Namora 1 (August 2010)

Other Atlas members get limited series from Jeff Parker, but Namora just gets a one-shot. It’s not even Atlas branded, it’s “Women of Marvel” branded. It seems like a sexist move (I’m sure it’s just a business one—female characters don’t sell enough to have their own series at Marvel). It doesn’t help Parker doesn’t exactly have enough story for even a one-shot either. Oh, there’s some stuff here with Atlantis and some stuff with Namorita, but Parker isn’t revealing anything new or interesting about Namora here. He writes first person narration and there’s not a single moment of surprise. She … Continue reading Namora 1 (August 2010)

Thunderbolts 150 (January 2011)

Seeing Kev Walker draw Iron Man is frightening. I think he based the armor off a toaster. But, once again, Walker’s able to integrate Parker’s odd fantasy elements—this issue, the majority of the action takes place in some idyllic countryside with talking frogs and such—and the issue works. Parker shows his cards here—he plots well in advance, since Crossbones’s arc comes to an end here, with him facing off against Steve Rogers and apparently burning his face down to something akin to the “Pink Skull.” That duel isn’t particularly good; far better are Juggernaut versus Luke and Thor and Iron … Continue reading Thunderbolts 150 (January 2011)

Thunderbolts 149 (December 2010)

I see what Parker’s trying to do overall but it doesn’t work. He’s even left with a confusing end narration. The rest of the issue doesn’t have any narration so I’m not even sure who’s point of view the last page’s narration is from. I suppose I could have given it some thought, but Thunderbolts doesn’t encourage much thought and I didn’t want to give it. Parker’s apparently realized he’s been too nice to Crossbones this issue. First he has a character commenting on him being a racist nut, then he has him kill a cop for fun and frame … Continue reading Thunderbolts 149 (December 2010)

Thunderbolts 148 (November 2010)

I can’t believe it… I miss Kev Walker. Not for the whole issue, of course. Declan Shalvey does a fine job with all the lead-up stuff—Luke’s in New York because of the “Shadowland” crossover (which seems like it’s really lame). He calls in the team—in an abuse of his authority—to go look for a friend’s son. Parker does a good job not tying it too much to the crossover; he takes a lot of time on the Thunderbolts too, which is nice. Although he makes Crossbones so sympathetic I’m wondering if Marvel’s going to have a white supremacist line of … Continue reading Thunderbolts 148 (November 2010)

Thunderbolts 147 (October 2010)

Poor Parker… they stuck him with an Avengers Academy crossover. It’s set up like a “scared straight” thing for superheroes and it’s an idiotic idea. The story shows all the reasons it’s totally unbelievable anyone would willy-nilly stroll around the Raft. And having Hank Pym as a tour guide doesn’t sound safe. Parker uses John Walker’s situational report as the narration and it kind of works… Parker can’t do the badass Luke Cage scenes though. He has one here and it flops. The cliffhanger gets a quick resolution (at least it feels quick) and there’s some hints Crossbones will be … Continue reading Thunderbolts 147 (October 2010)

Thunderbolts 146 (September 2010)

Once again with the Walker art… he does fine during the battle scene, but when he’s doing anything else, it’s absolutely rancid. I’m not sure why, but during regular scenes, he draws Luke as mildly deformed, like one of the Un-Men. This issue again has the Thunderbolts fighting monsters. I wasn’t aware they were the Ghostbusters of the Marvel Universe, but so far… it seems like it. Probably because putting them up again human villains, one might have to consider Crossbones is a neo-Nazi. It makes it a little hard to believe he’s taking orders from Luke Cage. I guess … Continue reading Thunderbolts 146 (September 2010)

Thunderbolts 145 (August 2010)

Okay, Parker’s getting the series on course here. It’s not perfect—Thunderbolts is still kind of a stupid idea (doesn’t DC have their own Thunderbolts series now too—or is it Suicide Squad again, which Thunderbolts ripped off)—but it’s a lot better. Walker continues to annoy, at least until they get to the big action sequence in the second half and then he’s an asset. Just two pages before, during the briefing, he’s weak on talking heads. And when he has John Walker (U.S. Agent) show up as Luke’s supervisor… wow, does Walker draw buff blond guys bad (he drew Steve Rogers … Continue reading Thunderbolts 145 (August 2010)

Thunderbolts 144 (July 2010)

Wow, if Thunderbolts is so unbelievably stupid with a good writer like Jeff Parker on it, what’s it like when it’s got some regular Marvel hack writing? It’s actually a good example of how a comic book has to visually flow together. When Baron Zemo shows up at the end, it just looks stupid. Sure, some of it is Kev Walker’s artwork—which I’d never seen before and it reminds me a little of Ed McGuinness but without any enthusiasm for superheroes. Walker’s style is a mix between McGuinness and a misanthropic Sam Kieth. It’s not just a matter of taste—Walker’s … Continue reading Thunderbolts 144 (July 2010)

Atlas 5 (November 2010)

So, either Parker wanted the story to go six issues or eight. It’s hard to tell. I imagine if it had gone at least six, he wouldn’t have needed the three pages of text he uses in this one to move the story along. As a prose writer… Parker should stick to comic scripting. As for the final issue… it’s a little defeatist. I imagine Marvel’s unsympathetic to another Atlas series, but Parker kind of throws in the towel for the final few pages. Nice work all around though—Rosanas and Hardman do well—so does Parker one a story he pencils … Continue reading Atlas 5 (November 2010)

Atlas 4 (October 2010)

Poor Bob. This issue reveals he’s really a lot more alien than he’s let anyone know, keeping his appearance hidden. Parker hinted at it in the Gorilla-Man series, but it didn’t make sense until this issue. But that revelation is just another reason to love Agents of Atlas. Parker does a beautiful job on the humanity of his characters, it’s just fabulous. Once again, he changes gears and Atlas works again. A little action to resolve last issue’s cliffhanger (Mr. Lao helps) and then some thinking and investigating and then Rosanas takes over the next part of the story. It … Continue reading Atlas 4 (October 2010)

Atlas 3 (September 2010)

Huh. It’s hard to say what Parker’s doing or why. He basically drags a quarter of an issue’s worth of story out to an entire issue—the bad guys infiltrate the Atlas headquarters, nothing else important happens. He ends it on a hard cliffhanger with Venus shot and Namora possessed. There’s some investigation into 3-D Man’s story (I’m still not sold on how good an addition he is for the series) but it’s drawn out. It does give Hardman a wide variety of things to draw… but that opportunity shouldn’t dictate the narrative. Parker’s still got the enthusiasm for the characters … Continue reading Atlas 3 (September 2010)

Atlas 2 (August 2010)

There’s the Atlas I love. Parker brings back everything great about the series (the serious tone with the humor, Mr. Lao having something going on he forgets to tell Jimmy about) and adds 3-D Man to the roster. The issue’s pretty simple—we get an introduction to the team as 3-D Man tries to escape (including some additional revelations about Venus), an origin recap, then a mission for the team and a set-up for the next issue. What’s wrong has nothing to do with the content (Hardman gets some beautiful stuff to draw this issue). No, it’s when it’s happening in … Continue reading Atlas 2 (August 2010)

Atlas 1 (July 2010)

Parker does something very strange for the first issue of Atlas. He barely features them. There’s a backup with the team in the fifties, which helps, but the primary story belongs to 3-D Man, a character I’m unfamiliar with. He’s got ties to the fifties too, so I guess he sort of works, but giving him the entire issue doesn’t. Also, Parker has a very strange narration for it. He narrates with 3-D Man talking to, near as I can tell without going back and checking, a guy in a coma. Except, of course, he’s talking to the guy in … Continue reading Atlas 1 (July 2010)

Gorilla-Man 3 (November 2010)

Parker plays fast and loose with the logic for the conclusion. Not for the flashbacks–which is careful not to overlap the previous Gorilla-Man origin–but for the modern stuff. It ends on a strange note, showing Ken to maybe be Parker’s strongest Agent of Atlas. He’s able to make profound statements and tell crude jokes and have it work. The looseness is to get the story done quickly. The pacing is good, but Parker could have used another issue. The flashback material is compelling and begs for more attention. Some questions frustratingly go unanswered–even in the modern part, a side effect … Continue reading Gorilla-Man 3 (November 2010)

Gorilla-Man 2 (October 2010)

There’s a little bit of action (in the modern story) at the open of the issue, then it’s a trip down memory lane. Parker makes the connection between Ken, his past and his current mission rather quickly; I’m glad he didn’t try to keep it for a surprise. He’s able to cover a lot of history here—even though the origin of Gorilla-Man (as a gorilla man) probably won’t be part of it. It’s interesting to see how Parker deals with Ken’s timeline. It seems like if Parker had more issues, he might have just told the story without the frames. … Continue reading Gorilla-Man 2 (October 2010)

Gorilla-Man 1 (September 2010)

Parker sets the series (presumably, at least the first issue implies) in modernity. It’s in between Atlas titles, with Ken on an Atlas mission to Africa to stop some bad guy. That part of the story isn’t the most interesting, of course. The most interesting is the flashbacks to Ken’s childhood Parker peppers the issue with. It gives a look at his early history—and some part of it will likely tie in to the modern story because it’s a comic book limited series, after all. The drawing factor isn’t the plot, but the charm Parker brings. Ken’s not an absurd … Continue reading Gorilla-Man 1 (September 2010)

Agents of Atlas 6 (March 2007)

Parker ends Agents of Atlas with M-11. It’s very appropriate since he’s been the biggest mystery of the series and to the team members. There’s something incredibly tragic and beautiful about the character; Parker goes for it and succeeds. It’s too bad M-11 couldn’t carry a limited of his own. The issue itself, setting Jimmy and the team up as Atlas, is a talking heads book. There’s action and layered narrative, so it doesn’t seem like a talking heads book… but it is one. The big surprise is a surprise, even with the hints, the main one–which would have occurred … Continue reading Agents of Atlas 6 (March 2007)

Agents of Atlas 5 (February 2007)

And here again, Parker does the improbable. The issue has a relatively short present action, something like a half hour. Maybe a little more, but the big part of then issue isn’t long, as watched on a clock. Well, actually I’m wrong–it’s indeterminate. Parker sticks with Derek as a narrator, which brings–I’m realizing for the first time–the human angle. Jimmy’s the only other regular person, but he’s too extraordinary to be a good narrator. Instead, Derek–already an outsider since he’s from Wakanda–provides a great perspective; he’s earnest, not at all naive, and human. It’s through Derek’s narration, the reader gets … Continue reading Agents of Atlas 5 (February 2007)

Agents of Atlas 4 (January 2007)

Oh, Jeff Parker, how I love thee. This issue–this modern Marvel comic book–takes place over a week. Maybe even a few days more than a week. Parker resolves the previous issue’s cliffhanger, brings in a new character, has two big action sequences and has time for character development and a bunch of summary action scenes. Derek narrates the issue, bringing a bunch of humor to it, but Parker also uses his narration to move certain story aspects along. For instance, SHIELD is now involved with the team’s activities, but we never have to see them because Parker is using summary … Continue reading Agents of Atlas 4 (January 2007)

Agents of Atlas 3 (December 2006)

After opening with a nice fight scene–it starts with just Jimmy, then brings everyone in–the issue moves to some Atlas investigating. The book’s title still doesn’t make any sense in the context of the content, which is kind of awesome. I wish I remembered what I thought it meant at this point during my first reading. This issue features the most elaborate flashback so far, as Bob tells everyone his recent history. I think it runs for five pages and they’re just these magnificent summary pages. Kirk handles them beautifully, though it takes a while to catch on the flashback … Continue reading Agents of Atlas 3 (December 2006)

Agents of Atlas 2 (November 2006)

Derek, the SHIELD agent, narrates this issue. The result is a more procedural issue, like Parker is trying to keep the reader a few steps removed from the principle characters. He does it a few times, more obviously, in the narrative, like when Venus says hello to a changed Bob. A little about the art. I like Leonard Kirk; I like his superhero stuff. He does a good job on this issue and the series so far, but one of the things about coming back to it after Parker’s gone on with the series–it’s clear Kirk isn’t the ideal fit. … Continue reading Agents of Atlas 2 (November 2006)

Agents of Atlas 1 (October 2006)

Coming back to the first Atlas series is a bigger treat than I thought it would be. I don’t remember much about it, but I certainly didn’t remember Parker uses Gorilla Man as the narrator for the first issue. It’s a nice entry to the setup because–strangely enough–Ken is the most human member of the team. His recollections make this issue immediately distinct, even before the second or third page, when he’s revealed as Gorilla Man. But Parker also sets up the mystery really well. I’d forgotten most of that aspect too–SHIELD is trying to figure out what old man … Continue reading Agents of Atlas 1 (October 2006)