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Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 5/20

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

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Ryan C

Batman #47 (DC Comics)** – Thank God this story arc is over. Tom King and Tony S. Daniel really hit rock bottom with this Batman/Booster Gold team-up that feels like exactly what it is — a lame stop-gap measure between the last “major” storyline and the forthcoming Bat/Cat wedding. The whole “alternate timeline” is undone on the last couple pages, as you knew it would be, but done in such a rushed and sloppy way that it very nearly makes no sense. A truly embarrassing effort all the way around. Overall: 0 Recommendation: Pass

A Walk Through Hell #1 (Aftershock)** – I’m all for first issues that don’t give too much away and leave you wanting more, but the outline of what’s happening in Garth Ennis and Goran Sudzuka’s new series is so oblique that it’s difficult to even discern what the hell the book is about. Something scares some SWAT cops so bad that they’d rather kill themselves than face it, some terrifying shit of some sort goes down at a shopping mall, and some detectives are looking into all of it. Uhhmmm — okay. Nice art, though. Overall: 3 Recommendation: Pass

The Wicked + The Divine #36 (Image)** – By and large I still enjoy this series, but this one of those issues where Kieron Gillen’s “too cool for school” style gets the better of him : the first story is basically an exercise in repetitive self-indulgence that advances the plot very little, while the second story does, in fact, advance the plot, but does so with three pages of nothing but an all-red color backdrop.Jamie McKelvie, at least, knocks it out of the park, but we’re spoiled and have come to expect no less from him. Overall: 4.5 Recommendation: Pass

Dry County #3 (Image)** – Another strong issue in Rich Tommaso’s 1990s noir, as protagonist Lou Rossi’s entirely unofficial missing-person “investigation” kicks into another gear. Inventive, atmospheric, and supremely well-drawn, this book single-handedly restored my faith in my Wednesday comic shop visits after an otherwise-rough week. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Logan

Batman #47 (DC Comics) – Tom King and Tony Daniel’s current arc of Batman wildly shifted in tone from grim dark to comedic, and issue 47 definitely leans on the dark side with Bruce Wayne wielding an assault rifle for most of the book. It’s not a great Batman story and doesn’t adequately explore the “what if” premise of Thomas and Martha Wayne dying, but is a sneaky good Booster Gold story. Even though the reset button is obviously hit, King and Daniel imbue Booster with a real sense of guilt for his actions all leading up to an introspective final page. It’s obvious they like the character and understand his three dimensionality even if Batman’s story and relationship with Catwoman doesn’t really progress. Overall: 7.0 Verdict: Read

Gideon Falls #3 (Image) – Jeff Lemire, Andrea Sorrentino, and Dave Stewart’s rural/urban Canadian horror conspiracy thriller continues to build in Gideon Falls #3. Sorrentino’s trademark inset panels and Stewart’s splotches of red come in handy to show how obsessive compulsive trash collector Norton booby traps his lab to protect from the mysterious Black Barn as well as point out which of Father Fred’s parishioners are connected to it. The series hasn’t gone all out supernatural horror yet, and its dual protagonists Fred and Norton have to deal with “realistic” problems like breaking the news that the town’s last priest was a murderer or being readmitted into a mental hospital. This series as a whole is a great exploration of duality: sacred and secular, rural and urban, and of course, God and the devil and also synthesizes Jeff Lemire’s career up to this point, who has found success in genre (Marvel/DC stuff) and slice of life work (Essex County). It’s an exciting, scary, and beautiful read. Overall: 9.2 Verdict: Buy

Patrick

Dry County #3 (Image)* – Rich Tommaso’s Florida noir series continues to impress, as “everyman” Lou Rossi attempts to send messages to missing Janet through his comic strip. Tomasso’s drawing is perfectly matched to the tone of the story: bright, clammy, and hot with little bursts of fresh air, like being in a Miami apartment wth only one office fan for ventilation. Really nice stuff. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Cinema Purgatorio #14 (Avatar)* – I could really do without the framing sequences of Alan Moore & Kevin O’Neill’s title track, but I love the meat of the matter: in this case, the career of Tod Browning as carnival sideshow, guided by one of his Freaks. Can I just gush for a moment about Kevin O’Neill? Sometimes you forget, when an artist has such a singular style, that they are also in total command of the fundamentals; O’Neill’s figures and faces in Purgatorio are so on point, always choosing just the right moment to go for a realistic closeup to remind you that he can just flat-out draw the hell out of anything at any time he chooses. Next up, in “Code Pru”, Garth Ennis and Raulo Caceres give us an actual normal day in bed with Pru and Sal – normal right up until the end, in a mysterious twist whose resolution I dread. And in the final of the series I’m following, Kieron Gillen & Nahuel Lopez’ “Modded,” Tommy and Fringe duel it out high on Blue Sky, consuming mushrooms as they go kart-to-kart with a guest appearance by what appears to be a very fucked-up hedgehog. This is actually how I like Gillen: in short bursts of high energy and black humour. Overall: Purgatorio solid 8.5, Code Pru 8, Modded 8. Recommendation: Buy if you’ve already bought in. (I am already bought in)

Mr. H

Batman #47 (DC Comics) – So I missed the middle of this wild tale and I have to say, I probably didn’t miss much. Despite having one of my faves Tony Daniel on the art chores it didn’t do this story any favors. Sure it started intriguing but then it quickly devolved into the manic mess that the core Batman title has become associated with in recent history off and on. Unfortunately I guess using Booster Gold was not the right catalyst to get us to the Bat/Cat wedding. After the shock of Frank Castle Bruce Wayne there wasnt much else tying this together. I know I say it’s Tom King but… when this guy is pumping out Mr. Miracle it’s just a shame. I know I shouldn’t but I expected more. Overall: 2 Recommendation: Pass. I had my copy for free and I still feel ripped off.

 

 


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 5/12

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

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Ryan C

eternity girl 3Eternity Girl #3 (DC/Young Animal)** – Magdalene Visaggio seems to get a bit lost in the intricacies of her own plot with this issue, which is a bummer because the first two chapters were so good, but Sonny Liew gets a chance to draw all kinds of cool Kirby-tech, so that (mostly) makes up for the story’s big step back. I’m confident things are still headed in the right direction overall given the fact that the cliffhanger here is solid, but I guess we’ll just have to wait and see — and make no mistake, this series is worth a look for the art alone, even if it turns out that the narrative doesn’t recover. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Read

Analog #2 (Image)** – Gerry Duggan and David O’Sullivan’s look at a post-internet world takes a turn for the more comical with this second issue, and results are pretty good as we get to see our protagonist’s family and romantic life fleshed out considerably. The art seems to be getting better and better with each page, as well, which is really saying something given that it was pretty damn strong to start with. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Port Of Earth #5 (Image/Top Cow)** – It’s nice to see Zack Kaplan and Andrea Mutti’s sci-fi take on nativism and xenophobia back for a second arc, but the TV interview vignettes are becoming lazy info-dump crutches, and frankly distract from a plenty compelling main narrative thrust. Mutti’s grim and gritty art is stunning as ever, but it’s time for Kaplan to up his game and match his collaborator’s efforts. Overall : 7. Recommendation : Readhere are still seven issues to go, but I’m missing Rick Remender and Matteo Scalera’s pulp sci-fi masterpiece already. This is more a self-contained story focusing on the doomed McKay marriage, but ties into the overall narrative quite nicely and the art, as always, is spectacular. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Hungry Ghosts #4 (Dark Horse/Berger Books)**– Joel Rose and Anthony Bourdain’s lackluster horror anthology limps to a conclusion with two insipid tales that are considerably elevated by absolutely stellar artwork, which has been the pattern here from the start. Kudos, then, to Irene Koh and Francesco Francavilla for making a gorgeous silk purse out of a couple of sow’s ear stories. Overall: 6. Recommendation: Read

Logan

Justice-League-No-Justice-1-Cover-600x923Venom #1 (Marvel)– This was my first time reading a Venom comic, and it was pretty good work from Donny Cates, Ryan Stegman, J.P. Mayer, and Frank Martin. Cates relies a little too heavily on dueling narrative captions, but leaning on the horror elements in both a Lovecraftian and a very real horrors of war way is a smart move. There is a jagged, heavy metal edge to Stegman’s art, and Mayer brings out the little details like the beads of sweat on Eddie Brock’s face when he loses control of his symbiote while Martin enjoys spraying black everywhere. It’s very early McFarlane in the best way, and I’m intrigued by Cates and Stegman’s millennia spanning cosmic symbiote melodrama. Overall: 8 Verdict: Buy

Justice League: No Justice #1 (DC)– With lots of superheroes (and supervillains), big tapestry like spreads from Francis Manapul, and big explosions, Justice League: No Justice #1 is a summer popcorn movie of a comic book. The book starts traditionally enough w/ the JL, Suicide Squad, Titans, and Teen Titans fighting Brainiac, but then Scott Snyder, Josh Williamson, and James Tynion make the villain an unlikely ally and point man for the new Justice League strategy. No Justice #1 tries to be clever, but ends up turning into Captain Planet/Attack on Titan crossover fanfic. The team lineups are pretty fun though with a particularly tense encounter between Lex Luthor and Martian Manhunter being the highlight of the book. Overall: 7.2 Verdict: Read

Eternity Girl #3 (DC/Young Animal)– Mags Visaggio, Sonny Liew, and Chris Chuckry make Eternity Girl #3 very cosmic and very Jean-Paul Sartre. The more abstract and occasionally metafictional concepts of being and nothingness and death and rebirth are grounded in Caroline just wanting to die by any means possible. I don’t think I’ve ever read a comic book where the protagonist represents despair, and the antagonist represents hope. Kudos to Visaggio and Liew for bringing deep, sad, and self-destructive emotions we sometimes feel to the forefront. Liew’s visuals span the gap between the cosmic and the mundane, and it is a real treat to have such a talented cartoonist on a “mainstream” comic. Overall: 8.8 Verdict: Buy

Patrick

nuclear-winter-9781684151639_lg.jpgNuclear Winter vol 1 (Boom! Box) – I actually just read this in its original French (as Hiver Nucléaire), so I was happy to see Cab’s delightful and charming post-apocalyptic Montreal in English. It’s been perpetual winter ever since the nuclear accident (who builds a nuclear reactor in Montreal anyway?, as one character points out), and Flavie is a ski-doo courier who would rather stay home knitting. When she takes a shift for a friend and has to get bagels for a temperamental hipster chick, things get a bit crazy. Cab’s cartooning style is generous, warm, and fun, and so is Flavie. I love the way she just accepts all of the mutants at the diner, is friendly to the arctic raccoons, and loyal to friends old and new. Cab depicts my Plateau Mont-Royal and Mile End neighbourhoods with similar good humour and style. The translation (for which I can’t seem to find any credit!) is excellent, with one minor quibble: it’s just Mile End, no “the”. Nuclear Winter is an excellent addition to the Boom! Box stable. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy.

Come Into Me #2 (Black Mask)** – The Cronenbergian creepiness continues thanks to writers Zac Thompson & Lonnie Nadler and artist Piotr Kowalski. As Sebastan tries to maintain control with the mind of a dead woman inside him, he also has to come to grips with the advantages of having a second personality who is more articulate, empathetic, and likeable than himself to interact with VC’s and family. Meanwhile (did I mention Cronenbergian?) his now-shared flesh is morphing and changing into something new. Chilling and thought-provoking, Come Into Me is one of my favourite series right now. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Sex Criminals #24 (Image)** – I am thinking about something Fraction wrote in the latest newsletter: “Comics mimic the way we remember, the way we dream, not as fluid constants but in pulsing recreations of sound and space and time, interrupted by gaps where the memory stops.” The more Fraction & Zdarsky’s comic actually does this, the better I like it. Anyone can write banking conspiracies and dick jokes, but only SexCrims can really dig into the messiness of how we work out our dreams and impulses with the people around us. I must admit, I did really enjoy the roller disco setting (and the joke of the name “Roll! You Pretty Things”). Overall: 8ish Recommendation: Buy

Stray Bullets #34 (Image)** – “Now everybody’s killin’ everybody”. You said it, Roses. Annie and Vic hit Baltimore and have to look for Rose’s son Joey before killer Spanish Scott finds out. And just how should junkie Vic find this kid? “Use your druggie instincts.” As usual, Annie is an absolute fountain of the worst possible advice. Advice that, in true David Lapham style, leads to blackly hilarious mayhem. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy 

Alex

VENOM2018001_CovVenom #1 (Marvel) In a case of following a creator (or two) rather than a character, I took the plunge on this comic solely because of Don Cates and Ryan Stegman writing and drawing it; I wasn’t disappointed. Of course the last time I had read a Venom comic, some dude named Lee Pace had the symbiote – obviously not the case anymore as Eddie Brock has the giant tongue again (which I’m sure has nothing to do with a movie later this year). Cates takes the interesting route of exploring the symbiote’s history and emotional story rather than Eddie Brock’s, and it lends a unique lens over how the two coexist in their anti-hero life. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know Venom (but really, who doesn’t know a little about him?); this is a good comic and it will pull you back for more. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

 


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

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

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 5/5

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

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Ryan C

Exit_Stage_Left_The_Snagglepuss_Chronicles_Vol_1_5Batman # 46 (DC)** – I’m not sure whose bright idea it was to re-make “For The Man Who Has Everything” with Batman and Booster Gold, but this Tom King/Tony S. Daniel storyline is a dull, predictable, dystopian “What If?” train wreck. Morose, plodding, poorly illustrated, and all for naught as nothing that happens here will stick. Overall: 1 Recommendation: Pass

Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles #5 (DC)** – Mark Russell and Mike Feehan deliver a terrific penultimate issue to this superb six-part series that sees our protagonist finally stand up to the HUAC committee, albeit in the wake of an unspeakable tragedy. A nearly-perfect comic that, once again, only gets docked a couple points because Brandee Stilwell’s “Sasquatch Detective” back-up strip is so unrelentingly awful. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Xerxes: The Fall Of The House Of Darius And The Rise Of Alexander #2 (Dark Horse)** – Seriously, if you ever appreciated Frank Miller’s work — and it’s admittedly been awhile since he did (or said) anything worth appreciating — do yourself a favor and skip this sloppily-illustrated mess. Miller’s composition work is embarrassing, his writing pedestrian, and his layouts just plain perplexing. Dark Horse editorial should have done the right thing and rejected this on sight rather than allowing Miller to publicly humiliate himself like this. Overall: 0 Recommendation: Pass. I purchased my copy because I’m a fucking idiot.

Black Science # 35 (Image)** – There are still seven issues to go, but I’m missing Rick Remender and Matteo Scalera’s pulp sci-fi masterpiece already. This is more a self-contained story focusing on the doomed McKay marriage, but ties into the overall narrative quite nicely and the art, as always, is spectacular. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Logan

HUNT FOR WOLVERINE WEAPON LOST #1 1Action Comics Special #1 (DC)- This special one-shot features a trio of stories centered around the Superman/Lex Luthor/Lois Lane dynamic. Dan Jurgens and Will Conrad give us one last look at Superman the family in a naturalistically drawn story about a time traveling Lex trying to rip out Superman’s heart by targeting Lois while current day Lex struggles with his legacy. The best story is Mark Russell and Jill Thompson showing Clark Kent roasting Lex at the White House correspondents dinner. Powerful men who can’t laugh at themselves, this sounds familiar. And the one-shot ends on an adorable, watercolor note with Max Landis and Francis Manapul telling the story of how Superman finds the perfect Christmas gift for Lois while rehabilitating one of his villains. Overall: 8.7 Verdict: Buy

Hunt For Wolverine: Weapon Lost #1 (Marvel) Daredevil, Frank McGee, Misty Knight, and one of the most underrated Mutants ever team up to investigate Wolverine’s missing body. This is definitely an assembling the team issue, but Charles Soule keeps things entertaining with dry humor about the Internet and way too many Wolverines. Plus McGee and Misty Knight have crackling chemistry. On the visual front, Matteo Buffagini powerfully establishes each character’s unique abilities and finds a nice balance between film noir and police procedural. Overall: 8.2 Verdict: Buy

Mr. H

BM_Cv46_varBatman #46 (DC Comics) Now I know the alternate universe/history thing has been done so many times but screw me. I enjoyed this quite a bit. Tom King has taken a very cliche scenario and made it intriguing. Batman existing in a world not as Bruce Wayne? Interesting. Bruce being so engrossed in his family that it was most important? Double interesting. I really enjoyed that we got to see a different side of the Waynes. I’m not sure what is up with Catwoman but hopefully it gets explained. Tom King took old ground and managed to put fresh soil on it. Also the art was very pretty. So yeah I like Tom King but… guess we see next time. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Read.

Spider-Man #240 (Marvel Comics) With comes the end you tend to remember the beginning. I remember when Miles Morales first appeared in the pages of Ultimate Fallout #4 when I was still mourning the death of Peter Parker in the Ultimate Universe. Miles at first glance at the solicits was another cool Spider costume and hero that I thought would never last. How wrong I was. There has not been a fresh character with as much heart and life as Miles in a long time. He had just enough difference in his powers to differ from Peter and a cool ass costume. He was not a Marvel diversity character for diversity sake. He felt like I was reading those early Stan Lee and Steve Ditko issues of Spider-Man. Now on to the current. This is said to be the last issue in this era of Miles Miles. Brian Michael Bendis creates a simple tale which starts with Miles Gravely injured from his last mission and we see how his condition affects all those around him. His parents, teammates and friends all support him tirelessly. This didn’t feel like a superhero book but rather a book about a very special young person who sparks something in everyone around him. We are all able to relate as we have watched a love one near deaths door and the ramifications it has. The ending was very touching and a lighthearted door close for now. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Read 

Alex

Avengers #1 (Marvel) It has been a long time since I last picked up an Avengers comic, but for some reason that may or may not have anything to do with a movie, I was compelled to read this. Having not been anywhere close to an Avengers comic in years, I was a little concerned I’d be lost, but thankfully that wasn’t the case. With echoes of the debut of the New Avengers, this comic does an excellent job in pulling together all the threads of a successful team story, and just happens to have most of the core team from the movies. Coincidence, I’m sure. Certainly worth a read, regardless. Overall: 7.8 Recommendation: Buy

Hunt For Wolverine: Weapon Lost #1 (Marvel) I didn’t want to enjoy this because I wanted to avoid the machine around Wolverine’s return. Just hurry up and get him back into a series, was my thought, right up until I read the issue. It was fun. More fun, honestly, than I actually expected it would be considering this comic focused on building the team than it did exploring the story. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy.

Shean

Rise of the Black Panther #5 (Marvel)-T’Challa is a man who definitely is fighting Wars on many fronts as can be seen in this issue.He finds out that his taking over the Throne was premature and that T’Chaka had a son before him. He also finds our that his half brother joined the Hyena clan TP to take back the Throne which he quickly squashes. By issue’s end, though everything seems fine, another enemy has penetrated their ranks, Erik Killmonger. Overall: 9.8 Recommendation: Buy


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

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

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 4/28

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

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Ryan C

gk14.jpgGrass Kings #14 (Boom! Studios)** – Matt Kindt and Tyler Jenkins are barreling full steam ahead to one heck of a conclusion for this series, and in this issue they line up all their chess pieces to ensure the memorable finale they’re so clearly aiming for. The answers are all within plain sight now, but the fireworks are yet to come. Overall: 8  Recommendation: Buy

Abbott #4 (Boom! Studios)** – While we’re on the subject of killer penultimate issues, Saladin Ahmed and Sami Kivela deliver just that here, as Elena Abbott’s supernatural investigations come to a head just as her life is circling the drain. Dramatic, compelling, and highly topical (either in spite or because of its early-1970s Detroit setting), this series has been every bit as good as advertised and the forthcoming finale is almost guaranteed to satisfy. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

 Black AF: Widows And Orphans #1 (Black Mask)** – The first “Black” series was a case study in absolutely wasting a great — and frankly maybe even necessary given the current state of affairs — premise, but that was a work of absolute genius compared to this unreadable mess from Kwanza Osajyefo and Tim Smith 3. I’m not sure whose idea it was to transpose this uniquely American (and urban American, at that) setting to Japan, but it doesn’t work, the fight scenes are dull, characterization is minimal to non-existent, and the art is hopelessly generic and unprofessional. Embarrassing stuff all around. Overall: 0 Recommendation: Pass 

The Demon: Hell Is Earth #6 (DC)** – Andrew Constant and Brad Walker started this six-part revisionist take on Jack Kirby’s Demon strong, quickly faltered, picked up the pace a bit toward the end, but absolutely flub the landing. The art’s fun enough in its own way, a heady mix of classic “King” elements with 1990s Image-style nonsense, but the story wraps in quick and predictable fashion, and spends more time trying to set up a sequel no one really wants to see than it does putting an exclamation point on the current proceedings. Ah, what could have been. Overall: 3.5 Recommendation: Pass. 

Logan

Hunt for Wolverine #1 (Marvel)– Hunt for Wolverine begins with a pretty fun fight SM2018_002_COVER-B_GUEDESscene between the X-Men and Reavers as artist Dave Marquez uses a grittier art style in honor of the snikty. The rest of his and Charles Soule’s story strikes an awkward balance between mourning and setting up the rest of the story. The spinoffs set up in the second story, like Daredevil doing his own investigation,an all female X-Men team looking for Wolverine in Madripoor, and Lady Deathstrike doing her thing seem more interesting than the core story. Overall: 7 Verdict: Read

Batgirl #22 (DC)– Hope Larson and Minkyu Jung throw it back to their first arc of the series as Babs’ friend Kai and her Singapore MMA Buddy May Hao return. With some intense crime fighting, coming of a bad romance and yes, grad schools, she’s a little out of sorts. Larson’s at her best with the slice of life/hang out stuff, but the underground fight club seems pretty cut and dried although Jung has a great command over anatomy and fight choreography as Babs fights some jacked up MMA fighters. The storyline is sort of salvaged towards then with a great cyberpunk twist even if it puts some of the relationship stuff on the backburner. Overall: 7.2 Verdict: Read

 Shadowman #2 (Valiant)– The voodoo Loa Baron Samedi wants to become a god so he’s draining the life force and souls of the people of New Orleans via some human conduits in Shadowman #2. But, not if Jack Boniface aka Shadowman and the cartomancer Alyssa are in his way. However, Andy Diggle and Stephen Segovia have them thoroughly get their asses kicked in this issue. The first two issues of this new series have been a non-stop losing battle and fancy spells and punches can’t stop from Jack going back to the Deadside. Shadowman is heavy on the action, but its connection to voodoo beliefs and Ulisses Areola’s mesmerizing colors keep it fairly fresh. I wish I knew more about Jack Boniface’s character and motivation though. Overall: 7.5 Verdict: Read

Shean

omh4.PNGOld man Hawkeye #4 (Marvel)– This book just gets better every issue as this particular installment shows that these “Old” viewpoint stories are where we find out more about the character then we ever did in their natural position. In this episode, we find Clint still collecting on old debts as he has Bullseye on his trail , who’s working with the Venoms. We also meet Kraven’s grandchildren , who bear a striking resemblance but that’s where it stops , as their skills don’t match their grandfather’s legend. By issue’s end, the most recent debt collected is with a heavy heart , one that weighs on Clint. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Joe

The Hunt For Wolverine #1 (Marvel) – I’ve waited for this for awhile. I’m a Logan fan, HuntForWolverine_Coverand while I like Old Man Logan, I wanted the original Wolvie back. This is for the classic fans, or even fans from the movies. If you don’t like Wolverine, it’s simple, don’t read or care about this comic or story. But if you do, there’s enough setup here to excite. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

 Avengers #690 (Marvel) – This is more of a palette cleansing issue between the end of this very fun and action filled arc and the new Avengers #1 from Jason Aaron releasing soon. It ties up some loose ends, moves our characters about a bit to get ready for their new series or give them time off, and slows everything down for a feel good issue. Overall: 7 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 4/21

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

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Ryan C

BM_Cv45Evolution #6 (Image/Skybound)** – Nobody seems to be talking about this Cronenberg-ian “body horror” series much, and that’s a shame because, as its first arc comes to a close, I feel fairly confident it labeling it the best title of its ilk in a good many years. The committee of writers working on the book — James Asmus, Joseph Keatinge, Christopher Sebela, and Joshua Williamson — all leave their various plotlines on suitably suspenseful cliffhangers but, as always, it is Joe Infurnari’s supremely creepy, “Eurocomics”-style art that absolutely steals the show. This is the best-illustrated series coming out from any of the major (-ish) publishers these days, by a mile. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Mister Miracle #8 (DC)** – Tom King and Mitch Gerads narrow their focus for this issue considerably, and the result is a very successful book-length juxtaposition of Scott and Barda’s home life as new parents with their battlefield duties on Apokolips. Not as thematically ambitious as previous installments to be sure, but no less effective for its tighter set of concerns. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Batman #45 (DC)** – Tom King and Tony S. Daniel swipe from Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ classic Superman yarn “For The Man Who Has Everything” for this Batman/Booster Gold team-up that sees Bruce Wayne receive a world where his parents never died as a wedding present, and while there’s something to be said for imitation being the sincerest form of flattery, I can’t imagine Moore or Gibbons feeling particularly honored by this sloppily-written and dully-illustrated mess. After a brief uptick, this series has quickly returned to its mediocre status quo. Overall: 4 Recommendation: Pass

Black Panther #172 (Marvel)** – Ta-Nehisi Coates concludes his second “season” as scribe of King T’Challa’s adventures not with a bang, but with a whimper. All it took, apparently, to fend off the crisis threatening Wakanda for the past 13 issues was for Storm to kick some ass, which makes you wonder — why didn’t she just do it sooner, since she’s been hanging around the entire time? Leonard Kirk’s flat, uninspired art doesn’t help matters much, either. Overall: 2 Recommendation: Pass

Logan

 Her Infernal Descent #1 (Aftershock)– Lonnie Nadler, Zac Thompson, and Kyle Charles bookHID-650x986do a modern twist on Dante’s Inferno as an elderly woman descends into Hell with William Blake as her guide to bring her two sons back. Nadler and Thompson find a sweet spot between grief and humor as our protagonist goes from roasting Greek philosophers to feeling the pain of her sons’ loss. Charles’ artwork is wavy, and Dee Cunniffe’s colors are pale to show how few remember us after death. It gets really weird at the end, but centering the story on the mother/sons relationship grounds it going forward. Of course, Marriage of Heaven and Hell writer Blake can jump between those dimensions with ease. Overall: 7.8 Recommendation: Buy

Daredevil #601 (Marvel)- After an 11 page ninja fight/squad car escape, Charles Soule and Mike Henderson settle into the new status quo of Matt Murdock as mayor with Wilson Fisk incapacitated. And he doesn’t do a bad job of it sidelining the NYPD so actual superheroes can fight the undead ninjas. As Defenders Season 1 showed us, The Hand aren’t as an interesting an enemy as Fisk, but the wrinkle of Matt Murdock having mucho responsibilities as the mayor adds intrigue to the story. Henderson has a scratchy early-90s John Romita Jr style art work and draws one hell of a close quarters battle while also having enough of a sense of humor to highlight the smirks when Matt and Fisk’s assistant Wesley have a little verbal debate. Matt Milla continues to use a nice ultraviolet palette to show Daredevil’s radar abilities in the opening scene where he’s desperately trying to escape so he can become acting mayor Matt Murdock. The status quo of Mayor Daredevil won’t last for long, but it’s fun for now and plays to Soule’s strengths of writing Murdock as a competent lawyer/statesman, who is distracted by his other life, especially when ninjas and souls are concerned. Overall: 8.2 Recommendation: Buy

 Batman #45 (DC)– Tom King and Tony Daniel hit a sweet spot between funny and grimdark in this alternate universe where Bruce Wayne’s parents survive, and the consequences are terrible. Aka Booster Gold completely screws up the timeline. In issue 45, King and Daniel just play around in their new universe with little cutaway moments to Jason Todd selling tires that tase Jokers, or Talia al Ghul feuding with her dad. Booster is a little annoying by himself, but hilarity ensues when he starts playing off gun toting, big cape Batman in a neat bit of design work from Daniel. This story is mostly world building, and Booster Gold being a total loser, but there seems to be a plan going forward. I’m particularly interested in the background of paramilitary Dick Grayson as Batman, and this arc look like it’s going to be Flashpoint with a sense of humor. Overall: 8 Verdict: Read



 

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

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

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 4/7

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

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Thrawn-3Shean

 Star Wars : Thrawn #3 (Marvel) As we get deeper into Thrawn’s background, we get to know another character important to him, Arindha Pryce.As she seeks to get revenge against the amount which bankrupt her family, she catches Thrawn’s eye for her canny and skills. She seeks Thrawn’s help as she soon has a target on her back much like him and they must work together to find who is trying to undermine them both.By issue’s end, she makes a deal with Tarkin and the one person who she thought was on her side, soon betrays her, leaving nothing to chance. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Ryan C

The Immortal Men #1 (DC)** – Another “New Age Of DC Heroes” book that feels a lot more like a re-worked Marvel premise than anything else, this time of “The X-Men.” Jim Lee and Ryan Benjamin do the art and it is what it is — which is to say, if you like these guys you’ll dig it, and if you don’t, you won’t — but the script by James Tynion IV doesn’t do much in terms of distinguishing itself from the rest of the thoroughly mediocre “Big Two” fare out there. Our protagonist is a teenager being conscripted into an eternal war between the forces of good and evil by means of his dreams, but he’s not a very involving or sympathetic character, just a rich kid with nice folks and no real problems apart from this whole “do I have super-powers or what?” question. I guess it’s okay, but if I’m gonna drop three bucks on a comic, I’d like something more than merely “okay.” Overall: 4 Recommendation: Pass

sideways 3Sidways #3 (DC)** – Kenneth Rocafort, Dan DiDio, and Justin Jordan wrap up their introductory three-part “New Age Of DC Heroes” arc with a rather lackluster final segment that sees our hero and his adversary battle to what amounts to a draw, albeit one with a “maybe my foe isn’t as bad as I thought” twist to it. More fun is the short back-up strip, which should remove any doubt about this book being DC’s take on “Spider-Man.” Rocafort’s art is perfectly nice throughout, so kudos for that. Overall: 5.5 Recommendation: Read

Eternity Girl #2 (DC/Young Animal)** – A reasonably solid, if unspectacular, follow-up to a very promising first issue, with writer Magdalene Visaggio probably spending a little too much time on our protagonist and her one friend taking in a lame stand-up “comedy” act — fortunately that dullness is effectively offset by artist Sonny Liew getting to unleash his inner Kirby for several pages. The end result is a middling book to be sure, but at least one that is tons of fun to look at. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Read

Thanos #18 (Marvel)** – Donny Cates and Geoff Shaw wrap up their six-part “Thanos Wins” arc — and this series — with a typically action-packed issue that apparently leads right into the forthcoming “Infinity” cross-over. I loved the King Thanos-vs.-Standard Thanos fight, but to be honest, nothing on offer here managed to convince me to jump on the “Infinity” bandwagon, which was presumably the entire point. I will, however, be following Cates and Shaw over to their top-secret-for-now forthcoming Marvel project. So, hey, there’s that. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Read

Logan

The Archies #6 (Archie) After a whirlwind tour, Matthew Rosenberg, Alex Segura, and Joe Eisma finally give The Archies some studio time in their penultimate issue. Blondie guest stars as their EP’s producers, and there’s a fun scene where Betty and Veronica TheArchies6-768x1181_1024x1024geek out on Debbie Harry’s fashion sensibility and musical boldness. The plot follows a pretty cut and dried formula of band drama, musical guest star bail out, life lesson, and a deeper hole being dug, but Eisma spices things up with his energetic and humorous art. Rosenberg and Segura squeeze in some fun character moments between the formula like Veronica humbling herself and going to a greasy burger joint to get their most talented member, Jughead, back. Cramming five cool teens into an enclosed space is always good for drama. Overall: 7.4 Verdict: Read

Domino #1 (Marvel)– Gail Simone continues to be very good at writing morally ambiguous anti-heroes with humor, real human emotions, and even a little sexiness. A surprise birthday party featuring cameos from awkward exes Deadpool and Agent X turns into unsettling panic and physical attack as Domino’s luck might finally run out. Simone grounds the story in the friendship between Domino and her lady merc pals, Outlaw and Diamondback, who are as natural helping her on the battlefield as getting a little too wasted at her party. David Baldeon’s art is pretty solid with big dynamic, early 90s layouts, broad comedy, and a cute dog. Simone and Baldeon definitely plan to break Domino’s character down in the mini, but the book’s tone is more fun and snarky than dour. 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 4/7

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

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Mr. H

Batman #44 (DC Comics) Argh Tom King you done it again! After last few deplorable ASM797_CRAINissues, he presents us with a touching retconned tale of Bruce and Selina’s romance. I particularly enjoyed the time stamps of Selena making her way across town and her activities. I have to say that despite sometimes having to cope with wretched storytelling, artist Mikel Janin gifts us some page turning treasures. It’s quite astounding at times. We are of course gearing up for the big wedding event and this was a nice little rehearsal for what we are in store for. Was it ground breaking? No. Was it Everyone loves Ivy? Oh my God no. It was right in the middle where it needed to be. Score: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

Amazing Spider-man #797 (Marvel Comics)* Dan Slott wastes no time getting right to the good stuff. We open with the Green Goblin attacking the Daily Bugle demanding surprise surprise, Spider-Man! Now this isn’t a scene we haven’t seen many times before but it still doesn’t lose its punch. Norman Osborn is just a bastard here, which is how he always should be. We get him decked out in classic Goblin gear with no special upgrades. Nope just his menacing self. Since it is public knowledge that Peter knows Spider-Man he runs off to get him and there is when things get GOOD. I won’t spoil it here but we also get the first battle between Spidey and the Red Goblin and it is awesome. The rest of the issue leaves Peter with an impossible choice. Aren’t those the best kind?? I cannot wait for the next issue and Stuart Immonens art just keeps getting better. Score: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Ryan C

Batman #44 (DC Comics)** – Well, whaddya know. Once again Tom King shows he’s more than capable of a perfectly good one-off issue after yet another absolutely lackluster multi-parter. Mikel Janin and Joelle Jones both do superb work with their respective segments of the story, and the flashback sequences are endearing while the present-day Catwoman yarn feels very true to form. I swear, just when you’re ready to drop this book, along comes a reason to stick it out just a little bit longer. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Ringside #15 (Image)** – Joe Keatinge and Nick Barber provide a thoroughly satisfying and emotionally resonant epilogue-style finish to their decidedly up-and-down wrestling series that should more than satisfy those few of us stuck it out to the end. Barber’s art looks better here than at any time since the first few issues, while Keatinge’s script is BM_Cv44simple, straightforward, and undoubtedly effective. This book never found a consistent voice, but it’s nice to see it go out on a high note. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Black Bolt #12 (Marvel)** – On the subject of great finales, Saladin Ahmed and Christian Ward absolutely nail this one. All loose ends are tied up, there’s plenty of action, and emotional reunions rule the day. One can argue that Ahmed doesn’t really surprise us with anything on offer in this comic, but that’s okay with me if it works context with all that has come before, which this certainly does — and Ward gives us some spectacular pages to gawk over endlessly, truly finishing with a flourish. I’m definitely going to miss this series. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles #4 (DC)** – Mark Russell and Mike Feehan just keep getting better as this six-parter goes along, with a creepy-ass story focused on nuclear testing taking center stage (left?) this time out and Huckleberry Hound splitting time with our protagonist as both their respective “arcs” propel toward potentially-catastrophic (but let’s hope not) turning points. Feehan’s art this time out reminds me more than a bit of Jacen Burrows’ superb work on “Providence” — and come to think of it, Russell’s script has a touch of Alan Moore to it, as well. The only drawback? Once again, Brandee Stilwell’s “Sasquatch Detective” back-up strip is a complete and utter waste. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Jon

Batman #44 (DC) While I’m not ready to join the legions of readers who have anointed Tom King as DC’s best writer, I think I finally saw a bit of what people are talking about with this issue. King does a really nice job of using the medium to full effect as he cuts between flashbacks to Batman and Cat Woman’s past antagonism with Selina taking in a CYB_Cv21little…unorthodox wedding dress shopping. It shows a great grasp of both characters. The extensive use of time code is inspired as it tells the read exactly how much time has elapsed between each panel. It’s also a good standalone issue that anyone who is familiar with the characters (and who doesn’t know Batman & Cat Woman at this point?) should be able to read and enjoy. Michael Janin’s art is amazing as always. Score: 7. Recommendation: Buy.

Cyborg #21 (DC): I get why DC has been trying to raise Cyborg’s profile ever since the start of the New 52. Representation in comics is important and Cyborg is probably DC’s most iconic character of color who isn’t part of a legacy (though Static certainly comes close). Unfortunately this issue does Vic Stone no favors. It’s not like this issue is bad…but its not memorable at all. Even now less than a week after I read I’m struggling to remember what happened. There are mechanical suits and an evil samurai guy but I don’t give a good god damn about any of it, the title character least of all. Marv Wolfman and Tom Derenick are two of the best creators around. They should be doing more with their talent than producing a book that reads like the reheated leftovers of Big Hero 6. Rating: 5. Recommendation: Pass.

Isola #1 (Image): I’ve been anticipating this book since I first found out about it shortly before I started to review comics for Graphic Policy and I’m glad to say it doesn’t disappoint. This first issue sets up a mystery in a fantasy world. Who is the young warrior who serves as our focal point and her constant companion, a green tiger named Olwyn?

Writer Brenden Fletcher does a fine job of interweaving the visual elements of the story with the verbal. The dialog is tightly written and serves to explain just enough that we want to know more but are never confused. Karl Kerschl’s art is great, with a style that is reminiscent of traditional manga but layouts that will be more comfortable for readers of western comics. I was also struck by Aditya Bidikar’s lettering which does a nice job of capturing the character of a tiger’s voice. Isola is a helluva ride and I’m in it for the duration. Rating: 9. Recommendation: Buy.

Logan

Justice League #42 (DC)– Priest’s run on JL has all the action of a superhero comic and the smarts of a political thriller plus sleek and occasionally gory visuals from Pete Woods. In issue 42, the JL intervene in a battle between the African dictator Red Lion and JUSTL_Cv42rebels against his regime to save some refugees. But Wonder Woman ends up getting injured, and the League is played for patsies. Priest introduces Deathstroke as a take no prisoners wild card in this issue , and it’ll be interesting to see if the JL keeps twiddling their thumbs while he’s out head shotting villains. This series is really a fantastic mix of real world issues and fantastic abilities plus Priest shows why Cyborg makes a great JL leader Overall: 8.4 Verdict: Buy

Runaways #8 (Marvel)– Rainbow Rowell sidelines the Molly Hayes’ creepy BFF plot for Karolina’s girlfriend Julie Power coming to town, and Dr Doom randomly showing up. I love the conversations between Julie and Molly as she is a little wistful for a time when good and evil was a little less complex. The fight is a little random, but guest colorist Triona Farrell gets to show off her Lite Brite skills with Karolina and Julie’s powers. Plus Kris Anka digs into Nico’s painful relationship with the Staff of One as she isolates herself from the group in the middle of battle. He also draws cute crop tops and nails the Power Pack’s original design in Molly’s poster. Overall: 7.6 Verdict: Read

Shean

Rise of the Black Panther #4(Marvel)- In this issue, we find a weary warrior, as T’Challa and Sheridan find a long lost Wakandan, Njakada. Meanwhile, Doctor Doom looks to take over the Throne of Wakanda, but summons T’Challa to Latveria for a mysterious conference. Here the royal siblings attempt to uncover the real reason Doom brought them there. By issue’s end, they find out betrayal is knocking at their front door, in the shape of either the White Wolf or Njakada, as the next issue gets us closer to the answer.
Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Patrick

 I Hate Fairyland #18 (Image)** – If I have to have a Gert-less story, then I will definitely take one where Duncan Dragon and Larry team up on a quest to get her back. It’s still a bit placeholder-y for me, I like my Fairyland stories fast and furious with lots of skewering, but this one isn’t too bad. I do think that Skottie Young is ill-served by plot and hope that once he gets himself out of the box he’s put himself in he’ll get back to delivering sheer mayhem. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Buy.

SexCriminals_23-1Sex Criminals #23 (Image)** – Fraction and Zdarsky are not helping themselves when they get all clever and jokey-jokey. At this point, Sexcrims is far more interesting as a meditation on sex and human relationships than as a heist or revenge story. As someone who is also prone to covering up real emotion with sharp wit, I recognize everything they’re doing with a heavy sigh. And then there’s just Suzie in the art gallery in the last panel of page 26 and it’s so simple it breaks my heart. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Buy 

Koshchei the Deathless #4 (Dark Horse)** – Pride is indeed a terrible thing, and in this installment of Koshchei’s dark tale we get a taste of the price he pays. Mike Mignola and Ben Stenbeck keep chugging along in a solid and satisfying Russian style, like vodka and black bread: nothing surprising, but in the right company a fine way to pass the time. Kudos to Stenbeck for not making K’s sorceress love stereotypically hot & sexy. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

X-Men: Grand Design Marvel Treasury Edition #1 (Marvel)** – In which Ed Piskor attempts to construct a unified theory of the X-Men. I am a sucker for exactly this type of thing (back in the day, I loved the idea of Marvel Saga), and I love the Treasury size (one of my earliest comics purchases was the Famous First Edition version of Bat Man #1) and I loved the first run of What If? So I was pretty much sold as soon as this thing popped into existence and I saw the Watcher on page 1. What surprised me was how effectively and charmingly Piskor incorporated all the bonkers 90’s stuff right from the beginning, and using the Phoenix Force as the cosmic thread binding this stuff together in the background is pure genius. As a kid collecting comics, I was never quite sure what to make of the Roy Thomas/Neal Adams run, but these days I kind of love its go-for-broke-ness, and Piskor does a great job bringing that to the table. I will be a bit of a contrarian and say that I don’t think the artificial newsprint-yellowing does for this what it did for Hip-Hop Family Tree: X-Men Grand Design is plenty, plenty comicbooky already. A super fun love letter. Overall: 9 Recommendation: don’t ask, just 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 3/31

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

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


CyberForce2018_01-1Jon

Cyber Force #1 (Image/Top Cow) This is the most approachable entry into the Top Cow universe I’ve ever seen. It assumes no familiarity with the characters or continuity and instead builds up an intriguing if not particularly original story that suffers a bit from falling over a couple tropes that could do with a permanent retirement. It’s nice to see Top Cow finally move away from its house style which was honestly starting to feel a bit long in the tooth. Atlio Rojo’s pencils are refreshingly clean and free of cheesecake. I don’t know how the Top Cow faithful will respond to this revision, but I plan on coming back next month. Rating: 7 Recommendation: Read

Alex

Dark Nights Metal #6 (DC) I can’t help but shake the feeling that this could have been great. It could have been an amazing story, but it wasn’t. Instead we got a disjointed six issue miniseries with some amazing moments set between average – at best – stretches DNMETAL_Cv6_Lee_varwhere you risk falling deeper into indifference. For a series with such promise, the conclusion is largely forgettable. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Pass

Doomsday Clock #4 (DC) A much better read than I expected going into it, we get a bit more insight into the new Rorschach, and a comic that elevates the overall quality of the series so far. That said, this isn’t going to make much sense if you haven’t read the other three issues, but if you have you’ll be happy with this Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Logan

Dark Nights Metal #6 (DC)– Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo absolutely gonzo event comic culminates in a Plastic Man stretching, Joker dragon riding heavy metal thunder. Sure, most of the book is a giant beat ’em up, but it’s nice to have some light and hope and even humor after treading some grimdark waters. Capullo channels some of his best Batman work in an intimate Mano a mano between the Dark Knight and his Dark multiverse counterpart. And the conclusion of this story leaves the DC multiverse open for more fun adventures and heroic team-ups. Bravo, Snyder, Capullo, and letterer Clem Robins , who adds to Barbatos’ menace, for understanding that the DC multiverse is place of wonder, adventure, and above all, friendship between heroes. Overall: 8 Verdict: Buy

Daredevil #600 (Marvel)- Charles Soule’s plot has plenty of twists and turns, and Ron Garney turns in all kinds of compelling setpieces from a group brawl between the Defenders and NYC’s crime lords to dark, intimate one on one battles between Muse DAREDEVIL #600 1and Blindspot and Kingpin and Daredevil. Soule writes Wilson Fisk as the ultimate chess master, who takes out both his vigilante and villain rivals in one fell swoop before he’s taken surprise in a sequence from Garney that is straight out of a Kurosawa film. This issue connects the plot where Daredevil made a deal with the Hand to get his sidekick, Blindspot’s sight back to Wilson Fisk running NYC in a perfectly legal way and upends the status quo once again. As an actual lawyer, Soule’s run on Daredevil has been all about the vigilante/lawyer’s connection to the legal system, and that also includes blood oaths to death cults. And if this comic couldn’t get any better, Christos Gage and Mike Perkins craft a heartwarming backup showing Matt Murdock and Daredevil’s life from the POV of his best friend/bullshit detector, Foggy Nelson Overall: 9.8 Verdict: Buy

Mother Panic Gotham AD #1 (DC/Young Animal) Trade out the cyberpunk for Victorian decay and an aging Bruce for a homeless, broken Joker, and you’ve got Jody Houser and Ibrahim Moustafa’s Mother Panic Gotham AD. After the events of Milk Wars, Violet and her new hyperviolent sidekick Rosie are in a new Gotham controlled by the Collective (The organization that tortured and ran tests on her.) and looking for a purpose. Moustafa’s art is sharp and unrelenting like Mother Panic herself, but the book lacks a mystery/revenge hook like the previous volume. In fact, the backup story by Houser and a fantastic Pauline Ganucheau does a much better job establishing the series’ villain as a “New Gotham” advertising meeting goes from an Americana-tinged ode to gentrification to geysers of blood. But Houser and Moustafa’s compelling take on the Joker and stripped down no money or toys version of Violet’s crime war make this worth a look Overall: 7.6 Verdict: Read

Ryan C

Black Panther #171 (Marvel)** – It’s too bad Marvel isn’t capitalizing on the success of the “Black Panther” film with an accessible — not to mention good — storyline in the comic of the same name, but as is, we’re approaching the conclusion of the 13-part, and Moon_Knight_Vol_1_193decidedly mediocre, “Avengers Of The New World.” This penultimate segment tries its best to be jaw-dropping, but as is, the revelation that the “big bad” is actually a little-used, and decidedly third-tier, villain makes the whole thing barely seem consequential, let alone explosive — and Leonard Kirk’s art matches Ta-Nehisi Coates’ script blow-for-blow in the mediocrity department. Overall: 2.5 Recommendation: Pass

Moon Knight # 193 (Marvel)** – Max Bemis and Jacen Burrows put the wraps on their opening “Crazy Runs In The Family” story arc with a conclusion that seems rushed and anti-climactic, and the idea that Marc Spector has special powers in his DID “craziness” was done earlier, and far better, by Grant Morrison and Richard Case with the far-more-sympathetic character of Crazy Jane in their groundbreaking “Doom Patrol” run. Burrows elevates the proceedings with his crisp and fluid art that really shines during the extended fight scene that eats up most of this issue, but Bemis story is just completely flat, uninvolving, and too conveniently-resolved for its own good. Overall: 4.5 Recommendation: Pass

The Demon: Hell Is Earth #5 (DC)** – Andrew Constant and Brad Walker have one issue to go in their Etrigan mini-series, and for the life of me I can’t figure out how this comic went off the rails so quickly. The first chapter was intriguing, inventive, and offered a fresh take on Jason Blood and his demon “brother,” but it devolved into a rather standard-issue magical dust-up in no time flat, and this installment continues the downward trend. The fate of the entire world is at stake, but somehow this story feels like it’s limping toward the finish line. The art’s brash and dynamic and fun, but that’s really all this book has going for it. Overall: 4. Recommendation: Pass

The Ruff And Reddy Show #6 (DC)** – Howard Chaykin and Mac Rey continue DC’s trend of doing some really fun and interesting things with their licensed Hanna-Barbera line, and now that this brutal take-down of Hollywood’s shallowness and stupidity is over, I’m actually going to miss it. Chaykin’s satirical script is about as far from subtle as you can imagine, but it’s spot-on and smart, and Rey’s animation cel-style art is pure eye candy. Everything ends on a more-than-satisfactory-note, with the door left open for a future mini-series, not that I expect that to happen. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Shean

Old Man Hawkeye #3 (Marvel) We catch up with Clint as he settles old scores, and often finds broken old friends. We also find Bullseye with a razor sharp focus on Hawkeye, as Old_Man_Hawkeye_Vol_1_3he foregoes his responsibilities as Marshall to take out Clint. Before long, Clint finds a shell of a hero in Atlas, as a belittled sideshow freak. By issue’s end, he shows his old friend a mercy but one that will cost him. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Damnation Johnny Blaze Ghost Rider #1 (Marvel) Right when Johnny Blaze makes the ultimate sacrifice, fans find him to have survived the fall and separated from his Spirit Of Vengeance side. As him and his Spirit side fight their way through Hell, they both understand the stakes as they’re recruit a bunch of wayward criminals to finish off Mephisto. As they closer, many obstacles lay along the fault lines of redemption and retribution for Johnny and Ghost Rider. By book’s end, Ghost Rider sits on the Throne Of Hell and the world is not the same. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Patrick

Black Magick #11 (Image)** – It’s one thing to write a series where police officer Rowan Black is a witch with more or less real-world Wiccan practices. But it’s another thing when actual magickal powers (or should that be, Powers) start to show up. i can’t lie: I’m a bit disappointed to see Rowan being revealed as a magical Chosen One with Great Power If She Ever Lets Herself Use It. It reduces what had been, for me, an interesting and original mix of police procedural and fantasy to a very well-worn trope. I’ll stick around for the third arc to see where it goes, because Greg Rucka and Nicola Scott have been doing great work. But this conclusion of the second arc kind of let me down. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

infinity 8 Infinity 8 #1 (Lion Forge) – I’ve been reading this series in the original French, so I was curious to see it (and share!) in English. Lewis Trondheim is always good for an interesting take on genre. Here, the deal is this: a spaceliner runs across a giant mausoleum. The captain of the liner has the ability to open a new timeline 8 hours long to sandbox the investigation. Then they can either stay in that timeline or reboot. The captain can do this 8 times. So off we go! Agent Yoko Karen just wants to get herself knocked up by a worth donor so she can retire early. But the discovery of the mysterious mausoleum puts a damper on those plans. Meanwhile, to the scavenger Kornalien species, all those dead bodies means a feast for the ages. Infinity 8 is light and fun, and it’s interesting to see in actual American comic book form (where the French album is divided into three issues). Trondheim & Zep’s script is fast and loose, Jeremy Melloul’s translation is spot on, and Dominique Bertail’s art would not be out of place in an early 80’s issue of Heavy Metal. Nothing earth-shattering, but definitely a good time. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

 Come Into Me #1 (Black Mask) – As The Dregs was one of my favourite comics last year, I was looking forward to something new from writers Zac Thompson & Lonnie Nadler. If, like me, you’re a fan of David Cronenberg, you’ll need to get on this. It has the scientist with a God complex, the Toronto setting, and the horror of a new kind of flesh – in this case, the social flesh. Dr. Sebastian Quinn is working on a method to transfer consciousness from one body to another. Becky wants to experience this just to see how far she can go in terms of sharing the flesh, and she’ll pay good money to do it. I’ll be damned if the script doesn’t feel exactly like 80’s Cronenberg, in all the best possible ways. Piotr Kowalski’s art is pretty standard, but there’s something vaguely unsettling about the sketchiness of his inks, like the human beings in the forefront aren’t quite real yet. I’ll be following this. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

 



 

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

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

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 3/24

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.


Ryan C

BM_Cv43Batman #43 (DC)** – So that’s it, huh? Poison Ivy takes over the whole world except, for reasons never explained, Batman and Catwoman — then three issues later, one punch and some persuasive dialogue get her to give up her scheme. Poor show, Tom King — very poor show indeed. Clay Mann and Hugo Petrus do their best to elevate a garbage comic with some truly luscious art, but you know what they say about putting lipstick on a pig. Overall: 3 Recommendation: Pass

Deadman #5 (DC)** – If you thought Neal Adams had gone off the deep end before this issue (and you were right, by the way), prepare to see him completely sink into a veritable ocean of insane nonsense here. Nothing anyone is saying or doing makes any sense from first page to last in this book, and Adams’ art — well, let’s just be polite and say it ain’t what it used to be. Not even close. All of which makes this the most poorly-done comic on the shelves this week — but also undeniably compelling and singular work. Overall: 0. Recommendation: Buy. This is not a typo.

Thanos #17 (Marvel)** – Donny Cates and Geoff Shaw are having so much fun doing this comic that the enthusiasm is downright contagious to readers. This issue is no more substantive than the average 1990s Image rag, but it’s far better-drawn than any of them were, and the story, while straight out of the “dumb jock” school of comics, is actually quite a bit of fun. A lot of cool future versions of fan-favorite characters have been introduced in the first few chapters of the “Thanos Wins” storyline — and they all get killed here. Batshit crazy fun if you’re willing to shut off your brain and go with the flow. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

 Ice Cream Man #3 (Image)** – The third issue of W. Maxwell Prince and Martin Morazzo’s anthology of stand-alone horror stories falls somewhere between the lackluster first and the stellar second, but the clean, detailed art and the story’s semi-unique take on “fallen star syndrome” make it well worth your time, if not your money. There will be ups and down with any series of this sort, but it would probably be a mistake not to at least keep an eye on what’s being done here. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Read

Logan

Cave_Carson_Has_an_Interstellar_Eye_Vol_1_1.jpgCave Carson Has An Interstellar Eye #1 (DC/Young Animal) – Jon Rivera, Michael Avon Oeming, and Nick Filardi for another adventure of Cave Carson, his daughter Chloe, and Professor Bartow that is one part psychedelia, another part spacey prog rock, and the mix is completed by “Blackstar” by David Bowie. The team visits Cave’s old friend, Star Adam, the godfather of rock, and they reminisce about the old days until Star finally it’s time to die. Oeming and Filardi’s art is brilliant and has all the glory and madness of the elaborate 80s MTV era music videos where rock stars became gods through sounds and visuals. Cave Carson #1 will make you miss David, Freddie, Prince, and Michael all at once while setting up some pretty crazy adventures in the future and delving into Cave’s backstory in the backup story, which is framed as a podcast. Overall: 9 Verdict: Buy

Kill or Be Killed #17 (Image) – Ed Brubaker uses Dylan’s unreliable narration to craft a simple revenge story in the psych hospital where he’s getting treatment. Sean Phillips and Elizabeth Breitweiser create plenty of claustrophobic spaces with his art and her sterile colors before Dylan ends up wandering in the falling snow, which is as pure as he wishes his motives would be. Again, Brubaker and Phillips make Dylan sympathetic by making his nemesis, Perry, a monster of a human being, who uses the “r” word and has sex with and gropes his patients. The guy had it coming, but this incident shows Dylan’s increasing addiction to vigilantism even when he’s supposed to be getting help. The longer game plotline of Dylan’s roommate discovering his guns in mask might seem more interesting, but this fairly standalone issue showcase the complex mixture of justice, revenge, and power that motivates Dylan to kill. Overall: 8.2 Verdict: Buy

Runaways #7 (Marvel) – Rainbow Rowell, Kris Anka, and Matthew Wilson settle in slowly into the new arc and focus on the team/family’s new dynamic by splitting them into pairs. Each character has an issue to deal with from Karolina’s long distance relationship with Julie Power plus college to Chase and Nico becoming parental figures and looking for jobs and Gert working out some body image things not so well with the still headless Victor. There are no villainous plots yet (Except for the last panel of the last page), and Rowell, Anka, and Wilson craft the story through a series of vignettes, including Nico and Karolina chilling at the diner, Nico and Chase slaying a parent teacher conference, and Molly exuberantly enjoying middle school. Anka still has the gift of fashion, and Wilson adds a splash of pastels as Molly does an elaborate BFF handshake. This book is way more concerned with every day family life than any sort of superheroics, and that’s totally cool. I love how Rainbow Rowell and Kris Anka show Nico and Karolina’s unlikely friendship. Overall: 8.5 Verdict: Buy

Patrick

MageTheHeroDenied_07-1Mage: the Hero Denied #7 (Image)** – As Kevin gets high and searches out the Questing Beast for Reasons, the real heroine of the book, Magda, is brutally assaulted by something in a man’s suit, also for Reasons. Meanwhile, more monsters take over Kevin’s son’s schoolbus, and another monster destroys his house. Apparently, with neighbours and the school board none the wiser. Just what is going on in this world, and how does it work? Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Skip

Dry County #1 (Image)** – Though Spy Seal caught my eye, it wasn’t quite my cup of tea. So I was really happy to see a new Rich Tommaso series, and a Florida Noir at that. A chance encounter in an apartment laundry room leads to upheaval in the lonely life of a strip cartoonist. It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s all in the details. Watching a pretty regular guy who knows not much trying to work things out while drunk is always a good time for me. Tomasso’s writing nails Lou’s inner workings, and his art is cartoonishly stylized without being pretentious. Refreshing to just watch someone go to work telling a story. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Big Trouble in Little China: Old Man Jack #7 (Boom!)** – This thing is just not slowing down. In this issue, the gang goes to rescue Egg Shen and things do not go exactly as planned – well, “plan” is a strong word. This series is one of the rare ones that actually has a pulp feel to it, like John Carpenter, Anthony Burch, and Jorge Corona are making it up as they go and then go, “it’s almost the end of the issue, we better have a cliffhanger”. But the cliffhanger actually has consequences. This is a really solid, fun ride. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Kill Or Be Killed #17 (Image)** – While things go down badly back in the world, Dylan hatches a plan in Bellevue. Not a plan to get out, but to kill one of the orderlies. And yep, Perry is definitely deserving: abusing patients, getting high at work, calling people “retard”. But Dylan, now demonless and unmedicated, is even more of a mess now that he’s killing people for his own conflicted motives. Brubaker takes us right down that hole in the ice, and Sean Phillips and Elizabeth Breitweiser give us incredible images of snowstorms and staircases. As for the story going on in the outside world, well, I got so wrapped up in this issue that I completely forgot, too. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Stray Bullets #33 (Image/El Capitan)** – When an entire issue spotlights Kretch’s quest to rid himself of the useless things and people in his life – you know, all the people to whom he has given so much and been let down by so hard – it’s best to maybe take a shot before you crack it open. When you realize that one of those useless things is the guy’s OWN ARM, you might as well just leave the bottle. “We’re the future and I’m letting your lumpy ass in on the ground floor” indeed. Another shot? Don’t mind if I do. David Lapham continues to delight. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Alex

Batman #43 (DC) Holey. Shit. No, really, that’s what this is. A comic with a plot full of holes, that is ultimately a turd. A pretty turd, of course, but a turd nonetheless. Overall: 2 Recommendation: Igore and consign to the depths of history.

Weapon H #1 (Marvel) When you have a character that is literally a cross between Hulk and Wolverine you kind of know what to expect here; and yes, you’ll be familiar with the story, but that doesn’t mean it is any less enjoyable. Greg Pak delivers a decent popcorn comic that doesn’t set the world on fire, but is more than entertaining. Overall: 7 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 3/10

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.


Ryan C

MMIR_Cv7_dsMister Miracle #7 (DC)**– Something of a “let’s take a breath here for a minute” issue in terms of action, but a very big day indeed in the lives of Scott Free and Big Barda as they welcome their first child into the world. A rather charming and heartwarming little story from Tom King and Mitch Gerads here, with some seriously ominous shit ripping the rug out from under everything right at the very end. Don’t know what it all means yet. Looking forward to finding out. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Slots #6 (Skybound/Image)** – Dan Panosian puts his six-parter to bed in grand style with a story that wraps up every loose end in both highly believable and highly satisfactory fashion. The icing on a really fun, gorgeously-illustrated cake. Grab it in trade is you haven’t been picking up the singles, you won’t be disappointed. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

VS #2 (Image)** – Really digging Esad Ribic’s art on this series, but it’s really hard to say if Ivan Brandon’s militaristic take on “Ready Player One” is going anywhere interesting. I’ll stick it out for another issue or two in order to find out, but this is so far just really dynamically-illustrated virtual reality-type stuff. Overall: 6. Recommendation: Read if you picked up the first issue, otherwise take a pass

Postal: Laura #1 (Top Cow/Image)** – Bryan Hill and Isaac Goodhart get one more crack at the world they did such a terrific job bringing to life in this final epilogue to their long-running series, and for people who were wondering whether or not a book-length postscript was going to be essential reading, trust me when I say — it is. Not sure why Laura gets the title honors with this one as the story is about the final fate of Mark and Maggie more than anything else, but other than that? No complaints whatsoever. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Logan

AC_Cv999Vampironica #1 (Archie)– Greg and Meg Smallwood kick Vampironica off with a riveting, gory destruction of toxic masculinity via vampire/vampire killer Veronica, but then immediately put on the brakes for a non-descript origin story. The environs of the Lodge mansion is perfect for Greg Smallwood’s atmospheric horror storytelling, but he and Meg Smallwood don’t make a connection between Veronica’s personality and her newly vampiric nature. Hopefully, future stories focus more on her as a vamprie and less on the hackneyed Archie/Betty/Veronica love story. Overall: 7 Verdict: Read

Action Comics #999 (DC)- In Dan Jurgens’ penultimate issue of Action Comics, he and artist Will Conrad prove they really understand the character of Superman. They tell a standalone story of Superman and Clark Kent finding a better way and rebuilding damage done by his son Jon’s grandfathers, Jor-El and Sam Lane. As Superman, he destroys the Phantom Zone once and for all and finds a more humane way to imprison Cyborg Superman by surrounding him in a room where he can experience memories of his life as Hank Henshaw. As Clark Kent, he admits fault for not introducing General Lane to his grandson earlier and admires his determination as a military even if Lane will never be a big fan of Superman. Despite some time travel shenanigans and pitfalls, Jurgens’ recent run on the Superman titles has been about establishing Superman and Clark as a family man and ending the issue with a family meal warmly drawn in a photorealistic, but not stiff style by Conrad is a fantastic culmination to Jurgens’ arc for the Kent family. Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

New Mutants: Dead Souls #1 (Marvel)– Matthew Rosenberg, Adam Gorham, and Michael Garland throw it back to the early 90s (And the 80s briefly.) in New Mutants: Dead Souls. However, this comic isn’t just a nostalgia trip for fans of Magik, Strong Guy, Wolfsbane, Rictor, and Boom Boom, but has great banter, social commentary, and some zombie bashing action. Gorham is best at drawing the creepy horror bits while Garland pours on the yellow, and for two seconds, it’s like you’re reading the Chris Claremont/Bob McLeod New Mutants. But the X-Men “Little League” has changed for better and worst, and this mini will explore this. Magik is definitely the standout character in the early going. Overall: 8 Verdict: Buy

Shean

Star Wars :Thrawn #2 (Marvel)– As Thrawn moves up the ranks, he faces resistance and prejudice as his commission still feels like a black eye to the elite. In this issue, we find Thrawn in the midst of a secret experiment and dealing with a new captain, which leads theit ship to responding to a distress call. What Thrawn and Eli find is a ship taken over by Pirates and a crew under siege. By issue’s end, our protagonists rescue the crew, take back the ship and Eli gets an interesting proposition. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Joe

 AVENGERS_NO_SURRENDER_CVR_684Avengers #684 (Marvel) – This comic was a blast. You get a Green Hulk we all know and love, and a Red Hulk that is as awesome as he is ridiculous. They have been merging all of The Avengers teams really well in this event, and this book is no different. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Peter Parker Spectacular Spider-Man #301 (Marvel) – Overall: Chip Zdarsky has really found his footing not his series. I wasn’t into it as much when it first began, but it has become a very fun series. He nails Spidey’s humor and this issue which deals with time travel embraces the silliness perfectly. I love the trip down memory lane with Spidey’s rogues gallery and the usual fun quips Parker is famous for. The art also has a nice throwback feel to it. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Old Man Logan #36 (Marvel) – Wilson Fisk is now Mayor of New York, and as usual Logan is pulled into something he doesn’t want to deal with. This was a solid start to this arc, and Brisson continues to shine on this title. It’s always good to see Fisk popping up in another title, and now with him being Mayor, I am hoping for some fun crossovers throughout the Marvel universe Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

 



 

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

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

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