Home > DC Comics > Solo (2004 Series) #2

Solo (2004 Series) #2

December 19, 2004

Quick Rating: Fair

Five tales of the bizarre by Richard Corben

Writers: Richard Corben & John Arcudi
Art: Richard Corben
Colors: Richard Corben, Lee Loughridge & Dave Stewart
Letters: Richard Corben & Jack Morelli
Editor: Mark Chiarello
Cover Art: Richard Corben
Publisher: DC Comics

I think DC Comics deserves a lot of credit for trying something like this, an anthology series with a definite hook: give an artist 48 pages to do whatever he wants. Period. By the very nature of the project, though, some issues will be better than others, and this one doesn’t quite click for me. Richard Corben is best known for his artwork in underground comics and dozens of projects full of monsters and magic. He serves up five short tales here, most with “Twilight Zone-Style” twists at the end, and while they’re all okay, none of them are outstanding.

“Belzon’s Treasure” shows a treasure hunter who stumbles upon a legendary crypt in Egypt, only to find a mysterious guardian, and other even more ruthless treasure hunters behind him. It’s a quick little horror tale with a nice ending.

“Cyclops” may be the weakest tale story-wise. We have two mysterious, alien races at war, one of them on the brink of loss and extinction, but the big twist at the end isn’t surprising at all, it’s the sort of thing that has been done time and again. Visually it’s a different story – Corben seems to do this story digitally, giving it a different art style than the rest of the issue without losing any of his trademark body shapes or monster designs. It’s like the difference in seeing a character in a 2-D animated movie then seeing that same character done in CGI.

“Homecoming” is a western – a man young catches up with his father only to find his brother has been killed for a crime he didn’t commit. This is probably the strongest Corben-written story in the book, even though it’s a quickie, and has a great twist. It’s a shame that westerns don’t get too much attention these days.

“The Plague” shows a king barricading himself in his palace as protection from both invaders and from a horrific disease that may or may not exist. This may be the longest story in the book, but really, it’s the least memorable.

The only story written by someone other than Corben is also the only story in the book starring a DC character – John Arcudi provides the story for “A Missing Life,” starring the original Spectre, Jim Corrigan. Corrigan gets a lead from one a ghost that helps him solve a murder – but it’s not a job for Officer Jim Corrigan, it’s a job for the Wrath of God. Corben really delivers a great-looking Spectre, and he does an equally good job on all the phantasms that populate his world.

While not as strong as last issue, I still think Solo is a fine, worthy experiment from DC, and I’m anxious to see who they line up in the future. (Next issue, by the way, will feature the work of Paul Pope.)

Rating: 6/10

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