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.
Evolution #6 (Image/Skybound)** – Nobody seems to be talking about this Cronenberg-ian “body horror” series much, and that’s a shame because, as its first arc comes to a close, I feel fairly confident it labeling it the best title of its ilk in a good many years. The committee of writers working on the book — James Asmus, Joseph Keatinge, Christopher Sebela, and Joshua Williamson — all leave their various plotlines on suitably suspenseful cliffhangers but, as always, it is Joe Infurnari’s supremely creepy, “Eurocomics”-style art that absolutely steals the show. This is the best-illustrated series coming out from any of the major (-ish) publishers these days, by a mile. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy
Mister Miracle #8 (DC)** – Tom King and Mitch Gerads narrow their focus for this issue considerably, and the result is a very successful book-length juxtaposition of Scott and Barda’s home life as new parents with their battlefield duties on Apokolips. Not as thematically ambitious as previous installments to be sure, but no less effective for its tighter set of concerns. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy
Batman #45 (DC)** – Tom King and Tony S. Daniel swipe from Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ classic Superman yarn “For The Man Who Has Everything” for this Batman/Booster Gold team-up that sees Bruce Wayne receive a world where his parents never died as a wedding present, and while there’s something to be said for imitation being the sincerest form of flattery, I can’t imagine Moore or Gibbons feeling particularly honored by this sloppily-written and dully-illustrated mess. After a brief uptick, this series has quickly returned to its mediocre status quo. Overall: 4 Recommendation: Pass
Black Panther #172 (Marvel)** – Ta-Nehisi Coates concludes his second “season” as scribe of King T’Challa’s adventures not with a bang, but with a whimper. All it took, apparently, to fend off the crisis threatening Wakanda for the past 13 issues was for Storm to kick some ass, which makes you wonder — why didn’t she just do it sooner, since she’s been hanging around the entire time? Leonard Kirk’s flat, uninspired art doesn’t help matters much, either. Overall: 2 Recommendation: Pass
Her Infernal Descent #1 (Aftershock)– Lonnie Nadler, Zac Thompson, and Kyle Charles do a modern twist on Dante’s Inferno as an elderly woman descends into Hell with William Blake as her guide to bring her two sons back. Nadler and Thompson find a sweet spot between grief and humor as our protagonist goes from roasting Greek philosophers to feeling the pain of her sons’ loss. Charles’ artwork is wavy, and Dee Cunniffe’s colors are pale to show how few remember us after death. It gets really weird at the end, but centering the story on the mother/sons relationship grounds it going forward. Of course, Marriage of Heaven and Hell writer Blake can jump between those dimensions with ease. Overall: 7.8 Recommendation: Buy
Daredevil #601 (Marvel)- After an 11 page ninja fight/squad car escape, Charles Soule and Mike Henderson settle into the new status quo of Matt Murdock as mayor with Wilson Fisk incapacitated. And he doesn’t do a bad job of it sidelining the NYPD so actual superheroes can fight the undead ninjas. As Defenders Season 1 showed us, The Hand aren’t as an interesting an enemy as Fisk, but the wrinkle of Matt Murdock having mucho responsibilities as the mayor adds intrigue to the story. Henderson has a scratchy early-90s John Romita Jr style art work and draws one hell of a close quarters battle while also having enough of a sense of humor to highlight the smirks when Matt and Fisk’s assistant Wesley have a little verbal debate. Matt Milla continues to use a nice ultraviolet palette to show Daredevil’s radar abilities in the opening scene where he’s desperately trying to escape so he can become acting mayor Matt Murdock. The status quo of Mayor Daredevil won’t last for long, but it’s fun for now and plays to Soule’s strengths of writing Murdock as a competent lawyer/statesman, who is distracted by his other life, especially when ninjas and souls are concerned. Overall: 8.2 Recommendation: Buy
Batman #45 (DC)– Tom King and Tony Daniel hit a sweet spot between funny and grimdark in this alternate universe where Bruce Wayne’s parents survive, and the consequences are terrible. Aka Booster Gold completely screws up the timeline. In issue 45, King and Daniel just play around in their new universe with little cutaway moments to Jason Todd selling tires that tase Jokers, or Talia al Ghul feuding with her dad. Booster is a little annoying by himself, but hilarity ensues when he starts playing off gun toting, big cape Batman in a neat bit of design work from Daniel. This story is mostly world building, and Booster Gold being a total loser, but there seems to be a plan going forward. I’m particularly interested in the background of paramilitary Dick Grayson as Batman, and this arc look like it’s going to be Flashpoint with a sense of humor. Overall: 8 Verdict: Read
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 (**).