Captain America/Thor: The Mighty Fighting Avengers (May 2011)

Captain America/Thor: The Mighty Fighting Avengers

It's not a complicated story–writer Roger Langridge sends Captain America (from World War II) and Thor (from the present day) back to Camelot. They discover Loki has wormed his way into King Arthur's court and there's some trouble.

Good thing there are a couple superheroes to deal with it.

Langridge doesn't worry about establishing the relationship between Cap and Thor, he moves right into Loki, the Knights of the Round Table and the adventure. He's got a lovely Empire Strikes Back homage going too for the heroes versus a three-headed dragon. You'll just have to read it.

At its core–with Chris Samnee on the art, doing a wonderful job–it's an issue of Thor: The Mighty Avenger with Cap (the Fighting Avenger version) thrown in. Langridge does make a little time for a Thor and Jane character development subplot and, while lovely, it begs for more.

So it's a functional success.

B+ 

CREDITS

Once and Future Avengers!; writer, Roger Langridge; artist, Chris Samnee; colorist, Matthew Wilson; letterer, Rus Wooton; editors, Sana Amanat and Michael Horwitz; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Concrete Park: Respect 1 (September 2014)

Concrete Park: R-E-S-P-E-C-T #1

As much as I like the Demolition Man reference, there are a whole lot of problems with Concrete Park.

I’m nearly sure co-writer and artist Tony Puryear does the art digitally; it would be hard to explain why the heads look so pasted on the backgrounds and why so much of the too thick line work looks artificial. Those artificial lines really hurt the comic, which occasionally resembles a Love and Rockets tangent with unfortunate coloring.

The story has to do with a prison planet where the prisoners have all formed gangs. It’s unclear why anyone would bother putting people on a prison planet if they aren’t going to do any labor–why wouldn’t they just kill them?

Doesn’t matter.

Puryear and Erika Alexander’s script is enthusiastic but too problematic and unoriginal to do much. The dialogue’s weak too; feels too “unsold screenplay.” But it’s not a terrible comic. Just blah.

C 

CREDITS

Writers, Eric Puryear and Erika Alexander; artist, colorist and letterer, Puryear; editors, Roxy Polk and Philip R. Stone; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

The Fury of Firestorm, The Nuclear Man 40 (October 1985)

The Fury of Firestorm, The Nuclear Man #40

For the first time in a while–maybe ever–Conway dedicates over half the issue to Ronnie. He’s in trouble at school because he did too well on his final exams. He and Martin figure out it’s leakage from Martin, when they’re fused as Firestorm.

There’s also a lot of stuff with his high school classmates–an argument with his girlfriend (the teenage one, Firehawk has been absent for a while) and then a fight with his adversary. Conway seems to have forgotten he’s already done the fight with the high school antagonist, but it lets him “mature” Ronnie in a matter of scenes than to do actual character development.

Conway’s narrative construction is fine and if the art were better the issue would be a whole lot more successful. But the art’s weak. Mike Clark guest pencils; his lethargic composition gets no help from the inkers either.

Too bad.

C+ 

CREDITS

Graduation Day; writer, Gerry Conway; penciller, Mike Clark; inkers, Ian Akin and Brian Garvey; colorist, Nansi Hoolahan; letterer, Duncan Andrews; editor, Janice Race; publisher, DC Comics.

Southern Bastards 4 (September 2014)

Southern Bastards #4

What a surprise ending!

Except for Aaron tacking on the epilogue so as to set up the next arc. Aaron’s giving the illusion of doing something original while really not; with the epilogue on there, he even retroactively makes it predictable. The reader can go back and look for all foreshadowing to the big surprise.

All that foreshadowing is actually in Aaron’s attention to writing. It’s really good writing as far as the narration goes. It’s just not particularly good plotting. Aaron seems to be assuming his readers haven’t read lot of books or read a lot of his books because the narrative devices are similar to ones he’s used in the past.

And while a new arc is starting next issue, Aaron’s shown his hand as far as how manipulative he’s going to write. If the point is the tricks he can play, what’s the point?

Great art though.

C 

CREDITS

Here Was a Man, Conclusion; writer, Jason Aaron; artist and colorist, Jason Latour; letterer, Jared K. Fletcher; editor, Sebastian Girner; publisher, Image Comics.

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