Category Archives: Mini Reviews

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 10/20

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

BDRTOWN_03_300-001.jpg Border Town #3 (DC/Vertigo)** – This book seems to be hitting a nice, strong stride very early on, with this being the best issue to date. Ramon Villalobos’ art has always been stellar and remains so, but Eric M. Esquivel’s scripting is evening out from some early rockiness, balancing real-world political issues with supernatural goings-on and even some well-placed (and well-considered) humor. In fact, there’s a laugh-out-loud scene in this issue that’s just plain awesome. Get on this series now if you’re not already. Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Batman #58 (DC)** – The welcome return of Mikel Janin on art is the highlight of this issue, which marks the beginning of a new “Penguin-centric” arc. Tom King’s script is at least competent this time out, but hardly the stuff memories are made of , mostly just jumping around between a couple of timelines in order to set the stage for the the rest of the story. It’s thoroughly readable and the cliffhanger packs a bit of a punch, but when Alfred comes off as being more interesting than Bruce Wayne/Batman, well — you’ve got a problem. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Read

Dead Rabbit #2 (Image)** – Good on Gerry Duggan and John McCrea to insert some “real world” socio-economic issues (most notably relating to health care) into this “criminal comes out of retirement” drama, but the strength of this series is in its cinematic pacing and stylish, high-impact art. Not a whole ton happens this time out, but what does adds depth to the characters and their situations while never slowing down from its breakneck tempo. Lots of fun, especially if you love a good car chase. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Outer Darkness #1 (Image/Skybound)** – A heavy debt is owed to Jack Kirby’s “Captain Victory And The Galactic Rangers” with John Layman’s premise for this book, but there’s a gut-churning occult twist to the proceedings and some solid humor added into the mix, and Afu Chan’s artwork is just straight-up spectacular, particularly on his Kirby-flavored “cosmic” double-page spreads. Nothing super ground-breaking here, but I had plenty of fun with this one and it seems like it’s a series that could go off in any number of interesting directions. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Shean

Han Solo: Imperial Cadet #1 (Marvel)– In probably one of the most authentic representations to a military boot camp I have ever seen or read, this book more than delivers. We catch up with Han after he separates from Qira, and right after he gets sent to boot camp, where he gains a few skills,that Star Wars fans will see later in life. As he gets as good as he gives, and we see his penchant for getting in trouble make him a terrible mismatch for the military. By issue’s end, he finds a way off base, but only to be caught and a whole lot to explain. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

 


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

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

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 11/3

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.


 

FAITH_DS_002_COVER-B_MEYNETAlex

Faith: Dreamside #2 (Valiant) As a huge Valiant fan, I’ve always enjoyed seeing characters that don’t typically interact with each other come face to face on the printed page. With this comic we see Faith and Animalia meet Doctor Mirage for the first time in an attempt to figure out why ghosts are haunting Animalia; the extended sequence is filled with the awkwardness of Doctor Mirage tying to discern if the two psiots are crazed fans or in need of actual help. As a four issue miniseries, the story has been paced very well thus far, and seems to be avoiding the elongated build up to an explosive conclusion in the final issue.  Overall: 8.2 Recommendation: Buy

Old Man Logan #50 (Marvel) The final issue in the series, and with Young Man Logan having recently returned from the dead, it’s easy to assume that the elder Logan won’t be making out of this series (there has been a solicitation for a Dead Man Logan twelve issue series, so take that for what you will). When we first met Old Man Logan, way back in his original story, he was at odds with an old Hulk, and so with the finale pitting him against another version of an old Hulk, it feels as if his story has come full circle. Granted there are some loose ends with the plot that will likely never get resolved, but then that isn’t Logan’s story. End of the day, this was a satisfying enough conclusion to a fun 50 issue run. Overall: 7.8 Recomendation: Buy if you’ve read this far.

Ryan C

Shanghai Red #5 (Image)** – A superb finale to an equally superb series : every loose end tied up, every major plot thread resolved in thoroughly satisfying fashion, a clear “arc” from start to finish for all characters. Christopher Sebela’s script is smart, poignant, and well-paced, while Joshua Hixson’s art is moody, authentic, and just plain amazing. Honestly, one of the best comics of the year. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

 Ice Cream Man #8 (image)** – W. Maxwell Prince and Martin Morazzo wrap up the second arc of their stand-alone anthology series (yeah, I know, the idea of “arcs” seems counter-intuitive here) with a fairly strong installment, as a junkie ambulance crew HIC_Cv2_dsspreads terror and destruction in their wake. Prince’s stories are generally of a “good enough, not great” standard, this one being no exception, but Morazzo’s clean, refined, hyper-detailed art elevates the middling to the exemplary at all times. He’s one of the very best in the business right now. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Heroes In Crisis #2 (DC)** – I get it, we all want our heroes to be more “human.” Acknowledging that they might, on occasion, suffer from PTSD makes sense. So the premise here isn’t bad — but the “mystery” of who killed a bunch of heroes, half of whom (at least) will be back alive before we know it? That’s falling very flat indeed. Tom King’s stilted dialogue for every single character is really starting to grate, his penchant for letting most of the main action happen “off-camera” is doing the same, and no one’s gonna believe Booster Gold is a mass murderer, so not even main “red herring” here is any good. Clay Mann’s art is sharp and pretty — maybe even a little too pretty for a series that badly needs and injection of street-level grit and danger — but that’s about the only good thing I can think of to say about this comic, which isn’t anywhere near enough justify a four-dollar expenditure. Overall: 3.5 Recommendation: Pass

Doom Patrol #12 (DC/Young Animal)** – Better late than never? Uhhhmmm — no. Gerard Way and co-writer Jeremy Lambert pull a “Stranger Things” imitation out of their asses for reasons I can’t explain, while Nick Derington’s art finds itself buried under a thick layer of personality-negating Dan McDaid inks. I get that some or all of these guys were big D&D-heads growing up and wanted to pay homage to that, but do a one-shot special of some sort rather than adding an unnecessary epilogue onto a series that already came to a confusing (and confused) enough conclusion on its own. A gimmick in search of a reason for existing that never finds one. Overall: 3 Recommendation: Pass

Shean

What If? Magik #1 (Marvel)– In what plays out like Training Day but with Sorcerers, we get a different take on Magik’s origin story. She gets hurled into America where she shows that she is a product of her environment, by almost killing the first man to try and take advantage of her to only be stopped by Doctor Strange. Strange trains her in the mystical arts becoming more astute than him. By issue’s end, a final showdown between her and her tormentor leads to her ultimate absolution. Overall: 9.6 Recommendation: Buy

Joe Ryan

oml50.jpgAvengers Halloween Special (Marvel) – While I realize that these comics are sort of elseworlds tales, depicting some stories for the Halloween season, I really wasn’t a fan of most of them. This really felt like a sort of cash grab, and none of the stories felt that compelling. Some of them felt like lesser versions of Edgar Allan Poe or other classic writers, just rehashed a bit with Superheroes. If you are looking for that, you may enjoy the book more than I did. Overall: 4.0 Recommendation: Pass

Old Man Logan #50 (Marvel) – I have been a fan of this book, especially when Lemire was writing it, but even with Brisson, I enjoyed a lot of the issues. This final issue (before the Dead Man Logan maxi series starts) didn’t feel like it gave enough. It wasn’t bad, and continued the war between Maestro Bruce Banner and Logan, but overall it just felt okay. If you are invested in this tale, of course you will want to read this. Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read

Vault of Spiders #1 (Marvel) – There was some fun moments in this book, with the Cowboy Spider-Man, and the Japanese Spider-Man (from the old tv show), but overall this book felt like an excuse to throw a bunch of random Spider-characters into the Spider-Geddon event without necessarily having them take part in it (though they may). More of a montage of “spider-people” without much interesting stories behind them. Overall: 5.0 Recommendation: Pass

Spider-Force #1 (Marvel) – Kaine, Jessica Drew, and more work together to thwart the threat from Spider-Geddon, and this book tied into the overall narrative nicely. The ending gave a cliffhanger that is solid, and the dialogue between the characters was fun. I do think this will end up being the best book of the Spider-Geddon tie in mini series, at least so far. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Batman: Secret Files #1 (DC) – I really dug this comic. There were a few stories better than others (Taylor’s was really good), but all of them were good in my opinion. It gives us a peak into the Batman mythos a little more, which is impressive considering how many times we’ve peaked into such a popular character. A great team of writers and artists did solid work on this. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Justice League / Aquaman: Drowned Earth #1 (DC) – This was a solid comic. I do find that Tynion IV can be wordy, such as Snyder on the main book, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. He gives a solid set up (which really was continued from the core Justice League book that kicked off this mini event), and the art by is Porter is solid, though it may not fit everyone’s taste. 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 10/27

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.


 

Joe Hesh

BMB_Cv25.test_R1Batman Beyond #25 (DC) As a huge Bat Beyond fanatic, I have thoroughly enjoyed this series. It meshes cartoon and DC Canon continuity fairly well. There are some muddled parts here and there like Red Hood and Bruce being partners but for the most part hey, that’s comics. This one was the one I have been looking forward to building with the return of the original (not a clone, not a relative, not an alternate reality) Clown Prince of Crime: The Joker. Now we all know the Joker is supposed to be dead but oh well hes back! I like the way Dan Jurgens gives us some background using Dick Grayson as the narrator. What’s cool is we see Dick is actually living a good life. He is mayor of Bludhaven and has a healthy daughter Elainna. Finally a take on my favorite character that dont end in tragedy. The reason for Dick being in Gotham is the 100th anniversary of Thomas Wayne and the opening of the new Wayne foundation. Easy enough premise. All through we catch up with our cast of Bat Family with the backdrop being a rash of murders of Jokerz gang members. Terry is showing Matt the ropes as his new Robin so there is cool lineage. All in the background something is afoot with Joker plotting and murdering to get his revenge in motion. We get some cool story beats and a mention of characters we haven’t seen in a while and of course the issue leaves us on a cliffhanger and we are left with a Joker who remembers everything. Especially who Batman really is. That part intrigues me. So it’s not a question of if he’s back but more how is he back? We will have to wait and see. Also Joker was back in full The Killing Joke attire here so I enjoyed that. The words were good the art by Cully Hamner was pretty decent. All in all not a bad start but not great. Score: 7.5 Recommendation: Read 

Jon Carrol

AC_Cv1004.test_R1Action Comics 1004 (DC)** [insert spoiler tags as you see fit] Starting with Man of Steel I’ve enjoyed Brian Bendis’ run on Superman quite a bit but one thing hung over the whole enterprise as a cloud: the conspicuous absence of Lois Lane and Jon Kent. This issue solves that problem very well for Lois at least. There isn’t alot that happens but for the first time since he moved to DC Bendis really gets to work out his chops for characterful dialog and personal interplay. You really get a sense of the depth of affection Lois and Clark share for one another as well as how very different they are. This is a really good pushed to the verge of greatness by Ryan Sook’s pencils and Wade Von Grawbadger’s inks. Rating: 8. Recommendation: Buy with the Manapul variant cover if you can get it.

Ryan C

Days Of Hate #9 (Image)** – The title of this issue is “Tired, Tired, Tired,” and that’s not a bad, bad, bad summation of Ales Kot’s apparent attitude toward his own series. Danijel Zezelj continues to impress with his cinematic art, but the story is feeling incredibly lazy and listless at exactly the point where it should really be ramping up. Overall: 4 Recommendation: Pass

DaysofHate-09_cvrLodger #1 (IDW/Black Crown)** – An immediately arresting and involving new crime/noir series from David and Maria Lapham lands with a burst of energy and style, grabbing you from the outset with terrific characters, a simple but effective storyline, smart dialogue, and superb art. This promises to be a ride that’s both very fun and maybe even very memorable. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Scarlet #3 (DC/Jinxword)** – Well, it sure didn’t take long for this one to completely stall out. Brian Michael Bendis seemed to have a real head of creative steam behind him just a couple months ago when this series kicked off, but he’s fallen back into every single one of his by-now-legendary bad habits (stilted dialogue, minimal plot progression, deliberately eschewing obvious political angles that would add some real punch to the story), while poor Alex Maleev gets stuck with trying to keep the whole thing above water by means of his stylish, dynamic art. He almost pulls it off, but he could really use an assist from his co-creator here. Overal: 5 Recommendation: Pass

Moon Knight #200 (Marvel)** – The big culmination of Max Bemis’ decidedly up-and-down storyline finishes on the “up” side in this extra-sized milestone issue, thanks in no small part to main artist Paul Davidson, who just plain pulls out all the stops tograb you by the eyeballs, and guest artists Jacen Burrows, Jeff Lemire, and Bill Sienkiewicz, who all do exemplary work. All in all, it was enough to make me sorry that Marvel is pulling the plug on this title yet again, but at least they sent it out in style. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Shean

Black Panther Vs Deadpool #1 (Marvel)– The first thing that grabs you about this book is how fun it is intended to be, as this serves as a well intended mini vacation from the excellent epic storyline going on in the main Black Panther book. As we find T’Challa enjoying his time as king in Wakanda’s version of the Day Of the Dead, as he is especially wary of outsiders invading his kingdom during the celebration.We also find Deadpool , trying to save a schoolbus full of kids from the Wrecker who accidentally severely injures Deadpool’s mailman, leaving his only hope for survival in Vibranium therapy. This is where chaos ensues and you get everything you expect when Deadpool meets up with Black Panther, as some of the funniest pages of panels I have ever seen Deadpool in takes place. By issue’s end, T’Challa throws Wade out of Wakanda but we all know this won’t stop him from trying again. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

WW_Cv57Joe Ryan

Wonder Woman #57 (DC) – I love what James Tynion has done on this story, but I do feel like The Witching Hour plot could have ended by now, or be one issue shorter. That isn’t to say it’s bad, I just feel like it is being dragged out a bit. That being said, I cannot wait to see how it ends in the final one shot, with how this issue left it. Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

The Flash #57 (DC) – This is some old school superhero comic book fun. It’s over the top, and Kolins art has grown on me and meshes well with Williamson’s storytelling in this Heat Wave centric plot. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Spider-Gwen: Ghost Spider #1 (Marvel) – An okay set up issue that ties into Spider-Geddon. I didn’t feel like much happened though, and the dialogue seemed a little flat in my opinion. The art was also okay, and overall, that is what I would say this comic is. Just okay. That being said, it is a new #1, and if you are a fan of Gwen, this is probably a no brainer. Overall: 6.0 Recommendation: Buy (If you are a Spider-Gwen fan)

Spider-Geddon #2 (Marvel) – I am a big Spidey fan, and this is a big Spidey event. This continues in the style of Spiderverse with so many Spider-people (and pigs), you lose count. I have loved both the first issue, and this as well. The story is fun, the art is great, and Otto trying to be a hero is just awesome and fun to see. 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 (**).

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 10/20

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.


 

BM_Cv57_varJoe Hesh

Batman #57 (DC) So after last issue where we left off with Dick Grayson being horribly wounded. We just knew Batman was going to go on a tear here. He was for sure to be the Grim Knight and exact his revenge. With teeth clenched and fists bared, how are we treated to open this one? With a reading of a fairy tale. Now I get that Tom King goes for symbolism from time to time but this was just.. ugh. Instead of an epic showdown with Bruce avenging Dick we get a rushed fight in the snow with barely any dialogue. At least the pictures by Tony Daniel were very pretty. This is one of those frustrating issues where you know what a writer is capable of versus what they hand you. Just ugh. Score: 4 Recommendation: hard pass.

Ryan C

Batman #57 (DC)** – So, two issues of build-up leads to — a fistfight in the snow captioned entirely with sound effects. Tom King thinks he’s being clever by mixing in flashback sequences of a young Bruce Wayne and a young KGBeast being read the same fairy tale, but it’s seriously forced and obvious, as is Tony S, Daniels’ painfully generic super-hero art. Mark Buckingham and Andrew Peopy’s pages come off considerably better, but it’s not enough to save yet another lackluster issue. Overall: 3 Recommendation: Pass 

GideonFalls_07-1Cover #2 (DC/Jinxworld)** – I was pleasantly surprised by the first issue of this spy thriller, but the second sees Brian Michael Bendis reverting to form with droning, overly-expository dialogue, stilted speech patterns, and little to no plot advancement. David Mack’s art is still nice, but there’s not much for him to sink his teeth into when most of the story involves two people standing, sitting, or driving around talking. Yawn. Overall: 4 Recommendation: Pass

 Gideon Falls #7 (Image)** – The gradual improvement in this horror series continues, as Jeff Lemire cuts down on the dialogue, ups the atmospherics, and weaves his once-disparate plotlines into something very cohesive and, crucially, creepy. Andrea Sotrrentino’s unorthodox page layouts are now complementing the script nicely, and there is very much a “modern EC” feel to the proceedings at this point. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Black Hammer: Age Of Doom #6 (Dark Horse) **- An “alternate universe sidestep” focusing on just one of our central characters comes to vibrant life thanks to Jeff Lemire’s pacy scripting and guest artist Rich Tommaso’s incredibly striking, pitch-perfect artwork, so for those of you worried that this series was taking two issues “off” to tell something of a “stand-alone” story, rest easy — this is absolutely terrific stuff. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Joe Ryan

Justice League #10 (DC) – This Series moves at an epic scale with breakneck speed. It’s a big bombastic team Comic, so that should be expected. Snyder kicks off Drowned Earth with a solid issue with some fantastic art by Manapul. If you want to read a comic where the world and galaxy are ending every issue, and these heroes are saving it at the last JUSTL_Cv10_varsecond, then this is for you. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Justice League Dark #4 (DC) – Tynion on a team book of outcasts and unique and weird characters is a great marriage. Wonder Woman, their fearless leader has been compromised so to speak, and all of the Magic users are desperately trying to save everything. Gods, demons, chaos, and more make this mini event and comic a fun read. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Batman #57 (DC) – Like much of Tom King’s run on Batman, this issue has had some controversy. I do understand some of the backlash, but I also read this series very differently than Bat-Books of the past. To me this series is the perfect hero not beingperfect anymore. He’s been through a lot, and is cracking. Ever since the run started in Rebirth, we’ve seen countless examples of flaws, weaknesses, and cracks in the Dark Knight. I believe the events of Batman #50 have really broken him, and with what happened to Dick, it has put him over the edge. This may prove to end up not working in the long run, but for now, I am intrigued by where it is going. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Runaways #14 (Marvel) – This is one of my favorite Marvel books every month, and while this was a solid issue, I really missed Anka on art. The art wasn’t bad by Miyazawa, in fact it was good, but Anka and this book are a perfect pair for me. As for the story, it set up some big and interesting things for The Runaways and the returning Alex Wilder that should be huge going forward. Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Buy

Shean

Shuri #1 (Marvel)– In what plays out as a love letter to everyone’s favorite character from the movie, we get an immersion to her point of view. I went into the book looking at what the author did with the crossover story and felt some trepidation as the quality wasn’t consistent. I am glad to say she has proven me wrong as we get a female Tony Stark just way smarter, no bravado just pure genius. By issue’s end, we find a much more balanced leader than what has been portrayed as she is poised to take the mantle again as the whereabouts of her brother is unknown in what looks to be both a fun and engaging series. Overall: 9.6 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel Zombie #1 (Marvel)– I will keep this one sweet and short. This book has Echoes of Walking Dead/ Fido/ and Last Avengers, in what is an entertaining, melancholy and ultimately hopeful story. Overall: 9.6 Recommendation: Buy

What If? Ghost Rider #1 (Marvel)– In a different origin story for the current Ghost Rider, he becomes his otherworldly self through a ritual. in this story, Robbie must manage a death metal band which seems normal by their standards.His whole perception of them changes when they performed this evil ritual including Robbie. By issue’s end, the band is killed, Robbie had become Ghost Rider and an evil being from. He’ll has arrived on earth. 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 10/13

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

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


 

 

Shean

ss1ShatterStar #1 (Marvel)– In this debut issue, we find a semi retired android Assassin who is more than happy to be passing for another boring human. he just so happens to live in a building with heroes from alternate universes, which should be a setup for a sitcom. Instead, it turns tragic as another assassin takes out most of the building’s tenants with the exception of ShatterStar. By issue’s end, needless to say, our hero comes out of retirement for one last go at revenge.  Overall: 9.3 Recommendation: Buy

What If? Peter Parker Became The Punisher #1 ( Marvel)- In a rather dark story we get a Spider-Man who actually Kills. We find Peter Parker punishing criminals across New York as The Punisher while struggling to maintain a social life. He finds a city marred by the Green Goblin, which leads to Gwen Stacey getting kidnapped and Peter killing one last time. By book’s end, as in all good What If? Issues, we get both original characters crossing paths, one that will make the reader ask, the impossible questions. Overall: 9.7 Recommendation: Buy

Star Wars Solo Adaptation #1 ( Marvel)– I will keep this one sweet and short. This is mostly a serviceable adaptation, but not much for fans to get any new insight into the story. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Borrow

Ryan C

qa3.jpgThe Quantum Age #3 (Dark Horse)** – A fun, fast-paced issue from Jeff Lemire and Wilfredo Torres that propels the story forward with a fair amount of gusto, gives some great backstory to one of the main characters, and ends on a killer cliffhanger that will have fans of the so-called “Black Hammer Universe” on the edge of their seats waiting for the finale. Nice, crisp art from Torres that has a cool “retro-futurist” feel to it rounds out the package with a good degree of stylish flair. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Wildstorm: Michael Cray #12 (DC/Wildstorm)** – A suitably satisfying conclusion to this 12-parter wraps up the major plots and subplots while ending things on an ominous note that fundamentally changes our perception of the title character. Bryan Hill’s scripting is solid if unspectacular, while N. Steven Harris continues his welcome pattern of improving as an artist with each issue. Competent, but not mind-blowing or anything. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

House Of Whsipers #2 (DC/Vertigo)** – A pretty major step back from the excellent first issue of this series, as Nalo Hopkinson’s story more or less runs in place (the followers of our protagonist/voodoo goddess literally doing the exact same thing they did last time out and somehow hoping for different results) until it gets to its clumsily-executed and frankly less-than-exciting cliffhanger, while artist Dominike “Domo” Stanton turns in a rushed-looking job with none of the detail or rich atmospherics of the previous installment. Oh well. Overall: 4 Recommendation: Pass

Hey Kids! Comics! #3 (Image)** – Seemingly out of nowhere, Howard Chaykin is putting out his best comic in a decade or more, and it’s gaining steam as his disparate timelines begin to coalesce into a fairly straightforward plot that’s easy enough to follow. Strong characters, a take-no-prisoners approach to comics history, and typically strong Chaykin art and design work are coming together into something pretty damn special here. 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 (**).

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 10/6

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

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


 

Ryan C

BM_Cv56.test_rev_issue_upcBatman #56 (DC)** – Certainly a nice improvement over the first part of this KGBeast storyline, but something about what Tom King and Tony S. Daniel are doing here just isn’t grabbing me. Maybe it’s the “New52”-style art, maybe it’s the overall “running in place” tone of the script that makes it feel like a stopgap measure between major “arcs” from the outset — whatever the case may be, this is a nominal step in the right direction, but still fairly flat and lifeless stuff. Overall: 5 Recommendation: Pass

Jook Joint #1 (Image)** – I dearly wanted to love this comic since it has a social and political message that I not only agree with, but feel to be flat-out necessary, but still — I gotta call ’em like I see ’em, and this book just plain misses the mark. Alitha E.Martinez certainly delivers the goods as far as the art goes, her characters looking like genuine individuals and her scenery dark, rich, and atmospheric — unfortunately, Tee Franklin’s dialogue is wooden and clunky, her caption boxes are occasionally out of synch with the action in the panel, and her tendency to over-enunciate her message often drowns out her plot. Also, for $3.99 we should be able to expect something fairly singular, but this all reads like a subpar voodoo take on the same premise as “Redlands.” I’ll probably give this one more issue simply because I’m rooting for it, but I can’t in good conscience recommend others spend their money on it. Overall: 5.5 Recommendation: Pass

The Magic Order #4 (Image)** – No one is more surprised than me by how much I’m enjoying this comic, as I’d given up on all things Mark Millar a long time ago. This premise seems to have primed his creative pump again, though, and even though this issue is a bit less substantial, in plot and character development terms, than the previous three, it’s still pretty damn exciting and engaging, and Olivier Coipel’s art is just plain breathtaking. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

House Amok #2 (IDW/Black Crown)** – A pretty significant step back from the astonishing first issue sees Christopher Sebela making explicit what was only hinted at last time out, and it feels far too early in the game to be stripping away the layers of mystery at this point. Sean McManus still knocks the art out of the park, really hitting a stride we haven’t seen from him in decades, but the story needs to do a pretty major turn-around with only two chapters left to go. Overall: 5.5 Recommendation: a cautious “read” if you were impressed with the first issue and are determined to see things through to the end, but a hard “pass” if you’re not on board already.

Joe

Blackbird_01-1Blackbird #1 (Image) – Sam Humpries writes a relatable tale of family, substance abuse, responsibility, and self-worth. Jen Bartel gives us art that makes every panel look poster worthy. I already love this book. The set up and the ending leave you wanting so much more. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Dead Rabbit #1 (Image) – Gerry Duggan pens a tale of crime, redemption, and a legend of a retired (or so he says) vigilante. John McCrea returns to the violent books he’s familiar with like Hitman, and it’s welcomed, because he fits this book and Duggan’s style wonderfully. Both of these creators knocked this out of the park. Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Batman #56 (DC) – This issue is mostly set up, and showing a duality between Batman and KGBeast. One man fights for everyone else, with no regard for his well being, while the other fights because he loves to hurt anyone else, while also having no regard for his well being. After what happened in the last issue, and really since Batman #50’s events, The Dark Knight has been put through hell. Tom King and Tony S. Daniel do a solid job of building what I hope will be a crazy arc. Fans need it after #50. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Cosmic Ghost Rider #4 (Marvel) – I am consistently amazed by what Cates can do in a single issue. I laughed, I smiled ear to ear, and then my jaw almost dropped. That is what pure entertainment is, and that is what comics can be when you have creators like this on a book. The art by Dylan Burnett matches Donny Cate’s emotional beats perfectly. This book is hilarious, ridiculous, and shockingly emotional at times. Overall: 9.5 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 9/29

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

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Joe Hesh

damned 1.jpg Batman: Damned #1 (DC Comics)** So lets see.. um damn. Not because of the story because it’s pretty basic. Not because of the art because its gorgeous as all Lee Bermejo’s work is. No I say damn because of the sheer attention this book has got due to one”member” of the cast. That’s right all hail the debut of the mighty “Batcock”. Yes that is right after 80 years of printing we get little Bruce in all his painted on cardstock glory. Honestly. Like [Graphic Policy’s Blogger-in-Chief] Brett pointed out this was complete marketing genius here. Could the book have gained such fan fare on it’s own? Possibly. However thanks to Batman’s rod, this thing has become a magnet for collectors and readers alike. Rumor is the next printing will not even feature this new guest. Now I applaud DC for putting this out. It distinctly separates the men from the boys of who is collecting comics. I just hope DC don’t stop here. I want to see Black Label really push the boundaries. We’ve gone too far to come back now. Bring on #2. Score: 8 (9.9 for the historical significance and shock value) Recommendation: Buy. Seeing is believing and this will be sought after. We live in crazy times.

Ashley

ManEaters_01-1Maneaters #1 (Image Comics) – Dammit, Chelsea Cain. I love her run on Mockingbird and my heart absolutely feels for the Vision cancellation, but this book is quite frankly uncomfortably gender essentialist. The idea of a society where something has caused young girls to shapeshift into large cats is a fun idea, especially when Kelly Sue Deconnick and Valentine Delandro have been doing biting and funny commentary on Bitch Planet and it feels like it should be a natural extension of Mockingbird #3. In some ways, it is. However, when that idea revolves around the menstrual cycle, that’s when I turn off. I am a cis woman who experiences periods, yes, but the idea immediately turns into the cheap type of feminism that revolves around the uterus as womanhood when I know plenty of men and non-binary people who have uteruses as well. Not to mention the random bit at the beginning ragging on prostitutes that is especially tone deaf in the era of sex workers speaking out against FOSTA-SESTA. The art and colors by Kate Niemczyk and Rachelle Rosenberg respectively is great and there is still a humor there that existed in Mockingbird, the first couple of pages are genuinely funny and Cain shows that she has a real knack for writing teenage girls that makes me wonder what she could have done with Viv Vision, but it’s not enough to save it from the essentialist language. I hope future issues can only improve on some of the ground work laid here. Score: 3 Recommendation: Skip

The Wicked and The Divine 1373 (Image) – I have read a lot of heavily Catholic influenced books, but this one, where Lucifer of the cycle of the Black Plague is a nun, takes the cake. Back in issue #36, we saw a bit of Ananke during this period, but we have a greater idea here as Gillen writes Lucifer taking her final confession. The Lucifer here is unlike any previously shown in the comic, replacing the swagger of 1831, 1923 and 2013 with piousness. The anger stays consistent though and the tension here might just be the greatest the comic has seen, and that’s saying a lot considering the levels “Mothering Invention” reached. The best part though has to be the level Ryan Kelly and Matthew Wilson are working at together on art and colors. Just by her eyes alone, Lucifer tells you her whole story about the kind of person she was even before divinity. Does it answer any questions of the upcoming final arc? I’m not certain, but it does at least feel explosive. Score: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Captain America Annual #1 (Marvel) – I meant to review this last week and usually I am 100% okay with just letting that go, but this book is legitimately so good that I can’t stop singing its praises. Tini Howard wrote a story about Cap and Bucky that takes place during the war, but it couldn’t feel more timely. While fighting Nazis behind enemy lines, the duo encounter three concentration camp escapees. They decide to help them out and it leads to an emotional story that gets to the core of what Captain America is and should be: the good hearted kid from Brooklyn who was made for punching Nazis and fights for everyone, even those who are nothing like him. Not to mention Chris Sprouse and Ron Lim’s art is to die for, especially on that last page. This story is the epitome of “No, you move” and should be essential Captain America reading. Rating: 10 Recommendation: Buy

The Life of Captain Marvel #3 (Marvel) – You guys, Margaret Stohl just completely changed the game here. The story always promised to get at Carol’s backstory and shake things up in a much needed way, but I honestly did not expect what Stohl pulled out of her hat for this one. Also, any negative things I said about Carlos Pachecho’s art before, I would like to take back. The further he gets into drawing this series, the more the characters seem to come naturally to the page and it leads to some truly emotional and shocking moments in tandem with the writing. It’s hard to talk about this issue without spoiling, so all I’m going to say is make it your mission to find this book. Rating: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Ryan C

Redneck_15-1Heroes In Crisis #1 (DC)** – So, you figured that the “A-list” creative team meant this would be better than the average clusterfuck “Big Two” crossover “event”? You thought wrong. Clay Mann’s art is slick and easy on the eyes but utterly free of personality, while Tom King’s script is bog-standard stuff: this “Sanctuary” we’ve been hearing so much about is already (REDACTED) at the start of the story, and the “major deaths” of (REDACTED) are sure to be un-done, probably before this thing is even over. As for the minor characters, who knows? Maybe they’re actually dead, but who cares? All the action is “off-screen” here, and King’s characters in this comic, as is the case elsewhere, all sound exactly the same. A complete waste of four bucks. Overall: 2 Recommendation: Pass

 Redneck #15 (Image/Skybound)** – A nice change-of-pace issue, as the Bowmans get a little bit of a breather, and even a chance to enjoy themselves a bit. The R and R won’t last, though, Donny Cates’ script makes that clear, but it’s fun while it lasts — and some folks get to have even more fun than others. As always, Lisandro Estherren’s art is compelling and stylish, and he handles a “non-horror” issue just as well as he does everything else. A really fun read that regular readers are going to absolutely love. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

The Wicked + The Divine: 1373 AD One-Shot Special #1 (Image)** – Continuing the recent uptick in this series after it hit its nadir midway through the last arc, this final stand-alone “special” features lush and darkly gorgeous art from Ryan Kelly, a crackerjack script from Kieron Gillen, and a uniquely revisionist take on the origins of the Black Plague — as well as some terrific characterization and a couple of genuinely horrific scenes. Very solid stuff all around. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Bone Parish #3 (Boom! Studios)** – A brisk and action-centric installment in this intriguing horror mini-series sees Cullen Bunn in top form delivering a sharp and concise script, with atmospheric and suitably “creepy” art from Jonas Scharf that really hits the mark — especially when it comes to the jaw-dropping cliffhanger on the final page. Trust me — you won’t see this one coming! Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Shean

Domino Annual #1 (Marvel) – In what plays out as a fan letter to the character, we get a duo of stories that reminds fans how whimsical the character has always been. In the first story, we get to see how Domino puts a team together by chance. In the second story, we find Domino and Cable trading war stories. By issue’s end, we get quite an appreciation for a character who should grab more of the spotlight. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

heroes in crises.jpgJon

Heroes in Crisis #1 (DC Comics). I was not impressed. Tom King is a perfectly capable writer and the art by Clay Mann is good but I just couldn’t bring myself to care. Even though a character I loved as a kid is found dead, the moment felt hollow because there is no real set up to deliver a proper emotional punch. Instead of making me examine any real pain (as a book about trauma should ideally do) I just kept getting flashbacks to Identity Crisis. I hope this story is better than that but I see unrevealed sexual assaults and mindwipes on the horizon. Rating:5 (8 for art). 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 9/15

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

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Joe Hesh

WOLVERETURN2018001_DIGITAL_covAmazing Spider-Man # 5 (Marvel) Ok. I love Dan Slott and is still probably my favorite Spider-Man writer but Nick Spencer’s run is just plain fun. We have Pete and MJ back. A Spider-Man that cracks jokes and a mystery villian to top it all off! Great art by Ryan Ottley and no slowing down. The Peter/Spidey dynamic has been awesome for this arc and the resolution was priceless. I’m on for this thrill ride. Of course the fact that I picked up Spider-Man for PS4 helps a bit with Spidey Fever. It’s a good time right now. Not momentous issue but not cringe either. Right in the middle. Overall: Good read, plain fun. Score: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

Return of Wolverine #1 (Marvel)* Well nothing stays dead forever in the Marvel U, especially if it’s short, angry and can pop claws. Logan is back and the journey is fixing to be fun. Everything about this book grabbed me. The art by Steve McNiven is always crisp, the colors were vibrant, the script by Charles Soule and of course the violence. Logan is once again a man out of mind and he needs to find his way back. Sure he’s alive but how? Why? Well we are going to find out. Also if that wasnt enough we get a cool explanation for his classic yellow and blue and a new uniform to boot. Buckle up bub it’s going to be a bloody ride! Score: 9 Reccomendation: Buy 

Ryan C

Black Hammer: Age Of Doom #5 (Dark Horse)** – This is it, the issue when Jeff Lemire and Dean Ormston reveal all — for now. Some nice surprises, and a jarring shift in the overall narrative through-line, promise to keep the momentum going here, and you may as well enjoy Haspiel’s always-terrific art, since he’s taking the next couple of months off. bhaod.jpgNormally I’d complain, but with Rich Tommaso stepping in, we’re in more than capable hands. We always are with this book. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Batman #55 (DC)** – Tom King is joined once again by Tony S, Daniel on art, and the results are no more satisfying than their much-maligned Booster Gold/Batman team-up storyline. Batman and Nightwing beat up some zombies and an evil Pharaoh-wannabe, while some Russian bad-ass starts cutting a bloody swathe through Gotham for reasons that remain as unknown as the answer to the question “why the hell am I still reading this book”? Decidedly mediocre stuff. Overall: 3 Recommendation: Pass

Mister Miracle #11 (DC)** – With one issue to go, it looks like Tom King and Mitch Gerads are about to wrap things up quick and clean here — but behind Darkseid’s throne there lies an even more malevolent power that Scott and Barda (and me, I admit it)never saw coming. We all should have , though, because it all makes perfect sense — even if we don’t know what’s happening. Best art of the series so far in this installment, as well. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Days Of Hate #8 (Image)** – The art of Danijel Zezelj continues to impress, even to inspire awe, while the scripting of Ales Kot does anything but. I swear, it’s like he’s just stretching out a one-issue finale to fill up six issues. This series looked like it had some real potential at the outset but looks, as always, were deceiving. I don’t even think I’m gonna bother riding this one out to the end. Overall: 3.5 Recommendation: Pass 

Shean

Infinity Wars: Soldier Supreme #1 (Marvel)– In an amalgam of two heroes, we find ourselves in an alternate universe where we get a cross between Dr Strange and Captain America during World War II. In this universe, we meet Stephen Rogers, who is picked to become a super soldier, instead become a powerful Sorcerer what happens to be a soldier. We follow him through a very familiar origin story but with a few twists. By issue’s end, he faces an old foe, who works for Hitler. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Logan

Captain America Annual #1 (Marvel)– Tini Howard makes a fantastic Marvel debut with a story of Bucky and Cap rescuing 2 Romani women and a gay Soviet man from Nazis along with artists Chris Sprouse and Ron Lim, who provide some old school shield throwing, Nazi punching escapades. From the opening sequence set in the forests of Germany to the final iconic splash page, the comic is a tribute to Cap’s never ending fight against genocide and hatred. Along the way, we get to know Marta, Volya, and Iskra and have a real stake in their safety as Cap and Bucky hatch a plan to get them away from the pursuers. I will never forget the image of Marta wielding a pistol and defending herself; dtdoashe also has a sense of humor and roasts Cap’s costume. These small bits of humor are a good relief from the heavier subject material. Overall: 9.8 Verdict: Buy

 Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1 (Marvel) Saladin Ahmed, Garry Brown, and Lee Loughridge kick it old school in a story set in the 1980s from the POV of the alien symbiote. The symbiote sees that Spider-Man is a confident hero (“Full of meat”) while Peter Parker has anxiety about his job and personal life so it decides to “drive” for a while and fight crime as just the symbiote while Peter sleeps his life away. What follows is pretty chilling, body snatcher type story of the alien symbiote taking down Hammerhead’s organization sans the humanity of Spider-Man. He still has a little bit of a heroic side showing that Peter’s responsibility is still in there somewhere. Brown’s art is scratchy and fluid just like the symbiote, and Loughridge goes for a darker palette than the usual bright superheroics. This comic is evidence that continuity can lead to great stories. Overall: 8.8 Verdict: Buy

Venom #6 (Marvel)– Venom fights the symbiote god himself in the conclusion to Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman’s arc on one of Marvel’s best current series. It opens up with a 20 panel grid and doesn’t put on the brakes once as Eddie and SHIELD vet who is totally consumed by his symbiote host Rex push themselves to the breaking point to defeat a seemingly insurmountable threat. This book has all the man pain filled inner monologues and insane splash pages that characterized Frank Miller and Todd McFarlane’s work in the 90s without all the misogyny and terrible takes on human anatomy. And towards the end of the battle royale, there’s a surprising amount of character growth and emotion connected to Eddie Brock. I can’t wait to reread this in trade paperback Overall: 10 Verdict: Buy

Dick Tracy: Dead or Alive #1 (IDW)– Lee Allred, Mike Allred, Rich Tommaso, and Laura Allred turn in a refreshingly retro take on the classic comic strip crime fighter in Dick Tracy #1. He’s fighting corrupt politicians at every turn with old school sound effects and a bright pop art palette from Laura Allred in his wake. Tracy experiences several victories in the first issue, but corruption isn’t something you can take out with a well aimed shot of a tommy gun or an electric chair. This is great Prohibition Era period piece. Overall: 8.2 Verdict: Buy



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

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

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 9/15

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

CemetaryBeach_01-1Wildstorm: Michael Cray #11 (DC/Wildstorm)** – This series has been an up-and-down ride, but with one issue to go, writer Bryan Hill and artist N. Steven Harris (with assists from Nelson Blake II) are ramping up toward what should at least be an interesting conclusion, as the Cthulhu-esque entity that’s been “sharing” protagonist Cray’s mind makes its presence fully felt. The finale will determine whether or not sticking with this one all the way through was a smart move, but for the time being it looks like it may just prove to be. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Cemetery Beach #1 (Image)** – The “Trees” team of Warren Ellis and Jason Howard re-unites for this sci-fi mystery thriller, and while I’m hesitant to get too wrapped up in this series given that their last one was essentially abandoned at the midway point, I have to admit that everything you want in a first issue is here : an inventive premise, strong characterization, crisp and dynamic art, plenty of action, and even some laughs. If they see this one through,who knows? This might just be something special. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

MCMLXXV #1 (Image)** – Blaxploitation meets kung-fu/ninja hijinks in this wildly fun debut from Joe Casey and Ian MacEwan, and while slowing down to think about what’s happening here reveals plenty of holes in the book’s internal logic, the good news is that the fluid, action-packed story — complete with some seriously great fight scenes — doesn’t give you a chance to even catch your breath, much less exercise your gray matter. A fantastic protagonist and an authentic mid-’70s New Tork “vibe” round out this impressive opening shot across the bow from two consistently-interesting creators. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

The Wicked + The Divine #39 (Image)** – I’d been really cool toward this arc in Kieran Gillen and Jamie McKelvie’s long-running series, feeling that it marked the point at which style finally overtook substance in the proceedings, but the last two issues — particularly this one — represent a complete 180 as surprises and consequential events aplenty are thrown at us fast and furious. Suddenly, I can’t wait for the final chapter in this saga, and everything going on between the comic’s covers feels new, fresh, and important all over again. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Logan

catwoman_3_5b993db5572f27.31025934.jpgCatwoman #3 (DC)– In Catwoman #3, Joelle Jones and guest flashback artist Fernando Blanco spend a little time on the backstory of the series’ villain, Raina Creel, who runs the town of Villa Hermosa. It’s tragic and filled with sex, lies, and power as Raina is a great counterpoint to Selina using her status as a “trophy wife” to run the town behind her husband’s back. The rest of the comic shows Selina pushing herself to the limit falling through broken glass onto a sports car and then still being able to prance on rooftops to make a mysterious appointment after a quick dip in the tub. Jones’ art continues to be the real draw of the series, and she can convey strength, weakness, or innocence (I think Selina’s host Carlos has a little crush on her.) through a glance, facial line, or body twitch. There’s something about Catwoman and crime thrillers that is just exciting, enjoyable, and a little tragic. Overall: 8.6 Verdict: Buy

Cemetery Beach #1 (Image)– Warren Ellis and Jason Howard’s new series Cemetery Beach is all action and no bullshit as a fast talking, should be faster running pathfinder and his badass assassin companion are on the run from a secret offworld colony’s goons and guards. Howard’s cartooning is splotchy and dynamic, and Ellis lets him cut loose with all kinds of shoot outs, explosions, and vehicular chases. There’s a bit of worldbuilding via witty banter at the beginning, but this is minimalist action storytelling at its most bombastic. Overall: 8 Verdict: Buy

Patrick

Mage: The Hero Denied #12 (Image)** – As the series progresses, I find myself zeroing in on just what it is that isn’t working for me, and it’s this: Kevin Matchstick doesn’t know MageTheHeroDenied_12-1what he wants to fight for. If what he really wanted was to have a quiet life as a family man, he’d completely ignore the Questing Beast and say that a King doesn’t Quest. If what he really wanted was to save his family, he would be tracking down his wife and kid with unstoppable relentlessness, marshalling every iota of power at his command. If he really was a King, he would be moving heaven and earth to save his kingdom and his family and his people. I would hope, after the end of this issue, that the powers that be will smack Matt Wagner upside the head with a copy of The Hero With A Thousand Faces and get this book on some kind of track. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Skip

Proxima Centauri #3 (Image)** – After the last page of last issue, I was ready for Farel Dalrymple to go deep. Alas, I was sorely disappointed with the ease with which Parasol and Sherwood dispatched of the little blue bots. And just when I thought that the kind of slacker vibe of this series was going to take a turn into something more interesting and powerful. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Skip

The Seeds #2 (Dark Horse/Berger Books)** – In this installment of Ann Nocenti & David Aja’s near-future SF noir, intrepid reporter Astra gets over the Wall and into the Zone to where tech isn’t allowed… except for a price. The revelation of this chapter is handled so casually that it actually enhances the creepiness of this book. Every page is like a trigger warning for people suffering from environmental collapse anxiety, and there is a panel on page 27 that almost made me burst into tears on the subway. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Hey Kids| Comics! #2 (Image)** – Howard Chaykin continues to frustrate me with his BD à clef about the American comics industry. On the one hand, as someone who, as a young writer, couldn’t square my love for comics and my disgust for the comics business, I appreciate Chaykin showing how casually and cruelly people got utterly fucked over. On the other hand, Chaykin’s scattershot approach doesn’t get us deep enough into any one character to really make these fuckings-over the kicks to the balls I want them to be. It may be that this betrays my desire for a certain kind of justice, whereas Chaykin may just be able to square (or at least tolerate) his desire for justice with his intimate knowledge of how the businesses of both comics and movies work. Either way, if Chaykin would straight up put out a book about Gil Kane, that’d be swell with me. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

Leage of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Tempest #2 (Top Shelf/Knockabout)** – Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill are not playing around. Jimmy B., the new M, hums a certain famous theme song and is everything horrible about the British Empire; Hugo Danner gets headbutted into oblivion on page 3; we get a double-page spread of Nemo’s Lincoln Island; and at the end, another casual holocaust. We are heading for a confrontation between the white supremacy of Bond and the diverse coalition of Nemo, and I can’t help but worry that the former are in the driver’s seat. 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 (**).

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 9/8

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

cover 1.jpgCover #1 (DC/Jinxworld) – With authentic, yet understated dialogue, gorgeous visuals that flow from water color to line work with a side dish of collage, and a fantastic spy mystery hook, Brian Michael Bendis and David Mack turn in their first creator owned hit for DC Comics. The protagonist Blake Field is obviously a David Mack stand-in, and the story draws from his experiences as a comics creators beginning with the press of con life until a mysterious woman named Julia drops in on his life. Mack uses a different art style depending on her role in the story that keeps the story moving, and in a metafictional touch, we get to see the gorgeous samurai comic that Blake is working on. Fortune and Glory is one of Brian Michael Bendis’ most underrated comics, and it’s nice to see him and one of his finest collaborators dip into that pool again with a pinch of international intrigue to get you to pick up issue 2. Overall: 8.5 Verdict: Buy

Batman #54 (DC) – With the help of Nightwing, Batman finally almost has time to emotionally deal with being left at the altar by Selina in this emotional and sometimes kookily fun character study by Tom King and Matt Wagner. Wagner’s old school art style works well with the flashbacks to Dick’s first days in Wayne Manor as he comes to terms with the death of his parents and thinks that he’s just another shiny toy to Batman/Bruce and not an adopted son. In a colorful way, King and Wagner show that Batman would much rather punch inconsequential villains like Crazy Quilt (Who can’t sew) and Condiment King than have a heart to heart conversation or lunch. However, Dick understands Bruce’s competitive side and finally gets him to break “brood mode” for a split second panel that shows the importance of his levity and optimistic outlook in spite of great tragedy to the Bat-family. Overall: 8 Verdict: Buy

 Bully Wars #1 (Image)– With an over the top art style and heavy helping of low brow humor, Skottie Young and Aaron Conley usher Edith, Edward, and Spencer into their first day at Rottenville High. Conley has a fun MAD magazine meets Garbage Pail Kids style of art and goes for the gross out gag or face every time showing a nice gift for caricature. There are some truly funny moments in this book like when the middle school bully Rufus gets his butt handed to him by the high school bully Hock in a scene similar to the climax of Jurassic Park. But the book doesn’t really have anything going for it beyond Conley’s art and goes for cliched prank war jokes instead of more character driven ones.I got a real Dav Pilkey (Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Dog Man) vibe so this might be worth handing to your 10 year old sibling/relative/kid… Overall: 5.5 Verdict: Pass

Immortal Hulk #5 (Marvel)– In Immortal Hulk #5, Al Ewing and Joe Bennett finally reveal the monster behind the monster that even Hulk fears. But, first, there’s a giant, uncontrolled throwdown between Hulk and Sasquath, who is definitely not being driven by Walter Langkowski. Bennett and inker Ruy Jose’s fight choreography is ponderous and ungraceful as these two monsters don’t care for human life. However, the Hulk comes across in a sympathetic life for the first time in the serious and uses his abilities in a uniquely positive way. Ewing and Bennett have settled down to tell an American kaiju story about a monster with uncontrollable powers that protects humans from other monsters and causes great direction in his wake. Arguably, the monster boils down to daddy issues, but Bennett sells the story with his EC-esque style art. Overall: 8.3 Verdict: Buy

Kim Reaper: Monster Island #1 (Oni) – The cutest, raddest queer Goth romance series returns with a twist. Kim, the Grim Reaper in training’s girlfriend Becka has gotten super into watching vampire dramas with her roommate Tyler and really wants to go to an actual vampire island when she finds out that they exist. Sarah Graley’s art style continues to be adorable and twisted, especially when the vampires go berserk. I love Graley’s writing of relationship dynamics as Becka desperately tries to get Kim and Tyler to like each other, but it doesn’t really work. Spookiness and slice of life is such a fun combo, and I’m so glad this sadly underrated title is back from Oni. Overall: 9 Verdict: Buy

Ryan C

BM_Cv54Batman #54 (DC) ** Tom King’s current Bat-run probably doesn’t deserve Matt Wagner, but since they got him for this fill-in issue, it has to be said that at least they make full use of his skills. Yeah, this is a fairly heavy-handed little “then-and-now” comparison of the Bruce Wayne/Dick Grayson relationship, but it hits all the right emotional notes and the art, as you’d expect, elevates what would otherwise be an average issue to something fairly special. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

The Dreaming #1 (DC/Vertigo) **- I dunno. There’s nothing wrong with Simon Spurrier’s script for this debut issue, and Bliquis Evely’s art is actually quite nice, but the parameters for what this series is going to be focusing on were already established in “The Sandman Universe” #1, and it’s not like this comic, perfectly competent as it is, really expands on what we already knew in any appreciable way. Worth a look, but it’s not necessarily going to leave you feeling compelled to stick with the title. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Read

Cover #1 (DC/Jinxworld)** – The idea of a superstar comic artist being recruited by the CIA may seem like a bit too much “fan service” — and it is — but what the hell, Brian Michael Bendis’ script for this issue grabs you right away with its premise, the characterization is strong, and all in all it’s just plain fun to read. As for David Mack’s art, it’s a stunning as always, with pitch-perfect colors that accentuate every panel on every page. A genuinely solid debut. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

United States Vs. Murder Inc. #1 (DC/Jinxworld)** – On the other end of the spectrum, the opening salvo of this sequel to a series that really didn’t deserve one is truly lackluster stuff, little more than another tired take on the already-tired “kid assassin” trope. Michael Avon Oeming’s art is quite good, of course, and the dark color scheme really works, but the script feels like Bendis purely going through the motions — which, I suspect, is exactly what he’s doing. Overall: 4 Recommendation: Pass

Shean

Asgardians Of The Galaxy #1 (Marvel)– In what feels like the Dirty Dozen but in Thor’s world, we get a rip Roaring adventure from many sidelined characters in the Marvel Universe Overall including Thor’s half sister,Angela.As we get introduced to new character, and an archeologist who may hold the key to finding out exactly what Nebula is looking for. They must also figure out why Nebula is trying to start another Ragnarok. By issue’s end, the team is ready to defeat anyone looking to harm their people.
Overall: 9.2 Recommendation: Buy

Patrick

BullyWars_01-1Come Into Me #3 (Black Mask) ** – Becky and Sebastien struggle for control of the flesh, calling into question who is the host and who is the visitor. Zac Thompson & Lonnie Nadler continue their creepy Cronenbergian story, interweaving the interior and the exterior as whatever this new creature is lurches and shambles through its transformation, with both Becky and Sebastian alternately driving the story, sharing memories as each looks to offload the other into whatever body is convenient. One of which is Becky’s corpse. Piotr Kowalski well depicts both the “normal” world outside and the glitchy, nightmarish world inside, no easy feat. Another excellent issue. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Bully Wars #1 (Image) **- The new series from Skottie Young, as writer only, and Aaron Conley on art. Ernie, Edith, and Spencer are off to their first day of high school, still being picked on by Rufus, who’s been their bully since kindergarten. But now Rufus has to face the even bigger, badder bullies of high school. Aaron Conley’s art has a fun vibe of over-the-top grossness with lots and lots of gags. But Skottie Young’s story has a huge central problem: Rufus, the bully who’s now in over his head, should be the main character, and he isn’t. He’s the one who has to win the Bully Wars, but it’s geeky Ernie who is our hero, and who utterly inexplicably decides to help Rufus out. It’s all a bit lazy where it could have been a nice reversal of the usual tropes. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Skip

Stray Bullets #38 (Image/El Capitàn) **- As much as I’m a fan of the series, the one thing that bugs me is when David Lapham goes into Amy Racecar/Lil’ B mode. After last issue’s car crash, Beth struggles to get back into the real world – you know, one of those “trying-to-wake-up-from-a-coma” issues that people pull on you every now and again. One of Lapham’s rare missteps, an issue that should have started on the last page. Overall: 6 Recommandation: 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 (**).

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