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.
4001 A.D. #1 (Valiant) – Valiant’s Summer Event technically kicks off with this issue, but 4001AD #1 is a direct continuation of the events from the last couple of issues of Rai’s solo series. While you don’t need to read them to enjoy this issue (there is a stunning recap page or three) it certainly doesn’t hurt matters. Despite the possibility that some readers may not be as familiar with the characters here, this is a beautiful comic book – or at least it was on my iPhone screen – and I can’t wait to get my hands on a physical copy (expect a bigger review next week). If you’re Valiant fan, this should be on your pull list, and if you’re not it’s still well worth a read. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy
Smosh #1 (Dynamite Entertainment) – Was… kinda interesting, but not really my cup of tea. I’ll probably read the next issue or two, but I can’t justify recommending it yet. Overall: 5 Recommendation: Read it if you’re curious, but it’s more of a Pass
Kings Quest #1 (Dynamite Entertainment) – Despite being labelled as a first issue I felt like there was more of a back story than was explained (and I don’t think it’s a case of Just Wait Ad All Will Be REVEALED!), but other than that this was a good diversion for ten minutes. There’s some moments that made me laugh, and that almost made up for my disorientation when reading the issue. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Read
Assassin’s Creed: Templars #1 (Titan Comics) – I honestly never expected I’d be rooting for a Templar in the Assassin’s Creed universe, but with this series I find that I am absolutely doing that. Templars is a solid comic; the artwork is appropriately dark and swathed in shadows, deliberately obscuring the Black Cross at times. It’s a nice touch, and one that helps the character come off as the boogeyman that he’s supposed to be. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy if you an Assassins Creed fan, Read it anyway if you’re not.
Paybacks Volume 1 (Dark Horse Comics) – When it comes to superhero parodies, Mystery Men, The Tick, and Kick Ass , come to mind , and a few forgettable ones, all come to mind , as they mostly make fun of the genre, with only a few actually honoring it, enter the Paybacks. Just like the Watchmen, touched on the realities of being a superhero, so does this book in rollicking fashion. As we meet a cast of characters, who resemble a few of your favorites much like the way Image’s Sex does, they go about repossessing different superheroes properties as they default on their loans. Within this first story arc, a killer is on the loose, and clues through the story lead the reader right to who it is. Story: 9 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy
Jacked #6 (DC Comics/Vertigo)* – A very satisfying if thoroughly unsurprising conclusion to what’s been, all told, an excellent little series that’s largely flown under the radar. Eric Kripke’s story has combined super-hero revisionism and mid-life regrets in a manner both seamless and painfully, joyously human, while John Higgins’ art has been a “warts-and-all” feast for the eyes. I’ll miss having this on my monthly pull, and while it’s set up nicely for a sequel that will probably never come to pass, it stands just fine (and then some) on its own. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy
Dark Knight III: The Master Race #4 (DC Comics)* – Only this series could give you an issue where Superman fucking dies (whoops! Spoilers!) and somehow make it feel like a complete waste of time. The story plods along as Carrie Kelly assumes another new identity (this time that of Batgirl), and the former inhabitants of Kandor continue their bog-standard takeover techniques. Brian Azzarello achieves the dubious honor of somehow making a contemporary Frank Miller script even worse via his contributions, while Andy Kubert and Klaus Janson keep on keepin’ on approximating the original “Dark Knight Returns” look to the best of their ability — a task which, at this point, is just getting sad. Overall : 3 Recommendation: Pass
Power Lines #2 (Image/Shadowline)** – Jimmie Robinson’s topical exploration of how superpowers (could) affect the urban/suburban and black/white divide certainly continues to be interesting, but while his art remains gorgeous to look at, this issue’s story is perhaps a bit too earnest for its own good, devolving into outright preachiness on many occasions and reducing characters that seemed reasonably fleshed out last time around into mouthpieces for various points of view. Also, no mention whatsoever of the intriguing Native American mythologically-based origins of these powers is anywhere to be found. The whole comic feels like it could’ve benefited from some tighter editing. Still intrigued enough to keep going, but this was a big step back from an excellent debut. Overall: 5 Recommendation: Read
Batman #51 (DC Comics) – So, the Scott Snyder/Greg Capullo era comes to a close with an issue that can best be described as an epilogue, but at least it seems a reasonably heartfelt good-bye. There’s no real “threat” on offer here — one is hinted at, but you know it ain’t gonna amount to squat — but as a 22-page victory lap for a couple of creators who’ve had a good run, I can’t fault this book in the least. And it’s nice to see them bid farewell not just to Batman, but to all of Gotham. You’re not going to get choked up or anything, but you’ll probably think to yourself “that was a nice way to go out.” I certainly did. Overall: 7 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 (**).