The Mice Templar Volume III: A Midwinter Night’s Dream 6 (December 2011)

The Mice Templar Volume III: A Midwinter Night's Dream #6

It's an all action issue. Glass does spend some time setting up the lengthy action sequence with a rat commander out to redeem his lost pride (during the previous volume), but not a lot. It's all distinct, because Glass is showing more of the rat culture than he's shown before–and hinting at one aspect of Templar culture never before discussed (the mice abandoning their elderly when moving camps).

Then the rats get to the Templar camp where Cassius is caring for comatose Karic and the action starts. It's vicious and lyrical, with Cassius dispatching the rats either directly or through traps. The traps often lead to more intense violence than just the sword fighting.

During the battle, Glass has Cassius narrating–some of it has to do with the battle, but a lot is self-reflection. Glass and Santos are ambitious with their concept.

The ending double twist subtly deepens the issue.

B+ 

CREDITS

Solitaire; writer, Bryan J.L. Glass; artist, Victor Santos; colorist, Veronica Gandini; letterer, James H. Glass; editor, Judy Glass; publisher, Image Comics.

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Winterworld 2 (July 2014)

Winterworld #2

Just like last issue, Dixon is writing Winterworld for the artist, in this case Butch Guice. Unlike last issue, Dixon doesn't give Guice much to do this issue.

There's a little bit of action, large and small scale–though the small scale is just the bad guy murdering some cannibal scavengers so it's not like it's interesting to see–and there's a lot of scenery. Dixon gives the comic a deliberate, slow pace. The protagonists have their quiet little scenes together, full of expression (thanks to Guice) and a lot of inferred importance.

But Dixon's approach keeps the narrative from being compelling. At the end of this issue, he's putting the teenage girl in danger. Why? Because she's a teenage girl and there's lots of danger for them in a post-apocalyptic frozen wasteland. He just hasn't made her a person yet, so he's threatening a caricature.

Great art aside, Winterworld's in trouble.

B- 

CREDITS

Writer, Chuck Dixon; artist, Butch Guice; colorist, Diego Rodriguez; letterer, Robbie Robbins; editor, David Hedgecock; publisher, IDW Publishing.

The Fury of Firestorm, The Nuclear Man 18 (November 1983)

The Fury of Firestorm, The Nuclear Man #18

Tuska takes over all the pencilling this issue, for better or worse. Usually worse, though at least he’s consistent between his superhero art and his civilian art. He’s also got some really silly stuff to draw, like Tokamak, the Human Reactor. Tokamak is the big villain–an evil old rich guy with superpowers and a dumb metallic outfit. He flies around. It’s really goofy.

Conway does imply he’s going to work on character development, with Martin starting an exercise regime (against his will) and Ronnie discovering some bad guys are out to get him (but not as Firestorm). Neither scene works particularly well. There’s just not enough time for Martin’s subplot and Tuska’s weak composition hurts Ronnie’s. Actually, Conway doesn’t give it enough space for Tuska to do more.

The final fight doesn’t work because of the silly costume design and Tuska’s mediocrity at action. It’s a very problematic issue.

C+ 

CREDITS

Squeeze Play!; writer, Gerry Conway; penciller, George Tuska; inker, Rodin Rodriguez; colorist, Carl Gafford; letterer, Adam Kubert; editors, Nicola Cuti and Conway; publisher, DC Comics.

C.O.W.L. 3 (July 2014)

C.O.W.L. #3

There’s a lot going on this issue; Higgins and Siegel move between two big plots–the super-powered guys going up against a common gangster (which is against union rules) and then the boss negotiating the new contract with the city–while there are a couple little things going on.

The first little thing ties into the gangster storyline. The female superhero is feeling discounted because of her gender and an unlikely colleague shows up and gives her the chance to work outside the norm. It’s a great little arc because there’s so much Higgins and Siegel get to comment on.

Excellent Reis art–throughout, not just on this storyline–is essential to the issue’s success.

Then there’s a little continuation on one of the previous issue’s soft cliffhangers. It’s an interesting continuation because Higgins and Siegel promote it to the issue’s principal cliffhanger, all very quietly.

C.O.W.L. is showing some definite improvement this issue.

CREDITS

Principles of Power, Chapter Three: Perception; writers, Kyle Higgins and Alec Siegel; artist, Rod Reis; letterer, Troy Peteri; editor, Andy Schmidt; publisher, Image Comics.

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