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.
Wonder Twins #3 (DC/Wonder Comics)** – As ever, Mark Russell keeps it topical and relevant in this examination of the backstory of Gleek the monkey, and Stephen Byrne’s art is competent and functional, if not exactly remarkable. Possibly the weakest issue to date, but still better than 95% of what’s out there. Definitely an enjoyable comic any way you slice it. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy
Batman #68 (DC) **– Amanda Conner does superb work on this one, as is her custom, but Tom King is back in “pointless run-around territory” in this lame “Knightmares” installment that features Batman imagining a bachelor “party” with Clark Kent that may or may not have been, while Catwoman and Lois Lane have a lot more fun than the guys at the Fortress of Solitude. Nothing special whatsoever, and the running-in-place this purportedly “major” arc is engaging in is really getting annoying at this point. Overall: 4 Recommendation: Pass
Detective Comics #1001 (DC) **– The new storyline “teased” in issue #1000 proves to be no more inspiring now that it’s underway than the little into hinted it would be. Dead bats all over Gotham — so what? Which is a fair summation of Peter J. Tomasi’s script in total. Brad Walker and Andrew Hennessy’s art is fine, but only that. Overall: 3.5 Recommendation: Pass
Invaders #4 (Marvel) **– Talk about a let-down, all the mysterious hints about Namor’s secret past are revealed here and — it ain’t much. To put it kindly. Chip Zdarsky had been crafting some fairly compelling scripts prior to this; let’s hope he gets back on track. The art tandem of Carlos Magno and Butch Guice continue to turn in strong work and each complements the other nicely, but that’s about all I can say in this issue’s favor. Overall: 4 Recommendation: Pass
Age of Conan: Belit #2 (Marvel) In this sequel, Belit comes into her own, taking control of the ship. As she is the only one that possesses the know how to subdue the monster. She leads the crew while drawing dissentions in the ranks. By issue’s end, they reached their destination, but only faces even more atrocities when they arrived. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy
Star Wars: Age of Rebellion: Grand Moff Tarkin#1(Marvel)-In what is a revealing examination of a polarizing character, we find out about Tarkin in a way concise could only convey.As we find about his family life as well as some key scenes that happened in and around the first few movies. As we see his heavy hand as a leader as well as his brutishness when he gets challenged. By issue’s end, the reader finally gets why he was such a formidable and respected leader. Overall: 9.6 Recommendation: Buy
Star Wars Age of Rebellion: Princess Leia#1 (Marvel) I will keep this one sweet and short. As much as I loved all these characters, it was hard to love this story. As this is a solid like only for Karl Story’s art who looks like their actor counterparts featured many of the characters who will be on Episode IX, so this comic serves as simply filler. Overall: 6.6 Recommendation: Borrow
Infinite Dark #5 (Image/Top Cow) Ryan Cady and Andrea Mutti’s existentialist, end of the world sci-fi saga continues in Infinite Dark #5, which reintroduces the characters and new status quo. Apparently, there’s a lot of unrest among the inhabitants of the not so good ship Orpheus, but this is mostly told via exposition and not shown. However, Mutti and colorist K. Michael Russell craft gritty sequences with an orange palette featuring Deva, the protagonist, teaming up with her old enemy to take down an even more horrific threat. And yeah, this book is straight up horor at the end. Overall: 7 Verdict: Read
Symbiote Spider-Man #1 (Marvel)– Peter David and Greg Land are trying to do some kind of Pulp Fiction non-linear crime narrative meets Kraven’s Last Hunt story with Mysterio and Spider-Man while adding a romantic subplot with Black Cat. (Oops, Kevin Smith and Joe Quesada already did Kraven’s Last Hunt with Mysterio in Daredevil: Guardian Devil.) The quality of the book really fluctuates from clever lines from David about the Power Pack beating Mysterio to generic black suit angst and weak attempts at flirting. This fluctuation continues to the visual department where Land’s weaknesses at faces continues with lots of stiffness for the female characters and a swipe of George W Bush by Bryan Hitch for one of the male ones. He does a good job any time the black suit is in action, but it’s more of a spandex costume and less of a fluid organism in his pencil and Jay Leisten’s inks. If you’re looking for a throwback Spider-Man story, then Chip Zdarsky and Mark Bagley’s Spider-Man: Life Story is much better option. Overall: 5 Verdict: Pass
Faithless #1 (BOOM!)– Brian Azzarello dips his toe into the world of romance comics with artist Maria Llovet, and the results are pretty fucked up. His good ear for dialogue combined with smooth, sleazy art from Llovet as Faith and Poppy wander around town, day drink, shoot the shit about magic, watch Poppy’s ex boyfriend become street pizza, and of course, end up in bed. Until the last possible moment, Faithless is in no rush to be some kind of plot driven thriller and feels out how Faith and Poppy look at each other, chat, and connect. Faith is a seriously flawed protagonist with money issues, an obsession with magic, and a self centered side, but she’s relatable too. Until the final page when this becomes a much different comic. Overall: 8 Verdict: Buy
Wonder Twins #3 (DC/Wonder Comics) Mark Russell and Stephen Byrne dig into Gleek’s (the Wonder Twins’ pet monkey) tragic past as Sir Lance-little as his poor self has some traveling circus-induced PTSD. This issue also has their climactic battle against the League of Annoyance and some damn great moments between Superman and Jayna. Byrne’s art is smooth and makes for an enjoyable reading appearance as he plays the weird nature of the Wonder Twins’ powers straight instead of spoofing them. The colorful comedy mostly comes from their enemies, and he and Russell hit some strong emotional beats every time Gleek’s past shows up, or Superman gives Jayna advice about being an alien hero on Earth. This comic really hits the right balance between silly and serious, episodic and serialized. Overall: 7.8 Verdict: Read
The Amazing Spider-Man #19 (Marvel) – I have enjoyed Spencer, Ramos, and company on Hunted for the most part so far. It has been a fast paced and fun mini-event that has been a bit better than I expected. I enjoyed the Gibbon issue quite a lot, and this was a decent follow up. It took a bit to get there, but by the end of the book left it at a solid point. Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Buy
Web of Venom: Cult of Carnage #1 (Marvel) – This book took me a few pages to get into it, but it finally got it hooks into me. It is a solid set up to what will be a big Absolute Carnage event, and it was good to see John Jameson/Man Wolf front and center in the main characters role, complete with a major part by Misty Knight. I enjoyed the art, though it is cartoony for such a mature title, it worked, and the set up at the end was exciting. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy
Age of X-Man: Marvelous X-Men #3 (Marvel) – I like the idea of this event, and enjoyed some of the earlier issues, but I think it is moving far too slow for how many series it has going on at once. We are 3 issues into this comic, and things are starting to move. The art is solid, and it isn’t bad by any means, I just want it to go somewhere. Uncanny by Rosenberg, and the excitement behind Hickman on X-Men is where my X-Fandom thoughts are, and I am mostly wanting to see how this wraps up. Overall: 6.0 Recommendation: Pass
Dtective Comics #1001 (DC) – With the big anniversary issue, we got a glimpse of The Arkham Knight in #1000, but this book gives us a little more as it kicks off the arc. Tomasi does a good job quickly moving us through the big set up, action, and cliffhanger ending. I am excited to see where this story goes, and at this point feel like I have changed my mind on whom The Arkham Knight is. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy
The Batman Who Laughs #4 (DC) – This was the best issue I read of the big publishers this week, and it really made me miss Scott Snyder on Batman. I am kind of sad this is a mini, because I love Snyder and Capullo on Batman on The New 52. That being said, there is a lot of wacky story in these few issues, and if you like over the top Batman in that style, this book delivers. Between this and Detective, the main Batman book is falling behind both of them in quality in my opinion. Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy
Well, there you have it, folks. The reviews we didn’t quite get a chance to write. See you next week!
Please note that with some of the above comics, Graphic Policy was provided FREE copies for review. Where we purchased the comics, you’ll see an asterisk (*). If you don’t see that, you can infer the comic was a review copy. In cases where we were provided a review copy and we also purchased the comic you’ll see two asterisks (**).