The Punisher 4 (October 2001)

The Punisher #4

Ennis has lost track of any real person–by real person, I mean the bartender from the first couple issues or maybe one of Soap’s cop antagonists–and he’s back to having a jolly old time. Lots and lots of pop culture references. Some day you’ll need footnotes to understand all the references and then further footnotes to explain why they’re funny.

Oh, Sixth Sense plot twist jokes. Let me wipe the tear from my eye.

Still, Ennis is taking Frank a little more serious this issue. He’s the protagonist for his scenes in the issue, not the subject, not the butt of wry jokes. And Ennis does give him some vaguely interesting things to do. Not inventive so much, but diverting.

The problem is the lack of content and the villain. The villain is lame and boring, which even Ennis seems to accept.

Dillon does well on the art.

B- 

CREDITS

Dirty Work; 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.

Wildfire 2 (July 2014)

Wildfire #2

The second issue of Wildfire ties back to the beginning of the first issue–Los Angeles aflame. This issue explains more about how it happens, with Hawkins even taking the time to cut to the fire starting. He doesn’t really need to make the cut–he spends the rest of the issue establishing the characters, including newscasters who could cover it.

And everyone sees the fire pretty quick, it does spread like, well, wildfire.

Hawkins’s ability to get all the science while still moving his characters forward, not to mention rapidly accelerating the crisis, is what makes Wildfire so good. It never reads too fast, even though Hawkins moves fast through the events. Again, there’s a lot of science, which might cause a natural slowdown.

The only problem is Sejic’s computer art. She has this style of a cartoonish–if detailed–character against a glossy, computer generated background. It frequently distracts from the story.

B+ 

CREDITS

Writer, Matt Hawkins; artist, Linda Sejic; letterer, Troy Peteri; editor, Betsy Gonia; publisher, Top Cow Productions.

The Fury of Firestorm, The Nuclear Man 8 (January 1983)

The Fury of Firestorm, The Nuclear Man #8

Jerome Moore fills in on the pencils this issue; Conway gives him a lot to do. There’s the superhero stuff, which is mostly filler at the beginning–with a big action set piece, sort of unimaginably big, at the end. Moore handles it well. He also handles to high school drama pretty well too, though he does draw the characters a tad too old.

And the character stuff with Ronnie and Martin is good too. They’re experimenting with Firestorm to figure out their power source and capabilities. It’s very logic plot progression from Conway. And the high school drama isn’t bad either. He gives Ronnie more relationship drama, which should seem contrived but doesn’t because Conway’s finally moving the relationship forward instead of keeping it in static tension.

The big finish is just phenomenal superhero action. Firestorm versus Typhoon, a giant water tragic villain (Conway even makes time for his backstory).

B+ 

CREDITS

Typhoon Warning; writer and editor, Gerry Conway; penciller, Jerome Moore; inker, Rodin Rodriguez; colorist, Gene D’Angelo; letterer, Adam Kubert; publisher, DC Comics.

Manifest Destiny 8 (July 2014)

Manifest Destiny #8

The problem with Manifest Destiny is too little going on in the action issues. This issue takes place over at least two days, but the way Dingess breaks out the scenes–basically two big sections of little scenes run together and then the action sequences–it just feels too fast.

Some of the problem might be Roberts’s efficiency with visualizing the scenes. There are a few times the fast pace is because the art flows so seamlessly between panels. Destiny is almost too competent at this point; Dingess knows what Roberts can handle and does try to task him with more ambitious sequences. Simultaneously, Dingess isn’t trying to do anything more with the plotting.

This issue has zero character development–unless resentment over Sacagawea counts–even though Dingess splits the cast into more manageable groups.

It almost seems like Dingess is treading water because he doesn’t know where he’s going to take the story.

CREDITS

Writer, Chris Dingess; artist, Matthew Roberts; colorist, Owen Gieni; letterer, Pat Brosseau; editor, Sean Mackiewicz; publisher, Image Comics.

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