Sterling Gates

Hawk & Dove 3 (January 2012)

2065870-hkdvf98a_super.jpeg

Hank Hall didn’t vote for Obama, but he’s not going to let his evil counterpart (Condor–who knew Gates was a Michael Crawford fan) kill him. I think they were just trying to appeal to the conservative reader… but then immediately lost the Tea Party reader.

Anyway, it’s another crappy issue from Gates and Liefeld. It’s really more Deadman’s book than Hawk and Dove’s. I mean, Deadman saves the day. And, wow, even though he’s mostly possessing people, Liefeld still manages to draw him terribly. While Hawk (in particular) is a terrible Liefeld rendering, Deadman is beyond incompetent.

It’s an all-action issue, which means it’d be incomprehensible to new readers–there’s no recap of how Hawk and Dove end up at the White House much less their new villains.

I’m trying to think of something nice to say because Gates’s Supergirl‘s so good….

Maybe his editors wrote it.

CREDITS

When a White House Runs Red…; writer, Sterling Gates; penciller, Rob Liefeld; inkers, Adelso Corona, Jacob Bear and Liefeld; colorist, Matt Yackey; letterer, Dezi Sienty; editors, Rickey Purdin and Rachel Gluckstern; publisher, DC Comics.

About these ads

Hawk & Dove 2 (December 2011)

Hawk-and-Dove-2-DCR-2011.jpg

I know the new DC Universe is racially diverse, but I allow know DC doesn’t like being topical with Presidents (so they can be timeless). But is the bad guy choking Obama at the end? It’s kind of ballsy.

Otherwise, Hawk & Dove is the opposite of ballsy. Gates’s plotting is so safe and traditional—unless you count someone getting tortured by a suicide girl—the comic would be terrible regardless of the artist. In two issues, Gates’s writing has made me wonder if I just imagined his Supergirl writing or if he just had a better editor.

This series follows Hawk, which is immediately boring, because Hawk is a big, dumb ox. His character’s nothing different, not even if he’s still living at home, like in the relaunch. It’s a terrible approach.

As for Liefeld, he’s even worse than last issue.

Hawk & Dove‘s clearly never going to improve.

CREDITS

Party Time; writer, Sterling Gates; artist, Rob Liefeld; colorist, Matt Yackey; letterer, Dezi Sienty; editors, Rickey Purdin and Rachel Gluckstern; publisher, DC Comics.

Hawk & Dove 1 (November 2011)

HKDV_Cv1_ds.jpg

Are they bringing Don Hall back to life?

My brain actually hurts after looking at the Rob Liefeld art on this book. I was trying to understand his view of the human body and its proportions and I think my brain broke. His men seem to be without waists and ribcages and his women have the proportions of Barbie dolls.

And Liefeld’s Deadman is just plain goofy. He looks like a life-size balloon.

Given the incompetence of the visual storytelling, I can’t tell if Gates had a good script. I don’t think so. I think he breaks the rules of epical progression to be cute and the reader gets stuck with a couple lengthy exposition scenes.

Strangely, I’m sort of curious about the characters. They’re supposed to end up together. Will Gates address it, will he ignore it, will he give Liefeld more panels to butcher?

We shall see….

CREDITS

First Strikes; writer, Sterling Gates; artist, Rob Liefeld; colorist, Matt Yackey; letterer, Dezi Sienty; editors, Rickey Purdin and Rachel Gluckstern; publisher, DC Comics.

Supergirl 59 (February 2011)

785892-1.jpg

All writers have limits… and it’s too bad Gates’s limit is writing Cat Grant as a likable human being. He just can’t do it. He tries and tries here, but he ends up making Superwoman more likable than Cat. It’s a strange disconnect. There’s just something so hateful about her, he’s gone beyond a point where he can even bring a glimmer of humanity to her.

That statement made, it’s a wonderful issue. It’s a Christmas issue, ending up in Smallville (it’s hard to tell Kara’s supposed to be the one in the glasses—I thought they were still drawing Ma Kent with blonde hair or something). Gates and Igle get in the action, they get in some drama….

They wrap things up beautifully (it’s their last issue). It’s really too bad they didn’t get a chance to do the comic, instead getting stuck with crossover tripe.

Still, lovely work.

CREDITS

Day of the Dollmaker, Part Two: End of the Line; writer, Sterling Gates; penciller, Jamal Igle; inkers, Jon Sibal and Robin Riggs; colorist, Blond; letterer, Travis Lanham; editors, Wil Moss and Matt Idelson; publisher, DC Comics.

Supergirl 58 (January 2011)

779337.jpg

Gates really humanizes Cat Grant here (I didn’t know she had a dead son, for example) and it comes a little late. If he’d done it earlier, she wouldn’t have seemed so shrill. Besides that delay in characterizing, it’s a good issue.

Igle does a great job with Supergirl, as usual, but something about his approach is a little different. This issue is the first in forever not to be laden with New Krypton scenery or props; it gives Igle a chance just to do the superhero stuff and he does it really well.

Gates’s pacing is a little off too, I suppose. He’s going for dramatic emphasis more than content.

Oh, now I remember how this issue ends… with Lois going to visit her psychopathic sister. It’s undoubtedly a setup for something, but it takes the issue away from Supergirl and Cat.

Regardless, it’s a good little Christmas issue.

CREDITS

Day of the Dollmaker, Part One: Toying With Emotions; writer, Sterling Gates; penciller, Jamal Igle; inker, Jon Sibal; colorist, Blond; letterer, Travis Lanham; editors, Wil Moss and Matt Idelson; publisher, DC Comics.

Supergirl Annual 2 (December 2010)

774015.jpg

For the annual, Gates sends Supergirl to the future. The whole new Legion of Super-Heroes continuity is incredibly difficult to understand. Every time they guest in a book, I get even more confused. But Gates does a good job doing a done-in-one adventure. The story moves, has a lot of scenes, and has Supergirl and Brainiac 5’s relationship develop a little.

What’s bad is Matt Camp’s art. He draws everyone like they’re twelve—making the Supergirl kisses Brainiac 5 scene a little confusing—and it draws attention to things one shouldn’t be minding.

There’s some fill-in work from Marco Rudy and Rudy looks a little like Chris Samnee (though nowhere near as good) and those pages work really well. He draws the cast like people, not these weirdos with too young heads and too mature bodies.

It’s nice Gates can competently do this continuity nonsense.

CREDITS

Supergirl & the Legion of Super-Heroes; writer, Sterling Gates; artists, Matt Camp and Marco Rudy; colorists, Blond and Brad Anderson; letterer, Steve Wands; editors, Wil Moss and Matt Idelson; publisher, DC Comics.

Supergirl 57 (December 2010)

213418_20101020201329_large.jpg

Thank goodness for the colorist because without him, you wouldn’t be able to tell who Chang was drawing as a Bizarro or as a non-Bizarro.

Chang actually manages to draw Supergirl okay (too lanky to be slutty even), but everything else is a bit of a disaster. His art lacks dimension, which messes up his proportions eventually.

Again, Gates uses the events on Bizarro world to make Supergirl feel okay about herself and the New Krypton thing, but here it works a little better. Maybe because he’s got an actual relatable event, maybe just because he really does make all the Bizarros sympathetic. Bizarro-Girl is such a good character by the end, she’s ready for a limited series of her own.

The issue has an epilogue back on Earth, teasing about the revenge of Cat Grant. It’s a necessary addition, but it still damages the momentum.

Otherwise, fantastic.

CREDITS

This am the Way the (Bizarro) World Ends; writer, Sterling Gates; artist, Bernard Chang; colorist, Blond; letterer, Travis Lanham; editors, Wil Moss and Matt Idelson; publisher, DC Comics.

Supergirl 56 (November 2010)

211596_20100922195954_large.jpg

It’s amazing how much I enjoy Supergirl even though the issues read so fast. Gates never leaves the Bizzaro planet this issue either, so there’s no subplot development.

It does open a little weak, with Supergirl telling the unconscious Bizarro-Girl helping her will be a cathartic experience (not in those exact words, but close enough). Gates doesn’t know how to do subtle self-reflection. It’s not a superhero comic standard for a reason—there just isn’t room for it.

But once Supergirl and Bizzaro-Girl land, the issue just gets excellent. There’s space bugs, the DC version of Galactus (oh, wait, didn’t he have bugs in Ultimate Nightmare?) and Bizarro. Gates takes the reader on an abbreviated tour of the planet and its population, which is just a lot of fun (even though some of them don’t make it). It’s strangely good-natured.

And Igle’s art is rather excellent.

CREDITS

Mad World; writer, Sterling Gates; penciller, Jamal Igle; inker, Jon Sibal; colorist, Blond; letterer, Travis Lanham; editors, Wil Moss and Matt Idelson; publisher, DC Comics.

Supergirl 55 (October 2010)

208939_20100819072437_large.jpg

Another very fast read, but it goes very smoothly.

Gates resolves his cliffhanger pretty quickly—all while developing the Bizzaro-Girl character into a sympathetic character (some via flashbacks to her origin on the Bizzaro planet). Supergirl, of course, is the only one who can see her as a misunderstood creature and not a monster.But Gates also has time to bring in a second action sequence, handle some stuff at the Planet (Cat Grant has some subplot of her own going, in addition to the Lana discovery) and then come up with another end sequence.

It’s an excellent issue, the kind of thing one wishes Gates and Igle had been doing all along. It doesn’t develop Supergirl as a character very much, but it is a solidly diverting superhero comic. And it’s not making Supergirl slutty.

Igle has a great time with the art too; he’s got lots of variety.

CREDITS

Fakeouts; writer, Sterling Gates; penciller, Jamal Igle; inkers, John Dell, Marc Deering and Richard Friend; colorists, Jamie Grant and Jim Devlin; letterer, Jared K. Fletcher; editors, Wil Moss and Matt Idelson; publisher, DC Comics.

Supergirl 54 (September 2010)

206349_20100721100630_large.jpg

Besides one glaring problem (implying there’s a supernatural pedophile out there posing as a Metropolis cop and kidnapping kids), this issue of Supergirl is a great read. It’s a fast read too—really fast, but it all works.

Well, wait… more Cat Grant lameness as she discovers Supergirl and Lana’s relationship/ DC’s unable to produce good new villains.

The issue opens with Jimmy Olsen discovering Bizarro-Girl in a good sequence (so good Gates should do an Olsen series of some kind) then finds Kara (or Linda) moping while Metropolis gets destroyed. Lana has to call her up to motivate her and the scene works well enough. Gates is able to pull it off because the reader wants to see Supergirl in action, not moping. So he gets some slack.

Then there’s a strange one page panel where she pauses to enjoy flying before saving the city.

But, otherwise, great.

CREDITS

Looking Glass; writer, Sterling Gates; penciller, Jamal Igle; inker, Jon Sibal; colorist, Jamie Grant; letterer, Jared K. Fletcher; editors, Wil Moss and Matt Idelson; publisher, DC Comics.

Supergirl 53 (August 2010)

204046_20100624012850_large.jpg

It’s an issue of Supergirl without a bunch of crossover stuff? I mean, there’s still some crossover stuff (and apparently they’re keeping Lucy Lane alive because Superwoman’s just a great villain… eye-roll) but it’s mostly just Lana and Kara talking. Wait, Linda. She wants to be Linda Lang now.

I had to go read up on Wikipedia how the “New Krypton” thing finished up. It’s surprising, with such an iconic cover, the series is totally unconcerned with picking up new readers.

There’s some good stuff between Linda and Lana, but Gates can’t keep it up when he’s got Linda refusing to help people as Supergirl. It’s just too contrived, too forced.

As for his small Metropolis (Dr. Light is testing Superwoman, then goes and discovers the mystery villain), it doesn’t work either. Gates brings charm to Supergirl, but he doesn’t bring charm to the DC Universe as a whole.

CREDITS

Fallout; writer, Sterling Gates; penciller, Jamal Igle; inker, Jon Sibal; colorist, Nei Ruffino; letterer, Jared K. Fletcher; editors, Wil Moss and Matt Idelson; publisher, DC Comics.

Supergirl 52 (June 2010)

196980_20100421142730_large.jpg

I didn’t read the previous issue in the crossover—even though the notice tells the reader to stop and go read it first (I figured that issue would instruct me to read something else and I can only handle so much of this inane crossover).

Let’s see… from here I can tell all three villains from Superman II are back (new costumes, of course), Lex Luthor is betraying Brainiac (shocker) and Supergirl and Brainiac 5 got together some time in the future. Or the past. I never finished reading that Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes book; I’m unsure if it’s in continuity.

Gates tries really hard for his flirting between Supergirl and Brainiac 5 and it’s just a complete disaster. All of it’s in narration boxes, which is a terrible idea.

Rodriguez’s art is generally decent, if too polished. He also draws an inappropriately short skirt on Supergirl.

CREDITS

Last Stand of New Krypton, Part Seven: Distractions; writer, Sterling Gates; artist, Ivan Rodriguez; colorists, Nei Ruffino and Zaratus; letterer, Jared K. Fletcher; editors, Wil Moss and Matt Idelson; publisher, DC Comics.

Supergirl 51 (May 2010)

194250_20100318083902_large.jpg

Poor, poor Supergirl. Once again, trapped in a crossover she didn’t make, she takes a back seat to Mon-El, the Legion of Super-Heroes (wait, Mon-El’s in the Legion, right… well, he’s not with them this issue), her mother, General Zod and some cute little Kryptonian girl.

Igle gets to do an action issue, which he handles well. He gets to do some iconic panels too and he likes those… shame they are only occasionally Supergirl-related.

Very little actually happens in the issue, which is probably editorially mandated. It goes… fight scene, fight scene, talking scene, fight scene, talking scene, talking scene.

I made that list from memory, but I think it’s accurate.

Gates also doesn’t sell the silly plot points, like when Supergirl momentarily thinks Superboy is trying to kill her mother or something.

And Supergirl’s mother’s a dimwit for not realizing Zod is a bad guy.

CREDITS

Last Stand of New Krypton, Part Two: Leaders; writer, Sterling Gates; penciller, Jamal Igle; inkers, Marc Deering and Jon Sibal; colorists, Steve Buccellato, Javier Mena and Tom Chu; letterer, Jared K. Fletcher; editors, Wil Moss and Matt Idelson; publisher, DC Comics.

Superman: Last Stand of New Krypton 1 (May 2010)

193828_20100310221844_large.jpg

Does DC have any ideas? I mean, any whatsoever? Reading this comic, it seems like the last three crises were just used—as far as Superman is concerned—to reboot Zod as a villain. I mean, he’s a psycho bad guy again here. It’s so incredibly tired at this point, who do they think cares?

Even when the mystery supervillain shows up at the end, it’s another “who cares” moment. I know James Robinson gets geek cred for Starman and Golden Age but he’s the guy who wrote The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen movie. Maybe he’s past his prime.

Speaking of past his prime… what happened to Pete Woods? I used to love his work and here, it’s so polished and shiny there’s no personality (or particular detail). Maybe he’s just overworked.

It’s a weak, dumb comic… Robinson can’t even write a good “This is a job for Superman” moment.

CREDITS

Invaded; writers, James Robinson and Sterling Gates; artist, Pete Woods; colorist, Blond; letterer, Steve Wands; editors, Wil Moss and Matt Idelson; publisher, DC Comics.