Category Archives: Mini Reviews

Mini Reviews and Recommendations For The Week Ending 1/16/2021

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

Future State: Dark Detective #1 (DC)– Bruce Wayne/Batman is presumed dead and broke as hell in the excellent lead story by Mariko Tamaki, Dan Mora, and Bellaire. They channel all kinds of fun influences, including Dark Knight Returns, the Snyder/Capullo run (Especially in Mora’s art style and the new costume), Batman Beyond, and even Christopher Nolan’s Batman films. However, “Dark Detective” is really about a man whose vigilante activity basically led to an authoritarian regime. During the scenes where Bruce isn’t fighting wannabe mutant gang muggers, Bellaire uses a garish color palette that definitely makes it feel like he is a fish out of water with the bright lights exposing his sadness and brokenness. But the reason I enjoyed this comic the most is the laser sight focus Tamaki and Mora give to Bruce’s character with every narrative caption, glance at cheese fries when he can only afford a cup of coffee, or missed punch telling the tale of a defeated man, who might just have a chance at a comeback. Because he’s Batman. Matthew Rosenberg, Carmine Di Giandomenico, and Antonio Fabela’s Grifter backup has a little less introspection and little more action. Cole Cash goes from cheating at cards to on the run from the Peacemakers and runs into Luke Fox, who he ends up teaming up with to finally get out of Gotham. Di Giandomenico’s fight choreography is impeccable as he uses playing card shaped panels to show Grifter in the middle of a bar fighter and uses wider, more explosive panels when he and Fox bust out of a paddy wagon. Rosenberg’s script has a real “if fun is outlawed, then only outlaws will have fun, and Fox and Grifter’s banter is a nice relief from the incredibly stressful situations they find themselves in. Overall: 9.0 Verdict: Buy

Future State: Justice League #1 (DC)– Joshua Williamson, Robson Rocha, Henriques, and Romulo Fajardo tell an old school style Justice League story with a fresh cast of characters. Williamson is smart and keeps the cast small with new versions of Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, The Flash, and Batman plus Arthur and Mera’s daughter, Andy Curry aka Aquawoman. This allows for everyone sans GL (Who is the highly competent Jo Mullein from Far Sector) and Batman to build a bond even though the league’s new charter forbids fraternization. Williamson really follows the throughline of the sins of the last generation being visited on the current, both in his choice of villain and in key, cryptic flashbacks. This can also be seen in Rocha and Henrique’s art, which is like Howard Porter’s work on JLA, but with less chaotic layouts and anatomy. Ram V and Marcio Takara’s Justice League Dark is offbeat, but still epic with Zatanna, Detective Chimp (Who shares a body with Etrigan), Ragman, John Constantine, and some surprise guests holding out against the totalitarian rule of Merlin. There’s plenty of mystery (Etrigan won’t fight Merlin’s forces), action, and humor with a touch of foreboding symbolism even though V is in fun team-up mode compared to his work on, say, Swamp Thing. I really enjoy the medieval dystopian vibes that Takara’s art brings to the book as well as the characters riffing and bouncing off each other while the stakes rise. Overall: 8.4 Verdict: Buy

Commanders in Crisis #4 (Image)– Steve Orlando and Davide Tinto trot out a big, multiversal plot twist and have fun with the sympathetic villain tropes in Commanders in Crisis #4. The Crisis Command has found the killer of empathy and tries to figure out his motives and plans in the next 24 hours. Tinto’s art is clean and pleasing, and he excels at both the big action scenes and talking heads. This issue does have a big superhero fight, but Orlando and Tinto basically show how it’s all for nothing as the team learns something new and mysterious about one of their members. Commanders in Crisis #4 has some interesting reveals and cool worldbuilding to wrap up the first arc and digs an even deeper hole for the Crisis Command. The issue and the series so far definitely seem the like the first chapter in a complex epic. Overall: 7.9 Verdict: Buy

Autumnal #4 (Vault)– Daniel Kraus and Chris Shehan fill Autumnal #4 with revelations and potential answers of why this too perfect, leaf raking addicted suburban town is so real. When Kat’s research at the local library is curtailed, she ends up at the trailer park of Carol, an old elementary school classmate who is a heroin addict and badly disfigured after the 1996 roller rink fire Kat was looking into. Carol begins by giving just the bare details of the event, but breaks into a total flashback of a woman named Clemence, who lived in the woods and whose child with the mayor’s son was killed by him so things would be “normal”. Shehan’s art is scratchier and more horrific in these flashbacks to go with Jason Wordie’s intense color palette that is the opposite of how what he usually does for the town. The horror in Autumnal comes from a town not willing to deal with its own trauma and simmering in it while shunning folks who care about the truth like Carol and Kat. This theme is laid out by Kat’s tattoo remover, who she is getting a bit close to. Autumnal #4 adds more depth and backstory to the series plus some macabe visuals from Shehan and Wordie. Overall: 8.6 Verdict: Buy

Heavy #4 (Vault)– Max Bemis, Eryk Donovan, and Cris Peter combine multiverse rending action with a character defining moment for Bill as he and Slim band together to take down multiple iterations of Moore, a rogue agent of The Wait.(Think Purgatory, but more bureaucracy) Donovan and Peter bring the over the top violence and candy colors, but soften things sometimes like when Bill thinks back to his wife, who was more spiritual than him when he was alive. The entire issue is hinged around a moral choice, and it’s heartening to see Bill make the best of two terrible options as Bemis’ script skewers the idea of a hero. Of course, it doesn’t end well, and Heavy #4 turns back to dark comedy with its new status quo. Action, raunchy comedy, out of the box artwork, and yes, even a nice touch of moral philosophy, Heavy really has it all. Overall: 8.8 Verdict: Buy

Marauders #17 (Marvel)- With Sebastian Shaw conveniently out of the way, Marauders #17 sluggishly tries to pick up a new plotline. Gerry Duggan juggles lots of things in this issue from Emma Frost planning a party/potential assassination of Shinobi Shaw and Kate rewarding the Lowtown mutants for nursing Lockheed to health and learning more about the gentrification in Madripoor. There’s also the ritual combat between Callisto and Storm, which has the strongest emotional resonance, as Storm sees it as her last debt owed to Krakoa before she can fly free. (Basically, she kills Callisto to restore Callisto’s full powers.) Matteo Lolli’s art can be quite striking at times like any time Storm and Callisto interact, or Kate Pryde threatening wealthy people. However, this title is really still finding its footing post “Kill Shaw” and X of Swords. Overall: 7.0 Verdict: Read

SWORD #2 (Marvel)– This is a “King in Black” tie-in, but it’s also an Al Ewing comic, and he and Valerio Schiti do an excellent job of showing how this rag tag, yet perfectly matched ability-wise team works under pressure. D-list villains like Mentallo and Fabian Cortez play key roles in Abigail Brand’s plan to secure Krakoa from Knull and enact “Protocol V”, which we get to see in action this issue. The data pages add more context to Brand’s plan and shows that she’s competent, definitely a pragmatist, and more than a little amoral. Ewing’s skill writing an ensemble cast stands out in this book as each SWORD member or key guest star gets their chance to shine. Wiz Kid shrugging off Grendel dragons like they’re flies on his windshield is quite funny and epic thanks to Schiti and Marte Gracia’s full page spread. Schiti really knows when to go to wide screen, or cut to a good closeup like when Cortez is trying to curry favor with Magneto to have more influence on the Quiet Council. SWORD #2 is a master class in how to do team comics and is a tie-in that enhances the King in Black event, shows how it really affects Krakoa, and above all, is an opportunity for Brand to show her mettle. Overall: 9.0 Verdict: Buy

King in Black: Thunderbolts #1 (Marvel)– This is basically Marvel Suicide Squad, but with Kingpin instead of Waller. However, it’s a fun time, and Kingpin’s reasoning for choosing the name Thunderbolts is very on-point. Matthew Rosenberg and Juan Ferreyra create a high level of tension as Taskmaster, Star, Ampere, Snakehead, Rhino, Batroc, and Mr. Fear travel Knull-ridden New York looking for Fisk’s mysterious contact. Most characters get to prove their competence like Taskmaster beheading a symbiote in silhouette, but there is definitely a feeling of being overmatched and escaping by the skin of one’s teeth throughout this comic. Add in fun banter from Rosenberg, a great final page reveal, Ferrerya having a ball showing unmasked Mr. Fear and Taskmaster in a Goth-meets-nu metal New York City, and you’ve got a nice popcorn read. Villain protagonists in limited series are always a good time. Overall: 8.0 Verdict: Buy

Brett

Future State: Robin Eternal (DC Comics) – An intriguing concept that has some interesting aspects but it takes a bit too long to get to the point and action. It’s a heist comic, get to the heist. Instead, there’s a bit too much of Robin connecting with other characters that play a role but there’s just too much talking, not enough over the top sequences. Overall Rating: 7.0 Recommendation: Read

Future State: Superman/Wonder Woman #1 (DC Comics) – The comic fleshes out Wonder Woman’s world a lot more than her own comic and there’s some solid back and forth between her and Superman but there’s a spark that’s missing. An evil sun springs out some solid details as to the impact on Earth but it feels a bit like a filler arc than something that’s really special. Overall Rating: 6.75 Recommendation: Read

Future State: Teen Titans #1 (DC Comics) – I really want to know what happened here after getting through the issue. A tragedy happened that lead to the death of a lot of heroes and there’s some battles still being fought. But, it’s that ending that’ll have you wanting answers. Some great art helps put this well over the top as to a solid issue and direction. Overall Rating: 8.45 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 and Recommendations For The Week Ending 1/9/2021

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

Future State: The Next Batman #1 (DC)– In the lead story of Future State: The Next Batman #1, John Ridley, Nick Derington, and Tamra Bonvillain paint a picture of Gotham run by private security who shoot masked vigilantes or villains on sight. Ridley uses this first issue to introduce the new Batman, Tim Fox, and show a variety of POVs on this future Gotham from the Fox family to two young kids in Little Santa Prisca who want to join the Banelitos and a cop and an ex-cop and cop, who trade barbs more than banter. The hook for this lead story is Derington’s fluid visuals and Bonvillain’s smooth colors that feels like Batman: The Animated Series with a tougher edge. I also like seeing the contrast between how Tim is seen as a deadbeat by his more outwardly successful brother, Luke, and his cool efficiency in the field.The second story “Outsiders” by Brandon Thomas, Sumit Kumar, Raul Fernandez, and Jordie Bellaire is a tightly plotted fight comic where Duke Thomas gets some kids away from the Magistrate’s domain, and Katana faces an old foe. This is easily one of the coolest Katana comics I’ve read, and Kumar and Fernandez’s loose pencils and ink-slinging plus electric colors from Bellaire show how tenacious a fighter she is even as she still misses her husband Maseo. The sequence everyone is going to be talking about is a double page, multi-staircase fight scene. Add a cool guest star that really progresses the plot, and I’m very excited for the next installment.The third story “Arkham Knights” by Paul Jenkins, Jack Herbert, and Gabe Eltaeb is about Astrid Arkham with armor and plenty of chivalric posturing leading an army of former villains against the Magistrate. It’s Robocop meets Arkham Asylum as Jenkins digs into the psyche of characters like Two-Face, Zsasz, and Clayface, who have all been given different names by Arkham as part of their rehabilitation. Her behavior is definitely weird and cultish, but with a touch of empathy as she makes sure they’re going to therapy. Herbert’s art is photorealistic and chunky, which works for the armored protagonist and antagonist , but not the tone of the story so much. Overall: 8.2 Verdict: Buy

Eternals #1 (Marvel)– I didn’t really know much about The Eternals before reading this comic, but Kieron Gillen, Esad Ribic, and Matthew Wilson do an excellent job explaining their mythos and also setting up a family drama/murder mystery/battle of the gods narrative. Gillen and Ribic focus on Ikaris and Sprite in the first issue: a powerhouse and trickster type and shows them go about a “typical day” before running into the first of two series hooks. This issue’s secret weapon is Gillen’s narration via The Machine, a device that lets the Eternals teleport around the Earth, which is witty and adds context and exposition in an entertaining way like comparing Deviants to Mogwais from Gremlins. On the visual side, Ribic and Wilson channel their epic work on Thor, but with a degree of removal for humanity. However, Ribic’s facial expressions on close-ups are superb, and when the Eternals interact with each other, it’s like a family reunion with weirder costumes and the archetypal inspiration for world deities. Many creators have aspired to doing the whole “gods with feet of clay” story in the Marvel Universe, but Gillen, Ribic, and Wilson have pulled it off balancing worldbuilding with genuinely funny and cool moments. Also, picking the big guy who likes to hit things is the best kind of POV character to have in a new, complex world. Overall: 8.8 Verdict: Buy

Future State: Harley Quinn #1 (DC)– Hannibal Lecter (sans cannibalism) and anime meet in Stephanie Phillips, Simone Di Meo, and Tamra Bonvillain’s Future State: Harley Quinn #1. Much of this comic is Dr. Jonathan Crane (He’s put aside his Scarecrow identity.) and Harley Quinn basically having a therapy-off while coming up with psychologically interesting ways to capture various villains in Gotham for the Magistrate. To keep the story interesting and to avoid talking heads, Phillips and Di Meo show Quinn’s schemes to capture characters like Pyg and Firefly in action while she relates them to Crane. However, it’s not all smooth sailing as the Magistrate’s mooks see Crane and Harley as “freaks”, and there’s a little jump scare with his old identity. The animation influenced art with garish, futuristic colors from Bonvillain and focus on Harley Quinn’s knowledge of the human psyche (She has a PhD, folks.) to take down baddies makes for entertaining reading as Phillips and Di Meo set up the real threat in the final pages. Overall: 8.6 Verdict: Buy

Getting It Together #4 (Image)– Sina Grace, Omar Spahi, Jenny D Fine, and Mx Struble’s slice of life goodness wraps up with Grace taking on interior art duties as Lauren moves to L.A. to start a solo career. After the tumultuous events of previous issues, Getting It Together #4 is all about growing up and finding your own path with Sam and Jack rekindling their friendship, and Jack using his art skills to help the queer community instead of just troll for dick. But Lauren and her reactions to LA is the main focus of this final issue as she deals with writer’s block, deadlines, mixed signals, and just the general difficulty of moving to a new, strange place. I love the contrast in Grace’s clean line versus Fine’s more chaotic approach, and he and Struble make a great tag team to show creativity and music visually. Plotwise, Grace and Spahi leave some threads open like the results of Lauren’s first solo show, the new lineup of Nipslip, and of course, Sam and Jack’s relationship so I hope we get more of this relatable and visually soothing series. Overall: 9.2 Verdict: Buy

Hellions #8 (Marvel)– Zeb Wells and Stephen Segovia’s Hellions #8 is a tour de force in moral dilemmas, fights against racist robot fights, and draws a dark parallel in how humans treat mutants with how mutants treat A.I. But before the big questions get asked, there lots of blasting, Cameron Hodge monologues, and cheeky Wells-penned one-liners. I love how he gives the “Hodgemind” A.I. a mini character arc as their language changes through their interactions with Havok so the inevitable betrayal hits a little harder in the end. Visually, Segovia’s work is the extreme 90s meets Marvel house style, which personally isn’t my cup of tea, but works with this kind of story and cast of characters. His homage to an early 90s blockbuster via Empath’s abilities is pretty fun and made me like the team asshole if only for a panel or two. Hellions continue to be the most consistent ongoing X-book with its entertaining blend of humor, explosive action, and ongoing moral quandaries. Overall: 8.9 Verdict: Buy

X-Factor #6 (Marvel)– Leah Williams and David Baldeon showcase some fun character interactions and creative use of powers (Together, Eye-Boy, Daken, Rachel Summers, and Prodigy are an unstoppable lie detector), but I’m not really connecting with the “mystery” of Siryn’s multiple deaths in X-Factor #6. It’s like they expect you have to tons of background knowledge about previous X-Factor comics to be emotionally hooked instead of setting it up in the current comic so the “big reveal” with Siryn comes across as a Diet Caffeine Free Phoenix situation. (Because apparently Phoenix belongs to the Avengers office now.) However, X-Factor #6 isn’t a total wash, and the team’s interactions with the British CSI techs is actually pretty funny like a parody of Broadchurch. Speaking of humor, Baldeon does draw some fun facial expressions like Northstar’s reaction to Prodigy wanting to start a body farm so he can basically pioneer the scientific field of mutant decomposition. I really enjoy how Williams writes Prodigy with a thirst for knowledge that matches his abilities and with a dark secret to boot that gets relegated to a data page instead of the main plot, which I honestly have seen before and wish was over. Another criticism I have is that Baldeon draws Polaris and Siryn way too similar, which isn’t good because the big final scene hinges on an interaction between them. I really like the cast of characters in X-Factor, but this storyline is turning out to be skippable. Overall: 6.3 Verdict: Pass

Happy Hour #3 (Ahoy!) Peter Milligan and Michael Montenat give readers our first look at Landor Cohen’s unhappiness commune, and it’s a total shithole with colorist Felipe Sobreiro even using lots of browns. So, yeah, Jerry and Kim aren’t going to find a utopia at the end of their road trip. What they do find is Gleesville, a town that was home to racial unrest and violent incidents, and now executes visitors who aren’t up to par on the level of happiness. Jerry avoids execution by having a genuinely happy moment, and the relationship between him and Kim gets a little tenser as Milligan and Montenant veer away from the dark jokes and into the complicated nature of human interactions. Their relationship is easily the best part of Happy Hour along with its satirical assault on extreme emotions and call to just be a human being and not tell other folks how they should or shouldn’t feel. Overall: 8.0 Verdict: Buy

Brett

Shang-Chi #4 (Marvel) – The series has been good so far and this issue delivers some twists and turns that throw the future into question. Things aren’t quite as clear as if Shang-Chi’s mission is a good thing or not but we get a lot more of the new history the team is crafting and the pacing and action continue to be solid. It’s just been a solid ride so far and a great relaunch of the character. Overall Rating: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

X-Men #16 (Marvel) – The series starts its post X of Swords direction with some interesting concepts that don’t quite make a lot of sense for what’s been set up so far. This is one that really plays for the long-time readers, new ones might shrug their shoulders over it. But, the art continues to be nice, so there’s that. Overall Rating: 7.0 Recommendation: Read

Taskmaster #2 (Marvel) – It’s Taskmaster vs. Hyperion in the start of his mission. The series is a lot of fun with great pacing, humor, and action. This takes a match that’s clearly lopsided and gives it some twists that makes it realistic. I didn’t know I wanted a series with this character but now I want even more. It just nails that entertaining aspect. Overall Rating: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy


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

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

Mini Reviews and Recommendations For The Week Ending 1/2/2021

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

Wolverine #8 (Marvel)– Benjamin Percy, Viktor Bogdanovic, and Adam Kubert celebrate the 350th issue of Wolverine’s solo title with tales of the past as well as that past returning to haunt both Logan and Krakoa. The first story in Wolverine #8 features boring, Greg Capullo clone artwork from Bogdanovic, but really nails the friendship between Logan and CIA agent Jeff Bannister, who gives Logan the useful advice of moving on from the sins of the past and enjoying life a little bit on Krakoa. He takes Bannister’s advice and uses his claws to pop the cold one. Adam Kubert’s art (Especially the slick layouts) is much better in the second story, but Percy’s plotting is a little more sprawling, balancing subplots featuring black ops team, Omega Red, Daken and Gabby, and Logan going after one of his old Team X buddies, Maverick. It seems like Percy is trying to connect threads from Logan’s past missions and adventures, and it works when he plays field agent as Patch with Sage and Beast as the voices in his earpieces. This secret agent route is promising, and overall, Wolverine ends 2020 on a good note. Overall: 7.8 Verdict: Buy

X-Men #16 (Marvel)– In the final X-Book of 2020, Jonathan Hickman and Phil Noto dig into the ramifications of “X of Swords”, including Krakoa’s possible reunification with Arakko, who’s going to replace Apocalypse, Cyclops, and Jean Grey on the Quiet Council, and finally, an actual X-Men lineup. The interactions between Isca the Unbeaten, Magneto, and Professor X are fascinating as Xavier brings a literal flower to a fierce warrior, and Hickman shows that these two cultures are incompatible and make even Magneto and Apocalypse look like bleeding hearts. With conversations about diplomatic relations and new government systems, X-Men #16 a lot of talking heads. However, Noto keeps things interesting with nine panel grids and different facial expressions and color tones for each of the Quiet Council members. This issue isn’t a stone cold classic, but it has gorgeous art and shows that Arakko won’t be going away for a very long time. Also, I’m definitely interested in seeing the democratic process on Krakoa as the final data page hints at political parties and all that jazz. I don’t think George Washington would be a fan, but he’s a filthy slave-owning, homo sapiens. Overall: 8.1 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 12/26

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

Excalibur #16 (Marvel)– After a crossover interlude that took out two team members, Tini Howard and Marcus To have assembled Rogue, Gambit, Jubilee, and a very forlorn Rictor to investigate Betsy Braddock’s shattering in Excalibur #16. Because this is a resurrection protocol investigation, there’s a well-timed X-Factor appearance that shows they need a little “otherworldly” aid to find their missing leader. Cue their newest team member and Excalibur veteran: Meggan, who steals the comic with her wholesome energy and her connection between mutantdom and Faerie. Erick Arciniega’s color palette does a great job differentiating between Faerie, Avalon, and mutants before erupting in a wondrous magical spell that is very Saturday morning cartoon in the best way. Howard drops one hell of a cliffhanger for readers at the end of the issue, but her greatest strength on Excalibur is the depth of personality she gives to each team member from Rogue and Gambit trying to balance being a couple and rescuing their friend to Rictor coming into his own as a Druid and really taking Apocalypse’s return to Arakko personally. To’s designs for the characters and storytelling continues to be fabulous and is especially on display when a few surprise guest stars show 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 (**).

Mini Reviews and Recommendations For The Week Ending 12/19

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

Catwoman #28 (DC)– Ram V and Fernando Blanco’s excellent Catwoman run continues as Selina Kyle takes out not one, but two of the rival gangs in Alleytown using cunning and subterfuge. She might not have the firepower of the Khadym Mob or Pit Rollins, but she grew up in Alleytown and uses her knowledge of the Nest, her homebase, to set traps that make highly trained mercs look like the Sticky Bandits. Blanco and colorist FCO Plascencia also turn in a fantastic action sequence using colors to guide the eye as Selina shows one of Rollins’ prospective clients that she can’t protect their product. However, Selina isn’t omnipresent and ends up in a no holds barred battle with the mysterious and very religious Father Valley, who wants to help establish her as a kingpin so he can take her down. He goes beyond the one-note gimmick hitman I initially thought he was and combined with developments on the GCPD side of things, V and Blanco set up obstacles in the path of Selina’s reign. All in all, this is an action-packed chapter in this crime saga set in the streets of Gotham that just happens to star Selina Kyle. Overall: 8.5 Verdict: Buy

Second Coming: Only Begotten Son #1 (Ahoy!)– What if Kal-El and Lara-El spent their last day on Krypton hosting a dinner party for a timeshare agent and his status obsessed wife? Mark Russell, Richard Pace, Leonard Kirk, and Andy Troy answer this question in Second Coming: Only Begotten Son #1, which is a funny and surprisingly sweet look at Sunstar’s parents and origin. Pace draws some outrageous faces that drive Russell’s witty dialogue home like when Sunstar’s mom destroys her “friend’s” crystal crown and tells her to bill her for it tomorrow when Zirconia will be destroyed. However, much of this issue, both the flashback and current scene with Jesus, Sunstar and his wife, is about how important it is to spend time with the ones you love, especially in the face of the end of the world. But there’s also silly jokes too like Sunstar’s parents choosing to send him to Earth because they like soup. Second Coming: Only Begotten Son is an enjoyable return for this series and puts a human face on an enduring modern myth. Overall: 8.3 Verdict: Buy

New Mutants #14 (Marvel)– Vita Ayala and Rod Reis go for a different tack on New Mutants and have the characters Magik, Wolfsbane, Mirage, Karma, Warlock, and Warpath mentoring younger mutants on how to use their powers and how to work as a team. It’s very “classic” X-Men, but Reis’ abstract, Ralph Steadman-esque approach to art gives it a surreal, nightmarish quality, which is fitting because Karma is struggling with hers. Also, the Shadow King is the Big Bad of this arc. The real hidden gem of this issue is Gabby aka Scout, a clone of Wolverine, who wonders why certain mutants, like Genesis or Madelyne Pryor, haven’t been brought back because she’s afraid she won’t be resurrected. There’s really a big cast of young mutants in this book, and I hope Ayala and Reis get adequate time to develop them. Overall: 7.6 Verdict: Read

X-Force #15 (Marvel)– X-Force #15 is a real in-betweener of an issue as Benjamin Percy and Joshua Cassara continue to have Beast do unethical things (Aka screw around with the resurrection protocols so he can use Omega Red as a spy against vampires) and also try to find forgiveness from Colossus, who he detained and let Jean Grey interrogate, because he thought he had intel on his brother Mikhail Rasputin and vampires. That X of Swords really made me not care about these plot elements as much any more, but X-Force’s ethical tension is still compelling with Professor X basically giving Beast carte blanche to do whatever feels right. Kudos to Colossus’ aquakinetic girlfriend, Kayla, for starting to drain the water from his body for how he has basically mindfucked her partner. Cassara’s art hits a nice balance between grotesque and photorealistic especially when this issue’s villains hit the shores of Krakoa, but honestly, this series has started to level off in quality. Overall: 6.7 Verdict: Read


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

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

Mini Reviews and Recommendations For The Week Ending 12/12

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

Marauders #16 (Marvel)– Revenge is truly sweet in Marauders #16 as Gerry Duggan, Stefano Caselli, and Edgar Delgado wrap up the “Kill Shaw” arc in satisfying fashion. After he killed Kate Pryde for basically drug money, Kate is back and ready to take her vengeance with the help of Emma Frost, Storm, and Lockheed. Duggan and Caselli blend poetic justice and dark humor as Kate and Emma leave Shaw helpless and drink and destroy his expensive whiskey bottles while poisoning him with what took out Kate. Emma and Kate cut loose with their abilities, and we’re introduced to the phase through the door sucker punch in this issue. However, Gerry Duggan doesn’t lose sight of the big picture in the midst of the comeuppance and spends the last bit of the issue showing the political ramifications of their actions towards Shaw on Krakoa and the Quiet Council, which is missing some members after the events of X of Swords. We haven’t seen the last of the Black King yet. Overall: 8.8 Verdict: Buy.

Giga #2 (Vault)– The second issue of Alex Paknadel and John Le’s Giga is a little heavy on the procedural side after a tender opening scene where our protagonist Evan, who is disabled, gets some new mechanized legs from his other friend. But this doesn’t help him allude the Giga (Think Transformers-meet-eldritch horrors) worshipping Order, who have him use his tech know how to commune with them and find out who murdered one. Even if the plot doesn’t pick up until the last couple pages, Le’s visuals for the “conversation” with the Giga are genuinely horrifying, and Paknadel continues to create some interesting tension between a faction of Luddites and religious fanatics with a smart man of science between them. This book still has ways to go before it reaches its potential, but for now, I’m digging the world and visuals. Overall: 7.5 Verdict: Read.


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

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

Mini Reviews and Recommendations For The Week Ending 12/5

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

Batman/Catwoman #1 (DC/Black Label)– I read a Tom King comic and didn’t hate it. King, Clay Mann, and Tomeu Morey focus on my favorite part of his Batman run, namely, the relationship between Batman and Catwoman and turn it into the engine of a miniseries. There’s also a side dish of Joker and Andrea Beaumont aka Phantasm as King and Mann explore the beginning, middle, and end of their relationship. The transitions between timelines can be jarring at times, but Morey’s colors help as well as King focusing on Selin as the middle ground between good and evil. There’s not a ton of action, but I love how Mann choreographs the team-ups between Batman and Catwoman and also shows the connection between Bruce and Andrea years after they broke up. The comic might be too clever for its own good, but is a good reminder that Tom King can write a compelling heterosexual relationship lol. Overall: 7.5 Verdict: Read

King in Black #1 (Marvel)– Liking Donny Cates comics is my comics kryptonite, and King in Black #1 is no exception as he, Ryan Stegman, JP Mayer, and Frank Martin go crisis mode for 32 pages turning the fairly intimate father/son story of Eddie and Dylan Brock into a blockbuster event. Basically, the moral of this story that despite all the preparations and guest appearances from the Avengers, X-Men, and popular street level heroes, Knull will triumph. Stegman’s style is Siege-meets-abstract art as the symbiote god rips apart the Sentry and takes in the Void like it’s his morning Monster energy drink. Despite forging a deep connection with Eddie Brock throughout their Venom run, Cates and Stegman know this isn’t high art and fill it with cool shit like splash pages, Storm zapping the hell out of some symbiote dragons, and utter hopelessness. It’s December, but this is a summer popcorn read. The plot’s definitely overused, but the years of groundwork that Jason Aaron and Donny Cates have laid smooth it over from feeling like something editorially mandated. Overall: 8.0 Verdict: Buy

Hellions #7 (Marvel)– Zeb Wells and Stephen Segovia’s Hellions continues to arguably be the jewel in the X-line’s crown as the team deals with the results of killing them all in the previous issue. The ensemble dynamic continues to be delightful from Sinister pretending to be sad about his dead teammates to Nanny turning into a straight up wrecking machine after her resurrection imbued her with some Arakkii characteristics. Also, Psylocke gets to act out a little bit even though she’s the most loyal to Sinister because he has a line on bringing her daughter back through his science. These clashing motivations fuel the drama in Hellions #7 with Segovia drawing some hilarious reaction shots for Sinister while hewing to traditional action-driven storytelling. As is on brand for the team, a simple smash and grab because much more complicated as they run into a new/old enemy that really fits the era most of these characters are originally from. Overall: 8.3 Verdict: Buy

Happy Hour #2 (Ahoy)– The rictus grin and laugh that artist Michael Montenat gives the various brain-manipulated or dead puppy therapied denizens of Happy Hour #2 will permanently be stuck in brain. He and Peter Milligan turn in a darkly humorous issue as Kim and Jerry begin their escape from the Readjustment Center, but at first, Jerry wants to visit his grandma before she passes. The sight of old folks in party hats dancing to “Psycho Killer” is pretty fun, but Milligan and Montenat also explore the pretty fucked up nature of not having a healthy relationship with death. This is also touched on by Kim and Jerry’s (Making their getaway in a literal clown car) interactions with some moms who laugh away chemical spills, chronic illnesses, and school shootings. It’s enough to drive anyone over the edge, which is what happens at the end of Happy Hour #2. Getting out of the Readjustment Center gives more satirical real estate for Peter Milligan and Michael Montenat to work with as they turn their attention to childhood trauma, retirement homes, and a healthy take on the Internet that’s really just a quick gag about the return of paper maps. Overall: 7.8 Verdict: Buy

Heavy #3 (Vault)**– Max Bemis, Eryk Donovan, and Cris Peter throw a giant existential wrench into Bill’s quest for redemption in Heavy #3 as his target, Moore, questions his purpose to kill as many evil doers as possible and right wrongs so he can be reunited with his wife Sharon in heaven. Bill doubt’s are proven right as he goes a nearly neverending mission to kill AU versions of his partner Slim and finds out terrible things about his boss. Donovan and Peter’s visuals continue to be over the top with purple vistas for scenes of thinking, whites and smooth linework for Sharon appearances, and over the top violence for everything else, especially their main destination: a virulently hateful and brainwashed White House. (Not so different from the current volume.) Max Bemis continues to question Heavy’s premise and ideas every issue while bringing the sly comedy and ultraviolence with Eryk Donovan and Cris Peter. Bill has really started to come across as a good guy, but is he really, or are the folks around him that much worse. Overall: 8.6 Verdict: Buy.

Brett

Strange Adventures #7 (DC Comics/DC Black Label) – As the battle comes to Earth we learn the truth about Adam Strange and the murder of a detractor. This is an issue that drops a big reveal and weirdly it doesn’t have as much of an impact as expected. Strange is something who still can’t quite be trusted who is needed to protect Earth which is the more interesting aspect of the series and raises some intriguing questions about our own “safety” as a nation. Overall: 7.75 Recommendation: Read

Tales From the Dark Multiverse: Wonder Woman: War of the Gods (DC Comics) – These one-shots have generally been entertaining but this one was a miss for me. It might have been unfamiliarity with the original material but there’s a lot packed in without a lot of depth to make me really care. It’s a summer blockbuster that’s all action and that’s about it. But, even then, the major bits ring short and aren’t surprising as there’s not a lot of connection with anyone. This is for the Wonder Woman die-hards it’d seem. Overall: 6.0 Recommendation: Pass

DCeased: Dead Planet #6 (DC Comics) – It’s about to go down! Trigon is now on Earth causing destruction. An army of Amazos are killing the infected. Plus the heroes have a cure. Then Constantine is doing his thing and jacking people up to save the planet as well!? So much packed in to the issue as different plot points are all coming together. Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

Far Sector #9 (DC Comics/DC’s Young Animal) – The crime is revealed as we get a better idea as to what’s going on in this Green Lantern detective series. It’s all becoming clearer and holy crap has this series been amazing. The writing is top notch and the art is fantastic. One of the best series DC is putting out and one of the best on the shelves right now. Overall: 8.75 Recommendation: Buy

Justice League: Endless Winter (DC Comics) – A fun start to the mini-event. This has an “old school” feel as far as the pacing of the comic and the store itself. It’s turn your brain off and enjoy type of disaster comic with a big bad that threatens the planet. It’s not too deep but it’s a lot of fun. Overall: 7.75 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 and Recommendations For The Week Ending 11/28

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. 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

X-Men #15 (Marvel)– All the groundwork that Jonathan Hickman has laid with the Summers family comes to fruition as he, Mahmud Asrar, and Sunny Gho craft a truly heroic Cyclops and Jean Grey in X-Men #15 against the backdrop of the final X of Swords duel between Apocalypse and Genesis. They portray Cyclops as a true hero, who is okay with taking any risk possible to protect his family (Kid Cable, in this case) and mutantdom as a whole unlike some of the other Quiet Council members, like Sebastian Shaw, Exodus, Sinister, and of course, Professor X. However, he and Jean can also play politics too like telling Nightcrawler (Who really wanted to do some swashbuckling) and Kate Pryde to stay behind to counterbalance the villains and unsavory folks. Asrar uses a nine panel grid to show the lively Quiet Council debate and crafts some dynamic compositions like Magneto and Professor X reflected in Scott’s visor as he weighs his options. This issue is definitely the Scott and Jean show, but I love how Hickman and Asrar cut away to Magneto and show the little glances that he gives Scott because he’s proud that he’s choosing his convictions and values over that cold Xaverian pragmatism. Overall: 9.0 Verdict: Buy

Excalibur #15 (Marvel)– The X-Men plus epic fantasy battles? I could consume this comic intravenously. Tini Howard, Mahmud Asrar, and Stefano Casselli spin a defeat from the jaws of victory tale and vice versa in Excalibur #15. Apocalypse’s ex Genesis is on a rampage with the hordes of Arakko, and both Otherworld and Krakoa are in her sights. Enter many dynamic action scenes and bursts of magic, but also touching, intimate scenes like Bei Bloodroot choosing Krakoa and her new husband Cypher over the Arakkii in a nine panel grid. Along the way, Howard gives her original Excalibur cast members moments to shine as Jubilee and Opal Saturnyne find a common cause in Jubilee’s dragon son Shogo and protecting the Starlight Citadel. It’s fun to see Opal Saturnyne go from manipulative enemy to ally, but that tends to happen when you’re fighting a baddie that makes Apocalypse look like your average altruistic, upstanding citizen. Also, I could kind of tell what was coming on the final page, but Casselli and colorist Rachelle Rosenberg make it look so glorious that I didn’t even care. Overall: 8.7 Verdict: Buy

X of Swords: Destruction #1 (Marvel)– The Captain Britain Corps, Cyclops and Jean Grey’s X-Men, and the creepy alien critters from earlier in the crossover join the final battle between Krakoa, Arakko, and Otherworld in X of Swords: Destruction #1. Jonathan Hickman, Tini Howard, and Pepe Larraz masterfully orchestrate a satisfying ending to this crossover that wraps up Apocalypse’s individual arc/journey throughout the X-Men and Excalibur titles as well as changing the dynamic between Otherworld, Krakoa, and Arakko, who becomes Otherworld’s vassal. A lot of the action is told in montage with minimal or no captions, and Larraz’s multi-faceted art and Marte Gracia’s bright colors doing the heavy lifting. Hickman and Howard do conclude the great war/tournament, but also leave lots of avenues open for future storytelling. Some of these threads include the reemergence of X-Men as an actual superhero team, the return of SWORD (Or at least, the space station) and the Captain Britain Corps, and the power void left by the departure of Apocalypse. There’s also the general Majestrix-ness of Opal Luna Saturnyne, who is depicted in soft, yet powerful light by Larraz and Gracia as she got everything she wanted, except for Brian Braddock. This is sure to be a sore point in future Excalibur issues. In conclusion, X of Swords finished strong even if not every chapter was a hit, and Tini Howard, Jonathan Hickman, and Pepe Larraz made the X-Men side of the Marvel Universe more interesting and compelling instead of wrecking the toy box and leaving other writers to clean up the mess. Overall: 8.9 Verdict: Buy

Red Hood #51 (DC)– Shawn Martinbrough returns to The Hill with artist Tony Akins in a fairly decent ancillary Bat-book, Red Hood #51. They set up The Hill as a predominantly Black neighborhood, which has become more diverse, while also being gentrified and not being affected by the Joker War. However, sneaker scion Tommy Maxx (Aka the “White Kanye” *vomits*) and Killer Croc are trying to disturb that fragile peace. Akins has a sharp, readable art style that can handle both explosions and conversations, and he has a little fun designing Killer Croc’s “signature shoe”. This issue doesn’t focus as much on Jason Todd as The Hill as a neighborhood. But with only two issues to tell this story, Martinbrough may have bit off more than he can chew in fleshing out the area and creating a new supporting cast. Perhaps a prestige one-shot like the original Batman: The Hill, he did with Priest in 2000 would have been better. However, it’s nice to see a part of Gotham deal with issues just like real world metropolises do instead of just supervillains and vigilantes. Overall: 7.6 Verdict: Read


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

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

Mini Reviews and Recommendations For The Week Ending 11/7

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. 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

X-Force #14 (Marvel)– X of Swords has completely veered down the weird game show route in Benjamin Percy, Gerry Duggan, and Joshua Cassara’s X-Force #14, and mostly, I’m here for it. Although, at this point, it’s a bit repetitive and annoying that all the contests are rigged in Arakko’s favor, and I hope there’s actual plot development in this week’s other issues. However, I enjoy X-Force #14 on a pure entertainment level thanks to the occasional laugh-out-loud gag from Percy, Duggan, and Cassara like the reveal of what Pogg-Ur-Pogg really is, Gorgon’s reaction to “sexy” rock sirens, and the data page where Mojo and Major Domo take notes on the tournament. Finally, in the midst of the sheer randomness, there is some characterization of Storm, who proves she just needs a knife to take down Death, and Wolverine whose guilt and sense of nobility dooms him what are basically sociopath test contests. Overall: 7.5 Verdict: Read

Hellions #6 (Marvel)– This is technically an X of Swords tie-in, but the Otherworld reality TV show only plays a comedic role in the latest installment of the Zeb Wells and Carmen Carnero’s Hellions aka the sneaky-best X-Book. Carnero excels at showing how worn down the team is after traveling through Otherworld and finally arriving in Arakko where Sinister basically meets his soulmate, who’s like him, but more body horror and less disaster bisexual. This triggers betrayal/survival of the fittest mode as the Hellions start dropping like flies. In Sinister, Zeb Wells has crafted a character who is totally evil, but also gets the best lines. Watching he dismantle his old team is a dark adrenaline rush although Carnero’s facial expressions wring emotion out of every kill and takedown except for that bastard Empath, who gets a truly poetic fate. The expendability and D-list nature of all these characters (Except for Havok) gives Wells and Carnero a true freedom to destroy their lives, and the stakes are even a little higher with the whole resurrection protocols issue/X of Swords going on in the background. Overall: 8.9 Verdict: Buy

Cable #6 (Marvel)– Gerry Duggan and Phil Noto set the stage for the final duel of X of the Swords in Cable #6. Sinister reading Kitty Pryde during an opening sequence set at the Quiet Council aside, this issue definitely has more pathos than comedy. Noto’s art is gorgeous and captures the quiet tragedy like Cable knowing that the odds of Krakoa winning the tournament is insurmountable, and he shows the light go out in his eyes as he suffers not a physical death, but a death of spirit. Although this issue is mainly focused on winding down the tournament, Duggan does spend a little time showing that bond he has with Cyclops and Jean Grey before his telepathy is shut out. Finally, he and Phil Noto do the impossible and turn an edgelord, Mark Millar-created villain aka Gorgon into a noble hero in a Kurosawa-esque one against many battle featuring blood, sad reaction shots from the fellow Krakoans, and layouts that look like katanas and sword strokes. Krakoa goes chambara, and I’m really excited for the final duel in next week’s issue of X of Swords. Overall: 8.7 Verdict: Buy

Barbalien: Red Planet #1 (Dark Horse) Tate Brombal, Jeff Lemire, Gabriel Walta, and Jordie Bellaire craft a deeply personal superhero tale about Barbalien, who has been persecuted for being an alien as well as being gay. The central action happens around a 1986 AIDS protest where Barbalien saves a young protestor who falls off a flagpole trying to hoist a rainbow flag and immediately arrests him in his civilian identity. Brombal knows when to let Walta’s art do the talking and shows the sadness and tension that Barbalien feels as he wants to safe and “blend in” in Earth, but he also wants to find love (or sex) and just be his true self. Except for the red sands of Mars, Bellaire keeps her palette muted until she goes full disco when Barbalien finds his first gay bar with Brombal’s dialogue coding it as illegal activity. It’s always amazing to me my that my queer elders withstood such hardships to be with the folks they love and to continue to fight even when the Republican-led government wouldn’t do shit about the AIDS crisis. Barbalien: Red Planet pays homage to them while also acting as a soul-searing exploration of my favorite Black Hammer universe superhero. Overall: 9.2 Verdict: Buy

Once and Future #13 (BOOM!)– The third arc of Kieron Gillen, Dan Mora, and Tamra Bonvillain’s Once and Future kicks off with straight horror as magpies start pecking at Bridgette. It’s a portent of things to come. Also, Gillen goes back to the white supremacists raising Arthur plot thread, which is super relevant to the times we live in and also shows Duncan’s vulnerabilities to non-monster things. It’s sweet when he protects his badass grandma too. Mora and Bonvillain get to draw plenty of big action and fights all lead up to a very, well, relevant to 2020 page. (Not in that way; think A24, not Covid-19.) And as a cherry on top, he and Gillen also start to integrate Rose as a main cast member and explore her and Duncan’s relationship while starting another epic story. Overall: 8.0 Verdict: Buy

Die #15 (Image)– Kieron Gillen and Stephanie Hans’ Die #15 is a big damn battle with Hans nailing the gorgeous and dark use of magic with her color palettes and layouts as Matt dual wields the literal Grief of his father’s passing against Ash and Isabelle. This issue dips both into Die’s tabletop and fantasy roots with plenty of references to Tolkien and his tropes as well as RPG theory that translates into action. The ending has a very penultimate arc before the one last ride feel, and the ensemble cast (Including Sol) all get a moment to shine with their unique abilities and personalities as the stakes go beyond a multi-faction fantasy battle into more of a thread of reality one. Overall: 8.2 Verdict: Buy

Commanders in Crisis #2 (Image)– Steve Orlando and Davide Tinto slow down a little bit and flesh out Commanders in Crisis’ ensemble cast of alternate earth presidents-turned-superheroes in the series’ second issue before advancing the plot in the last few pages. It’s really enjoyable to learn what makes these hopeful, empathy-driven folks click. These scenarios range from Prizefighter only having a casual relationship with ersatz-genderbent Lois Lane to Seer using her quantum abilities to help check on, and Sawbones struggling with how he’s perceived by the folks on this Earth. (Doing an emergency tracheotomy while dressed like a 90s antihero is a little scary from an outside POV.) Even if this issue deals with more “crises” than a “Crisis”, Tinto’s art is still larger than life with big facial expressions and grids for small movements or intimate conversations while throwing up bigger panels when the Crisis Command uses their abilities. With their ability to weave together ideas and actions, metaphors and personalities, Steve Orlando and Davide Tinto continue to lay the groundwork for what a modern superhero comic could be in Commanders in Crisis #2. Overall: 8.9 Verdict: Buy

Brett

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night #1 (Behemoth) – An interesting start to a vampire story set in Iran. I wish it felt more like a comic set in Iran but beyond some little details here and there it so far feels like it could be set anywhere. But, the comic is written more like a poem than a traditional comic narrative and the build is really nice to the end. It’s a really interesting start and hopefully further issues deliver something a little more unique befitting its location and country it’s set in. But, it’s more than enough to get me to want to come back and check out the second issue. Overall Rating: 7.0 Recommendation: Read

Children of the Grave #1 (Scout Comics) – The concept of the comic feels familiar and the key will be where it goes after the first issue. A small town is provided for by an unseen force. One villager suspects there’s something else going on and seeks to find out the truth. There’s a great amount of tension and there’s a slight Dark City vibe to it all but that ending has me hoping, and thinking, I’m wrong in the direction it’s going in. This feels like sci-fi/horror and it’s a hell of a start and build-up that had me saying wtf at the end and looking forward to reading the second issue. Overall Rating: 8.35 Recommendation: Buy

Stillwater #3 (Image/Skybound) – We learn more about the rules of the town of Stillwater in a tense comic that makes you want to escape the town yourself. Fantastic characters and pacing brings things together for a mystery about a town where you can’t age and you can’t die. There’s still a lot of questions I have in what feels like slip-ups to the rules but there’s some solid small details that really build the world, things I’d have never thought of. Overall Rating: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy


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

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

Mini Reviews and Recommendations For The Week Ending 11/7

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. 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

Marauders #15 (Marvel)– Marauders #15 opens in a very cool, stakes raising way as Opal Saturnyne gives Wolverine a glimpse of what would happen if he actually followed through with killing her. The X-Men have dealt with dark futures, but this is pretty freaking bleak. Gerry Duggan, Benjamin Percy, and Stefano Caselli show in an economical way before returning to the irresistible weirdness of the feast. The Krakoans and Arakkii continue to size each other up, and the weakest member of both parties is almost taken out, but saved by White Sword’s paladin-esque sense of honor. Marauders #15 definitely continues the decompression theme of the past couple issues, but Caselli gets to show off his comedy chops a little bit with Magik and Cable messing around with Isca the Unbeaten and seeing she can lose at anything, including silly table games. This sequence is paid for laughs, but shows just how difficult the upcoming battle is. And speaking of upcoming battles, it’s a logical, yet exciting one. It’ll be nice to finally see some swords clash after 14 (!!) issues of build-up. Also, Wolverine eats unicorn meat this one and definitely enjoys it a little too much; it’s a pickle transformation sequence away from the funniest shit I’ve ever seen. Overall: 7.3 Verdict: Read

Excalibur #14 (Marvel)– The tournament has begun in the X of Swords storyline with Captain Britain facing off against Isca the Unbeaten, who lives up to her name. It’s fitting that Tini Howard gets to write Betsy’s big moment, and she and artist Phil Noto walk the tightrope between comedy and tragedy winningly and turn in an entertaining chapter of this crossover that rights the ship after a few lackluster ones. Howard zigs where most crossover events will zag with Noto’s full page spreads capturing the shocking moment before going into funny mode for the second half of the issue. This also is truly an issue of Excalibur as Jubilee and Shogo join the fun and end up being an example to show Opal Saturnyne’s unparalleled power set while acting as emotional tether for the Krakoans to rally together with. Who cares about the tournament? If Jubilee is harmed, Wolverine will filet someone, and Storm will zap you with lightning. Also, Howard and Noto do something a bit shocking and compelling with Cypher, who has been the fan favorite to be killed first so far. Verdict: 8.8 Verdict: Buy

Wolverine #7 (Marvel)– Benjamin Percy, Gerry Duggan, and an excellent Joshua Cassara turn in more weirdness as Krakoa keeps getting their ass kicked in a tournament that is so much more than a simple sword fight thanks to the wiles of Saturnyne. The issue opens with much of the same vein of humor as the last few issues of X of Swords as Magik and Pogg Ur-Pogg talk trash and end up arm wrestling instead of fighting to the death. After this fun diversion, we get a reality bending fight between Wolverine and the Summoner where Cassara switches art styles on a dime as they duel to the death, and the backgrounds shift behind them. It’s a thrill with a twist ending, and Wolverine #7 as a whole follows the consequences of its protagonist’s actions during his appearances in X of Swords. Chief among them is that it doesn’t look like Krakoa will be able to pull it out in this one. Overall: 7.6 Verdict: Read.

True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys: National Anthem #2 (Dark Horse)– After shutting of his TV in the previous issue, Mike Milligram, the original Killjoy, has realized that basically all of the U.S. is under a form of sophisticated corporate mind control through different products and pills. For example, the Civil Rights movement doesn’t exist in its reality, and this causes kindly school teacher Maxwell to “wake up” and rejoin the Killjoys with Sofia whose son Jaime has been bullied. Gerard Way, Shaun Simon, and Leonardo Romero give us a solid snapshot of these key characters while leaving time for some shootouts and car chases with the aid of Jordie Bellaire’s Day-Glo color palette. Killjoys: National Anthem #2 satires things like revisionist history and 24 news cycle, but it’s also a fun action comic. It’s punk with a side of pop. Overall: 8.0 Verdict: Buy

Terminal Punks #1 (Mad Cave)– Matthew Erman and Shelby Criswell’s Terminal Punks #1 is part punk coming of age story, part disaster movie, and part creature feature with plenty of skewering of out-of-touch billionaires that see majestic, endangered animals as simply inspiration for vape juice. Criswell does a good job portraying the total anxiety that the members of a still-unnamed feel as they descend into New York City for their big post-winning-battle of the bands show. She draws in a style that reminds me a lot of current YA comics so it’s very unexpected when monsters jump out and bodies go flying. Along with this, Erman tells some of Terminal Punks’ story from the POV of the CDC workers trying to figure out what diseases and critters are getting loose. There are parallel discussions between them and the billionaire’s employees about their responsibility and why they have to put their life on the line instead of the rich guy who owns the things. Terminal Punks really captures the spirit of our current era with a spunky cast of rock kids, thrilling escapes, and gruesome monsters. Overall: 8.5 Verdict: Buy

Getting It Together #2 (Image)– This comic has so much drama, and I’m living for it. Sina Grace, Omar Spahi, and Jenny D. Fine start the book by actually focusing on protagonist, Lauren’s band Nipslip finding success and being signed to an indie label that sometimes gets reviews in Pitchfork (Baby steps!) However, a seemingly laidback conversation with ex/friend, Sam, turns into a physical altercation when he says that her talking about Nipslip reminds him that she cheated on him with her bass player. Oh, and while this is going on, tritagonist (Sam’s best friend/Lauren’s brother) Jack is having a hot hookup with a cute guy and wants to talk about that instead of the drama. Struble’s color palette goes steamy for that page before turning to bleakness as the drama spills out from these friends to Nipslip itself. Basically, the lesson of this comic is the classic “don’t shit where you eat”. However, Spahi and Grace add plenty of character-driven jokes to make Getting It Together #2 earn its dramedy classification, and Fine and Struble are along for the messy ride. Also, its takes on queer men using Tinder, the effects of vodka cranberry on the human consciousness, and the ripple effect of breakups are too real Overall: 9.4 Verdict: Buy

Warhammer 40,000: Marneus Calgar #2 (Marvel)– Kieron Gillen and Jacen Burrows continue to tell the origin story of the great Ultramarine Marneus Calgar while setting up a threat on the moon where he did his training. We see more of the Chaos God side of things in this issue, and seeing what seemed like a gruff instructor doing blood sacrifices shows how fucked up this world is and connects nicely to the other antagonist killing Adepts on the same moon. Gillen fills in the pieces of Marneus’ personality and adds a twist to the usual “young boy becomes legendary soldier” story steeped in revenge and something personal. Finally, I really am digging Jacen Burrows’ art as he renders the machinery, blood, and guts nicely while not skimping on the faces, especially in scenes where Marneus and his buddy Tacitan are running for their lives. Overall: 7.8 Verdict: Read

Brett

Champions #2 (Marvel) – The series had a solid debut and the second issue keeps up the interesting new direction for Marvel’s young heroes. An exploration of “child soldiers” and the role of youth having a voice in their future is something that’s long overdue. There’s just a solid grasp on these characters and the art and energy about the comic fit its subjects. A strong series so far and well worth checking out. Overall rating: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

Pantomime #1 (Mad Cave Studios) – Young kids stealing stuff seems to be a hot (semi) new genre as this is the second series to launch recently with the concept and a third has been optioned for film. This one has a twist in that the characters are students at a school for the deaf. It’s an interesting debut and it has a lot going for it, especially the direction it’s going towards the end. The kids’ personalities really stand out and there’s something great to see the signing within the comic. There’s more than enough unique qualities of the series to make it a debut to get. Overall Rating: 7.9 Recommendation: Buy

Scarenthood #1 (IDW Publishing) – One of my favorite comics of the week. It’s the story of parents who go ghost hunting while their kids away to solve a mystery. As a parent, there’s a lot to relate to with this one with tons of humor mixed into the scares. Between the really adorable kids and the art, it’s beyond a solid debut and the surprise of the week for me. There’s a lot of creepy aspects to it as well that has me excited to see what happens next as well. Overall Rating: 8.75 Recommendation: Buy

Seven Secrets #4 (BOOM! Studios) – The first four issues of this series has been great with a mix of James Bond and manga. This episode has a lot of twists, turns, and reveals and feels like it’s really kicking things off for what’s to come. Here’s hoping the series doesn’t stumble under it twists so far, as there’s quite a few. Just a great action comic that’ll keep you at the edge of your seat like a popcorn film. Overall Rating: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy.

Strange Academy #5 (Marvel) – This continues to be one of my favorite Marvel comics. There’s still a lot of set-up going on here as prophecies begin to fall into place and the kids meet their first enemies. Great characters with amazing art combo for yet another solid issue. If you’re looking for a new wizarding school to enroll at, Strange Academy is where it’s at. Overall Rating: 8.6 Recommendation: Buy

Terminal Punks #1 (Mad Cave Studios) – A disaster film with a twist. The story follows a punk band stuck in an airport with mutated animals on the loose. There’s a lot to really like about this debut. It’s also a little scattered in thought as well. It definitely has something to say with its constant digs at the rich/corporations/elected officials but that commentary doesn’t feel like it’s really given enough to shake out. It’s all quick hits and punches with the debut, a very punk attitude about it. Definitely a series I want to read more of but the first issue left me a little mixed on the end result. Overall Rating: 7.0 Recommendation: Read

Villainous #2 (Mad Cave Studios) – The villains are the heroes and the heroes are the villains in this take on the popular exploration of superheroes. The second issue improves in many ways on the first with having a stronger voice as far as if it’s a spoof, homage, or playing it straight. It’s definitely a series to keep an eye on, it’s going in really interesting directions with this issue and what it sets up to come. There characters too could easily build into a great world spinning out of it. If you want a superhero series from someone other than the big 2, this is one to check out. Overall Rating: 7.95 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 (**).

« Older Entries