The Boys 42 (May 2010)

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Robertson has help on the art from Richard P. Clark. Not sure it’s actually help, given there are some really weak panels. Especially towards the end.

Yeah, so… the end of Super Duper arc. Ennis introduces the ultra violence of The Boys into the Super Duper household and it terrifies the kids. Butcher terrifies the kids, almost as much as the villain does.

And it might show the problem with this approach in the series. Ennis never really spends time with real people–at least not ones with real emotions–and so, when he does, it breaks the way the comic works.

There’s some ominous stuff and the end and a big internal argument over the way the Boys work, but it’s not enough to make the arc seem worthwhile. Ennis just had to resolve Butcher’s suspicions about Hughie; he came up with a lame way to play it out.

CREDITS

The Innocents, Part Three; writer, Garth Ennis; artists, Darick Robertson and Richard P. Clark; colorist, Tony AviƱa; letterer, Simon Bowland; editor, Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

Edgar Allan Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher 2 (June 2013)

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While Corben had a sense of humor in the first issue–the lead, Allan, is always bumping into things–he really plays it up this issue. There are a bunch of fight scenes and about a third of each one is for comedy, maybe because Corben knows his goofy English guys look funny engaging in fisticuffs.

The big reveal isn’t much of a surprise–even though I haven’t read the Poe story, lots of other people have through the years, including media creators–but Corben plays it out well. The one problem with the comic, which is clear from the first page, is the narration.

It’s not poorly written or anything (Corben has an amusing narrator, Mag the Hag), it’s just getting in the way of the artwork. For the non-action scenes, it’s okay, but the grand finale is beautiful and the text boxes obscure the art.

Marvelous stuff.

CREDITS

Writer, artist and colorist, Richard Corben; letterer, Nate Piekos; editors, Daniel Chabon, Shantel LaRocque and Scott Allie; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

The Wake 2 (August 2013)

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If “raindrop” is really a term used in folklore studies, how does anyone take folklore studies seriously? It’s out of Michael Crichton.

Except Snyder doesn’t think dinosaurs became birds. He’s real clear on it. Science is clear on the other side of him. It immediately discounts all the pseudo-science in Wake. It and Snyder giving Homeland Security a bio weapons department.

It’s a bit of a talking heads issue. Well, talking heads and hallucinations. Snyder packs it with time killing hallucinations. The Murphy art makes up for it all to a certain point, except when Snyder’s being just too dumb.

One has to wonder of his editors do anything whatsoever. Like read the script to the comic.

There’s some more will the flash forward to the end of the planet Earth. I think we’re supposed to care but I can’t be sure.

At least Snyder’s dialogue is getting better.

CREDITS

Writer, Scott Snyder; artist, Sean Murphy; colorist, Matt Hollingsworth; letterer, Jared K. Fletcher; editors, Sara Miller and Mark Doyle; publisher, Vertigo.

Ultimate Spider-Man 88 (February 2006)

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I think John Dell took over inking. It has his name on the cover but not the interior credits, but the art looks totally different. There’s a long scene with May ranting about how much she hates Spider-Man (weak scene for her) and she looks totally different.

As for the rest of the story, the end’s a little funny–once again, Peter only gets in trouble because he’s irrationally dumb; he’s supposed to be a genius, yet he falls for an obvious trick. But before he gets in trouble, it’s funny.

Silver Sable is still a terrible character.

Kitty, however, is getting more amusing. She’s a knowing confidant for Peter, a sympathetic ear with experience. Bendis only has her in the issue for a bit, but she’s definitely starting to feel like a regular cast member.

It’s on the low end of okay.

Terrible, trite and ugly Ultimate Vision.

CREDITS

Silver Sable, Part Three; writer, Brian Michael Bendis; penciller, Mark Bagley; inker, John Dell; colorist, Justin Ponsor. Ultimate Vision, Visions, Part Five of Six; writer, Mark Millar; penciller, John Romita Jr.; inker, Jimmy Palmiotti; colorist, June Chung. Letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; editors, John Barber, Nicole Wiley and Ralph Macchio; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Wake 1 (July 2013)

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So if Michael Bay is his generation’s version of Tony Scott, Scott Snyder is trying really hard to be his generations version of early Brian Michael Bendis. The cuteness in the dialogue is hilariously bad. If it weren’t for Sean Murphy’s art, one might think The Wake is supposed to be a comedy.

I could actually sit and write about the dialogue devices Snyder uses to be cute, but I won’t bother. Being cute is a small problem compared to the rest of the dialogue. He can’t write honest dialogue. He’s not just writing bad expository dialogue, he’s writing weak dialogue without any sense of his characters. Maybe his editors told him everyone has to sound different so he picked some phrases and cadences to repeat.

But there’s the art. Murphy gets to do fake super-science, general ocean life and Waterworld. Every panel, even with dumb dialogue, is glorious.

CREDITS

Writer, Scott Snyder; artist, Sean Murphy; colorist, Matt Hollingsworth; letterer, Jared K. Fletcher; editors, Sara Miller and Mark Doyle; publisher, Vertigo.

Red Sonja 1 (July 2013)

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Thank goodness Dynamite hired Gail Simone to write Red Sonja. She does such a wonderful job bringing the female perspective to the character. The result is a surprisingly deep, subtle story, full of great characterization.

Oh, wait, no. It’s a piece of crap.

I think the worst part has to be how Sonja talks to her two female bodyguards. They’re young and inexperienced archers; the Plague hit Hyperboria early apparently, so they’re the best the king has to offer.

I’m not sure what I was expecting out of Simone, but it sure wasn’t Sonja bossing them around. I guess Simone’s showing Sonja can be just as big of a jerk as a guy? There’s nothing new here, nothing any other writer couldn’t do or probably hasn’t already done.

As the only well-known working female comic book writer, Simone should be a lot more ambitious with female characters.

Sonja stinks.

CREDITS

Writer, Gail Simone; artist, Walter Geovani; colorist, Adriano Lucas; letterer, Simon Bowland; editor, Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

Planet of the Apes: Cataclysm 8 (April 2013)

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The story arc, so far as it involves the ape expedition to the valley–I’m liking Bechko and Hardman not getting locked into actual titled arcs–comes to a close.

There are a lot of surprises. One of them is somewhat confusing, as it either should have been clear and wasn’t due to the art or it was never supposed to be clear. I feel like Couceiro could have handled it, so it must be a writing thing. There’s such a thing as being too subtle.

But the surprises are otherwise pretty good revelations. The writers know how to pace these things well, which I’m always saying about them. Cataclysm is never a slight, fast read.

The other subplots don’t have much going on. Zaius and Zira’s subplots start their inevitable dance; at the end of the issue, Cornelius cuts in for a soft cliffhanger.

The series continues to impress.

CREDITS

Writers, Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman; artist, Damian Couceiro; colorist, Darrin Moore; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editor, Dafna Pleban; publisher, Boom! Studios.

Planet of the Apes Spectacular 1 (July 2013)

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Decades of Apes licensed comics have shown the wide variety of imaginative things a writer can do with the franchise; Daryl Gregory doesn’t do much imagining. He’s got an ape and a human raised as sisters, he’s got a lot of war intrigue–mix of Dark Ages warfare with aged advanced weapons–but it’s not exactly pushing the limits of science fiction comic books.

However, he does what he does do really, really well. I’m not caught up on his Apes series, which involves deals with warlords and petty feuds leading to disaster (and the mutants pretending to be human); he recaps it all here.

He also moves his story forward.

And now for the amazing part–there’s no forced exposition. Not one single line. He infers things, he mixes up narrative approaches, he hints. Technically speaking, Gregory’s a marvel.

Shame Diego Barreto’s art is weak on the humans though.

CREDITS

Writer, Daryl Gregory; artist, Diego Barreto; colorist, Darrin Moore; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editor, Dafna Pleban; publisher, Boom! Studios.

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