The Boys 43 (June 2010)


It’s another underwhelming issue. Ennis actually goes so far as to have Annie sitting in a coffee shop, writing Hughie an email all about her secrets.

Why Butcher isn’t investigating her (or why he doesn’t have Hughie’s phone automatically tapped) is left untouched. One has to assume Ennis is trying to get the series somewhere and he likes this route the best. But it’s terrible plotting. It’s tedious and boring.

Maybe having the super team be okay is the problem. They aren’t funny, they’re just nice. It’s like The Boys can’t function with sincerity and now Ennis has two big sincere things going on. Annie and Hughie’s love story is sincere. It just doesn’t amuse.

There’s some stuff with Mother’s Milk, but he’s not active enough to make the pages count. Ennis probably could have done all this story in two issues. Instead, he stretched it thin as he could.


The Innocents, Conclusion; writer, Garth Ennis; artist, Russ Braun; colorist, Tony AviƱa; letterer, Simon Bowland; editor, Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

Demeter (June 2013)

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I can’t tell if Becky Cloonan drew Demeter digitally, but there’s definite some digital post-production on it. There are these panels where she’s showing what’s going on inside a house and has adjusted the transparency. It looks awful. Something about a black and white comic with overdone digital effects just grates.

Otherwise, Demeter is an okay little thing. It’s got a female protagonist, which is cool; it takes place on some seashore where the people live off the ocean. The woman has a dude suffering from amnesia–this detail’s unclear at the beginning and it reads like he’s a dope not an amnesiac. I get the dramatic purpose of delaying that revelation but it makes the first few pages awkward.

The ending’s ominous. Cloonan does a good job not fixating on the questions she’s raising.

But it’s too long for Cloonan’s ambitions; there aren’t any rewards for the reader.


Writer and artist, Becky Cloonan; publisher, ComiXology.

Tom Strong and the Planet of Peril 1 (September 2013)

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So Planet of Peril turns out to be a sequel to the Terra Obscura series Hogan’s done. Those are great so I have high hopes for this one. And so far, Hogan doesn’t disappoint.

He has Chris Sprouse and Karl Story on art so it’s good, but he also comes up with this great meta scene where Tom Strong tries to explain why there haven’t been Terra Obscura comics published in the last few years. It’s hard to tell if it’s a one off meta moment or if Hogan’s going to weave it in and out of the entire series.

There’s also the human element–Tesla’s pregnant with some fiery guy’s baby and it’s putting her in danger. Hogan’s doing the Superman pregnancy storyline hinted at in Mallrats apparently.

Hogan gets in a good amount of humor and action, lots of the touching Strong stuff and great opportunities for Sprouse.



The Girl in the Bubble; writer, Peter Hogan; penciller, Chris Sprouse; inker, Karl Story; colorist, Jordie Bellaire; letterer, Todd Klein; editors, Kristy Quinn, Ben Abernathy and Shelly Bond; publisher, Vertigo.

Collider 1 (September 2013)

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I’m really impressed. I’d never heard of Simon Oliver or Robbie Rodriguez until I looked back to the title page after finishing this first issue of Collider.

They do good work.

The series takes place in a universe where the laws of physics have suffered some kind of damage. The lead is a hotshot agent who fixes the resulting tears. This issue shows a disturbance where an area loses gravity.

So there are these funny moments with people or objects floating, but then the action crisis when the agents are trying to fix it.

Rodriguez handles both beautifully. There’s a real energy with his panels, his transitions between them are fantastic.

Oliver writes excellent dialogue–he’s already nicely established the lead’s friendship with another agent. He’s consistently unpredictable… Until the last two pages, when he has to set up his subplot and then put in a cliffhanger.

Still, it’s great.


The Paradigm Shift, Part One; writer, Simon Oliver; penciller, Robbi Rodriguez; colorist, Rcio Renzi; letterer, Steve Wands; editors, Sara Miller and Mark Doyle; publisher, Vertigo.

Ultimate Spider-Man 89 (March 2006)


And then Bendis gets around to introducing an Ultimate villain who I guess hasn’t had an Ultimate version yet. Even though I assumed he had one long ago. In Ultimate Six maybe?

But before he gets to that reveal–which is the hard cliffhanger–Bendis gets cute. He has these storybook retellings of the issue’s main characters, starting with Silver Sable. He doesn’t explain why he writes her sidekicks’ dialogue like it’s a PG-rated Tarantino knockoff though.

And none of the revelations make her a better character.

The Roxxon guy gets a flashback too, which is a page burner. Bendis is either trying to get to the big reveal or he realized he needed something mildly interesting to finally happen this arc.

The good Peter Parker moments don’t really make up for the rest, but Hanna’s back; the action’s reasonably good.

It’s a weak issue in a tepid arc.


Silver Sable, Part Four; writer, Brian Michael Bendis; penciller, Mark Bagley; inker, Scott Hanna; colorist, Justin Ponsor; letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; editors, John Barber, Nicole Wiley and Ralph Macchio; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Wake 3 (September 2013)

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What a bad comic.

I mean, the art is glorious and it does make The Wake worth reading but the writing is godawful.

Snyder is back with his lame dialogue again. On and on it goes. The stuff with protagonist and her son isn’t even the worst and it’s positively dreadful. The Homeland Security guy is back to his awful catchphrases, which is an unpleasant return to say the least.

This issue reveals one of Snyder’s big problems as a writer. He’s impatient. Instead of showing the reader this deep sea rig in scenes, he does it all in expository dialogue so he can rush to the finish with a bunch of the monsters arriving. A few good scenes would have helped the pace–it reads extremely fast, especially as one wants to get away from Snyder’s dialogue–and worked towards giving the cast personalities.

It’s a terrible comic book.


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

Planet of the Apes: Cataclysm 9 (May 2013)

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I can’t believe I’m going to make this statement–Bechko and Hardman are playing too loose with Apes movie continuity. I don’t even like the movies. But they’ve got a talking human here eight years before Charlton Heston shows up and Cornelius sees and hears her.

Kind of changes things up.

As an issue, of course, it’s fine enough. The writers don’t give Couceiro much interesting to draw, but he does well with what he’s got. All the mundane story stuff is just because it’s a bridging issue.

Let’s see–they set up Zira ready to revolt, Mrs. Zaius with a master plan for peace and then the talking human. It’s a lot of setup without any payoff whatsoever. Ergo, a bridging issue.

I’m confident Bechko and Hardman know what they’re doing, I’m just used to them having an engaging A plot in each issue. Here it’s talk, talk, talk.


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

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