Caliban 2 (April 2014)

Caliban #2

The beginning of the issue is slightly better than I expected. Not because Ennis has any good characters, but because he handles the scene with the big alien laboratory pretty well. There are all these alien species in preservation tanks, the humans freak out. It’s a decent scene.

Then there’s a standard briefing scene and I figured Ennis might just be trying to move things along logically. Then comes the scene from one of then Alien movies, then comes the scene ripping off possession or androids or whatever. KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park maybe. It doesn’t matter. Ennis doesn’t actually have any new ideas or even thoughtful ways to compile his bad ideas.

It’s supposed to be smart sci-fi and it comes off like a bunch of clips from famous sci-fi movies.

Percio’s art is mediocre and unimaginative as far as design.

It’s boring and unoriginal.

C- 

CREDITS

The Hall; writer, Garth Ennis; penciller, Facundo Percio; inker, Sebastian Cabrol; colorist, Hernán Cabrera; letterer, Kurt Hathaway; publisher, Avatar Press.

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Caliban 1 (March 2014)

Caliban #1

Oh, good, Garth Ennis wants to try his hand at derivative sci-fi. Caliban takes place on a ship traveling through warpspace–which sounds a lot more “realistic” than hyperspace or warp… wait, never mind. It doesn’t.

But he does try to work in the reality of cryogenic sleep for long voyages. The cast of the series are the maintenance crew for the ship who don’t get to sleep. Instead they bicker and flirt and write very explanatory journal entries on their iPads.

Given the odd pacing and pointless characters, I wonder if Ennis tried his hand at writing a movie script. Because as a comic, this issue is a mess. It’s more annoying than anything else once it gets obvious. Regurgitated sci-fi movie ideas from as far back as 2001 and as recent as Prometheus.

It’s not even an imaginative regurgitation.

Facundo Percio’s mediocre art is another problem.

C 

CREDITS

The Ship; writer, Garth Ennis; penciller, Facundo Percio; inker, Sebastian Cabrol; colorist, Hernán Cabrera; letterer, Kurt Hathaway; publisher, Avatar Press.

Fashion Beast 10 (May 2013)

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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 off the hook (but he clearly didn’t care enough about Beast to adapt it himself). There’s barely any dialogue; the issue races. There isn’t any time for personality.

It’s an unfortunate end. Johnston’s lack of ambition–or freedom–in adapting Moore’s original script does it in.

CREDITS

The World; writers, Malcolm McLaren, Alan Moore and Antony Johnston; artist, Facundo Percio; colorist, Hernan Cabrera; letterer, Jaymes Reed; editor, Jim Kuhoric; publisher, Avatar Press.

Fashion Beast 9 (April 2013)

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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. Some of the dialogue’s good, but there are major plot holes and the whole thing’s inconsequential. The issue ends reversing a decision made at the start of the issue. It’s like half the issue didn’t happen.

Doll becomes a practical background player in her own comic.

It’s a shame.

CREDITS

The Star; writers, Malcolm McLaren, Alan Moore and Antony Johnston; artist, Facundo Percio; colorist, Hernan Cabrera; letterer, Jaymes Reed; editor, Jim Kuhoric; publisher, Avatar Press.

Fashion Beast 8 (March 2013)

904285

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 monologue about the place of fashion in the world and not even the first one worked. Fashion Beast isn’t enough about fashion for these monologues.

And then the shocker of an ending. It almost reads like Johnston hadn’t read the whole script when breaking it out to issues.

CREDITS

The Lovers; writers, Malcolm McLaren, Alan Moore and Antony Johnston; artist, Facundo Percio; colorist, Hernan Cabrera; letterer, Jaymes Reed; editor, Jim Kuhoric; publisher, Avatar Press.

Fashion Beast 7 (February 2013)

903970

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 is a fast, slight read. There’s a lame opening montage, which Johnston could’ve done better in a page with a paragraph of totally acceptable exposition, the seduction scene and then Doll and Tomboy arguing.

Fashion Beast has a lot of problems (read: Johnston), but charms its way through.

CREDITS

The Fool; writers, Malcolm McLaren, Alan Moore and Antony Johnston; artist, Facundo Percio; colorist, Hernan Cabrera; letterer, Jaymes Reed; editor, Jim Kuhoric; publisher, Avatar Press.

Fashion Beast 6 (January 2013)

909901

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, Johnston doesn’t try to overextend the content.

It’s an odd issue–in some ways, it’s the best so far–but only because of that opening. One conversation allows for the series’s sublimest moment, but that one conversation isn’t anything special in itself, it’s just the fuel.

An excellent issue.

CREDITS

The Devil; writers, Malcolm McLaren, Alan Moore and Antony Johnston; artist, Facundo Percio; colorist, Hernan Cabrera; letterer, Jaymes Reed; editor, Jim Kuhoric; publisher, Avatar Press.

Fashion Beast 5 (December 2012)

903966

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 the script clearly needs.

The dialogue anyway.

Tomboy continues to be the lead this issue, with the custodian girl seemingly flirting. Doll has become unlikable. All the good will the comic built for her is used up.

It’s okay–definitely intriguing–but only because the cliffhanger promises answers next time.

CREDITS

The Chariot; writers, Malcolm McLaren, Alan Moore and Antony Johnston; artist, Facundo Percio; colorist, Hernan Cabrera; editor, Jim Kuhoric; publisher, Avatar Press.

Fashion Beast 4 (November 2012)

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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. The transitions are usually montages, which make sense for something fashion-oriented, but if he’s going to confine activity to the clothes factory… he needs to bring more personality to it.

There’s almost nothing acknowledging the outside world here.

The dialogue and art continue to make it worthwhile.

CREDITS

Justice; writers, Malcolm McLaren, Alan Moore and Antony Johnston; artist, Facundo Percio; colorist, Hernan Cabrera; editor, Jim Kuhoric; publisher, Avatar Press.

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