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.
Batman #108 (DC)– My enjoyment of James Tynion, Jorge Jimenez, and Tomeu Morey’s Batman continues to rise post-Future State, and issue 108 is no exception. In this comic, Batman is placed between the forces of surveillance capitalism and anti-capitalism all augmented with cyberpunk style technology and a candy color palette. The anti-capitalist side is represented by flashy new character Miracle Molly, who sees beneath Matches Malone’s facade, and offers a critique of Batman even though they’ll probably fight down the road. Tynion’s other plot thread is basically Blue Lives Matter with cybernetics, and Jimenez draws the hell out of some robots. The Ghost-Maker backup from Tynion and Ricardo Lopez-Ortiz is delightful as he fights laser tigers, a manga themed assassin named Kid Kawaii, and the mysterious Madame Midas. Pure sugar rush comics. Overall: 9.0 Verdict: Buy
Hellions #11 (Marvel)– Zeb Wells and Stephen Segovia take old X-baddies and use them in a creative way in Hellions #11. Thanks to Mastermind, the Hellions are in their worst nightmares with psychic Kwannon and John Greycrow trying to hardest to fight out of it while Arcade blackmails Sinister (Who’s missing a few teeth) to make clones for him. It ends up being a little more complicated than that with Segovia and colorist David Curiel getting to draw some intense psychic duels between Kwannon and Mastermind, and Wells continues to give Sinister the funniest lines. Even though he puts on a good show for the Quiet Council, Sinister is still irredeemable, and part of the enjoyment of Hellions is watching the extents he goes to cover his crimes against genetics while hoping for the Hellions to eventually expose him. It’s like Breaking Bad, but with capes, clones, and psychic ninjas. Overall: 8.4 Verdict: Buy
Marauders #20 (Marvel)– This issue is all about how great Storm is with various Marauders telling stories of cool or touching things she has done while also guessing how many knives she’s had. Storm’s leaving the team so Gerry Duggan and Stefano Caselli give her a fitting send-off set in a variety of locales as we see her reform Hate-Monger by kicking his ass, rescue a powerful young mutant in India and be used as bluffing tool. Of course, we get to see her close friendship with Kate Pryde, and how Storm helped her get through the crisis of possibly not being a mutant. Caselli does comedy as well as action in this book with a hilarious montage of Storm pulling knives out from various parts of her costume as well as a great panel of Lockheed driving the ship while the team and its allies feast. Wisely, Storm’s exploits and character is the focus of Marauders #20, but Duggan sets up a little bit of intrigue for the upcoming Hellfire Gala that could reshape this team’s role for better or worse. Overall: 8.6 Verdict: Buy
Die #16 (Image)– After the fantasy geopolitics of the previous arc, Die is back in quest and cosmic horror mode as Kieron Gillen and Stephanie Hans have the party traveling to the center of the world. Gillen portrays everyone at their worst: drinking and struggling and hoping it’s all going to be over. Hans gets to tap in her range as an artist going from big sea journey landscapes to intimate conversations between Sol and Ash (The “baddies” of the party) and finally turning into pure horror mode towards the end. With the comic about to reach its end, it’s nice to see Kieron Gillen and Stephanie Hans focusing of the main cast and interrogating why characters like Sol found escape in fantasy and roleplaying worlds. Plus there’s a real doozy of twist at the end. Overall: 8.2 Verdict: Buy
The Good Asian #1 (Image)– Pornsak Pichetshote, Alexandre Tefenkgi, and Lee Loughridge use the noir genre to explore racism against Asian-Americans, respectability politics, and the effect of policing in society through the character of Edison Hark. Hark is a Hawaii police detective who is transferred to San Francisco’s Chinatown where there are rumblings that the Tong gangs have returned, and the Chinese maid of a prominent wealthy businessman has gone missing. Pichetshote and Tefenkgi deftly balance a whodunnit, crime thriller, and use flashbacks to flesh out Edison’s character drawing parallels between him and an older Irish-American cop as breaking the racial glass ceiling. Loughridge’s flat colors are a treat exploding for sequences of racialized violence, fading out for flashbacks, or turning pink when Edison thinks about one of his vices: white women. Featuring wonderful compositions from Alexandre Tefenkgi and punchy dialogue from Pornsak Pichetsote, The Good Asian #1 is a solid crime comic that also sheds light on the anti-Asian racism that is baked into the core of the United States. Overall: 8.9 Verdict: Buy
Nocterra #3 (Image Comics) – A really good third issue that balances showing and telling. We get to see more of Val’s history with her parents and learn more of what it means to turn into a Shade. There’s also a lot of action as Bill is in the pursuit of Val and her group with hints as to history there. What really stands out are the colors that pop from the page and really emphasize the darkness of the world. Overall Rating: 8.3 Recommendation: Buy
Batman/Fortnite: Zero Point #2 (DC Comics) – I was down on the first issue. It felt like it was geared too much towards fans of the video game. The second issue is an improvement as Batman must figure out what’s going on if he hopes he can escape. It takes us through his process as he has 22 minutes before the game resets and he starts all over. It’s a really interesting concept and as a puzzle for him to solve, it’s great. It also could be a trap by anyone and not so much Fortnite focused. The art is pretty good with small details being added with each reset to tell a bit of what has happened. This has me much more interested in what’s to come after being generally turned off from the debut issue. Overall Rating: 7.95 Recommendation: Buy
Crime Syndicate #3 (DC Comics) – Such a great concept just squandered. The art is dodgy and story choppy at times. There’s a lot of potential in the series and concept but it never really focuses on the right things. This is one where some a lack of details hurts it. Overall Rating: 6.0 Recommendation: Pass
Green Lantern #2 (DC Comics) – The first issue was good but this issue is where things really take off. The first one had me generally willing to come back. This issue I’m all in. It has a shocking ending as the Guardians restructure the Green Lantern Corps with their inclusion to the new cosmic structure being set up. Now I can’t wait to see what’s next. Overall Rating: 8.4 Recommendation: Buy
Man-Bat #4 (DC Comics) – This series has been really solid. Kirk and Francine are under the control of Scarecrow and the dual narrative they’re experiencing is some great stuff. The art really nails down what’s happening and brings a bit of sadness to it all. Just a fantastic issue and overall this is a series I want to see more of. Overall Rating: 8.25 Recommendation: Buy
Suicide Squad #3 (DC Comics) – We’re getting a crossover with Teen Titans Academy as the Squad needs to get Bolt. The series has been a pleasure to read with the dysfunction on full display. The personalities of the team is really what stands out as they squabble, be smart-asses, or just want to run for their lives. The series has no problem delivering a body count and have this Squad screw up. It’s a fun series where the bad guys are really… bad at what they do. Overall Rating: 8.5 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 (**).