I’m having trouble figuring out the big deal with Sin City. I mean, it looks cool and all, but isn’t Marv on the run from the cops a lot like that issue of “Batman: Year One” with the Batman running from the cops. The narration’s overbearing and all… but it’s fine as a stupid diversion. It’s relentlessly unrealistic.
Unfortunately, Harlequin wraps up this issue. Gaudiano tries out three different styles, all to great success. He introduces more design to his work here and it’s very successful. Csutoras comes up with a great close for the story (it seems to be paced more as a play or maybe a short film). Either way, it’s fantastic and I’m sad it’s over.
After a couple decent stories, Heartbreakers is back to the crap pile. Guinan’s art is still decent, but the writing is weak. It’s action-oriented, exactly what Bennett doesn’t do well.
Sin City, Episode Two; story and art by Frank Miller. Harlequin, Act IV; story by Stephen Csutoras; art by Stefano Gaudiano. Heartbreakers, Trouble in Paradise; story by Anina Bennett and Paul Guinan; art by Guinan; lettering by Willie Schubert. Edited by Randy Stradley.
Heartbreakers is a little better this issue. Bennett and Guinan still don’t have a good sense of what makes a story interesting. This one implies it had potential to be interesting on the second to last page.
Hughes and Story do a few pages, riffing on the idea of pin-up pages. The writing’s far from perfect, but it’s Hughes doing regular comics. It’s technically outstanding, though some of the jokes require a lot of close attention.
Csutoras and Gaudiano continue Harlequin. Some of this installment features Gaudiano’s best art so far. The story continues to be somewhat indescribable and very odd. I love how they get humanity of it when it should be difficult.
Brubaker–in his first work?–has a little childhood reminiscence (art by Christian and Ranjo). It’s short and nice. I miss the cynical, jaded Brubaker.
Hedden and McWeeney do a one page thing. It’s fine.
Heartbreakers, Three Women; story by Anina Bennett and Paul Guinan; art by Guinan; lettering by Willie Schubert. Hip-Deep in the Consciousness Stream; story by Adam Hughes and Karl Story; pencils by Hughes; inks by Story; lettering by Jim Massara. The Black & White Blues; story and art by Rich Hedden and Tom McWeeney. Harlequin, Act III; story by Stephen Csutoras; art by Stefano Gaudiano. Burning Man; story by Ed Brubaker; art by Mike Christian and Jeff Ranjo; lettering by Jack Pollock. Edited by Randy Stradley.
Posted in Dark Horse, Harlequin, Heartbreakers
Tagged Adam Hughes, Anina Bennett, Ed Brubaker, Jeff Ranjo, Karl Story, Mike Christian, Paul Guinan, Rich Hedden, Stefano Gaudiano, Stephan Csutoras, Tom McWeeney
Geier’s art on the Homicide installment is pretty weak, but Arcudi actually comes up with an interesting case. It is, of course, unfortunate then Arcudi relies on the art for the final panel. I had to read the page three times, staring at it, before I noticed the big reveal. It’s also too bad about Arcudi’s lame dialogue.
Edginton writes a regular Downtown here. The holiday special was a lot better. It turns out the protagonist is a zombie private detective and he has all sorts of wacky adventures. The Pugh art is excellent at times, only good at others… but it can’t overcome the script. Too bad, I was looking forward to this one.
Harlequin, on the other hand, reveals itself to be completely excellent here. Csutoras makes excellent use of asides as he sets up this offbeat road trip. Gaudiano paces it well. It’s a very pleasant surprise.
Homicide, Restless Sleep; story by John Arcudi; art by Earl Geier. Downtown; story by Ian Edginton; inks by Steve Pugh. Harlequin, Act II; story by Stephen Csutoras; art by Stefano Gaudiano. Edited by Randy Stradley.
Between Gaudiano and Pugh, this issue is just an art feast.
Csutoras’s writing on the Gaudiano story, Harlequin, is decent, concerning a European living in the States, his loony acquaintances and some intrigue. Gaudiano makes the protagonist’s monologues atmospheric and the regular action somewhat continental in feel. The narrative is intentionally confusing, which may get annoying. But for now, it’s a very solid entry.
Pugh and Edginton do Downtown, which is seemingly a British reprint. It’s hard to gauge as a series, since it’s not the first installment. It’s deals a little with the fourth wall and is very funny. They open with a Santa and his gangster reindeer and it just gets stranger from then on.
Arcudi’s Homicide is back, with Geier on art. It’s bad. Arcudi’s villain is an disfigured, abused child grown up since it makes for an easy bad guy.
Plus a nice Geary one pager.
Harlequin, Act I; story by Stephen Csutoras; art by Stefano Gaudiano. Downtown, A Nightmare on Elf Street!; story by Ian Edginton; art by Steve Pugh. Desperate Clergy; story, art and lettering by Rick Geary. Homicide, Tick; story by John Arcudi; art by Earl Geier. Edited by Randy Stradley.