Maestros 3 (December 2017)

Maestros #3

Skroce moves Maestros along faster than expected. He resolves his cliffhangers, he sets up for his next plot point, he moves through it, he repeats a couple times, he sets up his new cliffhangers. It’s awesome pacing, actually. Even though Skroce’s artwork on Maestros is breathtaking–especially in this issue, where he gets to do disaster and war action–his writing is rather strong as well.

Sure, it’s villains scheming writing, but it’s good villains scheming. He plays with some familiar tropes–the evil elf guy seems like every fantasy villain for the last twenty years–while still keeping it fresh. Only some of it is because Willy the Maestro is from Earth and not Fantasyland, but a lot of it is Skroce’s design of Fantasyland and its denizens.

There are good twists, some of the characters are getting more established–Skroce hasn’t established a firm cast list yet so it’s hard to get too invested–and it looks gorgeous. Maestros is getting better with each issue.

CREDITS

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

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The Damned 6 (December 2017)

The Damned #6

Not only is Eddie’s baby brother back, this story arc of The Damned has the same title as the lackluster second series–Prodigal Sons.

Except now it’s great. Because Bunn’s learned how to do his exposition. He’s learned how to pace it, he’s learned what Hurtt does best and how to enable the best possible result. Damned has this easy visual flow, even when it’s disturbing subject matter; there’s only so much danger for protagonist Eddie, but there’s always only so much sympathy for him.

Damned is often fairly bright for noir, yet Bunn’s able to keep that distance from Eddie. The reader’s only so invested in Eddie as protagonist. There are a lot of forces moving around him–demons in this issue–who control things far more than he does. Or can even imagine. Eddie’s not a narrator but his unreliability extends to the reader… it’s impossible to get too worked up about him.

That being said, it’s easy to get worked up about the poor saps Eddie brings into his life, like his palooka brother. The brother, a giant boxer longshoreman type, is played sweet and innocent. He can handle himself in a fight against demons, but he’s a nice guy. Nothing like Eddie. So part of Damned is hoping Eddie isn’t screwing over the people you like.

And knowing there’s little chance he isn’t.

It’s such a good book. And Hurtt’s art is spectacular.

CREDITS

Prodigal Sons, Chapter 1; writer, Cullen Bunn; artist, Brian Hurtt; colorist, Bill Crabtree; letterer, Chris Crank; editors, Charlie Chu and Desiree Wilson; publisher, Oni Press.

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