Jimmy’s Bastards #8 (May 2018)

Jimmy's Bastards #8

There’s one more Jimmy’s Bastards after this one. It only runs nine. Thank goodness.

The series has been a littly wobbly–though sometimes a lot wobbly–and, as Ennis prepares for the finale, it’s finally stabilized. Sure, Jimmy’s still extremely upset and emotionally distressed and in his pajamas (not to mention bringing his puppy) but he’s in motion. It helps.

His partner, who somehow manages to be a perfectly good character and deserving of more page-time… well, her name still doesn’t stick in the noggin. Nancy. Nancy tries to bring the old Jimmy back while she steps up to save the day.

Unfortunately, she’s not the hero so the plot twists don’t go in her favor.

Some great art from Braun, like, you forget how good Braun’s art can be and then there’s an issue like this one. Just great action art, great movement, great expressions.

And Ennis keeps the train running. It’s always compelling, especially since there’s only one more left. I was terrified he was going to go straight into another story arc instead.

CREDITS

Go Full Villain; writer, Garth Ennis; artist, Russ Braun; colorist, John Kalisz; letterer, Rob Steen; editor, Mike Marts; publisher, AfterShock Comics.

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Jimmy’s Bastards #7 (March 2018)

Jimmy's Bastards #7

Jimmy’s Bastards ran the risk of going on too long, with Ennis running out of story in the first arc. If it’s an arc. The first six issues. But with issue #7 he seems to have things moving again. Jimmy’s back in the game, albeit slowly, as he’s got to deal with the institutionalization thing.

And Nancy gets a bunch to do on her own.

Still way too much with the offspring, who aren’t anywhere near as diverting as the amount of pages Ennis dedicates to them suggests. Everything with the kids feels like filler, until there’s action, then it’s at least that awesome Braun action.

The book’s not spectacular or anything (and never–or rarely–has been to this point), but it’s certainly in better shape than I thought it’d be at this point. Ennis does have a continuation in mind; I’d just assumed he was dragging things out.

At least he’s got Braun on the art. Braun makes up for a lot.

CREDITS

I Never Get Tired of That Sound; writer, Garth Ennis; artist, Russ Braun; colorist, John Kalisz; letterer, Rob Steen; editor, Mike Marts; publisher, AfterShock Comics.

Fu Jitsu #5 (February 2018)

Fu Jitsu #5

It’s a fine finish to the arc, which then turns out to be the series. For now. Apparently Aftershock is being conservative in how many issues they give a series. So Fu Jitsu comes to its end. Hopefully to return.

Nitz and St. Claire do almost an issue-long fight scene between Fu and his nemesis, Wadlow. Rachel, Fu’s android ex-lover, cheers Fu on. She also tells him a big secret, which gives the story some immediate layers as the showdown between Fu and Wadlow goes on.

It’s a fast, surprising, smart comic. St. Claire’s art is good–the visuals on Fu’s kung fu and all the mystical but science tech are cool. Nitz knows how to write the talking fight scene too, the adversarial banter.

If it weren’t for the warning there might not be any more Fu Jitsu, even with a more serious than expected finish, the comic would go out swimmingly. Nitz includes a teaser, presumably to encourage interest in a second series, but it’s way too extra.

Other than that inclusion, Fu Jitsu #5 is everything it should be.

CREDITS

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

Jimmy’s Bastards #6 (January 2018)

Jimmy's Bastards #6

Jimmy’s Bastards #6 is all about the true horror of the Bastards’ plan. It breaks Jimmy. His partner tries to get him out of his funk–Jimmy’s gone nonverbal–can she do it in time to save the day?

Ennius juxtaposes her well-drawn but tedious visit to the mental hospital with flashbacks to Jimmy’s discovery of the aforementioned true horror.

Ennius does all right with the partner’s monologuing. Not great but definitely all right.

The problem is it’s a stretch issue. It’s issue six, it’s time for Jimmy’s Bastards to wrap up and instead we’re just going into the second arc. Worse, what if the series is planned for twelve and Ennius has paced it so poorly. Everything in Bastards is thin, everyone is caricature; Ennis doesn’t go for character development in this book, he goes for sight gags.

Sometimes exceptionally gross ones.

It’s been difficult to maintain enthusiasm for this book, despite it sometimes being good and usually being better than mediocre (Ennis mediocre being much better than most other mediocres). And now he’s dragging it out? Bastards is on the brink of exasperating.

Great Braun art, though. At least one beautiful–horrifying–double-page spread.

CREDITS

The Laughing Academy; writer, Garth Ennis; artist, Russ Braun; colorist, Guy Major; letterer, Rob Steen; editor, Mike Marts; publisher, AfterShock 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.

Fu Jitsu 3 (November 2017)

Fu Jitsu #3

Nitz and St. Claire do a really fun flashback issue. Fu Jitsu when he was in a sixties spy duo, doing jobs for JFK. It’s cute. And it keeps being cute.

Fu narrates the flashback, recounting a previous meeting with evil Robert Wadlow, tallest man on earth. Fu’s kung fu powers are able to save the day, regardless of his silly cross between Robin and a newsboy costume. It’s nice to see Nitz confident enough in the Fu Jitsu concept to start exporing this early. There’s a closing bookend to bring the action to the present, because the flashback itself doesn’t lay any groundwork for it. Past Fu knowing Wadlow.

Nitz doesn’t have Fu narrate his history with Wadlow, he has him narrate his own history. It’s got broader expository goals, which means Nitz gets to do the interesting details with history. Fu was away from the planet for WWII, hence the technology improvements.

It’s cool. It’s well-thoughtout and it’s cool.

St. Claire’s art is good but the image filter they do to make the comic look retro doesn’t work. St. Claire’s panel layout isn’t early sixties. It pays quick homage, then moves on. The filter, unfortunately, remains.

CREDITS

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

Jimmy’s Bastards 5 (November 2017)

Jimmy's Bastards #5

And there you have it, don’t count Ennis out, not even on Jimmy’s Bastards.

It’s been a rocky series and this issue’s probably just another peak, but it’s a good peak. It’s beautifully paced, it’s funny, it’s dry. The Britishness comes through.

The issue’s all action. Regent’s doing things and Nancy’s doing things. Bloodshed and dead Regent offspring ensue.

But what does a good issue of Jimmy’s Bastards mean? It doesn’t mean the comic’s saved. It’s been too rocky. When Ennis is on for a series, he tends to be on for it. At least by issue five. Bastards is an ongoing, which is concerning enough for Ennis these days, but one without a clear point? Well, it’s hard to get invested in the comic again. Beyond reading it, enjoying it, appreciating it. Anticipating it is out.

Which is fine.

Good art as always from Braun, including a great double-page spread of Nancy’s skydive landing. The book’s fine, with some standout issues, it’s just not consistent.

CREDITS

Better Get the Puppy; writer, Garth Ennis; artist, Russ Braun; colorist, Guy Major; letterer, Rob Steen; editor, Mike Marts; publisher, AfterShock Comics.

Fu Jitsu 2 (October 2017)

Fu Jitsu #2

Nitz dumps information here. Just piles it on the reader, page after page. Fu isn’t just heart-broken over Rachel, his ex-girlfriend, she’s an android he created who fell in love with him and then out of it. She can shape shift (basically–it’s holographic something or another). They bicker as they try to save the world.

Fu’s enemy, Wadlow, has taken over the world. President Orrin Hatch surrenders to him–and typing those words just took a few years off my life–and the rest of the world capitulates easy. No one can stand up to his doomsday weapon. He wants to find Fu, but can’t, so he gets all of Fu’s enemies to hunt him down.

There’s a big fight scene at the end, with one big surprise, which Nitz and St. Claire admirably execute without fanfare, and then it’s cliffhanger.

Fu Juitsu is still in solid shape. This issue is just a lot, even though the story didn’t really go anywhere.

CREDITS

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

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.

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