** I really enjoyed this issue’s look back at some of the events in Logan’s past, although the inclusion of the War of 1812 seems to be a good 50 years before his birth (at least according to the Origin miniseries), but since I’ve always been fond of Logan being much older than we realize, I don’t mind that at all. And hey, maybe Old Man Logan was born a hundred odd years before the currently deceased 616 Logan? Either way, this was a significant upswing after #20. Overall: 8.25 Recommendation: Buy 

Weapon X #1 (Marvel) I’ve read more X-Men related comics this week than I have in a long time; this was a solid first issue that leaves plenty of questions unanswered while giving fans the clawed fights we’re expecting. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

X-Men Blue #1 (Marvel) Another great first issue; as somebody who hasn’t kept up with the X-Men too much in recent years, this was a perfect introductory issue to the young X-Men. A really good read, with a back up story that got me really excited for the future. I’ll be getting this in trade form when it’s released. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Ryan C

Rockstars #5 (Image)** – Joe Harris and Megan Hutchison’s “rock music urban legends” series had sort of devolved into a whirlwind of poorly-thought-through nonsense for the past few issues after a very solid start, but this concluding segment of their first arc Rockstars_01-1redeems the proceedings somewhat by wrapping up the main story in an intriguing fashion that sets up a common throughline for all that’s to come. Not bang-up stuff, by any means, but more competently-executed than what we’ve seen in recent months from this book, and the art remains flat-out superb. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Read

The Wicked + The Divine #28 (Image)** – Uhhhmmm, okay, guess I’ll just blurt it out : for an “end of arc” issue, this is decidedly tepid stuff, there’s just no nice way to dodge the subject. Yes, the status quo is shaken a bit — primarily in a flashback scene — but while Jamie McKelvie’s art remains as lush and gorgeous as ever, Kieron Gillen’s scripts are starting to be pretty damn predictable and his “too-cool-for-school” authorial voice has gone from cute to cloying without passing go and collecting its $200. An empty exercise in style over substance that continues what has surely become a pattern by this point. Maybe that’s an inherent problem with a series predicated entirely on being “fresh” and “in the now” — by the time you’ve been at it for a few years, your “now” silently passes you by. No one seems to want to say it, but Gillen’s entire shtick here is hopelessly stale. Overall: 4 Recommendation: Pass

Copperhead #12 (Image)** – Jay Faerber and new artist Drew Moss continue to move the story along nicely here with a new murder mystery to chew over and a change in the balance of power between our two main protagonists that ramps up the already-extant tension quite a bit, but damn — I still miss Scott Godlewski, and who knows? Maybe I always will. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

Harrow County #22 (Dark Horse)** – Cullen Bunn seems to have regained his enthusiasm for this series after some obvious wavering a few months back, and now we’ve got some serious strain threatening to break the one actual friendship that’s on offer here, plus a “how to see a ghost” trope that’s clever enough to make the likes of Stephen King proud. Who are we kidding, though? It’s Tyler Crook’s sumptuous, flowing, watercolor art that’s the star of the show on this title, and as long as he’s around, I will be, too. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Shean

Deadpool Vs Punisher#1 (Marvel) – In this first issue, we catch up with Frank and Wade as they are both maligned to their everyday lives. Frank is looking for an arms dealer who deals in special bullets. Wade is busy working a protection detail for a X-Men-Blue-ResurrXionmillionaire.Little do they both know, they are both secretly looking for the same person.
Overall: 9.2 Recommendation: Buy

Black Panther and The Crew #1 (Marvel)-In this very first issue of the Crew’s return, the reader gets tossed right into the frying pan.As the death of an original member of the Crew, from back in the 50s, when they were known as the Mission, gets killed by some crooked cops. This has charged Harlem as one of their elders have been killed and Misty Knight us in the case. As she gets closer to the truth, she gets some unexpected help. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

X-Men Blue #1 (Marvel)– what plays out like an episode of Wolverine And The X-men, we find Beast in the same role as Logan in that TV show. We find Beast bringing younger versions of the original X-men into the future, as he fears a war amongst mutants. It always interesting to see familiar characters at a different stage of their lives then what we are used to, which was what makes X-men First Class so good.I just hope they get more into their psychological battles, as this first issue, feels like a primer when it should read like a prequel. 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 (**).

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Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 4/8

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.

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Alex

NTW_Cv18_open_order_varBatman #20 (DC) Well I Am Bane is finally over. That’s a good thing. The comic… meh. Overall: 4 Recommendation: Pass

Iron Fist #2 (Marvel) I was not a huge fan of the first issue, but I came back for #2 because I’m enjoying the Netflix show… and I’m kinda glad that I did. Definitely an upward curve from the first issue for me, although the comic is basically one long kung fu fight. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

Nightwing #18 (DC) For as much as I hated Batman #20, I loved this issue. From the interplay between Dick and Damian, and the way the comic effortlessly brings back the vibe od their Batman and Robin run… Tim Seeley is writing the best biweekly Bat-book right now. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

X-Men Gold #1 (Marvel) Huh. Well, I’m surprised. This was in every way a throwback to the way I remembered the X-Men being – not that the same characters are in the book, but the themes are the same, and there’s some great down time… this is a helluva promising start. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Logan

Little Archie #1 (Archie Comics) It’s super adorable to see Art Baltazar’s fun crayon art style take on the Archie gang in Little Archie #1. This is definitely a throwback to classic Archie comics with wacky hijinks, Jughead’s crown hat, and Archie’s “R” sweater all Riverdale #1_FernandezVarmaking appearance. Some of the gags are overlong, but Baltazar and Franco throw in some clever references to Afterlife with Archie, and the fact that adults are pretty much useless in Riverdale. This comic is definitely geared to a younger audience, but is worth a read if you’re missing old school Archie. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

Riverdale #1 (Archie Comics) Joe Eisma’s stylish artwork breathes some life into a couple lightweight stories about “Hell Week” for Riverdale High’s cheerleading and football teams. Writers Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Will Ewing, Michael Grassi roll every high school “prank” cliche into one comic book from near death experiences to streaking and of course, stealing an object from the rival school. Archie’s story centers around him helping out Moose, who I don’t think he’s spoken to the whole season while the Betty story is stronger because it focuses on her bond with Veronica. Seriously, Season 1 of Riverdale isn’t over, and they’re already coming up with an Expanded Universe in the comics. There really isn’t much of a sandbox to work with. Overall: 5.5 Recommendation: Pass

Jughead #14 (Archie Comics) Unfortunately, Ryan North’s time writing the coolest of teens is over. But he goes out it the comic book equivalent of the dankest of all memes skewering Internet culture in a joke dense way. And along the way, North and artist Derek Charm (Who is staying on the book) shore up the friendship between Betty and Jughead, roast Archie, and craft the most intimidating Veronica yet. This comic is worth picking up for the double page spread of Jughead becoming various overused Internet memes alone and its quirky self-aware take on the Archie mythos will definitely be missed as a new creative team takes over. (Hopefully, Veronica will still have a “hunk budget”.) Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Ryan C

RockCandyMountain_01-1Batman #20 (DC)**  So that’s “I Am Bane,” huh? A fist-fight that Batman wins with a well-timed head-butt (whoops, spoilers). Issue after issue of buildup for — this? Tom King and David Finch have really bottomed out on this book; time for some new blood. Overall: 1 Recommendation: Pass.

Rock Candy Mountain #1 (Image)**  Kyle Starks is a superb cartoonist whose work has always reminded me more than a bit of the legendary James Sturm, and Sturm himself would, I think, be more than pleased to see his “spiritual successor” turn his keen artistic eye toward early-20th century “hobo culture.” Amazingly well-drawn and written with a real ear for dialogue authenticity, this is indie comics at their best, and I can’t recommend it highly enough. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Eleanor & The Egret #1 (Aftershock)**  John Layman is a natural to write this off-kilter historical art-heist “caper,” and Sam Kieth’s art is as sumptuous as ever. Top it off with lush colors from Ronda Pattison, and you’ve got a winner that will leave you grinning from ear to ear. My only gripe is that the story is a bit on the slight side, but on the whole this was a joy to both read and look at. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

The Flintstones #10 (DC)**  Mark Russell and Steve Pugh can do no wrong with this book in my opinion, and it looks as though we’re going to get the series’ first (and, sadly, only) multi-part story spread over the last few issues here. The Trump comparisons are getting more obvious than ever with Bedrock’s inept, stupid mayor, which is a ton of fun, but there’s some serious heartbreak in these pages too as a beloved member of the cast meets his end. Yes, this comic will make you laugh — it always does — but don’t be too surprised if you shed a tear this time around as well. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Shean

america2America #2 (Marvel) I will keep this one to a few words:funny, meta and nothing like it in the Marvel Universe. We catch up with America after she punches Hitler. Definitely a different voice at Marvel that not only is entertaining but woke. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Star Wars: Rogue One Adaptation #1 (Marvel) There’s something truly wondrous about when adaptations get the story right in the minds of its most rabid fans. This is exactly what happened when the minds at Marvel decided to tackle the first spinoff from the Star Wars universe, as this captures all the moments that the were spoken about in online fodder about the missing moments. What makes it even more authentic, is the blessing of the director and the screenwriter. The most pivotal scene to me that they cut out is the crisis of conscience that Gail Erso undergoes and what he entrusts Bodhi with, makes you understand why Bodhi was so committed to meeting Saw Gerrera. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Spider-Man /Deadpool #16 (Marvel) This book get funnier with every issue. This time we follow this crazy duo to Latvia to battle Shiklah. So they recruit Dracula into the fight but with some ribbing of him and his human slave. By issue’s end, a fight between both forces ensues. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

 

 



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

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

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 4/1

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.

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Alex

old man logan 20

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

Joe

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

SSBS_Cv1_open_order_varSuicide 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

Logan

DeadlyClass_27-1Deadly 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

Patrick

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_26-1Lazarus #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

Ryan C

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.

ASC_ANIMOSITY_06_DIGITAL_EXCLUSIVE
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

Shean

X_MEN_PRIME__1X-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 (**).

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 3/25

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

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Alex

batman beyond 6Batman Beyond #6 (DC) Can Batman afford to have a personal life? That question is asked in this issue, and the dual stories are interwoven brilliantly.  Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Black Hammer #7 (Dark Horse) At one point, I really enjoyed the slow build up of Black Hammer but it’s beginning to feel as though the slow build up is building to nothing. I’m not giving up on the series yet, but I’m getting close. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read if you’ve come this far.

Hulk #4 (Marvel) The fourth issue in, and we still haven’t seen the Hulk yet. Personally, I love the tension that’s just beneath the surface of an enjoyable tale about a lawyer, and watching the build up toward the inevitable explosion is fantastic. I haven’t enjoyed a Hulk comic so much in years. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Iron Fist #1 (Marvel) I picked this up entirely because I didn’t mind the Netflix series,  and I wanted to read some Iron Fist. Is it the best Iron Fist I could have read? I hope not. I’m sure there are better stories out there with Danny Rand in them – but if you want something new, then this iisn’t bad; it’s worth a read at the very least. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Read

The Unworthy Thor #5 (Marvel) Well this was nothing if not anticlimactic. At least we got some more Thori, but not enough to justify purchasing an issue that doesn’t offer much. Although there may be reason for the collectors and speculators to pick this up… but I doubt it. Overall: 5 Recommendation: Pass

 

Joe

IRON_FIST__1Iron Fist #1 (Marvel) – If you are looking for a classic, fun Kung-Fu movie comic book, then that is exactly what this series is. In this first issue, Danny finds himself fighting and beating a ton of people before a real challenger takes him on in a bar. It feels like an over the top cliché eighties action movie, and where the book leaves us could be interesting. I am not sure what identity this run is going for, but the first issue was a decent start. I do feel at this point, an Asian Iron Fist would be a refreshing and welcoming perspective. We’ve had a ton of Danny stories, and while I’m not for pushing the old characters out across the board, I welcome something a little more authentic for this title. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Read

Patrick

Stray Bullets #22 (Image/El Capitan)**  Not going to spoil anything, just gonna say that this motel room is getting crowded and not everyone who’s in it is conscious or in their own clothes. From the second-last page: “SO!… We will have some fun now, eh? You should wear protection.” Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Batman/TMNT Adventures #5 (IDW/DC)** The absolute highlight of this is the perfect two-page opening sequence to Batman: TAS featuring Michelangelo in a Batman costume made of garbage bags. Matthew K. Manning and Jon Sommariva could do a Michelangelo & Robin TMNTBatman_05_cvrRIongoing in this universe and I and my 5-year-old son would be happy as clams. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Curse Words #3 (Image)  Has this already run out of steam? There was, like, one good idea in this issue: Wizord, having lost his magic, attempts to drown his sorrows. Margaret, his magic koala, takes him to a screening of Titanic, which shows W. that there is magic in mundane New York City. But it’s all so snarky and smug. Stop this world, I wanna get off. Overall: 6 (Ryan Browne’s art is boss) Recommendation: Skip

Descender #20 (Image) Some people just don’t know when to leave tragedy alone, as Jeff Lemire brings Driller back after sending him off last issue in a genuinely touching manner. What is it with Canadians and refusing tragedy? I still hate John Byrne for bringing back Jean Grey. Anyhow. I maintain that Descender, like many Jeff Lemire comics, works best when it focuses on character moments and loses itself in its own plot – which is fairly paint-by-numbers. But oh, man, that Dustin Nguyen art. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Skip

Ryan C

Iron Fist #1 (Marvel)** Ed Brisson and Mike Perkins do their best stylistic imitation of Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo’s “Before Watchmen : Rorschach” with this issue, there’s just one problem — “Before Watchmen : Rorschach” was a lousy comic. Insubstantial, breezy, and ultimately dull reading, this feels like a three- or four-page opening scene spread out to fill the whole comic. Overall: 3 Recommendation: Pass.

Foolkiller #5 (Marvel)** Max Bemis and Dalibor Talajic wrap up their quickly-cancelled series with a final chapter that ties up all loose ends in a surprisingly satisfactory manner, especially given how quickly the axe fell on this book. In fact, it seems like a fairly natural, if less than awe-inspiring, conclusion. Still, I was sorry to see one-time Foolkiller Kurt rebels free and independent states 1.jpgGerhardt — nah, that would be telling. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Read

Ringside #9 (Image)** Joe Keatinge and Nick Barber’s infrequent-at-best wrestling series returns with an issue that feels very much like an afterthought to its creators and advances its main storylines very little. Internal logical gaps (such as two would-be henchmen being interviewed and the head honcho asking when they’d get around to finally hiring a second one? Then firing the first on the spot?) stand out like sore thumbs in Keatinge’s script, and Barber’s art continues its downward spiral, becoming looser and sloppier with each issue. If the people making this book don’t care any more, why should we? Overall: 1 Recommendation: Pass

Rebels: These Free And Independent States #1 (Dark Horse)** Great to see Brian Wood and Andrea Mutti return to their Revolutionary War series with this five-parter that shines a spotlight on the family of original protagonist Seth Abbott, particularly his precocious, maritime-obsessed son, who sure is advanced for a ten-year-old, and by issue’s end has already landed his dream job — or has he? We’re used to strong writing and striking art in “Rebels,” and this is arguably the most well-executed installment yet. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Shean

Iron Fist #1 (Marvel) Growing up I loved martial arts movies, and so did the creators of this book. The story has hints of Bloodsport and Enter the Dragon, but in a more modern world. We find Danny Rand in search of a fight worthy of his talents going from country to Magdelenav4-01_cvrAcountry. He issue’s end, Danny finds himself on a boat to a mysterious island. Overall: 9:4
Recommendation: Buy

Anno Dracula #1 (Titan) The Brilliant 1992 original novel spawns this pedestrian take on a dystopian horror past. I loved the original book, hoping this rekindle the same zest I had when I read it in high school. As all things from our youth, it invokes, the story feels of Syfy’s Van Helsing instead. Overall: 8:4 Recommendation: Borrow

Magdalena #1 (Top Cow) As an old Image Comics fan, I remember this character from the Darkness comic book, as they talked conspiracy theories before Dan Brown did. In this first issue,a lot has happened since those days, as this character is no longer affiliated with the Vatican, she is mortally wounded and has to find her spiritual heir, who has her own struggles. Altogether, a nice reintroduction to the character.Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy


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

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

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 3/18

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

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


 

Alex

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

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

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

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

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

Elana

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

Patrick

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

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

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

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

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

 

Ryan C

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

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

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

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

 

Shean

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

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

Batwoman#1 (DC)– Definitely one of the better reboots from The Big Two, as this spy thriller felt a little Iron Man/ James Bond -Ish as this has all the workings that one would expect of either character but as this gender switch deftly proves, it is even more interesting with a woman in this position. One should buy if you are enjoying Brubaker and Phillips “Velvet”, as Kate Kane is one smooth operator to be watched.
Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

 

 


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

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

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 3/11

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

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Alex

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

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

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

Joe

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

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

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

Patrick

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

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

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

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

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

Ryan C

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

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

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

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

Shean

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

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

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



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

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

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 3/25

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

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Alex

 

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

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

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

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

Ben

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

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

Joe

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

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

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

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

Logan

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

 

Ryan C

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

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

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

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

 

 



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

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

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 2/25

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

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Alex

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

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

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

Patrick

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

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

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

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

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

Ryan C

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

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

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

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

Shean

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

 



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

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

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 2/18

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

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Alex

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

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

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

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

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

Ben

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

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

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

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

Patrick

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

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

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

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

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

Ryan C

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

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

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

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

Shean

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

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

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

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


 


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

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

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 2/3

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

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Alex

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

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

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

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

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

Joe

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

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

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

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

Patrick

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

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

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

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

Ryan C

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

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

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

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

poagl1Shean

Planet Of The Apes/ Green Lanterns (Boom /DC)– When crossovers are done right , they can be as good as the Cannonball Run movie with Jackie Chan, and this book aims to do the same . We catch up with Cornelius shortly after the events of the last movie, where he is trying to find his friend, but instead stumbles an ancient ring, not from his world. Hal Jordan, Guy Gardner and Kilowog are firefight with some Red Lanterns when his unexpected run-in with Sinestro leaves him in a strange new world. Although, this issue is whole lot of setup , it is so much fun watching these deft explorations of both canons.  Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy


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

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

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