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.
Dues Ex #1 (Titan) I’ve never played any of the Deus Ex games, but after reading the first issue of this comic, I’m probably going to find a copy. It’s a universe that looks like it’ll be an interesting place to spend a few hours, rife with some pretty powerful story options. Overall: 8 Recommendation: Read
Detective Comics #48 (DC)* After taking a break from this series with #47 because I didn’t read the Robin War crossover event, I finally picked #48 up this week. While not the best Batman comic I’ve ever read, it is fantastic to see Jim Gordon ditch the mech suit for an issue or two and get back to the detective side of the Dark Knight. Overall: 7.75 Recommendation: Read
Detective Comics #49 (DC)* Typically when I do a mini review of two or more comics of the same series I’ll just do one mini. This time, because #49 was a step above the past issue I didn’t. With issue #49, the mech suit is still nowhere to be seen, and the story is feeling like a classic Batman detective tale with an entirely new Batman and support team. This is what I was hoping for when Jim Gordon became Batman. And the cover? Nothing has been as effective as conveying the difference between Bruce and Jim as that cover. Overall: 8.75 Recommendation: Buy
Black Widow #1 (Marvel Comics)* The duo of Mark Waid and Chris Samnee take on the ravishing Russian in a brand new series. The whole issue from start to finish is an epic chase as Natasha steals an object of worth from SHIELD and the action is high octane from the go. Maria Hill deems her public enemy number one. The jaunt from panel to panel is magnetic and action packed. Not a whole lot of substance this issue but it sure did sizzle. Plus the mystery of what she took already makes want to come back for more. Score: 7.7 Recommendation: Buy
The Violent #3 (Image)** : A serious step in the wrong direction for this otherwise-terrific series as, for the sake of purported “characterization,” Ed Brisson’s signature gritty, realistic dialogue gives way to stilted, wooden exposition and “info-dumping.” When our main protagonist pours his guts out to his buddy, it’s literally cringe-worthy stuff, and not in a good way. Adam Gorham’s art is still great, and the book goes some way toward redeeming itself with a solid ending — but even there, you’ll see it coming about three our four pages out. Overall: 4 Recommendation: Pass
Deadly Class #19 (Image)**: A terrific annoying-little-shit-bugging-the-record-store-clerk opening page gives way to 20 or so pages of the most balls-out, unhinged, ultraviolent action you’re ever going to come across — even in this series. Wes Craig’s art? Brilliant as always, of course, and Rick Remender does a nice job of interspersing the blood-soaked insanity with just the right number of “character beats” to keep things moving as far as each indvidual’s “arc” is concerned, as well. The twist at the end is handled pretty clumsily (which is certainly far from the norm for these creators, so we’ll cut them a bit of slack), but still provides a visceral exclamation point to the proceedings. If watching the shit hit the fan is your sort of thing, there’s probably not a better book out there for you right now. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy
The Sheriff Of Babylon #4 (DC/Vertigo)** : How do you top last issue’s revelation that two of our principal characters are lovers? How about with this issue’s surprise bomb-drop that — nah, that would be telling. Suffice to say if everyone was knee-deep in shit before, they’re neck-deep in it by the time this installment reaches its conclusion. Mitch Gerads keeps killing it on the art, while Tom King layers on both further elements of intrigue — and, unfortunately, militarist, right-wing, pro-imperialist propaganda not-so-cleverly hidden under a thinning “realpolitik” veneer. “Ex”- CIA, my ass. Overall: 7 Recommendation: Buy
Unfollow #5 (DC/Vertigo)** : How fucking addicting is this book, anyway? So apparently everyone’s been voted off the island — literally — in unison, and our cast is headed back home to either piss away their fortune, hope to stay alive as their “benefactor”‘s sick real-time experiment in Social Darwinism plays out — or, more than likely, both. Mike Dowling’s art is gorgeous, Rob Williams’ script is breakneck-paced and populated with intriguing characters, and things are really hitting that “sweet spot” we comics fans know when a writer and artist are in perfect synch. If you’re not picking this book up, you’re missing out on a thrilling and compelling read with a strong and deftly-handled social message that feels very much “in the now.” Plus, it’s always good to be reminded that rich people are, invariably, absolute bastards. Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy
Looking Glass Wars: Crossfire TPB (Automatic Publishing): Frank Beddor continues his fast and furious adventures in the intricately sculpted world of Wonderland, one full of those rabbit holes but with even more dangerous consequences than Alice ever faced. Through the various books and graphic novels, this world has faced war and now a ceasefire has brought on more unease as tensions persist amongst the factions and Princess Alyssa must find a way to maintain order. She brings on Ovid Grey, as he more than a smooth operator in this world , he is the answer. By book’s end , life has never been more complicated for Princess Alyssa than at this juncture. Art: 8 Story: 9 Overall: 9.5 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 (**).