Day: 15 October 2010

Soldier Zero 1 (October 2010)


You know, I liked it.

I dislike gimmicks as a principle, but Boom! allowed advance reviews of Soldier Zero so I figured they must think it’ll get good ones. You don’t see a lot of advance comic reviews from any superhero publisher.

It succeeds because of Paul Cornell, near as I can tell, and because of the narrative construction. The titular Soldier Zero has these strange appearances throughout the issue, so he could be a video game character the protagonist plays. Goofy superhero outfit though–looks like a cheap toy.

The protagonist is where Soldier Zero works real well–he’s an anti-war, disabled Iraq vet and Cornell’s approach to not making him a stereotype is very interesting. Cornell drowns the character in stereotypical situations, but keeps him honest, making them real.

It’s not reinventing the wheel (it’s like Green Lantern with a wheelchair), but it’s a decent superhero comic.


One Small Step for Man, Part One; writer, Paul Cornell; artist, Javier Pina; colorist, Alfred Rockefeller; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editor, Bryce Carlson; publisher, Boom! Studios.

Orc Stain 4 (July 2010)


Stokoe’s colors might be my favorite thing about Orc Stain. I can’t decide. This issue is so incredibly luscious with the colors–One-Eye runs into a swamp witch who gets ends up getting into this poison battle with his pursuers. The colors in this battle are just amazing–Stokoe utilizes color in a popular comic in a way I’m not used to seeing.

Clearly, calling Orc Stain a popular comic has more to do with intent (I’m assuming, with that statement, Stokoe isn’t using the colors to convey specific meaning) than sales. It’s way too good to be popular.

Even this issue, with Stokoe’s almost constant exposition–there’s some more orc technology at the beginning, but it’s introduced instead of just emerging in the narrative, and then the whole poison thing (in orc world, poisons are very important).

But the writing’s strong; though it could use another sympathetic character.


Bowie The Poison Thrower; writer, artist, colorist and letterer, James Stokoe; publisher, Image Comics.

Orc Stain 3 (May 2010)


Wow, seeing Stokoe do an all action issue is something else. I can’t really think of a more successful such issue (I usually use “all action” as a pejorative), but this one succeeds because of the art.

There’s a lot of story inventiveness too–I love how Stokoe makes the orcs and their world really disgusting, but never so much it might be too much. Maybe because he doesn’t show any of the implied slime. This issue features all the orcs’ organic weapons, which I know has been done before, but it shows Stokoe is thinking, not just drawing an amazing chase scene.

The issue is mostly that chase scene, as the protagonist–I think he’s named One Eye–tries to get away from his former partner in crime. In the process, they destroy most of the town they’re in.

Stokoe’s movement is important here, since it’s a chase, and it’s simply magnificent.


Escape from Skrubtown; writer, artist, colorist and letterer, James Stokoe; publisher, Image Comics.