Doctor Strange: The Oath 1 (December 2006)

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One has to wonder… if everyone wrote Dr. Strange and Wong as well as Vaughan does here, wouldn’t Doctor Strange be the most popular book on the market? Instead of one without an ongoing, I mean.

Vaughan comes up with a compelling story, sure, but the selling point is his dialogue and the character relationships. The issue opens when Iron Fist and Araña comparing superhero notes, which is hilarious on its own, then the drama of Strange being shot (there’s a shadowy villain too)… but soon it’s all about how much fun it is to spend time with Wong and Strange. Even when Wong’s dying, it’s a lot of fun.

There is, of course, the second layer to The Oath. There’s Marcos Martin’s artwork. Something about his style just makes it all work—the humor, the drama, the magic.

It’s a lovely book (even if the villain’s name is stupid).

CREDITS

Writer, Brian K. Vaughan; penciller, Marcos Martin; inker, Alvaro Lopez; colorist, Javier Rodriguez; letterer, Willie Schubert; editors, Molly Lazer, Aubrey Sitterson and Tom Brevoort; publisher, Marvel Comics.

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Buzzard 3 (August 2010)

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This issue reverses the usual trend. Oh, Billy the Kid is still pretty strong—Hotz’s artwork is magnificent—and Buzzard still has some rough, unfinished art from Powell, but the writing’s actually stronger on Buzzard here.

Powell moves fast through the Buzzard story, only really pausing when it gets to the big showdown. But he turns around and abbreviates it. The final few pages, though, are absolutely fantastic. The story all of a sudden becomes smart and significant and Powell manages some subtly in an unlikely situation. It’s just great.

But the Billy the Kid finish isn’t particularly special. We get an explanation for the series’s content and a tease of some subsequent series, but there’s no real point to it. Buzzard established the possibility of a point. The Billy the Kid backup just seems out of place once Powell actually tries on the feature as far as his writing.

B 

CREDITS

Writer and artist, Eric Powell. Billy the Kid’s Old Timey Oddities, The Pit of Horrors, Part Three; writer, Powell; artist, Kyle Hotz. Colorist, Dan Brown; letterer, Nate Pierkos; editors, Sierra Hahn, Freddye Lins and Scott Allie; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Buzzard 2 (July 2010)

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Oh, good grief, does the imagery have to be so gross? Powell gets through the Buzzard story with cannibalism (sort of dead), lots of dead and decapitated, but Hotz is able to out-gross him in just one panel in the Billy the Kid backup.

Powell’s actually really lazy in the feature. I think only a couple panels are finished. The rest are all just inked, none of that rounded effect Powell’s work usually has to it. So the story has to work on Powell’s writing alone—the art’s not bad, just not compelling. The writing isn’t compelling either.

Buzzard’s sidekick is really funny but it takes most of the story to use him right. It’s a comedy, it needs to play as such. Powell takes too long to realize.

But the Billy the Kid writing is much stronger. It moves and works.

It’s an iffy series, but somehow worthwhile.

CREDITS

Writer and artist, Eric Powell. Billy the Kid’s Old Timey Oddities, The Pit of Horrors, Part Two; writer, Powell; artist, Kyle Hotz. Colorist, Dan Brown; letterer, Nate Pierkos; editors, Sierra Hahn, Freddye Lins and Scott Allie; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Buzzard 1 (June 2010)

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I’d like to say Buzzard is bad, because so much of the issue is a waste of time, but I can’t make that statement.

Oh, sure, most of the Buzzard story is a waste of time. It’s like Powell had a bunch of sketches he finished and tied them together with a loose narration—he skips through time and space, doing pretty much whatever he wants. Then, over three-quarters through, there’s actual dialogue and the story is all of a sudden good. Whatever Powell’s problems as a writer, they aren’t on the scenic level.

But there’s the Billy the Kid’s Old Timey Oddities backup, also written by Powell, but with art by Kyle Hotz. The backup makes the issue fantastic. Hotz’s artwork is great, but Powell’s writing’s excellent too. Powell writes funny dialogue and odd situations with peculiar characters.

Why he avoided his strengths in the feature is inexplicable.

CREDITS

Writer and artist, Eric Powell. Billy the Kid’s Old Timey Oddities, The Pit of Horrors, Part One; writer, Powell; artist, Kyle Hotz. Colorist, Dan Brown; letterer, Nate Pierkos; editors, Sierra Hahn, Freddye Lins and Scott Allie; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

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