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Mini Reviews: Die, Namor, Border Town, Shazam! and More!

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.


Elana

Die #1 (Image Comics)* – Easily a best new series of 2018. This is a power team of two of my favorite creators: Stephanie Hans and Kieron Gillen. Gillen knows his table-top Role Playing Games, his magical world building, his teen comics, his team comics, his emotionally vulnerable men and women and casts that are diverse racially, sexually and in social class. He’s doing all of that here and it shines. Stephanie Hans creates luminous paintings. Her faces are sensitive and unmistakable. Her character designs are exciting in both the real world and fantasy world the story takes place. These are two of the best talents in comics today doing what they do best. I couldn’t be more excited. Overall 10 Recommendation: Buy! (PS: Our latest episode of Graphic Policy Radio is an interview with Gillen and Hans.)

Jon

Die #1 (Image Comics)* – Kieron Gillen’s latest offering is built on a very simple premise: what might have happened to the kids from the Dungeons and Dragons cartoon when they returned from their adventures in a magical land? The result is the most sublime merger of comics and gaming to hit the page and that’s saying quite a bit given all the great books that have built on the tropes of both mediums over the last few years. Gillen never misses a beat, introducing us to a group of characters we want to know more about. Though not for everyone, Stephanie Hans artwork is a great complement to it, equal parts menacing and fantastic. I got to the end and I want another issue now. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Shean

Namor: The Best Defense #1 (Marvel)* – In what could be worst timing, we get Marvel’s own underwater superhero. As this could have been a great story, but never has the similarities been more apparent than on this one shot, as it comes off as straight up plagiarism.As this version is not formidable in anyway and is a much more neutered iteration of the character. I would say to read it simpl as an origin story, otherwise, nothing new here at all. Story: 4 Art: 6 Overall: 5 Recommendation: Read

Star Wars: Qui-Gon Jinn #1 (Marvel)* – In what definitely feels a companion story , we find Qui Gon Jinn at unease with the force. As him and a much younger Obi-Wan, find themselves rescuing a princess in the middle of a civil war. As Qui-Gon’s instincts leads him to a place where his Visions becomes amplified. By issue’s end, we see Qui-Gon is the first Jedi to foresee the wrath headed their way by way of the Sith. Story: 9 Art: 8 Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Killmonger #1 (Marvel)* – In probably the best debut issue of an origin story I have read in a minute, we definitely get a masterclass in character study. As we find Erik as he is about to graduate MIT , his first instinct is to satisfy his blood lust for Klawe. He gets interrupted by Kingpin’s henchmen, King, Rook and Knight. by issue’s end, he begrudgingly joins this motley crew, even if it is just a stepping stone. Story :10 Art:10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Immortal Hulk: Best Defense #1 (Marvel)* – We find Bruce Banner looking for what happened to Doctor Strange. As the book unfolds like a sleepy town mystery, one which Captivates the reader from the onset. He soon finds more quandaries than he initially expected. By issue’s end, Bruce and Hulk must find a way forward and the road into gets more treacherous. Story: 9 Art: 9 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Ryan C

Martian Manhunter #1 (DC Comics)** – I went in to this one with zero preconceptions and was absolutely blown away. Riley Rossmo’s art is a joy to behold, as usual, all inventive page layouts and ultra-expressive characters and chaotic action scenes, but Steve Orlando, well — he’s pretty up-and-down, isn’t he? Fortunately, he’s “up” here in a big way, re-envisioning J’Onn J’Onzz as a dirty cop from Mars trying to atone for past sins as a clean cop here on Earth. Oh, and there’s a Martian sex scene in here that you’ve gotta see to believe. Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Shazam! #1 (DC Comics)** – I suppose I should have known better, but — anyway, this is unmitigated crap. Geoff Johns’ updating of the Marvel family is obvious and unimaginative, Dale Eaglesham’s art is way too ’90s Image for a project like this — and nothing much really happens in the book, either, it’s pretty much all stage-setting. I enjoyed Mayo “Sen” Naito’s art on the backup strip, but that’s about all I can say for this poorly-considered work. Doc Shaner, Chris Samnee, Steve Rude — I’d love to see a “Shazam!” comic from one of them, but the approach DC is taking here is fundamentally flawed from the outset. Overall: 2 Recommendation: Pass

Batman #60 (DC Comics)** – Probably the best issue in quite some time, as Tom King’s Penguin/Bane storyline finally gels into something teeming with both suspense and menace, and the alternating art of Jorge Fornes and Mikel Janin accentuates the drama inherent in different scenes in fundamentally opposite, but equally appealing, styles. Oh, and that cliffhanger — holy shit! Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Border Town #4 (DC Comics/Vertigo)** – Yeah, okay, this issue is “guilty” of burying its storyline beneath its polemic, especially in the clumsy “info-dump” writer Eric M. Esquivel resorts to in his stage-setting for a Joe Arapaio stand-in character, but it’s still fun and engaging stuff with compelling characters, smart “world-building,” plenty of humor, and superb Ramon Villalobos art. Esquivel is a bit too “tell, don’t show” as a writer too frequently, but it’s not an ever-present feature at this point like it was in issue one. Yeah, this isn’t as good a #3, which remains the best installment to date, but it’s still pretty damn good and well worth four bucks. Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy

Mr. H

Shazam! #1 (DC Comics)* – I cannot express how excited I was for this one. Geoff Johns and Gary Franks take on the big red cheese was so refreshing. The way they flipped Billy Batson from aw shucks to street smart wiseass with a heart of gold. That along with Gary Franks gorgeous art made a spectacular combination. Well I’m happy to say this story picks up where that left off. Billy has gone from house outcast to leader of the pack and the whole Marvel Family is just a joy to see in action. Now sure not a lot happens this issue but that is not to say it isn’t a lot of fun. Seeing the group discuss their superhero team name was a gas the art by Dale Eaglesham was a great successor to Gary Frank. The colors were vibrant and just whole lot of fun. The cliffhanger with a return of a long thought dead character sets up some serious intrigue and I am definitely back next month. Fun, laughs, and a sprinkle of action. This was everything monthy comics should be. Overall: great feel and continuity and good to see a monthly from Captain Marvel again. Overall: 8.9 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 (**).

Preview: The Dreaming #4

The Dreaming #4

(W) Simon Spurrier (A) Bilquis Evely (CA) Jae Lee
In Shops: Dec 05, 2018
SRP: $3.99

As its rightful steward, Lucien, wrestles with the slow decay of his mind, the realm of wonders slips into totalitarianism beneath the thunderous gavel of Judge Ezekiel Gallows.

But as the gates are fortified and the citizens terrorized by a foul new form of execution, something far greater and more terrifying slouches toward the Dreaming to be born.

With nowhere else to turn, it’s time to seek the counsel of the Endless…

Preview: Border Town #4

Border Town #4

(W) Eric M Esquivel (A/CA) Ramon Villalobos
In Shops: Dec 05, 2018
SRP: $3.99

Racist high school bully Blake has become that which he hates the most: a figure of Mexican legend! Transformed into a walking, talking Dia de los Muertos skeleton, Blake’s possessed by the spirit of Santa Muerte herself, who compels the tortured young man to undertake a most dangerous mission: open the border between worlds-permanently.

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Wednesdays are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

Each week our contributors choose what they can’t wait to read this week or just sounds interesting. In other words, this is what we’re looking forward to and think you should be taking a look at!

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this Wednesday.

Border Town #4 (DC Comics/Vertigo) – Each issue has been fantastic giving us a monster story with a look and monsters we rarely see in entertainment and comics. This is a solid update to the Scooby-Doo concept and it works so well.

Dark Ark #12 (AfterShock Comics) – The new spin on classic Bible stories is fantastic bringing a sense of horror that’s beyond entertaining.

Die #1 (Image Comics) – Adults have to deal with the returning horror they barely survived as teenage role-players. Yeah, we’re in.

Doomsday Clock #8 (DC Comics) – We’re this far into this series, we really want to see what’s next and what the hell is going on.

Freeze #1 (Image Comics/Top Cow Productions) – People around the world are frozen and one person can fix that but should he? We’ve seen the concept in manga but we want to see this Western take on the concept.

Killmonger #1 (Marvel) – The breakout character from the Black Panther film gets his own miniseries that adds more to his history.

Laguardia #1 (Dark Horse/Berger Books) – A new series that looks at immigration and discrimination in America.

Martian Manhunter #1 (DC Comics) – The character has been put center of the DC Universe playing a big role with the Justice League and we want to see what this series brings and adds to the character.

Prodigy #1 (Image Comics/Millarworld/Netflix) – A new Mark Millar property and we want to see what this whole deal with Netflix is bringing to the comic market.

Self Made #1 (Image Comics) – A new series that sounds like a fantasy world that’s a bit focused on castes which is interesting enough. An Image #1 issue is something we want to check out.

Shazam #1 (DC Comics) – With a film out soon, it’s not surprising that we’re getting a new series and we want to see where this characters fits in the Rebirth DC Universe.

Snap Flash Hustle #1 (Black Mask Studio) – If it’s Black Mask, we check out the first issue. They tend to be a lot of future stars and interesting concepts.

Winter Soldier #1 (Marvel) – This new spin on the character sounds different enough from what we’ve seen before, a character who’s attempting to find redemption by helping others.

Wizard Beach #1 (BOOM! Studios) – This story about slackers wizards sounds fun and entertaining so we want to check out this debut issue.

The Wrong Earth #4 (AHOY Comics) – One of the best comics on the shelves right now.

X-Men: Exterminated #1 (Marvel) – The event still has one issue to go but this is the aftermath, yay delays! Still, we want to see this sendoff for the classic Cable before kid Cable takes over. Plus, we’re sure there’ll be spoilers for how it all ends.

Mini Reviews: Books of Magic, Dead Man Logan, Daredevil, and More!

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.


Shean

Dead Man Logan#1 (Marvel)* – We find Logan dying as he searches for Mysterious. We also find Miss Sinister working against him as she is two steps ahead. By issue’s end, we see an old enemy has reemerged and it’s up to Logan to stop them. Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Ryan C

Heroes In Crisis #3 (DC Comics)** – Tom King is doing his “Tom King Thing” here — all stilted dialogue, “jump-cut” scenes out of chronological order, other easily-spotted script gimmicks — but at least the Lee Weeks guest art is nice. Regular artist Clay Mann does the first and last pages, and while they look fine, they point to the essential flaw in today’s “assembly-line” comics, namely : even with a mini-series, deadline crunches ensure that no smoothly self-contained visual “flow” is possible. Things here appear headed in a very uninspiring direction, indeed. Overall: 5.0 Recommendation: Pass

Books Of Magic #2 (DC Comics/Vertigo)** – Tim Hunter gets chased around by some entities, and that’s about it. Tom Fowler’s art is nice enough, if bland, but there’s no excusing the laziness of Kat Howard’s script. Two issues in, this feels like a series where the writer isn’t even especially trying. Overall: 1.0 Recommendation: Pass

Come Into Me #4 (Black Mask Studio)** – The long production delays this mini-series suffered didn’t help matters much, but even leaving those “off the table,” this body-horror story comes to a flat, predictable conclusion. Zac Thompson and Lonnie Nadler do a lot of good work, but they never seemed to throw their full creative weight into this one, so it’s just as well that Piotr Kowalski’s always-exceptional art at least made each issue worth looking at. That’s about all you can say in its favor, though. Overall: 4.0 Recommendation: Pass

House Amok #3 (IDW/Black Crown)** – Another “up” in this “up-and-down” conspiratorial horror series sees writer Christopher Sebela rebound nicely from a lackluster second issue and set things up for what could/should be a pretty solid conclusion next month. Shawn McManus’ art has been strong throughout, and that continues here, so in the final analysis maybe the previous installment will just prove to be a little bump on an otherwise-superb ride. Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

 

Mr. H

Daredevil #612 (Marvel)* – Well here we are true believers. The last stop for ol Hornhead. Daredevil might have been enjoying a renaissance via his Netflix show (which season 3 is the best, come at me bro) but his comic books have always ranged from pretty good to genius. This latest run from Charles Soule is definitely one for the genius pile. Matt and his cohorts have been trying to take down Mayor Kingpin and a story line which has allusions to real life electoral issues, it is a damn fine comic yarn being spun here. Matt has been tormented recently by a new enemy known as Vigil. Vigil seems to be able to counteract everything Matt can do and finally here you see why. It’s a touching issue with guest stars galore and tie up moments. Phil Noto gives us some wonderful art here as we traipse away through the pages. Of course we get the obligatory superhero show down but it is the quieter moments and characterization that really shines here. The portrayal of Fisk on the witness stand and his unraveling is spot on. Yes there’s even a Karen Page reunion that was solicited. This comic does so well and hits all the feels for this merry Marvel maniac. While I wish they would take some time off from the Daredevil title. I’m looking forward to the new crew and what comes next. Overall: if you like Daredevil get this book. It is a wonderful end for now. Score: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy it. I’m still getting it though.


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 (**).

Preview: Books of Magic #2

Books of Magic #2

(W) Kat Howard (A) Tom Fowler (CA) Kai Carpenter
In Shops: Nov 28, 2018
SRP: $3.99

Tim embraces his access to magic, trying to do as much as he can as quickly as his power will let him. Overwhelmed by enthusiasm and impatience, he ignores Dr. Rose’s warnings and fails to consider the consequences of his actions. And they could be dire.

Preview: Hex Wives #2

Hex Wives #2

(W) Ben Blacker (A) Mirka Andolfo (CA) Emanuela Lupacchino
In Shops: Nov 28, 2018
SRP: $3.99

The wives of Desert Canyon still don’t know the secret power they possess. Their husbands continue their campaign of insidious manipulation. Izzy hears scratching in the walls. A cat jumps into a cake. Blood is spilled. And the creepiest sex scene in all of comics.

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Wednesdays are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

Each week our contributors choose what they can’t wait to read this week or just sounds interesting. In other words, this is what we’re looking forward to and think you should be taking a look at!

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this Wednesday.

Aquaman/Justice League: Drowned Earth #1 (DC Comics) – The mini-event crossover between Justice League and Aquaman has been fun in that disaster film sort of way and we’re excited to see how it wraps up because it feels like there’s a lot of ground to cover with just one issue.

Dead Man Logan #1 (Marvel) – Logan is dying… again. But, you know what? When the issue is this good we’re good with it. A solid start to this epic event.

Hellboy and the BPRD 1956 #1 (Dark Horse) – A new Hellboy adventure? Yeah, we’re in. Especially as we wait for the new film.

Heroes in Crisis #3 (DC Comics) – Who did it!? We want to know and this series has us sucked in to see how the mystery plays out.

Hex Wives #2 (Vertigo/DC Comics) – An exploration of the patriarchy with witches… yeah, we’re sold. The first issue was great, we’re expecting the same with the second.

Ironheart #1 (Marvel) – The first issue is a lot of fun as RiRi takes the spotlight and begins to stand out from under various shadows. A fantastic first issue that’s perfect for new readers and long time fans.

Marvel Action: Spider-Man #1 (IDW Publishing/Marvel) – Marvel goes all-ages through IDW?! Marvel has been farming out various aspects of their comics and the latest has us intrigued.

Monarchs #1 (Scout Comics) – Four young geniuses are tasked with discovering and instituting an ideal method of leadership to make a utopian society that the inhabitants wish to create. Um, sold.

Old Lady Harley #2 (DC Comics) – The first issue caught us off guard as to how much fun it was. So, we’re expecting more of that with the second.

Quincredible #1 (Lion Forge Comics) – Quinton, a high school sophomore, is looking to live his best life by moonlighting as a superhero. The catch? His power is invulnerability . . . and that’s the only power he has. Sounds interesting to us!

The Warning #1 (Image Comics) – An extraterrestrial threat emerges and must be stopped. We’re always game for good sci-fi action.

Review: American Carnage #1

DC’s Vertigo is imprint with numerous brand new series and a new vision and direction. American Carnage is one of the new releases telling the story of an ex-FBI agent who goes undercover to infiltrate a white supremacist group.

American Carnage #1 is by Bryan Edward Hill, Leandro Fernandez, Dean White, and Pat Brosseau.

Get your copy in comic shops now! To find a comic shop near you, visit www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon/Kindle/comiXology
TFAW

 

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review
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Review: American Carnage #1

Out this week is American Carnage #1, one of the new series that’s part of DC ComicsVertigo relaunch.

In this thrilling crime saga, disgraced FBI agent Richard Wright, who is biracial but can pass for white, goes undercover in a white supremacist group believed to be responsible for the death of a fellow agent.

The series is by Bryan Hill, Leandro Fernandez, Dean White, Pat Brosseau, Maggie Howell, and Andy Khouri.

You can pre-order the comic now from your local comic shop now! To find a comic shop near you, visit www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online.

 

 

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review

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