Rocket Girl 7 (November 2015)

Rocket Girl #7

It’s probably too soon to say Rocket Girl is back. A lot of it seems back, whether it’s Reeder’s artwork (amazing as always, like Blade Runner meets The Rocketeer for kids), or just how much Montclare gives Dayoung to do. She’s the hero and she needs to be treated as such.

Once again, the comic toggles between past and future. Well, present (1985) and past (2025 or something). The future stuff really isn’t interesting. Montclare doesn’t give the teen detectives any character beyond playing with cop and young adult stereotypes. It feels like a lame cartoon.

But the past? The past is just amazing, at least this issue. One of the nicest textures of it is how Dayoung isn’t just stuck in a time before teen detectives, but she’s in a culture different from the reader as well. I’m not sure how well Montclare does with it (I wasn’t a teen of the eighties), but it reads fine. Though who knows how much Reeder’s art affects it. The comic wouldn’t work without her.

Rocket Girl needs her.


Now What?!; writer, Brandon Montclare; artist, Amy Reeder; publisher, Image Comics.

Johnny Red 1 (November 2015)

Johnny Red #1

I wonder how long Johnny Red is going to go. Unlike writer Garth Ennis’s usual war comics, he gives this one a modern-day frame and an American protagonist (in the modern day). I think Ennis used to give his historical series some kind of frame, but I haven’t seen one lately (or ever in War Stories), so it’s weird.

But Johnny Red isn’t just another war comic. It’s Ennis doing a relaunch, something he doesn’t do as often as one might think (especially lower profile).

On the art, Ennis has Keith Burns. It’s a fine pairing. Burns handles the larger than life aspects of the plot, but he also has extremely detailed, extremely realistic air battles. There’s an energy to Burns’s art, an enthusiasm to his lines. He’s excited about the contrast–the present-day settings, the flashbacks to the forties. Ennis puts those connections entirely on Burns this issue, comparing modern Russia to early Soviet.

There’s a lot of dialogue before the flashback too. Ennis has a good time with it. He’s practically breezy with Johnny Red; it’s serious, but somewhat removed thanks to the framing.


P7089; writer, Garth Ennis; artist, Keith Burns; colorist, Jason Wordie; letterer, Rob Steen; editors, Kristen Murray and Steve White; publisher, Titan Comics.

Birthright 12 (December 2015)

Birthright #12

Ah, a good old-fashioned subway fight. Not New York subway, Chicago subway. The setting should give Birthright some kind of distinction, but it doesn’t. In fact, there’s no distinct this issue, except maybe the first time I’ve seen Bressan rush through a scene so bad he loses his detail. The last seven or so pages feel like an entirely different artist, sort of aping Bressan’s style, but not really.

There’s also nothing special as far Williamson’s plotting. It’s sort of a bridging issue, but nothing happens. Just build-up for something later on, the good guys from Conan-land are going after Birthright’s “hero.” Hopefully his little big brother will stand up for him, but he’s asking questions too.

And the stuff with the mom and the now grown son’s pregnant girlfriend? The pregnant, flying warrior woman girlfriend? They get jumped by these bozo men in black guys. It’s really lame. It’s a weird issue.

I think I might be done with Birthright. I just can’t make the time.


Writer, Joshua Williamson; artist, Andrei Bressan; colorist, Adriano Lucas; letterer, Pat Brosseau; editors, Arielle Basich and Sean Mackiewicz; publisher, Image Comics.

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