Chronicles of Wormwood: The Last Battle 1 (September 2009)

Oscar Jimenez is not the right artist for Chronicles of Wormwood. He’s doing a Jacen Burrows (the original series’s artist) impression and it just doesn’t work. He doesn’t get the humor. He gets the scary, gross-out stuff, but not the humor. And there’s a lot of humor. Oh, there’s drama–lots of drama. Jesus is getting better, Danny’s going to have a baby, he and Jimmy are fighting since Danny’s moved his girlfriend in… but there’s a lot of humor. I mean, Jimmy is a foul-mouthed, horny rabbit, how can there not be humor? Instead of dropping the cast in an … Continue reading Chronicles of Wormwood: The Last Battle 1 (September 2009)

Chronicles of Wormwood: The Last Enemy (November 2007)

I can’t figure out what they were thinking with The Last Enemy. It’s an epilogue to the series, basically resetting Danny’s personal life and making room for a new villain. No telling if the new villain will be as hilarious as Pope Jacko though. The most striking thing about it is Rob Steen. He does this terrible Jacen Burrows impression. I can’t believe they’d go from Burrows to Steen. Steen draws everyone short. I guess he probably draws Jimmy (the rabbit) all right. Ennis is also sort of phoning it in. There’s not a lot of blasphemy here, but there … Continue reading Chronicles of Wormwood: The Last Enemy (November 2007)

Chronicles of Wormwood 6 (July 2007)

Ennis winds things up relatively quietly. There’s no return of the various supporting cast members—Joan of Arc doesn’t get a cameo, neither does Danny’s ex-girlfriend—instead, it’s just God, the Devil, the Anti-Christ and Jesus. Oh, and the talking bunny rabbit. So it’s an intimate affair, lots of dialogue, a little sleight of hand. The problem with the issue—the first half, anyway—is the color scheme. It takes place in Hell, or at least a plain in limbo, and at night. It’s hard to make much out. Burrows’s art does come through, even the part when the reader needs to pay very … Continue reading Chronicles of Wormwood 6 (July 2007)

Chronicles of Wormwood 5 (June 2007)

And here’s where Vertigo could have made more sensational news than in its entire history… Ennis’s God is a compulsive masturbator. I’d forgotten. Burrows really captures the full page reveal beautifully, as well as Jimmy’s reaction to it. There’s a bunch of great scenes this issue (as usual). Whether it’s Danny beating Judas to death or running into his ex-girlfriend, Ennis is on the top of his game. The ex-girlfriend scene is touching and sensitive and good writing. The Judas scene is a little different. Ennis sets Judas up as an unrepentant jerk (which sort of sells Wormwood a little … Continue reading Chronicles of Wormwood 5 (June 2007)

Chronicles of Wormwood 4 (June 2007)

Ennis is clearly gearing things up here for the finish, which is appropriate, I suppose, as he is in the second half of the series. The beginning is more of the boys in Hell on their road trip (Jay eventually gets sick) while Satan and Pope Jacko hang out and try to figure out how to get armageddon started. There’s a lot of expository dialogue here from Satan about the history of Christianity. Ennis pulls it off, but he’s basically just on a soap box. It works… it’s just obvious. Then the boys get back to New York and Ennis … Continue reading Chronicles of Wormwood 4 (June 2007)

Chronicles of Wormwood 3 (April 2007)

There’s a bunch of funny stuff this issue—the trip to Heaven has a great punchline—and Ennis gets in an unexpected Marvelman nod…. But for the first time, in his comic about the LAPD beating in half of Jesus’s head and the Anti-Christ being a pretty good guy all around, Ennis starts to get a little disturbing. His images of Hell, which Jacen Burrows handles without aggrandizing, are incredibly disturbing. Ennis knows how to turn the screws without a lot of effort. Then the finale brings things a little more humorous—with Pope Jacko and Satan teaming up—but it’s not enough to … Continue reading Chronicles of Wormwood 3 (April 2007)

Chronicles of Wormwood 2 (February 2007)

Ennis gets downright playful with the way he uses narrative in this issue. It’s a relatively simple move, but it focuses the reader on the page for a determined amount of time, regardless of how fast he or she usually reads. It’s a nice little trick. The issue opens with Danny bickering with his father—his father being Satan—juxtaposed with the Catholic Church’s latest problem. The Church has gone and made a “red-blooded Australian” Pope and Pope Jacko is a fantastic foil for the story. Of course, so far, he has nothing to do with Danny, he’s just over in Vatican … Continue reading Chronicles of Wormwood 2 (February 2007)

Chronicles of Wormwood 1 (January 2007)

Stop me if you’ve heard this one… Jesus and the Anti-Christ are sitting in a bar and…. And there’s the pitch for Chronicles of Wormwood. While Ennis does, on occasional, embrace his readers in terms of giving them something not just profound and good but also entertaining, Wormwood takes it to another level. It’s funny, it’s sad, it’s contemporary. It’s got some filthy jokes and it’s got a talking bunny rabbit. It’s Garth Ennis talking about pop culture geeks and pop culture production. I’ve read Wormwood before, of course, but I don’t think last time I realized how he’s talking … Continue reading Chronicles of Wormwood 1 (January 2007)

Neonomicon 4 (February 2011)

It’s an imaginative conclusion and it’s… okay. It’s beneath Moore, sure, and I’m sorry he took such a—there’s no other word for it—fan-fic way out. But it’s okay. It doesn’t quite make having reread The Courtyard worth it but he comes really close with it. Moore kind of takes something one might think is completely unsuited for the graphic form and turns it into a comic book. The issue ends with talking heads and it kills the issue’s momentum. The characters explain everything in expository dialogue. If this series were something Moore actually cared about, he’d have spent the issue … Continue reading Neonomicon 4 (February 2011)

Neonomicon 3 (October 2010)

How delayed was this book? And it reads in three or four minutes? Here’s where Moore’s either going to go someplace interesting or he’s going to go the Avatar place…. This issue introduces this awesome possibility for the story, totally different than where the previous issue led it. And, of course, it could all just be a red herring because it does make the reader care about the protagonist and her survival. Usually, I just assume Moore’s going to do the right thing. With Neonomicon, with an Avatar book… one he wrote for tax money… it’s not clear. Burrows’s art … Continue reading Neonomicon 3 (October 2010)

Neonomicon 2 (August 2010)

Is Moore trying to prove some kind of point? It’s a little strange seeing Jacen Burrows do an actual Moore script, by the way. I’m used to far more finished artists. Anyway… this issue is split basically in two. The first half is Moore doing Lovecraftian fan-fiction. It turns out Neonomicon isn’t set in Lovecraft fiction, it’s about Lovecraft’s fiction. Actually, it’s about what inspired Lovecraft. And there’s where Moore checks out intellectually. It’s the kind of thing one might except from a far lesser writer… but it’s clear Moore’s just cashing the check and moving things along and it’s … Continue reading Neonomicon 2 (August 2010)

Neonomicon 1 (July 2010)

Now, I think Moore said in an interview he did this comic to pay for some back taxes. It shows, but it’s Alan Moore writing a comic for a paycheck so it still has a good level of competency… if not imagination. About a quarter of the issue—which is mostly dialogue, as I guess Moore didn’t want to think too hard—recaps The Courtyard. Coming seven years later, I guess it’s good Avatar reprints it all the time because it’s a direct sequel. The settings are mostly the same, the cast returns. Moore has time for some mildly gross humor. Some … Continue reading Neonomicon 1 (July 2010)

Alan Moore’s The Courtyard 2 (February 2003)

Ah, I misremembered. I thought this issue ended with an insanely graphic scene. It doesn’t, it’s all implied… which means on the second reading (or whatever) it’s a lot less intense. There are three or four double-page spreads here, so I guess Burrows does get to do some work. It’s good he gets to do them, even if they’re gross, because the rest of the issue is pretty boring. It’s mostly scene work, but he’s stuck with the two panels a page and it really doesn’t work for someone walking up a flight of stairs. The Lovecraft reference—the Cthulhu name-dropping—is … Continue reading Alan Moore’s The Courtyard 2 (February 2003)

Alan Moore’s The Courtyard 1 (January 2003)

Not having read Alan Moore’s original short story… I have to wonder if Antony Johnston added all the racial slurs to make The Courtyard seem more “authentic.” I’ve read the comic before (so I remember the big reveal)—I did not remember, however, the titular courtyard doesn’t even show up until the second issue—but it was probably before I’d read Moore talk about comic book writing. Besides the center spread, Jacen Burrows splits every page into two long panels. Johnston includes the text; again, whether it’s his or Moore’s is unclear. Burrows’s artwork is good, but The Courtyard doesn’t really give … Continue reading Alan Moore’s The Courtyard 1 (January 2003)

Robocop: Wild Child 1 (January 2005)

What can I possibly say about this comic book? This partial comic book (it only runs twelve or thirteen pages, though Avatar charge three bucks for it). It barely features Robocop and does so in what I assume was going to be the Avatar Robocop continuity, which never got off the ground (the company, OCP, is in ruins, the cops are on strike–Robocop and Lewis are the only two working cops). It’s a deep dark secret from the past coming into the present story, only the exact nature of the secret is never clear. A relative of Lewis’s returns to … Continue reading Robocop: Wild Child 1 (January 2005)

Robocop: Killing Machine 1 (August 2004)

Avatar was charging three bucks for twelve pages of story? When’s Marvel going to get on that bandwagon? Amusingly enough, Killing Machine‘s about the best Robocop story I’ve read from them. It’s just a simple adventure of Robocop. It establishes its ground situation, it aggravates the situation, it just works. More, there’s even some actual character stuff with Robocop and Lewis. The artist, Ricardo, he draws a lousy Robocop, way too cartoonish, nowhere near enough detail (or height, Ricardo draws a short Robocop). But other than Robocop–and the evil robot, which I’m pretty sure is actually a Spider Slayer (Marvel … Continue reading Robocop: Killing Machine 1 (August 2004)