Category Archives: Mini Reviews

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 11/10

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

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Joe Hesh

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

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

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

Logan

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

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

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

Shean

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


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

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

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 11/3

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

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Ryan C

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

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

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

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

Shean

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

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

Logan

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


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

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

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 10/26

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

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Elena

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

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

Recommendation: Buy! Debate!

Ryan C

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

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

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

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

Shean

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

Logan

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


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

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

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 10/19

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

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Ryan C

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

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

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

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

Logan

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

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

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


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

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

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 10/12

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.


Joe Hesh

Event Leviathan #5 (DC Comics) This series has been a fantastic thriller from the beginning but that all has come to an abrupt halt as of this issue. I really dug the two teams of detective’s (Batman’s and Lois’ secret group) but this one had me scratching my head for sure. I know in an event that is large in scope you don’t want the identity to be easily guessed but this one is either going to be so left field that I’m not sure the breadcrumbs lead you there properly OR it will be someone so obscure that “Who cares anyways?” I had a lot of high hopes for this series and thought it would be a resurrected hero or someone who really needed a A list bump up but at this moment my interest has certainly waned. Alex Maleev does a great job on art and I have enjoyed his work since his run with Bendis on Daredevil many moons back. This time though with all the build up, unless Bendis can pull an ace out, this one is an utter dud. Score: 5 (mostly for the art) Recommendation: Pass

Logan

Die #8 (Image)- Die #8 focuses on the Matt the Grief Knight and Ash   the Dictator in the hierarchical land of Angria. Kieron Gillen and Stephanie Hans’ story isn’t as fun and interesting as last issue’s saga of drinking with hobbit type people and the male gaze applied to the fantasy genre. However, the deep dive into Matt is refreshing as he’s been happy the past 20 years and has a hate hate relationship with the grief blade he chose decades ago. This relationship changes in his big battle against the Knights of Joy when he realize home and family isn’t what it used to be and will be very different if he ever gets out of Die. The fight in the cave has a wonderful sense of atmosphere and a scarlet palette from Stephanie Hans. This isn’t my favorite issue of Die, but the bits focusing on Ash and Matt’s family dynamics both in the real world and Die ring true and a few mysteries are happened upon. Overall: 7.6 Verdict: Read

Ryan C

Detective Comics #1013 (DC) **– Another rather insubstantial script from Peter Tomasi that moves his pervy Mr. Freeze storyline forward just a nudge until a big last-page cliffhanger, at least Doug Mahnke’s art is as sharp as ever, but when that’s all you can say in a comic’s defense, well — that ain’t a whole lot, is it? Not when these things have a $3.99 cover price. Overall: 4 Recommendation: Pass

Ice Cream Man #15 (Image)** – Well, this one was creepy AF — -even by this series’ standards. How much we get stuck with by means of genetic inheritance is the question W. Maxwell Prince’s story asks — and the answer, not to give too much away, appears to be “more than we’d probably like.” Martin Morazzo’s art is, as always, crisp, expressive, and pitch-perfect for the material. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Oliver #4 (Image)** – Did you forget about this series? I forgot about this series — and so, apparently, did writer Gary Whitta, who wraps things up (for the arc or for the series? No telling either way)in slapdash and easy fashion — fortunately, Darick Robertson draws the hell out of every line, loads up every panel with stuff worth looking at, and just plain delivers the goods, plus interest. Am I really going to tell you to buy this comic just for the art? Oh, yes I am. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

 Batman Vs. Ra’s Al Ghul #2 (DC) **– The most gonzo book in the “Big Two” publishing schedule ups its game with more nonsensical dialogue, more pointless “talking head” scenes, more lame and uninvolving mystery, more way-off-base characterization, and more weird perspective shots and page layouts that make you realize Neal Adams isn’t just past his prime — he’s gone and left any memories of it in the dust. In other words, this comic will blow your mind, and you pass on it at your peril. Overall: 0 Recommendation: Buy. That’s not a typo.


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 10/5

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.


Joe Hesh

Batman #80 (DC Comics)** Having been critical on and off of Tom King, while I have really enjoyed the City of Bane arc and especially the interludes. This one was kind of just … there. The whole issue is essentially an action sequence to set up Batman’s triumphant return to Gotham and the show down with this estranged and deranged father and Bane. So while I certainly love me some JR JR art this was not the case this time as I felt it lacked the punch needed. I really dug the opening with Bruce taking down Bane’s deputies as his Matches Malone persona though.
Him doing the one on one showdown’s reminded me of an old school video game and just going up the tower. Also as much as I love King’s take on Kite Man, this Hell yeah stuff has to stop. It feels like when you knew Snyder couldn’t wait to get to issue #50 just to write the line “Who died and made you Batman?” Only this time it lacked any sort of emotion behind it. I am a very big fan of Bat/Cat relationship (damn the haters) but Selena didn’t do much here.
Since Bruce seems to already know Bane’s plan for Damian with Thomas, I find it doubly hard that he wouldn’t know that Alfred is dead. For me there lies the huge problem. He should not be cool and calm, he should be angry and outraged and ready to break his eternal killing rule. There has been no emotional fallout from Alfred’s death and that is beyond blasphemous. I don’t understand why kill him in such graphic fashion on screen back in issue #77 only to not mention it again?
There is a lot to wrap up here and I know we have a few more chapters but the placement of this issue and its content just seems wacky to me. Normally as of late I would give this rave marks but this one was a very meh of mill for me. Overall: I will be reading to see how this story fills out but this one certainly put a giant penny sized dent in my momentum. Score: 6.5.

Ryan C

The Immortal Hulk #24 (Marvel)** – The most creatively exciting series to come out of “The Big Two” in a good few years keeps on keeping on, with a new and interesting status quo being established by issue’s end while a plot twist NO ONE saw coming — or even fully understands at this point — threatens to complicate matters in some REALLY unexpected ways. Al Ewing is really stepping up his game here, and Joe Bennett’s art is just plain perfect for this kind of “body-horror” material. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Batman #80 (DC)** – With the “City Of Bane” storyline limping toward its anti-climax, Tom King tries his best to redeem another wasted arc with a big cliffhanger, but it’s probably a case of “too little, too late,” and John Romita Jr.’s art really can’t save the proceedings despite looking really nice. Overall: 4 Recommendation: Pass

Berserker Unbound #3 (Dark Horse)** – I dunno, Jeff Lemire just seems to be going through the motions with this barbarian-and-homeless-guy “buddy book,”but Mike Deodato Jr;’s art is so innovate and good-looking that it ALMOST makes the book worth a purchase. Notice I say “almost” — as in, not quite. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Pass

DCeased #5 (DC)** – It seems that DC has a legit hit on their hands with this series, but for the life (or should that be death?) of me, I can’t see why : Tom Taylor’s script pulls out every cliche you’d expect in a non-continuity yarn (“You mean I can kill ANYBODY”?), while Trevor Hairsine’s art tries its level best to spice up an overly-obvious story with some gruesomely fun panels that that WOULD be memorable — if they actually mattered to the DC Universe “proper.” Which, again, they don’t. All in all, pretty mediocre stuff. Overall: 5 Recommendation: Pass

Logan

Nomen Omen #1 (Image)– This translation of Marco Bucci and Jacopo Camagni’s horror magic story is a little too uneven for me to fully recommend. Bucci’s script never gets a handle over who these young people are supposed to be using shortcuts like social media, birthdays, and mommy problems to establish them. The visuals, especially during the more terror-stricken bits, fare a little better with fragmented panels and a pull away to an image of an overturned 18 wheeler and apples everywhere capturing the fear of being in a crash with a tractor trailer. The ending of the first issue is much more classic slasher, but takes itself too seriously for me to give the next one a try. Overall: 5.5 Verdict: Pass

Copra #1 (Image)– It’s about time I read this super hyped up comic from Michel Fiffe. Copra #1 is a distillation of what made comics like John Ostrander’s Suicide Squad and Larry Hama’s G.I. Joe great, but through a slick auteur lens. What draws me most to this comic is the unique look that Fiffe gives it through his art, layouts, color palette, lettering, and brusque dialogue. It feels like the best old fan comic from 1988, and that’s a compliment. Fiffe also knows there’s a lot of new readers jumping onto the Copra bandwagon thanks to its publication by Image Comics so he does a great job quickly introducing his large cast of characters and then distills the stories of the previous issues (Which I seriously want to read.) at the end of the main story in a way that feels a lot like “Copra Grand Design”. Overall: 8.8 Verdict: Buy

House of X #6 (Marvel) Jonathan Hickman and Pepe Larraz conclude the House of X miniseries with a glimpse of Krakoa in action as the Quiet Council creates the first laws and conducts the first trial in the new nation. I love seeing the variety of ethical POVs characters ranging from Jean Grey and Nightcrawler to freaking Apocalypse and, of course, Xavier and Magneto bring to the trial of Sabretooth even though he’s an easy target. Larraz’s grids are perfect for statecraft, and the second part of the comic is a mostly silent celebration of mutantdom complete with Dazzler fireworks and Jean Grey, Logan, Cyclops, and Emma Frost sharing beers. Larraz’s art does the bulk of the storytelling, and he and Hickman get to bask in this new world they’ve created that synthesized X-Men lore as well as acted as a fantastic exercise in speculative fiction, worldbuilding, and even a little statecraft. Overall: 9.5 Verdict: Buy


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

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

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 9/28

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

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Shean

Star Wars Age of Rebellion Kylo Ren #1 (Marvel) In an impressive one shot story surrounding Kylo Ren, we get a view of what makes him tick. As he is sent by Snoke to conduct a negotiation, from an uneasy allie. As negotiations turn tense, he kills the leaders of the sovereign state but knows he must kill their deity before it becomes a massacre. By issue’s end, Vader’s legacy still weighs heavy on Kylo, as the shadows of his grandfather has made him the most dangerous man in the universe. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Logan

Harleen #1 (DC/Black Label) Stjepan Sejic tells the first chapter of what might end up being the definitive Harley Quinn origin story in Harleen #1. His approach is both operatic and grounded with sequences ranging from a gladiator type battle between Batman and the Joker in the smoky streets of Gotham to meetings that Dr. Quinzel has with Lucius Fox and Harvey Dent about her research into the connection between lack of empathy and sociopathic behavior. Sejic enjoys playing with irony and reader expectations like a full page splash of Quinzel beaming as she’s been transferred to Arkham Asylum to do research complete with sunlight. Harleen #1 is filled with both gorgeous compositions and deep character insights as Stjepan Sejic slowly builds the road from Quinzel seeing Joker as a creature of nightmare to her “Mr. J”. Or in simpler terms, Harleen #1 is Sejic dunking on Paul Dini and Bruce Timm over and over again. Overall: 9 Verdict: Buy

Strikeforce #1 (Marvel) Tini Howard and German Peralta have certainly assembled a team of fun, morally ambiguous characters that work for both action and banter purposes in Strikeforce #1. However, despite the monster baddies, crimson color palette from Jordie Bellaire, and a very Bronze Age Blade flashback, I’m not 100% hooked yet. However, issue one does get the team assembling/expositional heavy lifting out of the way so that hopefully future issues can focus on the monster killing and cool magic shit. Angela and Blade get the best action while Wiccan has the funniest lines. Overall: 7.7 Verdict: Read

New Mutants War Children #1 (Marvel) Bill Sienkiewicz doing interiors again is a real treat, but this is basically Dark Phoenix Saga with Warlock, and I couldn’t really get invested into Chris Claremont’s script. Overall: 3 Verdict: Pass

SFSX #1 (Image) Tina Horn and Simon Dowling’s comic SFSX is like Bitch Planet with more orgies and vibrators. It’s set in a world of extreme gentrification and repress where one’s sex life can be audited if you’re doing anything other than missionary with a heterosexual spouse. Dowling’s art brings out the emotion in a lead character who tries to conform to this new world order, but honestly it’s not worth it in the end. Overall: 8.6 Verdict: Buy


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

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

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 9/21

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

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Logan

Once and Future #2 (BOOM!)– The second chapter of Kieron Gillen and Dan Mora’s grandson/grandma vs. King Arthur and his undead knights of the Brexit table leans more towards the action spectrum of the action adventure genre. Although, there is plenty of breathless banter as Duncan is trying to take everything in: Ladies of the Lake, swords in stone, a man slowly growing back sinew by sinew. Mora and colorist Tamra Bonvillain come in handy for that second part and really pour on the blood and guts for Arthur’s return with Gillen sneaking in there to skewer British nationalism between reminding readers that the Anglo-Saxons were once invaders of England. Once and Future #2 is a thrilling read with two compelling lead characters and one hell of a Big Bad in development (Hint: not Arthur). Also, it has a nice cliffhanger in the classic adventure tradition. Overall: 9 Verdict: Buy

Steeple #1 (Dark Horse)– John Allison writes and draws comedic gold in Steeple #1, which is like Father Ted (But Cornish and Anglican) meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The bright eyed and bushy tailed Billie has come to Tredregyn, Cornwall to help their nocturnal, alcoholic, and covered in bruises parish priest. But then her car blows up and sets up Allison’s comedy of errors with a side of monster fighting. Allison’s cartooning is simple, yet utterly hilarious, and he crafts a weird world of empty tourist houses and a potential not so friendly rivalry between the Church of England and Church of Satan. (The second one has leather jacket wearing motorcycle babes, but also incels.) Billie’s naivete and determination makes her a great protagonist, and I can’t wait to laugh at more funny panels and learn more about this strange world on the south end of England. Overall: 9.5 Verdict: Buy

Shean

Black Panther and the Agents Of Wakanda #1 (Marvel)– In a situation where SHIELD no longer exists, the Avengers have no way of gathering Intel. This is where Black Panther steps in and starts his dream team of superheroes. As the team still tries to find their footing, they have already ran into their first threat, leaving them desheveled. By issue’s end, the villain is revealed, leaving our heroes to doubt themselves. Overall, the story feels like it hasn’t quite gotten off the starting blocks, I am hoping the second issue shows more promise. Overall: 7.8 Recommendation: Borrow


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

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

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 9/14

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

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Joe Hesh

Spawn #300 (Image Comics) Ok so everyone knows I’m a sucker for anniversary issues. It just always gets me. As I open the pages I am flashed back to 1992 when I cracked open Spawn #1. It was so so different than everything I’ve currently read other than Spawn looked and suspiciously posed a lot like Spider-Man. However given that the hottest artist to have touched that character at that point was helming this i shouldn’t have been surprised. Now it wasn’t ground breaking like The Maxx was, but it was pretty awesome. Awesome enough that I came back for 100 consecutive issues straight. At that point i had been worn down and exposed to the awful 1997 live action movie and the superb HBO animated series. However after the beheading of Malebolgia I thought there really wasn’t much more to explore.
Wow was I wrong because well here we are. Also this is a humongous accomplishment for an independent property. Other than Dave Sims Cerebus, I can’t think of another character that had achieved this number. Spawn is certainly worthy despite the up and down of quality through the decades. 
With that said, here we are #300. I shamelessly joined back here on issue 299. Now having been absent for so long I was still able to pick up and not feel totally lost. I don’t know if that’s a detriment or a compliment. I know Spawn is Spawn and war is war and Al Simmons is still in the middle. 
However I really like that he’s much more assertive and even without the uniform he’s still Spawn and he’s still fucken badass.  The basics haven’t changed. It’s not Shakespeare but it is a very provocative take on philosophy and something that i am glad I invested my time in. 300 issues a lot has changed but the basics are still there. I believe that is the hallmark of all the greats. 600,700,800 and so forth, the adventures might have changed but the spirit is still the same. It’s instantly recognizable and pleasing the moment you pick it up. I for one am very glad that Spawn has made it here. I think he’s stood the test of time and will continue on. Now did it blow me away? No. But it certainly reminded me why I love demonic imagery and semi religious ambiguous storytelling in the first place. Like 1992. I felt that little jolt and now I’m back again. I can’t wait for #301 and #600 years from now. Kudos team. Here I am. Thanks for welcoming me back. Good job Todd. You did it. However it wouldn’t have happened without Greg. EVER.
See you next month. Score 9: Recommendation: Buy. Either way guys,  it’s history.  Well deserved

Elana

Dr. Mirage #1 (Valiant) This story plays to Nick Robles’ strengths: drawing beautiful, realistic figures in beautiful psychedelic environments that break the waking world into a kaleidoscope—- which famed colorist Jordie Bellaire explodes into beautiful color. I’m generally not a Valiant reader and my unfamiliarity with that world wasn’t a problem. Magdalene Visaggio’s narration gives you what you need to know. The reality tv framing she uses is promising and her character’s internal monologue feels real. Color me intrigued!

Shean

Star Wars Age of Rebellion: Supreme Leader Snoke #1 (Marvel)– As much as I wanted a like this particular book, this felt like filler more than a prequel as it is merely a showing of how sadistic Snoke was but not how he came to be. Leaving much to be desired. Overall: 6.7 Recommendation: Borrow

Age of Conan Valeria #2 (Marvel) In what feels like a Western, Valeria starts asking questions about her brother’s sword and gets wrong type of attention. As someone looking to silence her, underestimates he skills, leaving him to answer her questions. She gets closer to finding out how her brother got his sword in the first place. By issue’s end, her trail leads her to a temple but not without running into trouble from some mercenaries, as she barely makes it out alive. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Ryan C

Batman #78 (DC)** – Let’s just call it like it is : Tom King has had 78 issues to make the Batman/Catwoman relationship compelling, and still hasn’t managed to do so. He’s back to trying again with this one — and back to failing. Clay Mann’s art is cheesecake crap. A pretty damn lame comic, all in all. Overall: 0. Recommendation: Pass

Detective Comics #1011 (DC)** – This book has been quietly ticking up after a disastrous start for the new creative team, and this issue is probably the strongest yet. The Batman/Deadshot confrontation is pretty standard stuff, but there’s some nice supporting-cast interaction, and damn, is it nice to see Batman smile for once!Christian Duce’s art is fairly generic “New 52”-ish stuff, but it’s not actively bad so much as it is just bland. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

Silver Surfer: Black #4 (Marvel) **- I threw in the towel on Donny Cates’ lackluster scripting for this book after issue 1, but who gives a shit? Tradd Moore’s cosmic phantasmagorias are this series’ raison d’etre, and damn if he doesn’t deliver some breathtaking ones here. The best-looking “Big Two” comic on the racks, bar none. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Daredevil #11 (Marvel) **– The first arc of this new run didn’t do much to grab me, but Chip Zdarsky’s got a healthy head of steam under him with the character now, and seems to take real delight in messing up Matt Murdock’s life. An uneasy alliance with the cop who was out to bust him, an affair with a woman married to a mobster, an out-of-control Owl, and a bunch of copycat Daredevils all happening at once? Sign me up for that shit! Marco Checchetto’s moody, gritty art is a nice complement to the “street-level” scripting. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy 

Logan

Ghosted in LA #3 (BOOM!)– The cutest, spookiest comic continues to chug along as Sina Grace and Siobhan Keenan explore Daphne’s relationship with her ex-boyfriend, Ronnie, who comes to terms with his own sexuality while chatting with Bernard, a closeted gay entertainment lawyer from the 1980s. However, Maurice, who is a ghoul and the de facto caretaker of Rycroft Manor, become increasingly tired with the mortal world’s interference with their privacy. Grace and Keenan ramp up the tension a lot while still having the fun character interactions, vivid cartooning, and amazing styles of the previous two issues. They also deal with two characters “opening up” their sexuality in a very natural, non after school special way and make Ronnie a round character and not just a one dimensional ex. Overall: 8 Verdict: Buy

 Gotham City Monsters #1 (DC)- Set in the Monstertown created several years ago in the Steve Orlando co-written “Night of the Monsters” crossover, Gotham City Monsters #1 brings back characters and situations from Grant Morrison’s Seven Soldiers of Victory in a kind of creature commando way. And along the way there’s puns on cancelled New 52 series, an opera adaptation of a 19th century Irish Gothic novel, and fantastic character studies of various “monster” characters. Plus Amancay Nahuelpan going balls out with his artwork for vampire attacks, monster transformations, and a Gothic take on Gotham that makes the rest of the city look normal, or well, Christopher Nolan-esque. Gotham City Monsters isn’t an “assembling team” issue, but more of a set the tone issue, and I’m excited to see more of Orlando and Nahuelpan’s monstrous vision of Gotham. Overall: 8.4 Verdict: Buy


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

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

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 9/7

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

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Ryan C

Savage Avengers #5 (Marvel)** – So, now that the whole gimmick of Conan joining the Avengers (okay, AN Avengers) has worn off, what do we have here? A mediocre storyline from Gerry Duggan that reaches the end of its first non-descript “arc” and some DAMN nice art from Mike Deodato, Jr. In other words, a comic that’s awfully nice to look at, but nowhere near worth four bucks. Overall: 4 Recommendation: Pass

Batman V.s Ra’s Al Ghul #1 (DC) **- Oh, HELL yes. Absolute BATSHIT insanity from Neal Adams that makes no sense, doesn’t look particularly good, and is loaded with unnecessary guest “stars.” This is absolutely unhinged stuff that you have to see to believe — and you still won’t believe it. Overall: 1 Recommendation: Buy. Yes, you read that right.

The Death-Defying ‘Devil #2 (Dynamite)** – Gail Simone is crafting a genuinely intriguing story here that winks at nostalgia without wallowing in it, and Walter Geovani’s art, while nothing spectacular, certainly gets the job done. This is a legitimately fun and interesting read, two things we could all use more of in our lives. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Wyrd #4 (Dark Horse) **– Curt Pires and Antonio Fuso put the wraps on their delay-riddled miniseries in grand fashion, with a brisk, experimental script complimented by the best Andrea Sorrentino-esque art this side of — Andrea Sorrentino. Things are set up for a sequel that I dearly hope will happen, but given the cellar-dwelling sales of this four-parter, I’m not counting on it. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Shean

Web Of Black Widow #1(Marvel)- In this story, we find quite a different version of Natasha, as she had been killed and resurrected as a clone. While on a rogue mission, her focus is all over the place, where certain parts of her past converge all at once. This particularly becomes a problem when she forgets the prime directive of the mission. By issue’s end, Tony Starks intervenes as he alerts Captain America, that he senses something deeply wrong with the one time Avenger. Overall: 9.2 Recommendation: Buy

Logan

Doomsday Clock #11 (DC)– Geoff Johns and Gary Frank are back to ripping off Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons in the penultimate issue of Doomsday Clock, which uses Ozymandias to try to thread together all the disparate plot threads and set up an inevitable battle between Superman and Dr. Manhattan. This comic has its good moments like every time Frank gets to draw a group shot, and Johns makes a big picture statement about Superman or the DC Universe. But he stumbles when the Watchmen characters are concerned, and his Saturn Girl is a pure plot device. Plus with the emergence of the JSA in Scott Snyder’s Justice League and the Legion in Brian Bendis’ Superman, this book loses its DC Universe relevancy that saved it from being utterly mediocre. Overall: 5 Verdict: Pass

Going to the Chapel #1 (Action Lab/Danger Zone)– David Pepose and Gavin Guidry’s Going to the Chapel is the yummy fusion of a crime and romance comic. Pepose and Guidry definitely wear their love for Quentin Tarantino and Edgar Wright on their sleeves with an opening needle drop and smooth talking criminals in Elvis suits, but this comic takes some great satirical jabs at monogamy, the wedding industry, and gender roles in heterosexual relationships before the shooting starts. There’s also an air of mystery between the bride and the robber, Tom, and Guidry’s art and their body language gives them some searing chemistry especially compared to her actual husband, a plucky, if not as charismatic architecture. Going to Chapel has a fast paced crime narrative, a sexy romance undertone, and a sense of humor. There should be more comics like it. 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 (**).

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