Boom!

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.

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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.

wild's-end

Wild’s End 1 (September 2014)

Wild's End #1

Wild’s End is supposed to be The War of the Worlds meets The Wind in the Willows. Only Dan Abnett’s approach to the quaint British townsfolk isn’t Willows, it’s a bad BBC show. There’s the sexy bruiser, there are the closeted elected officials, there are the annoying townsfolk. It’s dumb.

But End has some more problems. I.N.J. Culbard’s art isn’t anywhere near detailed enough or stylistic enough. The animal (properly attired, of course) cast is boring to look at. Culbard has no personality to the animals. Sure, doing anthropomorphized characters well probably isn’t easy but Culbard doesn’t even seem to be trying.

Some of the problem seems to be the lack of seriousness with End. Willows has, in recent years, become recognized as a work of literature and Worlds certainly has a solid reputation. Abnett and Culbard seem to be cashing in for a possible cheap CGI movie deal.

Boo.

D 

CREDITS

The Village Fete; writer, Dan Abnett; artist and letterer, I.N.J. Culbard; editors, Cameron Chittock and Dafna Pleban; publisher, Boom! Studios.

big trouble

Big Trouble in Little China 4 (September 2014)

Big Trouble in Little China #4

Even with some amusing jokes throughout, this issue is easily the weakest so far. It’s still pretty darn good–like I said, the jokes are amusing and Powell consistently rewards the reader with them, either big jokes or small. In some ways, Powell is making observations about Big Trouble to its fans, which is fine when the story’s good too.

And the story here isn’t particularly good. There’s a protracted conclusion to the cliffhanger with the stupid monkey guys in the other dimension, then it’s back to Chinatown for the big build-up. Powell awkwardly goes sincere for Jack’s flashback this issue too.

Churilla gets a few cool things to draw; not as many as he should.

The cliffhanger is predictable and unfortunate. It’s a bridging issue and Powell’s enthusiasm can’t maintain it. Powell also has way too many little plot twists and not enough actual content.

It’s entertaining instead of exceptional.

B 

CREDITS

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

Robocop-Boom

Robocop 3 (September 2014)

Robocop #3

This issue is the best one Williamson’s written so far. It’s not Magno’s drawn; he’s better than last time but there are still a lot of perspective issues. They make the body proportions look off when they aren’t. It’s too bad.

The issue opens with a flashback to villain Killian’s youthful offending days. It’s a good move, since Williamson is able to use information from it to flesh out the character in the present action.

Williamson also gives the cops enough to do. He has a new supporting cast member, a detective–who I really hope stays because she plays off Lewis well–and some actual investigating for Lewis and Murphy. They banter sparingly; Williamson shows restraint but it’s also the most personality he’s given Murphy to date.

The issue’s an excellent mix all around. Williamson opens it up a little, peopling the comic.

Only the cliffhanger flops. It feels too familiar.

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 12 (August 2014)

Sons of Anarchy #12

Brisson sure does have a complicated situation setup. Not bad complicated, good complicated. The regular Sons members are still supporting cast and maybe even moreso with Brisson introducing the father of a guy who died in a meth lab. Either this new character is going to be a long-term player in the arc or short-term but the way Brisson is weaving the plot strands is phenomenal.

There are three subplots and none of them have to do with the Sons of Anarchy, regular or guest starring. Instead, they’re to emphasize the villains. With a different writer, it might give the titular characters less to do, but Brisson still drives the main plot through SAMTAZ and its dealing with the bad guys.

The comic continues–with Couceiro’s as usual excellent art–to be an oddity of a licensed property. Brisson, Couceiro and BOOM! are unfailingly ambitious with the comic.

B+ 

CREDITS

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

black-market

Black Market 2 (August 2014)

Black Market #2

Two issues into a four issue limited series and I can't figure out why I'm supposed to be reading the comic. Barbiere's writing is–at best–mediocre. Not because there's anything particularly wrong with it, but because there's nothing particularly good about it. He's not just not doing anything original, he's not even trying to be imaginative. He's got his hook, he's running with it and he doesn't mind it being highly derivative.

Santos's art continues to be the comic's redeeming factor, especially since Barbiere gives him an action sequence or two this time. Santos makes the chase sequence, which goes on too long as far as writing, work out beautifully. Though it is Barbiere who comes up with the strong conclusion to the chase.

If Black Market had anything distinctive to it–besides Santos's art–it might be something significant. Or at least compelling. It'd be nice if it were compelling for once.

B- 

CREDITS

Writer, Frank J. Barbiere; artist, Victor Santos; colorist, Adam Metcalfe; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Chris Rosa and Eric Harburn; publisher, Boom! Studios.

Thomas-Alsop

Thomas Alsop 3 (August 2014)

Thomas Alsop #3

If you think about it longer than fifteen seconds, Miskiewicz’s big reveal about 9/11 is offensive. It’d be offensive if it were about the death of Elvis Presley or the Battle of Verdun; he’s hijacking a real event to drive his story. See, 9/11 is apparently about these bad warlocks in the eighteenth century planting haunted wood on Manhattan.

Is it not supposed to be offensive because it’s magical and stupid? Maybe. But it’s definitely magical and it’s definitely stupid and it’s also still offensive. Miskiewicz is latching on to the biggest event in U.S. history in decades. It isn’t to better Thomas Alsop, it’s to give the comic a story.

Yuck.

There’s also a long drug induced hallucination setup and it doesn’t give Schmidt much to draw. The murky visions into the past, flashbacks in flashbacks, it’s just too much.

Maybe it’s too dumb to be offensive. Or not.

D 

CREDITS

The Hand of the Island, Part Three; writer, Chris Miskiewicz; artist, Palle Schmidt; letterer, Deron Bennett; editors, Jasmine Amiri and Ian Brill; publisher, Boom! Studios.

big trouble

Big Trouble in Little China 3 (August 2014)

Big Trouble In Little China #3

It’s a little too fast of a read–Powell tries to slow it down a bit with a flashback to one of Jack Burton’s wives, who all appear to be evil women who can brainwash him into terrible deeds–but it’s another excellent issue.

Powell, Churilla and Carpenter (possibly) goof on the whole quest aspect of the story. It gets an explanation for the soft cliffhanger, but it’s a case of Jack Burton being the right guy in the right place at the right time, which might be the biggest difference between the movie and this comic. In the comic, his buffoonery actually gets things done.

The jokes are good–in the case of the three bad chimps out to avenge themselves on the heroes, really good–and the art’s good.

Big Trouble continues to be a silly, irreverent, excellent time. Its strengths more than compensate for the pacing issues.

B+ 

CREDITS

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

Robocop-Boom

Robocop 2 (August 2014)

Robocop #2

Robocop continues to have problems, but this issue they're different ones. For instance, Magno's art isn't as detailed. He's concentrating on foreground figures and letting the backgrounds go loose (with a handful of splash page exceptions). And his figures get flatter as the issue progresses.

But Williamson is doing better with Robocop and Lewis. Most of Robo's scenes are action ones to further the plot–Detroit is banning guns and the cops are out collecting, so it's a lot of quick scenes of Robocop in action. Good stuff. As for character development, it comes later and Williamson only teases this issue. His Robocop is going to be complicated; his promise seems sincere enough to allow for a delay.

The problem's the villains. He's got a crime boss masquerading as a community leader and then some out of town bad guys coming in. They're so peculiar they're distracting.

Like I said… problems.

B 

CREDITS

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

daymen

Day Men 4 (July 2014)

Day Men #4

Day Men is on its fourth issue. About a year after its first issue. No one’s going to tell Brian Stelfreeze to hurry up and try to do a monthly and it seems the writers know the score on that one, because they still haven’t gotten over establishing the ground situation.

Gagnon and Nelson aren’t refreshing or starting over with this issue; they’re following up on all their old plot lines and story threads. But they’re definitely aware it might be the first issue a reader is picking up and they’re writing it for that casual reader, not the one who’s been around. Because there’s no other reason to introduce major plot points–like the protagonist having the unintentional hots for his vampire clan leader woman–other than to make Day Men seem fresh.

It isn’t fresh. It’s stale. Boom! should’ve just done a graphic novel, regardless of Stelfreeze’s art being awesome.

C 

CREDITS

Writers, Matt Gagnon and Michael Alan Nelson; artist, Brian Stelfreeze; colorist, Darrin Moore; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editor, Eric Harburn; publisher, Boom! Studios.