The Boys 47 (October 2010)

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Ennis inexplicably employs a third person narrator for the end of the issue, after Hughie breaks up with Annie. I’m nearly positive he’s never used it before in the series. It’s jarring, reminding the reader it’s just a comic.

He also skips over giving the reader a look into Hughie’s thought process, as he acts so out of character. Traumatic event aside, he’s still acting out of character. And Annie’s somewhat sympathetic… but not exactly well-written.

As for Butcher, who’s the only character with a lot of dialogue besides them–and Maeve, who comes off well in her drunken ramblings–he comes off as malicious. It’s strange stuff.

At the same time, Ennis is building Homelander’s big evil subplot. He’s clearly setting up Annie and Hughie’s breakup to play into it, which is too bad. He doesn’t let anything in The Boys grow organically.

But it works more often than not.

CREDITS

Believe, Conclusion; writer, Garth Ennis; artist, Russ Braun; colorist, Tony Aviña; letterer, Simon Bowland; editor, Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

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Hawkeye 8 (April 2013)

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So Clint’s redhead femme fatale comes back and gets him in all sorts of trouble. The issue’s really confusing, starting with the flashback of her last heist going bad.

Then there’s the ladies at the Avengers mansion and the implication Clint’s dating Spider-Woman but probably not since he hopes into bed with the other girl. Kate shows up for a page, guess she’s no longer costarring.

Fraction seems to be suggesting Clint’s powerless to resist the redhead, but it’s unclear why. He’s a superhero, I’m sure he’s met loose women before.

Maybe the problem is Fraction’s approach. He writes Clint as something of a rube, getting taken for a ride. It’s not funny, it’s sad. He commits felonies for no good reason when he easily could have found good reasons.

There’s a big scary cliffhanger with the Marvel crime bosses.

It’s got beautiful art, but Fraction’s writing’s a mess.

CREDITS

My Bad Penny; writer, Matt Fraction; artists, David Aja and Annie Wu; colorists, Matt Hollingsworth and Wu; letterers, Chris Eliopoulos and Wu; editors, Sana Amanat and Stephen Wacker; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Ultimate Spider-Man 99 (October 2006)

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I’m not sure Bendis actually does good writing this issue but he sure does go out on a high point. He establishes Aunt May as a super villain. She’s been lying to Peter his whole life. She’s a bad guy.

Wow.

Bendis will never stick with it. It’s too much.

There’s some good stuff with Peter and the Gwen clone. The stuff with Aunt May kind of ruins it, since Bendis has this big confession scene from Peter and there’s absolutely no payoff for it.

It’s sort of a catch–22. If he backs out of these revelations, he’s being cheap. If he doesn’t stick with them, he’s being cheap. Bendis has become so disingenuous with the series, it’s hard to “trust” him not to be as sensational as possible.

The Gwen stuff almost makes up for it. There’s decent “move the story along” scenes with the Fantastic Four too.

CREDITS

Clone Saga, Part Three; writer, Brian Michael Bendis; penciller, Mark Bagley; inkers, John Dell and Drew Hennessy; colorist, Justin Ponsor; letterer, Cory Petit; editors, John Barber and Ralph Macchio; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Star Trek 14 (October 2012)

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These little original issues don’t work out bad at all. Johnson uses this one to flesh out the Keesner character–Scotty’s little alien sidekick–and it’s pretty good.

Turns out the character is from some planet of little aliens where he’s ostracized for being too tall. He ends up in Starfleet–following an odd cameo from Kirk’s father–and Johnson tracks his career until he meets up with Scotty.

The stuff without Scotty is the best, because with Scotty around, Johnson has to focus too much attention on him. He can’t make Scotty too big a jerk. When it’s just Keesner, it’s an interesting enough look at life in Starfleet from an unusual perspective.

And the issue needs another page or so. The ending is truncated.

Molnar’s art is okay. He doesn’t do too well in the close-ups of Keesner, but does all right everywhere else.

It’s harmless stuff.

CREDITS

Writer, Mike Johnson; artist, Stephen Molnar; colorist, John Rauch; letterer, Neil Uyetake; editor, Scott Dunbier; publisher, IDW Publishing.

Ghosted 2 (August 2013)

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What the heck is this thing? I suppose the original material is good, but there’s not very much of it. Most of the issue reads like a recap of the last one. Williamson goes over all his characters and their particular skills, which is beyond redundant.

He’s got a great built in structure for the issue–the ghost hunters have to be out of the haunted house by sundown–and he doesn’t use it. He only has one scene with any character development. Then he throws little road blocks in the protagonist’s way and deals with them immediately afterwards. Little might not even be the right description. Minute.

The Sudzuka art keeps Ghosted worth a look, but Williamson doesn’t give him much to do. The haunted house stuff, the flashbacks, it’s all implied. Sudzuka can clearly draw people walking around. Don’t need to see it over and over.

It’s middling.

CREDITS

Writer, Joshua Williamson; artist, Goran Sudžuka; colorist, Miroslav Mrva; letterer, Rus Wooton; editor, Sean Mackiewicz; publisher, Image Comics.

T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents 1 (August 2013)

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I was expecting more from Phil Hester and especially Andrea Di Vito on T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents. It’s a mix of gee whiz, colorful costumes and some modern sensibilities, but Hester isn’t willing to commit fully to any of them. He’s also not willing to reward the reader much for his or her time in the first issue.

After establishing the THUNDER organization, he quickly brings in the new male hero (it’s very predictable). He’s a loose cannon, a bit hotheaded, but he’s the right man for the job. The vaguely bitchy but good-hearted woman in an authority role goes just goggly eyes on him in her first panel after he arrives.

But the Di Vito art is the real disappointment. It’s not particularly detailed and his figures are really large in their respective panels. It’s like he doesn’t want to work too hard.

And the cliffhanger is an abject failure.

CREDITS

The Judgement Tower, Part One: The Taking of Field Station 123; writer, Phil Hester; artist, Andrea Di Vito; colorist, Rom Fajardo; letterers, Shawn Lee and Chris Mowry; editors, Chris Schraff and Tom Waltz; publisher, IDW Publishing.

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