Snarked 12 (September 2012)

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I guess Langridge gives Snarked a very grown-up ending. It fits with the fable tone he’s established, but it also got me all teary-eyed. It’s a philosophically rewarding finish, which isn’t the same thing as being an immediately pleasurable one.

Langridge covers a lot of territory. There’s a lot more character development than one would expect for a final issue–he has something like three big scenes between the major characters. He also has time for the humor. I never mentioned the Chipmunk, who’s on the ship’s crew and is something of a ninja. She doesn’t do anything this issue, but she’s a great sight gag.

As much as I hoped it would go a different way, Snarked is an outstanding comic. Langridge established three and a half wonderful characters and gave them a lovely outing. I’m going to miss Scarlett, the Walrus and Snarked quite a bit.

CREDITS

Fit the Twelfth: For the Snark was a Boojum, You See; writer and artist, Roger Langridge; colorist, Lisa Moore; editors, Eric Harburn and Bryce Carlson; publisher, kaboom! Studios.

Snarked 11 (August 2012)

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Langridge goes all out this issue in terms of obviousness. It’s okay though, he’s earned the right to be forward. He deals with the Walrus’s character and the Royal Family’s family issues bluntly. And he makes great scenes out of them.

In terms of the former, it’s not as blunt. There’s a great twist to reward the reader (and the Walrus). But the family stuff is blunt because it needs to be. Scarlett has to carry too much and the weight reaches its apex towards the end of the issue. The beauty of Snarked (and Langridge) is the issue isn’t over yet. There’s the funny, touching soft cliffhanger after the big blowout. It’s fantastic.

The issue reads reasonably fast; there are a lot of laughs to it and there’s a lot of action too.

Langridge does outstanding work, but I’m guessing the next (and final) issue will be even better.

CREDITS

Fit the Eleventh: Smiles and Soap; writer and artist, Roger Langridge; colorist, Lisa Moore; editors, Eric Harburn and Bryce Carlson; publisher, kaboom! Studios.

Snarked 10 (July 2012)

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Langridge comes up with some rather unexpected turns this issue. He opens it with a couple asides, first a reference to the occupy movement with the evil royalty back home, then the Gryphon running the pirate ship, before catching up with the main cast on Snark Island.

This issue isn’t as full as the last one, but Langridge still has some major events before the pirates arrive. I’m not spoiling, it’s on the cover.

There’s a lot of nice character work with the Walrus. Langridge’s intentions with him are so clear, the captain can even see them and comments on them. Snarked is warm and fuzzy a few times this issue. Always with some bite, but definitely warm and fuzzy.

Even though there’s a lot going on, Scarlett’s still the primary lead. Langridge rightly gives her time to discuss the family–and political–issues at hand.

It’s another great issue.

CREDITS

Fit the Tenth: Beware the Cyberwock!; writer and artist, Roger Langridge; colorist, Lisa Moore; editors, Eric Harburn and Bryce Carlson; publisher, kaboom! Studios.

Snarked 9 (June 2012)

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This issue is gloriously full. The cast arrives on Snark Island and Langridge sets them out exploring. But the captain has been to the island before, which leads to him remembering geographic features. Then there are the bickering lion and unicorn guards, then there’s the missing king….

It goes on and on, so much so the cliffhanger comes as a surprise. Langridge has already put his characters through two major challenges; one would expect him to let up a little.

There’s a lot of great character work in the issue too. McDunk magically becomes smart on the island, leading to some good dialogue exchanges, while the Walrus reveals more of his tenderness. And Scarlett has a big scene too.

Technically speaking, this issue is Langridge at his best. His storytelling skills–the way he paces the story, how he layers in the subtleties–are amazing. Snarked is a great comic.

CREDITS

Fit the Ninth: The Lion and The Unicorn; writer and artist, Roger Langridge; colorist, Lisa Moore; editors, Eric Harburn and Bryce Carlson; publisher, kaboom! Studios.

Snarked 8 (May 2012)

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Langridge brings the arc–it’s a journey arc, which is somewhat unexpected since there are so few navigation references in the issues–to a close.

Once again, Langridge focuses on the action of the issue. The evil Gryphon finds the heroes and sets loose a sea monster on the ship. And, once again, Langridge uses it as an opportunity to develop the Walrus as a character. There are little character bits throughout the issue, but the end clarifies–it’s all about the Walrus.

For that ending, Langridge unexpectedly promotes one of the supporting cast to more of a main role. Snarked has been relatively static in its primary cast; Langridge inserts the new character deftly. He had already established more of a role for him at the issue’s open, before moving back to the heroes.

As the story develops, Snarked just gets better. Langridge takes full advantage of its opportunities.

CREDITS

Fit the Eighth: The Frumious Bandersnatch; writer and artist, Roger Langridge; colorist, Lisa Moore; editors, Bryce Carlson and Eric Harburn; publisher, kaboom! Studios.

Snarked 7 (April 2012)

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I didn’t count but I don’t think the North Pole-South Pole romance in this issue took Langridge more than seven or eight panels. Spread throughout the issue, of course. But it’s a devastating little romance. It’s sweet, heartfelt and melancholic all at once. It’s quite lovely.

This issue our heroes find themselves trapped on an island with the last surviving dodos. Everyone manages to get him or herself in a bit of trouble–except the usually troublesome little prince, actually–and Langridge keeps them moving.

It all takes place–the island stuff, so not counting the first act–in a couple days. Langridge never focuses on the time, but Snarked never feels rushed or not rushed enough. It comes from Langridge concentrating on making each moment, even if it is building to another (or none at all), as pleasing as possible.

It’s a great way to approach comic storytelling.

CREDITS

Fit the Seventh: Beautiful Soup; writer and artist, Roger Langridge; colorist, Lisa Moore; editors, Bryce Carlson and Eric Harburn; publisher, kaboom! Studios.

Snarked 6 (March 2012)

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Langridge presents the heroes with a single challenge–a single one they know about, Langridge opens the issue with the Gryphon’s plotting–and, over the course of the issue, creates a second one for them.

He creates it subtly, but on the page, during a big action sequence. This issue introduces a pirate ship, crewed by familiar characters from Alice in Wonderland. Langridge gives them a lot of funny dialogue, making up for his regular cast being too busy in the action scene to have a proper conversation.

It’s a rather good issue; the two crews give Langridge a lot of variety to draw and a lot of personalities to write. He excels at both. He even introduces new characters later on–crews are big, after all–and they come into the issue seamlessly.

It’s one of the better all-action issues I’ve read. Langridge knows how to do it.

CREDITS

Fit the Sixth: Yo Ho Ho and a Nice Cup of Tea; writer and artist, Roger Langridge; colorist, Lisa Moore; editors, Bryce Carlson and Eric Harburn; publisher, kaboom! Studios.

Snarked 5 (February 2012)

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Langridge sets this entire issue–with the exception of the prologue featuring the villains–aboard ship. The heroes have set sail for dreaded Snark Island, but they haven’t told the crew where they’re going yet….

There’s also the matter of sea sickness, the Cheshire Cat popping in, an angry crocodile who follows the ship and then the crew themselves. Oh, and the little prince getting eaten by said crocodile.

So, while the entire issue takes place in a day and most of it in a morning, Langridge manages to keep it quite full. He also gets in some excellent character work, particularly on the Walrus. The Walrus and Queen Scarlett–this issue doesn’t focus on her as much, rather the situation–are easily Snarked’s best characters, but for completely different reasons. Scarlett is just a fun, strong character. The Walrus is on an unknowingly redemption trip.

It’s an excellent issue.

CREDITS

Fit the Fifth: How Doth the Little Crocodile…?; writer and artist, Roger Langridge; colorist, Rachelle Rosenberg; editors, Bryce Carlson and Eric Harburn; publisher, kaboom! Studios.

The Muppets 4 (December 2012)

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It’s Christmastime at the Muppet Studio and, of course, things don’t go particularly well. They also have a new fridge, which Kermit guards carefully. Piggy is trying to get a marriage proposal as a gift, Fozzie can’t come up with jokes for his sketch, Rizzo and Gonzo are trying to clone dancing yogurt… there’s probably something else I’m forgetting.

It turns out to be so packed, even Langridge can’t make the whole thing fit. He skips through one of the plot resolutions. It’s too bad, because it sounds like it might’ve been funnier than any of the other sketches.

Oh, see, I did forget. The Swedish Chef is trying to cook a Christmas Pudding; it escapes and wrecks havoc around the studio.

It’s nice, but lacking–Langridge has an overabundance of ideas and no way to properly fulfill them all. He had to pick Christmas or winter and missed both….

CREDITS

The Four Seasons: Winter; writer and artist, Roger Langridge; colorist, Kawaii Creative Studio; letterer, Litomilano S.r.l.; editor, Antonello Donola; publisher, Disney Comics.

The Muppets 3 (November 2012)

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Langridge gives Pops his own issue. Or most of one. Pops the doorman is going to have to retire and the Muppets have to figure out how to keep him. Langridge is only able to use that plot line for one sketch (and the closing music number), so he comes up with a secondary thread to run through–or at least get mention–in the other sketches.

He does an homage to Dream of the Rarebit Fiend with Rizzo (and gorgonzola). The sketch itself isn’t as funny as its followup scenes, which have some very funny references to it.

For Pops’s plot line, Langridge does a charming flashback to Pops’s days in the army. The principal (male) Muppets appear as his fellow soldiers. It’s just a page and a half but it’s great.

There is one confusing joke at the end. Langridge–presumably unintentionally–goes for a baffling visual punchline.

CREDITS

The Four Seasons: Fall; writer and artist, Roger Langridge; colorist, Kawaii Creative Studio; letterer, Litomilano S.r.l.; editor, Antonello Donola; publisher, Disney Comics.

The Muppets 2 (October 2012)

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Langridge’s does a beach party for the summer issue of this season-based series… except, since it’s the Muppets, things don’t go particularly well.

There’s a freak snow storm and the Kermit and Scooter have to figure out how to turn the show into a winter-themed one. Meanwhile, Fozzie gets an offer he can’t refuse and goes off to do summer stock. Langridge splits the issue between the show itself, the production problems and Fozzie’s adventure.

As usual, the best sketch is the huge musical number at the end. Langridge builds expectation for it throughout the issue–almost to the point of exhaustion a few times–then delivers. He’s amazing how he’s able to convey song and dance with static images and word balloons.

There are some good sketches throughout–Pigs in Space is the only filler–and Fozzie’s arc is a good one.

Langridge produces another fine issue.

CREDITS

The Four Seasons: Summer; writer and artist, Roger Langridge; colorist, Kawaii Creative Studio; letterer, Litomilano S.r.l.; editor, Antonello Donola; publisher, Disney Comics.

The Muppets 1 (September 2012)

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Animal falls in love. Who would have thought. With a gorilla, sure, but I still wouldn’t have thought. Roger Langridge has a lot of other side things going on–not many for Miss Piggy, however. She just gets jealous of the gorilla.

Langridge’s handling of the gorilla–Meredith–is rather interesting. One might even say Langridge thinks gorillas are dumb. She can’t talk and she’s incapable of a lot; she’s rather cute though, especially when she’s trying to impress animal.

Some of the other strongpoints are the songs–there are two or three–and the episode of Pigs in Space. Langridge does a great job making the songs simple and short enough one can “hear” them while they’re just written out. He also goes for a couple edgy jokes, in particular Rizzo making fun of dating between species.

It’s a very cute story and Langridge does exceedingly well telling it.

CREDITS

The Four Seasons: Spring; writer and artist, Roger Langridge; colorist, Kawaii Creative Studio; letterer, Litomilano S.r.l.; editor, Antonello Donola; publisher, Disney Comics.

Popeye 3 (July 2012)

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This issue just has the Popeye story and it’s really more of a Wimpy story. Wimpy’s hamburger lust goes too far and he finds himself challenged to a boxing match over it. Popeye steps in to train him, with Wimpy resisting one every page.

The story’s got a great gag finish (though, surprisingly, Langridge doesn’t take enough time setting up the joke) and Tom Neely’s art is fantastic. There are a lot of settings–out on Popeye’s ship, around town, the boxing ring itself–and Neely impresses.

But what makes the issue outstanding is Langridge’s scenes. He builds up these long, involved scenes, with multiple comic strip payoffs but over extended periods. The first one, where Wimpy offends his nemesis, goes on for two or three pages and Langridge tells it on three layers, all building to the final panel.

Thanks to Langridge and the characters, of course, Popeye‘s exceptional.

CREDITS

The Phantom Crusher; writer, Roger Langridge; artist, colorist and letterer, Tom Neely; editors, Ted Adams, Craig Yoe and Clizia Gussoni; publisher, IDW Publishing.

Popeye 2 (June 2012)

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Unexpectedly, the backup–John Sappo and Prof. O.G. Wotasnozzle and Sappo’s Wife Myrtle–is stronger than the lead Popeye story.

While the lead story is quite good, it’s a small story about Popeye getting into it with one of Olive Oyl’s latest suitors. The backup is even smaller, but Langridge excels with the constraint. In Popeye, he’s at play in Sweethaven but it’s reduced because his story centers around the Oyl’s new house.

The Sappo story has an even smaller setting and Langridge uses the constraint creatively.

He’s also dealing less with characters in the backup; in Popeye, one wonders if Langridge is dealing with the characters as typically portrayed–Olive’s a bit of a bitch, Popeye’s an idiot, Wimpy stumbles into things. Langridge is able to establish the backup’s simple characters in its teaser.

The Popeye story is still good, it just doesn’t excel like the Sappo story does.

CREDITS

The Worm Returns; writer, Roger Langridge; artist and letterer, Ken Wheaton; colorist, Luke McDonnell. John Sappo and Prof. O.G. Wotasnozzle and Sappo’s Wife Myrtle; writer, Langridge; artist and letterer, Tom Neely; colorist, McDonnell. Editors, Ted Adams, Craig You and Clizia Gussoni; publisher, IDW Publishing.

Popeye 1 (April 2012)

If I’d been paying more attention to the title page cast list, I suppose the story might have been ruined. Not having ever read Popeye (in memory… I may have read the comic strip as a kid), I was only familiar with the characters who were in the movie.

Roger Langridge and Bruce Ozella have a system for Popeye. Each page has nine panels in various arrangement. I wish I knew if it were Langridge’s idea or Ozella’s. It brings a comic strip feel to the book, without ever feeling constrained. This issue’s story, for example, has a definite beginning, middle and end. And the way Langridge develops the middle is just fantastic.

My favorite thing about the book is Olive Oyl. Langridge makes her stuck-up, judgmental and a little trampy.

I’ve never understood the appeal of Popeye. Langridge and Ozella may change my mind; their version is great.

CREDITS

The Land of Jeeps; writer, Roger Langridge; artist and letterer, Bruce Ozella; colorist, Luke McDonnell; editors, Ted Adams, Craig Yoe and Clizia Gussoni; publisher, IDW Publishing.

Snarked 4 (January 2012)

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This issue of Snarked takes place over a day. Langridge opens with the cast finding a place to hide and closes it with them heading towards their rendezvous.

In it, Langridge introduces a new character–who seemingly is only going to be in this issue–and spends a lot of time with carefully rhyming exposition. But it’s clearly a bridging issue. The next arc starts in the next issue and this one can’t help but read a little thin.

Maybe it’s just the plot. The cast is trapped in closed quarters, hiding from the villains. There’s very little for them to do at this point–interacting with each other, now the Walrus is clearly a good guy (if shady), is less amusing. Without outside stimuli, they suffocate.

Langridge’s art is still wonderful and the dialogue is still strong, but there’s nothing new here.

Hopefully the new arc will invigorate Langridge.

Snarked 3 (December 2011)

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Half this issue is spent with Scarlett on a mission to burgle the castle. The other half is Walrus, McDunk and the prince trying to find the quartet suitable transport.

Things do not go well for either set of characters.

What’s particularly nice about this issue of Snarked, besides Langridge’s wonderful panels (one of his best, sadly, is one of the smallest panels in the issue), is the plotting. Langridge is clearly setting the series up for a big event, one for a collection (their mission is just taking shape), but he keeps each issue separate enough to work on its own.

There’s a particularly nice juxtaposing of Scarlett and Walrus here. They’re the only smart characters; while Scarlett is much smarter than Walrus… he is more experienced. Langridge has it come through this issue.

Snarked, at the third (or fourth, counting zero) issue, has an assured depth.

It’s great.

Snarked 2 (November 2011)

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Langridge continues to build up Princess Scarlett in Snarked. She’s the only “good” person in the series, though the Walrus is showing himself to be… while not good, capable of adjusting his selfishness for the greater good.

What’s most peculiar is actually how Langridge follows through on something. The issue opens with the threat of the Gryphon, a bounty hunter or some such, and then Langridge actually gets around to having the character appear.

It’s an action issue. After the setups for the villains and the heroes, Langridge moves the action to the town’s business district. There everything else plays out, including the Princess getting valuable information and the Walrus and his sidekick fed.

Towards the end of the issue, Langridge cuts down on the wonderfully written narration, as Princess Scarlett sort of takes over. Thereby making sure it remains kid accessible.

Snarked continues to excel.

Great Kermit cameo too.

Snarked 1 (October 2011)

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Langridge has a lot to do in the first issue of Snarked. I’d probably be lost if I hadn’t read the zero issue.

But it’s not just a lot of little events he has to cover—Princess Scarlett becomes Queen and ends up in semi-exile, under the reluctant care of the Walrus and McDunk—he has to re-introduce the characters to everyone who hasn’t read the zero issue.

The result is Scarlett being far more dynamic. Even though she’s nowhere near as visually interesting as the Walrus—a formally dressed walrus in a porkpie hat trumps all—Langridge knows she’s the issue’s center. It makes Snarked, which is geared toward adults in terms of its intelligent humor (though Langridge is sure to keep it kid-friendly as far as dialogue goes), a great comic for girls of all ages.

Langridge gets Snarked off to a fine, confident start.

CREDITS

Fit the First: Forks and Hope; writer and artist, Roger Langridge; colorist, Rachelle Rosenberg; editor, Bryce Carlson; publisher, kaboom! Studios.

Snarked 0 (August 2011)

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I’ve been looking forward to Snarked since I first heard of it. I didn’t know anything about it, just it was a new original series from Roger Langridge. As it turns out, Snarked owes a lot to Lewis Carroll—both in the title and the characters of Walrus and McDunk (though McDunk gets named in Snarked, not from Carroll). The zero issue is half story and half back matter. The story is only ten or eleven pages and it’s absolutely wonderful, but more than wonderful, it’s filling. It feels like a full issue, hardly a half one.

The back matter is all excellent too, almost making me hope they keep including some of it. Langridge is just so thrilled with the material, it’s hard not to get carried away with him.

I love Langridge doing a “kids’ comic” featuring a lovable reprehensible character (Walrus). It’s even better than I’d hoped.

CREDITS

Looking for a Snark; writer, artist and letterer, Roger Langridge; colorist, Rachelle Rosenberg; editor, Bryce Carlson; publisher, kaboom!.

Thor: The Mighty Avenger 8 (February 2011)

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Cornfields. It ends in a cornfield. I’m not sure there’s anything more perfect. Well, obviously, not being canceled would be more perfect, but for what they have to do… Langridge and Samnee end it beautifully.

The issue does not play like a final issue (I’m assuming Marvel did not give them time)—the big bad is left unresolved (Bunson and Beeker make it) and, you know, Odin never makes an appearance—but Langridge finds a balance.

What becomes important is how people regard Thor (sort of) and Langridge gets it resolved. Also, the relationship with Jane needs permanence and Langridge brings that aspect too.

Samnee gets to draw “Mighty” Iron Man and it’s an interesting approach (suggesting there’s a place to take it for going).

It’s an excellent issue with a great last few pages. It’s awful to think there isn’t going to be any more of it.

Thor’s wonderful.

A 

CREDITS

The Man in the Iron Mask; writer, Roger Langridge; artist, Chris Samnee; colorist, Matthew Wilson; letterer, Rus Wooton; editors, Michael Horwitz, Sana Amanat and Nathan Cosby; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Thor: The Mighty Avenger 7 (February 2011)

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It’s hard not to be depressed. And not just because Langridge ends on the series’s first (and last) real cliffhanger. This issue is the second-to-last Thor: The Mighty Avenger.

Langridge opens the issue with Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and Beeker (I suppose Samnee does have something to do with it). Things weren’t working out in the Muppet Labs so they changed their names (slightly) and are now building robots to attack Thor.

Maybe more importantly, this issue is the one where Thor and Jane… ahem… how to make it appropriate for an all ages book… start sharing the same bed. It combined with Thor as a public figure in the small town, make for some great material.

The scene where Jane sends Thor off the work is a favorite; Langridge and Samnee sell it without cynicism or sentimentality. It just works beautifully.

Very upset there’s only one issue left.

CREDITS

Robot; writer, Roger Langridge; artist, Chris Samnee; colorist, Matthew Wilson; letterer, Rus Wooton; editors, Michael Horwitz, Sana Amanat and Nathan Cosby; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Thor: The Mighty Avenger 6 (January 2011)

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The issue ends with Thor and Jane’s first kiss. I wasn’t sure it was going to because Langridge was hinting at it a couple times and it didn’t happen.

The last few pages, leading up to the kiss, are some great talking heads stuff. Except Samnee doesn’t just do talking heads, he does these medium shots and it really brings a lot of charm to it. Of course, Samnee just doesn’t get to do the big kiss scene, Langridge gives him a lot of other stuff….

Thor dukes it out Heimdall, who has different shapes, giving Samnee a lot of action scenes to illustrate. What’s interesting about this episode is how it comes before the present action of this issue (and the last issue). Langridge never refers to it, but it turns out Thor’s been preoccupied this issue and last.

It’s wonderful. Samnee’s expressions alone put it over the top.

CREDITS

Thursday Night; writer, Roger Langridge; artist, Chris Samnee; colorist, Matthew Wilson; letterer, Rus Wooton; editors, Michael Horwitz, Sana Amanat and Nathan Cosby; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Thor: The Mighty Avenger 5 (December 2010)

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Langridge ought to write the Marvel story bible on how characters should be portrayed. His Namor is at once more regal and more human than any other portrayal I’ve read. Langridge’s Namor isn’t the mass anarchist (or a jerk) and it makes for a great guest appearance.

Interestingly, in the same issue, we’re treated to the first look at Thor’s real regal brazenness, juxtaposed against Namor’s self-awareness.

This issue Thor takes Jane on a trip around the world. They miss some stuff because of the adventure with Namor, but what they do make it to—redwood trees, the Great Barrier Reef—immediately reminded me of something else.

It reminded me of Superman (the movie) and its unashamed embracing of the wonderment value. Langridge and Samnee are applying this cinematic gleefulness to a comic book. It only took thirty years.

Thor just keeps getting better. It’s fun, thoughtful and rewarding.

CREDITS

Thursday Morning; writer, Roger Langridge; artist, Chris Samnee; colorist, Matthew Wilson; letterer, Rus Wooton; editors, Michael Horwitz and Nathan Cosby; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Thor: The Mighty Avenger 4 (November 2010)

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This issue, featuring the Warriors Three—they’re checking up on Thor for his father, unaware he doesn’t remember the details of his banishment—might be the best issue of Thor yet.

It’s hard to say.

It doesn’t do much with the Thor and Jane romance, which Langridge is pacing beautifully, but it’s just such a joy… one reads it beaming.

The issue is played mostly for humorous effect—Langridge’s version of Captain Britain is a hoot—but again he’s able to touch on some rather serious points. With Thor as the stranger in the strange land, this issue gives him friends. More, it lets the reader see Thor with his fellows. It’s not technically important since, you know, it’s a Thor comic and a familiar reader should be able to guess….

But Langridge makes it important.

Samnee gets to do talking heads, battle, romance, humor; he hands them all exquisitely.

CREDITS

Boys’ Night Out; writer, Roger Langridge; artist, Chris Samnee; colorist, Matthew Wilson; letterer, Rus Wooton; editors, Michael Horwitz and Nathan Cosby; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Thor: The Mighty Avenger 3 (October 2010)

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It’s a Thor comic, but it’s kind of Henry Pym’s issue. Giant-Man and the Wasp guest-star this issue and Langridge goes far in giving them their nicest portrayal in many years. Flashbacks to Pym’s past bookend the issue; Langridge uses them to give the character a resonance totally unrelated to the events Thor’s experiencing in the issue’s main body. It’s interesting to see bookends without some kind of analog in the story. It’s very nice.

Even with the big (no pun intended) guest stars—I don’t think the Wasp even shrinks down here though—Langridge spends a lot of time developing Thor and Jane’s relationship. He uses her knowledge of Thor (from Edith Hamilton, no doubt) to further the narrative, giving Jane a crib sheet for Thor. One the reader presumably already has.

It makes for some nice, delicate scenes.

With Samnee’s great art, it’s another wondrous issue.

CREDITS

Here Be Giants; writer, Roger Langridge; artist, Chris Samnee; colorist, Matthew Wilson; letterer, Rus Wooton; editors, Michael Horwitz and Nathan Cosby; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Thor: The Mighty Avenger 2 (September 2010)

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As much as I love Samnee’s art—and Mighty Avenger is, to some degree, all about Samnee’s art (he manages to capture the wonderment factor of superheroes, a lost art… even though it’s set in Oklahoma)—one cannot ignore Langridge.

The issue opens with a great summary of the previous issue, then it continues a few hours later. These hours, off panel, are spent with Jane painstakingly glueing together an ancient urn. There’s a combination of humor and painful reality in that moment. Langridge makes Thor more realistic—with his characterizations being real people—than most mainstream comics.

It doesn’t hurt Langridge and Samnee take the time to pause and reflect on their fantastical story. They give the reader time to appreciate it—more, they give the characters those moments too. The issue ends with a lovely, sad, quiet scene with Thor and Jane staring at a rainbow.

It’s perfect.

A 

CREDITS

Hyde; writer, Roger Langridge; artist, Chris Samnee; colorist, Matthew Wilson; letterer, Rus Wooton; editors, Michael Horwitz and Nathan Cosby; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Thor: The Mighty Avenger 1 (September 2010)

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Langridge’s approach is to make Jane Foster the lead, something I wasn’t expecting, but it makes perfect sense. Recasting Thor as a mute homeless guy (at least in her view) for half the issue was a little more questionable. As is the scene with Thor defending a woman’s honor against a ruffian… the joke, it turns out, is the ruffian is Mr. Hyde.

I’m not sure why I didn’t just assume Langridge knew what he was doing. Maybe because I’m not a Thor reader. But he and Samnee get something fantastic going here. I would never have said Samnee’s art was particularly “kid-friendly” before, but Mighty Avenger isn’t so much a kid-friendly title as just a revamp without cynicism. There’s no grim and gritty here.

The issue ends on a soft cliffhanger. Langridge and Samnee have already made the characters compelling, so it doesn’t need anything super-flashy.

A 

CREDITS

A New Beginning for Thor, the Mighty Avenger!; writer, Roger Langridge; artist, Chris Samnee; colorist, Matthew Wilson; letterer, Rus Wooton; editors, Michael Horwitz and Nathan Cosby; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Dark Horse Presents 118 (February 1997)

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I thought the other Monkeyman & O’Brien stories were bad. Here, Adams seems to forget how to draw with perspective and scale. It makes the story a hideous curiosity, but not much else. The script’s incomplete at best.

Then Trypto finishes up and it’s probably be Leialoha’s best installment as an artist… and Mumy and Ferrer’s worst script. Trypto apparently isn’t from space. No, he’s an inter-dimensional ghost dog out to do something. Get back with his original family. How he got the new family in this story is never explained. There’s also a talking raccoon. It’s a very strange finish for the series, which started so strong.

As for Dorkin’s Hectic Planet? I liked the art a lot. The story’s about Dorkin making fun of this character, both in plot with supporting cast mocking him. It’s exceptionally mean-spirited and not aware of it. Still, it was compelling enough.

CREDITS

Monkeyman & O’Brien, Gorehemoth – The Garbage Heap That Walks Like A Man, Part One; story and art by Art Adams; lettering by Lois Buhalis. Trypto the Acid Dog, Wheel of the Broken Voice, Part Six; story by Bill Mumy and Miguel Ferrer; art by Steve Leialoha. Hectic Planet, Part One, 5 Years Ago and Counting; story and art by Evan Dorkin. Dr. Spin, Part Four, Doc Spin: Agent Of A.C.R.O.N.Y.M.; story by Gordon Rennie; art by Roger Langridge. Edited by Bob Schreck and Jamie S. Rich.

Dark Horse Presents 117 (January 1997)

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Okay, Dr. Spin and Trypto come around a little here.

First, Rennie finally finds some kind of narrative for his characters (reassembling a disbanded team) to go along with all the comic book jokes. Though he does coin the title, “Infinite Crisis,” here. A shame he couldn’t sue DC. Langridge’s art is excellent, but the composition doesn’t allow for one to easily notice all his details.

Mumy and Ferrer find a story on Trypto too. The kid finds out his dog is some kind of space dog (Leialoha’s terrible about illustrating the bad aliens as cats though—it’s sort of incredible). The story’s a got a mildly touching ending, following a nice alternate reality sequence.

Then there’s the Aliens story, from Barr and Colan. Colan’s already in his pencils only phase here and Dark Horse published them without much clean-up. It’s okay Colan, decent dialogue, total waste of time.

CREDITS

Aliens, Headhunters; story by Mike W. Barr; art by Gene Colan; lettering by Sean Konot. Dr. Spin, Part Three, Requiem for a Heavyweight; story by Gordon Rennie; art by Roger Langridge. Trypto the Acid Dog, Wheel of the Broken Voice, Part Five, Days of Future Past; story by Bill Mumy and Miguel Ferrer; art by Steve Leialoha. Edited by Bob Schreck and Jamie S. Rich.

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