Tag Archives: vault

Underrated: Comics Not In Diamond’s Top 100 For February 2020

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: Comics not in Diamond’s top 100 sellers for February 2020


This week we’re going to be looking at a list of comics that are all pretty good, but don’t get the attention that they deserve. Now I’m not even going to pretend to have a definitively exhaustive list of underrated comics here, because we’re hoping  that you decide to check at least one of these series out next time you’re looking for something new either online or at your LCS, and giving you a huge list to check out would be counter productive to that. Instead, you’ll find four to six comics that are worth your attention that failed to crack the top 100 in sales. The only hard stipulation for this week: not one of the comics made it into the top 400 (yeah, I went for books that hardly any of you have read for whatever reason) for this month’s comic sales, according to Comichron, which is why they’re Underrated.


Cult Classic Creature Feature #5 (Vault)
Sales Rank/Units Sold: 380/1,322
Why You Should Read It:  
I’m usually not drawn to horror comics, but I do tend to enjoy anything Eliot Rahal writes, so I wanted to check this out. Obviously, I’m going to recommend you start with the first issue (or just wait for the trade if you can’t find the individual comics), but this is a great series that (I’m told by friends who do enjoy horror comics) is a great send up to the genre.

Quantum & Woody #2 (Valiant)
Sales Rank/Units Sold: 280/4,028
Why You Should Read It: 
Obviously I’m going to be biased toward this, but there’s a very British comics style to the series with the art; the lines, the sheer amount of things occurring on the page (which never once feels overwhelming). There’s a chaotic brilliance to this book – don’t miss this.

Rai #4 (Valiant)
Sales Rank/Units Sold: 264/4,900
Why You Should Read It: 
Why yes, I did include this in last month’s version of this comic. And the month before. Because this is frankly the best book on this list (truth be told it was the best one I’d read all month. The series encourages you to ask questions about your place in the world, what it means to be human, when you should resort to violent recourse and how easy it can be to touch the lives of those around you. This comic does all of that whilst still giving you a freaking brilliant book.

Finger Guns #1 (Vault)
Rank/Units Sold: 199/8,418
Why You Should Read It:
What if when you shot a finger gun at somebody you were able to adjust their emotions? This comic throws that into the mix amidst a sense of abandonment and loneliness that we’re all probably familiar with these days.

Ascender #9 (Image)
Sales Rank/Units Sold: 173/9,970
Why You Should Read It: 
If you haven’t started reading this, then you should. But rather than start with the first issue of Ascender, you really want to pick up the first volume of Descender. You’ll thank me later.

Bang #1 (Dark Horse)
Sales Rank/Units Sold: 159/10,741
Why You Should Read It: 
Matt Kindt once again proves why he’s one of the best writers in the business. There’s a lot to say about this book, but holy moly is it ever wonderful. Go in blind, I did, and it’s worth every moment.

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Unless the comics industry ceases any and all publication look for a future installment of Underrated to cover more comics that aren’t cracking the top 100.

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 11/10

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.


Joe Hesh

Batman #82 (DC Comics) – So here we are. City of Bane part 8. What started as a very intriguing and entertaining flip flop of the Batman/GCPD/Villains dynamic has now developed into a long winded overused trope. I really enjoyed the villains being deputized as Bane’s police force, but that was a one trick pony. Some it totally made sense, like Scarecrow and Two Face but then others were just ridiculous like the Joker. Still I looked past it as it has given us some very cool story beats such as Bat/Cat on an island and Damian defiant. 

It also gave us our most shocking and heart wrenching story beat, the DEATH of Alfred. This was done in such grotesque and shocking fashion that surely there would be incredible fallout from this heinous act? Yes? Well… nope. That happened back in ish #77 and we’ve got zilch. Here we are 5 long issues later and Batman has his final showdown with evil incarnate: Bane and not one freaking mention of his fallen mentor!
Not only that, the set up for this was totally loony as Bane would never take any chance to fight Bruce without an edge. So this out of character moment exists so Bruce and Selena can get the drop on Bane, only for a half hearted fight with some dreadful dialogue to trudge through the whole issue. Not to mention the way this all ends. 

Unfortunately I am no longer even morbidly curious as Tom Kings inconsistency frustrates to no end.I just want this saga over and done with and hopefully we get some justice for Alfred. Overall: You can skip to the last two pages of this book, you won’t miss much, as King’s Thomas makes Grant Morrison’s Bat-God seem like a novice. Sure there are pretty pictures by Mikel Janin but that doesn’t make up for the shoddy canvas this is painted on. Score: 4 Recommendation: Pass

Logan

Dragonfly and Dragonflyman #1 (Ahoy)- Apparently, this series is a prequel to the Wrong Earth comic, which I never read, but Tom Peyer and Peter Krause’s Dragonfly and Dragonflyman #1 stands on its own as an exploration of the superhero/sidekick dynamic throughout the years as Dragonfly and Dragonflyman and their sidekick both named Stinger follow the trail of criminal, Devil Man. Peyer makes a smart decision to make the Stinger of Earth Omega (The grim and gritty one) the POV character of his storyline, and it reads like if those Post-Crisis Batman comics were written from Jason Todd’s perspective. Or in a less nerdy parlance, it captures the feeling of always being caught in a mentor or friend’s shadow and struggling to become your own person. The Dragonflyman/Stinger story is a lot more ridiculous and humorous with Peyer, Krause, and especially colorist Andy Troy nailing the wack-a-doodle Mort Weisinger era of Superman comics with all kinds of gimmicks and surprises. But what if one of those gimmicks that were waved away as an “imaginary story” were real? The final sequence in Dragonfly and Dragonflyman #1 shows that Peyer and Krause are interested in introspection on both Earths. Also, a final kudos to Peter Krause and Andy Troy, who have the ability to draw and light a scene where two superheroes investigate an abandoned sex dungeon as well as choreograph a kangaroo boxing match that is Adam West’s Batman meets those episodes of Batman: The Animated Series where Batman inexplicably wrestled random wild animals. Dragonfly and Dragonflyman #1 is well-executed pastiche that also doubles as a character study with a lot of potential for Stinger of Earth Omega. Overall: 9 Verdict: Buy

Heist #1 (Vault)– Paul Tobin and Arjuna Susini turn in some grimy crime sci-fi in Heist #1 where notorious criminal and con man Glane is out of prison and ready to pull one big job: stealing a planet literally named Heist from an evil megacorporation. Susini’s art has a kind of faded out quality that works better for cityscapes than human beings interacting so I felt disconnected from the story at times. Luckily, Tobin has an ace up his sleeve in Brady, an over eager street urchin and a great way to back in some introductory exposition and worldbuilding. His reaction to finding out that Glane isn’t a tourist, but a complex, legendary hero is freaking hilarious. Even if the visuals are middle of the road, Tobin and Susini set up a job, a great bad guy, and a few entertaining criminals to hang out with, and I’m interested to see how the story unfolds in future issues of Heist. Overall: 7.4 Verdict: Read

X-Force #1 (Marvel)– Benjamin Percy, Joshua Cassara, and Dean White’s X-Force #1 answers the question, “What if the utopian paradise of Krakoa was disrupted by the outside?” It’s initially asked by Wolverine wrestling with some kind of animal and then escalated by the issue’s big final fight scene. Cassara’s art has almost a 90s grit to it with lots of details of veins, muscles, and gore, but more clear storytelling. He nails the big scenes like the return of Colossus, Black Tom Cassidy’s attempt to ward off a big assault from the outside, and stakes raiser involving Charles Xavier. It doesn’t have the depth, humor, characterization, or high concept work of the other Dawn of X books, but X-Force #1 is where the action and bleakness are at, for better or worse. Overall: 7.5 Verdict: Read

Shean

Yondu#1 (Marvel)- For this magnetic player of the Guardians Of the Galaxy movies, we finally get his back story. As we find him soon after looting a planet but before he gets a crew, as we dive into his his religious beliefs as a Centaurian and his early life. We soon find out that he is more than in a little t of trouble but is soon visited by a family member, whose reason for his visit, has more to do with his destiny. By issue’s end, we find out he has more people in pursuit of him and not all as friendly. Overall: 9.8 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 11/3

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.


Ryan C

Batman Annual #4 (DC) **- In years past, the stand-alone Annuals have showcased Tom King’s best writing on this series, and that pattern holds true here with this story told from Alfred’s point of view. It would be nice if we got scripts of this quality consistently, of course, but I guess beggars and can’t be choosers, and “Batman” readers are definitely beggars at this point, myself included. The art is a more hit-and-miss affair, with the pages by Jorge Fornes looking stylish and slick and gritty, while those by Mike Norton are a big come-down to standard-issue superhero stuff. Overall: 7.5. Recommendation: Buy.

Batman And The Outsiders Annual #1 (DC)** – I guess if you’re a big Katana fan you’ll have fun with this trip inside her trademark Soultaker sword, but for anyone else, Bryan Hill’s script feels like 15 pages stretched out to fill 40, and Max Raynor’s art looks about as non-descript as is humanly possible. Overall: 2.5. Recommendation: Pass.

DCeased #6 (DC)** – A pretty fun conclusion to a pretty fun, if ultimately disposable, series that sees Tom Taylor put satisfactory, if temporary, bow-wraps on all his plotlines and Trevor Hairsine (and helpers) deliver the goods in fairly impressive “horror comics” fashion on art. The sequel-prep going on is almost painfully obvious, but considering how popular this thing has been, I don’t think too many readers will be complaining about that. Overall: 7.5. Recommendation: Buy.

Silver Surfer: Black #5 (Marvel) – The final installment of this series pretty much fits the patterns of the previous four : Donny Cates delivers a serviceable-if-far-from-memorable script, while Tradd Moore blows the hinges off the doors with his unique and stunning blend of Kirby cosmic and Ditko mystic. Yup, you’re gonna want to own this one for the art alone. Overall: 7.5. Recommendation: Buy.

Shean

Marvel Zombies Resurrection #1 (Marvel)– Mr Fantastic intercepts a message where he finds out that Galactus is dead. This causes him to assemble the Avengers and destroy what’s left of his body. What they find is worst, as every Avenger who showed up, gets infected with a Zombie virus. By issue’s end, instead of isolating the contagion, they inadvertently lead the body of Galactus to Earth. Overall: 9.6 Recommendation: Buy

Excalibur #1 (Marvel)– As a fan of the original run of this book, I had my reservations about a new iteration of the story. I am so glad to be so relieved, as this story has many moving parts, that all serve the same master. As we are brought back to Otherworld, this time, in a war, where Morgan La Fey holds the seat of power which reactivates Excalibur with a few members of the X-men into play. By issue’s end, a new Captain Britain emerges, and a fight for the Throne of The Otherworld is at stake. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Logan

Giant Days As Time Goes By #1 (BOOM!)– John Allison, Max Sarin, and Whitney Cogar deliver a picture perfect epilogue to the gold standard for slice of life comics. Allison delves into the difficulty of post-college using Esther and her exploitative publishing job as a case study. And Sarin and Cogar bring the over the top facial expressions and surreal elements as Susan walks around with flames over her head when her boyfriend turns down well-paying jobs to stay with her in Sheffield. Oh, and there’s a fantastic Matrix Reloaded homage featuring “executive editorial assistants” and hugs. Lots of hugs between Esther, Susan, and good ol Daisy. Overall: 10 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 For The Week Ending 10/26

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.


Elena

X-Men #1 (Marvel) Jonathan Hickman, Leinil Yu & graphic designer Tom Muller broke the internet with a floor plan! And what a floor plan it was. If nothing else the new X-men launch has brought fans together to discuss the series in depth like we hadn’t in years. This issue was strong on the humor and family ties while sci-fi elements remain strong and the political questions are still abundant. I’m so excited to talk about this new issue and HoX and PoX on Graphic Policy Radio podcast.

But if there’s one thing that’s not even up for debate its that Logan, Jean and Scott are in a poly relationship and Logan and Wolverine are almost certainly bi. That’s the diagram people. And if super hero men touching is what’s making you uncomfortable and not the difficult question of ethnonationalism than maybe ask yourself why, and ask yourself how the hell you’ve been missing out on decades of queer subtext that is central to the fandom and the text. Heteronormativity is really the least fun drug.

Recommendation: Buy! Debate!

Ryan C

Detective Comics #1014 (DC)** – There’s something unsettling about Peter J. Tomasi’s Mr. Freeze storyline here, and I don’t just mean the fact that it centers on preying upon, kidnapping, and killing women — that’s bad enough, but the “info-dump” quality of the writing is even worse, as is the fact that it’s just REALLY dull. Doug Mahnke’s art is crisp, slick, and pretty nice, but that’s just a case of a solid pro trying to make a silk purse our of a sow’s ear. Overall: 3 Recommendation: Pass.

Martian Manhunter #9 (DC)** – This issue is something of a step back in terms of the quality of Steve Orlando’s script, centering as it does on pure and clumsily-realized psychodrama, but the overall thrust of the storyline remains strong, the cliffhanger’s nice, and Riley Rossmo’s art consistently impresses with its inventive layouts and stylish figure drawing. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Freedom Fighters #10 (DC)** – The train wreck I can’t seem to turn my eyes away from continues to be the most ridiculous and amateurishly-written series out there, all wooden dialogue, generic action scenes, and overly-obvious plot “twists” that make me wonder if Robert Venditti is either writing this thing in his sleep or drunk off his ass. Eddy Barrows does a hell of a nice job with the art, but he deserves a MUCH better assignment than this insult to the collective intelligence of its readers. Overall: 1 Recommendation: Pass

Batman/Superman #3 (DC)** – I guess if you give a shit about “dark” versions of established DCU characters you might still find something of interest here, but there’s nothing Joshua Williamson is doing with this series that “DCeased” and the various other “Dark Multiverse” books aren’t doing a whole lot better. David Marquez provides competent, if far from memorable, art, but who knows? If he had something more compelling to draw, he’d probably be able to demonstrate that he still “has it.” They should give him a chance to prove as much by putting him on a better comic, because this one’s sinking like a rock pretty quickly outta the gate. Overall: 2 Recommendation: Pass

Shean

Luna Snow#1 (Marvel) – In her brief introduction in Agents Of ATLAS, we get a much deeper dive into this character’s background. We find a hero who just wants to be a pops tar, as we find out how she shot to fame along with the the rest of her group. They run into some trouble when the villain known as The Joro Spider decides to plan a heist during one of their concerts, as she and the rest of the group gets trapped. This leads her to contain the device that Joro Spider set to neutralize the arena, which sets Luna into action.By issue’s end , Luna defeats Joro Spider and her men and the world finds out her secret superpowers. Overall: 9.6 Recommendation: Buy

Logan

Money Shot #1 (Vault)– Writers Tim Seeley and Sarah Beattie and artist Rebekah Isaacs craft a comic that lives up to the double entendre of its title. The premise is clever and bawdy. In the future, the United States is still anti-science even after aliens are proven to exist so scientists have to live stream themselves performing in porn instead of writing grants. Seeley and Beattie gift their protagonist, Dr. Ocampo, with a lot of energy and enthusiasm for exploring space that is only matched by her sex drive. She works with the tone of the character, and Isaacs frames her “scenes” in a way that shows that she chooses what to do with her body. This book is sexy, funny, smart, and refreshingly non-male gaze-y. Also, it quickly establishes its premise and gets to the good stuff instead of going the boring, exposition laden sci-fi route. Overall: 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 For The Week Ending 10/19

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

Batman #81 (DC)** – Woof! Yup, folks, this one’s a dog. Tom King’s Bat-famliy beatdown of old man Wayne sucks, dialogue and narration throughout are awful, and after delivering the goods last issue, John Romita, Jr. is back to his really sorry latter-day type of artwork. One of the biggest “downs” of an up-and-down run that has been saddled with FAR more of the latter. The end can’t come soon enough. Overall: 1 Recommendation: Pass

Gideon Falls #17 (Image)** – Not digging where Jeff Lemire is going with this storyline so much right now — “Twin Peaks For Dummies” isn’t really getting the job done, sorry — but at least Andrea Sorrentino is just plain BRINGING IT on art. Would be nice if what he was drawing FELT, as well as LOOKED, compelling, though. Overall: 6 Recommendation: Look at it on the shelf, then put it back.

Trees: Three Fates #2 (Image)** – Well, shoot. After a long hiatus, Warren Ellis is really firing on all cylinders here, establishing a tight and uniformly interesting ensemble cast, creating a strong sense of place in his isolated Russian locale, and seriously cranking up the mystery that’s been present throughout this — what do we call it, series of series? Jason Howard’s art continues to be snappy, stylish, and very pleasing to the eye. Even in a crowded week, this book stands as a high-water mark for quality. Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Captain America #15 (Marvel) **– Another competent, if unspectacular, script from Ta-Nehisi Coates propels this mildly intriguing story arc forward, and there’s some solid Sharon/Steve dram to be had, but nothing really makes you go “wow!” about any of it. Ditto for the art by Jason Masters, which certainly gets the job done, but doesn’t exactly stick in the memory in any appreciable way. Overall: 6.5 Recommendation: Read

Logan

X-Men #1 (Marvel)– Jonathan Hickman and a surprisingly okay Leinil Yu show Krakoa in action as they rescue mutant children from the saving humanity organization Orchis before settling down to a Summers family dinner on the blue side of the Moon. Some of Hickman’s writing is really rough early on as Storm and Cyclops seem to have no familiarity with each other and just spout ideology at each other. Yu and Gerry Alanguilan’s action chops drive this opening scenes with some clever applications of Cyclops’ optic blasts and Magneto stealing the show with pure charisma. He’s in pure god mode throughout the comic, and there is something not quite right with the way he interacts with humans and his fellow mutants. (This will probably get the Internet pissed off at me.) However, what elevates X-Men #1 from the Orchis vs. Krakoa schedule, which frankly isn’t super interesting to me personally, is the interactions between the Summers family members. There lots of little great moments like Corsair being wary of the whole Krakoa thing (Include their dish washing techniques), Vulcan’s social awkwardness, and a diagram implying that Wolverine, Cyclops, and Jean Grey are a throuple. If X-Men ends up focusing on Cyclops trying to bring some normalcy to the Summers family, it could be a great book. Or it could end up just being an us vs them slugfest with pretentious dialogue from Hickman. Overall: 7.8 Verdict: Read

Steeple #2 (Dark Horse)– John Allison’s funny and weird saga of a young vicar-in-training named Billie and the monster and Satanist infested town of Tredregyn, Cornwall continues in Steeple #2. Allison opens up with a bit of slapstick as Billie forgets to inflate her bike tires and crashes in front of group of teens. Then comes the highlight of the issue, which is the friendship between Billie and Maggie, a motorcycle riding Satanist, who has good advice for getting teenagers into the church. It’s like when my old youth pastor tried to show the appeal of Christian hip hop, but more British as Billie uses “drill” beefs to get teenagers cleaning up garbage and helping the community. However, Steeple #2 isn’t just religious satire, but features some serious sea monster fighting and also the teens making friends with the sea monster’s kid. Maybe, the vicar of Tredregyn’s whole Buffy the Vampire Slayer act is all wrong, and they should be kind and forgive the monsters instead of bashing them with a rock. John Allison’s art style and sense of humor continue to be wonderfully quirky without being twee, and I’m enjoying seeing the world of Tredregyn through Billie’s ancient, innocent eyes. Overall: 8.8 Verdict: Buy

Cult Classic Creature Feature #1 (Vault)– Eliot Rahal and John Bivens bring an EC Comics meets Stranger Things aesthetic of late horror movies and tweenage and teenage monsters showing their real personalities. Apparently, the color out of the space-type meteorite that made the dinosaurs extinct has returned to small town America and has infected tweens trying out a Ouija board by the lake or rival high school cliques getting into fights at the local fast food drive through. Cult Classic Creature Feature is heavy on atmosphere and light on characterization even though Rahal bakes in some suspense in the last few pages connecting it to the horror host TV show. There are some cool and some clichéd ideas in Cult Classic Creature Feature #1, and it just needs to combined to make a coherent whole. But it’s a book with potential that is drawn the opposite of house style. Overall: 6.5 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 (**).

Review: Submerged #1

submerged 1On the night of the biggest storm in New York City history, Elysia Puente gets a call from her estranged little brother Angel, terrified, begging for help. When the call cuts out suddenly, despite the bad feelings between them, Ellie rushes into the night. Finding his broken phone in front of a barricaded subway station, Ellie follows echoes of her brother into the sinister darkness of the underground, desperate to find him before it’s too late.

The above synopsis pretty accurately sums up the plot to this supernatural horror tinted comic that, honestly, left me a little unsure of just what was happening at any given time. Which, I suspect, is entirely the point. After all if the entire plot were just handed to you, then Submerged #1 wouldn’t be as compelling a comic as it is. There’s a certain charm in not quite knowing what the hell is going on, although that is a fine line to walk; you want readers to want to know more about the story they’re reading without feeling completely and utterly lost. Submerged #1 remains on the right side of the fine line.

The book has a very haunting aesthetic, thanks to artist Lisa Sterle and Stelladia respective inking and coloring. Submerged #1 feels very much as though you’re being pulled through deeper and darker (and sometimes not always figuratively) environs as, like Alice, you fall deeper into the rabbit hole that Vita Ayala has penned.

As a break from the spandex crowd, this book delivers; there’s groundwork laid here that should pay off down the road, and just enough to hook the reader back for the second issue.

Story: Vita Ayala Inker: Lisa Sterle
Colourist: Stelladia Letterer: Rachel Deering
Story: 7.5 Art: 8.0 Overall: 7.8 Recommendation: Buy

Vault provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 6/9

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

man of steel 2.jpgBatman #48 (DC)** – Can this wedding just happen (or not) already? Because all this treading water in advance of it is getting pretty old. Tom King churns out another drab “prologue”-type script here, which shows The Joker being especially brutal even byhis standards, and Batman more or less taking it all as a matter of course. Mikel Janin’s art is absolutely stunning — it always is — but that’s about the most I can say for this one. Overall: 4. Recommendation: Pass

The Man Of Steel #2 (DC)** – A rather lackluster debut from Brian Michael Bendis leads into an equally-lackluster second installment, and both the “mystery” of the new villain and the series of arson fires plaguing Metropolis aren’t doing much to grab the attention of at least this reader. Evan “Doc” Shaner’s art is uncharacteristically toned-down here, as well, and far more dull and conservative than his typical Steve Rude-influenced work. Fortunately for us all, none other than the estimable Mr. Rude himself is on hand to illustrate the back half of the book, and it’s downright glorious to look at — too bad that reading it simply isn’t much fun. Overall: 5.5. Recommendation: Pass

Dark Ark #7 (Aftershock)** – Cullen Bunn and Juan Doe are having a blast with this revisionist take on the Noah’s Ark story, and it shows on every page. Some pre-flood drama is nicely balanced against “current” (and quite major) developments this time out, and there’s a gorgeous double-page spread that you’ll ogle over for a good long while. It’s a brisk read, to be sure, but you won’t want to put this book down too soon, as the art is just plain stunning. Overall: 8. Recommendation: Buy.

Xerxes: The Fall Of The House Of Darius And The Rise Of Alexander #3 (Dark Horse)** – Frank Miller utilizes double-page spreads nearly exclusively in this issue, and results are mixed — a few really do pack that classic “MIller Punch,” but most are half-hearted attempts to capture a sense of magic that just isn’t there anymore. As for the multi-panel pages, as well as the jumbled and frankly stupid script, well — the less said, the better. Overall: 3. Recommendation: Pass

Mr H.

BM_Cv48Batman #48 (DC) So continues my on again off again love affair with Tom King (deep down he might be the one) After some dreadful dreck churned out the past few issues, he brings me back into the fold. This entire issue takes place with a standoff between Batman and Joker inside a church. Kings Joker has the ability to make you laugh uncomfortably at the carnage he causes with very interesting dialogue choices. Mikel Janin as always is so amazing that he really makes you feel involved in the events taking place. All in all it was very fun filler before the wedding of the summer and next issue should be more of the same. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

Patrick

About Betty’s Boob (Archaia) – I work in burlesque here in Montreal and I have absolutely loved Julie Rocheleau’s artwork ever since The Wrath of Fantomas (which I cannot recommend highly enough), so I was very much looking forward to this about-bettys-boobcollaboration with French writer Véro Cazot. Let’s take first things first: it’s a mostly-silent tale about a woman who loses her left breast to cancer and has to redefine herself, finding acceptance and empowerment in the world of burlesque. Second: Julie Rocheleau is an unbelievable talent with a total command of the artform. Not only can she draw with stunning craft, not only is her storytelling top-notch, but her work – both here and elsewhere – has musicality. Here, she alternately swings hard, lays back, stomps, dives into pure lyricism, and clowns around, all in service to the emotional ride that Betty is taking. This is a bravura performance of the highest level. I wish I was as much of a fan of Véro Cazot’s writing. As much as I love the ideas in her story, she serves it up with too many side dishes and way too much arch Parisian-ness for my liking (and I’ve lived in Paris). What could have been simple and heartbreaking or really fun clowning goes on too long and trips over itself. There is so much to love here – the way Betty’s relationship falls apart, the fantastic idea of a burlesque theatre on a barge on the Seine (if this is a real thing, please contact me immediately) – that Cazot often gets in the way, like when a burlesque show host takes too much space. As soon as the script gets offstage and out of Rocheleau’s way, this book Lando-DoubleorNothing-1shimmies, twirls, and shakes off its veneer to show us its true heart.

Shean

Deadpool #1 (Marvel) In what feels like hanging out with your best friend, this reboot of the ongoing series feels fresh and even funnier. As we catch up with Wade on one of his hit jobs which goes too far as usual. We also find the Avengers and the Guardians trying to figure out how to stop impending doom in the form of Thanos. By issue’s end, Wade gives fan a long awaited peak behind his origin story but eventually steals from a rather well known origin story from the DC Universe, quite a sick burn. Overall: 9.3 
Recommendation: Buy

 Lando: Double Or Nothing#1 (Marvel) As a fan of the current Star Wars movie, I went into this book with hopes of seeing more of Lando with L3-337 and this book doesn’t disappoint. As Barnes captures the spirit of these characters from the movie, as Lando’s arrogance and L3’s ill subliminal is on full display in this heist story. As we meet Kristis, a Ray Donovan type character who fixes whatever for her clients. By issue’s end, once the Republic catches wind of the plan, our heroes are able to outgun and outrun some TIE fighters, as this is where the heist begins. Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Black Panther: Rise of the Black Panther #6 (Marvel) We get deeper into the drama surrounding the volatile infiltrations into Wakanda. As T’Challa and Shuri are still coping with their half brother’s betrayal, they soon find another invader in their midst.Soon they find out that Eric Killmonger has broken their ranks and eventually unleashes Wakandan technology on its population. By book’s end, T’Challa neutralizes the threat and realizes much like in the movie, that barriers often become like prisons, and helpful knowledge must be shared. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Logan

Giant Days #39 (BOOM!) The girls go to their university’s career fair, and lots of jokes are made about the drudgery of 9 to 5 life. Daisy is inundated with job offers and private jet rides while Esther feels like a square peg in a round hole. This issue is Julia Madrigal’s last as a fill-in artist, and her characters are on model, but they lack the elasticity and pure humor of Max Sarin and Liz Fleming’s work. However, for the most part, Giant Days #39 is a fantastic satire of the bullshit that is job applications and has a cliffhanger that could be a game changer for Ms. Esther DeGroot. Overall: 8.4 Verdict: Buy

Vagrant Queen #1 (Vault) Elida is the scion of an intergalactic monarchy, but she’s cvagrant queen.jpgontent to shoot first, ask questions later, and make a profit. However, when the former owner of her ship (The proverbial Lando to her Han.) offers a deal to find her mom, she embarks on an epic intergalactic road trip with the Admiralty on her trail. Mags Visaggio and Jason Smith traffic in a lot of space opera tropes in Vagrant Queen, but a snarky sense of humor, Moebius-esque architecture, and brutal fight choreography keep things entertaining. Overall: 7.4 Verdict: Read

Nightwing #45 (DC) Benjamin Percy, Chris Mooneyham, and guest inker Klaus Janson open Nightwing #45 with Dick in bed next to Barbara Gordon. Dick and Babs have a highly, complex relationship so something is definitely off. This uneasy tone pervades the entire book in Dick’s narration and the bloated body of a drug snitch, who was completely and utterly doxxed. Nightwing is quickly becoming a body horror, cyberpunk comic, but Mooneyham’s Romita Jr-esque figures and detailed landscapes keep the story in the analog and old school like Dick himself. However, a high tech neural networked, VR rig could change all this, and the last several pages of the issue craft an almost insurmountable foe for Nightwing to “fight”. Overall: 8.5 Verdict: Buy

Nightwing vs. Hush #1 (DC) Well, this is Batman’s bachelor party, and it involves burgers at a Batman themed restaurant. However, the Superman, Batman, and Nightwing’s interdimensional fishing trip goes terribly wrong when Hush crashes and gets caught in a kind of Limbo with Nightwing. Tim Seeley and Travis Moore create a study in duality with Dick and Hush anchored in Wayne Manor, but whereas Hush wants to be Bruce, Dick just wants a relationship with him. And this leads to a very sweet moment towards the end. Moore’s art is slick and pretty, especially when he draws Dick’s face. There need to be more buddy comics featuring Bruce, Dick, and Clark. Overall: 8 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 (**).