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Preview: Young Justice #16

Young Justice #16

Written by: Brian Michael Bendis, David F. Walker
Art by: Scott Godlewski

Impulse unleashed! Bartholomew Henry Allen II has traveled to the edges of space and time-and along the way, he’s discovered truths that he’s kept from even his closest friends. Until now. The truth behind the legacy of Young Justice is revealed! What does tomorrow hold for Young Justice?

Young Justice #16

Preview: Young Justice #15

Young Justice #15

(W) Brian Michael Bendis, David F. Walker (A/CA) John Timms
In Shops: Jun 17, 2020
SRP: $3.99

Young Justice versus S.T.A.R. Labs! What happens when a universe reboots right under you? Conner is about to find out! The entire Young Justice team confronts the evil genius behind S.T.A.R. Labs and the truth about Conner Kent. This will bring Conner to the doorstep of his namesake, Clark Kent, to find out more about himself and the DC Universe. Guest-starring Superman in a unique crossover with Action Comics.

Young Justice #15

Preview: Amethyst #2 (of 6)

Amethyst #2 (of 6)

(W) Amy Reeder (A/CA) Amy Reeder
In Shops: Mar 25, 2020
SRP: $3.99

Dejected but determined to find her missing kingdom, Princess Amethyst and her new companions-a four-armed Turqoisian peasant called Phoss and her gigantic caterpillar steed-set out for the land of Sapphire, where it is always night. Where there is darkness there is also danger, but a newly discovered magical ability might light the princess’s path.

Amethyst #2 (of 6)

Preview: Young Justice #14

Young Justice #14

(W) Brian Michael Bendis, David F. Walker (A/CA) John Timms
In Shops: Mar 11, 2020
SRP: $3.99

Now that Young Justice has figured out who the bad guys are, it’s time to bring the fight to S.T.A.R. Labs’ front door! But the combined forces of Dial H for Hero, the Wonder Twins, Naomi, and the entire Young Justice roster may not be enough to defeat these evil scientists. It’s time to call in some super-powered backup…the new Young Justice! Plus, how will Superman revealing his secret identity affect Conner Kent?

Young Justice #14

Mini Reviews For The Week Ending 3/6

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 #90 (DC) This book has been a breath of fresh air since the new creative team of Tynion IV and Daniel and March right from the jump. The pacing and art and story just breeze right on by The backstory in this issue with Selena explaining to Bruce the meeting between herself and the other Bat Villains and the new villain The Designer was fantastic. I definitely want more of him, he seems to be a welcome addition to the ever-growing rogues gallery. Let’s hope so. I always like when backstories can provide never before seen new facets to the mythos. The art has been great rotation between the talents of Tony Daniel and Gulliem March. I think the trade off on ever other book is a fantastic one two punch. Tynion IV has done a great job of keeping this book fresh and exciting which is not easy to do (looking at you Tom King) and keeping the Bat – Cat dialogue almost non existent. Still can’t wait to see what Deathstroke is up to in the long run and I’m already awaiting next issue. Score: 9. Recommendation: Buy.  

Superman: Villains #1 (DC) I was extremely looking forward to this book after the Superman: Heroes one shot but this was not what I expected. It was one of those books with tons of creators and short stories from many POVs but it just didn’t work here. I wanted nothing but all of Superman’s greatest villains reactions but we only got a few and then lots of shameless plugs and set ups for stuff coming down the pipe. The writing was alright and some of the art was okay but this just wasn’t what I expected. Superman’s ID reveal is monumental to DC Universe and this fell so flat in capitalizing on that moment. More time should have been dedicated to Lex’s reaction than the few throwaway pages we got. I hope they follow up much better in Superman’s main titles. Overall this was not what I expected in the least and big time miss on my end. Score: 6 Recommendation: Pass.

Logan

Strange Adventures #1 (DC/Black Label)– In Strange Adventures #1, Tom King, Mitch Gerads, and Evan Shaner deliver a deconstruction of the space pulp hero genre through the lens of (Of course) the War on Terror and 24 hour mass media as well as an intense character study of Adam Strange. Gerads handles the earth sequences, and there is vulnerability and vitality to his figure work and use of grids. On the other hand, Shaner does the Rann flashbacks and does it in his trademark clean line, classic pulp style while using a darker color palette to show that Adam wasn’t 100% a lantern jawed, upright hero or even the perfect family man. King probes at the connection between war and heroism and sets up *yet another* murder mystery plot, but takes it in an interesting direction with the series’ unlikely deuteragonist investigating Adam’s actions, both at home and abroad, and holding him accountable. Their interactions in future issues are a big reason why I’ll continue to check out this book. Overall: 8.1 Verdict: Buy

 Billionaire Island #1 (Ahoy!)– The Flintstones’ Mark Russell and Steve Pugh hit satirical gold again in this skewering of the 1%. They take things the ultrawealthy have, such as private islands, offshore bank accounts, panic rooms, and eugenics programs, and turn it up to eleven. Russell’s plot doesn’t kick in until the last few pages, but Billionaire Island #1 does a fairly good job of setting up the comic’s premise and various locales. Pugh’s artwork exaggerates the right bits and goes deadpan at the right times too with some memorable imagery. The panel of a former tax accountant drinking from a hamster cage water bottle while waiting for a billionaire to give him the time of day is one that will be seared into my brain. Basically, Billionaire Island makes class warfare entertaining. Overall: 8.7 Verdict: Buy

Spider-Man Noir #1 (Marvel)– From its opening action scene featuring pulp magazine cover-style art and monochromatic palette from Juan Ferreyra, Spider-Man Noir #1 exudes old school cool. Margaret Stohl’s dialogue stumbles at times when she tries to combine superhero platitudes with world-weary, gumshoe detective one-liners, but she nimbly shifts genres from a noir mystery to an adventure serial. She and Ferreyra immerse you in this world of violence, mystery, and conspiracy where a Nazi or a gangster is just around the corner. As an added bonus, Stohl and Ferreyra give Spider-Man Noir’s female characters agency and substantial time with Dr. Huma Bergmann basically kickstarting the plot, Mary Jane throwing punches and reminding Peter of his mission and basically to stop being mopey, and Aunt May running a community center. This comic is definitely worth picking up for fans of Into the Spider-Verse who wanted to see more of Nicolas Cage’s Spider-Man Noir or see a different visual or genre approach to the familiar environs of the Marvel Universe. Overall: 8.5 Verdict: Buy

Excalibur #8 (Marvel)– An issue-concluding conversation between Rachel Grey and Betsy Braddock almost turns Tini Howard, Victor Santos, and Marcus To’s Excalibur #8 from an okay to good/great comic. The Warwolves/Cullen Bloodstone storyline is wrapped with some incoherent action scenes and some flirting from Rictor and Cullen. It’s frustrating to hear about the cool things that Rogue, Gambit etc are doing from Howard’s exposition instead of seeing it in Santos, To, and way too many inkers’ art. Thankfully, she doesn’t pad out the storyline, and the aforementioned Rachel/Betsy conversation and a chat between Rictor (Love his new Druid design!) and Cullen about being gay in the Marvel Universe are the standout moments. Excalibur has a lot of potential as a series, especially when Marcus To is the artist, but it hasn’t reached it yet in issue 8. Overall: 7.4 Verdict: Read

Marauders #9 (Marvel)– This is the second straight week with good Emma Frost content as the Marauders finally discover that Yellowjacket has been spying on them via Pyro. To counteract this, Gerry Duggan and Matteo Lolli introduce several doses of psychic fantasies as Emma Frost and the Stepford Cuckoos quickly try defuse the situation. The illusions work because Lolli doesn’t switch up his art style except for maybe turning up the violence a little bit when Yellowjacket shoots his way past Emma and Bishop. In the big picture, Marauders #9 contributes to the ongoing issue of Krakoa having leaks of various kinds, and the actual player aka Sebastian Shaw doesn’t even make an appearance in this issue. Marauders #9 isn’t this series’ finest moment, but it’s a solid piece of connective tissue that also tapers off the Homo Verendi plotline. Duggan and Lolli should also be applauded for their creativity with the psychic powers. 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 For The Week Ending 2/29

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.


Logan

 Finger Guns #1 (Vault)– Justin Richards’ and Val Halvorson’s Finger Guns #1 is the first chapter of a high concept, YA comic about a boy and a girl who have the power to alter the emotional state of people around them through, er, finger guns. The book is peppered with silent panels and almost non-verbal until Sadie and Wes interact and relies Halvorson’s highly gestural art to show Wes’ lonely, day to day existence. Finger Guns understands that metaphor that being a kid is like being in a MMO, but on a lower level, and what if you found a way to level up quickly? This comic focuses on the sweet, sad side of being a teenager, but funny shenanigans do happen along the way. Finger Guns isn’t a runaway hit, but it has a fun core concept, a couple compelling leads, and is well constructed visually. Overall: 7.8 Verdict: Read

Amethyst #1 (DC/Wonder Comics)**- Amy Reeder writes, draws, and colors this excellent revival of Amethyst of Gemworld where Amy returns to her realm for a big birthday party, but no one is to be found. So, she embarks on an epic quest through Gemworld to find her missing parents/subjects with an air of mystery and tension happening throughout the comic. Reeder’s visuals are a true treat as she plays with panel shapes and uses a candy coated, 80s Saturday morning cartoon palette. Her figures are highly emotive, especially Amethyst, who is the perfect combo of idealism and sadness. Amethyst #1 is a pastel, fantasy comic that somehow takes place in the DCU and is a wonderful showcase for Amy Reeder’s considerable talents. Overall: 8.9 Verdict: Buy

 Fantastic Four: Grimm Noir #1 (Marvel)– Grimm Noir #1 is a one-shot from Gerry Duggan, Ron Garney, and Matt Milla where the Thing puts away the family bickering and cosmic threats for more of an internal struggle. Also, there’s rain, trench coats, a lovely chanteuse, and wonderful blue-meets-chiaroscuro lighting from Milla. Duggan doesn’t really provide much plot or mystery, but gives just enough frame for Garney’s composition as Ben Grimm almost literally crumbles to rocks as he deals with the nightmare being D’Spayre, who is the bad guy metaphor for his feelings of loneliness, otherness, and generally waiting for the other shoe to drop with him and his wife Alicia Masters. Duggan and Garney make Grimm Noir a true monster comic with many panels of body horror imagery like Thing’s eyeballs rolling around with rocks as he enters D’Spayre’s realm. It’s both a strong character study of one of my favorite Marvel characters and a good visual change of pace from Ron Garney and Matt Milla. Although, I wish some of the images had more of a storytelling function beyond “This looks cool.” and “Yay symbolism.” Overall: 8.0 Verdict: Buy

Giant-Size X-Men: Jean Grey and Emma Frost #1 (Marvel)– Giant Size X-Men: Jean Grey and Emma Frost #1 is an homage to famous “silent” issue of Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s New X-Men where Jean Grey and Emma Frost go into Professor X’s brain and find an important secret. Jonathan Hickman lays down a big reveal featuring the heart of the X-Men, Storm and then leaves it up to the imaginative visuals of Russell Dauterman and Matthew Wilson to tell the story. Wilson’s colors truly enhance the story using more intense colors every time telekinesis is used and being flatter every time Dauterman does a big, widescreen shot to establish setting or conflict. Speaking of conflict, Hickman and Dauterman do a visually memorable job of depicting the “guardians” of Storm’s mind before getting more body horror, and well, Krakoa-y as they get deeper into her psyche. Giant Size X-Men: Jean Grey and Emma Frost is a great reminder of the way clear, interesting, and character focused visuals can tell a comics story, and the superhero comics can have an interiority to them and not just be a series of external fights. Overall: 9.0 Verdict: Buy

New Mutants #8 (Marvel)– I might have to start skipping the Ed Brisson written issues of New Mutants after yet another stereotyped-filled stinker. However, I love how straight he plays Nova Aquilla with Boom Boom, Armor, and of course, Magma interacting with toga wearing Romans in the middle of the Brazilian rain forest. What follows is a cool powers-featuring action sequence with more Sebastian Shaw wheels spinning and even more cartel stereotypes. It’s not as bad as the previous issues in Nebraska because Shaw would definitely do the imperialist thing with the cartels, but the fictional Latin America country and one-dimensional focus on drugs and assault weapons is straight out of a Chuck Dixon comic from the 90s. On the art side, Marco Failla does have a great energy to his art and definitely nails the effect of Boom Boom and Armor blowing off steam against a (For now.) one-dimensional monstrous enemy while rescuing mutant refugees. Overall: 5.6 Verdict: Pass

X-Force #8 (Marvel)– Benjamin Percy and Bazaldua resolve the Domino flesh factory storyline and escalate Xeno’s threat. There’s also a big fight scene on the Trans-Siberian Railway, and Colossus and Domino bond over shared trauma and pain even though they live in what is technically a utopia. When they leap into combat against Xeno’s “Dominos”, it’s an exorcism, not a mandated fight scene with Colossus tenderizing punches and Domino’s more graceful moves making up for the guilt she feels in the infiltration of Krakoa and the assassination of Professor X. Bazaldua’s art is truly in motion in X-Force #8 as he cuts up panels to provide context for fight scenes and adds little, interesting touches like Sage holding a four leaf clover while she discusses Domino’s luck abilities with her. The plot of X-Force #8 is all about ramping up an external threat, but the chemistry between Domino and Colossus, both in action and conversation, is why I enjoyed this book. Overall: 8.2 Verdict: Buy

X-Men/Fantastic Four #2 (Marvel)X-Men/Fantastic Four #2 definitely has middle of chapter crossover vibes from Chip Zdarsky, the Dodsons, Laura Martin, and some other inkers they got to make the deadline.The introduction of Dr. Doom is a nice touch and a call back to the original X-Men/FF miniseries as he only wants Franklin Richards to reach his true potential. (Or does he?) Also, there’s a great stealth sequence featuring the Invisible Woman infiltrating the Quiet Council that makes this table setting chapter almost worth it before transitioning to generic superhero action. There’s all kinds of cross purposes motivations going on from the FF’s desire just to bring Franklin home to the X-Men trying to protect Krakoa and Dr. Doom’s more complex goal. Zdarsky seems to be having a lot of fun writing him as a chess player instead of an arrogant baddie, and the battle of wits between strategists like him, Reed Richards, Cyclops, and adding the personal element make this crossover worth following in the long run. Overall: 7.5 Verdict: Read

X-Men #7 (Marvel)X-Men #7 is Jonathan Hickman, Leinil Yu, and Sunny Gho’s ode to religious ritual: Krakoa style and also deals with the questions of Scarlet Witch, House of M, and if de-powered mutants can live in Krakoa. They frame it as a conversation between Cyclops and Nightcrawler, one of the most religiously devout X-Men, as well as a trial of combat called the Crucible between Apocalypse and Melody Guthrie, one of Cannonball’s siblings, who was depowered back on M-Day. As the fight rages on and violent ritual of death and rebirth ensues, Kurt wonders if the afterlife matters in a world where one can be resurrected and live on Krakoa indefinitely. He and Scott also talk about the idea of the best self and the choice of which version of “you” comes back after the resurrection protocols. Honestly, Cyclops is just happy to be happy for once after the past eight years or so of shit he’s been through in the comics and demonstrates real, blind faith even though that’s usually Nightcrawler’s role. X-Men #7 again shows that my favorite issues of the series are the ones where Jonathan Hickman and Leinil Yu delve into the ideological underpinnings of Krakoa and the new mutant nation with this issue acting as the religion to X-Men #4’s politics. Overall: 9.5 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 (**).

Preview: Dial H for Hero #12

Dial H for Hero #12

(W) Sam Humphries (A/CA) Joe Quinones
In Shops: Feb 26, 2020
SRP: $3.99

Miguel must face his most dangerous opponent yet-himself! With the fate of the Multiverse hanging in the balance, Miguel must battle his literal dark side. Will he and Summer survive the experience? And will the power of the H-Dial be lost for-ever? Find out in the thrilling conclusion to this innovative series!

Dial H for Hero #12

Preview: Amethyst #1 (of 6)

Amethyst #1 (of 6)

(W) Amy Reeder (A/CA) Amy Reeder
In Shops: Feb 26, 2020
SRP: $3.99

Following her triumphant reintroduction in the pages of Young Justice, the new Amethyst miniseries follows teenager Amy Winston-a.k.a. Princess Amethyst-as she returns to her magical kingdom to celebrate her 16th birthday in style. The only problem? Her kingdom is missing, her subjects have vanished, and none in the realm of Gemworld-even her best friend, Lady Turquoise-remain loyal to her house! Alone and dejected, Amy’s forced to find new allies and confront dark secrets on an all-new quest to the farthest reaches of Gemworld.

Amethyst #1 (of 6)

Preview: Wonder Twins #12 (of 12)

Wonder Twins #12 (of 12)

(W) Mark Russell (A/CA) Stephen Byrne
In Shops: Feb 19, 2020
SRP: $3.99

The world is saved again! But now Zan and Jayna must answer to the Justice League for the choices they made in order to save it. Meanwhile, the League of Annoyance is back in action, and Cell Phone Sylvia will do whatever it takes to get her revenge on the twins-but they might get a little help from an unexpected ally! The critically acclaimed series ends here-don’t miss it!

Wonder Twins #12 (of 12)

Preview: Dial H for Hero #12 (of 12)

Dial H for Hero #12 (of 12)

Written by Sam Humphries
Art and cover by Joe Quinones
In Shops: Feb 26, 2020
SRP: $3.99

One Last Spin of the Hero Dial!

Miguel must face his most dangerous opponent yet—himself! With the fate of the Multiverse hanging in the balance, Miguel must battle his literal dark side. Will he and Summer survive the experience? And will the power of the H-Dial be lost for-ever? Find out in the thrilling conclusion to this innovative series!

Dial H for Hero #12 (of 12)
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