Noir 1 (November 2013)

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I don’t know why I should keep reading Noir. It’s a perfectly serviceable comic for Dynamite to exploit a couple licenses they hold–The Shadow and Miss Fury–but there’s nothing else going on with it.

The art, from Andrea Mutti, is pretty good. So’s the writing, actually. Victor Gischler does a fine enough job with it. He’s got the Shadow teaming up with some Spanish lady spy to track down some kind of artifact. It feels a little like a pulp, but a pulp with some Indiana Jones type stuff thrown in. Only in the United States instead of Europe somewhere.

Gischler does okay with the Shadow’s narration and with the dialogue. He just doesn’t come up with a reason to keep going on the comic. It’s competent and disposable. I didn’t realize there were still people who blindly bought Shadow comics but Dynamite must think those people exist.

C 

CREDITS

Writer, Victor Gischler; artist, Andrea Mutti; colorist, Vladimir Popov; letterer, Rob Steen; editors, Molly Mahan and Joseph Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

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The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones 20 (August 1984)

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The issue opens with a full page spread–Indy looking at an artifact with a magnifying glass–but it’s the only uneconomical use of page space in the issue. Luke McDonnell has to pack panels on the page to get through all the action in Priest’s script.

David Michelinie gets a story credit, but it feels like a different comic without him. Even the art. McDonnell draws Marcus Brody younger than anyone else has before–and younger than Denholm Elliot; probably because Priest’s script implies Brody was once much like Indy in the adventuring department.

And Priest does have a lot of time for the romance between Indy and Marion. He dials it down quite a few notches but does at least acknowledge it.

In many ways, the issue doesn’t feel like a licensed property. But feeling more original doesn’t help–the creators are generally competent but the comic’s charmless.

CREDITS

The Cuban Connection; writers, David Michelinie and Christopher Priest; penciller, Luke McDonnell; inker, Danny Bulanadi; colorist, Rob Carosella; letterer, Rick Parker; editor, Eliot Brown; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Clown Fatale 1 (November 2013)

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I sort of didn’t want to like Clown Fatale. It’s about four female clowns in a lame circus–where the circus owners moonlight as assassins. Given the Fatale in the title, I should have guessed they were sexy clowns. I didn’t, but they are sexy clowns. I’m not sure if Victor Gischler came up with this genre or if there are other examples….

Oh, they’re also kick-ass sexy clowns.

There are four of them; the lead, the two vaguely nondescript ones (except their race) and the psycho one. Gischler writes them some funny dialogue and he keeps the conversations going between four or five characters rather well. He never lets things go too long.

Maurizio Rosenzweig does okay on the art. When things are too static, not so much. Except his static cheesecake, he works at those panels. But both the action and humor are good.

Clown’s unexpectedly amusing.

CREDITS

Writer, Victor Gischler; penciller, Maurizio Rosenzweig; inker and colorist, Moreno Dinisio; letterer, Nate Piekos; editors, Shantel LaRocque and Daniel Chabon; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Sheltered 5 (November 2013)

289578 20131120131933 largeIn some ways, it’s the best writing Brisson has done on the series–he’s taking a wide view of events, not focusing on his initial protagonists, and it’s working. Sheltered now feels very full, even though it takes place in such constraints. Plus, Brisson is frequently able to use character names naturally in dialogue. Helps with such a large cast.

However, it’s probably Christmas’s weakest art so far on the book. There’s a fair amount of looseness throughout, but the action packed finale feels incredibly rushed. It’s particularly bad since it’s during the action sequence and things get confusing. The whole visual pace of the final sequence seems off; Christmas is dragging things out to get to a splash page hard cliffhanger.

The issue’s really talky, with Brisson using the conversations to build subplots. It’s also giving him a more sympathetic cast.

Thanks to Brisson, Sheltered might have some legs.

CREDITS

Writer and letterer, Ed Brisson; artist, Johnnie Christmas; colorist, Shari Chankhamma; editor, Paul Allor; publisher, Image Comics.

Sheltered 4 (October 2013)

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It’s an unexpectedly rough issue. Brisson and Christmas save the roughness for the finish–even going through a vicious fight scene with more eventual humor than anything else–but then Christmas has a two page spread and stuns.

Brisson’s doing something interesting with his main villain. He makes the kid more self-aware of his faults, which makes him even more dangerous. His actions, cruel and unusual, all make perfect sense. At those moments, Brisson has the reader identifying with him.

The issue splits between the main villain, the goofy villain, the two renegade girls–gone from active protagonists to inactive prisoners–and some of the other kids around the compound. As usual, it’s a fast read, though Brisson does follow something of a three act structure.

Brisson also uses a lot of dialogue to slow the pace, but then will switch over to visual storytelling. Sheltered is feels predictable.

CREDITS

Writer and letterer, Ed Brisson; artist, Johnnie Christmas; colorist, Shari Chankhamma; editor, Paul Allor; publisher, Image Comics.

The Wake 5 (December 2013)

289527 20131120094335 largeStarting this issue, I felt a little bad. I only read The Wake to praise Murphy’s art and to mock Snyder’s writing. It’s definitely mock-worthy this time around too, but then he goes and does something even more amazing.

He craps on the story he is telling and then announces he’s going to tell an entirely different story. Apparently one about flying girls. So instead of ripping off The Abyss, Leviathan and whatever other underwater adventures he could… He announces he’s instead going to rip off Waterworld and post-apocalyptic stuff.

Am I spoiling the end of this issue?

No, because this issue–this storyline–isn’t the point. Murphy was just messing around.

It’s the perfect jumping off point too, because it’s clear there’s never going to be anything resembling a good narrative here.

Oh, Contact. He rips Contact off a little here too.

Anyway, crappy writing, great art.

CREDITS

Writer, Scott Snyder; artist, Sean Murphy; colorist, Matt Hollingsworth; letterer, Jared K. Fletcher; editors, Sara Miller and Mark Doyle; publisher, Vertigo.

Brother Lono 6 (January 2014)

289533 20131120101852 largeI hate the moments where the writer makes a big revelation his protagonist is actually the biggest badass in the world. At best, they’re hollow, at worst… well, they’re hollow and bad. Except Azzarello pulls it off here. And he pulls it off because of how he’s structured this series so far.

With Lono, Azzarello has done a somewhat gentle structure–the lives of the people in this town, in their particular situations, all brought together. When he reveals the “truth” about Lono, he does it through the characters he’s established. He throws a lot at the good guys this issue and their characters react and develop wondrously. Azzarello writes the heck out of the characters here.

And then there’s Risso’s art. Risso gets to do a huge action sequence after a couple lengthily paced sequences. He does great work.

It’s an outstanding comic; raises my hopes for the series.

CREDITS

¡La Canción de Los Torturados!; writer, Brian Azzarello; artist, Eduardo Risso; colorist, Trish Mulvihill; letterer, Clem Robins; editors, Sara Miller and Will Dennis; publisher, Vertigo.

Brother Lono 5 (December 2013)

Lono 5The hard cliffhanger suggests Azzarello is finally getting to the inevitable bloody showdown in Brother Lono. He’s been setting it up, foreshadowing it with corpses mostly; it sort of had to happen, otherwise there wouldn’t be an epical plot line… but it’s also unfortunate.

So far, Brother Lono has been Azzarello and Risso delicately, intricately laying out scenes and connections. Azzarello manages to make it worthwhile in singles, but obviously more connected in the eventual trade. Giving it a big finish won’t undo the good work they’ve done, but it will suggest there’s a limit to how far mainstream comic can go. Of course, if they didn’t have eight issues for Lono, there would have had to be a lot more action.

Most of the stuff this issue’s character work. Azzarello plays the characters off one another–but not necessarily nefariously. Risso does great with those scenes.

Again, good stuff.

CREDITS

¡Los Hijos de la Sangre!; writer, Brian Azzarello; artist, Eduardo Risso; colorist, Trish Mulvihill; letterer, Clem Robins; editors, Sara Miller and Will Dennis; publisher, Vertigo.

The Comics Fondle Podcast | Episode 5

And now we’re at something like six weeks between episodes. We’re sorry!

This episode, Vernon and I talk about new comic books, a little about “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” and probably lots of little media-related tidbits, a little about recent comic book creator controversies, and we also announce the winner of the first Comics Fondle Podcast prize contest.

you can also subscribe on iTunes…

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