The Maze Agency 21 (June 1991)

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It’s an odd issue with Barr trying to do something on gay rights–Jennifer’s secretary has his father come out to meet his boyfriend for the first time, just as there’s some psycho killer hunting down gay guys–but Barr still goes for the occasional joke.

The biggest one is when Gabe is worried someone thinks he’s gay so he overcompensates. Oh, and then when the icy lesbian assumes the female cop is gay when I don’t think she’s supposed to be gay. The latter’s not a joke, just a cheap moment from Barr.

Mary Mitchell’s layouts are rather ambitious. The finished art doesn’t quite match them, but it’s a reasonably successful issue. The investigation has highs and lows–and the solution itself is simple and dumb–but there are some unexpected turns.

The leads’ romantic moments are awful; Barr doesn’t seem to give his plotting much thought at all.

CREDITS

Valentine’s Slay; writer, Mike W. Barr; penciller, Mary Mitchell; inker, Mike Witherby; colorist, Michelle Basil; letterer, Vickie Williams; editor, David Campiti; publisher, Innovation.

Resident Alien 1 (May 2012)

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And here’s the issue where I start to love Resident Alien. First, Hogan writes an awesome conversation between Harry–the alien (I’m sixty percent sure Harry’s his Earth name)–and the night nurse at the town clinic. Her name’s Asta.

Like the dog in The Thin Man, I think. I hope. I love it. But the conversation is great too. It’s all exposition, but it fits and it deepens both the characters and the story in general.

But the real moment I fell in love with the comic is when the local drug dealer sends a murder suspect to turn himself in. Or calls him in and makes him stay. It’s an odd scene but Hogan writes the heck out of it.

There’s some fine Parkhouse art here too. His expressions mean so much–Harry has almost no expression though, which makes it all the more interesting.

It’s getting good.

CREDITS

Writer, Peter Hogan; artist, colorist and letterer, Steve Parkhouse; editor, Philip R. Simon; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

The Boys 56 (July 2011)

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Ennis brings Hughie and Butcher back together in a criminal investigation. It’s very similar to one of the early Boys arcs. It’s straight investigation with a lot of lurid elements. The only big difference is there’s a little with the evil corporate guys and then something with the Seven. It might be the first time Ennis has actually had the Seven on the same page as the Boys when it comes to investigating something.

It’s a decent enough issue, though Ennis draws a lot of attention to the foreshadowing stuff. Does Butcher know Hughie has met Mallory, will be find him out? Are the Seven on to Maeve? It’s mildly annoying but not particularly distracting stuff. Ennis writes a lot of good dialogue–Hughie and Butcher talk a lot.

Braun’s art is fantastic here too. There’s not a lot for him to draw, but he nails everything Ennis gives him.

CREDITS

The Big Ride, Part One; writer, Garth Ennis; artist, Russ Braun; colorist, Tony AviƱa; letterer, Simon Bowland; editor, Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

Hawkeye 13 (December 2013)

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Why did it take Fraction so long to get to this issue? It’s Grills’s funeral; didn’t Grills die in issue nine or ten? Then there was the brother issue, the dog issue, a Kate issue or two… and Fraction doesn’t acknowledge the time spent reading them. He acknowledges their existence, sure, but he doesn’t take into account the reader having been waiting for this issue.

I’m not sure if it’s because he figures it’ll eventually all be collected or if he really does just want to confound the reader.

Worse, he sells he. Aja does the heavy lifting, of course–for a “simple” book, Aja’s narrative design makes Hawkeye work and it does. It works better than it has in ages.

But a series on its thirteenth issue maybe shouldn’t feel like one I’ve been reading–or waiting to read–for ages. Fraction needs straighten this one out.

Or not.

CREDITS

The U in Funeral; writer, Matt Fraction; artist, David Aja; colorist, Matt Hollingsworth; letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; editors, Sana Amanat and Stephen Wacker; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Bloodhound: Crowbar Medicine 1 (October 2013)

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Bloodhound is definitely back and it might be better than ever. Having Leonard Kirk and Robin Riggs on the art, which has nothing to do with Dan Jolley’s excellent way of plotting the issue–especially as the return of characters DC had been keeping on cold storage–the art brings it all together. It still feels like the original, only with curse words and without thinking Superman might drop by.

In other words, Jolley and company have loosed Bloodhound in a setting without constraint. Even though it looks like a mainstream superhero book, Jolley can get away with a lot of huge moves. His cliffhanger for the issue–where Crowbar Medicine is going, it seems–is outstanding. It’s a perfect little hook for the next issue and the series.

There are a lot of gun control metaphors in here. They’re sometimes too obvious, but it’s an insignificant complaint.

Bloodhound’s awesome.

CREDITS

Writer, Dan Jolley; penciller, Leonard Kirk; inker, Robin Riggs; colorist, Moose Baumann; letterer, Rob Leigh; editors, Aaron Walker, Ian Tucker and Brendan Wright; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

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