And now it’s perfectly clear Goodwin’s seen You Only Live Twice. This story recasts Phil as James Bond—with Goodwin borrowing not just the big volcanic secret headquarters ending from You Only Live Twice, but details from various other Bond movies like Thunderball.
Williamson clearly had a great time illustrating the story—he’s got secret bases, naval fleets, sharks—but the story is painfully mediocre. Goodwin’s starting to reuse character traits too. Here, the seemingly villainous woman comes around, convinced by Phil’s goodness. I think she’s maybe the third since their run started.
And the villain? Good grief, he’s a craggy sea captain. Surrounded by Bond-like guys in jumpsuits. If anything Goodwin and Williamson created G.I. Joe on this story, given all the goofiness of costumes.
It’s not terrible, it’s not as bad as their worst stories, but it’s so absurd… it feels like Goodwin’s disinterested in writing well.
Well… all the gains Goodwin’s made on Corrigan’s writing get flushed this story. Some of it may be Williamson’s fault, but not exactly. He does a great job; it’s just too bad he’s illustrating the dumbest content on the strip since he and Goodwin started.
Mrs. Murkley—not a character who needed to return—is back and she’s beating in heads with her cane as she breaks out of prison. She actually stops to think about how all she needs is her cane and she’d be able to knock sense into her accomplices. It reminds me of the “Batman” TV show. This evil old lady, who looks like Dame Edna—right down to the glasses—is the villain.
Except the masked Leader, whose secret identity is so secret, the reader doesn’t even need to discover it.
It’s terrible storytelling. Great art though. Lots of claustrophobic action.
Now, I imagine Goodwin knew the FBI was nothing like he portrays it in Corrigan. This story is more like any film noir detective story with the cop being hunted by an unknown villain and having to deal with it.
Of course, it’s not an unknown villain… it’s those wily Chinese again. Goodwin likes the Chinese as villains here. Anyway, it’s not just the Chinese… there’s a Bond villain. He wears sunglasses and a black turtleneck and can break men’s spines with his karate chop. His name is Joe Ice and that name alone makes most of this story cringe-worthy.
He’s not a bad villain though. He’s just got an idiotic name. And it’s unclear how Phil, who constantly gets himself into trouble and lucks out of it, can beat up this member of the killer elite.
Some great Williamson art, as usual, but it’s a forgettable story.
It’s like whatever great advances Goodwin makes with Corrigan’s writing he almost immediately sets back. Well, not completely, but still noticeably. This story features Phil heading off to a fictional European country—with fairy tale castles—to sort out a prime minister’s plot against the future queen.
The setting gives Williamson a lot of great opportunity and it’s cool to see an action scene in the castle, but there’s something missing. A lot of the Corrigan plots seem engineered to give Williamson an interesting landscape to draw. While the art’s great, it doesn’t do much for the narrative.
Though Goodwin does introduce a couple good bad guys—Williamson has a great time with them (they look like they’re Prussian royalty)—and one almost wonders how Phil’s going to make it through.
I’ve realized Goodwin keeps Phil bland so he can fit into whatever exotic setting they choose.
There’s no globe-trotting this story, just Phil hanging out in New York and investigating a spy ring. There’s so little back story we never even find out what foreign power is buying government secrets; we don’t even find out why the federal employee selling the documents is risking execution for treason.
But none of that brevity matters because it’s not just Williamson illustrating New York, it’s Williamson illustrating a packed New York. There are veritable street scenes in the strip, with Phil walking through groups of people and landmarks in the background. Even when it’s not landmarks, Williamson’s city scenes are magnificent.
Goodwin moves things real fast–getting in one or two more plot points than usual. It seems like the pair are hitting their stride on Corrigan. This story is the best so far and twice as good as the last “best so far.”
It’s darned good.
While it’s nice to know Goodwin’s seen Bad Day at Black Rock and maybe Man in the Shadow (or some variation of crime boss running small town with townspeople’s de facto permission), it sort of makes this Corrigan storyline boring.
The only interesting thing about it—once it becomes clear we aren’t going to find out about a former FBI agent turned rural newspaperman—is how the crime boss’s estranged girlfriend all of a sudden decides she wants to be a good guy. Her character has a clear arc. She starts the story trying to get back at him for neglecting her and ends it wanting to make the world a better place.
Unfortunately, the strip’s not about her. It’s about some lengthy fights, lots of scenes lifted from the aforementioned movies and Phil Corrigan getting out of trouble–once again by luck alone.
It’s inoffensive, but dreadfully unoriginal.
Phil’s off to the Arabian desert this story, which does give Williamson a chance to draw some fantastic scenery and action scenes. Goodwin plots a lot of action into the same relatively short period, but it works out since Phil’s character development has taken another break.
Goodwin gets in an opening action scene with Phil in the States, discovering the arms smuggling going on in the fictional Middle Eastern country (they have oil, of course). Then he fends off some assassins once he gets there, has a chase sequence, a fist fight, a gun fight and then another gun fight. Goodwin also gets in some backstory on the villains. It’s a lot of stuff.
The great art helps the story pass smoothly, even when Goodwin gets a little too goofy with the bad guys. He never makes them believable (though his take on Arab politics is more thoughtful than not).
Thank goodness China went communist because what Asians would Americans have had to demonize once World War II was over….
The villain this issue is a Chinese spy (he looks like a fat Fu Manchu), but also appears to employ a Japanese karate expert. Goodwin never struck me as a dumb writer; he must have known he was being completely inaccurate.
Details aside, Goodwin has a strong (if melodramatic) plot going.
The story’s simple—a woman’s husband is held prisoner until she betrays the U.S. government, Phil finds out about it and helps her. There’s not much action until the finale. It’s mostly these taut scenes with the wife miserable and hesitant to ask Phil for help. Williamson’s better at these “people in crisis” panels than he is at action panels and Williamson’s very good at action panels. Regardless of cultural insensitivity and casual racism, it’s a beautifully drawn story.
I think this story has to be my favorite Corrigan so far. Not only does it have a good length (Goodwin usually cuts out just when the second part of a longer story could start), but it also features Phil’s wife, Wilda.
Okay, I’m not a fan of her name—in fact, when she’s taken hostage, I couldn’t believe anyone with such a silly name hadn’t ended up in the strip because she was a former spy and could handle herself. She cannot. So Phil has to save her.
In saving her, Goodwin establishes Phil as a real character. He’s got Phil off being to secret agent and knowing his wife’s in probable danger. That move hits a depth Corrigan has hit before, at least not since Goodwin and Williamson started.
And Williamson? Doing city scenes and a desert resort… it’s his best art so far. Phenomenal stuff.
Phil Corrigan finally gets some personality this story. Not a lot of it, but some. Goodwin and Williamson are far more concerned with making Corrigan thrilling than they are developing the protagonist. Of course, since Phil’s just a good egg, I suppose they can’t develop him too much.
This story concerns a dying mobster, his daughter and his two former associates who want to keep him quiet. The mobster wants to give his daughter a chance to go back to the States, no longer stuck in exile. It’s up to Phil to protect and he does a reasonably good job of it.
Goodwin only has to come up with one or two dumb plot points to get the story full steam. Once in the main body (starting on with a train sequence), the story never slows. It goes so constant, the ending is a shock. Goodwin could’ve easily continued.
Corrigan’s off to the sunny Caribbean this storyline, where he discovers the bad guys aren’t helping fugitives escape the States but rather stealing their money and making them do hard labor.
That situation, the criminals doing harder labor than they’d ever do in a real prison, isn’t one Goodwin explores. Actually, Goodwin doesn’t explore much with Corrigan, but his lack of ambition isn’t a bad thing. It’s a diverting spy slash thriller comic strip. Even when Goodwin’s got overly expositional panels (to bridge), it’s always fast paced.
One problem though… I don’t believe an FBI agent is going to give a bunch of fugitives pistols, even if they are all in a work camp. These guys were just trying to kill Corrigan a few strips earlier.
Williamson’s art is good. He matches Goodwin on the pace. Corrigan reads very fast. So fast plot holes don’t cause any stumbles.
Archie Goodwin does this fantastic job setting up the story—a defected Soviet scientist is being pursued by the bad guys because they want to ransom her. Meanwhile, she doesn’t like being stuck in protected custody and dreams of getting free for even a night.
It’s a great setup and the character is really compelling. Then Goodwin reveals the bad guys are using a circus as a front and they’re traveling around the country grabbing people up.
While Goodwin does keep enough of a pace one doesn’t exactly dwell on the circus detail, but it’s definitely present and definitely absurd.
Even though it does lead to a great finale involving a Ferris wheel.
While Goodwin’s dialogue’s good and his narration is nice and sparse, the draw is Al Williamson. It’s an exceedingly well-drawn comic strip. Williamson brings anxiety to ever panel, which works great for a thriller.
The Gully story from Schultz and Williamson doesn’t have much of a script; with Williamson’s art, who cares about the writing? It’s some otherworldly sci-fi Western thing. Lovely to look at.
White and Snejbjerg’s The Lords of Misrule is a little confusing, but decent. Snejbjerg does a great job with the tone and the art is excellent… he just doesn’t take the time to design it to fit the layers of White’s script. Still, creepy and solid.
Trout’s becoming a new favorite, even though this installment shows Nixey has some peculiar problems with perspective. Lot of charm to it though, very nice characterizations.
Hectic Planet goes on forever here. Dorkin has a bunch of silly sci-fi elements in what should be a human story. It gets tiring after the first page then goes on forever.
Schreck, Rich and Jones have a one page closer. Great art from Jones.
One Last Job; story by Mark Schultz; art by Al Williamson; lettered by Denise Powell. The Lords of Misrule, Part One; story by Steve White; art by Peter Snejbjerg; lettering by Annie Parkhouse; edited by Ian R. Stude. Trout, Nicky Nicky Nine Doors, Part Two; story and art by Troy Nixey. Hectic Planet, Part Three; story and art by Evan Dorkin. Gather Ye Rosebuds; story by Bob Schreck and Jamie S. Rich; pencils by Casey Jones; inks by Monty Sheldon; lettering by Sean Konot. Edited by Bob Schreck and Jamie S. Rich.
Posted in Dark Horse, Gully, Hectic Planet, Lords of Misrule, Trout
Tagged Al Williamson, Bob Schreck, Casey Jones, Evan Dorkin, Jamie S. Rich, Mark Schultz, Monty Sheldon, Peter Snejbjerg, Peter White, Troy Nixey
There are some real problems this issue–Goodwin’s got to adapt the stuff without Deckard (who in his adaptation isn’t just not a replicant, but is also a lot more the Deckard from Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?) and it’s just a mess. The way Goodwin structures it–the noir with Deckard and Rachel–it just doesn’t work for following the rogue replicants. Wait, aren’t they all rogue?
Anyway, Goodwin pulls it together for the conclusion, with a beautifully narrated sequence. Did Goodwin do any detective comics? I’d love to read them.
The stuff with Deckard and Rachel is a lot different from the movie and, if it weren’t for the structure, I’d argue Blade Runner the comic is a completely different animal.
Goodwin ends it with a postscript, a little line about blade runners. I Googled the line. He wrote it himself… makes for a lovely comic book.
Writer, Archie Goodwin; pencillers, Al Williamson and Carlos Garzon; inkers, Williamson, Garzon, Dan Green and Ralph Reese; colorist, Marie Severin; letterer, Ed King; editor, Jim Salicrup; publisher, Marvel Comics.