The Humans 2 (December 2014)

The Humans #2

The Humans is something else. Keller does a lot with the script. I know last issue I was more impressed with Neely, but this issue is all Keller’s show. Even with it stumbles, it’s stumbling because Keller’s trying really hard to do something.

He’s doing a “Twilight Zone” episode, basically, and a rather good one. He’s got this societal stuff because, even though he’s doing the traditional ape species breakdowns from Planet of the Apes (with, beautifully, zero explanation), he’s taking it into account when he populates Humans’s 1970 Bakersfield. This issue has Johnny, the guy thought dead in Vietnam, coming home. It’s really ambitious.

And Keller does stumble. The talking heads scenes are hard going because he’s trying to get serious after being goofy. He doesn’t shift gracefully. Or maybe Neely doesn’t. Humans is thoughtful but still raw. Two issues isn’t enough to establish a pattern.

It’s another excellent issue. The Humans has more potential than I thought.

CREDITS

Return of the Living Dead; writer, Keenan Marshall Keller; artist, Tom Neely; colorist, Kristina Collantes; publisher, Image Comics.

Johnny Red 3 (January 2016)

Johnny Red #3

Johnny Red has a strange organization to its messy narrative. The issue opens with a history lesson–in present-day monologue–about the Night Witches and how they figure into the series’s ground situation. It goes on for pages. It goes on for so long I forgot the book was about Johnny Red and instead thought Ennis was doing an impromptu Night Witches fill-in.

But he isn’t. Because after telling readers to look at the bunnies on the left, Ennis then spins them right by about ninety degrees and tells them to look at something else, something entirely new to them. And then he does it again at the end of the issue. There are three big things going on here and at least two subplots. Johnny Red is Ennis doing an edifying comic. He’s assuming his readers aren’t familiar with the subject matter and he’s teaching them about it.

At the same time, for all the traditional Johnny Red fans–if traditional Johnny Red fans are a thing–Ennis is breezy enough with the history lesson not to condescend. He’s showing his street cred as a WWII storyteller. It’s simultaneously showing off and being humble. It’s a great approach.

Johnny Red might be Ennis’s best WWII comic in a while.

CREDITS

Witches Over Stalingrad; writer, Garth Ennis; artist, Keith Burns; colorist, Jason Wordie; letterer, Rob Steen; editors, Jess Burton and Steve White; publisher, Titan Comics.

I Hate Fairyland 3 (December 2015)

I Hate Fairyland #3

Young’s a bit of a show-off this issue. He works on his subplot–the queen conniving to rid Fairyland of Gert–and gives Gert what seems to be a standard adventure. Until it isn’t. And then Young goes crazy with this lengthy sequence–it seems to take place over decades (or a day). It’s phenomenal.

Except it isn’t just that sequence, it’s what he follows it with. He uses the time transition to bring Gert into the queen’s subplot. It’s a great script.

And the way the subplot plays out leads to a battle royale between Gert and her erstwhile nemesis. It’s a lot for a third issue, but Young has thought out all these places he wants to go with the book. He’s moving quickly, but still deliberately.

Young’s pretty much gotten to where he can’t make any storytelling missteps as long as he at least tells it right. The content doesn’t matter, the visuals are so strong. It could be anything and he would find a way to make it visually compelling.

I Hate Fairyland is an excellent book.

CREDITS

Writer and artist, Scottie Young; colorist, Jean-Francois Bealieu; letterer, Nate Piekos; publisher, Image Comics.

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