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Mini Reviews and Recommendations For The Week Ending 09/18/2021

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. Given the lack of new comics, expect this weekly update to begin featuring comics that we think you’ll enjoy while you can’t get anything new to read – only new to you.

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews and Recommendations.


Logan

Eternals: Thanos Rises #1 (Marvel)– Only in comics can you have a prehistoric battle between immortal beings astride dinosaurs and a Platonic dialogue all under the same covers as Kieron Gillen, Dustin Weaver, and Matthew Wilson show the ideological and physical roots of one of pop culture’s greatest villains, Thanos, in Eternals: Thanos Rises #1. The conflict at the core of this issue, and honestly at the Eternals as a whole in Gillen’s run, is if immortal beings whose goal is to defend a kind of status quo (the machine) can change even in the slightest way. This way is having children, and as one can guess, it doesn’t turn out great. Weaver and Wilson’s visuals bring the power and mythic quality of the best Jack Kirby stories while having their own unique and slightly askew approach to storytelling. They’re influenced by the King and not a cover band for him. Also, it’s just plain cool and additive to the whole vibe of the Eternals to have characters based on the ancient Greek pantheon partake in the very ancient Greek activity of a philosophical dialogue. Eternals: Thanos Rises #1 adds context and scope to Kieron Gillen’s work on Eternals and features him, Weaver, and Wilson working in an epic mode. Overall: 9.4 Verdict: Buy

Black’s Myth #3 (Ahoy)– Strummer and Ben’s hunt for their client’s missing silver bullets (Apparently they were forged from the 30 pieces of silver that Judas received for betraying his Lord and Savior, but you know how there things are.) takes them to many interesting destinations, including a vampire bar and occult bookstore that’s more than meets the eye. Eric Palicki and Wendell Cavalcanti keep the action and mystery going at a nice clip lulling readers into a false sense of security before escalating the plot with a wallop in the last few pages. Also, Calvacanti gets to show off his fight sequence chops and channels Frank Miller and Klaus Janson in a nine panel grid vampire beatdown that shows that Strummer still has a relish for violence and is more werewolf than detective. In Black’s Myth #3, the pace never drags, the patter is always snappy, and Eric Palicki and Wendell Cavalcanti really up the danger quotient. Overall: 8.6 Verdict: Buy

Joker #7 (DC)– The shape of the conspiracy that Jim Gordon’s up against starts to slowly reveal itself in Joker #7 by James Tynion, Guillem March, and Arif Prianto. Like most issues of Joker, the book features multiple settings, narrators, and POVs as well as art styles from March, who does a James Bond/Avengers homage with Julia Pennyworth to tight grids and reflections in eye glasses as Gordon meets a potential new ally. He can get as much tension from a conversation as a silent martial arts fight aka Cassandra Cain in action. Joker #7 also features smart commentary about how the rest of the world sees Gotham (It hides social issues under masks and costumes.) and character moment payoffs like Pennyworth beating the shit out of some Bane theme park investors as payback for the villain killing her father back in the Tom King Batman run. One of the reveals that Tynion pulls is a little obvious (If keeping with his history on the Bat-family books), but I love the layered storyline he’s creating in this book that goes beyond a simple cat and mouse game. The Punchline backup from James Tynion, Sam Johns, and Sweeney Boo is quite entertaining as Harper Row tries to break out of prison creating an opportunity for clever layouts and a sense of urgency in that story’s plot. Overall: 8.5 Verdict: Buy

Godzilla Rivals: Vs. Mothra (IDW)– Mary Kenney, SL Gallant, Maria Keane, and Adam Guzowski turn in a celebration of the Queen of the Monsters in the one-shot Godzilla Rivals: Vs. Mothra. Before the titular battle, Kenney does a good job fleshing out this comic’s protagonist, Mima, a photographer who’s supposed to be doing a puff piece on the Japanese military and ends up learning about Mothra’s captivity attempting to free her. Like the best kaiju stories, Godzilla Rivals: Vs. Mothra ends up being a parable about how humanity cages nature and what we don’t understand instead of being curious like Mina, whose photojournalism career came out of a life time exploring the great outdoors with her parent. All is this is great, but Godzilla Rivals: vs. Mothra also has a curb stomp monster action courtesy of Gallant and Keane as Kenney shuts off the dialogue and captions and “lets them fight”. There is really clever use of Mothra’s cocoon and Godzilla’s nuclear breath, and the entire story ends up being a little bittersweet. This comic is a must-read if you like your kaiju fights with a side of emotional resonance. Overall: 9.2 Verdict: Buy

Trial of Magneto #2 (Marvel)– Leah Williams, Lucas Werneck, and Edgar Delgado are back for another round of bombastic drama, action, and questionable morality. Trial of Magneto #2 adds the Avengers to the mix to complicate the murder investigation and also show how much Wanda Maximoff meant to the team as they share grief and space with the Krakoans. However, not everything is sunshine and daisies, and we get yet another Magneto vs. everyone fight scene like the previous issue. But Williams and Werneck switch things up by letting Northstar be angry when his husband Kyle is caught in the middle of things and is treated as less than by Magneto. Throw in an utterly chaotic last few pages plus couple moments that show how utterly morally bankrupt Krakoan leaders like Professor X and Emma Frost are, and you can see why Mystique (Who has a 1 panel cameo) wants to burn the place down. Overall: 8.0 Verdict: 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 and Recommendations For The Week Ending 09/04/2021

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. Given the lack of new comics, expect this weekly update to begin featuring comics that we think you’ll enjoy while you can’t get anything new to read – only new to you.

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews and Recommendations.


Logan

Static Season One #3 (DC/Milestone)- Static Season One continues to be a master-class in modern teen superhero comics from Vita Ayala, Nikolas Draper-Ivey, and ChrisCross. The book bakes in relevant themes of the American police state preying on young Black people and bigoted white men being eager to sign up and be their lackeys while also having beautiful touching moments throughout. Draper-Ivey masterfully melds manga and Western comics in a thrilling escape sequence before slowing things down and digging into the influences for Static’s costume rooted in his love of science, DIY, and escapist fiction like anime and SF. He, ChrisCross, and Ayala also turn in an emotional sequence with him and his father as they realize that they are both alike in their love of creation and building something from nothing even though that manifests itself in science experiments for Virgil and home repair for Mr. Hawkins. Even after all this, there’s time to flesh out Virgil’s supporting class at his high school and escalate the threat as the Feds are coming after the folks affected by the Big Bang, which is quickly becoming a heightened metaphor for government reprisal against anyone who challenges the white supremacist, cop-exalting status quo. Overall: 9.0 Verdict: Buy

Black Hammer Reborn #3 (Dark Horse)– A relationship ending can feel like the end of the world, especially a marriage with two kids. Jeff Lemire, Caitlin Yarsky, and Dave Stewart combine both the conclusion of Lucy Weber (Aka Black Hammer II) and Elliot (Formerly, the two bit supervillain Lightning Rod)’s relationship with yet another apocalypse for Spiral City. Yarsky’s character acting is superb as she illustrates the difference in emotions between Lucy and Elliot arguing with their therapist to their “meet cute” where Elliot’s “lightning finger” powers have little to no effect on her. Even though they’ve grown distant and Elliot cheated on Lucy, you can see their rapport as Elliot had put on a costume to rob a laundromat and pay rent. This kind of everyday relationship stuff combined with superhero tropes is what the Black Hammer books such compelling reads, and Lemire and Caitlin Yarsky get back to this in Black Hammer Reborn #3 while also showing the threat that’s coming might be beyond her. Overall: 8.5 Verdict: Buy

Dark Ages #1 (Marvel)– Tom Taylor brings his brand of disaster movies meets large fictional universe with a side of character specific hope to what is definitely not Earth-616 in Dark Ages #1. This first issue is focused on the incident that led to the Marvel Universe basically losing electricity, and Taylor, Iban Coello, and Brian Reber are game for a bleak, hopeless take on the the summer crossover with a battle against the Celestial-looking Unmaker that does what his name describes and does insane shit like turning Thing into a pile of rocks and sinking Atlantis among other things. What’s really interesting is that Tom Taylor and Coello do what so many Marvel writers can’t really do and say what if defeating the summer event’s Big Bad cost everything and led to an even worse reality. However, there are little bits of hope, including one that elicited a total “Aww” reaction from this reader and riffs on one of the most famous moments in all of Marvel history. Peter Parker is the narrator for much of the comic, and Taylor has a great handle on his humorous, salt of the Earth voice while Iban Coello and Reber bring the powerhouse wide screen visuals with a touch of cartooning to make everything a little more human. Overall: 7.9 Verdict: Buy

Money Shot #14 (Vault)– Money Shot continues to be outrageous as ever as the XXXplorers and the alien parody of the XXXplorers band together to rescue two members of their team from a matriarchal hunter-gatherer society of deer-people who keep giant, horny clay pigeons as pets. And along the way, Tim Seeley and Sarah Beattie throw in a legit plot twist about the identity of the alien porn stars while Caroline Leigh Layne continues with her pitch perfect riffs on the filmography of Andy Sidaris combined with soft eroticism and some primalness. In its third arc, Money Shot has really learned the value of taking it slow and focusing on its character between the sexy, violent, or body of a bogeyman bounty hunter merging bits. It’s one of those comics where I’m like “What the fuck will they think of next” and am usually satisfied and amused by it. Overall: 8.1 Verdict: Buy

Second Coming: Only Begotten Son #4 (Ahoy)– Unlike the first miniseries, Mark Russell, Richard Pace, and Leonard Kirk continue to explore the parallel lives of Jesus and Sunstar in more character-driven vignettes all centered around a moral throughline. The moral this issue is compassion, and Jesus’ empathy and compassion through the form of a story of forgiveness gets Sunstar’s mom a reprieve from eviction from her retirement. However, the main plot of this issue is centered around the villain Cranius causing massive earthquakes because he wants to get back at how Sunstar treated him in high school. In lesser hands, this would be a typical disaster storyline, but Russell, Pace, and Kirk turn it into a story of change and forgiveness. Sure, there is great retirement home banter, but Only Begotten Son #4 is one of the saddest chapters of Second Coming with consequences that will resonate for the rest of the arc. Overall: 8.0 Verdict: 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 and Recommendations For The Week Ending 07/17/2021

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. Given the lack of new comics, expect this weekly update to begin featuring comics that we think you’ll enjoy while you can’t get anything new to read – only new to you.

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews and Recommendations.


Logan

Ninjak #1 (Valiant)– Ninjak #1 is probably the best-drawn Valiant book I’ve read with Javier Pulido bringing his creative attitude to page layouts, flat colors, and spot-on cartooning to a world of super spies and superpowers. Ninjak has all kinds of lovely storytelling touches like Pulido and Dave Sharpe switching up the lettering font when someone isn’t the greatest at speaking a foreign language. Jeff Parker’s plot feels a lot like a Daniel Craig-era James Bond film, but with katanas and superpowers. He and Pulido show Ninjak in action from the POV of someone he lets trail and seeing the effects of his fighting skills creates a feeling of intrigue like he’s the bogeyman or something. However, all of the secrets are blown at the end, and Parker and Javier Pulido raise the stakes sky high on the last few pages without being close to revealing this series’ Big Bad. Overall: 9.0 Verdict: Buy

Joker #5 (DC)– James Tynion and guest creators Matthew Rosenberg and Francesco Francavilla spin a gorgeous, yet seriously unsettling yarn about the Joker’s first night in Arkham that contextualizes why he’s been in Jim Gordon’s head throughout the Joker series. Any time Francavilla does interior art is a treat, and Joker #5 is no exception as he brings a deadpan creepiness to the titular character compared to the overly righteous of Jim Gordon. Francavilla’s colors were really my favorite part of the issue from faded greys for any scenes featuring Gordon’s family to his bright, eye-popping red hair that adds sound and fury to any sequence. But it ends up signifying nothing, and this is really a tragic comic. You could definitely slot it in after Batman Year One and Man Who Laughs, it’s that good and a high point of one of my current DC faves. In the backup story, Sweeney Boo’s art has a slick, queer af vibe perfect for a story featuring the Row siblings. Tynion and Sam Johns juggle Harper Row and Cullen Row’s stories perfectly as Cullen deals with his crush’s immature Punchline-fanboy friends while Harper Row is ready to spring back into action. It’s a nice dessert to the robust main story. Overall: 9.4 Verdict: Buy

Die #18 (Image)– The cast of Die continue to wander through a dungeon to the center of the world so they can finally escape this nightmare. Kieron Gillen and Stephanie Hans make the dungeon less full of loot and enemies and more like the Mines of Moria in Lord of the Rings aka emptiness, a touch of psychological dread, and a big, god-like monster towards the end. They hone in on the character of Sol, who was killed by the Gamemaster and became the first Fallen, and show how terrible his life was being stuck in the game for decades and having his eyes replaced with a literal D20. Even though he ran the game and wanted to take revenge on the game, he’s weary of it. Hans’ art wrings some real emotion out of his transformation, and she also gets to turn her gifts into the real world in a 1990s flashback set in a pub in Stafford, UK right after the cast originally returned from Die. Finally, what really got me in this issue was Ash, who deep down doesn’t want to leave Die because she can truly be her authentic self in this fantasy world versus the “real” one. It’s really powerful character even as Gillen and Stephanie Hans start to call time on the series. Overall: 8.8 Verdict: Buy

Way of X #4 (Marvel)– Si Spurrier, Bob Quinn, and Java Tartaglia’s Way of X continues to be the book that pokes at the flaws of Krakoa. There’s the obvious build-up to Onslaught 2: Electric Boogaloo, but they also examine the trauma around life in Krakoa from Gorgon dealing the fallout of being resurrected weirdly to the new mutant Lost coping with Fabian Cortez killing her parents pre-amnesty and even some geological issues on Mars aka Arakko. With expressive figure work and faded out backgrounds, Quinn shows the every day mutant struggle as well as Nightcrawler trying to find a unifying theory for everything to center his mutant religion around. Also, the Gorgon resurrection thread is one that’s been begging to be explored since X of Swords, and Spurrier and Bob Quinn do a good job of using it to reinforce the themes of Way of X as well as showing there’s still heightened tensions between humans and mutants. All this plus Legion and Professor X have their version of a heart to heart, and he continues to be a great co-protagonist of the series. Overall: 8.2 Verdict: Buy

X-Corp #3 (Marvel)– X-Corp #3 rights the series’ ship with better art from Valentine De Landro and improved focus from Tini Howard as she makes Jamie Madrox the heart of this issue. Madrox has to demonstrate an important X-Corp product launch, but he also doesn’t want to miss his son’s first steps. This tension between work and family runs in the background while Monet spars with Sara St. John, who works for X-Corp’s competitor in their bandwidth project, and makes cracks about women in technology panels/summits. De Landro’s art is more fluid and less cold than Alberto Foche’s on the previous two issues of X-Corp and fits the tone of a fast-paced, wheeling and dealing tech summit. X-Corp might have the power of mutants on its side, but their competitor Noblesse does have a few literally killer apps. A one page modular bonus story from Jason Loo puts everything Madrox-related in context and shows that maybe the straits aren’t so dire though. I really enjoy how Howard, De Landro, and Loo use his abilities to create the ultimate tech work flow. If the visuals of this book continue to be as clear and engaging as this issue, X-Corp could start to grow on me. Overall: 7.9 Verdict: 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 and Recommendations For The Week Ending 07/10/2021

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. Given the lack of new comics, expect this weekly update to begin featuring comics that we think you’ll enjoy while you can’t get anything new to read – only new to you.

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews and Recommendations.


Logan

Crush and Lobo #2 (DC)– Crush and Lobo by Mariko Tamaki and Amancay Nahuelpan is really my current comfort comic. It mixes the queer yearning with a deadpan sense of humor, and it’s set in space. Tamaki layers Crush’s relationship with her ex Katie and her dad Lobo into a fun slice of life-meet-adventure story. Basically, space baristas aren’t to be trifled with. Nahuelpan’s action chops on his creator owned Black Mask titles definitely transfer over to this book, and he gets to draw zero grav fight sequences in this one. My one slight issue with this book is that there’s not a whole lot of Lobo in it, but a hilarious prison group therapy sequence shows that Mariko Tamaki already has his voice. I can’t wait to see his interactions with Crush in the next issue. Overall: 9.0 Verdict: Buy

Black’s Myth #1 (Ahoy)– Black’s Myth #1 is a comic about white supremacist attacking, werewolf P.I. nicknamed after Joe Strummer from writer Eric Palicki and artist Wendell Cavalcanti, who does the whole book in black and white with lots of grid layouts. It starts intense with its protagonist bleeding out from a silver bullet wound in the bath tub and never lets up and doesn’t shy away from its supernatural elements. In fact, Cavalcanti’s best work happens when he’s slinging ink and blacks around when a recovering Strummer decides to fuck up some Nazis in an alley and find out who’s trying to kill her. Black’s Myth hits that sweet spot between crime and fantasy, and the art style gave me strong David Lapham vibes. Overall: 8.4 Verdict: Buy

Hellions #13 (Marvel)– Hellions #13 kicks off a new arc, and Zeb Wells, Roge Antonio, and Rain Beredo dig into the consequences of the team’s (Well, mainly, Mr. Sinister) actions in previous storylines. So, there’s the return of the insane, Frankenstein Monster with a cape Mr. Sinister clone, who led the suicide mission into Arakko in X of Swords and also some subplots featuring the A.I. mutant baby the team rescued and X-Factor investigating their resurrections. (The book’s cancelled, and this plot is only in one data page, but an X-Factor vs. Hellions book would have been great fun.) But this issue isn’t just clones and the return of the past enemies as Wells and Antonio take time for team-bonding like Empath and Wild Child joking around about heroic sacrifices, or Orphan-Maker latching onto Greycrow as a parental figure now that Nanny spends all her time with the A.I. These moments make a predominantly table-setting issue more interesting as Zeb Wells sets up a big brawl for the next issue. Overall: 7.8 Verdict: Buy

X-Force #21 (Marvel)– Spinning out of the Terra Verde incident (Think the Iran/Contra affair, but more psychic and telefloronic), Benjamin Percy, Joshua Cassara, Robert Gill, and Guru eFX are back on their sentient plant shit in X-Force #21. Somehow, a strain of Man-Thing is infecting humans in politics, corporate boardrooms, police forces etc. all across the U.S., and they’re doing irrational things like murder. X-Force is on the case to find the cause of these happenings and see if there are any connections to Terra Verde, and more frightening, Krakoa. Cassara and Gill’s art and Guru eFX’s color palette do a good job with the body horror sequences, and there’s one especially nauseating sequence with Wolverine early on. The big panel layouts work well for an action-driven book, and they and Percy give Wolverine and Quentin Quire a fun kind of chemistry and their own unique fastball special. Some readers may shrug at Benjamin Percy introducing yet another plotline to X-Force, but he threads the needle and connects the Man-Things to the long running XENO plot as well as the recent telefloronic happenings. Also, immediately fighting a being that is benevolent, yet misunderstood is totally in the mutant CIA’s M.O. Overall: 8.1 Verdict: Buy

Brett

X-Men #1 (Marvel) – A decent start for the new series that has its moments but never quite excites. There’s a lot of setup in this newest volume and that rather slow aspect is given some action to give the issue a little excitement. Unfortunately, that action fills like filler material in between major arcs. It’s not a bad start, there’s a lot that’s intriguing, but it doesn’t quite have that spark that has me immediately wanting to see what’s next. Overall Rating: 7.0 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 (**).

Mini Reviews and Recommendations For The Week Ending 07/03/2021

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. Given the lack of new comics, expect this weekly update to begin featuring comics that we think you’ll enjoy while you can’t get anything new to read – only new to you.

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews and Recommendations.


Logan

X-Factor #10 (Marvel)– Throughout its ten issue run, X-Factor definitely had an identity crisis. It wasn’t sure if it wanted to be a continuity-driven mystery book, Law and Order: Krakoa, or a queer mutant hangout comic. Leah Williams, David Baldeon, and David Messina definitely make this final issue of the comic Krakoa: SVU by wrapping up the long-running subplot of Prodigy solving his own murder. However, due to the need to wrap up the Hellfire Gala event and set up Trial of Magneto as well as several other loose ends, this storyline based on the real killing of queer Black men does get the time or sensitivity it needs. Although, X-Factor #10 doesn’t really work as a whole and has its share of tonal whiplash moments (Aurora and Akihiro flirting while Prodigy confronts his murderer), Williams and Baldeon do capture some great character moments like Northstar being proud of Polaris joining the X-Men, Eye-Boy learning how to do new things with his powers, and any time Prodigy and Speed are cute together. But, all in all, X-Factor will go down as squandered potential for me: a great cast of mostly queer characters, a decent procedural hook, but lots of half-starts and oodles of rushed sub plots. Overall: 5.9 Verdict: Pass

Cable #11 (Marvel)– Cable #11 chronicles Gerry Duggan and Phil Noto’s final approach to a showdown of Kid Cable, Old Man Cable, the Summers family, and some original X-Force mainstays against a baby-sacrificing, hiding very well Stryfe. The final issue is sure to be a gun-toting, sword swinging, and power-flaunting punch-up so Duggan goes quiet on the penultimate one and spend time showing interactions between the Cables as well as his relationship with his “son” and “daughter-in-law” plus his romantic relationship with the Stepford Cuckoos. In Noto’s hands, talking heads are never boring, and he milks comedy out of Deadpool showing up in a serious book and pathos out of Old Man Cable going on basically a suicide mission. Plus there are the aforementioned swords and cool vehicles. It’s all really back to basics Cable comics, body slides and all, but with a family dynamic that has honestly been the highlight of the series along with watching Kid Cable try to grow into the role of the legendary timeline hopping gunslinger/ultra-powerful mutant. Overall: 8.0 Verdict: Buy

Crossover #7 (Image)– Chip Zdarsky, Phil Hester, and Ande Parks are unleashed to play in the Crossover sandbox and turn in easily the best issue of the series. Something is hunting down comics creators and instead of having a basic action adventure issue, we get to see Zdarsky and Hester with both humor and pathos grapple with Steve Murray and his Chip Zdarsky persona. In fact, this issue is a sequel to the Sex Criminals issue where Zdarsky and Matt Fraction put themselves in the book as characters. Through a combination of in- and dick jokes and sweet moments like Chip Zdarsky spooning himself, Crossover #7 ends up a meditation on using fictional personas to feel better about one’s self and say things that your “real” self could never say. It also has a cool final page that introduces a couple awesome players to the Crossover world and are a perfect fit for Phil Hester’s art style. I’m not the biggest fan of Crossover in general (Except for Geoff Shaw and Dee Cunniffe’s visuals), but this issue shows that it works as a place where talented comics creators can interrogate themselves and their work. Overall: 8.6 Verdict: Buy

Beta Ray Bill #4 (Marvel)– This is a quieter installment of Beta Ray Bill #4 with Daniel Warren Johnson and Mike Spicer plunging into Bill’s past trauma with Skuttlebutt in tow. It’s the insightful character exploration that makes me care for Bill even if I haven’t read a lot of comics with him in it, and it shows the budding connection between Bill and Skuttlebutt. Bill is a great warrior who is insecure about his looks, and Johnson shows both side of this coin in Beta Ray Bill #4 with poignant panels of Bill weeping in the mirror to big splash pages of him fighting a tentacle monster or getting ready to battle this mini’s “final boss”. Overall: 8.2 Verdict: Buy

United States of Captain America #1 (Marvel)– Christopher Cantwell and Dale Eaglesham interrogate the meaning behind Captain America’s shield and its connections to patriotism, nationalism, and yes, heroism in United States of Captain America #1. Eaglesham’s art is photorealistic without sacrificing motion of fluidity and reminds me a lot of Steve Epting’s work on Captain America with Ed Brubaker. This extends to its spy thriller meets political satire tone with one page montage on how different people use the Captain America logo to prop up different beliefs. However, United States of Captain America #1 has one amazing trick up its sleeve: Aaron Fischer, Captain America of the Railways, who protects queer and unhoused youth. He makes a big impression on Steve Rogers and Sam Wilson, and Josh Trujillo and Jan Bazaldua tell his origin in a powerful backup story that goes after governments for siding with corporations over people. It’s a memorable piece of queer liberation in a corporate candy shell, and I hope Aaron Fischer has a longer shelf life beyond this miniseries, but I’m not holding my breath. Overall: 8.5 Verdict: Buy

Brett

The Mighty Crusaders: The Shield (Archie Comics) – A mess of a debut, if this is supposed to lead to something bigger, it’s a rough start. Rob Liefeld headlines this reboot of Archie’s superhero line but drama behind the scenes seems to have derailed this project before it starts. The end result is a comic that feels like a story was crammed into Liefeld’s art. It’s pinups with pictures. If you’re a fan of Liefeld’s art, this is for you, but beyond that, avoid this one. Hopefully, someone hops on this line and delivers an ongoing vision as there’s a lot of potential here. Overall Rating: 5.0 Recommendation: Pass


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 and Recommendations For The Week Ending 06/26/2021

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. Given the lack of new comics, expect this weekly update to begin featuring comics that we think you’ll enjoy while you can’t get anything new to read – only new to you.

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews and Recommendations.


Logan

Wolverine #13 (Marvel)– X-Force’s plant-based mind control of the Terra Verdeans goes terribly awry plus there’s a big plot development that affects the Krakoan status quo in an exciting, morally devious, and occasionally hilarious issue of Wolverine from Benjamin Percy, Scot Eaton, Oren Junior, and Matthew Wilson. There’s the juxtaposition of gross body horror with haute couture, and this story makes it explicit that Krakoa is not utopia, but just another colonizing power like the rest of the world. You feel for the Terra Verdeans fighting off the Krakoans, and Percy’s villainous take on Beast is downright delicious and might make long-time fans hoping that it’s Dark Beast or something. Beast’s conversation with Emma Frost shows that they have two different plans for keeping Krakoa going, and after the events of Wolverine #13, these might be thrown out the window. Visually, Eaton, Junior, and Wilson provide solid action and horror plus nail the silly moments like Deadpool begging Wolverine to put him on the new incarnation of X-Force. Overall: 8.8 Verdict: Buy

SWORD #6 (Marvel)– The Krakoan flex that was the terraforming of Mars in Planet-Sized X-Men #1 gets bigger on an exponential level in SWORD #6 by Al Ewing, Valerio Schiti, and Marte Gracia. With an intense conversation between Captain America and Dr. Doom from the get-go, Ewing and Schiti sets up stakes that are Marvel Universe-big while not neglecting these character’s personalities and background. However, most of this issue takes place on Mars and features the leaders of various galactic systems that have made appearances in titles like Guardians of the Galaxy, Empyre, and previous issues of this book. Then, Abigail Brand basically lays down the new status quo not just for Earth, but the whole solar system with Valerio Schiti’s wide-screen art and Marte Gracia’s cool digital coloring effects driving her point home. To quote David Bowie, the stars look very different today in the X-Books and Marvel’s line as a whole. However, Al Ewing and Schiti end the issue and the first arc of SWORD on a beautiful father/daughter moment confirming my theory that Ewing’s writing style is the perfect marriage of the big picture concepts of Jonathan Hickman and the sharp wit and characterization of Kieron Gillen. This is a damn good comic, and Al Ewing does a damn good job straddling the mutant and cosmic realms. Overall: 9.3 Verdict: Buy

Batman: Reptilian #1 (DC/Black Label)– Garth Ennis does a good job of writing Batman as a total dick, and Liam Sharp brings a glorious painted art style to Batman: Reptilian #1. The dialogue is edgy, but Sharp’s visuals are eerie, and I especially enjoy his takes on the members of Batman’s rogue gallery. Both in the way the book looks and how Batman acts (Beating everyone you within an inch of their life.), it feels a lot like the Arkham video games. The book is worth picking for Batman intimidating the shit out of a rapist boxer and his corrupt lawyer in the first scene. Overall 8.2 Verdict: Buy

Black Hammer Reborn #1 (Dark Horse)– Black Hammer is back: not with a bang, but not a whimper either. Jeff Lemire, Caitlin Yarsky, and Dave Stewart show Lucy Weber (Formerly known as Black Hammer II) and her nondescript life with two kids and a husband in the suburbs before setting a return to heroism that’s a little bit on the dark and disturbing side. Black Hammer Reborn #1 spends plenty of time showing Lucy’s day to day life as a mom and copy editor with Yarsky’s realistic artwork nailing her emotions when she’s dealing with her children being unruly or the tedium of work at an ad agency. However, like previous installments of Black Hammer, she adds a little bit of surrealness and cosmic horror to this “normal” world where Earth-destroying villains aren’t a factor any more and taken care of by a SHIELD type organization. But Lemire and Caitlin Yarsky are quick to topple that status quo while also jogging readers’ memories on the Black Hammer universe. Overall: 7.9 Verdict: Buy

Gamma Flight #1 (Marvel)– This spinoff of Immortal Hulk from Al Ewing, Crystal Frasier, and Lan Medina doesn’t show why it should exist in its first issue, but it doesn’t wear out its welcome either. The supporting cast has been a consistent strength of Ewing’s Immortal Hulk, and they get to shine center stage in Gamma Flight #1. The book also looks at the ideas of restorative justice, but with extra punching as this team of former villains and Hulk-hunters focus on helping folks affected by gamma radiation instead of taking them out. Honestly, my favorite part is the sweet chemistry between Absorbing Man and Titania as this baddie has come a long way thanks to the efforts of writers like Saladin Ahmed, Al Ewing, and Frasier. Visually, Medina does a serviceable job and leans into the body horror elements for the new gamma mutate, Stockpile. This series is like watching the spinoff of your favorite TV show with likable supporting characters even though none of them have the star power of the original lead. Overall: 7.5 Verdict: Read

Way of X #3 (Marvel)– This is the good, weird shit from Si Spurrier and Bob Quinn starting with a Nighcrawler in full prophet/priest mode and ending in an unexpected relationship. Way of X #3 continues to examine what life is like on a supposed utopia for folks who aren’t involved in feuds, intrigues, and battles. Using Nightcrawler as a POV character, Spurrier and Quinn show us how Stacy X has become a sex therapist/intimacy counselor on Krakoa and also what happens to babies who go through resurrection protocols. There’s also pushback against the whole “make more mutants” mandates, which is a tad old-fashioned for a futuristic society where you can be brought back from the dead. Finally, there’s the whole Onslaught thing, and Quinn and colorist Java Tartaglia wisely make him more of a psychic threat in the early going instead of his look in the 90s. Overall: 8.7 Verdict: Buy

The Blue Flame #2 (Vault)– Christopher Cantwell and Adam Gorham go into the psychological side of the hero, the Blue Flame, who must argue for the continued existence of Earth before a group called the Consensus. This is juxtaposed with his estranged sister, a cashier at a grocery store, finding out that he’s Blue Flame and about the fatal shooting of the previous issue. Gorham swaps out the cosmic for the human issue showing Blue Flame’s sister’s ordinary, routine life and the four rinky-dink boxes that the Consensus has for humanity and Earth. An idea starts to take shape that Earth isn’t its accomplishments, but folks who have been neglected or victimized by society. In the Blue Flame #2, Cantwell, Adam Gorham, and K. Michael Russell abandon the genre pastiche of the first issue for a deeper look into how the Blue Flame ticks as well as commentary on society and mass shootings/tragedies. Overall: 8.0 Verdict: Buy

Brett

Checkmate #1 (DC Comics) – An ok issue that really is a setup that introduces us to all of the pieces on the board. It pits DC’s best spies against Leviathan in what so far is a rather ho-hum start. The characters though look fantastic as they stand around and talk. Hopefully it delivers more action in future issues. Overall Rating: 7.0 Recommendation: Read

Harley Quinn #4 (DC Comics) – Kevin is one of the best new characters of DC. In four issues the character has my sympathy and I just want to give him a big hug. The issue also keeps up the kinetic energy of the series as Harley psychs herself up to take on Hugo Strange. Fantastic art plus a lot of fun together creates an entertaining read. Overall Rating: 8.3 Recommendation: Buy

Infinite Frontier #1 (DC Comics) – Everything is on the table now post Death Metal and Infinite Frontier seems like it’ll be the series to explore the possible. Amazing art with some great twists makes a debut that has me excited to dive into more of DC’s omniverse. Overall Rating: 8.6 Recommendation: Buy

Robin #3 (DC Comics) – Robin gets to know the other characters on the island a bit better as he learns to relax. The issue dials back the action a lot to deliver a cute issue that feels a little slow. But, it does a good job of diving into characters to let us know what we’re in for. The art continues to be nice but not quite the dynamic visuals you’d want with a comic where fighting is front and center. In fairness, the issue doesn’t deliver a lot making what action that does happen a bit blah in the visuals Overall Rating: 7.75 Recommendation: Read

Teen Titans Academy #4 (DC Comics) – Get to know the Bat Pack in this issue as they attempt to figure out who Red X is. While I like the idea of the mystery hero/villain the fact it’s so front and center in the series is making my interest go elsewhere. It’s a bit too much and an issue entirely dedicated to the mystery feels like too much too soon. Overall Rating: 7.0 Recommendation: Read

Alex

Vinyl #1 (Image) Well shit, this wasn’t what I expected. Coming into the comic, I expected a story about music – maybe a band or singer from the 70’s. What I got instead was a detective story that has a tangential connection to vinyl records through a song, but rather focuses on a man exchanging his life for his daughter’s. The real hook is that the detective may or may not be relying on a serial killer to save him. Vinyl is dark, twisted, and utterly fantastic. Overall: 8.8 Recommendation: Buy

Witcher: Witch’s Lament #2 (Dark Horse) While the art definitely didn’t impress me, the story is starting to get more interesting. There’s more of a psychological twist to this story than other Witcher comics I’ve read, and I’m here for that and not the muddy art. 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 (**).

Mini Reviews and Recommendations For The Week Ending 06/19/2021

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. Given the lack of new comics, expect this weekly update to begin featuring comics that we think you’ll enjoy while you can’t get anything new to read – only new to you.

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews and Recommendations.


Logan

Planet-Size X-Men main cover by Pepe Larraz and Marte Gracia

Planet-Sized X-Men #1 (Marvel)– Gerry Duggan continues to kill it on his chapters of “Hellfire Gala” as he, Pepe Larraz, and Marte Gracia tear things wide open and show the Krakoan terraforming of Mars to give Arakko its own home planet. The omega mutant power combination thread that’s been running through the X-Books pays off big time as we get to see different mutants like Magneto, Storm, this cool axolotl Arakki one, and even Jamie Braddock put their own touches on Planet Arakko at the planet formerly known as Mars. Gracia uses gorgeous palettes and filters while Larraz’s art is truly wide-screen and deserves a Gustav Holst soundtrack as they depict the transformation. And it’s safe to say that this event will have a huge effect on the X-Book status quo moving forward with the concluding data pages hinting at things to come. Overall: 8.8 Verdict: Buy

The Silver Coin #3 (Image)– The Silver Coin anthology series continues with Ed Brisson taking over scripting duties as he and Michael Walsh tell a chilling story of possession, arson, cannibalism, and especially death rattles. This story is a catastrophe in motion as teens go from trying to cover up a dead body and steal some stuff to a full-out supernatural tinged car chase. Walsh uses topsy turvy layouts and bold flat colors to make the story even more unsettling and hopeless in the end with gruesome finish a la the other bearers of The Silver Coin. Overall: 8.3 Verdict: Buy

New Mutants #19 (Marvel)– Vita Ayala’s run on New Mutants is starting to come into their own as they, Alex Lins, and Matt Milla expertly weave together the happenings of the Hellfire Gala with the Shadow King plotline. Ayala uses the Gala setting to have the older cast of the book split into groups and pairs and talk about their feelings with Warlock feeling lonely since his “Self friend” Doug Ramsey got married. Just like he’s been written in the data pages, Warpath ends up being a listening ear to Warlock’s issues, and Ayala’s insightful pairs well with Lins’ almost-montage style art of everyone having a good time while Warlock feels out of place. But this is just one thread in New Mutants #19 as there is also a focus on Gabby Kinney as one of the younger mutants and why she is missing from the Gala. Alex Lins’ facial expressions convey Gabby’s sadness and fear about Shadow King, and he and Vita Ayala also take time to show how Laura Kinney aka Wolverine is reacting to this situation. And I just realized that I forgot to mention that this comic is funny as well as emotional thanks to an extended sequence where the women of the New Mutants plus Warlock tell off a creepy artist, who is negging and objectifying Karma. It’s a rich read, and I’m definitely onboard with this series even though I’m not super-connecting to the Wolfsbane/child resurrection subplot. Overall: 8.7 Verdict: 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 and Recommendations For The Week Ending 06/12/2021

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. Given the lack of new comics, expect this weekly update to begin featuring comics that we think you’ll enjoy while you can’t get anything new to read – only new to you.

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews and Recommendations.


Logan

Excalibur #21 (Marvel)– Tini Howard and Marcus To use the Hellfire Gala setting to advance several plots in their own series, including the dissolution of the tenuous UK/Krakoa alliance, Rogue leaving the team to join the Krakoan X-Men, and all kinds of blood magic/Arthurian stuff. The British/magic stuff continues to be inconsistent as ever, but Howard continues to nail the interpersonal moments between characters like Gambit being proud of his wife becoming an X-Man again, Rictor and Shatterstar struggling to get back together, and Rachel Grey and Captain Britain sharing a dance away from the folks that would ply them for information. I don’t know if it’s because the book is an event tie-in, but Excalibur #21 does have several reversal and twists that act as the perfect canvas for Erick Arciniega’s bright blasts of color and To’s wide panels for scenes of magic. Excalibur is still a mid-tier X-Book, but I feel like the overall story has real momentum again and feels like a team book instead of Captain Britain and her Amazing Friends. Overall: 7.6 Verdict: Read

X-Men #21 (Marvel)– The final issue of Jonathan Hickman’s X-Men volume is up and down. For the most part, the visuals are brilliant from Nick Dragotta’s manga-infused and heavy shadows take on Namor, Russell Dauterman getting to unveil the new X-Men team and bask in his fashion brilliance, and Sara Pichelli showing everyone a good time. (Lucas Werneck is stuck with the photo-tracing celebrities gig.) However, the story fluctuates from clip show to teaser trailer in both the selection of the new X-Men team and the Sinister Secrets data page and finally some actual good stuff as Namor reminds Professor X and Magneto that, yes, he controls 70% of the world. Hickman has a good ear for writing him as evidenced by his work on New Avengers, and I hope he figures in future storylines. The rest of the story shows Krakoa at what seems to be its “peak” as it flexes its muscles before the fall alluded to in Marauders #21. The art’s great, but there’s too much montage and not enough story. Overall: 7.0 Verdict: Read

Marjorie Finnegan: Temporary Criminal #2 (AWA Studios)– Garth Ennis and Goran Sudzuka’s self-indulgence continues in Marjorie Finnegan #2, which opens with its protagonist saying Jesus was just a guy, chasing Henry VIII with a strap on, and shitting on Donald Trump’s head. Edgy, sophomoric stuff cleanly rendered by Sudzuka with flat background colors by Miroslav Mrva. The plot sort of starts to take out with this one with Marjorie fighting her sister, the time cop Harriet while the bad guys go around her flat looking for a book that could change human history. The satire might be a little Maher-esque, but Ennis’ dialogue is earthy as ever and Goran Sudzuka’s art is easy to follow. The fight between Marjorie and Harriet is overlong, and the villains are underdeveloped so this issue is worth skipping or waiting for the full narrative in trade. Overall: 6.0 Verdict: Pass

Children of the Atom #4 (Marvel)– Centering around Wolverine/general fanboy Benny Thomas aka Marvel Guy is a smart move from Vita Ayala and Paco Medina, but this little team of mutant wannabes (Except possibly Carmen.) is starting to annoy me. The fandom stuff is interesting and kudos to Ayala for crafting a diverse cast of characters, but this issue is pretty weak and honestly creepy with the team using their friend Cole’s DNA off his basketball jersey to try to crash the Hellfire Gala. And, of course, it goes badly, and they’re caught by mutant hunters. The narration with Benny is okay, but it doesn’t really connect to the overall plot and just ends up being the pre-requisite internal drama before they fight the bad guys. The issue ends on a star-studded splash page, but it is definitely unearned and comes across as a sales-boosting gimmick. Children of the Atom is a middle of the road teen superhero team comic, and fans looking for a more interesting look at young (actual) Krakoans with better visuals would be better off checking out Vita Ayala and Rod Reis’ New Mutants. Also, this issue has nothing to do with Hellfire Gala if you just picked it up for that. Overall: 5.7 Verdict: Pass

Die #17 (Image)– Die #17 is a Lovecraftian dungeon crawler (Guest starring the actual H.P. Lovecraft) from Kieron Gillen and Stephanie Hans, and the series turns to horror in its endgame. There are some meditations on games, dreams, and death as Matt sees the face of his dead mother and the tubes she’s hooked up in Cthulhu. At this point, Gillen has a strong command on the characters’ basic personalities and use an out of character moment to great effect like Chuck behaving seriously, or Isabelle paying off her debts as a godbinder. He and Hans also reveal more about the underlying mechanics of Die connecting it to the imagery of many-angled gods in the works of Lovecraft. And speaking of Stephanie Hans, her work is majestic, spacious, and full of chaos and fear as she delves into dreams and nightmares. Die’s final arc has been quite excellent so far. Overall: 9.1 Verdict: 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 and Recommendations For The Week Ending 06/05/2021

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. Given the lack of new comics, expect this weekly update to begin featuring comics that we think you’ll enjoy while you can’t get anything new to read – only new to you.

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews and Recommendations.


Logan

Hellions #12 (Marvel)– The Hellions crash the Hellfire Gala in an issue that is messiness at its finest. At first, it looks like only the “normal” members of the team plus Sinister are going to be in the Gala, but Zeb Wells and Stephen Segovia unleash the whole team on this celebration of Krakoa. Drawing couture isn’t Segovia’s strong suit, but he and Wells create some hilarious moments and give each member their moment in the sun from Wildchild trying to get back with ex Aurora to Nanny getting totally plastered, and of course, everyone wanting to kick Empath’s ass. Hellions #12 also isn’t all jokes as Zeb Wells continues to tug on the plot thread that is Havok wanting Madeline Pryor to be resurrected. This issue isn’t super *essential* to the whole “Hellfire Gala” plot line, but it’s nice to see the Hellions attempting to enjoy themselves for once plus Mr. Sinister interacting with various Avengers and Fantastic Four members is comedy gold. (There’s some veiled Dan Slott shade.) Overall: 8.0 Verdict: Buy

X-Force #20 (Marvel)– X-Force #20 has just the right blend of silly comedy and serious consequences. X-Force is working security for the Hellfire Gala, but instead of just giving Tony Stark psychic patdowns or stopping Deadpool from crashing the party, Beast is using the shindig to expand his network of plant-powered mind control that began with Terra Verde in a previous arc. Joshua Cassara is back on art for this issue, and his Beast is monstrous and matches the imperialist monologues that Benjamin Percy gives him. Cassara’s skill at body horror and group scenes comes in handy as he tops the previous Green Lagoon scene he drew and shows how unsettling telefloronic mind control is. Krakoa being a utopia, yet having a CIA in X-Force has been one of its contradictions from the get-go, and X-Force #20 does a wonderful job showing it go sideways as they don’t fit into Emma’s plans for the nation. Overall: 8.3 Verdict: Buy

Crush & Lobo #1 (DC)– Crush & Lobo #1 has stellar storytelling from artist Amancay Nahuelpan, a sassy running monologue from writer Mariko Tamaki, and colorist Tamra Bonvillain definitely sets up the contrast between Crush and girlfriend Katie in a clash of grime and pastels. This first issue has a real “whatever” vibe and doesn’t take itself too seriously while unpacking Crush’s issues with relationships and parental figures. Lobo is in the title, but isn’t in the comic as much. However, his absence is its own kind of character and shades Crush’s actions and attitudes throughout the issue. She’s a really entertaining lead character, and I’m interested to see her adventures with her famous father that will hopefully lead to more outrageous action sequences from Nahuelpan Overall: 8.4 Verdict: Buy

The Worst Dudes #1 (Dark Horse)– I’m not a big fan of police procedurals, but I can get behind ones that involve pink lion beast suspects, space madness drugs, comet bars, missing demi-gods. and, of course, copious and creative amounts of profanity. These are all things that show up in Aubrey Sitterson, Tony Gregori, and Lovern Kindzierski’s The Worst Dudes #1. Its plot is the equivalent of “lol, so random” and its color palette is a unicorn puking a rainbow, but it fits the tone of the story, which is basically gumshoe detective meets decadent, depraved space empire. Also, Gregori has real visual comedy chops, and I definitely went back to some of his panels to catch details I missed the first time. Overall: 7.9 Verdict: 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 and Recommendations For The Week Ending 05/29/2021

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. Given the lack of new comics, expect this weekly update to begin featuring comics that we think you’ll enjoy while you can’t get anything new to read – only new to you.

These are Graphic Policy’s Mini Reviews and Recommendations.


Logan

Mister Miracle: The Source of Freedom #1 (DC)– Featuring day-glo color palette from Rico Renzi, exciting layouts from Fico Ossio, and poignant commentary on being a Black man in the United States (and entertainment industry) from Brandon Easton, Mister Miracle #1 really has it all. Shilo Norman gets put into a variety of situations in Mister Miracle #1 from an eye popping stunt in the opening scene to dealing with microaggressions from his manager and even acting like an asshole on a date and only talking about his job. He’s a character struggling to find an identity in a click driven, late capitalist hellscape, and the villain that Easton and Ossio set up for him seems derivative at first, but it actually comments on racist comics fan who are angry that characters of color are picking up the mantles of white characters. Mister Miracle #1 balances all these excellent elements and looks gorgeous too, especially in the color department. Overall: 8.8 Verdict: Buy

Made in Korea #1 (Image)– Made in Korea is a nice, little sci-fi story about a middle class family that gets a discount on a “proxy”, or some kind of robot child is manufactured in South Korea. Writer Jeremy Holt and artist George Schall spend a good portion of the book showing the parents bonding with their new daughter, Jesse with plenty of adorable sequences. However, Schall’s sterile color palette and the starkness at his art senses at something a little more sinister going on in a parallel story of a workaholic, Korean computer programmer. Jesse might not be the nice, shy, yet curious girl that she seems to be from the outset. Overall: 8.0 Verdict: Buy

Beta Ray Bill #3 (Marvel)– Daniel Warren Johnson and Michael Spicer’s Beta Ray Bill continues to be a flat out good time of bright colors, big sound effects, and even bigger guns as Bill, Pip, Skurge, and a newly humanoid Skuttlebutt try to find the Twilight Sword of Muspelheim. This issue is heavy on action and adventure with Skurge living life like he’s in a first person shooter, and Skuttlebutt going all Optimus Prime in another impressive widescreen setpiece from Johnson. However, Beta Ray Bill #3 isn’t just an epic quest, but it’s turning into a surprisingly sweet love story with Bill and Skuttlebutt going on what is basically a first date. Daniel Warren Johnson writes them in a charming, yet awkward way, and I’m rooting for these crazy Korbinite/AI ship kids. Overall: 8.7 Verdict: Buy

Reptil #1 (Marvel)– It’s been a long time since Avengers Academy and Avengers Arena, but Reptil finally gets a solo series thanks to Terry Blas, Enid Balam, Victor Olazaba, and Carlos Lopez. Blas, Balam, and Olazaba know that readers might be unfamiliar with Reptil’s backstory so they catch us up to speed in a double page spread that also doubles as dinosaur tracks. He has a genuinely cool power set, but (for now) Reptil is done with the hero thing and just wants to focus on helping his grandpa get better, which is why he moves to L.A. with his aunt and cousins. Plotwise, Terry Blas takes his time setting up the dynamic between Reptil and his twin cousins Eva and Julian before introducing any superhero elements. However, Enid Balam and Victor Olazaba seem to truly have a ball when Reptil transforms into a dinosaur for the first time as the panels shift and move across the page. A fairly generic villain aside, Reptil #1 is a charming reintroduction to a hero with cool powers, who also happens to be one of Marvel’s few Mexican-American superheroes. Overall: 7.9 Verdict: Buy

The Blue Flame #1 (Vault)– Christopher Cantwell and Adam Gorham mash up the cosmic space hero and the blue collar, street level hero in The Blue Flame #1. I love how Gorham and colorist K. Michael Russell shift their art style from something feathery and ethereal when Blue Flame is exploring an uncharted planet to a more meat and potatoes, 1980s superhero style (pre-Image founders) when he’s on Earth with his team, the Night Brigade. The Blue Flame #1 establishes the duality of our protagonist, who is curious about exploring different planets and alien civilizations, but also does every day shit like clear out his drive way, fix boilers, and have romantic tension with one of his teammates. Christopher Cantwell and Adam Gorham don’t deconstruct or add anything new to the superhero genre, but combine two subgenres and focus on characterization while also having a big, damn hook in the final pages. Overall: 8.5 Verdict: Buy

Money Shot #11 (Vault)– The new arc starts with the XXXPlorers adding a new scientist/porn star to their team, Yasmin, because their leader Christine thought she looked attractive as a talking head on a TV show. However, she doesn’t really have “chemistry” with the rest of the team, and ratings go high, plummet, and plateau off. New series artist Caroline Leigh Layne hits the right balance between humorous and erotic while Sarah Beattie and Tim Seeley’s script shows the importance of being a responsive and giving partner, which Yasmin is not. There’s also some good satire as the planet that the XXXplorers go to is similar to Earth and has similar issues with climate change, but because they can’t reverse these problems, they just enjoy a psychedelic plant. Between the sexy hijinks and mishaps, Money Shot #11 has a tone of existential crisis as the characters start to question whether they’re doing this to get ratings and stay solvent or to actually make the world a better place. Overall: 8.0 Verdict: 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 (**).

Almost American
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