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Mini Reviews and Recommendations For The Week Ending 11/20/2021

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.


Logan

Echolands #4 (Image)– Hope and her band of adventurers are on the run from the wizard’s daughter and the double-dealing, Kirby homaging Romlus IV in JH Williams, Haden Blackman, and Dave Stewart’s Echolands #4. Williams uses insane washes to show the protagonists struggling to find an exit of the trap with Stewart layering ink black darkness on the line art. Blackman and JH Williams’ plotting and writing is also praise-worthy as they use the device of a meal laid out in a double page spread to flesh out Echolands’ ensemble cast that also functions as a breather and ties into some of the backmatter of previous issues. Echolands continues to be the best-looking ongoing comic with its fusion of art styles and genres all woven together into a narrative of adventure, political intrigue, and something perhaps a bit more cosmic and philosophical. It’s worth reading for Williams’ mastery of the spread alone. Overall: 8.8 Verdict: Buy

Grrl Scouts: Stone Ghost #1 (Image)– Grrl Scouts is back with a new lead character, Dio, and a crazy supporting cast like bounty hunter Turtleneck Jones, the shifty Geordi, and a whole lot of folks who wanna fuck shit up. Most importantly, Jim Mahfood’s free-flowing, street art tinged art style is in full effect and a perfect fit for the lawlessness of space some time in the future. Grrl Scouts: Stone Ghost #1 isn’t bogged down by explanations or exposition, but just in being a good and sad time. I love how Mahfood uses black and white notebook style pages and a loose art style to talk about Dio’s experiences with her dead boyfriend, and how much she misses him. Grrl Scouts: Stone Ghost is a cool looking, fast moving comic that also packs an emotional punch and has an air of mystery. Jim Mahfood is a true treasure, and you shouldn’t definitely check out his sweet storytelling. I mean, the cartoonist makes the rhythm of buying and downing a beer and a shot compelling. Overall: 9.2 Verdict: Buy

Amazing Spider-Man #79 (Marvel)– Cody Ziglar, Michael Dowling, and Jesus Aburtov lean into the corporate satire (Of the Beyond Corporation) in Amazing Spider-Man #79 while also telling an action-packed, poignant Spidey tale. Joking to mask the pain is definitely a recurring thread in this one beginning with a laugh out loud opening sequence of a Beyond Corporation pencil pusher disappearing while singing a drunken rendition of “What A Fool Believes”. Although it’s hard to tell the Beyond folks apart (And maybe that’s the point), Dowling’s clean art style makes Spider-Man’s fight scenes look smooth while adding a little chaos to the mix once this issue’s bad guy shows up. Because deep down, this is a story where Spider-Man literally and metaphorically gets his ass kicked with Michael Dowling and Aburtov bringing the pain while Ziglar’s anxious narration highlights every missed dodge, block, and opening. I hadn’t read many Ben Reilly stories before this run, but Cody Ziglar and Dowling do a great job of making me interested in a guy, who has the dual struggles of pleasing corporate masters and stepping into the legacy of one of the greatest heroes of all time. Plus the usual fisticuffs, scum, and villainy. Overall: 8.1 Verdict: Buy

Wolverine #18 (Marvel)– Wolverine #18 is an action movie in single comic form with heart and humor from Benjamin Percy, Paco Diaz, and Java Tartaglia. Percy threads in some of the most successful elements of his run, like supporting characters Jeff Bannister and Maverick, to give this story some stakes. Wolverine can really be himself and have a good time around Bannister and his daughter so threatening is a sure fire recipe for suspense. Diaz uses wide, inter-cutting panels to intensify the big truck/Krakoan chase sequencek and also shows that Maverick is better as a profit-driven anti-hero instead of an ally. Throw in some funny data pages and Johnny Cash karaoke, and this is an enjoyable installment of Wolverine even though Adam Kubert’s art is sorely missed. Overall: 8.0 Verdict: Buy

Black’s Myth #5 (Ahoy)– Eric Palicki and Wendell Cavalcanti wrap up this werewolf PI mystery in a neat bow placing previous scenes in the series in a new context. I love the character growth for Strummer and Ben too as he runs point on a case, and she finds a little romance. Black’s Myth #5 definitely had me wishing there were more cases in store for this LA Noire meets Fables duo. Overall: 7.7 Verdict: Read

Brett

Task Force Z #2 (DC Comics) – The first issue debuted the crazy concept of Batman rogues returned from the dead after A-Day to join a team led by Red Hood. It was so out there and worked so well. The second issue delivers more of the same with a greater focus on what’s going on. When I heard the pitch, I rolled my eyes. But, some great character interaction, action, and solid art, it’s a comic I’m excited to see how far it goes. Overall Rating: 8.35 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 and Recommendations For The Week Ending 11/20/2021

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.


Logan

Amazing Spider-Man #78.BEY (Marvel)– Amazing Spider-Man #78.BEY is a fun Daughters of the Dragon adventure with witty banter, explosive action, pop culture references, and also digs into how unethical the Beyond Corporation is. Fittingly, Jed MacKay and Eleonora Carlini really channel the series that Beyond originated in: Nextwave (And there’s even a cameo from a cast member from that series). So, the comic is laser focused on explosiones, one-liners, and sketchy science. There are all kinds of cool super gadgets, and MacKay is constantly changing the parameters of the mission from saving the day to finding a special power source for the Beyond Corporation. He and Carlini give Misty Knight and Colleen Wing a great rapport, and this issue is a must read for fans of these characters even if you’re not following what’s going on in Amazing Spider-Man. Overall: 8.6 Verdict: Buy

X-Force #25 (Marvel)– Benjamin Percy and Robert Gill pivot from the Mikhail Rasputin manipulating Colossus plotline to Wolverine surfing and Quentin Quire telepathically calming the Krakoan babies. They kick into romance mode a little bit with Wolverine connecting with a surfer named Pike over death-defying waves while Quentin starts to imagine a future with Phoebe Cuckoo. Everything is illustrated in loving detail by Gill, who does some cool layouts like a double page spread of Wolverine hanging ten, or fractals of the Stepford Cuckoos. X-Force #25 very much has side quest vibes, but Percy has fleshed out both Wolverine and Quentin Quire across X-Force and Wolverine so this could be a fun ride. Overall: 7.5 Verdict: Read

Chicken Devil #2 (Aftershock)– Chicken Devil #2 is more utter chaos from Brian Buccelato and Hayden Sherman. The exaggerated nature of the visual and the colors makes the scenes of Mitch and Antonio arguing just an intense as shootouts with the Russian mob. This whole issue is full of anxiety as Mitch tries to balance the death of his family with coming into possession of a lot of heroin and just trying to stay afloat. There’s a lot of comedy of the darker variety, especially when he has to think on his feet. Overall: 8.3 Verdict: Buy

Alex

X.O. Manowar #8 (Valiant) I’ve found this series enjoyable so far, and while there have been some dips in quality for the most part it’s been solid. This issue reveals what has been going on with Shanhara in the background over the last six or seven issues, and it’s an interesting tale (perhaps I may be unique in this because of my interest in cyber security), if a little redundant at this point as Shanhara’s journey has been heavily hinted at already. Still, it’s a solid issue and sets up the series conclusion pretty well. Overall: 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 and Recommendations For The Week Ending 11/07/2021

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.


Logan

My Bad #1 (Ahoy)– Mark Russell, Bryce Ingman, Peter Krause, and Kelly Fitzpatrick unleash the silliness and superdickery in My Bad #1. The free-wheeling two story plus fake ads (Which are the best part of the comic) format gives the book a great old school feel while poking fun at soon-to-be popular IP products, Chandelier Man, Accelerator, and Rush Hour plus their shared nemesis Emperor King. Chandelier Man is white privilege personified and spends his entire issue trying to get rid of bomb. The mixture of classic, yet off-kilter superhero art from Krause, and Russell and Ingman’s irreverent scripting is a winning combination. My Bad #1 reads a lot like a Keith Giffen book from the 1980s with update cultural references. Finally, as a life long traffic hater and recent car accident sufferer, I need Rush Hour to have a showcase story. Overall: 8.3 Verdict: Buy

Crush and Lobo #6 (DC)– Crush and Lobo #6 is another hilarious, bittersweet, and action-packed installment of my favorite smol gay comic from Mariko Tamaki, Amancay Nahuelpan, Tamra Bonvillain, and Nick Filardi. The entirety of this issue takes place in Space Vegas where Crush fruitlessly looks for her dad. Tamaki’s running, fourth wall commentary mixed with Nahuelpan’s debauchery-filled crowd scenes make this an amusing read with clever ideas like a cookie place where you eat a life-sized cookie of yourself. Between the jokes and double page spreads of mayhem, Crush and Lobo #6 has a lot of heart as Crush accidentally goes on a date and realizes maybe she’s a jerk who doesn’t like herself very much. She’s cursed with self-awareness (Thank you Mariko Tamaki narration) yet still makes mistakes, which makes her incredibly relatable and worth a monthly hang. Overall: 8.9 Verdict: Buy

Crossover #9 (Image)– In Crossover #9, Donny Cates tries to do what Brian Michael Bendis did in the first volume of Powers and parody a writer’s style through an entire issue. (Warren Ellis is Bendis’ case; Brian Michael Bendis in Cates’ case.) However, the whole thing feels like a Family Guy cutaway gag with Cates aping Bendis’ style instead of having any kind of actual jokes. Although the entire issue is *fittingly* talking heads, there is a lot of plot progression in the whole comic book creations murdering their creators. However, Crossover continues to grow more inane and be less about the characters and more about Donny Cates showing off his knowledge of Powers lore and namedropping other, better comics. Geoff Shaw’s art and Dee Cunniffe’s colors are almost its saving grace with cool interrogation scenes that had me feeling for early 2000s Marvel instead of the book I was reading. They deserve way better than the scripts they’ve been handed, and the lack of blockbuster-style action is a reminder of how thin and shallow Crossover’s characters and themes are. Overall: 4.7 Verdict: Pass

Dark Knights of Steel #1 (DC)– Although it features gorgeous, story book-style art from Yasmine Putri, her and Tom Taylor’s Dark Knights of Steel #1 starts off slow and has a pretty obvious plot twist if you know basic DC lore. The opening sequence with Jor-El unleashing heat vision on medieval soldiers is unsettling, and Putri nails a similar line and page breaking scene with Banshee later in the book. However, the conflict between medieval Black Lightning and the House of El is a pretty basic one between magic and metahuman abilities. It really feels like a kind of re-skinned Injustice, and lots of Taylor’s faves like Constantine, Harley Quinn, Green Arrow, and Black Canary make appearances. But towards the end, Dark Knights of Steel starts to find its footing by focusing on the family dynamic with Bruce and the Els, which is vastly more intriguing that two factions slugging it out. Overall: 7.5 Verdict: Read.

Chilling Adventures in Sorcery #1 (Archie)– Chilling Adventures in Sorcery is an old school horror anthology with wonderfully atmospheric visuals. Eliot Rahal and Vincenzo Federici frame the book around horror host/Greendale High teacher, Madam Satan, trying to escape Hell, and she runs into 2 souls aka Archie and Jughead, who tell her Twilight Zone-style stories. There is a controlled chaos to Federici’s line art, and Madam Satan is quite the charismatic lead. Evan Stanley’s story follows Archie as he works at a haunted arcade and has a Amblin Entertainment-meets-Five Nights at Freddie Vibe. It’s followed by a Jughead story from Amy Chu and Derek Charm that turns burger eating into something cinematic and the comedic into the grotesque. Speaking of grotesque, the anthology wraps up with a one pager from Pat and Tim Kennedy and Bob Smith that perfectly combines the Archie house style with super gore. Classic Archie characters plus an EC horror format with memorable art and wry dialogue makes this one-shot a spooky good time. Overall: 8.6 Verdict: Buy.

Knighted #1 (AWA/Upshot)– A middle management loser named Bob takes up the mantle of the city’s greatest superhero, The Knight in Knighted #1 by Gregg Hurwitz, Mark Teixeira, and Brian Reber. The comic has the feel of The Boys or Kick-Ass with cringy dialogue and an asshole on every corner to go with Teixeira and Reber’s grimy visuals. Most of the issue is Bob being humiliated until he has a potentially golden opportunity fall in his lap. I mostly enjoyed the back half of the comic where Hurwitz and Mark Teixeira mess around with elements of the Batman mythos through the spitting image of Morgan Freeman, Ash DeVane, who basically steals the entire comic. Knighted #1 reads like a Millarworld Book with Marvel Knights art, but it didn’t take itself super seriously so I didn’t hate it and am here for more Bob cringe. Overall: 7.3 Verdict: Read.

Out of Body #5 (Aftershock)– Peter Milligan, Inaki Miranda, and Eva De La Cruz stick the landing in Out of Body’s very dark conclusion. Most of the issue takes place in the astral plane where our protagonist Dan and the psychic Abi try to break free out of the creepy occultist August Pryne’s trap. The wild card is Dan’s deadbeat brother, Luke, and Out of Body’s throughline of how other people’s perception of us is different from our own self-perception continues by elucidating their relationship. Milligan and Miranda put together all the pieces of why Dan is in a coma and give one last glimpse about how his hubris and workaholism has doomed all his relationships. Inaki Miranda and Eva De La Cruz’s take on the astral plane continues to be gorgeous and surreal and goes into pure puffs of color and smoke to match Peter Milligan’s perceptive narration. If you’re into weird occult shit, dysfunctional relationships, and are tired of happy endings, Out of Body is definitely the book for you. Overall: 8.9 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 and Recommendations For The Week Ending 10/16/2021

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.


Logan

Night of the Ghoul #1 (Comixology Originals)– Scott Snyder and Francesco Francavilla have almost perfectly synthesized classic and postmodern horror in Night of the Ghoul #1. However, beneath its celluloid trappings, asylum setting, and lurching monsters, this comic also has the beating heart of a family drama with estranged father and son, Forrest and Orson, trying to uncover a mystery about a lost classic horror film (Fittingly called Night of the Ghoul) and its director T.F. Merritt while fact and fiction blurs together. I love the palette that Francavilla uses for this book: monochrome for the film within the comic, eerie for the rest home that’s the main setting of Night of the Ghoul, and bright and intense for shots of Orson’s mom who he actually lives with. This color scheme enhances Francesco Francavilla’s spot-on character acting, and he and Snyder build slow-burn tension through use of shadow and repeated panels. Night of the Ghoul #1 is definitely a metafictional work, but Scott Snyder grounds it with artifice-free dialogue and cutting lines about how sometimes a monster is just a monster that complements Francavilla’s full-bore grindhouse poster visuals. Overall: 8.8 Verdict: Buy

Superman: Son of Kal-El #4 (DC)– Tom Taylor writes and Daniele Di Nicuolo pinch hits on art in an installment of Superman: Son of Kal-El that brings the new, more activist-minded, and bolder Superman up against his first baddie, Bendix. Taylor, Di Nicuolo, and colorists Hi-Fi and Gabe Eltaeb strike many parallels between Jon Kent and Clark Kent from his love for Jonathan and Martha Kent, carrying a journalist in his arms (Jay Nakamura in this caste), and a race against The Flash, who is also legacy hero. Finally, there’s a confrontation inside a skyscraper office where Superman can’t punch his well-heeled opponent because it would lead to an international incident. Daniele Di Nicuolo skillfully uses body language and poses to show the enmity between Jon and Bendix as well as the growing bond between him and Jay. However, he also plays with the page during pivotal scenes like using a full page cutaway to show a montage of young Jon growing up at the Kents’ house or a tilted double page spread as a pleasant dinner turns into a disaster film. I love how Tom Taylor gives Jon Kent his own nemesis while strengthening his relationships with other queer metahumans plus the Justice League and his own flesh and blood family. Jon misses his day and is way inexperienced, but he’s starting to make the mantle of Superman his own. Overall: 8.2 Verdict: Buy

Catwoman: Lonely City #1 (DC/Black Label)– Cartoonist Cliff Chiang aims to tell the definitive Selina Kyle story in Catwoman: Lonely City, and he’s off to a good start in this sleek opening chapter. Set in a world where Batman, Alfred, and Dick Grayson are dead, and Barbara Gordon is running for mayor against Harvey Dent (Or the artist formerly known as Two-Face.), Catwoman: Lonely City #1 takes its time showing Selina’s attempts at reintegrating into society after a prison stint before jumping into the action. Chiang approaches Gotham and the page like an architect breathing with beat panels that show Selina’s lost a step or red-tinged flashbacks of Batman’s last moments. It adds context to his steady narration and rhythmic dialogue. In his design choices, he goes for classic, yet slightly more dystopian while keeping a smoothness perfect for rooftop chases instead of piling on the guns and sci-fi shit. Cliff Chiang is at his best when showing Selina move in space pulling her out of the frame for extra stealth and then putting in a big splash for her triumphs and failures. Catwoman: Lonely City #1 is an intriguing Selina Kyle story while also being a craft masterpiece even in Chiang’s lettering whose even-handedness gives it a Todd Klein-esque literary quality. Overall: 9.4 Verdict: Buy

X-Men: Trial of Magneto #3 (Marvel)– After two powerful opening issues, Trial of Magneto #3 is pretty skippable as the X-Men and Avengers punch some monsters while Leah Williams, Lucas Werneck, and David Messina show that Scarlet Witch is not quite herself. It’s pretty fun watching Eye-Boy strategize with Captain America or Synch get a power boost from Wasp, and Williams lands a strong character beat in the early going with male characters’ dialogue overwhelming Scarlet Witch’s resurrection process. However, it’s all downhill from there with the monster fight taking a little too long for such generic baddies, and the last few pages being a little too abrupt and obvious. I haven’t lost all my goodwill for this series (Leah Williams writes one hell of a Northstar), but it’s not the belle of the X-Men line any more. Overall: 6.0 Verdict: Pass.

Nightwing #85 (DC)– Tom Taylor, Robbi Rodriguez, and Adriano Lucas continue to lean into the relationship between Barbara Gordon and Dick Grayson as they race the clock to take Seer, who has corrupted the Oracle system and jeopardized virtually every hero in the DC Universe. There are sepia toned flashbacks to better days, and Taylor grapples with misfires with the characters (Killing Joke, Ric Grayson) while cementing their bond in an emotional sequence. Rodriguez’s messy, almost street art style works well for the fear and chaos enveloping chaos and works well with the smoky palette that Lucas uses. A Batgirl/Nightwing team-up against the Magistrate’s goon is easily the highlight of the book, but it gets undercut at the end. All in all, this is a damn good Barbara Gordon story from Tom Taylor and Robbi Rodriguez and shows her struggle with Oracle out of the picture as she continues to take responsibility for her successsors (Cassandra Cain, Stephanie Brown) and allies. Overall: 8.3 Verdict: Buy.

Gunslinger Spawn #1 (Image)– Gunslinger Spawn has an insanely cool design and a decent story to go with it as Todd McFarlane and Brett Booth tell the tale of angels and demons with some fish out of water comedy elements. Everyone has a dark past including the kid at the service station trying to explain the concept of gasoline and horsepower to a Hellspawn from 1864. Booth’s art is totally 1990s revival and fits the tone of the story. There are also three backups. The first one from McFarlane and Thomas Nachlik involves lynching and is honestly kind of tone deaf, but shows Gunslinger Spawn in his original setting. The second one featuring art by Philip Tan shows the amount of pain that Gunslinger Spawn goes through to put a bullet through the forehead of angel and reveals he’s one of the weakest Hellspawns. The final backup from Ales Kot and Kevin Keane places Gunslinger Spawn into the context of American colonization of Mexico in the 1840s while also being a steadily paced Western with callbacks to the main story. The colors from Marcelo Maiolo and FCO Plascencia are also gorgeous and cinematic. Overall: 7.4 Verdict: Read.


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

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

Mini Reviews and Recommendations For The Week Ending 10/16/2021

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.


Logan

Black Hammer Reborn #4 (Dark Horse)– Jeff Lemire, Caitlin Yarsky, and Dave Stewart dig deep in the emotion department in Black Hammer Reborn #4 as Lucy Weber is confronted with her past failures and family’s failings while in the Para-Zone with Colonel Weird. Lemire reveals the reason behind the “Reborn” part of the new title, and Yarsky revels in the skewed POV of the Para-Zone with panels flipping all over each other in the vacuum of space. However, she also nails the crucial reaction shots of Lucy as she springs into action as Black Hammer again. There are a couple references to the year 1986, and they’re fitting because Black Hammer Reborn #4 is a total homage to a time period when superheroes went from being paragons of virtues to total screw-ups. This may be a tough issue to read for long time fans of Black Hammer, but it’s the first comic of the new run that pulled my heart strings like the previous Jeff Lemire and Dean Ormston issues. Overall: 8.6 Verdict: Buy

Joker #8 (DC)– In Guillem March’s final issue on interior art, he, James Tynion, and Arif Prianto snap some big pieces into place like the origin and motivation of the female Bane. Plus after some European/Court of Owls diversions, Tynion’s plot is back to focusing on getting revenge on Joker. But there’s also a ride to enjoy, and it’s very brutal thanks to March and Prianto’s visuals. There’s real power behind the female Bane’s punches, throws, and fighting moves, and Prianto’s palette feels a lot like the original Knightfall storyline with bright rashes of color in the dark, Gotham night. Like the original Bane, the female Bane is designed to take revenge on one person. But it’s Joker, not Batman, and Gordon’s experiences with him could act as fuel in her quest. In the backup story, Rosi Kampe takes over the art and adds some extra brutality to the fight scenes as Harper Row and unexpected ally Orca try to break Kelly out of prison to testify against Punchline. James Tynion and Sam Johns cast Orca as a sympathetic figure that has been screwed over and treated like a monster by Punchline so she throws in her lot with Harper and company. This installment of the backup definitely has plenty of forward momentum. Overall: 8.6 Verdict: Buy

Amazing Spider-Man #76 (Marvel)– Of course, Peter Parker will be happy, healthy, and back as Spider-Man eventually. But, for now, Zeb Wells, Patrick Gleason, and Marcio Menyz are wringing every ounce of drama as Peter fights for his life in a hospital surrounded by Aunt May, MJ, and his “successor” Ben Reilly. Gleason’s versatility as an artist is on display in this issue as he uses body horror elements and surreal shapes to show Peter battling the radiation in his body as his loved ones watch on. Wells and Patrick Gleason also include some great character growth for Ben as he starts to understand what it means to take on the mantle of Spider-Man for real instead of just being voluntold by a corporation. In this issue, I can really start to understand why Ben Reilly has a nice fanbase. Also, Zeb Wells and Patrick Gleason use this weekly structure to take a (mostly) break from the fisticuffs and focus on the rich connections between Peter and his supporting cast that are enhanced by Gleason’s skill with character acting. Overall: 8.1 Verdict: Buy

Black’s Myth #4 (Ahoy)– This is the classic reveal something emotional about the protagonist’s backstory before taking them off the board issue, and Eric Palicki and Wendell Cavalcanti nail it. We get gorgeous nine panel grids of Strummer’s werewolf dad handing her the headphones to listen to The Clash while his picture flashes on TV as a murderer, and then she’s thrown in a van by an unknown party. This gives Strummer’s partner Ben to a bit of a badass and rally the rescue party while also fleshing out his character. He’s like a non-toxic, post-colonial John Constantine, and I love the banter Palicki writes for him at the vampire bar. After all the swarming subplots and worldbuilding, Black’s Myth has turned into a rescue mission, and action is on tap. Overall: 8.0 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 and Recommendations For The Week Ending 10/09/2021

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.


Logan

Amazing Spider-Man #75 (Marvel)– Marvel’s new direction with Spider-Man gets off to a decent start courtesy of Zeb Wells, Patrick Gleason, and Marcio Menyz. Amazing Spider-Man #75 shows Wells’ gift for capturing the grief, the overall weight of the world on his shoulders, and also the humor of Spidey. And then, he and Gleason turn that on its head with Ben Reilly, who didn’t experience Peter’s upbringing and background and also has cool new gadgets from the Beyond Corporation to fight crime. Patrick Gleason’s best art comes when he’s showing Ben and Peter out of costume chatting with each other, their partners, and various side characters. Everything gets a bit blurry and hard to follow when they’re in action, but Menyz uses nice pops of color to make the Z-list villains U-Foes visually interesting. The whole issue sets up a thesis that Ben Reilly is, shall we say, a superior Spider-Man to Peter Parker with his corporate backing and lack of grief about the death of Harry Osborn. Zeb Wells and Gleason keep the tension between them mostly passive aggressive, but then open a can of worms with a great cliffhanger. In addition to the lead story, there’s a Daughters of the Dragon from Kelly Thompson and Travel Foreman, who draws the best action of the issue plus another one from Wells and Ivan Fiorelli featuring Dr. Kafka and the sketchy-as-hell Ravencroft Institute and adds layers to Ben Reilly and Beyond’s role in the new status quo. Amazing Spider-Man #75 isn’t a sure-fire hit just yet, but it’s enjoyable even for a reader who hasn’t picked up the title in three years. Overall: 8.0 Verdict: Buy

Crush and Lobo #5 (DC)– Crush is out of jail and on the trail to recapture her dad Lobo for the jail. Crush and Lobo #5 is another fun space road trip comic from Mariko Tamaki, Amancay Nahuelpan, and Tamra Bonvillain with an undercurrent of sadness and toxic relationships. Nahuelpan keeps the energy of the comic high with clever layouts like having a literal trail of cigar butts lead Crush on her journey as well as the reader’s eye. Also, Crush finds some sad parallels between a woman named Julia’s relationship with Lobo and her own relationship with her ex Katie. Of course, Lobo is using this poor woman, but this woman thinks he’s in love with her and even has a romance novel style painting of him. Tamaki continues to write funny and sassy captions and dialogue for Crush, and she and Amancay Nahuelpan keep things entertaining with plenty of action and gags to go with the daddy issues. Overall: 8.4 Verdict: Buy

Chicken Devil #1 (Aftershock)– Chicken Devil #1 is a chaotic, culinary crime comic from Brian Buccellato and Hayden Sherman. There is definitely a bit of Breaking Bad in the DNA of a book about a humble hot chicken restaurant owner/put upon patriarch ending up with a bag of heroin and a chicken mascot costume. However, Buccellato, Sherman, and letterer Hassan OE play to the unique strengths of the comics medium using fonts to convey tone, having panels overlap during heated conversations, and the washed out color palette of it all that gets intense when our protagonist, Mitch, starts having guns pointed at him. And speaking of Mitch, Brian Buccellato writes like an anti-hero, if a relatable one, who cares more about his business than being with his family, and this really ends up biting him in the ass and sets up the series’ hook. Chicken Devil #1 features really fun backup material like a legit menu from Mitch’s restaurant and some backstory about how he founded Mitch’s Hot Chicken that also sheds insight on his relationship with his wife Denise and business partner. Overall: 8.8 Verdict: Buy

Dirtbag Rapture #1 (Oni Press)– Dirtbag Rapture is a snarky, high concept comic about a woman named Kat Garcia, who had a near death experience and can see ghosts. She uses this ability to make money by dropping off ghosts at places they won’t haunt and also charging to rent as a kind of supernatural landlord. Christopher Sebela’s characterization her definitely leads into the dirtbag side, but he, Kendall Goode, and Gab Contreras also show how annoying it is to be pursued by ghosts all the time wanting to tell their story, find rest etc. A lot of this first issue is exposition about how Kat’s job works as well as how ghosts and hauntings fit into the world of Dirtbag Rapture, but then in the last few pages, Sebela and Goode throw what they’ve set up out the window and make everything infinitely more complicated. Overall: 7.6 Verdict: Read

Cherry Blackbird #3 (Scout/Black Caravan)– Cherry Blackbird #3 doesn’t miss a beat with this issue’s antagonist, Madame Cocaine, fucking a guy to death on the first page and then sucking his blood. Writer/artist Joseph Schmalke weaves together Cherry’s band Whore of Babylon with her soul-taking exploit and draws a nice caricature of Jimmy Fallon as Cherry could less about media coverage and just killing bad guys. And there’s a lot of that second part with two extended action sequences with plenty of gore, one-liners, and nudity as Schmalke really digs into Cherry Blackbird’s Bad Girl and grindhouse roots. Unfortunately, the comic doesn’t have a strong cliffhanger or last few pages, but overall, I’m still enjoying this unique, fucked up read. Overall: 7.9 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 and Recommendations For The Week Ending 10/03/2021

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.


Logan

Human Remains #1 (Vault)– Human Remains #1 is a clever bit of apocalyptic horror from Peter Milligan, Sally Cantirino, and Dearbhla Kelly. The structure is a bit all over the place with the characters on the cover not showing up until the last third or so of the comic, but Milligan and Cantirino give us a bird’s eye view of a world where any kind of heavy emotions (Positive or negative) leads to monsters falling from the sky and ripping people to shreds. Kelly’s use of reds in the midst of an end of the world haze definitely drives home these monsters’ threat, and there’s an air of mystery around their purpose and origin with all kinds of solutions and conspiracy theories popping up a la how folks talk about the COVID-19 pandemic. Human Remains has all the satiric bite of Milligan’s recent series Happy Hour, but features Sally Cantirino and Dearbhla Kelly’s striking horror aesthetic. Overall: 8.0 Verdict: Buy

Adventureman #5 (Image)– Matt Fraction, Terry Dodson, and Rachel Dodson give us what we’ve all been waiting for: a big damn pulp slugfest. Claire aka the new Adventureman is bluffing like crazy as she and formerly fictional characters Gentleman Jim and Phaedra face down the Baroness Bizarre and the real world and world of adventure, airships, giant robots, and fisticuffs collide. Fraction seamlessly goes from witty banter to purple prose narrative captions and finds a way to merge real life New York City with the fiction of Adventureman. This is while letting the Dodsons draw dashing heroes and heroines, big double page spreads, and expressions of passion, glee, and especially hope. All in all, Adventureman is a series that is only improving with each issue as Matt Fraction and the Dodsons’ influences begin to shift from Doc Savage to the Captain Marvel family… Overall: 8.3 Verdict: Buy

Echolands #2 (Image)**- JH Williams, Haden Blackman, Dave Stewart, and Todd Klein are back with one hell of a fantasy comic! Echolands #2 builds off the literally explosive results of the first issue and is a non-stop thrill ride with Neverwhere/Bas-Lag-esque underground escapes. Williams’ use of double page, landscape layouts are perfect for the meandering underground of magical San Francisco. The labyrinthine approach to page design matches his and Blackman’s words as the main cast of characters bickers non-stop mostly over the protagonist, Hope’s risky behavior and relationship with mysterious badass, Cor. Echolands #2 also features a nonbinary Elf, morally questionable pirates, a killer robot turned cutie, and plenty of explosions. It’s a goddamn delight of an action adventure comic rendered with gorgeous colors from Stewart, dense pages and beautiful details from JH Williams, smart dialogue from Haden Blackman, and Todd Klein doing his character-defining word balloon thing. Because of its unique layouts, this is definitely one you’ll want to pick up in physical format. Overall: 9.9 Verdict: Buy 

Brett

Inferno #1 (Marvel) – An issue that’s all about setting up conflict. Seeing so many threads finally coming together feels like the beginning of a payoff that’s well overdue. Moira’s conflict with Xavier and Magneto is full of tension and anger. Mystique’s maneuvering is fantastic. That’s the real highlight. We’ll see where it all goes and if it pays off but for now, it’s intriguing but not an actual inferno. Overall Rating: 7.75 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 and Recommendations For The Week Ending 09/25/2021

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.


Logan

Cherry Blackbird #2 (Scout)– Cherry Blackbird #2 opens up with the titular character cutting a guy’s dick off and then feeding it to him, and Joseph Schmalke never lets up with the buckets of blood, gore, and exploitation tropes. After selling her soul to the devil for fame as a rock star, Cherry Blackbird is racing the clock to find some kind of redemption with a motley crew of former bandmates plus a talking goat and his chauffeur. Schmalke puts her insane situation after situation with the climax being her infiltrating a KKK rally to take out a Nazi wizard named Hessian. He then serves up a torture scene that puts Reservoir Dogs lingering on the tools that Cherry and her buddy use before exploding with a crimson color palette. Cherry Blackbird #2 might not be to everyone’s liking, but I’m 100% here for a queer rock star beating the shit out of some white supremacists in creative ways. Overall: 8.1 Verdict: Buy

Impossible Jones #1 (Scout)– With dynamic cartooning and a sense of humor, Karl Kesel, David Hahn, and Tony Avina created a lived-in superhero world in Impossible Jones #1. The cold open is particularly fun with a lot of Christmas puns, and the titular hero showing that she’s not as squeaky clean as her opponents think she is. The lion’s share of the first issue goes into Impossible Jones’ origin that’s a little Silver Age and a little “breaking good”, I guess. Kesel and Hahn give glimpses of heroes and villains in a rapid-fire fashion setting up long-running relationships and rivalries that could pay off down the road. It’s information overload at times, but is compensated by the sheer delight in Impossible Jones #1’s visuals that bring action, comedy, and heart to the forefront: all things that make a great superhero comic. Overall: 8.3 Verdict: Buy

Aquaman: The Becoming #1 (DC)– The energy and enthusiasm that Brandon Thomas, Diego Olortegui, Wade von Grawbadger, and Adriano Lucas bring to Aquaman: The Becoming #1 matches the spirit of its young lead. This book is a smiles, brutal attack moves, and flurries of panels. Until it’s not. Thomas, Olortegui, and von Grawbadger do an excellent job showing how many worlds and spaces Jackson Hyde exists in from Atlantis to Amnesty Bay and the Titans and especially as an out queer man. He has a flirty thing with a waiter at a local diner, but for the most part, Jackson is jumping from action sequence to action sequence whether that’s real or simulated. As an introduction to the character of Jackson Hyde, Aquaman: The Becoming #1 does its job and a little extra as Brandon Thomas upends the breezy status quo of the book in the last few pages. Overall: 8.9 Verdict: Buy

Nightwing #84 (DC)– Dick Grayson leaves his great work of systemic justice in Bludhaven for crossover-land aka Gotham. Tom Taylor’s script self-awarely comments on this change while skewering the Magistrate’s surveillance state in Gotham. On the visual side, Robbi Rodriguez and Adriano Lucas keep the story looking good and gives it a high energy street art style even though I still think Rico Renzi colors his work the best. There’s a real sense of danger and Dick being out of his element as he’s surrounded in Crime Alley as Rodriguez uses cramped layouts. However, a couple guest appearances reinforce the importance of friends and family to him and how interconnected he is with the DC Universe. This issue is definitely a step down from the previous arc, but it’s a good looking with some epic moments including a final page that made me fangirl super hard. Overall: 8.1 Verdict: Buy

Suicide Squad: King Shark #1 (DC)– Tim Seeley welds some threads from his run on Nightwing (Especially the wonderful villain/anti-hero Shawn Tsang aka Defacer) with some Suicide Squad, King Shark backstory, and weird/awesome Animal Man and Swamp Thing stuff to create a wonderfully entertaining comic with Scott Kolins and John Kalisz in Suicide Squad: King Shark #1. The entire story is centered around the unique bond between King Shark and Defacer as he eats Z-List villain Hot Take, who was bothering her, and this connection is used as insurance by Amanda Waller to ensure he doesn’t stay in his father’s kingdom. Seeley and Kolins really go on a ride through all corners of the DC Universe with a sense of humor fully intact. Kolins’ straight-up superhero art almost has deadpan effect as what would be a simple fight scene erupts into total carnage any time King Shark and his species appears. Suicide Squad: King Shark #1 goes beyond being, I guess, a human out of land story and gets quite cosmic at the end while still caring deeply about the humanity of all its characters. (Except for that one tech bro.) Overall: 8.8 Verdict: Buy

X-Men: The Onslaught Revelation #1 (Marvel)– Si Spurrier, Bob Quinn, and Java Tartaglia wrap up their run on Way of X and kick off a new beginning in the one-shot X-Men: The Onslaught Revelation. They build up Onslaught as both a huge physical threat and a splinter in the mind of the Krakoans feeding on their hate and a glitch in the resurrection protocols. Spurrier and Quinn don’t show the monster too much and instead focus on the strengths and flaws of their main cast, namely, Legion, Nightcrawler, Lost, and Fabian Cortez. As Tartaglia’s dark and occasionally psychedelic colors wash over the page, Nightcrawler grapples with how to unite the mutants of Krakoa while dealing the threat of Onslaught. Si Spurrier also does some sharp character work with Fabian Cortez not giving him a cop-out redemption arc, but psychologically examines why he behaves the way he does. X-Men: The Onslaught Revelation has all this plus a rave and uses the underrated character of Dust in a truly epic way. Like its protagonist, Spurrier and Bob Quinn aren’t afraid to get a little messy and beautiful and throw out some big ideas, and I look forward to the upcoming Legionaires book and their contributions to the X-Line. Overall: 8.2 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 and Recommendations For The Week Ending 09/18/2021

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.


Logan

Eternals: Thanos Rises #1 (Marvel)– Only in comics can you have a prehistoric battle between immortal beings astride dinosaurs and a Platonic dialogue all under the same covers as Kieron Gillen, Dustin Weaver, and Matthew Wilson show the ideological and physical roots of one of pop culture’s greatest villains, Thanos, in Eternals: Thanos Rises #1. The conflict at the core of this issue, and honestly at the Eternals as a whole in Gillen’s run, is if immortal beings whose goal is to defend a kind of status quo (the machine) can change even in the slightest way. This way is having children, and as one can guess, it doesn’t turn out great. Weaver and Wilson’s visuals bring the power and mythic quality of the best Jack Kirby stories while having their own unique and slightly askew approach to storytelling. They’re influenced by the King and not a cover band for him. Also, it’s just plain cool and additive to the whole vibe of the Eternals to have characters based on the ancient Greek pantheon partake in the very ancient Greek activity of a philosophical dialogue. Eternals: Thanos Rises #1 adds context and scope to Kieron Gillen’s work on Eternals and features him, Weaver, and Wilson working in an epic mode. Overall: 9.4 Verdict: Buy

Black’s Myth #3 (Ahoy)– Strummer and Ben’s hunt for their client’s missing silver bullets (Apparently they were forged from the 30 pieces of silver that Judas received for betraying his Lord and Savior, but you know how there things are.) takes them to many interesting destinations, including a vampire bar and occult bookstore that’s more than meets the eye. Eric Palicki and Wendell Cavalcanti keep the action and mystery going at a nice clip lulling readers into a false sense of security before escalating the plot with a wallop in the last few pages. Also, Calvacanti gets to show off his fight sequence chops and channels Frank Miller and Klaus Janson in a nine panel grid vampire beatdown that shows that Strummer still has a relish for violence and is more werewolf than detective. In Black’s Myth #3, the pace never drags, the patter is always snappy, and Eric Palicki and Wendell Cavalcanti really up the danger quotient. Overall: 8.6 Verdict: Buy

Joker #7 (DC)– The shape of the conspiracy that Jim Gordon’s up against starts to slowly reveal itself in Joker #7 by James Tynion, Guillem March, and Arif Prianto. Like most issues of Joker, the book features multiple settings, narrators, and POVs as well as art styles from March, who does a James Bond/Avengers homage with Julia Pennyworth to tight grids and reflections in eye glasses as Gordon meets a potential new ally. He can get as much tension from a conversation as a silent martial arts fight aka Cassandra Cain in action. Joker #7 also features smart commentary about how the rest of the world sees Gotham (It hides social issues under masks and costumes.) and character moment payoffs like Pennyworth beating the shit out of some Bane theme park investors as payback for the villain killing her father back in the Tom King Batman run. One of the reveals that Tynion pulls is a little obvious (If keeping with his history on the Bat-family books), but I love the layered storyline he’s creating in this book that goes beyond a simple cat and mouse game. The Punchline backup from James Tynion, Sam Johns, and Sweeney Boo is quite entertaining as Harper Row tries to break out of prison creating an opportunity for clever layouts and a sense of urgency in that story’s plot. Overall: 8.5 Verdict: Buy

Godzilla Rivals: Vs. Mothra (IDW)– Mary Kenney, SL Gallant, Maria Keane, and Adam Guzowski turn in a celebration of the Queen of the Monsters in the one-shot Godzilla Rivals: Vs. Mothra. Before the titular battle, Kenney does a good job fleshing out this comic’s protagonist, Mima, a photographer who’s supposed to be doing a puff piece on the Japanese military and ends up learning about Mothra’s captivity attempting to free her. Like the best kaiju stories, Godzilla Rivals: Vs. Mothra ends up being a parable about how humanity cages nature and what we don’t understand instead of being curious like Mina, whose photojournalism career came out of a life time exploring the great outdoors with her parent. All is this is great, but Godzilla Rivals: vs. Mothra also has a curb stomp monster action courtesy of Gallant and Keane as Kenney shuts off the dialogue and captions and “lets them fight”. There is really clever use of Mothra’s cocoon and Godzilla’s nuclear breath, and the entire story ends up being a little bittersweet. This comic is a must-read if you like your kaiju fights with a side of emotional resonance. Overall: 9.2 Verdict: Buy

Trial of Magneto #2 (Marvel)– Leah Williams, Lucas Werneck, and Edgar Delgado are back for another round of bombastic drama, action, and questionable morality. Trial of Magneto #2 adds the Avengers to the mix to complicate the murder investigation and also show how much Wanda Maximoff meant to the team as they share grief and space with the Krakoans. However, not everything is sunshine and daisies, and we get yet another Magneto vs. everyone fight scene like the previous issue. But Williams and Werneck switch things up by letting Northstar be angry when his husband Kyle is caught in the middle of things and is treated as less than by Magneto. Throw in an utterly chaotic last few pages plus couple moments that show how utterly morally bankrupt Krakoan leaders like Professor X and Emma Frost are, and you can see why Mystique (Who has a 1 panel cameo) wants to burn the place down. Overall: 8.0 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 and Recommendations For The Week Ending 09/04/2021

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.


Logan

Static Season One #3 (DC/Milestone)- Static Season One continues to be a master-class in modern teen superhero comics from Vita Ayala, Nikolas Draper-Ivey, and ChrisCross. The book bakes in relevant themes of the American police state preying on young Black people and bigoted white men being eager to sign up and be their lackeys while also having beautiful touching moments throughout. Draper-Ivey masterfully melds manga and Western comics in a thrilling escape sequence before slowing things down and digging into the influences for Static’s costume rooted in his love of science, DIY, and escapist fiction like anime and SF. He, ChrisCross, and Ayala also turn in an emotional sequence with him and his father as they realize that they are both alike in their love of creation and building something from nothing even though that manifests itself in science experiments for Virgil and home repair for Mr. Hawkins. Even after all this, there’s time to flesh out Virgil’s supporting class at his high school and escalate the threat as the Feds are coming after the folks affected by the Big Bang, which is quickly becoming a heightened metaphor for government reprisal against anyone who challenges the white supremacist, cop-exalting status quo. Overall: 9.0 Verdict: Buy

Black Hammer Reborn #3 (Dark Horse)– A relationship ending can feel like the end of the world, especially a marriage with two kids. Jeff Lemire, Caitlin Yarsky, and Dave Stewart combine both the conclusion of Lucy Weber (Aka Black Hammer II) and Elliot (Formerly, the two bit supervillain Lightning Rod)’s relationship with yet another apocalypse for Spiral City. Yarsky’s character acting is superb as she illustrates the difference in emotions between Lucy and Elliot arguing with their therapist to their “meet cute” where Elliot’s “lightning finger” powers have little to no effect on her. Even though they’ve grown distant and Elliot cheated on Lucy, you can see their rapport as Elliot had put on a costume to rob a laundromat and pay rent. This kind of everyday relationship stuff combined with superhero tropes is what the Black Hammer books such compelling reads, and Lemire and Caitlin Yarsky get back to this in Black Hammer Reborn #3 while also showing the threat that’s coming might be beyond her. Overall: 8.5 Verdict: Buy

Dark Ages #1 (Marvel)– Tom Taylor brings his brand of disaster movies meets large fictional universe with a side of character specific hope to what is definitely not Earth-616 in Dark Ages #1. This first issue is focused on the incident that led to the Marvel Universe basically losing electricity, and Taylor, Iban Coello, and Brian Reber are game for a bleak, hopeless take on the the summer crossover with a battle against the Celestial-looking Unmaker that does what his name describes and does insane shit like turning Thing into a pile of rocks and sinking Atlantis among other things. What’s really interesting is that Tom Taylor and Coello do what so many Marvel writers can’t really do and say what if defeating the summer event’s Big Bad cost everything and led to an even worse reality. However, there are little bits of hope, including one that elicited a total “Aww” reaction from this reader and riffs on one of the most famous moments in all of Marvel history. Peter Parker is the narrator for much of the comic, and Taylor has a great handle on his humorous, salt of the Earth voice while Iban Coello and Reber bring the powerhouse wide screen visuals with a touch of cartooning to make everything a little more human. Overall: 7.9 Verdict: Buy

Money Shot #14 (Vault)– Money Shot continues to be outrageous as ever as the XXXplorers and the alien parody of the XXXplorers band together to rescue two members of their team from a matriarchal hunter-gatherer society of deer-people who keep giant, horny clay pigeons as pets. And along the way, Tim Seeley and Sarah Beattie throw in a legit plot twist about the identity of the alien porn stars while Caroline Leigh Layne continues with her pitch perfect riffs on the filmography of Andy Sidaris combined with soft eroticism and some primalness. In its third arc, Money Shot has really learned the value of taking it slow and focusing on its character between the sexy, violent, or body of a bogeyman bounty hunter merging bits. It’s one of those comics where I’m like “What the fuck will they think of next” and am usually satisfied and amused by it. Overall: 8.1 Verdict: Buy

Second Coming: Only Begotten Son #4 (Ahoy)– Unlike the first miniseries, Mark Russell, Richard Pace, and Leonard Kirk continue to explore the parallel lives of Jesus and Sunstar in more character-driven vignettes all centered around a moral throughline. The moral this issue is compassion, and Jesus’ empathy and compassion through the form of a story of forgiveness gets Sunstar’s mom a reprieve from eviction from her retirement. However, the main plot of this issue is centered around the villain Cranius causing massive earthquakes because he wants to get back at how Sunstar treated him in high school. In lesser hands, this would be a typical disaster storyline, but Russell, Pace, and Kirk turn it into a story of change and forgiveness. Sure, there is great retirement home banter, but Only Begotten Son #4 is one of the saddest chapters of Second Coming with consequences that will resonate for the rest of the arc. Overall: 8.0 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 (**).

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