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 Agent Bell and Clevenger, but you get the idea. It’s fun to read the two of them together. Jolley doesn’t force romantic chemistry, though he does acknowledge that expectation of him.
Bloodhound is awesome. It’s very unfortunate Jolley, Kirk and Riggs didn’t get to make more.
Ashes to Ashes; writer, Dan Jolley; penciller, Leonard Kirk; inker, Robin Riggs; colorist, Moose Baumann; letterer, Rob Leigh; editor, Ivan Cohen; publisher, DC Comics.
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, who’s rather annoying. Jolley has a lot to tie together next issue and the Zeiss knot seems like it’ll be the hardest. The guest appearance screams corporate synergy.
Still, Bloodhound has enough going for it to survive the art and the guest star. Jolley’s handling it.
Demons; writer, Dan Jolley; penciller, Eddy Barrows; inker, Robin Riggs; colorist, Moose Baumann; letterer, Rob Leigh; editor, Ivan Cohen; publisher, DC Comics.
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 and Riggs outdo themselves on making the mundane visually engaging.
There’s a big action set piece at the end of the issue, along with a lot of mysterious goings on. Jolley finds a great formula for the issue. It feels like a good procedural show.
Slow Burn; writer, Dan Jolley; penciller, Leonard Kirk; inker, Robin Riggs; colorist, Moose Baumann; letterer, Nick J. Napolitano; editor, Ivan Cohen; publisher, DC Comics.
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 for almost the entire issue. It’s going somewhere–Jolley’s solving a subplot–but he never gies it away until it’s happening. The main narrative distracts the reader too much.
It’s another fine issue. Very little character development, if any, but Jolley’s safe skipping it this issue.
Run the Gears, Part Two: The Shotgun; writer, Dan Jolley; penciller, Leonard Kirk; inker, Robin Riggs; colorist, Moose Baumann; letterer, Rob Leigh; editor, Ivan Cohen; publisher, DC Comics.
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. Not about his behavior, anyway.
The issue’s a fast read, but Jolley makes the prison plot complicated enough it doesn’t feel too fast. Kirk and Riggs do a great job on the art, even though there’s little out of the ordinary for them to visualize.
Excellently done comic.
Run the Gears; writer, Dan Jolley; penciller, Leonard Kirk; inker, Robin Riggs; colorist, Moose Baumann; letterer, Rob Leigh; editor, Ivan Cohen; publisher, DC Comics.
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. For instance, Jolley writes a strange mentor relationship between Clev and Firestorm. Clev is empathetic.
So while Bloodhound is able to develop through this crossover, the whole point of the crossover is undercooked.
The villain can just be a bad guy, but he still needs a personality.
Firestorm; writer, Dan Jolley; penciller, Leonard Kirk; inker, Robin Riggs; colorist, Moose Baumann; letterer, Rob Leigh; editor, Ivan Cohen; publisher, DC Comics.
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 the Firestorm stuff.
There’s also a lot of geographic confusion and contrivance–Sharp’s art probably just makes it worse. The comic lacks any personality, since Jolley links the two series through a lame villain.
The explicitly inappropriate panels (if taken out of context) are strange.
Upper Hand; writer, Dan Jolley; penciller, Liam Sharp; inker, Andy Lanning; colorist, Chris Sotomayor; letterer, Pat Brosseau; editors, Steve Wacker and Peter Tomasi; publisher, DC Comics.
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 the result is downbeat. Even with the funny end joke.
Narratively, the move is probably appropriate, but in a populist sense, the finish is undeniably lacking.
The first four issues might’ve worked better as five. Though maybe not. Jolley paces it tight.
Catharsis; writer, Dan Jolley; penciller, Leonard Kirk; inker, Robin Riggs; colorist, Moose Baumann; letterer, Rob Leigh; editor, Ivan Cohen; publisher, DC Comics.
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 usual, fantastic. There’s a great mundane scene at a mall, but also more action-oriented one on a freeway. The Southern scenery helps a lot, giving Bloodhound multiple visual personalities.
And Jolley and Kirk end it with a great hard cliffhanger on a one page spread.
Sphere of Influence; writer, Dan Jolley; penciller, Leonard Kirk; inker, Robin Riggs; colorist, Moose Baumann; letterer, Rob Leigh; editor, Ivan Cohen; publisher, DC Comics.
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 drawing skill of it is just wonderful.
Jolley sticks to Clev, the protagonist (and the titular Bloodhound), but he does excellent work with his FBI handler. I can’t remember her name yet, but Jolley’s writing of her is great.
Besides the underwhelming last page, it’s an excellent comic.
(Un)leashed; writer, Dan Jolley; penciller, Leonard Kirk; inker, Robin Riggs; colorist, Moose Baumann; letterer, Pat Brosseau; editor, Ivan Cohen; publisher, DC Comics.
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 things to one another and it passes the information. Some of it doesn’t even stick (though I read Bloodhound back when it first came out so I remember some).
The most startling violence comes late, but perfectly timed.
It’s a good, carefully written first issue.
Greenlight; writer, Dan Jolley; penciller, Leonard Kirk; inker, Robin Riggs; colorist, Moose Baumann; letterer, Rob Leigh; editor, Ivan Cohen; publisher, DC Comics.
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, when it comes to plotting. I guess his dialogue is fine, but the art’s so ugly it’s hard to even look at the story.
As for Charles Moore, D. Alexander Gregory and Rob Hayes’s Predator with gangsters in the forties?
The art’s good. Moore’s writing isn’t.
Posted in Aliens, Dark Horse, Predator, Thing from Another World
Tagged Alex Nino, Charles Moore, D. Alexander Gregory, Dan Jolley, Edward Martin III, John Nadeau, Rob Hayes, Ted Naifeh, Terry Pallot
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, John Nadeau and Terry Pallot contribute an Aliens story. It’s perfectly fine (compared to The Thing). Jolley concentrates on his first person narration; he does a good job with it, combining a natural tone with his exposition. Nadeu and Pallot are competent, what I expect from Aliens.
Posted in Aliens, Dark Horse, Mark, Thing from Another World
Tagged Alex Nino, Brad Rader, Dan Jolley, Edward Martin III, John Nadeau, Mike W. Barr, Ted Naifeh, Terry Pallot