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.
Batman #50 (DC) Not many times does a comic bring out such emotion but wow. I feel like this could be Tom King’s masterpiece. This was fantastic from beginning panel to end. The way countless artists and creators were woven in, was so fitting considering how they have had such an impact on Batman’s history. The simple elegance of a secret rooftop wedding was genius. In a medium where most fictional weddings are over the top fiascos this was so nice and refreshing. I loved the double story narration throughout from both Bruce and Selina. Having doubted their true connection, Tom King has made a believer out of me. If Batman is to marry anyone, it has to be Catwoman. I believe that now. There was no over the top villain showdown but a definite surprise ending. This book had me mulling and contemplating true love. Rarely does a comic bring this kind of emotion out of me. There were a couple beats that did it though. I cannot say enough good about this book. It lived up to all the hype and I am so happy it did. Overall: Incredible. Tom King pulled another miracle out of his hat and it had nothing to do with Scot Free. This was all aces from me. Still astonished how well it was done. Score: 10/10 I’d give a 20/20 If I could.
Dark Ark #8 (Aftershock)** – Continuing the recent and highly successful storytelling trope of alternating between “past” and “present” that this series has settled comfortably into, Cullen Bunn deepens the mystery considerably in this issue while offering some tasty, if not exactly surprising, revelations to balance things out while Juan Doe, for his part, offers one stunning, eye-popping image after another, including a couple of double-page spreads that will absolutely knock your socks off. One of the best books that no one is talking about. Overall: 8. Recommendation: Buy.
The Man Of Steel #6 (DC)** – Ho-hum. Brian Michael Bendis “ends” the “threat” of Rogol Zaar with predictable Deus Ex Machina nonsense, the dangling subplot of the arson fires is left that way, and Lois and Jon are temporarily ushered out the door by means you’ve seen coming for at least a couple of issues now. Jason Fabok’s art is perfectly competent in a “New 52”-esque sort of way, but all I can say about this at the end of the day is “thank Rao it’s over with.” Overall: 3. Recommendation: Pass.
Cosmic Ghost Rider #1 (Marvel)** – Kinda dumb, kinda fun, but probably leaning more toward the dumb, Donny Cates goes the pure set-up route with his script here, which is fine, but the fireworks — assuming any are to be had — will probably kick in next issue when the Immortal-Spirit-Of-Vengeance version of Frank Castle starts tooling around the cosmos with Baby Thanos. Dylan Burnett’s art is fine, but in fairness he’s no Geoff Shaw. Overall: 6. Recommendation: Read.
The Grave Diggers Union #8 (Image)** – With one issue left to go, Wes Craig kicks things into high gear story-wise with pathos and family drama necessarily overshadowing the comedic elements for this installment, while Toby Cypress matches the mood with some great, horrifying, highly idiosyncratic artwork. If you’ve been enjoying the series so far you’ll find a lot to like with this one — and I’ve been enjoying it quite a bit. Overall: 7.5. Recommendation: Buy.
Cosmic Ghost Rider #1 (Marvel)– Cool concept of Frank Castle being brought back from the dead by Odin to become the Ghost Rider in outer space, pretty funny overall. The story feels like if Bruce Campbell played Groo The Barbarian met Hells Angels in outer space . Was expecting a more serious take , but hopefully the 2nd issue fulfills the promise of the premise. As far as how good this first issue is, it’s mainly alright, not great.
Overall: 6 Recommendation: Borrow
I Hate Fairyland #20 (Image)** – The final issue of Skottie Young’s rampage through this muffin hugger. Gert faces off against Dark Cloudia with the Hearts of the Council – then faces off against the Council. Not a bad way to go out – but not great, either. If I had had my heart’s desire, it would have been that Young had used his last arc to really dig into what makes Fairyland fun and Gert’s wishes to escape. Still, I look forward to the possibility of seeing more of the adventures of Larry, Duncan Dragon, and company, and I’ll miss Fairyland. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Buy.
The Kurdles Adventure Magazine #1 (Fantagraphics)** – This is the brainchild of artist Robert Goodin, intended to be a “kid-friendly comic magazine”. Featuring the adventures of a grumpy unicorn, a concerned teddy bear, and the star of the show, a kindly pentapus named Phineas, Goodin’s work is charming and funny – though I think my 6-year-old would find it a bit dull (so many words!). His one-page stuff is great. Guest artists include Cesar Spinoza (Pacho Clokey, a b&w cartoon in a photographed world), Andrew Brandou (with a take on Paul Bunyan and Babe that’s kind of fun), and Cathy Malkasian (the brilliant “No-Body Likes You, Greta Grump”). The book is almost worth the price of admission just for the 5-page “Forbidden to Love Him!”, starring Phineas Pentapus, an absolutely pitch-perfect 50’s romance comic. And I mean perfect on every level: the plot, the dialogue, the art, colouring, lettering, and print effects. This is a little masterpiece. Do I really have to wait a whole year for the next issue? Overall: 8 but Goodin’s material is a solid 9. Recommendation: Buy.
Catwoman #1 (DC) In one issue, Catwoman shows that it’s one of DC’s most beautiful books with art that is both grotesque and well-rendered by Joelle Jones and a palette from Laura Allred that stays in the shadows. Jones’ story isn’t too bad either as Selina is trying to reinvent herself in Villa Hermosa, Mexico, but her peace of high stakes gambling is broken up by copycats in Catwoman costumes killing cops. The initial villain is pretty freaky: kind of like a female Peter Thiel, and I look forward to more rooftop chases and gorgeous architecture and fashions from Jones and Allred. Overall: 9.0 Verdict: Buy
Assassinistas #6 (IDW/Black Crown) Sure, the final issue of Tini Howard, Gilbert Hernandez, and Rob Davis’ mini has daring escapes, sniper shots, and even retro flashbacks. But it’s also the forging of a family as it’s revealed that Dominic does have a relationship with his father, and that Octavia is still coming to terms with coming out as gay. However, by the time, the finale rolls about, his boyfriend Taylor is outwitting the series’ villain Blood Diamond, and the day is saved by an unexpected source. Assassinistas #6 has it all: a quirky family dynamic, retro aesthetic, and lively cartooning from Hernandez. Overall: 8.5 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 (**).