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Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 5/1/16

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

TEMPLARS_2_Cover A_Chris Thornley4001 A.D. #1 (Valiant) – Valiant’s Summer Event technically kicks off with this issue, but 4001AD #1 is a direct continuation of the events from the last couple of issues of Rai’s solo series. While you don’t need to read them to enjoy this issue (there is a stunning recap page or three) it certainly doesn’t hurt matters. Despite the possibility that some readers may not be as familiar with the characters here, this is a beautiful comic book – or at least it was on my iPhone screen – and I can’t wait to get my hands on a physical copy (expect a bigger review next week). If you’re Valiant fan, this should be on your pull list, and if you’re not it’s still well worth a read. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Smosh #1 (Dynamite Entertainment) – Was… kinda interesting, but not really my cup of tea. I’ll probably read the next issue or two, but I can’t justify recommending it yet. Overall: 5 Recommendation: Read it if you’re curious, but it’s more of a Pass

Kings Quest #1 (Dynamite Entertainment) – Despite being labelled as a first issue I felt like there was more of a back story than was explained (and I don’t think it’s a case of Just Wait Ad All Will Be REVEALED!), but other than that this was a good diversion for ten minutes. There’s some moments that made me laugh, and that almost made up for my disorientation when reading the issue. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Read

Assassin’s Creed: Templars #1 (Titan Comics) – I honestly never expected I’d be rooting for a Templar in the Assassin’s Creed universe, but with this series I find that I am absolutely doing that. Templars is a solid comic; the artwork is appropriately dark and swathed in shadows, deliberately obscuring the Black Cross at times. It’s a nice touch, and one that helps the character come off as the boogeyman that he’s supposed to be. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy if you an Assassins Creed fan, Read it anyway if you’re not.

 

Shean

The Paybacks Vol 1Paybacks Volume 1 (Dark Horse Comics) – When it comes to superhero parodies, Mystery Men, The Tick, and Kick Ass , come to mind , and a few forgettable ones, all come to mind , as they mostly make fun of the genre, with only a few actually honoring it, enter the Paybacks. Just like the Watchmen, touched on the realities of being a superhero, so does this book in rollicking fashion. As we meet a cast of characters, who resemble a few of your favorites much like the way Image’s Sex does, they go about repossessing different superheroes properties as they default on their loans. Within this first story arc, a killer is on the loose, and clues through the story lead the reader right to who it is. Story: 9 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

 

Ryan

Jacked #6 (DC Comics/Vertigo)* – A very satisfying if thoroughly unsurprising conclusion to what’s been, all told, an excellent little series that’s largely flown under the radar. Eric Kripke’s story has combined super-hero revisionism and mid-life regrets in a manner both seamless and painfully, joyously human, while John Higgins’ art has been a “warts-and-all” feast for the eyes. I’ll miss having this on my monthly pull, and while it’s set up nicely for a sequel that will probably never come to pass, it stands just fine (and then some) on its own. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Dark Knight III: The Master Race #4 (DC Comics)*  – Only this series could give you an issue where Superman fucking dies (whoops! Spoilers!) and somehow make it feel like a complete waste of time. The story plods along as Carrie Kelly assumes another new identity (this time that of Batgirl), and the former inhabitants of Kandor continue their bog-standard takeover techniques. Brian Azzarello achieves the dubious honor of somehow making a contemporary Frank Miller script even worse via his contributions, while Andy Kubert and Klaus Janson keep on keepin’ on approximating the original “Dark Knight Returns” look to the best of their ability — a task which, at this point, is just getting sad. Overall : 3 Recommendation: Pass

PowerLines02_CoverPower Lines #2 (Image/Shadowline)**  – Jimmie Robinson’s topical exploration of how superpowers (could) affect the urban/suburban and black/white divide certainly continues to be interesting, but while his art remains gorgeous to look at, this issue’s story is perhaps a bit too earnest for its own good, devolving into outright preachiness on many occasions and reducing characters that seemed reasonably fleshed out last time around into mouthpieces for various points of view. Also, no mention whatsoever of the intriguing Native American mythologically-based origins of these powers is anywhere to be found. The whole comic feels like it could’ve benefited from some tighter editing. Still intrigued enough to keep going, but this was a big step back from an excellent debut. Overall: 5 Recommendation: Read

Batman #51 (DC Comics) – So, the Scott Snyder/Greg Capullo era comes to a close with an issue that can best be described as an epilogue, but at least it seems a reasonably heartfelt good-bye. There’s no real “threat” on offer here — one is hinted at, but you know it ain’t gonna amount to squat — but as a 22-page victory lap for a couple of creators who’ve had a good run, I can’t fault this book in the least. And it’s nice to see them bid farewell not just to Batman, but to all of Gotham. You’re not going to get choked up or anything, but you’ll probably think to yourself “that was a nice way to go out.” I certainly did. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Buy


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 (**).

Review: Jacked #2

Jacked 2Josh Jaffe is living the dream: from suburban schlub to superhero in one easy swallow of a shady Internet drug. This is where his nightmare starts. An unflinching humanity and surreal level of detail to this tale of a midlife crisis—with superpowers!

Is Jacked another male empowerment fantasy? Yup, you better believe, it, but writer Eric Kripke seems to wear what the series is on its sleeve. This is the male midlife crisis through the lens of superpowers. A mashing of Fight Club and Preacher with all of the ultraviolence as you might expect combining the two.

The series is absolutely male empowerment with Jaffe taking a pill to make all his issues go away. That pill allows him to have sex for longer, beat up individuals, and in general feel like a winner as opposed to how he normally feels. Still, even with that rather antiquated view, the story is still entertaining giving us an over the top superhero story for the midlife crisis set.

Part of the issue’s success is John Higgins whose art depicts the bloody glory as if tapping in to Vertigo releases of the past. The violence is ultra and over the top, reminding me a lot of Preacher.

This comic isn’t for everyone, and it’s very clear as to what it is. Having said that, the series and issue is entertaining in its over the top nature that you can’t take seriously. It’ll be interesting to see where it all goes and if Kripke has something to say as the series progresses, but for now this is a series that has no issue going over the top tip-toeing the line with silly. And due to that, it finds it’s sweet spot of entertaining.

Story: Eric Kripke Art: John Higgins
Story: 8.2 Art: 8.2 Overall: 8.2 Recommendation: Buy

Vertigo provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Around the Tubes

It’s Thanksgiving Day! For folks celebrating, we hope you have a wonderful day and for those that aren’t we’ll have a normal day here at GP!

While you await the Turkey to be ready, here’s some comic book news and reviews from around the web in our morning roundup.

Around the Tubes

ArtsBeat – ‘The Walking Dead Experience’ Is Coming to New Jersey – This sounds cool.

Kotaku – Arkham Knight’s New Catwoman And Robin DLC Is A Drag – This game just doesn’t get much love.

Elle – What It’s Like to Be a Woman of Color in Privileged White Spaces – If you read one thing in this list.

Panels – Unconventional Romance Comics! – If you need any suggestions.

 

Around the Tubes

Comic Vine – All-New Wolverine #2

CBR – Archie #4

Comic Vine – Art Ops #2

The Rainbow Hub – Fight Club 2 #7

CBR – Jacked #1

Comics Alliance – Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur #1

CBR – Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur #1

CBR – Oyster War

The Rainbow Hub – Phonogram: The Immaterial Girl #4

The Rainbow Hub – Ringside #1

Comics Alliance – Silk #1

Comic Vine – Silk #1

CBR – Silk #1

Comic Vine – Star Wars: Darth Vader #13

Comic Vine – Venom: Space Knight #1

Review: Jacked #1

Jacked #1Eric Kripke (creator of Supernatural) teams up with Vertigo veterans John Higgins and Glenn Fabry to bring you a very Vertigo take on the modern superhero in this six-issue miniseries. Josh Jaffe, a neurotic family man mid-midlife crisis, buys an online “smart pill” to increase his focus and jolt him out of his slump. But to Josh’s surprise, the pill gives him incredible strength and power—but its cost is that it’s extremely addictive.

Though I feel like we’ve seen similar stories, Jacked #1 has a brutal honesty about it that feels fresh and realistic. There’s very much hiighs and lows in this first issue, and using that, Kripke has given a comic that just feels relatable.

The main character Jaffe is an out of work guy, laid off, going from interview to interview, whose marriage has fizzled, wife is the bread winner, and to relax he turns to internet porn. So simple, but feels like something a lot of folks can relate to, even if it’s just one aspect of that.

The use of a pill to give special powers and abilities is something we’ve seen in other stories like Limitless and others, but again, Kripke brings on those powers slowly in a way that’s subtle and again relatable. How many of us go to the doctor for a magic pill? Jacked feels grounded, which is one of its great strengths.

Joining Kripke is Higgins on art and the details he puts in creates a comedic element to the first issue. With the art taken another way, the comic would be much more depressing than it is. It’s interesting in how the art really creates the tone in many ways.

Jacked #1 is an interesting start and another new Vertigo series revitalizing that publishing brand. It’s a solid debut, and though many elements are familiar, the comic itself has a voice of its own. Looking forward to seeing where it goes from here.

Story: Eric Kripke Art: John Higgins
Story: 8 Art: 7.7 Overall: 8 Recommendation: Read

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

SDCC 2015: Vertigo’s Impressive Line-Up of New Series for Fall

DC Entertainment’s creator-driven imprint, Vertigo, kicked off San Diego Comic-Con with an impressive Fall slate consisting of 12 new #1s set to release over 12 consecutive weeks beginning in October. The announcement came on their panel Thursday evening when comic book and literary heavyweights joined the ranks including Darwyn Cooke, Gilbert Hernandez, Michael Allred, Holly Black, Lauren Beukes and Gail Simone, among others.

Vertigo, best known for its bold storytelling, will continue to push the boundaries of genre fiction – horror, fantasy, crime thriller, scifi – with these new releases.

OCTOBER
THE TWILIGHT CHILDREN #1 (Gilbert Hernandez, Darwyn Cooke)
SURVIVORS’ CLUB #1 (Lauren Beukes, Dale Halvorsen, Ryan Kelly)
CLEAN ROOM #1 (Gail Simone, Jon Davis-Hunt)
ART OPS #1 (Shaun Simon, Michael Allred)

NOVEMBER
UNFOLLOW #1 (Rob Williams, Mike Dowling)
SLASH & BURN #1 (Si Spencer, Max Dunbar, Ande Parks)
RED THORN #1 (David Baillie, Meghan Hetrick)
JACKED #1 (Eric Kripke, John Higgins)

DECEMBER
SHERIFF OF BAGHDAD #1 (Tom King, Mitch Gerads)
NEW ROMANCER #1 (Peter Milligan, Brett Parson)
LUCIFER #1 (Holly Black, Lee Garbett)
LAST GANG IN TOWN #1 (Simon Oliver, Rufus Dayglo)

The Fall slate will also be comprised of continuing series American Vampire, Astro City and Suiciders.

The panel also included Vertigo veterans Scott Snyder, Rafael Albuquerque, and Lee Bermejo, along with a special farewell video from Bill Willingham!

Entertainment Earth