Tom Strong 16 (April 2002)

Tom Strong #16

Moore has a bunch of fun this issue. He enlists the Strongmen of America and they even get to sleepover with the Strong’s. The way he handles the absurdity of these kids getting to sleep over at a superhero’s is great and all, but having Dhalua call their mothers’ to get permission is even better.

And then there’s Tesla’s little fire monster boyfriend who Tom doesn’t like. That subplot’s wonderful because Moore shows it a little from Tom’s perspective–his daughter’s moon-eyed and he doesn’t approve–but Moore’s really showing it from Tesla’s. And she knows what she’s doing.

The main plot has to do with an alien invasion–it’s actually a little Cowboys vs. Aliens (I’m sure Moore was fine not getting credit for that movie) as the guest star is an intergalactic cowboy. Great details from Moore on that back story and some wonderful art.

Outstanding stuff.

B+ 

CREDITS

Some Call Him the Space Cowboy; writer, Alan Moore; penciller, Chris Sprouse; inker, Karl Story; colorist, Alex Sinclair; letterer, Todd Klein; editors, Neal Pozner, Kristy Quinn and Scott Dunbier; publisher, America’s Best Comics.

Caliban 2 (April 2014)

Caliban #2

The beginning of the issue is slightly better than I expected. Not because Ennis has any good characters, but because he handles the scene with the big alien laboratory pretty well. There are all these alien species in preservation tanks, the humans freak out. It’s a decent scene.

Then there’s a standard briefing scene and I figured Ennis might just be trying to move things along logically. Then comes the scene from one of then Alien movies, then comes the scene ripping off possession or androids or whatever. KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park maybe. It doesn’t matter. Ennis doesn’t actually have any new ideas or even thoughtful ways to compile his bad ideas.

It’s supposed to be smart sci-fi and it comes off like a bunch of clips from famous sci-fi movies.

Percio’s art is mediocre and unimaginative as far as design.

It’s boring and unoriginal.

C- 

CREDITS

The Hall; writer, Garth Ennis; penciller, Facundo Percio; inker, Sebastian Cabrol; colorist, Hernán Cabrera; letterer, Kurt Hathaway; publisher, Avatar Press.

Stray Bullets 21 (April 2000)

Stray Bullets #21

Maybe, instead of actually putting the money into publishing this issue, Lapham should have sat down and thought about a different one. A non-imaginary one. Because an imaginary story breaks the series. It means Lapham doesn’t have to play fair–and he doesn’t here. (I’m not talking about Amy Racecar, which has a context).

This issue takes a character and breaks him into pieces. Lapham props up the villain of the story and twists him into a hero. It’s all a big joke and it’s a complete waste of the reader’s time. It’s predictable, manipulative and unimaginative. It also shows how Lapham has established the series as one where the fantastic seems possible, which isn’t necessarily a good thing.

It makes him an untrustworthy writer, especially given it’s a periodical.

The rushed art doesn’t do the issue any favors either.

I’m shocked at the poor quality of this one.

D 

CREDITS

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

Lumberjanes 2 (May 2014)

Lumberjanes #2

I can’t remember exactly what was wrong with the last issue but this issue has a rather obvious problem–writers Stevenson and Ellis think they’re writing a cartoon. Not because of the action, but because of their character approach. They think their characters are rather entertaining just with the superficial personalities they give them. Towards the end of the issue, during some banter, I realized–the writers are assuming the reader can “hear” the characters’ voices.

Except Stevenson and Ellis do nothing to give these characters distinctive voices. There’s so much action–all the banter is in between or leading up to action–and there’s no time spent on defining these characters.

Allen’s art has a lot of energy, but her design work is lazy. Or maybe the monsters are all supposed to have three eyes. It doesn’t really matter, because the writers aren’t creating any mystery.

I had hoped Lumberjanes would be better.

C 

CREDITS

Writers, Noelle Stevenson and Grace Ellis; artist, Brooke Allen; colorist, Maarta Laiho; letterer, Aubrey Aiese; editors, Whitney Leopard and Dafna Pleban; publisher, BOOM! Box.

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