Chris Warner

Predator 4 (March 1990)

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Street gangs versus the Predators. It’s actually a good battle scene. It takes up a good third of the issue; Verheiden definitely comes up with exiting visuals for the artists to realize.

The comic’s pretty lame though. Verheiden front loaded it with characters who disappear–the black police captain shows up again here; why’s he memorable? He’s black. It’s lazy writing and unbelievable.

The narration from the family man cop is pretty dang good though. Verheiden never gets into Schaefer’s head this issue and it works out. The family man has a lot better observations about the situation, far more emotionally charged.

There’s a fair amount of events in the issue, so it’s not a breezy read. It takes some time and has definite tension before the big battle scene.

I’m just trying to remember if anything else happens here. It’s build up, action, occasional good dialogue and no depth.

CREDITS

Writer, Mark Verheiden; artists, Ron Randall and Chris Warner; colorist, Chris Chalenor; letterer, Jim Massara; editor, Randy Stradley; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Predator 3 (November 1989)

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So Schaefer gets kidnapped by a drug lord and has to break out. Meanwhile his partner is trying to let everyone know there’s an alien invasion coming. Lots of warships cloaked in Manhattan, you know… the norm.

Occasionally Verheiden will give Warner some awesome scene to draw–the Pam Am building being a meeting place for the aliens and the military–but a lot of the comic is the South American stuff. It’s a bridging issue is all and a four issue series shouldn’t need one.

Especially not since Verheiden contrives the whole thing with the drug lords. It would have been more natural if Schaefer had stumbled across them instead of being their nemesis.

The genial readability quality is going too. Verheiden has used up his good will. He’s stopped doing anything interesting and is now just trotting through a lame plot.

Hopefully the next (and last) issue’ll succeed.

CREDITS

Writer, Mark Verheiden; artists, Ron Randall and Chris Warner; colorist, Chris Chalenor; letterer, Jim Massara; editor, Randy Stradley; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Predator 2 (September/October 1989)

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So even though this Predator takes place in New York, Verheiden thinks it’s got room to go down to the jungle from the first movie. Oddly, it does. Oh, and I think he must have referred to the general by name in the last one because it’s all over the place here.

But, yeah, the pacing. Verheiden pretty much just skips between the two partners, with the family man cop’s narration being a lot more thoughtful. The Schaefer–that’s Arnie’s character’s brother–narration is more forced. Verheiden knows he needs some kind of exposition, goes with it.

There’s some neat time lapses to make things flow better and an excellent confrontation scene between Schaefer and his boss. It’s a shame the fight between Schaefer and the Predator at the end isn’t better. The scenes just before and just after are great, which makes for it.

Besides bad action, it’s good.

CREDITS

Writer, Mark Verheiden; penciller, Chris Warner; inkers, Sam de la Rosa and Warner; colorist, Chris Chalenor; letterer, Jim Massara; editor, Randy Stradley; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Predator 1 (June 1989)

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Cops, gangs and a Predator… sounds like a movie. Oh, wait, it was a movie. Only Mark Verheiden’s Predator came before Predator 2, probably when they thought Schwarzenegger would play his own brother.

But Verheiden sets the story in New York, narrated by a tired detective with a crazy huge partner (the brother of Schwarzenegger’s character from the first movie). They investigate this weird gang war, which has the general from the movie hanging around (oddly unnamed so far), and get into it with their boss.

It feels a little like Robocop in terms of urban dystopia, but Verheiden does do a fair approximation of a decent cop show. The narrator is extremely likable and there are some great lines. Verheiden has his scene pacing down.

Chris Warner’s composition is better than the actual art. There are some interesting transitions between panels and some effective angles.

It’s totally fine stuff.

CREDITS

The Heat; writer, Mark Verheiden; penciller, Chris Warner; inkers, Sam de la Rosa and Randy Emberlin; colorist, Chris Chalenor; letterer, David Jackson; editor, Randy Stradley; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Dark Horse Presents 156 (August 2000)

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Well, Gray inking Sook on Witch’s Son—at least at this stage of Sook’s career—produces a far better result than Sook inking himself. It still looks very Mignola, but there’s a lot more fluidity to the characters. As for Allie’s script? It’s competent in terms of dialogue, but the content is fairly weak. Witches, demons, yada yada yada.

Warner and Brunner—Brunner can draw (he’s a terrible writer though, good thing Warner’s here… sort of)—do a story about a hit man who dresses like a clown. Even drives a little car. It’s not bad, it’s not good. It passes the pages pretty well and there are some nice panels.

Chuah Ghee Hin has a very confusing story about dragons. His artwork is gorgeous, however; it’s almost a mix of cartooning and etching. He can’t really draw action (the etching), but there’s a lot of charm to it overall.

CREDITS

Witch’s Son, Part One; story by Scott Allie; pencils by Ryan Sook; inks by Mick Gray; lettering by Clem Robins. Clown Without Pity; story by Chris Warner; art by Chris Brunner; lettering by Chris Chalenor. A Midsummer Night’s Hunt; story and art by Chuah Gee Hin; lettering by Chalenor. Edited by Randy Stradley, Philip Simon and Adam Gallardo.

Dark Horse Presents 100 4 (August 1995)

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I guess Dave Gibbons had no quibbles about Frank Miller ripping off Watchmen for their Martha Washington story this issue. Nice art, bad writing.

Forney’s got an anecdote about meeting Tom Waits. It has some charm, but not enough to sustain it.

Then Geary’s back with a one page strip, as are Pekar and Sacco. They’re both harmless (but thank goodness they’re short).

Warner brings in a Black Cross piece. His writing has gotten a little better in terms of dialogue in the hundred issues since he introduced the character. The story’s useless though. Art’s not terrible, not good.

Sendelbach’s Mr. Applehead is like a deranged hipster SpongeBob. I guess if you’re a hipster you might like it. Art’s good cartooning.

Luckily, there’s Brubaker and McEown’s story about a guy having problems after breaking up with his girlfriend. McEown’s art is fantastic and Brubaker’s very sensitive. It’s a nice one.

CREDITS

Give Me Liberty, Attack of the Flesh-Eating Monsters; story by Frank Miller; art by Dave Gibbons. The Night Tom Waits Poured Me a Bourbon on the Rocks; story by Julie Batersby; adaptation and art by Ellen Forney. The Symphony of Daily Nourishment; story, art and lettering by Rick Geary. Oh My Goodness!; story by Harvey Pekar; art and lettering by Joe Sacco. Black Cross; story and art by Chris Warner. Mean Mr. Applehead, Violence is Golden; story and art by Brian Sendelbach. Bird Dog; story by Ed Brubaker; art by Pat McEwon. Edited by Bob Schreck and Scott Allie.

Dark Horse Presents Fifth Anniversary Special (April 1991)

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This special is far from an accurate representation of Dark Horse Presents. Everything looks very professional.

The Aerialist and Heartbreakers installments are both long needed establishments of the series’ ground situation.

I even liked the Heartbreakers one (Bennett’s writing is far stronger from the clones’ perspective, versus their creator).

There’s also lots of disposable stuff–Concrete, The American and Black Cross are all weak, though Warner’s art is better on Cross than I’ve ever seen it. Chadwick and Verheiden use their stories to blather about American culture.

Of the two Miller’s–Give Me Liberty and Sin City–I almost prefer Sin City. Liberty‘s a little overbearing, though the Gibbons art is nice.

Prosser and Janson do a great adaptation of an Andrew Vachss. The Roachmill, Aliens and Aliens vs. Predator entries are all fantastic.

I’m a little peeved Bob the Alien is on the cover but not in the issue.

CREDITS

Give Me Liberty, Martha Washington’s War Diary: April 16, 2012; story by Frank Miller; art by Dave Gibbons. Concrete, Objects of Value; story and art by Paul Chadwick; lettering by Bill Spicer. Aliens; story by John Arcudi; art by Simon Bisley. The American; story by Mark Verheiden; pencils by Dougie Braithwaite; inks by Robert Campanella; lettering by Pat Brosseau. Roachmill; story and art by Rich Hedden and Tom McWeeney. Placebo; script by Jerry Prosser, based on a story by Andrew Vachss; art by Klaus Janson; lettering by Michael Heisler. Black Cross; story and art by Chris Warner; lettering by Jim Massara. The Aerialist, Part Three; story and art by Matt Wagner; lettering by Kurt Hathaway. Heartbreakers, The Prologue; story by Anina Bennet; art by Paul Guinan; lettering by Willie Schubert. Aliens vs. Predator; story by Randy Stradley; art by Phill Norwood; lettering by Brosseau. Sin City, Episode One; story and art by Frank Miller. Edited by Stradley.

Dark Horse Presents 47 (January 1991)

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If it weren’t for a one page Rich Rice cartoon of an apologetic Godzilla, this issue would be really scraping bottom.

Okay, not exactly true. Buniak’s got a beautifully illustrated jungle adventure featuring Tarzan and Kong stand ins. Lovely ink washes. The story’s not strong, but the art’s the point.

Otherwise, it’s a weak one. The art from the Trumans is pretty good. While the plot has a solid finish, their writing is disastrous. The first person narration is… Ugh.

Wolfer and Warner have some future story about an earth invaded by alien dinosaurs and the Japanese building humans battle armor. It’s lame and derivative, with some occasionally okay art. I don’t think Wolfer has a single original idea.

As for Mielcarek’s story, is Dark Horse publishing mediocre eighth grade illustrators? The writing’s moronic, but the art is simply hideous. Maybe the worst art I’ve ever seen in this series.

CREDITS

Jungle of the Giants; story and art by Timothy Truman and Benjamin Truman. Burn Out; story and pencils by Mike Wolfer; inks by Chris Warner; lettering by Pat Brosseau. Desperate; story and art by Brian Buniak. Monster Island; story and art by Vince Mielcarek; lettering by Jade Moede. Edited by Randy Stradley.

Dark Horse Presents 28 (March 1989)

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The Concrete story goes on forever. It has some of Chadwick’s better art in a while, but also some Liefeldian body mechanics. It’s metaphysical nonsense about the environment. These Concrete stories are best as time capsules–things haven’t gotten any better in the last twenty years.

Zone debuts this issue; Kraiger’s illustrating is fine. The story’s harmless and uninteresting. It seems like it’s going to follow in Concrete‘s footsteps in terms of passivity.

Hedden and McWeeney do a wordless Roachmill. Great art, mildly amusing story. The art’s what’s important here.

Gilbert and Beatty do a Mr. Monster story all about EC Comics and censorship. It’s incredibly well-intentioned but boring and poorly illustrated. The inks on these Mr. Monster stories are hideous.

Then there’s the Homicide. Arcudi… it’s… I don’t know where to start so it’s probably not worth talking about.

Oh, and lame Black Cross pages litter the issue.

CREDITS

Black Cross; story and art by Chris Warner. Concrete, Stay Tuned for Pearl Harbor; story and art by Paul Chadwick; lettering by Bill Spicer. Zone, Of a Feather; story, art and lettering by Michael Kraiger. Roachmill, The Terror of Canal St.; story, art and lettering by Rich Hedden and Tom McWeeney. Mr. Monster, Inklings; story and art by Michael T. Gilbert and Terry Beatty; lettering by Ken Bruzenak. Homicide; story by John Arcudi; art by Doug Mahnke; lettering by Pat Brosseau. Edited by Randy Stradley.

Dark Horse Presents 20 (August 1988)

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This issue is a sixty-four page giant–only most of the extra is filler. They could have gotten away with a lot less pages.

The Mr. Monster story is real short (and lame). Gary Davis has a short space alien story showing he’s read some Arthur C. Clarke (it’s long, wordless filler).

Rick Geary’s got a nice two page story, which is filler but really excellent filler.

Then there’s the start of a Trekker serial. It’s incomprehensible if you haven’t read the Trekker series and probably even if you have.

Doug Potter has an excellent story about homelessness.

Oh, I missed Bob Burden’s Mystery Men and Flaming Carrot two page filler.

Then a real Mask story, which seems to be wrapping up. The narrative’s a little pat dramatically, but I’m not sure Badger cared.

Bob the Alien and Mindwalk have stories. Bob‘s hilarious, Mindwalk‘s weak.

Finally, even more filler.

CREDITS

Mr. Monster, The Thing in Stiff Alley!; story by Chuck Gamble and Michael T. Gilbert; pencils by Gamble, Gilbert and Chuck Wacome; inks by Gilbert; lettering by Ken Bruzenak. Anomaly; story, art and lettering by Gary Davis. A Mother’s Tragedy; story, art and lettering by Rick Geary. Trekker, Vincent’s Share; story and art by Ron Randall; lettering by Ken Bruzenak. The Mystery Men!; story and art by Bob Burden; lettering by Roxanne Starr. The Visit; story, art and lettering by Douglas C. Potter. The Mask; story and art by Mark Badger; lettering by David Jackson. Concrete, Watching a Sunset; story and art by Paul Chadwick; lettering by Bill Spicer. Bob the Alien, Bob, the alien, Goes Birddogging; story, art and lettering by Rich Rice. Mindwalk; story by Randy Stradley; art by Randy Emberlin; lettering by Willie Schubert. Wacky Squirrel, Mixed Results; story, art and lettering by Jim Bradrick. Black Cross; story and art by Chris Warner. Edited by Randy Stradley.

Dark Horse Presents 3 (November 1986)

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Yay, Warner’s back with Black Cross–featuring a bunch of expository dialogue recapping the first story. With all that useless exposition, one might think Warner would explain the ground situation to the reader. But he doesn’t. It’s confusing and a lot of work thinking about something so dumb sounding.

Stradley and Emberlin’s Mindwalk has its weakest entry so far, with Stradley inexplicably using two narrators here. A mediocre first person narrator is one thing, but then he brings in a female narrator who sounds like a six-year-old. Emberlin’s art is similarly problematic, though he draws Kirby-esque monsters well.

The Concrete story is charming. It’s the adventures of the female scientist (still not clear on Concrete’s origin, which seems to be intentional) trying to move his unconscious body. Chadwick’s art is gorgeous.

The Boris Chronicles strip is cute, with Smith basically converting a newspaper strip to four pages.

CREDITS

Mindwalk, Mindwar!, Part One; writer, Randy Stradley; artist, Randy Emberlin; letterer, David Jackson. Concrete, The Four-Wheeled Sleeping Pill; writer and artist, Paul Chadwick; letterer, Bill Spicer. Black Cross; writer and artist, Chris Warner; letterer, David Jackson. Boris the Bear, The Boris Chronicles; story and art, James Dean Smith; script, Randy Stradley; letterer, David Jackson. Editor, Randy Stradley; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Dark Horse Presents 1 (July 1986)

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You know, I really didn’t expect Dark Horse Presents to open its first issue with a male overcompensation piece like Black Cross. Warner’s art’s amateurish and I guess it shows movie optioning is a comic book tradition (the character looks like Sylvester Stallone). It’s a dismal story.

Chadwick’s two contributions are all right. The Concrete one is charming and at least hints at some kind of social consciousness for the comic (which Black Cross feigns). More impressive, as far as the art goes, is Brighter!, a Vertigo ready story about some young woman who can produce optical illusions. So she’s a mutant (lots of superpowers this issue). But the art’s gorgeous and makes up for the lukewarm writing.

Stradley’s Mindwalk is about another mutant (one with a kind of telepathy). It’s nearly okay, though Emberlin’s art isn’t quite there. Features Nazis and gangsters though.

I wasn’t expecting so many mutants.

CREDITS

Black Cross; writer and artist, Chris Warner; letterer, John Workman. Concrete, Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous; writer and artist, Paul Chadwick; letterer, Bill Spicer. Mindwalk; writer, Randy Stradley; artist, Randy Emberlin; letterer, John Workman. Brighter!; writer and artist, Paul Chadwick; letterer, Bill Spicer. Editor, Randy Stradley; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Aliens vs. Predator 4 (December 1990)

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It’s a weak close, partially because Stradley probably needed another issue to fully develop the relationship between the protagonist and the friendly Predator (he also needed space to give it a proper ending), but mostly because Chris Warner is no replacement for Norwood.

Warner kills that beautiful design sense Norwood brings to the book. Instead of the panels being so well-composed it can distract from the narrative, they’re rote. Aliens vs. Predator, between Warner and Campanella, becomes a boring movie tie-in. Norwood made it special.

Even with the action pacing and the lack of narration, Stradley’s able to keep his protagonist strong. Sadly, one of her strongest moments is inferred instead of shown.

Stradley can only do so much. He’s a good writer, he clearly has a decent plot. But he doesn’t have the time to tell the story. He also doesn’t adjust the writing for Warner’s pencils.

CREDITS

Writer, Randy Stradley; penciller, Chris Warner; inker, Robert Campanella; colorist, Monika Livingston; letterer, Pat Brosseau; editor, Diana Schutz; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.