Highland Laddie 1 (August 2010)

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If it weren’t for the art from John McCrea and Keith Burns, Highland Laddie–the first issue anyway–would be the best Boys in a year or so. Even with it, the issue shows off Ennis’s actual writing abilities, not how many jokes he can make about superheroes.

Hughie goes back home to Scotland, reuniting with his mother and father and his mates. Ennis doesn’t exactly give a look into what Hughie was like before The Boys, but he definitely is setting up a place where Hughie can take the lead.

There’s some humor, but Ennis plays it more for a smile than an actual laugh. He’s taking his time and having fun.

Unfortunately, the art’s a mess. It’s too rushed, which is especially obvious when Burns gives up on even inking in eyeballs. One panel the characters have them, the next it’s Bill Watterson.

Ennis’s script makes it work.

CREDITS

The Harbour at the World’s End; writer, Garth Ennis; artists, John McCrea and Keith Burns; colorist, Tony AviƱa; letterer, Simon Bowland; editor, Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

Prophet 33 (January 2013)

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Awesome issue, just awesome. Graham ends it with this awkward silence–he only hints at the big events going on–with a focus on Old Man John Prophet’s reaction. Milog does a beautiful job on the art for these pages too.

A lot of the issue is spent with the crew in this strange hive mind fleet. Hive suggests bugs but there are no bugs. It’s all ethereal and beautiful, some kind of Amazonian space fleet. There’s an unexpected cameo too. Graham integrates it beautifully.

He also has a lot of humor. There’s a wonderful running joke about Rein-East and her discarded biological mass. Graham doesn’t do a lot of the detail callouts–he does a few–but something about the pacing of Rein-East’s biological mass reminds of them. It’s matter of fact, but hilarious.

The backup, from Sloane Leong, is rather impressive. Poetic, visceral stuff.

Fantastic issue.

CREDITS

Prophet; writers, Brandon Graham, Giannis Milonogiannis and Simon Roy; artist, Milonogiannis; colorist, Joseph Bergin III; letterer, Ed Brisson. Backup story; writer, artist, colorist and letterer, Sloane Leong. Publisher, Image Comics.

Ultimate Spider-Man Annual 2 (October 2006)

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Why doesn’t Ultimate Punisher just kill Ultimate Kingpin? I’m so confused. I’m additionally confused over Ultimate Daredevil. He’s just rude? Is there any other difference between him and regular Daredevil?

Mark Brooks is the wrong penciller for this comic, just dreadfully wrong. Bendis is doing–as much as he can in Ultimate Spider-Man–a serious superhero crime book and Brooks draws everything like a cartoon. Maybe it’d work if he were better and his style directly engaged the material and the contraction, but he isn’t better and it doesn’t work.

There’s not a lot going on besides Bendis’s plot construction. He shows the four guys coming together, the villain, the dirty cop. It’s actually the Ultimate version of a famous Spider-Man story but without any of the gravitas. Brooks’s art is incapable of gravitas I’m pretty sure.

The issue reads pretty well, I suppose, but it’s completely disposable.

CREDITS

The Death of Captain Jeanne DeWolfe; writer, Brian Michael Bendis; penciller, Mark Brooks; inker, Jaime Mendoza, Mark Morales, Victor Olazaba and Brooks; colorists, Laura Martin and Larry Molinar; letterer, Cory Petit; editors, John Barber and Ralph Macchio; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Half Past Danger 2 (June 2013)

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Not only does Mooney up the ante with a ninja, he gives him a camouflage outfit out of “G.I. Joe.” It’s strange but cool, just like all of Half Past Danger.

Of course, he also implies the big blond captain guy is a super soldier. Not sure what else Mooney could possibly add–the British secret agent woman is the only one without some great reveal so far. And the lead’s just an Irish Indiana Jones as a soldier, but it works fine.

There’s a lot more with the dinosaurs, a lot more with the expedition to the island–it’s interesting how Mooney lifts whole sections of Jurassic Park without raising any eyebrows. Lines and everything. Then there’s a great double reference to Aliens.

The comic’s just a good mix. Mooney throws in a lot of safe, reliable ingredients, but it coming out so well is Mooney’s success.

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CREDITS

In Like Flynn; writer and artist, Stephen Mooney; colorist, Jordie Bellaire; editors, Christopher Schraff and Chris Ryall; publisher, IDW Publishing.

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