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 #47 (DC Comics)** – Thank God this story arc is over. Tom King and Tony S. Daniel really hit rock bottom with this Batman/Booster Gold team-up that feels like exactly what it is — a lame stop-gap measure between the last “major” storyline and the forthcoming Bat/Cat wedding. The whole “alternate timeline” is undone on the last couple pages, as you knew it would be, but done in such a rushed and sloppy way that it very nearly makes no sense. A truly embarrassing effort all the way around. Overall: 0 Recommendation: Pass
A Walk Through Hell #1 (Aftershock)** – I’m all for first issues that don’t give too much away and leave you wanting more, but the outline of what’s happening in Garth Ennis and Goran Sudzuka’s new series is so oblique that it’s difficult to even discern what the hell the book is about. Something scares some SWAT cops so bad that they’d rather kill themselves than face it, some terrifying shit of some sort goes down at a shopping mall, and some detectives are looking into all of it. Uhhmmm — okay. Nice art, though. Overall: 3 Recommendation: Pass
The Wicked + The Divine #36 (Image)** – By and large I still enjoy this series, but this one of those issues where Kieron Gillen’s “too cool for school” style gets the better of him : the first story is basically an exercise in repetitive self-indulgence that advances the plot very little, while the second story does, in fact, advance the plot, but does so with three pages of nothing but an all-red color backdrop.Jamie McKelvie, at least, knocks it out of the park, but we’re spoiled and have come to expect no less from him. Overall: 4.5 Recommendation: Pass
Dry County #3 (Image)** – Another strong issue in Rich Tommaso’s 1990s noir, as protagonist Lou Rossi’s entirely unofficial missing-person “investigation” kicks into another gear. Inventive, atmospheric, and supremely well-drawn, this book single-handedly restored my faith in my Wednesday comic shop visits after an otherwise-rough week. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy
Batman #47 (DC Comics) – Tom King and Tony Daniel’s current arc of Batman wildly shifted in tone from grim dark to comedic, and issue 47 definitely leans on the dark side with Bruce Wayne wielding an assault rifle for most of the book. It’s not a great Batman story and doesn’t adequately explore the “what if” premise of Thomas and Martha Wayne dying, but is a sneaky good Booster Gold story. Even though the reset button is obviously hit, King and Daniel imbue Booster with a real sense of guilt for his actions all leading up to an introspective final page. It’s obvious they like the character and understand his three dimensionality even if Batman’s story and relationship with Catwoman doesn’t really progress. Overall: 7.0 Verdict: Read
Gideon Falls #3 (Image) – Jeff Lemire, Andrea Sorrentino, and Dave Stewart’s rural/urban Canadian horror conspiracy thriller continues to build in Gideon Falls #3. Sorrentino’s trademark inset panels and Stewart’s splotches of red come in handy to show how obsessive compulsive trash collector Norton booby traps his lab to protect from the mysterious Black Barn as well as point out which of Father Fred’s parishioners are connected to it. The series hasn’t gone all out supernatural horror yet, and its dual protagonists Fred and Norton have to deal with “realistic” problems like breaking the news that the town’s last priest was a murderer or being readmitted into a mental hospital. This series as a whole is a great exploration of duality: sacred and secular, rural and urban, and of course, God and the devil and also synthesizes Jeff Lemire’s career up to this point, who has found success in genre (Marvel/DC stuff) and slice of life work (Essex County). It’s an exciting, scary, and beautiful read. Overall: 9.2 Verdict: Buy
Dry County #3 (Image)* – Rich Tommaso’s Florida noir series continues to impress, as “everyman” Lou Rossi attempts to send messages to missing Janet through his comic strip. Tomasso’s drawing is perfectly matched to the tone of the story: bright, clammy, and hot with little bursts of fresh air, like being in a Miami apartment wth only one office fan for ventilation. Really nice stuff. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy
Cinema Purgatorio #14 (Avatar)* – I could really do without the framing sequences of Alan Moore & Kevin O’Neill’s title track, but I love the meat of the matter: in this case, the career of Tod Browning as carnival sideshow, guided by one of his Freaks. Can I just gush for a moment about Kevin O’Neill? Sometimes you forget, when an artist has such a singular style, that they are also in total command of the fundamentals; O’Neill’s figures and faces in Purgatorio are so on point, always choosing just the right moment to go for a realistic closeup to remind you that he can just flat-out draw the hell out of anything at any time he chooses. Next up, in “Code Pru”, Garth Ennis and Raulo Caceres give us an actual normal day in bed with Pru and Sal – normal right up until the end, in a mysterious twist whose resolution I dread. And in the final of the series I’m following, Kieron Gillen & Nahuel Lopez’ “Modded,” Tommy and Fringe duel it out high on Blue Sky, consuming mushrooms as they go kart-to-kart with a guest appearance by what appears to be a very fucked-up hedgehog. This is actually how I like Gillen: in short bursts of high energy and black humour. Overall: Purgatorio solid 8.5, Code Pru 8, Modded 8. Recommendation: Buy if you’ve already bought in. (I am already bought in)
Batman #47 (DC Comics) – So I missed the middle of this wild tale and I have to say, I probably didn’t miss much. Despite having one of my faves Tony Daniel on the art chores it didn’t do this story any favors. Sure it started intriguing but then it quickly devolved into the manic mess that the core Batman title has become associated with in recent history off and on. Unfortunately I guess using Booster Gold was not the right catalyst to get us to the Bat/Cat wedding. After the shock of Frank Castle Bruce Wayne there wasnt much else tying this together. I know I say it’s Tom King but… when this guy is pumping out Mr. Miracle it’s just a shame. I know I shouldn’t but I expected more. Overall: 2 Recommendation: Pass. I had my copy for free and I still feel ripped off.
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 (**).