The Boys 50 (January 2011)

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Having Mallory just be some guy doesn’t pay off. Sure, it’s realistic enough, but why hide his face for forty issues. No reason he couldn’t show up. It’s not like he’s Butcher’s dad or Hughie’s or a clone of Frenchie. He’s just some old white guy.

Ennis hiding him suggests he was trying to get up the interest in the reveal and the backstory. Since the pay-off is non-existent, the whole thing was just Ennis messing with the reader. His handling of it makes me somewhat suspicious overall now. All the promised pay-offs all of a sudden seem less likely.

The flashback continues without many surprises. There’s a cute Thing reference. None of the scenes are earth shattering, none seem to have much effect on the present, it’s just Ennis filling in with long scenes when short would have worked just as well.

It’s kind of boring.

CREDITS

Proper Preparation and Planning, Part Three; writer, Garth Ennis; artist, Russ Braun; colorist, Tony Aviña; letterer, Simon Bowland; editor, Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

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Harbinger 12 (May 2013)

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Could this issue have uglier art? Maybe Evans and Hairsine split responsibilities? One was responsible for the heads, one for the bodies and poor Stefano Gaudiano got saddled with the task of trying to make everything seem seamless?

He didn’t. It’s ugly, ugly, ugly art. Especially since they make the colorist do the perspective in some panels. Very unfortunate.

Otherwise, it’s a decent issue. Dysart sends the regular Harbinger cast–calling themselves the Renegades now–in to meet the psiots holding the hostages in Las Vegas. There’s a nice sequence where all the regular cast meet someone knew; it’s like play dates for the psiots, even though the regular cast eventually disappears into the action. How Peter got through such an enormous hotel to stop Torque….

But it’s a decent enough issue. The flashback stuff is… well, it’s still a big company crossover. There’s only so much anyone can do.

CREDITS

Writer, Joshua Dysart; pencillers, Khari Evans and Trevor Hairsine; inkers, Evans, Stefano Gaudiano and Hairsine; colorist, Ian Hannin; letterer, Rob Steen; editors, Josh Johns and Warren Simons; publisher, Valiant Entertainment.

Ultimate Spider-Man 118 (March 2008)

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Seriously, Kenny can’t get a kiss? He gets a hand squeeze from Kitty, but no kiss. Kid deserves some smooching.

As I hoped, being rid of the Osborns has done nothing but help Bendis refocus his efforts. He opens the issue with one page internal monologues from Peter, Mary Jane, Kitty, Liz, Kenny and Johnny Storm (not sure if he’s setting up the new cast or just this arc). Lovely art from Immonen on these pages. He’s really working out.

But then Bendis kicks off this entire high school drama thing with Ice Man showing up to talk to Kitty. They’re these double page layouts of all the characters’ reactions (Peter freaking out, Kenny sulking). It’s beautiful stuff. Bendis really does excel.

And then there’s some nice superhero bonding time for Johnny, Peter and Bobby Drake. It segues into a nighttime beach campfire. Then a big surprise.

Truly excellent issue.

CREDITS

Writer, Brian Michael Bendis; penciller, Stuart Immonen; inker, Wade von Grawbadger; colorist, Justin Ponsor; letterer, Cory Petit; editors, Lauren Sankovitch, Bill Rosemann and Ralph Macchio; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Prophet 39 (September 2013)

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It’s the Diehard issue, which is an easy pick for favorite Prophet issue but maybe only because Graham and Roy get to do a summary story covering about 10,000 years.

They open with a retelling–I assume, I have no idea–of Diehard’s origin on Earth in the twentieth century. The art, by era, is from one person or another (or a team). It’s all awesome, with Lando’s standing out the most because it’s such a sad story.

Anyway, there’s a first act, a second act, a little third act. Even though the issue moves fast, across the galaxy (and beyond) and through thousands of years, Graham and Roy show the the effects on Diehard and how he changes. Graham is doing so much with Prophet already, I guess he figured he had to do amazing things with forgotten superheroes too.

Lovely, muted Paul Bohm backup too.

Truly exquisite stuff.

CREDITS

Diehard; writers, Brandon Graham and Simon Roy; artists, Giannis Milonogiannis, Joseph Bergin III, Matt Sheean, Malachi Ward, James Stokoe, Aaron Conley, Lando, Ron Wimberly, Graham and Roy; colorist, Bergin; letterer, Ed Brisson. Backup; writer and artist, Paul Bohm. Publisher, Image Comics.

Ghosted 3 (September 2013)

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Ghosted is back, which is nice, they only had a bad second issue. This one is a lot better.

There’s a great back and forth between the George Clooney guy (I’m not going to remember names, so I’ll just call him the George Clooney guy because he’s the lead–or should I call him Danny Ocean?) and the guy who sets up the project. There’s some very nice hints at the back story while the rest of the team steals some magical totem.

Then the issue moves to the haunted house and there are actual ghosts. Williamson figures out a very good reveal or two for introducing the ghosts. He and Sudžuka handle it very well.

Not to mention there’s actually a great cliffhanger. Very good issue, very good–even though Williamson has some problems keeping track of all the characters at the end.

Very glad the series’s working again.

CREDITS

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

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