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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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Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 7/15

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

SpiderMenII-Turner-aSpider-Men II #1 (Marvel) When the first Spider-Men came out I was reading a lot of Spider-Man comics, but I have since dropped off from the series (a couple years ago, actually). Still, I wanted to see whether we’d finally find out who the Marvel 616 version of Miles Morales is, so I picked this issue up  –  and I’m glad I did. This comic was entertaining, enjoyable, and almost without any real substance. I loved it in the way you like a movie you can turn your brain off and not have to think too hard. Overall: 7.75 Recommendation: Read

X-Men Blue #7 (Marvel) You know sometimes you read a comic, kinda enjoy it, but then you kinda don’t because you don’t give a shit about the event it’s tying into? That’s exactly how I felt about this comic. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

George

DDCAST_Cv1_ds V3Dark Days: The Casting #1 (DC) I was really impressed with the the first part of this storyline, so naturally I was a bit let down with this one just being more of the same plot advancements that could have been put into the first issue. The artwork is still solid and there are a nice couple of bits but DC really just stretched this for another 4.99. I would get it for the art but story wise nothing that wasn’t really covered in the first part.

Christopher

Dept H #16 (Dark Horse) Writer and Artist: Matt Kindt Dark Horse Mia’s early life and her relationship with her father. How she learned more about him through interviews and journals than by spending time with him. Along with revealing how Roger and Mia’s father met in the process. Which does leave one to wonder given how complicated Mia’s relationship with her seems, why is she so intent on catching the killer. Is it to get justice, or to thank them for freeing her from her father’s shadow? Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Ryan C

dept h 16Grass Kings #5 (Boom! Studios)** – The shit begins to hit the fan in the fifth issue of Matt Kindt and Tyler Jenkins’ family drama set in a breakaway, “off-the-grid” community, and while it’s certainly exciting and visually interesting, a poorly-timed composite flashback/present-day “mash-up” scenario at the end that features actions that don’t quite line up with each other dulls the impact somewhat and places this installment just a notch below the previous four. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Read

Briggs Land: Lone Wolves #2 (Dark Horse)** – Speaking of “off-the-grid,” the second issue of the second arc in Brian Wood and Mack Chater’s long-form series sees the walls begin to close in around the separatist Briggs clan as a de facto hostage situation turns into a lot more than anyone bargained for once the feds get involved. Chater’s art is a bit more generic in its appearance this time out, but it’s still more than solid, as is Wood’s pacy, dynamic script. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

World Reader #4 (Aftershock)** – Jeff Loveness’ script gets out of the way and lets Juan Doe’s amazing, borderline-psychedelic art do the bulk of the storytelling in this issue, as we finally meet a “psychic survivor” of sorts from the genocidal intergalactic force that’s been wiping out all life on one planet after another. The book takes all of about five minutes to read, but it’s worth going back and looking at time and time again to fully absorb the gorgeous images. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

The Divided States Of Hysteria #2 (Image)** – Howard Chaykin’s been getting more Briggs_Land_Lone_Wolves_2Apublicity than at any point since the early days of “American Flagg!” with this one, and while most of it has been understandably negative (that sickening, since-pulled cover was the very definition of “not a good idea”), it’s also beginning to look like both “camps” in the controversy surrounding this series are wrong. There was no gang-rape of a transgender woman last issue — in fact, she killed everybody trying to abuse her before they could — while at the same time, the right-wingers who were bitching about the cover to the first issue, which featured a Muslim woman in a red-white-and-blue burqa, were eager to defend the aforementioned no-longer-forthcoming cover to issue four, which featured a lynched Pakistani man with his balls cut off.

So, ya know, these fuckheads are pretty much as racist as we always knew they were.

In any case, at the end of the day, it seems that Chaykin played both sides like a fiddle in a move that would make “B-movie” huckster William Castle proud. This time out we finally get to see the ties that bind our disgraced former CIA operative and the various serial/spree killers together, as Chaykin sets up his ultra-violent, non-super-powered “Suicide Squad” premise more fully. The art is noisy, cluttered, and ugly — as it’s supposed to be — but all my fellow leftists who walked away from this comic after last month (assuming they ever read it at all) are missing out on a pointed critique of the privatized, for-profit prison system, the mercenary-for-hire industry exemplified by the likes of Erik Prince’s notorious Blackwater, and the racism and Islamophobia that Trump rode all the way to the White House. This book’s politics are worn openly and proudly on its sleeve, and I have to admit I get a chuckle imagining all the “alt-righters” who have flocked to Chaykin in recent days and weeks having their blood pressure raised when they actually sit down to read his story. There’s some sort of method to all this madness, and while it hasn’t revealed itself fully yet, it’s fascinating to watch it all unfold. And Ken Bruzenak is just plain killing it and earning every dime (and then some) with his awesomely garish lettering and effects.

world reader 4.jpegI can sympathize with those who were offended by that cover that was probably never going to come out anyway (although I do have to wonder what these outraged individuals would make of the work of Johnny Ryan, S. Clay Wilson, Mike Diana, and even Crumb — seriously, people, read some undergrounds, it’ll broaden your horizons!), but there’s a “sweet spot” that’s being hit here for what few left-leaning readers of this comic remain : this is confrontational, in-your-face, unflinching stuff that effectively rebukes every single politically conservative position it takes aim at. In vintage Chaykin style, he’s managed to piss off all his allies and fleece all his true foes. I’m not sure I’d go so far as to say that I admire that by any means, but his willingness to stand alone takes some guts, that’s for sure. Overall: 8. Recommendation: Buy.

Shean

The Defenders #3 ( Marvel) – We catch up with the gang shortly after an attempt by Diamondback to kill Luke Cage, whose confrontation was disturbed by Punisher. They slowly look for answers on the Punisher’s motivation while Diamondback questions Black Cat’s reason for saving Luke.They soon catch up with the Punisher, who gets close but are stopped by the Defenders. By issues end, Iron Fist gets into a fight with Diamondback and finds a supreme opponent. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

defenders3Black Panther and the Crew #4 (Marvel) – In this issue, we get a flashback and a catch up for readers. In the flashback, the OG Crew, deals with some unsavory characters in Mississippi, as they say struggle with having Northern sensibilities in Jim Crow South. In the present day story, Luke Cage and Misty Knight look for answers about the mysterious corporation who runs Americops and where their true interests lie. By issue’s end, both generations of the Crew meet, and what could happen next probably will be the game changer. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Patrick

Kill or Be Killed #10 (Image)** – Following hard on last issue’s massive cock-up, we find out from Ed Brubaker in one simple phrase how Dylan keeps getting away with murder: “They were too busy trying to be super-cops.” What’s fascinating to me about this series is how the noose keeps getting slowly tighter even as the actions of the cast of characters get looser, and good intentions are continually translated into really bad ideas. Sean Phillips and Elizabeth Breitweiser give us a rainy, grey cemetery of an issue on the art right until the explosion of hellfire-framed-in-white on the last page. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Cinema Purgatorio #11 (Avatar)** – Moore & O’Neill give us a movie musical version of the Black Dahlia murder (and very few comics writers do musical comics as well as Alan Moore). I could go for more of this, as I start to wonder what if Fox had made musicals of its films noir (as, despite the “My Fair Dahlia” title, this is not MGM). In “Code Pru”, we get a good look at the boss, who is even more monstrous than any of Pru’s patients. There’s a mystery brewing as to the circumstances and purposes of Pru’s job, but she seems to be too pissed off at her situation to see it… And over in cinema 3 of this multiplex, “Modded” goes shopping, but Fringe is more chosen than choosing. And just what is chainsaw rhythm reggae action? “… the daemonatrix lingo is more about exciting nouns than actual descriptive content.” But I’ll take exciting nouns over boring adverbs any day. (As usual, I skipped “A More Perfect Union” – if these guys would give me a straight history of the Civil War, I’d be interested – and “The Vast”, which is about boring adverbs in comics form). Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

Mage: The Hero Denied #0 (Image)** – Matt Wagner returns to the adventures of Kevin Matchstick for one last series. This is a fun preview (featuring oh-so-90’s skateboarding warrior “The Steeze” – who Matchstick winkingly refers to as “youngblood” before sending him home). I have a weakness for heroes who can just do what they do without a lot of posing and wasted energy (must be my own middle age showing), and if Kevin does have better things to do with his time than fight stone-ogres, I’m very curious to know what they are. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

kajumax s3 1Kaijumax Season 3 #1 (Oni Press)** – Zander Cannon continues to amaze with a heartfelt, humorous, horrible monster story that starts with a cabin in the woods, takes what appears to be a long detour through the story of a poor, put-upon giant goat, gets lost near a mysterious lake in Minnesota and then – oh my Goj – comes together and sets up the rest of the story in a great twist. Get on this. 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 7/8

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

unsound2The Unsound #2 (Boom! Studios)** – I thoroughly enjoyed the first issue of Cullen Bunn and Jack T. Cole’s horrific take on Milos Forman’s “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest,” but the second sees the story take a rather dramatic leap forward that feels more forced by pacing concerns than it is achieved through anything like a natural transition. We’ll see where it goes, though, since it’s not a “deal-breaker” by any means and Cole’s art remains absolutely gorgeous. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

Green Arrow #26 (DC)** – Hmmm — Ollie hits the road with a fellow super-hero in tow : where have we heard this one before? The Flash steps — sorry, runs — into the role formerly occupied by Green Lantern in this one, but lackluster story and art from Benjamin Percy and Stephen Byrne ensure that nobody will be forgetting about Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams anytime soon. Overall: 4.5 Recommendation: Pass

Babyteeth #2 (Aftershock)** – Another agreeable (if far from memorable) installment in Donny Cates and Garry Brown’s new “Teen Mom” meets “The Omen” horror series is equally divided between moving the story forward at a natural rhythm and forcing some long-range foreshadowing into the proceedings, which actually succeeds at what it’s trying to do reasonably well despite the fact that it probably shouldn’t. Brown’s art remains pitch-perfect for the content and Cates’ characterization is strong enough to keep this reader on the hook for at least a bit longer. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Snotgirl #6 (Image) – It took a long time for Bryan Lee O’Malley and Leslie Hung’s somewhat surreal series to grow on me, given that it sure reads more like what 40-year-olds think 20-something fashion bloggers live like rather than it does anything like how they actually live, but if you can get over the absurdity of both the premise and the protagonist’s economic situation (how many people in the entire country make their living running independent fashion blogs? Maybe three? Yet there are more than that in LA alone according to this book), the cartoony art and intriguing mystery of the story should be enough to keep you around. Some new additions to the supporting cast throw a welcome spanner into the works and despite a lengthy hiatus, it seems that neither of our creators has lost their enthusiasm for this project in the least. Overall: 7.5. Recommendation: Buy

Alex

unholy grail 1.jpgBatman #26 (DC) Not a bad issue, when all is said and done, Tom King seems to be building slowly toward what will hopefully be an explosive story. As a build up issue this isn’t bad and carries the momentum of the previous issue (for better or for worse) forward… but all I really want to read is the follow up to Batman #24, not an in-the-past-cstory. . Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

All New Wolverine #22 (Marvel) I don’t read as many things with the Guardians of the Galaxy as I probably should, because I always enjoy when they show up in other comics. Like this one. While I felt that they were the highlight, it was more to do with Gabby and Jonathan interacting with Rocket and Groot. As the first part in a three issue arc, it’s good enough to have me coming back for more. Overall: 7.25 Recommendation: Read

Unholy Grail #1 (Aftershock)* I picked this up purely because my LCS told me I may like it, but other than knowing it might be up my alley, I had no idea what the comic was about. King Arthur has always been a good way to hook me into the idea of a story, but I’m often picky when it comes to giving said story a try,so much so that had I known this was a tale based around Camelot I may have skipped it entirely  (I believe Bernard Cornwall has written the definitive take on the legend), but I’m glad I gave it a shot. The art is brilliant, and Cullen Bunn has written a deeply atmospheric tale, the extent of which hasn’t been fully revealed yet. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Patrick

Stray Bullets #25 (Image/El Capitan)** – Flashback to a flashback. When heavy Spanish calexit-1Scott tells cool psycho Kretchmeyer “sometimes you’ve got to get your hands a little dirty,” he has no idea what he’s talking about. As always, David Lapham is a master of letting his characters do what’s absolutely worst for them even though they themselves think they’re on top of everything. And as we hit 700 pages (!) of “Sunshine and Roses,” every layer we peel off these characters just proves that old pulp hack Shakespeare right: “The worst is not so long as we can say, ‘This is the worst’.” Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

 Calexit #1 (Black Mask) – Political thrillers and near-future dystopias are really tricky: for me, the barriers to suspension of disbelief are very high. You have to get the details balanced just right in order for the push into fiction to really send us flying off the rails. Push too hard and it means that you weren’t where you needed to be at the start. In short, Matteo Pizzolo has way too much pushing to do to justify the premise of Calexit. I mean, on page 1, he has President Trump speaking in complete sentences using words with two or more syllables. I buy Trump getting re-elected, but his syntax is egregiously mishandled and broke my trust in just a few panels. Never mind that we then get a psycho torturer guy with creepy glasses (who apparently also can order National Guard privates to commit atrocities) and a Steve Bannon lookalike who is not Steve Bannon. Which is too bad, because I think if Pizzolo and artist Amancay Nahuelpan had stuck with the very charming rogue character of Jamil, the amoral courier with a heart of gold, I would have been down for anything. Clearly Nahuelpan loves drawing this guy because he has the only genuine expressions and body language in a book that is full of caricature. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina #7 (Archie) – I can’t believe I’ve been missing out on this dreadful delight. Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and artist Robert Hack bring us the tale of Sabrina’s father, Edward Spellman – and it is just about as perfect as I can imagine an American horror comic to be, with just the right blend of sly and clever humour (the three witches in the hairdresser salon killed me) and actual horror. Robert Hack’s scratchy art (I take it he colors as well) reminds me of Hammer films and 60’s and 70’s paperback covers. This issue is a great jumping-on point and I am jumping on. Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Shean

Deadpool_Kills_The_Marvel_Universe_Again_Walsh_CvrDeadpool Kills The Marvel Universe Again #1 (Marvel) – In the debut issue of the sequel to one of the craziest series in 2012, returns with Deadpool being mind controlled once again to kill Marvel’s superhero roster. This time, he is being mind controlled by a team of villains that seem to have a few motives in play. His connection as an Uncanny Avenger has given him unfettered access to places where most villains can’t go, so his first victims, are 2 of his teammates. By the end of this first issue, we find out he has enough control to ask for help but not enough to stop killing. Overall: 9 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 (**).

Image+ Gets an Ongoing Wytches Comic, Ed Piskor Strip, and More Content

Image Comics has announced that the Diamond Gem Award-winning IMAGE+ magazine, Vol. 2 #1 will feature an overall increased page count, an original autobiographical comic strip from Ed Piskor, and the return of Scott Snyder and Jock’s smash hit Wytches. Vol. 2 of the magazine will hit comic book shops this August.

Fans have been eagerly awaiting the return of the chilling horror series Wytches ever since the first season ended on a brutal cliffhanger. Now, Snyder and Jock are back with a taste for the upcoming second season of the series by serializing what happens next in IMAGE+. How did Sailor make it to safety? What has she been doing since? The answers can be found exclusively in IMAGE+ with an extra-sized first chapter this issue.

In addition to the return of Wytches, IMAGE+ will also feature an original, recurring, autobiographical comic strip from Ed Piskor titled, Image of Youth!

This new chapter in IMAGE+ will weigh in at a hefty 80 PAGES at no additional cost—meaning more room for meatier, in-depth interviews, exciting sneak peeks into new titles, and long-form features on comics, creators, cosplay, conventions, and comics culture. IMAGE+ remains the number one source for news and information about Image Comics, and now is the perfect time for fans to get in on the ground floor.

IMAGE+ Vol. 2 #1 will be available to consumers to purchase for $1.99 at their local comic shop. Better yet, beginning with this Vol. 2 #1 issue, IMAGE+ will once again be available for free for anyone already purchasing a copy of Diamond’s Previews Catalog.

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 4/8

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

NTW_Cv18_open_order_varBatman #20 (DC) Well I Am Bane is finally over. That’s a good thing. The comic… meh. Overall: 4 Recommendation: Pass

Iron Fist #2 (Marvel) I was not a huge fan of the first issue, but I came back for #2 because I’m enjoying the Netflix show… and I’m kinda glad that I did. Definitely an upward curve from the first issue for me, although the comic is basically one long kung fu fight. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

Nightwing #18 (DC) For as much as I hated Batman #20, I loved this issue. From the interplay between Dick and Damian, and the way the comic effortlessly brings back the vibe od their Batman and Robin run… Tim Seeley is writing the best biweekly Bat-book right now. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

X-Men Gold #1 (Marvel) Huh. Well, I’m surprised. This was in every way a throwback to the way I remembered the X-Men being – not that the same characters are in the book, but the themes are the same, and there’s some great down time… this is a helluva promising start. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Logan

Little Archie #1 (Archie Comics) It’s super adorable to see Art Baltazar’s fun crayon art style take on the Archie gang in Little Archie #1. This is definitely a throwback to classic Archie comics with wacky hijinks, Jughead’s crown hat, and Archie’s “R” sweater all Riverdale #1_FernandezVarmaking appearance. Some of the gags are overlong, but Baltazar and Franco throw in some clever references to Afterlife with Archie, and the fact that adults are pretty much useless in Riverdale. This comic is definitely geared to a younger audience, but is worth a read if you’re missing old school Archie. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

Riverdale #1 (Archie Comics) Joe Eisma’s stylish artwork breathes some life into a couple lightweight stories about “Hell Week” for Riverdale High’s cheerleading and football teams. Writers Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Will Ewing, Michael Grassi roll every high school “prank” cliche into one comic book from near death experiences to streaking and of course, stealing an object from the rival school. Archie’s story centers around him helping out Moose, who I don’t think he’s spoken to the whole season while the Betty story is stronger because it focuses on her bond with Veronica. Seriously, Season 1 of Riverdale isn’t over, and they’re already coming up with an Expanded Universe in the comics. There really isn’t much of a sandbox to work with. Overall: 5.5 Recommendation: Pass

Jughead #14 (Archie Comics) Unfortunately, Ryan North’s time writing the coolest of teens is over. But he goes out it the comic book equivalent of the dankest of all memes skewering Internet culture in a joke dense way. And along the way, North and artist Derek Charm (Who is staying on the book) shore up the friendship between Betty and Jughead, roast Archie, and craft the most intimidating Veronica yet. This comic is worth picking up for the double page spread of Jughead becoming various overused Internet memes alone and its quirky self-aware take on the Archie mythos will definitely be missed as a new creative team takes over. (Hopefully, Veronica will still have a “hunk budget”.) Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Ryan C

RockCandyMountain_01-1Batman #20 (DC)**  So that’s “I Am Bane,” huh? A fist-fight that Batman wins with a well-timed head-butt (whoops, spoilers). Issue after issue of buildup for — this? Tom King and David Finch have really bottomed out on this book; time for some new blood. Overall: 1 Recommendation: Pass.

Rock Candy Mountain #1 (Image)**  Kyle Starks is a superb cartoonist whose work has always reminded me more than a bit of the legendary James Sturm, and Sturm himself would, I think, be more than pleased to see his “spiritual successor” turn his keen artistic eye toward early-20th century “hobo culture.” Amazingly well-drawn and written with a real ear for dialogue authenticity, this is indie comics at their best, and I can’t recommend it highly enough. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Eleanor & The Egret #1 (Aftershock)**  John Layman is a natural to write this off-kilter historical art-heist “caper,” and Sam Kieth’s art is as sumptuous as ever. Top it off with lush colors from Ronda Pattison, and you’ve got a winner that will leave you grinning from ear to ear. My only gripe is that the story is a bit on the slight side, but on the whole this was a joy to both read and look at. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

The Flintstones #10 (DC)**  Mark Russell and Steve Pugh can do no wrong with this book in my opinion, and it looks as though we’re going to get the series’ first (and, sadly, only) multi-part story spread over the last few issues here. The Trump comparisons are getting more obvious than ever with Bedrock’s inept, stupid mayor, which is a ton of fun, but there’s some serious heartbreak in these pages too as a beloved member of the cast meets his end. Yes, this comic will make you laugh — it always does — but don’t be too surprised if you shed a tear this time around as well. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Shean

america2America #2 (Marvel) I will keep this one to a few words:funny, meta and nothing like it in the Marvel Universe. We catch up with America after she punches Hitler. Definitely a different voice at Marvel that not only is entertaining but woke. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Star Wars: Rogue One Adaptation #1 (Marvel) There’s something truly wondrous about when adaptations get the story right in the minds of its most rabid fans. This is exactly what happened when the minds at Marvel decided to tackle the first spinoff from the Star Wars universe, as this captures all the moments that the were spoken about in online fodder about the missing moments. What makes it even more authentic, is the blessing of the director and the screenwriter. The most pivotal scene to me that they cut out is the crisis of conscience that Gail Erso undergoes and what he entrusts Bodhi with, makes you understand why Bodhi was so committed to meeting Saw Gerrera. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Spider-Man /Deadpool #16 (Marvel) This book get funnier with every issue. This time we follow this crazy duo to Latvia to battle Shiklah. So they recruit Dracula into the fight but with some ribbing of him and his human slave. By issue’s end, a fight between both forces ensues. Overall: 9 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 100 For December

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: A list of underrated comics.


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 an definitively exhaustive list of underrated comics here, because we’re hoping  that you decide to check at least one of thee series out next time you’re looking for some comics and giving you a huge list to check out would be counter productive to that. Instead, you’ll find six comics that are worth your attention. You’ll notice that there’s only one comic from each publisher – this was done to try and spread the love around, because otherwise Valiant Voracious_TPB_Cover_Vol1would dominate the list below. Not one of the comics made it into the top 100 for December’s comic sales, which is why they’re Underrated.

All sales data comes from Comichron.


Voracious: Feeding Time
(Action Lab)
December Sales Rank/Comics Sold: Not listed/Unknown
It should come as no surprise to you that I am a fan of Markisan Naso and Jason Muhr’s creation,Voracious, and it’s sequel Voracious: Feeding Time. The writer and artist/letterer and joined by colourist Andrei Tabucaru, and the trio have produced one of the most consistently excellent comics on the racks. With a story that is on the surface built to be a comedy – that of a time travelling dinosaur hunting chef – but packs more of an emotional punch than you’d expect in such a comic. A truly compelling series that reinvigorated my love for comics, if you want to get hadrianswall_01-1caught up the first trade of Voracious is available now, and the second issue of Feeding Time just hit the shelves. This is easily one of my favourite comics from any publisher right now; if you’re looking for an original concept executed beautifully then you need look no further. Simply an amazing series.

Hadrian’s Wall (Image)
December Sales Rank/Comics Sold: 257/5,265
The creative team  behind C.O.W.L. reunite to tell a fantastic murder mystery set in space. It’s a gripping tale that isn’t without it’s faults, but in comparison to where Kyle Higgins is taking this story they’re easy to over look. Sci fi isn’t usually my cup of tea, but this is one of the comics that I’ve become a big fan of. Don’t miss this.


faith_007_cover-c_tanFaith 
(Valiant)
December Sales Rank/Comics Sold: 221/7,375
If Stan Lee were to have created Spider-Man in this century, then he’d probably have come up with a character like Faith Herbert. The high flying superhero has been a favourite of mine since I read the first miniseries Hollywood and Vine early last year, and the current ongoing – still written by Jody Houser – has been fantastic. Although the artist tends to change with each story arc, there is a visual consistency to the comic because of Marguerite Sauvage’s fantasy sequences that act to blend the differing styles of the artists across the issues. Faith is a series that almost every comic fan will find something to love, whether it’s the character’s unrelenting optimism or her love of being a superhero (come on, you can’t tell me you wouldn’t love to fly), there’s something here for those looking for an escape.

4 KIDS WALK INTO A BANK4 Kids Walk Into A Bank (Black Mask)
December Sales Rank/Comics Sold: 198/8,675
You’d be forgiven for overlooking this comic, as there was a bit of a delay between the second and third issues being released. For the nearly nine thousand people who did pick up this comic, you would have found one of the most effortlessly charming stories about four kids about to rob a bank. Both the writing is the artwork is fantastic;I can’t recommend this enough to you. Whether you pick it up in trade form when it inevitably is released, or track down the three issues currently on the racks, be prepared to find a comic that you’ll fall head over heals in love with.

midnapo_cv4Midnighter and Apollo (DC)
December Sales Rank/Comics Sold: 180/10,773
If you’re surprised to see a DC book on this list, don’t be. Midnighter has struggled to light up the sales charts as he should be with his previous series. This miniseries has Midnigher literally going to Hell to save the man he loves in one of the mot brutal sequences I have read in a long time, coupled with some fantastic dialogue between Apollo and his captor. Although I assume things will work out eventually, it’s been a hell of a ride (pun intended) so far, and with only two issues remaining in the miniseries I’m really excited to see how Steve Orlando brings this home.

Black Hammer (Dark Horse)
December Sales Rank/Comics Sold: 170/12,352
bkhmr-5-variant-fc-fnl-600x911Jeff Lemire is an incredibly prolific writer,and while I may not always like everything he comes out with, Black Hammer has spoken to my love of modern takes on distinctly Golden Age heroes. With a Justice League like group of characters locked in mysterious pocket dimension where they’re forced to live normal lives on a farm, we get to explore what happens to a hero on a forced retirement. Not everybody I know is a fan of where this comic is going, and how it’s been getting there, but every issue has been a win for me – which is another reason this appears in this issue of Underrated. But the tinges of something lingering just beneath the surface give a genuine sense of unease to the comic. Black Hammer is very much a slow burn, but it’s going to be incandescent when we get the pay off at the end.


 

Obviously there are many more comics that should be on that list, so look for a future installment of Underrated to cover more comics that aren’t selling as well as they should be.

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 1/7

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

Moon Knight #10 (Marvel) Uh… yeah. I  want to love this, I really do. But Jeff Lemire’s take moon_knight__10on  Moon Knight seems to have lost me somewhere along the way, and I have no idea why. That said, if you’re enjoying the series, then there’s no reason you won’t enjoy this comic. Overall: 7.75  Recommendation: Read

Old Man Logan #16 (Marvel)** If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to read a story with Wolverine in the Alien universe, then pick this issue up. It’s an atmospheric tour de force with some amazing artwork from Andrea Sorrentino and Marcelo Mialo – well worth checking out. Overall: 8.75 Recommendation: Buy

The Unworthy Thor #3 (Marvel) A series that started out very promising takes a bit of a stumble here. Although this wasn’t a bad issue, and will probably work very well when sandwiched between #2 and #4 in trade, it just failed to grab the goat by the horns and ride off into the sky. The art is spectacular, the story less so, but if you’ve been following Jason Aaron’s run on the Thor comics he’s been writing, then you’ll still find enough here to enjoy. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

Joe

Superman #14 (DC) – I really liked how crazy this issue got so quickly. We get multiple Supermen as well as other heroes from different earths as a new threat chases the Russian Superman (nice call back to Red Son), Chinese Superman, Earth 23 Superman, and more. We realize they are keeping all of the Supermen captive, and our Superman decides he wants to help Earth 23 Superman and his team rescue the others. It was a solid first issue of this short arc. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Batman #14 (DC) – Many of this run of Batman by Tom King has been controversial, and there are some who do not enjoy it. I get that. I have enjoyed the run, and I think he is playing the long game here and setting up quite a bit. I was shocked a little at this issue, and how far it went into the Bat and Cat relationship, but King further doubled down on the vulnerability of Batman. He is showing him giving more into impulses, and he bm_cv14_dscertainly does that in this issue. We also get Batman saying that Catwoman did not kill all of those people, so I am hoping for a payoff there as this series continues forward. Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read

The Unstoppable Wasp #1 (Marvel) – This was a fun comic filled with a lot of positivity and optimism. Nadia is fun and charming as heck. I liked the exchange with her and Ms. Marvel, as well as her and Mockingbird. There is a touching moment between them about Bobbi’s past that as she says, most forget about. Also, science! The tone and art style reminds me very much of a classic Archie book. This was a good first issue for a semi new character that we haven’t yet learned a ton about. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

Patrick

Big Trouble in Little China/Escape From New York #4 (IDW)** – I should be loving this way more. On one level, I’m enjoying Greg Pak & Daniel Bayliss’ romp through the Plisskenverse – but deep in my Canadian soul, I’m all “enough with the Multiversal Snakes, let’s see post-apocalyptic John Carpenter Toronto already!” Also, there’s something that’s so awesome about Jack Burton’s dumb luck that I was disappointed to see it codified so neatly. I would like to see more disorder and chaos in a series like this. Overall: 7 Recommendation: read

Ryan C

Batman #14 (DC)** – Nice to see the creative team from “The Sheriff Of Babylon” reunited for this two-part “extended intermission” between arcs, and Mitch Gerads’ art is truly gorgeous — unfortunately, Tom King’s story is a four-pager spread out to cover 20, and Batman and Catwoman calling each other “Cat” and “Bat”? I’m sorry, but that’s just plain ridiculous. Worth looking at for the pretty pictures, but they tell the tale better than the actual script does. Overall: 5. Recommendation: Pass

The Flintstones #7 (DC)** – Mark Russell’s script for this one is a notch below his usual flint_7_dsstandard, but he still takes aim at the commercialization of religion with typically glorious results and greedy bosses come under fire, too, so — all in all, it’s still a very worthwhile read. Rick Leonardi (there’s a name you don’t see often anymore) and Scott Hanna fill in for Steve Pugh on the art, and it’s — okay, I guess, but far from the near-greatness we’re used to. Even a sub-par issue of “The Flintstones” is still better than just about everything else out there, though, and I’m very intrigued by next issue’s promised exploration of the origins of agriculture. Could Russell be transitioning from an anti-capitalist/anti-consumerist critique to an anti-civilization one? The prospect certainly seems exciting, and fans of “Green Anarchist” authors/philosophers like John Zerzan would do well to pay attention to where this book is going. Overall: 7.5. Recommendation: Buy

Unfollow #15 (DC/Vertigo)** – It’s nice to see Mike Dowling back on the art after a couple months off, but his style looks to have taken a turn for the “scratchier” and less defined, and Rob Williams appears to be moving into rather abrupt wind-up mode with his storyline. I haven’t heard anything about this book being cancelled (not that I pay a ton of attention to what passes for “news reporting” in today’s comics scene), but we go from 86 survivors at the beginning of this issue to 40 at the end with no explanation (as of yet), and events appear to be steamrolling toward a conclusion that I still hoped was a long way off. Overall: 6. Recommendation: Read.

Nailbiter #28 (Image)** – Speaking of books in wind-down mode, Joshua Williamson and Mike Henderson are concluding their long-form horror series in just two months (of their own volition, they both insist) which means that this issue has to move things along quickly — and it does, perhaps to its detriment, as the destruction of the entire fucking town of Buckaroo, Oregon feels forced and falls curiously flat. Consequently, what should have been a seismic read ends up registering barely a blip. Hopefully they close out with a couple of chapters that are much stronger than this one. Overall: 5. Recommendation: Pass

Shean

The Fall and Rise of Captain Atom #1 (DC) – When it comes to misunderstood superheroes, captamfr_cv1_open_order_varmany do not come more tragic than Captain Atom. In this series , we find a hero still searching for who he is while at the same time trying to change public perception. He saves a cruise ship from sinking but catches the attention of the Justice League. By issue’s end, his struggle becomes harder, and the reader finds a fight more human . Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Guardians of The Galaxy Volume 2 Prelude (Marvel) – Popular culture has clung on to Comics like it has never done before and it looks like nothing will change soon.This never more evident when one talks about Guardians of the Galaxy. In this Prelude tot he upcoming movie, the reader pretty much pickups from when Peter Quill loses his mother. From what this first issue sets up, I think anyone familiar with their most popular storylines, will know now what the upcoming film will be about. Overall: 9.4 Recommendation: Read

Deadpool The Duck#1 (Marvel )- What happens when you put three of Marvel’s fan favorites in one space together? Seems to be a lot of crazy crap happening. In this series, Deadpool and Howard the Duck both get a call that a High value alien target is no its way to Earth . What they don’t know is that target is Rocket Raccoon, and he definitely isn’t himself, as he wreaks enough Havoc to mess with Deadpool’s teleportation device. By issue’s end, we find our heroes conjoined telling each other’s story. 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 12/31

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

All-Star Batman #5 (DC)** Continues to be the most exciting Bat-book around. Wrapping up the first arc in a way that I enjoyed more than I expected; this was a breath of fresh air after the less than steller conclusion to I Am Suicide. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Joe

Detective Comics #947 (DC) – Wow. This is how you handle smaller arcs during a longer one dtc_cv947_open_order_varwhere you can call back to things you set in place earlier. James Tynion IV has masterfully pulled off the ending of The Victim Syndicate and set up something big for the future. Instead of giving us a big bad in the already impressive Batman villain section, he instead hands us someone who has good points about the bad side of Batman, and who has direct ties to heartbreak which may or may not have happened directly because Batman exists. This is one of DC’s best titles, and one of my favorite comics in general of 2016. We also get another massive tease at the end of the issue. It is hard to remember that while it ships bi-weekly, this comic only costs $2.99, and it is a massive value. Each issue packs so much into it. Also, I love this version of Clayface. Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Hulk #1 (Marvel) – After all of the amazing Jeff Dekal cover teases, the first issue is finally here. This issue focuses mostly on Jen as a lawyer starting at a new firm, and fighting the monster that lies just under the surface. While we get some setup to something big, I felt this issue didn’t give quite enough of a story for a character that deserves it after Civil War II and what she went through. That being said, it was decent, and I want to see where it goes. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Read

Teen Titans #3 (DC) – This was a solid issue, with many of the characters getting to know each other, and Robin better. We get the usual shadowed past character in Robin fearful he cannot truly be good, with the usual positive reinforcement by the rest of our bunch as they empathize with him now instead of not trusting him. It may be somewhat cliché, but it works well, and I enjoyed it. So far, this has been a fun book. Overall: 7.5 tt3-cvrRecommendation: Read

Civil War II #8 (Marvel) – I am torn on this comic. At one hand, we get a resolution, and the event has ended. On the other hand, we get more complications from the ending, and really just an unknown to what this all means. I am okay with leaving things in the dark, but after buying these more expensive issues, and the idea that the creators said it needed an extra one (which is this one), I am a little perplexed at where we are now that it is over. Especially with the advertisement for Civil War 2: The Oath #1 in the back of the book. While I am sure it is just extra things or transitioning things into the new Marvel 2017 status quo, especially Carol’s solo title coming, I am just a bit lost at all of it. Overall: 5.0 Recommendation: Pass (Unless you are a collector like me and own the others).

Mother Panic #2 (Young Animal) – I had to re-read this issue before I appreciated it fully. I read it quickly the first time, and this is a comic to take your time with. You may miss subtle things in the panel or what the story is doing if you do not pay attention. That being said, I enjoyed it. It is a very dark issue and we see more into Violet’s very rough past as a child and her relationship with her father and mother. We also see her find her target and deal with him as Mother Panic. Also, there is a short cameo from one of Gotham’s best heroes, and I hope we get more from that in the future. Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Read

Patrick

Black Hammer #6 (Dark Horse)** – This issue really put the nail in the coffin for me. The plot, which is far too thin, just kept getting in the way of the Madame Dragonfly story, which could have been darker and richer and stranger if Jeff Lemire would have let it. The resonances are only there for people like me who grew up on the Alan Moore Swamp Thing and used it as a gateway to the Wein/Wrightson oeuvre (hence this issue’s hat tip to Len and Bernie), the House of Mystery/Secrets, and back to the EC horror hosts. Unlike Moore, Lemire doesn’t build anything on this foundation, he just leans on it. Overall: 5 Recommendation: Skip

Superf*ckers Forever #5 (IDW)** – I had higher hopes for this one, Like, that it would be more dumb and vicious and hit harder on the dumb superhero tropes. But it was a fairly superf-ckers-forever-05-pr-1standard escape from Dimension Zero, and although we were treated to a page of Princess Sunshine going dark (thanks, it would seem to the power of Omnizod), it didn’t go full-on Dark Sunshine. There’s a difference between punk and just bratty, and at the end of 2016, I need more f*cking punk in comics like this. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Skip

Descender #17 (Image)** – Unfortunately, we have come to the end of Lemire and Nguyen’s beautiful run of character portraits and are back to the dull plotline. All I have to say about this issue is that it got really good as soon as it activated silent mode. Dustin Nguyen’s art is so expressive and breathtaking that Lemire’s dialogue just takes up unnecessary space. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: read

Saga #41 (Image) – I keep coming back to something Howard Chaykin once said in an Amazing Heroes interview, about how people thought he overplotted, but really it was just that everyone else underplotted. Saga is like this: overwhelmingly underplotted, with large panels that don’t convey large emotion or information. Case in point: this issue has three full-page shots, two of which occur in the last three pages. But the emotion that, to my mind, should be driving this story, the ticking timebomb that is the temporary home of our family, isn’t front and center, but diluted by the very size of the panels depicting it. As a consequence, time isn’t as graphically tight as the narrative says it should be, and the spring is too loose to really pack a punch when it is sprung. Overall: 7 Recommendation: read

Ryan C

Black Panther #9 (Marvel)** – Well, whaddya know. An issue of this series that I actually nearly liked. Will wonders never cease? Certainly having Brian Stelfreeze back on art for the final four-issue arc helps, but the characterization and dialogue from Ta-Nehisi Coates seem to have taken a modest step forward here, as well, as the once-disparate subplots begin to coalesce into something vaguely resembling a concerted opposition force against T’Challa and his regime. Still far from essential reading, and still so serious and self-important that it makes even Don McGregor’s run on The Panther look subtle by comparison, but on the whole a perfectly readable comic. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Read

Infamous Iron Man #3 (Marvel)** – Ditto for this one. After two decidedly sub-par introductory issues, Brian Michael Bendis finally lays out some of the dubious “reasoning” infamous ironman 3.jpgbehind Victor Von Doom’s decision to take up the mantle of Iron Man, and in its own way it makes a kind of — sense? Alex Maleev seems to be doing his best to match the somewhat better material he’s given here, as well, and we’re treated to some seriously nice double-page spreads in the second half of the book. This title is still on a very short leash with me, but for the time being, it’s at least still on it rather than being cut loose. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

Dark Knight III: The Master Race #7 (DC)** : Am I detecting a trend this week? After six issues that consistently plumbed new depths of worthlessness, Brian Azzarello, Andy Kubert, and Klaus Janson give us the first remotely readable installment of this (let’s face it) naked cash-grab, as some genuinely surprising developments that may inject some new life (both literally and metaphorically) into the so-called “Dark Knight Universe” propel the story toward what could be, at least in theory, a reasonably interesting conclusion. I still think this will prove to be a mirage rather than a trend, but what the hell — I didn’t want to pluck my eyes out after reading this issue, and the Frank Miller-drawn mini-comic insert actually looks, dare I say it, pretty good for a change. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Read

All-Star Batman #5 (DC)** – Scott Snyder, John Romita, Jr. and a veritable army of inkers put the wraps on the opening Two-Face arc of this series with the most satisfying and well-drawn issue yet, but it’s probably too little, too late, as the first four parts were such a clusterfuck of bad ideas, half-assed subplots, and surprisingly off-target characterization. All of the purported “mysteries” you’d forgotten about from earlier chapters are wrapped up, and there are some nice emotional “beats” hit in the dialogue between Batman and Two-Face and Batman and Alfred, but on the whole an average issue isn’t nearly enough to save a lackluster story that was crushed under the weight of its own self-indulgence way too early. Overall: 5 Recommendation: Pass

Shean

Rocket Raccoon #1 (Marvel)– When it comes to beloved characters within the Marvel rocket-1Universe, it is usually because they strike a chord with each of us. Within the Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 1 movie ,the whole world pretty much fell in love with the relationship between Rocket Raccoon and Groot. In this series , we find Rocket on his own in New York and on the run from the authorities, where he meets up with the Human Torch. By issue’s end, we find that Rocket is in even more serious trouble than when he began.
Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Spider-Man/Deadpool #12 (Marvel)– what happens everyone’s favorite webslinger and everyone’s favorite mercenary with a mouth join forces ? Probably one of the best comics Ihave ever read. In this issue, they have a guest writer and artists to write a special Xmas story. We find Spider-Man and Deadpool enjoying Xmas with friends and creating mayhem where they traverse. By issue’s end, they fight the originator of Xmas and show him that it is more than he ever imagined. 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 (**).

Comics & Coffee: February 2016 Preview Review

I go over the PREVIEWS, Marvel Previews, DC Direct Currents, and Image+ magazines for February 2016.

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 12/3

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

bm_annual_cv1Batman Annual #1 (DC) I’m a huge fan of annuals like this; a collection of short stories with a central theme that give you a break (a Christmas break…?) from the main Batbooks. There isn’t a bad story here, and with the level of talent involved that’s hardly surprising. A thoroughly enjoyable comic that anybody with a passing interest in Batman will enjoy whether you’re following the main books or not. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Ghost Rider #1 (Marvel) If, like me, you’ve been exposed to Robbie Reyes through the Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. TV show, then prepare to be somewhat disappointed. The character is almost unrecognisable from the TV show aside from the fact that both are mechanics, and both sometimes have a flaming skull head; if I’m honest, I prefer the live action portrayal over the comic version. That being said, this first issue is perfectly serviceable, but it’s unlikely to set the world on fire. Pun unintended. Overall: 5.5 Recommendation: Read… maybe?

Masked #1 (Titan) An interesting start that shows a lot of promise. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Revolution #5 (IDW) When you think of climactic final battles in crossover events, this issue will be the bar of comparison. SO MUCH is going on in every panel; it’s a glorious smorgasboard of action, although there are some details that get lost it’s nothing that will pull you away from the story. A fantastic conclusion. Overall: 8.75 Recommendation: Buy the whole miniseries – you don’t need to be familiar with any of the characters to enjoy it.

 

Ashley

Adventure Time: Islands (Boom! Studios) – I guess I didn’t realize how behind I’ve been on Adventure Time until I read this on a whim and found myself Googling everything involved adventuretime_ogn_islands_coverin this story. Still, like many of the Adventure Time OGNs, the story ended up being very charming and touching. Jo is a particularly intriguing heroine and it would be nice to see what happens to her in the future. Overall rating: 7 Recommendation: Read

The Skeptics #2 (Black Mask) – Tini Howard and Devaki Neogi’s clever series continues with an issue of Max and Mary trying to keep up the psychic act in the wake of the President making a public press conference about them. The back and forth mind games as the two try to figure out what is going on with the USSR’s psychic teens proves to be especially fun and develops Max and Mary’s characters even further. Mary especially comes across as the shining star of this issue when we begin to see her morality in comparison to Max. Now the big question is going into issue 3 is how much longer can they keep the act going? Overall Rating: 7.5 Recommendation: Read
Joe
Saga #40 (Image) This was my favorite issue of the series in awhile. I felt like everything moved a bit quicker than the last few issues, and while it was good to spend some time with characters and develop some of the new ones, Saga is at its best when it is juggling a few plots at once that come together into the overall story. We get Hazel and her new friend watching the Prince’s weird dreams in a very funny scene that felt reminiscent of Dennis the Menace and Mr. Wilson. We get Marko reflecting over his time as a soldier, and why he is still reluctant to accept violence even after what he’s done. We get more weird saga40-01-covfun and new characters as Petrichor searches for Izzy. And we get Allana and the Prince in a jaw dropping cliffhanger. This comic is still awesome. – Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy
Batman Annual #1 (DC) – This was a fun annual. We get multiple stories from some of the great bat writers and artists including Tom King, Scott Snyder, Declan Shalvey, Paul Dini, Steve Orlando, Neal Adams and more. Most of the stories follow a similar feel good and light hearted tone, which is nice to get in a bat book every now and then. All of them focus around winter in Gotham and the holiday, and I really enjoyed that. Annuals are supposed to be a break from the main storylines, and this book did a great job giving us a few stories that were quite different. The final story also sets up something for next year as it introduces a villain at the end of the book. I would recommend this book for any Batman fan. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy
Superman Annual #1 (DC) – I have loved this run of Superman by Tomasi, and the annual is no different. This title has been one of the most consistently good DC books from the Rebirth event, and the annual gives us a fun break in between arcs, but also gives us something pretty big. Swamp Thing shows up to tell this Superman that he is drawing too much energy from the sun, and more than the previous Superman. After a really fun fight between the two, Swamp Thing explains that Supes is killing the planet, and should leave, but he also tells him he can cure him and fix everything. This is a perfect story for an annual, and it really flowed well. It also in a way tells us this is our Superman now, the man of tomorrow, as Swamp Thing tells him to let go of his past. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy
Ghost Rider #1 (Marvel) – I really wish Tradd Moore drew this entire book, but he is only on the backup story, which to me was better than the main story, and gave this book another point in the score. The art by Beyruth is good, but I associate the character with Moore from the last run, and he fits Ghost Rider so well. Felipe Smith does a decent job on writing the backup story, but my problem with the main story is it doesn’t have enough Ghost Rider in it, and features more of Totally Awesome Hulk than Robbie Reyes. We even get Laura Kinney at the end and while I like these characters, I really would have loved a more focused story, which the bonus was. Overall: 5.0 Recommendation: Pass
Ryan C
Superman Annual #1 (DC)** – Absolutely gorgeous Jorge Jimenez art is sadly rather wasted smann_cv1on a less-than-mediocre script from Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason that stretches a Superman-meets-Swamp-Thing team-up that could have been told in less than 10 pages out to truly ridiculous length. Honestly, this would have been better as a wordless story because then, at least, the plot would have come across as far less hackneyed than it is. In the end, what we’ve got here is a backup strip on steroids — that’s gorgeous to look at. Overall: 4. Recommendation: Pass.
Ghost Rider #1 (Marvel)** — In theory, an impending team-up between the new Ghost Rider, the new Wolverine, and the Totally Awesome Hulk sounds interesting enough on paper — even cheap-ass Marvel paper — but Felipe Smith’s script on this debut issue is pure set-up that doesn’t even explain why, much less how, all of these disparate characters are going to end up crossing paths, and the dialogue is lifeless and cliched across the board for all characters. Danilo S. Beyruth’s art is okay, if not great, but the closest thing we get to a “highlight” here is a fun little backup strip written by Smith and illustrated by Tradd Moore that introduces a new (I think) villain and actually packs more intrigue and excitement into its truncated length than the main story story manages to with a full page count. It looks like we’ve got another short-lived “Ghost Rider” title on our hands with this one. Overall: 5. Recommendation: Pass
Wacky Raceland #6 (DC)** – All good things, as they say, must come to an end, and while Ken Pontac and Leonardo Manco have both been in better form on this title than they are in this final issue, given how abruptly it was cancelled I can forgive things like the clunky opening page info-dump and necessarily hurried conclusions to, well, every single storyline going. At the very least a nice little twist at the end leaves readers feeling less than completely cheated by the proceedings, and while it would have been nice to see this underappreciated series run a bit longer, I’ve seen the axe fall on books in far uglier fashion than it does here. Overall: 6.5. Recommendation: Buy if you’ve been reading it so far, otherwise pass.
Romulus #2 (Top Cow/Image)** – This conspiratorially-themed book from Bryan Hill and Nelson Blake II has a retro, ’80s-style indie vibe to it in terms of both story and art, and fairly intriguing characters. The dialogue’s a little disjointed, sure, and we’ve been down this “solitary warrior vs. the Illuminati” path before, but what the heck — if done right, it can still be fun. Hill is treading on shaky political ground with his villain, though, not because she’s a clear stand-in for Hillary Clinton, but because he seems to be equating empowered feminism with duplicitous, world-conquering motives. We’ll have to see how that all plays out, but for the time being I’m giving him a bit more rope in the hope that he doesn’t strangle himself with it. Overall: 7. Recommendation: Read.
Shean
Star Wars Annual#2 (Marvel)-In this Annual issue, we are introduced to a muscle bound no-angel-coverunemployed engineered that goes by the name, Pash Davane. She lives on a desert planet much like Tatooine, and happenstance to be taking care of a wounded Princess Leia. What follows is a series of antics between the two and what ultimately is an elevator episode , which as the best ones do, reveal a lot about the characters. By the end of the annual, the Rebels have a new Allie, which has her own set of skills.Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy
No Angel#1 (Black Mask)– Adrienne Palicki is mostly known for her starring roles on Friday Night Lights and Agents Of SHIELD , but one where may be surprised that she is an adept storyteller. In this first issue, we introduced to Hannah Gregory, an Iraq War Veteran, who comes home after a family tragedy. What no one including her knows , is that the tragedy hides a bigger reason. By issue’s end, a rather ordinary sounding story takes a surprisingly supernatural turn. Overall: 9 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 (**).

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