Dastardly & Muttley #6 (April 2018)

Dastardly & Muttley #6

Ennis does indeed pull off Dastardly & Muttley. The finale is a mostly action book as Dastardly and Muttley fight about how they’re going to save the world. As in, their method. It’s a bunch of good dialogue from Ennis–who has a lot more fun integrating cartoonish dialogue than he has previously–and a great pace.

Mauricet’s artwork is outstanding. He can do Ennis’s cartoons as people humor scenes–though Ennis really should’ve reminded the fox president is George Clooney. Anyway, Mauricet can do those absurdist sequences, he can do the action sequences, but then he can also do the “real life” things. Like the establishing shots and the transition shots.

In a book with either extreme facial expressions or anthropomorphized ones, it turns out Mauricet excels at muted, dramatic expressions.

It’s a neat book. Could be better, sure, but there’s only so much you can do with a Dastardly & Muttley comic book in 2018.

CREDITS

6: You Build me a Thingumabob; writer, Garth Ennis; artist, Mauricet; colorist, John Kalisz; letterer, Rob Steen; editors, Diego Lopez and Marie Javins; publisher, DC Comics.

Love and Rockets #4 (Fall 1983)

Love and Rockets #4

Love and Rockets #4 opens with Jaime and 100 Rooms, a Locas story. The first page is a recap, sort of, of the previous Mechanics and Locas stories. It’s an introduction from Isabel Ortiz Ruebens, who appears to be a nun. She’s not Izzy (as in Maggie and Hopey’s friend) but maybe she’s the author from a few of Jaime’s stories in #1.

It doesn’t really matter because after the nice intro page, Jaime just drops the narration and goes into the story.

This issue ends up being rather distinct because both Jaime and Beto are going to be doing amazing work. 100 Rooms is a twenty-six page epic. It also doesn’t have any jokes about Maggie being dumb, which is nice. Instead, it’s sort of a Maggie grows or at least Maggie realizes how she wants to grow story.

Jaime opens it with a visit to Tía Vicki, who he has been mentioning maybe since issue one. Vicki. The wrestler who cheated to beat Rena Titañon. Vicki used the ropes. But visiting Tía Vicki isn’t the point. Maggie’s just looking for money. Because she desperately wants some boots. She drags Hopey around town trying to find someone to loan it to her. They come across Penny Century, who has a plan.

Jaime never shows the full exterior of the mansion, instead relying on interiors to show the grand scale of it

That plan lands the girls–Maggie, Hopey, Penny, and Izzy–in billionaire H.R. Costigan’s mansion. In that mansion, lots happens. Like Maggie getting lost and kidnapped. And then there’s a party. And a supervillain fight. And Rand Race.

100 Rooms has five parts, not including the one page intro. First part is all about Vicki and the boots with an appearance from Speedy. Speedy is Hopey’s cousin who Maggie thinks is hot. Part two is an intro to the mansion then Maggie finding dangerous romance. Part three is romance plus the girls bonding. Part four is the party setup. Part five is the rest of the party. Each first page of the “chapters” has a big establishing panel. Otherwise Jaime sticks to three rows of three panels. Sometimes he joins two of the panels. But mostly 100 Rooms is read across, down and back, across, down and back. There’s so much with the narrative flow too. The visual transitions. Jaime changes angles between panels to move the story along, but also move the characters in the scene. It’s breathtaking.

And probably should, experimentally, be cut up and read horizontally.

Supervillain action, Love and Rockets style

Once again Hopey gets a lot less to do than Maggie–but more, especially when Maggie’s missing–and Maggie gets this strange, but sexy subplot involving European royalty in exile. The party is where Jaime goes crazy with the action. Before he’s being deliberate but casual with the angle changes. The party is all about being full and action-packed, whether it’s in the establishing panels or the regular ones. Which isn’t to say Jaime doesn’t employ the angle changes to move the action and story along. He just adds to it.

It’s awesome. The best Locas so far.

Next is Beto’s Twitch City. It’s cyberpunk, with noir narration. Emico is the lead. She’s a sixteen year-old cop in New Hiroshima (in South Oregon). It’s a five page story. It covers Emico at work then at home. It’s rather depressing. Beto does a great job with it.

Music and Monsters goes to sea

Then is another Music for Monsters (so the issue has three Beto stories and two Jaime). Inez is babysitting a monster’s egg. For four fifty an hour. The egg is at sea, so Inez is fighting off sea monsters. Bang parachutes in to hang out with her. It’s another short one–four pages this time–but Beto manages to get in some drama over a messed up Errata Stigmata comic. The first issue of Love and Rockets had an Errata Stigmata story.

And, of course, there’s a monster they need to fight.

One of Out O’ Space’s perfect panels

Jaime then has Out O’ Space set in a “Jetsons” future with the lead–a teenage girl named Rocky–hanging out on an asteroid belt with her robot, Fumble. She’s lost, cutting school, and decides to claim her own planet. Unfortunately a rock creature named Patrick has crashlanded on the other side of Rocky’s planet. A turf war ensues. It’s a fun strip with some great art.

And, then, finally, it’s time for Palomar and Heartbreak Soup Part Two. A twenty-one page continuation of the previous issue’s story. Beto takes the first two pages to recap everything in that story. The principals of the story change a little. Gato, who had a lot to do last issue has very little to do in this story. Manuel and Pipo, having made repeat visits to Soledad’s house while he’s out of town, both get a lot. Manuel because he’s breaking Pipo’s heart and Pipo because her heart’s being broken. At the same time Beto is moving along the Luba vs. Chelo storyline.

The tween boys figure in a little, mostly serving to inadvisably gossip within other people’s earshot. Hercalio figures in more than a lot of characters–Carmen, for instance–but it’s mostly just Manuel and Pipo. Or about Manuel and Pipo.

Pipo tells Tipin’ Tipin’ all about Sopa De Gran Pena (Heartbreak Soup)

Beto mixes styles–Pipo and her siblings versus Manuel on the make–or pretty much any of the exterior scenes. Palomar is simultaneously empty but teeming. The story takes a lot of unexpected turns, including in the to the two-page epilogue. There’s also a lot of dialogue. Pipo makes the titular Heartbreak Soup for herself and Tipin’ Tipin’ and tells him all about their lives in Palomar. He’s still around because, in the most minor subplot, Carmen is trying to rehabilitate him.

It’s a sad, aching story. And rather beautiful. And better than the first part.

Love and Rockets #4 is sixty-four pages of phenomenal comics. Jaime and Beto both hit highs with their exquisite storytelling.

The Comics Fondle Podcast | Episode 44

Our first podcast for 2018!

Which we actually didn’t realize.

It’s straight into the comics because the second half is devoted to a single feature–surprise–topic.

Floppies – Hungry Ghosts, Ruff and Reddy, Punisher: Platoon, JLA/Doom Patrol Special, Kid Lobotomy, Assassinistas, Barbarella, Maestros, Kaijumax: Season Three, Vinegar Teeth, Sherlock Frankenstein, Comic Book History of Comic Books, Redneck, Snagglepuss, Dastardly and Muttley, Batman: White Knight, Damned, Grave Diggers Union.

Trades – Spy Seal, Fifty Years of the Fabulous Frak Brothers, Black Hammer

you can also subscribe on iTunes

The Damned #8 (February 2018)

The Damned #8

I’d forgotten how Damned: Prodigal Sons ended. Now it makes sense why it’s included–it was a setup for another series. But it didn’t happen back then.

So in the context of setting up what’s to come in Damned? Sure. It’s a fine arc. Kind of deserved two more issues, as it’s clear Bunn needs the five. I don’t even think the original Damned was five.

There’s some great pacing with Hurtt’s art here. There’s a talking heads action sequence, then a real action sequence. A fight sequence, in fact, with Eddie’s brother kicking demon ass.

Sons works as an arc in an ongoing. It’s still got a lot of problems. But for the finale, the biggest problem is it’s rushed. Bunn needed to spend time with these new characters. A page here or there.

Anyway. Can’t wait for #9 and the return of the new.

CREDITS

Prodigal Sons, Chapter 3; writer, Cullen Bunn; artist, Brian Hurtt; colorist, Bill Crabtree; letterer, Chris Crank; editors, Randal C. Jarrell and Desiree Wilson; publisher, Oni Press.

Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles #2 (April 2018)

Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles #2

So, Snagglepuss. How many more issues of Snagglepuss.

It’s okay? Feehan and Morales’s art is good. Enough. It’s not exciting art. And Russell’s storytelling is more than competent.

But the book is kind of pointless. Sure, Snagglepuss as a gay playwright finding his way into trouble with McCarthyism is an idea, but there’s still no story. Snagglepuss wanders around, hanging out with humans and manimals. Humanimals. He keeps on giving people jobs. He wants to help.

Sometimes even when people don’t want his luck. Like when Huckleberry Hound has a cruising fail. Funny part about that? There’s something to look at when it’s a manimal getting punched in the face–it’s for a (somewhat sad) laugh. Huck’s physical suffering isn’t considered.

Anyway. Snagglepuss, even though he’s a great playwright, is sort of naive when it comes to threats from the government and warnings from his friends.

This book still feels like an underdeveloped idea put to series.

CREDITS

A Dog’s Life; writer, Mark Russell; penciller, Mike Feehan; inker, Mark Morales; colorist, Paul Mounts; letterer, Dave Sharpe; editors, Diego Lopez and Marie Javins; publisher, DC Comics.

Batman: White Knight #5 (April 2018)

Batman: White Knight #5

Watching grizzled Batman bicker with White Knight Dick Grayson almost feels like a grimdark version of early eighties Batman but not exactly. Murphy has definitely made White Knight its own thing–down to Harley Quinn being the voice of reason–and there’s only so much to do with it.

Most of the issue has to do with Batman not wanting to join the Gotham Terrorist Oppression (GTO), which is the super-cop team setup by the Joker. The “good” Joker. There’s also Neo Joker, but she’s the replacement Harley Quinn gone rogue.

Then there’s the Neo Joker finding out the Wayne fortune is probably based on Nazi gold. Murphy even suggests there’s going to be some meat on that subplot.

White Knight has three issues left and Murphy could pretty much do anything in those three issues. But there’s no reason he needs eight. Whatever he’s doing he could’ve fit in six, because there’s nothing essential here. There’s some excellent art–with grimdark Batman being the most visually boring character (after Dick Grayson in his GTO uniform).

Murphy’s burnt through all the initial goodwill and is keeping White Knight moving. With issue #5 though, it’s clear it doesn’t really have anywhere interesting to move. Neo Joker might give the series some big set pieces and some drama, but she’s none of the big ideas Murphy promised to tackle at the start.

CREDITS

Writer and artist, Sean Murphy; colorist, Matt Hollingsworth; letterer, Todd Klein; editors, Maggie Howell and Mark Doyle; publisher, DC Comics.

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