Captain Victory and the Galactic Rangers 6 (March 2015)

Captain Victory and the Galactic Rangers #6

I wish Joe Casey loved Jack Kirby a little less. Captain Victory ends with the origin of Captain Victory (as the young version sees it unfold). What’s it like? Well, there are nods to Darkseid, the New Gods, probably something from Marvel, whatever. It’s a bunch of Kirby homage and it’s all in summary and none of it’s in scene.

There are eight guest artists doing this history section and it’s disconcerting. It never lets the issue find of good visual vibe because Fox is back on the space ship and not doing much in the series’s actual settings. Well, there’s one great shot of the World Trade Center.

Is it a good finish to the series?

Not at all. Everything goes toward the homage aspect. Casey doesn’t care about any of his characters.

Is it a good Kirby homage?

Doubt it; he’d probably prefer people get a good read.

CREDITS

Writer, Joe Casey; artists, Nathan Fox and friends; colorist, Brad Simpson; letterer, Simon Bowland; editors, Molly Mahan, Hannah Elder and Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

Captain Victory and the Galactic Rangers 5 (February 2015)

Captain Victory and the Galactic Rangers #5

Connor Willumsen contributes maybe four pages to this issue of Captain Victory and, wow, it really doesn’t help the comic. The comic’s all right–it starts sci-fi heavy (something about Fox’s art doesn’t match the Kirby designs in the denser areas)–and the main action in New York City is great. Except when it’s Willumsen’s pages. He draws cute.

The issue has the young Victory clone and his vigilante mentor fighting an evil pig monster. Willumsen draws the pig monster cute. He also draws young Captain Victory cute. Well, more than cute. Pretty. Willumsen draws Victory as a pretty teenage girl with a short hair cut. It’s really, really weird.

But Fox is back soon enough and he and Casey do all right. The issue ends with a lot of alien tech art and not a lot of story. It’s not a good cliffhanger. But the rest works out.

CREDITS

Writer, Joe Casey; artists, Nathan Fox and Connor Willumsen; colorist, Brad Simpson; letterer, Simon Bowland; editors, Molly Mahan, Hannah Elder and Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

Captain Victory and the Galactic Rangers 4 (January 2015)

Captain Victory and the Galactic Rangers #4

Fox gets to do a lot on the art. There’s a lot of drama to the Earth stuff; between it and the adventures of the barbaric Captain Victory taking down a big monster, Fox gets to shine. Less, of course, with the subplot involving the guys on the ship. It’s really annoying this issue, with Casey desperately filling their dialogue with expository details.

Once things get moving, then get to the Benjamin Marra-illustrated flashback to Captain Victory as a boy (it’s a huge, wonderful Kirby homage but with an absurdly tough mentor ranger narrating), the issue just clicks.

Casey introduces a great subplot to the Earth stuff too, with the scientists creating a monster. In some ways, Captain Victory is too much going on at once and there’s never a chance to lock on any of the characters. In other ways, it’s smartly done fluff (with dashes of content).

CREDITS

Writer, Joe Casey; artists, Nathan Fox and Benjamin Marra; colorist, Brad Simpson; letterer, Simon Bowland; editors, Molly Mahan, Hannah Elder and Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

Captain Victory and the Galactic Rangers 3 (October 2014)

Captain Victory and the Galactic Rangers #3

Even though Casey is incredibly derivative–the Close Encounters nod is simultaneously cute and too much–Captain Victory continues to be a nice diversion. It’s not exactly a fun read, just because Casey doesn’t let his cast enjoy anything. There is some banter with the scientists on Earth who are looking at one of the spacecraft, but it’s over in a page.

Otherwise, the comic is very serious. And having Jim Mahfood do the adventures of a cat-man on a slightly hostile planet without any humor is too much. The comic has some great art–Fox some outstanding work–but Captain Victory isn’t actually ambitious sci-fi. It pretends to be ambitious sci-fi; Casey’s script is very traditional stuff. Even the artists’ page layouts are very traditional (even when trying to appear otherwise).

It’s an acceptable, enjoyable comic. But the artists deserve a balls to the wall script.

CREDITS

Writer, Joe Casey; artists, Nathan Fox, Jim Mahfood and Farel Darlyrmple; colorist, Brad Simpson; letterer, Simon Bowland; editors, Molly Mahan, Hannah Elder and Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

Captain Victory and the Galactic Rangers 2 (September 2014)

Captain Victory and the Galactic Rangers #2

Casey goes with a four-way split on this issue of Captain Victory. There's the original spaceship, hunting down the Captain Victory clones who are off who knows where. Then there's the full-grown, yet battle damaged Captain Victory who doesn't remember anything exactly; he's getting in fights on a garbage planet. He's not particularly interesting and Casey doesn't give Fox a lot of great stuff to draw on his story.

But then the stuff with the teenage Captain Victory on Earth in a bad neighborhood is awesome. Casey and Fox create this distinct look, where the kid–Victor–has a mentor, has friends, yet still has his goofy mission. It's nice stuff.

The fourth part comes in between Captains Victory on their respective planets–it's the flashback. Michel Fiffe handles the art. It's a boring flashback to Captain Victory's bland space adventures.

Even the garbage planet is better than dull flashbacks.

It's okay stuff.

CREDITS

Writer, Joe Casey; artists, Nathan Fox and Michel Fiffe; colorist, Brad Simpson; letterer, Simon Bowland; editors, Molly Mahan, Hannah Elder and Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

Captain Victory and the Galactic Rangers 1 (August 2014)

Captain Victory and the Galactic Rangers #1

So here’s the story to Captain Victory, near as I can tell–the captain of a starship gets cloned on death so he can continue to command. Pretty neat. Only the clones in this case end up in different places thanks to a time warp or wormhole. Dirty seventies New York and then some wasteland planet.

I say “near as I can tell” because writer Joe Casey front loads the comic with a bunch of information about the starship and its crew and its mission. These elements might be important, but they’re not the most important thing in the issue. They aren’t the hook.

So it’s a messy first issue. The art, from Nathan Fox, is awesome but somewhat incomplete. He doesn’t do enough backgrounds and so on. Also, bland sci-fi shots aren’t the best use of his time.

Hopefully Casey will get focused and the comic will improve.

CREDITS

Writer, Joe Casey; artists, Nathan Fox, Jim Rugg and Ulises Farinas; colorist, Brad Simpson; letterer, Simon Bowland; editors, Molly Mahan, Hannah Elder and Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

Hawken: Melee 5 (January 2014)

Hawken v2 Melee 005 1

So I guess–or I know, based on all the ads–Hawken: Melee is based on a video game. It’s apparently some kind of first person shooter in a mech. So, Battletech, right? Everything mech is Battletech, everything mech is Robot Jox. I know, I know, it’s not.

But I’m guessing Nathan Fox got to come up with his own characters and situation. It’s a future dystopia where some girl has to save the slightly dimwitted guy she’s dating by fighting bad guys and getting in mechs and saving the day with her brains.

Oddly, the story has more promise than Fox delivers because the protagonist is strong. He focuses on the action, which proves a mistake because he’s not really putting a lot of work into it. There are almost always white backgrounds with the action up front.

It’s fine. Fox has some good panels but not enough.

C+ 

CREDITS

Gadget; writer and artist, Nathan Fox; colorist, Michael Spicer; letterer, Deron Bennett; editor, Mike Kennedy; publisher, Archaia Black Label.

Detective Comics 791 (April 2004)

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With the exception of Bruce explaining to Barbara why Leslie Thompkins is important to him, Gabrych does a stellar job with the feature.

It’s Batman versus drug dealers, with a Mr. Freeze ice gun thrown in to keep it grounded in Batman-land. Otherwise, it’s just a procedural, which is a great approach. Batman investigates–sure, fights–then follows up clues and so on. Very good plotting and some great side conversations to pad things out.

Gabrych and Woods mesh rather well. Woods’s realism gets a boost from Gabrych opening the comic on Leslie and her staff, not Bruce out as Batman. When Batman does make his appearance, it’s in a great hunter fight sequence.

And then there’s the awful backup. Sadly, Nathan Fox–taking over the art–doesn’t help the bad writing. Most of the story is a bank heist and it’s visually confounding; Fox doesn’t have logical flow.

CREDITS

The Surrogate, Part One: Lost and Found; writer, Andersen Gabrych; penciller, Pete Woods; inker, Cam Smith; colorist, Jason Wright; editors, Michael Wright and Bob Schreck. The Tailor, Part Three; writer, A.J. Lieberman; artist, Nathan Fox; colorist, Giulia Brusco; editor, Matt Idelson. Letterer, Clem Robins; publisher, DC Comics.

Blue Estate 2 (May 2011)

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Blue Estate‘s second issue changes everything up. Gone is the private investigator. Now the protagonist is Rachel, the Steven Seagal stand-in’s wife. The issue is split between her and her brother.

It’s a fast read–without the narration, it moves speedily.

Osborne does a better job with the brother than the sister. He establishes characters, ground situation, all in dialogue, all without it getting too expository.

For Rachel though, Osborne has secrets and revelations to get through. He handles them all right; he’s keeping secrets not just from the characters, but from the reader as well. The purposeful misdirection is really obvious… especially since he’s willing to do a 180 and reveal other details. Sometimes on the same page.

The book has four artists working on sections. I can usually identify Nathan Fox but the art flows quite nicely together. The changes give the series a fluid feel.

CREDITS

One Day At A Time; writers, Viktor Kalvachev, Andrew Osborne and Kosta Yanev; artists, Toby Cypress, Nathan Fox, Kalvachev and Robert Valley; colorist, Kalvachev; editor, Philo Northrup; publisher, Image Comics.

Blue Estate 1 (April 2011)

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What a cool crime comic.

It’s hard to identify who’s responsible for the plot—the book has two story credits and one script credit—but it’s definitely peculiar. The narrator of Blue Estate is a two-bit private investigator. But he’s not a Bogart-type, he’s an overweight TV and action movie geek whose dad runs the police’s major crimes division. So he knows the lingo, knows what’s going on, just doesn’t seem (this issue’s impression suggests) to know what to do about it.

His “case” involves the Russian mob, a closest gay action star (who looks a lot like Steven Seagal) and corrupt cops.

Scriptwriter Andrew Osborne does a great job with the narration; it’s the private investigator standard, but made far more interesting by the speaker not being the standard.

The narrator would be comical, but Osborne and the artists don’t ever let Blue Estate become a joke.

CREDITS

The Rachel Situation; writers, Viktor Kalvachev, Andrew Osborne and Kosta Yanev; artists, Toby Cypress, Nathan Fox, Kalvachev, Paul Maybury and Robert Valley; colorist, Kalvachev; editor, Philo Northrup; publisher, Image Comics.

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