Aliens: Dead Orbit 4 (December 2017)

Aliens: Dead Orbit #4

Stokoe finishes up Dead Orbit with an awesome all-action issue. There’s very little in the way of story. There’s very little in the way of characters. There are characters–it’s been so long since the last issue, I only remember the lead and don’t remember how the bookends work–but there’s no characterization.

It’s about Aliens after all, and the Alien action is phenomenal. Stokoe’s pacing is wondrous. He doesn’t do all the Stokoe detail on Orbit, he’s more concentrated on movement and the threat of the aliens.

I’m going to have to read Dead Orbit in a sitting (or a trade); the experience is what Stokoe’s going for. He’s making an Aliens comic as unnerving as an Alien movie, versus making an Aliens comic expanding or exploiting the franchise.

The issue’s a short “read,” but a longer visual experience. The Stokoe art is just so good, the eyes have to linger, even when the pace is amped.

CREDITS

Writer, artist, and letterer, James Stokoe; editors, Rachel Roberts and Daniel Chabon; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Advertisements

Aliens: Dead Orbit 3 (June 2017)

Aliens: Dead Orbit #3

This issue finally delivers Stokoe action violence with Aliens. There’s not a lot, he mostly goes for the terror of the crew, but it’s also terrorized crew members by Stokoe. This issue is exactly what Dead Orbit has always promised. And it’s still just an Aliens comic. Stokoe needs more room, he needs more pages. He feels too confined. He’s got his visual poetics, very much in line with the original Alien, but he can’t get their pace right. He can pace the action and gore right; there’s just not enough room for both. It’s too bad. But still awesome.

CREDITS

Writer, artist, and letterer, James Stokoe; editors, Rachel Roberts and Daniel Chabon; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Aliens: Dead Orbit 2 (May 2017)

Aliens: Dead Orbit #2

Dead Orbit continues–James Stokoe drawing chestbursters alert!–without any bumps. Stokoe’s script is solid; most of the issue is flashback explaining how the aliens got onboard, then the aliens finally show up at the end. The issue leaves the protagonist in a precarious situation but it doesn’t really matter. Stokoe, even in his reduced, licensed-title friendly level of detail, is the draw. And there’s a cute nod to Alien3.

CREDITS

Writer, artist, and letterer, James Stokoe; editors, Rachel Roberts and Daniel Chabon; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Aliens: Dead Orbit 1 (April 2017)

Aliens: Dead Orbit #1

What’s Aliens: Dead Orbit about? Too soon to tell. Aliens, most likely. And a refueling station in a dead orbit. Maybe. It’s really all about James Stokoe doing an Aliens comic. There aren’t even aliens in this issue–not really–just that wonderful Stokoe art. Great detail for the spacecrafts, great detail for the cast. It’s not all out Stokoe detail, but it’s good Stokoe detail. And he gets in plenty of cute Alien visual homages without being dependent on franchise familiarity. What happens next? Who cares so long as it’s Stokoe.

CREDITS

Writer, artist, and letterer, James Stokoe; editors, Rachel Roberts and Daniel Chabon; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Godzilla in Hell 1 (July 2015)

Godzilla in Hell #1

I’m curious how writer-artist-colorist-letterer (hah to the letterer credit but more on it in a bit) pitched Godzilla in Hell to IDW. Or did they ask him to pitch?

If so, did they ask him to pitch a comic with nothing but Godzilla walking around and fighting. If so, did they ask anyone else to pitch it, because I can’t imagine anyone but Stokoe making Hell a workable prospect.

The comic consists of Godzilla arriving in Hell. He walks around. He fights a couple monsters. He has to weather a huge storm of human bodies (presumably souls). He’s Godzilla. He kicks butt, he takes names, he uses his atomic breath.

There’s no narrative–it feels like a level in a video game, actually–but there’s gorgeous Stokoe art. Whether it’s the highly detailed damned storm or just Godzilla in a long shot, it’s a gorgeous comic book. Goes nowhere, doesn’t have to.

CREDITS

Writer and artist, James Stokoe; editor, Bobby Curnow; publisher, IDW Publishing.

100th Anniversary Special: The Avengers (September 2014)

100th Anniversary Special: The Avengers

Marvel really let James Stokoe do an Avengers comic? He sets it in 2063–a hundred years from the first Avengers comic (identical to the thing Paul Pope did with Batman: Year 100 but who’s counting)–and sets this team of Rogue (immortal thanks to Wolverine somehow), Beta Ray Bill (immortal because he’s a god) and Dr. Strange (immortal through incarnation) on an adventure. Well, some of it is just them going to check up on Tony Stark, who’s brain is now in a giant Iron Man building.

It’s crazy, crazy stuff but it isn’t until the end of the issue where Stokoe’s actually visionary. The future setting, the odd cast–those are just Stokoe standards. He’s not trying anything new here, he’s just bringing some eclectic enthusiasm to a commercial comic.

Except his resolution with the guest villain. Stokoe makes a profound observation about superhero comics–Marvel or not, Avengers or not–with it.

B+ 

CREDITS

Writer, artist, colorist and letterer, James Stokoe; editor, Jon Moisan; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Prophet 39 (September 2013)

283111 20130911103147 large

It’s the Diehard issue, which is an easy pick for favorite Prophet issue but maybe only because Graham and Roy get to do a summary story covering about 10,000 years.

They open with a retelling–I assume, I have no idea–of Diehard’s origin on Earth in the twentieth century. The art, by era, is from one person or another (or a team). It’s all awesome, with Lando’s standing out the most because it’s such a sad story.

Anyway, there’s a first act, a second act, a little third act. Even though the issue moves fast, across the galaxy (and beyond) and through thousands of years, Graham and Roy show the the effects on Diehard and how he changes. Graham is doing so much with Prophet already, I guess he figured he had to do amazing things with forgotten superheroes too.

Lovely, muted Paul Bohm backup too.

Truly exquisite stuff.

CREDITS

Diehard; writers, Brandon Graham and Simon Roy; artists, Giannis Milonogiannis, Joseph Bergin III, Matt Sheean, Malachi Ward, James Stokoe, Aaron Conley, Lando, Ron Wimberly, Graham and Roy; colorist, Bergin; letterer, Ed Brisson. Backup; writer and artist, Paul Bohm. Publisher, Image Comics.

Godzilla: The Half-Century War 5 (April 2013)

270212 20130409213428 large

Adequate is probably the best word for this issue. Stokoe doesn’t actually do much with the idea of space monsters. It’s just a big monster fight issue–Godzilla, Mechagodzilla, Ghidorah and Gigan–with a little of the protagonist. He pilots Mechagodzilla, which should work but he’s too busy fighting monsters to narrate.

And Stokoe doesn’t do much interesting with the art. Giant monsters fighting in Antarctica actually doesn’t give him a lot of opportunity for his level of super detail.

Still, Half-Century War is now the stick by which to measure Godzilla stories, comic or otherwise. Stokoe cracked the formula. Danger and fear. He doesn’t even worry about scale–why would Stokoe’s somewhat realistic Mechagodzilla have glove attachments instead of the systems being internal?.

As for the ending… Stokoe goes for cinematic and doesn’t have the pacing. He wastes pages, doesn’t have good time progression.

Like I said, adequate.

CREDITS

The End of the World, 2002; writer, artist and letterer, James Stokoe; colorists, Stokoe and Heather Breckel; editor, Bobby Curnow; publisher, IDW Publishing.

Godzilla: The Half-Century War 4 (December 2012)

264115 20130104011230 large

Stokoe turns it all around. He brings in two of the silly elements–Mechagodzilla and Space Godzilla–but sells them through a combination of great art and great characterization of the protagonist.

The protagonist is now bitter and middle aged–a “glorified weather man” who anticipates the monsters’ landfalls and tries to get people out. Stokoe does contrive a way to combine the two monsters appearing opposite Godzilla. All he had to do to make it sell better was make the Godzilla appearances rarer.

It’s a small compliant though. Otherwise, he turns in a fantastic issue. And he’s got a great soft cliffhanger.

Stokoe does two things with Half-Century–he streamlines the Godzilla franchise (it’s like Ultimate Godzilla for the familiar fan) and tell the story of one guy’s experiences with the monster. Marvels for Godzilla.

Sometimes he gets the mix wrong, but not here. This one’s perfect.

CREDITS

Bombay, 1987; writer, artist and letterer, James Stokoe; colorists, Stokoe and Heather Breckel; editor, Bobby Curnow; publisher, IDW Publishing.

Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: