The Damned #9 (April 2018)

The Damned #9

After The Damned reprinted–with color–the original Damned sequel now we’re getting a Damned prequel. Literally, it’s a prequel arc to the original Damned. And the first arc in this series. It seemed like the reprint of the sequel series–Prodigal Sons–was to set up the future, but it turns out it was to set up the past.

And it’s a fine past. I mean, it’s Bunn and Hurtt doing pre-Damned Eddie. He, Morgan, Wyrm, and Sophie (I really wish I remembered more about Wyrm and Sophie) are a thirties heist gang holding up the demons. But only Eddie and Morgan know about the demons. Their mom is still alive (albeit on her deathbed).

It’s a new kind of Eddie (an old kind) and some great back story for the relationship between him and Morgan. It seems world-buildy, something Bunn has always struggled with on The Damned. At least, until he got to this series.

The Hurtt art is gorgeous (and heart-breaking). The plotting’s good. It’s not what I was expecting, but it’s a good Damned comic. The Prodigal Sons reprint had me slightly wary. Not anymore.

CREDITS

Bad Ol’ Days, Chapter 1; writer, Cullen Bunn; artist, Brian Hurtt; colorist, Bill Crabtree; letterer, Chris Crank; editors, Desiree Wilson; publisher, Oni Press.

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.

Kaijumax: Season Three #6 (February 2018)

Kaijumax: Season Three #6

I’m not sure Cannon would want the compliment, but Kaijumax: Season Three just duplicated the feel of a problematic third television season perfectly. After stumbling through the first half of Season Three, Cannon rallied. That rallying has led to this issue, which is a great comic.

It’s an action issue. There’s a prison riot. The warden is out of town. The prisoners are trying to settle scores–including Electrogor, who’s far from the lead, but clearly needs to be in the comic–and all the plot threads get completed. Including some leftover from Season One. It’s an awesome, awesome finish. And one where Cannon could take however long he wants before Season Four, frankly.

Some great art. Cannon does big action real well–he also gets to play with his visual pacing, as they related to narrative reveals. Everything going so fast–monsters to guards to monsters to interlude to monsters to guards–he’s got rhythm. The issue flows.

I can’t imagine it’s going to seem such a victory in trade as it does in this one issue, where Cannon doesn’t exactly save Kaijumax (clearly it wasn’t in any real danger), but he does resurrect it.

Of course, Season One and Season Two didn’t have cliffhangers anything like this one so hopefully he starts next series as strong as he finished this one.

CREDITS

Consequences; writer, artist and letterer, Zander Cannon; colorists, Cannon and Jason Fischer; editors, Charlie Chu and Desiree Wilson; publisher, Oni Press.

The Damned #7 (January 2018)

The Damned #7

So, following up on my Damned #6 post. Turns out Prodigal Sons is really just a reprint of the Prodigal Sons limited. It was underwhelming Damned sequel. This time with Bill Crabtree colors.

And, despite the awesome art and colors–Crabtree brings vibrancy to Hurtt’s action–despite those successes, Damned #7 (or Damned: Prodigal Sons Color Edition #2) reminds what’s wrong with the original comic.

It’s way too slight.

There’s a fight, a walking sequence, and a cliffhanger. Nothing else.

Eddie’s brother does the fight. There’s some awesome action, but nothing else. Eddie does the walking. It’s funny–his guide is this (mildly) sarcastic demon–but it’s just a walk. The cliffhanger is slight too.

In some ways, I’m glad. I’ve always thought I was too hard on Prodigal Sons, which kind of ruined The Damned brand back in the day. Hopefully this repeat won’t screw up the book too much. Bunn and Hurtt did magic with the first arc (surpassing the original Damned).

One more colorized rerun to go.

CREDITS

Prodigal Sons, Chapter 2; writer, Cullen Bunn; artist, Brian Hurtt; colorist, Bill Crabtree; letterer, Chris Crank; editors, Randal C. Jarrell and Desiree Wilson; publisher, Oni Press.

The Damned 6 (December 2017)

The Damned #6

Not only is Eddie’s baby brother back, this story arc of The Damned has the same title as the lackluster second series–Prodigal Sons.

Except now it’s great. Because Bunn’s learned how to do his exposition. He’s learned how to pace it, he’s learned what Hurtt does best and how to enable the best possible result. Damned has this easy visual flow, even when it’s disturbing subject matter; there’s only so much danger for protagonist Eddie, but there’s always only so much sympathy for him.

Damned is often fairly bright for noir, yet Bunn’s able to keep that distance from Eddie. The reader’s only so invested in Eddie as protagonist. There are a lot of forces moving around him–demons in this issue–who control things far more than he does. Or can even imagine. Eddie’s not a narrator but his unreliability extends to the reader… it’s impossible to get too worked up about him.

That being said, it’s easy to get worked up about the poor saps Eddie brings into his life, like his palooka brother. The brother, a giant boxer longshoreman type, is played sweet and innocent. He can handle himself in a fight against demons, but he’s a nice guy. Nothing like Eddie. So part of Damned is hoping Eddie isn’t screwing over the people you like.

And knowing there’s little chance he isn’t.

It’s such a good book. And Hurtt’s art is spectacular.

CREDITS

Prodigal Sons, Chapter 1; writer, Cullen Bunn; artist, Brian Hurtt; colorist, Bill Crabtree; letterer, Chris Crank; editors, Charlie Chu and Desiree Wilson; publisher, Oni Press.

Kaijumax: Season Three 5 (November 2017)

Kaijumax: Season Three #5

If it were any other comic right now, an issue like this one would seem like a major course correction. Cannon talks through most of Kaijumax’s outstanding issues–with talking heads scenes–but really well. He manages to make the prison doctor in love with Zonn work. He’s never been able to do that one. But now there’s crisis and it’s working. Maybe because it’s crisis the reader cares about.

And there’s resolution to the giant goat arc. It’s got some surprises in it, little ones, but also just great comic book pacing.

Some of the problem with Season Three has been Cannon’s fixation on the prison as a whole and that whole is where the problems come in. Is Kaijumax on Antarctica? Where else is big enough. It’s got to be crazy big.

Anyway. It’s a very solid issue. It’s just not enough to convince me Cannon’s going to have a good way to wrap it up next issue.

CREDITS

The Standoff; writer, artist and letterer, Zander Cannon; colorists, Cannon and Jason Fischer; editors, Charlie Chu and Desiree Wilson; publisher, Oni Press.

The Damned 5 (October 2017)

The Damned #5

The Damned finishes off its first arc, full of sadness and demons and misery. And beautiful Hurtt art. Achingly beautiful Hurtt art.

It’s a wonderful Eddie issue, following him around, everything else–the flashbacks, the subplots–happening in this completely different world. One with possibility. Eddie’s world, as usual, doesn’t have any. Even when he thinks it does.

Great writing from Bunn, which is particularly nice. As I recall the original Damned limited series didn’t end particularly well; this one’s reassuring. Bunn can close it down now, open a window. Such great dialogue throughout. It’s real good.

CREDITS

Ill-Gotten, Chapter 5; writer, Cullen Bunn; artist, Brian Hurtt; colorist, Bill Crabtree; letterer, Chris Crank; editors, Charlie Chu and Desiree Wilson; publisher, Oni Press.

Kaijumax: Season Three 4 (October 2017)

Kaijumax: Season Three #4

If Season Three had gotten off to a good start, Cannon might have some leeway for this issue. He’s ambitious and absurdly overindulgent; it’s the perfect example of creative lane changing. The issue has a framing device. The Kaijumax Musical Theater group is putting on a shoe. Their performance cuts to various other activities going on, which all happen to have something to do with a subplot. No one involved in subplots is watching the show. They don’t like musicals, I guess.

Cannon’s not a lyricist. He’s gimmicky. Kaijumax is already pushing it with the gimmicky dialect for the prisoners. The more he expands the world, the less likely his stuff makes sense.

The rest of the comic’s pretty darn good. The subplots aren’t exactly interesting, but they’ve got a pulse. And Cannon executes them all well. There’s an awesome Kaijumax moment with the doctor, where Cannon’s art and writing perfectly intersect; it’s been a while since he’s had one of those moments. Kaijumax used to be full of them.

The return of old characters either hint at a different last two for this series or maybe the Season Four plot. Either way, it’s too late to even be too little. Even when the comic’s good, it’s still lost.

CREDITS

A Special Effects Fantasy Series; writer, artist and letterer, Zander Cannon; colorists, Cannon and Jason Fischer; editors, Charlie Chu and Desiree Wilson; publisher, Oni Press.

Kaijumax: Season Three 3 (September 2017)

Kaijumax: Season Three #3

Electrogor returns to Kaijumax–figuratively and literally–but as a supporting player. The goat monster and the human doctor split this issue; his story is a tad more amusing than hers. There are hints of intriguing revelations for him, while she’s just doing more of the same with her kaiju lover. Cannon doesn’t recapture the magic–this issue reads like it should’ve been number one, not three–but he seems like he’s back on the right track towards it. Hopefully Electrogor’s season-long odyssey in Season Two wasn’t all just filler.

CREDITS

Rock Solid Rep; writer, artist and letterer, Zander Cannon; colorists, Cannon and Jason Fischer; editor, Charlie Chu and Desiree Wilson; publisher, Oni Press.

The Damned 4 (September 2017)

The Damned #4

One of the things I always forget about The Damned is just what a shit protagonist Eddie can be. It’s part of the comic’s DNA. Luckily, Bunn hasn’t forgotten. Needless to say, no spoilers, but it’s an excellent issue. There’s an action sequence, there’s a soul-selling flashback, there’s demons, there’s rain–all things Hurtt excels at illustrating. There’s so much weight in every panel. Damned is haunted in the best possible way.

CREDITS

Ill-Gotten, Chapter 4; writer, Cullen Bunn; artist, Brian Hurtt; colorist, Bill Crabtree; letterer, Chris Crank; editor, Charlie Chu; publisher, Oni Press.

Kaijumax: Season Three 2 (August 2017)

Kaijumax: Season Three #2

Gangsta bunny kaiju who live on the moon.

What am I even reading? It looks like Kaijumax–it’s not like Cannon’s art style has changed at all–and it has a bunch of Kaijumax characters, but it’s like the worst Kaijumax characters with the worst stories. It’s half about the little Minya taking over his dad’s gang only to discover he’s not tough enough so his imaginery human friend has to goad him and it’s half about the human doctor in love with the evil, abusive kaiju.

So far, Season Three has been every bad impulse from Season One without any of the narrative ambition of Season Two. It’s confusing, sure, but mostly just disappointing.

I never thought I’d question reading Kaijumax but I’m getting real close.

CREDITS

The Bad Place; writer, artist and letterer, Zander Cannon; colorists, Cannon and Jason Fischer; editor, Charlie Chu; publisher, Oni Press.

Night’s Dominion: Season Two 1 (August 2017)

Night's Dominion: Season Two #1

Night’s Dominion returns with a reasonably sturdy start. Writer and artist Ted Naifeh juggles multiple plot lines, cutting between them abruptly. However, he opens the issue with a storyteller recapping the previous season; it gets him some goodwill for the later impatience. Naifeh’s art is a little hurried and he does introduce a whole bunch of characters right off, but he’s got a good pace to the issue and it ends with a lot of promise. Of course, so did the last time he did a first issue of Night’s Dominion.

CREDITS

Writer and artist, Ted Naifeh; letterer, Aditya Bidikar; editor, Robin Herrera; publisher, Oni Press.

The Damned 3 (July 2017)

The Damned #3

Eddie takes his friend Pauly around town to talk to people about Pauly’s score and their deal for redemption. There’s some awesome demon stuff, some character development for Eddie, some excellent gangster banter courtesy Bunn, and, of course, the glorious Hurtt artwork. It’s a fine issue–laying hints for what’s to come–and it’s nice to see Bunn and Hurtt have found their Damned tone again.

CREDITS

Ill-Gotten, Chapter 3; writer, Cullen Bunn; artist, Brian Hurtt; colorist, Bill Crabtree; letterer, Chris Crank; editor, Charlie Chu; publisher, Oni Press.

Kaijumax: Season Three 1 (July 1)

Kaijumax: Season Three #1

For the third season, Zander Cannon returns Kajiumax to, well, Kaijumax. He’s now following around the Monster of Devil’s Canyon or some such creature–basically a giant goat, raised by religious humans (or at least he calls them Mom and Dad). He doesn’t fit with the other mammalian monsters, but at least they’re not always beating on him like the lizard ones. Or are they? There’s also a bunch of intrigue and foreshadowing involving a volcano monster–who stars in the opening prologue, hinting at great import. It’s okay. It’s a lot of talking monster heads without any narrative or information. It’s all atmosphere and not particularly compelling. Fingers crossed it’s just a slow start.

CREDITS

The Bad Place; writer, artist and letterer, Zander Cannon; colorists, Cannon and Jason Fischer; editor, Charlie Chu; publisher, Oni Press.

The Damned 2 (June 2017)

D2

Bunn and Hurtt open the issue with an atmospheric, ominous ride in the car for Eddie. It turns out to be less immediately dramatic and more about Bunn setting up Damned as an ongoing series. Eddie exists in a world with a lot going on; it’s not all about him. As the issue goes on, maybe there’s a little bit too much world-building and exposition, but it’s for Hurtt art so one can’t complain too much. Bunn’s definitely filling the book with content.

CREDITS

Ill-Gotten, Chapter 2; writer, Cullen Bunn; artist, Brian Hurtt; colorist, Bill Crabtree; letterer, Chris Crank; editor, Charlie Chu; publisher, Oni Press.

The Damned 1 (May 2017)

The Damned #1

The Damned is back. Gloriously so. Brian Hurtt art. Gangsters and demons. Who cares if it’s good–it’s good, but when you see a double-page spread of Eddie’s club and it reminds of Casablanca all of a sudden, you know Hurtt’s enough to get it over any of the hurdles. And, really, the only hurdle is Cullen Bunn’s too talky narration. There’s lots and lots of it–which makes sense for the first issue of a relaunch–but it still gets tiring, sensical or not. The plotting’s good, the characters are good, the art’s wonderful. It’s so nice to have Damned back. I didn’t even realize how much I missed it.

CREDITS

Ill-Gotten, Chapter 1; writer, Cullen Bunn; artist, Brian Hurtt; colorist, Bill Crabtree; letterer, Chris Crank; editor, Charlie Chu; publisher, Oni Press.

Night’s Dominion 6 (February 2017)

Night's Dominion #6

I can’t believe I’m saying it, but I’ll be back for more of this comic. Even though the first arc is a mess–and this accelerated wrap-up issue, which plays more like a movie trailer than a comic book, isn’t really successful, Naifeh does do some serious damage control and potentially plugs a lot of leaks.

CREDITS

Writer and artist, Ted Naifeh; letterer, Aditya Bidikar; editor, Robin Herrera; publisher, Oni Press.

Night’s Dominion 5 (January 2017)

nightNight's Dominion #5

And then the dragons show up. I suppose the “regular” cast returns too, but the dragons are a bigger deal. Naifeh doesn’t do the battle scenes well, not the big ones. The lone guy going out to fight death knights, sure, but he doesn’t do the scale. And there’s lots of underdeveloped filler. Night’s Dominion finds ways to misfire during misfires.

CREDITS

Writer and artist, Ted Naifeh; letterer, Aditya Bidikar; editor, Robin Herrera; publisher, Oni Press.

Night’s Dominion 4 (December 2016)

Night's Dominion #4

I’m not sure Naifeh is aware people read other comics besides Night’s Dominion. This issue is a bunch of battle scenes, a bunch of characters, a bunch going on; I have no idea what any of them have to do with the other. There’s some excellent art, but it’s a messy, messy jumble. Naifeh’s either rushing or expecting way too much of his readers.

CREDITS

Writer and artist, Ted Naifeh; letterer, Aditya Bidikar; editor, Robin Herrera; publisher, Oni Press.

Night’s Dominion 3 (November 2016)

Night's Dominion #3

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.

CREDITS

Writer and artist, Ted Naifeh; letterer, Aditya Bidikar; editor, Robin Herrera; publisher, Oni Press.

Kaijumax: Season Two 6 (November 2016)

Kaijumax: Season Two #6

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.

CREDITS

Above 9000; writer, artist and letterer, Zander Cannon; colorists, Cannon and Jason Fischer; editor, Charlie Chu; publisher, Oni Press.

Night’s Dominion 2 (October 2016)

Night's Dominion #2

Naifeh expects a lot from the reader, just in terms of keeping up with the story. There’s not a lot of content, just a lot of action and expository banter. The art’s imprecise and the characters are way too thin. The series is already stumbling too much.

CREDITS

Writer and artist, Ted Naifeh; letterer, Aditya Bidikar; editor, Robin Herrera; publisher, Oni Press.

Kaijumax: Season Two 5 (October 2016)

Kaijumax: Season Two #5

It’s a decent issue, but it’s unclear if Cannon’s building up a new subplot or if he’s just letting something resolve itself here. And there’s the return of awkward, possibly physiologically impossible romance; it seems lazy. It’s like a talking heads issue in a series without them.

CREDITS

Friends on the Outside; writer, artist and letterer, Zander Cannon; colorists, Cannon and Jason Fischer; editor, Charlie Chu; publisher, Oni Press.

Kaijumax: Season Two 4 (September 2016)

Kaijumax: Season Two #4

Cannon doesn’t offer a breather after a heavy previous issue. He sends Electrogor under the sea into the old gods’ territory (with Cthulhu showing up at the end) and it’s a real downer. I feel like it’s the first time he’s branched into different monster mythologies to this degree in Kaijumax–I mean, Cthulhu’s never been a kaiju (right?). Most of Electrogor’s half of the issue is spent with him feeling terrible, which is sort of his thing, but for really good reason as he meets the residents of this hidden, undersea slum. It’s heartbreaking and horrifying, but not in for any predictable reasons.

At the same time, Chisato the good mecha, gets herself a new partner and has to work vice, which provides Cannon the opportunity to do some mixed size action sequences. It doesn’t necessarily seem heavy, but then Cannon sticks the reader right at the end of the issue. He’s heavy on the “real life, real crime” parallels, which isn’t as successful as just when he sticks to the complicated world of Kaijumax.

Season Two is working out to be far more successful than the previous one, which is no small feat. Between Chisato and her character development–it’s not like the humans in Kaijumax have ever been particularly sympathetic so seeing someone try to be more like them is rather effective; her new partner–the burnout human–is a wonderful contrast, of course.

It’s such a good comic. It’s just brutally downbeat.

CREDITS

The Seamy Underbelly; writer, artist and letterer, Zander Cannon; colorists, Cannon and Jason Fischer; editor, Charlie Chu; publisher, Oni Press.

Night’s Dominion 1 (September 2016)

Night's Dominion #1

Here’s the strangest thing about the first issue of Night’s Dominion–it goes on forever. Ted Naifeh goes on and on and on trying to setup the story and he never quite does. He raises a lot of questions, but the hinted answers aren’t really as interesting as they need to be. The one time I thought he was going to do something crazy, he doesn’t. Instead he introduces Batman.

Because Night’s Dominion is–according to the editor’s note in the back–a superhero comic. Just one set in, basically, in a Conan setting. The art’s good, because it’s Ted Naifeh, and even some of the banter between the characters is good, but there’s not a story yet. Whatever ideas he’s got for the comic haven’t gelled quite yet. The Night is this master thief who operates in the city. Batman’s kind of her nemesis, making her Catwoman.

Speaking of Batman and Catwoman, didn’t Naifeh pitch a great Batman comic to DC once and they turned him down? I sort of remember some art.

The Night herself is an interesting character… when she’s not being the Night. When she is the Night, she’s just dealing with a bunch of morons who don’t think a woman can do the job. Again, it seems like Naifeh’s trying too hard to make the comic work.

Obviously, I’m not giving up on it after one, but it’s not off to the start one would hope given the creator.

CREDITS

Writer and artist, Ted Naifeh; letterer, Aditya Bidikar; editor, Robin Herrera; publisher, Oni Press.

Kaijumax: Season Two 3 (July 2016)

Km23

This issue of Kaijumax might be my favorite. It’s sort of talking heads–the warden faces off with a bureaucrat about how the prison is run–but there’s also a whole subplot for the robot cop. There’s a lot of humanity to the issue and it’s mostly ugly. Even when it’s not entirely ugly, it’s ugly. It’s harsh and depressing and hopefully it’ll be Cannon’s legacy for Kaijumax.

The warden and the bureaucrat grew up as the kids in a Showa-era kaiju movie. They loved their giant monster until something happened. Cannon’s flashback is perfect, down to the maser cannons. Kaijumax’s version of pulling on the heartstrings lately has been to make readers question their sympathies and this issue is no different. Cannon’s got a complex resolution to the bureaucrat and the warden’s conversation, juxtaposed against the odd sadness of the robot cop.

It turns out the robot cop has her human-sized body too and this issue Cannon introduces a lot of her backstory. He also addresses with the brother issues (her brother is Kaijumax’s version of Mecha-Godzilla) and makes some disturbing observations about people (and kaiju movies) with in regards to her upbringing.

Kaijumax takes a serious look at movies never intended to be serious, which is great and relatively important (relatively because how many English-speaking devote kaiju fans are there out there and how many of them read comics). It’s also really depressing.

CREDITS

Old School; writer, artist and letterer, Zander Cannon; colorists, Cannon and Jason Fischer; editor, Charlie Chu; publisher, Oni Press.

Kaijumax: Season Two 2 (June 2016)

Kaijumax: Season Two #2

Kaijumax. For when life isn’t depressing enough, you need to have your favorite Saturday afternoon kaiju make you want to cry. This issue has multiple tragedies, both for good kaiju and bad, good humans and bad. Though it’s hard to have a good human. Even when they seem like they’re all right, they really aren’t. It’s endlessly pessimistic.

Maybe it would help if Electrogor didn’t look like he was always about to cry.

In addition to being depressing, this issue of Kaijumax is also pretty good. Cannon goes down the rabbit hole into some of his “world” details, like the rap battle. The rap battle, while well written, has zero narrative effect. It’s like Cannon wants Kaijumax to be one thing but knows he has to give the reader kaiju action.

The kaiju action here is quite good, with the giant robot good kaiju trying to talk down a mutated bad kaiju. There’s great visual pacing, there’s wide scale destruction, there’s a King Kong ’33 reference. Cannon can do it all.

Kaijumax is a relentless book. It requires steeling oneself before reading–there’s magic and the world is still crap.

CREDITS

Nuclear Hearts; writer, artist and letterer, Zander Cannon; editor, Charlie Chu; publisher, Oni Press.

Letter 44 25 (May 2016)

Letter 44 #25

I think I just read my last issue of Letter 44, at least as a monthly. I’m not one hundred percent, but I’m a lot closer than I’ve been. Because this issue is where Soule shows just how good he is at dragging it all out. He’s really good at the pacing, bringing in just about everyone for this issue. There’s scene after scene with the Builders, the astronauts, the President, the reporter from a few issues ago. Then there’s this really manipulative cliffhanger and I just don’t care.

There needs to be a point to all the manipulation and there’s not. At least if Soule stuck with the Christian allegory stuff, he’d be doing something. Instead, he’s treading water. Lots of scenes, lots of exposition, a couple big pointless scenes (like the first one in the comic). If he can’t even work up enthusiasm for the story, why read it?

Letter 44 has always had one big disconnect–Soule’s a much better writer than Alburquerque is an artist. The book is all Soule. It’s a Soule-ful book, one might say.

Wokka wokka.

It’s not like Alburquerque swoops in and ups the art game to save it. The book’s wandered around too much, the characters are all jerks, who cares if the world blows up; at least they’d stop being jerks.

CREDITS

Writer, Charles Soule; artist, Alberto Jiménez Alburquerque; colorist, Dan Jackson; letterer, Crank!; editor, Robin Herrera; publisher, Oni Press.

Kaijumax: Season Two 1 (May 2016)

Kaijumax: Season Two #1

Because if there’s one thing Kaijumax needs to be, it’s more depressing. Only this time it’s not prison depressing, it’s out of prison depressing. And Zander Cannon is exploring what it’s like to be a monster on the outside.

This issue has three storylines. First, the Kaijumax escapees holing up with a known associate who’s on parole. Cannon’s got a wonderful amount of detail for these scenes, how a giant monster goes about his or her daily life. Very sad stuff. Apparently Season Two of Kaijumax is going to address the bigotry against giant monsters, which seems slightly problematic. The regular people in Kaijumax are problematically portrayed in general, but in Season Two they’re basically all complete asshats. They abuse the paroled monsters, relishing in humiliating them. Like I said, not a happy book.

Then there’s the giant monster fighting robot whose brother is on Kaijumax and she’s writing him a letter about her human pilot. Cannon tries to do a whole lot as far as introducing new elements (life on the outside, life as a regular kaiju hunter, man or machine) and it’s not always successful. The art helps with a lot, but Cannon’s relying a lot on phrase references to Godzilla movies and so on. It’s just a lot, with characters blathering just to blather and to drop a Godzilla: Final Wars reference.

And that reference is fun and cool, it just doesn’t do anything for the book.

The third storyline is the disgraced prison guard. He has a decent enough scene, not too expository even though someone’s trying to tell him about life, but it doesn’t resonate. Nothing resonates yet. It’s all just histrionics and great art.

CREDITS

Same Ambergris, Different Day; writer, artist and letterer, Zander Cannon; editor, Charlie Chu; publisher, Oni Press.

Letter 44 24 (April 2016)

Letter 44 #24

Reading Letter 44, I always wonder, with this issue be my last. Will Soule or Alburquerque do something I just can’t get onboard with. Usually, it’s never anything seismic so I get over it (Alburquerque’s Roman centurion garb for future soldiers) but Soule is tripling down with the religious “message” here. Message gets quotation marks because who cares if the whole thing is just God’s messengers saving some of humanity.

I mean, if I wanted to read some sci-fi along those lines, there’s always the Arthur C. Clarke Rama series of books. Soule doesn’t bring anything to the genre (Christian sci-fi). Even though he does get back to his “West Wing” knock-off a little bit, but it’s been too long. Letter 44 doesn’t get by on charm or ingenuity anymore. I read it because I’m a Letter 44 reader.

And this issue will not be my last. But the next one might be. It’s just too much. Soule’s drained all the humanity from the comic. It’s a bunch of scenes with people you sort of remember caring about at one point.

Oddly, the most startling thing about the issue isn’t the crucifixion imagery or the Jesus imagery… it’s Tupac cameoing in a flashback set in January 2004. Tupac, of course, died in September 1996. Maybe there’s a sci-fi God in the Letter 44 universe, which is fine, but if you’re going to bring in Tupac for a terribly edited cameo, make him surviving part of the comic.

Otherwise, teach the editor of the book how to use Wikipedia. Or Google. Or even Bing. Ask Siri. I don’t know. Something. Edit this book. It’s too late to fix it, but editing would still help a lot.

CREDITS

Writer, Charles Soule; artist, Alberto Jiménez Alburquerque; colorist, Dan Jackson; letterer, Crank!; editor, Robin Herrera; publisher, Oni Press.

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