Evil Empire 1 (March 2014)

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Noam Chomsky it ain’t.

With Evil Empire, Max Bemis is out to show how the United States could become an evil empire. Not sure exactly why he didn’t base it off of other societies who became “evil empires,” seeing as how there are two or three really good examples from the twentieth century alone.

Instead, Bemis does a liberal’s pipe dream about a Republican admitting to murder, in front of a cross no less.

Bemis has his leads–the secretly earnest white guy Democrat who wants to date–professionally and personally–this Beyonce-like underground political rapper. Empire isn’t just not Noam Chomsky, it isn’t just not “West Wing,” it’s not even Mars Attacks! in terms of rational political imagination.

Not to be too negative, of course. Bemis’s dialogue is okay about thirty percent of the time and Ransom Getty’s art’s fine about seventy. The comic’s just a moronic idea.

D+ 

CREDITS

Writer, Max Bemis; artist, Ransom Getty; colorist, Chris Blythe; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Jasmine Amiri and Dafna Pleban; publisher, Boom! Studios.

King Conan: The Conquerer 1 (February 2014)

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King Conan is a fine enough Conan comic, I suppose. Timothy Truman has the lingo down, Tomás Giorello and José Villarrubia do well on the art. It’s moody while still appropriately classical.

But it’s just a Conan comic. It’s a pretty one, in line with the other pretty Dark Horse Conan comics, lots of romanticism and heroism. I love how Conan’s not necessarily a good guy but he’s a moral one, which goes far.

The problem’s Truman’s plotting. He’s adapting a novel, presumably faithfully, but he’s done little to make it a dynamic reading experience in the comic book form. There’s a very nice double-page spread and some of the panels are well-done, but the narrative doesn’t compel.

The bookends might be part of the problem. Truman’s playing dangers to Conan without winking at the idea he might get killed. No one has a stake in anything here.

C+ 

CREDITS

The Black Hand of Set; writer, Timothy Truman; artist, Tomás Giorello; colorist, José Villarrubia; letterer, Richard Starkings; editors, Everett Patterson and Philip R. Simon; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Day Men 3 (March 2014)

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There’s an astounding amount of exposition this issue and very little inventive art from Stelfreeze. He does very well with what he’s got to do–the protagonist is on the run with a beguiling girl, the vampires are plotting–but none of the art really plays to Stelfreeze’s strength. At one point I even questioned whether or not he was still on the art.

The issue reads fairly well until writers Gagnon and Nelson start the false endings. Every time I finished one of the pages, I waited for the “to be continued.” There are a lot of natural endings in the comic, but the one they go with reveals their willingness to totally waste the readers’ time.

I suppose the action sequence is fairly cool–there’s only one. Stelfreeze does a great job with it. Unfortunately it’s not two pages longer, then it would’ve eaten into some useless exposition.

C+ 

CREDITS

Writers, Matt Gagnon and Michael Alan Nelson; artist, Brian Stelfreeze; colorist, Darrin Moore; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editor, Eric Harburn; publisher, Boom! Studios.

Moon Knight 1 (May 2014)

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The Declan Shalvey art is nice and Warren Ellis gets a kick out of some of the comic, but it’s still just another Moon Knight comic. I’m not sure if there’s anyway to make an exciting Moon Knight comic. It sure doesn’t seem like it.

Ellis has got Moon Knight in a white suit and mask, traveling New York in a driverless limo–so he’s also cool enough to get exclusive Google betas. Ellis doesn’t seem interested in those parts. He doesn’t do them well.

He writes the crime scene investigation stuff well, even if he’s just aping “Law and Order: Criminal Intent.” He’s not visibly interested in those scenes though.

But when he has Moon Knight facing off against Mean Machine’s unhealthy ancestor? Then Ellis is engaged. Shame he follows that part of the comic up with lame Moon Knight retcon (or revelations).

Shalvey alone can’t carry the comic.

C+ 

CREDITS

Slasher; writer, Warren Ellis; artist, Declan Shalvey; colorist, Jordie Bellaire; letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; editors, Ellie Pyle and Stephen Wacker; publisher, Marvel Comics.

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