Providence 1 (May 2015)

Providence #1

I’m not sure what to make of Providence. The first issue doesn’t have much going on except flashbacks and talking heads scenes–writer Alan Moore is establishing his protagonist (and then writes a bunch of necessary back matter to get a better idea) while he’s got artist Jacen Burrows establishing the setting. It’s 1919. It’s Manhattan. Something is afoot.

Providence’s protagonist is a rookie–or, at least, newish–newspaper reporter. He’s also gay. The way Moore handles that revelation is interesting. He foreshadowed some kind of secret (though hinted at another one) but the scenes are beautifully written. All of the flashbacks do fantastic character work, but the romantic ones have a depth to them. They’re controlled, sure (it’s Moore), but they’re also extravagant.

The majority of the comic deals with some arcane texts; they cause people to commit suicide. Or so the protagonist is investigating.

Providence definitely intrigues.

CREDITS

The Yellow Sign; writer, Alan Moore; artist, Jacen Burrows; colorist, Juan Rodriguez; letterer, Kurt Hathaway; publisher, Avatar Press.

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The Order of the Forge 2 (May 2015)

The Order of the Forge #2

The Order of the Forge continues to be an unabashedly awesome comic book. Gischler manages to be remarkably restrained–even as he tells the story of George Washington, Paul Revere and Benjamin Franklin like it’s The Avengers or Harry Potter, he manages to be aware of the line between awesome and too much. It’s not a deep comic at all, it’s just an expertly done shallow one.

This issue has the three getting superpowers–Forge is way too amusing and way too great a concept for there to be no movie option hopes, but–once again–Gischler errors on the side of caution. It’s a comic book first, with Bettin’s art very aware of the medium.

And the story’s just good. There are nice complications for all the characters, there’s a good female protagonist and even the biggest Washington fan would never believe he as cool as Gischler writes him.

CREDITS

Writer, Victor Gischler; artist, Tazio Bettin; letterer, Nate Piekos; editors, Ian Tucker and Daniel Chabon; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

C.O.W.L. 10 (May 2015)

C.O.W.L. #10

It’s an okay issue of C.O.W.L.. Higgins and Siegel are doing a bridging issue. Most of the issue is either one person being threatened or another person threatening and so on. There’s some nice art from Reis on it, but it all feels very by the numbers.

The coolest thing has to be the supervillain who looks like Nosferatu and has minions. C.O.W.L. tends not to have particularly good villains (or heroes) when it comes to concepts; Reis rarely gets to do anything exciting. Nosferatu and company, though only in the comic for a couple pages, are pretty exciting.

As for the rest of the comic–with the picket line breaking superhero in the hospital and the police detective out for the truth–doesn’t really connect. Higgins and Siegel don’t have enough material; they present it well enough, however. C.O.W.L. is getting to be sturdy, even when it isn’t compelling.

CREDITS

The Greater Good, Chapter Four: Full Disclosure; writers, Kyle Higgins and Alec Siegel; artist, Rod Reis; letterer, Troy Peteri; publisher, Image Comics.

Curb Stomp 4 (May 2015)

Curb Stomp #4

It’s an okay finish for Curb Stomp, nothing more. It’s like Ferrier decided the story had gotten too big so he brings it all down to a more personal story for the final… but then he realized he’d made it too small so he put in a lot more big action. And poor Neogi is left to sort it out. Large action happens in very small panels this issue.

The finale’s strangely reductive for the comic too. All the world building Ferrier did at the start–and even maintained to some point–is over now. It’s the finish, no time for new things. Lukcily Neogi’s art never lets it feel rushed; even if it feels constrained, Neogi’s composition of each panel is strong.

Ferrier probably needed another issue to make it work better. Who knows if the somewhat off narration would play out with enough space. Probably. Still, worthwhile comic.

CREDITS

Writer, Ryan Ferrier; artist, Devaki Neogi; colorist, Jeremy Lawson; letterer, Colin Bell; editors, Jasmine Amiri and Eric Harburn; publisher, Boom! Studios.

Resident Alien: The Sam Hain Mystery 1 (May 2015)

Resident Alien: The Sam Hain Mystery #1

Harry the Resident Alien is back with a swinging adventure called The Sam Hain Mystery. Swinging in the sixties sense. And not really. The story’s again set in Harry’s small town, amid all the small town secrets.

Writer Peter Hogan gives Harry a little mystery to solve, one he thinks he can wrap up on lunch–Resident Alien, for those (unfortunately) unaware, is often a genial mystery book–and it turns out to be a bigger mystery and one connected to some of Harry’s other developing interests.

Since Resident Alien is on its third series, Hogan’s got to greet new and returning readers, probably more towards the latter. He does a good job with it; the interactions with the supporting cast are amusing enough to interest new readers while still reminding returning ones why they enjoy the comic.

And Steve Parkhouse’s art is fantastic from page one. Some great stuff.

CREDITS

Writer, Peter Hogan; artist, Steve Parkhouse; editors, Roxy Polk and Philip R. Simon; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Ghosted 20 (May 2015)

Ghosted #20

Ghosted ends. Rather abruptly. While Williamson does discuss ending the series in the back matter–and he pretty much brings back every slightly sympathetic character for a farewell of sorts–the pacing doesn’t feel right. Even if he meant to work towards a reveal and then go another route… it’s not a successful destination.

Some of the problem is Goran Sudzuka trying a different style for his brief return to the comic. And then Laci and Williamson pretending they’re doing a desperately romantic Vertigo comic from the nineties. The tone is just off.

Still, even if it’s not a compelling read, the final issue of Ghosted is a pleasing one. Williamson doesn’t take enough time with the characters but he gives them all fine farewells. The ties back to the series’s first arc just show how constrained Williamson envisioned the comic, which is too bad.

Ghosted finishes acceptably, nothing more.

CREDITS

Writer, Joshua Williamson; artists, Goran Sud┼żuka and Vladimir Krstic Laci; colorist, Miroslav Mrva; letterer, Rus Wooten; editors, Michael Williamson and Sean Mackiewicz; publisher, Image Comics.

The Fade Out 6 (May 2015)

The Fade Out #6

It’s a good issue of Fade Out but something feels off. Like Brubaker is backing off a bit in the narration–he’s set up the story, he’s telling the reader a whole lot about Gil and Charlie and how they feel and so on. There’s still a great story for Charlie and Maya.

It’s also where Brubaker embraces the regular reader. The previous issue had some big events and he doesn’t recap them here. If you aren’t on board with the series, you don’t get any more help.

Brubaker moves things along in a big way with Gil’s storyline getting clearer–Charlie’s is still a muddle, the noir screenwriter fumbling his way through a noir while Gil’s being the actual hero. Brubaker introduces a Little Rascals stand-in troupe for some plot fodder; it’s what feels off. It’s too much of an Ellroy homage.

Nice art from Philips as always.

CREDITS

To Set the World on Fire; writer, Ed Brubaker; artist, Sean Phillips; colorist, Elizabeth Breitweiser; publisher, Image Comics.

Satellite Sam 14 (May 2015)

Satellite Sam #14

And this issue is a perfect example of how you do a comic book. One thing Chaykin brings to Satellite Sam–even when he’s having an off issue, which he isn’t this issue–is a real understanding of how to make a comic book a comic book. You never read Sam and feel like Fraction’s itching for a movie option or whatnot. The way the story beats work, they only work in a comic.

And there are a lot of big story beats this issue. Fraction deals with all of the major plot lines, along with a couple nods–sometimes with just those Italian language word balloons–to major subplots. These plot lines aren’t resolved (well, probably one of them), but they’re getting close. Fraction and Chaykin pack a lot into the issue and its story threads.

Sam is going out on a rather high note, which is only appropriate.

CREDITS

Bad Actors; writer, Matt Fraction; artist, Howard Chaykin; letterer, Ken Bruzenak; editor, Thomas K.; publisher, Image Comics.

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