Captain America and Black Widow 640 (February 2013)

It’s another all action issue–there’s some talking heads for the planning and the various plot twists, but it’s an action issue. A bunch of slightly different superheroes–the Black Knight has a magical chainsaw and Venom can pilot a spaceship and Ghost Rider’s techy–attack some slightly different other superheroes who are now bad. Human Torch is a burning skeleton, I think. It’s all confusing but very nicely illustrated. Francavilla has a great time with the battle scenes. Otherwise, Black Widow gets the most important scenes. Cap gets none. His promise to the lizard people gets a summarized follow up. The multiverse … Continue reading Captain America and Black Widow 640 (February 2013)

Captain America and Black Widow 639 (January 2013)

Apparently, in some realities, Captain America is a dick. Bunn gets how to write Steve’s honesty and morality. It helps here, but doesn’t fit with Bunn’s style otherwise. I also didn’t get the guy in the Doc Ock arms was the Lizard. My bad. I just thought it was some creature. But no, it’s Curt Connors and he’s not too terrible a guy in this alternate reality. Decent art from Francavilla. It’s mostly talking heads. The alternate Black Widow talks at length (as usual) about the multiverse. The big action is in the background or in extreme close up, so … Continue reading Captain America and Black Widow 639 (January 2013)

Captain America and Black Widow 638 (December 2012)

You can tell the Black Widows apart by their belts. I hadn’t realized that detail. My bad. Once again the Francavilla art is good. He’s stronger on the distance shots than he is during the close ups. Not to knock him–he’s good all the time but there are a couple fantastic long shot panels this issue. It’s another all action issue. It takes place over twenty or so minutes, approximately five times longer than it takes to read the comic. There’s a tiny bit with the bad lady and her duplicates. The scene features Bunn’s best writing. He’s not good … Continue reading Captain America and Black Widow 638 (December 2012)

Captain America and Black Widow 637 (November 2012)

Clearly I haven’t been reading Marvel comics for a while. Since when do they talk about a multiverse like it’s early eighties DC and what’s the deal with the big tripod monsters? Confusion aside, it’s a fairly good issue. Bunn’s plot twist is somewhat unexpected–supervillain arms dealer only employs her multiverse selves; there’s none of the cool different back stories this issue, which is too bad. Instead, Bunn and Francavilla do an action issue with some occasional confusing talking bits. There are two Black Widows and it’s unclear who is who… But it doesn’t really matter, since the issue moves … Continue reading Captain America and Black Widow 637 (November 2012)

Captain America and Black Widow 636 (November 2012)

I like Francesco Francavilla. He’s a little awkward with Captain America out on a mission and the superhero stuff, but he makes the talking heads interesting and he’s got a great rendering of Central Park at the open. As for Cullen Bunn? He has a similar problem. The issue’s perfectly well-written, somewhat confounding stuff about an arms dealer seemingly with clones. Except all these clones have different memories, which Bunn covers in the narration. There’s a great bit with Hawkeye complaining about different dimensions. But Bunn’s Steve Rogers lacks personality. He plays off people–Hawkeye, Iron Man, the bad arms dealer … Continue reading Captain America and Black Widow 636 (November 2012)

The Sixth Gun 23 (June 2012)

I’m unsure why this issue is called “Part Six” of the previous story arc. It’s a done in one setting up the next story arc a little, but also catching up with previous guest star Kirby Hale. In turn, he runs into some other former guest stars and Bunn’s plan for the next arc becomes somewhat clear. Tyler Crook fills in on the art and does a fine job. Bunn writes Kirby as incorrigible, almost more likable after each page. Especially the finish. Bunn gives him a great exit line. But where are Becky and Drake? It really didn’t seem … Continue reading The Sixth Gun 23 (June 2012)

The Sixth Gun 22 (May 2012)

Turns out I was wrong–last issue did end with a soft cliffhanger. Becky and Drake are relatively fine as this issue opens; Bunn does not acknowledge the dialogue-free previous issue either. It’s sort of strange, not to mention it, but the issue works anyway. Bunn continues showing Drake’s viciousness, which is another interesting move. He’s juxtaposing that viciousness against the real possibility Drake is some kind of magical guy. Like an immortal soul tied to the metal in the guns. And Becky is along for the ride. There’s a great moment of conflict for her, when she internally questions Drake’s … Continue reading The Sixth Gun 22 (May 2012)

The Sixth Gun 21 (April 2012)

Bunn does a dialogue-free issue. It should be called, “One Helluva Rescue,” as Becky saves Drake from his captors and they battle the Order in its stronghold. But the issue isn’t just free of dialogue, it’s silent. When Becky and Drake communicate, they do it through body language. It’s not like Bunn and Hurtt are inferring they’re talking between panels. It’s just silent and that silence emphasizes the action. The issue follows Becky until the last couple pages. How she finds the hideout, how she gets down to free Drake. Bunn even sticks with her when Drake takes his revenge–that … Continue reading The Sixth Gun 21 (April 2012)

The Sixth Gun 20 (March 2012)

Brian Hurtt has a very pleasant style to his artwork. It’s often warm, regardless of content. This issue, however, featuring Drake tortured, it’s not so pleasant. The aged doctor doing the torturing is almost cute in an eccentric mad scientist way, but he’s doing such terrible things. Hurtt’s art style leads to The Sixth Gun being a constant surprise. Also a constant surprise is how low Bunn is willing to take Drake and still keep him a sympathetic character. Even when he’s being tortured, Bunn manages to reveal something else unpleasant about the character. Meanwhile, Becky is in the middle … Continue reading The Sixth Gun 20 (March 2012)

The Sixth Gun 19 (February 2012)

Bunn still doesn’t have much of a story for Drake. He pretty much gets a good meal and then gets in a bunch of trouble. Or he’s about to get in a bunch of trouble. There’s the threat of it…. But Becky does get in a bunch of trouble, a couple times even. Bunn gives her the Yojimbo plot, which is more interesting because of the gender roles. Also because there’s a big secret she discovers and it plays into the plot a little. Bunn’s really good at toying with reader expectations. There are a couple tense moments in the … Continue reading The Sixth Gun 19 (February 2012)

The Sixth Gun 18 (January 2012)

It’s a setup issue. Becky is in a desolate, starving town looking for Drake. Drake is meanwhile dealing with his captors. They both make–or think about making (it’s unclear so far)–unexpected deals. And that recap is about it. Bunn introduces some new characters, but none of them resonate except the ones Becky encounters. They only resonate, however, because their situation is so desperate. It’s not lazy writing, or even unimaginative… it’s just very workman. Bunn has to get the next arc setup and he does, only without making it compelling on its own. Instead, he lets the series’s momentum carry … Continue reading The Sixth Gun 18 (January 2012)

The Sixth Gun 17 (November 2011)

Billjohn’s back. Heck yeah. I’ve been missing Billjohn and Bunn and Hurtt reveal he’s back in the first couple pages this issue. This issue finishes the “Bound” arc and shows how complicated Bunn’s plotting is on The Sixth Gun. While nothing big happened–except Drake’s disappearance–the reader learns a great deal about Becky and Gord. Bunn waits until now to reveal another layer to the whole picture as well. He’s got to have some kind of outline. There’s more action than in the last couple issues here, with Gord fighting himself (sometimes literally) as he struggles to deal with a devil. … Continue reading The Sixth Gun 17 (November 2011)

The Sixth Gun 16 (October 2011)

I can see now why Bunn put all the action at the beginning of this arc. It’s not about action, it’s about the calm following the action. For example, the scenes with the most action this issue are Gord’s flashbacks. Except it’s not exciting Western action, it’s the terrible things Gord went through. And it’s all off-panel. Hurtt either shows the lead up or the results. It keeps the issue active, but calm and dreary. Bunn also comes up with some more great flashback tools. Becky’s father is able to look in on her from the past, which provides some … Continue reading The Sixth Gun 16 (October 2011)

The Sixth Gun 15 (September 2011)

Anything after last issue was going to be a letdown and, while this issue isn’t as strong, Bunn and Hurtt are being very deliberate and careful. They’re slowly revealing the past of Gord and Becky. The beauty of The Sixth Gun being a supernatural Western is Bunn doesn’t have to use flashbacks. Instead, he gets to use ghosts. In Gord’s case, the haunting is a little more literal for the most of the issue. While he’s walking through his past, conjuring up people long gone, Becky is getting acclimated to the weird monks protecting her. She’s also pining for Drake, … Continue reading The Sixth Gun 15 (September 2011)

The Sixth Gun 14 (August 2011)

Darn that Bunn. After his first semi-weak (for Sixth Gun) issue I can remember, he comes back with an utterly outstanding one. This issue concentrates entirely on the life of the giant mummy, who either is going to be a new major character or Bunn is just flexing his writing skills. It’s a Western gothic; fill-in artist Tyler Crook nails it. While Sixth Gun usually has a lot of horror elements, this story is far more visually disturbing. And the disturbing stuff isn’t even the horror content. Sixth Gun is a tragedy and this issue really showcases it. The humanity … Continue reading The Sixth Gun 14 (August 2011)

The Sixth Gun 13 (July 2011)

The issue ends with a very peculiar turn of events. So much so the issue feels incomplete, like Bunn forgot to resolve something. He changes up Sixth Gun’s status quo in the second issue of an arc… it just feels funny. The issue’s pacing is also funny. It’s an all-action issue (but none of those awesome Hurtt double page action spreads), with the protagonists literally putting the brakes on everything at the finish. The great big mummy (he’s actually not so much big as super tall) proves an interesting foil for the issue, even though he doesn’t have any real … Continue reading The Sixth Gun 13 (July 2011)

The Sixth Gun 12 (June 2011)

Is there anything not to love about this comic book? I mean, it ends with this beautifully paced reveal of the big villain–and I quote–a “giant mummy.” In the Old West. It’s just fantastic how Bunn and Hurtt pull off these fantastical reveals and make them work perfectly. Speaking of Hurtt, this issue features some more of those wonderful Sixth Gun double page action spreads. It’s a great approach to action sequences, though I think Hurtt doing the art makes it work. Bunn opens the issue–the first of a new arc–with a little recap, something Gun hasn’t had before. He … Continue reading The Sixth Gun 12 (June 2011)

The Sixth Gun 11 (April 2011)

Bunn has taken the reader’s expectations—or at least, Bunn’s perception of the reader’s expectations—and reversed them. It means he gets to end this issue, and its arc, in an unexpected place. Gord, who’s been sort of a seventh wheel around The Sixth Gun for a while, is apparently bowing out for a bit and Becky and Drake are off to a new adventure. The issue itself is mostly action, with some surprises as far as plot points and guest stars. It’s all very competent, very genial and very pleasant. Even with all the supernatural stuff. The last five issues, however, … Continue reading The Sixth Gun 11 (April 2011)

The Sixth Gun 10 (March 2011)

If Bunn feels he needs to redeem Becky in some way, he’s sure taking his time about it. There’s some awesome looking awful stuff this issue—Hurtt reminds, more than once, of he and Bunn’s previous series, The Damned, with the supernatural elements—but also of important has to be Billjohn. Well, Billjohn the clay golem. He seems to have more to do than just stand around. About half the issue follows Becky as she wakes up and realizes Kirby isn’t such a good guy… oh, but wait, she can’t raise her hand against him. Bunn has made her a truly boring … Continue reading The Sixth Gun 10 (March 2011)

The Sixth Gun 9 (February 2011)

Ho hum. Bunn does the exact thing I was really hoping he wouldn’t, but he aggravates the situation by accelerating Kirby and Becky’s friendship into a sexual relationship immediately this issue. Well, not immediately, because Gord and Drake sit around and talk about the six guns possibly being even more trouble than they imagined. Then we get to a post-coital scene with Kirby and Becky… and it occurs to me, thinking about it, Drake hasn’t seen him yet. So maybe there’s a surprise waiting for when Drake does finally see him. The issue is mostly focused on action. Someone’s after … Continue reading The Sixth Gun 9 (February 2011)

The Sixth Gun 8 (January 2011)

Things are still developing, but while they do, Drake gets into a bit of trouble and we get to see Hurtt do a man versus giant alligator scene. It’s a fantastic few pages from Hurtt, who’s otherwise not doing a lot of action this issue. There’s some talking and some more of those discreet little motions in panels the reader needs to heed… like I said, things are still developing. Bunn also hasn’t quite given the reader enough information about Kirby yet. I’m hoping he’s not bad, just because it’ll make Becky seem like a fool. Their friendship is one … Continue reading The Sixth Gun 8 (January 2011)

The Sixth Gun 7 (December 2010)

Twice in this issue, Hurtt and Bunn have these little actions—Becky clutching her arm, later going for the gun in her purse—and they’re silent moments in small panels. The reader needs to pay attention to The Sixth Gun, or he or she is going to miss something. Most of this issue is just prepping for whatever’s coming next. It establishes the new ground situation for the series—Drake is drunk and solitary, Becky is waiting for him to not be either. Then come this issue’s two developments—Drake goes after something he’s had Gord looking into and Becky meets a fella. The … Continue reading The Sixth Gun 7 (December 2010)

The Damned: Prodigal Sons 3 (August 2008)

Bunn and Hurtt finish up The Damned here (for now). Apparently, Prodigal Sons was nothing but a bridging series to the next storyline, where the demons are at war once more. This series, in some ways, serves its goals—it introduces Eddie’s brother, it introduces Eddie’s parents, it explores the underworld. It’s also a complete and utter waste of time. This issue, in particular, is pointless. It’s action scenes punctuated with hints at some further secret, undoubtedly to be revealed in a subsequent series. The problem’s Bunn’s handling of such an inconsequential followup. Instead of just doing a nice standalone sequel, … Continue reading The Damned: Prodigal Sons 3 (August 2008)

The Damned: Prodigal Sons 2 (May 2008)

And here’s where The Damned falls apart. The entire first series, it was implied if not directly stated people knew the demons lived among them. This issue establishes people do not. Only a select few (namely, all the humans in the first series). Why they don’t tell other people? Bunn doesn’t explain. This issue is full of action. It’s so full of action, it’s the first time I’ve seen Hurtt get a little light on the facial details. The entire issue feels perfunctory, like Bunn and Hurtt agreed to do Prodigal Sons then realized they didn’t want to do it … Continue reading The Damned: Prodigal Sons 2 (May 2008)

The Damned: Prodigal Sons 1 (April 2008)

I’m not sure when Bunn and Hurtt came up with the idea for Prodigal Sons, but it seems like it was during the last issue of the first Damned series. Here, Eddie’s not the protagonist. Instead, it’s his brother (Morgan, I think). And we find out Eddie was always cursed, ever since he was a little kid. Sins of the father it turns out. Bunn’s story explores a little of Eddie’s past, but mostly it’s just one surprise after the other (the demon and Eddie’s father, the demon’s daughter eating a dove, Eddie killing himself, the singer at the club … Continue reading The Damned: Prodigal Sons 1 (April 2008)

The Damned 5 (February 2007)

Bunn brings Damned to a predictable, yet still unpredictable conclusion. The main story about the mob war ends predictably… but there’s a lot unexpected elements here. One’s a new story thread introduced, another’s a conclusion for a character—both have to do with how little Bunn has actually revealed about his protagonist. Unfortunately, the ending is a little unfinished. Neither reveal is as effective as it could be. One needs more time, one needs less. Otherwise, it’s a fantastic issue. Bunn plots it with a nice mix of investigation, action and wrap-up so Hurtt gets to draw a variety of styles. … Continue reading The Damned 5 (February 2007)

The Damned 4 (January 2007)

I’m not sure if I just remember the twist in The Damned or if it’s obvious. It’s probably a little of both. Here, in the fourth issue, Bunn gets around to really establishing the demon mythology (still no word on when they first showed up). Hurtt really shows his range here. He’s got the period architecture, gangsters, street fights between demons… but then he also has this “secret history of demons” stuff to illustrate. See, as fallen angels left Heaven it was a migration to Hell (this revelation, which maybe doesn’t make much difference, is just a great detail from … Continue reading The Damned 4 (January 2007)