The Boys 41 (April 2010)

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Butcher’s suspicions–instead of him just resolving them–play out with spying and so on. It makes him less of a character. Ennis is now playing him for laughs. It’s a very strange misfire.

The best scene in the comic isn’t actually with any of the Boys. Well, except a funny flashback. Otherwise, the best scene is when the sincere den mother of Super Duper talks down the team’s new leader. Ennis is actually really good at sincerity, though he seems embarrassed about it.

Also trying is all the dating stuff with Annie and Hughie. Way to suck the life out of the characters. She’s thinking of quitting and is now boring. Hughie’s just his regular wholesome self, which is similarly boring.

The arc isn’t shaping up well. Ennis would have done better with just a Super Duper limited series. They’re a whole lot more interesting than a suspicious Butcher.

CREDITS

The Innocents, Part Two; writer, Garth Ennis; artist, Darick Robertson; colorist, Tony AviƱa; letterer, Simon Bowland; editor, Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

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Edgar Allan Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher 1 (May 2013)

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With the exception of the decaying corpses, Richard Corben actually goes for bright and well-lighted for Fall of the House of Usher.

I’m unfamiliar with Poe’s source story, but Corben has a protagonist called to visit an old university friend. They’re both artists and the friend–the titular Usher–has taken to doing incredibly like life portraits of his sister.

Corben’s art is just fantastic; he’s constantly surpassing himself this issue. He’ll have one unbelievably great page and then do another even better one.

The tone is particularly interesting too. He goes for uncanny, with only the occasional flash of something visually disturbing. There’s something going on behind the scenes–something the protagonist doesn’t know–and the reader’s acknowledgement of its presence is what makes the comic so uncomfortable.

The cliffhanger seems a little forced, but it’s otherwise excellent work. If only Corben could do twice as many pages.

CREDITS

Writer, artist and colorist, Richard Corben; letterer, Nate Piekos; editors, Daniel Chabon, Shantel LaRocque and Scott Allie; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Ultimate Spider-Man 87 (February 2006)

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The Flash Thompson thing is a somewhat funny distraction–Silver Sable kidnapped him instead of Peter–but it doesn’t make up for Ultimate Silver Sable being the worst villain in this comic since Geldof or whatever. Bendis tries real hard on her and her sidekicks too, which makes his failure more obvious.

But this issue also has Peter dating Kitty Pryde and being utterly insensitive to Mary Jane. As she was utterly insensitive to him quite a bit, it should read like just desserts but it doesn’t. Bendis never gave them closure. I’m hoping it’s intentional and not Bendis forgetting about something else.

Kitty’s a vaguely fun addition to the cast, but she doesn’t seem to have any depth. I was hoping she’d meet May but no luck there.

The Ultimate Vision backup is a short, boring galactic history lesson. Whoever decided to make her visually female is a moron.

CREDITS

Silver Sable, Part Two; writer, Brian Michael Bendis; penciller, Mark Bagley; inker, Scott Hanna; colorist, Justin Ponsor. Ultimate Vision, Visions, Part Four of Six; writer, Mark Millar; penciller, John Romita Jr.; inker, Jimmy Palmiotti; colorist, June Chung. Letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; editors, John Barber, Nicole Wiley and Ralph Macchio; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Planet of the Apes: Cataclysm 7 (March 2013)

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It’s funny how the Zaius subplot is actually where Bechko and Hardman have the most problems, even though it’s mostly a talking heads subplot. They’re keeping the Zaius subplot… well, it’s kind of the soil. It feeds into the other two plots and presumably could make major changes for them when they all collide. But it’s separate; the Zira subplot is separate too, but it won’t affect anything.

And the writers just can’t make it interesting. Zaius is impotent and too proud to listen to his wife, who actually knows what she’s talking about. One has to wonder who made that decision, Bechko or Hardman.

The Zira subplot this issue features a community meeting, not particularly interesting, but there are some really nice character moments. Cataclysm works because of these details from the writers.

The Cornelius subplot is action-packed and exciting. Great visuals from Couicero and Taibo help lots.

B- 

CREDITS

Writers, Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman; penciller, Damian Couceiro; inker, Mariano Taibo; colorist, Darrin Moore; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editor, Dafna Pleban; publisher, Boom! Studios.

Suicide Risk 3 (July 2013)

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I’m getting really sick of Carey’s cliffhangers. He doesn’t have a good resolution for the previous issue’s and then he has another weak one here. He’s introducing a bunch of information this time in the cliffhanger, presumably to encourage one to come back next time….

It’s maybe the third expository diarrhea this issue. It’s incredible how much exposition Carey has here; over and over and over. But never about the single interesting thing–the protagonist’s superpowers cause his brother’s husband to lose his voice. No explanation why, even though the protagonist (his name’s not memorable) seems to know.

There are some really good moments throughout, but Carey is avoiding way too much. His pacing on the series isn’t paying off and all his conversations are contrived for expository purposes.

The problem is Carey’s approach. He’s spending too much time on the villains instead of his protagonist.

The comic’s not gelling.

CREDITS

Grudge War, Part Two; writer, Mike Carey; artist, Elena Casagrande; colorist, Andrew Elder; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Dafna Pleban and Matt Gagnon; publisher, Boom! Studios.

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