Milgrom sure does like some naked Peter Parker. He’s got Petey traipsing around his apartment in a too short robe, even answering the door for his landlady in it, then tossing it at the fourth wall to get into his costume.
The art this issue is rather bad, which is always a surprise. Spider-Man was the only character at Marvel with two titles to himself and they had Milgrom on it. He overwrites every line of dialogue, he has endless, moronic expository thought balloons… and his characters are completely terrible.
The only two sympathetic characters this issue are Flash’s girlfriend (Flash is a jerk) and Jean DeWolff (because she’s aware Black Cat is a dip too).
The rest of the issue is spent with Peter internally whining about Black Cat being a lousy girlfriend and bad person… just like every issue of Spectacular Spider-Man Milgrom writes.
A Hot Time In the Old Morgue Tonight; writer and penciller, Al Milgrom; inker, Jim Mooney; colorist, Bob Sharen; letterer, Diana Albers; editors, Bob DeNatale and Danny Fingeroth; publisher, Marvel Comics.
Perker’s full page of Amelia Earhart alive and well in the pages of Air might be the ugliest piece of artwork in the issue. And the issue is full of ugly artwork.
It’s also full of swearing. I don’t think the comic was PG before, but Wilson’s apparently gotten tired of writing dialogue so every third word starts with an f.
Before the lame ending and all the cursing and the worsening art–and Perker did such a good job the last few issues–I was going to make a comment about it reading like a sequel to Nevada, which I mentioned before.
For all the quirks and fantastical details, Wilson can’t seem to get a handle on actual humor. She’s also changed up the supporting cast again–not a nice thing to do every three issues–but the lack of humor bugs me.
Air’s mildly endearing, but never amusing.
The Engine Room; writer, G. Willow Wilson; artist, M.K. Perker; colorist, Chris Chuckry; letterer, Jared K. Fletcher; editors, Pornsak Pichetshote and Karen Berger; publisher, Vertigo.
Two things this issue really rile me.
First, the ending–there’s this hostage situation with the protagonist, Blythe. She gets taken up to the roof where the villain throws her off and she lands safely on some steampunk thing.
Steampunk thing not the issue–we don’t get to see her taken up to the roof. There’s not enough time, because Wilson has spent the issue on other stuff. This issue’s present action is appropriate for two issues, instead she does it in one. It would have been two lovely issues too, with lots of character and texture. Instead, it’s awkward.
Second issue. Blythe’s boss. Wilson has clearly come up with a very interesting character, but doesn’t seem to get, as the readers are reading a comic book, they only get to see the woman and hear what she says…
Unless the writer does something special, which Wilson doesn’t.
Masks and Other Memories; writer, G. Willow Wilson; artist, M.K. Perker; colorist, Chris Chuckry; letterer, Jared K. Fletcher; editors, Pornsak Pichetshote and Karen Berger; publisher, Vertigo.
Once again, Wilson has some really significant pacing problems. I imagine she thinks the reader immediately finds her details as interesting as she does, but the reader is just hearing about them or seeing something briefly related to them. They make very little impression.
It’s like she doesn’t quite know how to add personality when writing a comic book. Instead, she overloads on everything else. I don’t think it’s to compensate, but her approach gives that impression. Having a lot of detail doesn’t make something successful. It just means you have a lot of detail (or, in the case of Air, the appearance of detail).
All those statements made, this issue is quite good. The pacing is still off, Wilson not giving the reader time to enjoy any of Perker’s artwork, which is improving.
It also feels like her first story arc should be done this issue, but it isn’t.
Letters From Lost Countries, Part Three; writer, G. Willow Wilson; artist, M.K. Perker; colorist, Chris Chuckry; letterer, Jared K. Fletcher; editors, Pornsak Pichetshote and Karen Berger; publisher, Vertigo.
The second issue of Air works a lot better than the first. There’s the terribly overwritten letter the protagonist’s boyfriend writes her and it had me mildly upset, but it only lasted about a page.
Instead of forcing the reader to be interested by making things quirky, Wilson is letting the situations she writes engender enthusiasm and imagination. The ending is full of potential, overcoming the silliest thing in the comic (the villain from the first issue surviving a plain crash and becoming Two-Face’s clone).
The pacing is an odd mix of too fast and too slow (there’s only sort of enough plot for an issue, but the way Wilson races through it, the reader doesn’t get a chance to appreciate anything). There are things of interest around–Perker creates a distracting world–but Wilson is too focused on her plot.
Hopefully, the balance between art and text improves.
Letters From Lost Countries, Part Two; writer, G. Willow Wilson; artist, M.K. Perker; colorist, Chris Chuckry; letterer, Jared K. Fletcher; editors, Pornsak Pichetshote and Karen Berger; publisher, Vertigo.
Air tries pretty hard to get its quirk on. The book’s a fine read, but hardly monumental. Vertigo has put out series just as wacky its entire history as an imprint–I’m thinking of Gerber’s Nevada.
The problem is the Wilson is loading up the quirks at the beginning to generate interest. Maybe the Neil Gaiman blurb comparing it to Pynchon is where I’m having my issue–if all Pynchon does is have conspiracies and quirks, then sure, Air is like Pynchon. But if you think all Pynchon does is have conspiracies and quirks, I really wouldn’t take your recommendation.
But it’s hard to read that blurb and then not see Wilson as trying to make something fit into that “genre.”
It’s a very full first issue though, some nice narrative moves and is definitely worth continuing.
Perker’s art is okay. For every good panel, he has a bland one.
Letters From Lost Countries, Part One; writer, G. Willow Wilson; artist, M.K. Perker; colorist, Chris Chuckry; letterer, Jared K. Fletcher; editors, Pornsak Pichetshote and Karen Berger; publisher, Vertigo.