Popeye 1 (April 2012)

If I’d been paying more attention to the title page cast list, I suppose the story might have been ruined. Not having ever read Popeye (in memory… I may have read the comic strip as a kid), I was only familiar with the characters who were in the movie.

Roger Langridge and Bruce Ozella have a system for Popeye. Each page has nine panels in various arrangement. I wish I knew if it were Langridge’s idea or Ozella’s. It brings a comic strip feel to the book, without ever feeling constrained. This issue’s story, for example, has a definite beginning, middle and end. And the way Langridge develops the middle is just fantastic.

My favorite thing about the book is Olive Oyl. Langridge makes her stuck-up, judgmental and a little trampy.

I’ve never understood the appeal of Popeye. Langridge and Ozella may change my mind; their version is great.

CREDITS

The Land of Jeeps; writer, Roger Langridge; artist and letterer, Bruce Ozella; colorist, Luke McDonnell; editors, Ted Adams, Craig Yoe and Clizia Gussoni; publisher, IDW Publishing.

Advertisements

Batman, Inc. 3 (March 2011)

802712.jpg

Sometimes being too ambitious–especially if well-read–can get a writer in trouble. In this case, Morrison tries marrying a Batman comic to a Borges labyrinth. It’s an interesting comic, but the pacing is all off and that pacing ruins the reading experience.

There’s just too much “regular” comic here. Morrison opens with a prologue set in World War II, he then has a Bond-like intro with Batman and an Argentinian crime fighter, then he finally gets the actual story going. Wait, I forgot… he has Bruce tango with a female assassin. Very Bond this issue.

Anyway….

He gets to the Borges part and it’s intriguing, but then it turns into a regular Batman comic again for the finish.

On one hand, maybe Morrison is introducing Borges to a new audience. On the other, he should be concentrating on producing the best comic, not doing a literacy campaign.

CREDITS

Scorpion Tango; writer, Grant Morrison; pencillers, Yanick Paquette and Pere Perez; inkers, Michel Lacombe and Perez; colorist, Nathan Fairbairn; letterer, Pat Brosseau; editor, Katie Kubert, Janelle Siegel and Mike Marts; publisher, DC Comics.

Winter Soldier 5 (July 2012)

866795.jpg

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.

Batman, Inc. 2 (February 2011)

787190.jpg

All in all, Morrison’s resolution to the first Batman, Inc. outing is conventional. Batman and Catwoman take down the bad guy. Sure, he’s an interesting bad guy–Morrison mixes an absurd character with some creepy powers–but he’s nothing special. Morrison amps up the violence (though it’s all action-oriented or off-panel) in an attempt to make the reader take him seriously.

Paquette still draws a strange Batman (and Bruce Wayne), but otherwise the art is good. He brings an element of fun to Selina, both obvious and implied.

The most peculiar element of the issue is Morrison’s handling of Bruce’s ethics. Killing a heinous villain is out, but a fate worse than death? Well, it’s okay. And Selina being a high profile jewel thief? Just as long as Bruce can foil her, it’s okay with him too. His condescension could even be considered sexist.

Nevertheless, it’s great stuff.

CREDITS

Resurrector!; writer, Grant Morrison; penciller, Yanick Paquette; inker, Michel Lacombe; colorist, Nathan Fairbairn; letterer, John J. Hill; editor, Janelle Siegel and Mike Marts; publisher, DC Comics.

Winter Soldier 4 (June 2012)

864158.jpg

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.

Batman, Inc. 1 (January 2011)

779299.jpg

Yanick Paquette is a fine artist for Batman, Inc. but he’s not a good artist for Batman. He draws him very large than life and Inc. has enough Tom Strong similarities, it doesn’t need one more.

Obviously, Morrison is having a lot of fun–he ends it with the “Batman” TV teaser for goodness sake, but his most impressive thing is Bruce and Selina. He writes a sexual Bruce Wayne, which is sort of strange to actually read, but it works just great. The banter between Bruce and Selina alone would make the book.

The humor all pays off too, which is nice, and Morrison creates a likable side character who the heroes end up saving. Sort of. They get there a little late, which lets Morrison reveal a hilarious cliffhanger.

His storytelling is abbreviated, letting him make an impression without spending too much time on exposition.

It’s excellent Batman.

CREDITS

Mr. Unknown is Dead; writer, Grant Morrison; penciller, Yanick Paquette; inker, Michel Lacombe; colorist, Nathan Fairbairn; letterer, John J. Hill; editor, Janelle Siegel and Mike Marts; publisher, DC Comics.

Winter Soldier 3 (May 2012)

864202.jpg

So, if the good guys are going to figure out the identity of the bad guy–bad girl, actually–before the issue starts, why bother making it a mystery?

In addition to that silly plotting, this issue is the first where Brubaker’s pacing is too hurried. There’s a mission briefing, there’s the mission, then there’s the surprise ending. Except it’s not a particularly good surprise. Maybe in the Marvel Universe, there just aren’t any good surprises. I mean, it’s good comics and it’s fun and Brubaker writes Doctor Doom really well, but the end isn’t a surprise.

I guess there’s some more filler–the bad guys doing bad things–and a funny primate sight gag, but this issue is thin.

Well, except for Guice and company. The artwork is absolutely amazing, both in how Guice toggles between detail and action and how he composes the pages. Even the filler’s beautiful.

CREDITS

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

Swamp Thing 76 (September 1988)

16046.jpg

The issue opens with a couple surprise guest stars, who provide a little commentary on the events. Mostly they inform the reader of things going on in Hellblazer, for those who aren’t reading both series.

For such a momental issue, not much happens. Not much in a good way, however. Veitch includes a little scene with a friend of Constantine’s who manipulates fights between superhumans to profit off marketing and land redevelopment. It’s a throwaway scene, texture here, but I’m sure someone at Marvel said they came up with it in the oughts and broke his arm patting himself on the back over it.

Arcane shows up, in Hell, for a bit too. It’s a big issue after all–of returning cast, only Liz is stuck off panel, but there’s a sight gag related to it.

Veitch writes Abby really well. She might be his best work on the book.

CREDITS

L’Adoration de la Terre; writer and penciller, Rick Veitch; inker, Alfredo Alcala; colorist, Tatjana Wood; letterer, John Costanza; editor, Karen Berger; publisher, DC Comics.

Winter Soldier 2 (April 2012)

864202.jpg

While Winter Soldier remains exceptionally entertaining, Brubaker runs into some genre problems. He runs the book like it’s action espionage with supervillains–though it’s unclear why Bucky isn’t familiar with the Red Ghost (to be fair, I got companies confused and thought the machine gunning gorilla was Monsieur Mallah)–but he still keeps the mystery investigation angle.

So Bucky and Natasha are trying to figure out the second bad guy and Brubaker already told the reader last issue. There’s no way the discovery is going to have a significant pay-off and it’s bewildering why he wouldn’t keep the reader in the dark too.

While the approach allows him a money shot at the end of this issue, it’s not a particularly good one. Guice and Breitweiser make it look cool and all… but who cares?

The art continues its excellence. Guice concentrates on the action more, as does Brubaker.

CREDITS

The Longest Winter, Part Two; writer, Ed Brubaker; artist, Butch Guice; colorist, Bettie Breitweiser; letterer, Joe Caramagna; editor, Lauren Sankovitch, John Denning and Tom Breevort; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: