The Punisher 1 (August 2001)

The Punisher #1

Garth Ennis takes a rather strange approach to this issue–and presumably this Punisher series. He does it as a comedy. There are levels of mocking, with the Punisher getting the least and Soap getting the most. There are some actual criminals in there and their stupidity gets mocked, but they’re at least aware. Soap isn’t even aware.

Meanwhile, Steve Dillon does some pretty good art on the issue. He’s not drawing anything particularly fantastic, subject-wise, but he’s doing good work.

I just read the comic and I can’t remember much about it. The cliffhanger is a big one, but not as big as the reveal of the villain. Ennis is going for Preacher-level absurdity without any justification. It’s goofy, but he thinks it’ll be funny, so he’s using it. Not just logic be darned, but sense of reality be darned.

He’s not trying, but it’s still okay.



Well Come On Everybody and Let’s Get Together Tonight; writer, Garth Ennis; penciller, Steve Dillon; inker, Jimmy Palmiotti; colorist, Chris Sotomayor; letterers, Richard Starkings and Wes Abbott; editors, Kelly Lamy, Nanci Dakesian and Stuart Moore; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Dark Engine 1 (July 2014)

Dark Engine #1

If I had to describe artist John Bivens's style, I'd say Paul Pope meets Frank Frazetta–warrior women versus dinosaurs with a lot of lines. Unfortunately, Bivens has no narrative storytelling chops so it's one static panel after another. I don't think I've ever read such a boring fight scene involving a dinosaur and a cavewoman.

Except the lead isn't a cavewoman. She's a nearly naked product of genetic engineering. Ryan Burton doesn't answer why she has to be a woman, except perhaps for the constant nude scene possibilities. But his script is entirely undercooked so why expect it….

Dark Engine is set in an otherworldly dimension where Burton wants the reader to remember a bunch of lame fantasy proper nouns but then uses Biblical names for his characters. Who curse in English.

It's lazy, bad writing. Bivens's illustrating skills aside, there's nothing to Dark Engine. It's stalled at the gate.



Writer, Ryan Burton; artist, John Bivens; letterer, Crank!; publisher, Image Comics.

The Fury of Firestorm, The Nuclear Man 5 (October 1982)

The Fury of Firestorm, The Nuclear Man #5

Conway appears to have a formula for two-part stories. He opens with some action for Firestorm, then moves into the personal drama of Ronnie and Martin while working the villain subplot. Then Firestorm gets together, so to speak, and encounters the villain just in time for a cliffhanger.

Oddly enough, it works great. This issue has a visiting villain–The Flash’s Pied Piper–and the personal drama for the characters is rather amusing too. Ronnie’s having girlfriend troubles and decides to pursue a girl interested in Firestorm, dragging the Professor into it. Conway doesn’t slow down for their conversation about being a composite personality pursuing romance; instead he has it while they’re flying around. It’s an amusing conversation though.

At the same time, it relates back to their individual character development. Conway’s very concise in the character stuff.

Plus, the Broderick and Rodriguez art is fantastic this issue. It’s much more finished.



The Pied Piper’s Pipes of Peril!; writer, Gerry Conway; penciller, Pat Broderick; inker, Rodin Rodriguez; colorist, Gene D’Angelo; letterer, Phil Felix; editors, Carl Gafford and Len Wein; publisher, DC Comics.

The Squidder 1 (July 2014)

The Squidder #1

Ben Templesmith has a fairly interesting setting for Squidder. Imagine Cthulhu does come to the world, what happens when people fight back through technology and modern (or futuristic) warfare. It’s post-apocalyptic but after an inter-dimensional demon invasion. Why only fairly interesting? Because besides the vocabulary and details, it’s not much different than The Road Warrior.

There’s some really cool art in the comic. It’s not great, but it’s iconic and cool. Templesmith’s abilities as an artist are not in question. His writing, however, leaves a lot to be desired. His first person narration is mostly mediocre, sometimes worse. Templesmith can’t figure out how to make his protagonist sound cool while still revealing something about himself.

I don’t remember the protagonist’s name. I think it does come up once or twice but it’s not worth the effort to look it up. Or remember.

Squidder looks great and reads tepid.



Writer, artist, letterer, Ben Templesmith; publisher, IDW Publishing.

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