Popeye 6 (October 2012)

879680

It’s a book length story. Langridge and artist Ken Wheaton do a great job of it too.

Langridge probably could have rushed the story, but by taking the whole issue, he lets Wheaton’s art breath a little. The word balloons aren’t packed full of text. Wheaton is able to give conversations reaction shots, for example.

The story concerns Popeye and company going to Hollywood to shoot a movie about Popeye’s life. Popeye’s the consultant… until he has to star too.

So Langridge has time for three acts, even though he opens the issue with a flash forward showing Popeye in the picture itself. One reads it just waiting for Popeye and company to take over the film production. It’s a nicely paced wait.

The issue also reads a little different because more of the cast seems self-aware. Not Popeye or Wimpy, but definitely Olive and Castor. Oh, and Bluto.

CREDITS

The Popeye the Sailor Story; writer, Roger Langridge; artist and letterer, Ken Wheaton; colorist, Luke McDonnell; editors, Ted Adams, Craig Yoe and Clizzia Gussoni; publisher, IDW Publishing.

Battlefields 3 (January 2013)

Prv14927 cov

Ennis saves the big tank battle for the last issue of the arc; he also does away with most of the historical details. They’re an aside. The tank crew’s experience in the battle is the focus.

In many ways the tank crew are bystanders in the issue. Ennis shows how they experience what’s happening to their fellow soldiers; not a lot happens to Stiles and company themselves. Maybe because Ennis didn’t really establish anyone but Stiles, his sidekick and Stiles’s fellow tank commander. Even with the shift in tone, Ennis is able to make the arc feel seamless.

Once again, the Ezquerra art leaves a little to be desired. It feels too crisp. The big battle scenes are occasionally confusing and not for the right reasons. The art doesn’t establish anyone but Stiles and his fellow commander and they don’t get a lot of close-ups.

It’s good, not great.

CREDITS

The Green Fields Beyond, Part 3: Death Ride; writer, Garth Ennis; penciller, Carlos Ezquerra; inker, Hector Ezquerra; colorist, Tony Aviña; letterer, Simon Bowland; editor, Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

Before Watchmen: Silk Spectre 4 (January 2013)

884070

Looks like Conner rushed a bit with the art. The issue opens fine and closes okay, but there are some definite rough patches.

The ending is atrocious, when Cooke and Conner tie it directly into a scene from Watchmen, only now we get to hear Laurie’s take on the scene. Guess what? Neither Cooke nor Conner–whoever wrote the scene–are as good of writers as Alan Moore. Shocker.

Otherwise, the issue’s not terrible. Instead of letting her be a hippie superhero, which was interesting and fun, the writers wrap everything up neatly for the finish. And the writing between Laurie and Sally is terrible, which doesn’t help things.

Hollis Mason shows up for a little bit and he should’ve been the narrator of the whole series, given where it goes.

Again, it could be worse–like as bad as Higgins’s pirate story–but it could be a lot better.

CREDITS

The End of the Rainbow; writers, Darwyn Cooke and Amanda Conner; artist, Conner; colorist, Paul Mounts; letterer, Carlos M. Mangual. The Curse of the Crimson Corsair, Wide Were His Dragon Wings, Part Three; writer, artist and colorist, John Higgins; letterer, Sal Cipriano. Editors, Chris Conroy, Camilla Zhang and Mark Chiarello; publisher, DC Comics.

Swamp Thing 102 (December 1990)

16072

Okay, the shaman does have a name but only Alec uses it. The whole character’s a mistake, so why dwell.

This issue has social commentary, a magic ceremony to encourage Tefé to regrow her body, Swamp Thing fighting monsters and a few other things. There’s even a new supporting cast member who Wheeler doesn’t take enough time to introduce.

It’s a very hurried issue–and should be, it’s set against an approaching hurricane–and Wheeler’s got a good hard cliffhanger.

Sadly, Hoffman doesn’t have room to give it the appropriate space but it’s still effective.

Peter Gross inks Hoffman to mixed results. They remove Swamp Thing’s eyeballs, so Alec’s a lot less sympathetic. Their people feel very horror comic influenced, which would work better without some of Wheeler’s silly details. The fight’s boring; that failing probably has to do with the hurried pace.

It’s not bad, but far from good.

CREDITS

And All the King’s Horses…; writer, Doug Wheeler; penciller, Mike Hoffman; inker, Peter Gross; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Stuart Moore; publisher, DC Comics.

Popeye 5 (September 2012)

893012

It’s a parenting issue.

There are two stories concerning Popeye’s parenting abilities.

The first is a babysitting adventure. Swee’Pea goes missing, ending up on the wrong side of town and joining a gang. Swee’Pea, it turns out, is really good at knocking the fleas off dogs. While Ozella does a fine job with the art, the story’s strength comes from Langridge’s concentration on making the tale make sense in the comic strip mentality. He never encourages–or lets–one think too hard about it. To do so would be to miss the point.

He also doesn’t have a lot of supporting cast cluttering. In the second story, he does. Popeye’s drawing Swee’Pea a comic strip and the supporting cast stops by to help. That usage works though–they aren’t cluttering, but literally helping.

It’s a deceptively complicated issue, especially the comic strip in the second story. Langridge and Ozella excel.

CREDITS

The Wrong Side of the Tracks; inker and letterer, Bruce Ozella. The Adventures of Pete and Patsy; inker, Vince Musacchia; letterers, Ozella and Musacchia. Writer, Roger Langridge; penciller, Ozella; colorist, Luke McDonnell; editors, Ted Adams, Craig Yoe and Clizia Gussoni; publisher, IDW Publishing.

Battlefields 2 (December 2012)

Prv14497 cov

Stiles and his sidekick spend the issue away from the rest of the crew, observing a famous historical battle. They participate, but Ennis mostly just uses Stiles to explain what’s going on. He does it in such a way, of course, it never feels like exposition.

It should though–I mean, Stiles’s sidekick is a generic new recruit, the perfect person to be getting the exposition. Maybe the horrific conditions makes it seem less obvious, but it really didn’t occur to me how obvious it could have been until after finishing the issue. During, one can’t concentrate on anything but what he or she is reading.

The art is still loose, but there are some amazing panels in here. Particularly the phosphorous sequence.

Ennis outdoes himself. Battlefields becomes an educational docudrama and Ennis never draws attention to that value of it. He maintains the dramatic tension throughout, especially the finish.

CREDITS

The Green Fields Beyond, Part 2: God for Harry, England and Saint George; writer, Garth Ennis; penciller, Carlos Ezquerra; inker, Hector Ezquerra; colorist, Tony Aviña; letterer, Simon Bowland; editor, Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

Before Watchmen: Silk Spectre 3 (November 2012)

875223

The mystery of the smiley face button is solved! Finally, now everyone can sleep at night. The addition of said button does make one wonder if Cooke’s flipping off Moore a little (as the button is what started Moore’s disputes with DC).

This issue features a lot of things Cooke and Conner should have covered in the previous one, with Sally worrying about her kid instead of just ignoring it (from the reader’s point of view). The ending isn’t great, but it’s whole.

It’s a bridging issue without any memorable scenes. Even Laurie tripping on bad acid turns out to be a red herring.

The comic’s not bad, however. Conner’s art is still a nice mix of straightforward and sixties–not quite indie, but definitely not mainstream vanilla–and the scenes are well-written.

Laurie just isn’t enough of a character this issue.

The crappy backup has a terrible cliffhanger.

C 

CREDITS

No Illusion; writers, Darwyn Cooke and Amanda Conner; artist, Conner; colorist, Paul Mounts; letterer, Carlos M. Mangual. The Curse of the Crimson Corsair, The Evil That Men Do, Part Four; writer, artist and colorist, John Higgins; letterer, Sal Cipriano. Editors, Chris Conroy, Camilla Zhang and Mark Chiarello; publisher, DC Comics.

Swamp Thing 101 (November 1990)

16071 1

Andy Helfer pops in for a nice little issue. Amazing how he’s never written the book before–or worked on it in any capacity (as far as I remember)–yet he does a pitch perfect story juxtaposing Tefé’s spirit form running away and a local woman’s family problems. Helfer even writes Abby well.

Anyway, the issue also has Mike Hoffman on pencils. It’s hard to say how he’ll do on the comic–I think he’s the new penciller–since Alec doesn’t appear in the issue, but he does a great job with the people. This issue is all people, including some complicated scenes like kids playing on a playground. Hoffman infuses that scene with excitement and intrigue, even though it’s mundane.

The issue’s only problem isn’t Helfer’s fault. The Shaman character ludicrously doesn’t have a proper name. Just Shaman. One expects more from Swamp Thing.

It’s a touching, haunting issue.

CREDITS

Keepsakes; writer, Andy Helfer; penciller, Mike Hoffman; inker, Alfredo Alcala; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, John Costanza; editors, Karen Berger and Stuart Moore; publisher, DC Comics.

Popeye 4 (August 2012)

875701

The Popeye feature suffers a little from lack of intelligent characters. For a second, I thought Castor Oyl would prove smart; he does not. Wimpy does show intelligence… and never gets recognized for it. But Langridge never loses track of him, which is sort of a reward. Langridge loses track of everyone at some point in the story.

It’s a very busy tale of a small (microscopic) kingdom Popeye and friends have to save. There’s lots of dialogue; Langridge wraps the exposition into the jokes beautifully. It’s well-written, it’s just a war story mixed with a detective story mixed with Popeye. It’s amazing Langridge is able to keep track of it at all.

The Sappo backup is a beautifully simple day at the beach. The jokes are universally strong, Langridge paces them all carefully, Neely’s artwork is lovely.

It’s a good comic, the backup’s just stronger than the feature.

CREDITS

Good Night, Blozo!; artist and letterer, Vince Musacchia; colorist, Luke McDonnell. Hero of the Beach; artist, colorist and letterer, Tom Neely. Writer, Roger Langridge; editor, Ted Adams, Craig Yoe and Clizia Gussoni; publisher, IDW Publishing.

Battlefields 1 (November 2012)

BFv2 01 Cov Leach

It wouldn’t be Battlefields without the Tankies and Sergeant Stiles. But Ennis is also doing a Korean War story–and drawing attention to the lack of attention the Korean War gets–so Ennis is coming from a different place. He’s educating.

A lot about Battlefields is different. Stiles is older and more self-reflective, for example. Te tank crew isn’t as important (so far). Stiles has a big scene with another WWII veteran as Ennis emphasizes the men returning to battle after an unsatisfying peacetime.

And the Ezquerra brothers are a little loose on the art. It’s still distinct and good, but it’s too broad and hurried at times. There’s no humor, just melancholy, and it doesn’t seem like they know how to do it.

Ennis has clearly worked hard to get the script right. He’s not doing a standard war comic, rather a specific one with familiar characters added.

CREDITS

The Green Fields Beyond, Part 1: Now Thrive The Armourers; writer, Garth Ennis; penciller, Carlos Ezquerra; inker, Hector Ezquerra; colorist, Tony Aviña; letterer, Simon Bowland; editor, Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

Before Watchmen: Silk Spectre 2 (September 2012)

872691

Cooke and Conner set up Laurie as a hippie superhero; it’s kind of cool and definitely a decent look at sixties San Francisco. What’s interesting–and something I don’t think the original series ever established–is Laurie goes the “with great power” route. She turns into Silk Spectre because she can help people if she does. It deepens the character quite a bit.

And she needs it, because Cooke and Conner spend almost half the issue on the supervillains plotting to get kids tripping and consuming. It’s an incredibly boring scene and it goes on forever and ever.

Her boyfriend’s not much of a character either. I haven’t determined if they’re supposed to be teen runaways, but one would think his parents might be concerned.

The ending cliffhanger’s either going to be awesome or some terrible way to be grim and gritty.

Shockingly, Wein writes an okay pirate backup too.

CREDITS

Getting Into the World; writers, Darwyn Cooke and Amanda Conner; artist, Conner; colorist, Paul Mounts; letterer, Carlos M. Mangual. The Curse of the Crimson Corsair, The Devil in the Deep, Part Seven; writer, Len Wein; artist and colorist, John Higgins; letterer, Sal Cipriano. Editors, Chris Conroy, Camilla Zhang and Mark Chiarello; publisher, DC Comics.

Swamp Thing 100 (October 1990)

16070

Not much of a hundredth issue celebration for Swamp Thing apparently. Unless you count Wheeler going back and retconning a lot of Moore and Veitch’s details about the Parliament of Trees and the new Earth Elemental storyline. And the time travel storyline. Lots of retconning.

But Broderick can draw trees, so at least the trip to the Parliament looks all right.

Kelley Jones handles some of the other pages, with Swamp Thing in Antarctica searching for Eden. The Jones pages are fantastic, even if he doesn’t have as interesting scenery to render.

Most of the issue’s exposition and there’s a lot of it (because it’s retconning exposition). It makes the issue drag to say the least. None of Wheeler’s new details are any good; they’re all set-up for some future storyline. And they raise the question of whether he’s corrupting the previous writers’ intentions.

The comic fails to resonate.

CREDITS

Tales of Eden; writer, Doug Wheeler; pencillers, Kelley Jones Pat Broderick; inkers, Jones and Alfredo Alcala; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Karen Berger; publisher, DC Comics.

Wednesday Comics 12 (23 September 2009

Skitched 20130301 152034

One should never hope for too much from finales. Especially not from an extremely uneven anthology series like Wednesday Comics.

Batman’s bad. Kamadi flops. Superman apparently only remembered after twelve installments he had a wife at home.

Deadman is okay. One of the better mediocre strips. Green Lantern is bad. Metamorpho is lacking; Gaiman tries too hard for nostalgia.

Teen Titans is awful, Adam Strange is great. Supergirl is cute again, but Metal Men goes out too dreary. I still have no idea what story Caldwell told with Wonder Woman.

Sgt. Rock’s lame again, but in a syrupy way now. Good Flash comic, though confusing, and an almost okay finish to The Demon and Catwoman. Hawkman is severely lacking too.

The winner of Wednesday Comics is easily Paul Pope for Adam Strange. The losers are just as easy–the inept team of Eddie Berganza and Sean Galloway for Teen Titans.

CREDITS

Batman; writer, Brian Azzarello; artist, Eduardo Risso; colorist, Patricia Mulvihill; letterer, Clem Robins. Kamandi; writer, Dave Gibbons; artist, Ryan Sook. Superman; writer, John Arcudi; artist, Lee Bermejo; colorist, Barbara Ciardo; letterer, Ken Lopez. Deadman; writers, Vinton Heuck and Dave Bullock; artist, Bullock; colorist, Dave Stewart; letterer, Jared Fletcher. Green Lantern; writer, Kurt Busiek; artist and colorist, Joe Quinones; letterer, Pat Brosseau. Metamorpho; writer, Neil Gaiman; artist, Mike Allred; colorist, Laura Allred; letterer, Nate Piekos. Teen Titans; writer, Eddie Berganza; artist and colorist, Sean Galloway; letterer, Nick J. Napolitano. Adam Strange; writer, artist and letterer, Paul Pope; colorist, Jose Villarrubia. Supergirl; writer, Jimmy Palmiotti; artist, Amanda Conner; colorist, Paul Mounts; letterer, John J. Hill. Metal Men; writer, Dan DiDio; penciller, Jose Luís Garcia-Lopez; inker, Kevin Nowlan; colorist, Mulvihill; letterer, Lopez. Wonder Woman; writer, artist, colorist and letterer, Ben Caldwell. Sgt. Rock; writer, Adam Kubert; artist, colorist and letterer, Joe Kubert. The Flash; writers, Brendan Fletcher and Karl Kerschl; artist, Kerschl; colorist, Dave McCaig; letterer, Rob Leigh. The Demon and Catwoman; writer, Walt Simonson; artist and colorist, Brian Stelfreeze; letterer, Steve Wands. Hawkman; writer, artist, colorist and letterer, Kyle Baker. Editors, Chris Conroy and Mark Chiarello; publisher, DC Comics.

Snarked 12 (September 2012)

Prv13607 cov

I guess Langridge gives Snarked a very grown-up ending. It fits with the fable tone he’s established, but it also got me all teary-eyed. It’s a philosophically rewarding finish, which isn’t the same thing as being an immediately pleasurable one.

Langridge covers a lot of territory. There’s a lot more character development than one would expect for a final issue–he has something like three big scenes between the major characters. He also has time for the humor. I never mentioned the Chipmunk, who’s on the ship’s crew and is something of a ninja. She doesn’t do anything this issue, but she’s a great sight gag.

As much as I hoped it would go a different way, Snarked is an outstanding comic. Langridge established three and a half wonderful characters and gave them a lovely outing. I’m going to miss Scarlett, the Walrus and Snarked quite a bit.

CREDITS

Fit the Twelfth: For the Snark was a Boojum, You See; writer and artist, Roger Langridge; colorist, Lisa Moore; editors, Eric Harburn and Bryce Carlson; publisher, kaboom! Studios.

Before Watchmen: Silk Spectre 1 (August 2012)

869319

For Silk Spectre, Darwyn Cooke and Amanda Conner go the romance comic route. Or at least closer to it than I was expecting, but it makes sense given Laurie’s age during the high adventuring days of Watchmen.

She’s got her teen story going while Sally deals with aging and raising a kid to be a costumed adventurer. Cooke and Conner make both women utterly sympathetic, but it only works on Sally’s side because the reader knows her story.

Without it, she’d come across as a tiger mom. Except maybe the phone call to Hollis, which is as close as the comic gets to self-indulgence. It needs a little more, but it’s quite good as is.

Conner’s art never gets too cute, but always maintains the romance comic tone. It’s rather good and hard to imagine Spectre without it.

Higgins’s backup art, however, is severely lacking. It’s a muddled mess.

CREDITS

Means Goodbye; writers, Darwyn Cooke and Amanda Conner; artist, Conner; colorist, Paul Mounts; letterer, Carlos M. Mangual. The Curse of the Crimson Corsair, The Devil in the Deep, Part Two; writer, Len Wein; artist and colorist, John Higgins; letterer, Sal Cipriano. Editors, Chris Conroy, Camilla Zhang and Mark Chiarello; publisher, DC Comics.

Swamp Thing 99 (September 1990)

16069

Wheeler writes an interesting scene between Alec and Constantine. Alec finally loses control with him and lifts him up, presumably to do him harm. It’s a bit of a shock, since Alec’s always restrained in his anger towards him. Sadly, Broderick’s art ruins the scene.

Strangely, Broderick handles the other plant guy just fine. Wheeler splits the issue between Alec trying to get Tefé’s body back and an escaped plant demon from Hell. Okay, it’s not really a demon but I don’t think Wheeler’s ever provided the right noun.

And on the plant demon and his followers–except the flashback, which both Wheeler and Broderick fumble–Broderick does okay. So there’s clearly something about Swamp Thing he just can’t visualize.

The usual art problems aside, the issue’s not bad. Wheeler can’t write Abby’s scene, but the inability’s no surprise and it passes quickly.

It’s still a child in jeopardy story.

CREDITS

Leaves in a Tempest; writer, Doug Wheeler; penciller, Pat Broderick; inker, Alfredo Alcala; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Karen Berger; publisher, DC Comics.

Wednesday Comics 11 (16 September 2009)

632695

Azzarello writes Batman as a rube while Risso tries to ape Sin City as a Batman. Gibbons once again summarizes the action too much on Kamandi. Sook’s barely got anything to do.

Superman is bad. As usual.

Deadman’s okay, Green Lantern’s awful. Ditto, respectively, for Metamorpho and Teen Titans. Hope respectively, in that sense, means Titans is the awful one.

Good (not great) Adam Strange. Poor (not terrible) Supergirl.

For the first time, Garcia-Lopez is too busy on Metal Men. All the large scale action hurts it. And Caldwell breaks out of his little panels for Wonder Woman. It’s a mistake.

Sgt. Rock is okay, The Flash is great. Demon and Catwoman sucks–it’s Simonson’s fault. Stelfreeze just doesn’t have anything good to draw.

Awesome Hawkman–the art’s astounding. Baker really outdoes himself.

Wednesday Comics is wrapping up. Shame most of the creators have no idea how to close.

CREDITS

Batman; writer, Brian Azzarello; artist, Eduardo Risso; colorist, Patricia Mulvihill; letterer, Clem Robins. Kamandi; writer, Dave Gibbons; artist, Ryan Sook. Superman; writer, John Arcudi; artist, Lee Bermejo; colorist, Barbara Ciardo; letterer, Ken Lopez. Deadman; writers, Vinton Heuck and Dave Bullock; artist, Bullock; colorist, Dave Stewart; letterer, Jared Fletcher. Green Lantern; writer, Kurt Busiek; artist and colorist, Joe Quinones; letterer, Pat Brosseau. Metamorpho; writer, Neil Gaiman; artist, Mike Allred; colorist, Laura Allred; letterer, Nate Piekos. Teen Titans; writer, Eddie Berganza; artist and colorist, Sean Galloway; letterer, Nick J. Napolitano. Adam Strange; writer, artist and letterer, Paul Pope; colorist, Jose Villarrubia. Supergirl; writer, Jimmy Palmiotti; artist, Amanda Conner; colorist, Paul Mounts; letterer, John J. Hill. Metal Men; writer, Dan DiDio; penciller, Jose Luís Garcia-Lopez; inker, Kevin Nowlan; colorist, Mulvihill; letterer, Lopez. Wonder Woman; writer, artist, colorist and letterer, Ben Caldwell. Sgt. Rock; writer, Adam Kubert; artist, colorist and letterer, Joe Kubert. The Flash; writers, Brendan Fletcher and Karl Kerschl; artist, Kerschl; colorist, Dave McCaig; letterer, Rob Leigh. The Demon and Catwoman; writer, Walt Simonson; artist and colorist, Brian Stelfreeze; letterer, Steve Wands. Hawkman; writer, artist, colorist and letterer, Kyle Baker. Editors, Chris Conroy and Mark Chiarello; publisher, DC Comics.

Snarked 11 (August 2012)

SNARKED 11 CVA

Langridge goes all out this issue in terms of obviousness. It’s okay though, he’s earned the right to be forward. He deals with the Walrus’s character and the Royal Family’s family issues bluntly. And he makes great scenes out of them.

In terms of the former, it’s not as blunt. There’s a great twist to reward the reader (and the Walrus). But the family stuff is blunt because it needs to be. Scarlett has to carry too much and the weight reaches its apex towards the end of the issue. The beauty of Snarked (and Langridge) is the issue isn’t over yet. There’s the funny, touching soft cliffhanger after the big blowout. It’s fantastic.

The issue reads reasonably fast; there are a lot of laughs to it and there’s a lot of action too.

Langridge does outstanding work, but I’m guessing the next (and final) issue will be even better.

CREDITS

Fit the Eleventh: Smiles and Soap; writer and artist, Roger Langridge; colorist, Lisa Moore; editors, Eric Harburn and Bryce Carlson; publisher, kaboom! Studios.

Before Watchmen: Minutemen 6 (March 2013)

MINUTEM Cv6 solicit

Cooke plays both Hollis and the reader. We all find out at the same time–maybe Cooke’s trying to show Hollis made the same negative assumptions the reader does, but I don’t think so. Cooke’s been intentionally fooling the reader for at least three issues and in ways he doesn’t fool Hollis.

The comic still somewhat succeeds because Cooke writes Hollis so well. He’s likable and sympathetic. It’s funny Cooke doesn’t give him a single vice while everyone else gets a bunch.

But Cooke never makes Minutemen its own thing. He ties into the original Watchmen a lot for the epilogue. The series itself is basically the story of Hollis editing his book. Only the reader gets the truth this time.

One probably shouldn’t second guess Alan Moore, especially not with a contrived, triple surprise ending. Cooke even misses the issue’s best possible moment.

Still, it could’ve been much worse.

CREDITS

The Minute of Truth, Chapter Six: The Last Minute; writer and artist, Darwyn Cooke; colorist, Phil Noto; letterer, Jared K. Fletcher; editors, Wil Moss, Camilla Zhang and Mark Chiarello; publisher, DC Comics.

Swamp Thing 98 (August 1990)

16068

Thanks to guest penciller Tom Sutton–and a real understanding of the Arcane character–Wheeler brings his Tefé in Hell storyline to a successful close.

Oh, and Pog. Can’t forgot Pog. Even though Sutton doesn’t draw him as well as Broderick (yes, I’m surprised too), the character really makes this finish work.

Not even Sutton can make the denizens of Hell look frightening or creative. They look like action figure proposals still, but his Hell is fantastic. Some great panel composition too. And I love how he draws Alec as a monster. It’s a static Swamp Thing, but a distinct one.

Wheeler’s layered betrayals and revelations about Arcane’s plotting, his bosses’ plotting and Hell’s mechanics work out here. He’s moving towards a conclusion, not treading water with exposition.

The issue’s not without its problems–some of the guest stars are utterly superfluous–but it’s good. Maybe Wheeler’s best so far.

CREDITS

Family Reunion; writer, Doug Wheeler; penciller, Tom Sutton; inker, Alfredo Alcala; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Karen Berger; publisher, DC Comics.

Wednesday Comics 10 (9 September 2009)

632694

Batman versus dogs, Azzarello’s inspired and Risso can’t even draw a cool Batmobile. Kamandi comes back a little; there’s a big battle scene, lots of panels. Arcudi misses a great Superman: The Movie homage on his dumb Superman strip.

Deadman’s okay, though all the action seems inappropriate. Green Lantern is lame; Busiek doesn’t understand weekly one page pacing. Metamorpho is competent but lame. Teen Titans is awful. Galloway’s a terrible writer.

Pope’s Adam Strange rocks. He’s clearly wrapping it up. Supergirl’s weak again. Too much plot, not enough cute. The Metal Men has some great art and a touching final couple panels. The Wonder Woman is once again confusing but still good. Maybe Caldwell just needs more space to tell the story.

The Sgt. Rock is okay. Far better than the strip’s worst. Decent Flash; very sci-fi.

Predictably lousy Demon/Catwoman and great Hawkman.

Comics is almost over.

CREDITS

Batman; writer, Brian Azzarello; artist, Eduardo Risso; colorist, Patricia Mulvihill; letterer, Clem Robins. Kamandi; writer, Dave Gibbons; artist, Ryan Sook. Superman; writer, John Arcudi; artist, Lee Bermejo; colorist, Barbara Ciardo; letterer, Ken Lopez. Deadman; writers, Vinton Heuck and Dave Bullock; artist, Bullock; colorist, Dave Stewart; letterer, Jared Fletcher. Green Lantern; writer, Kurt Busiek; artist and colorist, Joe Quinones; letterer, Pat Brosseau. Metamorpho; writer, Neil Gaiman; artist, Mike Allred; colorist, Laura Allred; letterer, Nate Piekos. Teen Titans; writer, Eddie Berganza; artist and colorist, Sean Galloway; letterer, Nick J. Napolitano. Adam Strange; writer, artist and letterer, Paul Pope; colorist, Jose Villarrubia. Supergirl; writer, Jimmy Palmiotti; artist, Amanda Conner; colorist, Paul Mounts; letterer, John J. Hill. Metal Men; writer, Dan DiDio; penciller, Jose Luís Garcia-Lopez; inker, Kevin Nowlan; colorist, Mulvihill; letterer, Lopez. Wonder Woman; writer, artist, colorist and letterer, Ben Caldwell. Sgt. Rock; writer, Adam Kubert; artist, colorist and letterer, Joe Kubert. The Flash; writers, Brendan Fletcher and Karl Kerschl; artist, Kerschl; colorist, Dave McCaig; letterer, Rob Leigh. The Demon and Catwoman; writer, Walt Simonson; artist and colorist, Brian Stelfreeze; letterer, Steve Wands. Hawkman; writer, artist, colorist and letterer, Kyle Baker. Editors, Chris Conroy and Mark Chiarello; publisher, DC Comics.

Snarked 10 (July 2012)

Snarked 10 preview Page 1

Langridge comes up with some rather unexpected turns this issue. He opens it with a couple asides, first a reference to the occupy movement with the evil royalty back home, then the Gryphon running the pirate ship, before catching up with the main cast on Snark Island.

This issue isn’t as full as the last one, but Langridge still has some major events before the pirates arrive. I’m not spoiling, it’s on the cover.

There’s a lot of nice character work with the Walrus. Langridge’s intentions with him are so clear, the captain can even see them and comments on them. Snarked is warm and fuzzy a few times this issue. Always with some bite, but definitely warm and fuzzy.

Even though there’s a lot going on, Scarlett’s still the primary lead. Langridge rightly gives her time to discuss the family–and political–issues at hand.

It’s another great issue.

CREDITS

Fit the Tenth: Beware the Cyberwock!; writer and artist, Roger Langridge; colorist, Lisa Moore; editors, Eric Harburn and Bryce Carlson; publisher, kaboom! Studios.

Before Watchmen: Minutemen 5 (February 2013)

884587

Yeah, Cooke goes exactly where I expected him to go. I suppose one could say there’s a balance to how he treats gays, but there’s not. He turns one group into martyrs and demonizes the other. It’d probably make Alan Moore ralph; one’s got to wonder if it’s there as a middle finger to Moore, actually.

Otherwise, it’s an excellent issue. Cooke gives the Minutemen a great mission with lots of twists. The final one gives Hollis some great scenes. The issue feels the tightest, with Cooke layering in visual references better than he has before.

It’s not all action. There’s also the ties to the original series, mostly with Sally and the Comedian. Those scenes are a lot more perfunctory than the action plot.

Of course, I think it’s the first issue where Cooke primarily has original material. No wonder he works better with it.

As always, lame backup.

CREDITS

The Minute of Truth, Chapter Five: The Demon Core; writer and artist, Darwyn Cooke; colorist, Phil Noto; letterer, Jared K. Fletcher. The Curse of the Crimson Corsair, Wide Were His Dragon Wings, Part Seven; writer, artist and colorist, John Higgins; letterer, Sal Cipriano. Editors, Wil Moss, Camilla Zhang and Mark Chiarello; publisher, DC Comics.

Swamp Thing 97 (July 1990)

16067

Besides Pog, about the only thing Broderick draws well this issue is Etrigan.

Wheeler goes overboard into Hell’s politics as it accommodates new alien inhabitants–it’s really boring stuff and Broderick’s art is just too silly for it. Hell’s not horrifying, it looks like a toy commercial. It’s incredible Broderick couldn’t make bugs scary… scary bugs should be a requirement for Swamp Thing artists.

Alec puts together a crew to help him search for Tefé, but it’s unclear why he picks Abin Sur after learning Sur directed her to Hell in the first place.

While Wheeler ably ties the issue into one of Veitch’s unresolved subplots, he loses major points when he ends on Alec wailing “No!” off-panel. It’s even goofier not to see it.

The comic maintains its momentum–it’s a child in danger story after all–but Wheeler’s trying too hard again; his writing still lacks personality.

CREDITS

Scattered Houses; writer, Doug Wheeler; penciller, Pat Broderick; inker, Alfredo Alcala; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Karen Berger; publisher, DC Comics.

Wednesday Comics 9 (2 September 2009)

632693

The art on Batman’s good. Risso’s aping Frank Miller, but it’s a stylish fight regardless. Kamandi continues to have story problems and poor Sook has nothing active to draw. Crap Superman. Nice Deadman. It might be Comics’s underdog strip.

It’s the best Green Lantern, which says little for the strip. Metamorpho‘s periodic table gimmick is so tired in its second week, Gaiman’s even bored writing it. I think someone told Berganza he was writing a kids’ cartoon for Titans, not a comic strip.

Good Adam Strange. Pope hasn’t topped his Earthbound Adam development so it’s kind of underwhelming.

Lame Supergirl (too wordy), okay Metal Men. Wonder Woman’s fine, Sgt. Rock’s not awful.

Oh, The Flash. Fletcher and Kerschl homage various comic strips. It’s fantastic. Best thing this issue except Baker’s Hawkman versus T-Rex panel.

And The Demon/Catwoman is awful again. Its quality’s plummeted.

CREDITS

Batman; writer, Brian Azzarello; artist, Eduardo Risso; colorist, Patricia Mulvihill; letterer, Clem Robins. Kamandi; writer, Dave Gibbons; artist, Ryan Sook. Superman; writer, John Arcudi; artist, Lee Bermejo; colorist, Barbara Ciardo; letterer, Ken Lopez. Deadman; writers, Vinton Heuck and Dave Bullock; artist, Bullock; colorist, Dave Stewart; letterer, Jared Fletcher. Green Lantern; writer, Kurt Busiek; artist and colorist, Joe Quinones; letterer, Pat Brosseau. Metamorpho; writer, Neil Gaiman; artist, Mike Allred; colorist, Laura Allred; letterer, Nate Piekos. Teen Titans; writer, Eddie Berganza; artist and colorist, Sean Galloway; letterer, Nick J. Napolitano. Adam Strange; writer, artist and letterer, Paul Pope; colorist, Jose Villarrubia. Supergirl; writer, Jimmy Palmiotti; artist, Amanda Conner; colorist, Paul Mounts; letterer, John J. Hill. Metal Men; writer, Dan DiDio; penciller, Jose Luís Garcia-Lopez; inker, Kevin Nowlan; colorist, Mulvihill; letterer, Lopez. Wonder Woman; writer, artist, colorist and letterer, Ben Caldwell. Sgt. Rock; writer, Adam Kubert; artist, colorist and letterer, Joe Kubert. The Flash; writers, Brendan Fletcher and Karl Kerschl; artist, Kerschl; colorist, Dave McCaig; letterer, Rob Leigh. The Demon and Catwoman; writer, Walt Simonson; artist and colorist, Brian Stelfreeze; letterer, Steve Wands. Hawkman; writer, artist, colorist and letterer, Kyle Baker. Editors, Chris Conroy and Mark Chiarello; publisher, DC Comics.

Snarked 9 (June 2012)

Snarked9

This issue is gloriously full. The cast arrives on Snark Island and Langridge sets them out exploring. But the captain has been to the island before, which leads to him remembering geographic features. Then there are the bickering lion and unicorn guards, then there’s the missing king….

It goes on and on, so much so the cliffhanger comes as a surprise. Langridge has already put his characters through two major challenges; one would expect him to let up a little.

There’s a lot of great character work in the issue too. McDunk magically becomes smart on the island, leading to some good dialogue exchanges, while the Walrus reveals more of his tenderness. And Scarlett has a big scene too.

Technically speaking, this issue is Langridge at his best. His storytelling skills–the way he paces the story, how he layers in the subtleties–are amazing. Snarked is a great comic.

CREDITS

Fit the Ninth: The Lion and The Unicorn; writer and artist, Roger Langridge; colorist, Lisa Moore; editors, Eric Harburn and Bryce Carlson; publisher, kaboom! Studios.

Before Watchmen: Minutemen 4 (December 2012)

879845

On one hand, this issue is the most how I’d expect a Watchmen prequel from Cooke to read (if it weren’t four issues in). There’s back story on the Minutemen after the war, including when Sally and the Comedian reunite. Cooke humanizes him quite a bit… even if he does rip off Full Metal Jacket and a handful of other war movies to do so.

And he turns Sally into a stronger character than expected. Nothing like how she reads in the actual Watchmen comic, but a better character in this series. Cooke has made a few things his own, including the Silhouette’s experiences in Germany in the thirties.

Sadly, he comes up with a contrived reveal for the end of it. It’s cheap and completely unbelievable if it plays out the way he’s suggesting here. It’s rather distressing.

Finally (as usual), Higgins’s pirate thing is a waste of time.

CREDITS

The Minute of Truth, Chapter Four: War Stories; writer and artist, Darwyn Cooke; colorist, Phil Noto; letterer, Jared K. Fletcher. The Curse of the Crimson Corsair, Wide Were His Dragon Wings, Part Two; writer, artist and colorist, John Higgins; letterer, Sal Cipriano. Editors, Wil Moss, Camilla Zhang and Mark Chiarello; publisher, DC Comics.

Swamp Thing 96 (June 1990)

16066

Interesting… Wheeler is able to sell the impossible here. He does another of his callbacks to Moore’s run–specifically the adorable alien, Pog–and makes it work.

Even more interesting is how it comes after an issue of questionable plotting in regards to Swamp Thing mythology.

Wheeler does a lot with the afterlife, with Arcane becoming a demon. He covers it–the last time Arcane was shown, his tormenters told him it’d go on forever–by saying the tormentors lie. They’re in Hell, after all.

It’s unsuccessful mostly because of the annoying “bug speak” Wheeler uses for one of the boss demons. It gets in the way of reading the issue.

But then Tefé disappears into the Green, following Alec, which prompts Alec’s trip into the afterlife.

Those parts of the issue work really well. Better than they should. So well I didn’t even notice if Broderick’s art is lacking.

CREDITS

Hell to Pay; writer, Doug Wheeler; penciller, Pat Broderick; inker, Alfredo Alcala; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Karen Berger; publisher, DC Comics.

Wednesday Comics 8 (25 August 2009)

632692

Batman’s bad; Azzarello’s desperate to make it a noir and he just can’t. Kamandi’s mediocre. Still nice art but the story’s stalling. Superman has no story and is bad too. Deadman’s got some great art.

Oh, Green Lantern. It’s weak again. Metamorpho’s fun, with a periodic table gag, but there’s no story. Teen Titans is inexplicable and bad. Adam Strange is confusing and fantastic. Supergirl’s tiresome. Very nice art on Metal Men from Garcia-Lopez, even if Didio’s run out of character moments.

Wonder Woman’s nearly comprehensible, even if Caldwell wastes most of his page. Sgt. Rock’s lame but not bad, The Flash is good. Oh, The Demon and Catwoman. Stelfreeze is wasted on such big panels. His work looks better when it’s precise, not emboldened.

Baker’s got a neat Hawkman, spanning two or three genres. Interesting Batman rendering too.

Comics’s moving along.

CREDITS

Batman; writer, Brian Azzarello; artist, Eduardo Risso; colorist, Patricia Mulvihill; letterer, Clem Robins. Kamandi; writer, Dave Gibbons; artist, Ryan Sook. Superman; writer, John Arcudi; artist, Lee Bermejo; colorist, Barbara Ciardo; letterer, Ken Lopez. Deadman; writers, Vinton Heuck and Dave Bullock; artist, Bullock; colorist, Dave Stewart; letterer, Jared Fletcher. Green Lantern; writer, Kurt Busiek; artist and colorist, Joe Quinones; letterer, Pat Brosseau. Metamorpho; writer, Neil Gaiman; artist, Mike Allred; colorist, Laura Allred; letterer, Nate Piekos. Teen Titans; writer, Eddie Berganza; artist and colorist, Sean Galloway; letterer, Nick J. Napolitano. Adam Strange; writer, artist and letterer, Paul Pope; colorist, Jose Villarrubia. Supergirl; writer, Jimmy Palmiotti; artist, Amanda Conner; colorist, Paul Mounts; letterer, John J. Hill. Metal Men; writer, Dan DiDio; penciller, Jose Luís Garcia-Lopez; inker, Kevin Nowlan; colorist, Mulvihill; letterer, Lopez. Wonder Woman; writer, artist, colorist and letterer, Ben Caldwell. Sgt. Rock; writer, Adam Kubert; artist, colorist and letterer, Joe Kubert. The Flash; writers, Brendan Fletcher and Karl Kerschl; artist, Kerschl; colorist, Dave McCaig; letterer, Rob Leigh. The Demon and Catwoman; writer, Walt Simonson; artist and colorist, Brian Stelfreeze; letterer, Steve Wands. Hawkman; writer, artist, colorist and letterer, Kyle Baker. Editors, Chris Conroy and Mark Chiarello; publisher, DC Comics.

Nancy in Hell On Earth 4 (October 2012)

883568

The issue takes a while. Torres paces it well and he pads it out a little. There’s a lot of confusing narration from the bad guy to muddle through. But it’s worth it.

Even with the weak plotting, undercooked characters and Lorenzana’s underwhelming artwork, On Earth makes it.

Why?

Because Torres has got a great protagonist with Nancy–who doesn’t even have a character arc, she’s just trying to stay alive; he writes her well enough to make the series worthwhile.

Torres also rewards the reader with the finish, though not entirely. Of the three epilogues, only one’s any good but it’s so good, it makes up for the rest. One’s obligatory, another’s philosophically interesting but narratively unrewarding.

But the good one? It’s a great one. And it gets one immediately anticipating more comics from Torres.

Hopefully next time with a decent artist. Lorenzana did On Earth no good.

CREDITS

Writer, El Torres; artist, Enrique Lopez Lorenzana; colorist, Fran Gamboa; letterer, Malaka Studio; editor, C. Edward Sellner; publisher, Image Comics.

Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: