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Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 1/12

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 #62 (DC)** – Not so much a stand-alone issue as a sidebar that connects into the current ongoing storyline, this is a pretty gruesome and unrelenting yarn, superbly illustrated by Mitch Gerads and featuring a (who thought we’d be saying this anytime again?) stunning Frank Miller variant cover, but all the pretty bells and whistles can’t hide another lackluster Tom King script. Points for trying, though. Overall: 5.5. Recommendation: Read. Or, more specifically, just look at the pictures

Martian Manhunter #2 (DC)** – Another terrific installment from Steve Orlando and Riley Rossmo that adds depth and mystery both to J’Onn J’Onzz’s past on Mars and his more recent past on Earth. Two issues in, you already get the distinct feeling that this is shaping up to be something well and truly special. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

The Green Lantern #3 (DC)** – Grant Morrison is getting a bit more ambitious with his scripting here, but it’s still well below his usual standard. Hal Jordan confronts a God-like being who bought the Earth at a cosmic auction and then gets — uhhmmm — overzealous with some bad guys. That’s about it. Nicely-detailed, very crisp art from Liam Sharp elevates the proceedings a bit and truly magnificent colors from the great Steve Oliff elevates them even more, but it’s still a pretty average read at the end of the day. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Read

Cemetery Beach #5 (Image)** – No one seems to be talking about this brisk, relatively high-concept science fiction barn-burner from Warren Ellis and Jason Howard, and I can’t for the life of me figure out why as it’s both fun and, believe it or not, coming out right on schedule. This is another breakneck chapter that doesn’t give you time to slow down and think, with magnificent, dynamic art. Might be a better read in trade as each “single” only takes a few minutes to read, but that’s a very solid and entertaining few minutes, indeed. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Logan

Die #2 (Image)– Kieron Gillen and Stephanie Hans bring more of the fantasy and RPG elements to the forefront in Die #2 as the main cast of characters are a little frightened to see their long lost friend ruling a fantasy world and also have a good timesettling into their old roles as Godbinder, Neo, Dictator, (especially) Fool, and more. They want to get back and return to their normal lives, but doing spells, fighting, and melding the cyberpunk aesthetic with fantasy can be pretty cool. These contradictions extend to Hans’ art, which ranges from majestic landscapes to maggot ridden corpses. At times, the book feels like Prince Caspian with horror elements, and seeing the heroic quest through jaded adult eyes is both sad and fascinating. Overall: 8.6 Verdict: Buy

Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #1 (Marvel)– Tom Taylor and Juann Cabal’s new Spider-Man book is refreshingly street level and not in a crime sort of way, but in a Spider-Man/Peter Parker interacts with his roommates and neighbors, which drives the book. Sure, there’s a fantastic action scene towards the beginning, but Taylor and Cabal immediately connect it to a father and daughter moving to Peter’s area. And until things get weird, psychological, and property damage-y towards the end, this is a very location driven, slice of life book where Spider-Man helps people in his community instead of fighting animal themed villains or ninjas and dealing with awkward Marvel superhero cameos. The backup drawn by Marcelo Ferreira and Roberto Poggi is even more emotionally resonant because it’s told from Aunt May’s POV. This book is the perfect purchase for readers who want their superheroes a little more character driven, and Spider-Man to be involved in his community than whatever jet setting he was doing at the end of Dan Slott’s run. Overall: 8 Verdict: Buy

Martian Manhunter #2 (DC)– Steve Orlando and Riley Rossmo craft an emotional tour de force as J’onn is outed as a Martian to his partner, who completely and totally freaks out. With an almost gooey art style, Rossmo shows the painful effects of fire onthe Martian physiology that leads into a flashback of J’onn as a beat cop on Mars with a wife, kid, and an interest in the planet Earth. Orlando does some crazy worldbuilding with the Martian culture by giving the Green Martians a social shape they show around society and a private one for the closest people in their lives. Character comes before the mystery in this pulp detective story, and this is what makes it successful. Overall: 8.8 Verdict: Buy

Elana

Barbarella / Dejah Thoris #1 (Dynamite) Writer Leah Williams (guest on my next episode of Graphic Policy Radio) and artist: Germán García weave together pulp heroines of two very different eras — the swinging-est of sixties and the birth of pulp fiction in the 1910s — and transform them into a hard scifi story. The art is pleasantly trippy. The science is robust. The ladies are flirting with each other. It’s good! Verdict: Buy

Jon

Die #2 (Image)** On its own merits the first issue of Die was my favorite debut of 2018. This second episode fulfills its promise as we get our first real look at the magical world of Die. Writer. Kieron Gillen is on point, wasting nary a panel or word of dialog to excess. Gillen conjures thrilling action and bizarre horrors with equal aplomb. Stephanie Hans’ artwork comes into its own,rendering Gillen’s visions in expressive lines. I wasn’t completely sold on her style before but now I can’t imagine any other artist taking her place. Die might be the best comic of this year. It also might be one of the best comics ever. Overall Rating:10. Recommendation: Buy.

The Dreaming # 5 (DC/Vertigo)** Si Spurrier and Bilquis Evely’s run on The Dreaming has been the best of the four titles in Vertigo’s Sandman Universe line. This issue is the best yet. Everything starts coming to a head as Judge Gallows reign of terror begins to fracture and Dora prepares to take a stand against his tyranny. Spurrier understands what made Gaiman’s Sandman unique was not just the plot and characters but the deeper themes that united. Evely’s artwork is as magnificent as ever though there are a few fill in pages that are not up to the high standards she has set for this book. Overall Rating: 8. Recommendation: Buy.

The Green Lantern #3 (DC)** Grant Morrison and Liam Sharp’s The Green Lantern may well be one of the most insane comics I’ve ever read…and one of greatest. Morrison has a tendency to outpace his audience and write at a level most mere mortals can’t grasp. Here he manages to avoid that trap nicely producing a fun sci-fi adventure comic with hints of pulp. If you’ve never read a Morrison comic before this is a great one to start with. Every issue has been better than the last and this one is no exception. I never knew I wanted to see Hal Jordan punch God in the face with the giant green boxing glove until Liam Sharp showed it to me. Sharp is the perfect fit for this series. If you loved his work on Wonder Woman this is even better. His lush, hyper detailed style makes you feel like this should be hidden your mattress in an issue of Heavy Metal. The Green Lantern is so good waiting for the next issue hurts. Overall Rating: 10 Recommendation: Buy.

Shean

Star Wars: Jango Fett #1 (Marvel) In this one shot we get Marvel’s version of Batman and Damian. As Jango takes Boba on his first job with a crew. A double cross shows the young prodigy’s aptitude for the job. By issue’s end, this one story I would love to see continued. Overall: 9:3 Recommendation: Buy

Joe Hesh

Young Justice #1 (DC) Another book thats been away a minute that i was looking forward to. Bendis, Gleason no brainer. Well its not quite the bombastic return i was hoping for. Sure its great to see Conner, Cass and Bart back in the fold but it doesn’tfeel quite right. This doesnt feel like a homecoming as much as it does an awkward blind date. Now i love Damian Wayne but without careful observation I almost thought i was reading Tim Drake in a Robin costume again. Also the alien menace come to Earth and everyone bands together has been done to death. Also much better. I love all these characters but the magic is when they are on their downtime and being themselves. This just felt like a generic super team of teens taking on another menace. I’m sure this is just a building issue as all Bendis writing is. He does the long game but it didnt grab me out the gate. I think that is something he forgot how to do. It happened with the first issue of Superman and it happened here. Sure building the danger is great, but it doesn’t have to be boring right at the jump. I will chalk this up as one month and return for the next one but I am certainly not going to be long on this title if this is the tempo. Shame too given the talent that is on it. Overall: What should have felt like seeing long lost friends after many years just felt like a chore and not quite inspired. Score: 5 Recommendation: Pass


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

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

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 1/5

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.


Shean

Killmonger #3 (Marvel)– In the third issue, we find Bullseye coming for the team, having killed one of them, King finds them refuge as they find themselves fleeing New York. As their numbers start to dwindle, Erik and Knight find a spark between themselves. By issue’s end, a key betrayal leads Erik and Knight working for SHIELD. Overall: 9.6 Recommendation: Buy


 Conan The Barbarian #1 (Marvel)– Far from the run of the mill sword and sorcery story, we get a ghost story for for a king. As we find Conan’s past sins coming back to haunt him. As we glimpses of him as a young Cimirrian warrior and a witch who enchants him. By issue’s end, King Conan deals with the same threat with new menagerie, leaving him trapped once again. Overall: 9.7 Recommendation: Buy

Man Without Fear #1 (Marvel)-In what feels like Grant Morrison and Neil Gaiman got together and went psychedelic, we get this interesting first issue. As we find Foggy talking to Matt as he lays comatose from one fight which finds his luck running out. As he carries guilt from everyone who was close to him that died , he confronts his demons and deals with his many sides . By issue’s end , no one can save Matt from himself. Overall: 9
Recommendation: Buy
e

Star Wars: Age Of Republic: Obi Wan Kenobi#1 ( Marvel)-In the prequel story, we find an unready Obi-Wan, as he still is finding his way as a Jedi Master. As he decides to take Anakin on his first mission, on a search for a Jedi Holocron. By issue’s end, we find out about Obi-Wan before he was found by Qui-Gon Jinn and see that wasn’t quite as confident as fans would know him to be. Overall: 9.6 Recommendation: Buy

Wolverine The Long Night Adaptation #1 (Marvel)– I will keep this one sweet and short, as this issue was slow to start and you don’t see the titular character until the last three pages,but ends on a high note. I am hoping the second issue ramps up. Definitely worth checking out. Overall: 8.5
Recommendation: Borrow

Logan

Crowded #6 (Image)– One of my favorite comics of 2018 ends its first arc with a lot of action, clever layouts, a cute dog, and even some political satire. Our leads Charlie, who has a price on her head thanks to a crowdfunded assassination app, and Vita, who is protecting her thanks to basically Uber for bodyguards, face off with the obnoxious “celebrity assassin” Trotter. It savages obnoxious YouTubers and is a lyrical masterpiece of destruction from the art team of Ro Stein, Ted Brandt, and Triona Farrell. But writer Chris Sebela knows the banter and relationship between Vita and Charlie is what keeps readers coming back as he keeps a couple loose ends open and changes the setting in the end. Arc 2 could be bigger better. Overall: 9 Verdict: Buy

Conan the Barbarian #1 (Marvel)– Wow, this was awesome. Jason Aaron, Mahmud Asrar, and Matt Wilson create an epic (and bloody) first issue that spans the different eras of Conan from orphan to pit fighter and even king as he fights the Crimson Witch. The Witch knows his weaknesses at each era from attractive woman to fighting and respecting his dead foes as a king and is a good first arc baddie. On the technical side of things, Aaron’s dialogue has pulpy vigor, Asrar has adopted a new painted with a side of cartooning art style perfect for grand battles and adventures, and Wilson gives the book a palette like you’re finding a long forgotten scroll from Aquilonia. Marvel really pulled out all the stops for Conan, and it feels like a flagship book, not a cash grab. Overall: 10 Verdict: Buy

Jon


Books of Magic #3 (DC/Vertigo): I’ve been enjoying the Sandman Universe line quite a bit but Books of Magic remains my least favorite entry in the series. Kat Howard’s take on Tim Hunter’s coming of age is plodding in its pacing and utterly forgettable. I read the last two issues the day before I wrote this review and already I have a hard time remembering what it was about. I just don’t care about any of these characters. Tom Fowler’s art is competent but not my cup of tea. Overall this series continues to feel like an unnecessary retread of earlier material that was much better the first time around. Rating: 4. Recommendation: Pass 

Heroes in Crisis #4 (DC):
There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with decompressed storytelling in comics; it’s a more cinematic way to get your point across and good books have been produced using it. The problem is that it’s hard to tell the quality of any given story from its component parts. We’re almost halfway through Tom King and Clay Mann’s exploration of superheroes with PTSD and I still don’t know whether it’s good or bad, though I am tending towards the latter opinion. The biggest issue I have with this “event” is that it seems to be stretching out the mystery while remaining light on character. Mann’s art is a nice blend of Jim Lee and Jim Cheung and I do like how King uses the nine panel grid to present confessional style revelations into aspects of the interior life of some of DC’s biggest heroes (Black Canary fans may find it worth it for her page alone). Beyond that I find the writing vacillates between being infuriatingly opaque and painfully cliche. I may change my opinion when all is said and done, especially if there are valuable clues being revealed that will only be apparent in retrospect, but as of today I cannot in good conscience recommend that anyone read this unless you enjoy wasting time. Rating: 5. Recommendation: Pass.

Hex Wives #3 (DC/Vertigo)
Three issues in and Hex Wives, the story of a coven of witches held hostage in a world on fire by domestic servitude to their male adversaries, remains an intriguing read amidst the strong stable of titles cultivated by the recently relaunched Vertigo. The combination of supernatural thriller and sharp satire works well in the hand of writer Ben Blacker and artist Mika Andolfo. If there’s one problem I have with the series in general its the pacing. Every installment thus far has built to a last page reveal but none of these cliffhangers has really paid out. This issue in particular feels like the story takes one step forward and two steps back. I think this is going to be a great series to read when it’s all collected in trade but I’m not too sure it works in single issues. Rating:6 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 12/22

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.


Shean

The Defenders: Best Defense #1 (Marvel) – In what fans can call a mini “Infinity War”, this group of superheroes almost come together to stop a being looking to destroy the galaxy. As Silver Surfer and Namor face the threat head-on as both almost lose their lives doing it. We also find Strange and Hulk also dealing with the thread on the ground, as Hulk practically eats his way through demons. By issue’s end, though one threat is contained, the other has compromised one of our heroes, who ultimately has a plan. Overall: 9.4 Recommendation: Buy

Old Man Hawkeye #12 (Marvel) – In the final issue of Old Man Hawkeye, Clint and Kate get closer to find the super Soldier serum. As Hawkeye begins to lose his sight, he uses his wits and other senses to fight. Unfortunately, Bullseye gets closer, leading to a showdown between him and the two Hawkeyes. By issue’s end, both are able to make it out with the serum, as we are caught to where we find Clint in Old Man Logan. Overall: 9.6 Recommendation: Buy

Seasons Beatings #1 (Marvel) – In a series of vignettes, our favorite Marvel superheroes give fans, reasons for the season. In one tale, Miles and Venom team up to catch some criminals during Christmas Eve.In another tale, Squirrel Girl exchanges gifts with Dr Doom. In the last take, Kate Bishop stops some Skrulls from ruining Xmas. Overall, a funny collection that imbues festivity of Xmas. Overall: 9.2 Recommendation: Buy

Killmonger #2 (Marvel) – In the second issue of this miniseries, we find Erik still trying to get used to working with a team,or anyone,in fact, as no one has ever took an interest in him since his parents. We also get a flashback of one of his first dealings with Klaue, laying the base for his deep seated hate for him. The team takes out four targets, which leaves one of them severely hurt. By issue’s end, Kingpin got them burn noticed as he sets them up to go against Bullseye, one target King knows no one can hit. Overall: 9.7 Recommendation: Buy

Infinity Wars : Fallen Guardian #1 (Marvel) – In probably the most poignant story to come out of this event, we get a different origin story for Drax. As we get one where he was a man on earth with a family named Arthur whose life gets turned upside down by the rage of Thanos. He avenges their death by becoming Drax and his daughter becoming Moondragon. By issue’s end, Thanos is no more and so is Drax as he reassumes his life as Arthur, where his life becomes just a dream. Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Ryan C

Batman #61 (DC)** – Remember that kid from awhile back who thought he was Bruce Wayne and it made for a decent little one-off? Well, his story doesn’t lend itself nearly so well to a multi-parter, as this wannabe-mindfuck from writer Tom King stumbles right out of the gate and never gets any firm footing on — well, anything really. Travis Moore’s dull, pedestrian art doesn’t help matters much, either. Probably the worst single issue in a run that has had several lousy ones, too few good ones, not sure who thought milking a this one-and-done premise for more was a good idea. Overall: 2. Recommendation: Pass


 Freedom Fighters #1 (DC)** – If you wanted to see a comic that features a bloody, decapitated Dollman strung out on public display and Uncle Sam screaming “you want one last piece of apple pie?” as he punches an evil Plastic Man, then I guess this is the comic for you, but for the rest of us, this just looks like an Atop The Fourth Wall video from Linkara waiting to happen, as Robert Venditti’s script is equal parts lazy and mean-spirited, and artists Eddy Barrows and Eber Ferreira, who are normally a solid team, turn in work so melodramatic and over-the-top as to be downright laughable. Embarrassingly bad stuff all around. Overall: 0. Recommendation: Pass


American Carnage #2 (DC/Vertigo)** – More stage-setting from Bryan Hill in this one, as our undercover former FBI agent who’s “passing for white” gets in deeper with the rich financier of hate-mongers far and wide. It’s all perfectly readable and interesting, but a lot of time gets wasted with a pointless fist fight and the whole thing plays out like an extended epilogue to the first issue. I’m still reasonably optimistic about this series’ potential, and Leandro Fernandez’s art certainly continues to impress, so there’s no cause to jump ship here or anything — it’s just that this issue and the last probably should have been condensed down to one. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Read


Aquaman #43 (DC)** – The much-heralded new creative team of writer Kelly Sue DeConnick and artists Robson Rocha and Daniel Henriques arrive just in time for the movie — but beyond some very pretty pictures, they don’t give you much reason to stick around for more. DeConnick’s script is standard-issue “hero with amnesia awakens to a fairy tale-like world” stuff, and doesn’t provide much reason to care about what’s happening since the characters, most notably Aquaman himself, are all simple, two-dimensional ciphers. The art is bold, dynamic, and beautiful, but unfortunately it doesn’t depict anything particularly interesting at its core. Overall: 3.5 Recommendation: Pass


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

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

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 12/15

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

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


 

Joe Hesh

BATMAN WHO LAUGHS #1Batman Who Laughs #1 (DC) I have been looking forward to this one since the middle of Metal. One of the only salvageable parts of that crossover (besides Baby Darkseid) was The Batman who Laughs. This version of Batman is one who finally murders the Joker but unleashes a toxin that the Joker had internally as a fail safe, thus creating a Batman with a Bruce Wayne that is devoid of conscience and seeks only to live by one rule: Batman always wins. He becomes an amoral ruthless killing machine and is the rival of any opponent. He was defeated in Metal when the Joker and Batman teamed up, but now he’s back and saner than ever. The issue opens with our Batman on a highway chasing down smugglers and procuring a coffin that was loaded in the cargo. The weird point is that the cargo and the body of the deceased is that of.. Bruce Wayne? We then have Alfred and our Bruce try to solve the mystery of who is this doppelganger and they come to some startling results. Meanwhile the Batman who laughs lays siege to Arkham and brings along another Batman with him. This is one that is armed to the teeth and quickly ends the guards. However we don’t know who he is. Is he another Bruce Wayne? This issue reunites the super team of Scott Snyder and Jock. One of my favorite comics combos. Both brought their A game here. This issue started with a mystery and leaves us with questions abound. Not to mention we get s killer cliffhanger. You don’t need to be told twice. Get this book. Overall: Great return to form for Snyder and very intriguing story here, I cannot wair for this one to unfold. Score: 9.5 Reccomendation: Buy Buy Buy

Ryan C

godess mode 1.jpgGoddess Mode #1 (DC/Vertigo)** – Not a bad debut from Zoe Quinn and Robbi Rodriguez, but not an especially stellar one, either. The premise is reasonably intriguing, but Quinn’s tendency toward over-exposition can get downright embarrassing, and she lays it on thick with the overly-obvious analogies of her sci-fi future world to our present-day reality. Rodrigez’ art is stellar, though, and more than enough on its own to convince me to give this at least one more issue. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Read

The Quantum Age #5 (Dark Horse)** – Another crackerjack installment from Jeff Lemire and Wilfredo Torres that ratchets things up toward what promises to be a climactic final chapter that ties directly into current events in the main “Black Hammer” title. Torres’ art remains pitch-perfect for this material, and all in all this may just be the most consequential of the various spin-off series set in this “universe” yet. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Black Hammer: Cthu-Louise #1 (Dark Horse)** – Jeff Lemire and Emi Lenox deliver a splendid and heartfelt little one-off here focusing on a very minor character who nevertheless proves she is more than capable of carrying a story on her young shoulders. Gloriously illustrated and sublimely written, this is just great stuff, plain and simple. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Hey Kids! Comics! #5 (Image) – Howard Chaykin, as it turns out, had one more masterpiece in him after all, as the conclusion to this historical take-down of the comics industry for its sleazy ethical and business practices wraps things up in grand style and even with a little bit of guarded, but still starry-eyed, optimism. The final page promises more to come and I, for one, will be anticipating that eagerly. The best thing Chaykin’s done, no kidding, since “American Flagg!” Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Logan

Goddess Mode #1 (Vertigo)– In a world that has several similarities to our own, including wealth inequality, targeted ads, and shitty healthcare, Cassandra Price is a skilled coder/hacker, who has great talent, but doesn’t like kissing asses so she’s a low level “code janitor” for the Hermeticorp corporation. But then she discovers the world of Azoth aka the algorithm that runs our world, and there are witches, monsters, and a glittering color palette from Rico Renzi. Zoe Quinn does fall into the first time comics writer trap a few times using blocks of texts instead of Robbi Rodriguez’s dark pop visuals to establish her world and Goddess Mode’s premise, but she makes Cass a likable and relatable protagonist, kind of Dane McGowan from the Invisibles for 2018 with quirks like getting her ad bot to play old ska and cat videos and not targeted programming. And underneath the gaudy art and tech-speak, Goddess Mode is a story about a smart young person with a shitty job joining a potential revolution, which is honestly content I need currently. Overall: 8.5 Verdict: Buy

bhcl1Black Hammer: Cthu-Louise #1 (Dark Horse)- As shown by her work on Plutona, Emi Lenox is an artist that excels at showing the ugly and cruel side of kids and teenagers. And that is fully on display in the Cthu-Louise one-shot that she does with writer Jeff Lemire. Cthu-Louise is the daughter of Cthu-Lou, a former supervillain with powers from the Old Ones that now smokes, drinks, and abuses his daughter all day. Cthu-Louise is bullied in a school that basically teaches superhero propaganda all day in a clever bit of writing from Lemire to make this one-shot seem like part of a bigger story. He and Lenox craft an eldritch fable with wishes, prices to pay, and some maddening greens with Cthu-Louise comes into contact with the Old Ones. Also, supervillain daughters aren’t their dads and have feelings too. Overall: 8 Verdict: Read

Fantastic Four Wedding Special #1 (Marvel)– The FF Wedding Special has one cute story, one unfortunately patriarchal one, and then goes back to cute again. The lead story is Gail Simone and Laura Braga’s tale of Alicia Masters’ bachelorette party complete with She-Hulk and Medusa getting wasted and “making it rain” on strippers dressed like male superheroes and fighting the Mole Man’s obsessed stalker. Braga finds the right medium between humor and action, and this story has a lot of heart too and finds true love towards the end. Plus Mole Man feels. Dan Slott and Mark Buckingham handle the second story which is about the Thing asking for Puppet Master’s blessing to marry Alicia. Pass. And it wraps up in a madcap telling of Alicia Masters’ history through the POV of her manipulative father Mole Man with art by the legendary Fred Hembeck, who pulls off both visual gags and crazy Marvel continuity ones. Overall: 7.7 Verdict: Read

Shean

swaordmStar Wars Age of Republic: Darth Maul #1 (Marvel)-In what plays out as a cruel ploy on a force sensitive smuggler, we get a tale where Darth Maul uses his cunning to take out a Jedi outsider. As he goes under cover of night to get close to him. As he uses this task as a way of learning more about Jedi. By issue’s end, he begrudgingly kills the potential Jedi, only to understand why anger is a tool not his master. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

 Silver Surfer: Best Defense #1 (Marvel)– In this particular issue, we find Silver Surfer playing out what looks to be The Good, The Bad and the Ugly interspersed with the ongoing drama between him and Galactus gives fan a little lull before the very first Defenders issue, as this one I was really hoping for more of a punch but fans only get a fizzle and alot of Surfer feeling sorry for himself. Overall: 6.7 Recommendation: Borrow

Doctor Strange: Best Defense #1 (Marvel)– In what is probably the best story I have read of Doctor Strange in a while, we get Old Man Strange. As he is the last Defender alive as Dormammu has won the war on humankind. We find out how it got this bad and what Strange lost before it got here. By issue’s end, everything is not as glum as it seems, as Strange has a secret weapon and takes the fight back to his arch nemesis with the help of an old friend. Overall: 9.8 Recommendation: Buy

Typhoid Fever Iron Fist #1 (Marvel)– In what feels like a horror movie, Typhoid Mary who goes by Typhoid now, has taken over New York City. As she has every superhero including the X-men tearing each other apart. The only one to withstand her peers long-term is Iron Fist, who defends himself against everyone she sends his wayz By issue’s end, one mistake costs her residual powers become dampened and in turn, she goes mad. Overall: 9.1 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: Die, Namor, Border Town, Shazam! and More!

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.


Elana

Die #1 (Image Comics)* – Easily a best new series of 2018. This is a power team of two of my favorite creators: Stephanie Hans and Kieron Gillen. Gillen knows his table-top Role Playing Games, his magical world building, his teen comics, his team comics, his emotionally vulnerable men and women and casts that are diverse racially, sexually and in social class. He’s doing all of that here and it shines. Stephanie Hans creates luminous paintings. Her faces are sensitive and unmistakable. Her character designs are exciting in both the real world and fantasy world the story takes place. These are two of the best talents in comics today doing what they do best. I couldn’t be more excited. Overall 10 Recommendation: Buy! (PS: Our latest episode of Graphic Policy Radio is an interview with Gillen and Hans.)

Jon

Die #1 (Image Comics)* – Kieron Gillen’s latest offering is built on a very simple premise: what might have happened to the kids from the Dungeons and Dragons cartoon when they returned from their adventures in a magical land? The result is the most sublime merger of comics and gaming to hit the page and that’s saying quite a bit given all the great books that have built on the tropes of both mediums over the last few years. Gillen never misses a beat, introducing us to a group of characters we want to know more about. Though not for everyone, Stephanie Hans artwork is a great complement to it, equal parts menacing and fantastic. I got to the end and I want another issue now. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Shean

Namor: The Best Defense #1 (Marvel)* – In what could be worst timing, we get Marvel’s own underwater superhero. As this could have been a great story, but never has the similarities been more apparent than on this one shot, as it comes off as straight up plagiarism.As this version is not formidable in anyway and is a much more neutered iteration of the character. I would say to read it simpl as an origin story, otherwise, nothing new here at all. Story: 4 Art: 6 Overall: 5 Recommendation: Read

Star Wars: Qui-Gon Jinn #1 (Marvel)* – In what definitely feels a companion story , we find Qui Gon Jinn at unease with the force. As him and a much younger Obi-Wan, find themselves rescuing a princess in the middle of a civil war. As Qui-Gon’s instincts leads him to a place where his Visions becomes amplified. By issue’s end, we see Qui-Gon is the first Jedi to foresee the wrath headed their way by way of the Sith. Story: 9 Art: 8 Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Killmonger #1 (Marvel)* – In probably the best debut issue of an origin story I have read in a minute, we definitely get a masterclass in character study. As we find Erik as he is about to graduate MIT , his first instinct is to satisfy his blood lust for Klawe. He gets interrupted by Kingpin’s henchmen, King, Rook and Knight. by issue’s end, he begrudgingly joins this motley crew, even if it is just a stepping stone. Story :10 Art:10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Immortal Hulk: Best Defense #1 (Marvel)* – We find Bruce Banner looking for what happened to Doctor Strange. As the book unfolds like a sleepy town mystery, one which Captivates the reader from the onset. He soon finds more quandaries than he initially expected. By issue’s end, Bruce and Hulk must find a way forward and the road into gets more treacherous. Story: 9 Art: 9 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Ryan C

Martian Manhunter #1 (DC Comics)** – I went in to this one with zero preconceptions and was absolutely blown away. Riley Rossmo’s art is a joy to behold, as usual, all inventive page layouts and ultra-expressive characters and chaotic action scenes, but Steve Orlando, well — he’s pretty up-and-down, isn’t he? Fortunately, he’s “up” here in a big way, re-envisioning J’Onn J’Onzz as a dirty cop from Mars trying to atone for past sins as a clean cop here on Earth. Oh, and there’s a Martian sex scene in here that you’ve gotta see to believe. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Shazam! #1 (DC Comics)** – I suppose I should have known better, but — anyway, this is unmitigated crap. Geoff Johns’ updating of the Marvel family is obvious and unimaginative, Dale Eaglesham’s art is way too ’90s Image for a project like this — and nothing much really happens in the book, either, it’s pretty much all stage-setting. I enjoyed Mayo “Sen” Naito’s art on the backup strip, but that’s about all I can say for this poorly-considered work. Doc Shaner, Chris Samnee, Steve Rude — I’d love to see a “Shazam!” comic from one of them, but the approach DC is taking here is fundamentally flawed from the outset. Overall: 2 Recommendation: Pass

Batman #60 (DC Comics)** – Probably the best issue in quite some time, as Tom King’s Penguin/Bane storyline finally gels into something teeming with both suspense and menace, and the alternating art of Jorge Fornes and Mikel Janin accentuates the drama inherent in different scenes in fundamentally opposite, but equally appealing, styles. Oh, and that cliffhanger — holy shit! Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Border Town #4 (DC Comics/Vertigo)** – Yeah, okay, this issue is “guilty” of burying its storyline beneath its polemic, especially in the clumsy “info-dump” writer Eric M. Esquivel resorts to in his stage-setting for a Joe Arapaio stand-in character, but it’s still fun and engaging stuff with compelling characters, smart “world-building,” plenty of humor, and superb Ramon Villalobos art. Esquivel is a bit too “tell, don’t show” as a writer too frequently, but it’s not an ever-present feature at this point like it was in issue one. Yeah, this isn’t as good a #3, which remains the best installment to date, but it’s still pretty damn good and well worth four bucks. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Mr. H

Shazam! #1 (DC Comics)* – I cannot express how excited I was for this one. Geoff Johns and Gary Franks take on the big red cheese was so refreshing. The way they flipped Billy Batson from aw shucks to street smart wiseass with a heart of gold. That along with Gary Franks gorgeous art made a spectacular combination. Well I’m happy to say this story picks up where that left off. Billy has gone from house outcast to leader of the pack and the whole Marvel Family is just a joy to see in action. Now sure not a lot happens this issue but that is not to say it isn’t a lot of fun. Seeing the group discuss their superhero team name was a gas the art by Dale Eaglesham was a great successor to Gary Frank. The colors were vibrant and just whole lot of fun. The cliffhanger with a return of a long thought dead character sets up some serious intrigue and I am definitely back next month. Fun, laughs, and a sprinkle of action. This was everything monthy comics should be. Overall: great feel and continuity and good to see a monthly from Captain Marvel again. Overall: 8.9 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: Books of Magic, Dead Man Logan, Daredevil, and More!

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.


Shean

Dead Man Logan#1 (Marvel)* – We find Logan dying as he searches for Mysterious. We also find Miss Sinister working against him as she is two steps ahead. By issue’s end, we see an old enemy has reemerged and it’s up to Logan to stop them. Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Ryan C

Heroes In Crisis #3 (DC Comics)** – Tom King is doing his “Tom King Thing” here — all stilted dialogue, “jump-cut” scenes out of chronological order, other easily-spotted script gimmicks — but at least the Lee Weeks guest art is nice. Regular artist Clay Mann does the first and last pages, and while they look fine, they point to the essential flaw in today’s “assembly-line” comics, namely : even with a mini-series, deadline crunches ensure that no smoothly self-contained visual “flow” is possible. Things here appear headed in a very uninspiring direction, indeed. Overall: 5.0 Recommendation: Pass

Books Of Magic #2 (DC Comics/Vertigo)** – Tim Hunter gets chased around by some entities, and that’s about it. Tom Fowler’s art is nice enough, if bland, but there’s no excusing the laziness of Kat Howard’s script. Two issues in, this feels like a series where the writer isn’t even especially trying. Overall: 1.0 Recommendation: Pass

Come Into Me #4 (Black Mask Studio)** – The long production delays this mini-series suffered didn’t help matters much, but even leaving those “off the table,” this body-horror story comes to a flat, predictable conclusion. Zac Thompson and Lonnie Nadler do a lot of good work, but they never seemed to throw their full creative weight into this one, so it’s just as well that Piotr Kowalski’s always-exceptional art at least made each issue worth looking at. That’s about all you can say in its favor, though. Overall: 4.0 Recommendation: Pass

House Amok #3 (IDW/Black Crown)** – Another “up” in this “up-and-down” conspiratorial horror series sees writer Christopher Sebela rebound nicely from a lackluster second issue and set things up for what could/should be a pretty solid conclusion next month. Shawn McManus’ art has been strong throughout, and that continues here, so in the final analysis maybe the previous installment will just prove to be a little bump on an otherwise-superb ride. Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

 

Mr. H

Daredevil #612 (Marvel)* – Well here we are true believers. The last stop for ol Hornhead. Daredevil might have been enjoying a renaissance via his Netflix show (which season 3 is the best, come at me bro) but his comic books have always ranged from pretty good to genius. This latest run from Charles Soule is definitely one for the genius pile. Matt and his cohorts have been trying to take down Mayor Kingpin and a story line which has allusions to real life electoral issues, it is a damn fine comic yarn being spun here. Matt has been tormented recently by a new enemy known as Vigil. Vigil seems to be able to counteract everything Matt can do and finally here you see why. It’s a touching issue with guest stars galore and tie up moments. Phil Noto gives us some wonderful art here as we traipse away through the pages. Of course we get the obligatory superhero show down but it is the quieter moments and characterization that really shines here. The portrayal of Fisk on the witness stand and his unraveling is spot on. Yes there’s even a Karen Page reunion that was solicited. This comic does so well and hits all the feels for this merry Marvel maniac. While I wish they would take some time off from the Daredevil title. I’m looking forward to the new crew and what comes next. Overall: if you like Daredevil get this book. It is a wonderful end for now. Score: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy it. I’m still getting it though.


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 11/24

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.


 

Shean

SEP180874Infinity Wars: Ghost Panther #1 (Marvel)– In what is probably the best story to come out of this major Marvel event , we get TChalla as Johnny Blaze with a touch of Thor. We find TChalla being thrown out of Wakanda by Tchaka, and being forced to become a stunt performer where he meets the Spirit of Vengeance. He is content with just being Johnny Blaze until TChaka dies at the hands of an enhanced Mbaku. By issue’s end, he goes head to head with Mbaku defeated. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Ryan C

American Carnage #1 (DC/Vertigo)** – Another more than solid debut in the latest Vertigo re-launch, this is part “Incognegro,” part “Black KKKlansman,” and pretty well addicting from the get-go. One can quibble with whether or not an obvious stand-in for the Mercer family would have such close ties to the Klan and Neo-Nazis rather than employing intermediaries, but Bryan Hill’s script is breakneck-paced, punchy, and reasonably thought-provoking, while Leandro Fernandez’s art is all stylish modern noir. Good times ahead, indeed. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Black Hammer: Age Of Doom #7 (Dark Horse)** – The conclusion to this two-part Col. Weird story doesn’t really do anything “metafiction”-wise that Grant Morrison hasn’t already done dozens (if not hundreds) of times before and better, but it’s still a plenty fun read and Rich Tommaso’s art is, as always, nothing short of brilliant. Getting back to the main storyline will be nice, but this has been a thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable side-step. Overall: 7.5. Recommendation: Buy

BM_Cv59Batman #59 (DC)** – The idea that Bane has secretly taken over Arkham Asylum and The Penguin is selling him out in order to save his own skin should, by all rights, be pretty dramatic fodder for a story, but Tom King’s script feels lazy and insubstantial, both Batman and Jim Gordon hit character “beats” that feel inherently false, and the lack of anything like genuine suspense is palpable, Fortunately, what King does manage to do is play to his artist’s strengths, and he gives Mikel Janin plenty of opportunity to shine on an early-issue dramatic double-page spread, as well as some unpleasantly violent fight scenes. Not bad stuff on the whole, but not worth spending your hard-earned money on. Overall: 5.5 Recommendation: Read

Lucifer #2 (DC/Vertigo) – I was feeling pretty lukewarm to this latest series starring the Prince of the East after a lackluster first issue, but I’m glad I stuck around for one more because Dan Waters’ disparate plotlines now appear to be moving toward a mysterious but powerful point of convergence, and the art by Max and Sebastian Fiumara, which was already pretty stellar, has definitely kicked into another, altogether creepier, gear. Looks like I might be hanging with this one for awhile after all! 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 For The Week Ending 11/17

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

cemetery-beach-3-of-7Cemetery Beach #3 (Image)** – An action-centric issue that takes all of about ten seconds to read, but Warren Ellis knows when to get the word balloons and caption boxes out of the way and just let Jason Howard’s art take over, which it surely does here. Brisk, exciting, cinematic, and compelling stuff. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Gideon Falls #8 (Image)** – The closer Jeff Lemire moves his two once-disparate plotlines together, the more intriguing the story becomes — and the more amazingly creative Andrea Sorrentino gets with his breathtaking art. This series got off to an iffystart, but after about #3, each issue has successively gotten better, scarier, and more gorgeous to look at. Long may this trend continue. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

The Quantum Age #4 (Dark Horse)** – Okay, yeah, this issue runs in place a bit, but Jeff Lemire still has the scripting of these characters down to a sweet science, and Wilfredo Torres’ sleek and stylish art really suits the futuristic sci-fi setting of this miniseries. Granted, the cliffhanger this time out is basically just a “bigger, bolder” version of last issue’s, but damn if it doesn’t work beautifully. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Hey Kids! Comics! #4 (Image)**- In the wake of Stan Lee’s death it may have been smart to hold this one back a few weeks, but it was probably already on its way from Diamond to the shops, so what can you do? Still, Lee’s doppleganger character emerges as the closest thing to a “villain” here in the fourth installment of Howard Chaykin’s superb deconstruction of the comics industry’s sorry treatment of its creators, and while it’s frequently quite funny, it still hurts to see how so many of these people got screwed so hard. Yeah, a lot of this history is old hat to long-time fans, but in Chaykin’s skilled hands it becomes fresh, vital and, yes, infuriating, all over again. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Joe Hesh

TGL_Cv1_00111The Green Lantern #1 (DC)** When I heard that Grant Morrison (who just so happens to be my all time favorite writer) was dipping his pen in green ink to write this series, I was ecstatic. I mean with his blend of wacky sci fi hi jinx and imagination how could this miss?? Well it did, and it didn’t. First off he gets the character of Hal Jordan perfectly. I really dig the Captain Kirk edge he’s instilled in him. The scene where Hal dispatched the aliens in disguise was great. He did it without the ring. Something a lot of writers don’t get with Hal. He is not just the ring. This is a man who has been all over the cosmos and dealt with almost every threat conceivable. So he is bound to retain some of that savvy and put it to good use. Hal has but isn’t using the ring at the moment because of charging issues. Simple enough. The issue moves at a brisk pace and we get nice banter and dialog amongst the other Lanterns. It is just something is a bit lacking. I can’t put my finger on it yet. It’s only the first month in and I have all the faith in Morrison that this will be a top title for me. The art by Liam Sharp is just sharp, I mean pretty at times and scratchy at others. I know he is capable of breathtaking rendering as seen on his Wonder Woman run. I want to see some outrageous stuff in these pages, just haven’t got it yet. His art reminded me of very 90s Image and gives the book a bit of a dated feel. I hope that improves. The issue ends with a cliffhanger but it lacks that first big issue punch. I will certainly be back next month but I am hoping Grant takes the training wheels off and goes nuts. Overall: all the potential in the world. With Grant at the helm I know we are in for a ride, even if we got a bit of a slow start. Score: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

Shean

The Black Order #1 (Marvel) – Not so great, just not fun at all. I give this book , a solid “ Meh” Overall: 4 Recommendation: Pass

 


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

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

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 10/20

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

BDRTOWN_03_300-001.jpg Border Town #3 (DC/Vertigo)** – This book seems to be hitting a nice, strong stride very early on, with this being the best issue to date. Ramon Villalobos’ art has always been stellar and remains so, but Eric M. Esquivel’s scripting is evening out from some early rockiness, balancing real-world political issues with supernatural goings-on and even some well-placed (and well-considered) humor. In fact, there’s a laugh-out-loud scene in this issue that’s just plain awesome. Get on this series now if you’re not already. Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Batman #58 (DC)** – The welcome return of Mikel Janin on art is the highlight of this issue, which marks the beginning of a new “Penguin-centric” arc. Tom King’s script is at least competent this time out, but hardly the stuff memories are made of , mostly just jumping around between a couple of timelines in order to set the stage for the the rest of the story. It’s thoroughly readable and the cliffhanger packs a bit of a punch, but when Alfred comes off as being more interesting than Bruce Wayne/Batman, well — you’ve got a problem. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Read

Dead Rabbit #2 (Image)** – Good on Gerry Duggan and John McCrea to insert some “real world” socio-economic issues (most notably relating to health care) into this “criminal comes out of retirement” drama, but the strength of this series is in its cinematic pacing and stylish, high-impact art. Not a whole ton happens this time out, but what does adds depth to the characters and their situations while never slowing down from its breakneck tempo. Lots of fun, especially if you love a good car chase. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Outer Darkness #1 (Image/Skybound)** – A heavy debt is owed to Jack Kirby’s “Captain Victory And The Galactic Rangers” with John Layman’s premise for this book, but there’s a gut-churning occult twist to the proceedings and some solid humor added into the mix, and Afu Chan’s artwork is just straight-up spectacular, particularly on his Kirby-flavored “cosmic” double-page spreads. Nothing super ground-breaking here, but I had plenty of fun with this one and it seems like it’s a series that could go off in any number of interesting directions. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Shean

Han Solo: Imperial Cadet #1 (Marvel)– In probably one of the most authentic representations to a military boot camp I have ever seen or read, this book more than delivers. We catch up with Han after he separates from Qira, and right after he gets sent to boot camp, where he gains a few skills,that Star Wars fans will see later in life. As he gets as good as he gives, and we see his penchant for getting in trouble make him a terrible mismatch for the military. By issue’s end, he finds a way off base, but only to be caught and a whole lot to explain. 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 11/3

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.


 

FAITH_DS_002_COVER-B_MEYNETAlex

Faith: Dreamside #2 (Valiant) As a huge Valiant fan, I’ve always enjoyed seeing characters that don’t typically interact with each other come face to face on the printed page. With this comic we see Faith and Animalia meet Doctor Mirage for the first time in an attempt to figure out why ghosts are haunting Animalia; the extended sequence is filled with the awkwardness of Doctor Mirage tying to discern if the two psiots are crazed fans or in need of actual help. As a four issue miniseries, the story has been paced very well thus far, and seems to be avoiding the elongated build up to an explosive conclusion in the final issue.  Overall: 8.2 Recommendation: Buy

Old Man Logan #50 (Marvel) The final issue in the series, and with Young Man Logan having recently returned from the dead, it’s easy to assume that the elder Logan won’t be making out of this series (there has been a solicitation for a Dead Man Logan twelve issue series, so take that for what you will). When we first met Old Man Logan, way back in his original story, he was at odds with an old Hulk, and so with the finale pitting him against another version of an old Hulk, it feels as if his story has come full circle. Granted there are some loose ends with the plot that will likely never get resolved, but then that isn’t Logan’s story. End of the day, this was a satisfying enough conclusion to a fun 50 issue run. Overall: 7.8 Recomendation: Buy if you’ve read this far.

Ryan C

Shanghai Red #5 (Image)** – A superb finale to an equally superb series : every loose end tied up, every major plot thread resolved in thoroughly satisfying fashion, a clear “arc” from start to finish for all characters. Christopher Sebela’s script is smart, poignant, and well-paced, while Joshua Hixson’s art is moody, authentic, and just plain amazing. Honestly, one of the best comics of the year. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

 Ice Cream Man #8 (image)** – W. Maxwell Prince and Martin Morazzo wrap up the second arc of their stand-alone anthology series (yeah, I know, the idea of “arcs” seems counter-intuitive here) with a fairly strong installment, as a junkie ambulance crew HIC_Cv2_dsspreads terror and destruction in their wake. Prince’s stories are generally of a “good enough, not great” standard, this one being no exception, but Morazzo’s clean, refined, hyper-detailed art elevates the middling to the exemplary at all times. He’s one of the very best in the business right now. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Heroes In Crisis #2 (DC)** – I get it, we all want our heroes to be more “human.” Acknowledging that they might, on occasion, suffer from PTSD makes sense. So the premise here isn’t bad — but the “mystery” of who killed a bunch of heroes, half of whom (at least) will be back alive before we know it? That’s falling very flat indeed. Tom King’s stilted dialogue for every single character is really starting to grate, his penchant for letting most of the main action happen “off-camera” is doing the same, and no one’s gonna believe Booster Gold is a mass murderer, so not even main “red herring” here is any good. Clay Mann’s art is sharp and pretty — maybe even a little too pretty for a series that badly needs and injection of street-level grit and danger — but that’s about the only good thing I can think of to say about this comic, which isn’t anywhere near enough justify a four-dollar expenditure. Overall: 3.5 Recommendation: Pass

Doom Patrol #12 (DC/Young Animal)** – Better late than never? Uhhhmmm — no. Gerard Way and co-writer Jeremy Lambert pull a “Stranger Things” imitation out of their asses for reasons I can’t explain, while Nick Derington’s art finds itself buried under a thick layer of personality-negating Dan McDaid inks. I get that some or all of these guys were big D&D-heads growing up and wanted to pay homage to that, but do a one-shot special of some sort rather than adding an unnecessary epilogue onto a series that already came to a confusing (and confused) enough conclusion on its own. A gimmick in search of a reason for existing that never finds one. Overall: 3 Recommendation: Pass

Shean

What If? Magik #1 (Marvel)– In what plays out like Training Day but with Sorcerers, we get a different take on Magik’s origin story. She gets hurled into America where she shows that she is a product of her environment, by almost killing the first man to try and take advantage of her to only be stopped by Doctor Strange. Strange trains her in the mystical arts becoming more astute than him. By issue’s end, a final showdown between her and her tormentor leads to her ultimate absolution. Overall: 9.6 Recommendation: Buy

Joe Ryan

oml50.jpgAvengers Halloween Special (Marvel) – While I realize that these comics are sort of elseworlds tales, depicting some stories for the Halloween season, I really wasn’t a fan of most of them. This really felt like a sort of cash grab, and none of the stories felt that compelling. Some of them felt like lesser versions of Edgar Allan Poe or other classic writers, just rehashed a bit with Superheroes. If you are looking for that, you may enjoy the book more than I did. Overall: 4.0 Recommendation: Pass

Old Man Logan #50 (Marvel) – I have been a fan of this book, especially when Lemire was writing it, but even with Brisson, I enjoyed a lot of the issues. This final issue (before the Dead Man Logan maxi series starts) didn’t feel like it gave enough. It wasn’t bad, and continued the war between Maestro Bruce Banner and Logan, but overall it just felt okay. If you are invested in this tale, of course you will want to read this. Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read

Vault of Spiders #1 (Marvel) – There was some fun moments in this book, with the Cowboy Spider-Man, and the Japanese Spider-Man (from the old tv show), but overall this book felt like an excuse to throw a bunch of random Spider-characters into the Spider-Geddon event without necessarily having them take part in it (though they may). More of a montage of “spider-people” without much interesting stories behind them. Overall: 5.0 Recommendation: Pass

Spider-Force #1 (Marvel) – Kaine, Jessica Drew, and more work together to thwart the threat from Spider-Geddon, and this book tied into the overall narrative nicely. The ending gave a cliffhanger that is solid, and the dialogue between the characters was fun. I do think this will end up being the best book of the Spider-Geddon tie in mini series, at least so far. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Batman: Secret Files #1 (DC) – I really dug this comic. There were a few stories better than others (Taylor’s was really good), but all of them were good in my opinion. It gives us a peak into the Batman mythos a little more, which is impressive considering how many times we’ve peaked into such a popular character. A great team of writers and artists did solid work on this. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Justice League / Aquaman: Drowned Earth #1 (DC) – This was a solid comic. I do find that Tynion IV can be wordy, such as Snyder on the main book, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. He gives a solid set up (which really was continued from the core Justice League book that kicked off this mini event), and the art by is Porter is solid, though it may not fit everyone’s taste. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

 


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

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

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