Carlos Ezquerra

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Judge Dredd 24 (October 1985)

Judge Dredd #24

The Apocalypse War saga ends. There’s some silliness–like Wagner and Grant referring to Dredd’s “Apocalypse Squad”–but most of the comic works out, at least as far as narrative.

Dredd’s got to take care of the enemy’s mega city, which proves easy thanks to Anderson (who the writers use to get out of plotting difficulties), and then he heads home to win the war.

There’s a little bit too much exposition and it doesn’t work because Wagner and Grant are overextending themselves. They’re giving more information than the story needs to succeed and it weighs down a lot of sequences. The subplots don’t really provide any additional texture, they just fill pages.

And those pages have really bad art. Ezquerra is worse than he was in the previous issue. His composition is worse, his detail is worse. It’s a hideous looking comic.

But the writing is effective. So… yeah.

B 

CREDITS

Writers, John Wagner and Alan Grant; artist, Carlos Ezquerra; colorist, John Burns; letterer, Tom Frame; editor, Nick Landau; publisher, Eagle Comics.

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Judge Dredd 23 (September 1985)

Judge Dredd #23

From the start, Ezquerra’s art is off. His figures are weak, his composition is worse. Maybe he just burned out on all the war stuff–there are constant empty backgrounds, like he’s trying to do less work. It actually feels like someone doing an Ezquerra impression and and a rushed one.

As for the writing… Wagner and Grant have two things to do in the issue. First is to resolve the Soviet brainwashing of the Chief Judge. Dredd has to infiltrate and take him out, which doesn’t cause Dredd any consternation because the Chief Judge knows he’s been brainwashed and wants to die. What that plot lacks in dramatic impact, at least the infiltrating should be interesting (and the extraction).

Sadly, Ezquerra’s weak art hurts it a lot.

Ditto the second plot point, the judges waging war against the Soviets. Or getting ready to.

The art significantly impairs the issue.

C+ 

CREDITS

Writers, John Wagner and Alan Grant; artist, Carlos Ezquerra; colorist, John Burns; letterer, Tom Frame; editor, Nick Landau; publisher, Eagle Comics.

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Judge Dredd 22 (August 1985)

Judge Dredd #22

It’s the war comic I’ve been expecting from Wagner for a while now. Dredd and the judges with him have a mission and they try to carry it through. There are changes, but minor ones. It’s just a war comic, even during the bewildering sequence where the judges have to knock down the supports on a giant highway system to stop the invasion.

It all looks too simple. Ezquerra has some nice panels but he never establishes the lack of reality in the set pieces. Instead of it being fantastic, Ezquerra instead goes for cheap thrills.

But the big silly action sequences are still mostly successful. Wagner writes them well, silly or not. The only drawback, other than the major problems, is Walter and the comic relief. Wagner goes too far with the comic relief, which leads to some lame jokes.

It’s fine enough, it’s just a little bit tiresome.

B 

CREDITS

Writer, John Wagner; artist, Carlos Ezquerra; colorist, John Burns; letterer, Tom Frame; editor, Nick Landau; publisher, Eagle Comics.

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Judge Dredd 21 (July 1985)

Judge Dredd #21

There are some amusing disconnects with Ezquerra’s art and Wagner’s script. It’s like Ezquerra didn’t get the jokes… or if he did, he paced them wrong. Or maybe there’s just no easy way to illustrate jokes amid a story about a nuclear attack.

Wagner figures out a way to both have nuclear attacks but still keep the story on a personal level. There’s both kinds of action, usually with some talking heads scenes between the two opposing sides. The story doesn’t hold much water, but it’s just supposed to move and move it does.

Even though there are some horrific ideas, the issue doesn’t leave much of an impression. It just moves so fast, so towards its goal, there’s nothing else going on. Except in the last few pages, Walter the robot gets some attention again. It’s amusing enough stuff, but just a little too silly.

Even for John Wagner.

B 

CREDITS

Writer, John Wagner; artist, Carlos Ezquerra; colorist, John Burns; letterer, Tom Frame; editor, Nick Landau; publisher, Eagle Comics.

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Judge Dredd 20 (June 1985)

Judge Dredd #20

Even though Carlos Ezquerra is an odd choice for a future war–Dredd co-creator or not, Ezquerra puts a lot of emphasis on the static parts of images instead of the moving, which is strange here–and even though Wagner goes overboard with some of the symbolism, it’s an awesome issue.

It’s the end of the world and Dredd is trying to keep it going. The action cuts between the Soviets, Dredd and company and general action. The general action is where Wagner does the lame jokes–usually related to a block’s name–and the rest has some real obvious anti-Soviet propaganda regurgitation. It’s amazing no one learned anything between the 1980s and the Dredd time period.

Still, Wagner and Ezquerra keep the situations tense and dire and the comic works out beautifully. It’s a plummeting elevator car more than a roller coaster.

Some nice humor throughout too.

A- 

CREDITS

Writer, John Wagner; artist, Carlos Ezquerra; colorist, John Burns; letterers, Steve Potter and Tom Frame; editor, Nick Landau; publisher, Eagle Comics.

2000 AD 10 (30 April 1977)

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Overall, it’s not a terrible issue. Nothing really stands out as good or bad. The first half of the Dan Dare is okay even–Belardinelli really does do a lot better with space battles than anything else.

The Invasion entry has decent art from Eric Bradbury and a nice reveal at the end. Finley-Day’s dialogue’s moronic, but it’s always moronic.

Studio Giolitti does a little better on the Flesh writing. Boix continues to draw dinosaurs rampaging well. The Harlem Heroes has a great panel or two from Gibbons. Again, dumb but not terrible–the story’s plotted okay.

M.A.C.H. 1 rips off some Bond moments as the protagonist hunts a fugitive. Mills does better with the action than the quiet epilogue.

And then there’s Dredd. Good art from Ezquerra helps things a lot. Wagner writes weak dialogue and the end’s way too heavy handed. Otherwise, nearly okay.

CREDITS

Invasion, Dartmoor, Part One; writer, Gerry Finley-Day; artist, Eric Bradbury; letterer, John Aldrich. Flesh, Book One, Part Ten; writer, Studio Giolitti; artist, Boix; letterer, Aldrich. Harlem Heroes, Part Ten; writer, Tom Tully; artist and letterer, Dave Gibbons. Dan Dare, Part Ten; writer, Kelvin Gosnell; artist, Massimo Belardinelli; letterers, Jack Potter and Peter Knight. M.A.C.H. 1, On the Roof of the World; writer, Pat Mills; artist, Enio; letterer, Tony Jacob. Judge Dredd, Robot Wars, Part One; writer, John Wagner; artist, Carlos Ezquerra; letterer, Aldrich. Publisher, IPC.

2000 AD 5 (26 March 1977)

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It’s a distressingly tepid issue. Even with Judge Dredd fighting a giant robot gorilla–or maybe because of that emphasis on absurd bigness. The Dredd story does look good though–Carlos Ezquerra bakes dry humor into every panel.

The opening Invasion story is a bore. Finley-Day’s just writing dialogue for action scenes and he’s not particularly good at it. Sarompas’s art on the story is lacking.

At least the art on Flesh is good. Nothing happens in the story except dinosaur rampage (including raptors before anyone knew to call them raptors). Sola’s artwork is beautiful, which makes up for a lot. But it’s still pointless.

Harlem Heroes finishes the first game and then Tully speeds up the overall plot. The plot’s more interesting than the game coverage, but not much.

Dan Dare and M.A.C.H. 1 are both lame, but M.A.C.H. 1 is much worse. It’s exceptionally bad this programme.

CREDITS

Invasion, The Resistance, Part Five; writer, Gerry Finley-Day; artist, Sarompas; letterer, John Aldrich. Flesh, Book One, Part Five; writer, Studio Giolitti; artist, Ramon Sola; letterer, Bill Nuttall. Harlem Heroes, Part Five; writer, Tom Tully; artist and letterer, Dave Gibbons. Dan Dare, Part Five; writer, Kelvin Gosnell; artist, Massimo Belardinelli; letterer, Jack Potter. M.A.C.H. 1, Probesnatch; writer, Nick Allen; artist, John Cooper; letterer, Jack Potter. Judge Dredd, Krong; writer, Malcolm Shaw; artist, Carlos Ezquerra; letterer, S. Richardson. Publisher, IPC.

The Boys 34 (September 2009)

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And the Ezquerras are back for the finish. It’s an awesome finish for with the Super Nazi going down–though, really, Hughie getting queasy over them attacking a super-powered Nazi is a real problem. Maybe with a vaguely sympathetic superhero it’d be different, but not this guy. I assume Ennis knows what he’s doing with it.

Vasili (from Russia) pops in for a bit and it’s good to have him back in the book. He puts Butcher and Mother’s Milk pleasantly off-guard, which they never are otherwise.

Great resolution with the Female too. Even if Ennis doesn’t want to concentrate on her, he sure does know how to use her for a good laugh.

The unfortunate part is how contrived the non-Boys storyline is getting. Ennis is always coming up with convenient turns of events to speed things along. It’s too commonplace.

The rest makes up for it.

CREDITS

The Self-Preservation Society, Conclusion; writer, Garth Ennis; penciller, Carlos Ezquerra; inker, Hector Ezquerra; colorist, Tony Aviña; letterer, Simon Bowland; editor, Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

The Boys 32 (July 2009)

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My bad, the Female doesn’t die. I thought she did (and I took it, as a reader, in total stride).

But she makes it. And then the Boys get into a big fight with a second-rate super team. Lots of violence, but with the Ezquerra art it’s all very digestible.

A couple things stand out this issue. First, Annie gets a new costume and new origin story. While the costume appears to be a dig at Marvel’s costumes for various female heroes, the rape-centered origin is straight out of DC. The Ezquerra’ art on her subplot is awful but Ennis writes it very, very well. Her anger’s palpable.

Second, Hughie’s turned into a whiny pest. Almost to the point he’s no longer likable. He whines and complains instead of paying attention. Makes one think Ennis doesn’t have a fully developed arc prepared for him.

Awesome issue though. Awesome.

CREDITS

The Self-Preservation Society, Part Two; writer, Garth Ennis; penciller, Carlos Ezquerra; inker, Hector Ezquerra; colorist, Tony Aviña; letterer, Simon Bowland; editor, Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

The Boys 31 (June 2009)

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Holy crap. Ennis kills one of The Boys (or so it seems). It’s a strange occurrence for a few reasons. First, it doesn’t seem like a big change in the series. Ennis has already done a lot of jarring things, so killing off a lead doesn’t faze as much as it could.

But it should, right? Killing off a lead didn’t even seem possible before this issue. And, now, after reading it, I’m disconnect from it. It makes me question how invested I am in the characters versus Ennis’s storytelling.

It probably helps Carlos and Hector Ezquerra are on the art. Not just because the rough fight scenes are more comical under their pens and pencils, but because it doesn’t feel like The Boys proper. The art’s already a disconnect, the character’s death is coming after it.

Besides too much time on Annie and Hughie, it’s still a good issue.

CREDITS

The Self-Preservation Society, Part One; writer, Garth Ennis; penciller, Carlos Ezquerra; inker, Hector Ezquerra; colorist, Tony Aviña; letterer, Simon Bowland; editor, Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

Battlefields 3 (January 2013)

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Ennis saves the big tank battle for the last issue of the arc; he also does away with most of the historical details. They’re an aside. The tank crew’s experience in the battle is the focus.

In many ways the tank crew are bystanders in the issue. Ennis shows how they experience what’s happening to their fellow soldiers; not a lot happens to Stiles and company themselves. Maybe because Ennis didn’t really establish anyone but Stiles, his sidekick and Stiles’s fellow tank commander. Even with the shift in tone, Ennis is able to make the arc feel seamless.

Once again, the Ezquerra art leaves a little to be desired. It feels too crisp. The big battle scenes are occasionally confusing and not for the right reasons. The art doesn’t establish anyone but Stiles and his fellow commander and they don’t get a lot of close-ups.

It’s good, not great.

CREDITS

The Green Fields Beyond, Part 3: Death Ride; writer, Garth Ennis; penciller, Carlos Ezquerra; inker, Hector Ezquerra; colorist, Tony Aviña; letterer, Simon Bowland; editor, Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

Battlefields 2 (December 2012)

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Stiles and his sidekick spend the issue away from the rest of the crew, observing a famous historical battle. They participate, but Ennis mostly just uses Stiles to explain what’s going on. He does it in such a way, of course, it never feels like exposition.

It should though–I mean, Stiles’s sidekick is a generic new recruit, the perfect person to be getting the exposition. Maybe the horrific conditions makes it seem less obvious, but it really didn’t occur to me how obvious it could have been until after finishing the issue. During, one can’t concentrate on anything but what he or she is reading.

The art is still loose, but there are some amazing panels in here. Particularly the phosphorous sequence.

Ennis outdoes himself. Battlefields becomes an educational docudrama and Ennis never draws attention to that value of it. He maintains the dramatic tension throughout, especially the finish.

CREDITS

The Green Fields Beyond, Part 2: God for Harry, England and Saint George; writer, Garth Ennis; penciller, Carlos Ezquerra; inker, Hector Ezquerra; colorist, Tony Aviña; letterer, Simon Bowland; editor, Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

Battlefields 1 (November 2012)

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It wouldn’t be Battlefields without the Tankies and Sergeant Stiles. But Ennis is also doing a Korean War story–and drawing attention to the lack of attention the Korean War gets–so Ennis is coming from a different place. He’s educating.

A lot about Battlefields is different. Stiles is older and more self-reflective, for example. Te tank crew isn’t as important (so far). Stiles has a big scene with another WWII veteran as Ennis emphasizes the men returning to battle after an unsatisfying peacetime.

And the Ezquerra brothers are a little loose on the art. It’s still distinct and good, but it’s too broad and hurried at times. There’s no humor, just melancholy, and it doesn’t seem like they know how to do it.

Ennis has clearly worked hard to get the script right. He’s not doing a standard war comic, rather a specific one with familiar characters added.

CREDITS

The Green Fields Beyond, Part 1: Now Thrive The Armourers; writer, Garth Ennis; penciller, Carlos Ezquerra; inker, Hector Ezquerra; colorist, Tony Aviña; letterer, Simon Bowland; editor, Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

Adventures in the Rifle Brigade 3 (December 2000)

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Ennis brings Rifle Brigade safely home for its delightful conclusion.

It’s a somewhat busier issue than usual, as it opens with the boys still in the SS prison. They get out quickly, sabotage some German laboratory and head off for their escape. Actually, most of the issue is action–they’re escaping in a stolen plane and elite German commandos (genetically engineered thugs) attack them.

Ennis is able to get in a constant stream of jokes–while the action’s going on, while the Germans are recovering from the attack. The only place he doesn’t do a lot of humor is at the end (the issue ends as the D-Day fleet is in transit). I wouldn’t say he gets respectable, but he does tone it down a little once the boys intersect with history.

What’s so striking is how smart the script has to be, even though the humor’s crude.

Brilliant.

CREDITS

Up Yours, Fritz; writer, Garth Ennis; artist, Carlos Ezquerra; colorists, Patricia Mulvihill and Jamison; letterer, Clem Robins; editors, Jennifer Lee and Axel Alonso; publisher, DC Comics.