The Boys 38 (January 2010)

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Lots of jokes for the Female’s origin too. Frenchie has to tell it to Hughie, but there’re a few implications it’s an accurate retelling.

Ennis plays it for violence and for laughs. The Female ingests the superhero juice as a baby, which leads to her being a caged killing machine from birth. She escapes, learns of the world, gets recaptured. During one of those outings, Ennis does an homage to Aliens with one of the fire team repeating all of Bill Paxton’s memorable lines.

Very funny.

He opens the issue with humor too, about the Female’s family history. Those parts are probably the best, as Ennis is examining the nature of the origin story and its uses. It gets one in the right mindset to digest the issue.

There’s some great gross art from Robertson–I don’t think the Female’s methods have been visualized before–and an unexpected, solid ending.

CREDITS

The Instant White-Hot Wild; writer, Garth Ennis; artist, Darick Robertson; colorist, Tony Aviña; letterer, Simon Bowland; editor, Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

Fury: My War Gone By 10 (May 2013)

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Oh, Nick’s bald friend is his sidekick. I read through the text introduction too fast, I guess.

For this arc, Ennis puts Fury in the middle of some more great U.S. foreign policy–Nicaragua in 1984. Nick is old, grey and still a colonel working for the CIA. I guess Ennis decided to skip over why he doesn’t age (though he mentioned it) and there’s no SHIELD in MAX.

It works, sure, but it might have worked better if Ennis made his intentions clear from the start. Probably wouldn’t have sold to the regular reader, if there are any regular Nick Fury readers out there.

Ennis brings in Barracuda, villain of his worst Punisher MAX arc, and does a little better with the character in this appearance. Nick’s smarter than him, which helps.

There’s some stuff with the senator and Nick’s girlfriend; it’s mostly setup in Nicaragua. It works.

CREDITS

The Sunny Slopes of Long Ago; writer, Garth Ennis; artist, Goran Parlov; colorist, Lee Loughridge; letterer, Rob Steen; editor, Nick Lowe; publisher, MAX.

Swamp Thing 169 (August 1996)

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It’s the big Constantine issue. Oddly, Millar hasn’t really given his own new characters much to do. Instead he relies on the classics to wrap up the comic. It’s appropriate and all, but one might think a writer would be selfish. If Millar’s writing this finale dispassionately, he’s a master faker.

Besides some subterfuge on Constantine’s part, there’s absolutely no action this issue. It’s all talking heads, whether Constantine and Alec or Abby discovering what’s become of Tefé. The Abby scenes with Tefé are better than most of Constantine and Alec’s sequence, though the finish for that one is superior.

Millar has a great cliffhanger for the issue too. The conversation between Alec and Constantine never really references their past relationship (Millar flashes back to a different point in Constantine’s career) but just has the gravity of two people who’ve known each other for a long time.

As expected, excellent.

CREDITS

Trial by Fire, Part Four: The Judas Tree; writer, Mark Millar; penciller, Phil Hester; inker, Kim DeMulder; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, Richard Starkings; editor, Stuart Moore; publisher, Vertigo.

A Pocket Guide to Pleasure (2013)

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By the third page of A Pocket Guide to Pleasure, it becomes clear Kevin Huizenga is having fun. He’s not messing around and not doing work, but he’s having fun. The guide doesn’t really include any tips on what kind of form and content give pleasure, except this guide does give pleasure so maybe one should emulate it.

But mostly what Huizenga does is constantly amuse the reader. He turns the form–a 2 x 3 or so ink jet printed mini book–into a kind of performance piece. He’s performing for the reader with the work, which isn’t the same thing as telling a good story. Pleasure is a written, illustrated, designed monologue.

Huizenga frequently tells the reader to keep the guide in his or her pocket for a constant return to pleasure. It’s a funny little thing, with rather deep implications.

Very glad it’s paper, not an app.

CREDITS

Writer, artist, colorist and letterer, Kevin Huizenga; publisher, USS Catastrophe.

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