The Punisher 10 (January 2001)

The Punisher #10

An issue long fight scene with the Punisher mostly getting his butt kicked. Ennis goes for light, edgy humor from the Russian. Nothing too far, but some of the jokes are still smart.

Then there are detectives Molly and Soap. They get a talking heads scene and then it’s off to the vigilantes teaming up. Unfortunately, Ennis doesn’t have anything for the detectives to talk about because they’re not doing anything anymore. They’re sitting around.

The vigilantes are not sitting around, they are driving around. Ennis goes for a lot of humor with them. It’s the worst he’s done with the Elite one and Mr. Payback. This issue brings them down to the level of the priest. It’s really too bad.

As for that big fight scene… it’s only the first round. There’s another round; hopefully Ennis will have mercy and cut to the best parts instead of plodding through.

C 

CREDITS

Glutton for Punishment; 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.

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Sheltered 9 (May 2014)

Sheltered #9

My only hesitation with this issue is how Brisson ends it. For almost six issues, it seems like the comic has been on a frantic pace with the dissenting girl–who started out as the protagonist but she’s really not anymore (the series doesn’t have one–on the run from the other kids.

And this issue ends with the promise of a calm. It’s impossible to determine if Brisson is sincere. At the same time, he’s introducing another element into the mix and it’s not calm. There’s been so much intense focus on the infighting–with the exception of the done-in-one setting up that other element–who knows where Sheltered is going.

Regardless, it’s a great issue. There’s some fantastic art from Christmas. He and Brisson pace out the issue beautifully.

There’s a lengthy action sequence in the middle and it’s just fantastic.

Brisson and Christmas excel here.

B+ 

CREDITS

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

Stray Bullets 34 (June 2004)

Stray Bullets #34

And here we have the issue where a couple drunk male friends fool around and it doesn’t just ruin their friendship, one of them goes insane and kills the other one.

Guess Lapham liked American Beauty too. The trope wasn’t original in that movie either.

There’s no context for the story. The guys are a couple jerks, so it’s not like Lapham creates much sympathy for their psychological distress. In some ways, Bullets is at its best with the done-in-ones, even the terrible ones like this issue. Because then Lapham’s failings are disposable. It’s a bad issue, not a bad arc.

The art is a little bit better than it has been lately. A little. Lapham is still dragging out his action scenes and his attempt at a haunting finale is a joke. But the art’s a little better.

The comic reads fast. At least it reads fast.

D 

CREDITS

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

Southern Bastards 2 (May 2014)

Southern Bastards #2

One of these months, there’s going to be a kick ass issue of Southern Bastards. Maybe next month, maybe the issue after. Because Aaron shows his hand a little here–Bastards is kind of like Rambo V, only in the South. It’s a little like Frank Castle goes country, it’s a little like Gran Torino only an action movie.

This genre–the old badass who just has to stand up and kick ass–is a fun one. Ornery old white guys (these guys always tend to be white guys) kicking ignorant ass is a fun story.

But is there anything original about Bastards? Well, LaTour’s art is pretty original. It doesn’t exactly match Aaron’s traditional comic plotting. But LaTour doesn’t waste time. His style could give way to plodding artistic compositions but he keeps it reined in.

Aaron’s not reinventing the wheel–probably just hoping Tommy Lee Jones’s manager calls–but he rolls it well.

B 

CREDITS

Here Was a Man, Part Two; writer, Jason Aaron; artist, Jason Latour; colorists, Latour and Rico Renzi; letterer, Jared K. Fletcher; editor, Sebastian Girner; publisher, Image Comics.

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