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.
Cosmic Ghost Rider Destroys MARVEL History #1 (Marvel) – In what should be a serious iteration on Marvel History, we get quite a different take on Frank Castle and Ghost Rider. As an older Frank visits himself and just like the title says, destroy every major event in Marvel Universe history. In this all too short debut issue, the creative team happens to find a righteous balance between heartfelt and hilarious. Overall, a book which will instantly remind readers of Deadpool but also blazes their own trail. Overall: 9.6 Recommendation: Buy
Age of Conan: Belit #1 (Marvel)– In what is not is your normal Pirate story, we get a tale of privilege and betrayal. As we meet Belit, a young lady who longs to be a pirate just like her father once was. Everything changes for her and her father, when some of his old friends come calling on old debts. By issue’s end, she is sold into slavery but finds her way out of captivity only to face an actual sea monster like in her father’s stories. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy
House Of Whispers #7 (DC/Vertigo) **– Just when I was about to walk away from this book, writers Nalo Hopkinson and Dan Watters deliver the best issue, by far, to date, part hallucinatory nightmare, part less-than-subtle treatise in favor of veganism, culminating in the surprise return of — that would be telling. Dominike “Domo” Stanton has been solid on the art with this series, even during the last few months when the scripts faltered, and that remains the case here. Everything finally seems to be coming together. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy
Outer Darkness #5 (image/Skybound)** – If you’re taking a pass on this book, you’re missing out on a lot. John Layman and Afu Chan are creating an occult take on Jack Kirby’s “Captain Victory And The Galactic Rangers” that’s one of the most page-turning — and eye-catching — comics on the stands. In this penultimate issue of their opening arc, a nasty crash is followed by an even-nastier betrayal, and where it goes from here is anybody’s guess. Magnificent comic book storytelling. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy
Laguardia #4 (Dark Horse/Berger Books)** – Nothing about Nnedi Okrafor and Tana Ford’s series should probably work — there’s no villain, no particular dramatic tension, and most issues are more like diatribes on political points most readers, myself included, already agreed with going in. And yet, anything this earnest, and this gorgeously-illustrated, will always be worth checking out in my view, and they conclude things in typically-clumsy, but equally-heartfelt, style. I’m going to miss this comic, even though not a whole hell of a lot happened in it. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy
Wonder Twins #2 (DC)** – As always, Mark Russell finds a way to spin a compelling story around a cogent socio-political message, as Zann And Jayna come face-to-face with a new villain, sure — but also with the harsh realities of the private prison system and alcoholism/addiction. Stephen Byrne’s art is solid, if not especially spectacular, but it gets the job done, and that’s plenty good. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy
Assassin Nation #1 (Image)– Kyle Starks and Erica Henderson’s new creator owned series Assassin Nation definitely isn’t the deepest comic, but it’s a lot of ultraviolent fun. Like a Tarantino flick without the racial slurs or a Mark Millar comic without the misogyny. Henderson has the ability to make brains oozing out of one’s super hilarious, and her shootouts are well-choreographed and easy to follow. Assassin Nation #1 is a great source of blood, guts, bullets, and well-articulated grids plus there’s a character named Fuck Tarkington. It’s a fantastic guilty pleasure book. Overall: 8 Verdict: Buy
Magnificent Ms. Marvel #1 (Marvel)– Saladin Ahmed, Minkyu Jung, Juan Vlasco, and Ian Herring definitely follow the old Stan Lee adage that every comic is someone’s first in Magnificent Ms. Marvel #1. After an intriguing mega flash-forward, Ahmed and Jung open up with an action scene that shows off her polymorph powers while simultaneously checking in with her current relationships and retelling her origin. It’s been five years since Ms. Marvel first appeared so it’s okay. Jung and Vlasco’s art is a good mix between naturalism and overexaggeration that works when Kamala’s punching werewolf/eagle alien things at the local Circle Q. They can also handle the tough emotional beats like when she has a big conversation with her parents. But Magnificent Ms. Marvel #1 isn’t just a “back to basics” issue that strips down Kamala to her essence as Ahmed and Jung throw some sci-fi tinged curveballs around the way. Her journey from flawed, struggling teen hero to Destined One will be fun to watch especially if she gets an actual rogues gallery. Overall: 8.6 Verdict: 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 (**).