Marvel Graphic Novel 17: Revenge of the Living Monolith (1985)

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I’m not even sure where to start.

About half the comic deals with the Living Pharaoh’s origin and his escape from prison. It’s a strange origin; he seems a lot like an Egyptian Peter Parker for a bunch of it (you know, if Peter weren’t a college dropout or whatever). Michelinie does everything he can, for a while, to making the character sympathetic and tragic. Then the Living Pharaoh kills his daughter and the sympathy is out the window.

He’s got a cult of followers and she’s, unbeknownst to him, now one of them. The whole Egyptian cult thing–there are terrorist comments a plenty–makes it seem like Marvel could publish the thing today (if only Frank Miller worked at Marvel these days). But what Michelinie fails to realize is how bad a plot choice making the character utterly unsympathetic halfway through does to the comic. It makes the second half barely tolerable.

The second half, according to Michelinie’s introduction, is where the actual story idea comes to fruition. A giant monster attacking New York, only it’s the Living Pharaoh jumbo-sized off the Fantastic Four’s powers.

Michelinie writes a good Captain America and Fantastic Four. Everyone else–particularly Spider-Man and She-Hulk (though she’s technically an FF member at this time)–is spotty.

The art is sometimes good, sometimes bad, it depends one of the seven inkers. It opens well though. The colors are very nice at times.

It’s pointless, but I guess it could be worse.

CREDITS

Writers, Christopher Priest and David Michelinie; penciller, Marc Silvestri; inkers, Geof Isherwood, Mike Witherby, Brad Joyce, Phil Lord, Keith Williams, Tom Morgan and Jerry Acerno; colorists, Bob Sharen, Christie Scheele, Steve Oliff, Mark Bright, Michael Davis, Charles Vess, Paul Becton, Janet Jackson, Petra Scotese and Paty Cockrum; letterers, Joe Rosen, Rick Parker, Janice Chiang, John Morelli and Phil Felix; editors, Keith Williams and Christopher Priest; publisher, Marvel Comics.

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Battlefields 3 (February 2010)

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Well, Ennis gets to the rough stuff here. But he still handles it calmly and affably for the beginning, then once the event occurs, it’s rather touching. To this point, Battlefields has been pretty extraordinary and different, whether in plot details or characters. This arc is the first one where Ennis just sits down and tells a traditional war story–not too traditional, of course, the dead guy didn’t have a girlfriend to cry over him.

It’s a very sure piece of writing. Ennis always seems sure of himself, but this arc is a little different. There’s no hook. There’s nothing different about it to get a reader’s interest. It feels very comfortable and not in a bad way. Makes me wish Battlefields was a monthly.

However, something’s off with Holden this issue. His faces are too broad, which hurts during the two talking heads scenes.

Still, a great comic.

CREDITS

Happy Valley, Part Three: Who’ll Come on Ops in a Wimpy with Me?; writer, Garth Ennis; artist, Paul J. Holden; colorist, Tony Aviña; letterer, Simon Bowland; editor, Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

Battlefields 2 (January 2010)

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Ennis continues with the mellow. This story arc continues to be calm and genial. It’s nice–the new captain flirts with the barmaid, the command decides to let the socially graceless Masher continue with his behaviors unhindered (he farts when he gets excited).

I still don’t know how to talk about the issue because so little of conversation-worthy note occurs. It’s just a good comic. Crew has a mission get rained out, they go drinking, they have another mission, they suffer some friendly fire, they make it home all right thanks to the captain. Obviously, if the captain’s doing something amazing each issue to save them, the implication is next issue he’ll fail.

Again, I’m a little at a loss for words. The writing is strong–Ennis reins in the humor a lot (he can go wild with these types)–and the art’s excellent.

It’s not dramatic just lovely.

CREDITS

Happy Valley, Part Two: In Pomgolia; writer, Garth Ennis; artist, Paul J. Holden; colorist, Tony Aviña; letterer, Simon Bowland; editor, Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

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