Sherlock Frankenstein and the Legion of Evil 1 (October 2017)

Sherlock Frankenstein and the Legion of Evil #1

The panel composition. David Rubín sometimes spirals the panels in double-page spreads, sometimes just moves action horizontal, always guiding the reader’s eye. It’s a visual treat, which is particularly awesome given it’s a talking heads issue.

Set before Lucy Weber joins Black Hammer, Sherlock Frankenstein and Legion of Evil has her investigating arch-villain Sherlock Frankenstein (think a mix of Sivana and Lex Luthor) in hopes of finding her father and the other heroes. Writer Jeff Lemire paces it well–he clearly loves writing Lucy Weber, the comic’s got first-person narration–and even the hinted revelations have a lot of weight. Though Frankenstein is probably incomprehensible if you haven’t kept up on Black Hammer.

Rubín’s art isn’t just amazing for the double-page spreads, it’s the single panels too. The way he visualizes Spiral City, modern technology amid grime, it’s breathtaking.

So good.

CREDITS

Whatever Happened to Sherlock Frankenstein?; writer, Jeff Lemire; artist, colorist, and letterer, David Rubín; editors, Cardner Clark and Daniel Chabon; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

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Fu Jitsu 1 (September 2017)

Fu Jitsu #1

Despite graphic violence and very high stakes (the end of the world), Fu Jitsu is a delight. The comic opens with Fu in an isolation tank in Antarctica. He’s the world’s oldest boy, clocking in at a hundred and twenty or so years, and he’s trying to get over a girl.

Writer Jai Nitz opens the book with Fu deciding it’s time to come up and have a burger and get on with life. Good thing too, since his arch-enemy has sent James Dean (who apparently didn’t die but because a bad guy super-assassin) to kill Fu. The bad guy, Wadlow, has escaped from the future and only Fu can stop him.

Wadlow gets a great villain monologue (and a couple amusing sidekick thugs). Fu gets a little less backstory, which is fine. Nitz has a lot of fun on Wadlow’s exposition and artist Wesley St. Claire beautifully visualizes the flashbacks. St. Claire also does well with Fu’s training regiment, which includes some kind of yoga and very tasty hamburgers. There’s a nice bit of panel design and composition, but also a lot of movement.

Got to have movement with the kung fu. And there’s lots of kung fu.

Fu Jitsu is off and running.

CREDITS

Curse of the Atomic Katana; writer, Jai Nitz; penciller, Wesley St. Claire; letterer, Ryane Hill; editor, Mike Marts; publisher, Aftershock Comics.

Copperhead 15 (October 2017)

Copperhead #15

Copperhead is back after a little longer than expected, particularly since last issue had a big cliffhanger. The issue’s good–with Faerber comfortably moving from character to character, hinting at reveals, doing reveals. This new arc has Sheriff Bronson in trouble and everyone banding together to help her. For one reason or another.

She’s not in the issue much, which is probably the biggest surprise, even if Faerber tries to pretend the closing revelation is somehow a showstopper. It’s not, but he’s already done well enough he can go out on it.

Moss’s art is a tad loose. Overly agitated might be the best description. His lines are a tad erratic, hurried maybe. It does make the comic read more immediately, which turns out to be a drawback given Faerber’s soft cliffhanger.

CREDITS

Writer, Jay Faerber; artist, Drew Moss; colorist, Ron Riley; letterer, Thomas Mauer; publisher, Image Comics.

Angelic 2 (October 2017)

Angelic #2

Turns out all Angelic needed was some teched-out manatees to turn the book around. Young hero Qora is alone on the beach, waiting to be married off to an icky priest monkey. She just wants to keep her wings (she loses them at marriage). The manatees show up and offer her a deal–help them save their god.

Their god is a malfunctioning drone scanner robot thing; doesn’t matter.

Spurrier paces out the issue beautifully. The back and forth between the Mans (manatees) and Qora is great, with the young Monk (monkey–Spurrier doesn’t go too far off with the dialect and its eclectic nouns). And then the second half, with a Mans and Qora questing, is even better. Spurrier’s able to draw their characters out right away, all nature introduction stuff. Deft.

Lovely art from Wijngaard. He’s got a lot of concise detail, but with thick, emotive lines. Gives the book a lot of its feel for the talking heads. Manatees. Whatever.

Angelic just got a whole lot better.

CREDITS

Heirs and Graces, Part Two; writer, Simon Spurrier; artist, Caspar Wijngaard; letterer, Jim Campbell; publisher, Image Comics.

Punisher: The Platoon 2 (December 2017)

Punisher MAX: The Platoon #2

I think three times this issue there are full page panels with the credit “Ennis/Parlov.” I’m not sure if they’ve got their first names on it. They’re heavy panels. Ennis is doing a Vietnam story. He’s got the vets, he’s got the author, he’s got Frank. The vets get most of the time, whether telling the author their story or just in flashback. The author opens it, introduces some details and some unexpected reality (a former Viet Cong officer being a happy old man visiting the U.S. frequently).

Ennis saves Frank. He and Parlov do a lot with the violence, starting with the Viet Cong launching an attack and the Americans having to go to bayonets. But then they go farther. They go so far you’re scared to see Frank again.

No one but Ennis could take what should be a Punisher cash grab and deliver The Platoon. Anyone else would be foolish to try, but with Ennis, his ability to plot this thing… it’s unreal. Reading it, the world off the page goes silent.

CREDITS

2: Ma Deuce; writer, Garth Ennis; artist, Goran Parlov; colorist, Jordie Bellaire; letterer, Rob Steen; editors, Kathleen Wisneski and Kathleen Lowe; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Damned 5 (October 2017)

The Damned #5

The Damned finishes off its first arc, full of sadness and demons and misery. And beautiful Hurtt art. Achingly beautiful Hurtt art.

It’s a wonderful Eddie issue, following him around, everything else–the flashbacks, the subplots–happening in this completely different world. One with possibility. Eddie’s world, as usual, doesn’t have any. Even when he thinks it does.

Great writing from Bunn, which is particularly nice. As I recall the original Damned limited series didn’t end particularly well; this one’s reassuring. Bunn can close it down now, open a window. Such great dialogue throughout. It’s real good.

CREDITS

Ill-Gotten, Chapter 5; writer, Cullen Bunn; artist, Brian Hurtt; colorist, Bill Crabtree; letterer, Chris Crank; editors, Charlie Chu and Desiree Wilson; publisher, Oni Press.

The Comics Fondle Podcast | Episode 41

An on-time release! We know you’re all impressed.

Vernon starts off the show talking about Marvel Legacy from a retailer’s standpoint. Then we review the latest failures of “pitch” comics.

But then the fun starts, because amid all these comics we discuss, there are some truly great ones. Listen to find out which!

Comics discussed: Angelic, Godshaper, Black Hammer, Sherlock Frankenstein, Kill The Minotaur, Damned, Divided States, Ruff & Reddy Show, Kaijumax, Slam Next Jam, Jimmys Bastards, Punisher Platoon, Dastardley and Muttley, Batman White Knight, Mr Miracle, Spy Seal, Fu jitsu, Cinema Purgatorio, Copperhead, Atomahawk, Maestros.

Then we talk about these trades: Mr Miracle by Kirby, Flintstones vol 2, Unquotable Trump, Nick Fury, Alack Sinner.

you can also subscribe on iTunes

Kaijumax: Season Three 4 (October 2017)

Kaijumax: Season Three #4

If Season Three had gotten off to a good start, Cannon might have some leeway for this issue. He’s ambitious and absurdly overindulgent; it’s the perfect example of creative lane changing. The issue has a framing device. The Kaijumax Musical Theater group is putting on a shoe. Their performance cuts to various other activities going on, which all happen to have something to do with a subplot. No one involved in subplots is watching the show. They don’t like musicals, I guess.

Cannon’s not a lyricist. He’s gimmicky. Kaijumax is already pushing it with the gimmicky dialect for the prisoners. The more he expands the world, the less likely his stuff makes sense.

The rest of the comic’s pretty darn good. The subplots aren’t exactly interesting, but they’ve got a pulse. And Cannon executes them all well. There’s an awesome Kaijumax moment with the doctor, where Cannon’s art and writing perfectly intersect; it’s been a while since he’s had one of those moments. Kaijumax used to be full of them.

The return of old characters either hint at a different last two for this series or maybe the Season Four plot. Either way, it’s too late to even be too little. Even when the comic’s good, it’s still lost.

CREDITS

A Special Effects Fantasy Series; writer, artist and letterer, Zander Cannon; colorists, Cannon and Jason Fischer; editors, Charlie Chu and Desiree Wilson; publisher, Oni Press.

Maestros 1 (October 2017)

Maestros #1

“You know, I’m sorry but, I didn’t mention it earlier but actually I preferred to be called Maestro.”

How can you not think of “The Maestro” just a little in Maestros, which is about an obnoxious wizard king who rules fantasyland. Earth is just a magic-less world created to amuse those who have magic. And the Maestro visited modern day (or close enough) Earth and there he did become bewitched with a fetching Earth woman and take her to be his bride he did.

A son was born. And now, in the future, the son–never intended for the throne–will be king.

And there’s some awesome gory art from Steve Skroce. His writing is good too, but he’s mostly just going for comedy. Not low brow comedy but somewhere in the middle. The jokes hint at depth and back story and they do keep things moving. This first issue doesn’t just have major action sequences and well-paced dialogue exchanges, it also kicks off a flashback into the already introduced leads, the Earth woman and her son.

The monsters are awesome. Everyone’s hair looks fantastic. Skroce gets lost just the right amount in detail; he never lets it go too far. The story comes first. And the story means to amuse.

Maestros is off to an excellent start; it should be fine so long as Skroce never lets the art falter.

CREDITS

Writer and artist, Steve Skroce; colorist, Dave Stewart; letterer, Fonografiks; publisher, Image Comics.

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