God Is Dead 1 (August 2013)

God Is Dead is godawful. The comic’s concept is simple–the ancient, mythological gods return to Earth in the present day and wreck havoc. Zeus, Odin (writers Jonathan Hickman and Mike Costa are gleeful in their Norse god usage, presumably to stick a finger up at Marvel and Thor), the Egyptian gods, the Aztec god… no Native American spirits, however. The execution is hideous. There’s a human resistance movement, of course. The resistance is the smart people but there are only five of them. One’s a cute, acerbic witted girl. Got to have her. The lead’s apparently the new member of … Continue reading God Is Dead 1 (August 2013)

The Extinction Parade 2 (August 2013)

Oh, the two lead girls–and the sidekick doesn’t die yet, Brooks is holding off on it–are East Asian. It wasn’t clear last issue. I guess Caceres’s art failings do have more repercussions than I thought. This issue is entirely in summary. It reads really fast, Brooks narrating from his female protagonist’s perspective. He opens with this inane contradiction about how the rise of the middle class and technology has made it harder for a vampire to hunt because people’s absences go noticed easier. My first thought was all the poor people in the world… then he actually double backs and … Continue reading The Extinction Parade 2 (August 2013)

The Extinction Parade 1 (May 2013)

The Extinction Parade has such a timely gimmick I can’t believe no one got to it already–vampires versus zombies. Even though writer Max Brooks doesn’t do the full reveal here, he’s pacing himself obviously, it’s pretty obvious. While zombies don’t eat vampires, if zombies do overrun the planet, vampires will have nothing to feed on. All the humans will be gone. Shame that. Brooks’s protagonist is an exotically named female vampire. She’s ages old (he’ll probably reveal more of her backstory, along with the rare vampire breeding process he hints at, later on) and a decent protagonist. She’s got a … Continue reading The Extinction Parade 1 (May 2013)

Fashion Beast 10 (May 2013)

What a bad last issue. Poor Percio ends up doing something like four to eight panels a page to get all the story done and he doesn’t work well under pressure. Lots and lots of loose art. There’s a fight scene at the climax. A pointless one. Actually, wait, most of this issue is pointless. Then there’s the goofy finish. In his adapting, somehow Johnston has drained everything good about Fashion Beast–as a comic–and instead puts forward this terribly done mimic of a movie. Lots of the problems–probably all of them–are from the original script and plot. Moore doesn’t get … Continue reading Fashion Beast 10 (May 2013)

Fashion Beast 9 (April 2013)

Well, Tomboy finally gets a proper name. But no lines. Lines aren’t important for anyone but the evil ladies working the clothes factory this issue. And the custodian girl gets a few scenes. It’s odd how Johnston brings things together from the first issue in the ninth. His sequential adaptation of the script is terrible on the technical level. Lots of time passes this issue, with definite description–six weeks; it feels the like a comic for the most part, like this portion of Moore’s original script lends itself best to the format. It’s too bad it’s not a good issue. … Continue reading Fashion Beast 9 (April 2013)

Fashion Beast 8 (March 2013)

More problems. Doll goes back to her old neighborhood and Tomboy shows her how everything has changed. Only Johnston–and Moore, he doesn’t get off the hook for this one–never showed how it was when Doll was there. There’s no passage of time; Doll could have been a model for a couple weeks, a couple months or a year. Since Johnston and Moore never established the ground situation or how much time has passed since the beginning of Fashion Beast, it’s hard to say. The lengthy tour with Tomboy explaining why functional fashion is better is trying. It’s Moore’s second big … Continue reading Fashion Beast 8 (March 2013)

Fashion Beast 7 (February 2013)

Percio gets Fashion Beast’s most thankless task… trying to make the characters act. With Johnston sticking to Moore’s dialogue and apparently unwilling to make it fit the comic medium better, Percio’s actually the one who has to make it work. This issue features the boss–the titular beast–unintentionally (one assumes) flirting with Doll. So Percio has to illustrate his desire, her confusion and then her enthusiasm to it. All while the dialogue works against that reading; it’s a subtext and it’d be fine if it were acted, but comics don’t do well with subtext. Especially not with Johnston involved. The result … Continue reading Fashion Beast 7 (February 2013)

Fashion Beast 6 (January 2013)

The next big twist is predictable. It just had to work out the way it does–I guess there was one other alternative but Moore and company had done enough with gender. It makes the majority of the issue sort of superfluous. The real moment comes at the end when Doll becomes the protagonist again. Tomboy doesn’t show up the entire issue, which is a good thing for it too. Johnston hasn’t been letting Fashion Beast breath. He’s been putting things too close together. This issue is a talking heads one and there’s only so much space with it. For once, … Continue reading Fashion Beast 6 (January 2013)

Fashion Beast 5 (December 2012)

And this issue has another big twist. It’s hard to guess whether there are any more coming up or if the big surprises only come before the halfway mark. It’s hard to see where Fashion Beast is going in general. This issue has a handful of conversations, the bridging pages and not much else. But very little has actually happened. One of the big incidents this issue is actually something I assumed had already been resolved. Maybe Johnston isn’t allowed to add dialogue; a film script isn’t a comic script, after all. There’s no forced pacing to the comic, which … Continue reading Fashion Beast 5 (December 2012)

Fashion Beast 4 (November 2012)

Besides Moore’s dialogue, the issue’s got nothing going. It’s four conversations with Johnston inserting filler between them. Doll and Tomboy argue about the outfit. Doll ends up seeing the boss about it. Tomboy and the custodian girl–who was supposed to be fired at the end of the first issue, I thought–have quick conversation, then Doll and Tomboy have another one. Once again, Percio does wonders with Doll’s expressions. He doesn’t do as well with Tomboy, who sort of takes over the issue. But the dialogue is all fantastic so it plays quite well. Johnston is very reductive in his adaptation. … Continue reading Fashion Beast 4 (November 2012)

Fashion Beast 3 (October 2012)

Ah ha, big plot twist this issue. Wonder if I should even mention it. No. The comic picks up from last issue with Doll running away from the mean lesbian (who doesn’t even have a name–her t-shirt says Tomboy so maybe it’s the most concise moniker) and getting beat up by protestors. People starving in the streets, slowly dying from radiation in the atmosphere… they’re not thrilled with the fashion industry. Then comes the big twist and Doll returning to the fashion factory, where things work out all right for her. Percio does a fantastic job with the expressions for … Continue reading Fashion Beast 3 (October 2012)

Fashion Beast 2 (September 2012)

See, there you go, I had no idea the protagonist–her name’s Doll–worked at a nightclub. I thought she was working for the fashion guy, but no. Big fail from Johnston on that one. This issue is a lot better than the last one, with most of the issue having Moore dialogue. There’s a nice expository opening–with people on the street filling the reader in on the ground situation–before Doll finally ends up at the fashion place. Giving a transgender girl a masculine lesbian for a nemesis is a little odd, especially since not everyone is mean, just the villain fashion … Continue reading Fashion Beast 2 (September 2012)

Fashion Beast 1 (August 2012)

Given how much effort Alan Moore puts into his comic scripts–instructions to the artist for each panel, for example–one can easily tell he’s not writing Fashion Beast. Antony Johnston is–I assume–using Moore’s dialogue, but who knows what kind of instruction he’s giving artist Facundo Percio. Did Johnston actually tell Percio to waste about a third of the issue on montage shots? Once the comic gets going, it’s pretty good. The protagonist–at this point–seems to be a transgender girl who works as a coat check girl for the poshest fashion designer in a dystopian city. Percio’s visuals for the city are … Continue reading Fashion Beast 1 (August 2012)

Chronicles of Wormwood: The Last Battle 6 (August 2011)

If this series had end credits, “With a Little Help from My Friends” would play over them. Ennis should call the next series The Wonder Years. And there should be a third series, because for all my cynicism, Ennis does the impossible and leaves this Wormwood with more potential than he did the first series. To get the trick done, of course, Ennis does have to show his cards. Turns out he’s been playing them extremely close to the chest. The cliffhanger resolution and the big reveal in this issue are deftly done. They even open up recollections of the … Continue reading Chronicles of Wormwood: The Last Battle 6 (August 2011)

Chronicles of Wormwood: The Last Battle 5 (October 2010)

Ennis is a cruel dude. He becomes up with one of the better cliffhangers I can think of in the comic book medium, just because it plays with the reader’s hopes for the characters and his or her affection for them, but it doesn’t do anything dangerous so to speak. Great cliffhanger (shame Jimenez isn’t up to par with it). Otherwise, the comic is nearly sweet. It opens with Wormwood and his girlfriend having a heartfelt, then funny conversation. They’re hoping they can keep up the humor once they’ve got the baby. It’s touching, so Ennis later goes the other … Continue reading Chronicles of Wormwood: The Last Battle 5 (October 2010)

Chronicles of Wormwood: The Last Battle 4 (June 2010)

Ennis is definitely building to the conclusion. He’s put a character in danger, he’s raised the stakes with Wormwood… he’s even giving Jay a lot to do. At this point, none of it feels rushed. In fact, the issue is kind of long in the tooth with Pope Jacko’s insights into being damned. It’s a fine enough scene and Ennis comes up with some great details, but it’s pointless. Jimenez doesn’t bring any funny business to it and so it’s plodding exposition. Where the issue succeeds is in Wormwood and Jay’s scenes. Ennis gets to be playful with the rules–Wormwood … Continue reading Chronicles of Wormwood: The Last Battle 4 (June 2010)

Chronicles of Wormwood: The Last Battle 3 (February 2010)

What the heck is Ennis doing? He’s half done with Last Battle and he’s maybe a quarter done with the story he’s trying. Unless he ends the universe. If he ends the universe I’m going to be very, very angry. Worries aside, it’s another strong issue. It’s mostly Wormwood dealing with Jimmy outing himself in front of the girlfriend, in a very, very funny scene. But all the impending fatherhood business–and here’s where Ennis is genius–raises the issue of whether Ennis himself is expecting. It doesn’t matter if he is or not, the issue raises the question of whether he … Continue reading Chronicles of Wormwood: The Last Battle 3 (February 2010)

Chronicles of Wormwood: The Last Battle 2 (October 2009)

Jimenez’s lack of humor hurts this issue too. Ennis brings back a very funny character and Jimenez can’t balance the humor and the horror. I mean, Ennis brings the character back from Hell so it’s got to be a little disturbing, but to lose the humor is a mistake. Otherwise, the issue sails by. Wormwood is having father-to-be issues, which Ennis handles with equal parts comedy and drama. He really brings humanity to the Antichrist. Then Wormwood has a rough talk with his girlfriend, another place Jimenez fails. He doesn’t make her distinct at all. The only problem with the … Continue reading Chronicles of Wormwood: The Last Battle 2 (October 2009)