Vankin defines Men of War‘s target audience this issue in his backup. It’s pro-war, bigoted twits who are too stupid to ask questions. And Vankin makes it very, very clear. I’m not sure if he’s happily appealing to that audience or if it’s a joke. I don’t care either. His writing is awful.
Also terrible is Brandon this issue. Brandon’s front story–with Derenick’s art cramping a lame story’s style even more–is a rip off of the Iron Man “Five Nightmares” arc. People are weaponized and blow up.
But here, the good guys manage to take out the Muslim bad guys. In the new DC, I wonder if the big summer crossover will be about Lex Luthor’s secret Muslim heritage.
But I didn’t hate the comic. It’s DC doing ad work for the Army. The creators should be proud of doing such a soulless, artless piece of crap.
I wouldn’t say I enjoy reading Brandon’s comics—he’s not a good writer—but at least there’s always something funny to say about his writing. Some snide remark, whatever. But not this issue of Men of War. I think it’s goofy he’s got Sgt. Rock Jr. Jr. meeting up with a Greek goddess (Circe), but Derenick draws the heck out of the scene.
But the reason I’m not mocking Brandon isn’t just because he had the better artist this issue, but because Jonathan Vankin’s scripting on the backup story is laughable. It’s unbelievable an editor let this kind of dialogue pass in 2011. Vankin’s truly incompetent. It’s hard to describe; someone should sit down and study how not to write dialogue. And Winslade’s artwork is weak on the backup too but it’s not like good artwork would make a difference.
Still, I’m mildly impressed at Brandon’s atypically not terrible script.
I realize DC’s got to have something to sell to their pro-war readers, but come on… they couldn’t do any better than Men of War?
First up is Sgt. Rock’s grandson. Now, it’s iffy on the years when people are born and all, because Sgt. Rock III isn’t fighting in Iraq or Afghanistan, he’s cleaning up after superhuman Army agents. But that aspect isn’t the silliest. Or even Ivan Brandon introducing first person narration halfway through.
It’s just a stupid character. Brandon’s got a stereotype handbook and he uses it step by step—smarter than the West Point guys, but no formal education, check… invalid mother, check. It’s painfully unoriginal.
Tom Derenick’s art isn’t good, but he does spend time on it.
Jonathan Vankin and Phil Winslade’s backup suggests again the U.S. is paying DC to produce pro-war propaganda. It doesn’t go any deeper.
Men of War stinks.
Weird War Tales features something I never wanted to see… weak Darwyn Cooke.
His story is idiotic—famous war figures have a party—and his artwork is barely there. It’s a bunch of skeletons and stuff, so maybe it’s the subject, but it’s all so incredibly lame I couldn’t believe it was really Cooke. It’s not even amusing. I can’t figure out why he bothered. Oh, money.
The next story—from Ivan Brandon and Nic Klein—has good art from Klein and terrible writing from Brandon. It’s a sub story. Brandon’s dialogue is weak and his plot is worse. But that art’s quiet good.
For a finale, it’s Jan Strnad and Gabriel Hardman. The story is kind of weak, but Strnad can write the dialogue so it all moves through all right. The Hardman artwork is absolutely fantastic. This one nearly makes the issue worth a look, but not quite.
Armistice Night; writer, artist and letterer, Darwyn Cooke; colorist, Dave Stewart. Advance… and be recognized!; artist, colorist and letterer, Steve Pugh. The Hell Above Us; writer, Ivan Brandon; artist and colorist, Nic Klein; letterer, Steve Wands. Private Parker Sees Thunder Lizards; writer, Jan Strnad; artist, Gabriel Hardman; colorist, Daniel Vozzo; letterer, Wands. Editors, Chris Conroy and Joey Cavalieri; publisher, DC Comics.