Jeff Parker

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.

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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.

Atlas 5 (November 2010)

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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 and inks. Actually, I think Hardman has the most problems, but he’s got the most compressed part of the story.

There are some really good moments in here for the team (Bob’s very non-traditional superhero is a surprise).

I just wish it’d been a stronger series overall.

CREDITS

The Return of the Three Dimensional Man. Part Six; artist, Ramon Rosanas; colorist, Jim Charalampidis. Part Seven; artist, Jeff Parker; colorist, Elizabeth Breitweiser. Part Seven; artist, Gabriel Hardman; colorist, Breitweiser. Writer, Parker; letterer, Ken Dukeshire; editors, Nathan Cosby and Mark Paniccia; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Atlas 4 (October 2010)

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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 might have worked better if Parker had used that breakdown each issue (Hardman handles one half, Rosanas another).

The story’s moving in an unexpected DC “Crisis on Multiple Earths” direction… it reveals, once again, Atlas is a great DC series at Marvel.

Parker and company produce a fantastic issue.

CREDITS

The Return of the Three Dimensional Man. Part Four; artist, Gabriel Hardman; colorist, Elizabeth Breitweiser. <Part Four; artist and colorist, Ramon Rosanas. Writer, Jeff Parker; letterer, Ken Dukeshire; editors, Nathan Cosby and Mark Paniccia; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Atlas 3 (September 2010)

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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 (3-D Man’s presence aside), but I can’t say the same thing for his plotting. It’s like the Atlas backups in Hercules changed up his pacing style.

Atlas feels off.

The Rosanas illustrated backup about M-11, however, is a lovely little recap of M-11’s origin.

CREDITS

The Return of the Three Dimensional Man, Part Three; artist, Gabriel Hardman; colorist, Elizabeth Breitweiser. The Human Robot; artist and colorist, Ramon Rosanas. Writer, Jeff Parker; letterer, Ken Dukeshire; editors, Nathan Cosby and Mark Paniccia; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Atlas 2 (August 2010)

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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 the series run. This issue is a first issue, not a second. 3-D Man becomes very likable here, not puzzling like he was in the previous issue.

The backup, illustrated by Rosanas, is also very nice. It’s not so much fun as just well-executed.

CREDITS

The Return of the Three Dimensional Man, Part Two; artist, Gabriel Hardman; colorist, Elizabeth Breitweiser. Department Zero, Part Two; artist and colorist, Ramon Rosanas. Writer, Jeff Parker; letterer, Ken Dukeshire; editors, Nathan Cosby and Mark Paniccia; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Atlas 1 (July 2010)

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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 his head, not in actuality.

Some of the writing is strong as usual, but it’s as though Parker willfully sucked all the charm out of an Agents of Atlas title. It’s a shocking choice.

As always, lovely art from Hardman… he just doesn’t have anything interesting to draw.

CREDITS

The Return of the Three Dimensional Man, Part One; artist, Gabriel Hardman; colorist, Elizabeth Breitweiser. Department Zero, Part One; artist and colorist, Ramon Rosanas. Writer, Jeff Parker; letterer, Ken Dukeshire; editors, Nathan Cosby and Mark Paniccia; publisher, Marvel Comics.