Boom!

sons-of-anarchy

Sons of Anarchy 17 (January 2015)

Sons of Anarchy #17

Every third or fourth issue of Sons of Anarchy, I write something about how it’s amazing what Brisson is doing with this licensed title, especially one about bikers, which doesn’t seem the most natural fit for a comic.

I need to change up that practice as of now.

Sons of Anarchy is the best book people aren’t reading. What Brisson does this issue in terms of narrative plotting–executing a bunch of little twists to turn the book from a talking heads to a montage to an action story–is exceptional. And Bergara’s art is essential too. So much happens and he fits it all in.

Brisson is committed to not let Anarchy be disposable. The issue he and Bergara create here is fun, tough, subtle. And Brisson plots it out as only a comic can be plotted out.

He’s using a licensed comic to advertise the medium’s unique strengths.

CREDITS

Writer, Ed Brisson; artist, Matías Bergara; colorist, Paul Little; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Mary Gumport and Dafna Pleban; publisher, Boom! Studios.

Robocop-Boom

Robocop 7 (January 2015)

Robocop #7

Seeing Robocop run–he gets upgraded–reminds of two things. First, it’s like running zombies. Second, it’s a little like Batman on ice skates. It’s just too much. Magno’s art is stronger than it has been in the last few issues so he’s able to tone it down and keep the action grounded, but it’s still too much.

However, Robocop being faster than a speeding bullet and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound isn’t the emphasis of the issue. The cops finally get around to going after the bad guy; Murphy gets some evidence, Lewis gets some evidence. Williamson’s Mr. Big is going down!

But not this issue. This issue has a boring hard cliffhanger.

Still, Magno does well with all the action and talking heads and so on and Williamson does really well with Lewis’s arc this issue. It’s problematic licensed property stuff, but still worthwhile.

CREDITS

Writer, Joshua Williamson; artist, Carlos Magno; colorist, Marissa Louise; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Alex Galer and Ian Brill; publisher, Boom! Studios.

star-trek-planet-of-the-apes

Star Trek/Planet of the Apes: The Primate Directive 1 (December 2014)

Star Trek/Planet of the Apes: The Primate Directive #1

It’s strange, but the best thing about Star Trek/Planet of the Apes: The Primate Direction so far is Rachael Stott’s artwork. And her artwork isn’t particularly good. She does okay with people in action sequences, less with the spaceship stuff, but her talking heads are particularly interesting. She doesn’t go for photo referencing the cast of the original “Star Trek,” but she does capture the actors’ expressions.

And, given writers Scott Tipton and David Tipton are really good at approximately an episode of “Star Trek” in terms of dialogue, the talking heads scenes are rather effective. It feels as much like Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner crossing over with Planet of the Apes in the late sixties as one is going to get.

But what’s the point? So far, nothing. The Klingons go to Apes Earth and cause trouble. Big deal.

Apes is nowhere weird enough for “Star Trek.”

CREDITS

Writers, Scott Tipton and David Tipton; artist, Rachael Stott; colorist, Charlie Kirchoff; letterer, Tom B. Long; editors, Sarah Gaydos and Dafna Pleban; publishers, IDW Publishing and Boom! Studios.

sons-of-anarchy

Sons of Anarchy 16 (December 2014)

Sons of Anarchy #16

It’s a really cute issue. Seriously, it’s cute. Brisson manages to tell a cute, life affirming story with Sons of Anarchy. If there’s the Sons equivalent of a teddy bear, he finds it this issue.

The story has the owner of the pot shop in trouble with an ex; now, said pot shop owner is in business with a biker and he calls the biker for help. So then the biker has this whole investigation thing–the comic really does read like a detective story, but the brute force kind, not the meticulous investigation kind–before he discovers the truth and then there’s go to be the reckoning.

Artist Matías Bergara is not ready for prime time. With some of the action panels, he’s not even close. Occasionally, it does look like he’s got a good talking heads thing going, but the colors mess him up.

It’s an awkward issue.

B- 

CREDITS

Writer, Ed Brisson; artist, Matías Bergara; colorist, Paul Little; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Mary Gumport and Dafna Pleban; publisher, Boom! Studios.

Robocop-Boom

Robocop 6 (December 2014)

Robocop #6

It’s a bridging issue. An undercover cop goes after Killian–in one of Williamson’s most unexpected moves, the character (who everyone is accusing of being an undercover cop) turns out to be an undercover cop just in time for the cliffhanger. Robocop gets beat up by the new ED–209, which has a silly name I can’t remember. And Anne Lewis gets into a yelling match about how she’s not going to back down from her job (with another female detective).

And Robocop gets new legs. He can run now. Not quite a jetpack, but… a running Robocop.

Next time, because this issue is a bridging issue.

It’d probably be okay if it weren’t for some real compositional laziness on Magno’s part. He’s wasting a lot of space, with angles intended to fill space with blah content. Without anything particularly good in the narrative, the art pitfalls hurt the issue.

B- 

CREDITS

Writer, Joshua Williamson; artist, Carlos Magno; colorist, Marissa Louise; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Alex Galer and Ian Brill; publisher, Boom! Studios.

escape-from-new-york

Escape from New York 1 (December 2014)

Escape from New York #1

I’m trying to figure out how to describe Escape from New York to those unfamiliar with the movie. You wouldn’t buy the comic on a whim, without a familiarity, because if you paged through it, you’d be immediately lost. Writer Christopher Sebela doesn’t really do an introduction, he does a direct sequel to the movie… then immediately invalidates it.

But, let’s say you stuck with it for a few more pages. And then you wondered why Diego Barreto is drawing the main character so blandly. And why is the dialogue so terrible? Sebela rips off a line from Terminator 2. In a sequel to a movie from eleven years before T2. It feels weird. But not totally awful yet.

It gets awful a few pages later with Sebela’s first “I thought you were dead” line from a diner waitress. It’s a terrible sequel; bad, officially licensed fanfic.

It’s wretched stuff.

D- 

CREDITS

Writer, Christopher Sebela; artist, Diego Barreto; colorist, Marissa Louise; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Alex Galer and Ian Brill; publisher, Boom! Studios.

sons-of-anarchy

Sons of Anarchy 15 (November 2015)

Sons of Anarchy #15

It’s once again amazing how much Brisson is able to do with Sons of Anarchy. Especially this issue, which seems to deal a lot with continuity from the television series. Instead of that continuity dragging the issue down, thanks to Brisson’s rather impressive use of expository dialogue, it makes it better. It provides foundation.

The issue has a rather simple plot. Gemma–the den mother of the club (i assume, still haven’t watched the show)–tells Jax (he’s in charge of the club) to go find her stolen car. The comic plays out over four scenes. Brisson has a big reveal at the end of the issue and the way he simultaneously ties that reveal into everything he’s done in the issue while still keeping it entirely separate is phenomenal.

Even with a simple story, Brisson gets Anarchy running beautifully.

Nice art from Matías Bergara too. Moody but still straightforward.

B+ 

CREDITS

Writer, Ed Brisson; artist, Damian Couceiro; colorist, Michael Spicer; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Mary Gumport and Dafna Pleban; publisher, Boom! Studios.

big trouble

Big Trouble in Little China 6 (November 2014)

Big Trouble in Little China #6

And Big Trouble is back. Powell is setting up a new storyline, but he’s also back with his core cast–or maybe just developing his core cast. It feels less like a direct sequel to the movie and more like a real one.

Maybe just because Powell finally gets to explaining what’s going on with Gracie Law, who was inexplicably missing from the first story arc–until now–but also because he’s developing. He’s developing Miao Yin (the kidnapped girl from the movie) and the friendship between Jack and Eddie.

The humor’s stronger too. Powell holds on to jokes and gets all the laughs he can from them; there are also fish people and dumb bikers. The only place where Powell stumbles is with the new villains–men in black–but not significantly.

Churilla gets a lot stuff to draw–the fish people–and some good action.

It’s good again.

B+ 

CREDITS

Writers, John Carpenter and Eric Powell; artist, Brian Churilla; colorist, Lisa Moore; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Alex Galer and Ian Brill; publisher, Boom! Studios.

Robocop-Boom

Robocop 5 (November 2015)

Robocop #5

Once again, there are occasional moments where this issue of Robocop feels a little bit too much like Robocop 2. Not even the action, but the way Williamson is moving things along for Murphy. The evil OCP conspiracy, him having to get fixed. In terms of action, however, there is an ED–209 fight and Murphy having a super-nightstick instead of a gun.

Also, Robocop not getting a gun feels a little too much like Robocop 2 as well.

I hate bringing up those comparisons, but Williamson was setting Robocop the comic up to be something different. Magno’s art is still gritty (though really problematic in this issue) so some of the details really don’t play.

But there’s good character work on Lewis, if her dialogue gets a little too much towards the end of her scenes. And some nice small parts from familiar movie characters.

Not bad stuff.

B- 

CREDITS

Writer, Joshua Williamson; artist, Carlos Magno; colorist, Marissa Louise; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Alex Galer and Ian Brill; publisher, Boom! Studios.

sons-of-anarchy

Sons of Anarchy 14 (October 2014)

Sons of Anarchy #14

Brisson wraps up the arc wonderfully. Everything comes to a collision, there's lots and lots of action, lots and lots of violence. So much violence and action, in fact, it becomes very hard to follow the art. Couceiro just has too many bikers to draw and Michael Spicer's colors are so dark, it's difficult to keep them apart.

So, even though Couceiro's art is strong as usual, it's the reason the issue isn't a total success. Too many pages have to ride on momentum to get through the visual confusion. Brisson has reminders throughout scenes and so on–and the cuts back and forth between sets of characters is good–but there are just too many players in motion. Eventually, people start getting lost.

But it all does wrap up and it's impressive how Brisson makes it happen. He intricately plots these arcs and the pay-off makes it all worthwhile.

Great comics.

A- 

CREDITS

Writer, Ed Brisson; artist, Damian Couceiro; colorist, Michael Spicer; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editor, Dafna Pleban; publisher, Boom! Studios.

big trouble

Big Trouble in Little China 5 (October 2014)

Big Trouble in Little China #5

Big Trouble isn't exactly in big trouble yet, but Carpenter and Powell's plotting is definitely getting long in the tooth. The comic opens with a very funny trip through various hells; this trip seems like it should be setting up the showdown between Lo Pan and Jack Burton. But it doesn't.

Instead, Jack is on the road again, this time with a different sidekick. If Powell and Carpenter's plan is just to send Jack away from Chinatown with one person and then back to pick up another, it needs to be handled a lot more obviously. This issue is also the first without some funny and slightly disquieting flashback to Jack's past.

It's a fine enough issue–and Churilla does get some excellent action sequences–but the series has stalled out a bit. It remains to be seen if there's anywhere for the comic to go… all of a sudden, seems not.

B 

CREDITS

Writers, John Carpenter and Eric Powell; artist, Brian Churilla; colorist, Michael Spicer; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Alex Galer and Ian Brill; publisher, Boom! Studios.

Robocop-Boom

Robocop 4 (October 2014)

Robocop #4

Williamson does a couple unexpected things this issue. First, he brings a level of what one has to call Robocop 2 ultra-violence–well, technically Magno brings it–but Williamson wrote the scene. It's a big hero moment for Robocop and it's awesome. Robo saves the day.

Then Lewis turns around and figures out a way to save the day a little bit more, if only temporarily, because Williamson doesn't have a short game for Robocop. He's going long with the series and he's asking the reader for something of a significant investment. He's going beyond the accepted norms for a Robocop comic.

Sure, the cliffhanger–gun control is so tight Robocop has to lose the sidearm–is a Robocop 2 moment in the worst way, but the issue shows some definite ambition on Williamson's part.

The really awkward scene where Murphy talks about dying is great too.

It's a difficult, not entirely successful comic.

B 

CREDITS

Writer, Joshua Williamson; artist, Carlos Magno; colorist, Marissa Louise; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Alex Galer and Ian Brill; publisher, Boom! Studios.

sirens

Sirens 1 (September 2014)

Sirens #1

Sirens is a whole lot of work. George Pérez clearly had this series in mind for a while, considering it’s a sequel to some other long-running series in his imagination. He’s not introducing the cast of beautiful and empowered caricatures he calls Sirens, he’s reintroducing them.

So there are a lot of characters, all of them in different times through history–not sure any of the time periods are particularly realistic. The Wild West one, where the schoolmarm is teaching the kids secular reads on religion themes? Not realistic.

The art’s okay. Everything’s really busy and detailed and it’s a bunch of new characters so who cares.

Pérez spends more time on the supporting casts–in terms of writing–in these various time periods, than he does on the lead characters. They’re supposed to be a surprise, sure, but they need some kind of depth. Even if it’s shallow.

C 

CREDITS

From Time to Time; writer and artist, George Pérez; colorist, Leonardo Paciarotti; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Chris Rosa and Dafna Pleban; publisher, Boom! Studios.

sons-of-anarchy

Sons of Anarchy 13 (September 2014)

Sons of Anarchy #13

So much talking. And Couceiro does a great job with all that talking, but the issue consists of four or five conversations and one suggestive last page. I can't remember but it might be the first time Brisson's done a bridging issue on Sons of Anarchy. Maybe not, but certainly never so deliberate as this one.

Worse, the principal conversation is recapping events the reader already knows about. Jax and the regular cast members have been guest starring in this arc, but here Brisson brings them up to a lead status… only there had to be a better way than the recap. The conversation just goes on and on.

But, like I said, Couceiro's art is fantastic throughout and he does keep those conversations moving. And Brisson's dialogue is good, it's just too much build-up. The arc, which is definitely different, is now lagging.

Brisson should wrap it fine though.

B 

CREDITS

Writer, Ed Brisson; artist, Damian Couceiro; colorist, Michael Spicer; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editor, Dafna Pleban; publisher, Boom! Studios.