Category Archives: Mini Reviews

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 9/21

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

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Logan

Once and Future #2 (BOOM!)– The second chapter of Kieron Gillen and Dan Mora’s grandson/grandma vs. King Arthur and his undead knights of the Brexit table leans more towards the action spectrum of the action adventure genre. Although, there is plenty of breathless banter as Duncan is trying to take everything in: Ladies of the Lake, swords in stone, a man slowly growing back sinew by sinew. Mora and colorist Tamra Bonvillain come in handy for that second part and really pour on the blood and guts for Arthur’s return with Gillen sneaking in there to skewer British nationalism between reminding readers that the Anglo-Saxons were once invaders of England. Once and Future #2 is a thrilling read with two compelling lead characters and one hell of a Big Bad in development (Hint: not Arthur). Also, it has a nice cliffhanger in the classic adventure tradition. Overall: 9 Verdict: Buy

Steeple #1 (Dark Horse)– John Allison writes and draws comedic gold in Steeple #1, which is like Father Ted (But Cornish and Anglican) meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The bright eyed and bushy tailed Billie has come to Tredregyn, Cornwall to help their nocturnal, alcoholic, and covered in bruises parish priest. But then her car blows up and sets up Allison’s comedy of errors with a side of monster fighting. Allison’s cartooning is simple, yet utterly hilarious, and he crafts a weird world of empty tourist houses and a potential not so friendly rivalry between the Church of England and Church of Satan. (The second one has leather jacket wearing motorcycle babes, but also incels.) Billie’s naivete and determination makes her a great protagonist, and I can’t wait to laugh at more funny panels and learn more about this strange world on the south end of England. Overall: 9.5 Verdict: Buy

Shean

Black Panther and the Agents Of Wakanda #1 (Marvel)– In a situation where SHIELD no longer exists, the Avengers have no way of gathering Intel. This is where Black Panther steps in and starts his dream team of superheroes. As the team still tries to find their footing, they have already ran into their first threat, leaving them desheveled. By issue’s end, the villain is revealed, leaving our heroes to doubt themselves. Overall, the story feels like it hasn’t quite gotten off the starting blocks, I am hoping the second issue shows more promise. Overall: 7.8 Recommendation: Borrow


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 9/14

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.


Joe Hesh

Spawn #300 (Image Comics) Ok so everyone knows I’m a sucker for anniversary issues. It just always gets me. As I open the pages I am flashed back to 1992 when I cracked open Spawn #1. It was so so different than everything I’ve currently read other than Spawn looked and suspiciously posed a lot like Spider-Man. However given that the hottest artist to have touched that character at that point was helming this i shouldn’t have been surprised. Now it wasn’t ground breaking like The Maxx was, but it was pretty awesome. Awesome enough that I came back for 100 consecutive issues straight. At that point i had been worn down and exposed to the awful 1997 live action movie and the superb HBO animated series. However after the beheading of Malebolgia I thought there really wasn’t much more to explore.
Wow was I wrong because well here we are. Also this is a humongous accomplishment for an independent property. Other than Dave Sims Cerebus, I can’t think of another character that had achieved this number. Spawn is certainly worthy despite the up and down of quality through the decades. 
With that said, here we are #300. I shamelessly joined back here on issue 299. Now having been absent for so long I was still able to pick up and not feel totally lost. I don’t know if that’s a detriment or a compliment. I know Spawn is Spawn and war is war and Al Simmons is still in the middle. 
However I really like that he’s much more assertive and even without the uniform he’s still Spawn and he’s still fucken badass.  The basics haven’t changed. It’s not Shakespeare but it is a very provocative take on philosophy and something that i am glad I invested my time in. 300 issues a lot has changed but the basics are still there. I believe that is the hallmark of all the greats. 600,700,800 and so forth, the adventures might have changed but the spirit is still the same. It’s instantly recognizable and pleasing the moment you pick it up. I for one am very glad that Spawn has made it here. I think he’s stood the test of time and will continue on. Now did it blow me away? No. But it certainly reminded me why I love demonic imagery and semi religious ambiguous storytelling in the first place. Like 1992. I felt that little jolt and now I’m back again. I can’t wait for #301 and #600 years from now. Kudos team. Here I am. Thanks for welcoming me back. Good job Todd. You did it. However it wouldn’t have happened without Greg. EVER.
See you next month. Score 9: Recommendation: Buy. Either way guys,  it’s history.  Well deserved

Elana

Dr. Mirage #1 (Valiant) This story plays to Nick Robles’ strengths: drawing beautiful, realistic figures in beautiful psychedelic environments that break the waking world into a kaleidoscope—- which famed colorist Jordie Bellaire explodes into beautiful color. I’m generally not a Valiant reader and my unfamiliarity with that world wasn’t a problem. Magdalene Visaggio’s narration gives you what you need to know. The reality tv framing she uses is promising and her character’s internal monologue feels real. Color me intrigued!

Shean

Star Wars Age of Rebellion: Supreme Leader Snoke #1 (Marvel)– As much as I wanted a like this particular book, this felt like filler more than a prequel as it is merely a showing of how sadistic Snoke was but not how he came to be. Leaving much to be desired. Overall: 6.7 Recommendation: Borrow

Age of Conan Valeria #2 (Marvel) In what feels like a Western, Valeria starts asking questions about her brother’s sword and gets wrong type of attention. As someone looking to silence her, underestimates he skills, leaving him to answer her questions. She gets closer to finding out how her brother got his sword in the first place. By issue’s end, her trail leads her to a temple but not without running into trouble from some mercenaries, as she barely makes it out alive. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Ryan C

Batman #78 (DC)** – Let’s just call it like it is : Tom King has had 78 issues to make the Batman/Catwoman relationship compelling, and still hasn’t managed to do so. He’s back to trying again with this one — and back to failing. Clay Mann’s art is cheesecake crap. A pretty damn lame comic, all in all. Overall: 0. Recommendation: Pass

Detective Comics #1011 (DC)** – This book has been quietly ticking up after a disastrous start for the new creative team, and this issue is probably the strongest yet. The Batman/Deadshot confrontation is pretty standard stuff, but there’s some nice supporting-cast interaction, and damn, is it nice to see Batman smile for once!Christian Duce’s art is fairly generic “New 52”-ish stuff, but it’s not actively bad so much as it is just bland. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

Silver Surfer: Black #4 (Marvel) **- I threw in the towel on Donny Cates’ lackluster scripting for this book after issue 1, but who gives a shit? Tradd Moore’s cosmic phantasmagorias are this series’ raison d’etre, and damn if he doesn’t deliver some breathtaking ones here. The best-looking “Big Two” comic on the racks, bar none. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Daredevil #11 (Marvel) **– The first arc of this new run didn’t do much to grab me, but Chip Zdarsky’s got a healthy head of steam under him with the character now, and seems to take real delight in messing up Matt Murdock’s life. An uneasy alliance with the cop who was out to bust him, an affair with a woman married to a mobster, an out-of-control Owl, and a bunch of copycat Daredevils all happening at once? Sign me up for that shit! Marco Checchetto’s moody, gritty art is a nice complement to the “street-level” scripting. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy 

Logan

Ghosted in LA #3 (BOOM!)– The cutest, spookiest comic continues to chug along as Sina Grace and Siobhan Keenan explore Daphne’s relationship with her ex-boyfriend, Ronnie, who comes to terms with his own sexuality while chatting with Bernard, a closeted gay entertainment lawyer from the 1980s. However, Maurice, who is a ghoul and the de facto caretaker of Rycroft Manor, become increasingly tired with the mortal world’s interference with their privacy. Grace and Keenan ramp up the tension a lot while still having the fun character interactions, vivid cartooning, and amazing styles of the previous two issues. They also deal with two characters “opening up” their sexuality in a very natural, non after school special way and make Ronnie a round character and not just a one dimensional ex. Overall: 8 Verdict: Buy

 Gotham City Monsters #1 (DC)- Set in the Monstertown created several years ago in the Steve Orlando co-written “Night of the Monsters” crossover, Gotham City Monsters #1 brings back characters and situations from Grant Morrison’s Seven Soldiers of Victory in a kind of creature commando way. And along the way there’s puns on cancelled New 52 series, an opera adaptation of a 19th century Irish Gothic novel, and fantastic character studies of various “monster” characters. Plus Amancay Nahuelpan going balls out with his artwork for vampire attacks, monster transformations, and a Gothic take on Gotham that makes the rest of the city look normal, or well, Christopher Nolan-esque. Gotham City Monsters isn’t an “assembling team” issue, but more of a set the tone issue, and I’m excited to see more of Orlando and Nahuelpan’s monstrous vision of Gotham. Overall: 8.4 Verdict: Buy


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

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

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 9/7

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 Avengers #5 (Marvel)** – So, now that the whole gimmick of Conan joining the Avengers (okay, AN Avengers) has worn off, what do we have here? A mediocre storyline from Gerry Duggan that reaches the end of its first non-descript “arc” and some DAMN nice art from Mike Deodato, Jr. In other words, a comic that’s awfully nice to look at, but nowhere near worth four bucks. Overall: 4 Recommendation: Pass

Batman V.s Ra’s Al Ghul #1 (DC) **- Oh, HELL yes. Absolute BATSHIT insanity from Neal Adams that makes no sense, doesn’t look particularly good, and is loaded with unnecessary guest “stars.” This is absolutely unhinged stuff that you have to see to believe — and you still won’t believe it. Overall: 1 Recommendation: Buy. Yes, you read that right.

The Death-Defying ‘Devil #2 (Dynamite)** – Gail Simone is crafting a genuinely intriguing story here that winks at nostalgia without wallowing in it, and Walter Geovani’s art, while nothing spectacular, certainly gets the job done. This is a legitimately fun and interesting read, two things we could all use more of in our lives. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Wyrd #4 (Dark Horse) **– Curt Pires and Antonio Fuso put the wraps on their delay-riddled miniseries in grand fashion, with a brisk, experimental script complimented by the best Andrea Sorrentino-esque art this side of — Andrea Sorrentino. Things are set up for a sequel that I dearly hope will happen, but given the cellar-dwelling sales of this four-parter, I’m not counting on it. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Shean

Web Of Black Widow #1(Marvel)- In this story, we find quite a different version of Natasha, as she had been killed and resurrected as a clone. While on a rogue mission, her focus is all over the place, where certain parts of her past converge all at once. This particularly becomes a problem when she forgets the prime directive of the mission. By issue’s end, Tony Starks intervenes as he alerts Captain America, that he senses something deeply wrong with the one time Avenger. Overall: 9.2 Recommendation: Buy

Logan

Doomsday Clock #11 (DC)– Geoff Johns and Gary Frank are back to ripping off Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons in the penultimate issue of Doomsday Clock, which uses Ozymandias to try to thread together all the disparate plot threads and set up an inevitable battle between Superman and Dr. Manhattan. This comic has its good moments like every time Frank gets to draw a group shot, and Johns makes a big picture statement about Superman or the DC Universe. But he stumbles when the Watchmen characters are concerned, and his Saturn Girl is a pure plot device. Plus with the emergence of the JSA in Scott Snyder’s Justice League and the Legion in Brian Bendis’ Superman, this book loses its DC Universe relevancy that saved it from being utterly mediocre. Overall: 5 Verdict: Pass

Going to the Chapel #1 (Action Lab/Danger Zone)– David Pepose and Gavin Guidry’s Going to the Chapel is the yummy fusion of a crime and romance comic. Pepose and Guidry definitely wear their love for Quentin Tarantino and Edgar Wright on their sleeves with an opening needle drop and smooth talking criminals in Elvis suits, but this comic takes some great satirical jabs at monogamy, the wedding industry, and gender roles in heterosexual relationships before the shooting starts. There’s also an air of mystery between the bride and the robber, Tom, and Guidry’s art and their body language gives them some searing chemistry especially compared to her actual husband, a plucky, if not as charismatic architecture. Going to Chapel has a fast paced crime narrative, a sexy romance undertone, and a sense of humor. There should be more comics like it. Overall: 8.9 Verdict: Buy


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

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

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 9/1

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

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Joe Hesh

Absolute Carnage #2 (Marvel)** Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman do it again. They bring me the over the top event I didnt need but sure as hell didn’t know I wanted. We get the best Spidey and Venom team up this side of ever and it is rockin! The story moves along simply and brisk with Kletus Casady back in the red symobiote driver’s seat attempting to ascend to dark godhood. The way he makes a second banana out of Norman Osborn is a blast and oh seeing Eddie use his symbiote to sprout freaking bat wings was pure awesome sauce. Tjis comic reads like an armageddon fairy tale and just paints the pages with imagery. Also not to mention the calvary arrives and we are left with such a cool cliffhanger for next issue. Score: 9 Reccomendation: Buy. I got my copy for free but I’m going to purchase. Too much fun. Make mine Marvel madness!

Alex

Marvel Comics #1000 (Marvel)** I honestly thought that I’d think of this as nothing but a cheap gimmick as Marvel plays Keeping Up With The Jones (or in this case DC) by releasing a thousandth issue (we’re going to ignore the fact that they’ve published Wolverine #1000 before), but I was more than pleasantly surprised by what I read. Despite the elevated price tag, this collection is an absolute must for Marvel fans as the cavalcade of writers and artists take us down memory lane – and for many of us it’s a reminder that Marvel’s memory stretches a lot further than our lifespan. Overall: 8.6 Recommendation: Buy

House Of X #3 (Marvel)** I’ve been constantly surprised by how much I am enjoying this series, because despite being billed as a Massive Event, so far House/Powers Of X hasn’t even come close to sucking, Now, with the X-Men on their first real mission in the present day since the story started, we’re really starting to feel the tension creep higher. A great comic for those even partially interested in the merry mutants. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Knights Temporal #2 (Aftershock) Time travel has always fascinated me, as has the middle ages. So when a comic comes along that feature a crusader knight being thrust into various different time periods, sometimes with minimal memory of doing so, then I’m going to pick up the first issue. When the first issue is every bit as good as I hoped… then I’ll be back for the second. Which is also just as good as the first. There’s a wonderful sense of intrigue here, with the bigger picture hanging just out of view; Cullen Bunn doesn’t hand anything to you as he tells the story from the time travelling Auguste Rivera’s point of view. My new favourite series. Overall: 8.8 Recommendation: Buy

Once And Future #1 (Boom)** I’m late to this party, but it was difficult to find this comic in the wild (review copy be damned). Kieron Gillen and Dan Mora are two top notch creators, and reading a comic set in the same part of England that I grew up in was an oddly nostalgic moment. Added to that, it’s a comic about the legends that shaped my childhood, and so I was oddly nervous that the comic wouldn’t live up to the hype surrounding (and the sky rocketing price of the first issue’s first print), but it does. It really does. Overall: 9.1 Recommendation: Buy

Banjax #3 (Action Lab) Another comic I’m behind on reading. Rilend Grant’s tale about the last crusade of a fallen hero trying to save his city before his cancer claims him blurs the lines between hero and villain constantly. Banjax is a hero because of what he does, not necessarily why he does it – or how. In a world where super heroes are idolized like movie stars and have very little secret identity it’s strange to watch a man who almost turned villain try to save a city with no intent on redemption (I’m not sure if they get paid by the state… or how they make money, but that’s the adult in me and not the comic reader suspending his disbelief). I think this is going to be a sleeper hit in years to come. Overall: 8.1 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 8/17

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

Event Leviathan #3 (DC) This is a miniseries where I’m starting to enjoy the character interactions and Alex Maleev’s art more than Brian Michael Bendis’ plot. There’s a cool fight scene between Jason Todd and the members of Batman’s group of detectives that culminates in an even more fascinating war of words between him and Lois Lane. She sees the big picture, knows what questions to ask, and has a personal stake in the attacks, which makes her dangerous. However, in the big picture, Bendis is no closer to revealing the who and why of Leviathan even if we see the return of another important player on the board towards the end of the issue. The dialogue and art is nice, but if he and Maleev blow the big reveals, this whole thing could end up being a stinker. Overall: 6 Verdict: Pass

Superman Year One #2 (DC/Black Label) Frank Miller and John Romita Jr go way off Superman’s traditional canon in the second issue of Superman Year One focusing on Clark’s time as a Navy Seal trainee and his romance with Lori Lemaris that brings him into direct conflict with Poseidon, King of Atlantis. (Who is also into incest wtf.) Romita’s art does a fantastic job showing Clark’s physical strength in his navy drills, and when he fights Poseidon’s kraken in a duel of superman vs monster. During these tasks, Miller’s inner monologue is basically how easy this is for Superman. He is a god laughing at mortals although in a pivotal action sequence against stereotypical terrorists, we see his unwillingness to take a life. Even though Superman’s relationship with Lori is the crux of this issue and his motivation after leaving the navy, Miller writes her as object to be won and not an equal. Hopefully, he fares better with Lois Lane in issue three, but I’m not getting my hopes up. This was seriously one weird comic with some strong visual moments from Romita, Danny Miki, and Alex Sinclair. Overall: 5 Verdict: Pass

Pretty Violent #1 (Image) I feel like I’ve read this comic before, and it was called I Hate Fairyland. But this one has superheroes and no narrative focus to go with a kid swearing and entrails everywhere illustrated with glee by Derek Hunter. There is something to chuckle at from a superhero utterly fucking up, but Hunter and Jason Young’s comic feels like a series of sketches instead of a coherent, funny story. The time travel and Cable skewering backup story is a pretty great parody, and maybe because it doesn’t feature our frankly annoying protagonist. Overall: 4.7 Verdict: Pass

Powers of X #3 (Marvel) Jonathan Hickman proves that he can pull off a classic X-Men team action sequence, deal with the whole time travel thing a la “Days of Future Past”, and deal with alternate universe versions of characters a la “Age of Apocalypse” in Powers of X #3. Instead of jumping between eras, he, R.B. Silva, and Marte Gracia focus on 100 years in the future with the remaining mutants going on a mission to steal a shard of data from Nimrod, the ur-Sentinel. Gracia’s color are a real highlight in this issue from the bright, flat palette of Nimrod’s HUD to Xorn unleashing a black hole or even a final epic battle between Apocalypse and Wolverine and the Sentinels. Along with the Moira retcon (Which plays a part in this issue), heroic Apocalypse is one of the most memorable moments of Hickman’s run so far, and it’s simply breathtaking to lay his life on the line for the mutants in this comic. It’s pure popcorn storytelling and a great climax to the Powers of X mini. Overall: 9 Verdict: Buy

Jane Foster Valkyrie #2 (Marvel) Jane Foster Valkyrie #2 is an all action issue with a touch of empathy from Jason Aaron, Al Ewing, Cafu, and Jesus Aburtov. Bullseye has the previous Valkyrie, Brunnhilde’s sword, and Jane Foster must fight to get it back before he kills Heimdall and commits mass murder on a mass scale. With eloquent captions, Aaron and Ewing create a strong contrast between Bullseye, a man who only wants to kill and Jane, who sworn an oath as a doctor to do no harm. Cafu uses big panels and detailed facial expressions without being static as the battle rages all over New York, and Jane’s All-Weapon is wonderful for creative fight moves. But this comic isn’t just a beat ‘em up and has some real pathos while also changing the book’s status quo from yet another Asgardian superhero comic. Overall: 8 Verdict: Buy

Ryan C

Batman #77 (DC)** Come on. Seriously? When your comic hinges on a plot twist and nothing more, you’ve got yourself a lame comic. And does anyone think this “major development” is gonna stick? Mikel Janin’s pages look good, I’ll give this issue that much, but Tony S. Daniel’s stuff is lame and boring and Tom King’s script is lazy and atrocious. Overall: 2 Recommendation: Pass

Superman: Year One #2 (DC/Black Label)** Maybe it’s Danny Miki’s inks, I dunno, but this is the best-looking John Romita Jr. art in years. Unfortunately, Frank Miller’s script lets the side down in a big way. Not as horrifyingly stupid as the first issue, true, but not much could be. Still a long way to go before this thing earns its eight dollar cover price. Overall: 4.5 Recommendation: Pass

Faithless #5 (Boom! Studios)** – Maria Llovet’s art continues to astonish in this series, but Brian Azzarello’s ambitious contemporary take on Dante’s Inferno (plus sex) is still consistently missing the mark and none of the characters have a very distinctive voice yet. An interesting narrative experiment with gorgeous art is hardly the worst thing to spend your money on, but I can’t recommend that you do so on the merits of the work itself to this point. Overall: 5.5 Recommendation: Look at it for sure, but don’t bother to read or buy it.

Batman #232 Facsimilie Edition (DC) – Neal Adams. Denny O’Neil. The first appearance of Ra’s Al Ghul. An exact reproduction down to the original ads, letter columns, etc. What more could you possibly want, or ask for? Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Shean

Absolute Carnage Vs Deadpool #1 (Marvel) We find Deadpool and Spider-Man running from Spidey’s rogue gallery, as Deadpool eventually annoys Peter. Weeks later, Deadpool finds a note which leads him to a Sanitarium where Carnage has taken over. Before he can get away, Carnage has cornered him, leaving him not much choice on how to move. By issue’s end, Deadpool ultimately escapes but had created something more dangerous than what he evaded. Overall: 9.6 Recommendation: Buy

Ghost Spider #1 (Marvel) We find Gwen Stacy trying to find some semblance of a normal life, as back on her earth, we find her having a squibble with one of her band mates.As she soon realizes that her alter ego as Spider Gwen is her escape from everything that gives her tension in her life, as she chooses to Utilize her powers to transport between worlds as her means of relief. As she looks to be a normal college student on Peter Parker’s world. As she finds her real jot in working with Peter. By issue’s end, her exploits don’t go unnoticed, as the Jackal emerges. Overall: 8.8 Recommendation: Buy

Joe Hesh

Batman #77 (DC) **SPOILERS FOLLOW** King and Daniels deliver a mixed bag. Stunning art and parts of the script is wonderful. Really dug the rooftop fight with Damian and Thomas, but someone needs to clip Gotham Girl’s wings asap. She is just an annoyance of acharacter as of late. Really still enjoying the villains as the GCPD dynamic. All good there. The slow burn on Selina and Bruce’s return is well done too. Now for the mixed part. So this is the infamous issue where Tom King makes a monumental dynamic change to the Bat family. I’m not sure how to feel about it. One one hand it is shocking and could open the door to some interesting tales now that this anchor in Bruce’s life has been eliminated. One the other hand.. I’m so fucking pissed. Doing this out of shock value is just wrong. The manner it’s done too doesn’t leave room for redemption for Thomas which is a shame because I just loved him and Bruce together in The Button crossover. This though is heinous. Goes wayy beyond tough love. Now for Bane. No question for this storyline Batman has to break his moral code and end Bane. Yes, I mean kill him. Either that or paralyze Bane completely so that he’s never retconned to come back. There better be a big comeuppance but that said I’m still so argghhh.. the feels. We will miss you Alfred. Godspeed Master Bruce and make this right. Overall: get this and sip with some Earl Grey tea. Especially before the last few pages. Score: 8 Reccomendation: Buy. It’s a good book but it’s only going to shoot up in value from here out. Especially if it sticks.


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 8/17

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

Silver Surfer Black #3 (Marvel)** – Tradd Moore is doing such a magnificent job channeling his inner Kirby that it makes this book a joy to experience even with a mediocre, uninspired Donny Cates script. I guess there’s a plot twist at the end here that might intrigue some people, but whatever. It’s not like the story really matters here, it’s a “closed loop” anyway. The art is why you buy this book, and buy it you should. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Gideon Falls #16 (Image) **– Jeff Lemire is mailing in his third-rate “Twin Peaks” rip-off scripts at this point (literally and figuratively), but Andrea Sorrentino just keeps on getting better and better on art — in fact, there are a couple of double-page spreads here that will simply blow your mind. A book worth buying just for the art? Seems to be a theme this week. Overall: 7.5. Recommendation: Buy

Outer Darkness #9 (Image/Skybound) **– The best series no one seems to be talking about just keeps getting better. A brutally violent issue this time out gives Afu Chan a real chance to shine on art, and John Layman’s dark AF scripting is really firing on all cylinders. Not for all tastes, but for those who are on a very particular wavelength, comics don’t get a whole lot better. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Detective Comics #1009 (DC) **- Not a bad “rebound” issue this time out, as Peter J. Tomasi’s “Bruce Wayne in a plane crash” script is thoroughly readable if uninspired, Deadshot comes off as a formidable foe, and Christian Duce’s art is sleek and stylish. Nothing overly awesome or anything, but a step in the right direction compared to recent stuff served up in this series. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Read

Logan

Ghosted in LA #2 (BOOM!)– Daphne settles into living with her ghost buddies in Rycroft Manor, and I really love how Sina Grace and Siobhan Keenan give them different personalities depending on which era they passed away in. This plot centers around Daphne going out with a total jerk named Brint, who is pretentious and thinks he’s owed sex, because she saw her ex with a new girl and wants to make her jealous. Ghosted in LA #2 is a great skewering of fuckboys and has some sweet interactions between Daphne and a ghost, who she is supposed to get a new album by his favorite band. Keenan’s expressive art and cute outfit designs plus these little wholesome moments keep the comic afloat in the middle of the melodrama. Overall: 7.5 Verdict: Read

Powers of X #2 (Marvel) – This was my least favorite chapter in Jonathan Hickman’s X-Men work as he and RB Silva do a great job integrating the Moira MacTaggart retcon into the foundation of the X-Men, show some strong scenes with Cyclops as a pragmatic leader, and have a similar salt of the Earth pragmatism with Wolverine 100 years in the future. 1,000 years in the future is when it falls apart and feels like a filler issue of his Avengers run with lots of talk about how future societies are like and hives and intelligence. However, it doesn’t have the emotional resonance of the other eras with characters we have gotten to know or just damn cool concepts like Apocalypse leading the X-Men. This is 3/4 of a good comic and the turbulent middle chapter in a series that has been firing on all cylinders up to this point. Overall: 7 Verdict: Read

Collapser #2 (DC/Young Animal) – In the second installment of Mikey Way, Shaun Simon, and Ilias Kyriazis’ series, Liam struggles with controlling his collapsing black hole abilities.
Before the opening credits roll, he’s out there wrecking Stonehenge and the Great Pyramids and seeing visions of cryptids and aliens that no one else can see. Way and Simon focus a lot on mental health in this issue, and Liam’s girlfriend Joss helps him check into a psych hospital because he’s been off his meds. Of course, all the aliens and phenomena are real, but Way, Simon, and Kyriazis take mental health seriously in Collapser #2 and work through what Liam sees and feels before throwing him back into action. Finally, Liam’s black hole abilities allow Kyriazis and colorist Cris Peter to play without layouts and provide different visuals than your usual alien invasion/superhero comic. Overall: 8.2 Verdict: Buy

Shean

Age of Conan Valeria #1 (Marvel) – In what looks to be probably the best book to come from this niche line at Marvel, we find a character worthy to occupy the same space as Conan. As we find one hero whose childhood has been marred by tragedy. As the death of her parents, leads her to live with her brother, who is ultimately betrayed by someone close to him. By issue’s end, our hero is focused on her goal in mind, as the story instantly brings comparisons to the underrated ” Quick and The Dead” movie, as both stories showcased strong female protagonists with tragic backgrounds.
Overall: 9.6 Recommendation: Buy

Conan The Barbarian Exodus #1 (Marvel) – In a rather bold move for a one shot, we get mostly vacant of dialogue story about Conan in the wild. As he tests his skills for survival as he fights every dangerous animal. He would soon test his skills against a ruthless oligarch who would get the better of him to have him imprisoned. By story’s end, not only has Conan escaped his Bondage but has killed the man responsible for putting him there. Overall: 9.8 Recommendation: Buy

Sword Master #2 (Marvel) – We find Lie as he finds out that his father’s enemies have been close to him the whole time, which he also finds out the powers of the sword.. He also catches the eye of another demon hunter, who has been searching for who occupies the title of Sword Master. In the second tale, we find Lie and Shang Chi in the midst of hell and a hand basket. As a fight with Ares army leads to an unfortunate situation that has put both heroes at a disadvantage. Overall: 9.6 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 8/10

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.


Ryan C

Savage Avengers #4 (Marvel)** – Story-wise, this mini has basically been treading water since the first issue, and that trend continues here, in the penultimate chapter — but just because Gerry Duggan is mailing it in, don’t take that to mean Mike Deodato, Jr. is following suit. This comic looks absolutely great — but unfortunately, that alone doesn’t make it worth either your time or your money. Overall: 4. Recommendation: look at it at the shop, then give it a pass. 

Batman #76 (DC)**– After a lackluster start to the “City Of Bane” arc, Tom King at least cobbles together a nominally readable script here, even if the mystery as to what’s going on continues to fall a bit flat. Tony S. Daniel’s art is what it is — a continuation of the tired “New 52” aesthetic, but I dunno. If you like that sort of thing, you’ll like how this one looks. All in all it’s pretty much just a middling comic. If that’s good enough for you, have at it, otherwise follow the advice in the very next sentence… Overall: 5 Recommendation: Pass

Postal: Deliverance #2 (Image/Top Cow) **– This welcome return to Matt Hawkins’ so-called “Edenverse” builds on a strong first issue with Bryan Hill dishing out some Biblical “justice” and the corruption of a new generation in his script, while Raffaele Ienco delivers some serious goods with his fine, detailed art. Killer stuff, not for the faint of heart. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Descendent #4 (Aftershock) **– Not sure what happened with this conspiracy thriller, but after a strong pair of issues to start things off, Stephanie Phillipss scripting is getting seriously contrived and hakneyed, and the art by Evgeniy Bornyakov seems equally uninspired. I think there’s one installment left to go here, but I doubt I’m interested enough in things at this point to see whether or not they can pull off a last-second course correction. Overall: 3 Recommendation: Pass

Joe Hesh

 Absolute Carnage #1 (Marvel) Wow. Just wow. Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman deliver the best Marvel comic of the year. Not only is the writing and art just fantastic, but they give me the best Eddie story I’ve ever read. Love the love/hate relationship with Peter and Eddie and they managed to something with Carnage that the original Maximum Carnage story never could: Make Carnage a scary leviathan like force. Cletus Kasady alone was terrfying but Cletus tied to an age old evil God, is the thing of joy and nightmares. I love how this comic didn’t end after the first chapter and gave you 3 solid chapters to wet your appetite before leaving you hanging. The plot is awesome and just reprehensible at the same time. Grave robbing to make Carnage even more powerful. I love the relationship bond between Eddie and his other and Tom Hardy should have had this book to read before playing him in the movie. It might sound like I’m gushing here, but I am. I have nothing bad to say about this issue at all and as something I wasn’t even going to glance at, now might be my comic of the year. Overall: 10 just plain 10. Recommendation: Buy this. I read my copy but I’m damn sure buying this.

Logan

Doom Patrol Weight of the Worlds #2 (DC/Young Animal) Round 2 of Gerard Way, Jeremy Lambert, and James Harvey’s Doom Patrol features more weirdness, empathy, and mind expanding double page spreads. The highlight is Harvey’s diagram of Dannyland aka a genderqueer street on steroids that doubles as the Doom Patrol’s HQ and much more. This issue follows a throughline of positive reinforcement from Robotman’s new body getting cool new powers and upgrades (Like a flamethrower) for every good deed he does to Lotion the Cat realizing that the children of two potential planetary divorcees just need a hug, and finally Larry Trainor finding peace with the Negative Spirit that used to reside within him. The hug scene and another early one where Robotman sees the world through his new, though sadly non-human body marry words and pictures with an immersive spread from James Harvey combined with almost lyrical writing from Way and Lambert. The book feels more like an experimental art piece or a warm and fuzzy therapy session with tripped out dream imagery than a superhero comic, but I assure you that some day saving happens in Doom Patrol #2. Overall: 8.4 Verdict: Buy \

Die #6 (Image)- In an issue based on the annoying RPG concept of grinding, the party must find enough fair gold to kickstart an escape from the city of Glass which is in perpetual war with Eternal Prussia. Angela’s hacking/cyberpunk Neo abilities are crucial to this plan so Kieron Gillen and Stephanie Hans spend some time with her while she walks her dog looking for gold. She finds parallels between the world of Die and her past life as a game developer, which destroyed her marriage and personal life. Hans’ artwork captures the beautiful tragedy of her solo quest and the mechanics of games with everything having a choice or consequence. The art and Gillen’s writing lightens up a little bit towards the end with an epic escape sequence featuring a cool dragon. Then, Die’s anti-fantasy theme pops up in the conclusion, and Gillen and Hans remind us that this isn’t an adventure comic, but a horror one about being trapped in relationships and patterns of one’s past for too long. Overall: 8.6 Verdict: Buy

Absolute Carnage #1 (Marvel)– Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman lean into the absurdity, blood guts, and cosmic horror aspects of the symbiote and turn in a thrilling issue of this crossover. It’s divided into three acts: Eddie Brock and son (Who think he’s his brother) Dylan escaping Carnage in the New York subway tunnels, Eddie forging an unlikely alliance with Spider-Man and the Maker, and finally, a close doors chase and fight between Venom, Spider-Man, John Jameson, and a symbiote Norman Osborn. Stegman and inker JP Mayer revel in the utter chaos of the several big fight scenes in this issue and can slow things down too like when Eddie confides in Spider-Man that Dylan is his son and not his brother. The plotting can be a little clunky or exposition heavy at times, but Cates get the information across that Carnage is a god and is trying to absorb the little bits of symbiote left in anyone who was ever a host for it. The mechanics are a little absurd, but Stegman’s takes on the “Carnage-ized” version of characters are a treat, and Cates wisely continues to put the relationship between Eddie and Dylan at the center of this ever expanding story. Overall: 8 Verdict: Buy

Daredevil #9 (Marvel)– I’m really enjoying Chip Zdarsky’s and Lalit Kumar Sharma’s recent work on Daredevil and exploring a Hell’s Kitchen with no Daredevil, Kingpin, or even Matt Murdock practicing law. My most favorite part of Zdarsky’s run (Other than the previous Punisher reactions) is his nuanced look at Matt’s faith, and this is a big part of Daredevil #9 with a large portion of the issue being devoted to him and Reed Richards discussing the existence of God over a game of chess. As a lawyer and Catholic, Matt strives to believe in some order and justice in the universe, but that’s difficult for him in a world of corrupt cops, child trafficking, and bookstores that are mob fronts. Sharma turns in some wonderful visual transitions like the tears of a nun about a lost child turning into Matt going after the trafficker while wearing a variation of his “Man without Fear” costume. And to go along with all the philosophizing and bare knuckles brawls, there is time for romance as Zdarsky and Sharma continue to create some steamy chemistry between Matt and Mindy Libris, a bookstore manager and wife of a crime family scion that likes the business a little too much. Overall: 9.0 Verdict: Buy

 Future Foundation #1 (Marvel)– FF #1 has a great cast, fun cartooning from Will Robson, and Jeremy Whitley gives each member of this very large teenage superhero/science team at least one page to shine and have a voice. However, it’s more concerned with setting up future plot developments than telling an exciting done-in-one prison escape featuring Julie Power and guest starring Yondu. Whitley and Robson do a great job showing the prison break, including Onome fixing Yondu’s giant gun so it actually works and talking about how Shuri inspired her to be the next great Wakandan engineer and Julie traveling at light speed so their rescuee, Rebecca can find her personal effects. But, then, they get caught up in flexing that the Maker is the next villain that they don’t wrap up the story. Future Foundation has characters I want to spend more time with, art that makes me smiles, and is only missing the story mechanics to be solid teen superhero/Fantastic Four spinoff title. Overall: 7 Verdict: Read

Shean

Agents of Atlas (Marvel) – In this miniseries, we get reacquainted with this new superteam, as they take on a dragon terrorizing the Pacific. This is until the Protector intervenes, as a new addition to the group. We are taken to the various bunkers, where each of them find each major city being attacked by Dragons. By issue’s end, the team goes all out while we find exactly what happened to the original team. Overall: 9.6 Recommendation: Buy

Aero#1 (Marvel)– In two different stories, we find about this import from Shanghai. In the reprint of this character’s original run, we find her origins. In the second half, we get a team up adventure with her and Wave, where we get some of Wave’s origin story. By issue’s end, the writers provide a perfect setup for this character. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Aero #2 (Marvel)– In this second issue we find our hero struggling with her powers and how to defeat supervillains. We also find out just how normal her life was, having a boyfriend and a comfortable job, both which looks boring to what she becomes. Inthe second half, we meet Wave’s mentor, Red Feather, who takes her weapons back. By issue’s end, we find out even more about characters, setting up Wave’s solo book to be one to watch. Overall: 9.7 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 8/4

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.


Shean

Star Wars: Age of Resistance Special #1 (Marvel)– In a collection of stories of some of Star Wars most interesting new characters, we get deeper character dives. We join Maz Kanata in an adventure with the crew of the Millennium Falcon where they hunt down a Sith relic. In a different tale, we find a young Amilyn Holdo long before she became minister, as we see that she’s used to people doubting her and to proving them wrong everytime. In the last story, we find BB-8 providing reconnaissance for Poe Dameron but actually pulls off thr mission off by themselves, getting the Intel and blowing up the Empire stronghold. Out of these three stories, Holdo’s tale is probably the most impactful to the overall Star Wars narrative, giving us the much needed back story to someone we should care about in Star Wars: The Last Jedi movie, but was definitely lacking until now.
Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Logan

Powers of X #1 (Marvel) In Powers of X, Jonathan Hickman and RB Silva (Whose art has drastically improved) tell the story of different eras of mutants from the birth of Xavier’s dream to a 1,000 years in the futures when the last mutants are like dinosaurs in a museum. They remix past X-Men villains like Sinister and Nimrod to give them more a big picture role, and best of all, to make them actually win. The bulk of the story happens 100 years in the future and features a Rasputin and an overly, pacifist offshoot of Nightcrawler’s DNA that comments on how sometimes each mutant’s powers are only seen useful by their use in battle. These moments of action or an engaging conversation between Professor X and Moira McTaggert that works thanks to Silva’s facial expressions help the book break out of its history textbook rhythm, for better or worse. Overall: 8 Verdict: Buy

Manor Black #1 (Dark Horse)– In Manor Black, Cullen Bunn, Brian Hurtt, and fantastic artist Tyler Crook spin of a tale of retiring magicians, blood rituals, and spontaneous combustion. There is a jarring juxtaposition between the ordinary people of thetown freaking out about a car crashing and burning in a perfect circle and the nine panel grids of Roman Black communing with his ancestors and having to find a successor before he descends to Hell. There is a kind of aristocratic order to his world compared to the chaos that surrounds it and threatens to engulf the sleepy, nearby town. However, what makes Manor Black a decent comic isn’t its plot or characters yet, but Crook’s striking visuals, and his fluid, illustrator’s touch that he’s brings to everything from charred bodies and coffee shops to the bowels of the titular manor. Overall: 7.5 Verdict: Read

Death’s Head #1 (Marvel)– I liked Kei Zama’s 2000 AD-esque art and the way he showed the world from Death’s Head POV and also the way that Tini Howard wrote the loving relationship between Hulkling Wiccan, who basically are co-leads of this comic. However, after a slapstick funny opener where Death’s Head gets the shit beaten out of him by some “new models” and gets used as an amp in New York, the book loses focus. It’s not sure if it’s a Death’s Head book or a Hulkling and Wiccan one. Howard and Zama will come up with some cool character beats for Wiccan like when he looks at all future paths he can take, and then it’s robot rock time. Hopefully, in future issues, the trio will be better integrated into each other’s stories. Overall: 6 Verdict: Pass

Joe Ryan

Powers of X #1 (Marvel) – Hickman gives another great reason to be reading the X-Men again after the excellent House of X. As a long time X-fan, I am in. RB Silva gives us some awesome action in the artwork (with great inks and colors by Benedetto and Gracia). We get new characters that are actually cool (and I hope at least 1 or 2 have some staying power), and a the usual fun Hickman messing with time stuff. I wish the novelized parts came a little later, as I felt the paragraphs came a little too soon while I was hooked in the book, but that’s my only small gripe. Overall, the book was fantastic. It had everything I wanted, and didn’t know I wanted in a return to X-Men Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Fantastic Four #12 (Marvel) – Slott has done a solid job overall on this book, and this was a fun campy issue. It felt like a throwback to the more lighthearted adventures we saw the Fantastic Four go on many years ago. We get a classic battle between The Hulk and The Thing again (kind of), and Izaakse does a great job on the art, bringing their epic battle to life. Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Buy

Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #9 (Marvel) – Tom Taylor gives a slower, character building issue where we see the history of The Rumor, and how she worked with Captain America, and a surprising use of that time period and how she tied into it. I have enjoyed this run, and I like that we get issues like this that can slow down, and tell a different story, even in a Spidey book. Both Cabal and Lashley do a solid job on the interiors, showing both the modern action scenes and classic emotional scenes very well. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

 Batman: Last Knight on Earth #2 (DC Comics) – I am a big fan of Snyder and Capullo on Batman. Their New 52 run was a highlight of DC during that time and it went down as one of my favorite runs. Of course Capullo does a great job on the art work. This is a wild and crazy post-apocalyptic world that is having a lot of silly fun (much like they did with Metal). I like how they can make a dark world, but also have so much fun with the characters of the universe. This book makes me miss them doing a monthly ongoing Batman book, but I will enjoy this while it lasts. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

The Batman Who Laughs #7 (DC Comics) – Snyder double dips in Batman this week, and I enjoyed this one as well. I am not sure we needed another issue for this run (that was originally solicited at 6), but I still had fun with this issue and this series overall. When I first saw the character, The Batman Who Laughs, I wasn’t sure it had staying power, and believe me, I could still have a moment where I get tired of it, but for now, I enjoyed this quite a bit. Jock and Snyder, like Capullo and Snyder are peak modern Batman for me. Great mini series. Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy


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

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

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 7/27

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

House of X #1 (Marvel) Jonathan Hickman’s back at Marvel with big ideas cobbled together from the Grant Morrison, Fraction/Gillen, and even some of Mark Millar’s Ultimate X-Men and Alan Davis’ work at the end of the 1990s. But his biggest influence seems to be the nation of Israel circa 1948, which makes it even more intriguing that Holocaust survivor, Magneto, gets the lion’s share of the action and speech-ifying. In House of X #1, Hickman and artists Pepe Larraz and Marte Gracia have created a wide-ranging sandbox of concepts and organizations that have the potential to revitalize the X-Men line of comics. The mutant vs human struggle isn’t (For the most part.) through the usual fisticuffs, but through espionage, diplomacy, corporate restructuring, and yes, the problem of our age: healthcare. House of X #1 did its job in hooking me into sampling more of Hickman and company’s world. It even had some excellent grace notes like Hickman’s design pages that filled out backstory and exposition in a visually interesting way, and his writing of Cyclops as an ultracompetent, unapologetic badass. The panel composition where he stares down Reed Richards will be stuck in my mind for a bit and is, in a sense, Hickman throwing down the gauntlet at of his old characters/runs. Overall: 9 Verdict: Buy

Dark Red #5 (Aftershock) Dark Red #5 marks the end of Tim Seeley and Corin Howell’s first arc in their vampire epic meets satire of states that vote red, wear red MAGA hats, and yes, bleed red in a gory, action-packed issue. Throughout the storyline, Seeley and Howell have done a fantastic job of fleshing out the backstory of protagonist, Chip Ipswich, a WWII veteran turned kinda good guy vampire/convenience worker. He gets to give a big speech to a bunch of Nazi redneck vampires about how their leader, like Hitler, saw them as cannon fodder to create a new world order and used their white supremacy and insecurities to gain power and cause havoc. And then Howell illustrates a fun one page spread of him biting, wounding, and killing various Nazi vampires. Where the story struggles is its structure as Seeley sets up a romance between Chip and a Native American woman named Evie, who becomes a vampire in the issue, but then he immediately separates them after their big moment. The next arc will focus on her in Chicago and Chip in the small town, and honestly, Chip’s letters have less emotional resonance than the touches and glances they share thanks to Howell’s art. But it’s nice to see a story where a character actually tries to change their rural, hateful settings instead of running away so kudos for that. Overall: 8.3 Verdict: Buy

Joe Ryan

House of X #1 (Marvel) – Wow. What a first issue. Hickman on story, Larraz on art and Marte Garcia on colors give me everything I wanted on this book and so much more. I have been a massive X-Men since I began reading comics, and while this is very different, it is very good. Hickman is a master at high level event stories and setting up all kinds of dimension and time threads while keeping the overall plot moving forward. His Avengers run, FF, and Secret Wars are some of my favorite modern Marvel stories. This is a heck of a first issue. Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

History of the Marvel Universe #1 (Marvel) – I think Waid did a great job the story (which is really a Marvel history lesson). Rodriguez and Lopez also did a fantastic job showing all of the characters Marvel has had over the years. This is a fantastic book for any new or old Marvel fan. It is a lot of fun to go through and see all of the characters and depth this universe has. At times I felt like I was looking at some of Kirby’s own work with the art, and that made me smile. Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

Valkyrie #1 (Marvel) – I was excited when I saw Ewing and Arron were writing this book together. I really enjoyed Jane Foster’s run as Thor and love what Aaron does on the book and Ewing on most of his work. I thought the issue was a solid first issue, but I wanted a bit more from it. I do think they felt the need to summarize some things for new readers, so I think that took away from some of the story that we get by the end. The set up was solid and I am excited to see what happens going forward. The art by Cafu and Aburtov was great with bright colors and great panel work. Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Buy

Guardians of the Galaxy #7 (Marvel) – Donny Cates loves to torture his characters. There were parts of this issue that made me uncomfortable, and at multiple moments I thought he was going to do some shocking things (even for him). I won’t spoil if he did or didn’t do those things. The art by Cory Smith and colors by David Curiel did a great job showing the action and big set piece moments. There are times when this comic felt like a horror title, and for that, I really enjoyed it. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Batman: Curse of the White Knight #1 (DC) – I really enjoyed the first run of the White Knight elseworlds tale by Sean Murphy, and this issue only made me enjoy it even more. You should get the first White Knight book in trade so you know what happened, or at least get a summary online, because going into this will confuse you. The art is fantastic, and the story is mostly different enough from the same old Batman/Joker dynamic we’ve seen for ages. I love the ending and the set up to what is to come should be crazy and fun. Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Shean

Sword Master #1 (Marvel) – In what I see as a lead up to Shang Chi’s big screen reveal, we meet a character that is part of his universe. We meet Lin Lie whose father and brother has gone missing thanks to a gang of grave robbers. As he seeks the truth from them, he uncovers even more mysteries connected to their disappearance. By issue’s end, Shang Chi makes his entrance, looking for the sword and so does an unlikely and powerful threat. Overall: 9.6 Recommendation: Buy

Valkyrie Jane Foster #1 (Marvel) – In a rather introspective debut issue, we fet a conflicted titular hero. As she stops a gang of supervillains, one of them dies by mysterious causes. Meanwhile, at her day job, it seems as though her focus is split,leaving her supervisor and coworkers to doubt in her abilities. By issue’s end, in a quest for answers, she goes back to the Asgardian Halls of the Dead, where a powerless villain who has somehow wielded magic is behind all the chaos. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Age of Conan: Belit #5 (Marvel) – In what is a spectacular finale, we finally get a hero that can stand toe to toe with Conan, as we find a woman hell bent on conquering the world by sea and invasion. As this issue feels like they kept the best for lastas compared to the rest of the series, this is the level they should have been operating thr whole time. I can’t quite recommend the series on this issue alone but if you want a strong narrative, this is it. By issue’s and series end, the reader will gladly follow Belit anywhere she leads. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Borrow


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 7/20

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

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews.


Joe Hesh

Batman #75 (DC Comics) ** This is it. The big story that Tom King has been building to since Batman #1 and what we’ve determined is… he likes Bane. He likes him a LOT. Now I’m a big Bane fan too and love the original Chuck Dixon and Graham Nolan version but I feel like we’ve seen everything to do with Bane and what he can offer but i was wrong. This issue opens up with the two most unlikely detectives of all time with Joker and Riddler. Riddler works for me as he was a PI in Paul Dini’s Detective run and the Joker? Well it’s just batshit and I love it. Couple it in with Hugo Strange as Commissioner and you have an opening to a badass elseworlds tale right? Wrong. This is all canon. It’s all happening. The gist is Thomas Wayne survived the fight with Bruce in the pit last issue and not only survived, but he won. Which is very cool because Thomas is a great dark Batman. So basically what we get here is Bane runs Gotham completely now, which the title is City of Bane so yeah. It works so well as the bad guys are now self imposed “good guys” doing Batman’s job and doing it well. There are a lot of great touches such as the Ventriloquist being the Alfred to Thomas’ Batman and him surgically taking down Two Face. Really really cool stuff. The art is crisp as per usge from Tony Daniel as he thrives on a Batman title. So the first issue gives us a lot of questions but a lot to look forward to. This certainly feels all new. I can’t wait to see more and where the hell is Damian and Gordon here? Hopefully all those questions get answered next Bat Time. Overall: Fantastic opening and very intriguing premise. Great art and moves along strikingly. Score: 9 Verdict: Buy

Elana

War Scrolls #2 (Marvel) Yes it’s late but I finally got my hands on # War Scrolls issue with Anthony Oliveira, Nick Robles, and Cris Peter’s story “My Drag Brunch with Loki”. It’s one of the top two back-up stories of 2019. So happy to see these voices in Marvel making art about morality, symbolism, family, what friends owe each other & of course drag queens, all rooted in canon. Featuring a drag brunch from people who’d know. Dante’s Inferno (because of course Anthony) and Billy and Teddy actually styled like gay men (because of course Nick Robles). More comics about LGBTQ characters by LGBTQ creators. We do it best. The rest of the issue is good too. I hadn’t read the series thus far and it still all made sense thanks to strong writing and a good In Last Issue page. Verdict: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Jughead’s Time Police 1 & 2 (Archie)Unlike every other reader of American Comics I didn’t read Archie comics as a kid. Since the relaunch I’ve dipped my toes in and out of various titles. Seeing Sina Grace’s name as writer on this series piqued my interest. What would this acclaimed newish queer voice in comics bring to the newish queer-er Archie world? Derek Charm’s art combines the classic Archie look with a modern aesthetic. It reminds me of a less zany Ericka Henderson and more zany Elsa Charretier. Regardless it’s fun, funny and pretty. The comic’s Many jokes earth their chuckles. Pop culture references are written by someone who knows what’s up, and the twist was something I did not guess and that I’m excited to read more about next month. It’s a fun comic. 

Logan

Blade Runner 2019 #1 (Titan)** After the bloated, yet beautiful mythology of Blade Runner 2049, writers Michael Green and Mike Johnson and artist Andres Guinaldo return to its film noir roots as mysterious Los Angeles blade runner Ash looks for the missing child and wife of a corporate magnate, who have mysteries all of their own. There is definitely an Euro-comic influence to Guinaldo’s visuals with boxy panels as Ash searches the rain drenched streets of L.A. for leads for her case occasionally punctuated by a gorgeous, thickly inked splash page of this alternate present world. Green and Johnson also give us a pretty good idea of Ash’s personality and vulnerabilities even if the narration is overbearing at times. Obviously, this comic isn’t as good as the classic film, but it’s a compelling side story for fans of the franchise like myself, who want to explore more of the nooks and crannies of this rich vision of the future. Having Syd Mead, who did the concept art for both Blade Runner and Blade Runner 2049, be the cover artist is a nice treat too. Overall: 7.7 Verdict: Read

Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #1 (DC) This was such a fun, zippy read that the final page was unexpected. Matt Fraction and Steve Lieber create comedy gold in Jimmy Olsen #1 beginning with a fantastic satire of New Amsterdam/New York and the birth of America in general, finding some slapstick along the way, and finishing it up with a side of deadpan reaction shots and panels. Along the way, they reinvent Superman’s inexplicable BFF for the Buzzfeed era with some hilarious moments like Perry White realizing that Jimmy’s “viral” shenanigans are the only reason people click on articles from the Daily Planet and the grudging respect he gets from Planet publisher/crime kingpin Ms. Leone. Fraction and Lieber structure the comic like a series of short vignettes that are high energy, joke packed, and easy to follow. This breezy, free wheeling feel makes Jimmy Olsen #1 one of my favorite debuts of 2019, and I can’t wait to see where Fraction and Lieber take Superman’s pal next. Overall: 9.3 Verdict: Buy

Loki #1 (Marvel) After the events of War of the Realms, Loki is now the king of Jotunheim, and Daniel Kibblesmith and Oscar Bazaldua show what he does with his newfound kingdom, namely, delegate, come up with solutions straight out of the Hebrew Bible, and of course, piss off Thor. Bazaldua nails the half-mocking, half-serious tone of the first page which is a recap of Loki’s recent history while also roasting his new status quo. This flow throughout the first issue, which has funny moments and little adventures, but doesn’t find its focus until Kibblesmith via Thor lays some connective tissue to Kieron Gillen’s excellent work on Journey into Mystery. It introduces some much needed consequences to the story without getting rid of the jokes that are mostly Loki trying to be good, but ending up trickster-y. Honestly, this comic is worth reading for the snowman sidekick alone. Disney should take notes for the next Frozen installment. Overall: 8 Verdict: Buy

Shean

Ghost Panther Annual #1 (Marvel) In a world of Mashups this is a story that will bewilder and spellbind. As we Johnny Blaze or T’ Challa in the midst of being killed by Bushman The Hunter, but as we soon find out his powers are immense, making his escape and inevitable defeat of said villain, a mere turn. As the Defenders gather, Captain Peace a cross between Captain Nova and Captain Marvel, brings their attention to the Martian Invasion, Ghost Panther assumes the difficult task of hiding the Time Diamond. By issue’s end,the Defenders get an unexpected surprise by another superhero team from another Universe. Overall: 9.2 Recommendation: Buy

Star Wars Age of Rebellion: Captain Phasma #1 (Marvel) In a story surrounding one do the Star Wars Universe’s most mysterious characters, we get a tale that shows what is really beneath that armor. As we find Phasma leading a battalion where casualties are far too regular. A brave Stormtrooper stands up to her which Phasma admires and makes her, second in command. By issue’s end, we find out that Phasma truly believes that Stormtroopers are mere necessary casualties, as no one is above the mission.Overall: 9.2 Recommendation: Buy

Wolverine Vs Blade Special #1 (Marvel) – I will keep this one sweet and short. GO BUY NOW!!! The art by Wilkins alone is rather impressive with shades of influence from Alex Ross and Jim Lee. If that is not your cup of tea, than the story of a vampire cult turning mutants into vampires which both Wolverine and Blade with the help of Doctor Strange must find and destroy. 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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