Category Archives: Mini Reviews

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 2/18

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

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Alex

godcountry_01-1God Country #1 & 2 (Image) I missed the first issue when it came out last month, but when I found out that Donny Cates was the series writer I made a point to go back and find the first issue – and bot am I ever glad I did. God Country  has got to be one of the most well narrated stories I’ve read in some time, with such an interesting idea behind it; a man suffering from Alzheimer’s disease is cured when holding a giant sword. The two issues I’ve read have both been fantastic in every way a comic should be. Overall: 9.25 Recommendation: Buy

Kill Or Be Killed #6 (Image) After reading the first issue of this series on the recommendation of a fellow member of the Graphic Policy team, I’ve been constantly surprised at how gripping this series has been. The creative team have been producing such a fantastic story that evokes the feeling of the old pulp vigilante novel with a distinctly modern reinvention. Highly recommended. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Old Man Logan #18 (Marvel) You’re probably going to want to read this twice just so you can take in the phenomenal art work courtesy of Andrea Sorrentino and Marcelo Maiolo. Jeff Lemire is also on top form here, too, making this a fantastic comic to sit down with. Overall: 8.75 Recommendation: Buy

Venom #4 (Marvel) While I love the relationship between the symbiote and host, I care less for the rest of the comic. It’ okay, but only worth reading if you’re into the series already. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

The Wild Storm #1 (DC) Having never read any Wildstorm before I had no idea what to expect going it to this comic, but I enjoyed it quite a bit. Ben has a bit more detail below, so I’ll let you read his review now. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Ben

The Wildstorm #1 (DC): Despite never having read the Wildstorm imprint, I was excited the-wild-storm-1about this comic because the idea of Warren Ellis world-building an entire superhero universe makes me squeal with joy. The result is an audacious beginning for what could be one of the most impressive imprints in DC since Gerard Way launched Young Animal.

Jon-Davis Hunt is on art duty here. I love his work with Gail Simone on Clean Room, modern and polished yet with an unnerving supernatural horror atmosphere. The Wildstorm is geared to science fiction, however that doesn’t stop Hunt from excelling, particularly when it comes to scene decompression and panel layout.

I didn’t know what to expect from Ellis’ writing as I’m more familiar with his blatantly political and brutally mean-spirited indie work. However, his approach here seems to be inspired by cyberpunk, particularly Ghost In The Shell and The Matrix. It may be a superhero story, but Ellis is much more centered on powerful corporations, conspiracies, and the continually dysphoric nature between man and machine in the modern world.

There’s a lot of audacious, big-idea concepts going into this book, best of all without the sacrifice of character development. Each character comes in with their own personalities, goals, and complex morality. I have no idea what’s in store next, but I’m excited to find out. Story: 9 Art: 10 Overall: 9.5

Patrick

killorbekiled_06-1Kill or be Killed #6 (Image)** – Not sure how I feel about the abrupt switch of focus away from Dylan and his demonic vigilante spree. Much as I like NYPD detective Lily Sharpe, the sheer hard-driving intensity of this series gets diluted here. For me, this is just too much setup and a bit of a placeholder. Hopefully next issue will return to the suffocating, sweltering atmosphere I’ve gotten to love from this series. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Buy if you’re following, but this isn’t a good point to jump on.

Sex Criminals #16 (Image)** – Oh hey, this series is still going on! It’s been so long since last issue that Fraction & Zdarsky have to give us 8 PAGES of recap. I will stand by what I’ve been saying lately about Sexcrims: the plot is boring and getting in the way of my enjoying the hell out of two characters just trying to figure out how to be in the world together. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Pass.

Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turles Adventures #4 (IDW/DC)** – Picking up right where we left off, with the Scarecrow giving New York a dose of fear gas, and the Joker and Harley giving the hyenas (I’d forgotten they were called Bud and Lou!) a dose of mutagen. Pity this series will only go 6 issues, both my inner 5-year-old and my actual 5-year-old are loving it (even if this ish is a bit of a 4th-issue placeholder). Whatever Matthew K. Manning and Jon Sommariva have cooked up next, I’m down. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy.

Freelance #1 (Chapterhouse) – I’m not really sure what’s going on in this series – I’m not sure who Lance/Freelance is, what he’s about, what he wants, what his plans and goals are, who his friends are, and there is absolutely nothing in this comic to help me want to know more. What we’re really given is a continuation of the Aurora Dawn cult from the other Chapterhouse comics, which I guess is supposed to be the glue that holds the Chapterverse (nice name!) together. But feels more like a narrative sunk cost fallacy – does anyone really care about these guys? Jim Zub & Andrew Wheeler are pro writers and Vaneda Vireak’s art is OK enough, but it just doesn’t have a beating heart all its own. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Pass.

Agents of PACT (Chapterhouse) – One more time for the people in the back: if you don’t know Quebec French, get somebody who does to check it! This may seem like a quibble coming from a fluently bilingual Montrealer, but it’s a flaw that shows the other flaws in Kalman Andrasofsky and Blake Northcott’s characterizations. As for the plot, you really have to be invested in what’s been going on in Captain Canuck and Northguard to get who’s who and what’s what. And while it’s kind of nice to see the North given such focus, would it kill these guys to show us more of Canada than ice and snow? Anyway, Federica Manfredi does a good job on the art, but this is nothing to write home about. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Pass.

Ryan C

Kill Or Be Killed # 6 (Image)** – A bit of a curious issue, as Ed Brubaker’s script abruptly switches perspective to a new character, whose actions are related via semi-omniscient narration provided by — our usual protagonist, who doesn’t even know who this woman is yet? Sean Phillips’ art is uncharacteristically askew as well, with people drawn in bizarre and almost miniaturized proportions. I don’t get it, but events do, at least, still move forward in various and interesting ways. Overall: 5 Recommendation: Read if you’re following this series, pass if you aren’t.

bm_cv17_open_order_varBatman #17 (DC)** – After an issue that marked something of an uptick last time out, Tom King reverts to his now-customary disappointing form with this one, as a lackluster forthcoming confrontation with Bane is set up in lackluster and obvious ways. Alfred once again comes off as much more confidently-written than his boss, which is likewise becoming the norm, and David Finch’s art is — well, what it is. If you like it, you still will — if you don’t, you won’t. Overall: 4 Recommendation: Pass.

Dead Inside #3 (Dark Horse)** – John Arcudi and Toni Fejzula ramp their superb prison-murder-themed noir toward its conclusion with some truly surprising plot twists, painfully human character interactions, and the kind of quietly-omnipresent tension that makes for truly memorable reading. This series isn’t even done yet and I’m kinda missing it already. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Mother Panic #3 (DC/Young Animal)** – Jody Houser’s storyline is really gathering steam, with effective action scenes delivered with an economy of words deftly balanced against solid plot progression that shows Violet Paige/Mother Panic’s long-range plans coming into place while dropping more revealing hints about her tragic backstory at the same time. Tommy Lee Edwards’ sketchy art style serves the material on offer incredibly well, and one really gets the sense that this creative team is on the verge of hitting a serious — and potentially memorable — stride. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Shean

Black Panther: World Of Wakanda#4 (Marvel)– The team behind this book have brought issues to the forefront that rarely get dealt with in this medium.In this issue, the nations is steal dealing with the fallout of the death of Queen Shuri , this leads to a splinter groups of those who still oppose TChalla. Anneka and Ayo get sent to sea with Village Chieftain super-sons-1who is imposing sex slavery on the village women. By issue’s end, an unexpected death occurs while a long hidden secret is revealed. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Odyssey Of The Amazons#2 (DC)-The Giants our heroines were fighting at the end of their last chapter have turned out to be Trolls. After a successful fight, they find refuge in a village full of Vikings. Their commander soon find dissent amongst the ranks and even starts his question her own decisions. Before the end, we find out the Trolls’ intention for the Amazons they kidnapped. Overall: 9.3 Recommendation: Buy

Doctor Strange Monsters Unleashed #1 (Marvel)– Marvel’s most recent silly universe event, Monsters Unleashed feels more like a filler than anything canon changing, with no real death toll to even be seen. In this one-shot, we catch-up with the Sorcerer Supreme in the middle of a fire fight. Strange is less powerful and actually more cunning as his magic seems to be waning at this point. By issue’s end, an unusual team up occurs that shifts the edge on the side of the good guys. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Read

Super Sons#1 (DC) Robin and Superboy have always been footnotes in a very crowded hero universe , serving more as gimmicks than actual heroes with stakes. This all changed when DC decided to introduce Damien, as he not the typical Suitor to the Robin mantle, as he isn’t only Bruce Wayne’s actual son but he brings a whole new attitude and set of the skills to the job. So when Damien’s Robin seeks help from Jon’s Superboy , not only teen angst sets in , but their unusual circumstances pervade their assemblance of a life. By issue’s end, their famous fathers intervene in what seems like a hair brain plan.
Overall: 9 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 (**).

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Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 2/3

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.


Alex

Blood Blister #1 (Aftershock Comics) Far from what I expected, especially the last few pages, this series has me intrigued to see what’s next. There’s some imagery that’s a little monsters-unleashed-2on the schlock horror side of things, but nothing too horrible. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read.

Monsters Unleashed #2 (Marvel) So… the plot is paper thin, the art isn’t too bad… if you like your heroes actually working together rather than trying to have a punch up with each other for no reason, then you may enjoy this. Just don’t expect a deep story. Or even a shallow one. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Read. I suppose.

Moon Knight #11 (Marvel) Jeff Lemire is a great writer, who sometimes writes above my head. I’d like to this this is one of those comics… but the thing is, is that I’m not entirely sure what the hell is going on any more in this series, and there’s only so long that I’m going to keep reading just for the artwork. Overall: 6.75 Recommendation: Pass if you’re not already reading it.

Star Wars: Darth Maul #1 (Marvel) This is the first Star Wars comic I’ve read, and honestly it was okay. Nothing great, however, but not bad overall. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read.

The Walking Dead #163 (Image)** It’s a bloody quarter (or 33 cents if you’re Canadian), so it’d have to be pretty damn terrible to pass this up. Thankfully it’s not (and no, I usually don’t read this series, but that wasn’t an issue here). Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Joe

Blood Blister #1 (Aftershock) – This was a good introduction to a dark cautionary tale. Our main character, at least so far, is a crooked rich man who gets rich off the backs of the poor blood-blister-1and uneducated. There are a lot of biblical references, and foreshadowing. There are a few gross scenes, but it helps the overall tale. After all the book is called Blood Blister, so some of that is to be expected. After the crazy ending, I am definitely looking forward to reading the next issue, and seeing where this series is headed. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Star Wars: Darth Maul #1 (Marvel) – It always felt like Darth Maul never had enough screen time. He was such an awesome looking, and overall badass character. Maybe it was because there wasn’t a lot of depth to him besides those things, and that is what this issue feels like it is telling me. Darth Maul is an angry sith (aren’t they all?), but the interesting thing to him is he is tired of waiting and biding his time. He wants to kill Jedi, and so this issue sets up some things that may give us some more Maul vs. Jedi fights. We get some cool looking alien beasts, and Maul taking over a ship of pirates, but not much else. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Read

Bullseye #1 (Marvel) – I am quite familiar with Bullseye. I have enjoyed the character for what he is when it is within the context of Daredevil comics, but not here. You don’t get much depth into what makes Bullseye tick besides he’s a killer and loves it. In one scene he is talking to his “agent” for jobs and is murdering innocent people out of his window with paperclips. I felt like it was trying way too hard to be edgy, and it didn’t leave me with any urge to come back for the next issue. Overall: 4.0 Recommendation: Pass

Monsters Unleashed #2 (Marvel) – Once again, some decent art is the highlight of this issue and event that I found hard to get through. I usually do not have an issue finishing a comic, but I found myself wanting to skip dialogue, and entire pages as the book went on. Perhaps it is a little bit of Marvel event fatigue as well since Civil War II had ended in December, but so far, I have not enjoyed Monsters Unleashed. Sure it seems like it should be the big blockbuster event and dumb popcorn fun, but Justice League vs. Suicide Squad which just finished did a far better job of making me care about it. Overall: 5.0 Recommendation: Pass

Patrick

Big Trouble in Little China/Escape From New York #5 (Boom)** – This one starts out with a neat narrative trick, courtesy Greg Pak and Daniel Bayliss: the story of legendary blues guitarist Blind Apple Mary, as told simultaneously by Mary herself and by Bob Hauk to the killorbekilled_05-1President. So we’re in good comics hands here. Things escalate, and then escalate some more, until David Lo Pan must summon The Greatest Snake Plissken in the Multiverse. Final words from Jack Burton: “C’mon, this is gonna be awesome!” I concur. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Kill or Be Killed #5 (Image)** – The first trade is out and this issue starts a new story, so it’s an excellent time to jump onto an excellent series. Artists Sean Phillips and Elizabeth Breitweiser continue their outstanding work. Ed Brubaker is getting more confident in our ability to follow vigilante Dylan as his stories ramble around in time, I’d love to see more of this as Dylan becomes more and more isolated in his demonic mission. Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures #3 (IDW/DC)** – My 5-year-old son is in love with this comic, and I can see why. Writer Mathew K. Manning and artists Jon Sommariva and Sean Parsons have been bringing the fun. Their Batman is the Animated Series version (aka the Best Version IMHO), and it’s a hoot to watch the Bat-Family and the Turtles trade nemeses as the Joker and Harley take over from Shredder and his gang. Also in this issue: Shredder laughs. Delightful and kid-friendly. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy.

The Dregs #1 (Black Mask) – I was visiting a friend in Vancouver and when he told me where to meet him, he also made sure to tell me not to go through the Downtown Eastside. What he said about the area was this: if you turned Canada up with Vancouver at the bottom and gave the country a shake, everyone who couldn’t hold on ended up on Hastings & Main. This is where writers Lonnie Nadler & Zac Thompson and artist Eric Zawadski stake their claim in a murder mystery whose case is taken up by a homeless junkie of a private eye. In the mix is a study of gentrification, crime, and how late capitalism literally feeds on the poor. Tightly written and drawn with graphic verve and an almost-cartoony style that makes humanity out of tragedy, this is definitely a series to watch. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Ryan C

The Unstoppable Wasp #2 (Marvel)** – You’re either going to love scribe Jeremy Whitley’s perpetually-spunky iteration of the new Wasp or hate it, but for my money the real star of the show here is artist Elsa Charretier — unfortunately, this issue’s script doesn’t give wasp_2_coverher any big, bold, fun stuff that really shows off her wares until the last few pages. Moon Girl fans will be glad to see her make a brief guest appearance, but beyond that, this feels like something of a wasted opportunity. Whitley is teamed with a truly superb illustrator here, and he needs to figure out how to play to her strengths quickly. Overall: 4.0 Recommendation: Pass

The Fall And Rise Of Captain Atom #2 (DC)** – After feeling more than a bit underwhelmed by the first issue of this six-parter, it’s nice to see veteran writer Cary Bates and his co-plotter, Greg Weisman, get a confident grasp on their storyline in short order with this time-travel yarn that does a much better job of laying out the particulars of where this book is headed than did the debut installment. Unfortunately, as we all know, second issues are lucky to garner half the readership of #1s, and it’s not like this was a blockbuster seller out of the gate. It also doesn’t help that artist Will Conrad’s illustrations are fairly standard-issue “New 52”-esque stuff. A welcome early-course correction, sure, but still far from an essential addition to your pull. Overall: 6.5  Recommendation: Read

The Flintstones #8 (DC)** – I was hoping this was where Mark Russell was going with his story, and in this latest issue he finally lays down a scathing critique of civilization itself, and a full-throated defense of hunter-gatherer life, that would make anarchist theorists like John Zerzan proud. A sub-plot involving Wilma’s strained relationship with her mother is admittedly underdeveloped and resolved a bit too quickly, but the main storyline is so solid, and Steve Pugh’s return to the artistic reins so welcome, that I still can’t help but absolutely love this comic, weaknesses and all. Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Batman # 16 (DC)** – Whaddya know? Tom King manages a nearly-flawless script for the first time since taking over DC’s most-prized assignment, with some terrific character “beats” for Bruce, Dick, Jason, Damian, and Alfred (the one member of the cast he’s always had a firm “handle” on), all of which lead up to a heck of a cliffhanger — unfortunately, David Finch is back on art, and when you consider that action sequences are all he’s really good at and the bulk of this issue involves our key players sitting around a table at a “Batburger” fast food joynt, well — let’s just say it doesn’t make for a very visually-involving comic. Still, I can’t help but feel optimistic about “I Am Bane” going forward — but this book has consistently let me down, so I’m very much taking a “wait-and-see” approach for the time being. Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read

poagl1Shean

Planet Of The Apes/ Green Lanterns (Boom /DC)– When crossovers are done right , they can be as good as the Cannonball Run movie with Jackie Chan, and this book aims to do the same . We catch up with Cornelius shortly after the events of the last movie, where he is trying to find his friend, but instead stumbles an ancient ring, not from his world. Hal Jordan, Guy Gardner and Kilowog are firefight with some Red Lanterns when his unexpected run-in with Sinestro leaves him in a strange new world. Although, this issue is whole lot of setup , it is so much fun watching these deft explorations of both canons.  Overall: 10 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 1/28

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.


Alex

Daredevil #16 (Marvel) I really wasn’t a fan of this one, but I recognize that it was a better comic than I thought. It just wasn’t my cup of tea the day I read it (which was about an hour before I wrote this). Overall: 7 Recommendation: Readspiritcorpse01-cov-a-franca

Hulk #2 (Marvel) There aren’t enough comics like this one being published anymore, especially from Marvel. This is essential reading for folks who want a character driven Hulk story that’s a lot deeper than you’d expect. Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

The Spirit: The Corpse-Makers #1 (Dark Horse) The art in the comic has an unearthly quality to it; you’re never quite sure what’s going on, and yet you just seem to understand – and enjoy it – all at the same time. I know that doesn’t make sense,  and nor should it, but there’s no other way I can describe the book to you. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read.

Solo #4 (Marvel) I’m not sure how long Marvel will keep this book around, but while it’s here it’s worth giving it a read. Solo may not be setting the world on fire critically or commercially, but it’s filling an entertaining niche; the lone agent taking everybody down, and having fun while he does it. This is a silly, fun comic that you just can’t help but enjoy. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

Joe

Inhumans vs X-Men #3 (Marvel) – This is how you do an event. Similar to Justice League vs Suicide Squad, this gets straight to the action, and doesn’t waste much time on other things. Sure you get the “we are going to die!” from the mutants and the “we are at war!” from the Inhumans, but it’s the fun fight sequences that really make this series shine. Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

jlareb_kfrost_cv1_dsJustice League of America: Killer Frost Rebirth #1 (DC) -In the final one shot before we get the new JLA, the spotlight is on Killer Frost. I really love what Orlando and Williamson have been doing with her character and I am intrigued by JLA and her part on the team. This issue was solid, as most of these one shots were, and focuses on Frost and Waller. It was an interesting premise and at times felt like I was watching a small section from an episode of Oz or another prison drama. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

Teen Titans #4 (DC) -I have enjoyed this series, and this issue continued the story of Damian, his evil grandfather, his former team of assassins and his new team of titans. With Robin returning home, we see him take on a trial by combat against his former teammate who is now the leader of this young team of assassins. There is some nice conversation with the team on coming to Robin’s aide, and even comparing him to their former friend, Tim Drake. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

Thanos #3 (Marvel) – This must be a fun series for Lemire to write. Thanos is a walking army and we see him take on three phases of the Shiar guard in this issue, as they work together to defeat him. After a classic character takes Thanos on, you have to wonder what is next, and if this ties into The Mighty Thor and it’s current storyline and event. Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

Ryan C

Black Panther #10 (Marvel)** – Don’t look now, but this was the second perfectly readable (if far from great) issue of this comic in a row. Unfortunately, it comes with just one more black_panther__10chapter to go (funny, I thought it was supposed to run 12?), and is probably a classic example of “too little, too late.” Ta-Nehisi Coates’ philosophizing may be a bit “wordy” for some, but it’s what he does best, and all the sitting around and talking actually leads to something by the end this time out. Brian Stelfreeze does a nice job of keeping the story flowing visually despite having next to nothing to sink his artistic “teeth” into, so what the heck — two fine creators hitting something of a stride on their way out the door certainly beats them never hitting it at all, right? Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Read

Doom Patrol #4 (DC/ Young Animal)** – Better late than never, Gerard Way and Nick Derington deliver the fourth installment of their surreal spectacle of super-heroics, and it’s honestly quite surprising to see how quickly and easily things are coming together after their all-over-the-place (but in an enjoyable way) opening salvo. Heck, even that seemingly-out-of-left-field two-page epilogue in issue #1 finally makes sense — thanks to a very old and dear friend who all long-time DP fans will love to see back in the fold, even if it’s only in flashback (for now) form. Lots and lots and lots to like in these pages. Overall: 8.5. Recommendation: Buy

Surgeon X #5 (Image)** – We lost the great John Watkiss this week, and that makes this issue and the next of “Surgeon X” worth picking up even though it remains, as it has been from the start, a pretty lousy comic. Sara Kenney has an interesting premise going for her with this series, but she can’t write worth a damn — clunky, preachy, overly-expository dialogue weighs down every single fucking word balloon in this book, characterization is subsumed under a tidal wave of points that she’s trying to make, and each individual no-angel-2-1issue’s “central topic” is forced to the foreground seemingly from nowhere, only to completely disappear next time out. Virtual reality surgery is the “hot topic” she’s set her sights on this time, and it’s shoved down your throat with the sort of accidental glee that can only arise from sheer incompetence. Karen Berger is one of the best editors to ever work in comics, but she seems to be spending all her time co-ordinating the various aspects this project, rather than whipping her author’s downright embarrassing scripts into something vaguely approximating readability. Watkiss’ art, however, is as meticulous, visionary, and engrossing as ever, each panel representing a veritable feast for the eyes. All this leads me to the most unconventional “final score” I’ve ever given a comic. Overall: 5  Recommendation: Buy — for the art alone

No Angel #2 (Black Mask)** – A massive step back from a highly readable and thoroughly intriguing first issue, this time out Eric and Adrianne Palicki choose to info-dump all their story’s secrets out onto us in one go, removing all sense of mystery from the proceedings over the course of just a handful of pages. Ari Syahrazad’s art starts strong on page one, but devolves as things progress, and frankly I’d rather see him doing a poor man’s approximation of Alex Maleev like he did last time than the poor man’s approximation of John Watkiss that he does here. What first looked like a book that could have a nice, long, healthy run suddenly seems like a four-parter that ran out of gas halfway through. Overall: 2 Recommendation: Pass

Shean

odyamz_cv1_dsOdyssey Of the Amazons#1 (DC)– As legendary as Amazonia is , one would think that there were adventures before Wonder Woman and this book tells such a story. We are introduced to General Hessia and her band of warriors from every part of the globe who are incidentally on a five year journey. We meet a lot of battle fatigued warriors with their own vices and indiscretions. Before book’s end , the crew must rescue their sisters from Giants from the land of Odin. Overall: 10 Recommendation:Buy NOW!!!

Spider-Man/Deadpool MU#1 (Marvel)– Taking place during Marvel’s Monsters Unleashed event, we catch-up with everyone’s favorite odd couple in out of all places, Canada. Spider-Man and Deadpool are transported to girls boarding school in Toronto via seance. The seance didn’t only transport these two goofballs but also one of the monsters they were fighting in Philadelphia. What soon follows is Spidery being taken over by a monster and Deadpool being eaten by one. Overall: 10 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 1/15/17

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.


Alex

Daredevil #15 (Marvel) You know, as the first issue of Daredevil that I’ve read in a long time, this was actually pretty good. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

red-dog-2-coverDoctor Strange / The Punisher: Magic Bullets #2 (Marvel) You’d be surprised at how well the team up of Doctor Strange and Punisher actually works for the reader’s enjoyment. I don’t
really remember too much about the previous issue, nor did I fully follow the story (I got distracted by the art…), but I enjoyed it nonetheless. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

Hulk #1 (Marvel) Holy crap, this was a fantastic issue. We’re given a wonderful comic that explores the results of some pretty traumatic events in Jennifer Walter’s life. I didn’t expect to read this, but I am so glad I did. Hulk #1 was simply incredible. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Inhumans Vs X-Men #3 (Marvel) The X-Men’s assault on the Inhumans takes place in the issue, and for all intents and purposes it’s a well executed plan of attack, with a comic that matches up pretty well to the story. Another solid book from Marvel this week. Overall: 7.75 Recommendation: Read

Red Dog #2 (415 Media) I missed the first issue of this comic when it came out, but after Graphic Policy’s Blogger in Chief Brett suggested I give it a go I sat down and started reading the second issue. Sci fi comics typically aren’t my cup of tea, although the more I say that the less true it seems to become, but this story about a boy and his robot dogs is quite interesting. There’s also a battle of sorts at the onset of the comic, likely a culmination of issue #2, which took a different direction than you’d typically expect but it wasn’t the highlight of the issue for me. Overall, this is a cracking comic that deals more with lonliness and companionship than it does the sci fi element. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Buy

Ashley

Detective Comics #948 (DC) – Advertised as the new start for Batwoman, the issue starts off strong enough. Marguerite Bennett and James Tynion IV open with a scene between Kate Kane and her dad that brought back a lot of happy memories of Batwoman: Elegy and Ben dtc_cv948_dsOliver’s art is solid, with strong and dark colors that evoke a certain sense of heaviness and danger in Gotham. However, the wind was knocked out of my sails a bit when I got to the introduction of Dr. Victoria October. Now, I’m no expert, but it doesn’t exactly bode well when nearly every trans person I know in comics reacted to that panel on Twitter with “Oh no.” Not only is it massively insulting, but it also just reads awkward and stilted. I hope better for Bennett and Tynion, but they haven’t exactly hit the ground running here. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Pass

Motor Crush #2 (Image) – Picking up from the action packed first issue, the second issue of the new hit from Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher and Babs Tarr scales back a bit to let us get to know Domino a bit more. Well, Domino and her ex-girlfriend/mechanic Lola Del Carmen. There’s still plenty of mystery, suspense and action to be had, but it’s nice to get to know Domino on a personal level. Not to mention that Lola might be one of the prettiest characters Tarr has ever drawn. She brings a beautiful pastel balance to the neon world of Nova Honda, and shows that Tarr is second to none when it comes to using fashion to describe a character. Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Joe

Inhumans vs X-Men #2 (Marvel) – While Queen Medusa prepares for war, the mutants deliver it. In this issue we see the Inhumans home world attacked, and some pretty cool matchups as all hell breaks loose. It would certainly seem that the battle is very one sided so far, but I’m sure the scales will too soon. I enjoyed the fights, and it is still so far so good for this series. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

jlareb_vix_cv1_dsJustice League of America: Vixen Rebirth #1 (DC) – I am sure there are those that will like that comic, and though I tried, I didn’t really enjoy it. I love Orlando on Midnighter and Apollo, but just couldn’t get into the story here. That’s okay because not every comic is for everyone. Don’t get me wrong, there is an origin story, and some interesting moments. I just didn’t enjoy the flow of the book overall. I thought The Atom Rebirth issue last week was solid, and will continue to read each of these one shots leading to JLA, but this book is a pass for me. Overall: 5.0 Recommendation: Pass

Justice League vs Suicide Squad #4 (DC) – . This series has been summer blockbuster popcorn fun, and this issue continues that. We finally get a big brawl with our actual villains, and some JL/SS team up moments. This is how you do an event. Make it weekly and come out guns and powers blazing and get it over with. This is a fun book. Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

Justice League vs Power Rangers #1 (DC) – In an unexpected turn of events, this was one of my favorite books this week. I am not a big Power Rangers fan, but it didn’t matter. Tom Taylor does a great job here balancing the action and the campiness, and there was a moment where Zach first sees Batman and it is awesome and funny. It shows that any property with a good writer can work, because this seems like such a silly premise, but it works. I will be reading this going forward. Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

Patrick

Stray Bullets #20 (Image/El Capitan)** – The Amy Racecar issues are always a bit problematic for me: Sunshine & Roses generally moves so briskly that, ironically, the
Racecar slows it down. Much as I love seeing Mini-Monster work, and fun as it is to watch David Lapham go to town on superhero/science adventure stuff (the little elephant-boy Zzwerks are adorbs), I just want to get back to it. Overall: 8 Recommendation: keep reading! (I bought my copy)

Black Hammer Giant-Sized Annual (Dark Horse) I have to admit, I would have liked some straybullets-sr-20_cvrguest writers on this jam as well. It’s like Jeff Lemire is freeriding on his Silver Age foundations and not digging anything up from underneath them (I can’t help but contrast with the Alan Moore/Rick Veitch flashbacks in Supreme). Even though this is a roster of artists I really like, their work seems rushed and run-of-the-mill here (but run-of-the-mill Dustin Nguyen, Emi Lenox, and Mike Allred is still pretty damn good). Cute, but no substitute for a regular-sized Gardner Fox/Mike Sekowsky ish of JLA. Overall: 5 Recommendation: Skip

God Country #1 (Image) – I wanted to like this way more than I actually did. I was attracted to the concept of mythical sword & sorcery deep in the heart of Texas – but I needed it to be like I need my country music: way more outlaw. Writer Donny Cates could have given us more time with his main characters and setting, such that that storm really did blow me away. Geoff Shaw’s art almost worked best for me when there weren’t any people around. In short, there wasn’t enough contrast for me between God and Country and it fell into the mushy middle. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: try it and see.

Motor Crush #2 (Image) – Well, this is fun and breezy! Brenden Fletcher, Cameron Stewart, and Babs Tarr look like they’re having a ball with this slightly sci-fi’d-up motorcycle racing soap. The story is fairly by-the-numbers, but the numbers in question are a straight four on the floor, so I’m okay with that. This is the kind of thing that I would love to see as a Sunday comic strip, and if nobody’s signing this up for an animated version, those nobodys are fools. It’s not enough of my thing to keep following, but it’s a really good ride. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Read

Violent Love #3 (Image) – I am already deep in the tank for Victor Santos, so I’m happy to see him let loose on a crime romance like this one. Frank Barbieri does a good job keeping things moving and working the spring between tense and crazy. This is a solid book – not quite great writing-wise, but that Victor Santos art! Does he do his own coloring, too? The credit would imply as much, and the color is so integrated into the pencils and inks that it would make sense. I’ll be back for more of this. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Ryan C

Foolkiller #3 (Marvel)**– Word is that this book has already been axed, but I have to admit I’m going to miss it. Granted, this issue, which sees the now-current (and once-former) second Foolkiller meet up with the now-former (but maybe still current, after all) third Foolkiller is probably only going to be of interest to hard-core, long-terms fans of the character (in all of his iterations), but Max Bemis and Dailbor Talajic exhibit a good handle on their charge (or should that be charges?), the dialogue is crisp and fun, and the revelation that all is far from perfect in “Foolkiller 2” Greg Salinger’s paradise leads to some solidly shocking plot developments. For the 10,000 or so folks left reading this comic, then — myself included — this is all kinds of bleak, twisted fun. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Southern Bastards #16 (Image)** – Jasons Aaron and Latour keep the pedal to the metal with part two of the “Gut Check” arc, and while there’s nothing that happens in this issue that wasn’t absolutely telegraphed in the last, it’s certainly every bit the visceral read we figured it would be — and there’s one mean sumbitch of a surprise in store when we ww_cv14_dslearn that Coach Euless Boss may just have himself a rival in another county who plays just as down n’ dirty as he does. Buy the Mockingbird homage variant cover and support some good causes that could definitely use your help in the new dark age of Trump that’s descending upon us. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Spread #18 (Image)** – Nice to see this series back after what seemed to be a rather lengthy hiatus, and while I miss Kyle Strahm on the art, John Bivens is filling in/taking
over (not sure which is the case at this point) quite well, and Justin Jordan is taking his storyline in an interesting direction by showing much more of the world beyond the “Spread Zone” than we’ve seen previously — which proves to be quite surprising indeed. The only drawback? No is nowhere to be found this time out — get him back in there soon! Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Wonder Woman #14 (DC)** – A curiously (and uncharacteristically) uninvolving conclusion to the “Year One” story arc that sees our main baddie, Mars, dispatched far too easily and gives seriously short shrift to the battles that have been brewing here from the outset. Nicola Scott delivers perhaps her finest art yet for this series — which is really saying something considering the staggeringly high standard established by previous issues — but Greg Rucka seems a little too eager to wrap this one up. All that buildup for — this? Oh well. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Read (or, more precisely, look at, since the art’s the reason to check it out).



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 1/7

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.


Alex

Moon Knight #10 (Marvel) Uh… yeah. I  want to love this, I really do. But Jeff Lemire’s take moon_knight__10on  Moon Knight seems to have lost me somewhere along the way, and I have no idea why. That said, if you’re enjoying the series, then there’s no reason you won’t enjoy this comic. Overall: 7.75  Recommendation: Read

Old Man Logan #16 (Marvel)** If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to read a story with Wolverine in the Alien universe, then pick this issue up. It’s an atmospheric tour de force with some amazing artwork from Andrea Sorrentino and Marcelo Mialo – well worth checking out. Overall: 8.75 Recommendation: Buy

The Unworthy Thor #3 (Marvel) A series that started out very promising takes a bit of a stumble here. Although this wasn’t a bad issue, and will probably work very well when sandwiched between #2 and #4 in trade, it just failed to grab the goat by the horns and ride off into the sky. The art is spectacular, the story less so, but if you’ve been following Jason Aaron’s run on the Thor comics he’s been writing, then you’ll still find enough here to enjoy. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

Joe

Superman #14 (DC) – I really liked how crazy this issue got so quickly. We get multiple Supermen as well as other heroes from different earths as a new threat chases the Russian Superman (nice call back to Red Son), Chinese Superman, Earth 23 Superman, and more. We realize they are keeping all of the Supermen captive, and our Superman decides he wants to help Earth 23 Superman and his team rescue the others. It was a solid first issue of this short arc. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Batman #14 (DC) – Many of this run of Batman by Tom King has been controversial, and there are some who do not enjoy it. I get that. I have enjoyed the run, and I think he is playing the long game here and setting up quite a bit. I was shocked a little at this issue, and how far it went into the Bat and Cat relationship, but King further doubled down on the vulnerability of Batman. He is showing him giving more into impulses, and he bm_cv14_dscertainly does that in this issue. We also get Batman saying that Catwoman did not kill all of those people, so I am hoping for a payoff there as this series continues forward. Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read

The Unstoppable Wasp #1 (Marvel) – This was a fun comic filled with a lot of positivity and optimism. Nadia is fun and charming as heck. I liked the exchange with her and Ms. Marvel, as well as her and Mockingbird. There is a touching moment between them about Bobbi’s past that as she says, most forget about. Also, science! The tone and art style reminds me very much of a classic Archie book. This was a good first issue for a semi new character that we haven’t yet learned a ton about. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

Patrick

Big Trouble in Little China/Escape From New York #4 (IDW)** – I should be loving this way more. On one level, I’m enjoying Greg Pak & Daniel Bayliss’ romp through the Plisskenverse – but deep in my Canadian soul, I’m all “enough with the Multiversal Snakes, let’s see post-apocalyptic John Carpenter Toronto already!” Also, there’s something that’s so awesome about Jack Burton’s dumb luck that I was disappointed to see it codified so neatly. I would like to see more disorder and chaos in a series like this. Overall: 7 Recommendation: read

Ryan C

Batman #14 (DC)** – Nice to see the creative team from “The Sheriff Of Babylon” reunited for this two-part “extended intermission” between arcs, and Mitch Gerads’ art is truly gorgeous — unfortunately, Tom King’s story is a four-pager spread out to cover 20, and Batman and Catwoman calling each other “Cat” and “Bat”? I’m sorry, but that’s just plain ridiculous. Worth looking at for the pretty pictures, but they tell the tale better than the actual script does. Overall: 5. Recommendation: Pass

The Flintstones #7 (DC)** – Mark Russell’s script for this one is a notch below his usual flint_7_dsstandard, but he still takes aim at the commercialization of religion with typically glorious results and greedy bosses come under fire, too, so — all in all, it’s still a very worthwhile read. Rick Leonardi (there’s a name you don’t see often anymore) and Scott Hanna fill in for Steve Pugh on the art, and it’s — okay, I guess, but far from the near-greatness we’re used to. Even a sub-par issue of “The Flintstones” is still better than just about everything else out there, though, and I’m very intrigued by next issue’s promised exploration of the origins of agriculture. Could Russell be transitioning from an anti-capitalist/anti-consumerist critique to an anti-civilization one? The prospect certainly seems exciting, and fans of “Green Anarchist” authors/philosophers like John Zerzan would do well to pay attention to where this book is going. Overall: 7.5. Recommendation: Buy

Unfollow #15 (DC/Vertigo)** – It’s nice to see Mike Dowling back on the art after a couple months off, but his style looks to have taken a turn for the “scratchier” and less defined, and Rob Williams appears to be moving into rather abrupt wind-up mode with his storyline. I haven’t heard anything about this book being cancelled (not that I pay a ton of attention to what passes for “news reporting” in today’s comics scene), but we go from 86 survivors at the beginning of this issue to 40 at the end with no explanation (as of yet), and events appear to be steamrolling toward a conclusion that I still hoped was a long way off. Overall: 6. Recommendation: Read.

Nailbiter #28 (Image)** – Speaking of books in wind-down mode, Joshua Williamson and Mike Henderson are concluding their long-form horror series in just two months (of their own volition, they both insist) which means that this issue has to move things along quickly — and it does, perhaps to its detriment, as the destruction of the entire fucking town of Buckaroo, Oregon feels forced and falls curiously flat. Consequently, what should have been a seismic read ends up registering barely a blip. Hopefully they close out with a couple of chapters that are much stronger than this one. Overall: 5. Recommendation: Pass

Shean

The Fall and Rise of Captain Atom #1 (DC) – When it comes to misunderstood superheroes, captamfr_cv1_open_order_varmany do not come more tragic than Captain Atom. In this series , we find a hero still searching for who he is while at the same time trying to change public perception. He saves a cruise ship from sinking but catches the attention of the Justice League. By issue’s end, his struggle becomes harder, and the reader finds a fight more human . Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Guardians of The Galaxy Volume 2 Prelude (Marvel) – Popular culture has clung on to Comics like it has never done before and it looks like nothing will change soon.This never more evident when one talks about Guardians of the Galaxy. In this Prelude tot he upcoming movie, the reader pretty much pickups from when Peter Quill loses his mother. From what this first issue sets up, I think anyone familiar with their most popular storylines, will know now what the upcoming film will be about. Overall: 9.4 Recommendation: Read

Deadpool The Duck#1 (Marvel )- What happens when you put three of Marvel’s fan favorites in one space together? Seems to be a lot of crazy crap happening. In this series, Deadpool and Howard the Duck both get a call that a High value alien target is no its way to Earth . What they don’t know is that target is Rocket Raccoon, and he definitely isn’t himself, as he wreaks enough Havoc to mess with Deadpool’s teleportation device. By issue’s end, we find our heroes conjoined telling each other’s story. Overall: 10  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 12/31

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.


Alex

All-Star Batman #5 (DC)** Continues to be the most exciting Bat-book around. Wrapping up the first arc in a way that I enjoyed more than I expected; this was a breath of fresh air after the less than steller conclusion to I Am Suicide. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Joe

Detective Comics #947 (DC) – Wow. This is how you handle smaller arcs during a longer one dtc_cv947_open_order_varwhere you can call back to things you set in place earlier. James Tynion IV has masterfully pulled off the ending of The Victim Syndicate and set up something big for the future. Instead of giving us a big bad in the already impressive Batman villain section, he instead hands us someone who has good points about the bad side of Batman, and who has direct ties to heartbreak which may or may not have happened directly because Batman exists. This is one of DC’s best titles, and one of my favorite comics in general of 2016. We also get another massive tease at the end of the issue. It is hard to remember that while it ships bi-weekly, this comic only costs $2.99, and it is a massive value. Each issue packs so much into it. Also, I love this version of Clayface. Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Hulk #1 (Marvel) – After all of the amazing Jeff Dekal cover teases, the first issue is finally here. This issue focuses mostly on Jen as a lawyer starting at a new firm, and fighting the monster that lies just under the surface. While we get some setup to something big, I felt this issue didn’t give quite enough of a story for a character that deserves it after Civil War II and what she went through. That being said, it was decent, and I want to see where it goes. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Read

Teen Titans #3 (DC) – This was a solid issue, with many of the characters getting to know each other, and Robin better. We get the usual shadowed past character in Robin fearful he cannot truly be good, with the usual positive reinforcement by the rest of our bunch as they empathize with him now instead of not trusting him. It may be somewhat cliché, but it works well, and I enjoyed it. So far, this has been a fun book. Overall: 7.5 tt3-cvrRecommendation: Read

Civil War II #8 (Marvel) – I am torn on this comic. At one hand, we get a resolution, and the event has ended. On the other hand, we get more complications from the ending, and really just an unknown to what this all means. I am okay with leaving things in the dark, but after buying these more expensive issues, and the idea that the creators said it needed an extra one (which is this one), I am a little perplexed at where we are now that it is over. Especially with the advertisement for Civil War 2: The Oath #1 in the back of the book. While I am sure it is just extra things or transitioning things into the new Marvel 2017 status quo, especially Carol’s solo title coming, I am just a bit lost at all of it. Overall: 5.0 Recommendation: Pass (Unless you are a collector like me and own the others).

Mother Panic #2 (Young Animal) – I had to re-read this issue before I appreciated it fully. I read it quickly the first time, and this is a comic to take your time with. You may miss subtle things in the panel or what the story is doing if you do not pay attention. That being said, I enjoyed it. It is a very dark issue and we see more into Violet’s very rough past as a child and her relationship with her father and mother. We also see her find her target and deal with him as Mother Panic. Also, there is a short cameo from one of Gotham’s best heroes, and I hope we get more from that in the future. Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Read

Patrick

Black Hammer #6 (Dark Horse)** – This issue really put the nail in the coffin for me. The plot, which is far too thin, just kept getting in the way of the Madame Dragonfly story, which could have been darker and richer and stranger if Jeff Lemire would have let it. The resonances are only there for people like me who grew up on the Alan Moore Swamp Thing and used it as a gateway to the Wein/Wrightson oeuvre (hence this issue’s hat tip to Len and Bernie), the House of Mystery/Secrets, and back to the EC horror hosts. Unlike Moore, Lemire doesn’t build anything on this foundation, he just leans on it. Overall: 5 Recommendation: Skip

Superf*ckers Forever #5 (IDW)** – I had higher hopes for this one, Like, that it would be more dumb and vicious and hit harder on the dumb superhero tropes. But it was a fairly superf-ckers-forever-05-pr-1standard escape from Dimension Zero, and although we were treated to a page of Princess Sunshine going dark (thanks, it would seem to the power of Omnizod), it didn’t go full-on Dark Sunshine. There’s a difference between punk and just bratty, and at the end of 2016, I need more f*cking punk in comics like this. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Skip

Descender #17 (Image)** – Unfortunately, we have come to the end of Lemire and Nguyen’s beautiful run of character portraits and are back to the dull plotline. All I have to say about this issue is that it got really good as soon as it activated silent mode. Dustin Nguyen’s art is so expressive and breathtaking that Lemire’s dialogue just takes up unnecessary space. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: read

Saga #41 (Image) – I keep coming back to something Howard Chaykin once said in an Amazing Heroes interview, about how people thought he overplotted, but really it was just that everyone else underplotted. Saga is like this: overwhelmingly underplotted, with large panels that don’t convey large emotion or information. Case in point: this issue has three full-page shots, two of which occur in the last three pages. But the emotion that, to my mind, should be driving this story, the ticking timebomb that is the temporary home of our family, isn’t front and center, but diluted by the very size of the panels depicting it. As a consequence, time isn’t as graphically tight as the narrative says it should be, and the spring is too loose to really pack a punch when it is sprung. Overall: 7 Recommendation: read

Ryan C

Black Panther #9 (Marvel)** – Well, whaddya know. An issue of this series that I actually nearly liked. Will wonders never cease? Certainly having Brian Stelfreeze back on art for the final four-issue arc helps, but the characterization and dialogue from Ta-Nehisi Coates seem to have taken a modest step forward here, as well, as the once-disparate subplots begin to coalesce into something vaguely resembling a concerted opposition force against T’Challa and his regime. Still far from essential reading, and still so serious and self-important that it makes even Don McGregor’s run on The Panther look subtle by comparison, but on the whole a perfectly readable comic. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Read

Infamous Iron Man #3 (Marvel)** – Ditto for this one. After two decidedly sub-par introductory issues, Brian Michael Bendis finally lays out some of the dubious “reasoning” infamous ironman 3.jpgbehind Victor Von Doom’s decision to take up the mantle of Iron Man, and in its own way it makes a kind of — sense? Alex Maleev seems to be doing his best to match the somewhat better material he’s given here, as well, and we’re treated to some seriously nice double-page spreads in the second half of the book. This title is still on a very short leash with me, but for the time being, it’s at least still on it rather than being cut loose. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

Dark Knight III: The Master Race #7 (DC)** : Am I detecting a trend this week? After six issues that consistently plumbed new depths of worthlessness, Brian Azzarello, Andy Kubert, and Klaus Janson give us the first remotely readable installment of this (let’s face it) naked cash-grab, as some genuinely surprising developments that may inject some new life (both literally and metaphorically) into the so-called “Dark Knight Universe” propel the story toward what could be, at least in theory, a reasonably interesting conclusion. I still think this will prove to be a mirage rather than a trend, but what the hell — I didn’t want to pluck my eyes out after reading this issue, and the Frank Miller-drawn mini-comic insert actually looks, dare I say it, pretty good for a change. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Read

All-Star Batman #5 (DC)** – Scott Snyder, John Romita, Jr. and a veritable army of inkers put the wraps on the opening Two-Face arc of this series with the most satisfying and well-drawn issue yet, but it’s probably too little, too late, as the first four parts were such a clusterfuck of bad ideas, half-assed subplots, and surprisingly off-target characterization. All of the purported “mysteries” you’d forgotten about from earlier chapters are wrapped up, and there are some nice emotional “beats” hit in the dialogue between Batman and Two-Face and Batman and Alfred, but on the whole an average issue isn’t nearly enough to save a lackluster story that was crushed under the weight of its own self-indulgence way too early. Overall: 5 Recommendation: Pass

Shean

Rocket Raccoon #1 (Marvel)– When it comes to beloved characters within the Marvel rocket-1Universe, it is usually because they strike a chord with each of us. Within the Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 1 movie ,the whole world pretty much fell in love with the relationship between Rocket Raccoon and Groot. In this series , we find Rocket on his own in New York and on the run from the authorities, where he meets up with the Human Torch. By issue’s end, we find that Rocket is in even more serious trouble than when he began.
Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Spider-Man/Deadpool #12 (Marvel)– what happens everyone’s favorite webslinger and everyone’s favorite mercenary with a mouth join forces ? Probably one of the best comics Ihave ever read. In this issue, they have a guest writer and artists to write a special Xmas story. We find Spider-Man and Deadpool enjoying Xmas with friends and creating mayhem where they traverse. By issue’s end, they fight the originator of Xmas and show him that it is more than he ever imagined. Overall: 10 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 12/17

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.


Alex

doctor_strange_the_punisher__magic_Doctor Strange / The Punisher: Magic Bullets #1 (Marvel) There are some fantastic layouts here, but the story is a little… lacking. Not a bad book overall, but nothing spectacular. Overall: 6.75 Recommendation: Read.

Hawkeye #1 (Marvel) Reading this without paying attention to the front cover meant that I was expecting the other Hawkeye (the review copy was coverless and I was intrigued by the title alone), rather than Kate Bishop. I certainly wasn’t expecting a story about a private investigator. And yet… it was really quite good. There are some fantastic moments where Hawkeye has to deal with not being the “real” Hawkeye that probably worked better for me because of which Hawkeye I expected to be starring in the book.  Overall: 8 Recommendation: Read

Inhumans Vs X-Men (Marvel) As yet another event from The House Of Ideas pitting one faction against another arrives, I’m still not entirely sure if Civil War II has ended yet (or whether anybody cares at this point). That said, IvX doesn’t start off too badly, with the first issue doing an admirable job of establishing the nature of the up coming conflict negating the need to read Death Of X in order to understand said conflict. A decent start to Marvel’s latest event. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

Old Man Logan #15 (Marvel)** Concluding Old Man Logan’s team up with the Howling Commandos begun last issue, Old Man Logan #15 also sees our hero go toe to toe with Dracula. Or at least, I think it does; it’s pretty tough to tell because the art can get pretty murky here, and at times it can be tough to figure out what is happening (I read this issue physically, so for once it wasn’t a problem with my laptop screen). The story, from what I could tell, was okay – more filler than anything else, but at least it’s half-decent filler. Overall: 6.75 Recommendation: Read if you read part one, skip otherwise.

Christopher

Aliens: Life and death #3 (Dark Horse)– Things manage to go from bad to worse. Bringing in depth-9more carnage, and violence as this part of the story arc ends. The writing and art are both fantastic. Showing off the talent of both the writer and the artist in a bold fashion. Yet the end of this story arc is just beginning. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Dept H #9 (Dark Horse)-Kindt does a fabulous job at creating this underwater murder mystery. Carrying on the sheer sense of dread and danger that each past issue possessed. While this issue may be a little short on dialogue. It more then makes up with for it by gorgeous visuals and a great story. Overall:8 Recommendation: Buy

Spell on Wheels #3 (Dark Horse)– A quick-paced story and polished artwork. Leth and levans do a solid job making this magical and at times dark story oddly bright. Creating an almost kid friendly read as the story continues. This issue brings in some additional story. Along with showing what the rest of the world knows about magic. Overall:8 Recommendation: Buy

Joe

Inhumans vs X-Men #1 (Marvel) – I was planning to not like this book. Not because I doubt Soule or Lemire as writers, I enjoy a lot of their work, but mostly because Death of X, aside from the twist ending that I enjoyed, was underwhelming and borderline unnecessary. Thankfully I can say IvX doesn’t suffer from either of those problems. The book offers a ton of story in the first major issue (although there is issue #0 as well), and sets up some massive things for the two teams to deal with. We see some almost heist movie level planning in how the mutants will deal with the Inhumans, and some nice pay off. Also the art by Leinil Francis Yu is incredible. Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

hawkeye1coverHawkeye #1 (Marvel) – The new Marvel Now! launch has been a mixed bag. While most of the already ongoing books have been solid or great, a few of the new series first issues have not lived up to the hype. There has been an exception here or there, and Hawkeye #1 definitely fits into that. This book gives us the younger female Hawkeye back after she last was featured in the great Matt Fraction run. There will be some people who will be mad, as they often are lately for Marvel diversifying their legacy characters, but Kate is an awesome Hawkeye, and Clint is making a cool story for himself in Occupy Avengers. I loved how this book embraced people commenting on the “Real Hawkeye” and did so in a funny way which Kate rolls her eyes at. I really enjoyed the plot and want to see where it goes from here. Great first issue. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Doctor Strange / The Punisher: Magic Bullets #1 (Marvel) – What a fun book. This isn’t the first time these two have teamed up, but it is still a fun premise. I was curious to see what the story behind this would be, and of course it has to deal with magic, demons, and other things that a killing machine like Frank Castle can’t deal with on his own. This is where Stephen Strange comes in. The two agree to work together to figure out whatever this threat that Frank found in a restaurant filled with mobsters is, and then stop it. The writing is funny, and it captures the two characters well. I also appreciated the attention to detail on some of Dr. Strange’s panels which followed the art style to his own book. Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

DC Rebirth Holiday Special #1 (DC) – This is a larger special comic with multiple holiday stories in it. The writers do a good job of recognizing Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, Three Kings Day, New Years, Winter Solstice, and more. There are some forgettable stories, but there were a few that stood out. The Detective Chimp and Batman story, Superman trying to get Superboy a last minute toy he wanted, and The Flash and the Rogues stories were probably my favorites. While the book did have some fun moments, and is meant to be a light book, aside from a few stories, it wasn’t for me. However, if you are a big Harley fan or like the goofier side of stories, you may enjoy it. Overall: 5.0 Recommendation: Pass

Logan

Ghost Rider Xmas Special #1 (Marvel)* Ring in the holidays with a heartwarming tale of hellfire, goat demons, and a possible cameo from Santa himself in Ghost Rider Xmas Special #1. Wu Tang Clan’s Method Man co-writes a classic holiday tale featuring Robbie Reyes as Ghost Rider, and his little brother Gabe, who still believes in Santa even if his friends mock him. Co-writer Anthony Piper also handles the art duties with an animation young-terrorists-2-1inspired, reader friendly style with plenty of speed lines and emotive faces. He can do creepy too as this comic features a kid torturing a pet and some Gremlin-like elf demons. But it’s really a comic about hope and believing in the impossible, which is really something we could all use right now as 2016 comes to a close. Also, Gabe and Robbie have an adorable relationship, and his version of Ghost Rider has some sensitivity to go with the flames and sports cars. Overall: 8.8 Recommendation: Buy

Young Terrorists #2 (Black Mask) Matt Pizzolo’s Young Terrorists #2 is a Molotov cocktail of violence and a revolutionary message seasoned with relentless art from Amancay Nahuelpan and grotesque colors from Jean-Paul Csuka. Using an action/conspiracy thriller setup, the comic looks at real world issues like undocumented immigrants and factory farms. It also asks the question: should revolutions be violent as its young protagonist, Cesar, gets drawn into a world of jetpacks, slave armies, and killing children all for a “good cause”. Entertaining, thought provoking, and has a diabolical sense of humor to boot. Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Ryan C

Foolkiller #2 (Marvel)** – Max Bemis and Dalibor Talajic follow up their very promising first issue with an even stronger second chapter that sees newly-minted psychiatrist Greg Salinger completely lose it and fall back into his murderous former persona — with the full blessing of S.H.I.E.L.D.? Nobody since his creator, Steve Gerber, has ever gotten this idiosyncratic character exactly right — until now. Pass on this series at your peril. Overall: 9. Recommendation: Buy.

foolkiller__2Jessica Jones #3 (Marvel)** – To date I’ve been reasonably intrigued, if not blown away, by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos’ return engagement with the character they created, but I think that interest has well and truly waned with this issue. The art’s fine, if unspectacular, but stilted, poorly-written dialogue robs the mystery of “who is this Jessica’s talking to, anyway?” that’s at the heart of this installment of any impact, and the end result is a seriously flat, uninvolving story. Not much fun to be had here, I’m sorry to say. Overall: 3. Recommendation: Pass.

Wonder Woman #12 (DC)** – Is it just me, or is Greg Rucka and Nicola Scott’s “Year One” storyline just getting stronger as it goes on? Granted, the revelation of the “Big Bad” that’s been manipulating events behind the scenes is hardly a surprise, but this issue features such spot-on characterization and breathtakingly superb artwork that even this well-worn path looks and feels both reasonably fresh and undeniably exciting. Overall: 8.5. Recommendation: Buy. 

Moonshine #3 (Image)** – Great-looking art, as usual, from Eduardo Risso is the standout feature this issue (I swear, we’re truly spoiled by this guy), but Brian Azzarello’s script more or less runs in place this time out, with minimal (though still somewhat significant) plot progression and hackneyed dialogue standing out as the main drawbacks of this lackluster-on-the-whole installment. I’m still on board with this series, and will be as long as Risso’s drawing it (which I’m assuming will be for the duration), but damn, let’s kick the the storyline back into gear, please. Overall: 5. 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 12/3

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.


Alex

bm_annual_cv1Batman Annual #1 (DC) I’m a huge fan of annuals like this; a collection of short stories with a central theme that give you a break (a Christmas break…?) from the main Batbooks. There isn’t a bad story here, and with the level of talent involved that’s hardly surprising. A thoroughly enjoyable comic that anybody with a passing interest in Batman will enjoy whether you’re following the main books or not. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Ghost Rider #1 (Marvel) If, like me, you’ve been exposed to Robbie Reyes through the Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. TV show, then prepare to be somewhat disappointed. The character is almost unrecognisable from the TV show aside from the fact that both are mechanics, and both sometimes have a flaming skull head; if I’m honest, I prefer the live action portrayal over the comic version. That being said, this first issue is perfectly serviceable, but it’s unlikely to set the world on fire. Pun unintended. Overall: 5.5 Recommendation: Read… maybe?

Masked #1 (Titan) An interesting start that shows a lot of promise. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Revolution #5 (IDW) When you think of climactic final battles in crossover events, this issue will be the bar of comparison. SO MUCH is going on in every panel; it’s a glorious smorgasboard of action, although there are some details that get lost it’s nothing that will pull you away from the story. A fantastic conclusion. Overall: 8.75 Recommendation: Buy the whole miniseries – you don’t need to be familiar with any of the characters to enjoy it.

 

Ashley

Adventure Time: Islands (Boom! Studios) – I guess I didn’t realize how behind I’ve been on Adventure Time until I read this on a whim and found myself Googling everything involved adventuretime_ogn_islands_coverin this story. Still, like many of the Adventure Time OGNs, the story ended up being very charming and touching. Jo is a particularly intriguing heroine and it would be nice to see what happens to her in the future. Overall rating: 7 Recommendation: Read

The Skeptics #2 (Black Mask) – Tini Howard and Devaki Neogi’s clever series continues with an issue of Max and Mary trying to keep up the psychic act in the wake of the President making a public press conference about them. The back and forth mind games as the two try to figure out what is going on with the USSR’s psychic teens proves to be especially fun and develops Max and Mary’s characters even further. Mary especially comes across as the shining star of this issue when we begin to see her morality in comparison to Max. Now the big question is going into issue 3 is how much longer can they keep the act going? Overall Rating: 7.5 Recommendation: Read
Joe
Saga #40 (Image) This was my favorite issue of the series in awhile. I felt like everything moved a bit quicker than the last few issues, and while it was good to spend some time with characters and develop some of the new ones, Saga is at its best when it is juggling a few plots at once that come together into the overall story. We get Hazel and her new friend watching the Prince’s weird dreams in a very funny scene that felt reminiscent of Dennis the Menace and Mr. Wilson. We get Marko reflecting over his time as a soldier, and why he is still reluctant to accept violence even after what he’s done. We get more weird saga40-01-covfun and new characters as Petrichor searches for Izzy. And we get Allana and the Prince in a jaw dropping cliffhanger. This comic is still awesome. – Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy
Batman Annual #1 (DC) – This was a fun annual. We get multiple stories from some of the great bat writers and artists including Tom King, Scott Snyder, Declan Shalvey, Paul Dini, Steve Orlando, Neal Adams and more. Most of the stories follow a similar feel good and light hearted tone, which is nice to get in a bat book every now and then. All of them focus around winter in Gotham and the holiday, and I really enjoyed that. Annuals are supposed to be a break from the main storylines, and this book did a great job giving us a few stories that were quite different. The final story also sets up something for next year as it introduces a villain at the end of the book. I would recommend this book for any Batman fan. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy
Superman Annual #1 (DC) – I have loved this run of Superman by Tomasi, and the annual is no different. This title has been one of the most consistently good DC books from the Rebirth event, and the annual gives us a fun break in between arcs, but also gives us something pretty big. Swamp Thing shows up to tell this Superman that he is drawing too much energy from the sun, and more than the previous Superman. After a really fun fight between the two, Swamp Thing explains that Supes is killing the planet, and should leave, but he also tells him he can cure him and fix everything. This is a perfect story for an annual, and it really flowed well. It also in a way tells us this is our Superman now, the man of tomorrow, as Swamp Thing tells him to let go of his past. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy
Ghost Rider #1 (Marvel) – I really wish Tradd Moore drew this entire book, but he is only on the backup story, which to me was better than the main story, and gave this book another point in the score. The art by Beyruth is good, but I associate the character with Moore from the last run, and he fits Ghost Rider so well. Felipe Smith does a decent job on writing the backup story, but my problem with the main story is it doesn’t have enough Ghost Rider in it, and features more of Totally Awesome Hulk than Robbie Reyes. We even get Laura Kinney at the end and while I like these characters, I really would have loved a more focused story, which the bonus was. Overall: 5.0 Recommendation: Pass
Ryan C
Superman Annual #1 (DC)** – Absolutely gorgeous Jorge Jimenez art is sadly rather wasted smann_cv1on a less-than-mediocre script from Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason that stretches a Superman-meets-Swamp-Thing team-up that could have been told in less than 10 pages out to truly ridiculous length. Honestly, this would have been better as a wordless story because then, at least, the plot would have come across as far less hackneyed than it is. In the end, what we’ve got here is a backup strip on steroids — that’s gorgeous to look at. Overall: 4. Recommendation: Pass.
Ghost Rider #1 (Marvel)** — In theory, an impending team-up between the new Ghost Rider, the new Wolverine, and the Totally Awesome Hulk sounds interesting enough on paper — even cheap-ass Marvel paper — but Felipe Smith’s script on this debut issue is pure set-up that doesn’t even explain why, much less how, all of these disparate characters are going to end up crossing paths, and the dialogue is lifeless and cliched across the board for all characters. Danilo S. Beyruth’s art is okay, if not great, but the closest thing we get to a “highlight” here is a fun little backup strip written by Smith and illustrated by Tradd Moore that introduces a new (I think) villain and actually packs more intrigue and excitement into its truncated length than the main story story manages to with a full page count. It looks like we’ve got another short-lived “Ghost Rider” title on our hands with this one. Overall: 5. Recommendation: Pass
Wacky Raceland #6 (DC)** – All good things, as they say, must come to an end, and while Ken Pontac and Leonardo Manco have both been in better form on this title than they are in this final issue, given how abruptly it was cancelled I can forgive things like the clunky opening page info-dump and necessarily hurried conclusions to, well, every single storyline going. At the very least a nice little twist at the end leaves readers feeling less than completely cheated by the proceedings, and while it would have been nice to see this underappreciated series run a bit longer, I’ve seen the axe fall on books in far uglier fashion than it does here. Overall: 6.5. Recommendation: Buy if you’ve been reading it so far, otherwise pass.
Romulus #2 (Top Cow/Image)** – This conspiratorially-themed book from Bryan Hill and Nelson Blake II has a retro, ’80s-style indie vibe to it in terms of both story and art, and fairly intriguing characters. The dialogue’s a little disjointed, sure, and we’ve been down this “solitary warrior vs. the Illuminati” path before, but what the heck — if done right, it can still be fun. Hill is treading on shaky political ground with his villain, though, not because she’s a clear stand-in for Hillary Clinton, but because he seems to be equating empowered feminism with duplicitous, world-conquering motives. We’ll have to see how that all plays out, but for the time being I’m giving him a bit more rope in the hope that he doesn’t strangle himself with it. Overall: 7. Recommendation: Read.
Shean
Star Wars Annual#2 (Marvel)-In this Annual issue, we are introduced to a muscle bound no-angel-coverunemployed engineered that goes by the name, Pash Davane. She lives on a desert planet much like Tatooine, and happenstance to be taking care of a wounded Princess Leia. What follows is a series of antics between the two and what ultimately is an elevator episode , which as the best ones do, reveal a lot about the characters. By the end of the annual, the Rebels have a new Allie, which has her own set of skills.Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy
No Angel#1 (Black Mask)– Adrienne Palicki is mostly known for her starring roles on Friday Night Lights and Agents Of SHIELD , but one where may be surprised that she is an adept storyteller. In this first issue, we introduced to Hannah Gregory, an Iraq War Veteran, who comes home after a family tragedy. What no one including her knows , is that the tragedy hides a bigger reason. By issue’s end, a rather ordinary sounding story takes a surprisingly supernatural turn. 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 11/19

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.


Alex

amazing_spider_man__21Amazing Spider-Man #21 (Marvel) I enjoyed this issue more than I expected, almost entirely because of the fact it focused primarily on Kaine – a character I’ve long been fascinated with. Other than that, though, it doesn’t really do much other than provide a bit of background on Kaine and Spider-Gwen’s actions during the second issue of Clone Conspiracy as the issue acts as a prequel to that issue. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read.

Batman #11 (DC) I’ve read worse issues of Batman, but not for a long, long time. The only saving grace is the art, which 90% of the time is great. The other 10%, a double page spread featuring Catwoman and the Ventriloquist, is a confusing mess of jumbled pipes and lettering that is less than ideal. Overall: 5 Recommendation: Pass.

Black Hammer #5 (Dark Horse) You’re either going to love or hate the direction of this issue (well, that may be a bit strong; you’ll either love it or you won’t, let’s say). I enjoyed it quite a bit, as we finally got to see an entirely different side to Colonel Weird, as Jeff Lemire asks the question of whether the character is as crazy as we’ve been led to believe. An intriguing character study that doesn’t really move the plot along too much, but is worth picking up if you’re into the series. Overall: 8 Recommedation: Read

Kill Or Be Killed #3 & #4 (Image) Somehow I missed the third issue untill I saw the fourth was out this week (or forgot I read it and reread it this morning, which basically amounts to the same thing, right?). It didn’t take me long to remember why this is such a gripping comic – the Deal With A Devil angle is well done, and while said deal hangs over Dylan, he – and by extension we – is/are never quite sure whether it actually happened, or if he’s gradually losing his mind. You’re not going to find a better comic from Image right now. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Old Man Logan #13 (Marvel) A decent conclusion to a solid story. This would be a read for the story alone, but the artwork is absolutely phenomenal and worth buying the comic for on it’s own. The layouts are intricate, simple and so gut punchingly effective that your jaw will hit the proverbial floor – that’s not hyperbole… I actually turned a page and just tared sm_cv11_dsfor a full minute before rereading the page before. This is probably one of the best series that Jeff Lemire is writing right now, and that’s largely down to Andrea Sorrentino and Marcelo Mialo’s artwork. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Superman #11 (DC) On the surface, a story about Damian Wayne and Jon Kent learning to work together, but there’s a subplot here of Batman and Superman learning, through their sons, to trust each other again. This is a great conclusion to a two issue arc that has one of the best interpretations of the Son Of Batman that we’ve seen in awhile. Overall: 8.5 Recommendtion: Buy

Thanos #1 (Marvel) A well written, beautifully illustrated opening chapter. Although I have no idea where this is going, I’m curious to see where Jeff Lemire takes the Mad Titan. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Read

Vampire Hunter D: Message From Mars #1 (Stranger Comics) This is far from my normal style of comic (Mars colonization and vampires), but I enjoyed it quite a bit nonetheless. I have no idea how this stacks up if you’re a Vampire Hunter D fan, but as a person ignorant of his 33 year history, I thought this was a great read. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Elana

Mother Panic #1 (DC/Young Animal): The last thing i was looking for was another comic about a millionaire turned vigilante– especially not in Gotham. But Jody Houser is too smart a writer to leave it at that so I just had to take a look at her new Young Animal series.

Look at that costume– real armor! Creating artist Tommy Lee Edwards designed the Mother Panic outfit to look more like a decorative architectural element on the exterior of motherpanic02one of Gotham’s famous Art Deco skyscrapers than a standard female hero in a cape book. It is refreshing to see a female lead who isn’t portrayed as a sex object by any measure– unless your sexual orientation is Chrysler Building and you like getting your head bashed in. And a terrifying tiny white skyscraper fighting really twisted art crimes makes sense thematically. This story is very Gotham.

We don’t learn much in issue 1 but with highly kinetic gothy art and an intriguingly menacing tone I am definitely reading issue 2. I keep getting The Invisibles vibes too and that is usually a good sign. Suggested soundtrack Iggy Pop’s The Idiot. Recommendation: Read

Joe

Thanos #1 (Marvel) – Thanos is a badass. That’s an understatement. In many ways, he’s similar to Darth Vader. He’s a cool villain that you love to hate. He’s very confident. And his power, even without the Infinity Gauntlet, is off the charts. Not only do we get Thanos, but we get a cast of characters that have all been big parts of past stories with the Mad Titan. I enjoyed this book, and it gave me what I was looking for in this series. Thanos destroys a ton of people (and a tank), and we see a group of others band against him, and then we get a big twist at the end. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Black Hammer #5 (Dark Horse) – I am so glad to finally get a Colonel Weird issue. Yes all of our characters are weird in this series, but some how the Colonel makes them look normal. It was nice to see the Para-Zone that he mentions in his ramblings and get a glimpse at how it works. Like most of our cast, he is a tragic character that you really feel thanos_1_coverfor, and you can see he wants to do the right thing. It will be interesting to see how the Para-Zone plays into our story and them being stuck on the farm going forward. This book just keeps getting better, and it is one of the most consistent comics coming out every month. Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Briggs Land #4 (Dark Horse) – This issue focuses on Caleb Briggs, Grace’s oldest son and a white supremacist. We see him bully a local business owner into selling, and learn a lot more about his character. Long story short, Caleb is scary. We also get more of Grace, and what she is doing to move quicker than her husband who is trying to stop her from inside prison. This series moves slow, but that isn’t bad. You can see why AMC optioned it, as it would work perfect for their network, and the Walking Dead crowd who are used to a slow burn that builds to chaos. That is most certainly where I expect this story to go after this issue, and I can’t wait. Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

Moonshine #2 (Image) – After the first set up issue, we get to the meat of the story. But then that meat gets ripped apart by a werewolf. We continue the story of a fish out of water city slicker that needs to get the best moonshine around from a family living in the sticks to his mobster boss in New York City. After things go south in the south, our main character is left in a very interesting place. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Patrick

Black Hammer #5 (Dark Horse)** – In this issue, we go Weird Science for the story of Colonel Weird and his journey through the Para-Zone. As has been the case lately in this series, the plot has been a very slight pretext for what Jeff Lemire is really good at, bkhmr-5-variant-fc-fnl-600x911character studies. Col. Weird being haunted by himself is very nicely done, and Dean Ormiston does a pretty good job at capturing a certain Al Williamson vibe in the science fiction part of the story (though not going nearly far enough into the Ditkosphere for the Para-Zone for my taste). The series doesn’t feel like it’s going anywhere, and if that were truly the intention, then I’d be more okay with it. Overall: 7. Recommendation: Read

Lady Killer #3 (Dark Horse)** – Joëlle Jones knocks this issue out of the park. She has always been great with style and sheer drawing, but this time she lets loose with panel structure and page layouts in a really stunning way. Also: the back story of Mother Schuller and her relationship with “Uncle” Irving is a knockout. Props to colorist Michelle Madsen. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Cinema Purgatorio #7 (Avatar)** – Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill take on the Westerns in our first reel – or rather, how the idea of the Western was invented and re-created, from sordid reality to tall tale to legend to myth, as we re-enter the OK Corral over and over again. Alan Moore can do more with 8 pages than most writers can do in 80. On to Code: Pru, Garth Ennis & Raulo Caceres’s series that’s really grown on me. Pru is called in to check out a hooker at a murder scene, and of course finds out that the situation is far more monstrous than she’d thought. Ennis’ juxtaposition of the banal and the profane is, as usual, top-notch, and Caceres’ detailed b&w art is perfect for the material. I’m not actually paying much attention to any of the other three features, but it must be said that this chapter of “The Vast” is a reprint of last issue’s chapter. Overall: Cinema – 9 Pru – 9 Recommendation: read but you can also wait for both of these series to be collected, and probably not worth your $6.99

Kill or Be Killed #4 (Image) – “My imagination was being affected by all the shitty old killorbekilled_04-1movies I was watching.” Dylan starts to work out exactly how he’s going to take on his demonic vigilante mission, and how to live a double life. Meanwhile also trying to figure out his messed-up relationship with his roommate’s girlfriend. Meanwhile also trying to play white knight. Of course, none of these things go right. Brubaker, Phillips and Breitweiser at their best. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Ryan C

Black Panther #8 (Marvel)** – It may be too little, too late, but Ta-Nehisi Coates is finally starting to show signs of getting a hang on this whole comic-book writing thing — at least when it comes to relaying tales of Wakandan folklore. He still writes T’Challa as a dour, joyless, fairly lifelesss figure literally devoid of personality, but the story feels like it’s creeping back on track after some pointless guest-star-laden issues, and maybe even progressing (or at least lurching) toward a conclusion of some sort. Chris Sprouse does a pretty decent job with the art, but he’s no Stelfreeze, who’s at least on hand to deliver an absolutely amazing cover. Overall: 5. Recommendation: Might as well read it if you’ve come this far, otherwise pass.

The Hunt #4 (Image/Shadowline)** – Nobody seems to be paying much attention to Colin Lorimer’s genuinely creepy Irish horror opus, but that’s their loss. This issue delivers answers to many of the mysteries underpinning the various “big questions” that have been lurking both under the surface and in the foreground of this series, and delivers a genuinely creepy guy-punch of a cliffhanger that borders on the truly unforgettable. briggs-land-4Amazingly well-written and even more amazingly well-drawn, this is a truly killer slice of folklore-inspired terror. Overall: 9. Recommendation: Buy.

Briggs Land #4 (Dark Horse )** – Brian Wood and Mack Chater begin the second arc of their Third-Reich-Meets-“The-Waltons” dysfunctional family drama with another issue more than ready to be adapted for the already-forthcoming TV series.Some bad shit goes down in the mega-hardware-store parking lot that could have serious repercussions for everyone, while Grace continues to play a long game only she seems to understand. Definitely fascinating stuff, even if the political implications of the series (haven’t so-called “White Nationalists” been effectively normalized enough in the age of Trump?) remain dubious at best. Overall: 6.5. Recommendation: Read

Infamous Iron Man #2 (Marvel)** – The point of this series continues to elude me, as do Victor Von Doom’s opaque-at-best reasons for putting on the suit in the first place. Another pointless fight with a second-tier villain gives way to a Ben Grim-centric cliffhanger, so I guess Brian Michael Bendis is looking at this as a way of sneaking the FF back into the Marvel Universe through the back door. We’ll see what happens — or rather, you will, since I’m out. If Alex Maleev’s art were up to his usual standard I might give it another issue or two, but as it’s not, I can’t justify shelling out for bucks a month for a poorly-executed gimmick book. Overall: 3.5. Recommendation: Pass

Shean

uncanny_x_men_annual__1Uncanny Xmen Annual #1 (Marvel): Within this annual, lies two different stories , one in which we see echoes of the Phoenix Saga and the other , a spy op with an unlikely operator. In the first story, we meet a mutant named Elixir, whose power derives from the Dark Riders, Magneto enlists a few other mutants to find him . In this second story, Domino is on an operation to take out Hydra. Overall, as far as annuals go, a strong book.  Overall: 9.4 Recommendation: Buy

She-Wolf TPB (Image): when a young teenager named Gabby gets scratched by a wolf, she starts encountering nightmares. Soon they become all too real, and she finds out , that it was no ordinary wolf.What follows is a lot of teen angst with an unhealthy amount of psychedelic visuals. Truthfully, by the end of this volume, I was struggling to finish, as the alchemy between storytelling and sequential art, never seemed to coalesce. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Borrow

 


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

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

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 11/5

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.


Alex

bm_cv10_dsBatman #10 (DC) I’m torn on this. There were some cool moments, and the art is great, but there wasn’t enough to make me beg for more. There was barely enough to make me care for the next issue. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

Cryptocracy #5 (Dark Horse) A fast paced issue in terms of the plot developments, but we seem to take a little break from the craziness – for a few pages at least. This has been a solidly enjoyable series thus far, but isn’t quite at the Must Read level yet. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

The Hangman #4 (Dark Circle) The problem with such huge delays between issues is that people forget about the series and don’t notice the finale when it comes out. I missed this last week… and I probably could have missed it this week, to be honest. Overall: 4 Recommendation: Pass

Moon Knight #8 (Marvel)** I’m genuinely torn on this comic. I want to like it, and I do to a certain extent, but I have no idea what the hell is going on. I actually think that I’m beginning to enjoy the series a whole lot more because either I’ve started to catch on, or Jeff Lemire is guiding the plot to a conclusion of sorts. I’ll be back for at least one more issue. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

Unworthy Thor #1 (Marvel) It’s been a long time since I’ve read a Marvel comic that I enjoyed as much as this that wasn’t Old Man Logan. Jason Aaron has a fantastic grasp on Marvel’s former hammer swinger, and seeing the god hit rock bottom before getting a glimmer of hope makes for a spectacular comic. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Joe

the_unworthy_thor__1The Unworthy Thor #1 (Marvel) – I have been waiting for this issue for awhile, and so far it delivered exactly what I wanted and more. The Mighty Thor is one of my favorite current Marvel books, and I love what Aaron has done with it. In this first issue we get a self-loathing but still mead-loving Odinson. He still has his metal Uru arm, and is still sulking about whatever was whispered to him that made him unworthy. We don’t get a ton of answers yet, but we get fighting, biting, Toothgnasher the goat, Beta Ray Bill, a Secret Wars reference, and a pretty huge set up that made me even more excited for this series. The art by Olivier Coipel and colors by Matthew Wilson are fantastic as well. They did a great job fitting the dark and gritty tone of the book. When people say Marvel has lost it, these are the kind of books I point to. Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Nightwing #8 (DC) – This has continuously been one of my favorite DC Rebirth titles with every issue. I love the contrast between Nightwing, Raptor, and Batman. This series has been about Dick finding himself, and taking a look at Batman and Bruce as his mentor. With the shocking events of the last issue, Nightwing has to confront not just Raptor, but his past in the circus, his need to be there for Batman, and facing the memories of his mother. This was an excellent issue, and a great way to end this arc. I think Tim Seeley is doing a fantastic job on this run, and more people should be reading it. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Ryan C

The Flintstones #5 (DC)** – I don’t know how Mark Russell makes this disjointed script work, with have of it being a “present”-day allegory for the outright stupidity of the Trump campaign and the other half being a thinly-disguised Stone Age take on the Vietnam war told in flashbacks, but he pulls it off without a hitch, while Steve Pugh foolkiller_1_coverdelivers his usual solid art. I keep saying it to anyone who will listen — this is the best thing DC’s got going right now, and one of the very best comics being published today, period. Overall: 9.5. Recommendation: Buy

Foolkiller #1 (Marvel)** – Max Bemis and Dalibor Talajic bring back one of Steve Gerber’s trademark idiosyncratic creations, this title focusing on his second (of four, I believe) iterations, and re-introduce readers to the character and concept succinctly and successfully while planting the seeds of an ongoing mystery that promises to be pretty good if successive chapters are as well-executed as this first one. Top it off with a stylish Dave Johnson cover and you’ve got one of the better debuts of the latest “Marvel Now!” re-launch so far. Overall: 8. Recommendation: Buy

The Avengers #1 (Marvel)** – One of the big cornerstones of the umpteenth “Marvel Now!” is the umpteenth relaunch of their purportedly “premier” team book, but this iteration of “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” is smaller, weaker, and more Spidey-centric than earlier versions, with Parker Industries stepping in as financier/landlord now that Tony Stark and his company are out of the picture. Don’t worry, though — all Mark Waid and Mike Del Mundo have planned is another long-form storyline centered around a fight with Kang. Dull, lifeless stuff right from the word “go,” there’s nothing here you can’t either live without or predict well in advance. Overall: 3. Recommendation: Pass

Shade, The Changing Girl #2 (DC/Young Animal)** – The second issue of Cecil Castellucci and Marley Zarcone’s distinctly “oddball” series leaves dangling many of the more intriguing plot threads raised by the first in favor of an installment that more or less runs in place as our title character comes to grips with her new body and life, but I’m still digging how Ditko-esque the proceedings are in general, and don’t plan on jumping ship anytime soon. I just hope we get a bit more forward progression next time out. Overall: 7. Recommendation: Read

Shean

occupy_avengers__1Occupy Avengers #1 (Marvel): The world’s societal ills have had an impact and activism has recently been increasingly rampant and it would only make sense before some of those issues were examined in the proper scope of comics. Enter Clint Barton’s Hawkeye, Matt Fraction portrayed him as a fun loving , wisecrack who can tend to be self righteous and it definitely remains the standard bearer when it comes to this character . I can definitely say, David Walker has given us a different take that still entertains but as the great KRS-One said ” edutain”, as follow Hawkeye and Red Wolf as they investigate water contamination at a Native American reservation. What the creative team does here , in this first issue, is remarkable, to pack this much intriguing narrative in such few pages with such beautiful backdrops, which makes this , a definite buy. Overall: 10:4 Recommendation: Buy

Bitch Planet #9 (Image)– Kelly Sue Deconnick is at the top of her game since she left Marvel and this series more than proves she is not only a great writer but a great business mind . In this issue of Bitch Planet, the reader gets a front row seat into the mayhem of a prison riot as we find Kam reuniting with Mo and we get introduced to a new leader. We also find out who started the whole riot in the first place and the extenuating circumstances which lead to this . The essays and interviews in the back , is why I will always read the single issues of this series .Overall:9 Recommendation: Buy

Steven

Avengers #1 (Marvel) – Writer Mark Waid drops the ball with this first issue. Writing is vague and doesn’t set up things well. Art by Michael Del Mundo was disappointing, kinda reminded by of a courtroom sketch. I was not impressed by this issue at all.  Overall: 3 Recommendation: Pass

Patrick

Bitch Planet #9 (Image)* – “Order is not justice.” Prison architect Makoto Maki blows the doors open without the slightest idea of what he’s doing. Now not only is there a riot, but a riot in which the various prison populations mix explosively. President Eleanor Doane makes her return… but what kind of authority can she exert in this most toxic of environments? Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro and company are putting out one of the most interesting comics out there. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy


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

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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