Category Archives: Mini Reviews

Mini Reviews and Recommendations For The Week Ending 5/23

Sometimes, the staff at Graphic Policy read more comics than we’re able to get reviewed. When that happens you’ll see a weekly feature compiling short reviews from the staff of the comics, or graphic novels, we just didn’t get a chance to write a full review for. Given the lack of new comics, expect this weekly update to begin featuring comics that we think you’ll enjoy while you can’t get anything new to read – only new to you.

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews and Recommendations.


Logan

Youth #2 (Comixology Originals)– Curt Pires goes hogwild on the cliches (Eternal struggle between good and evil, government secret squad) and definitely tips his hand that the Amazon-greenlit Youth is the streaming service’s answer to Stranger Things or I’m Not Okay With This as our murder telekinesis makes her appearance. Alex Diotto and Dee Cunniffe’s visuals keep this from being totally derivative like their grotesque take on telekinesis and a gorgeous, silent film prologue on how the main cast got their superpowers. Pires also lays down some interesting, if well-trodden philosophy in this opening scene: are humans (and metahumans by extension) are product of design or chance? Hopefully, we get to know Youth’s cast beyond just their powers in the next couple issues, or maybe this comic was just a four issue outline for an TV series. Overall: 6.0 Verdict: Read

Lost on Planet Earth #2 (Comixology Originals)– Magdalene Visaggio and Claudia Aguirre get a little more into the weeds of their Star Trek-esque society in Lost on Planet Earth #2 as Xanthippean Velda shows the effects the Star Union had on her culture. Also, Basil’s parents continue to struggle with why she would drop out of a promising military career just to “hang out” with Velda. Lost on Planet Earth #2 is equal parts political satire and family drama, and Aguirre’s emotional art and vivid colors seal the deal. Overall: 8.0 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 and Recommendations For The Week Ending 4/25

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. Given the lack of new comics, expect this weekly update to begin featuring comics that we think you’ll enjoy while you can’t get anything new to read – only new to you.

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews and Recommendations.


Joe Hesh

Superman: The Man of Tomorrow #1 (DC Digital) Well it’s Tuesday and while we are in Quarentineville, we hunger for content more now than ever. So DC has stepped up with their Digital Giants releases. Fitting that they kick it off with Superman vs Parasite who’s hunger out weighs the readers right now. Maybe it is the time we are in but this issue resonated with me more than usual. Seeing Superman square off with an enemy who’s danger kept growing and spreading while effecting everything around him was a little on the nose. Also the fact that the key to defeating said danger was for everyone to do the right thing and stand by each other (in their case not 6 feet away) and to pool their resources and do the right thing was inspiring. Also seeing Superman handle the villain with compassion rather than brute force was exactly the type of content I want in a Superman story. The art by Paul Pelletier was some of his absolute best and the coloring by Adriano Lucas was stellar. Writer Robert Vendetti really crafts a simple yet poignant superhero story and did something that Rudy Jones here could not and that is feed my hunger. Overall: Great quick story with good art and lots of heart. Score: 8 Reccomendation: Read (what else are you gonna do right now?)


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 and Recommendations For The Week Ending 4/4

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. Given the lack of new comics, expect this weekly update to begin featuring comics that we think you’ll enjoy while you can’t get anything new to read – only new to you.

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews and Recommendations.


Joe Hesh

Batman: The Adventures Continue (DC Digital) Ah what brave new world we have this week with solely digital releases due to the current pandemic. I am grateful that the more things change, some still stay familiar. Read this was like reuniting with an old friend. Batman The Animated Series is still my absolute favorite iteration of Batman in any form. The second I laid eyes on the first page (complete with title sequence) I was immediately transported back to yesteryear and the after school days of my youth. All that was missing was the score, which I heard in my head anyhow, The creative team of Paul Dini and Ty Templeton captured everything just right. From Gotham’s blood red sky, to Alfred’s sardonic wit, it was all there.
The dialogue was fantastic as well, especially the exchange between Bruce and Lex. Every dripping word was chock full of Kevin Conroy and Clancy Brown goodness. Truth be told those are the voices I hear when I read any of these characters anyway. Sure the beginning with the Fleischer-esque root was a bit hokey but the characters were so on model and the voices were right there it didn’t matter. 
The story whisked by too fast, which happens to be my only nit pick, as I wanted so much more. I liked the addition of classic Animated Series characters like Veronica Vreeland (DC Collectibles make a fig of her please) and loved her comment to Bruce about, don’t say you’re not the family type as you adopt all these boys and couldn’t they use a mother’s touch? Makes sense. 
Lex being Lex and Bruce being Bruce was such a joy. I look forward to reuniting with more of the Animated Bat World, and seeing new faces that we’ve been teased. With all the uncertainty in the World over the last few months, it is so nice to be able to take a few moments to come home again. Welcome back Batman Adventures. We’ve certainly missed you.
Overall: Read, read, read. Score: 9.5

Ricardo

Ignited (Humanoids- Ignition 1): Humanoids’ first foray into the world of periodical comics came with a familiar superhero story put in a completely different scenario. In IGNITED,a school shooting brings about an event that activates powers for a select few among the student survivors. From there, the comic takes on a delicate balancing act focusing on students discovering the reach of their powers while trying to make sense of the trauma of surviving a shooting. Mark Waid, Kwanza Osajyefo, and Phillipe Briones take what could’ve been another X-Men knockoff and turn it into something special, both dark and energetic at the same time. I know it’s heavy type of recommendation in times of quarantines and uncertainty, but there’s a strange form of hope in this comic that made me feel compelled to keep reading despite the anxiety that comes with life in the context of a pandemic. The art jumps off the page and dialogue is snappy enough to juggle drama and classic superhero action almost to perfection. It’s a lighter read than you might think as well, but it’s considerate and aware of the subject matter. Give it a read. I think you’ll find it as engrossing as it is aware of current problems. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy.

Action Philosophers! (Dark Horse): As a teacher, there’s nothing I appreciate more than having a comic present complex and difficult topics in a fun and engaging way. Fred Van Lente and Ryan Dunlavey’s ACTION PHILOSOPHERS! is that and so much more. The concept is simple: apply the more spectacular elements of the comics form and then color it with humor to explain old-school philosophical ideas in as easy a way to understand as possible. Don’t understand Plato? Follow him as a failed wrestler-turned-philosopher, elbow dropping his way through Greek thought. Having trouble following Marx? Perhaps seeing him dressed like Rambo and shouting I KICK ASS FOR THE PROLES might help the point across. What’s truly valuable about the book is just how well Dunlavey’s art supports the admirable accessibility of the text. It’s like the creators became co-teachers in the process, each offering valuable and essential insight in the process. I love getting deep into weighty reads when forced to stay home for prolonged periods of time. During these quarantine days, combine Philosophy and Comics and make the best of a tough situation with ACTION PHILOSOPHERS! Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy


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

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

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 3/28

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.


Logan

Once and Future #7 (BOOM!)– Kieron Gillen, Dan Mora, and Tamra Bonvillain provide some more thrills and delve into other parts of British legends/folklore in Once and Future #7. The tension between Duncan and his grandmother continues to be the big elephant in the room, but Mora and Bonvillain still have the opportunity to draw some badass fight scenes set in the picturesque British Museum. Duncan is still in that middle area between total nerd and action hero so it’s fun to watch him check out the exhibits and then caught in a fight against a skeleton knight that he’s totally unprepared for. But the final few pages are where Gillen and Mora truly shift this comic’s status quo, widen its mythical scopes, and provide a bit of fanservice for anyone who took a History of the English Language course. Once and Future continues to be the gold standard as far as old school-style adventures stories go. Overall: 8.7 Verdict: Buy

Amethyst #2 (DC/Wonder Comics)– Amethyst #2 is all about our perception of things as a kid not being reality beginning with a hazily colored flashback from Amy Reeder showing Gemworld as a utopia before a jarring cut into the present where Lord Sapphire scoffs at Amethyst and basically saying it’s a realm of nothingness. As far as form goes, Reeder continues to play with space and draws on cartoon physics to craft a wonderful chase and escape scene. She also uses this issue to deepen the lore of the series and make Amethyst’s quest a little bit more on the epic side. But there’s also time for fun interactions and comedy too like Amethyst and Phoss roasting Earth for using electricity for everything and being unable to harness the crystals. (Except for the New Agers.) I love how Reeder never forgets that Amethyst is an awkward teenager even while raising the stakes of the series and doing visually inventive things like showing the world from the inside of a crystal. Overall: 8.5 Verdict: Buy

Eve Stranger #5 (IDW/Black Crown)– David Barnett and Philip Bond close the door on the Black Crown print in the big reveal-filled Eve Stranger #5. The central plot point is Eve finding a cure for her amnesia, and there’s lots of running around and flashbacks. Bond’s art is sublime as usual, especially in the action scenes and dramatic reaction shots. And Barnett even adds a little sweetness to the proceedings with Eve basically having a found family at the end. Because it has to wrap up so many plot threads, Eve Stranger isn’t as clean or elegant as previous issues, but it’s still a lot of fun. Overall: 8 Verdict: Buy

Fantastic Four: Marvels Snapshot #1 (Marvel)– Evan Dorkin, Sarah Dyer, Benjamin Dewey, and Jordie Bellaire serve up an homage to the Human Torch’s solo days as defender of Glenville, New York in Fantastic Four: Marvels Snapshot #1. They tell the story from the POV of Johnny’s first girlfriend, Dorrie, and it’s a sweet meditation on celebrity, growing up in a small town, and the idiosyncrasies of Silver Age comics. (Whatever happened to Asbestos Man?) Dorkin and Dewey flesh out Johnny Storm and reveal that he’s really a good guy, and the whole hothead celebrity thing is just an act so he can basically hang out with his old friends incognito. Benjamin Dewey’s art is photorealistic without being stiff, and the flashback scenes are Jack Kirby meets old yearbook photographs. With this tale of Johnny Storm looking back and not forgetting his roots, the Marvel Snapshots series is 2 for 2. Overall: 9.0 Verdict: Buy

X-Men/Fantastic Four #3 (Marvel)– I think the greatest part of this crossover is that it casts the X-Men’s activities and the founding of Krakoa in the light of a third party. Chip Zdarsky and the Dodsons cast the Invisible Woman and Dr. Doom of all people as moral arbiters with Sue telling Magneto that she helps people because it’s the right thing to do and not just because they’re mutants before they attempt to rescue Latverian mutants being held against their will. X-Men/Fantastic Four #3 has a loud/soft, action/science structure. For example, we get a Cyclops vs. Ben Grimm dog fight, and then we get a heart rending conversation between Doom and Reed Richards that he’s failed his son by not actively looking for a cure for his dwindling powers. Zdarsky understands these character’s voices, puts them in an increasingly stressful situation, and lets the magic work. I like his take on Dr. Doom and how it organically flows from his criminally underrated Marvel Two-in-One run, and how he treats him as a character who plays both sides instead of just being a heavy for the X-Men and FF to team up and fight. That might still end up happening as the concluding events of issue 3 come across as a classic crossover comic fake out, but the ride has been enjoyable so far. Overall: 8.2 Verdict: Buy

Giant-Size X-Men: Nightcrawler #1 (Marvel)– Giant-Size X-Men: Nightcrawler #1 is less a Nightcrawler and more of an Alan Davis showcase as from what I can tell, he plotted out the story and drew it while Jonathan Hickman added dialogue. He basically answers a burning question for some fans: what has the X-Mansion been up to since Krakoa? And the answer includes alien bounty hunter hordes, telepathic manipulation, and a surprise guest star. But, fanservice aside, this comic functions as an entertaining haunted house story with marvelous layouts from Davis and some trippy art once things get extraterrestrial. It’s also a bit of a deconstruction of the old X-Men standby, the mansion blows up, with Kurt, Magik, Cypher, and Eye-Boy sometimes accepting that the past’s past, and it’s time to move on from old ways and try something new. And all this is happening while Davis draws in an very “old school” art style. But, honestly, I’d argue it’s timeless like the techniques and layouts he uses to tell this story. Lockheed going all flame-on on aliens, Nightcrawler teleporting between the gutters while his friends watch, and Magik swinging a big sword will always be cool. Overall: 8.8 Verdict: Buy

Hellions #1 (Marvel)– With X-Force as basically the CIA, there’s room for some black ops activity on Krakoa, and that lot has fallen to the Hellions. Zeb Wells and Stephen Segovia create a team of B-list X-Villains plus Havok, Psylocke, and Mr. Sinister, who are allowed to take a violent approach to various missions. Most of Hellions #1 is vignettes introducing readers to the team from Empathy creating chaos with his X-gene induced sociopathy to Havok taking things a little too far going after anti-mutant activists and even Scalphunter viciously defending himself from Morlocks, who are out to avenge the Mutant Massacre. Wells makes sure that these are mutants, who really have no place in a society like Krakoa, and uses the Hellions team as an outlet for them to be themselves. But with Mr. Sinister involved, is this really a good idea? Segovia’s art is nothing unique, but he’s upped the violence showing that maybe these characters really do need to be on the Krakoan suicide squad. The idea is a little derivative, but Hellions #1 does a good job highlighting underutilized mutant characters and their personalities. Overall: 7.6 Verdict: Read

Wolverine #2 (Marvel)-Benjamin Percy’s captions and dialogue and Adam Kubert’s artwork sing in Wolverine #2 as they explorer the animalistic side of Logan’s psyche. He’s chasing an enemy that can’t really be caught, but can seriously fuck with both mutants and humanity’s mind. And bodies are starting to pile up. Percy and Kubert have effectively whittled down Wolverine’s list of allies with both X-Force and Marauders being taken out as well as his unlikely FBI team-up. The brutality of the raging ocean wave backdrop that Kubert draws in the narrative matches the starkness and matter of fact nature of Percy’s prose, and both creators have done a good job ramping up the ol’ threat level in issue two. And this is all while not going to the Resurrection protocols bag for once. Overall: 8.4 Verdict: Buy

X-Men #9 (Marvel)-Jonathan Hickman and Leinil Yu have turned enemies that originated as a ripoff of the Xenomorphs in Alien into the centerpiece of a damn good space saga in X-Men #9. (They’re also a metaphor for predatory capitalism too.) They go full Prometheus in the prologue of the issue and cast the Brood as yet another weapon in the Kree’s goal to overpower their rivals and rule the galaxy. This hubris gets some immediate comeuppance later in the issue as Hickman is in full Infinity/New Mutants form with Gladiator punching things to impress his son, who he is sadly distant from. Fathers and sons are present in the both the foreground and background of this comic with the conflict between the Kree, Shi’ar, and mutants smashing together with a Summers family reunion. This issue nicely balances the space opera politics and action with Yu and colorist Sunny Gho providing a cascade of colorful explosions, parasite-eaten space whales, and an ending featuring one of the most underrated X-Men supporting characters that turns this book on 180. As a title, Hickman and company’s X-Men has been either super entertaining and thought provoking or high on concept, low on entertainment value, but luckily issue nine is the first! Overall: 9.0 Verdict: Buy


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

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

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 3/21

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.


Logan

Bang! #2 (Dark Horse)– If Bang! #1 was Matt Kindt and Wilfredo Torres stripping the James Bond films down to their essence in metafictional fashion, then Bang! #2 does the same for Die Hard. Or really any of the regular guy saves the day from highly trained terrorists while making one-liners with collateral damage all around him. Kindt comes up with the clever conceit of boiling down an action hero trait into a pill form and turns this issue’s hero, John Shaw, into basically a junkie, whose actions are connected as much to an adrenaline rush as any love for his fellow human. His actions definitely fall into the category of looks cool, but would be horrifying in the real world with the text of the in-universe John Shaw novels hinting at these horrors. And all of these elements are held into place by the smooth storytelling of Wilfredo Torres, who makes each action sequence seamless with colorist Nayoung Kim, who varies the intensity of their palette depending on the scene. Matt Kindt and Wilfredo Torres alchemize the contrivances, possible sociopathy, collateral damage, and yes, the thrilling action of the Die Hard series into the beauty that is Bang! #2. This is shaping up to be one of my favorite books of 2020 as it is both meta-commentary on and a wonderful example of different action genres/franchises. Overall: 9.6 Verdict: Buy

Excalibur #9 (Marvel)– Tini Howard and Marcus To has the Excalibur team embark on a magical mystery tour to Starlight Citadel, the former home of the Captain Britain Corps and a nexus for the multiverse. And, then, they end up in a huge battle against Saturnyne and her army of, basically, Sailor scouts. Howard and To are starting to hit their tribe as they meld road story tropes with more fantasy elements. There’s also a dash of espionage as Meggan and Pete Wisdom check on what Morgan LeFay’s old cult is up too. Seeing characters like Rogue, Gambit, Jubilee self-actualize (And in Jubilee’s case, discover a new power set) makes for pleasing reading even if Excalibur isn’t the cream of the crop of the X-Books. Overall: 7.8 Verdict: Buy

X-Force #9 (Marvel)X-Force #9 begins with some much needed rest and relaxation for the team with Wolverine playing “snikt roulette” with Gabby and Daken, and even Sage finally getting out of the office and chatting with Domino about her resurrection. However, Benjamin Percy and Joshua Cassara pull the team back into danger as they investigate what’s going on in Terra Verde, a country that had a strained diplomatic relationship with Krakoa. The results are B-movie, and Percy and Cassara know it as Wolverine, Kid Omega, Domino, and a special guest star fight killer plants connected to a bastardized version of Central American mythology. It’s silly fun, and Cassara shows he can do comedy and spreads as well as body horror. Also, Percy continues to brew tension in the background of the main plot with Beast continuing to be extra-manipulative. Overall: 8.2 Verdict: Buy

 Outlawed #1 (Marvel)– This one-shot from Eve Ewing and Kim Jacinto is just as advertised: it’s Civil War, but with teen superheroes. The destination is familiar (With one twist.), but the journey works for me. Jacinto and colorist Espen Grundetjern channel the chaos of shonen manga action scenes as the Champions miscommunicate, and Viv Vision loses control and causes collateral damage at a school where a teen science summit is happening. And even though it’s couched in supehero action, Ewing captures a little bit of the zeitgeist and frustration of Generation Z, who is politically active and well-informed, especially about climate change, but is still underestimated by older generations. (See how Teen Vogue’s coverage has changed over the year, for example.) Outlawed definitely is a setup for the new Champions title and various teen-centric Marvel titles, but it’s like a yummy mozzarella stick appetizer, not a bad movie trailer. Overall: 8.0 Verdict: Buy

Spider-Woman #1 (Marvel)– Jessica Drew is back and darker than ever in her solo series from Karla Pacheco and Pere Perez. Having to pay bills and provide for her son has led Jessica to take a corporate security gig for a billionaire daughter’s birthday part that turns into an all out action setpiece. Perez pours on the violent close-ups and explosions showing that Jessica may be starting to lose control even as she “saves the day”. Pacheco brings the sassy quips, but Jessica’s inner thoughts are filled with an overall feeling of “What have I done”. The backup from Pacheco and Paulo Siqueira adds context to Jessica’s money woes, new (and pretty decent) costume, and the ending of the primary story. Siqueira definitely indulges in some ass shots, but the story does wonders for Jessica’s motivation and the series’ ongoing plot. Overall: 8.3 Verdict: Buy

Spider-Woman #1 (Marvel)– Jessica Drew is back and darker than ever in her solo series from Karla Pacheco and Pere Perez. Having to pay bills and provide for her son has led Jessica to take a corporate security gig for a billionaire daughter’s birthday part that turns into an all out action setpiece. Perez pours on the violent close-ups and explosions showing that Jessica may be starting to lose control even as she “saves the day”. Pacheco brings the sassy quips, but Jessica’s inner thoughts are filled with an overall feeling of “What have I done”. The backup from Pacheco and Paulo Siqueira adds context to Jessica’s money woes, new (and pretty decent) costume, and the ending of the primary story. Siqueira definitely indulges in some ass shots, but the story does wonders for Jessica’s motivation and the series’ ongoing plot. Overall: 8.3 Verdict: Buy


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

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

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 3/14

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

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.

Shean

Star Wars Bounty Hunters #1 (Marvel)– In an in between story of the original trilogy, we find Boba on a protection job. As we find out that his personal history with the two other Bounty Hunters would conflict. As someone else from Bob’s past resurfaces, we find fan favorite Doctor Aphra looking for a high prized Bounty that puts her in a collision course with Boba. By issue’s end, Boba carrying some precious cargo himself decides to diverge his course, in hopes of meeting this person from his past. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Logan

Cable #1 (Marvel) Gerry Duggan and Phil Noto give Cable #1 a really fun, swashbuckling tone beginning with single arena combat between Cable and Wolverine. This young Cable really has a lust for life and marvels at his ability to use weapons, telekinesis, telepathy, and also dating Armor and Pixie at the same time. He’s a classic “superbrat” hero, but Duggan and Noto introduce responsibility into his life with a couple, basically teasers for this storyline and maybe even X of Swords. They’re cool, and Noto uses both a thinner and a more painterly style for the pair of teases. However, they feel a little disjointed to the main story like ending a movie with a trailer for the next one. All in all, Cable #1 has an enjoyable tone, fantastic art and colors from Phil Noto, and introduces a couple of big time threats for the old, grumpy time traveler turned douchey (with a heart of gold) whipper snapper. Overall: 8.2 Verdict: Buy

X-Men #8 (Marvel)– X-Men #8 feels like a continuation of Jonathan Hickman’s New Mutants in space arc with art from Mahmud Asrar and guest appearances from the Summers brothers and one of my all time favorite X-supporting characters, the lovable, loquacious Broo. Broo appears in this comic because the mythical Egg King has appeared in Krakoa courtesy of the New Mutants’ space jaunt and has attracted wave after wave of Brood hoard to find it. This leads to the egg getting thrown into space, but not after Asrar ably combines horror and action storytelling in big, damn fight scene as Cyclops and Magik fight off the Brood in Krakoa. Also, there’s a lot of intergalactic politics, but the thread is more difficult to follow compared to New Mutants, and I guess I need to read “War of Kings”. However, it’s nice to see a New Mutants story metastasize into an X-Men story, and Hickman flex those Avengers instead of X-Men muscles. Overall: 7.6 Verdict: Read

Adler #2 (Titan)– Lavie Tidhar’s plot starts to unfold in Adler #2 as Irene Adler and Jane Eyre begin their cat and mouse game against Ayesha (From H. Rider Haggard’s She) and Carmilla. Tidhar and Paul McCaffrey go beyond a drawing room and turn this into a sprawling Victorian crime saga, which is its strength as Ayesha takes over Professor Moriarty’s criminal empire while Adler and Eyre search for his murderer. This comic’s weakness is the MacGuffin of “papers”, which appear at the beginning and the end of the book without any real connective tissue to what’s going on in the middle. There’s no suspense because there’s no reason to care about them other than as an opportunity to trot out cameos from Little Orphan Annie (Captured in McCaffrey’s realist style.) and Madame Curie. Overall: 7.4 Verdict: Read

Aggretsuko #2 (Oni Press)– Jarrett Williams plays on one of the strengths of licensed comics and uses it to explore a character pairing that hasn’t showed up in the Aggretsuko TV show, Retsuko and her vapid deer co-worker, Tsunoda. Tsunoda is still a shallow character, but Williams teases out some of her backstory about how she always wanted to be fashionable, glamorous, and doesn’t mind maxing out credit cards to do so. Sarah Stern uses a pastel palette, including plenty of pinks, to make the flashback scenes pop. All in all, Aggretsuko #2 is a great satire of influencer and consumer culture where philanthropic events aren’t there to help people, but to gain followers and “clout”. Plus it has some high energy death metal growl scenes in the Aggretsuko tradition. Overall: 8.0 Verdict: Buy

Decorum #1 (Image)– The new creator-owned SF comic from Jonathan Hickman and Mike Huddleston has god-tier visuals from a painted, silent prologue basically doing conquistadors in space to a fight scene using a painted diamond as a projectile weapon. Huddleston can go from scratchy inks to full color painted visuals at the drop of the hat while Hickman’s data pages range from the macro (Factions, planets, all-important backstories) to the micro (The makeup of noodle dish the protagonist is consuming). Like most Hickman works, there’s a lot to process in Decorum #1, but he and Huddleston keep things entertaining by having plenty of cool assassins, gangsters, and space shit to go with the granular worldbuilding. Overall: 9.0 Verdict: Buy

SFSX #7 (Image)– SFSX’s first arc comes to a close with Tina Horn and Jen Hickman showing the surviving sex workers at Dirty Mind fighting the patriarchy and not winning any kind of permanent victory, but doing a kind of shot across the bow. Oppression and normalcy might still be the ruling party, but there is still room for kink and queerness out there. Hickman’s art and colors continue to match the high energy of Horn’s thriller plot, but there’s also a sadness to her work too. SFSX #7 is a strong end to the first storyline and leaves you wanting a little more. Overall: 8.3 Verdict: Buy

Hawkeye Freefall #4 (Marvel)– Matthew Rosenberg and Otto Schmidt’s Hawkeye Freefall #4 really has it all: dynamic cartooning (The Hawkeye/Spider-Man hand to hand fight is a highlight), body swap hijinks, vigilante action, and awkward interpersonal dynamics. Clint’s motivation to don the Ronin costume shines clearer in this issue as he knows that the Kingpin runs the city so instead of taking him out or the Hood, he’s going to funnel the Hood’s money into a drug treatment center. He’s trying to get to the heart of the problem instead of punching things. There is quite a lot of punching as Daredevil rustles up a task force featuring such varied characters as D-Man, US Agent, Mockingbird, Falcon, and Winter Soldier, but they mostly end up getting duped by an LMD and a Skrull that Hawkeye found breakdancing awkwardly on the subway. Hawkeye Freefall expertly juggles action, comedy, and social conscience, and is easily one of my favorite Marvel releases of 2020 so far. Overall: 9.2 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 3/6

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.


Joe Hesh

Batman #90 (DC) This book has been a breath of fresh air since the new creative team of Tynion IV and Daniel and March right from the jump. The pacing and art and story just breeze right on by The backstory in this issue with Selena explaining to Bruce the meeting between herself and the other Bat Villains and the new villain The Designer was fantastic. I definitely want more of him, he seems to be a welcome addition to the ever-growing rogues gallery. Let’s hope so. I always like when backstories can provide never before seen new facets to the mythos. The art has been great rotation between the talents of Tony Daniel and Gulliem March. I think the trade off on ever other book is a fantastic one two punch. Tynion IV has done a great job of keeping this book fresh and exciting which is not easy to do (looking at you Tom King) and keeping the Bat – Cat dialogue almost non existent. Still can’t wait to see what Deathstroke is up to in the long run and I’m already awaiting next issue. Score: 9. Recommendation: Buy.  

Superman: Villains #1 (DC) I was extremely looking forward to this book after the Superman: Heroes one shot but this was not what I expected. It was one of those books with tons of creators and short stories from many POVs but it just didn’t work here. I wanted nothing but all of Superman’s greatest villains reactions but we only got a few and then lots of shameless plugs and set ups for stuff coming down the pipe. The writing was alright and some of the art was okay but this just wasn’t what I expected. Superman’s ID reveal is monumental to DC Universe and this fell so flat in capitalizing on that moment. More time should have been dedicated to Lex’s reaction than the few throwaway pages we got. I hope they follow up much better in Superman’s main titles. Overall this was not what I expected in the least and big time miss on my end. Score: 6 Recommendation: Pass.

Logan

Strange Adventures #1 (DC/Black Label)– In Strange Adventures #1, Tom King, Mitch Gerads, and Evan Shaner deliver a deconstruction of the space pulp hero genre through the lens of (Of course) the War on Terror and 24 hour mass media as well as an intense character study of Adam Strange. Gerads handles the earth sequences, and there is vulnerability and vitality to his figure work and use of grids. On the other hand, Shaner does the Rann flashbacks and does it in his trademark clean line, classic pulp style while using a darker color palette to show that Adam wasn’t 100% a lantern jawed, upright hero or even the perfect family man. King probes at the connection between war and heroism and sets up *yet another* murder mystery plot, but takes it in an interesting direction with the series’ unlikely deuteragonist investigating Adam’s actions, both at home and abroad, and holding him accountable. Their interactions in future issues are a big reason why I’ll continue to check out this book. Overall: 8.1 Verdict: Buy

 Billionaire Island #1 (Ahoy!)– The Flintstones’ Mark Russell and Steve Pugh hit satirical gold again in this skewering of the 1%. They take things the ultrawealthy have, such as private islands, offshore bank accounts, panic rooms, and eugenics programs, and turn it up to eleven. Russell’s plot doesn’t kick in until the last few pages, but Billionaire Island #1 does a fairly good job of setting up the comic’s premise and various locales. Pugh’s artwork exaggerates the right bits and goes deadpan at the right times too with some memorable imagery. The panel of a former tax accountant drinking from a hamster cage water bottle while waiting for a billionaire to give him the time of day is one that will be seared into my brain. Basically, Billionaire Island makes class warfare entertaining. Overall: 8.7 Verdict: Buy

Spider-Man Noir #1 (Marvel)– From its opening action scene featuring pulp magazine cover-style art and monochromatic palette from Juan Ferreyra, Spider-Man Noir #1 exudes old school cool. Margaret Stohl’s dialogue stumbles at times when she tries to combine superhero platitudes with world-weary, gumshoe detective one-liners, but she nimbly shifts genres from a noir mystery to an adventure serial. She and Ferreyra immerse you in this world of violence, mystery, and conspiracy where a Nazi or a gangster is just around the corner. As an added bonus, Stohl and Ferreyra give Spider-Man Noir’s female characters agency and substantial time with Dr. Huma Bergmann basically kickstarting the plot, Mary Jane throwing punches and reminding Peter of his mission and basically to stop being mopey, and Aunt May running a community center. This comic is definitely worth picking up for fans of Into the Spider-Verse who wanted to see more of Nicolas Cage’s Spider-Man Noir or see a different visual or genre approach to the familiar environs of the Marvel Universe. Overall: 8.5 Verdict: Buy

Excalibur #8 (Marvel)– An issue-concluding conversation between Rachel Grey and Betsy Braddock almost turns Tini Howard, Victor Santos, and Marcus To’s Excalibur #8 from an okay to good/great comic. The Warwolves/Cullen Bloodstone storyline is wrapped with some incoherent action scenes and some flirting from Rictor and Cullen. It’s frustrating to hear about the cool things that Rogue, Gambit etc are doing from Howard’s exposition instead of seeing it in Santos, To, and way too many inkers’ art. Thankfully, she doesn’t pad out the storyline, and the aforementioned Rachel/Betsy conversation and a chat between Rictor (Love his new Druid design!) and Cullen about being gay in the Marvel Universe are the standout moments. Excalibur has a lot of potential as a series, especially when Marcus To is the artist, but it hasn’t reached it yet in issue 8. Overall: 7.4 Verdict: Read

Marauders #9 (Marvel)– This is the second straight week with good Emma Frost content as the Marauders finally discover that Yellowjacket has been spying on them via Pyro. To counteract this, Gerry Duggan and Matteo Lolli introduce several doses of psychic fantasies as Emma Frost and the Stepford Cuckoos quickly try defuse the situation. The illusions work because Lolli doesn’t switch up his art style except for maybe turning up the violence a little bit when Yellowjacket shoots his way past Emma and Bishop. In the big picture, Marauders #9 contributes to the ongoing issue of Krakoa having leaks of various kinds, and the actual player aka Sebastian Shaw doesn’t even make an appearance in this issue. Marauders #9 isn’t this series’ finest moment, but it’s a solid piece of connective tissue that also tapers off the Homo Verendi plotline. Duggan and Lolli should also be applauded for their creativity with the psychic powers. Overall: 8.0 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 2/29

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.


Logan

 Finger Guns #1 (Vault)– Justin Richards’ and Val Halvorson’s Finger Guns #1 is the first chapter of a high concept, YA comic about a boy and a girl who have the power to alter the emotional state of people around them through, er, finger guns. The book is peppered with silent panels and almost non-verbal until Sadie and Wes interact and relies Halvorson’s highly gestural art to show Wes’ lonely, day to day existence. Finger Guns understands that metaphor that being a kid is like being in a MMO, but on a lower level, and what if you found a way to level up quickly? This comic focuses on the sweet, sad side of being a teenager, but funny shenanigans do happen along the way. Finger Guns isn’t a runaway hit, but it has a fun core concept, a couple compelling leads, and is well constructed visually. Overall: 7.8 Verdict: Read

Amethyst #1 (DC/Wonder Comics)**- Amy Reeder writes, draws, and colors this excellent revival of Amethyst of Gemworld where Amy returns to her realm for a big birthday party, but no one is to be found. So, she embarks on an epic quest through Gemworld to find her missing parents/subjects with an air of mystery and tension happening throughout the comic. Reeder’s visuals are a true treat as she plays with panel shapes and uses a candy coated, 80s Saturday morning cartoon palette. Her figures are highly emotive, especially Amethyst, who is the perfect combo of idealism and sadness. Amethyst #1 is a pastel, fantasy comic that somehow takes place in the DCU and is a wonderful showcase for Amy Reeder’s considerable talents. Overall: 8.9 Verdict: Buy

 Fantastic Four: Grimm Noir #1 (Marvel)– Grimm Noir #1 is a one-shot from Gerry Duggan, Ron Garney, and Matt Milla where the Thing puts away the family bickering and cosmic threats for more of an internal struggle. Also, there’s rain, trench coats, a lovely chanteuse, and wonderful blue-meets-chiaroscuro lighting from Milla. Duggan doesn’t really provide much plot or mystery, but gives just enough frame for Garney’s composition as Ben Grimm almost literally crumbles to rocks as he deals with the nightmare being D’Spayre, who is the bad guy metaphor for his feelings of loneliness, otherness, and generally waiting for the other shoe to drop with him and his wife Alicia Masters. Duggan and Garney make Grimm Noir a true monster comic with many panels of body horror imagery like Thing’s eyeballs rolling around with rocks as he enters D’Spayre’s realm. It’s both a strong character study of one of my favorite Marvel characters and a good visual change of pace from Ron Garney and Matt Milla. Although, I wish some of the images had more of a storytelling function beyond “This looks cool.” and “Yay symbolism.” Overall: 8.0 Verdict: Buy

Giant-Size X-Men: Jean Grey and Emma Frost #1 (Marvel)– Giant Size X-Men: Jean Grey and Emma Frost #1 is an homage to famous “silent” issue of Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s New X-Men where Jean Grey and Emma Frost go into Professor X’s brain and find an important secret. Jonathan Hickman lays down a big reveal featuring the heart of the X-Men, Storm and then leaves it up to the imaginative visuals of Russell Dauterman and Matthew Wilson to tell the story. Wilson’s colors truly enhance the story using more intense colors every time telekinesis is used and being flatter every time Dauterman does a big, widescreen shot to establish setting or conflict. Speaking of conflict, Hickman and Dauterman do a visually memorable job of depicting the “guardians” of Storm’s mind before getting more body horror, and well, Krakoa-y as they get deeper into her psyche. Giant Size X-Men: Jean Grey and Emma Frost is a great reminder of the way clear, interesting, and character focused visuals can tell a comics story, and the superhero comics can have an interiority to them and not just be a series of external fights. Overall: 9.0 Verdict: Buy

New Mutants #8 (Marvel)– I might have to start skipping the Ed Brisson written issues of New Mutants after yet another stereotyped-filled stinker. However, I love how straight he plays Nova Aquilla with Boom Boom, Armor, and of course, Magma interacting with toga wearing Romans in the middle of the Brazilian rain forest. What follows is a cool powers-featuring action sequence with more Sebastian Shaw wheels spinning and even more cartel stereotypes. It’s not as bad as the previous issues in Nebraska because Shaw would definitely do the imperialist thing with the cartels, but the fictional Latin America country and one-dimensional focus on drugs and assault weapons is straight out of a Chuck Dixon comic from the 90s. On the art side, Marco Failla does have a great energy to his art and definitely nails the effect of Boom Boom and Armor blowing off steam against a (For now.) one-dimensional monstrous enemy while rescuing mutant refugees. Overall: 5.6 Verdict: Pass

X-Force #8 (Marvel)– Benjamin Percy and Bazaldua resolve the Domino flesh factory storyline and escalate Xeno’s threat. There’s also a big fight scene on the Trans-Siberian Railway, and Colossus and Domino bond over shared trauma and pain even though they live in what is technically a utopia. When they leap into combat against Xeno’s “Dominos”, it’s an exorcism, not a mandated fight scene with Colossus tenderizing punches and Domino’s more graceful moves making up for the guilt she feels in the infiltration of Krakoa and the assassination of Professor X. Bazaldua’s art is truly in motion in X-Force #8 as he cuts up panels to provide context for fight scenes and adds little, interesting touches like Sage holding a four leaf clover while she discusses Domino’s luck abilities with her. The plot of X-Force #8 is all about ramping up an external threat, but the chemistry between Domino and Colossus, both in action and conversation, is why I enjoyed this book. Overall: 8.2 Verdict: Buy

X-Men/Fantastic Four #2 (Marvel)X-Men/Fantastic Four #2 definitely has middle of chapter crossover vibes from Chip Zdarsky, the Dodsons, Laura Martin, and some other inkers they got to make the deadline.The introduction of Dr. Doom is a nice touch and a call back to the original X-Men/FF miniseries as he only wants Franklin Richards to reach his true potential. (Or does he?) Also, there’s a great stealth sequence featuring the Invisible Woman infiltrating the Quiet Council that makes this table setting chapter almost worth it before transitioning to generic superhero action. There’s all kinds of cross purposes motivations going on from the FF’s desire just to bring Franklin home to the X-Men trying to protect Krakoa and Dr. Doom’s more complex goal. Zdarsky seems to be having a lot of fun writing him as a chess player instead of an arrogant baddie, and the battle of wits between strategists like him, Reed Richards, Cyclops, and adding the personal element make this crossover worth following in the long run. Overall: 7.5 Verdict: Read

X-Men #7 (Marvel)X-Men #7 is Jonathan Hickman, Leinil Yu, and Sunny Gho’s ode to religious ritual: Krakoa style and also deals with the questions of Scarlet Witch, House of M, and if de-powered mutants can live in Krakoa. They frame it as a conversation between Cyclops and Nightcrawler, one of the most religiously devout X-Men, as well as a trial of combat called the Crucible between Apocalypse and Melody Guthrie, one of Cannonball’s siblings, who was depowered back on M-Day. As the fight rages on and violent ritual of death and rebirth ensues, Kurt wonders if the afterlife matters in a world where one can be resurrected and live on Krakoa indefinitely. He and Scott also talk about the idea of the best self and the choice of which version of “you” comes back after the resurrection protocols. Honestly, Cyclops is just happy to be happy for once after the past eight years or so of shit he’s been through in the comics and demonstrates real, blind faith even though that’s usually Nightcrawler’s role. X-Men #7 again shows that my favorite issues of the series are the ones where Jonathan Hickman and Leinil Yu delve into the ideological underpinnings of Krakoa and the new mutant nation with this issue acting as the religion to X-Men #4’s politics. Overall: 9.5 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 2/22

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

X-Men #6 (Marvel)– Jonathan Hickman and Matteo Buffagni build off the Orchis space mission plot thread from House of X to tell a Mystique-centric story, show that Orchis is still a threat, and make Krakoa even a more morally ambiguous place. Basically, Xavier and Magneto have made Mystique a one woman Suicide Squad, who spies on Orchis and their new technology for the hope of getting her wife, Destiny back. Buffagni is a wonderful artist choice for this issue with all of its tech floating around, and he uses skinny panels to nail the emotional beats between Mystique, Xavier, and Magneto as they continue to manipulate her. But she has sort of an ace up her sleeve that could be the downfall of Krakoa as Hickman brings back the multiple timelines in this issue.Finally, X-Men #6 is another example of Hickman forsaking the multi-issue arcs of modern, mainstream comics for single issue stories that help convey the larger tapestry of life on Krakoa. Overall: 8.4 Verdict: Buy

New Mutants #7 (Marvel)– Jonathan Hickman and Rod Reis wrap up the old school New Mutants in space arc in an experimental and occasionally abrupt fashion. Hickman definitely is having a ball writing the relationship between Sunspot and Cannonball and opens the issue with Sunspot breaking the fourth wall to complain about how the series has been broken up. Then, because they ran out of room or something, the climactic fight scene is decided by you, the reader, rolling D6’s. (In my case, the Shi’ar Imperial Guard won, and Mentor was the last one standing.) The intergalactic politics thing ends up just being a joke and an excuse for Cannonball and Sunspot to hang out more and banter. However, Rod Reis’ art and colors continue to be lush and emotive, perfect for the space-scapes and scenes of conflict between the New Mutants and Guard. Overall: 7.5 Verdict: Read

Wolverine #1 (Marvel)– Logan returns to solo comics is suitably guilt-ridden, claw-slashing, and bloody fashion in a pair of stories penned by Benjamin Percy and drawn by Adam Kubert and Viktor Bogdanovic. Both are crafted around his role as Krakoa’s last line of defense, the man of the wall, who will do whatever it takes to keep mutants safe. He might open the comic playing hide and seek with mutant children in a brightly colored sequence, but he probably has more in common with Omega Red in the 2nd story or the visions of his actions in the Old Man Logan comic in the first one. The 1st story basically throws Wolverine into a Narcos-like situation where he’s trying to figure out who is using the Krakoan flowers to whip up a human cult that wants to literally drink mutant blood. It’s solid, but the second story featuring vampires, the Paris catacombs, and the story of Catholic saints is much more exciting and pure pulp goodness. Percy and Bogdanovic work in tandem knowing when to cut between panels and when to open up and let Logan or Omega Red cut loose. The Vampire Nation is a powerful threat for Krakoa as well as its twisted mirror. Finally, the real highlight of this excellent, yet overpriced comic is Magneto using the CIA as an example of why Wolverine, and by extension, Krakoa, will never have the moral high ground. Overall: 9.0 Verdict: Buy

Marauders #8 (Marvel)– This is the big reaction issue to the death of Kate Pryde with some Sebastian Shaw maneuvering in the background. Most of the comic is Gerry Duggan and Stefano Caselli turning Iceman loose as he’s less Northstar and more Midnighter in the violence spectrum of queer characters because of his friendship with Kate. Caselli brings the big screen, elemental action showing the effects of Bobby’s power before showing his emotional reaction to Kate’s death. It’s cathartic and bookends nicely with Storm and Emma Frost’s interactions as this issue really drives home how much Kate meant to the X-Men and her Marauder teammates. Throughout the series, Duggan and Caselli have been able to pull off these kind of *water cooler* moments in Marauders, and this issue is no exception. Overall: 9.2 Verdict: Buy

 Bang! #1 (Dark Horse)– The new comic from Matt Kindt and Wilfredo Torres is a spy thriller that starts as an overt deconstruction of James Bond and then becomes much more metafictional. Think “fiction suits” from the works of Grant Morrison. Bang #1 is that fan theory that James Bond isn’t one man, but a codename given to different men (For now) written larger than life. Wilfredo Torres’ art is smooth and perfectly fit for both sleek action, pop culture/pulp homages, and something a little more mindbending. He uses grids for the hand to hand combat and splash pages for the big reveal. Nayoung Kim keeps the colors reasonably flat because this is pop reality, not reality. Bang! has an interesting concept and examines the misogyny and imperialism of pulp paperbacks while also indulging in its best tropes. Overall: 9.5 Verdict: Buy

 Valkyrie: Jane Foster #8 (Marvel)– Norwegian writer Torunn Gronbekk joins Jason Aaron and Cafu on the issue of Valkyrie: Jane Foster, and they tell a middling, disaster movie-esque, guest star heavy story of Valkyrie, the Avengers, and Thor against the forces of anti-life that were guarded by the All-Father and are now released. The best part of this comic is the two pages that Jane and her friend Lisa get to chat and talk about their lives until the ground opens up. I honestly don’t blame Gronbekk choosing the biggest toys in the box to play with in her first Marvel outing, but with the exception of the aforementioned two pages and the end of the comic, it feels more like an Avengers comic than a Valkyrie one. Also, this issue’s villain is a little bit of a retread of the last arc’s, but with more of a connection to Norse mythology. However, Cafu has a nice photorealistic style that isn’t stiff and makes for pleasant reading. Overall: 5.8 Verdict: Pass


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

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

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 2/8

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.


Joe Hesh

Batman Pennyworth RIP #1 (DC) In the aftermath of a terrible tragedy, the Bat family come together to mourn the life of their most faithful compatriot: Alfred Pennyworth. Nothing has been the same since Bane broke Alfred’s neck and took his life back during City of Bane. Bruce has been going solo and pushing the candle at both ends harder than ever before to drown out the pain. He has dedicated himself to rebuilding Gotham, both physically and spiritually. However thanks to a reading of Alfred’s will there was but one demand: That the whole family take one night off from crime fighting. Naturally Bruce made arrangements for the city to be looked after so they may all honor this one wish. In a secluded location, they gather to toast Alfred and one by one trade stories about who he was and what he meant to them all individually. As a collective it is clear that Alfred was the glue that held them all together. Each of the family is at a different point in their lives and careers. Damian is with the Titans, Tim is off solo, Barbara is mostly in the city and Dick, doesn’t even remember who he truly is, other than Ric Grayson. Not the particular ideal scenario, but all agree beyond doubt that Bruce is broken. Typical Bruce is stoic as usual and tough demeanor, but they all see right through it. Writers James Tynion IV and Peter J. Tomasi do a fantastic job here of crafting a tale of loss and celebration of life through many perspectives. There is barely a punch thrown in this whole issue other than emotional gut ones. I love these types of stories. They are the kind that get to the hearts and minds of the people underneath the capes and cowls. The art by the collective efforts of Eddy Barrows, Eber Ferreira, Chris Burnham, Marcio Takara, Diogens Neves, David Lafuente & Sumit Kumar also do a great job of illustrating everyone’s pain and loss and at the same time providing a hint a of optimism. The panels whisk by breezily but never failing to capture the appropriate emotion from each storytellers perspectives. It really is a wonderful read. THIS was the issue I’ve been waiting for ever since the fateful last page in Batman #77 some time back. This was a fantastic tribute to the character of Alfred Pennyworth and I really enjoyed all the extra treats they put in to make this issue pop even more. Only of my favorite moments was when Alfred broke into GCPD as a cat burgler to retrieve Tim Drake’s Red Robin weapons that he thought he lost. It’s stuff like this that enhances the reading even more. It might be too soon to say but this is my favorite single issue of 2020 thus far. Overall: I give this a 10. For the emotion, art, and tribute. Reccomendation: Must buy. As a Bat fan, how could you not?

Logan

Gwen Stacy #1 (Marvel)– This is a fairly wholesome “Untold Tales” type story from Christos Gage and Todd Nauck telling the 1960s Amazing Spider-Man stories from Gwen Stacy’s POV. Gage writes Gwen as a whip smart, loving high school student, who doesn’t take guff from anyone whether that’s her dad’s corrupt police colleagues or creepy guys at her high school. Gage weaves a fairly complex, organized crime-centric plotline, but still has some time for some cute moments like Gwen and her boyfriend flirting at the public library while a pre-spider bite Peter Parker reads a science book. Nauck is definitely more of a superhero artist than a slice of life one, but his storytelling is easy to follow. Plus there are a couple fun backup stories for Gwen fans. Overall, this is a great book for Silver Age aficionados or folks who like Marvel Universe stories from a civilian POV. Overall: 8.0 Verdict: Buy

Alienated #1 (BOOM!)- What if 3 high schoolers with the same name (Sam), but 3 different personalities were all the psychically linked? This is the high concept premise of Si Spurrier and Chris Wildgoose’s Alienated. They craft a world not too dissimilar from our own where a YouTube type platform is the main type of entertainment for youngsters and conformity is the main point of education. Spurrier gives all 3 leads distinct personalities, and Wildgoose throws in some fun storytelling tricks like triptych panels that heighten the telepathy scenes compared to school scenes. And letterer Jim Campbell is Alienated’s secret weapon as he creates three (and later four) distinct word balloon types for the main characters. Alienated #1 is a good coming of age story with a little political satire and sci-fi thrown in to spice things up. Overall: 8.6 Verdict: Buy


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

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

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