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Mini Reviews

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.


CageHero01_Cover-COLORSAlex

Cage Hero #1 is a surprisingly enjoyable mix of superpowers and mixed martial artists. A fun comic that has an amusingly unique take on the superhero origin story (even if the high school setting is somewhat familiar). Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read.

One of the more interesting takes on the vigilante heroes lately has come in the form of The Black Hood. Issue #6 is a standalone tale that focuses on the title character’s battle with an addiction to prescription  pain killers while he continues to go beyond the law in administering justice. The art is crisp and the colours entice you into the brutally honest world within these pages. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Mono is a superbly envisioned collection about a secret agent with a prehensile tale that is, frankly, visually stunning. This was a collection that captivated me from start to finish with it’s mix of pulpy goodness and pseudo history, it was a joy to read. Overall: 8.25 Recommendation: Buy

Brett

Art Ops #1 – A fascinating new Vertigo series I’m still trying to wrap my head around. It’s basic idea is that art is real, and there’s this agency that protects the beings within the pictures. At least that’s my understanding of it. It’s pretty out there. Not sure if I’m totally sold, but it’s absolutely original. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

ARTOPS-Cv1-96f41The Black Hood #6 – A one-shot that seems like it’ll lead into the next story arc. Howard Chaykin joins on art, and while I figured out the twist a bit before it was revealed, the comic is still really entertaining. If you’re looking for a comic about a cop/junkie/vigilante, then look no further! Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Chew #51 – The series is coming to its finale and this is our first look after its major confrontation and battle. We get to see where some characters are in their lives and what the world is like. There’s still some big questions to be answered, but this comic continues the over the top humor that consistently gets me to laugh. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Read

The Hangman #1 – This first issue is fascinating. It doesn’t quite get us to what I think is where the series goes next, but we learn about the boogeyman that is the Hangman in the mob. The comic is absolutely adult, and really puts the “dark” in Dark Circle. It definitely piqued my interest. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

Revival #34 – What brought all the folks back to life? We still don’t know what’s behind Revivers, but this issue has some impressive revelations that started to make the puzzle clearer. It’s also a hell of a confrontation between Dana and her father. It’s an issue full of emotion and catharsis, a great jumping on point. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Daphne

The final issue of the A-Force miniseries was awesome. Ending it with an all-out war that showcased dozens of Marvel Comics ladies was a great decision, and makes me super excited for the full series to come out. The series itself wasn’t as strong in the middle as its beginning, but it ended with a great climax and I can’t wait to see more. Overall Score: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Ms. Marvel ended on a high note in time for the big company-wide relaunch initiative. With Kamala’s world ending we finally get some plot points wrapped up in really satisfying ways, and the story ends in a really optimistic and emotional that is totally worthy of the Miss Marvel name. This was probably the best “Last Days” story to come out of Secret Wars, and I love that it left us with both closure and a great setup for things to come. I can’t wait to see what happens with the relaunch. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Elana

Catwoman-45This has been a banner month for Catwoman, Constantine and Gotham Academy. Each has just printed it’s best issue yet. Each of these comics reaches a pinnacle of a completely compelling storyline here and delivers and delivers and delivers. These are among the best comics today. Buy. Buy. Buy.

Over the Garden Wall issues 1 and 2 are lovely contributions to the world of the animated show. I rewatched the cartoon after reading them and they fill in the blanks in the series so well that I would strongly suggest anyone who likes the cartoon pick up these comics immediately. They are charming and wistful like the series. They even contain a page of sheet music in the back! Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Heathen from comixology submit: promising fantasy/folklore story from a promising new creative talent Natasha Alterici. Compelling queer female lead. Evocative painted art. You can shiver it it looks so cold. I hope she continues the series! I’ll give it an 8 if she can keep this up! Recommendation: Buy.

Revenger from comixology submit: this is an angry comic. The art evokes Benjamin Marra (his art is also angry). If you are in the mood for angry, revenge violence with a very raw nerve core then give this a go. It’s got that ugly but compelling look to the art. Badass black butch female lead who reminds me of a cross between Grace Jones and The Man with No Name. Feels pretty punk rock. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Concrete Park Volume 2 this is a radical scifi book with politics on it’s sleeve. Striking character design. Impeccable world building. Check out those maps! The world they invent is completely unique. An urban dystopia in space. Strong critique of the prison-industrial system and sexism. It deserves a full length review. This was the best thing I got at New York Comic Con. I love it so much! And I’ve only read the 2nd volume. Definitely going to buy the first one but I think it speaks to how well written the 2nd volume is that I was able to get totally involved in it without any of the earlier information. Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Kenny

Colder: Toss the Bones #2 continues its trend of being creepy as hell. Nimble Jack’s relentless tormenting of Declan plays on the idea of that feeling that someone is watching you. The story toys with that psychological idea to great effect. It is uncomfortable seeing Declan unknowingly having his life manipulated by Jack. Each of Jack’s action are so dark and uncomplicated by morality, that he has become a menacing figure who seems unstoppable at this point. This comic is still proving to be one of the best horror comics out and one that needs your attention. Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is moving in a completely new and exciting direction after the epic conclusion of TMNT #50. Issue #51 sets the stage for a Turtles’ arc as they try and navigate their new position as, well, I won’t spoil it for you. Find out for yourself and see the one of the most interesting premises for a Turtles story I’ve seen in a long time. Overall 8.5 Recommendation: Buy


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

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

BlackMagick01_CoverAWednesdays are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

We’re bringing back something we haven’t done for a while, what the team thinks. Our contributors are choosing up to five books each week and why they’re choosing the books.

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this Wednesday.

Alex

Top Pick: Book Of Death #4 (Valiant Entertainment) – This has been one of the most entertaining series I’ve read over the past few months, and this issue is somewhat bitter sweet; I don’t want it to end, but I really want to see how it ends… if you haven’t read this series, then grab the trade.

The Black Hood #6 (Dark Circle Comics) – A drug addicted cop and a brutal vigilante. The Black Hood is both of those, struggling to take the fight beyond the law as he battles his own demons. Duane Swierczynski has been praised for his portrayal of addiction with this series, and I can’t wait to find out why.

 

Brett

Top Pick: Howling Commandos of S.H.I.E.L.D. #1 (Marvel) – One of the most intriguing All-New, All-Different Marvel releases, what’s drawing me is a group of of characters that make me smile (Hit-Monkey!) being written by Frank Barbiere with art by Brent Schoonover. Comics are supposed to be fun, and that’s exactly what this one seems like it’ll be to me.

Black Magick #1 (Image Comics) – Greg Rucka writing, Nicola Scott on art. Ruck doing a gothic-noir series with a female lead? Yeah, this is a no-brainer for me.

The Black Hood #6 (Dark Circle Comics) – This darker line of superhero comics from Archie have been knocking it out of the park. A dark noirish hero, this comic begins a new story arc. Every issue has been entertaining mixing a modern sensibility with its pulp roots.

Cyborg #4 (DC Comics) – One of DC’s best recent releases, each issue mixes superhero antics, but also has given me thought about the character of Cyborg himself and how reflects upon me and my life. Entertainment as a reflection of ourselves, a definite read.

Prez #5 (DC Comics) – I love my politics, and of course this is on my list. The satire series hits WAY too close to home, and the 2016 Presidential election doesn’t feel that far off from this political send-up set in the future.

 

Elana

Top Pick: Black Magick #1 (Image Comics) – The first ever “witch noir”! A new series from Greg Rucka and Nicola Scott. Both excel at writing and drawing (respectively), fascinating, believable female characters. This dream team is can’t miss and the genre sounds like fun.

Angela Queen of Hel #1 (Marvel) – Look at these beautiful queens! Look at the adorable queer women in flawlessly painted art by Stephanie Hans! The best new couple in Marvel is back in black. In hell.

Batgirl #45 (DC Comics) – Big Queer Wedding Issue! This is a comics first: an Asian-American bisexual trans woman marrying her redheaded activist fiancée. And Dick Grayson will show up. Get ready to throw rice and munch on popcorn at the same time.

Captain America: Sam Wilson #2 (Marvel) – Captain America has always been a progressive hero (listen to our podcast for more on that) and this new series has African-American war vet superhero Sam Wilson in the drivers seat making his own political statements. Good.

Cyborg #4 (DC Comics) – The surprise hit comic full of socially aware sci-fi. Can Vic make peace with the people who KILLED him? Why does society always expect black men to make piece with their oppressors? Also, the highly silver-age and adorable Metal Men showed up last issue.

Island #4 (Image Comics) – Out there art. Multiple Warheads. A new story about a city kid with wings that kinda made me cry.

 

Kenny

Top Pick: Colder: Toss the Bones #2 (Dark Horse Comics) – I don’t like scary things but, this comic is so good I keep coming back to it. The psychological horror of Nimble Jack keeps has me peeking through my blanket to see what he’s going to do next. If you like horror, this is one of the better comics out today.

Justice League: Darkseid War Batman #1 (DC Comics) – I’m not normally a fan of spin-offs for large crossover events like the Darkseid War. But, I’ve enjoyed the main series a lot and Batman as the god of knowledge is a concept I am really excited to see fully play out.

Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #1 (Marvel) – There is no real logic behind why I am excited for the new Squirrel Girl comic. It could be it’s very self aware cover claiming this is only it’s second #1 so far this year (well played Marvel), or it could be that I am excited to take a flyer on a quirky and fun looking new story. Sometimes, the latter is all you need.

 

Mr. H

Top Pick: Justice League: Darkseid War Batman #1 (DC Comics) – The true itteration of the almighty Bat-God is here. I couldn’t be more pumped for this. An all knowing and stubborn Batman on Metron’s chair. I think I just squeaked. Hopefully we get good use of the ultimate knowledge and maybe even the Joker’s real name. Just coolness x2.

Batman and Robin Eternal #4 (DC Comics) – Hoping this is the week we get an answer to that cliffhanger bomb from issue #1. At the very least I want to see bearded Bruce Wayne kick some ass. I know it’s going to be a slow burn for this epic but I want some good stuff on the plate now.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #51 (IDW Publishing) – New era. New Direction. What awaits our half-shelled heroes going forward? Well I can’t wait to find out. Gonna read this one with a hot pie!

 

 

Around the Tubes

It’s Labor Day. We’ll be posting up throughout the day, but use the day to think about the contributions the labor movement have given to us.

While you do that, here’s some news and reviews from around the web in our morning roundup.

Around the Tubes

CBR – R.I.P. “Marmaduke” Creator Brad Anderson – Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.

Youth Kiawaaz – A Graphic Novel That Beautifully Portrays What It’s Like To Grow Up In Kashmir – Sounds interesting.

GamePolitics – AbleGamers launches ‘AbleGamers Fellowship’ program – Congrats everyone!

 

Around the Tubes Reviews

Nothing But Comics – Colder: Toss the Bones #1

Flickering Myth – Dark Corridor #2

Talking Comics – Deadpool vs. Thanos #1

Review: Colder: Toss the Bone #1

CTB1Colder: Toss the Bones #1 is a twisted, violent, and many times uncomfortable comic book. And it is all of these elements that come together to make a fantastic horror story.

The entire issue follows two men, Declan and Nimble Jack, as they attempt to define their own personal realites. After Declan’s last encounter with Simple Jack, he finds himself forced to try and understand what his life is now and who he has become. He spends much of the issue dealing with the post traumatic stress of his experience, never fully able to speak of it. Rather, he wants to move on with his life but, the fingers he has lost do not allow him to, serving as a constant reminder of the horror he has faced. This creates an interesting dichotomy between Declan and Simple Jack, as the latter is never scared to face the reality around him. Simple Jack never questions what is real and what is not. Whether he is roaming the streets of Boston, murdering civilians in multiple grotesque, but almost comical, ways, or in the Hungry World surrounded by hideous monsters, he never questions what he is seeing. He has one sole desire, and that is to feed his hunger. The fact Simple Jack is so one dimensional in his goals does create a shallow character but, writer Paul Tobin is able to turn this into a strength by making Simple Jack’s singular unbreakable purpose of feeding on people all the more terrifying. With no other motivation other than mania, he becomes a character to be feared because, there is nothing to stop him until he decides he is satisfied. The character work is fantastic and the story is constantly forcing the reader to question what is reality and what is not along side the two men. By the end, trying to piece together what is truly happening becomes an exciting thrill ride that rarely lets up.

The artwork by Juan Ferreyra only helps to increase the manic feel. The painted backgrounds create a dreamlike ambiance over the entire issue and the sections in the Hungry World are particularly impressive. The creatures that roam there are frightening and the world quickly becomes a twisted extension of Simple Jack’s mind. Although, the art does falter in certain scenes with Delcan, especially in the grocery store. The backgrounds are bland in many parts, with just a few shades of blue behind the characters. But, these panels are not abundant and take away little from the narrative.

Overall, this is a fantastically twisted comic that uses horror elements brilliantly to create a suspenseful tale absolutely worth reading.

Story: Paul Tobin Art: Juan Ferreyra
Story: 9 Art: 8 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Dark Horse Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Phoenix ComicCon 2015: Dark Horse Announces a New Colder Series

As part of its announcement slate for Phoenix Comicon 2015, Dark Horse Comics has announced the final installment of  Eisner-nominated horror series Colder.

Colder: Toss the Bones sees the return of the Eisner-nominated horror series by Paul Tobin and Juan Ferreyra. Set to debut in September, the final chapter of the Colder trilogy follows a newly resurrected Nimble Jack, as he skips back and forth between the Hungry World and our own reality, recruiting agents of madness and unifying them with a single objective: the death and consumption of Declan!

Colder: Toss the Bones #1
Paul Tobin (W), Juan Ferreyra (A/Cover)
$3.99
Available in September

Colder Toss the Bones

 

Almost American