The Mantle 2 (June 2015)

The Mantle #2

Okay, Brisson takes the route I guess I was hoping he’d take and he immediately goes unexpected places with it. Maybe not entirely unexpected–the idea of the new Mantle meeting up with the old Mantles, if possible, for inspiration, isn’t unexpected. But how Brisson gets there is a complicated and crazy. And it’s what gives the comic some energy.

Because the villain? The Plague guy whose very touch makes people’s arms fall off? He’s an awful villain. Brisson gives him a bit of personality, which doesn’t help because it gets the reader curious about answers to questions Brisson isn’t even raising yet.

There aren’t a lot of questions in The Mantle. Brisson does a good job staying on track, so when he loses control of a scene, it stands out.

The art is, once again, decent. Level has personality if not the detail (or time) for all of it.

CREDITS

Writer and letterer, Ed Brisson; artist, Brian Level; colorist, Jordan Boyd; editor, Laura Tavishati; publisher, Image Comics.

Howard the Duck 22 (March 1978)

Howard the Duck #22

I’m not sure Howard is back on track so much as Gerber has found someplace to take it. The existing narrative of the series is on hold; this issue continues Howard’s first appearance (and death) over in Man-Thing. Now he’s back with Man-Thing, Jennifer Kale (Man-Thing’s blondie girlfriend), a blond Conan and an old wizard. His mission, save the universe.

In a very Star Wars fashion. It’s a little weird to see Gerber so obviously–and appreciatively–aping Star Wars at the same comic book company printing a monthly Star Wars comic book. Maybe Howard would have had legs as a zeitgeist parody, but it’s only because Gerber brings such personality to the homage.

Val Mayerik is back on pencils, which is cool, especially given the integral Man-Thing guest appearance, which works so well because it’s got Gerber writing it.

It’s a solid issue. Real solid.

CREDITS

May the Farce Be with You!; writer and editor, Steve Gerber; penciller, Val Mayerik; inker, Bill Wray; colorist, Janice Cohen; letterer, John Costanza; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Mantle 1 (May 2015)

The Mantle #1

I want to know where The Mantle is going more than I want to read where it’s going. The way writer Ed Brisson sets up the end of this first issue, it could either go in two paths. One where the series is very episodic, one where it isn’t. Would I not continue reading depending on the former or the latter… No.

But I want to know. I want to know how to digest the material.

Simple setup. Superheroes are real. They just hide and fight their enemies in the middle of nowhere. It’s unclear how long they’ve been around, but at least a decade because the titular Mantle is like the Green Lantern rings.

Only the villain is hunting down the Mantle holder before they can get comfortable.

Brian Level’s composition is better than his detail, which gives it all a certain distinct personality.

Mantle’s okay. I think.

CREDITS

Writer and letterer, Ed Brisson; artist, Brian Level; colorist, Jordan Boyd; editor, Laura Tavishati; publisher, Image Comics.

Howard the Duck 21 (February 1978)

Howard the Duck #21

It’s a better issue than the recent norm, but Gerber still doesn’t have Howard on much of a path. At one point, Howard all of a sudden seemed like the perfect cultural relic from the Carter presidency, but it’s not.

Instead, it’s like Gerber is showing how much he can abuse the reader as far as the plot is concerned. Howard meets up with Beverly Switzler. Not Howard’s Beverly, but her uncle. What a joke. Gerber gave a fat dude Beverly’s name and ran him into Howard.

I’m not sure if the series has just gotten too tame (this issue has Howard battling the nicest, most likable murderous cult leader ever–one who even gets sympathy from the reader when Howard’s being sexist) or Gerber’s just lost interest.

But, it’s a better issue than usual. Carmine Infantino guest pencils. He and Janson are a neat team; contrasting while still complimenting.

CREDITS

If You Knew Soofi…!; writer and editor, Steve Gerber; penciller, Carmine Infantino; inker, Klaus Janson; colorist, Glynis Wein; letterer, Irving Watanabe; publisher, Marvel Comics.

8house 1 (June 2015)

8house: Arclight #1

First part of the story and it’s clear Arclight is going to be something else. There’s something so human about it–when the magician (or witch) sits down to read a book with her recently resurrected goose? It’s a calm moment for the mysterious character. She’s royalty on a strange world (artist Marian Churchland does a gorgeous job of the place, desolate but full of life) and has apparently lost her humanity through some magical tragedy.

Writer Brandon Graham never gives too much away and, given the format (8house is an anthology book, Arclight has a limited number of issues), maybe he never will. With that mix of fantasy and mundane and the visual pacing of the comic, Arclight is a mysterious thing. That mystery is part of the pleasure of reading it.

Given Graham and Churchland’s skills, Arclight will always be an interesting, worthwhile read; but it’s good too.

CREDITS

Arclight, Part One; writer, Brandon Graham; artist, Marian Churchland; letterer, Ariana Maher; publisher, Image Comics.

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