Hadrian’s Wall 4 (December 2016)

Hadrian's Wall #4

I have no idea what just happened. I mean, I do. Higgins and Siegel are straightforward writers, even when they’re doing flashbacks and big reveals in quick sequence. But it has a strange plot development for the first issue of the back three. And while there are flashbacks to Earth, all of a sudden Reis’s art feels more claustrophobic. As the stakes raise for the characters finally, it’s like the book’s visually closing in. It’s a good issue with some excellent work from Reis.

CREDITS

Writers, Kyle Higgins and Alec Siegel; artist, Rod Reis; letterer, Troy Peteri; editor, Matt Idelson; publisher, Image Comics.

Dead Inside 1 (December 2016)

Dead Inside #1

While Dead Inside doesn’t reinvent the wheel–the protagonist is a divorced, hard-drinking female detective who can’t get anyone (male or female) to listen to her about a suspicious death and possible conspiracy–it’s solidly executed. John Arcudi’s script moves things around, has some surprises. Toni Fejzula’s art style is different–the mundane is visually disturbing. It works out well enough.

CREDITS

Writer, John Arcudi; artist, Toni Fejzula; colorist, André May; letterer, Joe Sabino; editors, Cardner Clark and Daniel Chabon; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

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.

Shadows on the Grave 1 (December 2016)

Shadows on the Grave #1

Corben does horror anthology. Except for the feature story, everything moves quickly and perfectly. There’s a narrator, there’s a variety of disturbing situations–all beautifully rendered in various Corben styles, smooth to rough to smooth–it’s perfect. Except the feature, which lacks the other entries’ effective, accessible, plain narrative style.

CREDITS

Writer, artist, and letterer, Richard Corben; editors, Katie O’Brien and Scott Allie; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Resident Alien: The Man with No Name 4 (December 2016)

Resident Alien: The Man with No Name #4

Hogan wraps things up nicely on the series’s mystery. He covers a lot through flashback and tightly constructed exposition, but doesn’t have enough time to deal with the threat to Harry’s medical practice (and existence). Solid Parkhouse art too. The characters, supporting and lead, make Resident Alien, time and again.

CREDITS

Writer, Peter Hogan; artist, Steve Parkhouse; editors, Megan Walker and Philip R. Simon; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Wacky Raceland 5 (December 2016)

Wacky Raceland #5

The drivers all eat mushrooms and flashback to “The Butcher Shop,” where they got their abilities or cloned or resurrected or whatever. Pontac’s enthusiastic enough but he doesn’t have enough content. Manco’s art is, of course, fantastic and carries most of the issue. While thin, it’s amiable.

CREDITS

The Butcher Shop, Part One: Revelations; writer, Ken Pontac; artist, Leonardo Manco; colorist, Mariana Sanzone; letterer, Sal Cipriano; editors, Brittany Holzherr and Marie Javins; publisher, DC Comics.

Jessica Jones 1 (December 2016)

Jessica Jones #1

I loved Alias, I really did. I can’t even bring myself to read the trades again. I even have the hardcovers. Loved that comic. I didn’t realize Jessica Jones was going to be Bendis and Gaydos, I thought just Bendis. Jessica Jones is like a remake of Alias, only without the shock value, without the intrigue, with some superhero soap opera thrown in. Reading it, I had to remind myself the comic doesn’t do done-in-ones, so not to expect too much.

Overall, it’s better than expected, but Bendis is treating Jessica like the subject of the comic not the protagonist. He’s got cameos from Misty Knight and Jessica Drew and the latest crop of New York heroes. Because New York is back–Gaydos’s New York from the regular people’s perspective, that amazing thing he does with it. And it’s cool. It’d be better if Jessica were a stronger character, it’d be better if the mystery were actually engaging, it’d be better if it didn’t rely so heavily on Jessica’s post-Alias backstory. I can’t believe Bendis expects the reader to keep up with it all.

Will Jessica Jones get to Alias-levels of quality? Nope. Will it get better if Bendis has enough time to get through setting up his elaborately deceptive ground situation? Probably. It’ll have Gaydos art and the art is almost worth the price of admission alone.

CREDITS

Writer, Brian Michael Bendis; artist, Michael Gaydos; colorist, Matt Hollingsworth; letterer, Cory Petit; editors, Alanna Smith and Tom Brevoort; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Flintstones 4 (December 2016)

The Flintstones #4

Once again, The Flintstones amazes. I didn’t want to be obvious and say it rocks, which it also does, but it’s more impressive in the way it amazes. What Russell comes up with is really cool. He does a riff on marriage. The not marrying people of Bedrock revolt against the marrieds. It’s a fairly obvious metaphor for marriage equality, but it’s a good one. Russell seems to be treating each issue of The Flintstones as something special. Almost a one-shot (or he’s just really scared of it getting cancelled and he’s doing the best work he can).

The other thing is the characters. His Fred and Wilma are their best possible selves taking into account the adaptation and the brand. They’re ideals, something I don’t remember them being in the cartoon. It’s Russell engaging the brand in a very positive way, while still allowing himself some bite in the rest of the comic.

Great art from Pugh because of course it’s going to be great, it’s Steve Pugh doing comedic cave-people, dinosaurs and talking prehistoric animals.

It’s a really good book.

CREDITS

Domestications; writer, Mark Russell; artist, Steve Pugh; colorist, Chris Chuckry; letterer, Dave Sharpe; editors, Brittany Holzherr and Marie Javins; publisher, DC Comics.

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