I love the way Robinson is able to use exposition–not to mention Enrique’s internal monologue–the draw the reader’s attention to particular facts. In the most extreme examples, it’s the thought process–showing the reader what they missed by not paying enough attention (though, if the reader did pay enough attention, the pleasure of the lesson wouldn’t be there). But he also uses it for the cliffhanger this issue. He agitates the reader quietly, then ends the comic. It’s a neat device.
Keeping the reader focused on how Enrique experiences the comic’s events also helps with the suspension of disbelief. He changes his mind about something being true between two panels and Robinson’s able to sell it with the presentation of the follow explanations. It’s kind of like Robinson understands how to do an educational comic and applies those rules to Five Weapons.
It’s a rather neat reading experience.
Tyler’s Revenge; writer, artist and letterer, Jimmie Robinson; colorist, Paul Little; editor, Laura Tavishati; publisher, Image Comics.
I may come to regret this statement, but Satellite Sam really is the bee’s knees. It’s serious, thoughtful, never silly. Fraction doesn’t mess around with it. Every scene is beautifully plotted–who knew Howie Chaykin had this kind of work left in him–and perfectly reasoned. It’s not just a consistently good read, it’s a consistently exceptional read.
This issue might be the series’s best so far. Fraction isn’t continuing the investigation into the old Satellite Sam’s photography habits, he’s starting up a bunch of new story lines (while still continuing directly from the previous issue). It’s comics as TV, with a new season starting here and Fraction and Chaykin deliver the goods.
The issue is full of loud and quiet moments, which is why it needs Chaykin. It needs someone who knows how to make those moments work in a sequential narrative.
It’s relatively uneventful; a muted, outstanding success.
Women in Trouble; writer, Matt Fraction; artist, Howard Chaykin; letterer, Ken Bruzenak; editor, Thomas K.; publisher, Image Comics.
It’s another good issue. I think Brisson’s gift for Sheltered is how well he’s able to keep the plot moving along. He does just enough talking heads to show the characters thinking about what to do next, he makes those decisions the micro-cliffhangers along the way. And then, of course, he has excellent cliffhangers for the end of the issue.
Not sure how he’s going to get out this one resolved in an ongoing.
Then there’s the Christmas art. I haven’t been particularly gung-ho on the art, but one of this issues plot lines–oh, yeah, Brisson manages to have three plot lines in the issue, which is awesome–features an intruding adult on the run from the kids. So Christmas has to make the kids vicious killers while still making them somewhat innocent looking. He does an excellent job with that aspect.
Brisson and Christmas are excelling.
Writer and letterer, Ed Brisson; artist, Johnnie Christmas; colorist, Shari Chankhamma; editor, Paul Allor; publisher, Image Comics.
I’m going to go out on a limb and assume writer Fabrice Sapolsky thinks all of One-Hit Wonder’s misogynist moments are post-sexist and totally cool. There aren’t any rape jokes yet, but it’s just the first issue.
Reading Wonder, the only thing I really wondered about was Ariel Olivetti. His painted art is still rather nice (and the single good thing about the comic) but how the mighty have fallen. He’s doing an Image comic about a child star grown-up to be an obnoxious hit man? It also makes this series the third Image hit man book I’ve read in a month and a half. There are probably even more.
Sapolsky hints at developing the female character in the future–the lead’s unconscious by the cliffhanger–but there’s no point. Sapoldky frequently mocks his own dialogue and plotting. Why should a reader take it seriously then?
Glorious Basterd; writer, Fabrice Sapolsky; artist and colorist, Ariel Olivetti; letterer, Wolfpack; editor, J.M. Besnier; publisher, Image Comics.
Ah, redemption. Jonathan Ross wimps out with Revenge, instead letting Ian Churchill’s gross-out art do the dirty work.
The concept is a seventies action star who gets his comeback thanks to an Expendables like hit when he’s seventy-two. His trophy wife convinces him to get an experimental facelift, but she really wants to torture him because when she was a kid he seduced her mother away from her father.
Sounds like our protagonist is a bad guy, but no… he donates money to his daughter’s zoo and she knows he’s turned the corner into goodness. And the wife isn’t just doing it to be evil, she really wants his money.
With the lifeless Churchill art and its lack of personality–the comic, besides the gore, looks like action figure packaging–Revenge was never going to soar, but it’s unfortunate Ross isn’t committed to the meanness. Exploitation it ain’t.
Writer, Jonathan Ross; artist, Ian Churchill; colorists, Arif Prianto and Churchill; letterers, Jimmy Betancourt and Richard Starkings; publisher, Image Comics.
Taylor’s either got a new stylistic flourish–people in the background being in grey–or I just haven’t noticed it. It’s a fine enough development, either way, as Taylor’s spending more time on his foregrounds.
Hopefully, cliffhangers are the next thing he works on. A Voice in the Dark improves every issue–which is really cool, even if it’s in little ways. But this issue’s lack of drama hurts it, even if the scenes are better. There’s another murder, there’s a dispute with the evil sorority girls, there’s a death penalty debate… there’s just not much forward motion. And Taylor’s got this story in a frame, so clearly it’s going to get interesting eventually.
Why put it off?
One more thing–well, three if I count the two cops with goatees–the college being the serial killer capital of the world? It’s idiotic, but palatable. Taylor’s adjusted reality just enough.
Killing Game, Part Two; writer, artist and letterer, Larime Taylor; publisher, Image Comics.
I would have liked to open with the similarities between Undertow and “Battlestar Galactica” (the new one) but I can’t. Instead I need to open with writer Steve Orlando’s dialogue. He writes it with modern English slang–oh, sorry, the series is apparently about ancient Atlantean explorers coming to the surface (it could go on to be a workplace sitcom, I’ll never know).
Tackling an ancient, made-up language is never easy but combined with the bad pacing and Orlando’s terrible narration… Undertow quickly becomes intolerable. Assuming Orlando gave artist Artyom Trakhanov descriptions of each panel, the comic gets even worse. The narration isn’t over story panels, it’s over cinematic establishing shots. Orlando writes a script out of a bad Gold key comic, but doesn’t even let Trakhanov illustrate it.
Or maybe Trakhanov made that choice. It’s highly stylized art and not bad, just pointless. Much like the comic itself.
Messiah Ward; writer, Steve Orlando; artist and colorist, Artyom Trakhanov; letterer, Thomas Mauer; publisher, Image Comics.
There’s a lot of action but also a lot of character stuff. Bad Dog’s strength has always been Kelly’s character stuff. This issue there’s also a lot of nice art from Greco. He’s got it down… in what appears to be the final issue.
It’s a double-size issue too, with Kelly doing the huge action sequence and giving himself time for cleanup. He also ties things up with all the subplots, he gives Lou the werewolf a chance to change. And so on and so on. It’s a solid comic, mostly because Kelly seems finished with it.
But it’s so solid one wants more Bad Dog. It just remains to be seen if Kelly can find a different story for him and enough hilarity. Maybe hilarity is too strong a word–amusing subplots for the vast supporting cast.
The issue’s got a nice structure too. It’s rather good.
What Happens…Stays!, Conclusion; writer, Joe Kelly; artist and colorist, Diego Greco; letterer, Thomas Mauer; publisher, Image Comics.
The Mercenary Sea is a perfect example of why computers don’t help comic books and why mixing mediums is dangerous. Matthew Reynolds does his art on a computer, his style is something akin to flash animation. And the comic looks like cels from an animation, with all the life apparently left in the movement.
Kel Symons has some funny lines and funny ideas but not much else. The story takes place in the thirties in the South Pacific. Should be really cool, except none of the characters have any personality, maybe because Reynold’s doesn’t give them movable faces. He also doesn’t illustrate settings well. He thinks everything is about tone and mood.
Symons promises big seas adventures, maybe some monsters, maybe some dinosaurs, but who cares? The setting and story are both stock material. Sea hinges it all on Reynold’s artwork and he’s not up for the task.
Nice Work If You Can Get It; writer, Kel Symons; artist and colorist, Mathew Reynolds; letterer, Pat Brosseau; editor, Sebastian Girner; publisher, Image Comics.
Okay, Dinges knows he’s got his hooked readers by issue four and so he can punish with really good hard cliffhangers. Really frustrating good ones. Case in point, his cliffhanger here is only so good because of the way he layers in expectations about it in the journal entries of Lewis.
Maybe the cliffhanger is payback for Dinges building up the idea of a big monster fight only to avoid that sequence thanks to the arrival of Sacajawea. She remains a mystery this issue–though I’m assuming she’ll take down one or two of the scumbags eying her–but her wheeler dealer husband gets a lot of time. The comedy relief element is very welcome. Without some kind of comedy, half of Destiny is just a zombie story. One with a great setting, but still just zombies.
As much as the cliffhanger’s suddenness perturbs me, Dinges does pull it off.
Writer, Chris Dingess; artist, Matthew Roberts; colorist, Owen Gieni; letterer, Pat Brosseau; editor, Sean Mackiewicz; publisher, Image Comics.
Well, okay, yeah… Fatale is definitely in its last lap. Brubaker doesn’t hide it at all. He does, however, rush things. I thought it was going to be an awesome issue of Jo flashing back to her very interesting past.
Instead, she becomes John McClane and has to save Nicolas. And that wraps up real quick. Not so much action-packed as Cthulhu-packed. I’m also not sure if the Donnie Darko reference was supposed to seem original or not.
But it’s hard to get excited about the finish because halfway through this issue, it’s clear Fatale isn’t coming to a nature end. Why do a bunch of character work on utterly disposable characters? It feels like the series got canceled on Brubaker and Phillips so they have to rush an ending. Only no, they apparently just ran out of interest.
Or Brubaker always had a weak ending planned out.
Curse the Demon; writer, Ed Brubaker; artist, Sean Phillips; colorist, Elizabeth Breitweiser; publisher, Image Comics.
I should have known better to read The Fuse, I really should have. There are approximately two interesting things about it. First, the male lead–a late twenties black German guy (it’s the future, get with it)–is bigoted against old people and women. Luckily, his partner is an older Russian woman who I think Antony Johnston is hoping Helen Mirren plays in the movie.
Except Justin Greenwood draws the character a lot like Viggo from Ghostbusters 2.
That likeness is the second, and final, interesting thing about the comic book. Having nothing going for you except bigotry and odd likenesses isn’t much. I’m sure Johnston will deal with the bigotry thin but who cares. There’s no reason to stick around.
The setup–detectives on a rundown space station–isn’t bad. It almost feels like Outland at times but never does because The Fuse is awful.
Lousy dialogue too.
The Russia Shift, Part One; writer, Antony Johnston; artist, Justin Greenwood; colorist, Shari Chankhamma; letterer, Ed Brisson; publisher, Image Comics.
What a cliffhanger–ugh, Robinson really knows what he’s doing this issue. Except the art is a little rushed. Maybe he’s in a hurry.
But the story? Robinson’s got his plotting down beautiful. Enrique goes back to assassin school, starting the next school year after the previous issue, and so Robinson gets to catch up with everyone. He actually does the catchup really quick, two pages or so. It turns out he’s got four major personal complications for the lead along with a big overarching one for the arc.
All of these are perfectly presented, before he gets to that cliffhanger. He’s able to tie it into two of the complications and never let it feel forced. But then he ends the issue abruptly–I’d forgotten how he plots these comics–and it gives the reader a chance to think back at the excellent plotting.
Five Weapons continues to impress.
Tyler’s Revenge; writer, artist and letterer, Jimmie Robinson; colorist, Paul Little; editor, Laura Tavishati; publisher, Image Comics.
Minimum Wage is sort of like a sitcom where none of the people are particularly attractive or particularly funny. They aren’t actually funny with each other. It’s like if you had a sitcom with a bunch of Newman clones and they never told any funny jokes.
Obviously, Fingerman’s not just going for humor. He’s got a statement he wants to make about marriage, divorce, hippies, metal, Uzbeks and maybe video games. Not video games. Something else is in there. The Internet, maybe.
Some of the pages are paced really well, some of the details are slightly amusing. What’s strange is how Fingerman moves his character through this endless supporting cast. He hangs out with his main friends, then his girlfriend, then some other friend, then some other friend, then the girlfriend again. Maybe if the protagonist was mildly interesting.
Oh, Fingerman’s got the guy’s internal monologue down.
It’s just trite.
Writer and artist, Bob Fingerman; publisher, Image Comics.