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.
Old Man Logan #11 (Marvel)* Holy shit. The art in this issue is fantastic. There’s a brilliant two page spread early on that I just stared at, marveling at how interesting the layout was. And then there’s another that’s even better! In two pages, with minimal dialogue Andrea Sorrentino tells the story of the same two men fighting a similar fight fifty years apart. It’s one of the most inventive and visually interesting pieces of art I’ve seen in a long time. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy
Action Comics #963 (DC) There’s a human Clark Kent running around Metropolis who seems to genuinely believe he isn’t Superman. Which, considering we know he isn’t the Superman we’ve been following since Rebirth began, is an intriguing proposition. One issue in, and this is shaping up to be a brilliant story. Overall: 8.75 Recommendation: Buy
All-Star Batman #2 (DC) Despite the $4.99 price tag, this comic is so worth the money. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy
Dark Souls: Legends Of The Flame #1 (Titan Comics) I wasn’t expecting this to be an anthology, but it is, and I was quite pleasantly surprised by it. The individually stories are distinct in their illustration and story telling methods, and are neatly tied together to make an in story connection to each other – and I’m sure I missed a couple more, as well. This comic may be aimed toward fans of the series, but it can also be enjoyed by those who have an interest in fantasy style comics. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Read
Detective Comics #940 (DC) Wow. A must read if you’ve read the series so far. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy
Green Lanterns #6 (DC) There’s a couple of great character building moments in this issue that, for me at least, make this the stronger of the two Green Lantern titles this week. The back ad forth bickering between Simon and Jessica is entertaining, but also serves as a great narrative device to keep readers abreast of the situation while also providing a few laughs. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy
Kingway West #2 (Dark Horse) Not a bad issue… but it wasn’t as gripping as the first. Worth looking into if you’ve read the first issue. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read
Mycroft Holmes #1 & #2 (Titan) Why haven’t I been reading this already? I picked up the first issue when it came out… and forgot about it. Then the second came around, and I grabbed it, figuring it’ll be a quick diversion. Nope – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s writing a comic that fans of the Sherlock TV show, or the movies, can expect to love. Mycroft, unlike his brother, is a likeable scoundrel who just happens to be as intelligent as the great detective. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy
NVRLND #2 (451 Media) – Like the first issue this is a twisted take on the classic Peter Pan tale, except Peter fronts band, Hook is drug dealer… and the drug is pixie dust. It’s an interesting take on the subject and definitely unique and entertaining. The colors and art is top notch playing off of the style of the comic really well. Well worth checking out. Overall Rating: 8.35 Recommendation: Buy
Red Hood and the Outlaws #2 (DC Comics) – I’m a bit shocked at how much I’m enjoying this series. The action is constant and there’s some good humor peppered throughout. I’m not totally sold on the Red Hood undercover as a bad guy aspect, but things are still shaking out. Overall Rating: 7.9 Recommendation: Read
Suicide Squad #2 (DC Comics) – Lots of action and not much else. Something about this volume isn’t quite clicking yet as it’s relying too much on Jim Lee’s art, action, and humor and not giving us much else. This is close to a Michael Bay film in comic form. Overall Rating: 6.95 Recommendation: Pass
The Flash #6 (DC Comics) – This series has been picking up speed with each issue and this one has all the reveals. Holy crap is it good as writer Joshua WIlliamson his his stride here. Add in great art and this is quickly becoming a favorite of mine at DC. Overall Rating: 8.45 Recommendation: Buy
Wonder Woman #6 (DC Comics) – My favorite of the series so far. This issue focuses on Wonder Woman coming to the US to return Steve Trevor. Greg Rucka really plays off of the fish out of water aspect and focuses on the language barrier. It’s a small, but amazing detail. Overall Rating: 8.35 Recommendation: Buy
Scooby Apocalypse #5 (DC Comics) – This series shouldn’t work, but somehow it does. It’s brainless fun. Overall Rating: 7.65 Recommendation: Read
Deathstroke #2 (DC Comics) – Writer Christopher Priest has said we shouldn’t like Deathstroke as he’s a villain and he’s playing that up well. The issue bounces around a lot in time and locations which doesn’t quite work super well, but this one feels like it’ll come together in trade. Overall Rating: 7.6 Recommendation: Read
All-New X-Men #13 (Marvel)* – A cute issue that has Bobby trying to meet guys. It also has a clash between the young X-Men and Inhumans setting the stage for at least a bit of drama in the upcoming Inhumans vs. X-Men Overall Rating: 7 Recommendation: Read
Mockingbird #7 (Marvel)* – I’ve generally enjoyed this series as its done well to play on humor and action. This issue slowly slides into the more serious area and the inclusion of a certain individual from Bobbi’s past has me nervous. Overall Rating: 7 Recommendation: Read
Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #4 (DC Comics) – I’m digging this direction and this issue has some really entertaining moments. Guy Gardner not wearing underwear anyone? We know an epic fight is around the corner, I’m just thankfully entertained until it gets here. Overall Rating: 7.8 Recommendation: Read
Green Lanterns #6 (DC Comics) – Jessica and Simon battle the Red Lanterns and there’s a lot of character development for both as they finally learn to work together. The series has been pretty good and it’s great to see these D-List Lanterns get the spotlight. They’re odd couple schtick so far is entertaining. Overall Rating: 7.45 Recommendation: Read
Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #2 (DC Comics) – Not a bad issue, just rather paint by numbers with scenes. Pursuit scene as they run from bad guys while in a car and on bikes? Check. The safe house being surrounded scene? Check. Characters not getting along before having to work together? Check. But, there’s some decent humor at least. Overall Rating: 7 Recommendation: Read
Gotham Academy: Second Semester #1 (DC Comics) – As cute as always and very entertaining. This is a solid series still to give to that tween looking for a comic series to be theirs. Overall Rating: 8.05 Recommendation: Buy
Hadrian’s Wall #1 (Image Comics) – A murder mystery in space with a rather intriguing political world thrown in? Both topics are something I dig, so not a shocker this is a comic I’m enjoying. Overall Rating: 8.15 Recommendation: Buy
Doom Patrol 1 (DC): Lives up to the hype and lives up the the legacy of a title that’s been innovative since it’s mid sixties debut. A Doom Patrol comic for 2016 with vibrant writing and art. Thoughtful, funny and weird but accessible. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy
Jem And The Holograms #16 & 17 (IDW) Two perfect issues of Jem. Jen Bartel is one of the hottest rising starts in comics and her goth Lisa Frank art is the perfect fit for at series with a visual style that melds 90s alt nostalgia with the new wave 80s aesthetic of the classic cartoon. This story is funny and the group dynamics are right-on. Plus, the bear! They actually believably worked in the iconic wild grizzly bear that showed up in the TV show. And that is an achievement that had this veteran fan of the old cartoon laughing out loud. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy
Afterlife with Archie 10 (Archie Comics). Francisco Francavilla’s luridly cinematic art is the perfect fit for the introduction of a new immortal and only marginally moral Josie and the Pussycats to the dark world of Afterlife with Archie. I don’t normally read this series but the story was totally accessible to me. Some of the clothes weren’t quiet historically accurate but its all so good looking it got this stickler to not even care. A fun Interview with the Vampire spoof which is actually earned by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa’s story. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy. Disclosure: I did lights for a play Aguirre-Sacasa wrote over a decade ago. He’s as brilliant know as he was then.
Faith #3 (Valiant). A fun, new reader-accessible issue where Faith takes her new boyfriend Archer to his first comic con. Full of legitimate comic con advice, this would actually be useful thing to give to con newbies and new comic readers alike. The meta humor totally works and as always it’s refreshing to see a hero who looks like Faith in action. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Buy.
Black Science #24 (Image)**: And I’m out. Lead character Grant McKay is so unappealing to me that I just don’t get why any of the other characters – particularly his daughter Pia – is even interested in helping him. For someone so smart, her memory is too short, which smacks of a writer who’s trying to push his own agenda instead of listening to his characters. In short, Grant has it too easy for someone who’s such a dickwad. Perhaps as well, the back half of this issue leans very heavily on having read the rest of the series so far. Since I’ve come late to this party, I don’t know what the emotional stakes are or who the players are. Nothing personal, Rick Remender, and it certainly has nothing to do with Matteo Scalera’s art. Overall: 7 Recommendation: if you’ve come this far, read, otherwise skip
Stray Bullets #18 (Image/El Capitan)**: Ah, now last issue makes sense. Putting two horrible women like Annie and Beth in the same room is like putting two scorpions in a jar – it’s fascinating to watch, you know it’s going to end badly, and you feel like a horrible person for watching, but then you go “Well, I’m not as bad as the guy who put them in the jar in the first place.” David Lapham has a genius for this kind of stuff, and for bringing out people’s true desires at the worst possible moment in the worst possible way. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy
Lady Killer #2 (Dark Horse)**: More Florida daylight noir this week from Joelle Jones. Everyone wants a piece of Josie’s action in this one – geez, can’t a lady just go about killing people on her own without a bunch of men sticking their nose in her business? Actually, now that I’ve written that, I kind of wish the series would explore that casual misogyny a little more. Clearly Josie is a capable Cosmo girl of the mercenary set, and there is no reason for the men around her to encourage that sort of independence. Not that I’m disappointed in this issue, I just like this series enough to say that I would go along with it if it went further down the well. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy
Cinema Purgatorio (Avatar)*: I’m really only buying this for the Alan Moore/Kevin O’Neill lead story, which nails the Grant/Hepburn repartee so precisely and then rachets up the rot inside it in 6 tight pages. A haunted house in a haunted cinema. There are other stories in this book as well, but they’re forgettable for me, except Garth Ennis & Raulo Caceres’ “Code Pru”, in which our EMT tech has to go get the exorcism kit out of the ambulance. I like the short format here so well, Garth, that I kind of feel that any attempt at forcing a longer narrative on it is energy wasted. I’m perfectly okay with a black sitcom format where Pru and her partner veer through New York dealing with messed-up mystical emergencies. Overall: Cinema 8.5, Code Pru 8 Recommendation: Read
Captain Canuck #9 (ChapterHouse): There’s a fine line in any espionage story between being complicated and being obtuse, and Kalman Andrasofskzy doesn’t walk it very well. Case in point: the page one exposition of the history of the Redcoats has no dates. I’d’ve liked it in the story if it were clearer from the outset what all the rival factions were and who was purportedly working for whom. Also, the stakes aren’t particularly clear, so that this story looks like a bunch of infighting featuring recycled characters from another comics company. And does every superhero story now have to have them working for a shadowy superspy agency? Aside from saying that it’s set in northern Canada, nothing about this series actually seems to deal with what it would mean for a Canadian to be a superhero, or superagent, or whatever these people are supposed to be. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Pass
Northguard #2 (ChapterHouse): I’m not sure how Northguard is different from Captain Canuck – like, do they work for the same people or not? Anyway, this issue continues last issue’s mission against a mystical cult – but does it conclude it? I’m not sure. And I’m not sure what impact it has on writer Anthony Falcone’s overall story. What I am sure of is that Kebec is a terrible code name for a Québécoise supersniper. I know that it’s creator Richard Comely’s name and they’re stuck with it, but criss de câlice d’ostie de tabarnak, as we say. Also, speaking of sniping, I would appreciate it if they could get someone to edit the French that is being forced into the mouths of their francophone characters. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Pass
Superwoman #2 (DC)*: A major step backward for Phil Jimenez’ ambitious series, as confused panel layouts and poorly-staged action sequences get things rolling before a huge lull in the middle kills story’s rhythm and flow — adding insult to injury, or writer/artist finishes by giving us a reveal of the mystery “big bad” that has little, if anything, to do with Lana or Lois — who may or may not still be dead. Overall: 2.5 Recommendation: Pass
Briggs Land #2 (Dark Horse)**: Family drama is the order of the day from Brian Wood and Mach Chater as our protagonist consolidates power in her breakaway sect far more easily than I would have guessed and the story slaps its obvious “Godfather Part II” influence right on its sleeve by quoting the film directly. Still pretty solid stuff on the whole, but something of a letdown after a terrific first issue. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read
Hadrian’s Wall #1 (Image)** : The “C.O.W.L.” triumvirate of Kyle Higgins, Alec Siegel, and Rod Reis take us into the future — and into outer space, to boot — with a series that seems to be staking its bets on the idea that we’re going to find a combination sci-fi mystery thriller/post-breakup domestic drama interesting. Which, I suppose, it could be, but the characters are drawn in strokes that are far too broad to be able to make that determination at this point. Nice to see Reis drop the “updated Sienkiewicz” look to his art and adopt a style more uniquely his own, but I’m keeping this series on a fairly short leash. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Read
The Fix #5 (Image)**: Nick Spencer and Steve Lieber pick up right where they left off after a short hiatus, and nothing’s changed — which is a damn good thing. Our hopelessly lame and corrupt “hero” is even more lame and corrupt than we thought, the mayor of LA is a dipshit millenial “bro,” and there’s more to the murder at the center of our story — much more, in fact — than we would have possibly imagined. I still think Spencer’s a massive dickhead, but this is a damn fun comic. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy
The Forevers #1 (Black Mask)– What would one do to gain wealth and fame? This question is explored immensely within the first issue of this exciting series. As a group of friends make a black magic pact which gains them these things and more. Ten years pass, and each individual is affected by what the pact has brought them, but as we find out in the first issue, when one of them dies, the power gets spread out to the rest. Unfortunately for this group of friends, one of them figures out this and goes about killing each of them, but which one? This is part of the mystery which makes this series very interesting already. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy
Jughead #9 (Archie)– Jughead has always been the best friend that all other best friends wish they were, as he has served as comic relief for his more confident friend, Archie. In the latest issue, the gang comes back to school, while Jughead struggles to understand why Archie is so girl crazy, he gets his first crush. Pops hires a new girl who moved into town as the diner ‘s mascot and instantly dazzles Jughead. Within this issue, he not only gets his first crush but also goes on his 1st date,and oh yeah, that girl is Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy
Well, there you have it, folks. The reviews we didn’t quite get a chance to write.
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 (**).