Solo (2004 Series) #3
Quick Rating: Fair
Title: The Problem in Knossos and other stories
The works of Paul Pope!
Writer: Paul Pope
Art: Paul Pope
Colors: Jose Villarrubia, Dave Stewart & James Jean
Letters: John Workman & Ken Lopez
Editor: Mark Chiarello
Cover Art: Paul Pope
Publisher: DC Comics
As much as I love the basic idea behind this book, this issue and last haven’t really used the format to its fullest potential. Giving an artist 48 ad-free pages to go nuts and tell whatever kind of stories they want is a great idea, and Paul Pope’s artwork, for the most part, is quite good. But the stories don’t really go anywhere.
I do applaud Pope for straddling several different genres in this issue, however. The first story, “The Problem in Knossos,” is a pretty straightforward telling of the Greek myth of the Minotaur, from the circumstances of its conception to its bloody death. Beautiful artwork, but there’s no real new twist to the story to make you understand why he’s telling it again.
“Are You Ready For the World That’s Coming?” is a retelling of the origin of Jack Kirby’s Omac, one of his more out there science fiction comics. We start with a scrawny little guy named Buddy Blank who gets transformed into something fierce. Straightforward. Pope does a good Kirby riff in the artwork, but again, it’s nothing new.
“Life-Sized Monster Ghost” is probably the best story in the book. It’s a quick and seemingly autobiographical tale of a little boy who’s got big dreams about all those cheesy toys that used to be advertised in the back of comic books – which may not live up to expectations.
In “On This Corner,” Pope does the best art, but with the weakest story in the book. It’s the story of a runaway in a Will Eisner-esque setting, but there’s no meat to it. “Teenage Sidekick,” the last story, is similarly pointless. The Joker has captured Robin (Dick Grayson), and Batman has to save him. The story is an excuse to preach about each of the characters – it commits the cardinal sin of telling instead of showing.
This title, naturally, is a showcase for artists and not for writing, but the previous two artists who worked here hooked up with writers to help them out. Pope’s stories just plain missed the mark.