Month: August 2010

The Walking Dead 6 (March 2004)

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Oh, good grief. Well, Kirkman certainly lays on the melodrama here. I love how Rick’s wife’s little dalliance with Shane never comes up again; instead Shane seems like the obsessed psychopath. I’m curious why Kirkman didn’t develop her character, maybe because he realized he could get rid of Shane a lot easier with her being blameless.

Umm. Otherwise, I guess it’s an okay issue. It’s kind of dumb. Is Glenn still in the comic? I don’t think he’s had a line in two issues.

Kirkman’s kind of trite–like when Lori realizes things aren’t ever going to be normal again–the zombie holocaust part going over her head apparently.

I think I’m a little stunned still with Kirkman’s handling of Shane. Kirkman has lots of dialogue and lots of stupid personal history details, but none of it matters because he doesn’t keep his supporting cast consistent.

He lets them weave all over.

CREDITS

Writer, letterer and editor, Robert Kirkman; artist, Tony Moore; gray tones, Cliff Rathburn; publisher, Image Comics.

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The Walking Dead 5 (February 2004)

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I figured out my lack of enthusiasm. Well, except for noticing the unoriginal parts. It’s because of Crossed. This issue they all sit down and talk about their lives before–Shane has a moment it’s clear he’s thinking about getting jiggy with Lori on the road while Rick was comatose (maybe Moore’s best quality is his ability to convey his character’s unspoken thoughts)–and I thought about the same scene in Crossed. There’s nothing interesting in this scene here, except Rick becomes less of a believable cop every issue. Unless he’s supposed to be Andy Griffith.

There’s also the whole discreet pro-gun thing. Sure, it’s a zombie holocaust, but all the arguments for the seven year old running around with a gun could be used by some white supremacist. Only they’re easily digestible here, because it’s the end of the world.

And did they make Glenn white? He doesn’t look Asian anymore.

CREDITS

Writer, letterer and editor, Robert Kirkman; artist, Tony Moore; publisher, Image Comics.

The Walking Dead 4 (January 2004)

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Ah ha, now we’re getting somewhere. Rick’s wife got busy with the evil friend–Shane–while Rick was laid out in a hospital bed in a coma. Unfortunately, Rick’s just going to forgive her without any drama, but hopefully Kirkman will give her the chance to do it again.

Can you tell I don’t like Rick’s wife?

But it’s also this issue where Kirkman introduces his first original zombie idea, which is a good one–and a little late, he could have done it first issue right after his 28 Days Later homage. The zombies attack by smell, specifically the lack of it. Rick and Glenn (his name isn’t Short Round after all) slather themselves in zombie stink and go gun shopping. Good stuff. Kirkman even had me thinking Glenn might die.

As far as the art, Moore has yet to make an impression on me. It’s competently illustrated, but kind of underwhelming.

CREDITS

Writer, letterer and editor, Robert Kirkman; artist, Tony Moore; publisher, Image Comics.

The Walking Dead 3 (December 2003)

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I think it might be me. I think I might not be suited for Walking Dead. I mean, it’s all very competently done and it’s sort of interesting if wholly unoriginal (the best friend really after Rick’s wife was no surprise, Moore’s art gave the character that body language from his first panel)–I just don’t care.

Kirkman’s characters are really, really boring. It’s like he goes out of his way to make them unoriginal–except maybe the little guy who warns Rick about his best friend, that character is interesting… since the evil friend is probably going to end up killing him.

I also don’t like the kids. They’re really annoying.

I’m sticking it through for a few more, to see if it picks up. Hopefully Kirkman will start killing off supporting cast members so I can remember their names. Also, some zombie attacks might liven the book up a bit.

CREDITS

Writer, letterer and editor, Robert Kirkman; artist, Tony Moore; publisher, Image Comics.

The Walking Dead 2 (November 2003)

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Wow, talk about cutting back on the drama quotient.

This issue is mostly spent on expository dialogue explaining the zombie plague to Rick. It shocks him a little but it’s all okay because he finds his family at the end. Unfortunately, as much as I love the celebratory emotional scene, Kirkman didn’t really make it mean anything. It’s not like Rick had a long, hard journey. The most traumatic thing was apparently having to jump from one building to another. Not even zombie related.

I’m rather unsold on the whole thing so far. Kirkman’s slight Southern dialect makes the characters sound forced, not real.

I don’t even know the Asian kid’s name. It’d probably be inappropriate to nickname him Short Round.

Speaking of names, we never get to find out what Rick names the horse he rides into Atlanta. It seems like a rather important detail and Kirkman skips it.

CREDITS

Writer, letterer and editor, Robert Kirkman; artist, Tony Moore; publisher, Image Comics.

The Walking Dead 1 (October 2003)

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I’ve been hearing about Walking Dead for a long time and have always meant to read it. Not sure what pressed me this time (possibly the impending television show).

My initial reaction? I’ve seen most of all this before. The opening, either from Day of the Triffids or 28 Days Later, is something I’ve seen. The dad and kid, seen them before. The race stuff, seen it before.

However, I haven’t seen such a hopeful protagonist. Kirkman sets up Rick–one issue down and I already know the protagonist’s name and refer to him by it, two points to Kirkman there–as insanely positive. He’s walking through a zombie apocalypse and he thinks his wife and kid are going to be a-okay.

I’m not sure if Kirkman intends it… but that kind of naive positivity in a protagonist is endearing–though it doesn’t fit with him being a cop.

CREDITS

Writer, letterer and editor, Robert Kirkman; artist, Tony Moore; publisher, Image Comics.

The Muppet Show 3 (February 2010)

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Now, another interesting move from Langridge. As opposed to the previous issues decisions, this one… well, it sort of makes even less sense in some ways. The story arc ends here–the Muppets return to their theater, which raises some questions about why Langridge focused on what he did in the previous two issues.

He makes the point of the issue about something mostly developed in the Fozzie backups of the previous two issues. All of the previous issue’s story elements involving the Muppets–excluding Gonzo and Fozzie–are ignored.

It’s a fine issue–a good one–it just doesn’t fit with the previous two. Langridge has some excellent skits, plays at least twice with storytelling in the comic book medium… though he does have one surprise I–and I imagine everyone reading–guessed at the beginning.

Overlooking that easy plot point, this issue made me wish the previous two were on par with it.

CREDITS

On The Road, Part 3: Box Clever; writer and artist, Roger Langridge; colorist, Digikore Studios; letterer, Deron Bennett; editor, Aaron Sparrow; publisher, Boom! Studios.

The Muppet Show 2 (January 2010)

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To keep things going this issue, Langridge introduces a town full of Statler and Waldorf’s relations. They make up the entire town (and the entire audience for the Muppet show).

The regular cast–except Scooter, it’s a Scooter issue–has little to do. First Scooter has to contend with Fozzie’s replacement, then he has to deal with telling jokes the audience will like.

There’s a lack of narrative thrust here–I’m wondering if Langridge is beginning to feel he’s running out of Muppet stories–especially given Kermit’s disappearance for much of the issue. He ought to be around, based on the setup, but he’s not.

So far, the Muppet Show ongoing feels episodic. And not in a complementary way.

It’s a decent read, but I’m not sure it’s good.

At least, the Fozzie strip–featuring the real Statler and Waldorf (for some reason Waldorf is frequently misspelled)–features imaginative work.

CREDITS

On The Road, Part 2: His Wackiness, Clint Wacky!. Garbage. Writer and artist, Roger Langridge; colorist, Eric Cobain; letterer, Deron Bennett; editor, Aaron Sparrow; publisher, Boom! Studios.

The Muppet Show 1 (December 2009)

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Langridge takes the show on the road–I wonder how many times someone’s made that statement about this issue.

The Muppet Show, as a comic book, has a limited number of possibilities–I think I’ve already suggested Boom! have a guest star (i.e. a comic book guest star) for each issue–so Langridge’s solution is to make the performances mobile.

It’s fun issue, though it has one of those endings of Langridge’s I don’t quite get (Piggy says something to Kermit, congratulating him, and he apparently uses it as an advertising slogan for the road show). Also, Langridge takes Fozzie out of the equation, something I’m not sure about.

I’m sort of assuming Fozzie’s absence becomes important later, as Langridge does use continuity in the series (another odd feature, given the original television show).

Some really nice songs, great jokes and lovely Langridge artwork make the comic a fine read.

CREDITS

On The Road, Part 1: Watch That Tiger. Alphabear. Writer and artist, Roger Langridge; colorist, Mickey Clausen; letterer, Deron Bennett; editor, Aaron Sparrow; publisher, Boom! Studios.

The Muppet Show 0 (November 2009)

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I’m not sure why Boom! did a zero issue of The Muppet Show. Maybe to show off a different artist could illustrate Langridge’s scripts to good effect?

Paroline does a good job faking Langridge’s style, so much I didn’t even realize it wasn’t him until the second or third page. I just assumed he was being lazy because it was a zero issue.

As it turns out, he’s not being lazy. While the issue is a story within a story–Fozzie and Rizzo are trying to pitch a Pigs in Space movie and we get their disastrous pitch and the movie summarized–there’s a lot of the Muppet Show regulars. In fact, I think everyone shows up for a moment, except Rowlf and Scooter.

So, after thinking it was a strange thing to put forth as a zero issue, it turns out it’s a good sample of Langridge’s take on the Muppets.

CREDITS

Pigs In Space! The Movie; writer, Roger Langridge; artist and letterer, Shelli Paroline; colorist, Digikore Studios; editor, Aaron Sparrow; publisher, Boom! Studios.

The Coffin 4 (May 2001)

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Hester spent the almost the entire first issue establishing Ahmad as an unlikable person.

Dying and being resurrected as a plastic superman has been the best thing for him.

But this issue, when Hester’s got to write his dialogue, his narration, as this new good person… he can’t do it convincingly. Instead, he writes all of Ahmad’s lines in short sentences, his narration describing events more than emotions. He’s so detached from the character, Hester gives the epilogue to the villain, avoiding a sincere emotional moment.

Those complaints made, the Coffin ends well. The last issue is the most action oriented of the series and Huddleston illustrates those scenes well. He has to keep the nightmarish elements intact, action or not, and does. With a different artist, the Coffin might have just looked like Iron Man.

Hester’s emphasis on metaphysical hooey seems to have hampered the series, but not significantly.

CREDITS

Writer, Phil Hester; artist, Mike Huddleston; letterer, Gary Peterson; editor, Jamie S. Rich; publisher, Oni Press.

The Coffin 3 (January 2001)

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Hester changes it up again this issue, to similarly good results.

This time, he doesn’t just spread the issue out, he actually lets time pass off panel, which he didn’t really do in the second issue. This issue, for example, doesn’t open with a resolution to the previous one’s conclusion. Instead, Hester takes a little time out. He eventually gets to a big scene suggested last issue… but a lot happens before it.

Huddleston’s art lets Hester get away with not having action set pieces. Huddleston doing a talking head scene between Ahmad, looking pretty much like a robot, and another scientist… it has all the action one needs. Maybe it’s because Ahmad’s suit (the titular Coffin) is always giving off steam or smoke, there’s this hint of motion, of action.

But Hester goes even further, coming up with a fantastic plot twist.

I’m sad there’s only one issue left.

CREDITS

Writer, Phil Hester; artist, Mike Huddleston; letterer, Gary Peterson; editor, Jamie S. Rich; publisher, Oni Press.

The Coffin 2 (November 2000)

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The pacing on the second issue is completely different from the first, which is both good and bad.

On the good side, there’s almost none of the Hell stuff in this issue. There’s some, but it’s so visual, I can forgive it to get to see Mike Huddleston draw some demonic sphinx.

But on the bad side… Hester gets loose with the logic of the plotting. He creates the protagonist’s pseudo-adversary in less time than it took the protagonist to be created (or recreated). Then the ending is on some weird fast forward too, as the protagonist–Ahmad–walks through this endless night (while his daughter’s babysitter is learning the daughter is now an orphan) and the adversary is created.

It makes tonal sense as a montage of sorts, sure, but it doesn’t make any sense in terms of the Coffin’s established plotting.

Small quibbles about a good comic.

CREDITS

Writer, Phil Hester; artist, Mike Huddleston; letterer, Gary Peterson; editor, Jamie S. Rich; publisher, Oni Press.

The Coffin 1 (September 2000)

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A lot of the issue is spent in Hell. Well, at least a third of it. There’s a lot of visuals of Hell and those are cool because it’s Mike Huddleston and I love Mike Huddleston. Unfortunately, the stuff in Hell is totally unimportant. Even when it seems like it’s reaching a point of being useful, turns out it’s not.

But it’s a really nice read. Hester’s protagonist is a complete jerk (he does go to Hell after all) and the issue is plotted something similar to Swamp Thing’s origin. Only, you know, the guy’s a jerk.

There’s a little too much science too, but only at the beginning.

It’s kind of strange to talk about the series so far, since there’s little hint of what’s to come–except the “hero” going after his killers. Hester spends the issue showing why he can bring the protagonist back and then kills him.

CREDITS

Writer, Phil Hester; artist, Mike Huddleston; letterer, Gary Peterson; editor, Jamie S. Rich; publisher, Oni Press.