War Stories 22 (January 2017)

War Stories #22

Aira draws the arc’s “lead”–ranking officer, basically–four or five different ways this issue. Down to him having different color hair at one point (and bushy blond eyebrows instead of pencil thin brown ones). But it doesn’t matter, because Ennis’s script is good. He goes for repeated, honest gut punches. It’s awesome. And Aira’s solid enough on the rest. War Stories is finally great.

CREDITS

Vampire Squadron, Part Four: Down in the Drink; writer, Garth Ennis; artist, Tomas Aira; colorist, Digikore Studios; letterer, Kurt Hathaway; publisher, Avatar Press.

Arclight 4 (January 2017)

Arclight #4

Yeah, Brandon Graham really doesn’t know how to wrap up a comic, does he? Arclight meanders to a finish of sorts, with almost no content this issue. Churchland’s art is lovely, but it’s all over the place. Not enough information is the big problem. It’s decompressed storytelling or something. The Brandon Graham version. And it’s over too soon. There’s not enough of a finish here.

CREDITS

Writer, Brandon Graham; artist and colorist, Marian Churchland; letterer, Ariana Maher; publisher, Image Comics.

Dead Inside 2 (January 2017)

Dead Inside #2

The comic continues to be interesting and diverting. Arcudi knows how to write this mystery, he knows how to work in all the cop stuff; Dead Inside does its job, so long as its job is just to be a decent cop comic. However, having Fejzula on the art sort of promises something else, something more. And this issue doesn’t deliver. Fejzula loses personality as the thing goes on and hits Arcudi’s too cheap cliffhanger.

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 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.

Kill or Be Killed 5 (January 2017)

Kill or Be Killed #5

I predict this issue of Kill or Be Killed will show the problem with the book is it’s about a millennial Punisher set in present day. The art’s modern, but Brubaker’s handling of the character is basically Reality Bites. It should be set in the nineties.

Drumroll please (i.e. after reading the comic).

Okay, yes and no. This issue has way too many other problems for it to just boil down to Brubaker not having a handle on it. Phillips has lost his handle on the art. This issue’s art is not up to his usual work, but at least it eventually shows some personality. At its worst, it doesn’t show any. Phillips always has some. Until a few pages into this comic. It’s like he runs out of energy for it, which is concerning.

It’s really got a bunch of severe problems and it’s not even amusing to make fun of it because I love Brubaker and Phillips and Betty Breitweiser’s comics. But Kill or Be Killed is–well, with the exception of Breitweiser–it’s kind of like the pod people have gotten them. I’m done. It just upsets me.

CREDITS

Writer, Ed Brubaker; artist, Sean Phillips; colorist, Elizabeth Breitweiser; publisher, Image Comics.

Black Hammer Giant-Sized Annual 1 (January 2017)

Black Hammer Giant-Sized Annual #1

It’s a double-sized (or at least over-sized) annual for Black Hammer, yay. Colonel Weird goes through the Paraverse pursuing a creature (who looks a bit like Starro) and going into flashbacks with each of the characters, with different artists. It’s good art, it’s sad superheroes, there’s lots of implied depth, it’s moody, it’s Black Hammer.

CREDITS

Writer, Jeff Lemire; artists, Nate Powell, Matt Kindt, Dustin Nguyen, Raw Fawkes, Emi Lenox, and Mike Allred; colorists, Dave Stewart, Sharlene Kindt, and Fawkes; letterer, Todd Klein; editors, Cardner Clark and Daniel Chabon; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Motor Crush 2 (January 2017)

Motor Crush #2

This issue’s not as good as the first. It’s still good, with some great art from Tarr, but Fletcher and Cameron try a little too hard with all the mystery. There’s protagonist Domino’s hidden parentage, there’s her story with her ex-girlfriend (who returns this issue). The chase scenes in particular make up for any bumps, but it’s still unwieldy.

CREDITS

Writers, Brenden Fletcher and Cameron Stewart; artist, Babs Tarr; letterer, Aditya Bidikar; editor, Jeanine Schaefer; publisher, Image Comics.

Jessica Jones 2 (January 2017)

Jessica Jones #2

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.

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 5 (January 2017)

The Flintstones #5

Russell tries a little too hard; he splits between 2016 U.S. political metaphor–sort of–for Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm and some really heavy stuff for Fred and Barney. Like, old war stories heavy. It’s well-written enough, beautifully illustrated, but it’s too thin for Russell’s ambitions.

CREDITS

Election Day; 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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