The Boys 61 (December 2011)

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The Boys is so far off the rails, it’s hard to even get excited about a decent issue anymore. And this issue’s decent. It’s not good or great, but it’s got a couple funny moments and Ennis doesn’t shortchange Mother’s Milk entirely–just partially.

And there’s a funny bit where Ennis makes fun of the Teen Titans.

But the good moments just gloss over the bad ones and even Ennis seems to notice he’s on repeat. Hughie wants to stop being violent again, which Butcher points out is his favorite thing to say. There’s yet another scene with Annie about how Hughie isn’t comfortable with her. Ennis isn’t even pretending he’s not repeating Hughie scenes.

Sadly, there’s no point to it. Ennis isn’t making a statement about the lack of possibility for fictional characters, he just doesn’t have anything else to do with Hughie.

Kind of like the comic itself.

CREDITS

Over the Hills With the Swords of a Thousand Men, Part Two; writer, Garth Ennis; artist, Russ Braun; colorist, Tony AviƱa; letterer, Simon Bowland; editor, Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

Sons of Anarchy 1 (September 2013)

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It’s a little too soon to tell how Sons of Anarchy, one of the more unlikely licensed comics one can imagine, will pan out, but the first issue suggests it will go well.

Writer Christopher Golden is able to get a three act structure out of the issue; he straightforwardly introduces the regular cast, saving most of the flourish for his original characters in the story. A girl’s in trouble, has nowhere to go except to SAMCRO–I don’t even watch the show and Golden’s got me familiar with the vernacular.

In the meantime, there’s a bar fight with the regular cast, along with some nods to character development. Golden’s structure seems traditional enough–he’s introducing his series-long plot lines here while still delivering a solid single issue.

Damian Couceiro does an excellent job with the art. He toggles effortlessly between exposition, action and talking heads.

It’s surprisingly solid.

CREDITS

Writer, Christopher Golden; artist, Damian Couceiro; colorist, Stephen Downer; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editor, Dafna Pleban; publisher, Boom! Studios.

Batman 370 (April 1984)

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Moench certainly does have an interesting take on Bruce Wayne–he ignores Jason, who is trying to fill him in on important Batman and Robin business, because he’s trying to score with Alfred’s daughter.

In front of Alfred. It’s exceptionally seedy and kind of funny. Moench opens the issue with Robin out on patrol by himself (doesn’t make sense, but whatever) so Batman is never really the protagonist this issue. Instead, Moench sticks with Jason throughout. It’s an interesting viewpoint, even if it’s a little silly at times.

And then Bullock reveals himself–it’s not a surprise–and there’s a huge action sequence with Batman and Robin fighting like fifty thugs. Don Newton, Alfredo Alcala, fifty thugs. It looks fantastic. It doesn’t make much sense and it doesn’t matter one bit. The art’s so good, Moench can practically do anything.

And his villain, Dr. Fang, proves it. He’s super lame.

CREDITS

Up Above the Sin So High…; writer, Doug Moench; penciller, Don Newton; inker, Alfredo Alcala; colorist, Adrienne Roy; letterer, Ben Oda; editor, Len Wein; publisher, DC Comics.

Suicide Risk 7 (November 2013)

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I finally remember the lead character’s name–Leo–though I don’t know why. Maybe because his name becomes so unimportant in this issue, as it becomes clear Carey does have some alternate reality reveal planned out where the protagonist was a supervillain already.

It doesn’t really matter, though. The family stuff in the comic is its worst aspect. The rest of it, the stuff with the supervillains taking over a state in Mexico and declaring themselves absolute rulers… it’s okay. It’s not great, but it’s okay. Carey’s not treading unexplored territory but at least he’s taking a slightly different path of “realistic” superheroes.

Casagrande doesn’t do very well on the big military engagement at the start of the issue and there’s something off about her attack on the Mexican city. The grand scale seems to escape her. The more confined scenes are a lot better.

It’s a decent enough issue.

CREDITS

Nightmare Scenario, Part Two; writer, Mike Carey; artist, Elena Casagrande; colorist, Andrew Elder; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Dafna Pleban and Matt Gagnon; publisher, Boom! Studios.

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