The Comics Fondle Podcast | Episode 48

It’s been five weeks, which makes sense since it’s not easy to find books! Even some mainstays have disappointed the last couple months… and, of course, some haven’t.

Floppies – The Weatherman, Punks Not Dead, Barbarella, Bloodstrike, Highest House, Ether: Copper Golems, Infinity 8 vol 2, Maestros, Jimmy’s Bastards, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Tempest, Redneck, X-Men: Second Genesis, Seeds, Kaijumax Season Four.

Retro – Love and Rockets.

Trades – Complete Aleck Sinner Vol 2, Fourth World Omnibus, The Complete The Killer.

Mixed media – Luke Cage, CW, Titans.

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Maestros #5 (February 2018)

Maestros #5

Willy goes to Hell! To ask for help. Hell gives Skroce a lot to draw. Some gross stuff in terms of blood and guts, some gross stuff in terms of dick and fart jokes. Maestros has such an excellent balance between those two interests.

Skroce splits the issue between Willy negotiating with the Devil–I think he’s got a name, but I can’t remember. The Devil hates Willy’s family because Willy’s dad–the previous maestro–gave him all sorts of weird curses. Skroce goes for sight gags and he goes for jokes in the dialogue. Everything in Hell is very, very good.

The stuff with Willy’s mom and his love interest being attacked by the evil elf wizard? While at a CostCo? Not as good. It’s fine, but it’s not as good. Skroce doesn’t have any humor for it; in fact, most of it’s just distraction given the evil elf’s plan, which gets a cliffhanger reveal.

Good issue though, as usual. Some great art, as usual.

Maestros keeps on truckin’.

CREDITS

Writer and artist, Steve Skroce; colorist, Dave Stewart; letterer, Fonografiks; publisher, Image Comics.

Maestros #4 (January 2018)

Maestros #4

I’m still excited about Maestros but I’m no longer worried about it. Skroce has got a handle on the book. He knows what he’s doing; four issues in, he’s established his characters. The split between present day and flashback–something he introduced and then temporarily abandoned–serves him well this issue. He’s got the mom back. The mom’s a cool character. She’s even cooler after this issue.

And the Maestro himself has an all right story to himself this issue. In the flashback, he’s background, but in the present, Skroce actually takes the time to explore the Maestro’s personal philosophy. We’ve already seen it in action–his attempts at benevolent ruling–but here Skroce shows it from the Maestro’s perspective.

Great art. Some hell imagery. Skroce does a good job with the hell imagery. And demon princesses. There are now demon princesses in Maestros.

Skroce knows where he can excel–visually–and he stays focused on those narrative possibilities. Maestros is conservative in its scope, but outstanding in that scope.

CREDITS

Writer and artist, Steve Skroce; colorist, Dave Stewart; letterer, Fonografiks; publisher, Image Comics.

Maestros 3 (December 2017)

Maestros #3

Skroce moves Maestros along faster than expected. He resolves his cliffhangers, he sets up for his next plot point, he moves through it, he repeats a couple times, he sets up his new cliffhangers. It’s awesome pacing, actually. Even though Skroce’s artwork on Maestros is breathtaking–especially in this issue, where he gets to do disaster and war action–his writing is rather strong as well.

Sure, it’s villains scheming writing, but it’s good villains scheming. He plays with some familiar tropes–the evil elf guy seems like every fantasy villain for the last twenty years–while still keeping it fresh. Only some of it is because Willy the Maestro is from Earth and not Fantasyland, but a lot of it is Skroce’s design of Fantasyland and its denizens.

There are good twists, some of the characters are getting more established–Skroce hasn’t established a firm cast list yet so it’s hard to get too invested–and it looks gorgeous. Maestros is getting better with each issue.

CREDITS

Writer and artist, Steve Skroce; colorist, Dave Stewart; letterer, Fonografiks; publisher, Image Comics.

Maestros 2 (November 2017)

Maestros #2

Skroce delivers with the second issue of Maestros. He’d had two storylines going in the first–flashback and present; he sticks mostly with present here, the occasional flashback for expository purposes. King Willy (is his name even mentioned in the comic or is he just Maestro?).

Anyway, King Willy is making some changes to Magicland. Kind of socialism. All at once. Even when people warn him he’s moving too fast, he points out (rightly) these people have actual magic. There’s no reason for delay.

And Skroce gives Willy a love interest. And manages a fantastic twist at the end for the cliffhanger.

Not getting the flashback split more evenly is a little bit of a lack. The comic’s a lot funnier when it’s the adventures of spoiled little wizard versus naive man-child wizard. And the mom doesn’t get to hang out much, which is strange since she had such a big part before.

But these quibbles are small ones; Maestros is holding strong.

CREDITS

Writer and artist, Steve Skroce; colorist, Dave Stewart; letterer, Fonografiks; publisher, Image Comics.

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