Sons of Anarchy 8 (April 2014)

Sons of Anarchy #8

There’s a lot of lovely art this issue. It’s a hard story–most of the leads are in jail, the women are being threatened on the outside, but Damian Couceiro–with the able help of colorist Michael Spicer–manages to embrace the hardness while still being stylishly appealing. About the only time the art doesn’t work is when there’s too much artificial pacing to it, like for the cliffhanger.

Ed Brisson’s script moves nicely between prison and the outside world. He focuses on the characters, leaving himself a little space for tension relieving humor, but Sons of Anarchy is a serious book without room for much in the way of jokes. It’s still a very odd licensed property but Boom! executes it well.

Again, I still haven’t seen the show, yet Brisson’s able to get the reader immediately engaged with the characters and their troubles.

It just ends too fast.



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

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Dead Letters 1 (April 2014)

Dead Letters #1

Just fair warning, I’m going to be really mean to Dead Letters. I want to clarify right off Chris Visions doesn’t deserve any of it for his art. His art’s packed, frantic, detailed. It’s good art, if a little too much. But it’s too much of itself, which isn’t a bad thing.

No, I’m going to rant and rave about Christopher Sebela, unoriginality, Hollywood desperation and maybe a little about crappy dialogue.

Letters opens like the Bourne Identity except without trusting the reader, so Sebela has to make things obvious. Now, he’s trying to be confusing, wrapping the narrative up with flashbacks and amnesia. Being obvious doesn’t make any sense. And it plays out bad.

The lead isn’t a spy though. He’s a generic bad ass criminal. Hollywood will undoubtedly come calling, cheaper budget, less exotic locations than a spy….

Sebela’s dialogue is derivative, predictable, lousy.

Except Visions, Letters’s atrocious.



Writer, Christopher Sebela; artist, Chris Visions; colorist, Ruth Redmond; letterer, Steve Wands; editors, Chris Rosa and Eric Harburn; publisher, Boom! Studios.


Suicide Risk 12 (April 2014)

Suicide Risk #12

Carey continues to let Suicide Risk slide down further. It’s not a terrible issue, though the stuff with Requiem fighting his family and then leaving them when the mind control villain shows up is dumb. It doesn’t make any sense, but then Carey’s never known what to do with the family.

There are some flashbacks to the villain world too. A bunch of supervillains having a battle with some nameless, indistinct good guys. Presumably.

The issue doesn’t show any real signs of life until the end, when Carey moves from a flashback at Requiem’s trial to the mind of Leo Winters. Having the protagonist share his mind with a supervillain should provide some good moments. It doesn’t.

Worse, Carey establishes the mind control villain so well the character should have been the series’s narrator for the whole thing.

Carey’s trying to develop past the initial hook and he’s got nothing.



Seven Walls and a Pit Trap, Part Two; writer, Mike Carey; artist, Elena Casagrande; colorist, Andrew Elder; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Dafna Pleban and Matt Gagnon; publisher, Boom! Studios.

Loki Ragnarok and Roll

Loki: Ragnarok and Roll 2 (March 2014)

Loki: Ragnarok and Roll #2

You might think the comic would be about Loki, given his name on the cover, but it’s actually more about the system of gods Esquivel has set up. At least half the issue is Thor fighting Hercules. Sadly, there aren’t a lot of Marvel references in those scenes. Esquivel actually gets rid of a lot of those.

And I’m not knocking the comic at all. It’s a rather good comic, especially Esquivel’s handle on the humor. It’s no longer dependent on winking; the few “regular” Thor and Loki references in this one aren’t the humor anymore. The situations Esquivel creates for the book do all the comedic generation now.

Still, Loki is underused. There’s some funny stuff with his band, a great interview, but once the gods get to Earth, Loki gets lost. He’s a bystander. Hopefully Esquivel has something better planned for him.

Either way, it’s a good read.



Writer, Eric M. Esquivel; penciller, Jerry Gaylord; inkers, Jerry Gaylord and Penelope Gaylord; colorist, Gabriel Cassata; letterer, Ryan Ferrier; editors, Chris Rosa and Ian Brill; publisher, Boom! Studios.

Loki Ragnarok and Roll

Loki: Ragnarok and Roll 1 (February 2014)

Loki: Ragnarok and Roll #1

I’ll bet there’s a very unhappy Disney lawyer out there. Especially after Thor 2 made so much money. Batman and Superman–save The Boys–usually get the most thinly veiled analogues in indie series, but for Loki: Ragnarok and Roll, writer Eric M. Esquivel goes after Disney’s Thor. Not Marvel’s Thor, but the movie Thor. Between the bifrost and the frost giants as villains, I’m sort of surprised Boom! was able to get this one on the shelves.

It’s good they did. After an awkward opening–how many winks to Marvel can you do–Loki is banished to Earth and the comic gets good. Esquivel writes the character well; a combination of intelligent and petulant but also able to understand the mortals around him.

The cover promises rock and roll–as does the title–but not yet.

The Jerry Gaylord art is good. It’s fun and intricate.

Loki’s all right.



Writer, Eric M. Esquivel; artist, Jerry Gaylord; colorist, Gabriel Cassata; letterer, Ryan Ferrier; editors, Chris Rosa and Ian Brill; publisher, Boom! Studios.


Clockwork Angels 1 (March 2014)

Clockwork Angels #1

Ah, a young man, unhappy with the life predetermined for him, sets out on his own to find adventure but instead makes discovers to shake the foundation of his understanding. Never been done before.

Oh, wait, it has been done before. And it seems like Kevin J. Anderson knows it’s been done before and instead of trying to seem original, tries for charm with Clockwork Angels. On that level, he succeeds.

The art, from Nick Robles, is painted. Robles is decent with figures–most of the dialogue is in dark settings, so painted doesn’t hurt too much–but he does really well with the scenery. Angels takes place in a mechanized steampunk-type reality, only without the grim. It’s idyllic.

This first issue establishes the protagonist, establishes the antagonist, but it’s clearly from the protagonist’s point of view. Except Anderson also gets in a third, nearly omniscient presence.

It’s fine; unoriginal but fine.



Writers, Neil Peart and Kevin J. Anderson; artist, Nick Robles; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Jasmine Amiri and Ian Brill; publisher, Boom! Studios.


Sons of Anarchy 7 (March 2014)

SOA 07 Cover

Ed Brisson takes over Sons of Anarchy with a good pulpy story about a guy investigating the death of a friend's junkie son. I assume the guy and the friend are on the show, but since I haven't seen the show, it's just a guy and his friend.

The issue's paced rather well, with a couple good surprises in it. There's a deliberateness to how Brisson shows the investigation. Since the protagonist solves the case relatively early Brisson has to extend the resolution. Instead of seeming forced, it plays organically. It's a very well put together comic, even if it doesn't need the licensing brand. The story's solid on its own.

The art, from Jesús Hervás is okay, but on the lower end of it. It's definitely moody and expressive with the figures and settings but it's a little too rough. The inking doesn't compliment the pencils maybe.

Still, good.



Writer, Ed Brisson; artist, Jesús Hervás; colorist, Stephen Downer; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editor, Dafna Pleban; publisher, Boom! Studios.


Robocop: Last Stand 8 (March 2014)

Robocop Last Stand 008 Cover

So Ed Brisson gets the job of sending the original Robocop into the sunset. My first thought–he does an admirable job, though he could have easily turned it into three issues. He’s got a lot of ideas for how to bring things together. And that spark, even if it’s hilarious fan fulfillment, leads me to my second thought.

It’ll be too bad if Boom! doesn’t continue with the license for these types of series. Experimental ones, where an artist like Öztekin gets free run. Or, if the artist doesn’t get free run, at least it appears he or she does.

This issue, with Brisson’s writing, makes me want more of he and Öztekin’s Robocop. Maybe a prequel… the creative spark seems like it might have mileage.

Robocop, regardless of marketers, was never a film needing a sequel. But Brisson and Öztekin give that franchise a fine send off.



Writer, Ed Brisson; artist, Korkut Öztekin; colorist, Michael Garland; letterer, Ryan Ferrier; editors, Alex Galer and Ian Brill; publisher, Boom! Studios.


Suicide Risk 11 (March 2014)

SuicideRisk 11 cover

Leo–see, only took me ten issues to remember his name–is now under control of his other-dimensional evil self who’s trying to figure what’s happened. I can’t quite remember the fill-in explaining everything, but the villains are just criminals brainwashed and dumbed on regular Earth?

There’s a lot of megalomania interior monologue for Leo. Carey pretty much does him as an evil Superman, which gets boring fast. It’s not even interesting for a whole page, I don’t think.

One of the bad guys might know what’s going on and it seems like the daughter’s powers will finally get explained but if they were transported there, how did the brainwashers set up the marriage. Is the wife brainwashed too?

All of these questions and more will undoubtedly be answered in a vaguely interesting, but not really compelling way.

Carey’s got too many ideas in Risk and no restraint.



Seven Walls and a Pit Trap, Part 1 of 3; writer, Mike Carey; artist, Elena Casagrande; colorist, Andrew Elder; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Dafna Pleban and Matt Gagnon; publisher, Boom! Studios.


Evil Empire 1 (March 2014)

Evil Empire 001 coverA

Noam Chomsky it ain’t.

With Evil Empire, Max Bemis is out to show how the United States could become an evil empire. Not sure exactly why he didn’t base it off of other societies who became “evil empires,” seeing as how there are two or three really good examples from the twentieth century alone.

Instead, Bemis does a liberal’s pipe dream about a Republican admitting to murder, in front of a cross no less.

Bemis has his leads–the secretly earnest white guy Democrat who wants to date–professionally and personally–this Beyonce-like underground political rapper. Empire isn’t just not Noam Chomsky, it isn’t just not “West Wing,” it’s not even Mars Attacks! in terms of rational political imagination.

Not to be too negative, of course. Bemis’s dialogue is okay about thirty percent of the time and Ransom Getty’s art’s fine about seventy. The comic’s just a moronic idea.



Writer, Max Bemis; artist, Ransom Getty; colorist, Chris Blythe; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Jasmine Amiri and Dafna Pleban; publisher, Boom! Studios.


Day Men 3 (March 2014)

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There’s an astounding amount of exposition this issue and very little inventive art from Stelfreeze. He does very well with what he’s got to do–the protagonist is on the run with a beguiling girl, the vampires are plotting–but none of the art really plays to Stelfreeze’s strength. At one point I even questioned whether or not he was still on the art.

The issue reads fairly well until writers Gagnon and Nelson start the false endings. Every time I finished one of the pages, I waited for the “to be continued.” There are a lot of natural endings in the comic, but the one they go with reveals their willingness to totally waste the readers’ time.

I suppose the action sequence is fairly cool–there’s only one. Stelfreeze does a great job with it. Unfortunately it’s not two pages longer, then it would’ve eaten into some useless exposition.



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

Robocop Boom! Movie tie-ins

Robocop: Beta 1 (February 2014)

Robocop Beta PRESS 1

I feel bad for the creators on Robocop: Beta, it’s not their fault the comic fails, it’s just the nature of pointless movie tie-ins. Otherwise it’s not a bad comic. It’s even got a good reveal at the end, it just doesn’t have anything else going for it. Ed Brisson’s able to give it a solid three act structure and Emilio Laiso’s art is decent.

Well, the art is decent for digest size. It’s hard to explain why, but it seems too big for the standard comic page. At a smaller size, it’d be a lot more effective. But it’s still perfectly serviceable art and the way Laiso draws the Michael Keaton character is nice. Not too photo-referenced but still recognizable.

Brisson can’t do anything with the comic because the comic is, as a part of the conclusion, supposed to be disposable.

It’s pointless and everybody knows.



Writer, Ed Brisson; artist, Emilo Laiso; colorist, Michael Garland; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Alex Galer, Ian Brill and Eric Harburn; publisher, Boom! Studios.

Robocop Boom! Movie tie-ins

Robocop: Memento Mori 1 (February 2014)


Is Memento Mori the best of Boom!’s terrible Robocop remake tie-ins? Maybe. It’s definitely the first one where the art engaged. João Vieira has the appearance of an interesting style. Cartoonish, almost. He really doesn’t–he just fakes it on the good panels and the rest are really pedestrian. But until one figures out the art, it does keep the mind occupied.

Speaking of minds and occupation, Mori is the story of Alex Murphy, human cop, as the doctors wipe his memory to install Robocop. Frank J. Barbiere apes countless tv shows, comic books and movies as Murphy runs through his subconscious trying to survive. It’s hideously unoriginal and completely nonsensical. Barbiere fakes having a point to the story.

But the comic does read quickly and one forgives the art problems and the unoriginality as things move along. Barbiere manages to promise something engaging… and fails to deliver.



Writer, Frank J. Barbiere; artist, João Vieira; colorist, Ruth Redmond; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Alex Galer, Ian Brill and Eric Harburn; publisher, Boom! Studios.

Robocop Boom! Movie tie-ins

Robocop: To Live and Die in Detroit 1 (February 2014)


Again, not having seen the new Robocop movie, it’s hard to say who’s responsible for the nonsense of To Live and Die in Detroit. It could be writer Joe Harris. He certainly does write some terrible exposition about the Motor City and juxtaposes it against the lame action and activities of Robocop. Robocop, it turns out, is an asshat by the way. But did the editors make him an asshat or did the liaison at the license holder?

The art isn’t too bad. Piotr Kowalski does all right, actually. The sleek image of Robocop is boring, but the rest of the action’s decent. Shame about all Harris’s exposition. It’s nauseatingly obvious and incredibly lame. Unless some Detroit politician wants to give out the comic at a campaign rally.

But not with the resolution. The resolution is pure crap. Whoever came up with it should be ashamed of him or herself.



Writer, Joe Harris; artist, Piotr Kowalski; colorist, Vladimir Popov; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Alex Galer, Ian Brill and Eric Harburn; publisher, Boom! Studios.