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.
Batman #56 (DC)** – Certainly a nice improvement over the first part of this KGBeast storyline, but something about what Tom King and Tony S. Daniel are doing here just isn’t grabbing me. Maybe it’s the “New52”-style art, maybe it’s the overall “running in place” tone of the script that makes it feel like a stopgap measure between major “arcs” from the outset — whatever the case may be, this is a nominal step in the right direction, but still fairly flat and lifeless stuff. Overall: 5 Recommendation: Pass
Jook Joint #1 (Image)** – I dearly wanted to love this comic since it has a social and political message that I not only agree with, but feel to be flat-out necessary, but still — I gotta call ’em like I see ’em, and this book just plain misses the mark. Alitha E.Martinez certainly delivers the goods as far as the art goes, her characters looking like genuine individuals and her scenery dark, rich, and atmospheric — unfortunately, Tee Franklin’s dialogue is wooden and clunky, her caption boxes are occasionally out of synch with the action in the panel, and her tendency to over-enunciate her message often drowns out her plot. Also, for $3.99 we should be able to expect something fairly singular, but this all reads like a subpar voodoo take on the same premise as “Redlands.” I’ll probably give this one more issue simply because I’m rooting for it, but I can’t in good conscience recommend others spend their money on it. Overall: 5.5 Recommendation: Pass
The Magic Order #4 (Image)** – No one is more surprised than me by how much I’m enjoying this comic, as I’d given up on all things Mark Millar a long time ago. This premise seems to have primed his creative pump again, though, and even though this issue is a bit less substantial, in plot and character development terms, than the previous three, it’s still pretty damn exciting and engaging, and Olivier Coipel’s art is just plain breathtaking. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy
House Amok #2 (IDW/Black Crown)** – A pretty significant step back from the astonishing first issue sees Christopher Sebela making explicit what was only hinted at last time out, and it feels far too early in the game to be stripping away the layers of mystery at this point. Sean McManus still knocks the art out of the park, really hitting a stride we haven’t seen from him in decades, but the story needs to do a pretty major turn-around with only two chapters left to go. Overall: 5.5 Recommendation: a cautious “read” if you were impressed with the first issue and are determined to see things through to the end, but a hard “pass” if you’re not on board already.
Blackbird #1 (Image) – Sam Humpries writes a relatable tale of family, substance abuse, responsibility, and self-worth. Jen Bartel gives us art that makes every panel look poster worthy. I already love this book. The set up and the ending leave you wanting so much more. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy
Dead Rabbit #1 (Image) – Gerry Duggan pens a tale of crime, redemption, and a legend of a retired (or so he says) vigilante. John McCrea returns to the violent books he’s familiar with like Hitman, and it’s welcomed, because he fits this book and Duggan’s style wonderfully. Both of these creators knocked this out of the park. Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy
Batman #56 (DC) – This issue is mostly set up, and showing a duality between Batman and KGBeast. One man fights for everyone else, with no regard for his well being, while the other fights because he loves to hurt anyone else, while also having no regard for his well being. After what happened in the last issue, and really since Batman #50’s events, The Dark Knight has been put through hell. Tom King and Tony S. Daniel do a solid job of building what I hope will be a crazy arc. Fans need it after #50. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy
Cosmic Ghost Rider #4 (Marvel) – I am consistently amazed by what Cates can do in a single issue. I laughed, I smiled ear to ear, and then my jaw almost dropped. That is what pure entertainment is, and that is what comics can be when you have creators like this on a book. The art by Dylan Burnett matches Donny Cate’s emotional beats perfectly. This book is hilarious, ridiculous, and shockingly emotional at times. Overall: 9.5 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 (**).