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 reviews of the comics, or graphic novels, we just didn’t get a chance to write a full one for.
These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews and Recommendations.
Action Comics Presents: Doomsday Special (DC Comics) – Dan Watters, Eddy Barrows, and Eber Ferreira channel late 80s/early 90s DC Comics in a yarn about Supergirl and Martian Manhunter teaming up with the First of the Fallen to keep Doomsday in Hell. I love the parallels that Watters draws between Doomsday and Earth’s Devil, and Barrows’ art has an intricate texture that reminds me of the “mature readers” era of DC like Swamp Thing and early Sandman. In the end, the story is about finding hope in the most hopeless place and balances punching and philosophical captions nicely. There’s also a backup featuring a new Bloodwynd that acts as a kind of Superman for Hell. It’s Extreme Justice meets Dante’s Inferno, and artist Max Raynor is damn good at drawing suffering souls and punching. All in all, Doomsday Special adds new depths to the creature that killed Superman by fusing him to the intricate worldbuilding of DC Comics’ Hell. Overall: 8.6 Verdict: Buy
Dungeons and Dragons: Saturday Morning Adventures (IDW Publishing) – I’m a 90s kid so I didn’t grow up watching the Dungeons and Dragons cartoon, but I know it was partially the inspiration for Kieron Gillen and Stephanie Hans’ Die so i decided to give this one-shot a purchase/read. DnD: Saturday Morning Adventures is a cute, nostalgic read from David Booher and Jack Lawrence that definitely has that old school cartoon structure: light-ish on continuity with an enemy of the week and a moral at the end. What made me smile about this comic was the humor that the creators sneak between fight scenes and saccharine teen angst. For example, there are multiple panels debating the difference between a chromatic and metallic dragon. (Maybe, this is important ; I’ve only dabbled in DnD.) This isn’t a must buy comic, but it’s fun and easy to follow with lively art that definitely made me think about getting into the fantasy genre through animation as a kid. (PBS’ Redwall was way darker than this though.) Overall: 7.1 Verdict: Read (I purchased my copy)
Ultimate Invasion #3 (Marvel) – Ultimate Invasion has some cool ideas, and Bryan Hitch working in wide screen mode is always a treat whether it’s the opulence of the superhumans that run the world or Tony and Howard Stark sharing a moment at Obadiah Stane’s funeral. However, he and Jonathan Hickman seem rushed in Ultimate Invasion #3 where there’s lots of delicate character development for Howard, Earth 6160 Hulk, and of course, the Maker. It ends up turning into an identical blow ’em up with the clones of the Ultimates coming again with a groanworthy character showing up in the cliffhanger. This series either needed a companion series like Hickman’s Avengers/New Avengers, or to be expanded to a six issue miniseries to let this world breathe. The story is 75% over, and I finally have a grasp on this incredibly relatable world of elites play-fighting in the background. However, coupled with its price tag and lack of storytelling rhythm, you’re better off waiting for Marvel Unlimited with this mini that would be fine as a prologue to a large universe, but not a whole entree. Overall: 5.9 Verdict: Pass (I purchased a copy.)
Batman/Catwoman: The Gotham War – Battle Lines #1 (DC Comics) – Kicking off the upcoming story that pits Catwoman and Batman against each other about the direction how to handle Gotham’s crime. The story is intriguing and there’s some solid concepts within, but overall, the comic feels like a rather boring debate. The ending has a little bit of juice to it, but even that falls a bit flat in its execution. Overall, it does its job in explaining what’s going on and why but doesn’t really create buzz from it. It coming so soon after DC’s recent event doesn’t help at all. This is a story that needed a few more months to breathe and grow naturally post Knight Terrors, as is, it’s a bit of a snooze to start. Overall: 6.75 Verdict: Read
Knight Terrors: Night’s End #1 (DC Comics) – DC’s compact event wraps up as DC’s heroes deal with the heroes in the real world. The overall concept is nice and the groundwork it lays out is good but as far as events go, this is a knight terror that doesn’t stay with you. The artwork goes from interesting to what am I looking at quickly and the beats themselves never quite hit. Even the intriguing ending concerning Batman feels a bit undone rather too quickly in the kick-off to Gotham War. Overall, it comes off as just a way to get from point A to point C instead of an event story that stands on its own. Overall: 6.5 Verdict: Pass
Ms. Marvel: The New Mutant #1 (Marvel) – A fun new direction as Kamala puts on the costume of the X-Men and goes undercover to stop Orchis. It’s keeps the lighter feel of Ms. Marvel comics but adds on the rather darker themes of the X-Men. There’s a balance of the fun and serious. It’s also interesting to see Kamala again struggling with her identity. A solid start and folding in of this popular character into her new role as mutant and X-Man! Overall: 7.75 Verdict: Buy
Ultimate Invasion #3 (Marvel) – The comic feels like it’s missing story beats and the art doesn’t make up for things. There’s been an issue with the series not letting the story breathe compacting things a bit too much and missing some key points. The art is some of Bryan Hitch’s best but the writing isn’t helping. The comic is interesting in that it helps lay out what’s going on with this world a bit more, but not even that is shocking or exciting enough to really recommend it. Overall: 6.0 Verdict: Pass