Stefano Gaudiano

Bloodshot 13 (July 2013)

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Swierczynski takes a peculiar approach to dealing with Bloodshot’s side of the final Harbinger Wars issue. He makes it as lame as humanly possible.

It’s actually not even Bloodshot’s issue, it’s his sidekick Kara’s issue and his sidekick Kara hasn’t had much presence during the crossover event. She’s his voice of reason, not much else. Babysitter for the kids too.

Speaking of the kids, after spending a couple issues establishing them, Swierczynski dumps them to instead focus on really bad dream sequences. They’re an afterthought to the issue. Valiant must have really wanted to do a crossover special, but by not doing it straightforward, these issues are weak.

The art’s also got problems. Kitson’s has three inkers (himself included) and each of them makes the finished art look different.

It’s a bad issue and left me wondering why anyone would ever want to read another one. It’s rough and pointless.

CREDITS

Living the Dream; writer, Duane Swierczynski; penciller, Barry Kitson; inkers, Stefano Gaudiano, Kitson and Mark Pennington; colorist, Brian Reber; letterer, Rob Steen; editors, Jody LeHeup and Warren Simons; publisher, Valiant Entertainment.

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Bloodshot 12 (June 2013)

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I’ve only read a few issues of Bloodshot but it seems like a big part of what Swierczynski does is have contrived scenes with Bloodshot and the men who wrong him in the past. It’ll seem like Bloodshot is finished, his nanites unable to repair him, but then he’ll magically come through thanks to the perseverance of the human spirit.

Especially against the very evil bad guys.

It’s really boring, especially since Swierczynski never comes up with good places for these action sequences. This issue’s takes place in a mechanized slaughterhouse. Feels a little like the end of the first Terminator movie, only without any drama.

Meanwhile, the kids and their babysitter are under siege in their transportation vehicle. The bad guys can remotely control the vehicle’s auto-lock system. It’s real silly and really dumb.

The art from Kitson and Gaudiano is quite good. Swierczynski’s script not so much.

CREDITS

Writer, Duane Swierczynski; penciller, Barry Kitson; inkers, Stefano Gaudiano and Kitson; colorist, Brian Reber; letterer, Rob Steen; editors, Jody LeHeup and Warren Simons; publisher, Valiant Entertainment.

Bloodshot 11 (May 2013)

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I like the way Valiant–or Swierczynski in this case–is handling the Harbinger Wars crossover. He’s using this issue of Bloodshot to flush out the relevant scenes in the main book; it’s expensive if a reader buys all the issues, but it also means it doesn’t have to be expensive. Each piece of the puzzle isn’t integral to getting a story.

As for the story here? There’s not a lot. It’s an all-action issue, though Bloodshot is also arguing with the evil little boy who lives in his head and tells him what to do. The art from Kitson and Gaudiano is so downbeat, the scenes don’t even play goofy.

Speaking of the art, the savage action violence gets a lot of focus here. Swierczynski seems to go for the grossest scenes possible for Bloodshot and he’s regenerative powers.

There’s not much to the comic, but it’s fine.

CREDITS

Writer, Duane Swierczynski; penciller, Barry Kitson; inkers, Stefano Gaudiano and Kitson; colorist, Brian Reber; letterer, Rob Steen; editors, Jody LeHeup and Warren Simons; publisher, Valiant Entertainment.

Harbinger 12 (May 2013)

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Could this issue have uglier art? Maybe Evans and Hairsine split responsibilities? One was responsible for the heads, one for the bodies and poor Stefano Gaudiano got saddled with the task of trying to make everything seem seamless?

He didn’t. It’s ugly, ugly, ugly art. Especially since they make the colorist do the perspective in some panels. Very unfortunate.

Otherwise, it’s a decent issue. Dysart sends the regular Harbinger cast–calling themselves the Renegades now–in to meet the psiots holding the hostages in Las Vegas. There’s a nice sequence where all the regular cast meet someone knew; it’s like play dates for the psiots, even though the regular cast eventually disappears into the action. How Peter got through such an enormous hotel to stop Torque….

But it’s a decent enough issue. The flashback stuff is… well, it’s still a big company crossover. There’s only so much anyone can do.

CREDITS

Writer, Joshua Dysart; pencillers, Khari Evans and Trevor Hairsine; inkers, Evans, Stefano Gaudiano and Hairsine; colorist, Ian Hannin; letterer, Rob Steen; editors, Josh Johns and Warren Simons; publisher, Valiant Entertainment.

Bloodshot 10 (April 2013)

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Stefano Gaudiano is a great inker, though not really one I think of for action comics. Barry Kitson is a great action penciller, but not one I think of for a lot follow through. Together… together they make a very nice pair, especially since this comic takes place entirely at night so everything’s very dark.

Writer Duane Swierczynski figures out one way to make an all action issue take a while to read. Lots and lots of characters–talkative little kids, an annoying female sidekick–even though Bloodshot does talk quite a bit, he mostly just has to react.

Swierczynski only has one big action set piece, even though technically it’s all action–they’re walking through the desert after all. The action sequence has a lot of conflict and character moments.

For an all action issue, in other words, it doesn’t feel empty. There’s a lot of personality.

It’s good.

CREDITS

Writer, Duane Swierczynski; penciller, Barry Kitson; inkers, Stefano Gaudiano and Kitson; colorist, Brian Reber; letterer, Rob Steen; editors, Jody LeHeup and Warren Simons; publisher, Valiant Entertainment.

Harbinger 11 (April 2013)

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Dysart sort of splits the issue between the kids and Harada. I say kids but I guess they’re all eighteen plus, right? Peter and the gang. Only the Harada stuff is mostly set in the past, with Dysart fleshing out the P.R.S. history with him.

In the present, Peter and company are still recovering from their misadventure in Georgia. He then discovers his Harbinger War related destiny of saving the kids, which kicks off a lot of debate in the group. Dysart does something very interesting this issue with Torque–he’s not a particularly good guy and it remains to be seen if the altruistic adventuring will stick.

I almost think not, just because he’s so shallow. The former exotic dancer is kind of shallow too, but in a completely different way.

Dysart doesn’t spend a lot of time on character development, but the few nods are enough.

CREDITS

Writer, Joshua Dysart; pencillers, Khari Evans and Trevor Hairsine; inkers, Evans, Stefano Gaudiano and Hairsine; colorist, Ian Hannin; letterer, Rob Steen; editors, Josh Johns and Warren Simons; publisher, Valiant Entertainment.

lazarus

Lazarus 3 (August 2013)

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Besides the incest twins playing it up like Bond villains, this issue features Rucka’s best writing on Lazarus. It kind of features Lark’s worst art on it–he really doesn’t take a lot of time with the incest twins but who would–but it’s still quite good art as it’s Lark.

The issue even manages to survive Rucka’s negotiation scene, which reminds way too much of Dune. But before that scene, Rucka has an interesting scene with Forever and another family’s Lazarus. Wait, I’ve said it all reminds a little of Dallas too, right?

Anyway, this issue’s actually got talking, thinking adversaries for Forever to interact with, which helps a lot. Rucka’s got all his plots within plots; those don’t do any good for honest scenes. He usually asks the reader to suspect everyone and every scene, not just read the comic.

Lazarus isn’t great, but it’s finally nice reading.

CREDITS

Family, Part Three; writer, Greg Rucka; penciller and letterer, Michael Lark; inkers, Lark, Stefano Gaudiano and Brian Level; colorist, Santiago Arcas; publisher, Image Comics.

Harbinger 10 (March 2013)

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Now here’s a great issue. Dysart manages to turn the all-action issue into something with some content, probably because he’s got enough characters doing different things it can be a rewarding reading experience.

He opens with narration from Peter, but splits the issue between him and Faith. They have to do a rescue mission, only Faith’s the one who’s got to do the superhero stuff. The way Dysart splits the responsibility between them is part of the issue’s brilliance. His plotting here is exceptional. It’s so good, the issue can even withstand the awkward finish.

Dysart tries hard to reestablish Peter as the lead in the comic and he only partially succeeds. He still hasn’t made Peter function on his own, he always needs to be playing off someone. And the character works great with that constraint.

The art’s okay (credit should go to M. Hands).

Great, great issue.

CREDITS

Writer, Joshua Dysart; pencillers, Matthew Clark, Álvaro López, Dimi Macheras and Brian Thies; inkers, Clark, López, Macheras, Thies and Stefano Gaudiano; colorist, Mouse Baumann; letterer, Rob Steen; editors, Jody LeHeup and Warren Simons; publisher, Valiant Entertainment.

Winter Soldier 9 (October 2012)

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I can’t believe I forgot about the Brubaker fake arc. It’s when he identifies something as an arc, but it leads directly into the next issue, which starts another arc. He usually uses a hard cliffhanger (and does so here too).

It’s always vaguely frustrating because Brubaker uses the expectations to fool the reader. It’s mostly a Marvel phenomenon for him and it’s always a little hostile.

With an extremely fast-paced issue–like this one–it leaves one wondering why bother reading it at all. The recap in the next issue will have all the pertinent information, since Brubaker doesn’t have a single character moment in this issue. It’s all setup for what’s next.

If Brubaker’s Marvel career has been rehashing the books he liked in the seventies, Winter Soldier is more just rehashing his own earlier Marvel work. Bucky’s got a nemesis. Big whoop.

It’s okay, albeit unrewarding.

CREDITS

Broken Arrow, Part Three; writer, Ed Brubaker; penciller, Michael Lark; inkers, Brian Thies and Stefano Gaudiano; colorist, Bettie Breitweiser; letterer, Joe Caramagna; editors, Jake Thomas and Lauren Sankovitch; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Winter Soldier 8 (September 2012)

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Once again, I’ve got to question Brubaker’s approach. He splits this issue of Winter Soldier between Bucky and the bad guy. The bad guy has kidnapped Natasha and he’s going to brainwash her. It’s unclear why he hates Bucky so much–Brubaker plays fast and loose with that logic a lot. He tries to “realistically” update seventies Marvel comics, but he doesn’t take into account the character motivations.

Except when Bucky’s fellow SHIELD agent wonders why Bucky would be dating Black Widow in the first place.

Bucky and SHIELD are trying to find Natasha, which provides some fight scenes. Nothing too fantastic, just Bucky beating the crap out of thugs. Again, logic. A super-spy is hiring thugs from waterfront bars? Because it’s the 1940s? Later, Bucky’s metal arm saves his butt. It made me question how good he’d be without it.

As usual, it’s great looking, fun and problematic.

CREDITS

Broken Arrow, Part Two; writer, Ed Brubaker; penciller, Michael Lark; inkers, Brian Thies and Stefano Gaudiano; colorists, Bettie Breitweiser and Mitch Breitweiser; letterer, Joe Caramagna; editors, Jake Thomas and Lauren Sankovitch; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Winter Soldier 7 (August 2012)

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Brubaker uses Bucky as narrator here, but mostly Bucky just waxes on about Natasha. It’s filler. I wanted to make a joke about it seeming almost as romantic as Jeph Loeb’s Superman/Batman narration but it’s insincere.

Brubaker has no reason to try to convince the reader of Natasha’s skills as a super-spy. He’s just filling some exposition boxes.

Otherwise, the issue’s great. It’s Michael Lark drawing a superhero spy book. There are no super powers, so the threats are all a lot more grounded. Lark maintains the realistic mood while still doing the absurd action too. It makes Winter Soldier even more interesting to read, to see how Lark bridges the disconnect.

The issue probably does read a little fast and the busy middle of the night mountain highway seems a tad much, but it’s very exciting. Shame Brubaker felt he needed to blather on in the narration.

CREDITS

Broken Arrow, Part One; writer, Ed Brubaker; penciller, Michael Lark; inkers, Brian Thies and Stefano Gaudiano; colorist, Bettie Breitweiser; letterer, Joe Caramagna; editors, John Denning and Lauren Sankovitch; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Winter Soldier 6 (August 2012)

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As usual, Ed Brubaker excels when not telling a story about his lead character. In this issue, instead of focusing on Bucky, Brubaker follows around one of his former proteges. The protege has a nice backstory and then an interesting side story to Bucky’s. Brubaker plays with the timeline to get a good ending and it works.

It’s such a strong story for the Russian agent, it doesn’t matter Bucky and Natasha barely have a presence this issue. They talk a little bit and they do some investigating from the SHIELD (or whatever organization they’re with) control room. Brubaker’s running into a problem of how to define Bucky post-Captain America and all, but who cares? It’s a good issue.

But I can’t forget the Michael Lark art. It’s Lark inked by Stefano Gaudiano. It’s beautiful art; incredibly confident heroics. Lark’s preppy hair cut for Bucky is strangely awesome too.

CREDITS

Broken Arrow, Prologue; writer, Ed Brubaker; penciller, Michael Lark; inkers, Stefano Gaudiano and Brian Thies; colorist, Bettie Breitweiser; letterer, Joe Caramagna; editors, John Denning and Lauren Sankovitch; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Winter Soldier 5 (July 2012)

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Tom Palmer is a very strange inker for Guice. Gaudiano shows up for a bit, at the beginning and end most noticeably, but Palmer handles the big action scene. It’s Bucky, Natasha and Doctor Doom versus the Super-Apes and some other bad guys. With the Palmer inks, it looks like something out of a seventies Marvel comic. It’s glorious action in the Marvel style. This issue makes up for the lackadaisical pacing in the last few and it’s not even Brubaker’s fault. It’s all Tom Palmer.

Even more, when he does the quiet scenes, he brings age and gravity to Bucky. I love Gaudiano, but with Palmer… Winter Soldier is a whole different book.

Brubaker writes some great Nick Fury and Doctor Doom banter–they need a team-up series, obviously–and maintains Bucky’s questionable morality.

It’s an excellent finish to a first arc. Fast and fun but fulfilling.

CREDITS

The Longest Winter, Part Five; writer, Ed Brubaker; penciller, Butch Guice; inkers, Stefano Gaudiano, Tom Palmer and Guice; colorist, Bettie Breitweiser; letterer, Joe Caramagna; editor, Lauren Sankovitch, John Denning and Tom Breevort; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Winter Soldier 4 (June 2012)

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Wait a second… at no time during Marvel’s attempts to “toughen up” the line did anyone ever stop to consider Doctor Doom having nuclear weapons is a lot more dangerous than the Hulk?

Sorry, I just gave away Brubaker’s big reveal for the issue. Sadly, it’s a lame one.

Otherwise, the issue’s okay. The pacing is still bad. Bucky and Doctor Doom head to beat up a Doombot, which leads to some excellent art from Guice and Gaudiano. They’re an interesting pair for Doctor Doom and he looks great. The mass destruction chase scene at the U.N. is good too. It’s just without payoff.

As for Black Widow, she gets a side mission. Unfortunately, she mostly just recounts it in exposition.

And that ending? It’s three times longer than it should be, if not more, and Brubaker hasn’t got any reward for the reader.

Winter‘s technically excellent, but highly problematic.

CREDITS

The Longest Winter, Part Four; writer, Ed Brubaker; penciller, Butch Guice; inkers, Stefano Gaudiano, Guice and Brian Thies; colorists, Bettie Breitweiser and Matthew Wilson; letterer, Joe Caramagna; editor, Lauren Sankovitch, John Denning and Tom Breevort; publisher, Marvel Comics.