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 reviews of the comics, or graphic novels, we just didn’t get a chance to write a full one for.
These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews and Recommendations.
Stranger Things: Tales from Hawkins #1 (Dark Horse) – The first issue of this new anthology style Stranger Things miniseries from Jody Houser, Caio Filipe, and Dan Jackson focuses on the stories of the regular citizens of Hawkins, Indiana while all kinds of dimension spanning, monster fighting shenanigans are going on in the main plot of the Netflix show. Tales from Hawkins #1 is about two hunters in the woods who end up becoming the hunted and shows how hapless the town would be without the help of a telekinetic preteen, some resourceful kids/teens, and an undaunted sheriff. I love how Jackson varies his color palette from autumn Midwest to utter hopelessness and Filipe’s layouts show off the speed and danger of the Demogorgon. However, the two leads of the story are pretty unremarkable and don’t get much characterization so their dark ends ring hollow even with a surprise cameo at the end. Overall: 6.4 Verdict: Pass
Know Your Station #3 (BOOM! Studios) – Other than the social commentary (Rich people are Karens, especially in space), in Sarah Gailey’s script and the gorgeous and gruesome art and colors from Liana Kangas and Rebecca Nalty, I enjoy Know Your Station because it isn’t afraid to take a beat and zero in on its key characters while the billionaire bodies pile up in the spaceship. Protagonist Elise confides with definite red herring Marin about the communication issues onboard and the graphic, artistic manner of the rich board member’s deaths. But more importantly, she opens up about her imposter syndrome and addiction revealing that she had no formal investigative training and was just going to be a dish washer on board the ship. Gailey and Kangas create a real bond between Marin and Elise as they get know each other on a deeper level until shit hit the fans in a final day-glo page. If you like procedurals/mysteries, but aren’t into cops, Know Your Station is definitely worth a reading. Overall: 8.3 Verdict: Buy
Static: Shadows of Dakota #1 (DC Comics/Milestone) – Vita Ayala and Nikolas Draper-Ivey are back with another high energy Static mini that features glorious action sequences, a look into how Virgil Hawkins helps his community out of costume, and introduces a truly unsettling villain. Draper-Ivey continues to be one of the most interesting artists in superhero comics with his manga influences shining through in emotional scenes like when Static talks to a Bang Baby who’s being chased by Feds and accidentally blows up a city street. And speaking of explosions, Nikolas Draper-Ivey brings a kind of freeze frame effect to the more epic moments of each fight or when Ebon is reaching into a Bang Baby hunter’s brain. Finally, I like that Ayala and Draper-Ivey intersperse quiet scenes between the high octane fights on city streets like when Virgil feeds an unhoused lady and tells off some cops who are rude to her, or when he reflects on the damage his battles do while watching his mom and sister do their EMT work. Overall: 8.8 Verdict: Buy
Miracleman: The Silver Age #4 (Marvel) – In keeping with the Miracleman tradition, Miracleman: The Silver Age #4 features a 16 page lead story plus a reprint of a Young Miracleman story from the Mick Anglo that ties into what’s going on in the lead story from Neil Gaiman, Mark Buckingham, Jordie Bellaire, and Todd Klein, whose letters do a fantastic job conveying the tone of the dialogue. Plus he gets to riff on family Bibles in the opening scene which shows worshipers at the Church of Miracleman. (It’s sparsely attended.) In keeping with the themes of the series, Gaiman and Buckingham go psychological instead of physical, especially in conversation between Tom Caxton (Formerly Mister Master) and Young Miracleman talking about how what he’s going to do with his life after being the top superhero after Miracleman. Buckingham’s double page spreads combined with small grid panels make the comic seem both epic and intimate. There are worlds between Young Miracleman’s journey to find himself in the Himalayas and the maneuverings on Olympus and especially the Kirby-esque Black Warpsmiths. Reprint pages aside, Miracleman: The Silver Age #4 is an inviting blend of a coming of age story featuring Young Miracleman and a bigger picture plot about a utopia starting to show its cracks. The Warpsmiths are right ; something is definitely off on Earth. Overall: 8.1 Verdict: Buy
Static: Shadows of Dakota #1 (DC Comics/Milestone) – A fantastic start to the second volume of the series that picks up right after the first ended. With new threats looming the issue acts as both a solid way to catch up on what has happened and also lead into what’s to come. The art is top notch with pages that’ll leave you lingering. This is a hell of a start to the series that shouldn’t be missed. Overall: 9.0 Verdict: Buy
Plush #3 (Image Comics) – The series continues its twisted ways as we learn more about the cannibal furries. That alone should really tell you everything you need to know. The art is great. The writer is wtf funny. It’s such an oddity and it’s fantastic. Overall: 8.5 Verdict: Buy
Zombicide: Day One #1 (Source Point Press) – While I know of the board game, I’ve never played it so I’m sure I’m missing some details in the comic. But, from what I know of it, it captures a lot of what people seem to enjoy about it, especially its characters that are full of personality. There’s something fun wit the debut that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Overall: 7.75 Verdict: 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 (**).