The Order of the Forge 3 (June 2015)

The Order of the Forge #3

It’s the end of the Forge, but hopefully there will be more adventures of “tubby” Benjamin Franklin and “dick” Paul Revere and “loyal to the King” George Washington as they fight supernatural evil before the American Revolution.

Gischler has a lot of fun, as usual with the comic, but it’s hard for it not to seem rushed. Reading the first two issues of the series, it felt like it at least needed five parts. Instead, it gets three and the ending of this issue–which plays like The Goonies finale–isn’t enough.

The issue opens abruptly and–besides a kiss between George and his lady friend, who gets so little character development I forgot her name–closes with a bad action sequence. Besides the girl and (tubby) Ben Franklin, Bettin draws everyone about the same. So you’ve got four lookalikes having a fistfight.

It’s still amusing, just way feels abbreviated.

CREDITS

Writer, Victor Gischler; artist, Tazio Bettin; colorists, Bettin and Enrica Eren Angioliniletterer, Nate Piekos; editors, Ian Tucker and Daniel Chabon; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

The Order of the Forge 2 (May 2015)

The Order of the Forge #2

The Order of the Forge continues to be an unabashedly awesome comic book. Gischler manages to be remarkably restrained–even as he tells the story of George Washington, Paul Revere and Benjamin Franklin like it’s The Avengers or Harry Potter, he manages to be aware of the line between awesome and too much. It’s not a deep comic at all, it’s just an expertly done shallow one.

This issue has the three getting superpowers–Forge is way too amusing and way too great a concept for there to be no movie option hopes, but–once again–Gischler errors on the side of caution. It’s a comic book first, with Bettin’s art very aware of the medium.

And the story’s just good. There are nice complications for all the characters, there’s a good female protagonist and even the biggest Washington fan would never believe he as cool as Gischler writes him.

CREDITS

Writer, Victor Gischler; artist, Tazio Bettin; letterer, Nate Piekos; editors, Ian Tucker and Daniel Chabon; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

The Order of the Forge 1 (April 2015)

The Order of the Forge #1

There’s really no other way to say it.

Dude, The Order of the Forge is some kind of Star Wars hero’s quest–updated with more modern vernacular and R-rated interests for everyone–starring George Washington, Paul Revere and Ben Franklin.

And, dude, it’s awesome.

Writer Victor Gischler seems to know exactly what he’s got and exactly what he’s doing–historically accurate, full of supernatural mumbo jumbo, father-son issues, friendship issues, Ben Franklin being too busy whoring to discovery electricity–it’s simultaneously reverent to historical figures and full of piss and vinegar.

Piss figuring into the story as well.

And Tazio Bettin’s art is perfect. He handles the proper stuff just fine and he handles the action really well. The historical setting is nice looking when it needs to be and ominous when it needs to be.

It’s awesome. Gischler knows what he’s doing and is enthusiastic about it.

CREDITS

Writer, Victor Gischler; artist, Tazio Bettin; letterer, Nate Piekos; editors, Ian Tucker and Daniel Chabon; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Sally of the Wasteland 5 (December 2014)

Sally of the Wasteland #5

Bettin’s art is a little broad for the finish, which has Sally in a “normal” future environment. She and Tommy make it into safe hands, a huge underground society started by the college professors who knew nuclear war was coming.

Most of the issue has Sally hanging out with the female security chief, though Gischler does get in an action packed conclusion. It all seems little familiar–a little Aliens, a little Terminator, a little Planet of the Apes–but the mix isn’t bad. And the issue, even with Bettin getting lazy as the comic goes on, isn’t bad at all. It’s rather good.

It just doesn’t have an ending for the series. Gischler goes with a big cliffhanger, which sort of leaves Sally adrift. He’s not leaving it open for a sequel or setting up a sequel, he’s cutting out before the story ends. It’s frustrating.

But rather good.

B 

CREDITS

Writer, Victor Gischler; artist, Tazio Bettin; letterer and editor, Tom Williams; publisher, Titan Comics.

Sally of the Wasteland 4 (November 2014)

Sally of the Wasteland #4

It’s another solid issue of Sally. There’s a lot with her and Tommy, which is nice because Sally cares a lot about him and Gischler handles their flirtation (for the first time, joint flirtation) really well.

Most of the issue takes place in a flooded city and artist Bettin does fine with the buildings and even the mutants, but he has some problems with the cast. Their faces become too generic at times; it reads fast, which helps a lot. Until it becomes clear Gischler has written himself into a hole and he’s going to get himself out as fast as possible.

So much happens over so few pages, it reads like Gischler is getting tired, which is too bad. Sally has been a great ride–and even continues to be, albeit too fast of one here–hopefully he’s got a nice finish for the series.

It really deserves one.

B 

CREDITS

Writer, Victor Gischler; artist, Tazio Bettin; letterer, Tom Williams; publisher, Titan Comics.

Sally of the Wasteland 3 (October 2014)

Sally of the Wasteland #3

Gischler slows down a little too much this issue. Not enough to hurt Sally’s momentum exactly, but enough the cliffhanger feels protracted.

The ship gets attacked again, the cast is shipwrecked again. Gischler and Bettin don’t draw any attention to the similarities–and it does make sense, given the world is full of aquatic mutants (in this issue, they’re cannibals) but there’s only so much Bettin can do with shipboard action sequences.

The issue does move things forward–though somewhat confusingly–for Sally and her crush. Gischler takes an odd approach to the supporting cast–they’re immediately memorable and well-drawn, but they’re really just background to Sally and whoever else is important in a scene. The supporting cast is texture not possible subplots.

The abrupt cliffhanger kills the tone of its scene. But, otherwise, solid stuff.

B 

CREDITS

Writer, Victor Gischler; artist, Tazio Bettin; editor, Tom Williams; publisher, Titan Comics.

Sally of the Wasteland 2 (September 2014)

Sally of the Wasteland #2

Gischler finds the perfect mix of all action and enough story to get things along. Sally takes front and center, with her stranded party getting into trouble with some pirates. It leads to glorious ultra-violence, which both Gischler and Bettin relish in. Bettin has some slight problems on the art–it's a little too slick–but he delivers on the action, time and again.

Similarly, Gischler goes for the occasional easy dirty joke–which makes Sally all of a sudden feel like distracted Garth Ennis–but then he'll bring it around with moments of sincerity to his characters. Well, those types of moments but also some great action and great supporting cast stuff. There's a texture to Sally of the Wasteland; Gischler sees the obvious, sometimes engages with it, but he also does the work on everything else.

So, besides the two or three tepid jokes and Bettin's occasionally problematic art, it's awesome stuff.

A- 

CREDITS

Writer, Victor Gischler; artist, Tazio Bettin; colorist, Jon Chapple; editor, Steve White; publisher, Titan Comics.

Sally of the Wasteland 1 (August 2014)

Sally of the Wasteland #1

Sally of the Wasteland is great. It's going to be hard to talk about. Writer Victor Gischler has his post-apocalyptic setting and while it's tough and vicious and has a bunch of mutated animals, it's still humanist. It's thoughtful. Gischler starts with a relatively small cast and grows out from them, revealing the full setting. Or at least as full as he's going to reveal this issue.

He also has two really strong characters (both of them female); one being the titular Sally, the other her alter ego. There's a guy involved, but it's doubtful the alter ego will be interested.

Gischler has a lot of action, a lot of great conversation. Artist Tazio Bettin handles everything well. There are occasionally loose moments where the detail isn't as strong as usual, but overall, the art's great.

The comic's only detriment is the post-apocalyptic nature but Gischler's definitely bumping its ceiling.

B+ 

CREDITS

Writer, Victor Gischler; artist, Tazio Bettin; colorist, Jon Chapple; editor, Steve White; publisher, Titan Comics.

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