Pop 2 (September 2014)

Pop #2

Copland's art would be enough to carry Pop; he has intricate panel composition–through a bunch of psychedelic sequences–but also a wonderful sense of movement for the rest. About the only thing he doesn't get to do this issue is talking heads scenes, since most of the issue's calm moments are internal. But the art is very impressive.

And Pires's script has its impressive moments too. He just doesn't offer any character development on his protagonists. Everything and everyone acts on them, even though they're somewhat active–the guy takes the escaped from her gestation pod pop star into the woods to trip and try to sort things out–there's no movement for them.

But the supporting cast gets a lot of attention, with Pires doing the bickering, punk assassins, their obsessive, hideous secret bosses, the lead's sidekick… it all works, especially when Pires does comic relief.

He just doesn't mind his protagonists.

B 

CREDITS

Pseudologia Fantastica; writer, Curt Pires; artist, Jason Copland; colorist, Pete Toms; letterer, Ryan Ferrier; editors, Roxy Polk, Aaron Walker and Dave Marshall; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Prometheus: Fire and Stone 1 (September 2014)

Prometheus: Fire and Stone #1

Maybe doing a sequel to an in name only movie franchise isn’t a good idea. Because Paul Tobin’s script for Prometheus doesn’t have much to do with the movie. Anything yet, actually. Except the planet. It’s actually a sequel to Aliens, the movie, not the comics (near as I can tell).

Tobin sends a group of varied scientists and military personnel and some other things–no warrant officers so far–to the planet. Someone’s investigating the death of Guy Pearce from the movie but it’s set 130 years later or something because no bumping into the unmade but planned Prometheus sequel.

It’s predictable alien planet exploring. I’ll bet there’s some stuff with the goop and, hey, look, a ship of aliens from Aliens. I’m shocked.

Juan Ferreya is way too gentle for the art too.

Tobin’s script is boring and forced from the first page. Fire and Stone sinks fast.

D 

CREDITS

Writer, Paul Tobin; artist, Juan Ferreyra; letterer, Nate Piekos; editors, Ian Tucker and Daniel Chabon; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Juice Squeezers (December 2013)

Juice Squeezers

David Lapham takes a really interesting approach with this first Juice Squeezers one-shot. He doesn't try to do too much. He opens the comic with new Juice Squeezer, Lizzy Beedle. She's the only girl on the team of high school students who kill all those giant bugs the world doesn't know about. He changes points of view quite a bit, but it's always Lizzy who's at the center of the character stuff.

Then there's the way the kids go out and hunt the bugs. It's simultaneously scary and safe, with Lapham skipping from character to character. He doesn't go too far establishing any of the other characters, usually just giving them distinct names and personalities, but not entire scenes to themselves. He doesn't want to lose the focus.

The conclusion nicely ties up this introduction issue while keeping things open.

Great art too. The movement is outstanding, the bugs creepy.

A 

CREDITS

Squish; writer and artist, David Lapham; colorist, Lee Loughridge; letterer, Nate Piekos; editor, Jim Gibbons; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Concrete Park: Respect 1 (September 2014)

Concrete Park: R-E-S-P-E-C-T #1

As much as I like the Demolition Man reference, there are a whole lot of problems with Concrete Park.

I’m nearly sure co-writer and artist Tony Puryear does the art digitally; it would be hard to explain why the heads look so pasted on the backgrounds and why so much of the too thick line work looks artificial. Those artificial lines really hurt the comic, which occasionally resembles a Love and Rockets tangent with unfortunate coloring.

The story has to do with a prison planet where the prisoners have all formed gangs. It’s unclear why anyone would bother putting people on a prison planet if they aren’t going to do any labor–why wouldn’t they just kill them?

Doesn’t matter.

Puryear and Erika Alexander’s script is enthusiastic but too problematic and unoriginal to do much. The dialogue’s weak too; feels too “unsold screenplay.” But it’s not a terrible comic. Just blah.

C 

CREDITS

Writers, Eric Puryear and Erika Alexander; artist, colorist and letterer, Puryear; editors, Roxy Polk and Philip R. Stone; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Robocop 3 (September 2014)

Robocop #3

This issue is the best one Williamson’s written so far. It’s not Magno’s drawn; he’s better than last time but there are still a lot of perspective issues. They make the body proportions look off when they aren’t. It’s too bad.

The issue opens with a flashback to villain Killian’s youthful offending days. It’s a good move, since Williamson is able to use information from it to flesh out the character in the present action.

Williamson also gives the cops enough to do. He has a new supporting cast member, a detective–who I really hope stays because she plays off Lewis well–and some actual investigating for Lewis and Murphy. They banter sparingly; Williamson shows restraint but it’s also the most personality he’s given Murphy to date.

The issue’s an excellent mix all around. Williamson opens it up a little, peopling the comic.

Only the cliffhanger flops. It feels too familiar.

B 

CREDITS

Writer, Joshua Williamson; artist, Carlos Magno; colorist, Marissa Louise; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Alex Galer and Ian Brill; publisher, Boom! Studios.

Groo vs. Conan 2 (August 2014)

Groo vs. Conan #2

So Groo vs. Conan is already an imaginary story wrapped in the adventures of Sergio Aragonés as he runs around with (presumably) temporary dementia. But then he and co-writer Evanier feel the need to wrap another imaginary element around the finish. The last few pages, where Groo and Conan fight, are all in the imagination of one of the townspeople.

The mix of art, with Yeates’s Conan often in front of Aragonés Groo backgrounds, is mildly successful. Each artist does fine on their own, but the combination is distracting. It isn’t supposed to look real and it doesn’t… it also doesn’t come off as the most imaginative way to fuse the two styles.

The best stuff in the comic is Sergio’s adventures running around half naked as he tries to escape Evanier and his doctors.

Aragonés and Evanier don’t seem to know how to best exploit the series’s gimmick.

B- 

CREDITS

Writers, Sergio Aragonés and Mark Evanier; artists, Aragonés and Thomas Yeates; colorist, Lovern Kindzierski; letterer, Richard Starkings; editors, Dave Land, Katie Moody and Patrick Thorpe; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Pop 1 (August 2014)

Pop #1

About half of Pop is awesome. The rest of it is rather good, given the gimmick. The gimmick–which the title fits but in no way applies–is the eugenic world of pop stars. Pop stars are grown in tubes by an Illuminati-type organization.

With any consideration, it seems like an obvious gimmick writer Curt Pires is using; if no one has done it exactly, someone has done it approximately. And the Illuminati scenes are the worst in the comic.

But the stoned guy saving the escaped “not yet fully grown” pop star? Awesome. Pires dialogue–in general–but for those two characters specifically? Awesome.

Unfortunately, the assassins and the Justin Bieber stand-in are predictable.

Like any other problems with the story, Pires gets away with them because of Jason Copland’s wonderful art. Even if the comic weren’t often great, the art would be enough to elevate it.

B+ 

CREDITS

Eyes Without a Face; writer, Curt Pires; artist, Jason Copland; colorist, Pete Toms; letterer, Ryan Ferrier; editors, Roxy Polk, Aaron Walker and Dave Marshall; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Godzilla: Cataclysm 1 (August 2014)

Godzilla: Cataclysm #1

I wanted Godzilla: Cataclysm to be good. Not before I started reading it, but as I read the first few pages where writer Cullen Bunn sets it all up. It’s got an intriguing ground situation–after the monster war, humans have to make do in their wrecked world. So it’s post-apocalyptic but not futuristic.

And there’s no attempt at explaining the monsters.

Dave Wachter’s monster art is decent too. Giant monsters fighting, lots of detail in the panels. It’s good stuff.

Then the issue gets going and it gets worse and worse as it goes along. Like Bunn not establishing characters; characters need to be interesting even if giant bugs don’t attack them. The bugs would’ve been an adequate menace for the issue, but Bunn can’t help upping it.

Only Wachter doesn’t want to up his game–instead of detail, he does huge sound lettering as backgrounds.

Cataclysm indeed.

C- 

CREDITS

Writer, Cullen Bunn; artist, Dave Wachter; letterer, Chris Mowry; editor, Bobby Curnow; publisher, IDW Publishing.

Robocop 2 (August 2014)

Robocop #2

Robocop continues to have problems, but this issue they're different ones. For instance, Magno's art isn't as detailed. He's concentrating on foreground figures and letting the backgrounds go loose (with a handful of splash page exceptions). And his figures get flatter as the issue progresses.

But Williamson is doing better with Robocop and Lewis. Most of Robo's scenes are action ones to further the plot–Detroit is banning guns and the cops are out collecting, so it's a lot of quick scenes of Robocop in action. Good stuff. As for character development, it comes later and Williamson only teases this issue. His Robocop is going to be complicated; his promise seems sincere enough to allow for a delay.

The problem's the villains. He's got a crime boss masquerading as a community leader and then some out of town bad guys coming in. They're so peculiar they're distracting.

Like I said… problems.

B 

CREDITS

Writer, Joshua Williamson; artist, Carlos Magno; colorist, Marissa Louise; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Alex Galer and Ian Brill; publisher, Boom! Studios.

Deep Gravity 1 (July 2014)

Deep Gravity #1

Deep Gravity is missing something rather important–a hook. It’s a sci-fi series about people working on a different planet, mining its resources and bringing them back to Earth. The explanations all sound scientific, but it doesn’t seem to actually be scientific, so the hook isn’t it being “hard science” sci-fi.

The protagonist is some guy who goes to the planet to talk to his ex-girlfriend. It’s a three year trip so he’s dedicating six years just to talk to her again. Their relationship is fairly lame so it’s not a hook either.

Then there’s the art, from Fernando Baldó. This other world is some crazy mostly ocean place where plants and animals are the same thing. Apparently. Except none of the designs are particularly good. Baldó’s got a lot of issues with people, places, things. So the art’s not the hook.

So far Gravity’s painfully mediocre.

C 

CREDITS

Writers, Mike Richardson, Gabriel Hardman and Corinna Bechko; artist, Fernando Baldó; colorist, Nick Filardi; letterer, Nate Piekos; editors, Shantel LaRocque and Scott Allie; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Dream Thief: Escape 2 (July 2014)

Dream Thief: Escape #2

Nitz is wrapping everything together rather nicely, but then he goes a little overboard. He explains the plan in detail only to throw a significant wrench in it. That wrench is another ghost possessing protagonist John; presumably this act of vengeance will make things difficult for the A plot.

It’s a problem because Nitz is rushing, he’s telling instead of showing. Most of the issue is in summary and the events are all lined up and the contrivances are starting to show. The final, cliffhanger possession–maybe the first time one of the ghosts gets to be in the driver’s seat as far as the reader experiencing it–is too dramatic after all the summary.

Escape is only a four issue limited series and by the end of this issue, it sure seems like Nitz needs five to get the story done right.

Still, most of it’s awesome as usual.

B 

CREDITS

Writer, Jai Nitz; artist and letterer, Greg Smallwood; editors, Everett Patterson and Patrick Thorpe; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Groo vs. Conan 1 (July 2014)

Groo vs. Conan #1

Groo vs. Conan. Even the title takes a moment to digest.

Sergio Aragonés and Mark Evanier fully embrace the absurdity of it, including the middle part of the comic–the majority of the comic, in terms of pages–being the two men walking around talking about doing such a crossover and how crazy it would be.

So why do it? Well, in the comic, Aragonés gets bumped on the head and thinks it’s a great idea.

As for the actual Conan and Groo scenes, the issue is mostly setup. Groo gets confused about who he’s supposed to battle and why and his concerned potential victims head to find Conan to save them. Tom Yeates draws the Conan pages. He does a fantastic job. Aragonés does fine with the Groo stuff and the “real world” stuff, but Yeates doing fantasy is treat as always.

The issue’s amusing without being particularly successful.

B- 

CREDITS

Writers, Sergio Aragonés and Mark Evanier; artists, Aragonés and Thomas Yeates; colorist, Tom Luth; letterer, Richard Starkings; editors, Dave Land, Katie Moody and Patrick Thorpe; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

The Terminator: Enemy of My Enemy 4 (July 2014)

The Terminator: Enemy of My Enemy #4

It’s all action but it’s all very good action. I kept waiting for Jolley to slow down and explain some things but he never takes his foot off the gas. He’s missing character moments mostly; he’s definitely not going the lovable T–800 route but he’s falling into the Dark Horse Terminator pitfall… the personalities.

The Terminator only has personality because of the actor playing the part. A comic book character Terminator loses a lot when it’s just a static killing machine. Comics are already full of those types.

Then Jolley misses another opportunity for some exposition when the Terminator and his human sidekick find the lab. You know, at the end of the level. They immediately get attacked, which kills the chance for some nice exposition and relationship building.

It’s a fairly decent book. There’s some great Igle artwork; his action scenes are phenomenal. The rest… just not phenomenal

C+ 

CREDITS

Writer, Dan Jolley; penciller, Jamal Igle; inker, Ray Snyder; colorist, Wes Dzioba; letterer, Nate Piekos; editors, Ian Tucker and Brendan Wright; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Robocop 1 (July 2014)

Robocop #1

This comic is way too short.

It’s frustrating too because creators Joshua Williamson and Carlos Magno go out of their way to show they know how to do a Robocop comic. Magno’s art is excellent, nice amount of grit, nice amount of visual reference to the first movie and especially the actors (without being desperately photo-referenced). And Williamson writes some great scenes. His only slip-up would be using a too familiar quotable.

The problem’s the pace. There’s the opening action sequence and it’s great looking, but it doesn’t really have much impact. It should have been half as long and then Williamson would have had time to establish how he’s going to write Murphy as a character. Williamson has got Lewis down, but she’s not the hard one.

Murphy’s too much a subject, not enough an active player.

So it’s a soft start, but there’s clearly solid foundation.

B 

CREDITS

Writer, Joshua Williamson; artist, Carlos Magno; colorist, Marissa Louise; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Alex Galer and Ian Brill; publisher, Boom! Studios.

Dream Thief: Escape 1 (June 2014)

Dream Thief: Escape #1

You know, I’ve been talking about limited series spending too much time in their last issue setting up the sequel series but, dang, if Jai Nitz and Greg Smallwood don’t pull it off beautiful for Dream Thief: Escape.

Even though this series directly continues the previous one, Nitz gets to revamp his whole approach to the setup. He’s already explained the whole mystical mask and the protagonist being a vehicle for justifiably angry ghosts seeking vengeance. It’s also letting him develop the protagonist better, since he’s got a sidekick and sidekick chit-chat is great for exposition.

Most of the big action actually belongs to the protagonist’s father in a flashback. Doing the story of two dream thieves, one established, one establishing, is a nice touch too. Also, Nitz seems to enjoy doing eighties references and the flashback has a few good ones.

The end reads fast, but otherwise, Escape’s excellent.

B+ 

Writer, Jai Nitz; artist and letterer, Greg Smallwood; editors, Everett Patterson and Patrick Thorpe; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Eye of Newt 1 (June 2014)

Eye of Newt #1

When I read a comic from Dark Horse called Eye of Newt, even if it’s set in olden times and has dragons and wizards and talking cats and cheap Gollum knockoffs, I expect one thing. I expect an Aliens tie-in.

Just kidding.

But some kind of tie-in to anything would have really helped the comic, which is clearly a labor of love for writer and artist Michael Hague. He draws some gorgeous dragons and wizard seals and so on. Not so great at the people, who seem way too two dimensional, or the scenery, which seems underdeveloped. But the dragons look great.

And he loves the story of Newt, a wizard’s apprentice, who has problems on his way to becoming a real wizard and worries about pissing off his mentor.

In other words, it’s every single young wizard story ever told just again. Worse, Hague’s style isn’t appropriate for comics.

D 

CREDITS

Writer and artist, Michael Hague; letterer, Nate Piekos; editors, Ian Tucker and Daniel Chabon; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Furious 5 (May 2014)

Furious #5

I don't know where to start. I'm not sure about the epilogue. It's a very cute and nice epilogue, but Glass has just got done dragging the reader through a very rough opening action sequence and then an extremely taut issue. With Furious, Glass has always made sure to keep the series's reality very dangerous. So anything can happen.

He sets up two, maybe three, dangerous anything can happen moments this issue. These moments come during this phenomenal action sequence. The whole issue is an action sequence, but it's not one without content–Glass and Santos get a lot out of every panel, every page. Santos's artwork is just fantastic.

Glass takes a less is more approach with the revelations in the issue too. The emphasis isn't on the origin pay-off, it's on what's happening next. And that emphasis is why the epilogue can still work.

Furious is a fantastic comic.

A 

CREDITS

Fallen Star, Part Five, Catch a Falling Star; writer, Bryan J.L. Glass; artist, Victor Santos; letterer, Nate Piekos; editors, Spencer Cushing and Jim Gibbons; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

The Star Wars 8 (May 2014)

The Star Wars #8

If the letters pages didn’t swear Rinzler was sticking to the original rough draft, I don’t think I’d believe it. Because this issue–adapted from a script written in the early seventies–has the standard modern action movie third act thing going on. When they attack the Death Star (it’s called something else, I think), Annikin and Leia are still on the station. They’re fighting to get away.

The original movie doesn’t try to overdo the dramatic tension–though Return of the Jedi basically does the aforementioned tension boosting. It reads more like what came later, in the genre created by Star Wars, than Star Wars itself.

There are some interesting twists and turns this issue too. The problem is more the length–Rinzler could have used two more issues for all the stuff he works out in this one–but The Star Wars concludes a somewhat successful curiosity.

Even with all the terrible names.

B- 

CREDITS

Writer, J.W. Rinzler; artist, Mike Mayhew; colorist, Rain Beredo; letterer, Michael Heisler; editors, Freddye Lins and Randy Stradley; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

The Terminator: Enemy of My Enemy 3 (May 2014)

The Terminator: Enemy of My Enemy #3

Seriously? They team up. A human and a Terminator team up in a Dark Horse comic? Didn’t I read this comic many times as a teenager? I was kind of hoping for something more. Maybe the big problem is the team up comes so late. There’s only one more issue to the series.

Enemy of My Enemy continues to be blandly unimpressive. Jolley’s scripting is competent. His protagonist is annoying but it’s unlikely anyone would be able to make a disgraced CIA agent fighting a Terminator a good character. She’s supposed to be cool, not likable.

Then there’s Igle’s art. He does a great job with it, but there’s nothing to it. There’s a lengthy fight scene and since Igle’s so sturdy in his matter of fact presentation, it’s boring.

The series is getting less and less engaging as it goes on. Then again, The Terminator has rather limited potential.

C 

CREDITS

Writer, Dan Jolley; penciller, Jamal Igle; inker, Ray Snyder; colorist, Wes Dzioba; letterer, Nate Piekos; editors, Ian Tucker and Brendan Wright; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Veil 3 (May 2014)

Veil #3

I tried. I really wanted to be wrong about Veil because Fejzula’s style is so unique but no, no way.

Rucka’s hiding this lame story about big business hiring some guy to conjure a demon in the comic, which ostensibly is about the titular protagonist but isn’t at all. It’s about the evil magician, the dumb businessmen, the really dumb mercenaries–these guys wouldn’t have made it to the special forces, they’d be cleaning latrines–and rats. I think Rucka uses the rats because animal cruelty still gets a result. Cruelty to humans doesn’t.

Did I mention the bad dialogue yet? Rucka writes a lot of really bad dialogue here. It might be because he doesn’t know how Fejzula’s going to bring the scenes together. I’ll extend that possibility, though I don’t really believe it. The dialogue’s atrocious.

Rucka doesn’t use Fejzula well either. The art’s interesting, but doesn’t fit.

D- 

CREDITS

Writer, Greg Rucka; artist and colorist, Toni Fejzula; letterer, Nate Piekos; editors, Shantel LaRocque and Scott Allie; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Furious 4 (April 2014)

Furious #4

Glass brings in something I don’t think I realized the comic was missing–the Jim Gordon character. Some kind of person for Furious to have a conversation with about things, even if it’s brief.

It totally changes the tone of the comic, though the plot for the issue also changes things up a bit. Furious attends a press conference in her honor–the idea is to appeal to the public–while the villain is out there causing lots of trouble still. Glass starts to explain the villain, but the full resolution is undoubtedly next issue. Hopefully after the hard cliffhanger gets a resolution.

So it’s kind of a talking heads book with this cop talking Furious down while she’s trying to beat a confession out of someone. Then there’s a lot of talking at the news conference. It doesn’t feel bridging though, Glass is still building story with the scenes.

B+ 

CREDITS

Fallen Star, Part Four, Fame Is a Fickle Mistress; writer, Bryan J.L. Glass; artist, Victor Santos; letterer, Nate Piekos; editors, Spencer Cushing and Jim Gibbons; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

The Star Wars 7 (April 2014)

The Star Wars #7

This issue isn't bad. It's got some of Mayhew's best art on the series–though not his giant Wookie battle, but the moments before those scenes–and Rinzler keeps the action going. But the comparisons to the original films, particularly Return of the Jedi, reveal just how much texture Rinzler has sacrificed to fit this comic into eight issues.

For example, there are these attempts at banter between Annikin and Artwo and they're incredibly forced–it's as though Rinzler remembered at the last minute Artwo could talk here and had to get something in.

The issue is preparation for the Wookie battle, which includes the introduction of Chewbacca and his single dialogue exchange with Han Solo (who's just around to give Luke Starkiller someone to talk exposition with), the huge Wookie battle, kids getting kidnapped, Darth Vader interrogating, Annikan infiltrating the Death Star stand-in.

Too bad Dark Horse couldn't give Rinzler twelve issues.

B- 

CREDITS

Writer, J.W. Rinzler; artist, Mike Mayhew; colorist, Rain Beredo; letterer, Michael Heisler; editors, Freddye Lins and Randy Stradley; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Veil 2 (April 2014)

Veil #2

The first issue of Veil just had present action scenes, no exposition. This issue, Rucka adds exposition. He adds rapist cops–and their compliant partners, he adds fundamentalist Christian preachers who make deals with demon conjurers–and he adds a lot of dialogue.

Oddly, it also gives Fejzula a lot less to do. More stuff, but less interesting visuals.

Unfortunately, all of the additions are bad and they’re all at the expense of the title character. Veil, this issue, just sits around until she conveniently goes off–doesn’t like waffles. The guy helping her talks to himself the entire issue and his dialogue’s terrible.

There’s an early moment to forecast the problems–the guy freaks out because he can’t climb over a dumpster to escape the cops. Not the rapist cops. Presumably regular ones. Why can’t he climb over the dumpster? Nice pants?

It’s so bad it’s not even disappointing.

D 

CREDITS

Writer, Greg Rucka; artist and colorist, Toni Fejzula; letterer, Nate Piekos; editors, Shantel LaRocque and Scott Allie; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Juice Squeezers 4 (April 2014)

Juice Squeezers #4

So how does Lapham end the first Juice Squeezers series? Well, but with too much of an eye on the future. He opens up two new story lines in this issue–one out of the blue–and confirms another one will continue.

Otherwise, the issue is good. Well, except when Lapham tugs on the heart strings. He leaves something else open I forgot about. Spending the last two-thirds of this issue setting up for the next series is rather disappointing. The scenes are still well-written, the characters are still strong. The art is phenomenal, particularly a talking heads sequence where one of the kids confronts the teacher who's in charge of the group.

And the first third is awesome. Lapham somehow puts the kids in danger from giant bugs, but the bugs never seem too dangerous. Real death in the comic is unthinkable, something the cast believes too.

The issue mostly works out.

B 

CREDITS

The Great Bug Elevator, Part Four: Bug City; writer and artist, David Lapham; colorist, Lee Loughridge; letterer, Nate Piekos; editor, Jim Gibbons; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Furious 3 (March 2014)

Furious #3

Glass doesn’t let up this issue. He makes things so intense, the previous issue’s cliffhanger is forgotten until this issue’s cliffhanger, which is similarly themed. The one problematic thing about Furious is how much Glass is hinging on the resolution to the Cadence Lark question.

Based on this issue, which features Furious fighting a serial killer who’s out to rid the world of women, Glass will probably do fine. This issue’s hard, mean and still somewhat positive. The fight’s convincing not just in the blow by blow, but how Furious develops through it.

Santos’s style–violent but appealing–is perfect for this issue too. The fight against the serial killer has to be uncomfortable, but equally balanced between concern for Furious as she gets assaulted and concern for how much the violence she visits on the villain as it psychologically tears at her.

A page-turner to say the least.

A- 

CREDITS

Fallen Star, Part Three, Blaze of Glory; writer, Bryan J.L. Glass; artist, Victor Santos; letterer, Nate Piekos; editors, Spencer Cushing and Jim Gibbons; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Bloodhound: Crowbar Medicine 5 (March 2014)

Bloodhound: Crowbar Medicine #5

I guess the sidekick hero’s name should have been a hint.

It’s a good issue. Real violent, real mean at times. Jolley even manages to get past the sidekick hero being really, really convenient. And he’s got a silly outfit. Even if it makes sense in the context of his powers, it’s silly. Looks like something out of the early nineties.

But back to the comic itself, specifically as the last issue of this limited series. It’s kind of like the last Bloodhound ever. Jolley went and did everything he could to depress the reader, but also to close off the character’s existing story lines. Clev hasn’t got anything left. He’s battered to a pulp, he’s out of favor with the FBI boss–which needed more explaining, since he just saved the guy.

It’s a downer. But it also does provide appropriate closure. I just hope it’s not permanent closure.

B+ 

CREDITS

Writer, Dan Jolley; penciller, Leonard Kirk; inker, Robin Riggs; colorists, Moose Baumann and Wes Dzioba; letterer, Rob Leigh; editors, Ian Tucker and Brendan Wright; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

The Terminator: Enemy of My Enemy 2 (March 2014)

The Terminator: Enemy of My Enemy #2

Okay, the structure confuses me. I think the issue opens and then goes back to an early time and stays there but it also seems like maybe it continues the time from the open. I don’t know.

The confusion aside, it’s a fairly decent comic for a Terminator comic. Igle’s pencils are good–he’s got a fantastic sense of action and how to break out those scenes. And enough nostalgia for the eighties to make tone engaging.

Jolley writes more of a movie script than a comic book one. You can just hear the Brad Fiedel Terminator music at times and it’d make a great scene in a movie. In a comic, it makes an okay one.

The problem with the comic is mostly the pacing. Not enough happens in it; Jolley raises some neat questions about the franchise, but there still needs to be some narrative content… Doesn’t there?

B- 

CREDITS

Writer, Dan Jolley; penciller, Jamal Igle; inkers, Ray Snyder and Robin Riggs; colorist, Wes Dzioba; letterer, Nate Piekos; editors, Ian Tucker and Brendan Wright; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

The Star Wars 6 (March 2014)

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After some unimaginative issues, The Star Wars definitely feels a lot more on track this time around. Even with some way too static art from Mayhew. He has lots of problems with Princess Leia react shots. She looks completely nonplussed by the chaos around here; it's not a one time thing, it's every time she's in a panel.

But this issue gives writer Rinzler the chance to utilize that fantastic Star Wars device–divide the cast into separate story lines before bringing them back together. Annikin gets separated from Starkiller and Han Solo as they both run across the Wookie tribes on this jungle planet. Lots of interesting, unexplored threads from the original films, which is something this series apparently needs (and initially promised).

Before I forget–having an older lead in Starkiller, not a guest star, really helps.

It's definitely one of the better issues. The second half's fantastic.

B 

CREDITS

Writer, J.W. Rinzler; artist, Mike Mayhew; colorist, Rain Beredo; letterer, Michael Heisler; editors, Freddye Lins and Randy Stradley; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Veil 1 (March 2014)

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I’m hesitant to wonder if Greg Rucka and Toni Fejzula are going to be able to maintain Veil’s success into a second issue and beyond. Fejzula’s art approximates watercolors, which is a complete disconnect from the issue’s content. Lovely watercolor panels set against the story of a woman who wakes up naked in an abandoned subway and then in a bad neighborhood.

Rucka and Fejzula are challenging the idea of Sturm und Drang with it, not to mention with the girl–the titular Veil–actually finding a nice person. Even in the moments of ultra violence (watercolor ultra violence is another new one), Veil retains some positivity.

For that reason, along with its deliberate, self-indulgent (yet justified) pace, Veil is one of the best things Rucka’s ever done. He and Fejzula aren’t pushing the comics medium’s limits, but they are knocking it over to see how it works.

B+ 

CREDITS

Writer, Greg Rucka; artist and colorist, Toni Fejzula; letterer, Nate Piekos; editors, Roxy Polk, Shantel LaRocque and Scott Allie; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Juice Squeezers 3 (March 2014)

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Lapham sets up a perfectly good–by perfectly good, I mean predictable–cliffhanger and doesn’t use it. He doesn’t even use it when he’s building up to the cliffhanger. Instead, he goes with a logical choice. It’s not the most dramatic he could, it’s just the right one to do.

All of Juice Squeezers plays out similarly. Lapham never goes for the big money shot or the most drama. He’s patient with it, patient with how he develops the character relationships and the subplots. He’s restrained. It’s never cheap. Not once.

This issue has huge developments with a new member joining the team, some investigation into gossip about the teacher and one of the kid’s moms, not to mention the romance subplot actually taking off. And Lapham puts all these behind the giant bug plot, which also has some new developments.

Juice Squeezers’s fabulous. Great vibe to the art too.

A 

CREDITS

The Great Bug Elevator, Part Three: Going Down; writer and artist, David Lapham; colorist, Lee Loughridge; letterer, Nate Piekos; editor, Jim Gibbons; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

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