The Punisher 6 (September 2000)

The Punisher #6

The issue starts so much better than it ends. It opens with everyone but the Punisher and the serial killer priest. There’s a little with Frank thinking about how he needs to move and some comedy with his neighbors, but not a lot. Ennis almost makes it seem like he’s switching over during that comedy and then pulls away again. The two cops are getting a lot more important.

Then comes the big action scene and Dillon doesn’t do great with it. He does okay, but not great. All the first person Frank stuff is comparing his current life to Vietnam and it doesn’t work. Ennis is making fun of the character at this point. The whole issue has had a wink about Frank. But no one else. Everyone else Ennis takes seriously.

The result is less rewarding than it should be… but it’s still amazing how hard Ennis works.

B 

CREDITS

Spit out of Luck; writer, Garth Ennis; penciller, Steve Dillon; inker, Jimmy Palmiotti; colorist, Chris Sotomayor; letterers, Richard Starkings and Wes Abbott; editor, Joe Quesada; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Daredevil 3 (July 2014)

Daredevil #3

It’s so bland. Why am I reading it? It’s so bland. Even the ending is bland. It’s sort of an all-ages Daredevil comic written for adults. And Samnee is the perfect artist for that tone. But it doesn’t have to be so bland–Waid doesn’t have anything going under the surface here. Foggy popping in from witness protection is just Foggy being so darned lovable again.

Even the Owl–after all this foreshadowing about his appearance, there’s zero pay-off. Maybe Waid is pacing it out for next issue, like he transforms or something, but the damage is already done. There’s already been a boring showdown with the Owl. Who cares if he Larry Talbots?

Once again, the only thing special about Daredevil is the Samnee art. It’s beautiful stuff–I wish there had been more exterior scenes–but it’s just not enough to keep the comic going.

Waid’s Daredevil’s like eating stale junk food.

B- 

CREDITS

Writer, Mark Waid; artist, Chris Samnee; colorist, Javier Rodriguez; letterer, Joe Caramagna; editor, Ellie Pyle; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Stray Bullets 30 (March 2003)

Stray Bullets #30

Here’s the thing I love about Stray Bullets–and it’s been kind of hard to love the comic lately, due to Lapham’s scurry into exploitation (intentionally or not)–even when he’s being cheap, Lapham has created a number of such excellent characters the cheapness can’t hurt the comic.

For instance, this issue is a prequel to the pointless (and exploitative) “kidnapped by a pedophile” arc Lapham is wrapping up. So his last chapter to the arc is a prequel to the arc. It’s a cheap move, because he’s showing the reader who wonderful Bobby and Virginia’s lives were before the bad choices she made to get Bobby kidnapped and abused.

But it doesn’t matter because Bobby and Virginia are both fantastic characters. There’s a whole subplot to the issue involving Bobby working on Amy Racecar comic spin-offs. The issue’s got a fantastic pace, then an amazing, touching finish.

Even if it’s cheap.

B+ 

CREDITS

Happy Ending; writer, artist, and letterer, David Lapham; editor, Deborah Purcell; publisher, El Capitán Books.

Ghosted 10 (May 2014)

Ghosted #10

Busy, busy issue. Very busy. So busy Williamson can kill people off without it resonating just because there’s so much other stuff going on. And a lot of it goes on at the end; this issue has two cliffhangers, one hard, one soft. Very busy.

But the rest of the issue is awesome as usual. And the busyness is just overkill, it’s not bad. Williamson does a whole lot of callbacks in the last few pages, even for the resolution to the story arc.

What remains to be seen–since Williamson hasn’t exactly established a cast outside Jackson and his ghost–is where Ghosted will go next. This arc certainly shows it can go unexpected places, but with the flashbacks shining light into Jackson’s unrevealed backstory, I hope Williamson doesn’t choose to dwell too much. Constantly looking backward is boring.

The series continues to be a lot of harsh fun.

CREDITS

Writer, Joshua Williamson; artist, Davide Gianfelice; colorist, Miroslav Mrva; letterer, Rus Wooton; editor, Sean Mackiewicz; publisher, Image Comics.

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