Title: Something to Fear Part Four
Writer: Robert Kirkman
Art: Charlie Adlard
Letters: Rus Wooton
Gray Tones: Cliff Rathburn
Cover Art: Charlie Adlard & Cliff Rathburn
Variant Covers: Marc Silverstri & Sunny Gho; Frank Quitely; Todd McFarlane & John Rauch; Sean Phillips; Bryan Hitch & John Rauch; Ryan Ottley & John Rauch; Charlie Adlard & Cliff Rathburn, Charlie Adlard
Editor: Sina Grace
Publisher: Image Comics/Skybound
Let’s hear it for Robert Kirkman, shall we? Aside from a hit TV show and what will likely prove to be the highest-selling comic book of 2012, The Walking Dead is now a member of that ever-shrinking family of comic books that have lasted 100 issues or more… and this for a black-and-white character drama with no superheroes. That’s damn impressive.
Also impressive is the story we get here. Kirkman tells a great story, but he doesn’t go out of his way to make this some huge, mind-blowing, 100th-issue extravaganza. We get extra story pages here, but a lot of it is talking heads stuff. Rick and his friends are going out to take a stand against the mysterious Negal, leader of a group of survivors demanding unfair tributes from the group Rick’s people have fallen in with. Rick and company wind up in a face off with Negal, only to wind up captured, and forced into the most horrible situation a human could place them in.
There’s so much about this comic that’s impressive to me. The fact that the drama can come not from the zombies, but from the still-living, is really just the top of the iceberg to me. The fact that, after 100 issues, Kirkman can still legitimately amp up the drama regarding who will live and who will die… the fact that this issue ends with our heroes at a new low point, a point of rage and grief and pain that the reader will share… it’s remarkable that he can still do that after all this time.
Adlard pours it on this issue, turning out some of his best work. Pain, anguish… gore… he puts it all into these pages, turning out a stark look at a horrible world that’s nevertheless wonderfully entertaining to read.
This book is hard to read. But if it wasn’t, it would be worthwhile.
Quick Rating: Very Good
More lunacy from the gang at PVP!
Writer: Scott Kurtz
Art: Scott Kurtz
Cover Art: Bryan Hitch
Publisher: Image Comics
This issue of PVP doesn’t have any big storyline, any overarching tale – it’s just a few short storylines and a lot of gags. And that’s just fine with me, because it’s still as funny as ever.
First up, Skull is told to take his cat, Scratch to the vet. The megolamaniacal kitty jumps to the conclusion that he’s being brought in to be neutered, and hilarity ensues. Seeking an ally, the cat decides to use the machine that made him a genius on Cole dog, Kirby, not realizing that multiplying the intellect of your average basset hound still doesn’t make him very smart.
Next up is a brief look on the tug-of-war between Cole and Max Powers over former PVP employees Robbie and Jase. The two slackers are dismayed with their beloved couch is taken away, not to mention their beloved beer. The results of this vignette have been used by some of those in the “Max is really a nice guy” camp to fuel their arguments. I, however, maintain that those who think Max is nice have never really worked for a Max Powers. I have done so. I have tasted evil. Evil is Max Powers.
Next up are a few gags about Jade’s sister, Miranda, who has been coming on to Brent ever since she showed up. He tries to pawn her off on Max – with intriguing results.
We round out the book with Cole and Brent engaging in, for lake of a better term, Mustache Wars, and then some “Comic Con True Stories” from Kurtz himself.
Like I said, this is kind of a scattershot issue – Kurtz breaks with his usual pattern of giving us two full storylines in the issue and instead just gives us a lot of shorts. But they’re good shorts, funny shorts, and those who read the comic strip online every day know that there’s some stuff in here that sets up future storylines – it’s actually some vital information. And it’s all quite funny.
Groundbreaking stuff? No. But still, it’s a dandy issue of PVP.
Quick Rating: Bad
Title: World’s Greatest Part Two
Is Reed Richards smart enough to save the human race?
Writer: Mark Millar
Pencils: Bryan Hitch
Inks: Bryan Hitch & Paul Neary
Colors: Paul Mounts
Letters: Rus Wooton
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Cover Art: Bryan Hitch
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Reed Richards’ ex-girlfriend has presented him with a startling declaration: the Earth is dying, and it’s too late to save it. The only hope now is to build an entire new Earth, a perfect Earth, and to transport everyone in the world there.
“World’s Greatest” may be the single most inaccurately-named comic book story ever written. Nothing of this book smacks of greatness. Most of it doesn’t even seem to indicate a passing familiarity with what makes these characters who they are. For starters, the entire story is predicated on the idea that there is something that is so fundamentally wrong with the world that Reed Richards, the smartest man on Earth, the guy who – in the very Civil War crossover written by Mark Millar – crafted a list of ways to save the world, never realized that the world was in danger in time to avert it, NOR did he realize that there was a problem in the near-decade since the point of no return supposedly passed! Reed then proceeds to tour a plan ripped straight from the pages of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy that seems to be orchestrated by guys so smart that they haven’t got the foggiest notion that the “changes” they’re going to attempt to institute will most likely result in far more bloodshed and hatred than the things they’re trying to prevent.
Then there’s Johnny. Oh, poor Johnny, who has grown up and been devolved so many times that one can only assume he’s been replaced by a Skrull a minimum of 15 times. Johnny does something so abysmally stupid this issue that if a superhero on his first day on the job did it, he’d be brutally murdered, and everybody would agree he brought it upon himself. Even at his least mature, Johnny has never been this reckless before. The character has been boiled down to nothing but Id, no nuance at all.
Bryan Hitch’s art is, at least, better than the story, but even he isn’t on his A-game.
I don’t even know what else to say, except to mourn the fact that we’ve for 14 more issues of this stuff on the schedule.