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.
Heavy #2 (Vault Comics) – Max Bemis, Eryk Donovan, and Cris Peter’s Heavy #2 is violent, disgusting, and honestly, pretty fucking funny. It’s also filled with penises. This issue introduces the unlikely partnership of our protagonist, Bill, and Slim, the psychopathic assassin that was responsible for his and his girlfriend’s death as they both try to get out of the Big Wait by killing terrible human beings as “Heavies”. Bemis and Donovan continue to spoof toxic masculinity by having Bill and Slim beat the shit out of each other naked with rapidly changing art styles until they calm down and get to business. Whereas Bill tries to at least follow the Geneva Convention on his missions, Slim mows down everything in his path with manic glee, and his supervisors don’t really care. Slim is also pansexual, and it’s nice to have a queer character in a comic that isn’t shoehorned into a “role model” situation and can be a total asshole even if Bemis gives him some funny lines. Finally, what makes Heavy #2 a great comic is that Max Bemis and Eryk Donovan constantly are trying to top themselves in the sex and the violence department (Emphasis on the sex for once), and the third act of this comic is super gross, yet super funny with a decent cliffhanger. Overall: 8.6 Verdict: Buy
X of Swords: Stasis (Marvel) – X of Swords Stasis is the moody middle chapter in this crossover event. Jonathan Hickman, Tini Howard, Pepe Larraz, Mahmud Asrar, and Marte Gracia use this issue to further develop the denizens of Otherworld (Who have been hinted at in various data pages) and give readers a deeper glimpse into the personalities and abilities of the Arakki. (Pogg-Ur-Pogg is my favorite.) Larraz and Asrar do a good job of alternating between close quarters conversations and epic character designs and violent landscapes as some of the pages make Death Metal look like a yacht rock album cover. Of course, I don’t have as much of a connection with the Arraki as I do with the X-Men, but Hickman and Howard do a good job making their opponents more than cool-looking action figures. And they wrap things up with a high energy conversation between Apocalypse and Saturnyne that puts the entire event into perspective. The poses that Pepe Larraz and Mahmud Asrar draw are both passive-aggressive and melodramatic and work well with Jonathan Hickman and Tini Howard’s razor-sharp dialogue. If I wasn’t before, I am ready for some sword-wielding mutants to throw down. Overall: 8.4 Verdict: Buy
The Autumnal #2 (Vault) – Daniel Kraus, Chris Shehan, and Jason Wordie craft a slow burn rural horror-meets-family drama story in The Autumnal #2. Kraus’ pacing is pitch-perfect as our protagonist, neck tattoo sporting/ex-rocker-turned single mom Kat goes from being distrustful and snarky toward the “neighborliness” of the people of the town she’s moved in to embracing as her daughter Sybil plays in leaves with some kids across the street. But, nope, life in Autumnal doesn’t work like that, and Kat and Sybil are still outsiders and feared/shunned by the other residents of the town. Wordie embraces fall colors for the most part with his palette, and like Kat and Sybil in the story, lulls readers into a false sense of security before unleashing the reds and blacks of a horror comics. Line art-wise, Shehan evokes the soft, easy to follow rural calm of Jeff Lemire’s creator-owned work, but goes loose and harsh any time Kat feels insecure about her new town or being a single mom. Form and content really complement each other in Autumnal #2, and Daniel Kraus and Chris Shehan always keep the fun, authentic-feeling relationship between Kat and Sybil at the forefront even as they go weirder with the plot. Overall: 8.0 Verdict: Buy
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #1 (IDW Publishing) – After a lot of anticipation and a wait, we finally get to see what the Last Ronin is all about. One Turtle remains, with his brothers and mentor having been wiped out. Which Turtle is it? Who did it? It’s all here! The story is pretty simple, one of revenge, with a setting and style that feels like TMNT’s take on The Dark Knight Returns. That’s not a bad thing at all as it fits really well and keeps the story to a simplistic revenge tale. That simplicity helps in some ways keeping the story focused on the action and for readers to keep guessing as to which Turtle they’re reading about and what happened. This is definitely going to become a classic if it keeps up this quality. It’s a comic that lives up to the hype. Overall: 8.5 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 (**).