The Punisher 12 (March 2001)

The Punisher #12

Why is the only good scene in the issue–besides the apartment cast’s send-off, of course–when Soap meets the Punisher? The rest of the stuff with Soap is dumb, as are the other subplot resolutions, but there’s something about that scene. Maybe Ennis thinks of the reader as Soap, someone dumb enough to be amused even after a seagull tags you’re forehead.

Because The Punisher is pointless. There’s no story for Frank, not since the first or second issue. There’s no story for the mobsters or the cops. The story for the apartment cast would be more amusing than this comic but only because Ennis actually worked on them.

The series has had some very high points, but Ennis failed to follow through on anything. He introduced ideas, did some development, then forgot them.

Even Dillon seems to have given up a little, especially with his figure drawing.

D 

CREDITS

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

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Trees 1 (May 2014)

Trees #1

The Jason Howard art on Trees is probably going to be the best thing about it. While Warren Ellis definitely has an interesting idea–giant space aliens who don’t notice the human population and are apparently just gigantic columns (the titular Trees)–he does a roving eye thing with a lot of characters. Presumably they’ll be the cast.

Except the ones in the pointless opening action scene. It gives Howard a chance to show off his range, like later when he’s got some Chinese village guy walking around some hippie walled off city. The comic’s set ten years after the invasion so it’s in the future and there’s some advanced robotics in the future.

Robot dogs are goofy. Also goofy is the New York cops viciously killing the citizenry. They’re both tired tropes, just like Ellis following a mayoral candidate.

But Howard brings a (much needed) distinct freshness to the comic.

B- 

CREDITS

Writer, Warren Ellis; artist, Jason Howard; letterer, Fonografiks; publisher, Image Comics.

Stray Bullets 36 (January 2005)

Stray Bullets #36

Some of Lapham’s problem is the lack of restraint. He’s let Bullets go all over the place, he’s let his art go to pot and he’s gone too far. Maybe he hyper-extended his narrative muscles too many times and they’re just damaged.

This issue has Virginia bonding with her awful mother’s new boyfriend, who’s not a good boyfriend but isn’t a terrible guy. And there’s some stuff with her sister. If it had been the first in the “Virginia goes home” arc, it might have been a little better because some of it wouldn’t seem so forced, like the Leon references.

Oh, right–Lapham does it all from Virginia’s diary. Just like he used to do when the comic was frequently fantastic. It hasn’t even been good lately and the return to the device seems a tad desperate.

At least this time, Virginia carries the issue to moderate success.

B- 

CREDITS

Monkey Business; writer, artist, and letterer, David Lapham; editors, Renee Miller and Maria Lapham; publisher, El Capitán Books.

Nailbiter 2 (June 2014)

Nailbiter #2

It’s hard to say when being self indulgent is the right movie. Even with a good writer–and Williamson is a good writer–it can go wrong. It goes wrong this issue of Nailbiter. Williamson spends way too much time on the interview with the famous serial killer and lets this guy overshadow the protagonist.

The best scene in the issue is the protagonist and the sheriff talking over dinner. Even with some forced exposition into the famous serial killers of the town. Wait a second, A Voice in the Dark has a town full of serial killers too… maybe it’s going to be Image’s new thing instead of superheroes; serial killers.

Anyway, there’s a showdown scene with the townspeople, which is a waste of pages except to foreshadow. Then there’s the issue’s villain meeting up with the secret big boss.

The comic’s got good art, good scene writing, but it meanders.

B- 

CREDITS

Writer, Joshua Williamson; artist, Mike Henderson; colorist, Adam Guzowski; letterer, John J. Hill; editor, Rob Levin; publisher, Image Comics.

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