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. Given the lack of new comics, expect this weekly update to begin featuring comics that we think you’ll enjoy while you can’t get anything new to read – only new to you.
These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews and Recommendations.
Cherry Blackbird #2 (Scout)– Cherry Blackbird #2 opens up with the titular character cutting a guy’s dick off and then feeding it to him, and Joseph Schmalke never lets up with the buckets of blood, gore, and exploitation tropes. After selling her soul to the devil for fame as a rock star, Cherry Blackbird is racing the clock to find some kind of redemption with a motley crew of former bandmates plus a talking goat and his chauffeur. Schmalke puts her insane situation after situation with the climax being her infiltrating a KKK rally to take out a Nazi wizard named Hessian. He then serves up a torture scene that puts Reservoir Dogs lingering on the tools that Cherry and her buddy use before exploding with a crimson color palette. Cherry Blackbird #2 might not be to everyone’s liking, but I’m 100% here for a queer rock star beating the shit out of some white supremacists in creative ways. Overall: 8.1 Verdict: Buy
Impossible Jones #1 (Scout)– With dynamic cartooning and a sense of humor, Karl Kesel, David Hahn, and Tony Avina created a lived-in superhero world in Impossible Jones #1. The cold open is particularly fun with a lot of Christmas puns, and the titular hero showing that she’s not as squeaky clean as her opponents think she is. The lion’s share of the first issue goes into Impossible Jones’ origin that’s a little Silver Age and a little “breaking good”, I guess. Kesel and Hahn give glimpses of heroes and villains in a rapid-fire fashion setting up long-running relationships and rivalries that could pay off down the road. It’s information overload at times, but is compensated by the sheer delight in Impossible Jones #1’s visuals that bring action, comedy, and heart to the forefront: all things that make a great superhero comic. Overall: 8.3 Verdict: Buy
Aquaman: The Becoming #1 (DC)– The energy and enthusiasm that Brandon Thomas, Diego Olortegui, Wade von Grawbadger, and Adriano Lucas bring to Aquaman: The Becoming #1 matches the spirit of its young lead. This book is a smiles, brutal attack moves, and flurries of panels. Until it’s not. Thomas, Olortegui, and von Grawbadger do an excellent job showing how many worlds and spaces Jackson Hyde exists in from Atlantis to Amnesty Bay and the Titans and especially as an out queer man. He has a flirty thing with a waiter at a local diner, but for the most part, Jackson is jumping from action sequence to action sequence whether that’s real or simulated. As an introduction to the character of Jackson Hyde, Aquaman: The Becoming #1 does its job and a little extra as Brandon Thomas upends the breezy status quo of the book in the last few pages. Overall: 8.9 Verdict: Buy
Nightwing #84 (DC)– Dick Grayson leaves his great work of systemic justice in Bludhaven for crossover-land aka Gotham. Tom Taylor’s script self-awarely comments on this change while skewering the Magistrate’s surveillance state in Gotham. On the visual side, Robbi Rodriguez and Adriano Lucas keep the story looking good and gives it a high energy street art style even though I still think Rico Renzi colors his work the best. There’s a real sense of danger and Dick being out of his element as he’s surrounded in Crime Alley as Rodriguez uses cramped layouts. However, a couple guest appearances reinforce the importance of friends and family to him and how interconnected he is with the DC Universe. This issue is definitely a step down from the previous arc, but it’s a good looking with some epic moments including a final page that made me fangirl super hard. Overall: 8.1 Verdict: Buy
Suicide Squad: King Shark #1 (DC)– Tim Seeley welds some threads from his run on Nightwing (Especially the wonderful villain/anti-hero Shawn Tsang aka Defacer) with some Suicide Squad, King Shark backstory, and weird/awesome Animal Man and Swamp Thing stuff to create a wonderfully entertaining comic with Scott Kolins and John Kalisz in Suicide Squad: King Shark #1. The entire story is centered around the unique bond between King Shark and Defacer as he eats Z-List villain Hot Take, who was bothering her, and this connection is used as insurance by Amanda Waller to ensure he doesn’t stay in his father’s kingdom. Seeley and Kolins really go on a ride through all corners of the DC Universe with a sense of humor fully intact. Kolins’ straight-up superhero art almost has deadpan effect as what would be a simple fight scene erupts into total carnage any time King Shark and his species appears. Suicide Squad: King Shark #1 goes beyond being, I guess, a human out of land story and gets quite cosmic at the end while still caring deeply about the humanity of all its characters. (Except for that one tech bro.) Overall: 8.8 Verdict: Buy
X-Men: The Onslaught Revelation #1 (Marvel)– Si Spurrier, Bob Quinn, and Java Tartaglia wrap up their run on Way of X and kick off a new beginning in the one-shot X-Men: The Onslaught Revelation. They build up Onslaught as both a huge physical threat and a splinter in the mind of the Krakoans feeding on their hate and a glitch in the resurrection protocols. Spurrier and Quinn don’t show the monster too much and instead focus on the strengths and flaws of their main cast, namely, Legion, Nightcrawler, Lost, and Fabian Cortez. As Tartaglia’s dark and occasionally psychedelic colors wash over the page, Nightcrawler grapples with how to unite the mutants of Krakoa while dealing the threat of Onslaught. Si Spurrier also does some sharp character work with Fabian Cortez not giving him a cop-out redemption arc, but psychologically examines why he behaves the way he does. X-Men: The Onslaught Revelation has all this plus a rave and uses the underrated character of Dust in a truly epic way. Like its protagonist, Spurrier and Bob Quinn aren’t afraid to get a little messy and beautiful and throw out some big ideas, and I look forward to the upcoming Legionaires book and their contributions to the X-Line. Overall: 8.2 Verdict: 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 (**).