The Comics Fondle Podcast | Episode 13

And here Vernon and I thought we were running late but we’re just on time for the latest episode.

We talk about a whole bunch of indie books–I don’t think there’s a single Big Two issue covered, sorry folks–and then move on to discussions of online comics reviewers and how they get their copies, not to mention our argument over Suicide Risk.

Give it a listen.

you can also subscribe on iTunes…

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The Punisher 9 (December 2000)

The Punisher #9

Enter the Russian and Ennis bringing in another weak villain, but one he can try to use for humor. Why use him for humor? Apparently there’s not enough comedy with the Punisher caring about his neighbors. The scenes with the neighbors are all soft, sensitive scenes. I thought Frank was going to tell the overweight guy to eat healthy.

The villain gives the mob story some freshness and then the detectives get some freshness and it feels like something might be happening. But it’s not really happening, it’s just Soap and Molly talking and Ennis trying to figure out the most rewarding moments. Rewarding to the reader, not to the story, which is the big problem.

Even the good scenes don’t hold up. Ennis has Frank too jaded, given though he’s clear about the series not being too jaded. They’re probably supposed to be black humor moments but they flop.

C 

CREDITS

From Russia with Love; writer, Garth Ennis; penciller, Steve Dillon; inker, Jimmy Palmiotti; colorist, Chris Sotomayor; letterers, Richard Starkings and Wes Abbott; editors, Kelly Lamy and Nanci Dakesian; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Furious 5 (May 2014)

Furious #5

I don't know where to start. I'm not sure about the epilogue. It's a very cute and nice epilogue, but Glass has just got done dragging the reader through a very rough opening action sequence and then an extremely taut issue. With Furious, Glass has always made sure to keep the series's reality very dangerous. So anything can happen.

He sets up two, maybe three, dangerous anything can happen moments this issue. These moments come during this phenomenal action sequence. The whole issue is an action sequence, but it's not one without content–Glass and Santos get a lot out of every panel, every page. Santos's artwork is just fantastic.

Glass takes a less is more approach with the revelations in the issue too. The emphasis isn't on the origin pay-off, it's on what's happening next. And that emphasis is why the epilogue can still work.

Furious is a fantastic comic.

A 

CREDITS

Fallen Star, Part Five, Catch a Falling Star; writer, Bryan J.L. Glass; artist, Victor Santos; letterer, Nate Piekos; editors, Spencer Cushing and Jim Gibbons; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Stray Bullets 33 (May 2004)

Stray Bullets #33

Here’s another example of Lapham slacking off. And it’s on a Virginia issue too, which is upsetting because he usually treats her better.

It’s in high school, with Virginia setting off the jocks against the greasers. Because Grease, right? I don’t know what else to say about it, actually. I mean, aside from the fighting, there are a lot of lengthy action montages–who knew throwing rocks at a window was worth a page–and not much else. Lapham is back to treating the comic like a parody of itself. Virginia is the superhero.

The most annoying part has to be the appearance from her mother. Lapham’s totally ignored Virginia’s home life. At this point it seems like he’s too cowardly to do it. Instead he just has the high school where kids are allowed to castrate each other.

But seriously, his lame handling of Virginia post-kidnapping is unforgivable.

D 

CREDITS

Donnybrook; writer, artist, and letterer, David Lapham; editor, Renee Miller; publisher, El Capitán Books.

The Star Wars 8 (May 2014)

The Star Wars #8

If the letters pages didn’t swear Rinzler was sticking to the original rough draft, I don’t think I’d believe it. Because this issue–adapted from a script written in the early seventies–has the standard modern action movie third act thing going on. When they attack the Death Star (it’s called something else, I think), Annikin and Leia are still on the station. They’re fighting to get away.

The original movie doesn’t try to overdo the dramatic tension–though Return of the Jedi basically does the aforementioned tension boosting. It reads more like what came later, in the genre created by Star Wars, than Star Wars itself.

There are some interesting twists and turns this issue too. The problem is more the length–Rinzler could have used two more issues for all the stuff he works out in this one–but The Star Wars concludes a somewhat successful curiosity.

Even with all the terrible names.

B- 

CREDITS

Writer, J.W. Rinzler; artist, Mike Mayhew; colorist, Rain Beredo; letterer, Michael Heisler; editors, Freddye Lins and Randy Stradley; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

The Punisher 8 (November 2000)

The Punisher #8

It’s kind of a talking heads issue. There’s some action with Frank having to save Dave and he bonds a little with Joan. Ennis has problems working Frank into the humor. He’s the Punisher is the punch line to too many of Ennis’s jokes.

There’s also a lot with Soap and Molly. They don’t serve a purpose in the story at all, so Ennis just fills out with them. They’re another enjoyable part of Ennis’s big Punisher story, which ostensibly should have been about him getting Ma Gnucci.

She’s not a good villain though. So Ennis has to do really awful things around her to make her seem like a good villain. The secret of this series is its shallow depth. Ennis is just doing enough character work to make it seem substantial, but he’s really just trying to get done with his twelve issues.

And he’s doing relatively fine.

B- 

CREDITS

Desperate Measures; writer, Garth Ennis; penciller, Steve Dillon; inker, Jimmy Palmiotti; colorist, Chris Sotomayor; letterers, Richard Starkings and Wes Abbott; editors, Kelly Lamy and Nanci Dakesian; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Red Team 7 (March 2014)

Red Team #7

I think they must have wanted to sell it to cable. Ennis does a great season one finish. Not, you know, like a good narrative finish or something. But a good commercial one. You can just see it on the TV screen.

But Ennis has lost his characters. They’re secondary to his big action sequence and it’s not a good one. It doesn’t play well in a comic. Ennis goes with short lines of dialogue and they don’t resonate when being read in a row. There’s not enough content. It’s all flash.

Cermak does a little better with the action. Except his art seems much slicker than before. There’s not as much energy to the comic and it needs a bunch for this last issue.

Ennis peaked early on this book but the conclusion is far worse than one would have thought. The ending feels tacked on and wholly artificial.

C- 

CREDITS

The Rules (Reprise); writer, Garth Ennis; artist, Craig Cermak; colorist, Adriano Honorato Lucas; letterer, Rob Steen; editors, Hannah Gorfinkel, Molly Mahan and Joe Rybandt; publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

Stray Bullets 32 (May 2003)

Stray Bullets #32

Lapham hasn’t just run out of ideas, he’s now doing reruns. This issue of Stray Bullets reminds of a few others, but in bits and pieces. So less a rerun, I guess, and more a remix.

Some classmates of Virginia–who also remember her before she ran away (in a school district with so much assault going on, wouldn’t there be a lot of runaways and not just one)–are goofing off while waiting in a parking lot and they piss off the wrong guy.

This wrong guy works for the unseen criminal boss Harry.

The guy spends the rest of the issue torturing the kid who heckled him from the car window. There’s actually a chance for Lapham to do something with it at the end and he doesn’t. He goes the safe route, the Stray Bullets route. The comic’s practically a parody of itself.

Loose art too.

D 

CREDITS

Shenanigans; writer, artist, and letterer, David Lapham; editor, Karen Hoyt; publisher, El Capitán Books.

Star Trek 33 (May 2014)

Star Trek #33

I read this entire issue without paying attention to the story arc title on the cover. I'm glad I ignored it.

Here's the problem–the art. I wonder how Joe Corroney's art would be if he didn't have to mess around with all the actors' faces. He doesn't do them well, either, so there's no real point to it. The expressions are just terrible because the mouths can't move too much or it won't look like whatever photo he was referencing.

Bad, bad choice. On IDW's part, not on Corroney's.

Still, it's a fun issue. Johnson just writes a little episode where the crew is excited to get off the ship. It's got elements of "This Side of Paradise," some actual personality from Kirk, an ill-advised Return of the Jedi nod. In short, it's exactly what a Star Trek comic should be.

Except for the art, which is just unforgivably misguided.

B- 

CREDITS

Lost Apollo, Part One; writer, Mike Johnson; penciller, Joe Corroney; inkers, Corroney, Victor Moya and Rob Doan; colorist, John Rauch; letterer, Neil Uyetake; editor, Sarah Gaydos; publisher, IDW Publishing.

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