Day: 27 December 2010

Green Hornet 5 (June 2010)

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It’s interesting Smith made the villains the Japanese, which makes the comic seem dated… even if it takes place in the future. Smith’s never made the time period work.

This issue is–except the villain reveal–an all action issue. It shows off the Black Beauty’s technology (for those unaware, the Black Beauty is the Green Hornet’s car)–it can go faster than a rocket and it has a huge magnet for sucking the guns out of bad guys’ hands. And nose piercings. Though I swear the nose piercing thing is from something else.

As an all action issue, it’s weak. Smith does a fight scene, a chase scene, another chase scene, a fight scene. In between Kato (Mulan) explains to Britt how the Green Hornet works and doesn’t work. The characters have zero chemistry, mostly because Kato talks in declarative statements.

Smith doesn’t even plug his latest plot hole.

CREDITS

Crash Course; writer, Kevin Smith; artists, Phil Hester and Jonathan Lau; colorist, Ivan Nunes; letterer, Troy Peteri; editor, Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

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Green Hornet 4 (May 2010)

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Smith sure does have his way of prolonging things. This issue opens with the reveal of the Hornet Cave (or whatever they call it) from last issue. Then there’s some flashback while Kato’s describing the history of the Green Hornet to Britt–in other words, the first issue’s prologue is a total waste of pages since Smith is doing regular flashbacks in the series.

Then the female Kato–Mulan–shows up and she and her dad, Kato Kato, ship Britt off to China for safe keeping. Where he’ll be met by another Kato. Having this league of Katos is somewhat boring and Smith will undoubtedly explain it eventually, but getting it over with sooner than later might make one think about its silliness less.

The cliffhanger’s decent, but it doesn’t make any sense in terms of timeline or logic. Smith’s going too much for cinematic effect. It’s hurting his writing.

CREDITS

A Hornet’s Nest; writer, Kevin Smith; artists, Phil Hester and Jonathan Lau; colorists, Ivan Nunes, Bruno Hang and Adriano Lucas; letterer, Troy Peteri; editor, Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

Green Hornet 3 (April 2010)

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Forget everything nice I said about Smith’s pacing. This issue is a fast, empty read (no pun intended).

Smith introduces a narration here–it’s close third person, inside Britt Jr.’s head. The issue also features the death of Britt Sr., so I can just start calling Britt Jr. Britt.

It’s a bold move for a movie–undoubtedly Smith wanted a big star for the original Green Hornet–but for a comic book, again, it doesn’t work quite right. It’s not a big deal, the way he paces out the story. Smith doesn’t even deal with the female Kato, he just has her around for a bit, then brings back an aged Kato to mentor Britt. Presumably.

Smith does come up with good breakpoints. They’re not cliffhangers, just ending points. In other words… he’s doing a good job adapting his screenplay at times, but the content doesn’t fit a comic.

CREDITS

Sins of the Father; writer, Kevin Smith; artists, Phil Hester and Jonathan Lau; colorist, Ivan Nunes; letterer, Simon Bowland; editor, Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

Green Hornet 2 (March 2010)

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Smith’s Green Hornet script is based on his unproduced screenplay and it shows this issue. Not in a bad way–Smith comes up with an amazing action sequence with a female Kato in an evening gown using her heels both as weapons and as hooks–but it’s nothing special for a comic book.

The issue actually has quite a bit of content–there are lengthy talking heads scenes with Britt Sr. as he does an expository newspaper meeting (great way of doing exposition, though I’m sure Spider-Man and Superman have done it many times in the past) and then Britt Sr. and Britt Jr. having lunch. Oh, and Britt Sr. and the possibly corrupt mayor.

So Smith’s not being lazy, not even with the big action sequence at the end (it would be better with someone less glossy than Lau). It’s just not a comic book. The pacing’s wrong.

CREDITS

Happily Ever After; writer, Kevin Smith; artists, Phil Hester and Jonathan Lau; colorist, Ivan Nunes; letterer, Simon Bowland; editor, Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

Green Hornet 1 (March 2010)

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I’m guessing, from Smith’s use of pop culture references, it’s going to be a future story. Because in the past, he’s got Indiana Jones references and a white guy calling his hat “pimp.” So the present day stuff must be in the future.

Or maybe the editor just doesn’t care. Does Dynamite even have editors?

This first issue recounts the last adventure of the original Green Hornet, who will presumably be the father of the modern Green Hornet (or future modern Green Hornet). The most the presumed new Green Hornet does in this issue is moon the reporters. It seems a lot like the opening to Innerspace, actually, as he does it after his girlfriend leaves.

Lau’s artwork is really, really polished. It’s very professional and very boring.

Smith’s prologue idea is weak (his conversations don’t carry weight if it’s the characters’ only scene), but it’s not awful… just pointless.

CREDITS

Night and Day; writer, Kevin Smith; artists, Phil Hester and Jonathan Lau; colorist, Ivan Nunes; letterer, Simon Bowland; editor, Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

Fantastic Four: True Story 4 (January 2009)

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And it’s a happy ending for everyone not looking at Domingues’s art.

Seriously, it’s really bad.

But the final issue has a lot of charm–even if the ending is too short and Cornell wastes the cast of The Wind and the Willows. Having Toad run around with Johnny Storm seems somehow perfect and Cornell only hints at it.

Cornell’s rules for the story and its logic are pretty loose (I think Reed refers to it as the “fictoverse,” but only one time… as someone noticed how stupid it sounds). It all comes together nicely so the issue can end with a bow on it.

The problem with True Story is how unimportant the Fantastic Four are to the story–it could be anyone having this adventure in the… groan… fictoverse. It might even be better with other characters.

And with the Domingues art, it’s too ugly to be precious.

CREDITS

Johnny Storm Saves Books; writer, Paul Cornell; artists, Horacio Domingues and Rick Burchett; colorist, Nestor Pereyra; letterer, Dave Lanphear; editor, Tom Brevoort; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Fantastic Four: True Story 3 (November 2008)

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The third issue has some very weak moments–oh, the Austen characters are from Sense and Sensibility–but it ends with the Fantastic Four all dead, shot by firing squad.

Along with the little kid from Sense and Sensibility. So Cornell gets some respect for shooting a little kid. Even if it’s not shown on panel (Domingues would just screw it up anyway).

Cornell reveals the villain to be Nightmare, who through some complicated sounding way is all of a sudden able to invade fiction. What’s idiotic about this detail is the timing. Cornell ties it to a particular book being written. Only… no one’s done it until now? No one’s ever written about the conceptual idea of the character Nightmare (who gives people nightmares) until now? Given the intelligence Cornell writes with (most of the time, at least, excepting his scenes between Sue and Reed), it’s a tad contrived.

CREDITS

Total Nightmare; writer, Paul Cornell; artist, Horacio Domingues; colorists, Nestor Pereyra and A. Dalhouse; letterer, Dave Lanphear; editor, Tom Brevoort; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Fantastic Four: True Story 2 (October 2008)

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Well, if it weren’t for Domingues, Cornell might really have something this issue.

Cornell tasks Domingues with drawing various literary figures and he comes up with something out of a “Scooby Doo” cartoon. The artwork here does not cut it–Marvel should be embarrassed. Domingues’s style is unfinished (they should have given him an experienced inker at the least) and almost entirely thoughtless. True Story, this issue shows, needs a visual tone. Domingues can’t bring it.

This issue excels past the first (it’ll probably be the best issue of the series, given the events) as Cornell starts teaming the Fantastic Four with the heroes of Pride and Prejudice. At least, I think it’s Pride and Prejudice, it’s an Austen novel for sure. But it lets Cornell be funny–he’s got a great sense of humor (Dante bickering with an Austen hero).

The end has issues, but it’s a fun read.

CREDITS

Grimm’s Fairy Tales; writer, Paul Cornell; artist, Horacio Domingues; colorist, Nestor Pereyra; letterer, Dave Lanphear; editor, Tom Brevoort; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Fantastic Four: True Story 1 (September 2008)

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I really wanted to love Fantastic Four: True Story, but Cornell just isn’t able to make it precious enough. The concept is somewhat complex–Sue is suffering from melancholy and discovers it has to do with not wanting to read fiction. It turns out the whole world is suffering from a similar melancholy (a major problem with the narrative is Reed “discovering” that universal ailment–someone else would have noticed first).

So the Fantastic Four journey into fiction to find out the problem.

Cornell does a great job with Johnny and Ben–he even abbreviates their bickering, which only lasts a page, but is a fine approach to what otherwise would have been something familiar.

It’s Sue and Reed who come off wrong. Cornell has them blathering to each other like they’re out of a romance novel.

Plus, Domingues’s art fails. He doesn’t do either element–superhero or magical–well.

CREDITS

The Melancholy of Susan Richards; writer, Paul Cornell; artist and colorist, Horacio Domingues; letterer, Dave Lanphear; editor, Tom Brevoort; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Dark Horse Presents 78 (October 1993)

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Yolen and Vess have an absolutely fantastic fairy tale story here. It’s not technically a fairy tale (it’s layered, a nursemaid tells the story to a child, who it directly concerns) but it’s just wonderful. Vess’s art here is superior–he’s able to convey action, antiquity and fear. There’s one moment where it confuses, then it all becomes quite clear. Yolen comes up with a great narrative though. Her writing is the real boon.

Paleolove continues. Davis is on the second of a third part story and there’s no reason for a third part if this one is any indication. Not because it’s bad (it’s not good, but like most Davis, not exactly awful), but because the narrative is already stretched then as this entry closes.

Campbell reveals another character’s backstory in Hermes this installment. It’s so good. The details are indescribable due to imagination and complexity. It’s outstanding work.

CREDITS

King Henry; story by Jane Yolen; art and lettering by Charles Vess. Paleolove, Part Two; story, art and lettering by Gary Davis. Hermes versus the Eyeball Kid, Part Three; story by Eddie Campbell and Wes Kublick; art by Campbell, Peter Mullins and April Post; lettering by Campbell. Edited by Randy Stradley.

Dark Horse Presents 77 (August 1993)

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Oh, I finally get it. Paleolove means love in the Paleolithic era. To pay Davis a complement (my first?), he’s never tried so deliberately to tug on the heartstrings until now so I never really gave the title a thought. What amazes me is the artwork. He hasn’t gotten any better with figures since his first Paleolove story, sixty or so issues ago in Presents. At least he’s not getting worse.

Campbell and company don’t explain everything this installment of Hermes and Eyeball. I fact, I don’t think they explain anything other than the Eyeball Kid and the false oracle are in cahoots together. Again, it’s excellent work, very self-aware and very charming–which isn’t easy given the Eyeball Kid. He’s kind of gross looking.

Lang and Lieber’s Nanny Katie story is a lovely little story about an English nanny who can commune with nature. Delicate writing, great art.

CREDITS

Paleolove, Part One; story, art and lettering by Gary Davis. Hermes versus the Eyeball Kid, Part Two; story by Eddie Campbell and Wes Kublick; art by Campbell, Peter Mullins and April Post; lettering by Campbell. Nanny Katie, An Edwardian Nursery; story by Jeffrey Lang; art by Steve Lieber. Edited by Randy Stradley.

Dark Horse Presents 76 (August 1993)

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Madwoman sort of whimpers off to its end. Jordorowsky tries to do way too much–he introduces two new characters and kind of changes up the point of the story. He also introduces the possibility its all about getting a drug princess out of jail. It doesn’t even have a solid ending, instead making a joke about the protagonist’s sexual promiscuity. It’s a weak finish… but the art from Moebius is good.

The Chairman finishes up too. Moore introduces more characters and major plot point. It’s exceptionally poorly written. All I can think is the editor knew Moore personally. Robinson’s art continues to be bad.

However, the issue opens with Hermes versus the Eyeball Kid, which is a delight. Campbell is having fun this entire first installment. It’s funny but there’s also his delicate plotting–Campbell sets up the many characters with complex relationships. He’s off to a great start.

CREDITS

Hermes versus the Eyeball Kid, Part One; story and lettering by Eddie Campbell; art by Campbell and Peter Mullins. The Chairman, Part Three; story by Charles Moore; art by Andrew Robinson; lettering by Pat Brosseau. The Madwoman of the Sacred Heart, Part Seven; script by Alexandro Jordorowsky; art by Moebius; lettering by Dave Cooper. Edited by Randy Stradley.