Cluster 6 (August 2015)

Cluster #6

I wish I enjoyed Cluster.

I like Couceiro’s art. But his sci-fi setting for Cluster is the same generic sci-fi setting with space troopers as Aliens or Starship Troopers. There’s nothing interesting about it. Some of the stuff with the aliens is good, but Brisson spends his time on the humans, so it’s background.

And I like Brisson’s writing. It’s all very competent, but it’s nothing special. The protagonist has gotten lost so Brisson could get to the space revolutionaries and so on. But he doesn’t spend much time on the revolution or anything else. Cluster is too fragmented, Brisson has too many subplots fueling the main plot. There isn’t enough time to care about anything.

Except the characters he’s already killed. They were more memorable than any of the new ones he’s introducing.

Brisson and Couceiro can keep Cluster running in competence, but they’re getting bad mileage.

CREDITS

Writer and letterer, Ed Brisson; artist, Damian Couceiro; colorist, Cassie Kelly; editors, Cameron Chittock and Eric Harburn; publisher, Boom! Studios.

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The Mantle 2 (June 2015)

The Mantle #2

Okay, Brisson takes the route I guess I was hoping he’d take and he immediately goes unexpected places with it. Maybe not entirely unexpected–the idea of the new Mantle meeting up with the old Mantles, if possible, for inspiration, isn’t unexpected. But how Brisson gets there is a complicated and crazy. And it’s what gives the comic some energy.

Because the villain? The Plague guy whose very touch makes people’s arms fall off? He’s an awful villain. Brisson gives him a bit of personality, which doesn’t help because it gets the reader curious about answers to questions Brisson isn’t even raising yet.

There aren’t a lot of questions in The Mantle. Brisson does a good job staying on track, so when he loses control of a scene, it stands out.

The art is, once again, decent. Level has personality if not the detail (or time) for all of it.

CREDITS

Writer and letterer, Ed Brisson; artist, Brian Level; colorist, Jordan Boyd; editor, Laura Tavishati; publisher, Image Comics.

The Mantle 1 (May 2015)

The Mantle #1

I want to know where The Mantle is going more than I want to read where it’s going. The way writer Ed Brisson sets up the end of this first issue, it could either go in two paths. One where the series is very episodic, one where it isn’t. Would I not continue reading depending on the former or the latter… No.

But I want to know. I want to know how to digest the material.

Simple setup. Superheroes are real. They just hide and fight their enemies in the middle of nowhere. It’s unclear how long they’ve been around, but at least a decade because the titular Mantle is like the Green Lantern rings.

Only the villain is hunting down the Mantle holder before they can get comfortable.

Brian Level’s composition is better than his detail, which gives it all a certain distinct personality.

Mantle’s okay. I think.

CREDITS

Writer and letterer, Ed Brisson; artist, Brian Level; colorist, Jordan Boyd; editor, Laura Tavishati; publisher, Image Comics.

Cluster 5 (July 2015)

Cluster #5

I’m trying to figure out what’s wrong with Cluster. There’s definitely something off about it because I should be gleefully anticipating a monthly dose of Brisson and Couceiro.

I think I’ve got it too–Cluster isn’t good as an episodic, serialized read. It might do better in trade, but Brisson’s got too many characters without enough history for them to be interesting in a monthly. I don’t even care the protagonist has been turned into a cyborg. She’s just not compelling enough. And poor Couceiro doesn’t get enough cool things to illustrate. This issue it’s mostly the jail.

Who cares. A future prison planet. Unless Cluster’s future prison planet is made out of plants, which it isn’t, there’s not much to do with that setting.

I like the idea of Cluster and I like some of Brisson’s writing, some of Couceiro’s art, but I’m forcing myself to read it.

CREDITS

Writer and letterer, Ed Brisson; artist, Damian Couceiro; colorist, Cassie Kelly; editors, Cameron Chittock and Eric Harburn; publisher, Boom! Studios.

Cluster 4 (May 2015)

Cluster #4

Brisson picks a really weird place to do a cliffhanger this issue. It’s the most predictable spot–so predictable, it doesn’t even constitute an actual cliffhanger anymore. He spends the entire issue counting down to a plot point and then ends with that plot point. Literally counting down.

Other than that big, awkward finish–maybe it’s not even a fail, it’s like Brisson forgot to assemble the issue’s flashback framing correctly because the alien prison planet stuff is so much more interesting. But other than it, the issue’s pretty strong. There’s some useless (i.e. too supporting) character stuff and some of the tone doesn’t match Couceiro’s very sci-fi art, but it’s a good issue.

Couceiro has some problems with the battling spaceships and all, but he’s not really a machines versus machines kind of artist. The human stuff works, even when it’s too predictable.

It’s a good mixed bag.

CREDITS

Writer and letterer, Ed Brisson; artist, Damian Couceiro; colorist, Michael Garland; editors, Cameron Chittock and Eric Harburn; publisher, Boom! Studios.

Cluster 3 (April 2015)

Cluster #3

This issue of Cluster has a few successes. Most prominently, the cliffhanger revelation is pretty neat. Brisson successfully leads the reader down a garden path before the twist, which is a significant one. Maybe not overall for the series, but definitely for the issue.

And Cluster still operates on a “by issue” basis. Brisson hasn’t, three issues in, implied how long or where the story might be going. It’s moving fast, but recklessly. One hopes Brisson has replacements for the things he gives up in this story; there are quite a few.

Similarly, Couceiro gives up a lot of detail (people’s faces in long shots are consistently left undone) to make time for the detail on the alien settlement. But the alien settlement stuff isn’t important. Couceiro doesn’t even get enough space for the issue’s action scenes.

The issue ends well, but it’s a rocky trip to the last page.

CREDITS

Writer and letterer, Ed Brisson; artist, Damian Couceiro; colorist, Michael Garland; editors, Cameron Chittock and Eric Harburn; publisher, Boom! Studios.

Cluster 2 (March 2015)

Cluster #2

There’s some nice development with Cluster this issue, but Brisson doesn’t have a good close for the issue. He seems to know it’s a problem because he goes into a flashback and shows another scene of the protagonist back when she was a partying socialite and not a prisoner.

Much of that nice development comes from Couceiro’s influence. Brisson gives him some opportunity for good character interactions–and some very complicated ones–and Couceiro runs with it. The personality they give the characters plays out nicely in quiet ways throughout the rest of the issue. Even if the cast isn’t being explained, Brisson and Couceiro are definitely making the reader more comfortable with them.

Brisson doesn’t plot out the action well, however. He rushes; he rushes the characters, he rushes the story, he rushes Couceiro. Cluster is a visually fantastic sci-fi comic without time to focus on the visuals.

CREDITS

Writer and letterer, Ed Brisson; artist, Damian Couceiro; colorist, Michael Garland; editors, Cameron Chittock and Eric Harburn; 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.

Cluster 1 (February 2015)

Cluster #1

There’s not much original in Cluster so far. It’s a remix of a lot of sci-fi, popular and not, but writer Ed Brisson manages to coat over all those elements because the story isn’t derivative, the details aren’t homage, they’re just part of the sci-fi language now. Of course there’s something out of BattleTech in Cluster. Why wouldn’t there be?

The first issue introduces the protagonist, who doesn’t have a memorable name, but is a politician’s daughter serving hard time fighting for a colony planet. She makes a sidekick (not friend) and gets into a fight and goes to solitary. Then goes out on a mission.

It doesn’t make a lot of sense at times–the way Brisson paces it–but it doesn’t matter. Because Damian Couceiro’s art is awesome. He goes for big scale sci-fi, but still within the constraints of a comic book.

Cluster‘s solid.

CREDITS

Writer, Ed Brisson; artist, Damian Couceiro; colorist, Michael Garland; editors, Cameron Chittock and Eric Harburn; 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.

Sheltered 12 (October 2014)

Sheltered #12

Can Sheltered work if Brisson doesn’t have any actual sympathetic characters left? He’s bringing in the police, he’ll be bringing in the FBI, the ATF, some kind of child protective services–the issue reads real fast as Brisson and Christmas get to the ending, which sets up the grand finale arc–but he’s taken the “good guy” out of the equation.

So now it’s the man versus a bunch of brainwashed teenagers who killed or helped kill their parents. Who cares. Let them die; the drama is gone.

It’s still a well-executed issue, with the cops not listening to the good girl–who started the series as the protagonist but now I can’t even remember her name–until it’s a little too late. And there are likable cops in danger and all, but… who cares.

Sheltered’s successes aren’t insignificant but the traditional narrative finish is going to hurt.

B- 

CREDITS

Writer and letterer, Ed Brisson; artist, Johnnie Christmas; colorist, Shari Chankhamma; editor, Paul Allor; publisher, Image Comics.

Sons of Anarchy 14 (October 2014)

Sons of Anarchy #14

Brisson wraps up the arc wonderfully. Everything comes to a collision, there's lots and lots of action, lots and lots of violence. So much violence and action, in fact, it becomes very hard to follow the art. Couceiro just has too many bikers to draw and Michael Spicer's colors are so dark, it's difficult to keep them apart.

So, even though Couceiro's art is strong as usual, it's the reason the issue isn't a total success. Too many pages have to ride on momentum to get through the visual confusion. Brisson has reminders throughout scenes and so on–and the cuts back and forth between sets of characters is good–but there are just too many players in motion. Eventually, people start getting lost.

But it all does wrap up and it's impressive how Brisson makes it happen. He intricately plots these arcs and the pay-off makes it all worthwhile.

Great comics.

CREDITS

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

The Field 4 (September 2014)

The Field #4

Well, it’s definitely a predictable ending because Brisson sets it up for two possibilities. I had been hoping for a third result, but no luck. Instead, The Field concludes more visually than anything else. Brisson gives Roy something to do, but it’s not much. If it weren’t for Roy’s ability to stretch the material… it wouldn’t work out as well.

Nothing happens, of course, because Brisson goes with an all action finale. There’s no point to thinking too hard about the science–which I had sort of forgotten at the beginning exactly. Brisson deftly fills them in, then later on brings up the cultural ramifications of everyone living in Groundhog Day. And that idea is more potent than the series itself.

So, not the best finish, but well-executed from both Brisson and Roy.

It’s just too bad it doesn’t have more oomph. The protagonist is just too slightly rendered.

B 

CREDITS

Writer and letterer, Ed Brisson; artist, Simon Roy; colorist, Simon Gough; publisher, Image Comics.

Sons of Anarchy 13 (September 2014)

Sons of Anarchy #13

So much talking. And Couceiro does a great job with all that talking, but the issue consists of four or five conversations and one suggestive last page. I can't remember but it might be the first time Brisson's done a bridging issue on Sons of Anarchy. Maybe not, but certainly never so deliberate as this one.

Worse, the principal conversation is recapping events the reader already knows about. Jax and the regular cast members have been guest starring in this arc, but here Brisson brings them up to a lead status… only there had to be a better way than the recap. The conversation just goes on and on.

But, like I said, Couceiro's art is fantastic throughout and he does keep those conversations moving. And Brisson's dialogue is good, it's just too much build-up. The arc, which is definitely different, is now lagging.

Brisson should wrap it fine though.

CREDITS

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

Sons of Anarchy 12 (August 2014)

Sons of Anarchy #12

Brisson sure does have a complicated situation setup. Not bad complicated, good complicated. The regular Sons members are still supporting cast and maybe even moreso with Brisson introducing the father of a guy who died in a meth lab. Either this new character is going to be a long-term player in the arc or short-term but the way Brisson is weaving the plot strands is phenomenal.

There are three subplots and none of them have to do with the Sons of Anarchy, regular or guest starring. Instead, they’re to emphasize the villains. With a different writer, it might give the titular characters less to do, but Brisson still drives the main plot through SAMTAZ and its dealing with the bad guys.

The comic continues–with Couceiro’s as usual excellent art–to be an oddity of a licensed property. Brisson, Couceiro and BOOM! are unfailingly ambitious with the comic.

CREDITS

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

Sons of Anarchy 11 (July 2014)

Sons of Anarchy #11

I thought this issue might just be okay–good, but not startling. Then Brisson does a big double ante finish with a surprise or two. He foreshadows them both, but discreetly enough they aren’t predictable. He’s got a loose focus on the cast this issue–the regular Anarchy club members are practically guest stars–and it lets him get away with a lot.

This arc is apparently set in Arizona and involves another biker gang trying to expand their meth empire. The local SAMTAZ chapter gets drug into it, the regular cast just happen to be visiting. It’s not an engaging situation in and of itself, but the way Brisson plots it makes it compelling.

Of course, Couceiro’s art is an essential part of the series’s success. He’s able to go between the action set pieces and the talking heads without missing a beat. His realism makes the outrageous believable.

CREDITS

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

Sheltered 10 (July 2014)

Sheltered #10

I’m all for some manipulation for the sake of narrative effectiveness, but Brisson takes this issue too far. He’s got his two plots going–the kids in the compound and then the freight delivery guy trying to get to civilization–and he tries to have his cake and eat it too.

Or however the saying goes.

Worse, Brisson pushes too hard with the kids. Way too much immediate foreshadowing, way too much effort in getting the reader to try to guess what’s coming next. That cliffhanger is actually something of a surprise because it’s such a pointless one, it’s unclear why Brisson would bother. Except to try to manipulate the reader. And he’d already done it with his other plot so why go for both? Especially when one cheapens the other.

The issue does have some of Christmas’s best art; he’s getting better and better. But the comic’s a mess.

B- 

CREDITS

Writer and letterer, Ed Brisson; artist, Johnnie Christmas; colorist, Shari Chankhamma; editor, Paul Allor; publisher, Image Comics.

The Field 3 (July 2014)

The Field #3

This issue feels incomplete. Not just because of Brisson’s plotting, but also because of the lack of grandiose art. While Roy gets to go crazy a few times, it’s always reserved in terms of space. For instance, the decapitations don’t get the page time they deserve.

Brisson saves himself time for the big revelation and it’s fine enough. It’s an easy one, just because it sounds vaguely plausible but it’s a familiar enough trope. It’s effective too. Easy and effective, but it takes Brisson page after page to get all the exposition done. Those pages are talking heads and who wants talking heads when Roy’s more than capable of going fully nuts on the art.

And, given certain aspects of the revelation, it seems like it’s coming a little late. In the third of four issues, there’s only so much time left for Brisson to play.

The issue’s too slight.

B- 

CREDITS

Writer and letterer, Ed Brisson; artist, Simon Roy; colorist, Simon Gough; publisher, Image Comics.

Sons of Anarchy 10 (June 2014)

Sons of Anarchy #10

I'm trying to come up with a phrase to describe Sons of Anarchy–amoral entertainment, the amorality of entertainment. The problem with those two phrases are they're something difference, even if the vocabulary is similar.

With this issue of Anarchy, Brisson does a couple big things. First, he turns in one of the best licensed comics I've ever read–he and Couceiro do phenomenal work here. Couceiro's art is just getting better and better.

Second, Brisson plays with the idea of plot structure and epilogues and what goes where. Without the epilogue, this story isn't an action story, it's the story of these criminals working out a deal to stay alive in prison. Brisson tells this tale compellingly, but it's got a short present action and it's not all that big.

Until the epilogue, which I wasn't even expecting because Brisson paces so well.

Anarchy is getting to be a singular comic.

A- 

CREDITS

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

Sheltered 9 (May 2014)

Sheltered #9

My only hesitation with this issue is how Brisson ends it. For almost six issues, it seems like the comic has been on a frantic pace with the dissenting girl–who started out as the protagonist but she’s really not anymore (the series doesn’t have one–on the run from the other kids.

And this issue ends with the promise of a calm. It’s impossible to determine if Brisson is sincere. At the same time, he’s introducing another element into the mix and it’s not calm. There’s been so much intense focus on the infighting–with the exception of the done-in-one setting up that other element–who knows where Sheltered is going.

Regardless, it’s a great issue. There’s some fantastic art from Christmas. He and Brisson pace out the issue beautifully.

There’s a lengthy action sequence in the middle and it’s just fantastic.

Brisson and Christmas excel here.

B+ 

CREDITS

Writer and letterer, Ed Brisson; artist, Johnnie Christmas; colorist, Shari Chankhamma; editor, Paul Allor; publisher, Image Comics.

The Field 2 (May 2014)

The Field #2

The Field gets better this issue because Brisson turns up the craziness. He also gives Roy a great action sequence–the kidnapping Christian versus some elderly bikers. That action puts the comic on its own level, where something should be funny but it isn’t. There’s no humor in way Brisson writes the comic and Roy never pauses on a comic moment. So to describe the comic, it might sound like there’s humor… and there isn’t.

But Brisson also goes ahead and hints at the big reveal. There’s some kind of time travel going on; time travel or mass hysteria. The protagonist is starting to piece things together. Brisson reveals to him and the reader at the same time. It’s not the most original device but it’s an effective standard to employ.

The hard cliffhanger should be scary and funny, but isn’t. Instead, it just promises further inventiveness from the comic.

B 

CREDITS

Writer and letterer, Ed Brisson; artist, Simon Roy; colorist, Simon Gough; publisher, Image Comics.

Sons of Anarchy 9 (May 2014)

Sons of Anarchy #9

Here’s the problem with Sons of Anarchy, at least how Brisson is pacing it. It’s a licensed comic with a not comic shop traditional audience so Brisson is pacing it for a collection. It makes this issue really frustrating because of the cliffhanger. Brisson does well building up his story for the unfamiliar reader, so he or she is invested in the plot, not the characters.

And it’s a really good plot. The stuff in prison isn’t anywhere near as interesting as how things play out on the outside. The action in the prison just can’t compete, not with a fantastic multi-part Couceiro chase sequence at the end of the issue.

What’s particularly nice is the texture Brisson gives the scenes. Sure, he gets some mileage out of getting to use well-established characters, but there’s a lot of implied depth. It keeps the series lean but also not.

B 

CREDITS

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

Sheltered 8 (April 2014)

Sheltered #8

Brisson has hit a plateau with Sheltered. He’s already established he’s willing to have the kids be awful, he’s already established there aren’t many limits, so where’s there to go? The story can’t leave the compound–though this issue has a bit of a field trip from it–and he’s also not getting rid of any of the main characters yet.

This issue doesn’t feel like a bridging issue, even though the soft cliffhanger promises another big shoot out soon, and there’s some definite progress with the supporting cast. The progress just feels like more of the same. Brisson has started developing the supporting players a little more, which is sort of predictable. Limited cast, you do closer looks at them.

Yawn.

It’s a good enough comic and Christmas’s art is really solid throughout, but the story is starting to run out of fuel. The gimmick might be run out.

B 

CREDITS

Writer and letterer, Ed Brisson; artist, Johnnie Christmas; colorist, Shari Chankhamma; editor, Paul Allor; publisher, Image Comics.

The Field 1 (April 2014)

The Field #1

I have a very simple problem with stories where someone’s hallucinating or living the virtual reality or caught in a time warp and gets to repeat the same day over and over again. These stories are about the gimmick. They can run that gimmick out and be about something after it, but most don’t.

Will Ed Brisson have a real story with The Field after he reveals the mystery of it? Who knows. With Simon Roy on the art–my favorite image has to be this small corner of one panel of the protagonist running in his underoos–the comic will at least look good and Brisson’s writing is fine. It’s just about how he’s going to reveal the solution to his mystery.

There are undoubtedly clues this issue to the truth, but the way he layers the contradictions is more engaging. He’ll solve the mystery for the reader anyway.

B 

CREDITS

Writer and letterer, Ed Brisson; artist, Simon Roy; colorist, Simon Gough; publisher, Image Comics.

Sons of Anarchy 8 (April 2014)

Sons of Anarchy #8

There’s a lot of lovely art this issue. It’s a hard story–most of the leads are in jail, the women are being threatened on the outside, but Damian Couceiro–with the able help of colorist Michael Spicer–manages to embrace the hardness while still being stylishly appealing. About the only time the art doesn’t work is when there’s too much artificial pacing to it, like for the cliffhanger.

Ed Brisson’s script moves nicely between prison and the outside world. He focuses on the characters, leaving himself a little space for tension relieving humor, but Sons of Anarchy is a serious book without room for much in the way of jokes. It’s still a very odd licensed property but Boom! executes it well.

Again, I still haven’t seen the show, yet Brisson’s able to get the reader immediately engaged with the characters and their troubles.

It just ends too fast.

B+ 

CREDITS

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

Sons of Anarchy 7 (March 2014)

SOA 07 Cover

Ed Brisson takes over Sons of Anarchy with a good pulpy story about a guy investigating the death of a friend's junkie son. I assume the guy and the friend are on the show, but since I haven't seen the show, it's just a guy and his friend.

The issue's paced rather well, with a couple good surprises in it. There's a deliberateness to how Brisson shows the investigation. Since the protagonist solves the case relatively early Brisson has to extend the resolution. Instead of seeming forced, it plays organically. It's a very well put together comic, even if it doesn't need the licensing brand. The story's solid on its own.

The art, from Jesús Hervás is okay, but on the lower end of it. It's definitely moody and expressive with the figures and settings but it's a little too rough. The inking doesn't compliment the pencils maybe.

Still, good.

B 

CREDITS

Writer, Ed Brisson; artist, Jesús Hervás; colorist, Stephen Downer; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editor, Dafna Pleban; publisher, Boom! Studios.

Robocop: Last Stand 8 (March 2014)

Robocop Last Stand 008 Cover

So Ed Brisson gets the job of sending the original Robocop into the sunset. My first thought–he does an admirable job, though he could have easily turned it into three issues. He’s got a lot of ideas for how to bring things together. And that spark, even if it’s hilarious fan fulfillment, leads me to my second thought.

It’ll be too bad if Boom! doesn’t continue with the license for these types of series. Experimental ones, where an artist like Öztekin gets free run. Or, if the artist doesn’t get free run, at least it appears he or she does.

This issue, with Brisson’s writing, makes me want more of he and Öztekin’s Robocop. Maybe a prequel… the creative spark seems like it might have mileage.

Robocop, regardless of marketers, was never a film needing a sequel. But Brisson and Öztekin give that franchise a fine send off.

B 

CREDITS

Writer, Ed Brisson; artist, Korkut Öztekin; colorist, Michael Garland; letterer, Ryan Ferrier; editors, Alex Galer and Ian Brill; publisher, Boom! Studios.

Sheltered 7 (February 2014)

297482 20140302100418 large

It’s another good issue. I think Brisson’s gift for Sheltered is how well he’s able to keep the plot moving along. He does just enough talking heads to show the characters thinking about what to do next, he makes those decisions the micro-cliffhangers along the way. And then, of course, he has excellent cliffhangers for the end of the issue.

Not sure how he’s going to get out this one resolved in an ongoing.

Then there’s the Christmas art. I haven’t been particularly gung-ho on the art, but one of this issues plot lines–oh, yeah, Brisson manages to have three plot lines in the issue, which is awesome–features an intruding adult on the run from the kids. So Christmas has to make the kids vicious killers while still making them somewhat innocent looking. He does an excellent job with that aspect.

Brisson and Christmas are excelling.

B+ 

CREDITS

Writer and letterer, Ed Brisson; artist, Johnnie Christmas; colorist, Shari Chankhamma; editor, Paul Allor; publisher, Image Comics.

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