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.
Glow #2 (IDW)– I wish to bestow this book with the highest compliment you can give a licensed comic: I wish it was a plotline on the Glow TV show. Tini Howard and Hannah Templer pit the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling against La Prima, who are wrestlers being wrestlers, not actors being wrestlers. This issue is full of attempts at bonding with their opponents as Ruth wants to prove that they’re legit. The best character beat is Carmen sharing a sweet moment and some power bomb lessons with Desdemona, who is from a family of luchadors and is someone she can relate to. As far as visuals, Templer hits that sweet spot between capturing characters likenesses and being expressive for dramatic or (mostly) comedy purposes. Howard has a fantastic handle on all these women’s voices, and this comic is the perfect thing to tide fans over who are waiting for Glow Season 3 as well as a swan song to their Southern California days. Overall: 8.8 Verdict: Buy
Superman Year One #1 (DC/Black Label)– Woo, the discourse has been spicy about Superman Year One, but Frank Miller’s poetic inner monologue nails Clark’s adolescent discomfort with his abilities and status as an alien on Earth. I got a press copy of the comic, but actually want to pony up the dough to get a physical copy because I want to see how John Romita Jr’s wide open panels and muscular poses look in the prestige format.Also, Clark joining the navy is a smart bit of revisionism because to many young people in rural areas, the military seems to be the best way to escape their small towns and see the world. I might be reading too much into it, but it’s clever foreshadowing at Superman’s future role as a weapon of war/Reagan stooge in Dark Knight Returns. (I would love to see Miller/Romita’s take on Superman and Batman’s 1st meeting.) Rating: 9.0 Overall Verdict: Buy
Excellence #2 (Image)– Brandon Thomas and Khary Randolph craft an intoxicating world of magic, consequences, legacy, and daddy issues in Excellence #2. The protagonist, Spencer, has just come into his own as a magic user and earned a rare hug from his dad when his grandmother becomes ill, and there’s nothing he can do. Or is there. Excellence is a comic about breaking boundaries and hierarchies, and the connection between magic and emotion. It perfectly fits Randolph’s high energy art style and Emilio Lopez’s crescendo of colors. I really felt for Spencer throughout this comic as his main fear isn’t losing his powers, but his father’s disapproval. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy
Glow #2 (IDW) Can’t wait for more of the humor, warmth, wild 80s wrestling aesthetics and believable women’s community of the Netflix show GLOW? This comic is absolutely for us! Writer Tini Howard perfectly channels the voice of each character in the show. It’s truly uncanny. Is she in the writers room? Can she be? Artist Hannah Templer has a lively style and her take on the costumes and clothes is exuberant, fun and 80s as hell. This month’s issue focuses on Carmen and gives her a chance to succeed in a space where the other women are fumbling. It’s gratifying and fun.
Recommendation: Must read!
Superman: Year One #1 (DC)** – As bad as you’ve heard. Maybe even worse. Is it okay to hope this version of Clark Kent gets killed in combat when he joins the navy? Also, “Year One”? Huh? This issue alone covers like 18 years of his life. I’m done talking about — hell, even thinking about — this thing. Overall: 0 Recommendation: Pass. I purchased my copy. That was a stupid idea.
American Carnage #8 (DC/Vertigo)** – This series has been great, and with just one issue left, Bryan Hill and Leandro Fernandez are setting the stage for a barn-burner of a conclusion. If you’ve been passing on this in singles, get the trade — and if Vertigo’s going out, as rumored, at least it’s going out with a bang. Not that anyone’s really paying attention. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy
Clue: Candlestick #3 (IDW)** – Dash Shaw is doing more just-plain clever and inventive stuff with this modest three-parter than mainstream comics have seen in forever. Superb cartooning that I dearly hope gets more folks to pay attention to his small-press work. This guy is the real deal. Overall: 10. Recommendation: Buy
Batman #73 (DC)** – Mikel Janin delivers some astonishing art here, particularly with a double-page spread that’ll knock your socks off. Tom King mails in a lazy script that wastes a rather intriguing “Batman and his dad in the desert” premise. You know the drill by now. Overall: 5 Recommendation: Look at it, then put it back on the comic store shelf.
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 (**).