Clever Titles are for Better Writers Comics Round-Up 02/13/13

Sometimes you just want to dance until your heart stops, which is impossible because you are a dancing robot, and you have no heart. You have no heart, and you must cry. You also don’t have eyes or tear ducts. So you dance. The dance you do is the robot. DUCK YOU SUCKERS, IT’S TIME FOR COMICS

Archer & Armstrong #7 written by Fred Van Lente, penciled by Emanuela Lupacchino, inked by Guillermo Ortego, colored by Matt Milla, lettered by Dave Lanphear:

“Pfff. So? Archer and I saved the world last week. It’s kind of our thing now.”

Van Lente continues to have a quick, fun, punchy (both in the figurative and the literal sense) script, and Lupacchino’s art is yeoman-like. As usual, it’s Matt Milla’s colors I have problems with, mostly because of how boring they are. There’s just a kind of soulless workmanship to it; the eyes just slide away from it, which in many cases actually make it perfect for a writer-focused comic in a way. Still, this is comics and I want some great art to go with a good story. Yeah, I’m greedy, but I can afford to be, there’s a lotta great stuff out there, don’t waste my time with half-good work.

SPACE JAM OF THE WEEK

Bravest Warriors #5 written by Joey Comeau, drawn by Mike Holmes, colored by Lisa Moore, lettered by Steve Wands, Backup – Cute Calamity written and drawn by Ryan Pequin, colored by Mirka Andolfo:

“He’s never been to the friend-zone. He’d like to go. It sounds beautiful. But he always gets distracted and finds himself on the shuttle to the booty-zone instead. That’s okay. Everyone in the booty-zone is a friend too.”

What’s it say about comics today that all of the humor comics that I enjoy and read are technically kids comics? Even the “funny” superhero books are all at least kid appropriate, from Wolverine and the X-Men to any of Jeff Parker or Paul Tobin’s comics. I dunno, I just think that it’s odd that they’re aren’t funny comics aimed towards a more adult sensibility. Either way, Bravest Warriors is the funniest comic I read; Comeau’s script is like a masterclass in having a dense script packed with jokes, and Holmes’s art is incredible at selling the physical humor and interactions.

Change #3 written by Ales Kot, drawn by Morgan Jeske, colored by Sloane Leong, lettered by Ed Brisson:

“I want some certainty. Not this.”

I was talking to somebody about this comic earlier, and we were trying to decide if it was an ambitious fever-dream of a comic beautifully drawn and colored by Jeske and Leong, or if it was a beautiful painting of bullshit. And honestly, it’s kind of hard to tell; these types of stories have to walk a tight-rope. The writer has to give enough information and establish a “reality point” for the reader to hold onto when everything else goes crazy. In Grant Morrison and Richard Case’s Doom Patrol, which is in my top 5 no matter what, it was Robotman, a tiny bit of sanity in a mad world. In Change, well… there’s really nothing. And when a comic is this jarringly rebellious against tried and true story-telling tropes, it kind of relies on a network of people to say “no, no, this really is that clever, you just have to read it more carefully” for it to succeed. And, honestly, while that network absolutely does exist, I’m starting to drift towards thinking this is just multi-layered bullshit. There’s a sense of self-satisfaction that pervades the whole thing, and well… I’ll hold out final thoughts until  I read the whole thing, but based on these three, I think it could have used an editor. Kot’s got some really good scenes and dialogue, but the thing as a whole…

Still, the art is great, and I’ve definitely bought worse comics just for the art, so whatever.

Fury: My War Gone By #9 written by Garth Ennis, drawn by Goran Parlov, colored by Lee Loughridge, lettered by Rob Steen:

“I watched Frank Castle make the world make sense.”

I’m going to keep this short, ’cause I got more stuff to talk about with regards to Garth Ennis later, but guys. Holy shit. Goran Parlov might just be my favorite Ennis collaborator. Dillon’s great of course, and McCrea’s brilliant, but Parlov sells Ennis’s war-stories (and really, all of his stories are about war when you get down to it) like no-one else. Lee Loughridge makes boring colors look exciting, and he’s great; could he maybe teach Matt Milla how to do that?

Red Team #1 written by Garth Ennis, drawn by Craig Cermak, colored by Adriano Lucas, lettered by Rob Steen:

“And on down into the dark.”

I wasn’t sure I should buy this until I read David Brothers’ excellent review of it on CA, and I took a chance. It’s really nice to read a Garth Ennis story that’s both well-written, well-drawn, and not about Nick Fury and the Punisher. It’s been a long time since I read an Ennis comic that felt this sure of itself, with art good enough to reinforce the points he needs to make. Ennis has such a lovely sense of dialogue, and when it’s not distracted by bad art, it really shines. The dialogue flows from someone you can almost hear perfectly; it’s got a rhythm and flow to it that forces you to believe in these characters, to get swept up in their lives. This is a good comic, and I’m really glad that it exists.

Storm Dogs #3 written by David Hine, drawn by Doug Braithwaite, colored by Ulises Arreola, Doug Braithwaite, and Sue Braithwaite, lettered by Richard Starkings and Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt:

He’ll need half a dozen shots to find my range. I only need one.”

Earlier, I said Ennis’ dialogue sweeps you up in the story, and I think it’s interesting how different Hine’s approach to dialogue is. In the back-matter of his Strange Embraces comic, he mentioned that in his self-editing phase, he removes every single detail that doesn’t advance the story, and it’s pretty clear when you read his comics after hearing that. He builds stories like building blocks; the dialogue, as naturalistic as he can make it, is just another way to give exposition, or enlighten a reader to a character’s mood if important. That’s definitely not a bad thing, I just think it’s interesting to have that approach to comics. Either way, this is the type of sci-fi comic we need more of: a fully-fleshed out world with complex characters. I like it a lot.

Wolverine and the X-Men #25 written by Jason Aaron, drawn by Ramon Perez, colored by Laura Martin, lettered by VC’s Joe Caramagna:

Welcome to Survival 101 with Professor Wolverine.

You guys know I like this comic by now, so let’s make this quick: Aaron brings the funny and does plots I wish more people could think of, Perez draws like an art robot suddenly given humanity, and Martin colors it all nicely. Buy this comic.

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