Tom Strong 15 (March 2002)

Tom Strong #15

Moore plots out the issue precisely, not just how he uses the action, but also how he uses Tesla. The issue is just as much hers as Tom’s… or maybe even a little bit more.

The issue opens with her disappearing under extreme circumstances. Tom, Dhalua and Solomon have to go rescue her. Moore gets his expository dialogue about Tesla’s history exploring volcanos done while he’s talking about the protective suits everyone is wearing. It’s a little thing, but brilliantly executed.

The issue then has some exploration before Moore brings Tesla into it. A lot of the issue is spent with Tom not thinking and Tesla thinking. The characters figure things out–Moore doesn’t pause to let the reader figure them out, the reader’s going to hear about them, Moore needs the characters to do it.

It’s an interesting form of action.

Excellent art from Sprouse and Karl Story too.

B+ 

CREDITS

Ring of Fire!; writer, Alan Moore; penciller, Chris Sprouse; inker, Karl Story; colorist, Matt Hollingsworth; letterer, Todd Klein; editors, Neal Pozner, Kristy Quinn and Scott Dunbier; publisher, America’s Best Comics.

Red Team 5 (September 2013)

Red Team #5

Ennis sets up an obvious plot development for the end of the issue and doesn’t go with it, though he’s got time. Instead, he sneaks in a different surprise. He’s been setting it up for a number of issues, but very discreetly. It’ll be interesting to see if he goes with that first obvious one.

Now, neither of these plot developments are the big twist. The issue ends with a big twist. Who knows what Ennis will do with it, but it’s a definite fifth issue twist. He’s winding down the comic; the surprises will be limited from here on, just because he’s not trying to make the reader care about new things anymore.

The rest of the issue is decent. A couple really good little moments, some interesting talking heads scenes–not so much in content, but in Ennis giving them the time.

He’s having fun winding things down.

B 

CREDITS

The Night of Nights; writer, Garth Ennis; artist, Craig Cermak; colorist, Adriano Honorato Lucas; letterer, Rob Steen; editor, Joe Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

Stray Bullets 20 (July 1999)

Stray Bullets #20

Odd theme Lapham’s developing now–cruel women. This issue has a coed having an affair with her professor and she calls the wife during their lovemaking. It partially redeems the unfaithful husband, who seems weak instead of cruel himself. How else would he have fallen in with such a girl.

Then Monster shows up for an incredibly contrived reason–the mystery big boss needs something in code translated and the professor is the guy for it–and Lapham does a very lengthy action and suspense sequence.

There’s some really good art during that sequence. It’s set in a motel in the woods and the absence of anything but trees around it plays quite well on the page.

The writing on the professor and his wife are good, but the thing with the coed isn’t just shallow, it’s simplistic. Unfortunately, Lapham can’t imagine her situation, just her dialogue.

It’s too bad.

B 

CREDITS

Motel; writer, artist, and letterer, David Lapham; editor, Deborah Dragovic; publisher, El Capitán Books.

Fatale 22 (May 2014)

Fatale #22

Until the last sequence, which tries too hard, this issue of Fatale is one of Brubaker’s strongest in a while. It starts with the big bad guy, the Bishop–who I can’t remember if Brubaker has named before–investigating what Jo’s been doing. Then it goes into a long flashback of the Bishop’s life since 1906.

It ties into a lot of big historical events, with the San Francisco earthquake being the result of the ceremony giving the Bishop his power. Brubaker and Phillips tie it all together, with pitch perfect narration and some great summary art from Phillips. World War I, World War II, it’s like getting a war comic and an Indiana Jones comic from Phillips all in one.

But the finish, where Brubaker ties it into the modern events, is problematic. It’s more setup for the finale and, worse, it’s contrived setup.

Still, it’s mostly masterful stuff.

B+ 

CREDITS

Writer, Ed Brubaker; artist, Sean Phillips; colorist, Elizabeth Breitweiser; publisher, Image Comics.

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