Category Archives: Mini Reviews

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 6/24

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

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.

 


 

Logan

lobo-the-road-runnerBatman #25 (DC Comics) Batman #25 is a prologue to Tom King, Mikel Janin, and June Chung’s anticipated “War of Jokes and Riddles” storyline. It’s told in flashback by Batman himself and shows both the Joker and Riddler at their peak spreading chaos and crime through their humorous and puzzling M.O.’s respectively. I enjoyed King’s characterization of the Riddler as a kind of twisted tutor, who helped the GCPD with their homework, er, cases while using his personal knowledge about them to escape. Janin’s panels featuring him are symmetrical and occasionally look like prison bars because he feels like Batman’s the only riddle he can’t solve. The ones with Joker are much freer flowing and help set up an arc-long personal mystery of something Batman has done in his past that he regrets and hasn’t told anyone until now. This continues Tom King’s tradition of telling epic stories while remaining grounded in Batman’s own psyche.  Overall: 8.7 Recommendation: Buy

Lobo/Road Runner Special #1 (DC Comics) In Lobo/Road Runner Special #1, Bill Morrison, comics legend Kelley Jones, and Michelle Madsen fit the classic Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner cartoons into an interconnected mythology that involves mad scientists and secret experiments. Then, Lobo shows up for the Road Runner and blows it all to hell. Seeing Lobo’s hopeless attempts to kill Road Runner with the annoying “Beep beep” in his ear as he regenerates over and over again is super hilarious. There’s also a B-plot where Wile E Coyote hunts down Kilowog for Lobo’s employer, and it’s nice to see him be competent and not just a punching bag for Road Runner. Jones’ take on Wile E is a little freaky, and he looks just like a mutated science experiment. Throw in a Morrison written and drawn backup where Lobo tries and fails to hunt Road Runner in the “kid-friendly” (Cartoon violence is more than okay.) Looney Tunes universe, and this is another excellent addition to the DC/Looney Tunes crossovers. Overall: 9.2 Recommendation: Buy

Life with Kevin #4 (Archie) Life with Kevin is back with plenty of pratfalls, smooching, and Veronica drama courtesy of writer/artist Dan Parent and inker J.Bone. Kevin has to deal with the social media fallout of his going on a prom date with a young gay high school student and uses this as an opportunity to call out networks for exploiting this touching moment for ratings. Young queer kids aren’t commodities. In the second half of the story, Kevin runs into his cheating ex Michael, who has become the star of a Spanish language soap opera. Parent pokes fun at soap opera tropes in the middle of a comic that has become one while still bringing the emotion because Kevin pines for Michael even though he know he’s bad for him. Life with Kevin #4 is super adorable, super funny, and has just the right amount of the feels to go with Parent’s great Archie house style art and baby blue palette. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Ryan C

black hammer 10.jpgRoyal City #4 (Image)** – Another fine, character-driven installment in Jeff Lemire’s beautifully laconic series, this issue probably would have benefited from having an editor give things a look as some of the internal monologues veer toward being overblown, but on the whole this book’s artfully-constructed humanity continues to impress and inspire. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Black Hammer #10 (Dark Horse)** – If you thought Jeff Lemire and Dean Ormston unloaded a whopper of a cliffhanger on readers last issue,wait until you see this one! My sole (and very slight) concern is that they may have given away just a bit too much about what’s really going with their jaw-dropper this time out, but they’ve consistently surprised me so far, and there’s probably no reason to doubt that they have further surprises up their sleeve. Consistently magnificent stuff that really does reward folks who read it in singles. Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

God Country #6 (Image)** – A superb wrap-to Donny Cates and Geoff Shaw’s heartbreakingly humane cosmic drama, this is a beautifully-scripted paean to love and loss between fathers and sons that will leave a lump in your throat and a tear in your eye, amazingly illustrated by Shaw and even more amazingly colored by Jason Wordie. The one and only strike against it is that it reduces the previous few issues of Kirby-esque space battles to a mere redundancy and once you regain your composure, you’ll realize this whole thing could have been told just as — perhaps even more — effectively in three or four chapters rather than six. Still, this is agonizingly powerful stuff, especially for those of us with aging parents who we want to say a lot to while they’re still with us. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Batman #25 (DC)** – A fairly solid start to the new “The War Of Jokes And Riddles” storyline that doesn’t “wow” by any means, but is definitely a continuation of the recent quality uptick we’ve seen on the book. Tom King seems to be easing into something of a “groove” with the scripting on this series, and Mikel Janin’s artwork is simply stunning, and whileI’m a bit concerned about the fact that this is yet another journey back into Batman’s past rather than a story that will move the narrative — and the character — forward, what the hell? So far, so (pretty) good. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

Patrick

IHateFairyland_13-1.pngI Hate Fairyland #13 (Image) – You know you’re onto something when you can start handing over your creator-owned series to guest artists and know that they won’t skip a beat. Dean Rankine handles the art on the story of Larry’s dream of a Gert-less life and he absolutely kills it. From the opening shot of fly maternity (which cannot be unseen), to the dung mines, to his ultimately meltdown on the Ellfen Show, every page is a wicked delight. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

The Old Guard #5 (Image) – Greg Rucka & Leandro Fernandez conclude their tale of immortal soldiers with many, many prices paid. Nothing earth-shaking here; it’s loud and fast-moving, but the action is solidly driven by the desires of the characters and everything actually makes dramatic sense, which is more than I can say for most action comics and movies. I think I’ve said it before, but if these two want to make more war comics I will buy them all. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

 


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

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

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Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 6/17

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

CATALYST PRIME ACCELL #1Accell #1 (Catalyst Prime/Lion Forge) This was a really fun comic, and one I highly recommend you checking out. There’s quite a few variations on the speedster type hero, but I don’t think I’ve seen the power set done quite like this before – and then when you add in the brilliant nods to video games and gaming culture… then you’ve got a genuinely interesting comic that I want a lot more of. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Ben Reilly: Scarlet Spider #3 (Marvel) I can’t say this was bad… but then I can’t really say it was good either. At least Kaine was in it – that’s worth a point on its own. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Read

Noble #1 (Catalyst Prime/Lion Forge) Another solid win for the publisher this week. You could do a lot worse than this comic that’s basically twenty odd pages of well drawn action. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Weapon X #4 (Marvel) Meh… I’ve read worse comics. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Read.

X-Men Blue #5 (Marvel) I missed the last couple issues of this series, but ultimately that didn’t hamper my enjoyment of this issue. It was a fairly standard X-Men fight issue, which certainly helped my ease of reading, but there wasn’t a whole lot more than that if I’m being honest. Still, enjoyable for what it was. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

George

DDFORGE_Cv1_Andy_Kubert_varDark Days The Forge #1 (DC) I’ve been staying away from big events but DC goes all out for DARK DAYS THE FORGE #1 and it pays off with a “Dan Brown” historical, super cosmic mystery that only the Batman can solve. Without spoiling anything, Snyder & Tynion take full advantage of their all-star art team who help us follow a dark mystery of the DCU that Batman has been investigating for years. This dark secret has somehow connections to the Guardians and Nth metal. Besides the secret, the team and assets that Batman puts into play has some great twists and turns, bringing back some of my favorite characters. Recommendation: worth the buy.

Christopher

dept h 15Dept H #15 (Dark Horse) -Matt Kindt does an interesting flashback almost continuously throughout the issue. Revealing more of Mia’s past with her father. A romantic past with Alain, and his subtle influence of why she went down there in the first place. Lending a sense of time to the series overall. The watercolor artwork continues to stand out, as the story seems to deepen. Yet given how only a couple issue remain to be released, how will the story end? Will Mia find out who killed her father? Will they return the surface? Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Ryan C

Briggs Land: Lone Wolves #1 (Dark Horse)** – I guess they’re going the route of starting over with a new first issue for every arc of Brian Wood and Mack Chater’s series, and while I’m not sure how successful that will be in coaxing new readers to “jump on,” the high-stakes drama on hand here certainly will keep those of us who have been reading from the start onboard. A semi-accidental hostage standoff appears as though it’s going to be the focal point of this “new” run, and while I’m still highly dubious (to say the least) about the morals of an admitted serial sexual harasser chronicling the lives of racist white separatists, I have to admit this is addicting stuff, superbly illustrated. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

BlackHood-SeasonTwo_05-0VThe Black Hood #5 (Archie/Dark Circle)** – The final issue of “season” two of this series is the end of the road for it (and, I would assume, the Dark Circle label) altogether, it seems, and while Duane Swierczynski and Greg Scott build to a fairly satisfying climax between our two protagonists and their adversary for the bulk of this installment, the whiplash-inducing last couple of pages do wrap things up a bit too haphazardly — not that it could probably be helped, given that the book’s pink slip had come in. Nice to see things left open for the possibility of a return, though — even if it’ll never happen. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

Kingpin #5 (Marvel)** – I was enjoying the heck out of the final issue of Matthew Rosemberg and Ben Torres’ mini-series, which plays on the classic “Daredevil” trope of a fixed fight, but then things get really oblique and ill-defined at the end, and it really does let the side down considerably. Lovely art throughout, though, it must be said. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Read if you’ve been doing so, skip if you haven’t.

Copperhead #14 (Image)** – Jay Faerber and Drew Moss put the wraps on the long-awaited return arc for this sci-fi/western amalgamation, and while the murder mystery plotline gets wrapped up a bit too quickly and conveniently for my tastes, the various subplots that have been converging on our sheriff start to bubble to the surface with some serious fervor, and the future for this book looks very exciting indeed — especially now that Moss is really hitting his stride on the art. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Allie

There’s Nothing There #2 (Black Mask) Still very mediocre. Still feels awkward and stilted. Still feels like writer quietly detests women who are socialites and the culture around them. Still no real clues into whatever intrigue is supposedhappening. Still doesn’t really feel like horror because nothing about it feels personal. Still very much a letdown. Recommendation: Hard Pass

Shean

Vision Directors Cut #1(Marvel) In what is truly a “slice of life”, the Vision builds a VISIONDIRCUT2017002family : a wife, Virginia and kids, Viv and Val. As much as the family attempts to be normal, they run into a ton of conundrums which challenge their notion of normal. Eventually, their super-selves catch up with their lives and they have to fight the Reaper. As their daughter gets taken, the Vision goes on a mission to find her. Great book with all the extras you expect from a Directors cut. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

The Defenders #1 (Marvel) In this debut issue of the soon to be Netflix miniseries, we catch up with the gang soon after Jessica gets shot. Apparently Diamondback is alive and well and the Defenders busted up one of his establishments. Meanwhile, Diamondback attempts to forge an alliance with Black Cat. Altogether, a great reintroduction to these heroes in a group dynamic but what is the real buyin to this book is Marquez’s gorgeous art, as he is almost like the second coming of Alex Ross. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Black Panther and The Crew #3 (Marvel) In the first few pages, the reader is taken into a hidden history of how some of the areas where indigenous peoples inhabited, where we find out much like Harlem, they also had their own heroes.Also, In this issue of this superior series, T’Challa and Ororo uncover what seems at first to be a project development to gentrify Harlem but something more sinister is at play. When the reader finds out what happened, a tragedy occurs. By issue’s end, another hero to Harlem shows up, Luke Cage, as Hydra will have their hands full. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Patrick

Cinema Purgatorio #10 (Avatar)** Alan Moore & Kevin O’Neill crack open the door on cinema purgatorio 10.jpga concept I want so, so much more of: kid investigators and Cthulhu. The idea is so strong (Lovecraftian haunted seaside cinema) that I couldn’t help but be disappointed with the execution, which is constrained by the format of the series. Think I’ll go and dig up some Ramsey Campbell stories. In Code Pru, Garth Ennis and Raulo Caceres dig into Pru’s past with her adoptive parents Annabelle and Alabaster. Maybe not for everyone, but I’m quite enjoying watching Pru try to be normal in a world of relentless horror. Line of the ish: “Mom, I’m not worshipping a thing that f*cks itself in the face.” – “You are or you’re grounded!” And onto Kieron Gillen and Nahuel Lopez’ Modded, which has grown on me, but this one’s a bit of a placeholder, setting up what should be a corker of a next chapter, in which our heroes go shopping for demons. Purgatorio: 8, Code Pru: 8.5, Modded: 8 Recommendation: read but it’s too expensive for what you get

Bitch Planet Triple Feature #1 (Image)**  Interesting spinoff from the main series, letting other creators explore this world. Briefly: “Windows” by Cheryl Lynn Eaton and Maria Frôhlich features an interesting character in Lupe, a nurse on BP who’s hung out to dry and given a “soft landing” as a maid. “Without and Within” by Andrew Aydin and Joanna Estep goes behind the scenes of what seems to be Congress, and a poor secretary’s first day on the job. “The Invisible Woman” by Conley Lyons and Craig Yeung tells the story of a hairdo gone wrong. They were all okay, I guess, but I expected work that was much, much sharper – especially in short story mode. “Windows” felt like it was the only piece that was actually set in the world of BP, as the other two could almost have taken place today. The stories here don’t yet fully complement BP either in style or in substance, but I’m fairly confident that this will improve as the series progresses. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Read

Image‘s statement on Divided States of Hysteria. Having reviewed the new Chaykin last week, I felt compelled to look at Eric Stephenson’s statement about the “conversation”. I couldn’t disagree more with nearly everything in it. This book couldn’t be more escapist, relying on the exploitation of fears of the other (in just about every category: Muslims, POC, trans women) in the name of “rebelliousness” and “not pulling any punches”. But I reiterate: all of the punches are aimed down. The statement relies on a fallacy of false balance, i.e. that people who are factually wrong are just part of “the conversation” (in the way that creationism in science curricula is “teaching the controversy”). Completely absent from Chaykin’s book is, in fact, anyone actually working towards progress and justice, actually striving for “discourse, understanding, and cooperation”, and reducing what has become a life-and-death fight for rights and recognition to “opposing viewpoints.” Hysteria, in substance, is so one-sided, so cherrypicking in its choices of “worst aspects of reality” that it’s hard to see how it can add anything to a “productive conversation about the present state of our society.” Overall: 2 Recommendation: Read, but I sure as hell didn’t buy it.


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 6/10

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

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Logan

shade9Shade the Changing Girl #9 (DC/Young Animal)– Shade attends a Sonic Booms concert. They’re a band from the 1960s that was featured in her favorite Earth TV show Life with Honey, and she is sad and puzzled when they look so old. This leads to a chaotic series of events when Shade de-ages a bunch of Gothamites and looks for the actor who played Honey. Cecil Castellucci, Marley Zarcone, and Kelly Fitzpatrick produce an ode to nostalgia and add some heat to the plotline of the Metans looking for her M-Vest. The scenes in Meta are pretty trippy, and Shade interacting with “ancient” computers is quite a rush color-wise. Overall: 7.8 Recommendation: Buy

Giant Days #27 (BOOM!)– Esther going “woke” is predictably hilarious, and John Allison, Max Sarin, Liz Fleming, and Whitney Cogar also manage to skewer performative social justice culture without punching down. To catch the eye of an attractive lad, Esther decides to help protest the opening of a new chain grocery store with the help of lots of yelling, inane slogans, and barring the path of people getting food and necessary supplies for their family. Any time Esther is the center of a plot, the drama and comedy are both on high alert, and Sarin and Fleming produce some of the series’ most hilarious moments when she invites her woke beau into her apartment. The reaction shots alone are worth picking this issue up, and there’s also a simmering subplot with Susan and her ex McGraw, who still have feelings for each other. Overall: 8.4 Recommendation: Buy

Ryan C

GA_Cv24_dsDark Knight III: The Master Race #9 (DC)** – Go on, admit it : you knew that Brian Azzaello and Andy Kubert, (and maybe even Frank Miller, assuming his involvement amounted to anything more than a courtesy credit) were going to stick the landing on this one along with every other thing that’s been wrong with it. And they surely do. All this issue proves is that they easily could have wrapped this series up in the originally-allotted eight issues, probably even six. But hey, Batman’s young again, so you know what that means : a “Dark Knight Universe” monthly series is probably on the way at some point. Try to contain your excitement. Overall: 1 Recommendation: Pass. I purchased my copy, which proves I need a brain transplant.

Batman #24 (DC) – Just as I thought. A stunt. Nothing happens in this issue apart from an over-wrought conversation between Batman and Gotham Girl until — that last page that we all knew about going in, anyway. Tom King just can’ seem to find his usual mojo as writer on this book, and while the fill-in pages by Clay and Seth Mann look really nice, David Finch’s art on the bulk of the comic is as terrible as ever. Overall: 3.5. Recommendation: Pass.

The Flintstones #12 (DC) – If the best book in the DC line had to go, this is the way to do it, as Mark Russell and Steve Pugh deliver a love letter to their characters, readers, and really to humanity in general. I miss this series already, and if you haven’t been reading it in singles, then by all that’s holy, please pick it up the trades! It’s not so much an extension and/or revamp of “The Flintstones” as it is the thematic and spiritual successor to another legendary comic that used prehistoric tropes to talk about then-contemporary (and timeless) issues : Howie Post’s sublime “Anthro.” Yes, this has really been that good. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Green Arrow #24 (DC) – Benjamin Percy and Juan Ferreyra wrap up their “The Rise Of Star City” arc with a reasonably solid issue that leaves Seattle completely fucked and Ollie in a pretty tough little pickle himself. The cliffhanger ending feels more than a bit forced and basically comes out of nowhere, but the gorgeous, vibrant art more than makes up for any story deficiencies. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

George

Bankshot.01Bankshot #1 (Dark Horse Comics) Writer: Alex de Campi, Artist: ChrisCross, Colorist: Snakebite Cortez. I had a major synaptic disconnect this past weekend, I literally had 5 minutes with Alex de Campi (a cool person by the way) at Book Expo America 2017, we talked about her other book Mayday and just never put the name to Bank Shot which I had just finished reading on the train up to BEA. I missed my opportunity to ask her about this latest kick-ass book. And kick-ass it is, from de Campi’s blazing plot and tight dialog, to ChrisCross’s amazing flair for action scenes and ability at drawing a tight fade, coupled with Cortez’s choices for lighting a panel with dramatic flare, Bank Shot is a solid jumping on point for fans of action and adventure. The hero Marcus King is a former US soldier, turned soldier of fortune, imagine a one man A-Team with a James Bond budget. Dark Horse has a track record for gritty comics and Bank Shot continues that legacy with this mini-series.

Patrick

Stray Bullets #24 (Image/El Capitan) – After getting beat up and kicked around and generally treated like a dog, Orson gets his day when the gang takes a detour to New Orleans for a little R&R. One of the things I love about David Lapham’s work is how he can lull you into some deep, quiet moments for pages at a time and then you hit the bottom of the bottle and everything turns upside down and inside out and that’s how the fire in the bar got started. Also: the most terrifying line in this book is “Derek would like his mustache back.” Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy already!

agents of pactAgents of PACT #2 (Chapterhouse) – The moment I’ve been dreading: the meeting of Fleur de Lys and Kebec. But first: more of this incomprehensible plotline and Marla’s inexplicable gold… generating? manipulating? conjuring? Gold-type powers. Back to Manon and Yvette. Uh, Yvette? Really? For a 20something Québécoise? Yvette is a name that hasn’t been given to girls here since about 1957, and it’s easy to find the most popular 100 names for any given year on the internet. Also, for someone as supposedly starstruck as Yvette is by Manon – as in, meeting Fleur de Lys is the sole and entire reason for Kebec to come back to the fold – there is not one panel depicting their meeting. Kalman Andrasofsky & Blake Northcott’s writing is painfully by-the-numbers (including the scene between Redcoat and Marla where R. explains how she had to make the tough call in the field). Federica Manfredi does a solid job on the art, though Caroline Nolasco’s colours muddy it rather than enhance it. Overall: 5 Recommendation: Skip

The Divided States of Hysteria #1 (Image) – Howard Chaykin returns to the present(ish) day with a political thriller designed, by his own admission, to offend liberals and conservatives alike. First things first: master letterer Ken Bruzenak absolutely crushes it here – the relentless noise of internet chatter that pervades the background is both maddening and perfect for not only the tone but for Chaykin’s writing in general. In terms of art, Chaykin’s page design smartly drives the story forward in a dense but crisp televisual style. Now, the story. Really basically, the President and cabinet have been assassinated. Frank Villa, our usual cynical lantern-jawed hero/schmuck, is a CIA field officer now (apparently) in charge of counter-terrorism stuff. Things go wrong and a group of Muslim women set off a bomb in the middle of New York City. Meanwhile, various serial killers are arrested in sordid circumstances. This book is dirty and messy and grimy, bloodshot and cum-stained, every page a crime scene. Which does not mean it’s provocative – rather, it reminds me of Kathy Griffin’s Trump-decapitated photo, where the targets are easy and the punches aimed squarely downwards. Chaykin’s work is, as always, remarkable and unique and relentless. But the politics are too reactionary to be truly provocative, too angry and confused to be really incendiary, and overall so overwrought that I’m left with the impression that what we’re seeing is not so much the state of America as the pure, unadulterated state of 21st-century Chaykin. Overall: 9 and 4 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 6/3

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

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Ryan C

HadriansWall_07-1Kill Or Be Killed #9 (Image)** – As Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips’ latest long-form series careens toward the conclusion of its second arc, our hapless protagonist seems well and truly out of his depth and the walls feel as if they’re closing in around him from all sides. A breakneck-paced issue that sees Phillips return to form on the artistic front after a couple of issues where the proportions of his characters seemed uncharacteristically off, and showcases Brubaker’s “dude, you’re so fucked” plotting skills at their finest. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Hadrian’s Wall #7 (Image)** – The penultimate chapter of Kyle Higgins, Alec Siegel, and Rod Reis’ sci-fi murder mystery/brinksmanship thriller sees the identity of the killer (probably) revealed while simultaneously upping the ante something fierce as far as the standoff between Earth and its colony world goes. More superb Sienkiewicz-esque art from Reis is the icing on this magnificently-constructed cake, I honestly can’t wait to see how things wrap up next month! Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Moon Knight #14 (Marvel)** – Not a bad wrap-up to Jeff Lemire and Greg Smallwood’s year-plus run on this series, although hardly the most memorable one, either. The final conflict between Marc Spector and his “patron” god Khonshu turns out to be something of an anti-climatic Marc vs. himself dust-up — which has been the main storyline here all along — that leaves him essentially right back where he was when this whole thing started. Smallwood’s illustrations are certainly lovely, but the story is kind of a “meh” affair on the whole. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Read

Secret Empire #3 (Marvel)** – Andrea Sorrentino and Rod Reis certainly deliver the goods as far as the art goes on this book, but damn, Nick Spencer’s story is quickly devolving into pretty standard-issue crossover stuff, with lots of characters getting just a little bit of “screen time,” a number of should-be-moving pieces essentially standing in place as far as the plot goes, and an overall feeling that we’ve seen all this before too many times to count. In fairness, I certainly never expected much from this “summer blockbuster” event — and it turns out that’s exactly what we’re getting. Overall: 4 Recommendation: Pass

 

Patrick

SexCriminals_19-1Kill Or Be Killed #9 (Image) – After a few issues of changing points of view, we are squarely back with vigilante Dylan in the most conventionally-written issue in a while. That’s not a bad thing when the conventional writer is Ed Brubaker, but it’s like the last couple of issues just disappeared. Phillips and Breitweiser crush it as usual. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Sex Criminals #19 (Image) – As a writer of clever burlesque song parodies, I can’t help but nod at how pleased Fraction is with his Wide Wiener Man jingle. However, self-satisfaction (ahem) doesn’t go very far. There’s a nice first date scene, and it was kind of nice to see Suzie trying to get out of the weirdness, but it’s all starting to feel a bit run-of-the-mill, like a dull fourth season. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Skip

Ash vs Army of Darkness #0 (Dynamite) – Much as I love the idea of an Ash-as-substitute-high-school-teacher Evil Dead story, did Chris Sims and Chad Bowers really need an entire issue to set it up? And it’s not like anyone picking up this book needs a recap of the movies. Mauro Vargas’ art? It’s tough in these kinds of adaptations to walk the line between getting a good representation of the real actor and doing good comic art – Vargas, for me, gets into no-man’s-land, neither representative nor cartoony enough. It’s all a bit timid, as if they don’t trust that buyers of an Evil Dead book are going to be totally on board with whatever insanity the artistic team brings. Bring it, baby! Overall: 5 Recommendation: skip and try #1

joe golemGeorge

Joe Golem Occult Detective Outer Dark #1 (Dark Horse) – Writers Mignola and Golden bring their literary hero to the comic page and take us on a weird trip through the looking glass to an alternate Earth where New York City circa 1967 resembles Venice, half submerged this Drowning City is the setting for an occult murder mystery. Our Hero Joe Golem suffering from crippling nightmares must help the NYPD find the murderer with the black eyes full of stars. This book is a great mashup of pulp fiction and alternate history with a dash of magic. Reynolds makes this world accessible and intriguing with a style that harkens to those yesterdays of private eyes. A solid comic worth the read.

Alex

Moon Knight #14 (Marvel) If you’ve been reading the series so far, you may as well read this. If you haven’t been then…. this isn’t the best ending. Overall: 5 Recommendation: Pass



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

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

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 5/27

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

Underwinter_03-1Ringside #10 (Image)** – This series is so up-and-down — on the rare occasions when a new issue actually comes out — that it’s difficult to know where to even begin, much less what to expect. Joe Keatinge delivers a middling script this time that does move the narrative forward, albeit not in the most convincing way possible, while Nick Barber’s art continue to — how can I put this kindly? — go off the rails. Overall: 3.5  Recommendation: Pass.

Underwinter #3  (Image)**– I’d been doing a reasonably good job of following what Ray Fawkes was doing with this series (never the easiest of tasks) to date, but with this issue he completely lost me. It’s frankly becoming impossible to tell what’s happening in the here and now and what’s some sort of “waking dream” or “vivid memory,” and while in the right hands that can be equal parts disconcerting and exciting, for all his practice at it in prior efforts like “Intersect,” it’s still not something that Fawkes knows how to successfully pull off. Overall: 3 Recommendation: Pass

Mother Panic #7 (DC/Young Animal)** – Jody Houser kicks off a new storyline with the great John Paul Leon joining on art, and the results are frankly astounding — far more coherent and absorbing than recent issues, with some scenes that pack a real emotional wallop and draw obvious parallels to the story of a young Bruce Wayne. Throw in an intriguing new villain and further revelations about our erstwhile anti-heroine’s own mysterious background, and what you’ve got is one superb comic. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Action Comics # 980 (DC)** – Dan Jurgens and Patch Zircher continue their entirely competent but just as entirely uninspiring take on Superman’s adventures with an issue that shows the newly-minted Superman Revenge Squad going about the task of trying to break General Zod out of Belle Reve prison while the Kent family moves closer to ditching Hamilton County in favor of a return to Metropolis — a development that doesn’t thrill me in the least. Not a bad comic by any means, but not an especially good one, either. Overall: 5 Recommendation: Pass

Patrick

titan5The Old Guard #4 (Image)** – Leandro Fernandez’s art is just blowing me away. The guy draws the hell out of every single moment and his storytelling and body language are knockout. Greg Rucka ably gives us enough emotional material to make the action sequences dramatically as well as physically brutal. Guys, if you’re not doing anything afterwards, I’d buy a straight-up war anthology book from you. Any time, any place. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Titan #5 (Study Group)** – One of my favourite series comes to an epic conclusion. François Vigneault’s drawing is really sneaky, and his style hits a high note here. While it looks very cartoony up front, it is actually all business: his characters are bloodied, scarred, bruised, bumped, bandaged, sweaty, and totally intense. Meanwhile, his backgrounds are detailed but – unlike in classic ligne claire – not just architecturally rendered and clean. Everything is lived-in, everything is beat-up and not only used but in use. For some, cartooniness can be a way to cut corners: in Titan it’s a way to show them. Never mind that the writing is also top-notch, dealing with a revolution-in-space genre that makes no bones about problems of race, class, economic exploitation, sex, and the political uses of violence. Go out of your way and get these. They’ve just been collected in French translation, but are still looking for a home in English. Get on this, internet! Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Victor LaValle’s Destroyer #1 (Boom!) – I’m kind of a sucker for a good Frankenstein story, so I was curious about this. The snarkyish rundown: Frankenstein’s monster, who’s been living in the Antarctic, tries to save a whale, which brings him back into contact with civilization and a shadowy government agency that’s been looking for him. They then go looking for a scientist, who’s holed herself up in Montana to bring her dead son back to life. Said scientist goes out drinking in a sweater and jeans, but changes into a skirt and heels to do Science. This story makes little sense (the inciting incident is ridiculous and so very long) and Dietrich Smith’s drawing is okay, but only that. Overall: 5 Recommendation: Skip



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: Dept. H, American Monster, The Howling, Smoketown, and more!

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

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Christopher

Dept H. #14 (Dark Horse) – Unable to return to the surface, the surviving crew of Dept. H must make some difficult choices, with air and livable space at a premium. Will they have to sacrifice one of their own in order for the rest to survive? Meanwhile, we begin to see the larger role that Verve has played in the fate of our crew.Things are beginning to look up, as someone self-sacrifices to get the rest of the crew to the surface. Yet that still doesn’t answer who kills Mia’s father. Given they have two issue still to come, I hope they manage to answer that. Since that has been the lingering question throughout. Overall the story and art continue to impress. Merging both past and present. Writer and Artist: Matt Kindt Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

 

Ryan

Dead Inside #5 (Dark Horse)* – A thoroughly satisfying conclusion to John Arcudi and Toni Fejzula’s prison murder mystery complete with a Tarantino-esque Mexican stand-off on steroids? This is pretty much why I love comics in a nutshell. Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

American Monster #6 (Aftershock)* – Just when you think that all Brian Azzarello is capable of these days is mailing it in, along comes the second arc of this amazingly depraved series complete with Juan Doe’s usual gorgeous, eye-popping artwork. Every single character here is a reprobate — even those who only show up for a page or two such as the couple splitting up at the start of this issue — and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Lots of moving pieces and subplots within subplots going on here, so it pays to give every single word and ever single image very close attention indeed. Heady stuff, to say the least. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

The Flash # 22 (DC Comics)* – So, “The Button” began with the death of the Reverse-Flash and ends with — the death of the Reverse-Flash? So, what was all that bullshit in between about, then? Spoiler time: Joshua Williamson and Howard Porter — at the behest of their editors, no doubt — contrive a way to bring back Jay Garrick for a few pages before exiling him off into the Speed Force again, and Dr. Manhattan goes from looming over events off-page to looming over events on-page, but if you’re looking for anything resembling a resolution, look elsewhere: this is pure set-up for DC’s sure-to-suck “Doomsday Clock” mini-series that will finally see the Big Blue-Vs.-Superman punch-up that none of us in our right minds ever wanted to come to fruition. Kill me now, please. Or better yet, kill this whole “Watchmen-Vs.-DCU” idea before it goes any further. I know, I know, it’s too late for that vain wish to come true, but still, one can live in hope. Overall: 1.0 Recommendation: Pass

Batman #23 (DC Comics)* – Seemingly out of left field, Tom King delivers the stand-alone story that almost makes the rest of his hugely disappointing run on this title worthwhile. Seeing the Dark Knight team up with Swamp Thing is always great, but King’s take on the former Alec Holland goes well above and beyond, giving us the best iteration of the character since a certain bearded gentleman from England, and Mitch Gerads’ art — apart from a couple of goofy-looking pictures of Batman on the last page — is just plain incredible. Both a moving tribute to Bernie Wrightson and a heartfelt rumination on the relationship between fathers and sons, this is straight-up comic book magic, not to be missed under any circumstances. Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

 

Allie

Night Owl Society #2 (IDW Publishing) – I had hopes for this. Not high hopes but hopes. Sadly, Night Owl Society #2 let me down again. As I mentioned in my review before, the writing and story presented here is bland and predictable. The main character has no redeeming qualities and the foils around him are all two-dimensional. Simply put, there’s just no reason to put any emotional stock behind these characters and reading made it feel like it was just a matter of when the “twists” would come less than what they would be. All in all, another disappointment that makes me want to drop the series entirely, if for no other reason than that I can probably call the ending right now. Recommendation: Hard Pass

 

Patrick

Nancy Drew & the Hardy Boys: The Big Lie #3 (Dynamite) – I finally nailed what’s been bothering me about this competently-written, competently-drawn series: it’s trying SO HARD to be Noir, when the actual genre of the Hardy Boys novels is Procedural. The former assumes that nothing can be solved; the latter assumes that every crime can be solved with the application of reason, science, and intelligence. So the mixing of the two genres could be interesting – but they just don’t dig in deep enough. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Pass

Will Eisner’s The Spirit: Corpsemakers #3 (Dynamite) – Normally I love Fernando Francavilla, and the Black Beetle is a favorite. But maybe I’ve just read too many Spirit stories, so anything more than 8 pages gets too far away from the Platonic ideal of Eisnerian. I had the same problem with the Cooke/Bone/etc version a while back. It’s also devilishly hard for us goyim to really nail the Yiddishkeit of the originals – that combination of pathos and humor, romance and tragedy. Overall 7.0 (because Francavilla after all) Recommendation: Pass

Smoketown #2 (Scout Comics) – As an Army brat, I’m always happy to see stories that explore the life of military personnel and the demands that are made of them without most civilians really understanding what we’re asking them to do. Writer Philip Kennedy Johnson does a pretty good job with this crime fiction of a soldier returned from Afghanistan and the demands that his new civilian life makes of him, without understanding what has happened to him and what he’s dealing with. Artist Scott Van Domelen is also pretty good here, though still I think in a no man’s land between graphically flashy and kitchen-sink drama (I can’t help but compare his war sequences to Leandro Fernandez on The Old Guard). There’s something there, but not quite there yet. Overall 7.5 Recommendation: Read

The Howling #1 (Space Goat Productions) – Try as they did to recap the 1981 movie in the first few pages to bring us up to speed for this sequel, I found myself having to go back and rewatch it. So how does writer Micky Neilson and artist Jason Johnson’s work stack up? Pretty poorly. The original movie at least had something to say about the end of the 70’s, California cults, and the beginning of the 80’s fascination with the media. But this comic is just another werewolf story, and not even a particularly scary one at that. The writing is paint-by-numbers and the art is just too well-lit and neatly-delineated for the genre. Overall: 4.0 Recommendation: Pass (but do watch the movie!)

 

Shean

Star Trek TNG: Mirror Broken #1 (IDW Publishing) – In this debut issue of the Mirror Universe implications for the TNG crew, what one finds is a much more sinister and cynical crew. We find a muscle bound Picard wanting to climb the ladder in rank but is stuck on a ship called the Stargazer. While at HQ, he stumbles upon what looks like plans for a new class of ship. He recruits Laforge into his dastardly evil plans and gives the reader, a familiar sight on the horizon. Story: 10 Art: 10 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: Harrow County, The Fix, Grass Kings, and More

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

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Ryan

Harrow County #23 (Dark Horse)* – Cullen Bunn’s storyline takes another interesting, if tentative, lurch forward here as tensions continue to mount between our protagonist and her one-time best friend, but is the real danger to both youg ladies yet to make itself fully known? Tyler Crook’s art remains, as ever, darkly lush and evocative. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

Grass Kings #3 (BOOM! Studios)* – The least involving chapter to date in Matt Kindt and Tyler Jenkins’ still-young narrative is still a damn fine read and provides some explanation about who our “mystery guest” is while hinting at the trouble she’s about to bring down around the heads of everyoe in the so-called “Grass Kingdom.” The gorgeous watercolor art remains the star of the show here, but the whole story-and-art package is a wonderfully seamless affair. Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

The Fix #9 (Image Comics)* – I still laugh my ass off at every issue of Nick Spencer and Steve Lieber’s yarn about fuck-up crooked cops, but this chapter continues the trend of far less dense, more “decompressed” storytelling that’s taken hold in recent installments, and while admitting up-front that you’re openly swiping from “L.A. Confidential” is a clever enough way to address the elephant in the room, it doesn’t change the simple fact that derivative stuff is — well, derivative stuff. Lieber’s art is starting to look as rushed as the scripts, too. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Read

Copperhead #13 (Image Comics)* – The intrigue surrounding the sheriff and her new boss/.former subordinate continues to deepen, as does the murder mystery surrounding the former mayor, but last issue’s cliffhanger is revealed to be a whole lot of nothing right off the bat, which feels like more than a bit of a cheat, so I’ve gotta kncok this down a notch for that. On the whole, though, Jay Faerber’s scripts continue to impress and Drew Moss is starting to grow on me (Get it? Moss? Grow? Okay, so it’s not really very funny) in his role as artist, but truth be told, I’ll always miss Scott Godlewski. Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

 

 

 

Elana

Bug: The Adventures of Forager #1 (DC Comics) Team Allred doing Jack Kirby’s Fourth World is a match made on New Genesis. They truly inhabit his dynamic visual style that is the most Comics of all. I am excited to see a story that is both written and drawn by this team.

The creative visual metaphors we get are clearly the product of visual storytellers. This story questions social control and the perhaps impossible dream of self determination and freedom. It is rich with references to the full Forth World canon but the visuals are stunning in their own right so newbies will love it. There is so much visual storytelling per page it demands re-reading. I love it. Overall 9.0 Recommendation: Buy it. Frame it.


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 May 6th

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

BLACK BOLT #1Black Bolt #1 (Marvel) Sometimes I find I have very little to say about a comic other than “Yup, I liked it.” Overall: 7.75 Recommendation: Read

The Damned #1 (Oni Press)**  I got the review copy of this, but never read it. Then I saw it at my LCS for $1, and figured why not? It was easily worth a buck. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Buy

Secret War #1 (Marvel) I wanted to like this, especially after the zero issue, but I just couldn’t find anything positive to say about an issue that seemed to shift story direction too quickly – where the Avengers mindwiped (I hope so) or have they just accepted that Hydra is in charge? I don’t want to say that the potential of the zero issue seems to have been wasted… but… I doubt I’ll read the next issue. Overall: 5 Recommendation: Pass

X-Men Gold #3 (Marvel) Didn’t I just read issue #2? The second issue in as many weeks concludes the opening three-parter, and signals the end of the controversial artists. X-Men Gold #3 is quite an enjoyable read, that hearkens back to a very classic X-Men feeling story. It’s an enjoyable read, but nothing spectacular – unlike the previous issue.  Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

Logan

EternalEmpire_01-1Eternal Empire #1 (Image) Sarah Vaughn and Jonathan Luna’s latest collaboration is a poetically paced deconstruction of “conquering queen” arcs in fantasy stories, especially Daenerys Targaryen’s in Game of Thrones. The issue opens up with a queen meeting a dragon in an almost beat for beat replay of the Game of Thrones Season 1 finale before cutting to the monotonous, terrible life of a worker that grows the crops that supports her army to conquer even more people for her “eternal” empire. Luna’s use of grids helps nail down the routine feeling of our protagonist’s life, and he switches up color gradients when she tries to run for it. There is lots of worldbuilding on the political, religious, and cosmological fronts, but Vaughn and Luna temper it with a hell of an escape plotline and clean artwork.
Worth picking up for any fans of fantasy and especially relevant in the current American climate of authoritarianism and distraction through a variety of high tech versions of “pak wine”. Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Patrick

The Dregs #3 (Black Mask)  This series continues strong, as Marlowe wanders into an uptown coffee shop and finds what he’s looking for in a vintage clothing store. Where “vintage” means the 90’s. Writers Zac Thompson & Lonnie Nadler absolutely nail the Chandlerian tone, while artist Eric Zawadski and colorist Dee Cunniffe bring us a place we’ve never seen: the ups and downs of Vancouver. And they all manage to show us that the main difference between the scum and the dregs is where they end up in the bottle. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

damned 1.jpgThe Damned #1 (Oni Press)  Confession: The Sixth Gun is one of those series I missed but always wanted to get into. So I was happy to see a new series by Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt. The premise: Prohibition-era noir, with demons. Interesting enough (although the gangster thing is a bit played out for me, personally). But I found the debut issue muddled, with Bunn giving too much backstory and not enough information being revealed through the story action (a trick at which Chaykin, for example, excels). And I found Hurtt’s artwork is too cartoony to be really terrifying here. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Read

Freelance #2 (Chapterhouse)  Still not into it. Wrtiers Jim Zub & Andrew Wheeler can’t manage to be specific enough about the threat to make me care about the plot, nor deep enough about the romance to make me care about the characters. Vaneda Vreak & Cindy Leong’s art feels rushed and too sketchy to really get into the action. I don’t know why, but in my head I kept comparing it to William Vance’s art on the spy series XIII (an unfair comparison to just about anyone) and I was out. Overall: 5 Recommendation: Skip

True Patriot Presents #4 (Chapterhouse)  I’m a Canadian Forces brat, so the very idea of Jay Stephens’ Arrowhead totally delights me. (That idea being that industrial defense powerfhouse Avro designs a combat armour program that gets mysteriously cancelled, like its Arrow fighter jet) In this issue, further delight as Stephens brings us a 1956 adventure of the original Arrowhead with giant robots and ex-Nazi scientists. More of these, Jay! Then it’s back to the present, and the future – because time travel is real, bro. Great fun! As for Dominion Jack, the less said the better. Especially considering that, as a patriotic hero name, Canada hasn’t been a Dominion since 1982, when they changed our July 1 holiday from Dominion Day to Canada Day. Then onto my hometown of Montreal for Meaghan Carter’s Le Fantôme. I was frustrated from the first caption, setting the scene at Montreal’s Ecomuseum, which is actually called the Biodome (yes, for real). I chalk it up to unnecessary artistic licence, but still. Story and art are both rushed and kind of perfunctory. Also, a note on the Quebec French accent in comics: they don’t pronounce “the” as “ze”, but as “de”. Arrowhead: 8, Dominion Jack: 4, Fantôme: 5 Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: grab it (it’s digital-only on Comixology) for Arrowhead alone.

Ryan C

Batman #22 (DC)** For all the griping I’ve done about Tom King’s run on this series, tBM_Cv22_dshings could be worse — Joshua Williamson could be writing it. He does, in fact, write this issue, and it’s loaded with painfully awkward and clunky dialogue that shouldn’t make it past an editor and makes a mockery of a Bruce-Wayne-meets-his-father scene that even a mildly competent author could wring some decent emotion out of. Throw in Jason Fabok’s dull-as-dry-toast “New 52”-style art, and you’ve got yet another incredibly lame chapter in the rancid “The Button” storyline. Overall: 2 Recommendation: Pass

Bane Conquest #1 (DC)**  For some reason I can’t explain, there are people out there who miss ’90s superhero comics, but fear not : Chuck Dixon and Graham Nolan are on hand here to remind you of just how lousy they were. A go-nowhere story matched with sloppy, dated-looking art makes for a really poor introductory chapter in this long-form story. 12 issues of this? No thanks, I’m out. Overall: 1 Recommendation: Pass

Postal #20 (Top Cow/Image)**  The shit hits the fan in a big way in this issue, as Mark makes a big stand, Maggie does likewise, and a series regular I shan’t name meets an ignominious end. A seriously fun, compelling, even jaw-dropping script from Bryan Hill paired up with strong and dynamic art from Isaac Goodhart makes for one terrific read. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Shipwreck #4 (Aftershock)**  I’m not sure how Warren Ellis has managed to cover so much ground — both actual and theoretical — with the sparse, economic scripting style he’s employed for this series, but damn if he doesn’t take things even further here while managing to fill in quite a few of the intriguing blanks he’s left along the way. Phil Hester, for his part, continues to deliver the goods with his smartly bleak, richly minimalist art. Terrific stuff all around. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

 

Shean

Injustice #1 (DC) We open up the series with Superman being locked up by Batman, for JEAN GREY #1being too dangerous to the world. As Kal El outlines all the casualties both men have suffered from the events in Injustice. Meanwhile, Harley Quinn is hiding out in Arrows former haven, when she gets arrested by Amanda Waller. By issue’s end, the reader and Harley is introduced to the Suicide Squad. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Bane Conquest #1 (DC) There’s no words for this book, I couldn’t stay engaged enough in the story to know what’s going on. Basically just pass on this one. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Pass

Jean Grey #1 (Marvel) This issue was so much fun, as it shows a whole different side to Jean Grey. We get to meet an X-man without all the terrible history comics fans have gotten to know and find a character more akin to Ms. Marvel ‘s youthful glee. In this first issue, we find Jean stopping a supervillain group known as the Wrecking Crew. By issue’s end, she more than shows her teeth as a superhero but what will follow, is this version still having to face the Dark Phoenix. Overall: 9.3 Recommendation: Buy

Guardians Of The Galaxy: Mission Breakout #1 (Marvel) In this first issue of this brand new series, we find the Guardians held captive by the Collector. What follows is series of witty banter as they plot on how to escape. Of course, the brains of the operation, Rocket, finds a way out. By issue’s end, they not only freed themselves but the rest of the zoo. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Guardians Of The Galaxy: Mother Entropy #1 (Marvel) This series is straight up “Meh”, I wanted to like it but it is trying to be too many things at once. Overall: 5
Recommendation: Pass

 

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

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

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 4/30

Alex

Batman The ShadowBatman/Shadow #1 (DC/Dynamite) I’ve always been partial to the Shadow, and his influence on Bill Finger’s early Batman stories can be felt heavily to this day, so whenever I get a chance to read stories featuring the two characters it’s always a treat. Especially when Scott Snyder has a hand in the story. Overall: 9.25 Recommendation: Buy

Ben Reilly: The Scarlet Spider#1 (Marvel) I don’t know what I was expecting, but it wasn’t this. I gave up on the newest Clone saga-like story (the actual name escapes me), so I’m not as aware as perhaps I could be as to Ben’s mental state, but it seems quite fractured. While this issue was interesting, I don’t know how well it’ll translate into a long term series. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

Kill Or Be Killed #8 (Image) If you’re reading this series, you’ll love this issue. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Old Man Logan #23 (Marvel) My LCS got shorted by Diamond and never received any copies of this, which is neither here nor there, because the flow to this issue is fantastic – having recently reread Wolverine’s debut, I love how Lemire has woven the original (at least it feels original) dialogue into the scenes. This is a brilliant nod to Old Man Logan’s past, and I am loving every page. Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

X-Men Blue #2 (Marvel) While I’m still not sure why Angel has fire wings, I am enjoying the dynamic of the Young X-Men working with Magneto. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Read

X-Men Gold #2 (Marvel) I’m loving the classic X-Men feel of this comic, and the mutant/human tensions haven’t felt this relevant in almost ten years. Just when I’d started to give up on Marvel completely, this series comes and reminds me why I used to love them so much.  Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Weapon X #2 (Marvel) There’s a little plot, some frenemy interactions between Logan and Sabretooth, and a fair amount of fighting. Popcorn comics at it’s finest. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

George

24Legacy_01_cvrREGBatman/Shadow #1 (DC/Dynamite)  Written by Scott Snyder & Steve Orlando Art by Riley Rossmo – If you like stories that show how badass the Shadow is here’s a book for you. Mostly told from the perspective of Batman chasing leads on case that connects to the Shadows alter ego Lamont Cranston, we see how the Shadow is always 3-4 steps ahead of Bats. A great nod to one of my favorite Bat stories with the use of the character Henri Ducard, Batman Shadow is a solid read with great art, and would be a great addition to the proper Bat mythos. And if you’ve never heard of the Shadow, he’s one of the influences for Bob Kane when he created Bats way back when. Definite recommend.

24 Legacy: Rules Of Engagemenr #1 (IDW) Written by Christopher Farnsworth with art by Antonio Fuso – On the heels of the season finale of the tv reboot, we get to see the “spider bite” of our new main character Eric Carter. If you haven’t seen the show it’s cool, all you need to know is that before he became the new go to guy at CTU, Carter was an Army Ranger, taking on classified missions not for the faint of heart. This prequel comic takes us to his early days as a Ranger interwoven with the events that showcase his time before that as a drug dealer. 24 is a solid read, the gritty art makes for a very moody book, the comic doesn’t exactly feel like the show, but it does give us a sense of the character. If you’re a fan of the show and like these origin type stories, buy it.

Logan

BigMoose-OneShot-0Big Moose #1 (Archie) Except for his role as the “antagonist” of Reggie and Me, Moose Mason is one of the characters in the Archie Universe that hasn’t been fleshed out beyond not being too bright and love his girlfriend, Midge. The three stories in the Big Moose one-shot set out to change that. Sean Ryan and Cory Smith’s first story is slapstick-y fun for anyone who has had issues getting an old, wrinkly dollar to work at the vending machine or has random, midday food cravings. Ryan Cady and Thomas Pitilli’s story is a standout as it shows there is more to Moose than his stereotypical portrayal, and he is another high school student struggling to balance school, relationships, and extracurricular activities. Pitilli has a gorgeous wavy line that works for both romance and football action. Gorf and Ryan Jampole’s final story is all about a young freshman who looks up to Moose and is determined to be just like him. Even tertiary Archie characters deserve to be heroes for one day… Overall Rating: 8.6 Recommendation: Buy

Supergirl Being Super #3 (DC) Mariko Tamaki, Joelle Jones, and Kelly Fitzpatrick get into the weird alien stuff in Supergirl Being Super #3 as Kara starts to understand her extraterrestrial origin. But Tamaki doesn’t neglect her humanity spending time on Kara and her friend Dolly’s grief and reaction to their best friend’s death. It’s powerful to see a superhuman have such a human reaction to loss, which is one of the mini’s strong points. The plot also starts to pick up with a pair of small twists towards the end, and a bit of a conspiracy as Kara slowly begins to understand who she is. Joelle Jones’ big, open page layouts and attention to detail when characters emote is the beating heart of this beautiful series that shows the potential of superhero comics. Rating: 9 Recommendation: Buy

BEN REILLY SCARLET SPIDER #1Joe

Ben Reilly: The Scarlet Spider #1 (Marvel) – I will admit I expected this book to be much different than it was, but I will also admit that is a good thing. The story was original enough and keeps Ben on the dark side of things, so don’t expect a full redemption story just yet, or ever. The art was solid and I could see myself continuing this, as I found it pretty interesting as a starting point. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

Patrick

Stray Bullets #23 (Image/El Capitan) – Growing up watching hockey and football, and as the son of a nurse, it always disturbed me when people in comics got knocked out. I understood that it was just comics, but still – being knocked out by a punch (or, in Annie’s case here, by a pot) has serious consequences. Those consequences are what drives David Lapham’s latest issue. Annie is a mess: her house has been wrecked, her boyfriend got shot in the face, Monster is on the loose, she has no makeup, and her daughter Beth just dumps her into it, blackouts, headaches and all, to try and sort it out. This goes about as well as can be expected from Annie. And then Spanish Scott shows up. Another stellar issue. Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

KillOrBeKilled_08-1The Old Guard #3 (Image) – Where did Greg Rucka dig up this Leandro Fernandez guy? ‘Cause he really draws the hell out of this story, which veers from Napoleon in Russia (with what was, to this prairie boy, a quite convincing depiction of snot freezing) to the back stairs of contemporary Paris. And I don’t know if this is really a thing, or if Rucka has just basically invented the genre of paramilitary action-romance, but whatever, I’m down. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Kill Or Be Killed #8 (Image) – After a couple of issues off, demon-driven vigilante Dylan is back in the spotlight. The depiction of New York under police lockdown is excellent, in that the situation is clearly not normal, but everyone is just trying to go about their business as normally as possible. Including Dylan. But – and here’s where Brubaker’s skill shines – the net of unintended consequences draws slowly tighter. Nothing is out of place and, like in a horror movie, you just want to shout, “Don’t go in there!” Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Bitch Planet #10 (Image) – Hard to know what to make of this issue. As ever, the plot is the least interesting part of this series, and this one – as the prson riot continues – is mostly plot. I’m not sold on the revolution yet, but I look forward to next issue, when we get the story of the High Father’s blonde daughter Kylie. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: buy. The backmatter is truly worth the price of admission.

 

Ryan C

Hillbilly #6 (Albatross)** Far and away the most enjoyable issue of Eric Powell’s hillbilly 6inconsistently-released series to date, this yarn spun by our protagonist is of a more personal nature and tugs at the heartstrings while delivering plenty of the same artistic awesomeness we’re used to from this book — and all things Powell, for that matter. All kinds of back-country fun and goodness. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Black Road #9 (Image)** With one installment to go, Brian Wood and Garry Brown set Magnus The Black up for what looks to be an epilogue-style conclusion, given that his remaining foes (of a physical nature, at any rate) are dispatched with brutality and ease (those two don’t often go together) this time out. More sumptuous and atmospheric illustration from Brown is the highlight of this issue, but the story’s not too shabby, either. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

Doom Patrol #6 (DC/ Young Animal)**  Gerard Way and Nick Derington put the wraps on their first story arc with a chapter that re-introduces a beloved character from the Grant Morrison/Richard Case era that’s sure to make old-time fans like me happy — but in all honesty events here will likely only confuse the hell out of newer readers given that the main storyline is left dangling in service of an admittedly fun nostalgia romp that got dropped on us more or less out of nowhere on the last page of the previous issue. All in all DP is feeling pretty disjointed at this point, but it’s the kind of disjointed I find intriguing and rather engrossing. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

The Flash #21 (DC)** Joshua Williamson is joined by ever-serviceable guest artist Howard Porter on this one, presumably to give “The Button” a uniform look across the board, but the story remains uniformly mediocre and seems to be dovetailing more with “Flashpoint” than it does with “Watchmen” — which, hey, is probably not such a bad thing given what a lousy idea bringing the Moore/Gibbons characters into the DCU has been from the outset. The two best words to sum this up, it seems to me, are “nothing special.” Overall: 4 Recommendation: Pass

Shean

DEADPOOL VS. PUNISHER #2Deadpool Vs Punisher #2 (Marvel) In the second installment of this dark comedy, we find our protagonists on the hunt for the Mariana. As the Accountant’s clients are now coming for him and the key to everything is Mariana and her son. So Don Of the Dead and his crew accept a contract to capture her. By issue’s end, the titular heroes are at odds again, even though thy are more aligned than either would believe. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Batman Shadow #1 (DC) Definitely a great story,a perfect blend of inspiration and offshoot. As we see Batman as a true detective tracking down both incarnations of the Shadow. It starts with a murder, which leads Bruce to question what is real. This leads Bruce to Henri Ducard,the original Shadow. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 4/14

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

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Alex

redline2Redline #2 (Oni Press) I’m always surprised when I come across a series like this that is so far from my normal stomping grounds, and yet I enjoy it so much. Despite being set on Mars, the story has more in common with a hardboiled detective story – and I’m a huge fan of the blended story and setting. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Old Man Logan #21 (Marvel)** I really enjoyed this issue’s look back at some of the events in Logan’s past, although the inclusion of the War of 1812 seems to be a good 50 years before his birth (at least according to the Origin miniseries), but since I’ve always been fond of Logan being much older than we realize, I don’t mind that at all. And hey, maybe Old Man Logan was born a hundred odd years before the currently deceased 616 Logan? Either way, this was a significant upswing after #20. Overall: 8.25 Recommendation: Buy 

Weapon X #1 (Marvel) I’ve read more X-Men related comics this week than I have in a long time; this was a solid first issue that leaves plenty of questions unanswered while giving fans the clawed fights we’re expecting. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

X-Men Blue #1 (Marvel) Another great first issue; as somebody who hasn’t kept up with the X-Men too much in recent years, this was a perfect introductory issue to the young X-Men. A really good read, with a back up story that got me really excited for the future. I’ll be getting this in trade form when it’s released. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Ryan C

Rockstars #5 (Image)** – Joe Harris and Megan Hutchison’s “rock music urban legends” series had sort of devolved into a whirlwind of poorly-thought-through nonsense for the past few issues after a very solid start, but this concluding segment of their first arc Rockstars_01-1redeems the proceedings somewhat by wrapping up the main story in an intriguing fashion that sets up a common throughline for all that’s to come. Not bang-up stuff, by any means, but more competently-executed than what we’ve seen in recent months from this book, and the art remains flat-out superb. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Read

The Wicked + The Divine #28 (Image)** – Uhhhmmm, okay, guess I’ll just blurt it out : for an “end of arc” issue, this is decidedly tepid stuff, there’s just no nice way to dodge the subject. Yes, the status quo is shaken a bit — primarily in a flashback scene — but while Jamie McKelvie’s art remains as lush and gorgeous as ever, Kieron Gillen’s scripts are starting to be pretty damn predictable and his “too-cool-for-school” authorial voice has gone from cute to cloying without passing go and collecting its $200. An empty exercise in style over substance that continues what has surely become a pattern by this point. Maybe that’s an inherent problem with a series predicated entirely on being “fresh” and “in the now” — by the time you’ve been at it for a few years, your “now” silently passes you by. No one seems to want to say it, but Gillen’s entire shtick here is hopelessly stale. Overall: 4 Recommendation: Pass

Copperhead #12 (Image)** – Jay Faerber and new artist Drew Moss continue to move the story along nicely here with a new murder mystery to chew over and a change in the balance of power between our two main protagonists that ramps up the already-extant tension quite a bit, but damn — I still miss Scott Godlewski, and who knows? Maybe I always will. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

Harrow County #22 (Dark Horse)** – Cullen Bunn seems to have regained his enthusiasm for this series after some obvious wavering a few months back, and now we’ve got some serious strain threatening to break the one actual friendship that’s on offer here, plus a “how to see a ghost” trope that’s clever enough to make the likes of Stephen King proud. Who are we kidding, though? It’s Tyler Crook’s sumptuous, flowing, watercolor art that’s the star of the show on this title, and as long as he’s around, I will be, too. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Shean

Deadpool Vs Punisher#1 (Marvel) – In this first issue, we catch up with Frank and Wade as they are both maligned to their everyday lives. Frank is looking for an arms dealer who deals in special bullets. Wade is busy working a protection detail for a X-Men-Blue-ResurrXionmillionaire.Little do they both know, they are both secretly looking for the same person.
Overall: 9.2 Recommendation: Buy

Black Panther and The Crew #1 (Marvel)-In this very first issue of the Crew’s return, the reader gets tossed right into the frying pan.As the death of an original member of the Crew, from back in the 50s, when they were known as the Mission, gets killed by some crooked cops. This has charged Harlem as one of their elders have been killed and Misty Knight us in the case. As she gets closer to the truth, she gets some unexpected help. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

X-Men Blue #1 (Marvel)– what plays out like an episode of Wolverine And The X-men, we find Beast in the same role as Logan in that TV show. We find Beast bringing younger versions of the original X-men into the future, as he fears a war amongst mutants. It always interesting to see familiar characters at a different stage of their lives then what we are used to, which was what makes X-men First Class so good.I just hope they get more into their psychological battles, as this first issue, feels like a primer when it should read like a prequel. Overall: 8 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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