Waldo’s Hawaiian Holiday (2007)

Waldo’s Hawaiian Holiday is Alex Cox’s sequel to his film, Repo Man. However, Cox did not intend to do a comic sequel, he intended to do a film sequel and turned his film script into a comic book (with help from artist Chris Bones).

Now, Bones does do some great work here. Waldo is one crazy looking comic book, but Bones is referencing all sorts of punk and underground art and Cox’s script is all about trying to be a sellout when no one wants to hire any more sellouts.

But Cox and Bones play most of this subplot out in montage and Cox doesn’t seem to understand a movie montage works completely different than the four similar panels on one page thing Bones is doing. Cox doesn’t get–or maybe doesn’t care (he didn’t pursue Waldo as a graphic novel)–how to pace out a comic book. He’s not in the same control of timing, which makes Waldo a fast, if sometimes interesting read. It just isn’t compelling after the initial buzz wears off… not to mention Cox paces the third act terribly for the comic medium. I completely missed the story was supposed to be building to something….

Also strange is how much Cox has the protagonist talk. He’s supposed to be Emilio Estevez from Repo Man, who didn’t talk in lengthy paragraph monologues.

While Bones’s art is good, if the Waldo comic’s any indication… I’m actually kind of glad Cox was never able to film this one.

CREDITS

Writer, Alex Cox; artist, Chris Bones; colorist, Justin Randall; publisher, Gestalt Publishing.

Highland Laddie 4 (November 2010)

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Ennis backtracks on quite a bit here with Annie. It appears she was never really the good Christian superhero Ennis wrote her being. Instead, she’s always been aware she’s a corporate product and a successful one.

If he always meant to do this revelation, he sure didn’t write for it. There were a lot of times Annie had her own story arcs in the main series and things don’t fit anymore.

Besides her telling Hughie all about herself, there’s a little with the bad guys. Those scenes are kind of pointless, especially since Ennis is working on the flunkies being unreliable. The flunkies aren’t characters, so they give them a subplot all their own?

All of a sudden Highland Laddie has become a Boys arc. Not a bad thing to be, but very unfortunate since the series started out as something completely different.

The weak art continues to hurt it.

CREDITS

A Young Man’s Fancy; writer, Garth Ennis; artists, John McCrea and Keith Burns; colorist, Tony Aviña; letterer, Simon Bowland; editor, Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

Prophet 36 (June 2013)

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So New John is just Newfather now. Very easy. Oh, and nice cameo again–Graham really seems to enjoy the winks. He’s able to put them in and move right along. It helps Old John’s crew is so personable. Wouldn’t work without them.

There’s a little on Diehard’s crushing again this issue. Nothing ominous but it’s hard to say how it’ll work out. You can never guess with Prophet.

Graham now has Newfather set up his own crew. They’re not as personable–they are just clones after all–but he’s making the juxtaposing between the two Johns more similar in delivery while maintaining difference in texture. Very cool. They’re on the same mission too, so a meet-up is inevitable.

The Care backup is positively distressing this time. The art’s grossness hurts the strip big time. One fixates on the ick factor, not the delicate profoundness of the actual story.

CREDITS

Prophet; writers, Brandon Graham and Simon Roy; artists, Roy, Giannis Milonogiannis, Matt Sheehan and Malachi Ward; colorists, Joseph Bergin III, Roy, Sheehan and Ward; letterer, Ed Brisson. Care, Part Three; writers, artists and colorists, Sheean and Ward. Publisher, Image Comics.

Ultimate Spider-Man 108 (July 2007)

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And here’s a Bendis misstep. Most of the issue’s spent in Moon Knight’s head–there’s nothing about Iron Fist selling out, because Bendis has found a way to make Moon Knight bad.

Ultimate Ronin is a new personality of Ultimate Moon Knight–a bad guy. He beats up Kitty, he kidnaps Peter.

Problems abound. First, Mary Jane is now the seventies–as in, television–Lois Lane. She does a story about Flash (set two weeks after his attack) when Bendis already jumped further ahead than two weeks for the TV movie joke.

Maybe continuity reset a little after issue one hundred.

There’s a lot of avoiding. Kitty and Mary Jane almost have a scene, then Bendis avoids it. Aunt May never gets a mention, Iron Fist never gets a mention.

He’s dragging things out, which doesn’t necessarily mean things are back to falling apart, but it’s not a good sign.

CREDITS

Ultimate Knights, Part Three; writer, Brian Michael Bendis; penciller, Mark Bagley; inker, Drew Hennessy; colorist, Justin Ponsor; letterer, Cory Petit; editors, John Barber and Ralph Macchio; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Tom Strong and the Planet of Peril 2 (October 2013)

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Whew, it’s a six issue series, not four. I was wondering what the heck Hogan at the end of the issue if he only had four. It’s a good enough issue–Tom and Val get to Terra Obscura, find it decimated by plague (or something) and hang out with a couple of the world’s science heroes–but it’s all just nicely done exposition.

But Hogan’s got six issues so he’s got plenty of time.

Hogan’s got a lot of amusing dialogue and a lot of touching dialogue. He could be foreshadowing big revelations to come later on with the guest stars this issue, he also might just be using them as the best vehicles for the exposition. It never feels forced, which is nice.

There’s also some lovely art from Sprouse and Story. They do plague decimated New York City something special, but the quiet stuff’s great too.

Still Strong.

B+ 

CREDITS

Masks and the Red Death; writer, Peter Hogan; penciller, Chris Sprouse; inker, Karl Story; colorist, Jordie Bellaire; letterer, Todd Klein; editors, Jessica Chen, Kristy Quinn, Ben Abernathy and Shelly Bond; publisher, Vertigo.

Highland Laddie 3 (October 2010)

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Another excellent issue, save the art. When Annie shows up at the end, I didn’t even recognize her. I thought for a minute Ennis was bringing in one of Hughie’s childhood crushes.

Otherwise, like I said, excellent. Even with the flashes to Boys events, the series feels completely removed from it. If Highland Laddie does actually exit Hughie from the main series, it’d be kind of perfect. Ennis built up a character in a fantastical world, only to send him off into reality.

But I doubt Hughie’s going anywhere.

There are a couple really nice flashback scenes, if occasionally disgusting. Ennis does try a little hard to show Hughie’s awareness at his demeanor and what he blames for that situation; the nice relationships with friends and family make up for the obviousness though.

It’s a shame Ennis doesn’t have a better artist. McCrea doesn’t begin to convey the script’s depth.

CREDITS

Beware the Jabberwock, My Son; writer, Garth Ennis; artists, John McCrea and Keith Burns; colorist, Tony Aviña; letterer, Simon Bowland; editor, Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

Prophet 35 (May 2013)

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Graham has seemingly hit a lull issue. Not a bad issue, but definitely some kind of a bridging one. It’s always hard to say with Prophet, since Graham and his collaborators often do something unexpected.

He splits the issue between Old John and New John. Old John is traveling to meet The Troll, a warlord of some kind apparently, who occupies a moon of Mars. There’s some great stuff with his crew, some oddly touching moments and some funny ones. Very grand scale sci-fi stuff.

New John, on the other hand, should have grand scale too–he’s part of an attack to defeat these aliens who Graham leaves obscure–but Milonogiannis never amps up the huge battle. There are establishing shots, some quick interludes, some expository help, but it feels oddly small. Even though it’s obviously huge.

The Care backup continues to be weird. Better this issue than last.

CREDITS

Prophet; writers, Brandon Graham and Simon Roy; artist, Giannis Milonogiannis; colorist, Joseph Bergin III; letterer, Ed Brisson. Care, Part Two; writers, artists and colorists, Matt Sheean and Malachi Ward. Publisher, Image Comics.

Ultimate Spider-Man 107 (May 2007)

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Wow, Ultimate Iron Fist isn’t going to get his own series if he’s buddying up to Kingpin. Jeez.

Bendis splits the issue, mostly, between Peter and Kitty having a breakup conversation–actually, a post-breakup conversation–and Spider-Man talking Daredevil down from the idea of killing Kingpin. Maybe for the first time ever, Ultimate Daredevil works as a character. Because it’s interesting to see him brought down, intellectually, by Peter.

The scene with Kitty is good too. Bendis’s reasoning for her being at Midtown is idiotically contrived, but even he seems to know it. And having Ultimate Jessica Jones show up is kind of funny.

There are a few more scenes–Kitty in class, Mary Jane and Peter, Peter at the hospital–and Bendis is on for each of them. It’s still a little too soon to say, but he definitely seems engaged in the series again.

It’s good.

CREDITS

Ultimate Knights, Part Two; writer, Brian Michael Bendis; penciller, Mark Bagley; inker, Drew Hennessy; colorist, Justin Ponsor; letterer, Cory Petit; editors, John Barber and Ralph Macchio; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Half Past Danger 4 (August 2013)

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Big surprise this issue. Mooney’s apparently real good at not painfully foreshadowing.

This issue is exactly how an all action comic should be done. Mooney keeps up a brisk pace and his panel compositions are complicated and sometimes breathtaking. He clearly wanted to do complex action set pieces and figured out how to best convey them. I’ve never been so fulfilled by a comic I spent so little time reading. Maybe because I can go back and appreciate his art pacing.

There’s also the matter of the good guys team structure. The scenes where the guys all fight against the Nazis together have a wonderful flow. It feels like they’ve gotten to know each other, which may be why Mooney spent the time developing their relationships. Makes the action work better.

Great ending too. Not a lot of surprises, but great cliffhanger thrills.

Danger is one heck of a comic.

CREDITS

Curiouser and Curiouser!; writer and artist, Stephen Mooney; colorist, Jordie Bellaire; editors, Christopher Schraff and Chris Ryall; publisher, IDW Publishing.

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