Category Archives: Mini Reviews

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 1/18

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.


Joe Hesh

Batman #86 (DC) It is always darkest before the dawn. After the up and down fest that was Tom King’s historic Batman run we get a much welcomed change of pace here. James Tynion IV does not waste any time getting Bruce into costume again. This is a good thing because Tony Daniel draws such a great Batman. I am loving the Bruce and Lucius dynamic ala The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight rises movies. Bruce is still very much touched by his grief over losing Alfred and is not on all cylinders yet (something I can very much relate to having lost my father last year) I like how Deathstroke knows this and chooses to strike when Bruce is off his game. In addition to drawing an awesome Batman, Daniel draws one hell of a Slade and I always enjoy these two at each other more and more. Seeing the other side characters was cool but just fodder. We get new bat vehicle and gadgets and lots of cool toys this issue and Lucius is very much the Q to Bruce’s James and I want much more of it. So only a first outting but Tynion studied under the tutelage of Scott Snyder and if he keeps this up we are in good hands for short term. For the love of God though, no more fucking BANE. Let that character languish for a long while. I’d like to see what Slades bigger plan is. We all know he has one.
Score: 8.6 Recommendation: Buy 

Logan

 Excalibur #5 (Marvel)– Excalibur #5 is an up and down comic for me. I love how Tini Howard writes Rogue so powerfully and Southern and Marcus To’s clean linework when she is trapped in Otherworld. However, the majority of the comic is a mess of explosions, crystals, magic, and Apocalypse being more of an overt villain. There is definitely something primal cooking in Howard’s overarching story, but at this point, I don’t know if I’m interested in as she and To switch characters perspectives and juggle plots each issue. Basically, Excalibur #5 has some entertaining moments (And it’s nice to see Rogue play an active role in the proceedings.), but doesn’t work together as a coherent unit of story. Overall: 5.8 Verdict: Pass

New Mutants #5 (Marvel)– Jonathan Hickman and Rod Reis are back with the “old school” New Mutants in space on a mission that’s, well, complicated by Shi’ar politics. This issue balances space and superpowered action with humor, characterization, and a dash of political intrigue. Hickman gives each New Mutant something to do whether it’s Chamber and Mondo sharing a toast to pacifism while their teammates fight the shit out of some Shi’ar Death Commandos, or Magik showing off her leadership (and flirting) skills with the Death Commando boarding party. Reis has been my favorite artist on the Dawn of X books, and he’s back with more expressive faces, lush colors, and Heavy Metal-inspired spaceships and stations meets Bob McLeod’s classic character designs. He’s also an economic storyteller. For example, one panel with a flatline tells more about Magik’s ruthless and combat abilities than five pages of protracted action. I didn’t mind the Ed Brisson/check with some underutilized mutants from Grant Morrison’s New X-Men interlude, but New Mutants #5 returns this book to elite status. A must read for anyone who likes their mutants in space and flirtatious. Overall: 8 Verdict: Buy

 X-Force #5 (Marvel)– Benjamin Percy and Joshua Cassara’s X-Force #5 brings the gory and gruesome black ops action while also considering of the implications of these battles on the team and their antagonists. With Wolverine mostly out of commission, Domino takes center stage in the fight against Xeno, the organization that blew up a Krakoa gate and assassinated Charles Xavier. Percy and Cassara drive home the effects of the torture Xeno unleashed on her, and she returns it on kind. Percy also takes a moment to humanize a member of the team they’re fighting against, but not too much as he pivots to Beast undermining the utopian world of Krakoa through very human things like mental and physical torture and off the books operatives. X-Force is a book about the secret sins that nations commit to preserve themselves and shows this through words as well as sometimes revolting, sometimes stylish action. Overall: 8.4 Verdict: Buy

 Tank Girl Full Color Classics #3.1 (Titan)– The numbering is weird, but Tank Girl Full Color Classics #3.1 presents some absolutely bonkers Tank Girl, Jet Girl, and Sub Girl stories from the early 1990s by creators Alan Martin and Jamie Hewlett with some stories drawn by artists Glyn Dillon and Philip Bond. Hewlett’s character design is fantastic, but he’s a great storyteller too as evidenced in the first story where he homages different film genres when Tank Girl and Booga take on every bounty hunter in Australia. His panels are crammed full of fun litle details and background jokes while Martin’s dialogue is easygoing and filled to the brim with double entendres. One thing I liked about this comic is that it also focused on Tank Girl’s supporting cast like a story where her kangaroo boyfriend Booga’s dad is a yeti, or a MAD-meets-Behind the Music parody of Morrissey and The Smiths that Sub Girl narrates. (Dillon draws a hilarious Morrissey Fat Elvis caricature.) Along with the original strips, this comic is packed full with photos of the creators and pinups from Hewlett, Bond, and Dillon and provides a window into the creativity of British comics and Deadline in the early 1990s. Overall: 8 Verdict: Buy

SFSX #5 (Image)– Jen Hickman joins SFSX as both artist and colorist, and they and Tina Horn tell an exciting heist story as Avory and her crew of sex workers from Dirty Mind try to break out her husband George from the Party’s reeducation camp. This comic is a bullet in the head of purity culture as Horn and Hickman systematically dismantle kink shaming. (Chasten Buttigieg would be appalled ;) ) Hickman’s character acting is amazing, and they add some clever touches like having characters’ knowledge of rope bondage and harnesses get them through vents and air ducts like some kind of BDSM John McClane. Add one incredibly (and actually) monstrous bad guy that has an emotional connection to the main characters, and SFSX #5 is another great chapter in this series. Overall: 8.6 Verdict: Buy

Steeple #5 (Dark Horse)– Billie finds her inner darkness in the conclusion of John Allison and Sarah Stern’s miniseries. Allison sets the tone hilariously by Billie finding Satan a bit buff and attractive and hanging up a John Wick poster in the rectory. This issue is compelling because it’s centered around the relationship between Billie and Maggie as they basically swap places/religions. A heart to heart at a coffee shop reveals that Maggie is a good person with a sensitive conscience who joined the Church of Satan so that she could forget about her activism and thirst for justice through hedonism. And Billie just wants to be “bad”. Allison goes the ending with a big character change route while leaving the door ajar for more stories in the Steeple world. His art continues to be a delightful treat as he makes possessed vacuum cleaners and the extinction of the water vole hilarious. Overall: 8.5 Verdict: Buy

Shean

Rising Sun#1 (IDW)– In a feudal tale of Ninjas fighting monsters, we get this comic book serialization of the popular video game, as someone who has never played the game, I felt lost for a good part of the issue, something that should never happen to any comic book reader. Hopefully, a second issue will do more to give more back story. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Borrow

Black Widow Prelude #1 (Marvel)– An adequate primer, nothing more, nothing less. Overall: 6.7 Recommendation: Borrow


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

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

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 12/21

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.


Joe Hesh

Batman Last Knight on Earth # 3 (DC Black Label)** So here it is. The self proposed last Batman story that Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo ever wanted to create. I must say it has been dark, dark, dark thus far. Good thing it is on Black Label. It was clear from the beginning this road was going to have a very bleak turn. The identity of Omega is finally revealed and I must say I did not see THAT coming. Which is a good thing, because how can you be entertained in comics if you guess everything that happens. See I like to be in the know and like to even spoil the event for myself at times with vaunted intelligence. However every now and then I get truly surprised and when it is pulled off and makes sense, not just for shock value. it is incredible. It is no secret that Snyder and Capullo are my all time favorite creative team. I even call them Batgods. This issue is a perfect example of why. It has everything. Huge world ending stakes? Check. Major crazy epic villain reveal? Check. Over the top meta changing crazy reality defining battle? Check. And… well you will just have to see for yourself. Snyder caps off his Magnum Opus with some of his finest work yet and harkening back to some of his first Batman work in the process. There are easter eggs scattered and hearts shattered. Capullo proves he is just a Green Lantern in disguise with a pen as his art is just magnificent here and the colors by Jonathan Glapion are freaking gorgeous. Once again if you are going in like me and think you got this figured out, you ain’t seen shit. This one will blow your bat lights. Slow clap for the finish gents, well done. Score: 9.9 Recommendation: You have to ask? Buy

Justice League #38 (DC) The final battle between God Lex and the League ensues. Guess I get a double dose of Snyder goodness here. This one is rocking as Lex with all the power more than ever before takes the League head on and dismantles every single one. It reminds me of the classic Justice League cartoon saga when Lex and Brainiac merge. There are some amazing action beats such as Lex using every construct that John Stewart has ever made, against him. Jorge Jiminez does a great job wielding the pencil here and making our heroes have a most difficult time navigating peril. There are some new characters that I was not aware of such as Shayne, who is obviously Hawkgirl and J’onn’s son. I have to read when that happened. For the most part though, this is a Justice League comic and the rules apply so I just let it unfold. Great confrontation with Lex and Batman and a Starro named Jarro who seems to think Batman is his dad, another beat I missed but nonetheless, this was a good book. We get left on a cliff hanger with a big return and I am very down to see how it all concludes. Score: 8.5  Reccomendation: Buy

Batman #85 (DC) After what seems like forever we are here at the end of Tom King’s Batman run. Yes it has had its ups, its downs, its awful and its great, here we get right in the middle. We see Bruce take on Thomas in a battle for Gotham and the cowl, it an issue that jumps around, a lot. Too much at times. I can appreciate what King tried to do with the tough love approach from Thomas and in the process making a shocking enemy but to me I’d have much rather had him as an ally like in The Button (Seriously that crossover was amazing still) than to have this version of Thomas. We get lots and lots of dialogue and flashbacks and flash forwards that it sort of takes you out of the issue at times. At least this is it. No more long sagas to prod through under this era of Batman so for that I am happy. While I really thought this one was going to give us the double sized conclusion we all deserved, it just more or less left me wanting. Not more of this though! I just wanted a neater solution. Well that’s comics. I will say the tease of what’s next at the end was very entertaining though and has my bat ears raised a bit. So we shall see. Mikel Janin did a great job on art chores but his talents are needed elsewhere pronto. So it wasn’t all I wanted it to be, but it was no where near as bat as some of the stuff in the middle. So lets just shine the symbol and see what comes next. Score: 7 Recommendation: Read


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

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

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 12/14

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.


Joe Hesh

Batman Curse of the White Knight # 5 (DC) Opening with one of the best funeral speeches I have heard in a comic, Sean Murphy kills this one again. His Batman may not be my ideal Batman or his voice but the world around him, he has to a tee. Everyone of the characters he writes is so alive and has purpose and you do not ever just feel like they are talking heads wasting time till the big action sequence.
He has finally crafted a story where you really feel that Batman is in full danger. This one will be a pyrrhic victory for sure at best. No one is coming out all touchy feely here especially not after the death of Jim Gordon.
Harley remains a great character I’m loving the bond with Bruce. It adds something special. Like a more adult version of the classic Batman the Animated Series episode “Harlequinade”. They finally made Jean Paul Valley a worthy wearer of the Azrael mantle. He is so good it’s like this is what the creators should have envisioned all along, but I will take it now.
Murphy also crafts a great mystery of Gotham, a city which has seen almost every mystery possible he found a way to make something new. Suffice to say I think that this is unquestionably the best Batman title going at the moment. No I do NOT WANT DC to put him on the regular title as they would only water him down and ruin all this goodness.
With only a few issues left and Mr Murphy already eyeing a sequel, one has to wonder if their will be anything left? Who cares? I just want more of this now. Please. Score: 9.5  Highly Recommended.

Superman #17 (DC) Boy, Bendis has sure been off and on with this title, but thankfully when all eyes are on this, he is so ON. This is the big coming out issue. Yep I know, I hear ya, hasn’t this been done before? Well definitely not as well. Supes holds a big press conference to spill his secret ID but then we get the handy dandy flashback of why he has come to this momentus conclusion. We get great solo moments with Perry and Jimmy and they make the book worth it alone. No matter what side of the fence you are on this one (Batman I’m looking at you) you can at least see Clark’s justification. Finally not since the Death of Superman, do we have something new and truly Super for the Man of Steel to handle. No Crisis, No Zero Hour, or New Krypton or even sigh.. Leviathan, this has all the potential to be something special we will recall for ages. I just I was wise reupping my subscription to the Daily Planet because I want every single page of this story.
Also Ivan Reis is the best Superman artist since Dan Jurgens. Period. Change my mind. Score: 9  Recommended


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 12/7

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

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Joe Hesh

Batman #84 (DC) SPOILERS -So here we are the penultimate issue before the end of City of Bane arc and its two steps forward and one step back. This issue opens with Bruce and Thomas squaring off in the dining area of Wayne Manor, as we are quickly whisked in many many time jumps showing us Thomas’s activities since rejoining us on our Earth. While there are some cool beats there are also many confusing ones. For example we get a Selena Kyle who joins Thomas on his cruade as his Robin but she refers to him as Dad? Its never apparent which Selena this is, is another Selena in the multiverse or is it our Selena and she’s been manipulating Bruce all along. I’m not sure which one. We then see Thomas hunt down everything and anything he sees as a threat to Bruce including shooting our Oswald Cobblepot in the head. (that was interesting) We also get Thomas’s version of Bruce’s famous vow which was cool. I have been a big fan of Thomas Wayne Flashpoint Batman and feel The Button arc is one of the best comics I’ve ever read but the way that King has used him in this is so convoluted and way beyond tough love that it makes any chance for redemption ridiculous. Any outcome other than Bruce killing Thomas for what he has done is not acceptable. King only has one issue to wrap this all up and I have little faith he can accomplish that feat. So once again, the pictures have been grand and I get the impact he’s going for but its just so muddled that it becomes so hard to see Thomas as anything other than an Arkham psycho. This is a character that started so rich and deserves so much more. Like Harvey Dent said in The Dark Knight “You either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the villain.” One issue left lets hope King and Co. give us the ending we deserve.
Score: 7 Recommendation: Read

Logan

Thor: The Worthy #1 (Marvel)– In Thor: The Worthy #1, Marvel rustles up some of the greatest creators of Asgardian comic content to tell stories about heroism and perserverance even if your dad isn’t Odin. Legendary Thor writer Walter Simonson teams up with artists Mike Hawthorne, Sal Buscema (Who is 83!), and Tamra Bonvillain to tell a Kirby-esque of Beta Ray Bill, Sif, and a rock troll threatening Asgard. It doubles as an homage to his run, a great Young Thor tale story, and a look back at the underrated relationship between Sif and Bill. The second story by Tom DeFalco and Ron Frenz is a day in the life of The militarized cop supporting cast hasn’t aged well, but Frenz’s muscular linework and Eric’s salt of the Earth heroism is timeless. There’s even a a fantastic Secret Wars homage, and it reminds readers that the late Eric Masterson was a great, relatable hero in the “extreme” era of the 1990s. The final story from Kathryn Immonen and Tom Reilly is a fantastic Sif and Thor (Jane Foster) team-up as Sif shows Thor the ropes of Asgardian diplomacy, and Thor realizes that she is truly worthy of wielding Mjolnir. The art has a great Kirby meets Simonson vibe to tie it into the first story, and Reilly’s explosive pencils complement Immonen’s witty dialogue nicely. Overall: 8.6 Verdict: Buy

James Bond #1 (Dynamite)– The first chapter of Vita Ayala, Danny Lore, and Eric Gapstur’s James Bond ongoing series is relatively Bond-lite, but provides an intriguing look into the world of art forgeries and thefts. After an explosive sex and violence filled cold open with a Will Eisner-esque title page, the comic has the feel of a slick procedural as claims investigator Brandy Keys tries to figure out how a priceless Rothko was forged/stolen. Ayala and Lore assume readers already know Bond so they spend this issue building up Keys as a character and crafting a playground of fine art and ultraviolence. And this issue is a true thrill ride with a conclusion that definitely piqued my interest into seeing how Bond fits into this story. Overall: 8 Verdict: Buy

Die #10 (Image)– The final issue of the “Split the Party” arc definitely lives up to the title as Ash and Izzy take over the fantasy realm of Angria, which was revealed as a creation of a young Charlotte Bronte, in a previous issue. Ash’s descent into evil and authoritarianism has been fun as she has progressed from wanting to exit the world of Die to wanting to play the game. Kieron Gillen falls into some RPG nerdery in this issue (As he has throughout the whole series to be honest), but Stephanie Hans’ art makes concepts like godbinding and dictators compelling and cool. However, some of her best moments happen in muted flashbacks to Dominic Ash finally seeing his wife become pregnant before cutting to Ash taking over Angria. The first arc of Die ended with the game-maker Sol imprisoned, and the party desperately wanting to go home to the real world. However, in the second arc, Gillen and Hans have replaced him with an equally compelling villain as the protagonists (and antagonists) immerse themselves in fantasy quests and realpolitik. Overall: 8.2 Verdict: Buy

X-Men #3 (Marvel)– Jonathan Hickman indulges his weird side and turns in the most entertaining issue of the X-Men ongoing with artists Leinil Yu, Gerry Alanguilan, and Sunny Gho. Basically, some 70 and 80-something female botanist and agrochemists called Hordeculture hack Krakoa in the Savage Land and totally put the mutants’ new utopia out of wack so Cyclops, Emma Frost, and Sebastian Shaw investigate and get their asses handed to them. This is a serious problem, but creates some amazing opportunities for comedy like Yu’s hilarious beat panel after one of the Hordeculture spit roasts Emma Frost’s fashion sense. Some of the writing here is straight out of an X-Men meme page (For better or worse), but Hickman and Yu do a good job of showing that there’s trouble in paradise, er, Krakoa. Overall: 9.0 Verdict: Buy

Marauders #3 (Marvel)– Wow, Sebastian Shaw is the worst father ever. Gerry Duggan and Michele Bandini continue to put their proverbial “pieces” on the Hellfire Club board with Sebastian Shaw resurrecting his son Shinobi Shaw to serve as the Red King, and when that didn’t work out thanks to Kate Pryde in the last issue, the Black Bishop. Marauders #3 has the vibe of one of those early season episodes of Game of Thrones (When it was decent show.) where characters are plotting and doing morally questionable things to gain power. The theme of a utopia being undermined continues with Shaw as a throughline from X-Men to Marauders. It’s so cool to see the connections between the X-Books as they blossom into SF realpolitik thrillers instead of the usual superhero fare. Marauder #3’s only key blemish is its art, which has some slick character costume designs and landscapes for the Hellfire Bay, but falters in the emotional storytelling department probably due to the biweekly schedule. Overall: 7.9 Verdict: Buy

Excalibur #3 (Marvel)– Tini Howard and Marcus To combine fantasy action (Jubilee’s son Shogo is a dragon in Otherworld.) with some sharp characterization as Betsy Braddock struggles with her new mantle of Captain Britain, Gambit basically misses Rogue like crazy, and Rictor rejects the call to Krakoa, but may end up an unwitting pawn in Apocalypse’s schemes. Erick Arciniega’s colors are the special sauce that make Otherworld look different from the human world or even Krakoa, and there is a tone of derring do, magic, and high drama in these scenes as Betsy fights Brian and sees nothing in his eyes. However, Excalibur isn’t a straightforward magical fantasy book with Howard and To crafting plenty of intrigue towards the beginning and end of the comic as well as in the diagrams leading to a final page that creates another obstacle for the team. 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 11/30

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

Girl On Film (BOOM!/Archaia)– Shade the Changing Girl and Female Furies writer Cecil Castellucci tells her winding journey to becoming an artist in Girl on Film with artists Vicky Leta, Melissa Duffy, V. Gagon, and Jon Berg. Castellucci’s passion for the art of filmmaking comes through, and the framing sequences with her scientist father expand upon the fragility of memory in creating a memoir while not undermining the events of the story. Girl on Film has great energy and honesty as Cecil navigates New York’s Performing Arts High School, the city’s art and film scene, and Montreal’s general art scene. There are some fun celebrity cameos, but Castellucci weaves them into the story so they don’t seem like namedropping or grandstanding. In fact, Girl On Film comes across as a profoundly humble work with Cecil coming to terms with her lack of technical filmmaking skills and finding new ways to tell stories whether that’s in various bands, young adult novels, and finally, comics. Overall: 8 Verdict: Buy

Black Canary Ignite (DC/Zoom)– Black Canary Ignite is a middle grade friendly-friendly fusion of Dinah Lance’s superhero origin and her most recent rock star vigilante solo series from writer Meg Cabot (Princess Diaries) and artist Cara McGee (Dodge City). McGee’s art is adorable and expressive plus she dials up the intensity any time Dinah uses her abilities especially early on when she has no idea what she’s doing. In the early going, Cabot’s writing betrays her inexperience in the comics medium as she describes what is shown in McGee’s art, but she adds some cute wrinkles like Wildcat being Dinah’s P.E. coach and some sassy one-liners. She and McGee are at their finest when focusing on the mother/daughter dynamic between Black Canaries, past and present. Dinah’s first villain is a little weak, but Black Canary Ignite’s slice of life elements are enjoyable. This is one worth skipping for adults and older teens, but is worth a shot for tween and younger readers as well as Black Canary fans hoping for solo content. Overall: 6 Verdict: Pass (I checked out a copy from my local public library.)

Conan 2099 #1 (Marvel)– Gerry Duggan and Roge Antonio turn in the equivalent of a classic Conan with some technological accoutrements (Like flying cars) in Conan 2099 #1. All the tropes are here: Conan struggling with being a good ruler, a magical antagonist, and him turning to wandering once again with the help of a Nova corps helmet. The story doesn’t really place Conan in the context of the 2099 world beyond his kingdom having climate change issues, but Duggan and Antonio nail the fighting, hiding, and heroism parts. The ending is especially heroic and worth reading the whole comic for. Overall: 7.8 Verdict: Read

Killadelphia #1 (Image) Killadelphia #1 has some cool ideas like connecting vampirism to systemic injustices and John Adams bringing yellow fever back from the Carribbean, but the whole comic feels disjointed. Writer Rodney Barnes jumps from the current detective Sangster to his father and then some letters and tries to connect these two eras and create an atmosphere of tension and class inequity, but fails at making me connect with the characters or even establishing a decent mystery or hook. However, Jason Shawn Alexander and Luis NCT’s visuals are outstanding and remind me of Kyle Baker almost painterly style on Truth: Red, White, and Blue. Alexander’s layout choices are like fragments of memory and work with Barnes’ storytelling style. Eventually, this might be coherent in trade paperback format, but it fails the first issue hook test. Overall: 5.5 Verdict: Pass

Shean

Punisher 2099 (Marvel)– I will keep this one sweet and short, a similar story to Frank Castle in that tragedy propels him to become a hero but add a dash of Black Mirror and you have this story which honestly feels already outdated and not compelling. Overall: 4.7 Recommendation: Borrow


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

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

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 11/16

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

Far Sector #1

Far Sector #1 (DC/Black Label)*- Hugo winning writer N.K. Jemisin and artist Jamal Campbell team up to tell a Green Lantern story about a utopia gone wrong that is bathed in both the speculative fiction and police procedural dramas. Jo Mullein is the Green Lantern representative to the furthest end of the universe, which is a world called the City Enduring. Ostensibly, the City Enduring is a perfect world, devoid of emotions that is built from the ruins of a genocide that hasn’t had a murder in 5 centuries and calls their cops “Peace Captains”. However, it’s mostly definitely not as Jemisin and Campbell expose the bullshit beneath its sleekly drawn surface. Jemisin definitely plays to her SF strengths in this comic using a serial murder plot to progress the narrative while adding oodles of world-building and a side of snarky humor. Campbell continues to have some of the cleanest visuals in comics with his distinct looks for the three types of inhabitants of City Enduring, but he can do grotesque too. Also, kudos to both N.K. Jemisin and Jamal Campbell for coming up with one of the most creative uses of a Green Lantern ring for comedy purposes. Overall: 9 Verdict: Buy.

Morbius #1

Morbius #1 (Marvel) – In the opening 8 or 9 pages, writer Vita Ayala and artists Marcelo Ferreira and Roberto Poggi establish that Morbius #1 isn’t a superhero comic, but a slasher story. Morbius’ philosophical musings about virtue, the greatest good, and curing his hunger and pain don’t pop up until midway in the issue as he stalks a warehouse taking out members of Melter’s crew, who are exploiting his neighborhood. Ayala writes him as a vampire with a conscience, but with the soul of a PhD and the appearance of monster in contrast with angsty pretty boy pop culture vampires like Louis and Angel. Ferreira, Poggi, and colorist Dono Sanchez-Almara’s work goes beyond Morbius’ appearance, and his skill at killing and bloodlust is evident through quick series of panels, lots of red, and veiny figure work although they don’t go full Joe Mad or Stephen Platt. Morbius #1 is a classic horror tale with pseudoscientific trappings of a monster wanting to become human, but outside forces not wanting to give him that chance. (And for good reason.) Overall: 8 Verdict: Buy

Shean

Punisher Soviet #1

Punisher Soviet #1 ( Marvel)– In this story, Frank Castle is a gun for hire, as he opens the book on a massacre he unleashes, he wonders who’s this new criminal force making a move. Soon his handler puts the dots together and finds out it is a crew he had been targeting last time he was in Russia. As he shakes down one of the goons, we find out just how brutal Frank really is. By issue’s end, he finds the crime boss, who knew eventually The Punisher would find him. 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 11/10

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

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Joe Hesh

Batman #82 (DC Comics) – So here we are. City of Bane part 8. What started as a very intriguing and entertaining flip flop of the Batman/GCPD/Villains dynamic has now developed into a long winded overused trope. I really enjoyed the villains being deputized as Bane’s police force, but that was a one trick pony. Some it totally made sense, like Scarecrow and Two Face but then others were just ridiculous like the Joker. Still I looked past it as it has given us some very cool story beats such as Bat/Cat on an island and Damian defiant. 

It also gave us our most shocking and heart wrenching story beat, the DEATH of Alfred. This was done in such grotesque and shocking fashion that surely there would be incredible fallout from this heinous act? Yes? Well… nope. That happened back in ish #77 and we’ve got zilch. Here we are 5 long issues later and Batman has his final showdown with evil incarnate: Bane and not one freaking mention of his fallen mentor!
Not only that, the set up for this was totally loony as Bane would never take any chance to fight Bruce without an edge. So this out of character moment exists so Bruce and Selena can get the drop on Bane, only for a half hearted fight with some dreadful dialogue to trudge through the whole issue. Not to mention the way this all ends. 

Unfortunately I am no longer even morbidly curious as Tom Kings inconsistency frustrates to no end.I just want this saga over and done with and hopefully we get some justice for Alfred. Overall: You can skip to the last two pages of this book, you won’t miss much, as King’s Thomas makes Grant Morrison’s Bat-God seem like a novice. Sure there are pretty pictures by Mikel Janin but that doesn’t make up for the shoddy canvas this is painted on. Score: 4 Recommendation: Pass

Logan

Dragonfly and Dragonflyman #1 (Ahoy)- Apparently, this series is a prequel to the Wrong Earth comic, which I never read, but Tom Peyer and Peter Krause’s Dragonfly and Dragonflyman #1 stands on its own as an exploration of the superhero/sidekick dynamic throughout the years as Dragonfly and Dragonflyman and their sidekick both named Stinger follow the trail of criminal, Devil Man. Peyer makes a smart decision to make the Stinger of Earth Omega (The grim and gritty one) the POV character of his storyline, and it reads like if those Post-Crisis Batman comics were written from Jason Todd’s perspective. Or in a less nerdy parlance, it captures the feeling of always being caught in a mentor or friend’s shadow and struggling to become your own person. The Dragonflyman/Stinger story is a lot more ridiculous and humorous with Peyer, Krause, and especially colorist Andy Troy nailing the wack-a-doodle Mort Weisinger era of Superman comics with all kinds of gimmicks and surprises. But what if one of those gimmicks that were waved away as an “imaginary story” were real? The final sequence in Dragonfly and Dragonflyman #1 shows that Peyer and Krause are interested in introspection on both Earths. Also, a final kudos to Peter Krause and Andy Troy, who have the ability to draw and light a scene where two superheroes investigate an abandoned sex dungeon as well as choreograph a kangaroo boxing match that is Adam West’s Batman meets those episodes of Batman: The Animated Series where Batman inexplicably wrestled random wild animals. Dragonfly and Dragonflyman #1 is well-executed pastiche that also doubles as a character study with a lot of potential for Stinger of Earth Omega. Overall: 9 Verdict: Buy

Heist #1 (Vault)– Paul Tobin and Arjuna Susini turn in some grimy crime sci-fi in Heist #1 where notorious criminal and con man Glane is out of prison and ready to pull one big job: stealing a planet literally named Heist from an evil megacorporation. Susini’s art has a kind of faded out quality that works better for cityscapes than human beings interacting so I felt disconnected from the story at times. Luckily, Tobin has an ace up his sleeve in Brady, an over eager street urchin and a great way to back in some introductory exposition and worldbuilding. His reaction to finding out that Glane isn’t a tourist, but a complex, legendary hero is freaking hilarious. Even if the visuals are middle of the road, Tobin and Susini set up a job, a great bad guy, and a few entertaining criminals to hang out with, and I’m interested to see how the story unfolds in future issues of Heist. Overall: 7.4 Verdict: Read

X-Force #1 (Marvel)– Benjamin Percy, Joshua Cassara, and Dean White’s X-Force #1 answers the question, “What if the utopian paradise of Krakoa was disrupted by the outside?” It’s initially asked by Wolverine wrestling with some kind of animal and then escalated by the issue’s big final fight scene. Cassara’s art has almost a 90s grit to it with lots of details of veins, muscles, and gore, but more clear storytelling. He nails the big scenes like the return of Colossus, Black Tom Cassidy’s attempt to ward off a big assault from the outside, and stakes raiser involving Charles Xavier. It doesn’t have the depth, humor, characterization, or high concept work of the other Dawn of X books, but X-Force #1 is where the action and bleakness are at, for better or worse. Overall: 7.5 Verdict: Read

Shean

Yondu#1 (Marvel)- For this magnetic player of the Guardians Of the Galaxy movies, we finally get his back story. As we find him soon after looting a planet but before he gets a crew, as we dive into his his religious beliefs as a Centaurian and his early life. We soon find out that he is more than in a little t of trouble but is soon visited by a family member, whose reason for his visit, has more to do with his destiny. By issue’s end, we find out he has more people in pursuit of him and not all as friendly. Overall: 9.8 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 11/3

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

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Ryan C

Batman Annual #4 (DC) **- In years past, the stand-alone Annuals have showcased Tom King’s best writing on this series, and that pattern holds true here with this story told from Alfred’s point of view. It would be nice if we got scripts of this quality consistently, of course, but I guess beggars and can’t be choosers, and “Batman” readers are definitely beggars at this point, myself included. The art is a more hit-and-miss affair, with the pages by Jorge Fornes looking stylish and slick and gritty, while those by Mike Norton are a big come-down to standard-issue superhero stuff. Overall: 7.5. Recommendation: Buy.

Batman And The Outsiders Annual #1 (DC)** – I guess if you’re a big Katana fan you’ll have fun with this trip inside her trademark Soultaker sword, but for anyone else, Bryan Hill’s script feels like 15 pages stretched out to fill 40, and Max Raynor’s art looks about as non-descript as is humanly possible. Overall: 2.5. Recommendation: Pass.

DCeased #6 (DC)** – A pretty fun conclusion to a pretty fun, if ultimately disposable, series that sees Tom Taylor put satisfactory, if temporary, bow-wraps on all his plotlines and Trevor Hairsine (and helpers) deliver the goods in fairly impressive “horror comics” fashion on art. The sequel-prep going on is almost painfully obvious, but considering how popular this thing has been, I don’t think too many readers will be complaining about that. Overall: 7.5. Recommendation: Buy.

Silver Surfer: Black #5 (Marvel) – The final installment of this series pretty much fits the patterns of the previous four : Donny Cates delivers a serviceable-if-far-from-memorable script, while Tradd Moore blows the hinges off the doors with his unique and stunning blend of Kirby cosmic and Ditko mystic. Yup, you’re gonna want to own this one for the art alone. Overall: 7.5. Recommendation: Buy.

Shean

Marvel Zombies Resurrection #1 (Marvel)– Mr Fantastic intercepts a message where he finds out that Galactus is dead. This causes him to assemble the Avengers and destroy what’s left of his body. What they find is worst, as every Avenger who showed up, gets infected with a Zombie virus. By issue’s end, instead of isolating the contagion, they inadvertently lead the body of Galactus to Earth. Overall: 9.6 Recommendation: Buy

Excalibur #1 (Marvel)– As a fan of the original run of this book, I had my reservations about a new iteration of the story. I am so glad to be so relieved, as this story has many moving parts, that all serve the same master. As we are brought back to Otherworld, this time, in a war, where Morgan La Fey holds the seat of power which reactivates Excalibur with a few members of the X-men into play. By issue’s end, a new Captain Britain emerges, and a fight for the Throne of The Otherworld is at stake. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Logan

Giant Days As Time Goes By #1 (BOOM!)– John Allison, Max Sarin, and Whitney Cogar deliver a picture perfect epilogue to the gold standard for slice of life comics. Allison delves into the difficulty of post-college using Esther and her exploitative publishing job as a case study. And Sarin and Cogar bring the over the top facial expressions and surreal elements as Susan walks around with flames over her head when her boyfriend turns down well-paying jobs to stay with her in Sheffield. Oh, and there’s a fantastic Matrix Reloaded homage featuring “executive editorial assistants” and hugs. Lots of hugs between Esther, Susan, and good ol Daisy. Overall: 10 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 10/26

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.


Elena

X-Men #1 (Marvel) Jonathan Hickman, Leinil Yu & graphic designer Tom Muller broke the internet with a floor plan! And what a floor plan it was. If nothing else the new X-men launch has brought fans together to discuss the series in depth like we hadn’t in years. This issue was strong on the humor and family ties while sci-fi elements remain strong and the political questions are still abundant. I’m so excited to talk about this new issue and HoX and PoX on Graphic Policy Radio podcast.

But if there’s one thing that’s not even up for debate its that Logan, Jean and Scott are in a poly relationship and Logan and Wolverine are almost certainly bi. That’s the diagram people. And if super hero men touching is what’s making you uncomfortable and not the difficult question of ethnonationalism than maybe ask yourself why, and ask yourself how the hell you’ve been missing out on decades of queer subtext that is central to the fandom and the text. Heteronormativity is really the least fun drug.

Recommendation: Buy! Debate!

Ryan C

Detective Comics #1014 (DC)** – There’s something unsettling about Peter J. Tomasi’s Mr. Freeze storyline here, and I don’t just mean the fact that it centers on preying upon, kidnapping, and killing women — that’s bad enough, but the “info-dump” quality of the writing is even worse, as is the fact that it’s just REALLY dull. Doug Mahnke’s art is crisp, slick, and pretty nice, but that’s just a case of a solid pro trying to make a silk purse our of a sow’s ear. Overall: 3 Recommendation: Pass

Martian Manhunter #9 (DC)** – This issue is something of a step back in terms of the quality of Steve Orlando’s script, centering as it does on pure and clumsily-realized psychodrama, but the overall thrust of the storyline remains strong, the cliffhanger’s nice, and Riley Rossmo’s art consistently impresses with its inventive layouts and stylish figure drawing. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Freedom Fighters #10 (DC)** – The train wreck I can’t seem to turn my eyes away from continues to be the most ridiculous and amateurishly-written series out there, all wooden dialogue, generic action scenes, and overly-obvious plot “twists” that make me wonder if Robert Venditti is either writing this thing in his sleep or drunk off his ass. Eddy Barrows does a hell of a nice job with the art, but he deserves a MUCH better assignment than this insult to the collective intelligence of its readers. Overall: 1 Recommendation: Pass

Batman/Superman #3 (DC)** – I guess if you give a shit about “dark” versions of established DCU characters you might still find something of interest here, but there’s nothing Joshua Williamson is doing with this series that “DCeased” and the various other “Dark Multiverse” books aren’t doing a whole lot better. David Marquez provides competent, if far from memorable, art, but who knows? If he had something more compelling to draw, he’d probably be able to demonstrate that he still “has it.” They should give him a chance to prove as much by putting him on a better comic, because this one’s sinking like a rock pretty quickly outta the gate. Overall: 2 Recommendation: Pass

Shean

Luna Snow#1 (Marvel) – In her brief introduction in Agents Of ATLAS, we get a much deeper dive into this character’s background. We find a hero who just wants to be a pops tar, as we find out how she shot to fame along with the the rest of her group. They run into some trouble when the villain known as The Joro Spider decides to plan a heist during one of their concerts, as she and the rest of the group gets trapped. This leads her to contain the device that Joro Spider set to neutralize the arena, which sets Luna into action.By issue’s end , Luna defeats Joro Spider and her men and the world finds out her secret superpowers. Overall: 9.6 Recommendation: Buy

Logan

Money Shot #1 (Vault)– Writers Tim Seeley and Sarah Beattie and artist Rebekah Isaacs craft a comic that lives up to the double entendre of its title. The premise is clever and bawdy. In the future, the United States is still anti-science even after aliens are proven to exist so scientists have to live stream themselves performing in porn instead of writing grants. Seeley and Beattie gift their protagonist, Dr. Ocampo, with a lot of energy and enthusiasm for exploring space that is only matched by her sex drive. She works with the tone of the character, and Isaacs frames her “scenes” in a way that shows that she chooses what to do with her body. This book is sexy, funny, smart, and refreshingly non-male gaze-y. Also, it quickly establishes its premise and gets to the good stuff instead of going the boring, exposition laden sci-fi route. Overall: 9 Verdict: Buy


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

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

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 10/19

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

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Ryan C

Batman #81 (DC)** – Woof! Yup, folks, this one’s a dog. Tom King’s Bat-famliy beatdown of old man Wayne sucks, dialogue and narration throughout are awful, and after delivering the goods last issue, John Romita, Jr. is back to his really sorry latter-day type of artwork. One of the biggest “downs” of an up-and-down run that has been saddled with FAR more of the latter. The end can’t come soon enough. Overall: 1 Recommendation: Pass

Gideon Falls #17 (Image)** – Not digging where Jeff Lemire is going with this storyline so much right now — “Twin Peaks For Dummies” isn’t really getting the job done, sorry — but at least Andrea Sorrentino is just plain BRINGING IT on art. Would be nice if what he was drawing FELT, as well as LOOKED, compelling, though. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Look at it on the shelf, then put it back.

Trees: Three Fates #2 (Image)** – Well, shoot. After a long hiatus, Warren Ellis is really firing on all cylinders here, establishing a tight and uniformly interesting ensemble cast, creating a strong sense of place in his isolated Russian locale, and seriously cranking up the mystery that’s been present throughout this — what do we call it, series of series? Jason Howard’s art continues to be snappy, stylish, and very pleasing to the eye. Even in a crowded week, this book stands as a high-water mark for quality. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Captain America #15 (Marvel) **– Another competent, if unspectacular, script from Ta-Nehisi Coates propels this mildly intriguing story arc forward, and there’s some solid Sharon/Steve dram to be had, but nothing really makes you go “wow!” about any of it. Ditto for the art by Jason Masters, which certainly gets the job done, but doesn’t exactly stick in the memory in any appreciable way. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Read

Logan

X-Men #1 (Marvel)– Jonathan Hickman and a surprisingly okay Leinil Yu show Krakoa in action as they rescue mutant children from the saving humanity organization Orchis before settling down to a Summers family dinner on the blue side of the Moon. Some of Hickman’s writing is really rough early on as Storm and Cyclops seem to have no familiarity with each other and just spout ideology at each other. Yu and Gerry Alanguilan’s action chops drive this opening scenes with some clever applications of Cyclops’ optic blasts and Magneto stealing the show with pure charisma. He’s in pure god mode throughout the comic, and there is something not quite right with the way he interacts with humans and his fellow mutants. (This will probably get the Internet pissed off at me.) However, what elevates X-Men #1 from the Orchis vs. Krakoa schedule, which frankly isn’t super interesting to me personally, is the interactions between the Summers family members. There lots of little great moments like Corsair being wary of the whole Krakoa thing (Include their dish washing techniques), Vulcan’s social awkwardness, and a diagram implying that Wolverine, Cyclops, and Jean Grey are a throuple. If X-Men ends up focusing on Cyclops trying to bring some normalcy to the Summers family, it could be a great book. Or it could end up just being an us vs them slugfest with pretentious dialogue from Hickman. Overall: 7.8 Verdict: Read

Steeple #2 (Dark Horse)– John Allison’s funny and weird saga of a young vicar-in-training named Billie and the monster and Satanist infested town of Tredregyn, Cornwall continues in Steeple #2. Allison opens up with a bit of slapstick as Billie forgets to inflate her bike tires and crashes in front of group of teens. Then comes the highlight of the issue, which is the friendship between Billie and Maggie, a motorcycle riding Satanist, who has good advice for getting teenagers into the church. It’s like when my old youth pastor tried to show the appeal of Christian hip hop, but more British as Billie uses “drill” beefs to get teenagers cleaning up garbage and helping the community. However, Steeple #2 isn’t just religious satire, but features some serious sea monster fighting and also the teens making friends with the sea monster’s kid. Maybe, the vicar of Tredregyn’s whole Buffy the Vampire Slayer act is all wrong, and they should be kind and forgive the monsters instead of bashing them with a rock. John Allison’s art style and sense of humor continue to be wonderfully quirky without being twee, and I’m enjoying seeing the world of Tredregyn through Billie’s ancient, innocent eyes. Overall: 8.8 Verdict: Buy

Cult Classic Creature Feature #1 (Vault)– Eliot Rahal and John Bivens bring an EC Comics meets Stranger Things aesthetic of late horror movies and tweenage and teenage monsters showing their real personalities. Apparently, the color out of the space-type meteorite that made the dinosaurs extinct has returned to small town America and has infected tweens trying out a Ouija board by the lake or rival high school cliques getting into fights at the local fast food drive through. Cult Classic Creature Feature is heavy on atmosphere and light on characterization even though Rahal bakes in some suspense in the last few pages connecting it to the horror host TV show. There are some cool and some clichéd ideas in Cult Classic Creature Feature #1, and it just needs to combined to make a coherent whole. But it’s a book with potential that is drawn the opposite of house style. Overall: 6.5 Verdict: Read


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

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

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