The Unknown: The Devil Made Flesh 2 (October 2009)

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Ugh. Okay, on the good side, Waid seems like he’s going to leave Doyle dead (which brings up the further question–why did Waid bother creating the character to kill him on his fifth issue, it’s kind of like what’s her face in The Dark Knight). Additionally, Allingham’s a lot less obnoxious when she’s not all-knowing. But the new assistant as the double agent thing, it’s a disaster.

Apparently, the serial killer they were after has the money and connections to have a busty female sidekick who can transport people to Italy and distract them so the serial killer can continue his work. It all has to do with the little boy in town, no doubt, who apparently has a “Twilight Zone” power–the entire town is in his imagination (wasn’t that reveal a Star Trek episode too?).

Still, a lot better than Waid’s last attempt with this one.

C 

CREDITS

Writer, Mark Waid; artist, Minck Oosterveer; colorists, Javier Suppa and Andres Lozano; letterer, Marshall Dillon; editors, Dafna Pleban and Matt Gagnon; publisher, Boom! Studios.

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The Unknown: The Devil Made Flesh 1 (September 2009)

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No way, Waid came up with a genuinely compelling mystery? The setting is lame (Italy?) but the way it plays out is like a solid film noir, even if the art’s still problematic. Oosterveer seems to have improved at the beginning, but it’s not long before he’s drawing Doyle like Gorilla Grodd’s albino twin brother again. Then the women show up and it’s all cleavage, all the time.

But the story’s definitely better this time–until it inevitably turns into some religious nonsense, which probably will happen in the third issue.

Waid’s too determined to globe trot with these characters, who could be interesting, but only in a confined setting. Sherlock Holmes never went to Morocco.

Also, Waid seems uncomfortable to put Allingham in any gender-based physical danger, but such a situation would tell a lot about the character. But character certainly isn’t the point of his writing here.

C+ 

CREDITS

Writer, Mark Waid; artist, Minck Oosterveer; colorist, Andres Lozano; letterer, Marshall Dillon; editors, Dafna Pleban and Matt Gagnon; publisher, Boom! Studios.

Agents of Atlas 8 (September 2009)

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Maybe I need to take a break from going through these straight because everything’s starting to run together. I’d totally forgotten Suwan (not just the name, but the character), though seeing the team in action against the Hulk is fun. Unfortunately, Pagulayan is back and there’s, once again, something way too finished about his art for this book. Maybe for the “Dark Reign” issues I can see it, him doing the “new” Marvel house style, but as Agents of Atlas starts to figure out what it’s going to do without being a tie-in series, he just seems wrong. He spends way too much time on the Hulk’s hair styling, for example.

Lots of references to stuff in between the limited series and the ongoing to confuse the heck out of me, but Parker does well, even in with the “Dark Reign” constraints still somewhat present.

They need some fun.

B 

CREDITS

Monster Makers; writer, Jeff Parker; penciller, Carlo Pagulayan; inkers, Jason Paz and Noah Salonga; colorists, Jana Schirmer and Elizabeth Dismang Breitweiser; letterer, Tom Orzechowski; editor, Lauren Sankovitch, Nathan Cosby and Mark Paniccia; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Agents of Atlas 7 (September 2009)

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Parker basically undoes what he did in the previous issue–the Namor and Namora romance, at least the impending nuptials–as fast as he can. There are some backstory developments and some supporting cast developments, but it’s really just an excellent exercise in drama. Parker’s undoing of this romance, he does it in one issue instead of twelve (the modern story-arc is so much different than even fifteen years ago), is superior because of his storytelling ability.

It’s hard to imagine the narrative going any differently–especially with all that undersea life for Bob to get naughty, touchy-feely thoughts about–and there’s where Parker truly succeeds. Even though it’s a fast resolution, which retcons Namor and Namora’s entire existence, Parker sells it.

The issue is apparently the last one with the “Dark Reign” tag on the front, which Parker clearly references in the issue, with Jimmy discussing it.

A 

CREDITS

Secrets of the Deep, Part Two; writer, Jeff Parker; artist, Gabriel Hardman; colorist, Jana Schirmer; letterer, Nate Piekos. Mr. Lao is Sleeping; writer, Parker; penciller, Carlo Pagulayan; inker, Jason Paz; colorist, Elizabeth Dismang Breitweiser; letterer, Tom Orzechowski. Editors, Lauren Sankovitch, Nathan Cosby and Mark Paniccia; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Agents of Atlas 6 (August 2009)

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What am I going to say about him doing a breather issue with the sixth? Ostensibly, it’s another action issue–there’s the cover promised fight between the Agents and the Atlanteans–but it’s really this mellow, relaxing sixty-two year payoff in the story between Namor and Namora. Parker doesn’t miss the opportunity for humor (underseas hillbillies), but it’s really just a nice issue.

Having Gabriel Hardman on the art helps, since he did the flashback scenes in the previous four issues and seems to have a better grasp of the Agents of Atlas at rest than anyone else has so far in this series.

Parker has time not just for his humor, his romance, his fight scenes and his catch-up (the way M-11 gets put back together is just awesome–and off-page), his also has time to develop Jimmy’s character.

It’s the best issue so far.

A 

CREDITS

Secrets of the Deep; writer, Jeff Parker; artist, Gabriel Hardman; colorist, Jana Schirmer; letterer, Nate Piekos; editors, Lauren Sankovitch and Mark Paniccia; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Unknown 4 (August 2009)

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I wish Boom! would appropriately label their Christian comics so I don’t read them by mistake again. In this issue, the previously science-happy Allingham becomes Kirk Cameron. The comic should have ended with her boobs being smaller, as to be more Christian. They could have made her look like Melissa Joan Hart or something.

If all The Unknown‘s mysteries are answered with religious malarky, what’s the point in reading the book. Waid’s not doing anything interesting with it like Ennis or Moore do, he’s just using it as a solution, which is why it ought to be on the Boom! Christian imprint.

Boom!’s always tried to exploit the cultural zeitgeist, but come on… Christian Fundies are so three years ago–remember the Mel Gibson doesn’t believe in gravity bit from “Family Guy”?

Waid completely eighty-sixes the first issue’s ground situation.

I can’t wait for the creationist issue.

D 

CREDITS

Writer, Mark Waid; artist, Minck Oosterveer; colorists, Fellipe Martins, Renato Faccini and Andres Lozano; letterer, Marshall Dillon; editor, Matt Gagnon; publisher, Boom! Studios.

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