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.
Batman Pennyworth RIP #1 (DC) In the aftermath of a terrible tragedy, the Bat family come together to mourn the life of their most faithful compatriot: Alfred Pennyworth. Nothing has been the same since Bane broke Alfred’s neck and took his life back during City of Bane. Bruce has been going solo and pushing the candle at both ends harder than ever before to drown out the pain. He has dedicated himself to rebuilding Gotham, both physically and spiritually. However thanks to a reading of Alfred’s will there was but one demand: That the whole family take one night off from crime fighting. Naturally Bruce made arrangements for the city to be looked after so they may all honor this one wish. In a secluded location, they gather to toast Alfred and one by one trade stories about who he was and what he meant to them all individually. As a collective it is clear that Alfred was the glue that held them all together. Each of the family is at a different point in their lives and careers. Damian is with the Titans, Tim is off solo, Barbara is mostly in the city and Dick, doesn’t even remember who he truly is, other than Ric Grayson. Not the particular ideal scenario, but all agree beyond doubt that Bruce is broken. Typical Bruce is stoic as usual and tough demeanor, but they all see right through it. Writers James Tynion IV and Peter J. Tomasi do a fantastic job here of crafting a tale of loss and celebration of life through many perspectives. There is barely a punch thrown in this whole issue other than emotional gut ones. I love these types of stories. They are the kind that get to the hearts and minds of the people underneath the capes and cowls. The art by the collective efforts of Eddy Barrows, Eber Ferreira, Chris Burnham, Marcio Takara, Diogens Neves, David Lafuente & Sumit Kumar also do a great job of illustrating everyone’s pain and loss and at the same time providing a hint a of optimism. The panels whisk by breezily but never failing to capture the appropriate emotion from each storytellers perspectives. It really is a wonderful read. THIS was the issue I’ve been waiting for ever since the fateful last page in Batman #77 some time back. This was a fantastic tribute to the character of Alfred Pennyworth and I really enjoyed all the extra treats they put in to make this issue pop even more. Only of my favorite moments was when Alfred broke into GCPD as a cat burgler to retrieve Tim Drake’s Red Robin weapons that he thought he lost. It’s stuff like this that enhances the reading even more. It might be too soon to say but this is my favorite single issue of 2020 thus far. Overall: I give this a 10. For the emotion, art, and tribute. Reccomendation: Must buy. As a Bat fan, how could you not?
Gwen Stacy #1 (Marvel)– This is a fairly wholesome “Untold Tales” type story from Christos Gage and Todd Nauck telling the 1960s Amazing Spider-Man stories from Gwen Stacy’s POV. Gage writes Gwen as a whip smart, loving high school student, who doesn’t take guff from anyone whether that’s her dad’s corrupt police colleagues or creepy guys at her high school. Gage weaves a fairly complex, organized crime-centric plotline, but still has some time for some cute moments like Gwen and her boyfriend flirting at the public library while a pre-spider bite Peter Parker reads a science book. Nauck is definitely more of a superhero artist than a slice of life one, but his storytelling is easy to follow. Plus there are a couple fun backup stories for Gwen fans. Overall, this is a great book for Silver Age aficionados or folks who like Marvel Universe stories from a civilian POV. Overall: 8.0 Verdict: Buy
Alienated #1 (BOOM!)- What if 3 high schoolers with the same name (Sam), but 3 different personalities were all the psychically linked? This is the high concept premise of Si Spurrier and Chris Wildgoose’s Alienated. They craft a world not too dissimilar from our own where a YouTube type platform is the main type of entertainment for youngsters and conformity is the main point of education. Spurrier gives all 3 leads distinct personalities, and Wildgoose throws in some fun storytelling tricks like triptych panels that heighten the telepathy scenes compared to school scenes. And letterer Jim Campbell is Alienated’s secret weapon as he creates three (and later four) distinct word balloon types for the main characters. Alienated #1 is a good coming of age story with a little political satire and sci-fi thrown in to spice things up. Overall: 8.6 Verdict: Buy
Well, there you have it, folks. The reviews we didn’t quite get a chance to write. See you next week!
Please note that with some of the above comics, Graphic Policy was provided FREE copies for review. Where we purchased the comics, you’ll see an asterisk (*). If you don’t see that, you can infer the comic was a review copy. In cases where we were provided a review copy and we also purchased the comic you’ll see two asterisks (**).