Wednesday, June 22, 2005

The Surrogates

I reviewed this book over at The Shoot a couple of weeks ago. It's good. Read it.

This is another terrific interview from the Foundry gang. It's good. Read it.

That is all.


Monday, June 20, 2005


Written and Drawn by Tom Pappalardo
Published by Standard Design

Creator Pappalardo refers to this book as a retrospective of the last ten wasted years of his artistic life. While he’s being a bit facetious, I do wish he’d have been a bit more judicious about presenting the best of his material, rather than seemingly all of it. The inconsistency here is enough to drive you insane, and it exposes his weakest ability, which is finding a solid ending to a story or gag. It’s like watching an episode of SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE made up solely of material presented in the last 30 minutes of the show. There’s talent here; they key is for the artist to mine through his stuff and find 20-22 pages to put out a really solid comic.


Written by Rick Remender and Drawn by Eric Nguyen

I was sort of looking forward to this one, and I didn’t feel let down. What starts as an amusing look at the adventures of a misfit little girl takes one of the great left turns in recent memory: the true biblical rapture occurs, leaving the girl behind on Earth with demons and assorted other baddies. The character is appealing, the scenario wide open for just about anything, and Nguyen’s art looks nifty to boot. Good stuff.

Written and Drawn by Bob Burden

More ingenious madness from the mind of Bob Burden. I don’t know if I could easily persuade a newbie to dive into the Carrot’s world, but anyone out there with a warped sense of humor is missing out on comedy genius. Telling you about what happens in the issue misses the point; but if you really must know, an evil giant chicken wing is on the loose, and the Carrot and his buxom former lover Dynamite Girl are on its trail. If that doesn’t make you giggle, don’t buy the book. If it does, welcome to the club.

Written by Rick Remender and Kieron Dwyer and Drawn by Salgood Sam

Issue one of this series was damned near brilliant. Issue two killed just about every last bit of goodwill that issue one built up. Issue three gets the book somewhere back close to the middle. There’s still another twist in the middle of the book that’s enough to make you want to throw the book across the room, but the last half of the story begins to work again. I wish I knew what this really was: either there’s something really amazing brewing here, or the book is using the reader as a bukkake target. Your guess is better than mine.

Written by Greg Thompson and Drawn by Robbi Rodriguez

The second issue of this title is even more quaintly amusing than the first. A young boy, the child of two superheroes, has been sent off to a camp for super-powered teens. Unfortunately, no one believes that he doesn’t have powers. This time out, one of the girls in his class uses her personal elves (formed when she spits them out) to keep an eye on our young hero. Hilarity ensues. Good stuff that reminds you of comics’ simpler and more fun days.

Written by Miles Gunter and Ivan Brandon and Drawn by Andy Macdonald

This is developing into one of the more interesting love stories I’ve seen in a while. Set in the creators’ world, which is populated by nothing by sentient machines, there are philosophical opportunities here, but they never overwhelm the basics of the story. Plus, Macdonald’s art is a gorgeous revelation with each passing page. I’m gonna have to hunt down the first series in San Diego.

Written by B. Clay Moore and Drawn by Jeremy Haun

This book seems to really be finding itself. I didn’t find myself thrilled with issue one, but last issue and this one have really begun taking the story and characters in directions I wasn’t anticipating. What started out looking like a darkened take on THE INVADERS has found it’s own unique hold on the iconic characters it’s examining. I’m officially hooked.

Written by Robert Kirkman and Drawn by Ryan Ottley

Last issue was the “0” one which recapped the character’s origin and set him on the path to losing his virginity. This issue takes the focus away from the character completely, focusing on the background plots that have been brewing for almost a year now. It’s a risky move, having just given new readers a perfect jumping on point, but it works. The key is in making the character Kirkman focuses on, Allen The Alien, fleshed out well and interesting in his own right. Big things are promised for issue #25, and at this point, I’m not exactly sure what they’ll be. That’s a good feeling when it comes to comics.

Written by Robert Kirkman and Drawn by Charlie Adlard

Kirkman’s other creator-owned series picks up from last issue’s cliffhanger and resolves it nicely. We also get the introduction of a new cast member, a great battle against the zombie hoards, and even more secrets to be buried. Good stuff. And congrats to Kirkman on his kudos from ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY. He deserves it.

Written by Jay Faerber and Drawn by Fran Bueno

Faerber’s super-soap opera continues plugging along nicely with this issue. I think what he’s done is rather wise in this day and age: every issue, Faerber provides the reader with a number of solid twists and turns, shifting directions on the fly, and keeping the readership guessing. I’ve seen some critics say that NOBLE CAUSES is nothing but a “b” level comic that never seems to aspire to make a statement or aim for greatness. My response? That’s exactly why the book succeeds. Sometimes, people want to know exactly what they’ll get and Faerber doesn’t disappoint them.

Written by Robert Napton and Michael O’Hare and Drawn by O’Hare

I was pleasantly surprised out how this book came out of nowhere to capture my attention. Set in the near future, we meet the klutzy and put-upon Zoe, getting ready to face another shitty day at a job she hates. That’s about to change however, because she decides to answer a strange ad in that day’s paper. Zoe, you see, has decided to become an inter-dimensional bounty hunter. Equal parts comedy, science fiction, and adventure, it’s easy to get behind the protagonist and cheer her on. Plus, O’Hare’s art is absolutely gorgeous.

Written by Marc Andreyko and Drawn by E.J. Su

Our dynamic police duo continue their investigation into a string of crimes seemingly committed by vampires as the tale begins a downhill race towards what looks to be a violent and bloody conclusion. This continues to be a strong, well-written title, and E.J. Su’s art is perfectly suited for this kind of material.

Written by Jason Rand and Drawn by Juan Ferreyra

The current storyline draws to a close in this book, and it feels long overdue. The second time around just didn’t have the joy and zest that the first story did, and none of the characters clicked for me. Too much here just doesn’t work, although the morally ambiguous climax holds promise that the creative team will have this book back on target soon. They’re too good not to.

Written by Keith Giffen and Shannon Denton and Drawn by Jean-Jacques Dzialowski

1944. Germans vs. Allies. Standard World War II setup. Then the writers throw the curve: an ancient demonic evil rises on the battlefield, and suddenly killing one another must be put by the wayside: there are more human concerns to be dealt with. There’s a metric ton of kick-ass potential in these pages, and Giffen is a guy I have always trusted to come through for me. I’m looking forward to seeing how this one plays out. It looks lovely, too.

Written and Drawn by the Luna Brothers

Notable out of the gate for introducing its lead character while he’s masturbating, that still doesn’t stop the disappointment from creeping in as you get through the story. I’m all for having an unlikable lead character, but Ethan is such a waste of space that the Lunas are going to have to cover some ground to make him redeemable. On the bright side, their work continues to grow, artistically. Worth watching.

Written by B. Clay Moore and Drawn by Jason Latour

Unlike BATTLE HYMN, I really liked the first issue of this Moore production. Happily, nothing changes my mind this time around. This is a unique looking book, with a warm (yet noir) texture to the proceedings, and there’s an unpredictability at play that makes it a real joy to read. Jason Latour is a true find, and I’m excited about the idea of watching him grow and develop.

Written by Gary Whitta and Drawn by Ted Naifeh

This charming little series continues as Junior’s innocence has let loose an unspeakable evil that may cost him his father forever. There’s a surprising level of pathos and sadness in this second outing, but it never feels icky or inappropriate. Instead, the book takes on the feel of a classic Brothers Grimm tale or other pre-Disneyfied fable. The dialogue has charm to spare, and Naifeh’s art is sweet perfection. I can’t wait for the next one.


Written by Chuck Dixon and Drawn by Grafiksismik

This alt-universe story of the Joes draws to a tidy close as the company begins clearing the decks for the Joes’ re-launch next month. The inevitable problem with this book was never its quality; it was always reasonably well produced. Instead, the problem was market saturation; there’s really only room for one G.I. JOE, and fans wanted the original. They knew it, and they knew the characters. Re-imaginings should be done after long periods of gestation (see: GALACTICA, BATTLESTAR). That makes them go down easier with the fanbase.

G.I. JOE #42Written by Brandon Jerwa and Drawn by Tim Seeley and Drawn by Emiliano Santalucia

This is the penultimate issue of the regular title, and it looks to be going out on a high note. Rather than having to close everything down, Jerwa looks to be setting the table for Joe Casey’s new version by wrapping up some outstanding plot points and putting some pieces onto the board for Casey’s pleasure. While there’s plenty of action in this issue, Jerwa does a nice job of reminding the reader that the Joes are addictive reading because you like the characters.

Written by Ron Marz and Drawn by Grafiksismik

This has been the best of the Aftermath titles, and the one that I’ll definitely miss reading. Marz’ modern samurai tale has mixed action, drama, and romance in matching amounts, and remains the book with the most long-term potential (depending on how the series ends in issue six). Marz did a lot to damage his reputation in the 90s, but over the last five years, with his Crossgen work and this book, he’s been through comic-writer rehab. Keep it up, Ron.

Written by Marv Wolfman and Drawn by Giancarlo Caracuzzo

On the flip side, this was the weakest of the Aftermath launch, and this final issue does nothing to change my mind about that. Even the art falls down this time around. Marv Wolfman is a legend in the field, and has produced some of the best comics ever. But I suspect that this book will slide quietly off his resume, never to be seen or mentioned again. I’m okay with that.

Written by Chuck Dixon and Drawn by Dave Ross

This ran a clear second in my list of how I felt the Aftermath titles ranked in quality. Dixon and Ross created a solid action saga/family drama that held my attention and didn’t let go. Dixon sends the series off with a bang, delivering a climax straight out of a Bruckheimer movie, and Ross doesn’t let him down with the visuals. Dixon and I may never agree on political philosophy, but I’ll always agree that he’s one of the great action writers in comics. Good job, gents.