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Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 2/22

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.


Logan

X-Men #6 (Marvel)– Jonathan Hickman and Matteo Buffagni build off the Orchis space mission plot thread from House of X to tell a Mystique-centric story, show that Orchis is still a threat, and make Krakoa even a more morally ambiguous place. Basically, Xavier and Magneto have made Mystique a one woman Suicide Squad, who spies on Orchis and their new technology for the hope of getting her wife, Destiny back. Buffagni is a wonderful artist choice for this issue with all of its tech floating around, and he uses skinny panels to nail the emotional beats between Mystique, Xavier, and Magneto as they continue to manipulate her. But she has sort of an ace up her sleeve that could be the downfall of Krakoa as Hickman brings back the multiple timelines in this issue.Finally, X-Men #6 is another example of Hickman forsaking the multi-issue arcs of modern, mainstream comics for single issue stories that help convey the larger tapestry of life on Krakoa. Overall: 8.4 Verdict: Buy

New Mutants #7 (Marvel)– Jonathan Hickman and Rod Reis wrap up the old school New Mutants in space arc in an experimental and occasionally abrupt fashion. Hickman definitely is having a ball writing the relationship between Sunspot and Cannonball and opens the issue with Sunspot breaking the fourth wall to complain about how the series has been broken up. Then, because they ran out of room or something, the climactic fight scene is decided by you, the reader, rolling D6’s. (In my case, the Shi’ar Imperial Guard won, and Mentor was the last one standing.) The intergalactic politics thing ends up just being a joke and an excuse for Cannonball and Sunspot to hang out more and banter. However, Rod Reis’ art and colors continue to be lush and emotive, perfect for the space-scapes and scenes of conflict between the New Mutants and Guard. Overall: 7.5 Verdict: Read

Wolverine #1 (Marvel)– Logan returns to solo comics is suitably guilt-ridden, claw-slashing, and bloody fashion in a pair of stories penned by Benjamin Percy and drawn by Adam Kubert and Viktor Bogdanovic. Both are crafted around his role as Krakoa’s last line of defense, the man of the wall, who will do whatever it takes to keep mutants safe. He might open the comic playing hide and seek with mutant children in a brightly colored sequence, but he probably has more in common with Omega Red in the 2nd story or the visions of his actions in the Old Man Logan comic in the first one. The 1st story basically throws Wolverine into a Narcos-like situation where he’s trying to figure out who is using the Krakoan flowers to whip up a human cult that wants to literally drink mutant blood. It’s solid, but the second story featuring vampires, the Paris catacombs, and the story of Catholic saints is much more exciting and pure pulp goodness. Percy and Bogdanovic work in tandem knowing when to cut between panels and when to open up and let Logan or Omega Red cut loose. The Vampire Nation is a powerful threat for Krakoa as well as its twisted mirror. Finally, the real highlight of this excellent, yet overpriced comic is Magneto using the CIA as an example of why Wolverine, and by extension, Krakoa, will never have the moral high ground. Overall: 9.0 Verdict: Buy

Marauders #8 (Marvel)– This is the big reaction issue to the death of Kate Pryde with some Sebastian Shaw maneuvering in the background. Most of the comic is Gerry Duggan and Stefano Caselli turning Iceman loose as he’s less Northstar and more Midnighter in the violence spectrum of queer characters because of his friendship with Kate. Caselli brings the big screen, elemental action showing the effects of Bobby’s power before showing his emotional reaction to Kate’s death. It’s cathartic and bookends nicely with Storm and Emma Frost’s interactions as this issue really drives home how much Kate meant to the X-Men and her Marauder teammates. Throughout the series, Duggan and Caselli have been able to pull off these kind of *water cooler* moments in Marauders, and this issue is no exception. Overall: 9.2 Verdict: Buy

 Bang! #1 (Dark Horse)– The new comic from Matt Kindt and Wilfredo Torres is a spy thriller that starts as an overt deconstruction of James Bond and then becomes much more metafictional. Think “fiction suits” from the works of Grant Morrison. Bang #1 is that fan theory that James Bond isn’t one man, but a codename given to different men (For now) written larger than life. Wilfredo Torres’ art is smooth and perfectly fit for both sleek action, pop culture/pulp homages, and something a little more mindbending. He uses grids for the hand to hand combat and splash pages for the big reveal. Nayoung Kim keeps the colors reasonably flat because this is pop reality, not reality. Bang! has an interesting concept and examines the misogyny and imperialism of pulp paperbacks while also indulging in its best tropes. Overall: 9.5 Verdict: Buy

 Valkyrie: Jane Foster #8 (Marvel)– Norwegian writer Torunn Gronbekk joins Jason Aaron and Cafu on the issue of Valkyrie: Jane Foster, and they tell a middling, disaster movie-esque, guest star heavy story of Valkyrie, the Avengers, and Thor against the forces of anti-life that were guarded by the All-Father and are now released. The best part of this comic is the two pages that Jane and her friend Lisa get to chat and talk about their lives until the ground opens up. I honestly don’t blame Gronbekk choosing the biggest toys in the box to play with in her first Marvel outing, but with the exception of the aforementioned two pages and the end of the comic, it feels more like an Avengers comic than a Valkyrie one. Also, this issue’s villain is a little bit of a retread of the last arc’s, but with more of a connection to Norse mythology. However, Cafu has a nice photorealistic style that isn’t stiff and makes for pleasant reading. Overall: 5.8 Verdict: Pass


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 (**).

Gerard Way, Gabriel Bá, Shaun Simon, and I.N.J. Culbard Expand the World of The Umbrella Academy

Dark Horse Comics has revealed the first Umbrella Academy spin-off series: You Look Like Death! Written by series co-creator Gerard Way with Shaun Simon, illustrated by I.N.J. Culbard, lettered by Nate Piekos, You Look Like Death explores the trials and tribulations of a young Séance as he navigates the world by himself. 

Roughly ten years before the events of Apocalypse Suite, 18-year-old Séance gets himself kicked out of the Umbrella Academy. With his allowance discontinued by Hargreeves, he takes to a place where his ghoulish talents will be appreciated––Hollywood. After a magical high on a vampire-drug-lord’s stash, Klaus needs help, and doesn’t have his siblings there to save him.

You Look Like Death #1 (of six) goes on sale June 17, 2020. Each issue features covers by Gabriel Bá, I.N.J. Culbard, and a third cover by guest artists including Leo Romero, Jenny Frison, and more.

You Look Like Death #1

The Original Predator Screenplay Gets a Comic Adaptation

Before there was Predator, there was Hunters. Now, Dark Horse Comics and Twentieth Century Fox invite you to experience that story in Predator: The Original Screenplay. Adapted from James E. Thomas and John C. Thomas’ 1984 screenplay Hunters, writer Jeremy Barlow, artist Patrick Blaine, and inker Andy Owens bring the original story to brutal life.

In Predator: The Original Screenplay, a team of military specialists are on a rescue mission in the jungles of Central America. The details of the mission are classified, but the team soon uncovers a trail of lies and deceit. Something is observing them—tracking their every move. The hunt has begun!

Predator: The Original Screenplay #1 (of five) goes on sale June 10, 2020.

Predator: The Original Screenplay

Review: Bang! #1

Bang! #1

Matt Kindt is a brilliant writer. His stories can delve into the trippy and ethereal playing off of established genres. Bang! #1 gives us a “James Bond” like debut but with Kindt’s usual twists and turns.

Thomas Cord is a secret agent who works for MI-X, an off the books organization fighting the evil group Goldmaze. Then, there’s an author whose works delve into the spy genre and might be a Goldmaze agent, or at least passing along secrets. The mission? Cord is to hunt down Philip Verve and find out what’s going on. The problem? Cord has memories of missions going back decades before he was even born.

Wait. What!?

Yes, Kindt throws in twists and turns of possible false memories and who knows what else. Bang! #1 takes you down the rabbit hole as Cord himself figures out something isn’t right. This is the type of genre bending that Kindt is known for and excels at. This debut promises a series that seems like it’ll deliver and meet high expectations.

Kindt has teamed up with artist Wilfredo Torres. Torres is joined by Nayoung Kim on colores and Nate Piekos on lettering. The art is good with a style that doesn’t go for flashy. The art is a straightforward delivery. It eschews crazy action-filled page layouts but delivering on the right amount of detail and focus. That visual lull helps in a way as the rug is pulled out of Cord. At that point, the visuals hit and much like Cord’s experience the reader experiences a different visual read.

The visuals extend to opening and closing pages from a novel with its blood soaked pages. Kindt has a habit of extending the story beyond the panel and he does that here adding in a flair that enhances the reading experience.

Bang! #1 is a solid start. It might seem like a straightforward spy adventure with tips to the hat to James Bond. In reality, it’s so much more as we learn the further along the story we go. Kindt nails it again with a debut that’s as much a mystery to the reader as it is to the main character.

Story: Matt Kindt Art: Wilfredo Torres
Color: Nayoung Kim Letterer: Nate Piekos
Story: 8.0 Art: 7.75 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation:
Buy

Dark Horse provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Wolverine #1

Wednesdays are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

Each week our contributors choose what they can’t wait to read this week or just sounds interesting. In other words, this is what we’re looking forward to and think you should be taking a look at!

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this Wednesday.

2020 Machine Man #1 (Marvel) – The 2020 story has been just ok but Marvel has been doing some interesting stuff with Machine Man and we want to see where they take this classic character.

Archie Meets the B-52s #1 (Archie Comics) – “Rock Lobster,” nuff said.

Bang #1 (Dark Horse) – Matt Kindt and Wilfredo Torres is all we need to have us excited about this secret agent/action/mystery/altered reality series.

Canopus #1 (Scout Comics) – An amazing sci-fi debut that’s an absolute must for those that enjoy comics not by the big two. Helen wakes up on an alien planet with no memories beyond a haze and an urgency to return to Earth.

DCeased Unkillables #1 (DC Comics) – The second volume of this new take on the classic “zombie/apocalypse” genre. This time, it’s the villains in the spotlight.

Doctor Tomorrow #1 (Valiant) – A fantastic debut with a character that will hopefully take off. A great addition to the Valiant Universe.

Godkillers #1 (Aftershock) – A special forces unit that fights insurgents who use mythological creatures as weapons of mass destruction. The concept sounds awesome.

The Goon #8 (Albatross Funnybooks) – The Goon is one of the most consistently entertaining comics on the market. Think of it as an over the top Popeye.

Hellboy & the BPRD: Return of Effie Kolb #1 (Dark Horse) – A continuation of the classic “The Crooked Man” tale. Hellboy is always entertaining.

Marvel’s Voices #1 (Marvel) – A one-shot comic that features a whole lot of interesting creators taking on a wide range of characters.

On the Stump #1 (Image Comics) – Elections are now decided by hand-to-hand combat and that concept alone has us all in.

Plunge #1 (DC Comics/Hill House Comics) – A sunk ship sends out a distress signal 40 years after it went missing. Sounds like a great horror concept.

Savage Bastards #1 (Mad Cave Studios) – A tale of revenge and betrayal set in 1873. You don’t see a lot of “Western” comics anymore, so we’re always intrigued to check out a new one.

Undiscovered Country #4 (Image Comics) – So far, this series has been amazing blending together so many differnet concepts. We have no idea where this mystery will all go but it’s a hell of a ride so far.

Wolverine #1 (Marvel) – An oversized issue that’s worth the oversized price.

Toy Fair 2020: Dark Horse Presents the Terran Battlecruiser from StarCraft

With a Terran Battlecruiser at your disposal, the Zerg and Protoss won’t stand a chance. Pre-order now to fight back against the enemies of the Terran Dominion!

This highly detailed mini ship replica is approximately 6” long and made from polyresin, including a metal display post to hover over a sturdy Dominion base.

The StarCraft: Terran Battlecruiser Ship Replica will begin to ship October 21, 2020 and will retail at $59.99.

StarCraft: Terran Battlecruiser Ship Replica

Jeff Bridges, Daughter Isabelle Bridges-Boesch, and Dark Horse announce Daddy Daughter Day

The moments people remember from childhood are the small, precious ones. Isabelle Bridges-Boesch and her father Jeff Bridges bring those small moments to life in their new children’s book Daddy Daughter Day

Written by Isabelle Bridges-Boesch, with illustrations by Jeff Bridges himself, Daddy Daughter Day is the story of a simple, fun day from Isabelle’s youth when one morning, Belle wakes up and declares the day “Daddy Daughter Day”! As the day turns into an adventure, the whole family comes along for the simple joy of being together.

The 56-page Daddy Daughter Day arrives on October 6, 2020 for $17.99.

Daddy Daughter Day

Dark Horse International Expands with Gert and the Sacred Stones and Papaya Salad

From Italian publisher Tunué, creators Marco Rocchi and Francesca Carità, and translator Jamie Richards comes middle-grade graphic novel Gert and the Sacred Stones, available in English for the first time!

Gert and the Sacred Stones is a story of heart, bravery, and conflict. Meet Gert, a young orphan whose land is shrouded in a thick fog that hides ferocious, fantastical animals that endlessly constantly besiege her village. Tired of the endless war between humans and nature, Gert sets out to make sure no one else suffers what she has as a result of the war. But to achieve this she’ll have to do what is forbidden to young women like her: become a warrior.

If Gert is to succeed in her quest, she must learn the hard truths of war and violence, and discover that being a hero may not mean what it seems.

Gert and the Sacred Stones TPB arrives in comic shops August 26, 2020 and in bookstores September 8, 2020. The 160-page graphic novel is for $14.99.

Gert and the Sacred Stones

What happens when you find yourself in a war that’s not your own? That’s the question Sompong must answer for himself, and the one creator Elisa Macellari explores as she looks back on the life of her Great Uncle in Papaya Salad with translator Carla Roncalli Di Montorio.

On the eve of World War II, Sompong leaves his native Thailand to study abroad in Italy on a military scholarship. A gentle and resolute man with a love of books and language, Sompong chronicles his life during the war all while finding humor, joy, and love even as the world changes irrevocably around him.

Originally published by Italian publisher BAOPapaya Salad gives voice to an often-overlooked perspective on World War II.

Papaya Salad arrives August 26, 2020 for $24.99.

Papaya Salad

Hellboy Gets a Statue Based on Mantic Games’ Hellboy: The Board Game

Legendary Hellboy creator Mike Mignola, Dark Horse Direct and Mantic Games have announced the first Hellboy Statue based on Mantic Games’ bestselling Hellboy: The Board Game miniature. Limited to 500 and available now for pre-order, the Hellboy Statue—Mantic Series is expected to ship this summer.

This exclusive statue was meticulously sculpted by the creative team at Mantic Games and painted by Ed Bradley as if you lifted our hero right out of the pages of the acclaimed graphic novels and comics. Posed to pack quite a punch, Hellboy stands approximately 9” tall on a hellscape terrain base approximately 7.5” wide. Level 52 Studios did the statue prototype and base sculpt for The Hellboy Statue—Mantic Series.

On sale now, Hellboy: The Board Game is a co-operative experience in which players face off against some of the comic’s most famous foes. Up to four people take control of iconic BRPD members – Hellboy, Abe Sapien, Liz Sherman, and Johann Kraus – before exploring gothic locations, uncovering ancient artifacts and battling one of Hellboy’s most notorious foes, Rasputin!

Hellboy: The Board Game Statue
Hellboy: The Board Game Statue
Hellboy: The Board Game Statue

Meet Joe Death

Somewhere between Mike Mignola, A Fistful of Dollars, and Johnny Cash’s Ghost Riders in the Sky, rides the gray man, consequential king, Joseph Bones, Shadow of Death! A lone gun story silhouetted against the surreal desert valley where ghost and ghoul, witch and prophet, mystery and dream, ebb in and out. Joe Death and the Graven Image wanders the tombstoned road, poking at the fabric of life, loss, retribution, redemption, and the keys to paradise.

The cleanup of the massacred town isn’t Joe’s first rodeo, but the one life taken by the bandit Scary Harry is. Can he and his friends outsmart Harry’s hellraisers and win back the babe? Life from death? The ultimate magic trick, restoring Joe to the straight and the narrow?

Debut author and artist Benjamin Schipper dives deep into the reaper’s tale, employing a beautiful and quirky style that gives this macabre odyssey all the heart, humor, and tension essential to a modern masterpiece.

Joe Death and the Graven Image goes on sale, September 30, 2020. This 152-page paperback graphic novel will retail at $19.99.

Joe Death and the Graven Image
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