Tom Strong 25 (May 2004)

Tom Strong #25

The guest writers continue with Geoff Johns. He has John Paul Leon on the art for a pseudo-eclectic story of a Tom Strong fan who has the power to reshape reality when he’s upset.

Somehow Johns, who does give the guy a backstory, doesn’t realize the universe would be in shambles. Johns even mocks the guy–the reader is supposed to mock the guy. He’s unlikable in his desperation.

Still, it’s okay. Johns writes the cast well–he too is obviously a Tom Strong fan and Leon’s art is an interesting forced mismatch with the series style. There’s rain in a lot of the issue. Leon does well with rain.

The conclusion has a lot of problems, but not too many to overshadow the story’s other strengths. It shows what a strong cast and setting Moore has set up.

Though it really doesn’t support the weight of silly magic.

B- 

CREDITS

Tom Strong’s Pal, Wally Willoughby; writer, Geoff Johns; artist, John Paul Leon; colorist, Dave Stewart; letterer, Todd Klein; editors, Kristy Quinn and Scott Dunbier; publisher, America’s Best Comics.

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Rocketeer Adventures 2 2 (April 2012)

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I’m having a hard time buying the Rocketeer as Captain America. The first story, from Tom Taylor and Colin Wilson, sets Cliff up as an official U.S. military superhero. It makes no sense. Especially not fighting giant robots. But the story’s good anyway. Taylor structures it well and Wilson’s art is great. Very effective work.

Paul Dini and Bill Morrison’s story is not so effective. It’s actually rather annoying. It’s an unfunny episode of a Rocketeer cartoon–cartoon as a pejorative. Dini writes cheap jokes and weak characterizations. Morrison’s art isn’t terrible, but it’s nothing special.

The last story, by Walt Simonson and John Paul Leon, is dumb. The Dini story’s unrealistic and moronic, but this one is dumb. There’s a difference. Simonson attempts realism and fails. Leon’s art is way too design oriented; it’s static. The Rocketeer can’t be static.

Except the first story, it’s a weak issue.

CREDITS

Work To Do; writer, Tom Taylor; artist, Colin Wilson; colorist, Dave Stewart; letterer, Robbie Robbins. Betty’s Big Break; writer, Paul Dini; artist, Bill Morrison; colorist, Serban Cristescu; letterer, Chris Mowry. Autograph; writer, Walt Simonson; artist, John Paul Leon; colorist, Stewart; letterer, Shawn Lee. Editor, Scott Dunbier; publisher, IDW Publishing.

Scalped 12 (February 2008)

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For his first issue from Dash’s perspective, Aaron has a guest artist, John Paul Leon. While Leon lacks detail and is overly ambitious, it’s an interesting approach. Aaron has always told Dash’s story in the third person; having him explain himself to the reader… it makes sense to have a different artist.

Actually, it even has sense to have Leon’s style for it. The issue moves in and out of dream and could probably be read immediately after the big cliffhanger in the arc before. I think issue five. With this drastic change in voice and art, Aaron has sort of made his last arc superfluous.

Oh, the issue’s are great and it pays off in its way–as well as informing the reader of certain histories and events–but if Scalped were a “regular” comic, this issue would have been enough.

Even when it’s not entirely successful, Scalped excels.

CREDITS

Dreaming Himself Into the Real World; writer, Jason Aaron; artist, John Paul Leon; colorist, Giulia Brusco; letterer, Steve Wands; editors, Casey Seijas and Will Dennis; publisher, Vertigo.

Black Widow: Deadly Origin 4 (April 2010)

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What’s so amusingly sad about the final issue of Deadly Origin is Cornell’s pop psychology to explain the villain’s intentions. I think if Cornell had sat down and watched a bad episode of “Another World,” he would have come off with a deeper understanding of the human condition and how to apply it to the contrived plot he has going here. It’s really a dreadful finish.

But the worst part is all the John Paul Leon flashback art is in the first half of the issue. The rest of it is left to Raney and Hanna, who do the same bad job they’ve been doing the rest of the time. It’s a little worse, I suppose, since Raney’s got to render a SHIELD helicarrier stand-in… in space. It looks really stupid.

The Leon work at the beginning is just wonderful. Makes me wish he’d do a full Marvel series.

CREDITS

Writer, Paul Cornell; pencillers, Tom Raney and John Paul Leon; inkers, Scott Hanna and Leon; colorists, Matt Milla and Leon; letterer, Cory Petit; editors, Rachel Pinnelas and Bill Rosemann; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Black Widow: Deadly Origin 3 (March 2010)

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So all of (well, most of) John Paul Leon’s flashback art this issue is when Black Widow was a superhero in the seventies and eighties. It’s all this fantastic, bright Marvel superhero art, only by Leon. It looks amazing. I wonder if he could sustain it or if just doing a few panels is the limit.

The rest of the issue is awful. I love how Raney can’t keep Natasha’s face centered on her head and his Bucky needs to be seen to be believed. Bucky looks like a teenager with some kind of glandular disorder.

Cornell’s writing is pretty hideous and his big reveal at the end is dumb. But I guess Jim McCann liked the twist a lot because he used it again, less than a year later, in Widowmaker.

Maybe if Cornell’s dialogue were good… but it’s not. Even the flashback dialogue reeks.

Just like the comic.

CREDITS

Writer, Paul Cornell; pencillers, Tom Raney and John Paul Leon; inkers, Scott Hanna and Leon; colorists, Matt Milla and Leon; letterer, Cory Petit; editors, Rachel Pinnelas and Bill Rosemann; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Black Widow: Deadly Origin 2 (February 2010)

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I wish I knew who had the idea suggesting Black Widow and Mockingbird were lesbian lovers, Cornell or his editor… Because unless the next issue reveals Natasha’s only into guys for country and it’s girls for self, it’s the lamest writing move I’ve read since Jeph Loeb had a fifteen year-old girl make out with Poison Ivy to please debauched readers.

Besides that weak finish, this issue is mildly better than the first. It’s incredibly confusing and a bad story, but it’s better than the first issue. I guess Black Widow is now the Russian equivalent of Captain America only she didn’t go on cold storage.

Actually, the real reason this issue’s better is it seems like there’s more Leon, even if he’s just more spread out through the issue, and at least Leon’s competent. Raney and Milla’s renderings are hideous, whether Natasha or her supporting cast.

Origin stinks.

CREDITS

Writer, Paul Cornell; pencillers, Tom Raney and John Paul Leon; inkers, Scott Hanna and Leon; colorists, Matt Milla and Leon; letterer, Cory Petit; editors, Rachel Pinnelas and Bill Rosemann; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Black Widow: Deadly Origin 1 (January 2010)

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I thought I liked Paul Cornell. I would have reexamine that affection, or I can just finish reading Deadly Origin and it’ll do it for me.

Apparently, Natasha’s really old. Like pre-WWII old. And she’s been artificially de-aged and she used to know Wolverine and Bucky when he was Winter Soldier for the Commies.

This might be the stupidest retcon I’ve ever read, but it’s hard to make that kind of final judgment because it’s so bewildering. What’s the point to making Natasha a WWII hero? What’s the point of the Wolverine tie-in? I thought Marvel had stopped tying everyone into Wolverine. Maybe sales dipped again.

The real monstrosity is the art. Regardless how stupid the plot, Tom Raney and Scott Hanna’s art is infinitely worse. They draw Natasha like she’s a teenager (with eighties hair).

John Paul Leon’s fill-in pages are better, but not great.

CREDITS

Writer, Paul Cornell; pencillers, Tom Raney and John Paul Leon; inkers, Scott Hanna and Leon; colorists, Matt Milla and Leon; letterer, Cory Petit; editors, Rachel Pinnelas, Michael Horwitz and Bill Rosemann; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Robocop: Prime Suspect 4 (January 1993)

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It’s finally over. I’m sure no one thought, seeing this series, Leon would go on to do anything good. Or draw anything competently. I mean, the art in this issue is the worst so far. It’s absolutely atrocious. I guess Dark Horse was being mindful of Robocop as a children’s property at this time, which might explain the goofy artwork, but some of it’s worse than goofy, it’s just plain bad. For instance, the female sidekick, Leon’s rendition of her is laughable. She might as well have been a trapezoid with a wig.

There’s only action in this issue; it’s hard to tell what’s Arcudi’s fault and what isn’t. It’s terrible, but it’s a terrible approach to the property and not necessarily Arcudi’s doing.

See how nice I am, giving him the benefit of the doubt? It makes me feel better when I say kindergartners could make a better comic.

CREDITS

Writer, John Arcudi; penciller, John Paul Leon; inker, Jeff Albrecht; colorist, Matt Webb; letterer, Clem Robins; editors, Edward Martin III and Barbara Kesel; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Robocop: Prime Suspect 3 (December 1992)

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There’s some really awful art this issue. I’m pretty sure the last panel is the silliest panel so far in the series. It’s like a two dimensional … I don’t know what, but something atrocious.

The issue really ramps up like it’s going to stop being stupid towards the end–though I do appreciate Arcudi not giving Robocop internal dialogue–but then it just craps out, which shouldn’t surprise me.

What’s really stunning about the comic is how poorly paced these issues are getting. Leon wastes panel after panel with his artwork and it’s not like he’s capable of passing time well. The series maybe should have been three issues, with a competent artist, but with Leon, four issues is just disastrous.

Then there’s the big reveal this issue and it’s superbly lame, as it directly depends on the reader remembering a conversation from the first issue between two incidental characters.

CREDITS

Writer, John Arcudi; penciller, John Paul Leon; inker, Jeff Albrecht; colorist, Matt Webb; letterer, Clem Robins; editors, Edward Martin III and Barbara Kesel; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Robocop: Prime Suspect 2 (November 1992)

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This issue actually raises some interesting ideas. Well, no, it doesn’t. It made me think of some interesting stuff but it’s not in the issue itself, which is unfortunate.

Namely, if Robocop does go bad, why doesn’t the police department have a way to turn him off? Secondly, why is Robocop’s sergeant in charge of him. It doesn’t make any sense. Wouldn’t the department have some kind of Robocop office. A liaison officer or something?

It didn’t actually occur to me, after reading the first issue, Leon’s artwork might get worse in the second one, but it really does. I can’t stop thinking about how this series played when it came out–aren’t licensed properties supposed to have very generalized artwork, so the reader identifies the illustrated character with the film or television actor? Robocop in this comic looks like he’s got an allergic reaction, his face is so puffy.

CREDITS

Writer, John Arcudi; penciller, John Paul Leon; inker, Jeff Albrecht; colorist, Matt Webb; letterer, Clem Robins; editors, Edward Martin III and Barbara Kesel; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Robocop: Prime Suspect 1 (October 1992)

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What a goofy series. Well, I guess it’s too soon to say the series is goofy, but the first issue is certainly goofy.

Maybe it’s John Paul Leon’s artwork. I’ve only seen his more recent work. Prime Suspect looks like Dark Horse hired him to ape Kyle Baker’s most cartoonish style (I’m thinking the Disney Dick Tracy series). Except Leon’s clean, bright style doesn’t fit the story at all. The story’s a little over-cooked anyway, with Arcudi wasting panels with guys at bars having these political conversations using every word off a SAT practice test Arcudi can fit into the word balloons.

The story itself–Robocop is a murder suspect–is lame. What’s worse is how the series follows the Robocop 3 movie and treats the characters from the film series poorly (Robocop’s sergeant is afraid of him? Really?).

Why pay for a licensed property and make this tripe?

CREDITS

Writer, John Arcudi; penciller, John Paul Leon; inker, Jeff Albrecht; colorist, Matt Webb; letterer, Clem Robins; editors, Edward Martin III and Barbara Kesel; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

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