Category Archives: Mini Reviews

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 12/10

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

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.

 


Logan

No1WithABullet_02-1.pngIceman #8 (Marvel) Having not one, but two Icemen spices up Sina Grace’s banter starting with a hilarious scene where they talk about boys while an unnamed Pyro spouts off banal dialogue about mutant rights. Artist Robert Gill really sells the scene by having ice golems beat the bad guy up in the background while young and old Iceman have a heart to heart. Speaking of heart to heart, the tension between Iceman and his parents continues as they see young Iceman as a chance to get things “right”. It’s emotionally difficult, but bolstered by plenty of jokes, boy drama, and Gill’s beefcake take on Daken, who is likely going to play a role in future issues. Overall: 8.1 Verdict: Buy

No. 1 with a Bullet #2 (Image) Jacob Semahn, Jorge Corona, and Jen Hickman really hit their stride in No. 1 with a Bullet #2 by exploring the emotional fallout of a sex video of protagonist Nash Huang and her boss leaking via high tech contact lens cameras. Corona uses close-ups and Hickman uses clashing colors to show Nash’s feelings of sadness and rage in a character driven issue that deals with the real life problem that men think they’re entitled to women’s bodies. In light of the sexual abuse of men like Harvey Weinstein and more, this is tough, yet important read and looks at real world issues in an empathetic way through the lens of the horror and sci-fi genres. It also has a hell of a cliffhanger. Overall: 8.9 Verdict: Buy

Sheaniron fist 75.jpg

Iron Fist #75 (Marvel) As the battle Royale rages on, Choshin, Constructor as well as Sabretooth kick heads, as it is every man for himself.As Sabretooth and Iron Fist catches up with Constrictor, they find someone else wearing his costume, who has a whole separate agenda. Choshin unfortunately gts his hands on the Book of the Iron Fist and unleashes some ungodly evil.By issue’s end, our heroes and Choshin’s goons arrive in KunLun, making it one step closer to taking down the Iron Fist once and for all. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Spirits of Vengeance #3 (Marvel) Right from the onset of this issue, we feel an origin story for “Blood Money”, as it goes all the way back to Judah and his thirty pieces of silver.This issue also serves as an introduction to our villain, Nacrodamus, which is the most powerful evil the Spirits of Vengeance has ever seen. Our heroes venture into the underworld through an ancient gateway, Port Brimstone.By issues end, they enter a barlooking much like the Most Eisley Cantina, except with demons galore in place of aliens, finding the very person who Judas the silver pieces. Overall: 9.3 Recommendation: Buy

Ryan C

GravediggersUnion_02-1The Fix #10 (Image)**  Nick Spencer and Steve Lieber return after a long hiatus with an issue that, frankly, shows plenty of rust. There’s a few laughs, but the overall tone and tenor of the book seems a shadow of its former self, scripting and art both seem a little lazy, and the cliffhanger is bog-standard “let’s see how he gets out of this one” stuff. Overall: 4 Recommendation: Pass

The Gravediggers Union #2 (Image)** Wes Craig and Toby Cypress continue to impress with their nascent series, as this second issue serves up more eye-popping art, original concepts, sharp and concise dialogue, and smart “world-building.” These guys are building something kinda special here, and the growing cast of characters is uniformly interesting and compelling. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Violent Love #10 (Image)**  Frank J. Barbieri and Victor Santos put the wraps on their “Badlands/””Natural Born Killers”-inspired crime series with a terrific final issue that wraps up every loose thread and serves up a deliciously cold little bit of revenge at the very end. Terrific art has been a hallmark of this book throughout, and this one pulls out all the stops on the visual front, as well. The back-up feature by Ryan Ferrier and Jamie Jones closes out in thoroughly satisfying fashion, as well. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Batman #36 (DC)  Whaddya know, I actually liked this one! Tom King’s dialogue is still overly-stylized and frankly somewhat interchangeable from one character to the next, but he “gets” the dynamic of the Batman/Superman friendship, the simple plot manages to stay on the right side of the clever/cliche divide (albeit just barely), and the art by brothers Clay and Seth Mann is superb and dynamic. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Christopher

Dept H #21 (Dark Horse) Mia gets a powerful gift from Roger that reveals a lot. Not only about Roger and Hari’s relationship, but the lives of Mia’s parents. The one Roger saw in person, and through film. Revealing how he loved and disposed the happiness Hari found. Showing the final moment of Hari’s life in splendid and grainy black and white footage that really stands out in this issue. Contrasting vastly with the rest of the panels in this issue. Overall: 9 


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 12/3

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.


 

Logan

Batman: Creature of the Night (DC Comics) – Kurt Busiek’s return to DC is triumphant, unsettling, and quite metafictional in Batman: Creature of the Night #1 with powerful, Dave Mazzucchelli-esque artwork from John Paul Leon. The book tells the story of a boy named Bruce, who is a huge Batman fan, loses his parents, has a uncle whose initials make the name Alfred, and likes seeing the bats at the zoo. Busiek and Leon probe deep into the feeling of anger, loss, and grief at the loss of a parent, and how isolated Bruce is even in his quite privileged lifestyle. And, in the dreamlike margins, a bat-like figure is attacking criminals. Busiek and Leon treat Batman much like Alejandro Inarritu treats the titular superhero of Birdman, and the lines are blurred between dream and reality, inspiration and dread. But the biggest mystery yarn is why Alfred won’t have Bruce over to his house, and the calligraphy fonts used by legendary letterer Todd Klein add to this feeling of distance between them. Score: 9.6 Verdict: Buy

John Wick #1 (Dynamite) – John Wick is hunting a man in El Paso named Pecos, who left him to die as a youngster, and now he’s back with a vengeance. Writer Greg Pak tries a little too hard with a non-linear structure at the beginning of the book, but a dry sense of humor and letting artist Giovanni Valletta unleash the gun fu in a double spread make John WIck #1 a solid comic. There’s just a touch of a gun slinging Western in this book’s DNA with some sepia colors from David Curiel. But this book is best when it cuts straight to the action although Wick’s interactions with a certain supporting character from the movie are fun and plot relevant. Overall: 7.7 Verdict: Read

Ryan C

 

Darkhawk #51 (Marvel)* – This turned out to be a bad week for Marvel to release a comic co-written by Chris Sims, but this isn’t something you should really be reading anyway, under any circumstances, because it just plain sucks. Sims and co-writer Chad Bowers have served up yet another “Legacy” story that’s completely alienating to the very same new readers it’s supposed to be “friendly” toward, Kev Walker’s art is completely devoid of personality, and to call this a “missed opportunity” is putting things too kindly, because not even long-time fans of the character (what few there are) will be pleased with this botched re-introduction. A one-shot that no one will be asking for more of. Overall: 0 Recommendation: Pass I purchased my copy — big mistake.

Renato Jones Season Two: Freelancer #5 (Image)* – Kaare Kyle Andrews wraps things up (for the time being, at any rate) with a superb and surprising conclusion that pulls a totally unexpected rabbit out of its hat — then another, and then another. Killer art, amazing class-conscious story — pretty much everything you could want in a comic, especially if you hate the 1%. I hope we’ll see more of Renato somewhere down the road. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Dark Ark #3 (Aftershock)* – I wasn’t as sold on Cullen Bunn and Juan Doe’s revisionist take on the Noah’s Ark fable as most readers apparently were for the first two issues, but as of now I’m all in. The murder mystery at the heart of the story’s early going takes a seriously surprising twist, the ark comes under attack — and Doe’s art is just straight-up amazing. Glad I stuck with this one. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Moon Knight #189 (Marvel)* – The first page of this issue is a superb piece of horrific stage-setting, but after that Max Bemis’ script has a tough time living up to its potential. Fortunately, though, Jacen Burrows’ dynamic and detailed art picks up a lot of the slack and carries the bulk of the storytelling on its shoulders. Two issues in, this is very much a series still trying to find its legs, but as long as it looks this good I’ll keep hanging around — I can’t recommend in good conscience that you should spend four bucks on it, though. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Read


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

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

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 11/25

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 PUNISHER PLATOON #3 1the 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

Punisher Platoon #3 (Marvel) Frank Castle is one of those characters you can tell he is a born natural at what he does. This issue shows a man with no previous combat experience, taking to killing, like riding a horse. As he uses political savvy to get an upper hand on the Vietcong. By issue’s end, his plan pays off as his men gets a decisive advantage as the other side has their own version of the Punisher, readying to pounce. Overall: 9.3 Recommendation: Buy

Logan

TDEMONHE_Cv1_dsThe Demon Hell on Earth #1 (DC) The Demon #1 is a riff off the relationship between Jason Blood and Etrigan in this new miniseries set in Death Valley of all places. There are some solid moving pieces in this issue like Jason Blood trying to use alcohol to weaken his connection to the demon, or Madame Xanadu beating the crap out of some creepy redneck bikers, but they never cohere. Brad Walker’s layouts and Chris Sotomayor’s colors for the big transformation scene are truly hellish though. Recommendation: 6.8 Recommendation: Read

Ryan C

Eleanor & The Egret #5 (Aftershock)** John Layman and Sam Kieth put their rather hum-drum series to bed with a superbly illustrated issue that nevertheless fails to wrap things up in an overly satisfactory, or even logical, manner. Gorgeous to look at, but an entirely forgettable read. Overall: 5 Recommendation: Pass.

THANOS #13 1 Underwinter: A Field Of Feathers #2 (Image)**  Ray Fawkes’ mysterious, abstract, interpretive horror tale isn’t for all tastes, but it’s certainly right up my alley. Nearly communicated entirely by visual means, the gorgeous watercolor-style art has a lot to say if you take the time to pay attention. The plot’s chugging along nicely on a purely liminal level, as well. Lots to admire here. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Thanos #13 (Marvel)**  The “God Country” team of Donny Cates and Geoff Shaw could prove to be an inspired choice to take over this title, but they’ll have to deliver a little more than they do here. Shaw’s art is cosmic, sweeping, and more than easy on the eye, but Cates’ script seems, so far, derivative of every other Thanos story ever told. Not bad, but not worth four bucks. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Read

The Unsound #6 (Boom! Studios)** Not a bad wrap-up to Cullen Bunn and Jack T. Cole’s otherworldly “hospital horror,” but not an entirely satisfying one either as our protagonist finds herself able to escape her dire situation merely because the chief “baddie” changes his mind about letting her go literally a page after he prevents her from doing so — and the final third (or thereabouts) of the book is pure set-up for a sequel that, in all likelihood, won’t be happening any time soon. Absolutely jaw-dropping art makes this comic worth a look, but not a buy. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Read



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

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

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 11/18

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

TheWickedAndTheDivine_33-1The Wicked + The Divine #33 (Image)**  We were promised a big cliffhanger this time out, but that’s not exactly true : we’ve got two or three of ’em, depending on what surprises you. Lots more questions than answers, which is good, and while Kieron Gillen’s “too cool for school” highly-stylized writing style still grates on me at times, Jamie McKelvie’s art is, as ever, absolutely superb. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Batman #35 (DC)** Tom King and Joelle Jones wrap up their little Catwoman-vs.-Talia al Ghul three-parter with probably the best installment of the bunch, featuring some quite nice character moments between Dick Grayson and Damian Wayne, some dynamic fight sequences, and some stunning art. Nothing too terribly awe-inspiring, by any stretch, but better than what we’re used to from this series. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Read

The Wild Storm #9 (DC/WildStorm)** Another solid installment from Warren Ellis and Jon Davis-Hunt that features a tighter focus around a smaller cast of characters than most previous issues, and the result is a brisk, at times breathtaking read with one of the most superbly-delineated fights you’ll see in any book this year. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Ringside #13 (image)** Don’t look now, but Joe Keatinge and Nick Barber seem to be putting some serious effort into this series again after mailing it in for a good six issues or so. Keatinge’s wide-ranging script is beginning to see its multiple plot points begin to converge, and Barber’s art is looking more polished and determined. We’re nowhere near the heights achieved by the first few installments yet, but it’s good to see that things are on an upward trajectory. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

dept h 20.jpg

Christopher

Dept H #20 (Dark Horse)The tension continues to increase as the surviving crew of Dept H still struggle to get to the surface. Like previous issues, this one does reveal a backstory. This time it is Q’s one of the few characters whose backstory hasn’t been heard. The are continues to darker in the present then it is the past, keeping this issue consistent with previous issues. Writer and Artist: Matt Kindt Overall.:8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Logan

The Batman Who Laughs #1 (DC)­­ The Batman who Laughs is a fantastic tie-in to DC Comics’ Metal event that examines the nature of evil through the lens of the classic BMWL_Cv1_r1_ds-1rivalry between Batman and the Joker. Riley Rossmo’s art is seriously messed up, and his layouts mirror the funhouse mirror chaos of the Joker, who is killed by Batman and then infects him with his madness. (Rossmo also successfully executes a jump scare in a comic book.) There have been a bunch of evil Batman Elseworlds stories over the years, but James Tynion and Rossmo go deeper psychologically and show how breaking bad affects Batman’s relationships with his family and Superman. If this was the last Batman/Joker story ever, this would be a good way to go out . Overall: 9.5 Verdict: Buy

The Punisher #218 (Marvel)** Frank Castle and Nick Fury Jr. are a match made in hell in Matthew Rosenberg, Guiu Vilanova, and Lee Loughridge’s new Punisher series. Rosenberg’s script is fairly humorous as a bureaucracy bound super spy trades wits with a single minded killing machine. Frankly, Fury is using the Punisher to cover his own ass and realizes that maybe letting Frank steal the War Machine armor was a terrible idea. Vilanova’s art is gritty and draws Frank with a stoic demeanor that masks a psychopath underneath in a similar way to Steve Dillon’s work. Some of his fight scenes are crowded and hard to follow, but weird numbering aside, Punisher #218 is a darkly violent, way too many guns toting, international take on the classic vigilante/anti-hero/villain. Overall: 8.1 Recommendation: Read.



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

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

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 11/11

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.


FALCON #2 1Ryan C

The Falcon #2 (Marvel)** – I really wanted to like this comic, but so far Rodney Barnes and Joshua Cassara aren’t giving me much reason to. The tone of the story is wildly uneven, going from lame, obvious, forced humor to angst-y melodrama without notice; the supernatural-themed plot is limp;, and the art is awash in so much smudgy darkness that basic things like facial expressions end up totally obscured. Not even a guest appearance from one of Marvel’s coolest characters, Brother Voodoo, can elevate this above “train-wreck” status. I thought about bailing after issue one, but decided to give it another chance — I won’t be making that mistake again. Overall: 2 Recommendation: Pass

Action Comics #991 (DC)** – So that was “The Oz Effect,” huh? Glad it’s over. Viktor Bogdanovic’s art is bright and crisp enough to keep you interested, but Dan Jurgens (at the behest of his editors, I’m sure) essentially served up a five-part “major” story arc. that functions as nothing but set-up for “Doomsday Clock.” Nothing’s resolved, nothing’s explained, nothing matters. So glad I wasted $20 on five issues of this. Overall: 3.5 Recommendation: Pass

Gass Kings #9 (Boom! Studios)** – A bit of a “sidebar” issue from Matt Kindt and Tyler Jenkins here, but one that moves the main narrative along nicely regardless given that the two young characters we’re following along in this story are investigating the same mysterious death that our main protagonists have been, and their youthful enthusiasm and naivete adds a more light-hearted tone than we’re used to from this series. Fun, intriguing, and, as always, absolutely gorgeous to look at. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Mister Miracle #4 (DC)** – Tom King and Mitch Gerads lay down the law — literally — this time out as Orion places Scott Free on trial in his own house. Good thing there’s plenty of veggies for everyone. Probably the weakest issue so far, it’s gotta be said, but that still means it’s better than just about any other “Big Two” book you’d care to Force-1-cover-Jay-Reed-198x300.jpgmention. Plus, the cliffhanger is genuinely pretty goddamn harrowing. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Logan

Force #1 (Action Lab) The new football themed comic from writers Shawn Pryor and B. Alex Thompson and artist Jay Reed sputters out of the gate with a flashback to a game featuring player we have no context about. Then, it makes another narrative no-no and goes to a previous game. However, by the end of the book, I felt like I actually cared about aging, scrappy Tennessee Boxers QB Terrence Wright whose situation reminded me a lot when the Indianapolis Colts were phasing out Peyton Manning for the hot shot rookie Andrew Luck. The faces in the art are kind of generic, but Reed kills in the final football scene. Rating: 7.2 Verdict: Read

Mister Miracle #4 (DC)– The nine panel grid turns into a trap for Scott Free in Tom King and Mitch Gerads’ as Orion and Lightray interrogate him as possibly having the anti-life equation. But he relationship between Scott and Barda is the real reason why this is one of my favorite current DC books because she stands up for him while he’s filled with self-loathing and hatred. Talking heads in a comic are usually pretty boring, but King and Gerads find a nice rhythm and push Scott to an almost literal breaking points with those sov2.jpgbright red and yellows causing a mess everywhere. Also, Orion is still an asshole. Overall: 9.4 Verdict: Buy

Shean

Spirits of Vengeance #2 (Marvel) We catch up our heroes shortly after learning of an upcoming war, but who, what and why is what’s at odds. As they face demons at every corner of the world, trying to thwart their efforts , they did out about A bounty on Johnny Blaze’s head. As they keep on digging, they soon find out that it’s not only a waterproof coming but one which occurs every 1000 years and are literally a meeting between heaven and hell taking place on Earth. By issue’s end, the man pulling strings, is revealed and he looks to end anyone in his way. Overall: 9.25 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 11/4

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.

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Logan

POWER PACK #63Power Pack #63 (Marvel): Damn, this one-shot made me miss Marvel’s other superhero family as Katie Power narrates an adventure of her and her superpowered siblings for a rewrite on a high school paper. It’s a retelling of an older Power Pack comic, but writer Devin Grayson editorializes enough to show how much Katie misses blasting bad guys with her family. The story is also a strong argument for outlandish, standalone superhero stories instead of “realistic” ones, and Marika Cresta’s clean lines remind me of New Mutants’ (and Power Pack fill-in artist) Bob McLeod. It is highly relatable to anyone who is missing a sibling, who has moved far away. Overall: 8.7 Recommendation: Buy

Ryan C

Batman: White Knight #2 (DC)** – I keep hoping that Sean Murphy has something else up his sleeve other than “look how I’m tweaking Gotham City norms at the margins,” but so far that’s all we’re getting here story-wise apart from some nasty white-washing of fascism. The art’s awesome, no question about it, and there’s a decent cliffhanger on offer here that will have you looking at Clayface in a new and decidedly unpleasant way, but damn — do we really need another story that looks at the most unpleasant aspect of Batman’s character (namely that he’s essentially a vigilante protecting the 1% by beating the crap out of poor people) and tries to cast it in a positive light a la “The Dark Knight Rises”? I think not. So far the only “message” I’m getting from this book is that if poor people get out of line, it’s up to the rich to knock them back down for the “good” of all. Pretty fucking repugnant, really. Overall: 4 Recommendation: Pass.

BMJKWK_Cv2_dsBatman #34 (DC)** – Another superb art job from Joelle Jones is wasted on another lazy-ass Tom King script. This is the most sumptuous-looking fight you’ll see all week, no question — but that’s still all we’re gejuy6tting here : an issue-length fight. Whatever. Overall: 3.5. Recommendation: Pass 

Crosswind #5 (Image)** – I’m still not sold on Cat Staggs’ heavily-photo-referenced art, being more a fan of actual free-hand drawing myself, but damn is Gail Simone’s darkly comic take on the “Freaky Friday” premise all kinds of fun. Events seem to be converging toward a conclusion of sorts, but hopefully the seeds of a second arc will be planted next issue, because I’d hate to see this book die a premature death. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Paper Girls #17 (Image)** – When it comes to paying homage to Spielberg-style ’80s blockbusters, Brian K. Vaughn and Cliff Chiang are getting exactly right everything that “Stranger Things” season two got exactly wrong — and even though this issue is heavy on the exposition, it’s true, these are answers that have been a long time coming and they lead to even more questions, so it’s all good. And the art’s more than good, it’s great. The iron fist 74most quietly consistent series going, and one that’s got all kinds of heart, too. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Shean

Iron Fist #74 (Marvel) When Danny Rand returns home to NYC, he finds the Book of the Iron Fist stolen by the Serpent and the Serpent Society. He teams up with Sabretooth to find it while knocking some heads along the way. At the same time, an old villain of The Iron Fist, Choshin is looking to take over Kun Luna do with an army 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 10/29

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

BMMERC_Cv1_2PBatman: The Merciless #1 (DC)– What if Batman fought his war on crime as the literal God of War? After Diana is killed in a battle with Ares, Batman picks up his helm and becomes the Merciless. Thanks to Francis Manapul on art and colors, Batman: The Merciless #1 is one of the most visual stunning Metal tie-ins with a plethora of double page spreads and panels that grip the emotions and senses like Batman cradling Diana in his arms, or little evil Robins eating their Court of the Owls counterparts. Sadly, writer Peter Tomasi skimps on the complex relationship between Diana and Bruce, but mostly redeems this gap with a fun bit of Dr. Strangelove influenced satire as the various paramilitary organizations in the DC Universe scramble to fight the Dark Knights. Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

Ryan C

Black Panther #166 (Marvel)** – A pretty decent revisionist look at Klaw’s origins from writer Ta-Nehisi Coates, and Leonard Kirk’s art is an improvement over the litany of fill-in artists on offer in recent months, but we’re still very much in “competent, but uninspired” territory here. The trend is positive, but not enough to warrant a “buy” recommendation yet. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Read

Action Comics #990 (DC)** – The penultimate chapter of “The Oz Effect” honestly isn’t much better than the previous three, with fairly nice art from Viktor Bogdanovic that has more personality than most “Big Two” illustration frankly wasted on a Dan Jurgens story that feels very rote and “by-the-numbers” indeed. Mostly events just stall here until a terrible, forced, and drama-free cliffhanger finally cuts things off. Overall: 3.5 Recommendation: Pass.

GlitterbombTheFameGame_02-1Glitterbomb: The Fame Game #2 (Image)** – Another dreary and non-dramatic installment in what has to rank as the most disappointing return of 2017. I absolutely loved the first run of “Glitterbomb,” but writer Jim Zub and artist Djibril Morissette-Pham seem to be having a tough time shaking off the rust of their long hiatus. Our protagonist basically just does the exact same thing in this issue as she did in the last, and the horror of offer seems both tepid and shoehorned-in. Oh, how a once-mighty title has fallen. Overall: 3 Recommendation: Pass

Violent Love #9** – Wow, I didn’t see that coming! One of our two protagonists dies this issue, and both are victims of a massive double-cross. The truncated time frame that follows leads me to believe that this series is being rushed toward a forced conclusion, which is semi-tragic because Frank J. Barbiere’s scripting has been solid and Victor Santos’ art is just plain breathtaking. I’ll be sorry to see this one end. High marks to Ryan Ferrier and Jamie Jones for their superb back-up strip, as well. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

 

 


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

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

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 10/22

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.


dept h 19.jpgChristopher

Dept H #19 (Dark Horse) Writer and Artist: Matt Kindt The story continues to merge in elements of the past, as the surviving crew arrives at the first many substations. Taking a much darker color scheme than previous issues. Creating a heavy atmosphere of desperation as the world may depend on the survival of the crew. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Joe

Batman #33 (DC) While a bit of a slow burn, I have enjoyed Tom King’s run on Batman, and this issue was no different. After the proposal was answered, we see Bruce and Selina in a far away land (I won’t spoil here), on a secret mission that has everyone more than a little worried. It’s a good set up, and a good addition to this series. Also, Joelle Jones is now on art for this arc, and it’s beautiful. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

The Mighty Thor #700 (Marvel) While there is a lot of awesome art from many of the great Thor artists, and Aaron writes and sets up more pieces to something bigger, I was hoping for something more. I don’t know if that’s on my expectations, but it is issue 700, and I don’t think it should have served as a set up comic, but something bigger. That being said, it’s still enjoyable and looks great. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Invincible Iron Man #593 (Marvel) Riri and Doom are both given plot threads that are sure to connect again soon. Ben still will never forgive Victor, and that makes sense. As CABLE #150for Riri, Amanda, and MJ, they have a company takeover to worry about, oh and that whole what happened to Tony business. There’s a pretty good cliffhanger at the end that sets things up nicely. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

Cable #150 (Marvel) This is another nostalgic X-Book like Gold and Blue. That doesn’t mean it’s bad, I just found it to be a by the numbers, elbow nudging, hey remember this comic. We get Shatterstar, Longshot, Doop, and Cable looking into the death of an External. Brisson has done a solid job on Old Man Logan, and Iron Fist, so he’s shown he can do fun action quite well. If you’re looking for more 90s X-Force stuff, then look no further. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Read

Logan

Batman #33 (DC) With sumptuous desert vistas and sultry glances between the newly engaged Batman and Catwoman, Joelle Jones with the help of colorist Jordie Bellaire immediately puts her mark on the Batman title. If you liked Tom King’s work with Tim Seeley on Grayson, this comic will especially make you smile as Batman and Catwoman go undercover while the Robins past and present crack wise at home about their former or current mentor’s descent into darkness. Jones has a great command over BM_Cv33_dsbody language, and King has a killer sense of self-awareness about Batman’s relationship to his “family”. Batman #33 is worth a read to see Jason, Dick, Duke, and Damian’s reaction to Bruce’s engagement alone. Overall: 8.8 Recommendation: Buy

Ryan C

The Wild Storm #8 (DC/WildStorm)** An issue heavy on revelations that successfully eschews feeling like an “info dump.” Warren Ellis is definitely starting to tie his disparate threads into an increasingly-seamless whole, while Jon Davis-Hunt continues to just plain kill it on art. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Batman: The Drowned #1 (DC)** More dull “What If—?” re-imaginings of Batman, this time with a thoroughly mediocre Batman/Aquaman mash-up script from Mr. Assembly-Line himself, Dan Abnett, and thoroughly uninspired, “New 52”- esque art from Philip Tan and Tyler Kirkham. Four dollars of your money and 15 minutes of your time that you’ll never get back. Overall: 1 Recommendation: Pass

Batman #33 (DC)** Lavish and sumptuous art from Joelle Jones that oozes atmosphere from the page is almost enough — almost — to make you overlook yet another lackluster Tom King script. The interaction between Robins then and now (and hey, we’ve got a Duke Thomas sighting!) is fun, but the Bat/Cat relationship still reads as stiff and emotionless, and the story is clearly “de-compressed” to the point of feeling hopelessly padded. Shooting a horse at the outset is decidedly un-heroic, as well. Overall: 6 LUKE CAGE #166 1Recommendation: Read — or, more specifically, look at it. 

Luke Cage #166 (Marvel)  A reasonably topical and socially-conscious script from the always-reliable David F. Walker kicks off “Caged!,” a new arc that sees our hero back inside prison walls, but Guillermo Sanna’s art is sparse on detail and even downright lazy-looking in numerous panels. The storyline seems like it has the potential to be interesting, but if a $3.99 book doesn’t look good, I can’t in good conscience recommend buying it. Overall: 5 Recommendation: Pass

Shean

Black Panther Prelude #1 (Marvel) In anticipation for the upcoming movie, Marvel decided to release a Prelude, which usually takes place before the upcoming movie, thus one does a different take. The reader is actually taken back before Civil War. We are dropped in the middle of T’Challa struggling with his princely duties as T’Chaka is still alive in this book and his role as the Black Panther, his first meeting with Okoye, and some Wakandans are held hostage. By book’s end, one of the hostage takers has gotten their hands on some Vibranium bullets, and T’Challa might be outgunned. Overall: 9.4 Recommendation: Buy

Deadpool Vs Old Man Logan#1 (Marvel) In the debut issue of what looks to monopolize on Marvel’s most popular characters, we find our heroes in the middle of New York. Deadpool literally bumps into Old Man Logan, where a chase/fight ensues riddled with a ton of jokes. Logan is on his way to help a young mutant while Wade is trying to make money. By issue’s end, Sentinel Services shows up, and both heroes must fight their way out. 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 10/14

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.


Ryan C

FALCON_LEGACY_CVRThe Falcon #1 (Marvel)** – I didn’t think anything could be clumsier and more heavy-handed than Nick Spencer’s take on Sam Wilson, but new scribe Rodney Barnes is giving him a run for his money. Dour, humorless, and personality-free Sam? No thanks. I’m all for the timely and topical in my funnybooks, and generally agree with the points Barnes is making about economic disparity and lack of opportunity leading to the gang “crisis,” but I guess I prefer a subtle narrative to a heavy-handed polemic. Joshua Cassara’s art is fine, on the whole, if unexceptional, but I don’t see any particular reason being put forth to stick around for more of this. Overall: 4 Recommendation: Pass

 Action Comics #989 (DC)** – Dan Jurgens and Viktor Bogdanovic serve up another mediocre installment of “The Oz Effect” complete with the heavily-expository dialogue and dull “continuity porn” that we’re quickly becoming used to here. The art’s fine as far as it goes, but it doesn’t go very far : clunky pages laden with backstory followed by fight, followed by crisis that hits home, followed by more clunky pages laden with backstory. Rinse and repeat as necessary. This is assembly-line stuff all the way. Overall: 3 Recommendation: Pass

The Wild Storm: Michael Cray #1 (DC/WildStorm)** – The surprise hit of the week, Bryan Hill (who’s been killing it on “Postal”) comes on over to “The Big Two” and makes a splash with this story (apparently plotted by Warren Ellis) that sees his protagonist taking aim at the “Earth-WS” (or whatever it’s called) version of Green Arrow. I suppose the idea of analogues to characters we’re familiar with existing on this alternate Earth is kind of an obvious tack to take, but it really works here, probably because Hill spends near-equal time filling in the blanks of both Cray’s and Ollie Queen’s pasts. Nice, clean, crisp art from N. Steven Harris adds to the overall professionalism of the package, and if this creative team remains together for the duration, this should be a very memorable 12-issue run indeed. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Ragman #1 (DC)** – A confused, lackluster, and contrived “re-imagining” of a little-used but interesting character from Ray Fawkes and Inaki Miranda that sure looks cool, but reads like a lame and unnecessary “re-vamp” because, hey, that’s exactly — and all — MMIR_Cv3_open_order_varthat it is. Can’t think of any compelling reason to ride this one out for five more issues. Overall: 3 Recommendation: Pass

Logan

Mister Miracle #3 (DC) Tom King and Mitch Gerads make Orion one seriously disturbed individual in Mister Miracle #3 while also showing Scott pull off one of his signature escape routines in a classic, yet dream-like use of the grid layout that evokes Winsor McCay’s work. Mister Miracle is ostensibly a cosmic war comic, but King and Gerads continue to keep the focus on Scott’s emotions, fears, and his relationship with Big Barda. This, along with the delicious surrealism and formalism of Gerads’ art, is what makes this book one of DC’s most intriguing. Overall: 8.4 Recommendation: Buy

Defenders #6 (Marvel) Brian Michael Bendis can still write the heck out of a street level superhero story, and his Jessica Jones is way more powerfully written in this book than her solo title. This issue is mostly table setting for the upcoming New York/Kingpin gang war, but action seems to be on the way with the appearances of characters like Wilson Fisk and Deadpool. Finally, Dave Marquez has added a grittier sensiblity to his wide screen, blockbuster art and really shines when Luke and Jessica get in the trenches and beat the crap out of Diamondback. Overall: 7.3 Recommendation: Read

Joe

Dark Nights: Metal #3 (DC) – What a fun and crazy event. It walks a razor-thin line between ridiculous and awesome. If you described this in an elevator pitch, or to your friends, it sounds absurd, and that’s because it is. Yet it is also the reason it is so good. It just works. I have to give props to Snyder and Capullo as a creative team, because they are proving once again they know how to write one hell of a fun, silly, and wonderful page turner. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Mister Miracle #3 (DC) – Tom King and Mitch Gerads continue to tell an interesting and dark tale of the possible mental breakdown of a classic Kirby character. Scott Free’s spiral is something that is hard to look away from, because I found myself rooting for him, and for Barda, and their desire for happiness together. They are soldiers, and Ragman-1-2017Generals, and they are being used. It’s an excellent series so far, with some shocking moments in just three issues. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Ragman #1 (DC) – An interesting character that isn’t new, but has a cool look and a horror vibe that meshes well with the Halloween season. There isn’t anything groundbreaking or spectacular here, and really I would describe it as “Okay”. If you are unfamiliar with the character, I would describe it as a cross between The Mummy and Venom. Overall: 5 Recommendation: Pass

 


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

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

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 10/7

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

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Ryan C

Savage Things #8 (DC Comics/Vertigo)* – Justin Jordan and Ibrahim Moustafa had themselves a pretty decent little conclusion to their eight-parter going here — until the very last page, when they set things up for a sequel that, let’s be honest, is probably never going to happen given this book’s typically-lackluster (remember when Vertigo comics were a big deal?) sales. I love Moustafa’s art, and Jordan’s sparse, economic script moves along at a nice clip, but an actual ending would have served the narrative — and its readers — a lot better. Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read

Postal #23 (Image/Top Cow)* – Bryan Hill and Isaac Goodhart deliver what feels very much like the penultimate issue in their long-running series, and I’ll say this much — if it’s ending, at least it’s ending on a high note. This is some seriously high-octane shit, nicely illustrated, with every chess piece being moved expertly into place. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Ringside #12 (Image)* – Joe Keatinge and Nick Barber’s wrestling series manages to pull out of its narrative tailspin a bit here with some genuinely intriguing developments added into the mix and a solid final-page cliffhanger, but damn, Barber’s art just keeps getting more rushed- and sloppy- looking. It’s pretty much hard on the eyes at this point. Overall: 5.0 Recommendation: Pass

Batman #32 (DC Comics)* – And so, “The War Of Jokes And Riddles” comes to an end not with a bang, but a whimper — as I, for one, was certainly expecting given the disjointed nature of this sorry arc. Again, Mikel Janin does a great job on art — lousy cover aside — but in the end all Tom King’s “biggest” Bat-story yet turned out to be was a months-long delaying tactic to postpone Selina’s answer to Bruce’s marriage proposal.The “major confrontation” between Batman and his two chief nemeses proves to be anything but, and that “shocking twist” we were promised in the fight? To call it “underwhelming” is to pay it too high a compliment. Overall: 2.5 Recommendation: Pass

 

 

Shean

Punisher: The Platoon #1 (Marvel) – In what plays out as a cross between Miracle at Santa Anna and an episode of Tour of Duty, the reader finally gets to see a different side of Frank Castle. The story plays between modern day and 1968, the modern day talks about Frank as a memory a different the past gives the reader an impression of how he was as an Army officer.In what would be a routine reconnaissance mission turns into his unit exposing a secret unit. By issue’s end, someone is Korea than they seem. Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Spirits Of Vengeance #1 (Marvel) In the debut issue, we find a travel weary Johnny Blaze, who unexpectedly gets gifted something powerful from a demon. Blaze ends up going on a fact finding mission, where he encounters different characters who would have a stake in the war that’s coming.What inadvertently does happen, is finding others to help him in fighting those demons. By issue’s end, the one person we get introduced to, doing what he does best, killing vampires and that is Blade. Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

 

 


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

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

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