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.
The Flash #50 (DC)** – I guess this is a “landmark” issue, but you could have fooled me: same sort of lackluster Barry Allen vs. Wally West race around the world and through time comes to an end, the villain (Hunter Zolomon) gets away, angst-ridden wooden dialogue that would make Chris Claremont blush dominates the day — and all in service of one big character resurrection (or should that be “rebirth”?) that I can’t imagine anyone giving a shit about. Joshua Williamson has done some okay writing work, but not here, and the same is true of Howard Porter as far as the art is concerned. I’ve heard that people are enjoying this run — but I literally can’t see how or why. Overall: 1 Recommendation: Pass.
Superman #1 (DC)** – More a continuation of the sloppy, uninteresting “Man Of Steel” mini-series than a debut issue in its own right, Brian Michael Bendis is doing nothing but stage-setting here : Superman “grows” a new Fortress Of Solitude in the Bermuda Triangle with no explanation, J’Onn J’Onzz uncharacteristically implores Superman to take over the world with no explanation, and at the end the Earth appears to have been swallowed up by the Phantom Zone — again, with no explanation. Ivan Reis’ art is competent, but that’s about it — which, as you can already tell, is more than can be said for the story. Overall: 2.5 Recommendation: Pass.
Eternity Girl #5 (DC/Young Animal)** – Magdalene Visaggio’s scripting on this mini-series has been up and down, but fortunately it’s ticking “up” again as we near the conclusion. Our protagonist appears to be getting close to realizing her goal of non-existence — but she’s about to “achieve” it in a decidedly involuntary fashion. Smart, sharp, philosophical dialogue and captions paired with Sonny Liew’s stunning, post-psychedelic art makes for a pretty compelling little issue, and I’m looking forward to seeing how all this wraps up. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy
Elsewhere #8 (Image)** – Sadly, Jay Faerber and Sumeyye Kesgin’s lighthearted sci-fi series is being put to bed with this issue, but the story of Amelia Earhart and D.B. Cooper’s dimension-hopping at least comes to a pleasing, if obviously rushed, conclusion. One gets the feeling that there was a much longer story waiting to be told here, but on the whole I’m pretty satisfied with one we got — bright, crisp, lively art paired with a breezy, fun, smart script that doesn’t have any goal beyond simply being entertaining? I’ll take that — heck, I’d have taken much more of it. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy.
Amazing Spider-Man #1 (Marvel) Nick Spencer and Ryan Ottley’s debut on Marvel’s flagship title is funny, moving, and also is a mini Superior Foes reunion, which is never a bad thing. Other than the bad luck, worse jokes, and scientific know how, Spencer understands that having a good reputation is key to Spidey and Peter Parker’s character, which is why a plagiarism scandal connected to the days when Doc Ock’s mind was in his body hurts worse than an alien invasion. Dealing with real problems, like work troubles and bad roommate in this case, has been part of Spidey’s charm from the beginning, and Spencer and Ottley infuse plenty of that in their comic. On the visual side, Ryan Ottley gets to cut loose and draw epic, guest starred filled battles as well as potent interpersonal scenes like Aunt May being disappointed in Peter and a reunion with a major supporting character. And like a cherry on top, there’s a funny, melodramatic backup story starring Mysterio with art by perennial Spider-Man artist Humberto Ramos. Overall: 9 Verdict: Buy.
Incredibles 2 #1 (Dark Horse) Incredibles 2 #1 is a collection of three stories mostly centered around Mr. Incredible penned by Christos Gage and Landry Walker with fantastic art by Gurihuru, J. Bone, Urbano, and Greppi. The first story is about Mr. Incredible not feeling as strong as he used to and transitioning from being a main superhero to teaching his kids how to be better superheroes. Gurihuru draws in a Disney Golden Book style so this story stuck with me the most. The second story by Gage and drawn in a more satirical style by J. Bone is Rashomon meets bed time stories as Violet and Dash press at their dad to find out the real, non-boring story of his old superhero days. And the final story is a beautiful, little one and done Jack Jack yarn as he uses his vast powers to save his new friend from an evil playground terrorizer. This story is a lot like a Pixar short film. Overall: 7.7 Verdict: Read
X-23 #1 (Marvel)– Mariko Tamaki and Juann Cabal’s first issue of X-23 has some snikty snikt action, good one-liners from Honey Badger, and leans on the whole clone thing more than ever with the introduction of the Stepford Cuckoos as Laura and Gabby’s foils. X-23 #1 is really a tale of two tones: a black ops mission against scientists who want to use Wolverine’s DNA to make super soldiers and then psychological horror with an interlude at the Xavier Institute. I love how Tamaki writes the “sister” relationship between Gabby and Laura and Cabal is good at clearly choreographed action and twisted psychic imagery so this is a fairly solid first issue. Overall: 7.7 Verdict: Read
The Amazing Spider-Man #1 (Marvel) – Nick Spencer returns to the fun writing he knew on Superior Foes of Spider-Man, and Ryan Ottley brings the cool character design he pulled off so well on Invincible. This is a good jumping on point Spidey fans. Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy
Superman #1 (DC) – This is a good start to a new jumping on point with a whole new creative team. Reading Man of Steel that came out before this helps, but isn’t needed. This issue sets up some huge things going forward and it will be fun to see where it goes from here. Overall: 7.0 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 (**).