There’s something off about Colan’s layouts for the feature story. Moench splits it between Batman and Robin for the first half–Batman dealing with his Scarecrow-induced fears, Robin dealing with the Scarecrow himself–and it’s a busy issue. Somehow, it’s too busy for Colan, who doesn’t use panels but lets everything melt together. It gets muddled fast.
Still, lovely art. Just not great narrative art.
The story’s all action. Moench only spends a page on a subplot–the Dr. Fang one–and doesn’t even do much interaction between Batman and Robin or Batman and Scarecrow. Robin gets some decent face-off time with the Scarecrow though.
The end’s too sudden but it’s an okay enough story. Muddled or not, Colan and Smith draw creepy well.
McManus has a few excellent panels on the Green Arrow backup but the story’s pretty lame. Cavalieri’s big reveal is both predictable and confusing.
Something Scary; writer, Doug Moench; penciller, Gene Colan; inker, Bob Smith; colorist, Adrienne Roy; letterer, Ben Oda. Green Arrow, In Cold Type!; writer, Joey Cavalieri; penciller, Shawn McManus; inker, Sal Trapani; colorist, Shelley Eiber; letterer, Bob Lappan. Editor, Len Wein; publisher, DC Comics.
I don’t know why I should keep reading Noir. It’s a perfectly serviceable comic for Dynamite to exploit a couple licenses they hold–The Shadow and Miss Fury–but there’s nothing else going on with it.
The art, from Andrea Mutti, is pretty good. So’s the writing, actually. Victor Gischler does a fine enough job with it. He’s got the Shadow teaming up with some Spanish lady spy to track down some kind of artifact. It feels a little like a pulp, but a pulp with some Indiana Jones type stuff thrown in. Only in the United States instead of Europe somewhere.
Gischler does okay with the Shadow’s narration and with the dialogue. He just doesn’t come up with a reason to keep going on the comic. It’s competent and disposable. I didn’t realize there were still people who blindly bought Shadow comics but Dynamite must think those people exist.
Writer, Victor Gischler; artist, Andrea Mutti; colorist, Vladimir Popov; letterer, Rob Steen; editors, Molly Mahan and Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.
The issue opens with a full page spread–Indy looking at an artifact with a magnifying glass–but it’s the only uneconomical use of page space in the issue. Luke McDonnell has to pack panels on the page to get through all the action in Priest’s script.
David Michelinie gets a story credit, but it feels like a different comic without him. Even the art. McDonnell draws Marcus Brody younger than anyone else has before–and younger than Denholm Elliot; probably because Priest’s script implies Brody was once much like Indy in the adventuring department.
And Priest does have a lot of time for the romance between Indy and Marion. He dials it down quite a few notches but does at least acknowledge it.
In many ways, the issue doesn’t feel like a licensed property. But feeling more original doesn’t help–the creators are generally competent but the comic’s charmless.
The Cuban Connection; writers, David Michelinie and Christopher Priest; penciller, Luke McDonnell; inker, Danny Bulanadi; colorist, Rob Carosella; letterer, Rick Parker; editor, Eliot Brown; publisher, Marvel Comics.
I sort of didn’t want to like Clown Fatale. It’s about four female clowns in a lame circus–where the circus owners moonlight as assassins. Given the Fatale in the title, I should have guessed they were sexy clowns. I didn’t, but they are sexy clowns. I’m not sure if Victor Gischler came up with this genre or if there are other examples….
Oh, they’re also kick-ass sexy clowns.
There are four of them; the lead, the two vaguely nondescript ones (except their race) and the psycho one. Gischler writes them some funny dialogue and he keeps the conversations going between four or five characters rather well. He never lets things go too long.
Maurizio Rosenzweig does okay on the art. When things are too static, not so much. Except his static cheesecake, he works at those panels. But both the action and humor are good.
Clown’s unexpectedly amusing.
Writer, Victor Gischler; penciller, Maurizio Rosenzweig; inker and colorist, Moreno Dinisio; letterer, Nate Piekos; editors, Shantel LaRocque and Daniel Chabon; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.
In some ways, it’s the best writing Brisson has done on the series–he’s taking a wide view of events, not focusing on his initial protagonists, and it’s working. Sheltered now feels very full, even though it takes place in such constraints. Plus, Brisson is frequently able to use character names naturally in dialogue. Helps with such a large cast.
However, it’s probably Christmas’s weakest art so far on the book. There’s a fair amount of looseness throughout, but the action packed finale feels incredibly rushed. It’s particularly bad since it’s during the action sequence and things get confusing. The whole visual pace of the final sequence seems off; Christmas is dragging things out to get to a splash page hard cliffhanger.
The issue’s really talky, with Brisson using the conversations to build subplots. It’s also giving him a more sympathetic cast.
Thanks to Brisson, Sheltered might have some legs.
Writer and letterer, Ed Brisson; artist, Johnnie Christmas; colorist, Shari Chankhamma; editor, Paul Allor; publisher, Image Comics.
It’s an unexpectedly rough issue. Brisson and Christmas save the roughness for the finish–even going through a vicious fight scene with more eventual humor than anything else–but then Christmas has a two page spread and stuns.
Brisson’s doing something interesting with his main villain. He makes the kid more self-aware of his faults, which makes him even more dangerous. His actions, cruel and unusual, all make perfect sense. At those moments, Brisson has the reader identifying with him.
The issue splits between the main villain, the goofy villain, the two renegade girls–gone from active protagonists to inactive prisoners–and some of the other kids around the compound. As usual, it’s a fast read, though Brisson does follow something of a three act structure.
Brisson also uses a lot of dialogue to slow the pace, but then will switch over to visual storytelling. Sheltered is feels predictable.
Writer and letterer, Ed Brisson; artist, Johnnie Christmas; colorist, Shari Chankhamma; editor, Paul Allor; publisher, Image Comics.
Starting this issue, I felt a little bad. I only read The Wake to praise Murphy’s art and to mock Snyder’s writing. It’s definitely mock-worthy this time around too, but then he goes and does something even more amazing.
He craps on the story he is telling and then announces he’s going to tell an entirely different story. Apparently one about flying girls. So instead of ripping off The Abyss, Leviathan and whatever other underwater adventures he could… He announces he’s instead going to rip off Waterworld and post-apocalyptic stuff.
Am I spoiling the end of this issue?
No, because this issue–this storyline–isn’t the point. Murphy was just messing around.
It’s the perfect jumping off point too, because it’s clear there’s never going to be anything resembling a good narrative here.
Oh, Contact. He rips Contact off a little here too.
Anyway, crappy writing, great art.
Writer, Scott Snyder; artist, Sean Murphy; colorist, Matt Hollingsworth; letterer, Jared K. Fletcher; editors, Sara Miller and Mark Doyle; publisher, Vertigo.
I hate the moments where the writer makes a big revelation his protagonist is actually the biggest badass in the world. At best, they’re hollow, at worst… well, they’re hollow and bad. Except Azzarello pulls it off here. And he pulls it off because of how he’s structured this series so far.
With Lono, Azzarello has done a somewhat gentle structure–the lives of the people in this town, in their particular situations, all brought together. When he reveals the “truth” about Lono, he does it through the characters he’s established. He throws a lot at the good guys this issue and their characters react and develop wondrously. Azzarello writes the heck out of the characters here.
And then there’s Risso’s art. Risso gets to do a huge action sequence after a couple lengthily paced sequences. He does great work.
It’s an outstanding comic; raises my hopes for the series.
¡La Canción de Los Torturados!; writer, Brian Azzarello; artist, Eduardo Risso; colorist, Trish Mulvihill; letterer, Clem Robins; editors, Sara Miller and Will Dennis; publisher, Vertigo.
The hard cliffhanger suggests Azzarello is finally getting to the inevitable bloody showdown in Brother Lono. He’s been setting it up, foreshadowing it with corpses mostly; it sort of had to happen, otherwise there wouldn’t be an epical plot line… but it’s also unfortunate.
So far, Brother Lono has been Azzarello and Risso delicately, intricately laying out scenes and connections. Azzarello manages to make it worthwhile in singles, but obviously more connected in the eventual trade. Giving it a big finish won’t undo the good work they’ve done, but it will suggest there’s a limit to how far mainstream comic can go. Of course, if they didn’t have eight issues for Lono, there would have had to be a lot more action.
Most of the stuff this issue’s character work. Azzarello plays the characters off one another–but not necessarily nefariously. Risso does great with those scenes.
Again, good stuff.
¡Los Hijos de la Sangre!; writer, Brian Azzarello; artist, Eduardo Risso; colorist, Trish Mulvihill; letterer, Clem Robins; editors, Sara Miller and Will Dennis; publisher, Vertigo.
And now we’re at something like six weeks between episodes. We’re sorry!
This episode, Vernon and I talk about new comic books, a little about “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” and probably lots of little media-related tidbits, a little about recent comic book creator controversies, and we also announce the winner of the first Comics Fondle Podcast prize contest.
Giffen does manage a couple nice plot twists for the last issue, but since he’s ending this series as a prologue to some other series… there’s not much closure. In fact, the lack of closure just points out what a strange book Drax has been. The human inhabitants–turned into slave labor–are dismissible. Giffen made two of them sympathetic.
He also doesn’t work to make Drax sympathetic. Instead, the Skrull comes off as more likable. The Skrull has a very nice finish in the series (though apparently not enough to make it to the cliffhanger). There’s a strange coda with Cammi’s mother and her sidekick, like Giffen remembered it later.
The first half of the issue, even without the nice Skrull moments, reads better. Giffen isn’t rushing things for it.
Still, he wrote an amusing comic. Not successful, but definitely amusing. Shame the Skrull couldn’t have been the lead.
Hard Penance; writer, Keith Giffen; artist, Mitch Breitweiser; colorist, Brian Reber; letterer, Cory Petit; editors, Molly Lazer, Aubrey Sitterson and Andy Schmidt; publisher, Marvel Comics.
Uh oh, I was supposed to be paying attention to the awkward flirting between the lead character and one of the witches. Gischler tries so hard for chemistry between the two of them it’s nauseating. Actually, the way the girl swoons for the guy reminds of Jeph Loeb’s Superman/Batman.
Otherwise, the issue’s reasonably okay. It’s mostly action, which doesn’t look great in Ferreyra’s somewhat painted art. But the scene has a couple unexpected moments and it moves well, static art or not.
Then comes the stuff with the witches, which works because Gischler writes the old witch lady so well. Ferreyra also renders her perfectly. She carries the second half of the issue. Gischler doesn’t bother giving anyone else as much personality. In the case of the protagonist, that lack of depth is already hurting things.
The series’s quality is evening out lower than I hoped; still, not bad.
Writer, Victor Gischler; artist, Juan Ferreyra; colorists, Eduardo Ferreyra and Juan Ferreyra; letterer, Nate Piekos; editors, Shantel LaRocque and Daniel Chabon; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.
It’s a strange issue. It’s gorgeous–Colan and Alcala doing a Scarecrow issue is going to be gorgeous–but there’s so much mood, it’s like Colan forgot to break out a reasonable action sequence. After the first act, when Batman and Robin get into it, Colan and Moench are in a hurry. The leads drop into an existing action scene–the Bat-Signal calling them directly to the courthouse–and it doesn’t feel right. Colan’s compositions are more static than usual too.
Then there’s how much time Moench wastes explaining the Scarecrow. First he explains why the Scarecrow is mad at the other Batman villains, then he does a recap of the Scarecrow’s origin, then he explains the new fear juice. It’s just too much.
The subplots–Vicki, Alfred’s daughter, Dr. Fang–they do get some play, but not enough.
Maybe those parts don’t matter, given the truly awesome artwork.
The Frequency of Fear; writer, Doug Moench; penciller, Gene Colan; inker, Alfredo Alcala; colorist, Adrienne Roy; letterer, Albert De Guzman; editor, Len Wein; publisher, DC Comics.
Giffen also has a nice little moment where the “reality” of the Marvel Universe comes into play. There’s no way to call for help in a rural area to report an alien attack.
The issue opens with the girl bantering with the Skrull, which is a fun scene, especially since Giffen has the girl outwit the space thugs. The good banter distracts from the lack of actual content; there are a number of well-written scenes, but nothing with much heft.
For the issue’s last act–I use the term loosely as Giffen doesn’t really work towards a first or second act–Drax returns. Thanks to alien physiology, it’s the first time the reader gets to meet him. It’s also the first time Giffen gives him much to say.
It’s fun–Giffen writes Drax well against Cammi, the girl–but the comic’s running out of steam.
From the Ashes; writer, Keith Giffen; artist, Mitch Breitweiser; colorist, Brian Reber; letterer, Cory Petit; editors, Molly Lazer, Aubrey Sitterson and Andy Schmidt; publisher, Marvel Comics.