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.
Grizzly Shark #1 (Image) This is without doubt the most entertaining comic I’ve read all week. There’s a lot of blood, which is to be expected when a shark roams the woods. How does it roam the woods? I don’t know, and I don’t honestly care, but let’s just say it flies. Yeah. A flying grizzly shark. Amazing. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy
Johnny Red #6 (Titan) continues to be one of my most anticipated titles every month, and amazingly it has met my expectations each time. While you may not be able to find single issues that easily if your shop didn’t order enough in, keep an eye out for the trade (or single issues digitally, but the artwork suffered digitally on my laptop when it came to the double page spreads in every issue but this one), because this has been a fantastically entertaining series. Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy
Detective Comics #51 (DC)* As a Jim Gordon comic this is fantastic; getting a glimpse into who he was before Gotham City is fantastic. I would have been happy without the inclusion of the batsuit, honestly, but then would this still be a Batman comic? Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy
Darkness: Hope (Image Comics) An interesting story that probably would mean a lot more to me if I had a bit more context for the Darkness’ world. But as somebody who has really never read much, if any, Darkness comics this was qutite accessible and enjoyable. I can only assume it’d be more so if you’re more familiar with the characters. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy
Black Widow #2 (Marvel) – Continues the action packed narrative from the first issue. The team of Waid and Samnee are nailing the action/spy vibe of the character. Just lots of fun and everything I hoped it’d be. Overall Rating: 9 Recommendation: Buy
Empress #1 (Marvel/Icon) – An ok beginning for Mark Millar’s new series with Stuart Immonen on art. The first issue continues the more subdued Millar we’ve seen lately. Not a bad start, but something didn’t quite hook me. I’ll definitely check out the second issue to see where it goes. Overall Rating: 7 Recommendation: Read
The Walking Dead #153 (Image Comics/Skybound) – This one is all about Negan. I know we’re not supposed to like the character, but there’s something about him that isn’t making that happen. While his methods are bad, lets face it, he’s often right. Overall Rating: 7.7 Recommendation: Read
The Fix #1 (Image Comics) – The first issue nails it. So much fun and entertaining. One of my favorites of the week, and one of my favorites in some time. Overall Rating: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy
Grizzly Shark #1 (Image Comics) – It’s a shark that lives in the forest. The idea sounds like a SyFy movie, and it’s so absurd it’s amazing. So over the top. So over the top funny. Overall Rating: 8 Recommendation: Read
Think Tank: Creative Destruction #1 (Top Cow Productions) – I loved the first volume of this series. This second volume is a decent start but missing some of its intelligent subversive fun of the first volume. This may read better as a trade, but it’s still a smart start that’ll get you to think. Overall Rating: 7.8 Recommendation: Read
The Bunker #16 (Oni Press) – As usual, this series surprises with every twist and turn. It’s a long drawn out read that’s beyond smart and an impressive in what it’s pulling off. Overall Rating: 8.1 Recommendation: Read
Gold Key Alliance #1 (Dynamite Entertainment) – Bringing together all the classic Gold Key characters into one universe and the same time. I’m not 100% sure what’s going on, but I want to find out more. Overall Rating: 7 Recommendation: Read
Johnny Red #6 (Titan Comics) – One hell of a comic that continues the action and gives us a bigger picture as to what’s going on. Garth Ennis is nailing this WWII comic. It hasn’t been a let down yet. Overall Rating: 8.6 Recommendation: Buy
Mighty Zodiac #1 (Oni Press) – A fantasy comic that’s cute in its execution. It’s a blending of various genres with animals taking the roles of kung-fu masters. It’s a cute start and could be good for younger readers. Overall Rating: 7.1 Recommendation: Read
The Fix #1 (Image) — Who can say no a reunion of the Steve Lieber/Nick Spencer team that brought us “Superior Foes Of Spider-Man” — the coolest Marvel comic since a guy named Kirby was making them? Not me. And while it may not be considered much of a stretch of their creative talents to see this tandem handling a series about half-assed criminal fuck-ups again, well — does anyone do it better? Nope, they don’t. And now their characters get to use all the curse words and double-entendres they want. The good times are back, folks — get in on this one now. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy
The Wicked + The Divine #18 (Image) — Okay, I really thought that Laura was dead, too. And I’m happy to see her back. And I’m happy to see this new arc will be a bit heavier on the action and thrust the plot forward a bit more aggressively. And, of course, Jamie McKelvie’s return is gloriously welcome. But Kieron Gillen is veering dangerously close to allowing his (let’s be brutally honest) ultra-self-conscious, “too cool for school” writing style to overwhelm his own story. Which would be a shame since it’s terrific (the story, that is). Or, as Gillen would say, “Overwhelmed. Me. It happens. Bowie’s last album. Ish eight of Enigma. They do it to me. Wash over. Devastate and cleanse in one go. I want to do that here. Can I do that here? Some say it’s so close. Here. In our pages. So gratifying, that. To others, it’s already happened” — yadda ,etc., you get the idea. The story and concepts on offer here are as fresh and relevant as ever, and very nearly as awesome as the author himself thinks they are. But the shtick is starting to wear thin. Keep your eyes on the ball, please, Mr. Gillen — you’re this close to a masterpiece, don’t fuck it up by spending too much time telling us that you know are, too. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Buy
The Sheriff Of Babylon #5 (DC/Vertigo)* — Way more awesome than any issue about two characters sitting around getting drunk for 20 pages should be. My best guess is that this story expanding from eight parts to 12 is what made this “let’s take a deep breath here” installment possible in the first place, and thank goodness for that. Tom King’s script still silently justifies neo-colonialism (and neo-conservatism) more than I’m comfortable with personally, but the guy can write dialogue like nobody’s business, and Mitch Gerads keeps things visually interesting despite the fact that, at least on paper (shit pun, sorry) , there’s not much happening. My favorite issue of the series so far, although the “action-hungry” crowd may find it not to their liking. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy
Providence #8 (Avatar) — I’ll be posting a full review up on my own site and a couple of other places in the coming days, but as a place-holder until then, let me just say that the full scope of Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows’ epic is coming into something like a muddled an intriguing view, and it looks to me as though it’s been an occult ritual all along. Not just any occult ritual, either, but arguably Moore’s most ambitious one yet : obliterating or otherwise making irrelevant the line between “fantasy” and “reality,” “dreams” and “waking,” the “conscious” and “unconscious” mind — or, to be glib, to write a true story that he just happens to be making up. And I think he may just pull it off. Ten times more imaginative than any other series on the shelves, twenty times more well-executed, and fifty times more important. This fucking ratings scale we use needs to go beyond ten for issues like this,. where our protagonist, Robert Black, finally meets H.P. Lovecraft himself, but since it doesn’t, all I can say is Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy
Xena #1 (Dynamte): In one of the rarest cases where the spinoff is as good as the original, Xena: Warrior Princess, was an epic show, all its own,reinvigorating interest in medieval mythology, it often surpassed the quality of shows on major networks. Since the show’s series finale, the interest has just only grown and for good reason, and as Dynamite Entertainment has been in the nostalgia business as of late, they have brought back Xena in all her sword wielding glory.Within the first issue, we catch up with Xena and Gabrielle 25 years later after an enchanted sleep to find Xena ‘s daughter. By issue ‘s end, Xena and Gabrielle, definitely has bargained more than they have ask for, as they meet an old friend turned adversary. Story: 9 Art: 9 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy
Well, there you have it, folks. The reviews we didn’t quite get a chance to write.
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 (**).