Age of Bronze 9 (December 2000)

The issue ends with the good guys (at least, it seems like they’re the good guys) setting sail for Troy. I can’t say “finally,” because Shanower never really gave a timeline for when the war was to start. This issue is the first where the long lapses in time seem to affect the characters. It opens with Achilles arriving. Shanower plays it as a comedic scene (for a while), which brings a moment of levity before the denseness sets in. Besides a lot of political stuff, there’s Achilles meeting his father for the first time in… an extended period. Again, … Continue reading Age of Bronze 9 (December 2000)

Age of Bronze 8 (August 2000)

Shanower needs to include two things. First are maps. He moves all over the place; each issue should end with a map. Second is a cast list. He’s got this one character returning after being gone three issues. It’d help if a cast list reminded the reader of characters and their histories. Otherwise, it’s a fantastic issue, probably the best so far. With Odysseus, Shanower has finally found a worthy protagonist for the comic. The issue opens with him departing home, saying goodbye to wife and child, bringing the long missing human component. Then Shanower does another one of those … Continue reading Age of Bronze 8 (August 2000)

Age of Bronze 7 (March 2000)

Shanower fast forwards approximately nine months and opens with the birth of Achilles’s son. No one knows about Achilles and the girl, everyone still thinking he’s a girl too. It’s somewhat extraordinary and doesn’t work in Shanower’s realistic retelling. Achilles is such a jerk, it’s also unlikely sometime in the nine months he wouldn’t have gone off the handle… as he does at the end of his scene. No Helen or Paris, but Shanower finally gets around to presenting the political argument for the war. It’s an issue late (and the time period—why everyone took nine months off between this … Continue reading Age of Bronze 7 (March 2000)

Age of Bronze 6 (January 2000)

Well, certainly by Republican standards, Achilles is not a rapist. The issue ends with him, dressed as a female, forcing himself on a girl. They’re presumably about thirteen. Between him and Paris, Shanower seems to be implying men’s errors tend to be due to desire for women (in Paris’s case, Helen). I imagine it’s in the source material too, but it’s sort of boring. Besides Achilles being a rapist and still being a hero, the issue’s excellent. Shanower goes all over the place with the story, lots of different characters, all of them properly identified so one isn’t trying to … Continue reading Age of Bronze 6 (January 2000)

Age of Bronze 5 (October 1999)

The combination of everyone looking alike and Shanower being deceptive for emphasis really plays in this issue. He opens with Helen’s two brothers coming home to find her missing. They look like Paris, only with facial hair. At least their identities are quickly revealed. The problem comes with the rest of the issue, which doesn’t really concern Helen and Paris. Instead, it’s about someone’s mother. Now, Shanower is very quiet about the identity of the character for those readers not versed in ancient Greek literature. It seems like it could be Paris because of some of the details and because … Continue reading Age of Bronze 5 (October 1999)

Age of Bronze 4 (May 1999)

Shanower constructs the plot of this issue well. It keeps the reader engaged–the focus moves from the unidentified Helen to Paris to other people around them, only becoming linear at the end. Shanower saves the big reveal–Paris is disobeying his father out of selfishness and is about to start a war–for the last couple pages. The form lets Shanower get away with not having any character moments. Since Helen is unidentified, her sequences are more for effect. As the issue ends and Paris reveals himself to be stubborn, selfish and stupid, there isn’t enough time to reflect on it. Shanower … Continue reading Age of Bronze 4 (May 1999)

Age of Bronze 3 (March 1999)

Shanower seems to have worked past his problems now. The protagonist is no longer Paris, who is developing more into a villain (due to lack of intelligence) and the issue is better for it. Having Paris, with his fantastical history, works against making the book feel real. Instead, Shanower moves the focus–for some of the issue–to Hektor. Hektor is thinking, feeling–his first scene is reuniting with his mother and siblings; it grounds Age of Bronze with real emotion. A lot of time goes toward ominous foreshadowing and moments without are welcome breathers. This issue has a fantastic flashback–done with more … Continue reading Age of Bronze 3 (March 1999)

Age of Bronze 1 (November 1998)

Shanower sets up Age of Bronze somewhat traditionally in the heroic sense. The protagonist, Paris, is secretly—or so it’s implied—of higher birth than his farmer parents. He’s bored of life as a cattle farmer and when the king’s men come to take away a prized bull, he sees the situation as wrong. So he sets out to do something about it. Besides great art—the second page has this amazing shot of the cattle and Paris walking—Shanower brings a great deal of humor to it. Paris is the impetuous youth, running into a situation against all warning. Shanower doesn’t tell the … Continue reading Age of Bronze 1 (November 1998)

Dark Horse Presents 67 (November 1992)

The issue opens with an idiotic story about an annoying character called Zoo-Lou. Hedden and McWeeney usually do great work. The art here’s excellent, but the writing is an absolute nightmare. Dark Horse really loves poking fun at themselves… and usually it comes out awful, like Zoo-Lou. An Accidental Death comes to its conclusion here. No one does this kind of angst and suffering like Brubaker. Everything he does these days is a waste compared to what he could be doing. Brilliant work from Shanower too. Duffy and Sakamoto have an awful story called Nestrobber. It’s just atrocious. The Predator … Continue reading Dark Horse Presents 67 (November 1992)

Dark Horse Presents 66 (September 1992)

Obviously, the major attraction is the second chapter of An Accidental Death. The pace changes throughout; it opens with the body being hidden, then Brubaker moves to summary, then to scene again. The final scene–the discovery–comes after the two boys (the protagonist and the murderer) start to discover where they really live. Reality, in more ways than one, rushes in on them. But Brubaker’s writing is nuanced, never obvious. It’s just lovely. Then Dr. Giggles, hopefully, finishes up. I don’t think I’ve mentioned how inept Coto is at plotting this narrative. The plot developments get stupider and stupider. At least … Continue reading Dark Horse Presents 66 (September 1992)

Dark Horse Presents 65 (August 1992)

An Accidental Death opens this issue. It’s been a while since I’ve read it. The most immediate thing is Shanower’s art. It’s finished and precise; I’m sure Dark Horse Presents has had artwork as good, I just can’t think of any example. But then there’s Brubaker’s writing–and the way he presents the moral ambiguity of being a teenager. He’s able to make the naive behavior create sympathy… then the danger arises. It’s great work. The Dr. Giggles story has awful writing from Coto. He didn’t get any better between issues. Burrows has some really gross visuals here and they work. … Continue reading Dark Horse Presents 65 (August 1992)