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.
All-Star Batman #7 (DC) A solid finale to the current arc that has a couple of cool sequences that are mire down with the godlike Batman moments that seem a little too Deus Ex Machina for me. It’s good, but it’s not the best comic from Scott Snyder you’ll ever read. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read
Batman #21 (DC) Well this is a turn up for the books; Tom King delivers a brilliant issue of Batman. The… ironic thing is that the things he did that I didn’t like over the last arc were repeated here, but in a much more compressed manor… and it works very well. The first issue of the four part Batman/Flash crossover is well worth read – especially if you read DC Rebirth #1. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy
Moon Knight #13 (Marvel) I have a love hate relationship with the series; I love the aesthetic, and at times the story, but I’m certainly not always fond of the overall direction Lemire is taking the series. This issue, however, was a solid win. If you like your comics to make you think, then this is for you. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Read
Secret Empire #0 (Marvel) While I’m not fond of having Steve Rogers as an undercover Hydra agent, the zero issue itself isn’t horrible. It sets up the event nicely, framing Rogers as a very effective villain, but whether Secret Empire will follow Marvel’s recent pattern of a strong start with a weak ending only time will tell. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read
Venom #6 (Marvel) Although a decent comic, the outcome of this issue felt a little rushed after the previous five issues exploring the relationship between Lee and the symbiote as Marvel sets up the number jumping Venom #150. Does this issue suffer because of that? A little, but if you’re invested in the series it’s still worth a read. Overall: 6.75 Recommendation: Read
Secret Empire #0 (Marvel) – For the past year or so Nick Spencer has been getting a ton of heat for making Steve Rogers/Captain America, a secret Hydra agent. Secret Empire is the culmination of this event and it starts with the Heroes taking one on the nose, as Spencer and Daniel Acuna take us on a tour of the hot spots of Earth-616 created by Rogers and sets us up for another Marvel roller coaster of suspense. Hopefully they can bring it all home in 9 issues. Recommend if you like the big event stuff.
Secret Empire #0 (Marvel) I was actually surprised that I liked this comic. Now don’t think that’s saying this comic isn’t without its flaws, because the entire premise of what Spencer is doing has those, but for what this was, I did enjoy it. We still don’t get a lot of depth here for Cap’s intentions, but they are doubling down as him being a big bad. I had fun in a big action movie kind of way. I was shocked at some of the things he’s done in this and in his title, and am curious to where this takes us. I’m still betting this leads to a “Rebirth” for Marvel. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read
Monsters Unleashed #1 (Marvel) The event never grabbed me, and this comic, understandably is more of that. It features Kid Kaiju, Elsa Bloodstone and a group of talking monsters that I do think many kids will love. It felt very much like the first Transformers film where they play around outside waiting for the human boy to play or to give them something to do. I don’t think this is a bad idea to have this series, and I do think it could develop into a fun story for anyone, especially kids. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Read
Venom #5 (Marvel) Brock has returned, and with him comes Spidey. This was a decent issue, and Brock returning to the suit is interesting, and as a big Peter Parker fan, this is exciting to have his biggest foe of my childhood returning to his prime version. I didn’t enjoy Lee much as the lead character, so it is good the title quickly changed who wears the suit. Will the suit still hold onto Flash’s good intentions, or resort back to the comfort of the monster that it was with Eddie? Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read
I Hate Fairyland #12 (Image)** Skottie Young and company bring us Lone Gert and Grub, in which Gert performs sweet ninja – sorry, samurai – moves and confronts the entire City of the Shiitake. This is a visual idea that I cannot believe I’ve never seen before and Skottie Young of course pulls it off with brio and grossness. Spoiler alert: Gert trying to do good deeds doesn’t exactly pan out. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy
Sex Criminals #18 (Image)** Confirming my personal theory of recent comics, Fraction & Zdarsky go mostly off-plot for this issue, get back to exploring relationships, and it’s the best issue in a long time. It is so rare to see an adult comic that actually involves adult characters that that is all I need. Unfortunately, this looks like it’s only an interlude. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy
Descender #21 (Image) In theatre school, one of the most valuable lessons I learned was that there’s a difference between dramatic action and mere activity. Although there’s plenty of activity in the conclusion of this book, there is not much action going on at all. Dustin Nguyen’s art is gorgeous as ever, but Jeff Lemire is just connecting dots and the characters are all just following their programming. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Skip.
Curse Words #4 (Image) If this issue had started on page 12 and finished on page 18, I would have loved it! I’m not sure what the hell was going on before, and bored with what was going on after, but those 8 pages where Wizord goes to the Magic Castle to get his magic back is pure delight. Overall: 4, then 9, then 4 Recommendation: Read the middle part.
Royal City #2 (Image)** – I wasn’t necessarily sold on Jeff Lemire’s latest solo series after the first issue, but with this one, it’s safe to say I’m all in. Events unfold at a languid, almost dreamlike pace that perfectly suits the material, the interpersonal relationships and various tribulations of our main protagonist and his family are deepened, and everything just intuitively feels right. A truly superb comic. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy
Batman #21 (DC)** – Tom King does some transparently clever things with tying the events of a televised hockey game in with the main Batman vs. Reverse-Flash fight that takes up the bulk of this issue, but it’s not enough to make the first part of this cross-over feel like yet another massive time-waster, Jason Fabok’s illustrations are the epitome of the dull, “New 52”-era “house style” at DC, and nothing that happens in these pages goes any way towards alleviating the concerns myself and many other readers have that bringing the so-called “Watchmen Universe” into the DCU “proper” is anything other than a cynical cash-grab. Overall: 3 Recommendation: Pass
Black #5 (Black Mask)** – Writer Kwanza Osajyefo continues to waste what is undoubtedly one of the cooler premises in comics right now with yet another clumsily-scripted, info-dumping issue that manages to both overload the reader with too much backstory while somehow doing nothing to deepen our understanding of what’s really going on, much less develop any of the characters in a meaningful way. Jamal Igle’s illustration continues to be nice, and Khary Randolph’s cover is another stunner, but beyond that, there’s not much here to justify your $3.99 expenditure. Overall: 3.5 Recommendation: Pass
Black Hammer #8 (Dark Horse)** – I’m running out of reasons for why I love this comic, suffice to say if you’re as enamored with it as I am, this issue is certain to leave you gasping a bit at the end, with plenty of the sterling storytelling we’ve come to expect (and, frankly, become spoiled by) from Jeff Lemire and Dean Ormston in the pages leading up to the jaw-dropping conclusion. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy
Odyssey Of The Amazons #4 (DC) In what has been an excellent series so far,this installment may be it’s most weakest. The Amazons find themselves in Valhalla, meeting Odin and Thor. As soon for them know this could not be real,they struggle to find a way out. By issue’s end, all will understand the true meaning of “Ragnarok”
Overall: 9 Recommendation: Read
Black Panther: World of Wakanda #6 (Marvel) I was pretty bummed out when I found out that they were moving on from Ayo’s storyline as Roxane Gay no longer was working on the book.I didn’t think that they could top what they did already and I am so glad to be so wrong. As an avid fan of Christopher Priest’s run on the main character, I was excited to see that they brought back Kasper Coles White Tiger.Within this issue, we see him struggle with his day job as a NYPD detective, his struggle of helping his sickly mother and pregnant girlfriend as well as his idealistic crusade as the White Tiger.
Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy
Nick Fury #1 (Marvel) Being one of the most undeserved members of the Marvel Universe before the movies became tantamount to everything,Nick Fury has become increasingly popular mostly due to Samuel L Jackson’s portrayal.In what is his first solo series in a while, we find a younger version of the grissled veteran operator the world has come to know. In the first issue, he infiltrates a resort being ran by HYDRA, a la Casino Royale.Definitely a throwback to the fun of the original Bond movies somewhere between George Lazenby and Roger Moore. Overall: 10 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 (**).