There’s a lot of intrigue and a lot of characters, but Naifeh gives the Night a good plot. It’s independent of all the riffraff she’s been hanging out with, it ties into the opening cliffhanger resolution, it moves through the issue. It’s overfull, busy, but fairly strong.
Writer and artist, Ted Naifeh; letterer, Aditya Bidikar; editor, Robin Herrera; publisher, Oni Press.
Hadrian’s Wall just got somewhere very unexpected. It’s not clear if the writers are going to take the unexpected route or the familiar, but it’s an impressive narrative development. The issue’s methodical, which works, especially given the art. Reis has a great flow to the interrogation scenes.
Writers, Kyle Higgins and Alec Siegel; artist, Rod Reis; letterer, Troy Peteri; editor, Matt Idelson; publisher, Image Comics.
Season Two wraps up pitting the two “heroes” of the comic against one another. It’s dramatically successful and (albeit horrifically) exciting as Electrogor defends his kids. Cannon pushes too hard at the end, however, and endangers the nuanced characterizations he’s been doing lately. Worrisome, but otherwise excellent.
Above 9000; writer, artist and letterer, Zander Cannon; colorists, Cannon and Jason Fischer; editor, Charlie Chu; publisher, Oni Press.
Ether is about a scientist who finds his way into a magical dimension. He’s got some Adam Strange-like conditions on his visits and a comedic sidekick. He’s also like Sherlock Holmes, complete with nemesis. It’s familiar territory but entertaining with some great art from David Rubín.
Writer, Matt Kindt; artist and letterer, David Rubín; editors, Cardner Clark and Daniel Chabon; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.
It’s an entertaining issue, with some rather good Gaydos artwork, but Bendis is covering a lot of the ground situation as revelations to cover up for the narrative failings. Jessica Jones doesn’t have its own tone. Alias: The Sequel it’s not, but it’s nothing else yet either.
Writer, Brian Michael Bendis; artist, Michael Gaydos; colorist, Matt Hollingsworth; letterer, Cory Petit; editors, Alanna Smith and Tom Brevoort; publisher, Marvel Comics.
Brubaker’s really unclear on what he wants to be getting across with his now-masked vigilante emo white guy. The comic raises questions, which Brubaker then ignores to let Phillips do a decent but hurried rushed fight scene or two. It’s not good but better than usual.
Writer, Ed Brubaker; artist, Sean Phillips; colorist, Elizabeth Breitweiser; publisher, Image Comics.
Well, it’s not the best issue of Cinema Purgatorio. Not the best at all. It’s not really the worst either, I don’t think. I mean, this installment of Modded is probably Kieron Gillen’s strongest writing. But it’s not a particularly distinct issue.
Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill explore the American Western, which is fine. There’s nothing amazing about it. It’s actually a little obvious; it’s light, which is strange.
Code Pru is okay. Ennis is trying a little harder. It doesn’t really come to anything. Maybe he if he had even two more pages, he’d be able to get someplace better with it. It’s actually an improvement over the earlier stories, it’s just still not clicking.
Like I said before, Modded is Gillen’s best writing. Nice art from Nahuel Lopez. It’s a side story from the main plot, so of course it’s going to be better than usual. Gillen still manages to screw it up at the end, of course.
A More Perfect Union has a really nice double-page spread from Michael DiPascale and some stupid Civil War reference from Max Brooks. I don’t care. No one cares, Max Brooks, no one cares. If they cared, if Avatar is really pitching Cinema Purgatorio to Civil War enthusiasts, well, those guys all left during Code Pru and Ennis’s sex positivity.
And The Vast is a reprint from last issue. I think. I don’t even care. If it’s not, nice art from Gabriel Andrade. If it is, nice art from Gabriel Andrade.
Moore and O’Neill worked up some momentum on this book and if they’re running out… well, Cinema Purgatorio is more often disappointing overall than not, it’s just they had a couple really great stories. And Ennis seemed like he was getting with it. As always, it’s too bad it’s not better.
Cinema Purgatorio, After Tombstone; writer, Alan Moore; artist, Kevin O’Neill. Code Pru, Men; writer, Garth Ennis; artist, Raulo Caceres. Modded; writer, Kieron Gillen; artist, Nahuel Lopez. A More Perfect Union; writer, Max Brooks; artist, Michael DiPascale. The Vast; writer, Christos Gage; artist, Gabriel Andrade. Letterer, Kurt Hathaway; publisher, Avatar Press.
A friend of mine describes Weird Detective as the best J’onn J’onzz story ever told. It’s entirely possible, though the protagonist in Weird isn’t an alien from Mars, he’s a different kind of visitor. Weird Detective is Cthulhu and Lovecraft, not little green men.
Though the protagonist is sort of a little green man in his home dimension.
Writer Fred Van Lente gives the protagonist a lot of back story and some great first person narration. He’s come to Earth on a mission, one with a somewhat mundane resolution–humorously mundane, however; Van Lente likes his wry jokes. I mean, the protagonist–Sebastian Green (great noir cop name)–telepathically communicates with his cat. Just a regular cat too. Not a special one. It’s often very funny, but it also goes a long way in giving the book some personality. Because without it, a lot of Weird Detective would otherwise just be a cop comic.
Albeit one with Lovecraftian sea witches and monsters and so on. The personality carries it through, whether it’s how Van Lente uses the first person narration to get across all these creepy extra-dimensional mind powers Greene has or how artist Guiu Villanova occasionally will play with composition to control the reading pace. It’s a thoughtfully executed book.
The detective gets a partner, who’s secretly investigating him, which he knows about because he’s from another dimension. They have decent but not great chemistry. Van Lente is using the partner as a narrative device to reveal not just Greene’s back story–as she investigates, he reveals to the reader–but she also serves as an expository tool to tie a couple of the plot lines together. She’s not even part of it, just there to voice the exposition. It’s too bad, but far from a dealbreaker for the comic.
Vilanova and the colorists–Maurício Wallace and Josan Gonzalez–do a fantastic job with the setting. It’s this sunburnt New York City, modern but kind of like a colorized film noir with the saturation turned up. Even when Van Lente gives the partner, Fayez, her origin–at the very end too, right before a weak and confusing reveal–and it’s ultra-modern terrorism and police corruption stuff, Vilanova still makes it look like that colorized noir. The book’s got a lot of personality–protagonist, voice, plot, and art. It all comes together quite well.
In the second half, Greene and Fayez are after the same big bad–sort of, Weird Detective is almost as confusing as The Big Sleep in terms of confusion (there’s a whole Mr. Big creep who’s apparently just around in case there’s a sequel series)–but they’re not working together. Keeping them apart in their investigations means a little bit more filler, but the book doesn’t get anything from it. It’s almost like Van Lente forgot about the bigger mystery until about halfway through. He was having too much fun with the concept before that point.
Van Lente tries hard to make the reader like certain characters. Some of it is just character development, some of it is plot development, some of it is manipulation. Van Lente’s greatest success is in delivering, with Vilanova, a supernatural cop story with a real Lovecraftian bent. Hopefully they’ll do a sequel someday.
Writer, Fred Van Lente; artist, Guiu Vilanova; colorists, Josan Gonzalez and Mauricio Wallace; letterer, Nate Piekos; editors, Kevin Burkhalter and Spencer Cushing; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.
What a lovely issue. Hogan and Parkhouse finally tackle Harry’s origin and do nothing, for the most part, with what should be the A plot. Instead, it’s just Resident Alien offering some payoff for characters its been promising for years. It’s daring in its dedication to itself.
Writer, Peter Hogan; artist, Steve Parkhouse; editors, Megan Walker and Philip R. Simon; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.