Rover Red Charlie 1 (November 2013)

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I was sort of expecting Rover Red Charlie to be a Crossed spin-off. It’s Garth Ennis doing a story where people go nuts and start killing each other in awful ways. Why not do something sly like a crossover.

You know, for marketing.

Only Charlie is unexpected because Ennis is doing something he hasn’t done much lately and usually not at Avatar. He’s trying. He’s setting up characters, he’s showing his soft side, he’s working in the insane terminology of dogs. It’s crazy inventive as far as the dogs go, not just how their society works, but how Ennis shows their perspective of the apocalypse. It’s awesome.

It helps he’s got Michael DiPascale on the art. The style is just right. DiPascale draws the dogs like it’s a greeting card and the end of the world with fresh eyes. Literally. It’s very clean apocalypse.

Ennis certainly raises one’s expectations.

B+ 

CREDITS

Something Happened; writer, Garth Ennis; artist and colorist, Michael DiPascale; letterer, Kurt Hathaway; publisher, Avatar Press.

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The Mercenary Sea 1 (February 2014)

Ms

The Mercenary Sea is a perfect example of why computers don’t help comic books and why mixing mediums is dangerous. Matthew Reynolds does his art on a computer, his style is something akin to flash animation. And the comic looks like cels from an animation, with all the life apparently left in the movement.

Kel Symons has some funny lines and funny ideas but not much else. The story takes place in the thirties in the South Pacific. Should be really cool, except none of the characters have any personality, maybe because Reynold’s doesn’t give them movable faces. He also doesn’t illustrate settings well. He thinks everything is about tone and mood.

He’s wrong.

Symons promises big seas adventures, maybe some monsters, maybe some dinosaurs, but who cares? The setting and story are both stock material. Sea hinges it all on Reynold’s artwork and he’s not up for the task.

C- 

CREDITS

Nice Work If You Can Get It; writer, Kel Symons; artist and colorist, Mathew Reynolds; letterer, Pat Brosseau; editor, Sebastian Girner; publisher, Image Comics.

The Incredible Hulk 37 (April 2002)

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This issue is definitely better, but only because Jones takes time to give Samson stuff to do. He hangs out with this bullied kid while Bruce goes hitchhiking and has an adventure. Of course, since things are very convenient, the assassins get caught up in the adventure too.

I just realized how much Bruce looks like Mister X, which sort of points out how lame Romita’s art is for this book. Mister X through the heartland might be cool. But with Romita? Every page is a bore, worse when he’s got to do action.

Jones is way too unfocused–the assassins, Samson, Bruce–and there’s no tension to the issue. There’s no suspense and he’s basically trying to do a suspense story, just one set during the day for whatever reason.

I’m also very confused about Bruce’s laptop and how come he doesn’t know it’s tracking him.

But it’s okay.

C+ 

CREDITS

You Must Remember This…; writer, Bruce Jones; penciller, John Romita Jr.; inker, Tom Palmer; colorist, Studio F; letterers, Richard Starkings and Wes Abbott; editors, John Miesegaes and Axel Alonso; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Clown Fatale 4 (February 2014)

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The last issue of Clown Fatale reads like the big showdown at the end of an eighties action movie with the lead clown in the Stallone role. Amusingly, Rosenzweig draws a Punisher stand-in with Stallone’s nose.

But there’s only so much to the comic. Gischler gives it a somewhat open ending without begging for a sequel. He spends maybe a fifth of the issue getting to that end point. The rest of it is just the blonde clown beating up the bad guys. Gischler writes really good dialogue for the fights, he plots them really well. Even if he manages to execute them better than a mainstream comic, it’s still just a lot of action.

But he and Rosenzweig have enough humor and enough solid character work in those actions scenes they appear to be more. The approach isn’t deceptive, it’s just a masterful use of an extending genre.

B+ 

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.

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