Arclight 3 (November 2016)

Arclight #3

Arclight isn’t just back, Arclight is back and pretty great. There’s a lot of content, thanks to how Marian Churchland paces and composes the art. And Brandon Graham’s terse exposition is fantastic. It feels magical and dangerous and big. Churchland’s art is perfect for big, empty, and dangerous. Graham’s strange organic, magic creatures are imaginative and always used measuredly. It’s almost reassuring in its excellence.

CREDITS

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

War Stories 21 (November 2016)

War Stories #21

Aside from some rushed art on the talking heads–but still great composition from Aira–and the romantic subplot not paying off, this War Stories arc is pretty fantastic. Ennis is comfortable with the characters and the setting. He looks at the fliers and their fears more than anything else.

CREDITS

Vampire Squadron, Part Three: The War Effort; writer, Garth Ennis; artist, Tomas Aira; colorist, Digikore Studios; letterer, Kurt Hathaway; publisher, Avatar Press.

Providence 11 (November 2016)

Providence #11

Reading this issue of Providence, I expected a lot of things. Moore didn’t do any of them. Even when he hinted at maybe doing something in the direction of an expectation, he didn’t do it. He weaves this beautiful closure to everything he’s been doing not related to the Lovecraft. And he gets to the Lovecraft too a little bit, but it’s less subtle. It’s not forceful, but it is more obvious to the reader. The other things, as they relate to Robert Black specifically, aren’t obvious to the reader or to Black. But the comic isn’t just about Robert Black’s story, it’s about Lovecraft and the Lovecraft world and what Moore’s doing with this series. Providence is about Providence.

Moore takes the pomposity associated with Watchmen, pomposity he never intended that comic to sustain, and he applies it to Providence. Providence is big. Alan Moore’s comics for Avatar are downright cinematic and this issue of Providence is a CinemaScope epic complete with musical accompaniment. I should probably listen to the song.

Yeah, listen to the song and read it again.

But the point is that Moore does something big and unexpected. He’s got an entirely different finish for Providence than he suggested. And given the importance of the commonplace book, it was definitely meant to be awesome, but also be distracting. Moore has distracted the reader just as Black has been distracted. It’ll be interesting to read it through again.

Great art from Burrows, of course. A perfect issue of Providence, which is just about as perfect as a comic can be.

CREDITS

The Unnamable; writer, Alan Moore; artist, Jacen Burrows; colorist, Juan Rodriguez; letterer, Kurt Hathaway; publisher, Avatar 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.

Hadrian’s Wall 3 (November 2016)

Hadrian's Wall #3

Hadrian’s Wall just got somewhere very unexpected. It’s not clear if the writers are going to take the unexpected route or the familiar, but it’s an impressive narrative development. The issue’s methodical, which works, especially given the art. Reis has a great flow to the interrogation scenes.

CREDITS

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

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.

Ether 1 (November 2016)

Ether #1

Ether is about a scientist who finds his way into a magical dimension. He’s got some Adam Strange-like conditions on his visits and a comedic sidekick. He’s also like Sherlock Holmes, complete with nemesis. It’s familiar territory but entertaining with some great art from David Rubín.

CREDITS

Writer, Matt Kindt; artist and letterer, David Rubín; editors, Cardner Clark and Daniel Chabon; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Resident Alien: The Man with No Name 3 (November 2016)

Resident Alien: The Man with No Name #3

What a lovely issue. Hogan and Parkhouse finally tackle Harry’s origin and do nothing, for the most part, with what should be the A plot. Instead, it’s just Resident Alien offering some payoff for characters its been promising for years. It’s daring in its dedication to itself.

CREDITS

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

Prophet Earth War 6 (November 2016)

Prophet Earth War #6

Graham and Roy finish Prophet with a weak, manipulative finale. Rushed art and an action movie fight scene. It’s decidedly lacking in ambition. Then they exit by pulling on the longtime reader’s heartstrings, but it’s too little, way too late. It’s a shame what happened to Prophet.

CREDITS

Writers, Brandon Graham and Simon Roy; artists, Roy, Giannis Milonogiannis, Grim Wilkins and Graham; colorists, Joseph Bergin II, Graham and Lin Visel; letterer, Ed Brisson; publisher, Image Comics.

Big Trouble in Little China/Escape From New York 2 (November 2016)

Big Trouble in Little China/Escape From New York #2

There are a couple plot twists and they’re both lame. Worse is Pak’s revelation Big Trouble Jack Burton has the same super powers as the Black Cat. Bayliss is weak on expressions, which doesn’t help Pak’s lame Snake Plissken characterization. Might be time to plan my escape.

CREDITS

Snake’s World; writer, Greg Pak; artist, Daniel Bayliss; colorist, Triona Farrell; letterer, Simon Bowland; editors, Alex Galer and Dafna Pleban; publisher, Boom! Studios.

Wacky Raceland 4 (November 2016)

Wacky Raceland #4

It’s the first issue of Wacky Raceland I don’t really care about. The racers end up in post-apocalyptic Las Vegas–complete with a comb-over gang fronted by someone wanting to put up a wall to protect Vegas–and one of them gets the rest in trouble. Will the cars, which talk into the same colloquialisms as the Vegas gang members, be able to save their racers.

The idea of the cars talking to each other, which I don’t remember from any other issues but maybe I wasn’t paying enough attention, is pretty cool. Unfortunately, it’s a lot cooler than anything the regular cast does in the issue. They get captured, they have to fight gladiator-style, Manco’s art is great. But there’s no momentum to the issue–the Vegas trip is shore leave, basically, and there’s not enough character development to make it matter. So it’s just a pause.

If it weren’t for Manco’s art, this issue wouldn’t have anything going for it. It’d be fine, I suppose, it just wouldn’t be worth reading. Not the place to be for the fourth issue. Hopefully Pontac’s got some better ideas on the horizon.

CREDITS

What Happens in Vegas…; writer, Ken Pontac; artist, Leonardo Manco; colorist, Mariana Sanzone; letterer, Sal Cipriano; editors, Brittany Holzherr and Marie Javins; publisher, DC Comics.

Frostbite 1 (November 2016)

Frostbite #1

You know what, Frostbite would be a perfectly fine graphic novel. Maybe not with the colors–Luis NCT adds a bunch of fake perspective with the pointalized coloring and it takes even more personality out of Jason Shawn Alexander’s art, but as a single sitting commitment, it’d be fine.

It’s about some post-apocalyptic wasteland with an artificially created atomic winter complete with a mysterious plague called frostbite. Freezes the body into an ice cube. Can’t you just see it on a TV show? I feel like the CW just needs to commit to a Vertigo anthology TV show and then we could get back to more interesting comics from them. But maybe not.

There’s a plucky, but dark, Han Solo-type leading this group of ice mercenaries or smugglers or something. Doesn’t matter. There’s an annoying scientist the team has to save so the world can be saved. It’s like when a TV pilot just doesn’t do it. I don’t care. The hook isn’t in. Not with the art; even though Alexander’s got the right setting, he doesn’t have fluid enough lines. His art doesn’t move.

And he’s really cheap on backgrounds.

Maybe I’ll read the first trade.

CREDITS

Writer, Joshua Williamson; artist, Jason Shawn Alexander; colorist, Luis NCT; letterer, Steve Wands; editor, Maggie Howell and Jamie S. Rich; publisher, Vertigo.

Doom Patrol 1 (November 2016)

Doom Patrol #1

The all-new Doom Patrol is so desperately hip, I wish they’d included the market research on whether or not having the protagonist talk about Twitter as opposed to writer Gerard Way’s letter assuring readers he’s not a corporate goon, he likes Grant Morrison. It’s edgy–there are swear words–and it’s quirky–wow, it’s like we’re not even in the DC Universe. This Doom Patrol would never have happened in the New 52!

It’s also so pedestrian, it should come with a list of Image comics from the last eight years people should read instead of this comic book. Admittedly, Way writes lame dialogue from page one, so I was starting from a hostile position, but then everything he does is something someone else has done better. Sometimes indie people–and it’s not like I’ve even read ten percent of what Image has put out in the last eight years–sometimes mainstream people. All of them, even if they didn’t have better art, did it better.

Because Way’s Doom Patrol feels a little like what would happen if, instead of cloning Superman in Quest for Peace, Lex had cloned Wes Anderson and made him make terrible comics. Only Doom Patrol isn’t terrible, I’m just being cynical because it’s a soulless commercial product. I mean, Nick Derington’s art is fine. Sure, a lot of it seems to be ripping off what Marcos Martin did on The Private Eye and not anywhere near as well, but it’s fine. Derington’s definitely capable of doing something better than the script he gets here.

As the flagship of DC’s “Young Animal” imprint, Doom Patrol makes me never want to type those words again, much less read them on a comic book cover.

CREDITS

Brick by Brick, Part One: Happy Birthday, Casey Brinke; writer, Gerard Way; artist, Nick Derington; colorist, Tamra Bonvillain; letterer, Todd Klein; editors, Molly Mahan and Shelly Bond; publisher, DC Comics.

The Flintstones 3 (November 2016)

The Flintstones #3

Wow. It’s beautiful and all, but, wow, what a downer. I mean, the whole thing is just depressing from page three, especially since Pebbles understands The Flintstones exists in a world without any value whatsoever on human life. It’s not hard to see what kind of commentary Russell is making about our modern world, gorgeous Steve Pugh art or not.

Space aliens visit Bedrock and basically destroy the place with their technology. It’s strange for a third issue because the main cast–even though they have important things to do–don’t have much to do as the main cast. Russell’s not building character relationships, he’s not developing anything. If Betty even shows up, she doesn’t have much in the way of lines. Certainly none memorable. Even Fred’s part in the story is only memorable because of how tragic it gets.

It’s kind of a heavy book. Gorgeous, but heavy. It might be too cynical, in fact. Russell’s writing is fine–I suppose the story’s a little light (it’s basically snippets of disaster)–but it’s fine. It’s just so fatalistic I don’t know why I want to read it. There’s better social commentary out there–the Fox News joke is the most obvious and the weakest–and I’m always onboard for Pugh….

But, come on, give the reader a single smile, right? PTSD group sessions don’t lead to smiles, neither does mass murder.

CREDITS

A Space Oddity; 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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