Bloodhound 10 (June 2005)

Thank goodness, Kirk is back for this issue, which is unfortunately the last one. Jolley wraps up a little–he got the Agent Bell backstory into the issue unexpectedly–but only what he absolutely has to resolve. Zeiss shows up sparingly and Jolley barely spends any time on him. One can see where Jolley might’ve taken that subplot had the series continued though. The issue’s a little investigation, a lot of talking and a lot of fighting. It’s a strange mix and definitely gives Bloodhound that TV procedural feel again. Agent Bell does the talking, Clevenger does the fighting. Together they’re… well, together they’re…

Bloodhound 9 (May 2005)

Eddy Barrows takes over the pencils. Kirk’s absence is definitely Bloodhound’s loss. About the only thing Barrows does right is show Clev as a giant. Otherwise, he’s mediocre. Except maybe his panel composition; it’s weak. He does manage to do the small town stuff pretty well though. He doesn’t ruin that aspect, let’s say. The mystery continues–though Jolley pretty much gives it away by the end, which makes no sense (it’s separate from the main narrative). There’s a little more development between Clevenger and Bell, but a lot more with the angry townsfolk. There’s also the guest appearance from Batman villain Zeiss,…

Bloodhound 8 (April 2005)

Jolley skips ahead a little, giving Clevenger practically a superhero outfit–a special Kevlar shirt, I think–and a little more freedom. Jolley uses Clev’s ex-girlfriend to reveal the information. It’s a nice little device, since it develops Clev a little. Agent Bell gets the most character development in the issue; more of a past revelation, but it makes she and Clevenger’s partnership a lot more interesting. The issue mostly takes place in a small Southern town where the FBI suspect a metahuman arsonist. There’s a lot of investigating, a whole cast of guest stars and a lot of personality to the town. Kirk…

Bloodhound 7 (March 2005)

Kirk tries out a different style for this issue’s extended flashback. I get it’s supposed to be folksy–the flashback takes place on a farm–but it lacks personality. It’s one of those awful farm stories; it’s effective too. Jolley makes the reader remember it and calls it back later. There’s very little mystery to this issue. There’s suspense. Bloodhound is more a thriller book than anything else. Jolley brings a lot of toughness into the DC universe with the title. His concepts don’t fit in superhero books, which is kind of the point. It’s the dirty underside. Jolley’s able to hide his hand…

Bloodhound 6 (February 2005)

Putting Clevenger back in prison proves a good choice for Jolley. He plots it to put Clev out of his comfort zone, which creates some drama on its own, then Jolley amps it up with a good soft cliffhanger. Meanwhile, the FBI agent has some character development scenes and then her own subplot after she finds out a little about what’s happening at the prison. Jolley doesn’t do any character development on Clevenger, which is odd since he’s the protagonist, but more effective. FBI agent Bell is a better guide through Bloodhound. She (and the reader) can be surprised. Clevenger can’t be.…

Bloodhound 5 (January 2005)

Jolley writes Firestorm better in this comic than he does in his own title. Maybe because the Bloodhound stuff just runs off. It’s actually a rather successful crossover issue between two books without any reason to crossover. It doesn’t hurt Kirk and Riggs easily toggle between realistic action violence and superhero stuff. Or how Jolley lets Clev guide the issue–Jolley basically incapacitates Firestorm, which really helps with the plot developments. It reads a lot less silly than it could. But even good art and good dialogue can’t make the villain any better. He’s one dimensional and boring. The issue needs strong characterizations.…

Firestorm 7 (January 2005)

What’s wrong with this art? Liam Sharp pencils, Andy Lanning inks, and the result is a mess. Figures change sizes, faces don’t maintain any continuity. It’s an ugly comic. The issue’s a mess anyway, since it’s a contrived crossover with Bloodhound. Jason–Firestorm–had a run-in with the employee of one of Clev’s (from Bloudhound) enemies. So the villain’s after Jason and his dad. Jolley opens the issue with Jason’s dad verbally berating him; when Jason’s later being emotional towards him… it feels like Stockholm Syndrome. There’s also the problematic villain. Jolley gives him a realistic backstory (to match Bloodhound) but it clashes with…

Bloodhound 4 (December 2004)

It’s the conclusion to the first arc–and an astoundingly bloody one–but also the origin issue. Jolley’s able to work in some background information on Clev, which probably provides the issue with most of its dialogue. Otherwise, it’s Clev and the bad guy beating the crap out of each other. It’s a vicious fight, lots of blood for a DC book. Even for a tough one. It makes for a good read; Kirk and Riggs outdo themselves. But there’s a downside. Jolley doesn’t reward the reader. He goes for a realistic ending–or maybe one to direct the series to its next story arc–but…

Bloodhound 3 (November 2004)

For lack of a better phrase, one could call this issue the “eureka” issue. Clev and his partner–Agent Bell–do their investigating and realize what they need to realize. Jolley’s able to make it even more dramatic since Clev is a muscle bound grotesque and just having him talk to people makes for a scene. Jolley doesn’t give the reader too much information on the bad guy and instead makes the issue’s villain the FBI boss. It leads to some funny scenes and some violent ones, but misguided FBI agents aren’t the best villains. Even temporary ones. Kirk and Riggs’s artwork is, as…

Bloodhound 2 (October 2004)

I like a lot of this issue. Jolley opens it well, the middle part is good, most of the ending is good. He goes out on a joke, which doesn’t work, but there’s some great stuff just before the finish. In other words, Bloodhound is a good book. Jolley puts it all together quite nicely, as the protagonist reacquaints himself with old friends and his new colleagues. But the most impressive thing in the issue is the way Kirk and Riggs draw a pair of hands. It’s not supposed to be a subtle panel, it’s supposed to be clear, but the technical…

Bloodhound 1 (September 2004)

Bloodhound takes a while to get bloody. It has to get bloody–most of the issue takes place during a prison riot with the lead characters trying to survive to the exit. When the issue starts, however, it generally feels like a regular DC comic. I mean, Leonard Kirk and Robin Riggs’s artwork is–while utterly fabulous–definitely mainstream comics art. Kirk has some beautiful panel composition for the reaction shots during conversations and then more during the action scenes. Dan Jolley’s dialogue has a lot of information to follow, but he never goes overboard with the exposition. There are little comments as people say…

Dark Horse Comics 16 (December 1993)

I feel like I need to send Dan Jolley a thank you letter for making this issue of Dark Horse Comics tolerable. Well, for his Aliens story anyway. It’s got an unexpected conclusion. There’s not a lot of story—it’s a chase sequence and a resolution—but Jolley plays with expectations a little. Nadeau and Pallot do fine on art. Naifeh and inker Alex Nino, however, are even worse this issue than last on their Thing story. Not the mention Martin’s conclusion is mildly inexplicable. It’s too bad Dark Horse didn’t keep their creators on the Thing comics consistent. Martin really doesn’t cut it,…

Dark Horse Comics 15 (November 1993)

Well, when Naifeh’s art falls off, The Thing gets a lot less interesting. Martin falls into the same tropes the pervious series did (even though Martin ignores them)—repeating the plot points in the Thing movie, only in a new setting. But Naifeh’s the disappointment here. It doesn’t even look like his work. Barr and Rader finish up The Mark. Barr seems to let Rader just take over and create this homage to a film noir, only in color. It reminds a lot of M. The installment ends on a soft cliffhanger, preparing for a limited series, and it’s unnecessarily confusing. Dan Jolley,…