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.
Blood Blister #1 (Aftershock Comics) Far from what I expected, especially the last few pages, this series has me intrigued to see what’s next. There’s some imagery that’s a little on the schlock horror side of things, but nothing too horrible. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read.
Monsters Unleashed #2 (Marvel) So… the plot is paper thin, the art isn’t too bad… if you like your heroes actually working together rather than trying to have a punch up with each other for no reason, then you may enjoy this. Just don’t expect a deep story. Or even a shallow one. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Read. I suppose.
Moon Knight #11 (Marvel) Jeff Lemire is a great writer, who sometimes writes above my head. I’d like to this this is one of those comics… but the thing is, is that I’m not entirely sure what the hell is going on any more in this series, and there’s only so long that I’m going to keep reading just for the artwork. Overall: 6.75 Recommendation: Pass if you’re not already reading it.
Star Wars: Darth Maul #1 (Marvel) This is the first Star Wars comic I’ve read, and honestly it was okay. Nothing great, however, but not bad overall. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read.
The Walking Dead #163 (Image)** It’s a bloody quarter (or 33 cents if you’re Canadian), so it’d have to be pretty damn terrible to pass this up. Thankfully it’s not (and no, I usually don’t read this series, but that wasn’t an issue here). Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy
Blood Blister #1 (Aftershock) – This was a good introduction to a dark cautionary tale. Our main character, at least so far, is a crooked rich man who gets rich off the backs of the poor and uneducated. There are a lot of biblical references, and foreshadowing. There are a few gross scenes, but it helps the overall tale. After all the book is called Blood Blister, so some of that is to be expected. After the crazy ending, I am definitely looking forward to reading the next issue, and seeing where this series is headed. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy
Star Wars: Darth Maul #1 (Marvel) – It always felt like Darth Maul never had enough screen time. He was such an awesome looking, and overall badass character. Maybe it was because there wasn’t a lot of depth to him besides those things, and that is what this issue feels like it is telling me. Darth Maul is an angry sith (aren’t they all?), but the interesting thing to him is he is tired of waiting and biding his time. He wants to kill Jedi, and so this issue sets up some things that may give us some more Maul vs. Jedi fights. We get some cool looking alien beasts, and Maul taking over a ship of pirates, but not much else. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Read
Bullseye #1 (Marvel) – I am quite familiar with Bullseye. I have enjoyed the character for what he is when it is within the context of Daredevil comics, but not here. You don’t get much depth into what makes Bullseye tick besides he’s a killer and loves it. In one scene he is talking to his “agent” for jobs and is murdering innocent people out of his window with paperclips. I felt like it was trying way too hard to be edgy, and it didn’t leave me with any urge to come back for the next issue. Overall: 4.0 Recommendation: Pass
Monsters Unleashed #2 (Marvel) – Once again, some decent art is the highlight of this issue and event that I found hard to get through. I usually do not have an issue finishing a comic, but I found myself wanting to skip dialogue, and entire pages as the book went on. Perhaps it is a little bit of Marvel event fatigue as well since Civil War II had ended in December, but so far, I have not enjoyed Monsters Unleashed. Sure it seems like it should be the big blockbuster event and dumb popcorn fun, but Justice League vs. Suicide Squad which just finished did a far better job of making me care about it. Overall: 5.0 Recommendation: Pass
Big Trouble in Little China/Escape From New York #5 (Boom)** – This one starts out with a neat narrative trick, courtesy Greg Pak and Daniel Bayliss: the story of legendary blues guitarist Blind Apple Mary, as told simultaneously by Mary herself and by Bob Hauk to the President. So we’re in good comics hands here. Things escalate, and then escalate some more, until David Lo Pan must summon The Greatest Snake Plissken in the Multiverse. Final words from Jack Burton: “C’mon, this is gonna be awesome!” I concur. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy
Kill or Be Killed #5 (Image)** – The first trade is out and this issue starts a new story, so it’s an excellent time to jump onto an excellent series. Artists Sean Phillips and Elizabeth Breitweiser continue their outstanding work. Ed Brubaker is getting more confident in our ability to follow vigilante Dylan as his stories ramble around in time, I’d love to see more of this as Dylan becomes more and more isolated in his demonic mission. Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy
Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures #3 (IDW/DC)** – My 5-year-old son is in love with this comic, and I can see why. Writer Mathew K. Manning and artists Jon Sommariva and Sean Parsons have been bringing the fun. Their Batman is the Animated Series version (aka the Best Version IMHO), and it’s a hoot to watch the Bat-Family and the Turtles trade nemeses as the Joker and Harley take over from Shredder and his gang. Also in this issue: Shredder laughs. Delightful and kid-friendly. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy.
The Dregs #1 (Black Mask) – I was visiting a friend in Vancouver and when he told me where to meet him, he also made sure to tell me not to go through the Downtown Eastside. What he said about the area was this: if you turned Canada up with Vancouver at the bottom and gave the country a shake, everyone who couldn’t hold on ended up on Hastings & Main. This is where writers Lonnie Nadler & Zac Thompson and artist Eric Zawadski stake their claim in a murder mystery whose case is taken up by a homeless junkie of a private eye. In the mix is a study of gentrification, crime, and how late capitalism literally feeds on the poor. Tightly written and drawn with graphic verve and an almost-cartoony style that makes humanity out of tragedy, this is definitely a series to watch. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy
The Unstoppable Wasp #2 (Marvel)** – You’re either going to love scribe Jeremy Whitley’s perpetually-spunky iteration of the new Wasp or hate it, but for my money the real star of the show here is artist Elsa Charretier — unfortunately, this issue’s script doesn’t give her any big, bold, fun stuff that really shows off her wares until the last few pages. Moon Girl fans will be glad to see her make a brief guest appearance, but beyond that, this feels like something of a wasted opportunity. Whitley is teamed with a truly superb illustrator here, and he needs to figure out how to play to her strengths quickly. Overall: 4.0 Recommendation: Pass
The Fall And Rise Of Captain Atom #2 (DC)** – After feeling more than a bit underwhelmed by the first issue of this six-parter, it’s nice to see veteran writer Cary Bates and his co-plotter, Greg Weisman, get a confident grasp on their storyline in short order with this time-travel yarn that does a much better job of laying out the particulars of where this book is headed than did the debut installment. Unfortunately, as we all know, second issues are lucky to garner half the readership of #1s, and it’s not like this was a blockbuster seller out of the gate. It also doesn’t help that artist Will Conrad’s illustrations are fairly standard-issue “New 52”-esque stuff. A welcome early-course correction, sure, but still far from an essential addition to your pull. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Read
The Flintstones #8 (DC)** – I was hoping this was where Mark Russell was going with his story, and in this latest issue he finally lays down a scathing critique of civilization itself, and a full-throated defense of hunter-gatherer life, that would make anarchist theorists like John Zerzan proud. A sub-plot involving Wilma’s strained relationship with her mother is admittedly underdeveloped and resolved a bit too quickly, but the main storyline is so solid, and Steve Pugh’s return to the artistic reins so welcome, that I still can’t help but absolutely love this comic, weaknesses and all. Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy
Batman # 16 (DC)** – Whaddya know? Tom King manages a nearly-flawless script for the first time since taking over DC’s most-prized assignment, with some terrific character “beats” for Bruce, Dick, Jason, Damian, and Alfred (the one member of the cast he’s always had a firm “handle” on), all of which lead up to a heck of a cliffhanger — unfortunately, David Finch is back on art, and when you consider that action sequences are all he’s really good at and the bulk of this issue involves our key players sitting around a table at a “Batburger” fast food joynt, well — let’s just say it doesn’t make for a very visually-involving comic. Still, I can’t help but feel optimistic about “I Am Bane” going forward — but this book has consistently let me down, so I’m very much taking a “wait-and-see” approach for the time being. Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read
Planet Of The Apes/ Green Lanterns (Boom /DC)– When crossovers are done right , they can be as good as the Cannonball Run movie with Jackie Chan, and this book aims to do the same . We catch up with Cornelius shortly after the events of the last movie, where he is trying to find his friend, but instead stumbles an ancient ring, not from his world. Hal Jordan, Guy Gardner and Kilowog are firefight with some Red Lanterns when his unexpected run-in with Sinestro leaves him in a strange new world. Although, this issue is whole lot of setup , it is so much fun watching these deft explorations of both canons. Overall: 10 Recommendation: 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 (**).