The Legend of Oz: The Wicked West 1 (October 2011)

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Going into The Legend of Oz: The Wicked West, I didn’t realize it was an indie(er) attempt at a Zenescope cheesecake comic. Actually, it’s not clear until the last page. Until then, it’s just lame. The cheesecake factor makes it a lot less ambitious as a property.

Writer Tom Hutchinson recasts Dorothy in the girl with no name role, traveling from town to town with her horse, Toto, and some ruby guns. It doesn’t have to be bad, but Hutchinson’s dialogue is atrocious. He’s got Dorothy talking in long exposition to the horse for the first few pages. It’s mind-numbing.

The artist, Allisson Borges, is okay. Her medium and long shots are good. The closeups aren’t though and eventually there’s a lot of talking and closeups. But the composition’s all right and it does read fast.

Besides Hutchinson, the big problem’s Kate Finnegan’s colors almost ruin the art.

CREDITS

Writer, Tom Hutchison; artist, Allisson Borges; colorist, Kate Finnegan; letterer, HDE; publisher, Big Dog Ink.

The Unwritten 32.5 (February 2012)

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It’s more from the adventures of young Pullman. I was wondering if it would turn out to be him and it does. Not sure if it’s supposed to be a surprise–Dean Ormston, who “finishes” (which looks like all the art), doesn’t draw the traditional Pullman. He’s a lot dirtier here.

Given the story takes place around 2500 BCE, the dirt is no surprise.

Carey looses Pullman on poor Gilgamesh, who goes monster hunting on the villain’s suggestion. The issue makes certain aspects of the Unwritten mythology quite literal, which is neat. Ormston does a great job with monsters.

Gilgamesh narrates the issue, giving Carey the opportunity to show off writer chops, but it also gives the reader a new perspective. Even with the time period, the reader knows more than Gilgamesh about what he’s encountering. Or some of it, anyway.

It’s yet another excellent issue. Thoughtful, action-packed goodness.

CREDITS

Set in Stone; writers, Peter Gross and Mike Carey; pencillers, Gross and Dean Ormston; inker, Ormston; colorist, Fiona Stephenson; letterer, Todd Klein; editors, Joe Hughes and Karen Berger; publisher, Vertigo.

Godzilla: The Half-Century War 4 (December 2012)

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Stokoe turns it all around. He brings in two of the silly elements–Mechagodzilla and Space Godzilla–but sells them through a combination of great art and great characterization of the protagonist.

The protagonist is now bitter and middle aged–a “glorified weather man” who anticipates the monsters’ landfalls and tries to get people out. Stokoe does contrive a way to combine the two monsters appearing opposite Godzilla. All he had to do to make it sell better was make the Godzilla appearances rarer.

It’s a small compliant though. Otherwise, he turns in a fantastic issue. And he’s got a great soft cliffhanger.

Stokoe does two things with Half-Century–he streamlines the Godzilla franchise (it’s like Ultimate Godzilla for the familiar fan) and tell the story of one guy’s experiences with the monster. Marvels for Godzilla.

Sometimes he gets the mix wrong, but not here. This one’s perfect.

CREDITS

Bombay, 1987; writer, artist and letterer, James Stokoe; colorists, Stokoe and Heather Breckel; editor, Bobby Curnow; publisher, IDW Publishing.

Swamp Thing 130 (April 1993)

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I think I figured out what Collins is doing with Abby. She’s turned her into a generic nagging wife character; gone is the Eastern Europe history, gone is motherhood, gone is her strength as a person. Even though writers have occasionally been incompetent when it comes to Abby… Collins is the first to reduce her to a gender role. It’s odd. And rather unfortunate, because Swamp Thing needs Abby.

There’s one good bit when TefĂ©’s little flower people getting free will and warring with one another. It’s almost enough to offset the continued indication Alec and Abby have “regular”–let’s try mammalian–sex. Maybe I was wrong, maybe Collins hasn’t seen Return of Swamp Thing because even it got that activity right. By using the Moore explanation, of course.

Speaking of Moore, Collins continues to break apart lots of his work. It’s an okay issue in a now clumsy series.

CREDITS

Home Sick; writer, Nancy A. Collins; penciller, Scot Eaton; inker, Kim DeMulder; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Stuart Moore; publisher, Vertigo.

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