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Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 9/15

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

CemetaryBeach_01-1Wildstorm: Michael Cray #11 (DC/Wildstorm)** – This series has been an up-and-down ride, but with one issue to go, writer Bryan Hill and artist N. Steven Harris (with assists from Nelson Blake II) are ramping up toward what should at least be an interesting conclusion, as the Cthulhu-esque entity that’s been “sharing” protagonist Cray’s mind makes its presence fully felt. The finale will determine whether or not sticking with this one all the way through was a smart move, but for the time being it looks like it may just prove to be. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Cemetery Beach #1 (Image)** – The “Trees” team of Warren Ellis and Jason Howard re-unites for this sci-fi mystery thriller, and while I’m hesitant to get too wrapped up in this series given that their last one was essentially abandoned at the midway point, I have to admit that everything you want in a first issue is here : an inventive premise, strong characterization, crisp and dynamic art, plenty of action, and even some laughs. If they see this one through,who knows? This might just be something special. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

MCMLXXV #1 (Image)** – Blaxploitation meets kung-fu/ninja hijinks in this wildly fun debut from Joe Casey and Ian MacEwan, and while slowing down to think about what’s happening here reveals plenty of holes in the book’s internal logic, the good news is that the fluid, action-packed story — complete with some seriously great fight scenes — doesn’t give you a chance to even catch your breath, much less exercise your gray matter. A fantastic protagonist and an authentic mid-’70s New Tork “vibe” round out this impressive opening shot across the bow from two consistently-interesting creators. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

The Wicked + The Divine #39 (Image)** – I’d been really cool toward this arc in Kieran Gillen and Jamie McKelvie’s long-running series, feeling that it marked the point at which style finally overtook substance in the proceedings, but the last two issues — particularly this one — represent a complete 180 as surprises and consequential events aplenty are thrown at us fast and furious. Suddenly, I can’t wait for the final chapter in this saga, and everything going on between the comic’s covers feels new, fresh, and important all over again. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Logan

catwoman_3_5b993db5572f27.31025934.jpgCatwoman #3 (DC)– In Catwoman #3, Joelle Jones and guest flashback artist Fernando Blanco spend a little time on the backstory of the series’ villain, Raina Creel, who runs the town of Villa Hermosa. It’s tragic and filled with sex, lies, and power as Raina is a great counterpoint to Selina using her status as a “trophy wife” to run the town behind her husband’s back. The rest of the comic shows Selina pushing herself to the limit falling through broken glass onto a sports car and then still being able to prance on rooftops to make a mysterious appointment after a quick dip in the tub. Jones’ art continues to be the real draw of the series, and she can convey strength, weakness, or innocence (I think Selina’s host Carlos has a little crush on her.) through a glance, facial line, or body twitch. There’s something about Catwoman and crime thrillers that is just exciting, enjoyable, and a little tragic. Overall: 8.6 Verdict: Buy

Cemetery Beach #1 (Image)– Warren Ellis and Jason Howard’s new series Cemetery Beach is all action and no bullshit as a fast talking, should be faster running pathfinder and his badass assassin companion are on the run from a secret offworld colony’s goons and guards. Howard’s cartooning is splotchy and dynamic, and Ellis lets him cut loose with all kinds of shoot outs, explosions, and vehicular chases. There’s a bit of worldbuilding via witty banter at the beginning, but this is minimalist action storytelling at its most bombastic. Overall: 8 Verdict: Buy

Patrick

Mage: The Hero Denied #12 (Image)** – As the series progresses, I find myself zeroing in on just what it is that isn’t working for me, and it’s this: Kevin Matchstick doesn’t know MageTheHeroDenied_12-1what he wants to fight for. If what he really wanted was to have a quiet life as a family man, he’d completely ignore the Questing Beast and say that a King doesn’t Quest. If what he really wanted was to save his family, he would be tracking down his wife and kid with unstoppable relentlessness, marshalling every iota of power at his command. If he really was a King, he would be moving heaven and earth to save his kingdom and his family and his people. I would hope, after the end of this issue, that the powers that be will smack Matt Wagner upside the head with a copy of The Hero With A Thousand Faces and get this book on some kind of track. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Skip

Proxima Centauri #3 (Image)** – After the last page of last issue, I was ready for Farel Dalrymple to go deep. Alas, I was sorely disappointed with the ease with which Parasol and Sherwood dispatched of the little blue bots. And just when I thought that the kind of slacker vibe of this series was going to take a turn into something more interesting and powerful. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Skip

The Seeds #2 (Dark Horse/Berger Books)** – In this installment of Ann Nocenti & David Aja’s near-future SF noir, intrepid reporter Astra gets over the Wall and into the Zone to where tech isn’t allowed… except for a price. The revelation of this chapter is handled so casually that it actually enhances the creepiness of this book. Every page is like a trigger warning for people suffering from environmental collapse anxiety, and there is a panel on page 27 that almost made me burst into tears on the subway. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Hey Kids| Comics! #2 (Image)** – Howard Chaykin continues to frustrate me with his BD à clef about the American comics industry. On the one hand, as someone who, as a young writer, couldn’t square my love for comics and my disgust for the comics business, I appreciate Chaykin showing how casually and cruelly people got utterly fucked over. On the other hand, Chaykin’s scattershot approach doesn’t get us deep enough into any one character to really make these fuckings-over the kicks to the balls I want them to be. It may be that this betrays my desire for a certain kind of justice, whereas Chaykin may just be able to square (or at least tolerate) his desire for justice with his intimate knowledge of how the businesses of both comics and movies work. Either way, if Chaykin would straight up put out a book about Gil Kane, that’d be swell with me. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

Leage of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Tempest #2 (Top Shelf/Knockabout)** – Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill are not playing around. Jimmy B., the new M, hums a certain famous theme song and is everything horrible about the British Empire; Hugo Danner gets headbutted into oblivion on page 3; we get a double-page spread of Nemo’s Lincoln Island; and at the end, another casual holocaust. We are heading for a confrontation between the white supremacy of Bond and the diverse coalition of Nemo, and I can’t help but worry that the former are in the driver’s seat. 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 (**).

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 9/8

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.


Logan

cover 1.jpgCover #1 (DC/Jinxworld) – With authentic, yet understated dialogue, gorgeous visuals that flow from water color to line work with a side dish of collage, and a fantastic spy mystery hook, Brian Michael Bendis and David Mack turn in their first creator owned hit for DC Comics. The protagonist Blake Field is obviously a David Mack stand-in, and the story draws from his experiences as a comics creators beginning with the press of con life until a mysterious woman named Julia drops in on his life. Mack uses a different art style depending on her role in the story that keeps the story moving, and in a metafictional touch, we get to see the gorgeous samurai comic that Blake is working on. Fortune and Glory is one of Brian Michael Bendis’ most underrated comics, and it’s nice to see him and one of his finest collaborators dip into that pool again with a pinch of international intrigue to get you to pick up issue 2. Overall: 8.5 Verdict: Buy

Batman #54 (DC) – With the help of Nightwing, Batman finally almost has time to emotionally deal with being left at the altar by Selina in this emotional and sometimes kookily fun character study by Tom King and Matt Wagner. Wagner’s old school art style works well with the flashbacks to Dick’s first days in Wayne Manor as he comes to terms with the death of his parents and thinks that he’s just another shiny toy to Batman/Bruce and not an adopted son. In a colorful way, King and Wagner show that Batman would much rather punch inconsequential villains like Crazy Quilt (Who can’t sew) and Condiment King than have a heart to heart conversation or lunch. However, Dick understands Bruce’s competitive side and finally gets him to break “brood mode” for a split second panel that shows the importance of his levity and optimistic outlook in spite of great tragedy to the Bat-family. Overall: 8 Verdict: Buy

 Bully Wars #1 (Image)– With an over the top art style and heavy helping of low brow humor, Skottie Young and Aaron Conley usher Edith, Edward, and Spencer into their first day at Rottenville High. Conley has a fun MAD magazine meets Garbage Pail Kids style of art and goes for the gross out gag or face every time showing a nice gift for caricature. There are some truly funny moments in this book like when the middle school bully Rufus gets his butt handed to him by the high school bully Hock in a scene similar to the climax of Jurassic Park. But the book doesn’t really have anything going for it beyond Conley’s art and goes for cliched prank war jokes instead of more character driven ones.I got a real Dav Pilkey (Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Dog Man) vibe so this might be worth handing to your 10 year old sibling/relative/kid… Overall: 5.5 Verdict: Pass

Immortal Hulk #5 (Marvel)– In Immortal Hulk #5, Al Ewing and Joe Bennett finally reveal the monster behind the monster that even Hulk fears. But, first, there’s a giant, uncontrolled throwdown between Hulk and Sasquath, who is definitely not being driven by Walter Langkowski. Bennett and inker Ruy Jose’s fight choreography is ponderous and ungraceful as these two monsters don’t care for human life. However, the Hulk comes across in a sympathetic life for the first time in the serious and uses his abilities in a uniquely positive way. Ewing and Bennett have settled down to tell an American kaiju story about a monster with uncontrollable powers that protects humans from other monsters and causes great direction in his wake. Arguably, the monster boils down to daddy issues, but Bennett sells the story with his EC-esque style art. Overall: 8.3 Verdict: Buy

Kim Reaper: Monster Island #1 (Oni) – The cutest, raddest queer Goth romance series returns with a twist. Kim, the Grim Reaper in training’s girlfriend Becka has gotten super into watching vampire dramas with her roommate Tyler and really wants to go to an actual vampire island when she finds out that they exist. Sarah Graley’s art style continues to be adorable and twisted, especially when the vampires go berserk. I love Graley’s writing of relationship dynamics as Becka desperately tries to get Kim and Tyler to like each other, but it doesn’t really work. Spookiness and slice of life is such a fun combo, and I’m so glad this sadly underrated title is back from Oni. Overall: 9 Verdict: Buy

Ryan C

BM_Cv54Batman #54 (DC) ** Tom King’s current Bat-run probably doesn’t deserve Matt Wagner, but since they got him for this fill-in issue, it has to be said that at least they make full use of his skills. Yeah, this is a fairly heavy-handed little “then-and-now” comparison of the Bruce Wayne/Dick Grayson relationship, but it hits all the right emotional notes and the art, as you’d expect, elevates what would otherwise be an average issue to something fairly special. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

The Dreaming #1 (DC/Vertigo) **- I dunno. There’s nothing wrong with Simon Spurrier’s script for this debut issue, and Bliquis Evely’s art is actually quite nice, but the parameters for what this series is going to be focusing on were already established in “The Sandman Universe” #1, and it’s not like this comic, perfectly competent as it is, really expands on what we already knew in any appreciable way. Worth a look, but it’s not necessarily going to leave you feeling compelled to stick with the title. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Read

Cover #1 (DC/Jinxworld)** – The idea of a superstar comic artist being recruited by the CIA may seem like a bit too much “fan service” — and it is — but what the hell, Brian Michael Bendis’ script for this issue grabs you right away with its premise, the characterization is strong, and all in all it’s just plain fun to read. As for David Mack’s art, it’s a stunning as always, with pitch-perfect colors that accentuate every panel on every page. A genuinely solid debut. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

United States Vs. Murder Inc. #1 (DC/Jinxworld)** – On the other end of the spectrum, the opening salvo of this sequel to a series that really didn’t deserve one is truly lackluster stuff, little more than another tired take on the already-tired “kid assassin” trope. Michael Avon Oeming’s art is quite good, of course, and the dark color scheme really works, but the script feels like Bendis purely going through the motions — which, I suspect, is exactly what he’s doing. Overall: 4 Recommendation: Pass

Shean

Asgardians Of The Galaxy #1 (Marvel)– In what feels like the Dirty Dozen but in Thor’s world, we get a rip Roaring adventure from many sidelined characters in the Marvel Universe Overall including Thor’s half sister,Angela.As we get introduced to new character, and an archeologist who may hold the key to finding out exactly what Nebula is looking for. They must also figure out why Nebula is trying to start another Ragnarok. By issue’s end, the team is ready to defeat anyone looking to harm their people.
Overall: 9.2 Recommendation: Buy

Patrick

BullyWars_01-1Come Into Me #3 (Black Mask) ** – Becky and Sebastien struggle for control of the flesh, calling into question who is the host and who is the visitor. Zac Thompson & Lonnie Nadler continue their creepy Cronenbergian story, interweaving the interior and the exterior as whatever this new creature is lurches and shambles through its transformation, with both Becky and Sebastian alternately driving the story, sharing memories as each looks to offload the other into whatever body is convenient. One of which is Becky’s corpse. Piotr Kowalski well depicts both the “normal” world outside and the glitchy, nightmarish world inside, no easy feat. Another excellent issue. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Bully Wars #1 (Image) **- The new series from Skottie Young, as writer only, and Aaron Conley on art. Ernie, Edith, and Spencer are off to their first day of high school, still being picked on by Rufus, who’s been their bully since kindergarten. But now Rufus has to face the even bigger, badder bullies of high school. Aaron Conley’s art has a fun vibe of over-the-top grossness with lots and lots of gags. But Skottie Young’s story has a huge central problem: Rufus, the bully who’s now in over his head, should be the main character, and he isn’t. He’s the one who has to win the Bully Wars, but it’s geeky Ernie who is our hero, and who utterly inexplicably decides to help Rufus out. It’s all a bit lazy where it could have been a nice reversal of the usual tropes. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Skip

Stray Bullets #38 (Image/El Capitàn) **- As much as I’m a fan of the series, the one thing that bugs me is when David Lapham goes into Amy Racecar/Lil’ B mode. After last issue’s car crash, Beth struggles to get back into the real world – you know, one of those “trying-to-wake-up-from-a-coma” issues that people pull on you every now and again. One of Lapham’s rare missteps, an issue that should have started on the last page. Overall: 6 Recommandation: Skip



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 9/1

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.


Ashley

Euthanauts-2-Cover-600x923Euthanauts #2 (IDW/Black Crown) – This book… this book. The second issue picks up where the first issue left off as we begin to see what Mercy left behind. We get to know some of the characters briefly introduced in the last issue such as Circe, Guillame, and Indi. Indi is especially fascinating in his introduction because of his involvement in the world of the Euthanauts, but also his hesitation. I’m curious to see where that goes as the series goes on. Nick Robles’ art is beautiful as usual and is given extra flair by Eva de la Cruz on colors as she injects new color into Thalia’s strange new world. While the scary things out in death space abound, I think what resonates with me the most in this issue is how Tini Howard writes relationships and touches on what it means to be left behind on the mortal plane. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Edge of Spider-Geddon #2 (Marvel) – Welp, this is a depressing one. The sequel to Edge of Spider-Verse #5, we see Peni Parker back to her usual life as SP//dr. However, she is approached at school by a new girl named Addy Brock who knows her identity, and… well… it goes off the rails in terms of teen/superhero angst from there. The story is by Gerard Way with the script by Lonnie Nadler and Zac Thompson. The team is very good at writing Peni as the conflicted 14 year old she is, but there’s a punchiness/lyricism to Way’s writing that seems to be missing here in the follow up. Nadler and Thompson do make up for that in complete gutpunching sadness by the end though that makes me want to see more of where Peni goes from here. Of course, Rafael Albuquerque’s art is fantastic as usual. What it misses in being 90s anime, it makes up for in complete horror with Ven#m. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Logan

Runaways #12 (Marvel)– Rainbow Rowell, Kris Anka, and Matthew Wilson turn in a classic issue by having a laser focus on the character pairings of Nico and Karolina and Victor and Gert. They expertly weave together continuity from Runaways Vol 1 and Vision with romance and real emotion. Anka is both the master of fashion and a slow burn conversation, and Wilson’s palette is straight up beautiful. Runaways #12 is a master class is character relationships with a tasty side dish of romantic pairing off. Overall: 10 Verdict: Buy

rick and morty dndRick and Morty vs. Dungeon and Dragons #1 (IDW/Oni)- Jim Zub, Patrick Rothfuss, and Troy Little’s crossover comic is a tale of gatekeeping, puns, and thirst about podcasters. Morty wants to learn DnD so he can impress a worker at his local comic book store, who invited him to a game so, of course, he turns to his grandpa Rick to give him some knowledge. A game with a bunch of Gary Gygax contemporaries ensues, but then the real crossover starts. Like the show itself, Zub and Rothfuss aptly balance slice of life/school drama with fantasy realms, VR, and general craziness. Little’s art is bright and cartoony like the show, but also a little gross like Rick’s constant alcoholism induced belches. Overall: 8.3 Verdict: Buy

Lex Luthor/Porky Pig Special (DC)– Mark Russell and Brad Walker take aim at cryptocurrency, big pharma, Twitter, and the billionaires that use them in the deliciously satirical and wise Lex Luthor/Porky Pig Special. After his PorkyBux goes under, Porkytakes a job with Lex Luthor to help run a social media network whose first audience is people who got kicked off other social media platforms. (This is probably the first time incel has been used in a DC comic.) Walker’s art is wrinkly and jowly with all the Looney Tunes charm sapped away even though there are some of funny faces. It’s really a tragic story of moral compromise and “soul renting”, and that some rich, evil men will always get away with it. Jim Fanning and John Loter’s backup story is cuter and more cartoonish story of good versus evil, and xenophobic Lex Luthor drawn in the Looney Tunes house style makes for a great villain. Overall: 9.5 Verdict: Buy

Ryan C

Brothers Dracul #5 (Aftershock)** – A ho-hum ending to a ho-hum series that started out reasonably promising, but quickly devolved into a tinkering-at-the-margins revision of the Dracula origin story. This issue isn’t helped by the fact that the normally-striking art of Mirko Colak is, uncharacteristically, as dull and workmanlike as Cullen Bunn’s script. Decidedly uninspired stuff. Overall: 2 Recommendation: Pass

bone parish 2Bone Parish #2 (Boom! Studios)** – We’ve got “Bad Bunn” and “Good Bunn” this week, and this is the good one. Two issues in, this is shaping up to be a damn good little horror mini-series, and the insertion of a third competing gang in the trade revolving around the remains-of-the-dead drug known as “Ash” is upping the tension considerably. Striking, moody art from Jonas Scharf completes a very impressive package. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

House Amok #1 (IDW/Black Crown)** – Christopher Sebela is doing all kinds of good stuff these days — see “Shanghai Red” and “Crowded” — but if this first issue is any indication, this five-parter may be the best of his current projects. Twin girls share an elaborate fantasy world that the rest of the family weaves into an elaborate QAnon-on-bad-acid-style conspiracy theory and uses as a crutch to justify heinous crimes — but now one of he twins is waking up and smelling the bullshit? I’m all in, and veteran artist Shawn McManus illustrates the proceedings in an entirely different style than the slick, “cartoony” look he built his career on — with amazing results. Do not miss this one under any circumstances. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

 Euthanauts #2 (IDW/Black Crown) – The first issue of this series was just oblique enough that it seemed to offer near-endless possibilities for a re-interpretation of death on a conceptual level, but now that the parameters of what writer Tini Howard has in mind are becoming more concrete, a good deal of the mystery and ingenuity are reined in considerably. A truly lackluster cliffhanger doesn’t help matters, either. Still, I’m not ready to throw in the towel justl yet and will give this one more installment to win me back; certainly the art by Nick Robles is pleasingly “cosmic” and “trippy,” and makes it worth hanging around to see whether or not this chapter was an unfortunate hiccup, or the start of a downward trend. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Read

Elana

The Wicked + The Divine 38 (Image)** How is there anyone not reading this yet? The latest delves in to the anthropology of religion via an infamous historical figure who absolutely belongs in the series. Art and colors are gorgeous as ever. PS if you aren’t WickedAndTheDivine_38-1listening to Steven Attewell’s WicDiv podcast on SoundCloud. Check it out https://graphicpolicy.com/…/godscast-issue-2-gods-as…/ Overall: 10 Recommendation: Read 

Adventure Time: Beginning of the End #1-3 (Boom) With the beloved cartoon series wrapping up I decided it was time to dip my toe back into the Adventure Time comics. I’d always liked them but I hadn’t been able to keep up with how many were out. This 3-part miniseries is an excellent stand-alone for lovers of the show. The creature design is fabulous and the story highlights the character growth of so many favorites from the cast. Creative team (W) Ted Anderson (A) Marina Julia (CA) Victoria Maderna have absolutely got me excited to catch up with Adventure Time comics again. Overall: 9
PS if you love the show be sure to check out this week’s episode of Graphic Policy Radio where we’ll discuss the finale with Oliver Sava and Jameson Hampton

Patrick

Mage: The Hero Denied #11 (Image)** – The cover is the best thing about this issue: a powerful image of father and daughter, hand in hand through the woods, in silhouette: his icon a lightning bolt, hers a heart. It brought up my own feelings about fatherhood and what we pass on, what we hope our kids turn out to be, what they want to be, how we help them dream, the magic we weave, the magic we leave. None of this, unfortunately, has anything to do with the story inside, which continues from last issue without really revealing anything more about any of the characters or why they are in danger. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Skip

proximacentauri_03-1Proxima Centauri #3 (Image) – Farel Dalrymple is just so good at capturing a certain kind of adolescent boyhood. I think Sherwood is pretty rad, but of course he’s also trying too hard to impress a girl who isn’t really there. The adults around him, like Scientist, are so busy trying to give him advice that they don’t realize he doesn’t understand any of it. He treats his best friends like shit because they’re closest to him, and then has to find a way to apologize without losing face. He goes on adventures to stave off the boredom (Dalrymple’s take on the Spielbergian flying BMX’s is very welcome here), and then gets in real, serious trouble. The last page was a gut-punch and I’m terrified to see what happens next. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Big Trouble in Little China: Old Man Jack #12 (Boom|) – The final issue of this romp is on firm par with the rest of it. John Carpenter & Anthony Burch’s script is full of twists and turns and sharp dialogue, and what more can I say about the awesomeness of Jorge Corona’s art? The action is comic, the comedy is active, and there’s even a happy ending for good measure. I’m going to miss this series showing up at my LCS. Overall: 8 Recommendaton: Buy

Shean

Venom: First Host#1 (Marvel)– Venom is one of those characters you either liked or hated, but as of recent, he has been gaining favor with the Marvel faithful. This new book proves why as we get an origin story but not about Eddie Brock but about the first person to Don the symbiote. As we get dropped in the middle of the Kree / Skrull war, where the species was more weaponized for good. Fast forward to present day, and venamEddie gets attacked by a Skrull which is where things gets really interesting. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

 Web Of Venom: Ve-Nam #1 (Marvel)– In this one off story, before Eddie Brock, we find out that SHIELD. Had knowledge of the Venom symbiotes before Brock got his. As the reader gets treated to a story that is a cross between The Predator, Leviathan and Punisher Platoon, as we get dropped into the Vietnam War and SHIELD has been busy trying to create a different supersoldier since Captain America was frozen. Eventually the program is no longer under their control, so they ask Wolverine to help find them. By book’s end, he finds a way to control them and Nick Fury recruits one of his first agents.  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 8/25

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.


Joe Hesh

FF_COVERFantastic Four#1 (Marvel) Finally its here! Dan Slott brings me back my favorite Superhero team of all. I know this came out weeks ago but life and excitement got in the way. First off I think Sara Pichelli is a very underrated artist. She was terrific on Ultimate Spider Man and does great on Marvel’s First Family here. Everything looks crisp and vibrant thanks to the art and colors. Where I’m happy most though is Dan Slott. In his first outing he just gets these characters. The emotional beats and the light heartedness dance back and forth well. Now is this a blockbuster first issue? Welll… no. However this was a much appreciated partial return for me. Over the years the FF work best at family driven moments. They are a family first and heroes second. Continuing on that theme, the moment I enjoyed the most was **spoiler** Big Ol Ben Grimm proposing to the long time love of his life Alicia Masters. Of course I might have enjoyed it a tad more because I had just gotten engaged that week and it struck a chord with me. The part with Ben asking Johnny to be his best man was fantastic and so was Johnny’s reply. That’s the real key to getting the FF right is the family drama and story. Just everything was spot on and I enjoyed the back up as well and looks like we will be getting a Doom true to form again shortly. Not every issue has to be Galactus but with that said FF welcome back and bring on Galactus! This was a great first issue and I can’t wait till next month to call the Four! (Now I have the cartoon theme song in my head) Score: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Ryan C

black hammer aod 4.jpgMother Panic: Gotham A.D. #6 (DC/Young Animal)** – Jody Houser and Ibrahim Moustafa are in full wrap-up mode here, clearly rushing things to a overly-convenient (but at least well-illustrated) conclusion. Not a bad read, but one is left with a deep and abiding sense of “huh, what was all that for”? Overall: 6 Recommendation: Read if you’ve come this far, otherwise pass

Days Of Hate #7 (Image)** – Thank goodness for Danijel Zezelj’s extraordinarly moody and cinematic art, because all that Ales Kot does in this kick-off installment of this series’ second arc is tread water. No progress, just stage-setting and re-introductions of characters who are only slated to be around for 12 issues, anyway. Overall: 4 Recommendation: Pass

Redneck #14 (Image/Skybound)** – Donny Cates and Lisandro Estherren are really putting the petal to the medal in this arc, and it’s pretty dizzying how the Bowman family’s entire situation has done a complete 180 in a very short time. The art continues to be grim, gritty, and great, and the story unpredictable and fun. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Black Hammer: Age Of Doom #4 (Dark Horse) – Okay, in absolute fairness, Jeff Lemire’s script for this issue is nothing but ramping up to its cliffhanger, but damn — what a cliffhanger it is! And Dean Ormston’s art continues to be incredibly atmospheric and keenly focused on his characters’ humanity. Shit’s getting really great here — and it was already pretty great to begin with. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Shean

The Punisher #1 coverAvengers Wakanda Forever #1 (Marvel) In the finale of this event, we get a final showdown. As Nakia becomes dispossessed of the Mimic creature, thanks to T’Challa , she fulfills her duties as the Dora Milaje one final time. As we find the Avengers fighting a mimic copy of She Hulk, the Dora Milaje looks to end this evil being once and for all. By book’s end, a fateful sacrifice ensures the end of the cewarj and safety of the city but ends bittersweet for all. Overall: 9.3 Recommendation: Buy

Punisher #1 (Marvel) In what I can surmise as a reboot, fans get the the gritty Frank Castle that they deserve in this hard hitting debut issue. As we pick up right at the end of The Punisher’s work for Hydra and Baron Zemo as he carries out a round of assassinations to move things in Hydra’s favor. His contentious relationship with Baron Zemo, finally is on its last straw, as Frank takes matters in his own hands and starts atoning for the evil he had a hand in. By issue’s end, Castle seemingly has taken out a powerful figure and a manhunt is on its way for his head, definitely feels like the action movie the character deserves. Overall: 9.4 Recommendation: Buy

Logan

Venom #5 (Marvel)– Apparently, Venom can fly and has dragon wings in the latest issue of Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman’s sleeper hit Venom. The war against the symbiote god, Knull, continues, and Eddie realizes he’s literally not alone in this fight joining up with Vietnam War era Venom host, Rex Strickland. Stegman and inker JP Mayer’s artwork continues to be deliciously gooey with spreads and transformation reminiscient of Todd McFarlane’s best early work while Cates taps into pure existential horror in his writing. From the early pages where he almost lets Miles Morales become street pizza onward, Eddie struggles with control, but finds cameraderie in the most unlikely places. Grotesque trappings aside, Venom #5 might actually be a comic about friendship. Overall: 8.4 Verdict: Buy

AC_Cv1002.Manapul_varAction Comics #1002 (DC)– Action Comics seems like a book more in line with Brian Michael Bendis’ talents with its web of street level mysteries, criminals, and journalists plus a dash of humor and strained relationships. Patrick Gleason brings a high level of detail and naturalism to his artwork beginning with the title page of Clark Kent’s workspace to the shadows of Mr. Strong’s lair and the sloppiness of the dive bar where Kent goes undercover to find info about the mass arson in Metropolis. Bendis and Gleason also use this issue to build up the threat of the Red Cloud, particularly in a searing single page splash where Alejandro Sanchez’s crimson colors show her taking out street level hero, the Guardian, in one fell swoop. And all this is nice, but best of all, Action Comics #1002 advances the plotline everyone has cared about since the beginning of Man of Steel: what’s the deal with Clark and Lois’ relationship. Overall: 8 Verdict: Buy

Mother Panic Gotham AD #6 (DC/Young Animal)– Jody Houser, Ibrahim Moustafa, and Jordan Boyd’s run on Mother Panic comes to a close with fights, emotions, and great uses of grids. The fight between Violet and Arkham Knight costumed Jason Todd shows that sometimes we fall short in living up to our hero’s legacy, and Houser wisely takes an empathetic route with Jason as he renounces his Bat-cult and finds healing with Mrs. Paige. The fight between Violet and her brother and the Collective doesn’t end so smoothly with sharp colors from Boyd and painful flashbacks. It’s a cathartic sequence, and Houser and Moustafa continue to make good use of the Bat-characters (Mr. Freeze in this case for maximum feels.) without having them overwhelm Violet’s personal journey. This arc is all about Violet Paige remaking herself for a literal new era, and Houser, Moustafa, and Boyd deliver giving her a big win and leaving room open for them or other creators to do a third volume. Overall: 9 Verdict: Buy

Ashley

The Life of Captain Marvel #2 (Marvel) – While not many answers are given in this issue, Carol’s journey to learning more about herself is just beginning. With a little bit of awkward flirting with an old crush and hard conversations, we do learn that Marie Danvers was well aware of Joseph’s infidelity and that she couldn’t stop the fact that her husband was looking for more. The emphasis on “more” in the issue definitely harkens back to the way Helen Cobb said it in Kelly Sue Deconnick’s first issue, so I’m definitely putting a pin in Margaret Stohl’s choice of words there. The art is once again beautiful with Marguerite Sauvage’s black and white flashback to Joseph’s funeral and Carlos Pacheco’s entire page of Carol on the moon are worth the price of the comic alone. The suspense racked high in the final pages though, so I am all in for #3. Overall: 8.5 Verdict: Buy



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

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

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 8/18

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.


 

Logan

Extermination #1Extermination #1 (Marvel)– The grim dark is strong with Extermination #1 where a time traveling figure is gunning for the time displaced, original 5 X-Men. Like its sort-of companion book Death of Inhumans, Ed Brisson and Pepe Larraz have turned in a brutal board clearer to set up future X-books. Larraz and colorist Marte Gracia nails the tone of danger and destruction with their shadow filled artwork and action scenes done in tight close-up instead of stylized team up battles. However, there’s no real depth beyond continuity porn and the young X-Men being in peril beginning with a highly telegraphed character killing. The final twist is a little jazzier though and definitely fits a certain character’s M.O. It’s all very Looper. Overall: 7.2 Verdict: Read

Crowded #1 (Image)– In the future, everything can be crowdfunded, including death. Crowded #1 tells the tale of Charlie, a bubbly, side hustle happy, and slightly obnoxious woman who has an enormous Reapr bounty on her head. Luckily, she has the help of stoic Dfender Vita, who has a low rating on the app and hasn’t killed many people, but has protected all her clients. Christopher Sebela uses conversations to craft this not-so-different from our own world and create the two leads’ personality while leaving plenty of room open for mystery. Artists Ro Stein and Ted Brandt are masters of expressions and body language from Vita’s controlled movements and the austere layouts of her safehouse to Charlie flailing all over the place. They occasionally play with layouts to make the story more exciting like a mid-first issue car chase. Crowded #1 has it all: social satire, inviting art and splashy colors, two well-developed protagonists, and a thriller plot. It has the potential to be one of my new favorite Image series. Overall: 9 Verdict: Buy

Pearl #1 (DC/Jinxworld)– Brian Michael Bendis’ first creator owned work for DC is all style and no substance. There’s lots of banter about tattoos, yakuza gangs, and the main character’s attractiveness, but at the end of the comic, I don’t really know much about her except she’s a good tattoo artists and has a nice apartment. Michael Gaydos’ art still has a refined elegance to it, and his colors hit some intense notes during a shoot out sequence. Still, this issue is a snooze and is definitely dwarfed by the reprint of the clever “Citizen Wayne” story by Bendis and Gaydos. Overall: 5 Verdict: Pass

Batgirl #25 (DC)– Mairghread Scott instantly makes a strong impression as the new Batgirl writer and finds a balance between Gail Simone’s darkness and the cheeriness of the Burnside era. Her first story is all about the emotions as she secretly attends the funeral of a man she saved and was later gunned down by the Joker, and it shows that there can still be hope in the darkness of Gotham. The second story, which is aptly drawn by Paul Pelletier (Tom Derenick on the lead story does weird anatomy stuff.) sets up Scott’s ongoing series plot and shows that Batgirl takes time to think about the humanity of a serial killer’s victims even as she tracks him down. But the real crown jewel of this issue is Marguerite Bennett and Dan Panosian’s Dick and Babs story, which made me an emotional compromise and makes a strong argument for them as a couple. It’s also nice to see characters in-universe processing the events of Batman #50. Also, there’s another backup where Paul Dini and Emanuela Lupaccino have Batgirl fight a copyright friendly Playboy bunny armed with Mad Hatter tech. Overall: 8.8 Verdict: Read

Ryan C

BM_Cv53Batman #53 (DC)** – Tom King and Lee Weeks wrap up their little three-part “Bruce Wayne On Jury Duty” story with another well-illustrated (as you’d expect) installment that nevertheless fails to entirely satisfy. Mr. Freeze beats the rap on him, but the villain could just as well have been anyone, while Batman has a mid-life crisis that ends with him returning to his original costume, which seems to be the plot contrivance this whole thing was designed to facilitate. Readable enough, but nothing special by any means. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Read

Batman #53 (DC)** – Tom King and Lee Weeks wrap up their little three-part “Bruce Wayne On Jury Duty” story with another well-illustrated (as you’d expect) installment that nevertheless fails to entirely satisfy. Mr. Freeze beats the rap on him, but the villain could just as well have been anyone, while Batman has a mid-life crisis that ends with him returning to his original costume, which seems to be the plot contrivance this whole thing was designed to facilitate. Readable enough, but nothing special by any means. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Read

 The Grave Diggers Union #9 (Image)** – The final issue of Wes Craig and Toby Cypress’ supernatuaral horror/comedy wraps up every major and minor plot thread, is loaded with smartly-executed action, and even manages a wry laugh or two. This was a good series, and I’m sorry to see it wrap up so soon. Cypress’ art was the star of the show, of course, and he pulls out all the stops with this one, including an acid-trip/vaguely Lovecraftian double-page spread that will blow your mind and is worth the price of admission alone. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Crude #5 (Image/Skybound) – I’ve really been digging what Steve Orlando and Garry Brown are laying down with their Russian crime thriller, and this penultimate issue delivers a real body-blow of a plot twist that shows both “sides” in the struggle at the heart of the series are being played for suckers and milked for profits. You’ll feel the floor give out under your feet as you read this one, trust me, and Brown’s gritty, back-alley artwork is pitch-perfect for the script. 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 (**).

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 8/11

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.


 

Ryan C

eg6Eternity Girl #6 (DC/Young Animal)** – Certainly not a bad ending to this six-parter, but not an entirely satisfying one, either. Magdalene Visaggio pulls some Grant Morrison-esque “Lords Of Order/Lords Of Chaos” stuff out of her hat for a quick resolution that actually probably didn’t need the Deus Ex Machina as things were ramping up quite nicely without it, but other than that she wraps things up nicely enough — and Sonny Liew delivers his most eye-popping art yet with inventive page layouts, emotive facial expressions and body language, and some cool “Kirby-tech.” A fun little ride that comes to a fun little conclusion, but nothing like an essential buy. Overal: 7 Recommendation: Read

She Could Fly #2 (Dark Horse/Berger Books)** – The crown jewel in Karen Berger’s new crown so far, this engrossing four-part series is just getting better and better as it goes along. Christopher Cantwell’s complex script sees its disparate components begin to dovetail together this time out, but as intriguing as that all is, it’s the human core of the characters that makes this such a compelling read — well, that and Martin Morazzo’s gorgeously-detailed, crisply fluid art. Stunning stuff. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Lowlifes #3 (IDW)** – This fun little crime/noir series seems to be flying under the radar for the most part, and that’s a shame because it’s really solid, gripping stuff. Brian Buccellato’s crooked-cop drama takes a major twist in this penultimate installment after lots of shoe leather is spent tracking down leads, and Alexis Sentenac’s gritty, street-smart artwork is just plain perfect for this type of material. Can’t wait to see how this one wraps up! Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Daygloayhole Quarterly #2 (Silver Sprocket)** – Ben Passmore’s post-apocalyptic fable is quite possibly the most visually imaginative thing going right now, every page containing a plethora of utterly unexpected, and in many cases hitherto-unimaginable, delights for those with a warped bent to their tastes. This issue definitely has its stomach-churning moments, but that’s all part of the fun, and everything is undergirded with a deliriously deadpan sense of humor throughout. If I said comics got much better than this, I’d be lying. The best six bucks you’ll spend this week, probably even this month. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Logan

 ASM2018003 colAmazing Spider-Man #3 (Marvel) Nick Spencer and Ryan Ottley riff off both the original, kind of good Clone Saga and Spider-Man 2 in Amazing Spider-Man #3 where Peter Parker gets hit with a genetic splitter, and his clone gets all his superpowers and possibly more. Sure, Spider-Clone gets to punch a giant robot in this comic, but Ottley gets the opportunity to draw Peter in his civilian life bowling with MJ and some friends. He doesn’t have powers, and he’s okay with because maybe he can live a good life for once, have good relationships, hold down a job etc. Of course, it’s not that easy. Although Spider-Clone has Spidey’s ability to pop culture quip (The Arrested Development revival is his target.) and kick butt, there’s possibly something missing from him, and Spencer and Ottley keep this on lock just enough to hook you for the next issue.Overall: 8.2 Verdict: Buy

 Hot Lunch Special #1 (Aftershock)– In Hot Lunch Special, Eliot Rahal and Jorge Fornes craft a fairly straightforward crime story set in the world of Midwestern prepackaged sandwiches. They don’t really settle on a protagonist just yet darting from different perspectives and make the creative choice of using a kid’s school report as exposition. This aforementioned kid gets caught in the crossfire eventually, and the intersection of mob warfare and ordinary suburban Midwestern life could pay dividends down the road. In his art, Fornes vivisects the page like the bits of bone and meat leftovers that go into the Khourys’ sandwiches and finds some disgusting juxtapositions between mass produced food and human slaughter that sets the book apart from your middle of the road crime yarn. Overall: 7.6 Verdict: Read

Titans #24 (DC)– Warhammer novelist Dan Abnetti indulges his fantasy roots in Titans #24 as the Titans face off against a failed fantasy novelist’s, Ernest Hinton’s, former creations. There are plenty of epic battles scenes to be drawn by artist Brent Peeples, including Beast Boy transforming into a unicorn, and FCO Plascencia uses a downright, demonic color palette. But the comic isn’t just hacking and slashing, there is the continued presence of the Titans’ Justice League liaison, er, babysitter Miss Martian, who keeps vetoing the team’s decisions and almost lobotomizes Hinton to take him out. Her pragmatism runs afoul of Raven’s empathy and leads to negative consequence even though the team “wins” the fight. Abnett also includes some great thoughts about escaping into a fantasy world when the real world is tough and the connection between creator and creation all in a fairly good superhero team comic. Oh, and the villain is a bisexual elf lord that hits on Nightwing so that’s fun. Overall: 8.1 Verdict: Buy

Detective Comics #986 (DC)- Detective #986 has a definite middle chapter, but Bryan Hill bolsters it with emotionally honest writing of Cassandra Cain to go with Philippe Briones’ kick ass fight choreography. This comic has a standard, stop the bomb action plot, but the real tension comes from the interpersonal clashes along the way. Barbara Gordon isn’t used to being benched so she lashes out at Black Lightning when he is mad at her at sending Cass to fight Karma. Speaking of Black Lightning, he has one great hero moment in Detective #986, and his metahuman abilities stop a threat that might have been too much for the Bat-family. All the while, Batman himself continues to get his ass handed to him and only escapes with some trickery and misdirection. The brutal, close quarters fights are really good in this comic even when the plot stalls out. Overall: 7.4 Verdict: Read

Patrick

HeyKidsComics_01-1Hey Kids! Comics! #1 (Image) – Howard Chaykin returns with a look behind the scenes of our favourite industry, a subject he knows intimately. Interestingly, he chooses to spin his tale in non-linear fashion, hopping from 1967 to 1945 to 1965 to 2001, covering a lot of ground, starting with Broadway and ending in Hollywood. It is of course graphically sharp, and the storytelling is characteristically brisk, witty, and snarky. It’s also interesting that he chooses to include in what could have a been an all-white male cast a black man and a woman. But this is a roman à clef, and if you didn’t already know the stories of Matt Baker, Flo Steinberg, Gil Kane, Siegel & Shuster, Stan Lee, Jack Kirby et.al., I think you would easily get lost. Without a central protagonist, the main character is the American comics industry itself, which is a pretty big forest to get lost in. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

Joe

Fantastic Four #1 (Marvel) – There has been so much hype and waiting for this series that it could have disappointed greatly. Really, the first issue didn’t need to a do a ton, but just give us back the fantastic family so many of us love, and then set up some new wild adventures through dimensions, time, and space. Well, this issue mostly does that, and the ending is wonderful. Slott and Pichelli seem ready to take on the huge task of handing Marvel’s first family with a great set-up and some fun art that works for the FF_COVERseries. This is a fantastic first issue. Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

The Sandman Universe #1 (Vertigo) – You always worry about such a classic series continuing without the original writer, but I am happy to say Gaiman has put this universe in some good hands so far. It may be only one issue to set up the four series that are coming, but each one of them left me with mystery and left me wanting more. The main story is such an interesting premise that I won’t spoil, and I am dying to know what is happening, and why the main character made choices he may have made. I am absolutely on board. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Superman #2 (DC) – We are now a few issues into Bendis-Supes (BendiSupes?) and I am enjoying it. There is more set up in this issue that sees the Earth in The Phantom Zone, the return of the new big bad from the Man of Steel mini-series, and Lois and Jon still off somewhere with Clark’s father, with no way to communicate with them. It was really good to see Supes vulnerable, yet so focused on his task in this issue. For a moment you can see a worried father and husband, but he quickly snaps back his attention to fix the massive mess he and The Justice League are in as his friends and all of humanity need him now more than ever. This is when Supes is at his best. A heart of gold, and a fist of steel. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Plastic Man #3 (DC) – I enjoyed the previous two issues more than this one, but it still had some fun moments. As always with Plastic Man, the forms he takes and sight gags are sometimes the best moments, and I am happy to report some of those are ridiculous and fun. The ending sets up something pretty potentially great for the next few issues that should hopefully wrap this mini-series nicely. Overall: 6.5 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 (**).

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 7/28

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

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


 

Ryan C

BM_Cv52Mister Miracle #10 (DC)** – With just two issues to go after this one, Tom King and Mitch Gerads make the curious decision to tread water, basically showing Scott and Barda ruminating over the last installment’s cliffhanger for 22 pages, before they finally launch a fairly basic plan to get out of the jam they’re stuck in that they could have come up with in just a few minutes. This series had a lot of potential at the start, but the downhill trajectory of the story (the art is still great) simply can’t be ignored at this point. Overall: 5. Recommendation: Pass

Batman #52 (DC)** – Speaking of Tom King, he’s doing an okay job milking a clever, if gimmicky, premise with this little arc — Bruce Wayne gets saddled with jury duty and uses it to undo a wrong he committed as Batman — but it feels like a single-issue story spread way too thin. Lee Weeks’ art is more than solid, as usual, especially in the fight scenes with Mr. Freeze, but this isn’t anything more than competently-executed stuff, and with this book now carrying a $3.99 price tag while still coming out twice a month, readers deserve better. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Read

Xerxes: The Fall Of The House Of Darius And The Rise Of Alexander #5 (Dark Horse)** – Thank God this is over. Frank Miller’s health has been poor (although apparently improving recently), and it shows in every confused, sloppy page of this comic. His compositions are haphazard, his scripting lifeless and uninspired, and his figure work slapdash and harried. Dark Horse should have just paid Miller a “kill fee” for this rather than allow him to publicly embarrass himself like this. The whole debacle really reflects more poorly on them as a publisher than it does on Miller’s diminished skills, which really can’t be helped at this point. Overall: 0 Recommendation: Pass

The Quantum Age #2 (Dark Horse) – I’m reasonably impressed by how thoroughly Dark Horse has managed to “franchise out” the so-called “Black Hammer Universe” while maintaining the quality of both the main title and all its various and sundry spin-offs. In the second issue of this futuristic take on the characters and concepts we know and love, call-backs to the present day abound while the main narrative moves forward at a very pleasing clip. Jeff Lemire’s script is simple and tight, Wilfredo Torres’ art is perfect for the material — this is a comic firing on all cylinders. Overall 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Logan

The-Raid-1-preview-2-600x911Justice League #5 (DC)- In easily the best issue of this sadly average series, James Tynion and Doug Mahnke unfurl the curtain on why Lex Luthor went from reluctant heroism in Action Comics/No Justice/other Rebirth appearances to pure villainy in Justice League. It involves a trip to the future, all kinds of daddy problems, and plenty of nods to the Superfriends cartoon. Justice League #5 adds scaffolding and personality to all the crazy concepts in the first four issues of JL, and Mahnke does it in his usual blockbuster fashion. Having a fully engaged, fully evil Lex and Gorilla Grodd at the height of their powers is a pure thrill ride of id. Overall: 8 Verdict: Buy

Batman #52 (DC)– Tom King, Lee Weeks, and Elizabeth Breitweiser continue their jury room deconstruction of Batman in Batman #52 that turns into a confessional when Bruce Wayne admits that sometimes he feels the grief and pain of loss (His parents, Selina etc.) and goes too far. He spends the issue putting his detective mind to work and showing that there’s reasonable doubt in the case, and maybe Batman isn’t infallible. I find it really interesting that King and Weeks portray Batman in the eyes of ordinary Gothamites as a kind of unbeatable badass like he is to many people through pop culture. Weeks continue to excel on the art front from the subtle shifts in body language during the deliberations to the more stylized beatdowns as Batman beats Mr. Freeze to a pulp, and Breitweiser’s palette is just black and crimson. Overall: 8.5 Verdict: Buy

The Raid #1 (Titan) Ollie Masters and Budi Setiawan’s comic set in the same universe as the cult martial arts action film has plenty of visceral action, nine panel grids, and an overload of red from colorist Brad Simpson. It’s a pretty cut and dried fight comic. Nothing terrible, but nothing fancy. Overall: 6 Verdict: Pass

Captain America #2 (Marvel) After an action/conspiracy packed first issue, Ta-Nehisi Coates and Leinil Yu slow down a bit and get meditative about Steve’s feelings on the whole Secret Empire ordeal and all the super soldiers springing up after him. The army of Nukes that keep popping up at inopportune times aren’t just cannon fodder to show off Yu’s action chops, but reminders of his not so shiny legacy. In addition to this, Coates gives Steve and Sharon Carter a fantastic chemistry they haven’t really had since the Ed Brubaker days as they deeply care about each other even though they’re on opposite “sides” of an issue. On a more shallow note, Leinil Yu’s take on Steve Rogers is very hot. Overall: 7.8 Verdict: Read

Patrick

StrayBulletsSNR_37-1New Teen Titans vol 9 (DC)** – With “The Terror of Trigon” from 1984/85, we see the end of the Wolfman/Perez era, and, as I’ve written elsewhere, the end of the story of Raven and her team. Robin has become Nightwing; Kid Flash has retired; Wonder Girl has found her true identity and gotten married. So what happens when Titans’ Tower is gone and our teen heroes are acclaimed as the saviours of New York? We take a breather, go camping and share their worries and fears as they renew the bonds of their friendship, in a very nice story. Then we are treated to a run with art by the great José Luis Garcia-Lopez where we tie the mysterious Lilith to the Titans of Myth – which could have been a really great run if Wolfman could have just focused on it. Instead, we get the introduction of not one, but two characters who do absolutely nothing for the story: the (so far) unnamed alien angel guy and Kole. Without them, we have an absolutely epic battle of titans and gods that nicely resolves the first Titans of Myth story from NTT #12 and sets up a group of corporate 80’s villains that could also have been quite interesting. I think that Wolfman could honestly have spent the next couple of years just wrapping up and developing all of the storylines and characters from the first five years of the series. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy (you can never have enough JLGL art)

 Stray Bullets #37 (El Capitàn/Image)** – Is this the end for Orson, Beth, and Nina? Orson and Beth hit the road to make a deal to save Nina, and along the way, Beth has to confront her own bad self (who seems to be talking to her through Orson’s car radio). Once they do rescue Nina, Beth knows that it’s only a matter of time before safety turns into boredom, and that the person the gang most needs rescuing from is Beth herself. And that takes everyone literally off the beaten patch and rolling into a ditch. David Lapham, ladies and gentlemen. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy 

Bubba Ho-Tep #2 (IDW)** – Elvis and the team move into their new, and of course haunted, headquarters, and we get a sense of what’s going on and the price that has to be paid. As the King sang, what I needed in this was a little less conversation, a little more action: there is a lot of talk and explanation and setup here, without actually going and exploring this house and everything that has come to nest there. I basically like what writer Joshua Jabcuga and artist Tadd Galusha are doing here, but this issue is too passive and padded for my taste. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Pass

The Seeds #1 (Dark Horse) – Ann Nocenti and David Aja. Oh, not enough for you? Fine then. Astra is a journalist on this side of the Wall, trying to sell enough clickbait to her outlet to finance a trip to the other side. On the other side? They say they’re neo-luddites with no tech. But they may be something else entirely: something collecting the seeds of humanity. Nocenti’s always-remarkable writing here is pure noir: terse and gritty and tense. And David Aja’s art is extraordinary: not only in his signature chiaroscuro style, but his storytelling and character acting are compelling, drawing us into the emotional worlds of the people at the heart of a thousand-ideas-a-minute story. Absolutely compelling and a must-buy. Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy.

Mr. H

mrmiracle_10.jpgMister Miracle #10 (DC Comics) I will say it again. Tom King manages to put out masterful work on these pages. The way he is able to make these Gods have every day problems and relate to our humanity, is astounding. Mitch Gerards is so very talented but King’s words really transport me. I love the layout of the book. This is by far my favorite issue yet. You feel like Barda and Scott are real life people and not just all powerful beings. The way they have to choose between relinquishing their only child to stop all out war is heartbreaking. It puts Scott at such a loss that he even opens to a complete stranger behind the counter just to get a possible piece of advice. You really get the sense that it is the hardest choice one would ever have to make. I like how it calls our own humanity into question. If this was your child would you keep him or surrender him so the lives of countless others can be saved? We are all going to have different answers and interpretations here. That’s the hallmark of great comics. It really matters to each one different. I know what choice I would make and would hope God would have mercy on my soul. I love everything about this issue. The dialogue, pictures, little Easter eggs here and there and of course the Batman cake because what kid even that of a god doesn’t like Batman. Overall: This is the book I’m taking on a desert island. Art: 10 Story: 10 Score: 10. There is nothing wrong about this book. Buy it, buy it

 



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 7/28

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

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


 

Ryan C

awth3.jpgA Walk Through Hell #3 (Aftershock)** At first I couldn’t make sense out of this comic. Now it doesn’t make sense — in a way that makes sense. If THAT makes any sense. Hell, I don’t know. I only know that it’s getting SERIOUSLY dark and creepy and that the art is really nice and that I can’t wait to see where it all goes — whether it makes sense or not. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Brothers Dracul #4 (Aftershock)** Generally speaking, I’m still enjoying Cullen Bunn and Mirko Colak’s slightly revisionist take on the Dracula mythos, but I have to admit that’s mostly down to the lush, gorgeous art. The story is pretty slight and while it has some definite plot momentum, not a great deal actually happens in most issues, this one included. Worth ogling over for the pretty pictures, though, that’s for sure. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Read. Or, more specifically, look at it. 

Bone Parish #1 (Boom! Studios)** Speaking of Cullen Bunn, he’s back with yet another Boom!-published horror mini-series, and this one is off to a great start : New Orleans crime family that manufactures a hallucinogenic drug from the bones of the dead finds itself fighting to survive against the mob’s “offers that can’t be refused”? I like it. And I REALLY like Jonas Scharf’s moody, atmospheric as all HELL art. Get on board with this one now! Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Royal City #13 (Image)** – Two issues in two weeks? Well, despite my reservations about the last one, at least this instalment is really good. With just a chapter left to go, Jeff Lemire is bringing every individual character’s “arc” to a head, and while the family may be on the cusp of yet another huge tragedy, the possibility of a happy ending for everyone is also dangling out there. I’m feeling a lot better about this title than I was just seven short days ago and the art, as always, is really nice. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Logan

 Action Comics 1001 (DC)- Brian Michael Bendis gets back to his street level roots and MR AND MRS X #1finally does something with the whole arson subplot and shows how “regular” criminals operate operate in Metropolis. He also has a lot of fun with the cross talk and backstabbing in the Daily Planet centered around the missing Lois Lane all leading into an actually pretty shocking cliffhanger. While this is all going on, Patrick Gleason continues to show why he is one of the greatest modern Superman artists creating moral certainty in every panel that he shows up beginning with a double page spread of him dodging bullets. But with the help of colorist Alejandro Sanchez, he can do shady and noir as well as bright and hopeful. It looks like Superman is gonna be the broad strokes, big action book while Action Comics is its sharper, more secretive cousin. Overall: 8.2 Verdict: Buy

Mr. and Mrs. X #1 (Marvel)– Kelly Thompson and Oscar Bazaldua go through a full gamut of tones from emotional to sexy then action packed and just plain weird in their Rogue/Gambit team up book, Mr. and Mrs. X #1. Bazaldua is one of Marvel’s new star artists with his cute, sweet, and highly expressive art that definitely works for a book centered around romance. He’s no slouch in the action department either with colorist Frank D’Armata, who brings the red explosions when, of course, Rogue and Gambit’s honey moon turns into a mission. Thompson’s script is mainly flirting in snark, but she hits a strong emotional beat when Rogue and Mystique have a heart to heart giving them a strong mother/daughter dynamic although Mystique has to watch the wedding from afar. Overall: 8.7 Verdict: Buy

Punks Not Dead #6 (IDW/Black Crown) The first arc of David Barnett and Martin Simmond’s Sid Vicious co-starring occult conspiracy draws to the close with Simmonds doing all kinds of trippy, Grant Morrison-friendly layouts as our protagonist Fergie and Sid go on the run from basically everyone. Fergie’s mom Julie also plays an active role in this issue providing crucial info about his background and even fighting off some creepy crow cops with a golf club. As a series and even with its lipservice to young love and dysfunctional families, Punks Not Dead is more style than substance and relies heavily on Simmonds’ Vertigo painted book meets total anarchy art style. But with the whole running away from home and possible demon spawn angle, Barnett has finally found an interesting plot to go with the ghostly banter and cool visuals. Overall: 7.5 Verdict: Read

Joe

The Amazing Spider-Man #2 (Marvel) – Spencer and Ottley have brought a lot of fun to a series and character that welcome it. As a massive Spidey fan, after two books I am ASM2018002_covsatisfied and on board. Seeing Peter and Mary Jane back together is awesome, and they better not mess with it again (please!). Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

Infinity Wars Prime #1 (Marvel) – This was a solid start to Marvel’s big event, but seeing them spoil it just days later doesn’t sit with me very well. I am never one for self hype by a company, and that’s what their social media post did. For the comic itself, Deodato is a great artist and Dugan is a great writer. There’s some fun setup and a “whoa” moment at the end, I just wish Marvel didn’t fully spoil it, but I guess their hope is everyone rushes to read it. Also $4.99 for this and next weeks #1 is a trend that is getting a little old. Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Buy

Justice League Dark #1 (DC) – James Tynion IV is a great writer, and his run on Detecitve Comics was fantastic. This book seems like it will get the same awesome treatment where he can take some underrated or underused DC characters and bring them to the front. He did it with Azrael, Spoiler, Clayface and more in Detective, and now he plans to do it with Detective Chimp and Man-Bat among others. Awesome debut. Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Action Comics #1001 (DC) – It’s so far so good for me for Bendis on Supes. I was actually surprised by this issue, and how well it flowed, and how well they captured Superman and what he means. We get a new big bad, some setup for the future, and some old school Superman interacting with kids and everyday citizens. It felt great, and I’m on board, especially with Gleason’s art. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Patrick

Proxima Centauri #2 (Image) – Farel Dalrymple keeps on rocking this 6-part series. The plot is quite beside the point here, just like I like it these days, so that I can just immerse ProximaCentauri_02-1myself in this jittery, scratchy world where everyone is basically just trying to be cool while they go about their business of questing and killing. My high school self appreciates that in this world they’re still playing the circle game, and that it comes in handy at saving lives from time to time. This is really lovely comics. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Mage: The Hero Denied #10 (Image) – Sometimes I wonder if Matt Wagner reads his own previous issues. Like, when we last saw Hugo, wasn’t he chowing down on forbidden fairy cakes? I guess we’ll have to wait to see if this has any consequence. Maybe it’s a symptom of the general problem of the series, which is that none of the characters really have a lot of agency. They’re all pretty passive and reactive, Kevin more so than the others. So, in a series that’s conventionally plot-driven, it makes for a very thin plot with very little action or intrigue. And there isn’t enough going on in terms of style, poetry, and personality to make up for these flaws. It has neither breadth nor depth; it’s not warm enough or cool enough; and the plot isn’t thickening at all. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Skip

Dry Country #5 (Image) – Rich Tommasso wraps up his 5-parter in a way that’s a bit of a downer. I guess the impulse was to subvert the usual film noir tropes in terms of Lou Rossi’s investigation into his missing sort-of girlfriend Janet, but it just turned out very anticlimactic and kind of a copout. I still like Lou, and I’m glad to have discovered Tommasso, and I’d buy another Lou Rossi adventure, even if I turned out not liking the final issue as much as I liked the previous ones. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

 League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Tempest (Top Shelf/Knockabout) – Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill begin the end by picking up where Century: 2009 left off, with Mina and Orlando bringing Emma Night to rejuvenate in Ayesha’s pool in Kor. Then a lot of stuff happens — and I mean a LOT. As expert as Alan Moore is with all of the various forms of comics, and the languages of adventure fiction, I think that his plotting ability is underrated. Indeed, when he just lets himself off the leash of tongue-in-cheek formal references, his stuff can be like several runaway trains all hurtling off the rails towards an apocalyptic collision. That said, for my money, the black-and-white daily newspaper James Bond strip is the unquestioned highlight of the book, paying off not only the radical idea of the “J-Series” Bond clones (all looking like certain movie actors, including a nebbishy reservist), but the horrific potential of the James Bond character himself. I feel like this book, coming out as it is during the Brexit fiasco and the resurgence of AC_Cv1001fascism in the UK, is less of a swan song for the fictions of the British Empire and more of a death knell. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Mr. H

Action Comics #1001 (DC)** Thus starts off the next 1,000 issues of DCs longest running title. I must say it is so nice to have Bendis at the helm for this one. He has a great handle on the street level aspect of Clark Kent that few writers get and keeps that classic Superman charm. When fire chief Melody Moore says to Superman “I thought fires were beneath you” and Supes replies. Metropolis is my home, I live here too. THAT is Superman. No danger too big or too small. Take notes people. Superman is the most simplistic hero to write and when it is done correctly it is almost elegant. This is how it can be done. Having Patrick Gleason on pencils is a great touch as he captures the magnitude of the action as well as the quieter beats in the book. I also like the skepticism of some of the Planet staff as to Clark and Lois. I mean c’mon they don’t know he’s S Superman so why wouldn’t it seem odd to them. Also the setup for the bigger mystery has me intrigued. All in all a fantastic first outing. Words, pictures, colors were all top notch. Keep me on for more truth, justice and this way. Bring on the next ish. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Shean

X-Men: Wakanda Forever #1 (Marvel) In this continuing story, this second chapter proves to be where the action catches steam. We get a full back story on Nakia, definitely a different look than the movie and this time somewhere scarier than her previous incarnations within comics. We also get a battle in the middle of modern day Brooklyn, where the creative team pulls from the current makeup of the borough. Lastly, the fact they have changed the duties of the Dora Milaje may be this book’s boldest move, as Black Panther without them, makes him like every other superhero. 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 7/21

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.


 

Mr. H

Immortal_Hulk_Vol_1_3.jpgImmortal Hulk #3 (Marvel) Al Ewing brings a tale woven in mystery by using eye account witnesses to tell their versions of what happened at the same event. It is an interesting story device as it is done through different artists pencils and styles. I really dig this Boogeyman aspect of the Hulk so far. Even one witness calls him Ol Jade Jaws, which is just classic. The gamma infused residents with power is an interesting touch but it could wear out its welcome quite quick if Mr. Ewing is not careful. That being said I have not been this energized about a Hulk ongoing in well, ever. There is just something to these one and done Tales From The Crypt like shorts we are seeing weaved thus far. It is nice to have a comic you put down and then next time you pick it up you start fresh. I really hope this run is a long one. Already counting the nightfalls till the next issue. Story: 8 Art:9 Recommendation: Buy

Ryan C

Royal City #12 (Image)** – Maybe we should have seen this coming. When Jeff Lemire announced he was ending this series with issue #14 rather than keeping it going for an undisclosed number of years as he originally intended, he was probably already running out the clock — and this installment certainly proves it. There are some great-looking splash pages and double-page spreads in this comic, but aside from the one major plot development the issue revolves around, not much happens at all, and at the end of the day what you’ve got is $3.99 spent on a book that takes literally about a minute and half to read. This is just straight-up padding, plain and simple. Overall: 3 Recommendation: Pass

Crude_04-1Crude #4 (Image/Skybound)** – Steve Orlando’s scripting and Garry Brown’s art improve with each issue of this involving, topical series, and this time out we’ve got some bare-knuckle brutality in addition to yet another layer of intrigue being woven into the tight, terse plot. It reads great, it looks great — you really can’t ask for much more out of a comic than you get here. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Proxima Centauri #2 (Image)** – I’m not entirely sure where Farel Dalrymple is going narratively with this inventive sci-fi series, but the disjointed story is presented in such a way as to make it feel equal parts interesting and mysterious rather than off-putting and impenetrable, and his cartooning is a veritable feast for the eyes. Don’t ask me what the hell’s going on in this comic — all I know is that I like it. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Batman #51 (DC)** – Lee Weeks handles the art on Tom King’s latest arc, and it looks as terrific as you’d expect — but the story is a middling affair at best, with Bruce Wayne called for jury duty on a case involving Batman’s arrest of Mr. Freeze. The cliffhanger ending is a nice little wrinkle,I’ll give you that, and is probably enough to get me to come back for more, so the script must be doing something right — but it feels hopelessly “decompressed” (nice-speak for “stretching five pages out to 20”), and I dunno if having Dick Grayson stepping in as Batman for a time is going to amount to anything, or if it’s just an empty, go-nowhere contrivance.I guess we’ll see. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Read

Shean

captain marvel 1The Life of Captain Marvel #1 (Marvel) – In what I think is a primer for the character, the comics world gets a good background story on Carol Danvers. We find Danvers in a crisis of conscience, as many of her childhood problems affect her role as anAvenger. This leads to Tony Stark pushing Danvers to visit her family, a visit that proves to be more difficult than she has anticipated. By issue’s end, she realizes her “Family PTSD” is too serious for her to leave before those long running issues are resolved. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Star Wars Thrawn #6 (Marvel)– I will keep this one sweet and short, we finally see what makes Thrawn such an evil genius to command respect from Darth Vader, as his ability to stay so many steps ahead of everyone is what this book so good and the Easter egg at the end leaves the door open for a sequel. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Logan

Euthanauts #1 (IDW/Black Crown) Tini Howard’s and Nick Robles’ Euthanauts is like waking up from a fever dream as funeral home receptionist Thalia is recruited into an organization where she sees what life after death is like. Robles isn’t just skilledat the trippy stuff, but also at showing all the strength and fragility of the human body. In the early going, the narrative is a bit hard to follow, but it’s exhilarating in the way discovering a whole suite of otherworldly cable channels would be. Euthanauts #1 is dark and adventurous like maybe death will be… Overall: 8.4 Verdict: Buy

xmen re 6.jpg X-Men Red #6 (Marvel) Tom Taylor and Carmen Carnero continue to prove why X-Men Red is the flagship X-book with splashy action, empathetic characterization, a global scope, and a great villain. Some of Carnero’s panels with Cassandra Nova are downright chilling as she tries to quash Jean’s hope with her hatred. Between cellphone heists and Searebro (Not a typo just a pun.) construction, Taylor takes time to flesh out the Wakandan mutant Gentle, who was abused for being both an outsider and mutant. Jean is trying to build a world where mutants can participate in the world on a global scale and can use their powers peacefully and not in violence or self-defense, but we’re a long time from that because it’s 2018, ugh. Overall: 8.8 Verdict: Buy

Jessica Jones #1 (Marvel)** This comic is a wonderful surprise from Kelly Thompson and Mattia De Iulis, who is sure to be one of Marvel’s biggest stars with a slick, yet dark style. I love how Thompson balances Jessica’s life as a mom/wife and private eye, and her scenes with Luke and Dani are breezy and organic. (There’s a running joke about Luke getting the wrong dinosaur shapes cereal for Dani.) The overall mystery is fairly compelling to with female “D-list” superheroes getting shot in the head, and no one knows who’s behind it. This sets up some fun cameos and interactions, and Thompson’s gift for snark is a perfect fit for Jessica. Overall: 9.2 Verdict: Buy

Archie Meets Batman ’66 #1 (Archie/DC) This crossover from Jeff Parker, Michael Moreci, Dan Parent, and J. Bone is groovy, fun, and Batgirl fights the Bookworm in it. Parent’s art is perfect for the wacky, pop art world of Batman ’66 where Joker plays Rock Em Sock Em Robots and Poison Ivy has Jolly Green Giant-looking henchmen. This first issue mostly sets up the Riverdale and DC Universes of the 60s, but it has a lot of potential. Overall: 7.4 Verdict: Read

Joe

Runaways #11 (Marvel) – This is one of my favorite comics every month. It is so injustice-vs-the-masters-of-the-universe-1-of-6lighthearted and fun, but still deep and engaging. The team of Rainbow Rowell, Kris Anka, and Matthew Wilson make some of the coolest art and dialogue around. You really feel like these are kids or young adults trying to exist in a world full of heroes, but they’re still trying to figure out where they fit in. There’s actual growing pains that kids really go through, and the storyline with Victor is awesome. Also, Doombot is a reoccurring character and yells “I AM DOOM!”, and that is worth the admission alone. Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Injustice vs He-Man and Masters of the Universe #1 (DC) – Tim Seeley writes a fun world colliding comic which follows the previous Thundercats and He-Man tie in and even references it. The set up for how Batman, Zatana, and the other heroes enter the world of He-Man is fun. There’s even some bonding with Swamp Thing and Moss Man. The part that has me excited to keep reading is wondering where Superman and his team and where Skeletor and the bad guys will be in this tale. There is definitely some hints by the end. It is quite an interesting issue, and the art by Freddie Williams II is awesome. Overall: 7.5 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 (**).

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 7/14

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.


 

Ryan C

FLS_Cv50_dsThe Flash #50 (DC)** – I guess this is a “landmark” issue, but you could have fooled me: same sort of lackluster Barry Allen vs. Wally West race around the world and through time comes to an end, the villain (Hunter Zolomon) gets away, angst-ridden wooden dialogue that would make Chris Claremont blush dominates the day — and all in service of one big character resurrection (or should that be “rebirth”?) that I can’t imagine anyone giving a shit about. Joshua Williamson has done some okay writing work, but not here, and the same is true of Howard Porter as far as the art is concerned. I’ve heard that people are enjoying this run — but I literally can’t see how or why. Overall: 1 Recommendation: Pass.

Superman #1 (DC)** – More a continuation of the sloppy, uninteresting “Man Of Steel” mini-series than a debut issue in its own right, Brian Michael Bendis is doing nothing but stage-setting here : Superman “grows” a new Fortress Of Solitude in the Bermuda Triangle with no explanation, J’Onn J’Onzz uncharacteristically implores Superman to take over the world with no explanation, and at the end the Earth appears to have been swallowed up by the Phantom Zone — again, with no explanation. Ivan Reis’ art is competent, but that’s about it — which, as you can already tell, is more than can be said for the story. Overall: 2.5 Recommendation: Pass.

Eternity Girl #5 (DC/Young Animal)** – Magdalene Visaggio’s scripting on this mini-series has been up and down, but fortunately it’s ticking “up” again as we near the conclusion. Our protagonist appears to be getting close to realizing her goal of non-existence — but she’s about to “achieve” it in a decidedly involuntary fashion. Smart, sharp, philosophical dialogue and captions paired with Sonny Liew’s stunning, post-psychedelic art makes for a pretty compelling little issue, and I’m looking forward to seeing how all this wraps up. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Elsewhere #8 (Image)** – Sadly, Jay Faerber and Sumeyye Kesgin’s lighthearted sci-fi series is being put to bed with this issue, but the story of Amelia Earhart and D.B. Cooper’s dimension-hopping at least comes to a pleasing, if obviously rushed, conclusion. One gets the feeling that there was a much longer story waiting to be told here, but on the whole I’m pretty satisfied with one we got — bright, crisp, lively art paired with a breezy, fun, smart script that doesn’t have any goal beyond simply being entertaining? I’ll take that — heck, I’d have taken much more of it. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy.

Logan

amazing spider-man 1 2018.PNGAmazing Spider-Man #1 (Marvel) Nick Spencer and Ryan Ottley’s debut on Marvel’s flagship title is funny, moving, and also is a mini Superior Foes reunion, which is never a bad thing. Other than the bad luck, worse jokes, and scientific know how, Spencer understands that having a good reputation is key to Spidey and Peter Parker’s character, which is why a plagiarism scandal connected to the days when Doc Ock’s mind was in his body hurts worse than an alien invasion. Dealing with real problems, like work troubles and bad roommate in this case, has been part of Spidey’s charm from the beginning, and Spencer and Ottley infuse plenty of that in their comic. On the visual side, Ryan Ottley gets to cut loose and draw epic, guest starred filled battles as well as potent interpersonal scenes like Aunt May being disappointed in Peter and a reunion with a major supporting character. And like a cherry on top, there’s a funny, melodramatic backup story starring Mysterio with art by perennial Spider-Man artist Humberto Ramos. Overall: 9 Verdict: Buy.

Incredibles 2 #1 (Dark Horse) Incredibles 2 #1 is a collection of three stories mostly centered around Mr. Incredible penned by Christos Gage and Landry Walker with fantastic art by Gurihuru, J. Bone, Urbano, and Greppi. The first story is about Mr. Incredible not feeling as strong as he used to and transitioning from being a main superhero to teaching his kids how to be better superheroes. Gurihuru draws in a Disney Golden Book style so this story stuck with me the most. The second story by Gage and drawn in a more satirical style by J. Bone is Rashomon meets bed time stories as Violet and Dash press at their dad to find out the real, non-boring story of his old superhero days. And the final story is a beautiful, little one and done Jack Jack yarn as he uses his vast powers to save his new friend from an evil playground terrorizer. This story is a lot like a Pixar short film. Overall: 7.7 Verdict: Read

X-23 #1 (Marvel)– Mariko Tamaki and Juann Cabal’s first issue of X-23 has some snikty snikt action, good one-liners from Honey Badger, and leans on the whole clone thing more than ever with the introduction of the Stepford Cuckoos as Laura and Gabby’s foils. X-23 #1 is really a tale of two tones: a black ops mission against scientists who want to use Wolverine’s DNA to make super soldiers and then psychological horror with an interlude at the Xavier Institute. I love how Tamaki writes the “sister” relationship between Gabby and Laura and Cabal is good at clearly choreographed action and twisted psychic imagery so this is a fairly solid first issue. Overall: 7.7 Verdict: Read

Joe

The Amazing Spider-Man #1 (Marvel) – Nick Spencer returns to the fun writing he knew on Superior Foes of Spider-Man, and Ryan Ottley brings the cool character design he pulled off so well on Invincible. This is a good jumping on point Spidey fans. Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

Superman #1 (DC) – This is a good start to a new jumping on point with a whole new creative team. Reading Man of Steel that came out before this helps, but isn’t needed. This issue sets up some huge things going forward and it will be fun to see where it goes from here. Overall: 7.0 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 (**).

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