Doomsday Clock #2 (February 2018)

Doomsday Clock #2

Upon reading this issue of Doomsday Clock, which is regular length instead of extended like the first, I’ve decided I’m done. I don’t care about the identity of the new Rorschach. I don’t care how Rorschach gets on with Batman. Don’t care how Veidt gets on with Lex Luthor. Or why the Comedian’s back? Or did Dr. Manhattan create the DC Universe–Johns just integrates the big rumors about the series into the book. Why not. There’s nothing else to do.

The jumping off point isn’t the cliffhanger or the trip to Earth One. It’s Batman. It’s Bruce and Lucius Fox arguing over whether or not Batman is necessary. Maybe it’s in current DC continuity, I don’t know. Something about the Superman Theory, which I thought was the name of a bad comics convention bar band, but whatever. Don’t care.

Johns isn’t trying. He’s also got a gross sexist opening he can’t get away with because he’s Geoff Johns and craven and Gary Frank’s art lacks any subjectivity. It’s too objective for gross sexist bank managers. Frank’s art invites a lot of examination Johns’s writing really can’t support. Frank’s at least trying. Johns is not.

So. No more. Clock is stopped for me.

Unless the villain’s Labo at the end and Johns is daring the original creator to sue. But maybe not even then.

CREDITS

Places We Have Never Known; writer, Geoff Johns; artist, Gary Frank; colorist, Brad Anderson; letterer, Rob Leigh; editors, Amedeo Turturro and Brian Cunningham; publisher, DC Comics.

Advertisements

Redneck #8 (December 2017)

Redneck #8

It’s a perfectly good issue of Redneck. It reads a little fast, but it’s a perfectly good comic.

But, damn, do I not like the cliffhanger. Vampires or not, Cates finds a way to put the likable cast members–all two of them–in danger. That danger isn’t the problem. It’s the balls Cates has going in the air. There’s the hard cliffhanger, but then there’s also a soft one with one of the supporting cast. It might make a big difference, it might not. Cates just doesn’t make the plotting click with the pacing. He cliffhangs when the reader is most engaged, but never for the reader (or the comic’s benefit).

Great art this issue. Estherren gets to do a lot of movement, so there are a bunch of great panels. He doesn’t try for so much detail in his action panels, making them a lot more visceral. He goes for mood.

Redneck’s a good comic. It’s just darn annoying having to wait for the next issue.

CREDITS

Writer, Donny Cates; artist, Lisandro Estherren; colorist, Dee Cunniffe; letterer, Joe Sabino; editors, Arielle Basich and Jon Moisan; publisher, Image Comics.

Fu Jitsu #4 (December 2017)

Fu Jitsu #4

St. Claire’s art is feeling a little hurried this issue, but it’s still solid. And Fu Jitsu is still awesome. Nitz does this thing with quotes this issue. Every page there’s a text box with a quote. All sorts of sources, sometimes figuratively dealing with the page’s events, sometimes literally. It makes for a fantastic fight scene.

Because most of the issue is Wadlow fighting Fu Jitsu. Fu is in his kaiju-fighting giant robot. He’s got some tricks up his sleeve. Nitz has got some pop culture nods to make. Wadlow’s still got his goofy beard and atomic katana.

The quotes create the pace. Each page has to have something because it’s going to get a quote. That pace keeps the fight sequence going. It builds tension. Only Nitz keeps going with the quotes after the fight scene. He’s able to get a bunch of tension out of the soft cliffhanger build-up and it’s all because of the technical ability. There’s nothing in the story; Nitz is intentionally holding back.

And it’s fine. Fu Jitsu is like a present. Each issue is a new, welcome surprise.

CREDITS

Curse of the Atomic Katana, Part Four; writer, Jai Nitz; artist, Wesley St. Claire; colorist, Maria Santaolalla; letterer, Dave Sharpe; editor, Mike Marts; publisher, Aftershock Comics.

The Ruff & Reddy Show #3 (February 2018)

The Ruff & Reddy Show #3

This issue Ruff and Reddy are tragic and sweet and sympathetic. Meaning Chaykin has changed it up yet again. Three issues, three starts to the comic.

Unless the different approaches are just the gag. Maybe they’re just the point of the comic. We’ll get to the end and the story never gets started; Chaykin will have introduced at least three new subplots and dismissed six by then. There’s something like a subplot development this issue but it doesn’t work. Chaykin hasn’t been working on the subplot at all, so it’s just a cheap twist.

Maybe not even cheap. Cheap’s a determination. Chaykin’s not determined on Ruff & Reddy.

Rey still does quite well with the art. He’s drawing the same things over and over again, but he does them well. Chaykin puts more time into his one-panel talk show spoofs than he does the issue itself. Sorry. Sorry. I was trying to be positive about Rey’s art.

It’s not enough to keep this book going though. Reading it feels like more effort than Chaykin put into writing it.

CREDITS

A Cautionary Tale In Six Parts, Part Three; writer, Howard Chaykin; artist, Mac Rey; letterer, Ken Bruzenak; editors, Michael McCalister and Joey Cavalieri; publisher, DC Comics.

New Super-Man Vol. 2: Coming to America (2017)

New Super-Man Vol. 2: Coming to America

Coming to America collects six issues of New Super-Man. Three different two-parters. Coming to America is the middle one. No idea why they’d have picked it other than Eddie Murphy movie. It’s not the best of the two-parters. Might be the worst. Certainly does have the worst faces. Billy Tan pencils most of the issues, first and third arcs. Regular artist Viktor Bogdanovic does America and it’s lazy faces. No one has any personality in those issues. The expressions aren’t as bad as the lack of detail, but they’re not good. They made me–shudder–miss Tan (thinking he was Bogdanovic because I didn’t want New Super-Man to have art problems).

The middle story is also heavy on DC Rebirth continuity, which is a terribly mean thing to do. I want to avoid that nonsense like the plague. So having Lex and Superman Rebirth guest star doesn’t really do much for the comic. It’s kind of filler, just because writer Gene Luen Yang true desire seems to be introducing the New, Chinese Flash. And also because the relationship between Superman Rebirth and New Super-Man? There’s nothing special about it. It has no personality coming from either of them. Superman Rebirth is patient as Christ, New Super-Man is awestruck. Yawn.

But that brand crossover aside, everything else in Coming to America is a success for Yang. He doesn’t just build New Super-Man–Kenan–he also builds the other members of the JL China. Bat-Man and Wonder-Woman. They get this great arc together involving Bat-Man’s little sister and a nemesis. Excellent stuff. Yang seems to do better in pairs–Bat-Man and Wonder-Woman, then New Super-Man and New Flash.

The finale, which ends–quite frustratingly for a collection–on a big cliffhanger, has New Super-Man Zero returning. He’s the first attempt at a Chinese Super-Man and he’s far more powerful than Kenan. The real overarching story of this collection isn’t the Lex Luthor-funded trip to Metropolis, but Kenan’s relationship with his new mentor as he tries to unlock his superpowers. He’s got all the Superman powers, he just has a blocked qi. Once he’s able to unblock and properly channel his qi, Kenan gets some of the regular powers.

It seems like way too much of a plot device–which the artists integrate into the panels too, showing actual qi meters–but it always works out. Despite his obtuse arrogance, Kenan’s a great protagonist. His heart’s never too far away from the right place and the supporting cast ably brings him around.

Hopefully the art issues get resolved. Someone needs to tell Bogdanovic to slow down and take his time. Because, as distinct as Bogdanovic can be, the mood can be easily duplicated. Tan easily takes over the visuals on the comic. He’s more balanced than Bogdanovic, even if he’s bland. He’s consistent. Consistency is important.

Yang’s got a good pace throughout, he’s got a fantastic attention to character detail, he writes good action scenes. New Super-Man has it all.

CREDITS

Writer, Gene Luen Yang; pencillers, Billy Tan and Viktor Bogdanovic; inkers, Yanqiu Li, Haining, Jonathan Glapion, and Bogdanovic, and Tako Zhang; colorists, Yangfen Guo, Gadson, Michael Spicer, and Ying Zhan; letterer, Dave Sharpe; editors, Paul Kaminski and Eddie Berganza; publisher, DC Comics.

X-Men: Grand Design #1 (February 2018)

X-Men: Grand Design #1

Ed Piskor is credited as “cartoonist” in X-Men: Grand Design. I’m even sure, with the Internet, you can easily find out the last time someone got credited as a cartoonist in a Marvel book. Marvel is the antithesis of cartoonist books. Yet here we are.

With an X-Men comic no less. I should just get this statement out of the way. I can’t stand X-Men comics. Never have I ever. Because there’s always something wrong with the way the story’s being told (i.e. why has the third movie got better symbolism than anything else ever did but it still is crap). So. I’m going into this book not liking X-Men.

It’s unclear if the title’s going to be ironic. Grand Design is a comic book history of X-Men, the comic book. Piskor opens the book in “safe” Marvel territory with the Watcher. He’s telling his Iron Man-looking recorder android thing he needs to relate some history. It starts back in the forties with the Human Torch and Namor, which is pretty traditional Marvel Universe history stuff. It was in Marvels, right?

But then there are these Golden Age heroes tracking down Namor, which seems a little strange for a Golden Age story. Turns out it involves Professor X’s dad. Then there’s Captain America and Logan. And young Magneto. Only that scene never happened in a comic, it happened on a cartoon episode. Piskor’s taking all these terrible retcons and making them into what they never were, a grand design.

Wokka wokka. Or maybe Grand Design is just going to be Marvel’s branding for Piskor doing a history of The Avengers and then Spider-Man. Hint hint. Because Grand Design is something else. It’s making X-Men comics–their dumb continuity, stupid aliens, Professor X bickering with young Juggernaut, Jean Grey killing some dudes, whatever–it’s making X-Men literary. Through an amazing “cartoonist.” Piskor’s able to get about a scene a page. Professor X gets more, but they’re long sequences setting him up. Because if it’s the story of the X-Men, it’s the story of Professor X.

Only not really, because, it’s history. It’s a comic history of comics. And holy shit, it’s amazing.

Piskor’s sense of visual pacing for getting information across is unreal. He’ll go from broad summary to intense close-up–because he’s got a lot to cover. There’s Professor X, Bobby Drake, Magneto, Magneto’s kids, Jean a little, Scott, Hank. And it’s the “regular” origin and then, all of a sudden, it’s got these obvious retcons. Sometimes terrible details, but Piskor just fits them in. The storytelling style, how Piskor’s exposition reads–sorry, the Watcher’s–it’s dry, but with sympathy.

It’s a beautiful comic. Wonderful. I can’t wait until the next one, and the next one, and the next one. And then the hardcover. Because even if X-Men is goofy and often terrible, it can also be good. I think? I can’t remember. It’s pop culture now. X-Men has transcended enough. It’s just pop culture.

I can’t wait to see Piskor expertly, beautifully retell some lame X-Men comics. Wolverine and Scott are going to meet. There’s going to be Dazzler. Then there’s all that Morrison stuff I never got around to reading. And whatever the hell they’ve done since.

Holy shit.

What if Piskor makes me enjoy reading a Deadpool comic.

I can’t wait.

Assassinistas #1 (December 2017)

Assassinistas #1

I don’t know what I was expecting from Assassinistas. Beto Hernandez drawing a book about a team of eighties(?) female assassins, written by Tini Howard, who I’m unfamiliar with. It’s a Black Crown book from IDW, but I still wasn’t expecting the Black Crown Pub reference in it. There’s no pomp or pretense to having a Beto female assassins (including masked swordfighting assassins) comic, which is just another feather in imprint editor Shelly Bond’s cap. It’s just this comic.

The issue is simultaneously awkward and comfortable. Howard introduces the cast in flashback, then plays catch up with two of the three Assassinistas. Only it doesn’t seem like they’re the leads of the book, at least not all of them. Instead, it’s one of their kids, who has to drop out of college to “intern” with mom. He brings along his boyfriend; about a third of the comic is just their romance comic. Howard and Beto pace it calmly–the boys are the reader’s vantage point, not the assassins. The son, in particular, gets to do this passive commmentary on the whole concept of the book. What’s the human cost, et cetera, et cetera. It’s cool.

It’s very cool.

Because there’s still all the other stuff going on, there’s still all the retired assassins stuff, there’s still Beto doing an action comic.

I was expecting Assassinistas to be a solid comic, but this first issue implies it could be a lot more.

CREDITS

Dominic Prince and the Semester Abroad, Part One of Six; writer, Tini Howard; artist, Gilbert Hernandez; colorist, Rob Davis; letterer, Aditya Bidikar; editors, Chase Marotz and Shelly Bond; publisher, IDW Publishing.

Sherlock Frankenstein and the Legion of Evil 3 (December 2017)

Sherlock Frankenstein and the Legion of Evil #3

The only thing wrong with Sherlock Frankenstein is realizing it’s almost over. I don’t know why I thought it was six issues; just being hopeful, I guess.

Lucy’s investigation continues, even after someone has attacked her in the sanctuary. Real quick–apparently Black Hammer (the character) got his powers from the New Gods? I don’t think the New Gods and their planet were in Black Hammer. Maybe I’m wrong but… it seems like a fresh reveal.

Anyway, the investigation continues and Lucy makes a couple surprise discoveries. The first leads to a lovely scene from Lemire, who really gets to leave Hammer’s sadness aside when he writes Lucy. She’s got sadness, but it’s not that hopeless sadness. It’s a hopeful sort of sadness.

And that scene leads to the big reveal and the soft cliffhanger tag announcing the final issue. Boo, final issue. Yay, Sherlock Frankenstein.

Great art from Rubín, of course, including some fantastic double-page spreads. His little Lucy intro is great too.

CREDITS

Who is the Metal Minotaur?; writer, Jeff Lemire; artist, colorist, and letterer, David Rubín; editors, Cardner Clark and Daniel Chabon; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Copperhead 17 (December 2017)

Copperhead #17

Copperhead hasn’t exactly been lost since Faerber took the focus off Clara and expanded the existing supporting cast, then expanded new supporting cast, but it’s been kind of… not Copperhead. It’s been missing Clara.

Clara’s back, y’all. Clara’s back.

Even with the issue mostly juxtaposed against bad dad Clay out to kill Ishmael the good android and kidnap son Zeke–and Faerber working on two subplots–it’s basically a Clara issue. Because there’s some big backstory revelation (even bigger than the last reveal Faerber did a couple issues back) and it’s from Clara’s point of view. She even narrates some of it.

There are, as always, problems with Moss’s art. His composition is pretty spot on, which helps, especially once the action gets going, but the proportions are still inconsistent, the faces are still inconsistent.

The composition helps.

Copperhead keeps on going. Faerber keeps on getting through these story arcs, which sometimes seem a little unstable, and he gets them solid by the finish. Because Clara. It’s her book, after all.

CREDITS

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

Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: