Hawkeye 22 (September 2015)

Hawkeye #22

I can’t even remember when this issue of Hawkeye was supposed to come out. I can’t even remember what issue twenty-two was supposed to be when the comic was going to alternate Kate and Clint and then didn’t because… well, I don’t really read the letter pages but I assume people got too busy.

And Hawkeye didn’t sell well enough after a while, which doesn’t make sense, since a lot of the comic is great. And this issue is great. It’s a great last issue. It doesn’t just bring Kate back to it, it integrates her adventures away from Clint. It sets up for a great sequel and there can’t be one.

So Hawkeye will just be that (mostly) great mainstream comic Fraction and Aja did. Hopefully there will be a nice collection, because I’ve been wanting to read it in one sitting since issue three.

Good night, Hawkeye.

CREDITS

Writer, Matt Fraction; artist, David Aja; colorist, Matt Hollingsworth; letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; editors, Devin Lewis and Sana Amant; publisher, Marvel Comics.

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Satellite Sam 15 (July 2015)

Satellite Sam #15

Satellite Sam comes to a close. A colorful one.

Fraction doesn’t exactly take the story somewhere unexpected or surprising–though there are a couple, post-big revelations last issue surprises (at least one anyway)–and, in many ways, it’s a gentle finish to the series. Chaykin doesn’t get anything lascivious to draw; they are just hints.

The not exactly surprising finish has a lot to do with the television industry. Fraction finishes up all the character plots and still has time for the history lesson. He does a great job with it; Chaykin too. The issue moves beautifully; the series works just as well without all the menace the creators have been imbuing it with.

But that success is the surprise. Fraction and Chaykin quietly created this great cast underneath a sensational story. So when the sensation finished, Sam stands on its own for the characters. It’s rather fantastic work.

CREDITS

Dead Air; writer, Matt Fraction; artist, Howard Chaykin; letterer, Ken Bruzenak; editor, Thomas K.; publisher, Image Comics.

Satellite Sam 14 (May 2015)

Satellite Sam #14

And this issue is a perfect example of how you do a comic book. One thing Chaykin brings to Satellite Sam–even when he’s having an off issue, which he isn’t this issue–is a real understanding of how to make a comic book a comic book. You never read Sam and feel like Fraction’s itching for a movie option or whatnot. The way the story beats work, they only work in a comic.

And there are a lot of big story beats this issue. Fraction deals with all of the major plot lines, along with a couple nods–sometimes with just those Italian language word balloons–to major subplots. These plot lines aren’t resolved (well, probably one of them), but they’re getting close. Fraction and Chaykin pack a lot into the issue and its story threads.

Sam is going out on a rather high note, which is only appropriate.

CREDITS

Bad Actors; writer, Matt Fraction; artist, Howard Chaykin; letterer, Ken Bruzenak; editor, Thomas K.; publisher, Image Comics.

Satellite Sam 13 (April 2015)

Satellite Sam #13

It’s an action-packed issue of Satellite Sam. At least it’s action-packed for Satellite Sam. And not even the kinky sex, which Chaykin must’ve loved getting a crack at. No, Fraction is moving Michael’s murder investigation to what seems to be its third act (and the third act for the series, based on some developments for supporting cast), and there’s action.

There’s revenge and action.

And kinky sex.

The only thing Satellite Sam doesn’t have this issue is television. The television plots don’t come in at all, with the exception of a sort of Godfather homage and TV isn’t the point of that scene. It’s Fraction and Chaykin being a little funny and showy, which they can afford to be; Satellite Sam is good stuff.

Fraction’s character work this issue is exceptional, maybe the best in the series so far. And it’s with practically melodramatic sequences where he excels.

CREDITS

Goodbye, Aristotle; writer, Matt Fraction; artist, Howard Chaykin; letterer, Ken Bruzenak; editor, Thomas K.; publisher, Image Comics.

Satellite Sam 12 (March 2015)

Satellite Sam #12

It’s a good issue of Satellite Sam. Chaykin’s art is definitely stronger this time around. And the issue’s packed once again.

Fraction checks in on various characters and their still active subplots–some are small (like the guy with the Italian wife for a beard), some are much bigger (the black guy passing on TV now getting death threats). But the main plot for the issue deals with the overall story and Mike’s investigation.

In some ways, Fraction’s just cooking Sam. He’s got six burners on the stove and he’s tending all of the pots, but only really concentrating one one. And it’s an accompaniment subplot concerning Mike’s love life.

The conclusion of the issue gets back to some of the toughness the series imparted way back at the beginning, when the shock value was still part of the comic. Fraction and Chaykin do tough well. Even with Chaykin’s supermen.

CREDITS

Four Keys, Two Reels; writer, Matt Fraction; artist, Howard Chaykin; letterer, Ken Bruzenak; editor, Thomas K.; publisher, Image Comics.

Satellite Sam 11 (February 2015)

Satellite Sam #11

The writing on this issue of Satellite Sam is excellent. Fraction hits every subplot, sort of checks its temperature, stirs it a little, then combines a couple of them into the final scene of the comic.

There’s a lot of plotting and a lot of unfortunate choices and situations. It’s soapy without seeming too soapy. The S&M and drug abuse and swinging certainly give Sam some edge, but there’s also how Fraction approaches the subjects, sans exploitation.

This issue has some character development, a bunch of surprises, another really good scene for the black actor passing as white. He’s practically Fraction’s only sympathetic character in the whole comic. Everyone else has issues. He’s also one things distracting from the comic’s soapiness.

This issue also has Chaykin’s worst art on the comic so far. He’s getting lazy, relying way too much on bad digital effects. But, otherwise, Sam is rocking.

CREDITS

Good Morning, Good Morning; writer, Matt Fraction; artist, Howard Chaykin; letterer, Ken Bruzenak; editor, Thomas K.; publisher, Image Comics.

Hawkeye 21 (April 2015)

Hawkeye #21

What’s confusing about this very late issue of Hawkeye is how little anyone is invested in it; Fraction has the most fun when doing a one page scene between Clint and Jessica Drew and Aja manages to do some great design, but not turn it into great art. So what does Fraction do? He goes for a gut shot at the end, just to make Hawkeye feel like it matters.

Only, it’s been so long since Fraction’s done anything interesting with Clint, he’s got way too big a hill to climb.

Strangest is how they handle the “meat” of the issue. The regular tenants of the building fighting the Eastern European mobsters Home Alone-style, as one character puts it. It seems like a very small fight with only a handful of participants. The coordination, both in writing and art, isn’t there.

Maybe Fraction should’ve let someone else finish it.

CREDITS

Rio Bravo; writer, Matt Fraction; artist, David Aja; colorist, Matt Hollingsworth; letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; editors, Devin Lewis and Sana Amanat; publisher, Marvel Comics.

ODY-C 2 (January 2015)

ODY-C #2

With the second issue of ODY-C, which is definitely easier to follow than the first, it’s still unclear why one should read the comic. Unless he or she is really, really interested in Homer and The Odyssey. Because Fraction and Ward moving the story to a matriarchal galactic adventure really isn’t enough.

Not with Fraction relying on occasional curse words and breaking out of the “space classical” language of the regular exposition to wake up the reader.

For people who love Ward’s art, it might be worth it. But Fraction isn’t doing anything new here. A distant Odysseus who comes off as unlikable? No, that one’s never been done before. Fraction doesn’t have a different take on the characters, he just puts them in different clothing. And it’s not like it’s Gone With the Wind or something subtly familiar.

It’s The Odyssey. It’s been adapted for hundreds of years.

CREDITS

Writer, Matt Fraction; artist, Christian Ward; colorists, Ward and Dee Cunniffe; letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; publisher, Image Comics.

ODY-C 1 (November 2014)

ODY-C #1

ODY-C is Matt Fraction and Christian Ward’s retelling of The Odyssey as a space opera, in a matriarchal society. I didn’t know about it being an adaptation going in and it just seemed like Fraction doing a science fiction comic with fantasy nomenclature instead of futuristic stuff.

I didn’t even catch it when the Greek gods showed up. Then, a page later, I got it. And ODY-C stopped being Fraction doing some fantasy crap like everyone else or a indie sci-fi book like everyone else. No, he’s doing a straight adaptation of one of the major classic literary works.

And not just any classic literary work, one most of his readers will be familiar with. ODY-C will be read as it compares. Inventive adaptation is more important than actual writing with such a major work to adapt.

It’s a preplanned event, a reasonably decent one.

B 

CREDITS

Writer, Matt Fraction; artist, Christian Ward; colorists, Ward and Dee Cunniffe; letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; publisher, Image Comics.

Satellite Sam 10 (September 2014)

Satellite Sam #10

Just when I thought Fraction would never turn the series around, he delivers a fully fantastic issue. There’s no wasting time here, there’s no dawdling. At most he spends a few pages with the minor supporting cast, but it all turns out to be to prop up the main cast.

And having Mike back as the lead helps immensely. Even though the supporting cast–Gene’s secret gets out, along with some other secrets–have their share of story this issue, Fraction is back to Mike on his investigation. He doesn’t discover much, though Fraction and Chaykin do an astounding explanation of women’s stockings, but the investigation (and its weight on him) brings Sam back around.

Hopefully Fraction can maintain the pace–he’s spent a lot of time putting things in place without them paying off and now he’s showing his deliberate pacing was worth the wait.

It’s amazing stuff again.

A 

CREDITS

Keyhole and Welt; Shadow, Seam, Heel; writer, Matt Fraction; artist, Howard Chaykin; letterer, Ken Bruzenak; editor, Thomas K.; publisher, Image Comics.

Hawkeye 20 (November 2014)

Hawkeye #20

What do the Kate Bishop Hawkeye comics read like if you haven’t seen The Last Goodbye?

Fraction wraps up Kate’s trip to Los Angeles with one of his fractured (Fraction fractures, get it? Oh, never mind) narratives–the beginning is actually a midpoint and the ending is a reference to the beginning. But it’s a finite fractured narrative and it works. He doesn’t go too far with it.

He’s always been better with Kate on the book, probably because the reader is going to identify with her read of Clint Barton as a tool. Fraction writes him as a tool after all.

There’s a lot of humor, a lot of black humor, the occasional creepy moment and some great Kate narration. Fraction doesn’t do a lot of resolution for the L.A. outing, however, which would have been nice.

Wu’s art is great.

It gets laggy but it works out swell.

A- 

CREDITS

Writer, Matt Fraction; artist, Annie Wu; colorist, Matt Hollingsworth; letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; editors, Devin Lewis and Sana Amanat; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Hawkeye 19 (September 2014)

Hawkeye #19

It’s another concept issue from Fraction and Aja. This time Clint is deaf and Barney has to start talking to him. It’s not a particularly ambitious concept issue as it turns out, since Clint and his deafness–and the sign language dialogue–is only half the issue. The other half is Fraction setting up the next encounter with the bros and Barney complaining about Clint.

It’s all an inspiring story about Clint opening up and asking for help, except it’s really easy and Fraction goes so far as to apparently use it to jump start the resolution to the entire series. The finale has him finally calling on the Avengers for help, which is something he reasonably could have done fifteen issues before. Stubbornness isn’t a good excuse for perpetuating a periodical.

Aja’s art is creative and awesome. It kind of makes the comic worth it, but with not entirely.

C+ 

CREDITS

The Stuff What Don’t Get Spoke; writer, Matt Fraction; artist, David Aja; colorist, Matt Hollingsworth; letterers, Chris Eliopoulos and Aja; editors, Devin Lewis and Sana Amanat; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Satellite Sam 9 (July 2014)

Satellite Sam #9

Until the cliffhangers, Fraction has Sam back on course for the most part. Sure, he doesn’t know what to do with Michael, but everything else is going well enough as long as he has something, it’ll be enough. Or so one would think, because instead it’s just Fraction trying to inch the murder mystery forward without much commitment.

Satellite Sam has a big cast and its inevitably going to be a slow burn as Fraction moves one pan onto one burner and another into the back for an issue, but having your ostensible main plot line be your most boring and narratively loose? It’s a problem.

It’s a shame too, because Chaykin is still turning in some great work on the comic. And Fraction is doing some excellent work too, he’s just meandering and it’s hard to have confidence he knows where he’s going with the series when he’s meandering.

B- 

CREDITS

Out; writer, Matt Fraction; artist, Howard Chaykin; letterer, Ken Bruzenak; editor, Thomas K.; publisher, Image Comics.

Satellite Sam 8 (May 2014)

Satellite Sam #8

It's a strange issue. There are a couple big things going on, one with Mike at the LeMonde Christmas party and getting in a fight with Kara. The other one is the more historical story line with the new TV star with a big secret. It's an unexpected secret too; good stuff on that story line.

But the other one… Fraction's pushing it. There's a lot of expository dialogue reminding the reader of previous events and scenes and Fraction only needs them because he's let them go too long. Lots of characters too, all in one place, not really doing anything except moving along this story line. The emphasis on character is gone. It's a shame.

The worst is how Chaykin's got the responsibility of doing visual cues to move big revelations along. Chaykin doesn't differentiate between faces well enough for that responsibility.

It's a surprising stumble of an issue.

B 

CREDITS

Cinecittà; writer, Matt Fraction; artist, Howard Chaykin; letterer, Ken Bruzenak; editor, Thomas K.; publisher, Image Comics.

Hawkeye 18 (May 2014)

Hawkeye #18

Fraction gets some kudos for getting tough on Kate in L.A., but then he goes and does two really annoying things. First, he sets up Kate’s latest case as a way to get her back to New York and teamed up with Clint. It’s contrived. Second, the hard cliffhanger requires Kate be unaware of her surroundings. She’d probably be long dead if she were so unaware.

Otherwise, it’s an excellent issue. Kate gets herself into another bunch of trouble, this time investigating an acquaintance’s past. There’s some good flashback stuff, giving the reader a look at Wu doing nineties period stuff and “realistic” supervillains.

The art’s quite good the entire issue. Even though not much happens–it’s really just Kate investigating most of the time–Wu keeps things moving along.

Sadly, Fraction seems hell-bent on running this series to exhaustion. This issue might be the first Kate issue not to be amazing.

B 

CREDITS

Writer, Matt Fraction; artist, Annie Wu; colorist, Matt Hollingsworth; letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; editors, Devin Lewis and Sana Amanat; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Satellite Sam 7 (March 2014)

Satellite Sam #7

Fraction's doing less of an arc than a window into Mike–as in the new Satellite Sam–and his descent into obsession. It's funny, but I think Fraction's still trying to get keep the character as likable as possible. He's just over his head, trying to relieve his father's photography fetish.

There are the subplots going too, of course. There's a great one with the disgraced writer on his way out and then the troubles of a new show going on. Not to mention a flashback to the original Satellite Sam and how he conducted himself, drafting a girl Friday who tracks down Mike for something here.

The comic opens with the series's most explicit moment (so far). Chaykin choreographs it perfectly. There's some great stuff from long distance profile later one too. I love how Chaykin makes the comic about classic TV feel like classic TV with panel composition.

Awesome issue.

A 

CREDITS

Exposure; writer, Matt Fraction; artist, Howard Chaykin; letterer, Ken Bruzenak; editor, Thomas K.; publisher, Image Comics.

Hawkeye 17 (May 2014)

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What do you do if your comic is so late not just your primary artist is behind but apparently your backup artist is behind too?

You do a "winter holiday special," in which the main character–as in titular superhero Hawkeye–falls asleep in front of the television during a holiday special. And the rest of the comic is the holiday special (courtesy Chris Eliopoulos).

There are definite analogues between Eliopoulos's cute little cartoon thing and the series itself. The hero is a powerless superhero who's determined, even though he can't do things right. Kind of like Clint Barton. Very deep stuff here.

Taken on its own, Eliopoulos is quote good at what he does so the comic's not bad. It's about as good as Fraction's regular Clint issues, actually.

However, the apologetic bookends don't endear the issue. Don't apologize for chooching your readers out of a real issue, just do it.

B 

CREDITS

Writers, Matt Fraction and Chris Eliopoulos; artists, Eliopoulos and David Aja; colorist, Jordie Bellaire; letterer, Eliopoulos; editors, Devin Lewis and Sana Amanat; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Satellite Sam 6 (February 2014)

Satsam6 cover 2a0fb

I may come to regret this statement, but Satellite Sam really is the bee’s knees. It’s serious, thoughtful, never silly. Fraction doesn’t mess around with it. Every scene is beautifully plotted–who knew Howie Chaykin had this kind of work left in him–and perfectly reasoned. It’s not just a consistently good read, it’s a consistently exceptional read.

This issue might be the series’s best so far. Fraction isn’t continuing the investigation into the old Satellite Sam’s photography habits, he’s starting up a bunch of new story lines (while still continuing directly from the previous issue). It’s comics as TV, with a new season starting here and Fraction and Chaykin deliver the goods.

The issue is full of loud and quiet moments, which is why it needs Chaykin. It needs someone who knows how to make those moments work in a sequential narrative.

It’s relatively uneventful; a muted, outstanding success.

A 

CREDITS

Women in Trouble; writer, Matt Fraction; artist, Howard Chaykin; letterer, Ken Bruzenak; editor, Thomas K.; publisher, Image Comics.

Hawkeye 15 (April 2014)

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How stupid can Clint get? Thanks to Aja’s page layouts, it’s hard to tell. The art’s beautiful, but the way Aja does flashes–rapidly cut comics–it’s unclear if he was really dumb or if the bad guy was just good. Fraction wants the reader to think Clint’s dumb, to make him lovable. That arrangement is strange–it means the reader can’t truly root for the protagonist.

This issue also has a fairly big Big Lebowski vibe thanks to Clint’s brother hanging around. It’s more Lebowksi than “Rockford.” It needs to be the other way around. Fraction’s got three guest stars popping in to tell Clint he’s stupid. Too many.

Otherwise, of course, the issue’s a delightful read. Fraction has a great pace, great twists, great everything. He can’t visualize the story through his protagonist’s perspective. It also could be the incredibly fractured narrative.

Fraction’s hit the ceiling with Clint.

B 

CREDITS

Fun and Games; writer, Matt Fraction; artist, David Aja; colorist, Matt Hollingsworth; letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; editors, Devin Lewis, Sana Amanat and Stephen Wacker; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Hawkeye 16 (February 2014)

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Once again, why is Matt Fraction even writing Clint Barton issues of Hawkeye when he’s got the opportunity to write these Kate issues.

It’s a done-in-one, “Rockford” style detective issue. Kate comes across a guy walking down the freeway, discovers he’s got a story (sixties rock legend turned burnout) and tries to help him. Things do not go particularly well, but they go badly in very amusing ways. Plus, Kate develops as a character throughout, between her neighbors, the angry police chief and her supermarket P.I. mentor. It’s all so awesome, one would think Fraction wouldn’t want to write Clint anymore either.

I won’t even get into how movie-ready a nineteen year-old, female superhero would be for Disney.

Nice art from Annie Wu, who gets in some nice psychedelic poster art influences–doing a flashback with a guy’s face as the guide, for example.

Excellent stuff.

A- 

CREDITS

Recording Tape; writer, Matt Fraction; artist, Annie Wu; colorist, Matt Hollingsworth; letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; editors, Devin Lewis, Sana Amanat and Stephen Wacker; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Satellite Sam 5 (December 2013)

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Fraction and Chaykin go for a rather distinct–and mature audiences–sight gag to repeat through the comic. There’s really some great art from Chaykin, who takes three people through hearing or seeing uncomfortable or unwelcome news and events. The whole thing is in their expressions and he nails every one of them.

It makes up for the second of the visual gags being a little too tacked on. It’s not easy because Fraction and Chaykin go out of their way to make it uncomfortable, but it’s tacked on. With so many subplots, Fraction’s going to have at least one weak one.

As for the main plot, the mystery of Satellite Sam, Fraction isn’t concentrating on it. Oh, sure, there’s investigating this issue, but that investigation has more to do with the investigators than the mystery. It’s fine, just a little drawn-out.

Some beautiful Chaykin cityscapes this issue too.

B+ 

CREDITS

Jobs; writer, Matt Fraction; artist, Howard Chaykin; letterer, Ken Bruzenak; editor, Thomas K.; publisher, Image Comics.

Hawkeye 14 (January 2014)

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I think it was Ed Brubaker who described “Veronica Mars” as ‘“The Rockford Files” in high school.’ Well, with Kate front and center in L.A., Fraction has turned Hawkeye into ’“The Rockford Files” with a sort of superhero."

The Annie Wu art is a nice fit for Kate’s first case, trying to track down some orchids–Fraction maintains a sense of humor as well as danger. Whether it’s Clint or Kate, Hawkeye always feels like a dangerous book. They might get hurt. Or some cool supporting cast member will get killed.

Fraction manages to tie the odd case into some of the bigger plots going on, all while introducing another subplot for Kate. It’s a nice issue, even if it goes on a little long. There’s also character problem. Fraction writes Kate a lot better than he writes Clint.

Fraction should just give her the book at this point.

CREDITS

L.A. Woman; writer, Matt Fraction; artist, Annie Wu; colorist, Matt Hollingsworth; letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; editors, Sana Amanat, Devin Lewis and Stephen Wacker; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Satellite Sam 4 (October 2013)

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Once again, it’s very hard to follow a lot of Satellite Sam. Fraction has a cast list at the open, but it’s not enough. He needs to keep the cast blurbs for when the people show up in the action story instead.

For example, the issue opens with the lead actress (I think) meeting her crappy mother-in-law for the first time. Then the story moves to something about the broadcasting network, then to some writer getting fired for an indiscretion, then to the other writers (maybe), then to the series’s ostensible lead.

Fraction’s writing is so good, not remembering people doesn’t matter. It always feels like you’re tuning into a great TV show you haven’t been watching with enough attention, but with Chaykin–even though his art on Sam is good–his faces aren’t distinctive.

I love Sam; though it’s clearly meant to be read in a trade.

A- 

CREDITS

Cookiepusher; writer, Matt Fraction; artist, Howard Chaykin; letterer, Ken Bruzenak; editor, Thomas K.; publisher, Image Comics.

Sex Criminals 2 (October 2013)

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Yawn. Why yawn? Because Fraction doesn’t have a story. He’s still explaining the Force. Sorry, the Quiet. In Sex Criminals, it’s the Quiet. It’s where our too cool leads go when they orgasm and then they do all sorts of stuff. Like rob banks or hangout at adult bookstores.

Fraction goes on and on with the guy’s life story and only gets up to him being like fifteen. None of it’s particularly interesting, but it’s all supposed to be very funny. And it might have been funny back in 1993 before Clerks, certainly before Superbad.

There’s also the situation with the female protagonist. She’s always making these little asides to the reader, but without forcing her personality on everyone, Fraction doesn’t realize she’s boring.

He’s got a concept, a cast and absolutely nowhere to go with it. Worse, the issue reads way too fast since he’s trying to hide stuff.

CREDITS

Come, World; writer, Matt Fraction; artist, Chip Zdarsky; colorists, Christopher Sebela and Zdarsky; editor, Thomas K.; publisher, Image Comics.

Hawkeye 13 (December 2013)

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Why did it take Fraction so long to get to this issue? It’s Grills’s funeral; didn’t Grills die in issue nine or ten? Then there was the brother issue, the dog issue, a Kate issue or two… and Fraction doesn’t acknowledge the time spent reading them. He acknowledges their existence, sure, but he doesn’t take into account the reader having been waiting for this issue.

I’m not sure if it’s because he figures it’ll eventually all be collected or if he really does just want to confound the reader.

Worse, he sells he. Aja does the heavy lifting, of course–for a “simple” book, Aja’s narrative design makes Hawkeye work and it does. It works better than it has in ages.

But a series on its thirteenth issue maybe shouldn’t feel like one I’ve been reading–or waiting to read–for ages. Fraction needs straighten this one out.

Or not.

CREDITS

The U in Funeral; writer, Matt Fraction; artist, David Aja; colorist, Matt Hollingsworth; letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; editors, Sana Amanat and Stephen Wacker; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Sex Criminals 1 (September 2013)

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Sex Criminals is about a young woman whose orgasms cause her to enter some sort of time-slowed state where, or so the very soft cliffhanger implies, she commits crime with her boyfriend, who has the same power.

I’m more curious if Matt Fraction was implying she doesn’t have a college education. There was a scene with her and the guy talking and it left that impression. She reads all the books an American lit major would read. The literary references are Criminals’s weakest point, Fraction’s trying too hard.

He does a lot of nice moves through the narrative, with the protagonist telling her story and it jumping back, forward, back, forward. It flows nicely. It’s just kind of shallow. So far, Fraction only has the MacGuffin. Who cares if the protagonist wants to save her public library from the evil local bank?

Chip Zdarsky’s art’s a perfect fit though.

CREDITS

Suzie Down in the Quiet; writer, Matt Fraction; artist, Chip Zdarsky; colorist, Becka Kinzie; editor, Thomas K.; publisher, Image Comics.

Satellite Sam 3 (September 2013)

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Fraction goes all out. It’s also the loosest Chaykin art so far; still looks good, but there’s definitely a hurried “quality” about it.

But the story? Amazing. Fraction’s bringing all the pieces together. He’s got Michael–Satellite Sam’s son–teaming up with Kara–the former squeeze–talking and finding out a bunch of things, making a mystery story all of a sudden.

He’s also running full power with the TV plot and machinations going on. There are the guys fighting about the FCC coming to power–with some tawdriness thrown in, which actually is the closest the issue comes to humor, even it’s sad at the same time.

One of the studio guys gets transfixed on video feedback; that one might be funnier, though it’s a tad disquieting too.

Plus Fraction’s got a flashback of the titular (dead) guy and the girl’s awful trip back from Mexico.

Full, awesome issue.

CREDITS

Percha; writer, Matt Fraction; artist, Howard Chaykin; letterer, Ken Bruzenak; editor, Thomas K.; publisher, Image Comics.

Hawkeye 12 (September 2013)

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Wait, didn’t the dog go the California? Last time I suggested Fraction should release a guide to understanding his plotting for Hawkeye but at this point I think the word is “needs.” It’s all so confusing.

Clint’s brother shows up and gets into a fight with the gangsters. Now, this fight ties into at least the last issue but maybe one or two before that one.

Most of the issue is just Barney–Clint’s brother–flashing back to their childhood while he tries to get money to get drunk. He also kicks some butt–including in scenes Fraction previously implied were Clint (I think).

It’s a really good issue. Fraction has figured out how to do the Brubaker done-in-one issue with a side character, even if he does try way too hard to tie it in.

Francavilla does quite well on the art, especially on the childhood flashbacks.

CREDITS

Writer, Matt Fraction; artist and colorist, Francesco Francavilla; letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; editors, Tom Brennan and Stephen Wacker; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Hawkeye 11 (August 2013)

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Fraction and Aja tell the issue from the dog’s perspective. I’d forgotten Clint even had a dog. Luckily there’s the text recap.

So, there’s a whole visual language for the dog, how he encounters the world–with image memories like street signs and so on–based on smell mostly. I doubt there’s ever been a comic so much about smell.

And it’s really cool. The dog runs into people he doesn’t like, he makes a new friend, it’s really cool. For a while.

But then there’s the narrative. The clown guy is apparently in Clint’s building hiding out with an evil old lady, it’s still unclear if Clint knows Grills is dead, and then Kate moves to California. Also, unclear why clown guy hasn’t attacked Clint as lots of time seems to pass this issue.

It’s really cool, but cool doesn’t make up for Fraction’s insistence on bewildering the reader.

CREDITS

Pizza is My Business; writer, Matt Fraction; artist, David Aja; colorist, Matt Hollingsworth; letterer, Chris Eliopoulos; editors, Tom Brennan and Stephen Wacker; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Hawkeye 10 (July 2013)

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Are the goods back? They’re on their way, it certainly seems. Francesco Francavilla does the art this issue, which feels like Fraction took a page out of the Brubaker play book. He follows around the clown faced villain, who goes after Kate.

It’s unclear why the villain goes after Kate, except maybe to be an even worse villain who torments the heroes.

The villain’s not a bad choice, he just feels like a Garth Ennis Punisher villain. Eastern European, dead family, not supervillain costume but something disquieting. The bigger issue might be just out of teenage years Kate Bishop being all hot to trot for him.

And then Fraction jumps back to the previous issue and explains a couple things about Clint’s thought process. It’s a shocker… and Fraction’s finally not playing Clint as the heel this issue.

I still don’t know why Fraction’s fracturing the timeline, except for effect.

CREDITS

Writer, Matt Fraction; artist and colorist, Francesco Francavilla; letterers, Chris Eliopoulos and Clayton Cowles; editors, Tom Brennan and Stephen Wacker; publisher, Marvel Comics.

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