Tom Strong 17 (August 2002)

Tom Strong #17

Moore’s subplot for this issue is Tesla and her fire monster boyfriend, Val. Mostly with her mom trying to keep the progress of their relationship quiet in front of Tom. It never gets a full resolution but Moore foreshadows one nicely.

The main plot is the preparation for the space battle against the giant ants. Giant space ants. Moore is kind of doing fifties sci-fi with the ants, but not exactly–Sprouse gets to mix sci-fi elements. It’s simultaneously retro and mainstream modern. Moore and Sprouse fit a lot into Tom Strong, they never let it get too much into one genre or another.

The only dragging scene is Tom going and visiting the intelligence on Venus or whatever planet. It’s a talking heads scene with a rock. It’s not bad, it’s just pointless.

Great subplot with the Strongmen too. Moore certainly appears to love writing for them.

B+ 

CREDITS

Ant Fugue!; 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.

The Woods 1 (May 2014)

The Woods #1

While The Woods seems like the most movie or TV ready comic to come out in a while–a high school is teleported to an planet with flying demons–writer James Tynion IV never actually panders to that goal. Even with a couple really uneven sections and a problematic soft cliffhanger, he's writing a comic. It's nice to read a comic, not a pitch.

The art is essential, however. It might feel like a pitch without Michael Dialynas. Dialynas paces out the quick scenes beautifully. There's one device he has where he moves into close-ups after his establishing shots–again, it works because he draws the teenagers' expressions so well.

And Tynion does quite well with the teenagers. Yes, he's writing really self-aware teenagers (it feels like a Beach movie–everyone's just a little too wise) but he's writing them well. Tynion's not pandering and trying to get a young adult audience.

It's nice.

B 

CREDITS

Writer, James Tynion IV; artist, Michael Dialynas; colorist, Josan Gonzalez; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Jasmine Amiri and Eric Harburn; publisher, Boom! Studios.

Stray Bullets 22 (September 2000)

Stray Bullets #22

Lapham’s floundering. He finally brings Beth back, but now she’s in LA and Virginia is nowhere to be seen. She’s getting drunk at a bar and some married guy tries to pick up on her. Of course, she’s not the protagonist of the issue, it’s the married guy. His wife’s out of town and he’s trying desperately for female company.

Everything in the comic is forced. Someone Lapham has misplaced his ability to get sympathy for the dregs of humanity; about the only time there’s any life in the issue is when Beth’s life is threatened. Not because she might die, but because she’s been a regular cast member for so long. Her death would be interesting as it relates to the narrative, not as a loss of a character.

It’s a shame; she’s been one of Lapham’s strongest creations.

The art’s got some energy and it does read fast.

C 

CREDITS

Bring Home the Devil; writer, artist, and letterer, David Lapham; editor, Deborah Dragovic; publisher, El Capitán Books.

Sons of Anarchy 9 (May 2014)

Sons of Anarchy #9

Here’s the problem with Sons of Anarchy, at least how Brisson is pacing it. It’s a licensed comic with a not comic shop traditional audience so Brisson is pacing it for a collection. It makes this issue really frustrating because of the cliffhanger. Brisson does well building up his story for the unfamiliar reader, so he or she is invested in the plot, not the characters.

And it’s a really good plot. The stuff in prison isn’t anywhere near as interesting as how things play out on the outside. The action in the prison just can’t compete, not with a fantastic multi-part Couceiro chase sequence at the end of the issue.

What’s particularly nice is the texture Brisson gives the scenes. Sure, he gets some mileage out of getting to use well-established characters, but there’s a lot of implied depth. It keeps the series lean but also not.

B 

CREDITS

Writer, Ed Brisson; artist, Damian Couceiro; colorist, Michael Spicer; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editor, Dafna Pleban; publisher, Boom! Studios.

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