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.
Action Comics #968 (DC) When Rebirth began, I never expected Superman and the Green Lantern comics to emerge as my favourite books… but that’s what happened. Action Comics #968 is an action packed fight that builds on a lot of the previous issue’s plot points without ramming it down your throat. An excellent issue that sets the stage very well for what’s to come next.Overall: 8.75 Recommendation: Buy
After Death Book One (Image) Jeff Lemire and Scott Snyder team up to produce something that is as much prose book with pictures as it is a comic book, but it will completely take you away from your couch as you read this (though I’d recommend reading a physical copy); the art is superbly suited to the story with a water-coloured blends in fantastically as background art for the prose sections, yet works very well for the more traditional comic pages. The book is 825 years after death, and while the events that brought us to where the comic begins aren’t explained, yet, the back story is told by the prose sections of the comic in an almost journal like fashion, written by the main character; Jonah Cooke. After Death Book One is a fantastic read that clocks in at over 70 pages, and had me enthralled right till the very end. Highly, highly recommended. Overall: 9.75 Recommendation: Buy
The Goddamned #5 (Image) Holy shit, I forgot how brutal this series is. Issue five brings the first arc to a close probably later than was originally intended, and while I’d love to say that it closes with a bang… that’s not quite the case; although the more I think about it the better the ending actually is. This is a must read issue if you’ve been with The Goddamned from the start, but if you haven’t you’ll enjoy the trade quite a bit (probably more since you can read it all at once). Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy
Prowler #2 (Marvel) …. if you’re looking for an average story with some brilliant art, look no further. There’s nothing here that adds to the over all Clone Conspiracy arc, so the budget concious reading the event shouldn’t feel pressured into picking this up. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Flip through for the art, pass on the story.
Venom #1 (Marvel) This issue was far more interesting in terms of it’s concept than execution (but not by much). Unfortunately talking too much about that will rob the book of the realization it lets you have mid way through, so I’ll save that for next issue, but what I will say is that if you have a passing interest in Venom then you should read this. Venom #1 is a fantastic start to a new series, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say I had some reservations about the series’ future – but that’s a concern for another day. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy
Civil War 2 #7 (Marvel) – I don’t know if I enjoyed this more because it is finally almost over, or because things actually happened, but this issue was better than the last few. We get a very cool trip for Ulysses to a different place, which he couldn’t control, complete with the artist drawing these scenes from that title that I do not want to spoil. After that awesome cameo, and some information that puts Ulysses on a path to stop Carol Danvers from confronting Tony Stark, we are left with a very big moment at the end. There’s only one more issue left, and after all of the delays, and wasted issues, I just want the event to end and see what happens. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read
The Mighty Thor #13 (Marvel) – This issue has Steve Epting on art, and he is a fine artist, but I have become so used to Russell Dauterman on this series, that the change took me a bit to get used to. Dauterman is one of my favorite artists working today, so this may not distract everyone as much as it did me. This issue sets up some things with the League of Realms that will be working with Thor to stop Malekith, Loki, and company. While it was a little slower than what I am used to in this fantastic series, seeing Ud the Troll, Screwbeard, Angela, and other fun characters together was fun. Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy
Dept H #8 (Dark Horse) – The claustrophobic deep sea murder mystery continues. Matt and Sharlene Kindt have done a fabulous job with this series, and as water fills the base and everyone is doing what they can to survive, this issue mostly focuses on Bob. Fantastic art and water colors as always, and this book just keeps its pace up somehow and keeps me excited to read every month. Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy
Kingsway West #3 (Dark Horse) – This issue had been delayed a few weeks, and it did leave me trying to remember exactly what happened in the second issue. Once I got past that, this issue was fun. There’s not anything revolutionary by Pak and company, but there is an entertaining story thus far. This is a miniseries and I believe we only have one final issue coming, so it will be worth seeing how this ends. Will the gunslinging former soldier find his wife? Save all of the other people? I will be sticking around to see. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read
Hellboy and the BPRD 1954 #13 (Dark Horse)** – I’m a sucker for stories of the underbelly of the Perfect Fifties, which is why I’m here for this series. But the stories don’t go deep enough into it for me, and this issue is no exception. On the other hand: murderous ghost monkey. Overall: 7 Recommendation: read
Masked #1 (Titan) – Having lived in Paris, I’m a bit of a sucker for genre stories based there. But this super-hero/sci-fi mashup set in Paritropolis lacks a certain je ne sais quoi – maybe just the chaotic nature of the City of Lights. There’s a certain interesting idea of using Fantomas as a kind of Guy Fawkes-type symbol, and this military brat certainly appreciates characters who come from the French armed forces (yes, they have an army). But the story feels a mile wide and an inch deep, and unfocused. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: skip.
Superf*ckers Forever #4 (IDW)** – Into the Stupid Zone! SuperDan has taken the boys to Dimension Zero to find his sidekick Percy 2. But when Ultra Richard finds out the truth, he decides to go rogue, and Jack goes with him. Meanwhile, back at HQ, the girls get up to smashing stuff. This feels like a placeholder issue, with the mayhem hopefully to come soon. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: read.
Cage! #2 (Marvel)** – Genndy Tartakovsky unleashes more mind-bending fun with a psychedelic, far-ranging second issue that’s certainly a feast for the eyes — but can be read in all of about two minutes. Worth a look for sure — but better to do so when it comes out in trade, as this just simply ain’t worth four bucks. Overall: 6. Recommendation: Read.
Vigilante Southland #2 (DC)** – Gary Phillips and Elena Casagrande plunge us deeper into their modern-day, inner-city updating on “Chinatown” with a second issue that’s considerably more clunky to read than the first, but the art more than picks up the slack of the story and the proceedings remain uniformly intriguing and reasonably authentic to the urban experience. Overall: 7. Recommendation: Read
Lake Of Fire #4 (Image)** – The penultimate chapter of Nathan Fairbairn and Matt Smith’s sword-and-sorcery-meets-Lovecraftian-sci-fi epic delivers an action-packed and admittedly breezy sprint toward the finish line, but it’s all kinds of breakneck-paced fun and sets things up for what promises to be a memorable conclusion. Overall: 8. Recommendation: Buy
Jim Thompson’s The Killer Inside Me #3 (IDW)** – Devin Faraci and Vic Malhorta have been doing a bang-up job with their extremely faithful adaptation of this still-shocking pulp novel, and this third issue is no exception as our protagonist’s descent into a hell of his own making locks itself in an iron grip around him even as it seems like he’s about to get away with everything. Cringe-worthy stuff, in the best possible way. Overall: 8. Recommendation: Buy
Athena Voltaire and The Volcano Goddess #1 (Action Lab): I remember listening to the serial radio dramas with my Grandfather when I was a kid, especially The Shadow and Modesty Blaise, on his old 45 player. Since then, the closest to those dramas, we have is Indiana Jones and Allan Quartermain , so when I read a few months ago that a Kickstarter for Athena Voltaire, it definitely piqued my interest.In the first issue, we catch-up with Athena as she fights a gargoyle and a plot which involves Nazis. By issue’s end, Athena quickly finds out just what power the Volcano Goddess has and how many people want it.
Overall: 9.4 Recommendation: Buy
Cage!#2 (Marvel):When I heard Grady Tartatovsky was doing a his own run on Luke Cage, I was more than excited as I was a fan of Samurai Jack. So when I read the first issue, I was distracted by the blaxploitation references, but I had to remember the character’s origins. So in the second issue, our hero gets caught up in a wooden box, and sent on a mysterious island to be part of a hunt.By issue’s end, Luke suffers a hallucination before succumbing to the real reason why they brought him there. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Read
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 (**).