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Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 9/16

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.


 

Alex

PESTILENCE_04Old Man Logan #28 (Marvel)** The last Marvel comic on my pull list these days, and were it not for a very sentimental attachment to Wolverine I’d have likely dropped it awhile back for no other reason than I’ve largely stopped reading Marvel. That said, I’m still really enjoying this series, and seeing Old Man Logan back with Hawkeye again as they confront the Hulk Gang is a nostalgic throwback for the reader (and possibly Logan). Ultimately, a really solid book – and one I don’t regret picking up in the least. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

Pestilence #4 (Aftershock)** There’s something to be said about reading about zombies in the medieval times. Frank Tieri has always been hit or miss for me (though truthfully far more hit than miss), and this series one of the hits. The covers are always brilliantly well done and the interior art, to me at least, has an almost Mignola feel to it. If you want something a bit different from the spandex and capes of the Big Two then you could do a lot worse than this medieval zombie story. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Ryan C

Briggs Land: Lone Wolves #4 (Dark Horse)** – Brian Wood and guest artist extraordinaire Vanessa R. Del Rey (way to leave her name off the cover, Dark Horse) deliver a stunning stand-alone story about a teenage girl looking to get off “The Land” to have an abortion that depicts the topic with the intelligence and sensitivity that it deserves while eschewing any sign of preachiness. Highly skilled stuff, wonderfully illustrated, with no easy answers provided. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Harrow County #25 (Dark Horse)** – Cullen Bunn and Tyler Crook celebrate a milestone issue in their rural horror series with a story that not only moves, but downright propels, the narrative forward into dizzyng new territory. I’ve been “on the harrow county 25.jpgfence” about this book for some time despite Crook’s utterly gorgeous art, but as of now, I’m “all in” again, no question. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Action Comics #987 (DC)** – Lenticularize me, baby! Or, ya know, don’t, since the first issue of the much-hyped “The Oz Effect” storyline is the very definition of comic book mediocrity. Viktor Bogdanovic’s art has a little bit more personality (and a little bit less technical proficiency) than most “Rebirth” stuff, but Dan Jurgens’ script is rote and predictable in the extreme, even if “Mr. Oz” doesn’t turn out to be exactly who you assumed he was. In addition, they seem to have laidall their cards on the table with their “big reveal” on the final page of this issue, and it’s hard to see where they go from here — as well as why I should care. Overall: 4 Recommendation: Pass

Mister Miracle #2 (DC)** – Tom King and Mitch Gerads settle things down a bit after their “Mulholland Drive”-esque first issue, but it’s still fairly obvious that all is not quite as it appears here. Orion is running the show on New Genesis now, Granny Goodness apparently ain’t so bad, and Barda doesn’t really get killed even though it looks like she does for a minute there. Certainly interesting stuff, but I’m not sure “dialing back” the high weirdness was the right call (hey, time will tell), and Gerads’ art, while certainly damn good for the most part, is so murky in the final two panels that it’s hard to discern what’s even going on in the big “cliffhanger” ending. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

Patrick

Mage: The Hero Denied #2 (Image)** – I’m up in the air over this one, but I think so is Kevin. On the one hand, he likes his quiet family life, so he’s trying to minimize the threats he’s facing. On the other, he has to take the necessary steps to protect his family. I think that it’s just that Matt Wagner hasn’t seemed to make up his mind yet about what MageTheHeroDenied_02-1Kevin wants most and what he’s prepared to do to get it, so the story is passive and reactive. There are just enough interesting hooks to keep me going, though: I love Mags’ magic crockpot, for instance, and Kevin’s relationship with his son is complex and real. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

Kill Or Be Killed #12 (Image)** – This issue is strictly prosaic and procedural, which isn’t a bad thing necessarily, coming from Ed Brubaker. Dylan starts hitting back at the Russians, and he and Kira inch closer. But Sean Phillips’ portrayal of Dylan struck me: he looks ten years older and seriously haunted, especially sitting next to Kira at the movies. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy.

Time & Vine #3 (IDW)** – The mystery – that of Megan’s Aunt Alice – kind of… meanders along here. Three issues in, I’m starting to wonder what this story is really about and what’s driving it. The historical vignettes are interesting – we go back to 1863 and a meeting of the Emancipation Society of New York to talk about slavery, suffrage, and economics – but I’m starting to lose the emotional connection. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Pass

Christopher

Dept H #18 (Dark Horse) Writer and Artist: Matt Kindt Just when you thought things couldn’t get worse, they give you a view of the surface world as a tease. Showing how they have reacted to the H-virus, as it spreads. As what may be their last hope for surfacing falls short. This series continues to draw me, as it progresses. Hopefully, with only two issues scheduled to remain after this, we will be shown how things end. Overall: 8.5 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 (**).

Underrated: Comics Not In Diamond’s Top 200 Sellers In August

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: Comics not in Diamonds top 100 sellers for June.


This week we’re going to be looking at a list of comics that are all fantastic, but don’t get the attention that they deserve. Now I’m not even going to pretend to have a definitively exhaustive list of underrated comics here, because we’re hoping  that you decide to check at least one of these series out next time you’re looking for something new either online or at your LCS, and giving you a huge list to check out would be counter productive to that. Instead, you’ll find four to six comics that are worth your attention that failed to crack the top 100 in sales. You’ll notice that there’s only one comic from a publisher featured – this was done to try and spread the love around, rather than focus exclusively on one publisher.

Where possible, I’ve also avoided comics that have appeared on the last version of this list, but the only hard stipulation for this week: not one of the comics made it into the top 100 for May’s comic sales, according to Comichron, which is why tresspasser 2they’re Underrated.

Trespasser #2 (Alterna)
August Sales Rank/Comics Sold: Unknown
The series about a father and his daughter struggling to survive in a post plague world on a farm, or in the rural countryside, when they’re visited by a harmless injured alien (a little green man type of alien to be specific). After starving for so long, once the alien leaves the family have some food again… The comic is a psychologically chilling tale that explores how far you would be willing to go to provide for your family, and whether sometimes a short term gain is really worth the anguish it will cause eventually.

SexCriminals_20-1.pngSex Criminals #20 (Image)
August Sales Rank/Comics Sold: 297/5,691
When the two lead characters have sex they freeze time; the first time this happens they decide to rob  a bank (because why not?). The series has developed into a cult following, and it’s quality far exceeds the sales numbers on show here.

Unholy Grail #2 (Aftershock)
August Sales Rank/Comics Sold: 254 /7,340
Set around the legend of King Arthur and Merlyn, this series reimagines the old wizard as a demon inhabiting an old man’s flesh. Kinda creepy, but a whole lot of awesome. If you’re a fan of comics without superheroes you could do a lot worse than checking this series out.

DIVINITY_ZERO_COVER-A_RYPDivinity #0 (Valiant)
August Sales Rank/Comics Sold: 229 /8,692
Valiant’s Divinity is a fantastic story that spans three four issue miniseries, and four tie-in comics, which could be a little intimidating if you were to dive into them all at once (but it’s totally worth doing, however) which is where this zero issue comes into play. By giving you an in-story overview of the event Divinity #0 will both prepare you for the next chapter in this exciting series and refresh (or bring you up to date) with the story so far.

 


Unless the comics industry ceases any and all publication look for a future installment of Underrated to cover more comics that aren’t cracking the top 100.

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 9/9

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.


Ryan C

BM_Cv30_dsBatman #30 (DC)** – It seems we’re getting as many “interludes” with “The War Of Jokes And Riddles” as we are actual chapters, but I probably shouldn’t complain too much since these Kite-Man stories are a lot better than the confused and disjointed main narrative which just can’t seem to gel. Tom King seems to have a real handle for this character, and Clay and Seth Mann’s art is sharp and striking. As a stand-alone, then, this is plenty good, but as part of the larger narrative, it just adds one more ingredient (albeit a better one) to a murky stew of storytelling. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Read

World Reader #6 (Aftershock)** – A surprising and quite good wrap-up to Jeff Loveness and Juan Doe’s series that features beautiful, “trippy” cosmic illustration and leaves things on a decidedly metaphysical note. A quick read, to be sure, but one that asks some fairly profound questions and provides no easy answers. My kind of thing all the way. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Postal #22 (Top Cow/Image)** – Another strong issue of the most consistently-underrated comic around, as Bryan Hill and Isaac Goodhart build up to what’s starting to feel very much like a conclusion. Or perhaps just a conclusion to this book as we know it before taking things in a whole new direction? Whatever the case may be, big trouble is headed for Eden, Wyoming, and both creators are hitting a nice stride as the tension ramps up. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy.

Outcast #30 (Skybound/Image) – After a nice run where things really seemed to be happening at a breakneck pace, Robert Kirkman has reverted to his dull and laconic storytelling style with this one, and the dialogue is clunky and contrived as shit. It seems Kyle Barnes is welcoming a new addition to his little makeshift army of exorcists and a new “main bad guy” is on the scene, but whatever. This issue is so poorly scripted that I dare you to care about what’s happening in it. Paul Azaceta’s art continues to be nicely moody bordering on the abstract, but in this installment he’s simply not given much interesting stuff to draw. One big yawn. Overall: 4 Recommendation: Pass

Logan

giant days 30Giant Days #30 (BOOM! Studios)– The latest Giant Days is a delightful bit of relationship drama stew from writer John Allison with the usual hilarious reaction shots by artists Max Sarin and Liz Fleming. Daisy’s German girlfriend Ingrid is becoming a little too much for her friends Susan and Esther, whose respective affair with her ex-boyfriend McGraw and friendship with his current girlfriend Emilia all come to a head in one of the more serialized issues of the series. And it works thanks to years of character developments, and laugh out loud visual comedy like the goth Esther transforming into witch phase, shower curtain wearing Stevie Nicks as she tries to keep all the drama straight. Overall: 8.6 Recommendation: Buy

4 Kids Walk Into A Bank #5 (Black Mask)– Matthew Rosenberg and Tyler Boss’ juvenile crime/80s period piece comes to a close in dark, exciting fashion. There’s plenty of great pop culture references per usual and some fun uses of nine panel grids for heist planning. However, shit gets real about 2/3 through the book, and there are real consequences to Paige and company’s actions Best of all, Rosenberg and Boss avoid the cardinal sin that some heist stories (Reservoir Dogs gets a pass, obviously) and show the bank robbery in all its glory and tragedy instead of just yammering about it. Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Patrick

Black Magick #7 (Image) – “Sometimes you need to make a flame.” That is the BlackMagick_07-1understatement of the issue. Greg Rucka and Nicola Scott continue their fascinating occult police procedural. What I dig about this series is how totally grounded and un-pulp-y it is (unlike, say, Weird Detective). Its magic has nothing to do with mysticism: it’s methodical and precise and not for nothing is the word “work” used to describe it. I trust this team that, in the image of this issue, the slow burn of the series will get explosive soon. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Lazarus X+66 #2 (Image) – Greg Rucka has created a raft of tortured and compromised characters for the world of Lazarus, and he’s at his best when he’s exploring the themes of “duty”. So it was great to get a look at Joacquim Morray’s return to his family. It’s pretty emotionally messed-up: though they of course created Joacquim as a Lazarus, they make him feel heartless and mechanical as if he had a choice in the matter; though they forced him to betray Forever, they now require him to prove his loyalty to them. Really nice. Mack Chater’s art is, I think, too Lark-like for what I want out of this sidecar series. If Rucka is going to explore the nooks and crannies of his world, I would like to see art that diverges from the mainline as well. It’s not bad, just not bold enough for me. Overall 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Lady Killer Vol 2 #5 (Dark Horse) – DAYUM Joëlle Jones! The first 4 pages of this one are my favourite thing of the week, and a perfect, quiet introduction to the sheer mayhem that follows. Simply impeccable and full of gorgeous brutality. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Stray Bullets #27 (Image/El Capitan) – So Kretch and Annie hit the road and things go badly wrong immediately. David Lapham takes two emotionally damaged people, gives them some pretty serious physical damage, and then finds a way to have them try to have nice things. Spoiler alert: David Lapham’s characters cannot have nice things. Another clusterf*ck issue of a magnificently f*cked up series. Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

New Teen Titans TP Vol 7 (DC Comics) – One of the two last great Wolfman/Perez Titans stories, “The Judas Contract”, is reprinted here, along with its weaker coda, “The End of the H.I.V.E.”. What blows my mind about this period is that, while they were closing the loop on the Trigon/Raven story begun in the Preview and NTT #1 in comic shops, at the very same time they were sending Dick Grayson on his new path as Nightwing AND ending the Terminator/H.I.V.E. story begun in NTT #2. All that was left after this was to give Donna Troy her happy ending, which we’ll see in vol 8. Perez’ covers, inking himself, are stunning. I remember when these were coming out and noticing inkers for the first time. Romeo Tanghal left big shoes to fill. Dick Giordano did a great job on the first 3 parts of “Judas” but I always thought Mike DeCarlo’s style just imposed itself too much on Perez’ pencils. Bonus: the Steve Rude one-shot! Overall: 7.5 (the second story is just too GENERATIONS iron.jpgweak) Recommendation: Buy

Shean

Generations : Ironman/Ironheart #1 (Marvel)-In a true example of quantum physics, Riri Williams get sent to the future, one in which Doctor Strange is 126 years old. The Sorcerer Supreme uses his powers to pull her into a battle with Morgan Le Fay. Although they win the battle, the war is far from over. As she consults with an even older Steve Rogers, she soon realizes the power of change is in her hands. By books’ end, she returns to the present, only to find Tony Stark has gone missing. Overall: 9.2 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 (**).

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 9/2

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.


Ryan C

rebels6.jpgSecret Empire #10 (Marvel) – So Nick Spencer and his bosses at Marvel editorial decided we needed one more issue of this nonsense than the originally-solicited nine, I guess, and aside from the fact that the army of artists (specifically Steve McNiven, Rod Reis, David Marquez, Paco Medina, and Ron Lim) at least turn in competent work for the most part, the best you can say for this thoroughly uninspired, predictably-resolved mess is — hey, at least it’s over with. Overall: 2 Recommendation: Pass. I purchased my copy, dumb-ass that I am.

Ringside #11 (Image)** – I’m honestly surprised that Joe Keatinge and Nick Barber are continuing this series with a new arc given that a) it almost never comes out, and b) doesn’t sell worth a damn when it does, but at least all the various characters in this wrestling-themed book have interesting, if apparently quite disparate,”arcs” — unfortunately, the farther Barber’s art devolves into pure abstraction (and not the interesting sort of abstraction, just the lazy one), the more difficult it gets to justify shelling out $3.99 a pop for this stuff. Overall: 4 Recommendation: Pass

Rebels: These Free And Independent States #6 (Dark Horse)** – Apparently Brian Wood and Andrea Mutti are wrapping up the second iteration of their Revolutionary War-era historical with a smattering of short stories just as they did last time, and this one, entitled “The Virginian,” is an especially good one, focusing on what a self-serving, reckless, back-stabbing, and arrogant asshole a young George Washington was. Not sure how accurate all the details are, but it’s gotta be more truthful than the old “I can’t tell a lie, I did chop down the cherry tree” yarn. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Generations: The Archers #1 (Marvel)** – Kelly Thompson and Stefano Raffaele give us the first one of these vaguely-connected oversized one-shots that’s actually worth a damn, and while it’s still a thowaway story quickly put to wraps, at least the characterization and dialogue are equal parts charming and effective, and the art is smooth-flowing and nicely expressive. Not worth five bucks by any stretch, but not worthless, as the rest of them have essentially been. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Read

 

Shean

Black-Panther-17-2017.jpgBlack Panther #17 (Marvel)– Wakanda has been in disarray for some time and T’Challa’s problems keep piling up. We find out the gods of Wakanda have gone missing, and the portals they have protected has been left unguarded, allowing rogues from T’Challa’s past to come through as well as other supernatural creatures.Lucky for him and Wakanda, Storm has come back into his life as his companion but also as queen and goddess for a people looking for a deity to believe. By books end, a fight with spider like creatures has affirmed T’Challa’s and Ororo’s belief in their path as heroes. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Black Panther and the Crew #6 (Marvel) this series is probably one for the best to come from Marvel in a while and as this is the last issue, it ends on its strengths. We get a history lesson as we find out that the Crew Frank was part of, became broken and some, even corrupt.We also return to modern day, as the all new all different crew, with Black Panther, Luke Cage, Misty Knight, Manifold,and Storm fight Americops. One of Ezra’s nephews were behind the chaos in Harlem and for now, Hydraulic plans are foiled. 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 (**).

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 8/19

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.


Ryan C

shipwreck5Shipwreck #5 (Aftershock)** – The fifth issue of Warren Ellis and Phil Hester’s dimension-hopping odyssey is a similarly breezy read to the first four, but it certainly looks bleakly gorgeous and both the plot and characterization are beyond intriguing. The one big problem? This title comes out so infrequently, and reads so quickly, that I can’t justify picking it up in singles from a financial perspective. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Pass — but only for now; you’ll definitely want to buy this when it comes out in trade.

The Hard Place #1 (Image/12-Gauge)** – I’m a sucker for “ex-cons trying to stick to the straight and narrow” stories, and the first issue of Doug Wagner and Nic Rummel’s new mini-series promises to be a terrific addition to that genre. Rummel’s art is a bit rough around the edges but works nicely for this sort of material, and Wagner’s script has a nicely authentic “street-level” feel. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Plastic #5 (Image/12-Gauge)** – Speaking of Doug Wagner-scripted crime books, this one that he’s had going with Daniel Hillyard wraps up nicely, if a bit predictably, since our deranged protagonist and his sex-doll “girlfriend” were obviously doomed from the start. Still, it’s a good, if bizarre, read, gorgeously illustrated. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read 

Underwinter #6 (Image)** – Ray Fawkes wraps up the first arc of this harrowing horror series with a gut-wrenching conclusion that seems to leave little to no path forward — so I’ll be curious to see where and how he picks things back up, because it could end here and feel like a fairly complete story. Frankly this is fairly devastating stuff, and while I admit that Fawkes’ art is an acquired taste, I think it fits his subject matter to a proverbial “T.” Good and grim, just how I like it. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Shean

generations thorGenerations: The Unworthy Thor and Mighty Thor #1 (Marvel) Two Thors walk into a room, Yada Yada Yada, what could be a joke of a story provides new revelations into the character we know own and the character we are still getting to know. In a convergence of time and space, Thor(Unworthy) and Thor(Mighty) are called to Egypt in a battle with Apocalypse who has amassed an army to fight our heroes.What Mighty Thor soon finds out that the Princeton Of Lies is behind this recent skirmish. By story’s end, the reader gets into the minds of both characters which reveals a secret of Odin.
Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Deadpool Kills The Marvel Universe Again #4 (Marvel) We find Wade Wilson still being mind controlled by the Cabal Of villains but this time inhabiting the armor of Ultron.He ends up taking out just about all the Avengers and what us hilariously depicted, thr kid heroes of the Marvel Universe. Gwenpool ends up intervening realizing that the Tinkerer is the mastermind behind his current condition. By the end of the issue, Deadpool kills a few more heroes but finally breaks free of their control and his purpose has turned back on his oppressors. Overall: 9.5 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 (**).

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 8/19

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.


Ryan C

iwishiwasjoking.jpgBatman #29 (DC)** – Didn’t we already have an “interlude” in the middle of “The War Of Jokes And Riddles” a couple issues back? Well, this “extended-set-piece” issue feels like another one. It’s reasonably clever in terms of its construction, but not earth-shattering, and Tom King’s dialogue often feels stunted and slightly “off.” The idea of Bruce Wayne and his most of his rogues’ gallery sitting down to dinner doesn’t give Mikel Janin much to dig his considerably artistic chops into, either. All told, this is just more running in place. Overall: 4 Recommendation: Pass

Dark Nights: Metal #1 (DC)** – I guess as far as crossover “event” stories go, this one’s not too bad — but as far as comics go, it’s not too good. Scott Snyder’s laborious script is loaded with enough continuity baggage to make even fanbys-turned-pros of the past like Roy Thomas blush, Greg Capullo’s art is a solid notch or tow beneath his previous “Batman” work (and the cover is positively awful), and the “cliffhanger” ending, while surprising, isn’t especially smart in that it opens a whole can of worms that a lot of readers — myself included — would just as well see left alone. Overall: 4.5 Recommendation: Pass

 I Wish I Was Joking #1 (Poochie Press)** – Don’t look now, but Tom Van Deusen might just be the funniest carttonist in the business. Toning down his obviously-exaggerated “asshole persona” from previous books, here he’s very nearly likable as he conducts (okay, concocts, since they’re all fake) interviews with vapid media celebrities like Dave Matthews, Jeff Bezos, and the cast of MTV’s “The Real World : Seattle” that portray them to be every bit the dickheads we know they are, but do so in a manner far more clever, and less directly insulting, than one would expect. Subtlety is a new weapon in the Van Deusen artistic war chest, and he wields it very skillfully indeed — and his art keeps imporving with each successive project, as well. Definitely “must-buy” material. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Briggs Land: Lone Wolves #3 (Dark Horse)** – An immensely satisfying wrap-up to the second three-issue “arc” of this series (Jesus, though — are we going to get a new “first” issue every four months?) sees Brian Wood and Mack Chater coming up with a damn smart and unexpected way to resolve the hostage stand-off at the core of this story, and the final few pages over tantalizing clues as to what each character is thnking — and may be prepared to do — going forward. Way better than any comic about a white separtist sect has any right to be, and Chater’s art suits the gritty and authentic tone of Woods’ Spy_Seal_01_cvr_FULLscript to a proverbial “T.” Ready-for-TV melodrama doesn’t get much better than this. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Ben

Spy Seal #1 (Image) Most ideas we have as teenagers aren’t worth reviving, but that’s not the case for Rich Tommaso’s new Image series. “Spy Seal” #1 is a colorful, quirky debut that aesthetically harkens to Herge’s “Tintin” while having modern sensibilities in pacing. The story is a little predictable in terms of cold war-era spy thrillers, but manages to keep the reader informed on what’s happening. Characterization is light, but it gets better in the later half of the issue. The real issue are some of the tired cliches of fridging/harming women in order to advance the male protagonist’s story. Reviving old school styles and narratives shouldn’t mean repeating their mistakes. Overall, I recommend “Spy Seal” on the pure amount of joy you get from the reading experience. It shines with the eagerness of a creator fully invested in his concept and manages to pull off an appeal to both the adult side of us that enjoys a good mystery along with the inner child that grew up on cartoons of talking animals. Overall: 9

Shean

Luke Cage #4 ( Marvel)-When Luke goes to New Orleans for his the funeral of the scientist who gave him powers, he finds more than he expects. As he is reunited with Warhawk, he soon finds our that Dr. Bursting has kept on experimenting. As he is introduced to KevLar, a younger version of himself who has joined a street gang. As the this family reunion of sorts endures some skirmishes, the reason fight is the evil organization looking to take them out. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Gwenpool #19 (Marvel) – In this issue, Gwenpool breaks the fourth wall and enters an alternate universe. Teddy ends up showing her more than what she expected as she finds out about the different circumstances her family would have taken. Also, in this world, she is actually a villain and Spider-Man’s main tormentor. He traps her to kill her but what both don’t see coming is a another version of herself from her comic showing up. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

George

generations wolverineGenerations: Wolverine & All-New Wolverine (Marvel) It’s all about the last few pages, the interaction between Logan and Laura throughout the book is great, but the ending is the best payoff of this Generations event so far. If you didn’t get it go back and pick it up.

Dark Knight: Metal #1 (DC) And here we are again with another mega crisis that will change the DCU as we know it, again. To be fair, the previous comics Dark Days: The Forge and The Casting setup this great premise of a dark corner of the DCU and some type of connection to Nth metal and Batman. Not sure how far down this rabbit hole I’m going to go but Snyder knows how to tell a story and Capullo and Glapion turn in solid art. If you like big events, this will be right up your alley.

Christopher

Dept H # 17 (Dark Horse) Writer and Artist: Matt Kindt While their only way out is charging up, the story jumps to the past. Revealing the history of Lily, and her tragic past with different more vibrant color schemes. Along with showing how Mia and Lily bonded as kids. Despite some incidents with Hari along the way, one thing is certain she didn’t kill him. Now with the H-virus spreading, will they finally be allowed to surface, or is humanity doomed? Overall: 8.5

 

 


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 (**).

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 8/6

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.

 

Ryan C

Redlands_01-1Redlands #1 (Image)** – Not sure what to make of this one yet. On the one hand, Vanessa R. Del Rey’s free-flowing and expressive artwork is gorgeous, and Jordie Bellaire’s colors are always top-notch. It’s as a writer, however, that Bellaire clearly has something of a learning curve ahead of her — plunging us into the middle of the action right off the bat, we never learn many of the characters’ names, have no clue as to their motivations, and frankly, beyond some sort of siege on a redneck sheriff’s station, we don’t even get much of an idea of what’s going on, never mind why. The creators seem to have an admirable agenda that they’re working towards here, but they have a long way to go to get readers invested in it and at $3.99 a pop, I simply wasn’t given a clear enough idea of the basic premise of this comic to justify sticking with it. Overall: 4. Recommendation: Pass.

 The Divided States Of Hysteria #3 (Image)** – Whoever’s still left reading Howard Chaykin’s latest will find this installment to be something of a bummer as very little happens by means of plot progression, and all we get is a re-hash of the few particulars we already know. Okay, everyone’s a bastard — we get that much. Beyond that, all this issue does is run in place. Still love Chaykin’s art and Ken Bruzenak’s one-of-a-kind lettering and effects, though. Overall: 5. Recommendation: Buy if you’ve come this far, pass if you haven’t.

Unholy Grail #2 (Aftershock)** – I’m really digging Cullen Bunn and Mirko Colak’s revisionist take on the Arthurian legend, and like the first issue, this one successfully “time-jumps” around to fill us in on all the particulars in a breezy, rapid-fire manner. Colak’s lavish artwork is definitely the star of the show here, but the script does what it needs to in order to maintain your interest, as well. Overall: 7.5. Recommendation: Buy.

Grass Kings #6 (Boom! Studios)** – Matt Kindt and Tyler Jenkins wrap up the first arc of their series in fine style as the showdown between our drop-outs and local law enforcement comes to a head, with potentially far-reaching consequences for all parties involved. There’s some great character development in this issue, and Kindt delivers at least one genuinely touching moment, all aided and abetted by Jenkins’ gorgeous and moody watercolor art. Overall: 8. Recommendation: Buy.

Patrick

 Kill Or Be Killed #11 (Image)** – And here we are, right back where we came in, with the fight in #1. Although our guy Dylan is trying to get his life back together, get back on his meds, catch up on his schoolwork, go to a party with his ex, his demon just won’t let him be. Nothing spectacular, just a solid issue that sets up the third arc quite nicely. Overall: 8 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 (**).

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 8/6

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.

Alex

Generations Banner Hulk & Totally Awesome Hulk #1 (Marvel) If this is how the rest of the Generations series goes, I’ll happily continue to ignore it. An utterly pointless comic that either suffers from Secret Empire not actually being over or from being the beginning of a poor emulation of DC’s Rebirth. Save yourself some money and walk away from this – I’d have been furious if I’d have plonked down money for this, but instead I’m merely miffed that I’ve wasted my time reading a review copy. Overall: 4 Recommendation: Pass

Ryan C

HadriansWall_08-1Hadrian’s Wall #8 (Image)** – Having wrapped up the “whodunnit?” portion of their story in this series’ penultimate issue, Kyle Higgins, Alec Siegel, and Bill Sienkiew — sorry, Rod Reis — focus on the personal side of things for their highly satisfying, lavishly-illustrated conclusion. The result? A comic that definitely exits on a very high note indeed. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Black Bolt #4 (Marvel)** – Saladin Ahmed and Christian Ward take a side-step with this issue into the backstory of Crusher Creel, as told from his point of view, and it’s absolutely awesome. Gorgeous art, compelling characterization, razor-sharp dialogue, and a gut-punch of an ending that shows just how much of a bastard our ostensible “hero” can be. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Batman #28 (DC)** – You knew the good times wouldn’t last, and with this segment of “The War Of Jokes And Riddles,” Tom King slides back into the kind of rudderless, slipshod writing that’s characterized far too much of his run on this book to date. Gorgeous art from Mikel Janin with innovative layouts and stirring action sequences aren’t enough to save this sorry installment of a storyline that suddenly seems in danger of completely going off the rails. Overall: 4 Recommendation: Pass

Elsewhere #1 (Image)** – Jay Faerber and Sumeyye Kesgin appear to have a winner on their hands if the first issue of their immediately-charming “Amelia Earhart washes up in cosmic fantasyland” story is anything to go by. Quick, pacy,and fun storytelling with spot-on characterization and lushly-rendered art makes for a very compelling opening salvo indeed, and I can’t wait to see where this one goes from here. Killer cliffhanger, too! Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

nick fury 5 comic.jpgShean

Nick Fury #5 (Marvel)– Vacation time is usually a signal to most people for some respite and relaxation. Not so much for spies, as their minds stay working most rooms as is the case with Fury in this issue. As he is ordered to take a vacation, everything is not what it seems. As his bosses have sent him to a town where everyone, and I mean everyone is an assassin, even the little kids, as this issue proves despite the faults that Marvel has enacted on other books and characters, they know exactly what to do with Fury and how to do it right. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Patrick

Stray Bullets #26 (Image/El Capitan)** – Just like clockwork, when you think that a) things can’t get any worse and b) you can never like these horrible characters, David Lapham comes up with the goods. It never feels forced; Kretchmeyer and Annie really are the worst, but their characters are so clear and they are so obviously in way over their heads that a crazy humanity shines through. Kretch: “I always have this nagging feeling… that I’m doing something wrong.” Annie: “I never feel that way.” OH, DAMN. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

StrayBulletsSNR_26-1Sex Criminals #20 (Image)** – Even when they don’t succeed, Fraction & Zdarsky are always trying something. But I think two things are getting in my way these days: their formal experiments and their plotting. I have the feeling that both of these things are being laid on top of what are very strong and interesting characters and a very necessary theme. What Dr. Kincaid says is, I think, true of this book as well: the creators are spending so much time chasing a “that” when all I really want is for it to be about “us”. When Matt and Chip just spend time with the actual human beings in the book, they are really brilliant. But they can’t seem to resist undercutting their own humanity with corny jokes and their need for “plot” and “action”. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

 Love and Rockets #3 (Fantagraphics)** – And here I thought Jaime had nothing more to say about the old punk days in Hoppers, and now all I want is more stories about Del Chimney and the Island of Lost Souls. His take on superheroes in “Animus” is breathtaking, like old black and white Mara Corday movies. There’s something so weird and pure about it, just moving from one strange confrontation to the next – but his figure drawing is so grounded, his characters have such actual weight, that what could be just cartoonish becomes really horrific. On the Beto side, it looks like all of his Baby and Fritz stories are leading us back to Palomar, and none too soon for my tastes. Where Jaime’s characters are grounded, Beto’s seem to be floating; but that’s not exactly a weakness, either. It feels to me like there’s a cord that’s been cut, that the characters are bereft and mournful – and that the last panel in this issue, Baby and Rosario in silhouette, holding hands and walking away, is the most real thing Beto’s drawn in a while. Overall: 8 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 (**).

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 7/29

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.

Ryan C

black hammer 11.jpgBlack Hammer #11 (Dark Horse)** – Jeff Lemire and Dean Ormston deliver a sparse but hearbreaking/warming tale of Barbalien’s tortured past and Golden Gail’s tortured present, and while this issue lacks the shocking “big reveals” the last few have, it’s nevertheless a very poignant story, beautifully illustrated. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Rebels: These Free And Independent States #5 (Dark Horse)** – Brian Wood and Andrea Mutti wrap up the story of John Abbott in a way that’s so satisfactory, it’s a veritable comic book storytelling clinic. A happy ending never felt so good — and it looks just as good as it reads. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Secret Empire #7 (Marvel)** – Hmmmm, so Miles Morales’ prophetic “vision” finally comes true, a major character is killed off (for now, you know it won’t last), and Sam Wison re-emerges as Captain America. By all respects, this should be a “big” issue, but it sure doesn’t feel like one. That’s no fault of Andrea Sorrentino and Rod Reis, both of whom do a solid job on art, but damn, is Nick Spencer’s script flat and inherently anti-climactic. Get this thing over with already, please. Overall: 3.5 Recommendation: Pass

‘Namwolf #4 (Albatross)** – A solid, if unspectacular, conclusion to Fabian Rangle Jr. and Logan Foerber’s infectiously likable absurdist four-parter ties up all loose ends with relative ease while leaving things open to a potential sequel, should sales warrant it. Fun, colorful, goofy and gory stuff that’s thoroughly predictable, but no less enjoyable for that fact. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Patrick

Captain Canuck Season 3 #1 (Chapterhouse) – So Captain Canuck has retired for reasons and returned to a reserve in central Manitoba to be a hero on a micro-local scale. Very interesting and welcome for writer Kalman Andrasofszky to point out the horrible conditions on many Canadian Native reserves, and for suggesting that Tom would be in the running for band leader. More of this, please! But on the other hand, we then have some kind of alien “incursion” or something that’s tearing up Toronto for reasons? I get that you’ve got to do your plot, but I’m more convinced than ever that plot is mostly boring and no substitute for characters being active agents in their own stories. The only choices Andrasofszky leaves Canuck are to resist (unconvincingly) or to accept the mission – but not until after a few first-we-fight-then-we-team-up pages with Northguard. Leonard Kirk’s art is great as usual. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

Freelance #4 (Chapterhouse) – So Lance’s past is supposed to be all mysterious and stuff? Yeah, okay, I’ll go with that. Here we get another riff on the old “you were born to rule the humans” trope: superior man-god from a lost civilization/dimension who has fallen in love with humanity, or, in this case, the twist is that Lance is in love with one Fantomah-_1_1024x1024man in particular. Which is nice to see in a mainstream-type comic, of course. But I’d like to see this series be a bit more freewheeling and really deliver on its premise of globetrotting adventure. Vaneda Vireak & Cindy Leong’s art still looks rushed to me and I wonder if they consider that a bug or a feature. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

Fantomah #1 (Chapterhouse) – When you decide to serve up a new version of a Fletcher Hanks character, I expect off-the-rails crazy. SPOILER ALERT: This is not, not one iota, crazy. So what are Ray Fawkes and Soo Lee serving up? It looks like an L.A.-based revenge tragedy, with none of the Mystery Woman of the Jungle stuff. Rather, it looks like we’re going to get a take on La Muerte because L.A. and skull-face woman. Or – as next issue is “The Weeping Woman” – is it La Llorona? Some kind of mishmash of the two? In any case, it falls between the cracks for me – there’s not enough going on either externally or, in the case of its main character Paz Gallegos, internally, to be a really effective revenge tragedy. And Soo Lee’s art depicts L.A. as curiously quiet and empty, with figure work that is neither slick enough to be really mainstream nor rough enough to be really alternative. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Read

 The Pitiful Human-Lizard #14 (Chapterhouse)** – Now this is how it’s done. If you haven’t read #13, go back and get it – the entire thing happens on a streetcar heading home, and our hero is asleep for like, half of it. Amazing. In this issue, we are with Lady Accident, a telekinetic teacher, battling the evil that is Toronto Twittersphere star Eaton Peepers (nice!) – who is trying to keep his henchman Bodyrocks in the fold, though Johnny is looking for redemption. Mayhem ensues. Pitiful Human-Lizard is the best thing coming out of Chapterhouse, and it’s entirely the work of writer/artist Jason Loo, who brings humanity and good humour to the streets of Toronto. Get on this streetcar, people: it’s a delight, like the best old Spider-Man stories. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Time & Vine #1 (IDW)** – Full disclosure, Thomas F. Zahler and I were high school pen pals, like, through the actual mail, sending each other comics stuff. We lost track of each other while he was at the Kubert School and I was abandoning comics for theatre. I was still not back into comics while Love and Capes was coming out (but I’ll fix that soon enough), but I was curious to see what my old pen pal was up to lately. Time & Vine has a really fun premise: time-travelling wine cellar. Basically: there’s a winery in upstate New York where, if you drink from one of Jack Cadell’s special bottles, you go back to the year of its vintage – but always in the winery. His latest companion is teacher Megan Howe, who is dealing with her mother’s recent onset of Alzheimer’s. Zahler’s premise is sweet, the dialogue is sharp, and the characters are charming in a kind of PBS drama kind of way. I would have liked the art to be less cartoony as a result, but your mileage may vary. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: check it out. 

 

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 (**).

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 7/22

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.

Ryan C

RoyalCity_05-1Royal City #5 (Image)** – Jeff Lemire wraps up the first story arc of his long-form series with an issue that’s an almost unconscionably quick read given its $3.99 cover price, but the biggest blunder comes with the poorly-executed and clumsy double-cliffhanger, which actually serves up the most surprising revelation first and then follows it up with one that you already saw coming. Still, the art’s lush and beautiful, and the story at least moves all the major plotlines forward. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Read

Winnebago Graveyard #2 (Image)** – The second issue of Steve Niles and Alison Sampson’s fast-moving homage to ’70s cult horror is every bit as masterful an evocation of its various “source materials” as was the first, and while you can predict every beat in the story, who are we kidding? That’s a big part of the charm here. Granted, as sparse as the script is chances are this thing should simply have been released as a 64-page special (or, if you absolutely must pump the public for cash, a graphic novel), but Sampson’s art is so flabbergastingly gorgeous that I’m more than happy to shell out for bucks a pop for it in singles. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

 Jimmy’s Bastards #2 (Aftershock)** – Garth Ennis and Russ Braun are the definition of a “known quantity” creative team at this point, and if you like their brand of irreverent, bordering-on-sick-and-wrong humor and cartoonishly exaggerated, but still very much grounded in reality, illustration, odds are you’ll get a kick out of this story about a James Bond stand-in being hunted down by his literally hundreds of illegitimate kids. Personally, I do like it, and so I’m having all kinds of guilty-pleasure fun here, especially since this issue kick-starts the plot into gear much better than the first did. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Batman #27 (DC)** – It seems pretty early on for “The War Of Jokes And Riddles” to need an “interlude,” as this issue bills itself as being, but whaddya know — once again Tom King shows that his stand-alone stories in this series are so much better than his long-form “arcs.” The origin of Kite-Man is far from the joke one would expect, and King deftly handles some very sensitive and tragic subject matter with genuine skill and compassion — and that double-splash with The Joker saying “good grief” is the biggest laugh we’ve gotten from any Batman book in decades. Fill-in artist Clay Mann, for his part, does a pretty nice job with a style of illustration that falls somewhere in between that of the the series’ two regulars, David Finch and Mikel Janin. All in all a great read that’s nice to look at. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Patrick

IHateFairyland_14-1 I Hate Fairyland #14 (Image)** – Skottie Young is back on story and art, sending Gert into the labyrinth of Loveth Lovelord to retrieve the Balls of Redemption. If she succeeds (naturally, defeating the dragon at the centre), she gets her wish to become good. If she fails, she marries the creeptastic LL. Along the way, she also makes any number of marriage deals and indeed faces a dragon. This issue just clocks along with a cocky skip in its step and is great, sour-candy fun. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Lazarus X+66 #1 (Image)** – This is the first in what I take to be a series of standalone issues that explore Greg Rucka’s very complex world. Good idea! In this story, Rucka and artist Steve Lieber deliver the story of Casey Solomon’s training to be an ultra-elite Dagger. It’s a very solid basic training story, and Lieber does a great job on the art, but if you didn’t know it existed in the Lazarusverse, you would think it was taking place in today’s mundane reality. In that sense, although it adds a bit to Casey’s story, it doesn’t follow through on the promise of exploring and expanding the world. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

Bitch Planet Triple Feature #2 (Image)** – As I thought, the second issue of this anthology feature finds its feet: as Kelly Sue DeConnick points out, the tone is not “mercilessly bleak” but ROBOCOP. And I will always buy that for a dollar. Real quick: Che Grayson and Sharon Lee De La Cruz bring us the “Miss Tween Neck Competition” – but what price victory? And what other very precise anatomical competitions are also going on?… In “This is Good for You,” Danielle Henderson, Ro Stein and Ted Brandt make a very sharp link between “self-care,” “family values,” and “compliance.” And anchoring the pack, Jordan Clark and Naomi Franquiz’ “What’s Love Got To Do With it” brings us the story of Amaya, a nurse who, upon turning 30, needs to avoid the Old Maid Tax, receiving for her birthday a literal Biological Clock. This issue is the one you’ve been looking for, Kelly Sue. Overall: 6.5, 8, and 9. Recommendation: Buy

 Bettie Page #1 (Dynamite)** – The premise is that we are reading the secret diary of Bettie Page, who in 1951, in exchange for a lift to Hollywood, became a federal agent. Writer David Avallone gives us a tough-as-nails, sharp-as-a-tack Bettie, and Colton Worley nicely captures her look. But otherwise, it’s a bog-standard story of a secret cult plot that takes way too long to develop and does not otherwise require the presence of its protagonist. When you have an iconic character on your hands, I think you can do a lot more with it. Mostly it made me want to go back and watch Mary Harron’s excellent Notorious Bettie Page. Well-made and professional but missing heart and spark. Overall: 7 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 (**).

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