Rover Red Charlie 2 (December 2013)

Rover Red Charlie #2

Ennis brings in the cats. The hisspots. I can’t spoil the twists and turns with them, but he does a great job with it.

He ends the issue on a very melancholy note and one has to wonder if he’s just lost his ability to riff. He needs to be more controlled, more thoughtful, more measured. Like his comics can’t grow organically, they need to be regimented.

And it works for Rover Red Charlie. He creates genuine concern for the three main characters, probably utilizing a reader’s built in sympathy for animals, even though most of his effort is spent expanding the dog mind.

He knows he’s doing it. If it weren’t for the vocabulary, how he uses the exposition, not to mention DiPascale’s art, the ending would flop. Instead, it’s a cheap glorious, but glorious nonetheless.

However, Ennis has four issues left. Lots of time to trip himself up.

B+ 

CREDITS

A Distant Shore; writer, Garth Ennis; artist and colorist, Michael DiPascale; letterer, Kurt Hathaway; publisher, Avatar Press.

Bad Dog 6 (January 2014)

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There’s a lot of action but also a lot of character stuff. Bad Dog’s strength has always been Kelly’s character stuff. This issue there’s also a lot of nice art from Greco. He’s got it down… in what appears to be the final issue.

It’s a double-size issue too, with Kelly doing the huge action sequence and giving himself time for cleanup. He also ties things up with all the subplots, he gives Lou the werewolf a chance to change. And so on and so on. It’s a solid comic, mostly because Kelly seems finished with it.

But it’s so solid one wants more Bad Dog. It just remains to be seen if Kelly can find a different story for him and enough hilarity. Maybe hilarity is too strong a word–amusing subplots for the vast supporting cast.

The issue’s got a nice structure too. It’s rather good.

B+ 

CREDITS

What Happens…Stays!, Conclusion; writer, Joe Kelly; artist and colorist, Diego Greco; letterer, Thomas Mauer; publisher, Image Comics.

The Incredible Hulk 38 (May 2002)

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So what have we got here? What are Jones and Romita serving this issue? Sorry, it takes place in a roadside cafe. I’m just in the spirit.

Jones has bad guys who can come back from the dead and there are apparently more of them than he previously told the reader about. He’s also got Doc Samson borrowing an outfit from the Village People. Romita has nothing. Terrible backgrounds. There’s an action scene but Jones cuts away so who knows how Romita would do with it.

Here’s the problem–there’s nothing with Bruce. Either the bad guys run the issue or Samson runs the issue. Bruce just sits around. Jones writes the character perfectly well–better this issue since he’s not moping about the kid he may or may not have killed–but doesn’t do anything with him. He reacts, never acts.

Everything’s way too convenient to get concerned about.

C 

CREDITS

Last Chance Cafe; writer, Bruce Jones; penciller, John Romita Jr.; inker, Tom Palmer; colorist, Studio F; letterers, Richard Starkings and Wes Abbott; editors, John Miesegaes and Axel Alonso; publisher, Marvel Comics.

John Carpenter’s Asylum 4 (February 2014)

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I was worried I wouldn’t remember what was going on with Asylum because it’s been so long since I read the previous issue but since nothing happens in this one, there’s a lot of time to pay catchup. And Jones is good making sure there’s enough information for a casual reader to get by. There’s a cop, there’s his partner, his kid, the Church, the demons… all these things get vague enough recaps one can get by.

But for what purpose? The plotting is questionable–Jones’s hard cliffhanger raises a few of questions but the issue preceding it suggests none of them will get answered. The stuff with the cop’s kid is sad and all but the kid’s just fodder to get compassion. The hook is still the John Carpenter association. There’s been no slippage in Jones’s script.

And Manco manages to be competent but boring–the composition’s mind-numbing.

C 

CREDITS

Writer, Bruce Jones; artist, Leonardo Manco; colorist, Kinsun Loh; letterer, Janice Chiang; editor, Sandy King; publisher, Storm King Comics.

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