2000 AD 18 (25 June 1977)

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2000 A.D. is averaging about a thirty-three percent success rate, but the lame stuff is proving extra lame this time around.

Invasion is barely comprehensible. Finley-Day fills it with these little scenes, but about the only major event is the resistance’s base being discovered. He can’t even properly introduce a new villain.

And Flesh is off too. The first story fully in the future and it’s mostly just one of the protagonists getting in trouble for letting things go wrong. Very boring stuff.

As for Harlem Heroes, Tully’s the Energizer Bunny. The series keeps going and going and Tully doesn’t even try coming up with details anymore. It’s just the evil cyborg ranting and raving. The Heroes don’t even get a scene to themselves.

Crappy all-action Dan Dare.

M.A.C.H. 1 is far from perfect, but Allen comes up with some good scenarios.

Dredd is hilarious and awesome.

CREDITS

Invasion, Breakout; writer, Gerry Finley-Day; artist, Carlos Pino; letterer, Tom Frame. Flesh, Book One, Part Eighteen; writer, Pat Mills; artist, Felix Carrion; letterer, Tony Jacob. Harlem Heroes, Part Eighteen; writer, Tom Tully; artist and letterer, Dave Gibbons. Dan Dare, Hollow World, Part Seven; writer, Steve Moore; artist, Massimo Belardinelli; letterer, Peter Knight. M.A.C.H. 1, Skyscraper Terrorists; writer, Nick Allen; artist, Marzal Canos; letterer, Knight. Judge Dredd, Brainblooms; writer, John Wagner; artist, Mike McMahon; letterer, Jack Potter. Editor, Kelvin Gosnell; publisher, IPC.

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Prophet 37 (July 2013)

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I’m pretty sure this issue is the first Milonogiannis has done on his own.

If it weren’t for the sketch backup I’d be saying he should do more of these side issues; maybe the backup is just too rough.

The feature has another clone traveling to a weird robotic planetoid where he has to help out another clone. But this clone is mostly ethereal–it’s some kind of technology thing, doesn’t really matter. What does matter is some amazing, action-oriented artwork but still enough story to make the time investment worthwhile.

It’s very assured, given Milonogiannis hasn’t written an issue on his own before–probably… like I said, I can’t remember for certain. There’s a nice close to it and some nice, relatively quiet moments too. Milonogiannis gets it.

Then comes his sketchy black and white backup. It’s pseudo-profound and mostly lame. The art seems unfinished. Big bummer.

CREDITS

Writer, artist and colorist, Giannis Milonogiannis; letterer, Ed Brisson; publisher, Image Comics.

Marble Season (2013)

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It’s hard to even know where to start with Marble Season. From the first few pages, it feels like Peanuts mixed with Love and Rockets. Beto writes it with a child’s wonderment–the graphic novel is set in the late sixties, with lots of pop culture references and inferred growing pains–and draws it with something similar. He even uses off panel or white backgrounds to keep the too adult things out of the book. There are no adults in Season, something he makes clear when one of the characters hears a parent yelling in that old “Peanuts” television fashion.

Season follows Huey, the second of three brothers, as he makes new friends, discovers new comics, debates Bozo versus Jimmy Olsen. It’s set during a school year, but Beto never shows the kids at school. Huey’s his stand-in, which I guess makes Huey’s younger brother, Jaime; it’s not actually important to Season. There’s a list of all the pop culture references? Those aren’t important either. Beto knows what he’s doing, which is sort of creating this entire world (there’s a huge Latino against white subtext, not to mention the girls being ready for boys and the boys still wanting to be stupid), which makes it very hard to discuss Season concisely.

The book is meticulously crafted, subplots running gently through it–their payoffs usually left understated or just unsaid. It’s a brilliant piece of work. My inability to discuss it shouldn’t imply it’s too complex, it’s just too perfect.

CREDITS

Writer, artist and letterer, Gilbert Hernandez; publisher, Drawn and Quarterly.

Ultimate Spider-Man 109 (July 2007)

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It’s a little better than I expected. Bendis does the “grownup” thing again with Daredevil; only he and Dr. Strange kind of bumble through the issue. Strange is particularly unimpressive. Bendis ideas for Ultimate versions are too often to make the characters callous and occasionally dimwitted.

The Kingpin versus Peter stuff isn’t terrible. It’s just more appropriate for a crime comic. Is he going to turn Ultimate Spider-Man into a gritty crime comic? Probably not… definitely not with Bagley, but he winks at it.

What else happens… Moon Knight gets busted and disappears. At least Bendis didn’t waste half the issue with his multiple personalities. Instead it appears the issue is the big kick off for Kingpin versus Daredevil.

Shame it’s not Daredevil’s comic.

I don’t think Peter even speaks until there are only six pages left.

The issue is a misstep, not a mistake. I still have hope.

CREDITS

Ultimate Knights, Part Four; writer, Brian Michael Bendis; penciller, Mark Bagley; inker, Drew Hennessy; colorist, Justin Ponsor; letterer, Cory Petit; editors, John Barber and Ralph Macchio; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Extinction Parade 2 (August 2013)

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Oh, the two lead girls–and the sidekick doesn’t die yet, Brooks is holding off on it–are East Asian. It wasn’t clear last issue. I guess Caceres’s art failings do have more repercussions than I thought.

This issue is entirely in summary. It reads really fast, Brooks narrating from his female protagonist’s perspective. He opens with this inane contradiction about how the rise of the middle class and technology has made it harder for a vampire to hunt because people’s absences go noticed easier. My first thought was all the poor people in the world… then he actually double backs and makes the same comment–it’s actually okay because of the poor people. So why bring up the middle class?

Some of the book just seems like moments for zombie art from Caceres. It’s intricate and big but pointless in terms of narrative.

The Parade isn’t going anywhere yet.

CREDITS

Writer, Max Brooks; artist, Raulo Caceres; colorist, Digikore Studios; letterer, Kurt Hathaway; editors, Jim Kuhoric and William A. Christensen; publisher, Avatar Press.

The Extinction Parade 1 (May 2013)

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The Extinction Parade has such a timely gimmick I can’t believe no one got to it already–vampires versus zombies. Even though writer Max Brooks doesn’t do the full reveal here, he’s pacing himself obviously, it’s pretty obvious.

While zombies don’t eat vampires, if zombies do overrun the planet, vampires will have nothing to feed on. All the humans will be gone. Shame that.

Brooks’s protagonist is an exotically named female vampire. She’s ages old (he’ll probably reveal more of her backstory, along with the rare vampire breeding process he hints at, later on) and a decent protagonist. She’s got a female best friend who likes the male vampires more than the protagonist does.

The female friend will probably die somehow in the next issue. Brooks paints with coats and coats of foreshadowing.

Raulo Caceres’s artwork is okay for an Avatar book.

It’s too soon to predict how Parade’ll do.

CREDITS

Writer, Max Brooks; artist, Raulo Caceres; colorist, Digikore Studios; letterer, Kurt Hathaway; editors, Jim Kuhoric and William A. Christensen; publisher, Avatar Press.

Star Trek 19 (March 2013)

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Maybe there’s a reason Scotty isn’t the star on “Star Trek.” Johnson gets absolutely no mileage out of the character, even going so far as to include the transwarp Beagle incident the film writers thought so much of. It doesn’t help Balboni’s on the pencils, but there’s just no story.

Some of the problem stems from Johnson’s inability to distinguish the character from Simon Pegg’s highly effected performance. Reading the comic feels like reading a newsletter from Pegg’s fan club. Johnson does include a lot of little moments in Scotty’s history, but they’re all pointless.

And I’d love to see the odds one of his ancestors worked on the H.M.S. Enterprise. It’s probably billions to one, yet Johnson expects the reader to consume it without question.

The series’s original concept–revising the original television series episodes–is sadly forgotten. Johnson is just doing movie tie-in crap now.

CREDITS

Writer, Mike Johnson; penciller, Claudia Balboni; inker, Erica Durante; colorist, Arianna Florean; letterer, Neil Uyetake; editor, Scott Dunbier; publisher, IDW Publishing.

FBP: Federal Bureau of Physics 2 (October 2013)

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You know, this “first” issue of FBP feels like the mediocre second episode of a TV series after an awesome pilot episode–the title change (from Collider is due to DC apparently not doing any legal research… they’re too busy suing Siegel and Shuster’s families for damages). The comic’s okay, it’s just nothing special.

The pacing is also way off. He wastes about half the issue on exposition, then gets his two main characters into this incredibly interesting parallel universe bubble and… then the issue stops. Given how he wastes the early pages, he could have done a lot more.

But it’s not just Oliver. Rodriguez seems to be doing a lot less work too. There are a lot of white space backgrounds–to focus on the foreground figures, I’m sure one could argue, but it just feels really lazy. And a second issue isn’t the place to get lazy.

CREDITS

The Paradigm Shift, Part Two; writer, Simon Oliver; artist, Robbi Rodriguez; colorist, Rico Renzi; letterer, Steve Wands; editors, Sara Miller and Mark Doyle; publisher, Vertigo.

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