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Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 4/13

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

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Ryan C

Wonder Twins #3 (DC/Wonder Comics)** – As ever, Mark Russell keeps it topical and relevant in this examination of the backstory of Gleek the monkey, and Stephen Byrne’s art is competent and functional, if not exactly remarkable. Possibly the weakest issue to date, but still better than 95% of what’s out there. Definitely an enjoyable comic any way you slice it. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Batman #68 (DC) **– Amanda Conner does superb work on this one, as is her custom, but Tom King is back in “pointless run-around territory” in this lame “Knightmares” installment that features Batman imagining a bachelor “party” with Clark Kent that may or may not have been, while Catwoman and Lois Lane have a lot more fun than the guys at the Fortress of Solitude. Nothing special whatsoever, and the running-in-place this purportedly “major” arc is engaging in is really getting annoying at this point. Overall: 4 Recommendation: Pass

Detective Comics #1001 (DC) **– The new storyline “teased” in issue #1000 proves to be no more inspiring now that it’s underway than the little into hinted it would be. Dead bats all over Gotham — so what? Which is a fair summation of Peter J. Tomasi’s script in total. Brad Walker and Andrew Hennessy’s art is fine, but only that. Overall: 3.5 Recommendation: Pass

Invaders #4 (Marvel) **– Talk about a let-down, all the mysterious hints about Namor’s secret past are revealed here and — it ain’t much. To put it kindly. Chip Zdarsky had been crafting some fairly compelling scripts prior to this; let’s hope he gets back on track. The art tandem of Carlos Magno and Butch Guice continue to turn in strong work and each complements the other nicely, but that’s about all I can say in this issue’s favor. Overall: 4 Recommendation: Pass

Shean

Age of Conan: Belit #2 (Marvel) In this sequel, Belit comes into her own, taking control of the ship. As she is the only one that possesses the know how to subdue the monster. She leads the crew while drawing dissentions in the ranks. By issue’s end, they reached their destination, but only faces even more atrocities when they arrived. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Star Wars: Age of Rebellion: Grand Moff Tarkin#1(Marvel)-In what is a revealing examination of a polarizing character, we find out about Tarkin in a way concise could only convey.As we find about his family life as well as some key scenes that happened in and around the first few movies. As we see his heavy hand as a leader as well as his brutishness when he gets challenged. By issue’s end, the reader finally gets why he was such a formidable and respected leader. Overall: 9.6 Recommendation: Buy

Star Wars Age of Rebellion: Princess Leia#1 (Marvel) I will keep this one sweet and short. As much as I loved all these characters, it was hard to love this story. As this is a solid like only for Karl Story’s art who looks like their actor counterparts featured many of the characters who will be on Episode IX, so this comic serves as simply filler. Overall: 6.6 Recommendation: Borrow

Logan

Infinite Dark #5 (Image/Top Cow) Ryan Cady and Andrea Mutti’s existentialist, end of the world sci-fi saga continues in Infinite Dark #5, which reintroduces the characters and new status quo. Apparently, there’s a lot of unrest among the inhabitants of the not so good ship Orpheus, but this is mostly told via exposition and not shown. However, Mutti and colorist K. Michael Russell craft gritty sequences with an orange palette featuring Deva, the protagonist, teaming up with her old enemy to take down an even more horrific threat. And yeah, this book is straight up horor at the end. Overall: 7 Verdict: Read

Symbiote Spider-Man #1 (Marvel)– Peter David and Greg Land are trying to do some kind of Pulp Fiction non-linear crime narrative meets Kraven’s Last Hunt story with Mysterio and Spider-Man while adding a romantic subplot with Black Cat. (Oops, Kevin Smith and Joe Quesada already did Kraven’s Last Hunt with Mysterio in Daredevil: Guardian Devil.) The quality of the book really fluctuates from clever lines from David about the Power Pack beating Mysterio to generic black suit angst and weak attempts at flirting. This fluctuation continues to the visual department where Land’s weaknesses at faces continues with lots of stiffness for the female characters and a swipe of George W Bush by Bryan Hitch for one of the male ones. He does a good job any time the black suit is in action, but it’s more of a spandex costume and less of a fluid organism in his pencil and Jay Leisten’s inks. If you’re looking for a throwback Spider-Man story, then Chip Zdarsky and Mark Bagley’s Spider-Man: Life Story is much better option. Overall: 5 Verdict: Pass

Faithless #1 (BOOM!)– Brian Azzarello dips his toe into the world of romance comics with artist Maria Llovet, and the results are pretty fucked up. His good ear for dialogue combined with smooth, sleazy art from Llovet as Faith and Poppy wander around town, day drink, shoot the shit about magic, watch Poppy’s ex boyfriend become street pizza, and of course, end up in bed. Until the last possible moment, Faithless is in no rush to be some kind of plot driven thriller and feels out how Faith and Poppy look at each other, chat, and connect. Faith is a seriously flawed protagonist with money issues, an obsession with magic, and a self centered side, but she’s relatable too. Until the final page when this becomes a much different comic. Overall: 8 Verdict: Buy

Wonder Twins #3 (DC/Wonder Comics) Mark Russell and Stephen Byrne dig into Gleek’s (the Wonder Twins’ pet monkey) tragic past as Sir Lance-little as his poor self has some traveling circus-induced PTSD. This issue also has their climactic battle against the League of Annoyance and some damn great moments between Superman and Jayna. Byrne’s art is smooth and makes for an enjoyable reading appearance as he plays the weird nature of the Wonder Twins’ powers straight instead of spoofing them. The colorful comedy mostly comes from their enemies, and he and Russell hit some strong emotional beats every time Gleek’s past shows up, or Superman gives Jayna advice about being an alien hero on Earth. This comic really hits the right balance between silly and serious, episodic and serialized. Overall: 7.8 Verdict: Read

Joe Ryan

The Amazing Spider-Man #19 (Marvel) – I have enjoyed Spencer, Ramos, and company on Hunted for the most part so far. It has been a fast paced and fun mini-event that has been a bit better than I expected. I enjoyed the Gibbon issue quite a lot, and this was a decent follow up. It took a bit to get there, but by the end of the book left it at a solid point. Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Buy

Web of Venom: Cult of Carnage #1 (Marvel) – This book took me a few pages to get into it, but it finally got it hooks into me. It is a solid set up to what will be a big Absolute Carnage event, and it was good to see John Jameson/Man Wolf front and center in the main characters role, complete with a major part by Misty Knight. I enjoyed the art, though it is cartoony for such a mature title, it worked, and the set up at the end was exciting. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

 Age of X-Man: Marvelous X-Men #3 (Marvel) – I like the idea of this event, and enjoyed some of the earlier issues, but I think it is moving far too slow for how many series it has going on at once. We are 3 issues into this comic, and things are starting to move. The art is solid, and it isn’t bad by any means, I just want it to go somewhere. Uncanny by Rosenberg, and the excitement behind Hickman on X-Men is where my X-Fandom thoughts are, and I am mostly wanting to see how this wraps up. Overall: 6.0 Recommendation: Pass

Dtective Comics #1001 (DC) – With the big anniversary issue, we got a glimpse of The Arkham Knight in #1000, but this book gives us a little more as it kicks off the arc. Tomasi does a good job quickly moving us through the big set up, action, and cliffhanger ending. I am excited to see where this story goes, and at this point feel like I have changed my mind on whom The Arkham Knight is. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

The Batman Who Laughs #4 (DC) – This was the best issue I read of the big publishers this week, and it really made me miss Scott Snyder on Batman. I am kind of sad this is a mini, because I love Snyder and Capullo on Batman on The New 52. That being said, there is a lot of wacky story in these few issues, and if you like over the top Batman in that style, this book delivers. Between this and Detective, the main Batman book is falling behind both of them in quality in my opinion. Overall: 9.0 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 4/6

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

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Ryan C

Female Furies #3 (DC)** – Another superb issue from Cecil Castellucci and Adriana Melo, but a decidedly harrowing one as one of our principal characters meets a grisly and disturbing end that puts a dramatic exclamation point on her already-tragic circumstances. It’s time for the ladies to start getting some revenge, please! Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Major X #1 (Marvel)** – A new Rob Liefeld comic? I couldn’t resist. All in all it’s about what you’d expect, albeit slightly more competent on the scripting front. I dunno, I really don’t care about the title character, nor Cable, nor Deadpool — but if you’re into any or all of them, this might be up your alley. Certainly not bad for what it is, but “what it is” only goes so far, this representing more or less exactly how far that is. Overall: 5 Recommendation: Pass

Black Hammer ’45 #2 (Dark Horse)** – A fun, well-paced WWII aerial combat yarn from Jeff Lemire, Ray Fawkes, Matt Kindt, and Sharlene Kindt that kind of cops out on the previous issue’s cliffhanger but more than makes up for it with a great one at the end this time around — and in between there’s plenty of gorgeous art and a pretty solid script to go along with them. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Black Hammer ’45 #2 (Dark Horse)** – A fun, well-paced WWII aerial combat yarn from Jeff Lemire, Ray Fawkes, Matt Kindt, and Sharlene Kindt that kind of cops out on the previous issue’s cliffhanger but more than makes up for it with a great one at the end this time around — and in between there’s plenty of gorgeous art and a pretty solid script to go along with them. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Logan

Major X #1 (Marvel)– I didn’t hate this comic, but I didn’t love it. Rob Liefeld’s plot has all the worst of the 90s, including time travel, interchangeable macho heroes, and Summers family nonsense, and his dialogue reminds you that his best work was when he had a writer like Chris Claremont, Fabian Nicieza, or Alan Moore. However, his art has all the energy of his X-Force days with action scenes featuring Major X, Wolverine, Deadpool, Cable, and M’Koy (A weird ass take on Beast.) being entertaining as hell and well-choreographed. This would be great as a slightly dumb, straightforward action book in the mold of the Fast and the Furious flicks, but Liefeld tries to be a little too clever for his own good. Also, I’m so glad I never have to experience what being in a room with three Deadpools is like. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Pass

 Female Furies #3 (DC)– Cecil Castellucci and Adriana Melo’s story takes a big turn in Female Furies #3 beginning with a visually inventive sequence where the Beautiful Dreamer shows the Furies that there’s a better world beyond Apokolips. There’s dancing, and Scott Free shows up. But the rest of the comic is pure tragedy as not kow-towing to the patriarchy leads to death. After taking a back seat to other characters in the previous two issues, Castellucci and Melo do a fantastic job developing the character of Big Barda as she begins her slow journey from victim blamer and soldier of Darkseid to one of the most badass superheroes in the DC Universe. Overall: 8.4 Verdict: Buy

Marvel Team-Up #1 (Marvel)– In a fun flipbook format, Eve Ewing, Joey Vazquez, and Felipe Sobreiro modernize the classic superhero team-up title in a perfect blend of action and character. Ewing gives both Peter and Kamala an internal conflict and an obvious external one and then lets them cut loose with a twist at the end. She gives them basically the opposite problem, which is Peter is nostalgic for the days of youth whereas Kamala wants to grow up and be free and have responsibilities. It connects with the way that the heroes are written in their solo titles without being too steeped in lore. And Vazquez’s art is sleek, pop art goodness with bursts of color from Sobreiro. Marvel Team-Up #1 has clean art, explosive action, and character exploration. Basically everything I want from a superhero comic in 2019. Overall: 9 Verdict: Buy


Giant Days #49 (BOOM!/BOOM! Box)– Max Sarin makes her triumphant return on art with a little assist from writer John Allison on this Esther-centric issue that opens with hallucinations of a talking bald eagle as she writes her dissertation on the Great American Novel. What follows is a hilarious, very relatable look at returning home, that crossroads time between university and adulthood, and a few shenanigans with her Mini Me Lottie. Esther wants to do anything but write her dissertation and fills the procrastination gaps by small, not melodramatic arguments with her parents and going to the pub and running into exes/Z-list friends. Esther definitely knows she doesn’t want to return to her hometown after uni, but doesn’t really have much of a plan either. Being an eccentric and growing up don’t really fit together. This issue is very wacky and a little sad and is a demonstration of how fleshed out John Allison has made these characters. Also, I love Sarin’s design for Esther’s mom. Overall: 8.7 Verdict: Buy

Joe Ryan

The War of the Realms #1 (Marvel) – Jason Aaron and Russell Dauterman have been building this for years. I have loved Thor since Aaron has been on the book, including when Jane took over the mantle. It has been entertaining throughout, and this story has been building slowly with Russell Dauterman’s art going somewhat unnoticed by many people I talked to. It is always jaw dropping, and this issue has he and Matt Wilson running a clinic on how to make the most beautiful fantasy comic you may have ever seen. I don’t love the $6 #1 price point, and I think Marvel needs to take a step back and look at the bigger picture when it comes to that, but I am also a realist. Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

The Immortal Hulk #16 (Marvel) – Al Ewing and Joe Bennett nail suspense so well. I hope they reunite on another book when all is said and done like Lemire/Sorrentino or other great teams have before. I enjoy the twists and turns to this book and just when you think you know what is going on, it smashes you over the head and flips the script. I think when all is said and done, this will be a classic in the Hulk runs. I recommend this book to everyone, even if you haven’t read a Hulk book before. If you have? There are tons of Easter eggs and familiar characters all over. Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Avengers: No Road Home #8 (Marvel) – I have really enjoyed this series quite a bit. It’s a big blockbuster with a surprisingly quick moving and fun story. Zub, Waid and, Ewing are doing a great job juggling the writing duties while not falling over each other. The art by Barberi is solid and the Putri covers are beautiful. The Night Queen and Immortal Hulk moment was especially cool, and Conan actually fits into the story so far. This will read good in trade. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Uncanny X-Men #15 (Marvel) – I really like what Rosenberg is doing with this series so far, and he knows his X-Lore quite well. We get some deep cuts from different eras thrown into the story in some interesting ways. It’s good to have Scott and Loganback, and you can tell they’ve both been through a lot, and while we know that, I feel like Rosenberg handles it in a subtle way that I appreciate. Larocca’s art fits the darker tone well. I look forward to each issue, and at this point this book and the announcement of Hickman returning has made me mostly forget the Age of X-Man event before it even finishes. Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

The Champions #4 (Marvel) – I have been enjoying Zub on the book more than Waid’s run since Zub took over, and this issue continues showing the tension between Miles and Khamala over something I won’t spoil that happened earlier in the series. Cummings does a good job drawing all of the action and the multiple members of the team. I hope the stuff with Sam/Kid Nova goes somewhere fun, because this issue set up something cool there. Overall: 7.0 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 3/23

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

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Ryan C

Peter Cannon, Thunderbolt #3 (Dynamite) **– Forget “Doomsday Clock,” Kieron Gillen and Casper Wijngarrd’s entirely unofficial “Watchmen” sequel is superior in every way, and this issue raises the stakes, includes some terrific (if obvious) “Easter eggs,” and regales us with sleek, stylish art, a pacy script, and one hell of a cliffhanger. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Freedom Fighters #4 (DC)** – This series is turning into my very own slow-motion car wreck, with me in the role of nosy-ass bystander. Robet Venditti sure doesn’t do subtle, as the first page features a Nazi soldier shooting a bald eagle, and it only gets more lame and ridiculous from there, with Uncle Sam rising from the grave in the Alan-Moore-without-the-brains “extradimensional realm of ideas,” while on Earth our heroes blow up the Hitler head on the new Forth Reich version of Mount Rushmore. Eddy Barrows really turns in some nice art, but it’s utterly wasted on this laughably stupid script. Overall: 2 Recommendation: Pass. I purchased my copy because I’m a glutton for punishment.

Invaders #3 (Marvel)** – I’m actually really liking this series so far, and this is probably the best issue yet, with the ever-morally-ambiguous Namor’s plans sort of coming into view in Chip Zdarsky’s script while artist Carlos Magno turns in his typical nicely-detailed work. Nothing Earth-shattering is going on here, but it’s competent and involving comic book storytelling that’s worth at least a look, if not four bucks of your money. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

Black Hammer: Age Of Doom #9 (Dark Horse)** – After getting off track a little bit, Jeff Lemire is righting course here in this issue, as our heroes — or a couple of them, at any rate — fight to break free of yet another alternate reality, one in which they’re powerless and amnesiac for the most part. Dean Ormston’s art is, of course, spectacular, and all indications are that this series will be again on the whole quite soon. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Shean

Spider-Man Far From Home Prelude #1(Marvel)** – This book, I really can’t say too much about, as anyone who has watched Spider-Man Homecoming, will definitely have dejavu, as this is a Cliff Notes comic book version of the movie, an almost direct Telegraph of the movie. Either way, it probably what most of us comic book readers hate about comic book adaptations, though story still is decent. Overall: 6.7 Recommendation: Borrow

Joe Ryan

Daredevil #3 (Marvel) – Zdarsky on writing and Checcetto on pencils were meant for this book, and this character. The pacing, and excellent storytelling from Zdarsky are top notch, and the comic is accessible for long time readers or fans of the Netflix show. Checcetto’s panel work is great. It can’t be easy to showcase how Matt senses his foes, but this book nails it in such a unique way, and that is also in part due to Sunny Gho’s excellent color work. Great job all around. I love this book. Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Avengers: No Road Home #7 (Marvel) – This book is a summer blockbuster, and it is a blast. It is a quick but action packed read. Zub, Ewing, and Waid do a great job on the story, and balance the writing duties well. There isn’t a moment where I can tell the writing apart, and its very fluid. The art by Paco Medina and Jesus Aburtov balances the fantastical story somewhere between a classic animated film and traditional comic book well. The covers by Yasmine Putri have been excellent. This is a wild ride, and even with them throwing Conan in, it works, and works well. Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

The Amazing Spider-Man #18 (Marvel) We are already on issue #18? Wow this book has flown by. For the most part, I am enjoying The Hunted arc, and what Nick Spencer is doing with Kraven is different enough to work. Ramos on art gives that familiar Spidey art we know, and it’s good, with his usual proportion defying character models. The event has been entertaining, and I am hoping for a big solid finale, because that is something Spidey events, have been lacking in my opinion. Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Buy

Heroes in Crisis #7 (DC) – This book is often times very controversial, and I am definitely a Tom King fan overall. This story is one that I do believe will be best read collected in trade, as it’s a slow pace, and has a lot of deception going on as far as the storytelling goes. I did like this issue overall, and we got some strong hints something else is going on, and Clay Mann is a beast on art. Especially that Heroes In Crisis spelt in flowers with Wally standing over them. Wow. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Read In Trade

Detective Comics #1000 (DC) It’s hard to grade an issue like this. It’s really an anthology and a celebration of 80 years of the most famous superhero of all time. But, it costs $10, so I will share my thoughts! The stories in the book are solid overall, with some standouts. There are many covers to pick from, and there are some great ones. I personally love the Jock and Michael Cho covers. The final story which will be the one that continues was a solid tease of The Arkham Knight (from Rocksteady’s game of the same name), and I am definitely hyped for what happens next. Tomasi and Mahnke have done a great job on the series, and I can’t wait to see who is under the mantle this time. I would say to buy this, because it’s the 1000th issue of a comic. That is a crazy feat that DC, and all of these creators should be very proud of. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Logan

Bad Luck Chuck #1 (Dark Horse)– Lela Gwenn, Matthew Dow Smith, and Kelly Fitzpatrick turn in an entertaining piece of speculative fiction about a woman named Chuck, who has an artifact that allows her to be a walking disaster. She’s a “cash in the insurance” rabbit’s foot for dozens of laundromats and parents whose kids got into cults all across the country. However, an investigator is finally on her trail (and think she’s a serial arsonist) adding tension to the mix although Gwenn and Smith use the first issue to let Chuck do her thing. Smith and Fitzpatrick’s visuals are very noir, which works for the criminal investigative type plotline and Chuck’s mysterious background. This is definitely the best magical artifact Dark Horse comic since The Mask. Overall: 8 Verdict: Buy

Action Comics #1009(DC)- In the last arc, Brian Michael Bendis crafted a Superman crime story, and in this one, he and Steve Epting are crafting a Superman spy story. They have a little bit of glee having Superman fly around the world connecting dots and give an all too short glimpse at the Question. But the real fun is the interactions between Lois Lane and Amanda Waller aka lots of arguing and even a punch. Bendis and Epting use them to ask the question of who is there to protect the DC Universe when all these secret organizations like ARGUS, the DEO, and Spyral all fry out. Epting’s art is smooth, yet shadowy and sucks all the bright, hopeful parts of Superman out. Also, he gets a chance to draw the dinosaur in the Batcave. This issue, and “Leviathan” in general, is proof that you can tell a dark Superman story without neck snapping and angst; just put him in a genre that he’s not super experienced in. Or is he. Overall: 8.6 Verdict: Buy

Sabrina The Teenage Witch #1 (Archie)– Kelly Thompson, Veronica Fish, and Andy Fish’s take on Sabrina the Teenage Witch is an occasionally pleasing mix of high school soap opera and current Archie horror. It starts with a horned monster in the woods and then cuts to Salem being grumpy (and talking) and waking Sabrina up. Thompson takes a lot of pages out of the early seasons of Buffy playbook connecting metaphorical monsters to real ones and the temptation of using one’s powers to make high school a little easier. However, there’s some clever and sweet writing here and there like her traditional love interest Harvey seeing her white hair in the sun even though she’s turned it blonde with a glamor. The Fishes’ art is also expressive and suitably dark when horror monsters grow up and gives the cast of character a range of body types, hairstyles, and clothing choices plus a unique color palette whenever magic is used. And the art is the real draw of a story that is really middling monster of the week stuff. Overall: 7 Verdict: Read

Age of X-Man: X-Tremists #2 (Marvel)– On the tin, it’s an alternate universe event tie-in, but in Age of X-Man: X-Tremists #2, Leah Williams, Georges Jeanty, and Roberto Poggi have given readers a full fledged slow burn romance comic. In a world where attachments are forbidden, Blob has strong feelings for Psylocke, and she’s psychic so she knows. Williams gives him a beautiful speech about unrequited love and makes him a three dimensional character, who is basically a rock of of the exercise in bureaucracy that is Department X and also loves books and art. On the other hand, Psylocke thinks she is a good, understanding person, but keeps a pregnant woman in the basement so she can keep up appearances with her superiors, the X-Men. This comic is a giant rush of moral dilemmas and forbidden love and basically all the feels filled parts of X-Men with no filler. I’m still not 100% sold on the art, but Jeanty and Poggi’s facial expressions and character acting are decent. Overall: 8.4 Verdict: Buy


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

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

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 3/23

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

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Ryan C

High Level #2 (DC/Vertigo) **– Another slice of solid science fiction “world-building” from writer Rob Sheridan and artist Barnaby Bagenda firms up the relationship between our two main protagonists, fleshes out the unique socio-political-economic statusof the “city” of Onida, and throws in some brisk action near the end before leaving this on a very agreeable cliffhanger. Superb art and colors elevates the proceedings a good few notches, cementing this as a series well worth following. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy 

American Carnage #5 (DC/Vertigo) **– The tangled web being woven by writer Bryan Hill and artist Leandro Fernandez becomes even more labyrinthine here, with intrigues aplenty brewing between all the major characters just as the stakes are raised for the American electorate at large. The art and colors continue to improve with each issue, and here approach genuinely “amazing” status, more than making up for the occasional foray into overly-expository or “preachy” dialogue. One of the most interesting monthlies out there right now. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

The Wild Storm #21 (DC/WildStorm) **– As we near the conclusion of Warren Ellis and Jon Davis-Hunt’s “reimagining” of the WildStorm universe, the chess pieces are all in place, the last few secrets remain tantalizingly out of reach, and the art gets more and more cinematic and breathtaking. You could ask for more from a monthly comic, but you’d be hard-pressed to find it anywhere. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Batman #67 (DC) **-Thank goodness for the sensational artwork of both Lee Weeks and Jorge Fornes, because Tom King’s script for this fifth installment of “Knightmares” is simply a lazy-ass Batman/Joker run-around with little to recommend in its favor apart from a late-inning connection between it and the (much better) “Batman/Elmer Fudd Special” #1. Pretty much a total waste, barring the very pretty pictures. Overall: 4 Recommendation: Look at it, but there’s hardly anything to read

Logan

Spider-Man: Life Story #1 (Marvel)– Chip Zdarsky turns in some of the smartest and most emotionally resonant work of his career in Spider-Man: Life Story #1, the first chapter of a miniseries in which Spider-Man ages in real time. Mark Bagley, John Dell, and Frank D’Armata handle the art chores and excel at both intense conversation sequences between Peter and Captain America, Peter and Norman Osborn, and especially Peter and Gwen Stacy as well as setpieces like a classic showdown between Spidey and the Green Goblin and something more subversive set in Vietnam. In fact, one of the many internal conflicts that Spidey has in this issue is if he’s going to Vietnam or not, especially when he finds out that Flash Thompson’s inspiration for volunteering was Spider-Man. The miniseries format allows Zdarsky and Bagley to introduce stakes and consequences that wouldn’t fit in an ongoing comic as they use the 1960s and Vietnam era not as psychedelic window dressing, but as a source of tension and growth for Peter Parker. And, wow, Zdarsky writes one hell of a Cap. He’s a larger than life figure, but also has extremely mixed feelings about the Vietnam War, especially after what he lost in WWII that still feels recent to him. Overall: 9 Verdict: Buy

Firefly: Bad Company #1 (BOOM!)– Josh Lee Gordon, Francesco Mortarino, and Gabriel Cassata finally tell the “origin” story of Saffron, the artist formerly known as Mrs. Reynolds and also Christina Hendricks’ breakout role. Her life story might be completely made up, but it’s still a tragic story of class warfare, patriarchy, and how the one percenters don’t give a shit about how many they trample on their way to wealth and power. Gordon and Mortarino also do a fair bit of worldbuilding and showing the relationship between the Companions Guild and the Alliance. Mortarino’s art is also bright, expressive, if a little melodramatic at times. If you’re not already a Browncoat, then this one-shot would be a little dense , but it’s worth picking up for the initiated. Overall: 7.7 Verdict: Read

Shean

Spider-Man: City At War #1 (Marvel)– In what looks to be a one do those game interpretation comics, we get quite surprisingly a fun read. We get a world weary Peter Parker and Spider-Man. As his world has been more than hectic and we also get a different origin story for Doctor Octopus. We also see how a post relationship friendship between Peter and MJ is, which also quite mature. Overall, a great read for fans of the game but an excellent story for the rest of the Marvel fans. 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 3/9

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

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Shean

Cosmic Ghost Rider Destroys MARVEL History #1 (Marvel) – In what should be a serious iteration on Marvel History, we get quite a different take on Frank Castle and Ghost Rider. As an older Frank visits himself and just like the title says, destroy every major event in Marvel Universe history. In this all too short debut issue, the creative team happens to find a righteous balance between heartfelt and hilarious. Overall, a book which will instantly remind readers of Deadpool but also blazes their own trail. Overall: 9.6 Recommendation: Buy

Age of Conan: Belit #1 (Marvel)– In what is not is your normal Pirate story, we get a tale of privilege and betrayal. As we meet Belit, a young lady who longs to be a pirate just like her father once was. Everything changes for her and her father, when some of his old friends come calling on old debts. By issue’s end, she is sold into slavery but finds her way out of captivity only to face an actual sea monster like in her father’s stories. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Ryan C

House Of Whispers #7 (DC/Vertigo) **– Just when I was about to walk away from this book, writers Nalo Hopkinson and Dan Watters deliver the best issue, by far, to date, part hallucinatory nightmare, part less-than-subtle treatise in favor of veganism, culminating in the surprise return of — that would be telling. Dominike “Domo” Stanton has been solid on the art with this series, even during the last few months when the scripts faltered, and that remains the case here. Everything finally seems to be coming together. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Outer Darkness #5 (image/Skybound)** – If you’re taking a pass on this book, you’re missing out on a lot. John Layman and Afu Chan are creating an occult take on Jack Kirby’s “Captain Victory And The Galactic Rangers” that’s one of the most page-turning — and eye-catching — comics on the stands. In this penultimate issue of their opening arc, a nasty crash is followed by an even-nastier betrayal, and where it goes from here is anybody’s guess. Magnificent comic book storytelling. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Laguardia #4 (Dark Horse/Berger Books)** – Nothing about Nnedi Okrafor and Tana Ford’s series should probably work — there’s no villain, no particular dramatic tension, and most issues are more like diatribes on political points most readers, myself included, already agreed with going in. And yet, anything this earnest, and this gorgeously-illustrated, will always be worth checking out in my view, and they conclude things in typically-clumsy, but equally-heartfelt, style. I’m going to miss this comic, even though not a whole hell of a lot happened in it. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Wonder Twins #2 (DC)** – As always, Mark Russell finds a way to spin a compelling story around a cogent socio-political message, as Zann And Jayna come face-to-face with a new villain, sure — but also with the harsh realities of the private prison system and alcoholism/addiction. Stephen Byrne’s art is solid, if not especially spectacular, but it gets the job done, and that’s plenty good. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Logan

Assassin Nation #1 (Image)– Kyle Starks and Erica Henderson’s new creator owned series Assassin Nation definitely isn’t the deepest comic, but it’s a lot of ultraviolent fun. Like a Tarantino flick without the racial slurs or a Mark Millar comic without the misogyny. Henderson has the ability to make brains oozing out of one’s super hilarious, and her shootouts are well-choreographed and easy to follow. Assassin Nation #1 is a great source of blood, guts, bullets, and well-articulated grids plus there’s a character named Fuck Tarkington. It’s a fantastic guilty pleasure book. Overall: 8 Verdict: Buy

Magnificent Ms. Marvel #1 (Marvel)– Saladin Ahmed, Minkyu Jung, Juan Vlasco, and Ian Herring definitely follow the old Stan Lee adage that every comic is someone’s first in Magnificent Ms. Marvel #1. After an intriguing mega flash-forward, Ahmed and Jung open up with an action scene that shows off her polymorph powers while simultaneously checking in with her current relationships and retelling her origin. It’s been five years since Ms. Marvel first appeared so it’s okay. Jung and Vlasco’s art is a good mix between naturalism and overexaggeration that works when Kamala’s punching werewolf/eagle alien things at the local Circle Q. They can also handle the tough emotional beats like when she has a big conversation with her parents. But Magnificent Ms. Marvel #1 isn’t just a “back to basics” issue that strips down Kamala to her essence as Ahmed and Jung throw some sci-fi tinged curveballs around the way. Her journey from flawed, struggling teen hero to Destined One will be fun to watch especially if she gets an actual rogues gallery. Overall: 8.6 Verdict: Buy


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

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

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 3/9

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

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Elana

Green Arrow 48, 49, 50 (DC) I may have fallen behind in my Green Arrow reading even though he and Black Canary are two of my all time favorite heroes and I’ve been a fan of writers Collin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing since the phenomenal Joyride. But boy do these final issues stick the landing. If you have any love for Ollie and Dinah, even if you haven’t kept up with them, you need to read these final issues. It also introduces Jayce Riot, a nonbinary Socialist Radical doing their own version of Direct Action. They’re exactly whats needed in a Green Arrow title. Here’s to Hard Traveling Heroes of 2019. Recommendation: Buy

Logan

Morning in America #1 (Oni)– The new 80s period piece/creator owned series from Mags Visaggio and Claudia Aguirre follows the escapades of the Sick Sisters, a gang of high school girls who don’t take shit from anyone, sell cigarettes in the parking lot, graphically describe oral sex, and also look out for their fellow school mates when mysterious disappearances keep piling up. This first issue is more of a prelude/introduction to the group of girls, one of their families, and the general dead end vibe of Tucker circa 1983 and just scratches the surface of the mystery hook. It’s also an opportunity for Aguirre to draw big hair, loud fashion, and her larger than life art style is a great fit for the melodrama of high school. These are characters I want to spend more time with even though I’m not super invested in the mystery yet. Overall: 7.5 Verdict: Read

Deadly Class #37 (Image)– You have to wade through over half a comic of misogyny, a trans panic scene, and general douchebaggery from the Yakuza who dress like the mutant gang from Dark Knight Returns to get to the good stuff. But, boy, do Rick Remender, Wes Craig, and Jordan Boyd deliver on the good stuff with a motorcycle chase straight out of Akira and a cathartic, cinematic ending straight out of Kill Bill. (Volume 1 to be precise.) Craig arranges the page like the slashes of Saya’s family’s katana in a suspenseful chase scene. However, you have to put up with page after page of yakuza orgy and Quan sniveling. Ugh, and also yes. Overall: 6 Verdict: Read because they don’t do motorcycle chases like that any more.

Die #4 (Image)– Die #4 is definitely a palate cleanser after the previous issue where Kieron Gillen and Stephanie Hans riffed Anxiety of Influence-style on the works of J.R.R. Tolkien and their connection to World War I and sold me on the series. But it’s a good one. It introduces a new city that basically worships Sol and is an opportunity for jokes about tavern scenes in RPGs, for character backstories, and feelings. Everyone (Even fantasy novelist douchebag Chuck) gets a moment of insight into their character through “tales”, which read like if the Canterbury Tales got straight to the fucking point for once. Angela, who is Sol’s sister and has been a rule of cool cyberpunk in fantasy setting lady up to this point, gets quite the heartbreaking one. And I’m excited for the arc conclusion after this one ends as Gillen and Hans declare war on conventional fantasy. Now, I understand why Ash is dictator class and Hans helps out with the stern gazes and white hair. Overall: 8.7 Verdict: Buy

Ryan C

Batman #66 (DC)** – Probably the best installment of the “Knightmares” storyline to date, which may sound like damning with faint praise, but this was actually really good stuff for a change. Tom King may not have the greatest handle on the characterization of Batman/Bruce Wayne, but he does a terrific job writing The Question and Catwoman, and Jorge Fornes’ Mazzuchelli-inspired art is just plain breathtaking. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Female Furies #2 (DC)** – The Fourth World as feminist parable continues to be a premise that yields exciting and unexpected results, as writer Cecil Castellucci continues to ramp up the agonies and indignities inflicted upon her central protagonist, Aurelie, who finds herself in the same position too many abused women do in the real world — with no allies or friends whatsoever. Aritst Adriana Melo may just be the star of the show here, though, delivering one eyeball-grabbing Perez homage after another in a visual tour de force. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

The Green Lantern #5 (DC) **– A series that has featured some up-and-down scripting from Grant Morrison hits another “down” note in this atrociously dull installment, but there’s a nice bit of sleight-of-hand revealed towards the end that ALMOST makes the uninspired drivel that came before it worthwhile, and the cliffhanger, while telegraphed a couple of pages previously, is still highly effective. Liam Sharp’s more than doing his part, though, I must admit, turning in some of the very best pages of his career, rich in detail, intricacy, and sheer creativity. Overall: 5 Recommendation. Read — or, more precisely, look at. 

The Dreaming #7 (DC/Vertigo) – I didn’t realize how much I’d missed Rose Walker until this, her first appearance in far too long. Now 50, what she’s been up to in the intervening years between the end of “The Sandman” and now makes for the most compelling story Simon Spurrier has told yet in this series, and guest artist Abigail Larson illustrates the wistful proceedings in a moody, ethereal, and atmospheric style that’s just straight-up perfect for the tone and tenor of the material. Fall in love with one of the most beloved characters in the fantasy genre all over again in this truly beautiful comic. 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 3/3

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.


Logan

Age of X-Man: Amazing Nightcrawler #1 (Marvel)– In the Age of X-Man timeline, Seanan McGuire and Juan Frigeri make Nightcrawler the biggest celebrity and a movie star in the universe. The first seven pages are a generic action movie, but after that, McGuire and Frigeri probe into the life of man who wants to help and inspire people yet is kept on a tight leash because he’s a successful movie star. The relationship between him and Meggan is the best part of the comic. Sadly, the art is just a half step better than 90s X-Men house style, and the relationship between the Stepford Cuckoos is incredibly creepy. Overall: 6 Verdict: Pass

Punks Not Dead: London Calling #1 (IDW/Black Crown)– The ghost of Sid Vicious and Fergie are on the road to London to find Fergie’s literally demonic father and learn about his magic powers in the second arc of David Barnett and Martin Simmonds’ Punks Not Dead. Simmonds’ art has leveled up in the new storyline beginning with a stunning double page spread of Union Jack fireworks behind Sid and Fergie on the London Eye as the old Sex Pistol muses on what has changed in the world. He has left the semi-painted, neo-Vertigo style behind and is working in his own idiom even using different color tones to differentiate between two simultaneous scenes as Barnett’s punk rock conspiracy plot twists and turns. And the writing’s not bad either with Fergie coming into his abilities and a new creepy villain who has weaponized punk rock’s high burnout potential. Plus there are more smashed basses and undercut hairstyles, which are always. Overall: 8.6 Verdict: Buy

Shean

Captain Marvel : Braver & Mightier #1(Marvel)- As much as I wanted to like this book, I feel as though it was written to cater to a certain audience and not to all readers. Otherwise, it was an ordinary ” day in the life of” issue which gives readers something to look forward to when the movie arrives on 03/08. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Borrow

Ryan C

The Flash #65 (DC)** – If you thought “The Button” was a worthless Batman/Flash crossover (and it was), rest assured — “The Price” is even worse. Joshua Williamson’s editorially-driven script is the definition of “buzzkill,” as the “threat” of Gotham Girl destroying Central City simply ends when her powers burn out, and the back half of the issue is all just one big epilogue and a segue into something called “The Year Of The Villain” that I can’t envision any sane and rational person giving a shit about.I guess Rafa Sandoval’s art is competent enough, but it’s not like you’re gonna be bowled over by it or anything. Pretty much irredeemable garbage all around. Overall: 1 Recommendation: Pass

Freedom Fighters #3 (DC)**– The first issue of this series that I wouldn’t call “embarrassingly bad” is still really goddamn bad, as Robert Venditti injects some brief backstory for a handful of these “new” characters into his script while the “present-day” stuff is just more generic “heroes vs. Nazis” fighting. I liked Eddy Barrows’ art in this one, he seems to be reverting to his usual high standard after a lousy job on the opening installment, but whatever. This is still really lame on the whole. Overall: 3 Recommendation: Pass

Martian Manhunter #3 (DC)** – On the other end of the spectrum, both writer Steve Orlando and artist Riley Rossmo are just plain killing it on this book, and the revisionist “origin” of J’Onn J’Onzz that they present here is seriously compelling and weird, not to mention gorgeously illustrated. A great character getting his due in a great series — get on board with this one now if you haven’t already! Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Detective Comics #999 (DC)** – Well, that was a letdown. The “unseen hand” killing Batman’s friends and allies in this story is revealed to be precisely no “danger” whatsoever — and oh, he hasn’t actually been killing his friends and allies,either, in this bog-standard Peter J. Tomasi-written story, And if you’re looking for some kind of lead-in to the big 1,000th issue, well — there isn’t one. Doug Mahnke’s art is nice enough, but not enough in and of itself to warrant a purchase. Overall: 3 Recommendation: Pass


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

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

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 2/23

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

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Ryan C

The Wild Storm #20 (DC/WildStorm)** – An action-centric issue after the recent “wordy” installments makes for a nice change of pace, and helps set the stage for what looks to be a climactic final act. Warren Ellis does a nice job of getting out of the way and letting Jon Davis-Hunt do his cinematic best — and he most definitely delivers. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Go-Bots #4 (IDW)** – I still don’t know jack shit about the Go-Bots themselves, and I still don’t care. What I do know is that Tom Scioli can breathe an amazing amount of life and energy into any page he’s working on, and this comic is overflowing with more sheer creativity and vitality than just about anything else out there. Next month is the conclusion, and I miss this series already. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Batman # 66 (DC)** – This crossover event sucks, even by crossover events “standards.” It’s also pretty pointless since no in their right mind cares about “Heroes In Crisis.” Anyway, whatever — Guillem March’s art is nice even if his page layouts are a little too busy for their own sake, but Joshua Williamson’s editorially-dictated script is every bit as lame as you’d figure. Future “dollar-bin” merchandise all the way. Overall: 2 Recommendation: Pass

Breakneck #3 (Titan/Hard Case Crime)** – This race-against-the-clock crime thriller has been flying under the radar, as most good books seem to, but maybe it’ll get some traction in trade. Whatever the case, Duane Swierczynski knows how to write a great “pulp”-style story, and Simone Guglielmini and Raffaele Semeraro are a nice art team that delivers the gritty goods. This penultimate issue is maybe a step below the first two in terms of overall quality, but it’s still really damn good and will leave you excited as hell to see how things conclude. Overall: 7.5. Recommendation: Buy

Shean

Old Man Quill#2(Marvel) In the second episode of this superpowered Western, the Guardians find a desperate Earth, one where heroes have not existed for a long time. As Doom has taken over New York and imposed his will on its inhabitants. Meanwhile, some of his Goons have been hassling civilians, which leave a bad taste in the Guardians collective mouths. By issue’s end, though they’re older, they show they can still bring the pain, no matter the villains. Overall: 9.6 Recommendation: Buy

Hulkverines #1 (Marvel) I will make this one, short and sweet. If you want to watch an all out fight between a Hulk / Wolverine hybrid and his predecessors, this book is for you. As far as the actual substance of the book, not much to see in this first issue, hopefully the second issue gives readers something to think about it. 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 (**).

Review: Love Romances #1

Love Romances#1

I was happily surprised while looking at the list of this week’s comics that Marvel was publishing a romance comic anthology in 2019 called Love Romances#1 Not a superhero comic masquerading as a romance book, but tales of tension, tragedy, and yes, true love featuring characters that aren’t a part of the Marvel Universe. It was pretty exciting and the book almost lived up to the hype with each story having a unique setting and theme plus varying levels of darkness and humor.

Arguably, the biggest name in the comic (writer Gail Simone) leads off with the main story with visuals from artist Roge Antonio and colorist Jim Charalampidis. It’s a futuristic, metafictional steampunk meditation on the nature of romance stories. Over the years from Jane Austen to Nancy Meyers, the romantic comedy has a formula, and Simone and Antonio show it in action steampunk-style with an Architect from Matrix Reloaded-esque (But with more gears than TV monitors) character named Gear Man making sure meet cutes happen, and the relationship between the archetypal characters, Widow and Stranger. Simone’s script is clever, a warm hug to the analog movement, and hints that the stories in this volume are more non-traditional, darker romance. However, the story ends up lacking emotional resonance. Antonio and Charalampidis draw the requisite blimps, ball dresses, and other objects.steampunk romance, but there is no liveliness to them. It’s like they’d rather be drawing superheroes punching each other.

Visuals definitely aren’t a problem in Love Romance‘s next story from writer/artists Margaux Motin and Pacco Morwling-Carter and colorist Lee Loughridge. It’s wonderfully wordless and poignant story of a man being “haunted” by the ghost of his lost love. But it’s not Gothic at all. It’s a normcore-ish bande desinee with clean, soft lines from Motin and Pacco that really nail how it feels to remember someone you’ve lost. The story is filled with expressive eyes, gestures, and faces, and Loughridge beautifully transitions from the spectral world to the real world. It’s a minimalist masterpiece, and honestly, one of the last things I expected to see in a Marvel comic.

The third story is the opposite of minimalist as Dennis “Hopeless” Halum, Annapaola Martello, and Jim Charalampidis craft a juicy, Southern Gothic riff on the Rapunzel fairy tale. The premise is basic and a patriarchal: a father wants his daughter all for himself. The most striking image is the red on her dress from Charalamipidis that draws the eye from panel to panel as you’re rooting for her to escape her father’s house somehow. This story is the most suspenseful and least funny of the bunch and has the flowing fabrics and Gothic romantic tone of an early Kate Bush video or an Ann Radcliffe novel.

The final story in Love Romances #1 is the funniest and most messed up of the bunch courtesy of cartoonist Jon Adams. It is about a couple named Richie and Mona, who transfer their consciousnesses to robots so that their love will be eternal. Anyone who has read a Warren Ellis comic knows this doesn’t end well. (Maybe.) Adams has a lot of fun in the future setting without a lot of extraneous worldbuilding and mines his short story for peak schadenfreude. There’s a lot of oozing liquids and transforming bodies as well as human mediocrity and ends the comic on a decidedly unsexy note.

Love Romances #1 is a feast of tonal shifts, O. Henry twists, and goes beyond the typical romance template in occasionally freaky ways. It would be great if this was more than just a one-shot.

Story: Gail Simone, Dennis Halum
Story/Art: Margaux Motin, Pacco Morwling-Carter, Jon Adams
Art: Roge Antonio, Annapaola Martello
Colors: Jim Charalampidis, Lee Loughridge, Tamra Bonvillain
Letters: Travis Lanham

Story: 8.5 Art: 7.8 Overall: 8.3 Verdict: Buy

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 2/16

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

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Elana

Die #3 (Image): An extraordinarily powerful story about uni-directional class war and about fantasy stories about war. Stephanie Hans paints one hell of a god-send and her depictions of trench warfare are devastating. Kieron Gillen gets to the heart of JRR Tolkien’s works as promised on my podcast — http://bit.ly/DieGPpod). More people have made art about Tolkien than almost any other 20th century writer. But this is saying something new. It is poetry and politics on the page. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Joe Hesh

Batman Who Laughs #3 (DC) Snyder and Jock are back at it again and they are putting on a clinic. This mini series has been flat out fantastic. From the idea of the Jokers ultimate revenge through corrupting Batman to all the alternate Bruce Waynes now in our universe. I’ve enjoyed it all. Its not just the grandiose moments that Snyder does well, its the little ones too. I like the idea of Batman being born the day he climbed out of the well. This kind of building on the Batman mythos is exceptional. The Grim Knight is a welcome addition and i hope to enjoy the one shot coming up. Bringing James Gordon Jr. Back is wonderful too as he was a great character and particularly unique. So far we are half way done with this mini series and from what I heard it really hits the fan from here out. The only downside I see is that I wish Snyder and Jock were the regular monthly team on the main book. If you haven’t been on Batman for a while you want to pick this one up. The dark knight at his finest. Overall: Not a qualm at all and awaiting with batted breath for the next installment. Score: 9 Recommendation: Buy 

Shean

Star Wars Age of Republic Count Dooku #1 (Marvel)– In this one shot featuring the still mysterious Count Dooku, we find out more about his duplicitous nature As we meet him as he seeks out an arms syndicate, while accidentally running into a Jedi Knight shortly after Qui Gon Jinn had been killed by Darth Maul. As the reader sees moments where his former self is enough for most including the Jedi Knight they sent to believe that his intentions were pure, as he ponders for a moment, if he had stayed with the Jedi Order, would his Padawan still be alive? By issue’s end, he begrudgingly Kills everyone involved while expanding the Sith’s foothold in the Empire. Overall: 9.7 Recommendation: Buy

Savage Sword of Conan #1(Marvel)- In this reboot of the series, we find the Cimirrian lost at sea. This is until he is found by a slave ship looking to sell him and his fellow captives, a plan he doesn’t want no part of. Eventually, he finds a way to escape, while discovering that the Captain is more than what he seems, as he becomes the first glimpse of a well known villain in the pantheon of adversaries Conan would face. By issue’s end, he burns the ship, frees himself and embarks on a new adventure. Overall: 9.8 Recommendation: Buy

Logan

Wonder Twins #1 (DC/Wonder)– Zan and Jayna the Wonder Twins try to get the hang of Earth and high school in the new series from Mark Russell and Stephen Byrne. Byrne has a smooth, expressive art style that works for a more episodic, humor driven story even though Superman and Batman’s tales of high school woe are funnier than Zan running around like a dog in heat. Russell writes the Trinity like real people, which takes a while getting used to, and counterbalances this by writing the Wonder Twins themselves with more empathy and less as a SuperFriends joke. Jayna is definitely the more likable one in the easygoing, and hopefully, Zan gets more depth instead of just being a hormonal wannabe bro as the series progresses. Overall: 7.6 Verdict: Read

 Ironheart #3 (Marvel)– Even though Vecchio and Geoffo’s interior art pales in comparison to Amy Reeder’s covers, Eve Ewing’s introspective and character driven, yet action packed run on Ironheart continues with a dark, moody third chapter. Riri is so busy trying to connect the pieces to a cellphone theft/human trafficking ring that she’s neglecting her schoolwork, friends both super and otherwise, family, and also feelings about the death of her friend Natalie. She would rather be getting in headstrong fights with ninja things and playing around with high end technology than opening up. Ewing and Vecchio make Riri a determined and likable character (Who is a stealth sneakerhead), but also give her flaws that make her story even more compelling although she’s struggling in the villain department so far. Overall: 8 Verdict: Buy


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

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

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