Jeff Parker

Flash Gordon

Flash Gordon 6 (October 2014)

Flash Gordon #6

Parker does a great job with the Arboria adventure–with Dale getting to hang out with some Hawkmen and then rescue Flash and Zarkov on her own. There’s a lot of personality for the Arborians–well, the people with the wings, less so for the sirens who don’t have wings. Parker keeps it relatively simple; maybe too much so, but it’s Flash Gordon and it works with simplicity.

He resolves the cliffhanger, moves into Dale’s adventure, has some good laughs at Flash and, especially, Zarkov’s expenses and then brings in Vultan. Now, he and Shaner don’t do a lot of obvious Flash Gordon: The Movie references but something about Vultan’s introduction just screams Brian Blessed. It’s a wonderful touch.

The final has a too abrupt cliffhanger, but then there’s some nice epilogue art with Ming from Greg Smallwood. And Parker’s finally giving Ming some real personality.

It works out well.

A- 

CREDITS

Writers, Jeff Parker and Jordie Bellaire; artists, Evan Shaner and Greg Smallwood; colorist, Bellaire; letterer, Simon Bowland; editor, Nate Cosby; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

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Flash Gordon

Flash Gordon 5 (August 2014)

Flash Gordon #5

Odd issue. Parker splits it in two–with Sandy Jarrell and Richard Case on art for the first part and Shanier on the second. The first part, which is just Flash, Dale and Zarkov in their spaceship trying to get to the next world, has a lot of personality. There’s banter, there’s Ming megalomania. Even with the art change, it feels like the Flash Gordon comic Parker and Shanier have been working towards. Jarrell and Case do well too.

But the second half–where Shanier actually does the art–feels way off. The cast lands on Skyworld and gets into immediate trouble. Parker paces it terribly. While the art is good, the content isn’t expansive enough to make the abbreviated story worth it. Parker makes Dale the de facto protagonist but doesn’t give her anything to do but whine.

Like I said before, odd. It’s likely just a bump. Hopefully.

B- 

CREDITS

Writer, Jeff Parker; artists, Sandy Jarrell, Richard Case and Evan Shaner; colorists, Jarrell and Bellaire; letterer, Simon Bowland; editor, Nate Cosby; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

Flash Gordon

Flash Gordon 4 (July 2014)

Flash Gordon #4

The cynic in me assumes the Phantom’s one panel appearance in a flashback to Flash fighting off the invaders from Mongo on Earth is so Dynamite can do a team-up limited series some time down the road. The reader in me hopes they do it and get Parker to write it.

Parker’s plotting on Flash is a little stunted; the story has been told–quite famously–many times and anticipated of what Parker and Shaner do in their revision plays into how the comic reads. But this issue, with Parker developing Dale as she does exposition, really shows the series’s strengths. Underneath all the flash (sorry), Parker is taking it seriously.

He’s just enjoying himself while he does it.

There’s a good little scene for Zarkov this issue and a great one for Ming. It moves fast, but not too fast to enjoy Shaner’s art.

Flash is working out.

B+ 

CREDITS

Tell the Legend; writer, Jeff Parker; artist, Evan Shaner; colorist, Jordie Bellaire; letterer, Simon Bowland; editor, Nate Cosby; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

Flash Gordon

Flash Gordon 3 (June 2014)

Flash Gordon #3

Reading the big gladiator fight scene in this issue–and I make this statement as a compliment–one can almost hear the Queen music from the movie. Parker has a couple big action sequences in this one, with Flash destroying the factory at the beginning and then the gladiator battle against Ming’s beastmen.

And Parker is finally delivering on the Flash Gordon promise. There are a few things Flash Gordon does–well, there are a lot of things, but these three things are important because they aren’t obvious and they’re what make him a different kind of hero. First, he always acts selflessly. Second, he inspires. Now, lots of other comic and media heroes do these things, but always forced. Third, he isn’t bright. The magic of Flash Gordon is his childlike understanding of right and wrong. It’s magnificent.

And Parker gets it. Even if the cliffhanger’s forced.

Great art from Shaner too.

B 

CREDITS

Writer, Jeff Parker; artist, Evan Shaner; colorist, Jordie Bellaire; letterer, Simon Bowland; editor, Nate Cosby; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

Flash Gordon

Flash Gordon 2 (May 2014)

Flash Gordon #2

This issue doesn’t just have gorgeous art, it also has Parker getting to a Flash Gordon moment. Flash Gordon’s a hard character to portray because his behaviors are often contradictory. Parker understands some of that contradiction this issue, with Flash both being foolish and also being selfless. The selfless bit comes gloriously at the end.

As for the Shaner art, the comic is beginning to seriously impress. Flash and company are on Arboria and Shaner does a great double page (half) panel of an airship carrying them around. It’s fantastically rendered, as is everything else this issue.

Parker doesn’t spend much time establishing any of the characters–and Prince Baran seems a little too unobservant–but the time he does spend is successful. Dale is still a mystery, but Professor Zarkov is great. Both funny and smart at the same time; humor and exposition in one.

Flash’s starting to impress.

B+ 

CREDITS

Flash in the Forest; writer, Jeff Parker; artist, Evan Shaner; colorist, Jordie Bellaire; letterer, Simon Bowland; editor, Nate Cosby; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

Flash Gordon

Flash Gordon 1 (April 2014)

Flash Gordon #1

Another Flash Gordon? Hasn’t this license well been long tapped dry? Based on this first issue, maybe not. Oh, it’s got problems–the soft cliffhanger is a disaster, turning the residents of Arboria into Ewoks (so far), and writer Jeff Parker digs himself a hole with the narration structure–half the issue in the past, half in the present, all the big invasion events in expository dialogue–but it’s not bad. A lot of it’s pretty good.

The past stuff sets up the characters in the modern context, which is both good and bad. The scenes are fine, they just don’t really introduce the characters, only the changes Parker has made bringing them into the twenty-first century.

The good stuff comes once Flash, Dale and Zarkov are on the run on Mongo. Parker writes their character interactions well.

Decent art from Evan Shaner–great scenery.

It’s problematic but okay.

B- 

CREDITS

The Man From Earth; writer, Jeff Parker; artist, Evan Shaner; colorist, Jordie Bellaire; letterer, Simon Bowland; editor, Nate Cosby; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

Namora 1 (August 2010)

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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 likes breathing sometimes. Whoop-de-doo.

It’s an okay enough issue. Parker’s competent, even when he’s uninspired, and Namora’s a fine protagonist. Sara Pichelli’s art is also somewhat uninspired; at times it’s manga-influenced, but mostly not and the unsureness is no help.

Namora deserves better attention.

CREDITS

Lost at Sea; writer, Jeff Parker; artist, Sara Pichelli; colorist, Rachelle Rosenberg; letterer, Dave Sharpe; editors, Sana Amanat and Mark Paniccia; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Thunderbolts 150 (January 2011)

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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 Man versus Ghost. Those fights develop into something. The Crossbones thing is just resolving what happens to the character (and prepping him for whatever next event he appears in).

It’s probably the best Thunderbolts issue I’ve read, but it barely stars any Thunderbolts. It’s an Avengers comic.

CREDITS

Old Scores; writer, Jeff Parker; artist, Kev Walker; colorists, Frank Martin and Fabio D’Auria; letterers, Albert Deschesne and Richard Starkings; editors, Rachel Pinnelas and Bill Rosemann; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Thunderbolts 149 (December 2010)

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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 a dead zombie ninja. But the Ghost saw, so we’ll see how long that revelation takes to come out.

Regardless, Parker still makes Crossbones the issue’s primary character in a lot of ways.

Shalvey’s art continues to disappoint. Maybe if it were bad in an interesting way….

Still, not terrible.

CREDITS

Writer, Jeff Parker; artist, Declan Shalvey; colorist, Frank Martin; letterer, Albert Deschesne; editors, Rachel Pinnelas and Bill Rosemann; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Thunderbolts 148 (November 2010)

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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 titles… “Tea Party Comics” maybe.

But then it gets to the action stuff and Shalvey just flops. It isn’t only about Walker establishing an action tone for the series, Shalvey just doesn’t do well. He’s got a main character apparently dying and it’s way too subtle.

CREDITS

Writer, Jeff Parker; artist, Declan Shalvey; colorists, Frank Martin and Fabio d’Aurea; letterer, Albert Deschesne; editors, Rachel Pinnelas and Bill Rosemann; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Thunderbolts 147 (October 2010)

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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 in for some trouble soon. But the Thunderbolts really aren’t part of this issue after that resolution. Instead, it’s Luke and Walker. Maybe one other guy, but I don’t even remember who… Juggernaut?

It’s like Parker surrendered the issue to the crossover without even trying to make it work.

CREDITS

Writer, Jeff Parker; artist, Kev Walker; colorist, Frank Martin; letterer, Albert Deschesne; editors, Rachel Pinnelas and Bill Rosemann; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Thunderbolts 146 (September 2010)

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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 the Marvel Universe is post-racial.

Parker does all right—the fight scene is better than the rest of the book. It often reads like Man-Thing is the only character Parker really enjoys writing. Maybe if it were a MAX title (it should be), it’d be better.

CREDITS

Writer, Jeff Parker; artist, Kev Walker; colorist, Frank Martin; letterer, Albert Deschesne; editors, Rachel Pinnelas and Bill Rosemann; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Thunderbolts 145 (August 2010)

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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 identically in the first issue).

The previous issue’s cliffhanger turns out to be a stupid ruse; if they’d just done a double-sized issue, combining this one and the previous, it’d have started the arc out on good footing. Instead, this issue feels Parker’s playing catch-up.

CREDITS

Field Test; writer, Jeff Parker; artist, Kev Walker; colorist, Frank Martin; letterer, Albert Deschesne; editors, Rachel Pinnelas and Bill Rosemann; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Thunderbolts 144 (July 2010)

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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 clearly incapable of putting Parker’s script on the page.

Parker’s got this big movie moment of Luke Cage jumping out of a plane to make an entrance and it just flops.

Then there’s the visually awkward prison tour.

It’s not all Walker’s fault, he just makes it worse.

CREDITS

Writer, Jeff Parker; artist, Kev Walker; colorist, Frank Martin; letterer, Albert Deschesne; editors, Rachel Pinnelas and Bill Rosemann; publisher, Marvel Comics.