The Fiction 4 (September 2015)

I don’t understand The Fiction. I don’t understand what Pires is going for. This final issue, which is so movie-ready the black guy realizes he’s the third wheel in a meta-moment, dumbs down the story. It’s like Pires wanted to make The Unwritten simpler. This issue I also noticed the numerous similarities to Stephen King’s It.

But what Pires doesn’t seem to get is how mismatched Rubín is for that approach to the material. Rubín can’t do craven commercialism, which is what Pires asks this issue. The result is a funny looking comic with no visual rhythm. It doesn’t help there are four or five endings, starting about five pages into the issue.

In all The Fiction has been a disappointment. But Pires is getting better. I don’t think I finished his last book for BOOM!. Will his next series be better? Probably. I mean, he doesn’t threaten another series of The Fiction, which is a good start.

CREDITS

Neverending or Until We Can’t (Let’s Go); writer, Curt Pires; artist, David Rubín; colorist, Michael Garland; letterer, Colin Bell; editors, Jasmine Amiri and Eric Harburn; publisher, Boom! Studios.

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The Fiction 3 (August 2015)

The Fiction #3

The Fiction only has one issue left, which is sort of good. Pires doesn’t exactly run out of ideas this issue–it’s just once he gets his regular cast together it does remind all of a sudden of Unwritten and then it’s hard to think of Fiction on its own.

Also because it’s almost over. It goes one more issue, so reading this issue, it feels like the grand setup for the finish. Pires does maybe four flashbacks, one flash forward and then two asides with the evil monster thing running the otherworld place. It’s even got a hard cliffhanger with the three good guys about to face off with their evil friend.

Like I said, while Pires might not entirely be out of ideas, it really seems like he let the impulse run its course. It’s an eighties cartoon all of a sudden.

The comic’s not compelling exactly when it needs to be most compelling.

CREDITS

Where the Sky Hangs or Four Years Gone; writer, Curt Pires; artist, David Rubín; colorist, Michael Garland; letterer, Colin Bell; editors, Jasmine Amiri and Eric Harburn; publisher, Boom! Studios.

The Fiction 2 (July 2015)

The Fiction #2

The Fiction is real close. Pires is there with the script, but artist Rubín is just a little too loose on the characters. He doesn’t age them right. It screws up the narrative flow–it almost looks like he’s trying to echo the characters at different ages (specifically when he’s in flashback to childhood, showing a flash of the adult version).

The problem is Pires’s script has different flashbacks to different times and their order needs to be clear visually and Rubín just confuses.

But the art’s good otherwise.

Pires’s getting tricky with the plot, tricky with some hints. But a good kind of tricky, the kind where he’s not so much showing off as inviting the reader to admire the story alongside him. It’s a really good issue; beautifully paced, so much of the pay-off in the last few pages as it cliffhangs.

Maybe Fiction will be special.

CREDITS

Memoria; writer, Curt Pires; artist, David Rubín; colorist, Michael Garland; letterer, Colin Bell; editors, Jasmine Amiri and Eric Harburn; publisher, Boom! Studios.

The Fiction 1 (June 2015)

The Fiction isn’t a particularly strange book. The story isn’t strange. Even though it deals with getting sucked into a world of infinite imagination and danger, still not a weird story. Writer Curt Pires is very matter of fact about it. He seemingly gives the reader all the available information–it’s about adults returning to this alternate reality for the first time since they were kids. They seem to know as much as the reader does.

It makes Pires immediately trustworthy. He’s apparently The Fiction #1not doing the thing where the characters are another part of the puzzle (at least as far as what they know, not their meaning in the story). It’s a nice change. The Fiction is compelling without being tricky.

What does make The Fiction different is artist David Rubín. He’s not otherworldly exactly, but he’s also definitely not realistic. He’s like a fantastic cartoonist.

It’s a cool book.

CREDITS

The Story of Everything; writer, Curt Pires; artist, David Rubín; colorist, Michael Garland; letterer, Colin Bell; editors, Jasmine Amiri and Eric Harburn; publisher, Boom! Studios.

Mayday 1 (April 2015)

Mayday #1

Mayday tells the story of a coked out Hollywood director who stumbles across a couple of bad Tarantino knock-off hit men and starts an adventure.

There’s also a Benicio Del Toro (called Benicio Del Cocaine) character who’s given up Hollywood to start a cult and kill people. It’s not clear how it’s all connected, but it’s undoubtedly connected.

I suppose Mayday writer Curt Pires gets some credit for doing a comic with absolutely no chance of getting optioned by Hollywood (one hopes Lindsay Lohan or Del Toro sues him for defamation of character) but there’s nothing to the story. The protagonist is obnoxious, the supporting cast is obnoxious. Towards the end of the issue, Pires cheaply inserts a second lead. She doesn’t have enough presence to be obnoxious.

Chris Peterson’s art is okay enough, but he doesn’t do anything special. Mayday is a whole bag of not special actually.

CREDITS

Degradation Nation; writer, Curt Pires; artist, Chris Peterson; colorist, Pete Toms; letterer, Colin Bell; publisher, Black Mask Studios.

Pop 3 (October 2014)

Pop #3

Even though Copland’s art is better than last issue–he gets really dark here and has a nice panel layout for all the talking heads–Pop has sort of, well, popped. Pires spends more time with not just his supporting cast, but with background characters than he does with his protagonists. He has nothing for them to do here. Except stand around and wait for something to happen.

At one time, it seemed like Pires and Copland were going to explore the mystical with Pop. Instead, now Pires concentrates on making it all realistic and rational, scientifically explained. It’s rather boring. The art’s nice, but the story’s boring.

Worse, there are reminders of when Pires was going to do something more with his protagonists. It’s a concept without anything else to it, which is unfortunate because Copland deserves better and so do the characters Pires created in the first issue.

C 

CREDITS

Shot in the Dark; writer, Curt Pires; artist, Jason Copland; colorist, Pete Toms; letterer, Ryan Ferrier; editors, Roxy Polk, Aaron Walker and Dave Marshall; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Pop 2 (September 2014)

Pop #2

Copland's art would be enough to carry Pop; he has intricate panel composition–through a bunch of psychedelic sequences–but also a wonderful sense of movement for the rest. About the only thing he doesn't get to do this issue is talking heads scenes, since most of the issue's calm moments are internal. But the art is very impressive.

And Pires's script has its impressive moments too. He just doesn't offer any character development on his protagonists. Everything and everyone acts on them, even though they're somewhat active–the guy takes the escaped from her gestation pod pop star into the woods to trip and try to sort things out–there's no movement for them.

But the supporting cast gets a lot of attention, with Pires doing the bickering, punk assassins, their obsessive, hideous secret bosses, the lead's sidekick… it all works, especially when Pires does comic relief.

He just doesn't mind his protagonists.

B 

CREDITS

Pseudologia Fantastica; writer, Curt Pires; artist, Jason Copland; colorist, Pete Toms; letterer, Ryan Ferrier; editors, Roxy Polk, Aaron Walker and Dave Marshall; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Pop 1 (August 2014)

Pop #1

About half of Pop is awesome. The rest of it is rather good, given the gimmick. The gimmick–which the title fits but in no way applies–is the eugenic world of pop stars. Pop stars are grown in tubes by an Illuminati-type organization.

With any consideration, it seems like an obvious gimmick writer Curt Pires is using; if no one has done it exactly, someone has done it approximately. And the Illuminati scenes are the worst in the comic.

But the stoned guy saving the escaped “not yet fully grown” pop star? Awesome. Pires dialogue–in general–but for those two characters specifically? Awesome.

Unfortunately, the assassins and the Justin Bieber stand-in are predictable.

Like any other problems with the story, Pires gets away with them because of Jason Copland’s wonderful art. Even if the comic weren’t often great, the art would be enough to elevate it.

B+ 

CREDITS

Eyes Without a Face; writer, Curt Pires; artist, Jason Copland; colorist, Pete Toms; letterer, Ryan Ferrier; editors, Roxy Polk, Aaron Walker and Dave Marshall; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

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