After finishing the first issue, I haven’t got a clue where writer Rick Spears is going to take The Auteur, which is a good thing. It’s an absurdly violent story set in Hollywood, full of awful studio heads, drugged up producers, obnoxious directors and gurus doling out snake venom as cure-alls.
It’s not original in that regard.
The violence is gross out but not realistic. James Callahan’s art is imaginative both with the violence and the non-violent scenes and he’s dedicated to getting the page right. But there’s something almost juvenile about it, like a kid trying to gross out his friends.
So it isn’t original in terms of the art either.
Putting the two things together? Again, not enough to make it original. And, based on the editor’s letter to the reader, The Auteur desperately wants to be original. It’s good, it’s imaginative. Those qualities are enough.
Presidents Day, Part 1 of 5: Persistence of Vision; writer and letterer, Rick Spears; artist, James Callahan; colorist, Luigi Anderson; editor, Charlie Chu; publisher, Oni Press.
Not much happens in Aquaman. Well, a lot happens but writer Neal Pozner doesn’t want to spend much time with it. Aquaman’s evil brother destroys his surface world home, but instead of there being a lot of disaster movie action, Aquaman ignores it. Mera gives him crap for it too, but he doesn’t care.
Pozner’s Aquaman is kind of a jerk. Or a dimwit. Maybe a little of both.
There’s also a huge revolt going on in Atlantis. They want of attack the surface world. Why? Because they’re isolationists and Aquaman tried to make them think globally. Not sure it’s worth the riot–Pozner’s attempts to show the protestors’ complaints are moronic. I never did figure out if the hair dryer line was serious or a joke.
Craig Hamilton has many, many problems on the art. His figures bend funny, amongst other things.
This issue’s got nothing going for it.
Writer, Neal Pozner; penciller, Craig Hamilton; inker, Steve Montano; colorist, Joe Orlando; letterer, Bob Lappan; editors, Robert Greenberger, Pozner and Dick Giordano; publisher, DC Comics.
Pulitzer Prize-winning–not to mention gainfully employed–journalist Lois Lane thinks in hackneyed phrases like “a thief in the night.”
About the only nice thing to say about Lois Lane–her first comic to herself in almost twenty years–is I like how writer Marguerite Bennett keeps the misspelling thing from Superman: The Movie. Sure, it might be a DC New 52 editorial decision and it’s not like Bennett does it well–or gets why it worked in the movie–but whatever.
The art, from a litany of folks who I’m not taking the time to list, isn’t bad. It’s not good, but it’s decent enough DC house style. No crazy proportion problems. The monsters look cool.
The story has to do with Lois being a good sister to Lucy, who’s had a girlfriend for five years and hasn’t told her sister. They need help. Just like this comic.
Nostalgia; writer, Marguerite Bennett; pencillers, Ig Guara, Meghan Hetrick-Murante, Emanuela Lupacchino and Diogenes Neves; inkers, Marc Deering, Meghan Hetrick-Murante, Ruy Jose and Guillermo Ortego; colorist, Hi-Fi Colour Design; letterer, John J. Hill; editor, Rickey A. Purdin; publisher, DC Comics.
I don’t know how he did it. Jones made everything mysterious literal and still the comic works. It’s a great explanation, but his presentation–more talking heads, but this time during a road trip (with awkward pauses)–is what sells it. He’s got a frantic pace, with Bruce always in some kind of danger, and the exposition just makes it move quicker.
What Jones also does is reward the reader. He brings up all the big moments he’s been repeating, either in flashback and dream sequence, and he lets the reader figure it out. Or, more accurately, figure out how he told the story.
The art makes it all possible. Immonen and Koblish can switch genres immediately–there’s another great action sequence at the end of this issue–and the story needs it. Bruce Banner is never on firm ground and Jones doesn’t let the reader get comfortable either.
Transfer of Power; writer, Bruce Jones; penciller, Stuart Immonen; inker, Scott Koblish; colorist, Studio F; letterers, Richard Starkings and Wes Abbott; editors, John Miesegaes, Warren Simons and Axel Alonso; publisher, Marvel Comics.
Thank goodness Gail Simone has Lara Croft say “mates” and use kilometers instead of miles. Wouldn’t want to forget she’s British. Or something. Those little details, along with the forced exposition, drag the reader out of what’s already a chore.
Why would Dark Horse bother licensing Tomb Raider if they were just going to give it to artists who can’t draw action? The inks don’t seem to do much, they certainly don’t lend any motion to Nicolás Daniel Selma’s lead-footed pencils. There are motion lines. Maybe inker Juan Gedeon added them, thinking they were enough. They aren’t.
Having never played the game, I’m not sure if Simone’s script is meant to appeal to fans or to general readers. If it’s the latter, the comic’s in real trouble. There’s only one scene where the character shows any natural personality and it’s forced (she’s encountering sexism).
At least it reads fast.
Season of the Witch; writer, Gail Simone; penciller, Nicolás Daniel Selma; inker, Juan Gedeon; colorist, Michael Atiyeh; letterer, Michael Heisler; editors, Shantel LaRocque, Ian Tucker, Aaron Walker and Dave Marshall; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.
The ending is worse than I expected and I wasn’t expecting much. McGregor plotted these issues awkwardly, with way too much material before the actual investigation. The stuff with following the wife beating husband around in the last issue was pretty much pointless. McGregor didn’t need it to make the mystery work. In fact, he might have done it all backwards.
There are some okay moments here. There’s good banter between the leads, though McGregor doesn’t give them enough time together. They seem familiar, sure, but McGrefor never just lets them relax together. He’s always working in exposition or some plot point.
There’s some action, some unlikely surprises and a truly terrible villain. The postscript is ludicrous too, but McGregor does get some sympathy for his characters so he can sell it. The nonsense before? He can’t sell that nonsense.
Okay Colan art. Some nice angles, but too static overall.
The Corpse In the Bloodstained Body Bag; writer, Don McGregor; artist, Gene Colan; letterer, Mindy Eisman; editor, Catherine Yronwode; publisher, Eclipse 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.
Jones is bound and determined to confuse. Not only does he make it work this issue, he even makes his returning villain–previously rather lame–engaging. The villain kidnaps Bruce and takes him, inexplicably, to a morgue to investigate the latest murder charges against the good doctor.
On the way, there’s a lot of talking. Jones also employs some flashbacks to heighten to uncanny factor. The villain recaps the previous issue, sort of confirming the reader’s memory to him or herself, and then Jones doesn’t solve it. He’s got this incredible situation–pardon the adjective choice–and he makes it work in the context of the somewhat silly situation (Bond villain organizations) he’s set up.
The finish has a good soft cliffhanger or two and a nice action sequence from Immonen and Koblish. It’s all bad guys–Bruce is an observer; the artists’ skill makes it so good.
Multiple Organism; writer, Bruce Jones; penciller, Stuart Immonen; inker, Scott Koblish; colorist, Studio F; letterers, Richard Starkings and Wes Abbott; editors, John Miesegaes and Axel Alonso; publisher, Marvel 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.
The fight scene is painful. It goes on for three or four pages–at least, two, anyway–and is impossible to comprehend thanks to Colan only doing pencils. It’s like a sketch of a fight scene, not an actual realized sequence.
There’s some good art, of course. Colan isn’t going to do a comic without some good art in it. Most of the good art is for the establishing pages at the beginning of each chapter–there are three or four this issue. More than two. Colan takes his time with the scenery. His pencils are less rough too. There are definite lines.
As for the story, again the best part is when Denning is off on his date. It’s a very awkward romantic sequence, not too graphic, but trying very hard to be suggestive. McGregor’s writing an honest scene though. The rest of the issue feels perfunctory in comparison.
Knishes and Boardwalk Surveillance; writer, Don McGregor; artist, Gene Colan; letterer, Mindy Eisman; editor, Catherine Yronwode; publisher, Eclipse Comics.
As finishes go, Lono doesn’t have a bad one. It’s not great. It’s good enough. Azzarello seems to be showing a lot of restraint, like he didn’t want to do too for a finish. Like he didn’t want turn make Lono into too much of an action hero.
Instead, Azzarello focuses on the bad guy. He’s comical at this point, just because no one’s scared of him anymore and he’s got the whole twin aquarium thing going on. It’s humor. Very, very black humor, but still humor.
But the story isn’t a humorous one. The stuff with the priest and the nun isn’t funny at all. The issue doesn’t have a tone. Azzarello doesn’t commit to any of the ones he toys with.
It’s a shame Azzarello couldn’t maintain the level of intricate plotting he had at the beginning of the series. Like I said, though, the issue’s not bad.
¡El Perro Loco!; writer, Brian Azzarello; artist, Eduardo Risso; colorist, Trish Mulvihill; letterer, Clem Robins; editors, Gregory Lockard and Will Dennis; publisher, Vertigo.
About ninety percent of this issue is good. Jones should have spread it out over two parts–Bruce gets hit by a car (but doesn’t Hulk out?) and the lady who hit him takes him in and nurses him back to health. It opens with a text recap reminiscent of the TV show, which is awesome.
Juxtaposed against Bruce’s recovery–he’s really loopy, lots of strange dreams, which Immonen and inker Scott Koblish do well with–is someone crossing the country, encountering various unfortunate people. Sadly, Jones has a reveal at the end and it’s lackluster to say the least.
The confused Bruce thing is fantastic stuff. The lead-up to it is moody and effective. It feels perfect–rainy streets, Bruce Banner all alone with a strange alluring guest star… why Jones has to ruin it with a scene out of The Terminator, I don’t know.
The rest’s awesome.
Remember Me Never; writer, Bruce Jones; penciller, Stuart Immonen; inker, Scott Koblish; colorist, Studio F; letterers, Richard Starkings and Wes Abbott; editors, John Miesegaes and Axel Alonso; publisher, Marvel Comics.
Maleev has some awesome panels this issue. He could be better on some of it–there are some arena scenes (zombie versus zombie for the people’s pleasure) and Maleev doesn’t do establishing shots well enough, but he does quite well on the vampire stuff. The vampire stuff is the strangest thing in Empire, probably because it works so well.
Romero started out with human characters–they’re back this issue, with the doctor getting a smart zombie to study. They’re not the protagonists though, there’s a hand-off where the vampires get to run the issue. Romero does a great job establishing their quarrels and such. He also opens up the idea Empire could go anywhere.
As long as there are vampires and zombies. So maybe not anywhere.
The dialogue’s good, the scenes are funny; Romero’s got the comic running smoothly only two issues in, but doesn’t go overboard raising expectations.
Writer, George A. Romero; artist, Alex Maleev; colorist, Matt Hollingsworth; letterer, Cory Petit; editors, Jake Thomas and Bill Rosemann; publisher, Marvel Comics.
It’s still about four weeks, folks… Okay, maybe a bit longer, but we’re back.
This episode Vernon and I reveal the C2E2 plans, talk at length about new indie books from Dark Horse and Image (maybe with some Boom! thrown in), and then we talk a lot about how to read a comic to find ones you love. Enjoy.