Carlos Ezquerra

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.

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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.

Adventures in the Rifle Brigade 2 (November 2000)

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The lunacy continues. And maybe amplifies a little.

While the boys in the Rifle Brigade are being questioned by a busty SS woman, the regular army guy who caught them is bickering with the SS commander. Basically, Ennis just uses the structure to get in as many Nazi jokes as possible. There’s a beauty to his comic writing–especially the panel where, after the Rifle Brigade has inspired the entire prison to sing about the manly deficiencies of the Nazi Party leaders, a Brit in front of the firing squad gets off a bit of the chorus.

It’s somewhat hard to tell if the British are supposed to be foolish but stubbornly brave or just stubbornly brave. The only stupid Rifle Brigade member is the gay guy coming on to the captain again this issue.

Beautiful art from Ezquerra in what’s basically a talking heads issue.

Simply marvelous comedic work.

CREDITS

Definitely Not Cricket; writer, Garth Ennis; artist, Carlos Ezquerra; colorists, Patricia Mulvihill and Jamison; letterer, Clem Robins; editors, Jennifer Lee and Axel Alonso; publisher, DC Comics.

Adventures in the Rifle Brigade 1 (October 2000)

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Rifle Brigade might be Ennis at his funniest (this first series anyway). He mixes absurdly graphic violence with constant humor here. There’s nothing going on but his attempt to get a laugh out of situations. He even takes the time to set up jokes, like the gay soldier trying to get a dying kiss out of his captain. But it doesn’t stop there, since the captain’s now suspicious.

Ezquerra’s artwork is fantastic stuff. He can make just an illustration worth laughing over (The Piper, for example, brings a grin whatever panel he’s in) but he’s also able to do all the action Ennis requires of him.

The joke of it–British bravado amped up–is particularly hilarious because Ennis doesn’t make them smart. They’re dumb, vicious and hilarious. Of course, having the Nazis as bad guys means being vicious isn’t going to make them unsympathetic.

It’s an utterly hilarious comic.

CREDITS

Once More Unto the Breach; writer, Garth Ennis; artist, Carlos Ezquerra; colorists, Patricia Mulvihill and Jamison; letterer, Clem Robins; editors, Jennifer Lee and Axel Alonso; publisher, DC Comics.

Battlefields 6 (May 2010)

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The curse of the full page panels. Ezquerra has two in the last few pages and it hurts the reading experience. The tank battle needed more elucidation, not full page panels.

I have no idea how this issue ends, but I’m assuming since Ennis is literal with Battlefields, it’s not ending with a ghost. It’s more Ezquerra’s fault, his panicked faces are all looking alike at the end of the issue. But it’s also Ennis’s fault for not leaving enough room.

The confusion leaves the arc a lot less steady than I thought possible for a Battlefields story. Sadly, Tankies is the strongest and its sequel is the weakest. In some ways, I think Ennis got too comfortable. It served him well in the first story, while here… it’s “just” a sequel. It’s horrifying and affecting, but mostly because of the familiar protagonist.

Worth a read, of course, just disappointing.

CREDITS

The Firefly and His Majesty, Part Three: Kingdom of Dust; writer, Garth Ennis; penciller, Carlos Ezquerra; inker, Hector Ezquerra; colorist, Tony Aviña; letterer, Simon Bowland; editor, Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

Battlefields 5 (April 2010)

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I’d like to call a foul on Ennis here for playing the reader but it’s not his fault. Maybe he knew the reader would get comfy, a little relaxed, laughing at the jokes… only to have the last couple pages of the issue knock the wind out of him or her.

So instead of calling foul, I’ll just say he makes a great turn at the end. I can’t imagine what this story would read like without Ezquerra. He does such a perfect job with the expressions. He manages the humor, the exhaustion, the anger and the horror in such a way he brings the whole issue to life.

This issue is rather full. Not a lot of time passes, but Ennis gives the reader a lot of information–there’s even backstory on the Sarge–whether about the tank crew or the Germans. The German scenes are scary.

Brilliant work.

CREDITS

The Firefly and His Majesty, Part Two: Soldiers of the Reich; writer, Garth Ennis; penciller, Carlos Ezquerra; inker, Hector Ezquerra; colorist, Tony Aviña; letterer, Simon Bowland; editor, Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

Battlefields 4 (March 2010)

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Hey, it’s the sequel to Tankies. I didn’t even realize from the cover.

Well, I’m not sure it’s exactly a sequel to Tankies, rather another adventure of that tank crew. If I remember the original correctly, the plotting’s basically the same. The issue opens and closes with a different group of characters, here it’s some Nazis. Then we get to our crew.

The majority of the issue is talk, with the Sarge (he gets a last name here–Stiles–though he might have had it in the first series) talking to an American about an off-page tank attack (the Germans from the first scene hit a column of American tanks).

We get a brief introduction to the newest member of the tank crew and a flashback catching us up on their recent activities.

Ezquerra handles Ennis’s more humorous moments, as always, beautifully.

It’s a strong start for the arc.

CREDITS

The Firefly and His Majesty, Part One: Welcome to the Fatherland; writer, Garth Ennis; penciller, Carlos Ezquerra; inker, Hector Ezquerra; colorist, Tony Aviña; letterer, Simon Bowland; editor, Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.