The Unwritten 31 (January 2012)


Frankenstein’s Monster does join the gang, but he doesn’t really do anything. He’s muscle, without a lot of dialogue; it’s too bad.

This issue features Tom wielding the magic, Lizzie and Richie freaking out and a lot of action. Carey and Gross and M.K. Perker (who finishes) do a great job with the changing genres. Well, not so much genres. It’s always action-oriented, but there are some calm periods with the characters regrouping.

But, as an action issue, not a lot really happens. Lizzie argues with Tom about him not knowing enough about his magic, she tells Richie about it, she turns out to be right. Carey doesn’t go much for character development, he goes for big action set pieces. And those action set pieces work. It feels like Carey’s priming for something big.

Oddly, the issue’s most intriguing moment might just be a throw away line of dialogue.


Tommy Taylor and the War of Words, Part One; writers, Peter Gross and Mike Carey; pencillers, Gross and M.K. Perker; inker, Perker; colorist, Chris Chuckry; letterer, Todd Klein; editors, Joe Hughes and Karen Berger; publisher, Vertigo.

Godzilla: The Half-Century War 1 (August 2012)

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James Stokoe starts Half Century War with an adaptation of the original Godzilla. A tank commander keeps the monster busy while people evacuate. It’s an interesting approach and really does humanize the whole thing. Later, the tank commander gets the chance to fight giant monsters exclusively, hence the title.

But the concept, while good, isn’t as good as the execution. Stokoe mixes styles a lot. Everything is exceptionally detailed, of course, but his protagonist is a traditional manga standard and his Godzilla is nineties style, not fifties. The issue’s action is quickly paced, which is totally different from the source film. Stokoe’s going for breathtaking action.

There’s some humor, a little drama, no real horror. Stokoe raises a lot of questions but they aren’t about the protagonist. Rather, one wonders how he’ll continue the series.

The series is off to a strong start. It’s already better than I ever expected.


Japan, 1954; writer, artist and letterer, James Stokoe; colorists, Stokoe and Heather Breckel; editor, Bobby Curnow; publisher, IDW Publishing.

Before Watchmen: Moloch 1 (January 2013)


Even though Moloch appears in the original Watchmen, there’s a lot more talk about him than show. J. Michael Straczynski turns the character into a quintessential sympathetic villain. He was born with deformed ears, leading to teasing in childhood and other tragedies later in life. Straczynski uses first person narration, making the reader identify with Moloch even more.

Straczynski recounts most of Moloch’s career this issue–presumably next deals with how he ties into the original series’s big reveal–and it moves at a nice pace. Eduardo Risso’s a great choice for the art; he handles the forties time period beautifully. He plays with a lot of false innocence visuals.

I’m a little surprised Straczynski was able to do so much with Moloch. It probably helps he didn’t try too hard and it’s only a two issue series. The brevity helps move it a whole lot.

It’s an unexpected success.


Forgive Me, Father, For I Have Sinned; writer, J. Michael Straczynski; artist, Eduardo Risso; colorist, Trish Mulvihill; letterer, Clem Robins. The Curse of the Crimson Corsair, Wide Were His Dragon Wings, Part Four; writer, artist and colorist, John Higgins; letterer, Sal Cipriano. Editors, Camilla Zhang and Mark Chiarello; publisher, DC Comics.

Swamp Thing 127 (January 1993)


Whether intentional or not, the mad scientist lab and experiment in this issue remind a lot of The Return of Swamp Thing. Collins has embraced a–pardon the expression–comic book goofiness in her villain, General Sunderland’s daughter. It often plays like a parody of a good Swamp Thing comic as opposed to a real one.

For example, Alec promises Abby he won’t leave the swamp early in the issue (their first scene, actually). Of course he does by the finish. Collins doesn’t trust the reader to remember. It’s shockingly contrived.

Ditto for Chester, who is again announcing he’s leaving the comic. I find it hard to believe he and Abby hang out at diners when they need to gab. All of Collins’s inventiveness is gone at this point.

Maybe it’s because Eaton’s so weak. His art is terrible this issue, either awkward or static or both.

It’s very lame.


Project Proteus; writer, Nancy A. Collins; penciller, Scot Eaton; inker, Greg Baker; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Stuart Moore; publisher, DC Comics.

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