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. Given the lack of new comics, expect this weekly update to begin featuring comics that we think you’ll enjoy while you can’t get anything new to read – only new to you.
These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews and Recommendations.
Batman #96 (DC Comics)** Wow. I knew Tynion was planning something good, but I didn’t think it would be THIS good. This is shaping up to be the Joker story for the ages. He has really got to Batman this time and he’s not F$%&@*%g around. Not only is he using all of Bruce’s tech and toys, the psychological warfare is leveled up so severe I don’t want it to stop. This needs to be the last battle between these two at least for a long long while (or until Three Jokers) I really dug the effects of Bruce on the toxin seeing his version of a perfect Gotham and the Mr. Freeze children were just so cool! (Yeah it’s an ice pun, sue me) The story keeps escalating at a frenetic pace which is what these events should do. Also that last closing scene. WOW. Chills for that. The art by Jorge Jimenez is so dynamic and ever improving I feel a bit of Greg Capullo in the visuals. That can only be a good thing. I’m loving this team. Loving this book. It shouldn’t be a shock what the verdict is. Overall: 9.6 Verdict: Buy
Vampire: The Masquerade #1 (Vault Comics) – An interesting adaptation of the classic roleplaying game. It gets the setting of the world down but is to focused on clans and in-game terminology. For fans of the property, it should be interesting but for new readers, it might be a bit difficult to get in to. Overall Rating: 7.5 Recommendation: Read
Dark Nights: Death Metal Legends of the Dark Knights #1 (DC Comics) – There’s some really solid stories in this anthology. For those that aren’t really tied into the main event and just having fun, they work really well riffing on the concept. The one story that’s really tied into the main event, it feels like maybe it’s info should have been in the main event somehow. Still, there’s a lot in here that fans not paying attention to Dark Nights will enjoy and make it worth the price of admission. Bat baby! Overall Rating: 7.95 Recommendation: Buy
Far Sector #7 (DC’s Young Animal) – One of the best series DC is putting out right now. Though this issue might not have the socio-political aspects of the previous six issues, it’s much deeper than its cyberpunk/jacked into the net story might seem. It throws out some really interesting concepts and deepens this interesting world even more. Overall Rating: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy
Strange Adventures #4 (DC Black Label) – This series has been an interesting one shifting its focus from Adam Strange to the man investigating him, Mr. Terrific. His investigations take him to Rann where it’s pretty clear things aren’t what Strange is claiming and there’s a whole conspiracy going on. Hopefully, that conspiracy really pays off beyond “good PR.” Overall Rating: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy
Young Justice #17 (DC/Wonder Comics)**– Young Justice #17 is an aftermath after a huge battle/Brian Michael Bendis hangout issue. (But co-written by David Walker and drawn by Scott Godlewski.) With the exception of Teen Lantern and John Stewart, this comic slows down the pace a little bit and lets the members of Young Justice spend some time with their mentors in the Justice League while also showing their world from the POV of Yolanda Chan, the daughter of a food truck owner outside the Hall of Justice. Godlewski gets some good acting and facial expressions out of his artwork while using a lot of double spreads to show how superheroes bond like Wonder Girl and Wonder Woman lifting a truck together and talking about leadership, and Impulse and The Flash having a chat about living in the moment in super speed. The issue has the heartwarming effect of getting a genuine compliment from a mentor and adds a dimension of heart to the knock ’em, sock ’em, mediocre storyline in Action Comics with the JL, Young Justice, and Legion of Doom. These are characters I definitely want to spend more time with even if the overarching plot grinds to a halt in Young Justice #17, and it sometimes seems like Bendis and Walker are doing Action Comics damage control. Overall: 7.6 Verdict: Read
Giant-Size X-Men: Fantomex #1 (Marvel)– Rod Reis channels Bill Sienkiewicz (Think New Mutants/Elektra Assassin era) and turns in career best work in Giant-Size X-Men: Fantomex #1, which is basically just Fantomex pulling misdirections on hapless “superteams” ranging from Sgt. Fury and the Howling Commandos to the Hellfire Club and, of course, Grant Morrison-era New X-Men. This is basically Jonathan Hickman’s biggest acknowledgement to that run yet as he and Reis build an arc for Fantomex showing how he’s changed over the decades with Reis’ art shifting to match his personality from more abstract collage to his usual pencils-to-colors style. Beneath the flashiness, Hickman and Reis pop under the hood to explore a man whose entire life is a fiction. (The Commandos’ jokes about which flavor of Western European he is are priceless.) It’s the best Giant-Size issue since the silent Emma/Jean one and is a flawless marriage of visuals and character study. Maybe, Hickman is at his finest when riffing off Grant Morrison… Overall: 8.8 Verdict: Buy
Bad Mother #1 (AWA)– With a different artist, Bad Mother #1 could be a middling vigilante exploitation story with a house wife lead. However, Mike Deodato is the artist and combined with Christa Faust’s writing, the book is like a Lifetime movie with a little more violence and “fucks” thrown in. Deodato’s work is stiff and lifeless like the suburb the protagonist lives in, and his usual bag of tricks, such as inset panels muddle his storytelling even more. Plotwise, Faust blows her big reveal pretty early on, and her characters easily come across like caricatures. I’m a total ACAB guy and think that most cops totally mishandle any kind of domestic violence/sexual assault situation, but even I felt bad for how poorly the police were written in Bad Mother #1. Overall: 4.0 Verdict: Pass
The Dreaming: Waking Hours #1 (DC/Black Label)– Featuring a queer, blue haired nightmare named Ruin cut loose in the waking world, a English Lit PhD student named Lindy, and the Shakespeare authorship hour, G. Willow Wilson, Nick Robles, and Mat Lopes’ The Dreaming: Waking Hours #1 is really my cup of tea. Robles’ art is gorgeous and filled with humanity; you can see the sadness in Lindy’s eyes when her dissertation advisor says she has nothing original to add to Shakespeare scholarship, and on the flipside, he can do horror and fear when Ruin switches places with Lindy in the Dreaming. (Lopes adds the deepest blues to this sequence.) The Dreaming: Waking Hours #1 gives each character an introduction and makes them three-dimensional before dropping a Sandman-connected plot hook. But Wilson and Robles aren’t weighed down by lore and use the expansive canvas of The Dreaming to tell a love story of an angel and a nightmare while digging into why we love certain authors and works of art. It’s also beautifully laid out, colored, and has funny bits too. (See the interactions with Shakespeare and his “writer’s room”.) Overall: 9.0 Verdict: Buy. I purchased a copy from Comixology.
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 (**).