The Rook 1 (October 2015)

The Rook #1

Seventies and eighties comic book sci-fi is some solid stuff. The Rook tries to tap into the genre to get some nostalgia points and it isn’t hard–artist Paul Gulacy drew a lot of good seventies and eighties sci-fi. The classics, if you would. And I’ll bet Steven Grant even wrote some of them.

Not sure if ROM counts.

Sci-fi in comics has gotten a whole lot more mainstream–especially in indie books–so what do returning giants Grant and Gulacy bring to the genre? It’s nearly camp. It nearly feels like a sci-fi comic from the early nineties because of all the references (“Quantum Leap,” “Back to the Future,” Time Machine actually playing a part of the plot), only the style is from a different era.

But then, The Rook is set in 2015, so Grant’s doing this nineties look at college life. You expect someone to call another kid a square for not drinking the spiked punch. And it doesn’t feel like camp in those moments, because Grant’s just not caring about his cast. They’re not as important as the gimmick. Only the gimmick’s not particularly good.

The Gulacy art carries it all, even after Gulacy starts rushing (somewhere in the second half of the issue). Gulacy has the chops to make the characters likable and sympathetic, even if their dialogue doesn’t give them any personality.

The plot’s amusing, the dialogue’s weak, the art’s good. The Rook isn’t the project Gulacy deserves, but he excels with what he’s got.

CREDITS

Writer, Steven Grant; artist, Paul Gulacy; colorist, Jesus Aburto; letterer, Nate Piekos; editors, Ian Tucker and Daniel Chabon; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

3 Guns 2 (September 2013)

3Guns 02 rev

3 Guns ends with one of the more homoerotic scenes I can think of–brown-haired guy wet in a speedo and blond-haired guy (not wet in a speedo) facing off with some more of Grant’s macho man dialogue. You can actually hear “Macho Man” in your head during the scene.

If only artist Laiso spent as much time on his perspective as he does on the brown-haired guy’s chest, 3 Guns might actually look professional. But he doesn’t.

Grant and Laiso don’t spend a lot of time on action, which kind of implies Laiso can’t draw it or Grant doesn’t want to write it. There are a lot of face-offs and interrupted action scenes and they all turn into long tough guy dialogue sequences.

But that last scene? If 3 Guns really were yaoi, it’d be so much more interesting than it is as crappy action.

CREDITS

Writer, Steven Grant; artist, Emilio Laiso; colorist, Gabriel Cassata; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Alex Galer and Eric Harburn; publisher, Boom! Studios.

3 Guns 1 (August 2013)

3guns 01 covera

It’s amazing how Steven Grant can write such atrocious, painfully tough dialogue but still plot out a good comic.

I can’t possibly recommend 3 Guns because the dialogue is so silly but the story beats are pretty dang good. Guy on the run is discovered, made to do a job for some bad guys, discovers his former bromance partner is working for the other bad guys, has to agree to the job with his bad guys then Grant reveals the girl is actually playing both sides.

It’d be great film noir if Grant weren’t trying to turn it into an episode of “Miami Vice.” The art, Emilio Laiso, is technically fine. It’s not particularly artistic or good, but it’s competent… It just looks like “Grand Theft Auto” cutscene illustrations. I assume it’s intentional.

3 Guns probably needs good editing, which it’ll never get. So instead of being neat, it’s pointless.

CREDITS

Writer, Steven Grant; artist, Emilio Laiso; colorist, Gabriel Cassata; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Alex Galer and Eric Harburn; publisher, Boom! Studios.

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