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.
Green Lanterns #5 (DC) Quite possibly one of the most entertaining comics I’ve read all week. This comic runs at a hell-for-leather pace yet never misses a beat when it come to the inner workings of the characters you’re reading about; a fantastic series in every respect. Overall
Harley Quinn #2 (DC) I was far from a fan of the first issue, but something clicked for me here. Far better than the first issue, Harley Quinn destroying a number of weird zombies was remarkably entertaining in a schlocky b-movie kinda way. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read
Klaus #7 (Boom!) Oh man, what an ending. This isn’t your typical tale of Santa Claus, but it’s a very well done take on the early years of the man. Grant Morrison and Dan Mora have done a superb job here – this is well worth picking up in trade when it’s released if you haven’t been reading the series so far. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy the trade.
Superman #5 (DC) Apparently I’m a Superman fan post Rebirth, which is honestly something I never thought I’d end up saying; this series has given me a new appreciation of the Man of Steel, after so many years of not bothering to give him the time of day. I think it’s the dynamic of Clark, Lois and Jon that has me enthralled because I’m thoroughly enjoying every page. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy
Black Hammer #2 (Dark Horse): The focus of this issue is on Gail Gibbons (Golden Gail) as we learn how she got her powers. There is some interesting territory approached by Gail later as she describes the town and farm the heroes are stuck in less as a prison compared to her body. She describes these moments of turning into Golden Gail (and into a younger body) as something she despised while growing up, until she reached a middle age and began enjoying the transformation into a younger version of herself. Now that she is stuck in this younger self, she wishes to return to being who she really is. It’s a topic definitely worthy of having a longer conversation on as it can speak to a larger approach to female superheroes. There is also still a spread of good humour as well, such as when Gail admits to having a drink of Gin before going to school to ‘fit in’. Lemire’s script continues the well balanced tone from the first issue with a few more curiosities and revelations alongside some emotional moments that capture the true talents of Dean Ormston with Dave Stewart’s colours. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy.
Demonic #1 (Image Comics) – Demon taking over a person’s body and forcing them to kill or else. This is currently being done in two other series I can think of (Kill or Be Killed also by Image and out a short bit ago) and it’s being done better right now. It’s not that this is a bad comic, it’s just a plot we’ve seen before and there’s nothing that makes it really stand out yet. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read
Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye #56 (IDW Publishing) – Sentinel Prime has a plan to wipe out the unpure Transformers and there’s Headmasters and Titans and Prowl and a traitor and… holy crap! This is an early chapter in the next Transformers epic and it’s an exciting start. Overall: 7.8 Recommendation: Read
Transformers: Till All Are One #3 (IDW Publishing) – Part political thriller. Part cop drama. This series is handling so many of the threads on Cybertron. Where’s Swindle’s body? How does Windblade deal with Starscream’s blackmail on her? That’s all being dealt with and add in action on top of it all. Solid series that’s dealing with a lot of plot threads that need to be addressed. Overall: 8.05 Recommendation: Read
I Hate Fairyland #8 (Image)**: Jeffrey “Chamba” Cruz guest-stars on art duties for a beat-’em-up inside a giant arcade game, aka the Tower of Battle. The fights go pretty well for our Gert – “Face Break! Gut Bomb! Ice-Cold Combo! Face Fatality!” – until she comes face to face with the final boss, Purty Pretty Princess, at which point Gert is indeed so fluffing fluffed. But not as badly fluffed as poor Duncan the Dragon… The energy of this book is sick and utterly contagious, like the very best Saturday morning cartoons. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy
Descender #14 (Image)**: This issue’s focus is on Bandit, the robot dog who stays behind with Tim-21 in the abandoned mining colony. I love comics that are wordless or nearly, especially when they’re painted by Dustin Nguyen. So I was kind of disappointed when the story returned to the regular plot, which is moving pretty slowly while Jeff Lemire’s interest seems to lie elsewhere. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read
Black Hammer #2 (Dark Horse)**: And speaking of Jeff Lemire, here he focuses on Golden Gail, who turns out to be kind of a reverse Captain Marvel – instead of a kid who turns into a super-powered adult, when Gail speaks the magic word she turns into a super-powered kid. Lemire touches on the joys and frustrations of that situation for a girl growing into a woman – but never really does more than touch on it, as there is plot business to take care of. And that plot is just not that convincing to me – we drop the entire search for Black Hammer entirely, for one thing. So Lemire’s scripting for me is also about joys and frustrations. But anytime DC wants to let him write Shazam!… Dean Ormston’s art very nicely moves between Golden Age super-heroics and the everyday glumness of the farm and the town. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read
Suicide Squad #1 (DC)*: Rob Williams cranks out a pretty decent little script here that does a better job introducing the characters in rapid-fire succession than the largely forgettable “Rebirth” special did, and sends ’em on a solid mission that seems like it will make for pretty fun reading. Nice backup story featuring Deadshot that lays the groundwork for everything you need to know about him in just a handful of pages, as well. Unfortunately, the art on both strips is substandard WildStorm-esque nonsense from Jim Lee as Jason Fabok, respectively, that looks horrendously outdated. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Read
The Hunt #2 (Image/Shadowline)**: Colin Lorimer’s ultra-moody and atmospheric Irish horror tale continues to deliver the goods with a second installment that successfully advances all the meticulous groundwork laid in the first. Strong characterization, superb dialogue, and best of all deliciously dark artwork all combine to make for another highly memorable issue. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy
Batman #5 (DC)*: Not sure what my pull list would even look like without “Batman” on it, but if this keeps up, I’ll be finding out sooner rather than later. Tom King delivers another sub-par chapter in a poorly conceived arc that features Alfred playing dress-up as Batman on the first few pages and, believe it or not, only gets worse from there. David Finch is joined by a veritable army of inkers this time out, but none of them can elevate his lifeless, dull artwork, and speaking of lifeless and dull, one of Gotham City’s two new “heroes” dies this time out, and you won’t even give a shit. About the only thing interesting going on here is the foreshadowing that King drops over the last two pages, but even then, he’s been doing a ton of that over in “The Vision,” and with considerably more success. This title has devolved from merely “lackluster” to actively “lousy” in less than two months. Overall: 2 Recommendation: Pass
Tales From The Darkside #3 (IDW)*: The first issue of this mini-series was an undeniably effective self-contained horror story, but shifting gears into a multi-part tale seems to have been a step in the wrong direction, as this second segment of this current three-issue story feels like pure padding that barely advances the narrative about a guy who’s manifesting his darkest thoughts into the “real” world at all. Not sure how much of the blame for that lies with Joe Hill’s original script and how much is the fault of “adapter” Michael Benedetto, but hey — at least you can’t ague with Gabriel Rodriguez’s always-stunning art. It’s not enough to justify shelling out $3.99 for an insubstantial read, though. Overall: 4. Recommendation: Pass.
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 (**).