Sons of Anarchy 23 (July 2013)

Sons of Anarchy #23

This issue of Sons of Anarchy doubles down on everything wrong about the comic.

Not wrong about it overall, but wrong in terms of the creative direction of the book. For example, Bergara doesn’t take enough time with the panels, so what’s this issue’s solution? Over-stylize him. It feels like a spoof of “Miami Vice” at times. The heavy stylization doesn’t even try to hide the lack of detail in the art.

And Ferrier’s script brings in the IRA, because it’s actually a comic book from the past. It’s set in the late 1980s, early 1990s when you just brought the IRA into something so you could have a familiar looking guest star but nothing too exotic. Only it’s a comic book and doing a gimmick like IRA vs. SAMCRO is astoundingly unimaginative.

There’s actually some decent stuff with one guy in a trailer park. Everything else is crap.

CREDITS

Writer, Ryan Ferrier; artist, Matías Bergara; colorist, Paul Little; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Mary Gumport and Dafna Pleban; publisher, Boom! Studios.

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Sons of Anarchy 22 (June 2015)

Sons of Anarchy #22

For the first time since he took over writing the book, Ferrier delivers a good Sons of Anarchy script. He doesn’t waste too much time with his new character–the obnoxious club prospect who turns on them–and he gives everyone else enough to do. He actually works on Jax’s character, which is cool.

Unfortunately, Bergara’s art is just as inappropriate as always. It seems like a Saturday morning cartoon, not a gritty comic book. There’s lots of blood this issue, but lots of blood not a comic book make. The prospect looks like mean Archie, everyone else looks slightly goofy. It’s like Bergara’s saying not to take the comic too seriously and not the sentiment one needs while reading it.

Ferrier’s moves are quite good once the issue gets going–so good it’s almost possible to overlook the art problems–and it ends well. Except the art, of course.

CREDITS

Writer, Ryan Ferrier; artist, Matías Bergara; colorist, Paul Little; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Mary Gumport and Dafna Pleban; publisher, Boom! Studios.

Sons of Anarchy 21 (May 2015)

Sons of Anarchy #21

It’s a better issue but still not a distinguished one. Ferrier treats the characters a little like cattle. He has them stand around, he has them go crazy, but he never gives the impression they’re anything but what he needs them to be for the story.

The issue ends in about the same place as it begins, which is odd. Even though there are exciting moments throughout the issue, by looping around, Ferrier just makes the reader wonder why the issue was necessary. And the reader should never be left wondering why something is necessary.

Bergara’s art is improving. It’s still too exaggerated and cartoony at times, but it’s definitely improving. In many ways, especially with the flat ending, it’s more successful this time out than the writing.

Sons is better this issue than last, but the series is still in trouble. Ferrier just doesn’t have a feel for it.

CREDITS

Writer, Ryan Ferrier; artist, Matías Bergara; colorist, Paul Little; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Mary Gumport and Dafna Pleban; publisher, Boom! Studios.

Sons of Anarchy 20 (April 2015)

Sons of Anarchy #20

Ferrier’s second issue as writer is better than his first, but it’s still got a lot of problems. He gives the SAMCRO club a nemesis in this dopey little punk, who Bergara draws like an Archie character. It’s weird.

The insider turned villain thing isn’t new, not even with the setup Ferrier’s using; it’s been in Avengers, it’s been in Justice League. It’s a team book comic trope. So Ferrier’s turned Sons of Anarchy into a team book. Swell. Maybe if Boom! embraced it they could do their heads in the top left corner of the cover.

(I’d actually love to see that).

It’s okay on those terms. As a licensed property, one questionably comic-ready, it’s fine to turn Sons of Anarchy into a team comic book. With slightly cartoon-y art from Bergara.

And Ferrier’s subplots are good. But they’re just dressing on the bland, familiar main plot.

CREDITS

Writer, Ryan Ferrier; artist, Matías Bergara; colorist, Paul Little; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Mary Gumport and Dafna Pleban; publisher, Boom! Studios.

Sons of Anarchy 19 (March 2015)

Sons of Anarchy #19

On his first issue, it’s clear new writer Ryan Ferrier doesn’t have handle on Sons of Anarchy. He’s got Bergara on the art, which doesn’t exactly help him. Bergara has a few more really good panels this issue than I was expecting, but he doesn’t bring anything to the book overall.

And it’s not clear what Ferrier’s trying to do. The Sons bring in a new member who screws up a deal. There are problems and there will be more problems, there’s just not any tension. It’s also strange how the kid gets inducted; maybe because Ferrier doesn’t even write new dialogue for the scene, just recycles stuff from earlier.

Sons has had a really good run; it’s possible Ferrier is just finding his footing but it sure doesn’t bode well for the series’s future. It’s an unworkable combination of too ambitious and not ambitious enough, which is too bad.

CREDITS

Writer, Ryan Ferrier; artist, Matías Bergara; colorist, Paul Little; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Mary Gumport and Dafna Pleban; publisher, Boom! Studios.

Sons of Anarchy 18 (February 2015)

Sons of Anarchy #18

It’s an okay flashback issue from Brisson and Bergara. It might have more meaning if one is familiar with the “Sons of Anarchy” television program, not just the comic book. I don’t even remember the protagonist of this issue–Happy–having much to do in the comic overall.

In this issue, set in the eighties, he goes to prison and goes a little crazy and runs off and joins SAMCRO. Brisson does reasonably well making the character sympathetic, but he’s never likable. He’s just surrounded by bigger jerks, not necessarily more dangerous ones. Brisson doesn’t have time to explore that aspect of the story, which is too bad. It’s more interesting than the plot.

Some of that interest problem is because of Bergara. His scenes set in prison come off like Archie In Oz just because the faces are too genial. Works against the mood.

And the ending’s too rushed.

CREDITS

Writer, Ed Brisson; artist, Matías Bergara; colorist, Paul Little; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Mary Gumport and Dafna Pleban; publisher, Boom! Studios.

Sons of Anarchy 17 (January 2015)

Sons of Anarchy #17

Every third or fourth issue of Sons of Anarchy, I write something about how it’s amazing what Brisson is doing with this licensed title, especially one about bikers, which doesn’t seem the most natural fit for a comic.

I need to change up that practice as of now.

Sons of Anarchy is the best book people aren’t reading. What Brisson does this issue in terms of narrative plotting–executing a bunch of little twists to turn the book from a talking heads to a montage to an action story–is exceptional. And Bergara’s art is essential too. So much happens and he fits it all in.

Brisson is committed to not let Anarchy be disposable. The issue he and Bergara create here is fun, tough, subtle. And Brisson plots it out as only a comic can be plotted out.

He’s using a licensed comic to advertise the medium’s unique strengths.

CREDITS

Writer, Ed Brisson; artist, Matías Bergara; colorist, Paul Little; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Mary Gumport and Dafna Pleban; publisher, Boom! Studios.

Sons of Anarchy 16 (December 2014)

Sons of Anarchy #16

It’s a really cute issue. Seriously, it’s cute. Brisson manages to tell a cute, life affirming story with Sons of Anarchy. If there’s the Sons equivalent of a teddy bear, he finds it this issue.

The story has the owner of the pot shop in trouble with an ex; now, said pot shop owner is in business with a biker and he calls the biker for help. So then the biker has this whole investigation thing–the comic really does read like a detective story, but the brute force kind, not the meticulous investigation kind–before he discovers the truth and then there’s go to be the reckoning.

Artist Matías Bergara is not ready for prime time. With some of the action panels, he’s not even close. Occasionally, it does look like he’s got a good talking heads thing going, but the colors mess him up.

It’s an awkward issue.

B- 

CREDITS

Writer, Ed Brisson; artist, Matías Bergara; colorist, Paul Little; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Mary Gumport and Dafna Pleban; publisher, Boom! Studios.

Sons of Anarchy 15 (November 2015)

Sons of Anarchy #15

It’s once again amazing how much Brisson is able to do with Sons of Anarchy. Especially this issue, which seems to deal a lot with continuity from the television series. Instead of that continuity dragging the issue down, thanks to Brisson’s rather impressive use of expository dialogue, it makes it better. It provides foundation.

The issue has a rather simple plot. Gemma–the den mother of the club (i assume, still haven’t watched the show)–tells Jax (he’s in charge of the club) to go find her stolen car. The comic plays out over four scenes. Brisson has a big reveal at the end of the issue and the way he simultaneously ties that reveal into everything he’s done in the issue while still keeping it entirely separate is phenomenal.

Even with a simple story, Brisson gets Anarchy running beautifully.

Nice art from Matías Bergara too. Moody but still straightforward.

B+ 

CREDITS

Writer, Ed Brisson; artist, Damian Couceiro; colorist, Michael Spicer; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Mary Gumport and Dafna Pleban; publisher, Boom! Studios.

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