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.
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
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
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
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 (**).