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Posts Tagged ‘Jared Fletcher’

DC: The New Frontier #3

July 17, 2012 Leave a comment

March 13, 2004

Quick Rating: Good
Title: The Brave and the Bold

As the Challengers of the Unknown are born, Hal Jordan finds a new purpose.

Writer/Artist: Darwyn Cooke
Colors: Dave Stewart
Letters: Jared K. Fletcher
Editor: Mark Chiarello
Cover Art: Darwyn Cooke
Publisher: DC Comics

The various plotlines woven into the first two issues of The New Frontier finally start to converge, albeit tangentially, in this issue. Four brave men band together as the Challengers of the Unknown. Meanwhile, J’onn J’onzz finds his secret jeopardized and Hal Jordan signs up with Ferris Aircraft, unaware of the fate that awaits him.

Darwyn Cooke’s story gets a bit more interesting this issue as some of the various plotlines from the first two issues begin to connect. He has done a good job generating a feel for the silver age incarnations of these characters, with the exception of the “big three” of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, each of whom seems like more of a holdover of their golden age selves and who are, in fact, painted as something of an “old guard” in this series. Cooke also adds in a new character in this issue, a black man who sets out to take revenge on white supremacists that assaulted him. The story isn’t entirely original, of course, but I find myself curious about it mostly because, DC geek that I am, I can’t seem to figure out what character he is supposed to be a corollary for.

If there’s any problem with this book, it’s that so much of it seems like retreaded territory. While the classic versions of the characters are welcome, the red scare story and the reactionary Commie-hunter story are both somewhat worn out, and Cooke’s storyline doesn’t feel like it’s adding much to it, at least not yet.

As usual, his artwork is fantastic. Cooke’s iconic style is absolutely perfect for an old-fashioned comic book story, or a story that tries to take old fashioned elements and cast them in a new light. He draws the best classic versions of Superman and Batman that I’ve seen since the creators themselves put down their pencils, and the otherworldly form he gives the Martian Manhunter is spot-on.

So far, this series is more remarkable for the artwork than the storyline, but the storyline is okay. And it’s still got plenty to potential to grow – Cooke just needs to find the new paths that are available with such great source material and stop going down the old ones so much.

Rating: 7/10

Hard Time #3

July 5, 2012 Leave a comment

April 10, 2004

Quick Rating: Good
Title: Hard Ways

Ethan Harrow is picking up enemies in prison, not even realizing the power that lies within him.

Writer: Steve Gerber
Art: Brian Hurtt
Colors: Brian Haberlin
Letters: Jared K. Fletcher
Editor: Joan Hilty
Cover Art: Tomer Hanuka
Publisher: DC Focus

It’s taken three issues, but I’m starting to get into Hard Time. Last issue, Ethan’s power erupted again, delivering a savage beating to an Aryan inmate that harassed him, but again doing so without him being aware of his power. The guards in prison are equally stumped, with Ethan having the logical motive, but the only person who had access to the victim being his cellmate, the ineffectual and effeminate man named Cindy. Cindy saw the waves of power batter his cellmate and is convinced Ethan is responsible, but Ethan still doesn’t know what’s going on.

The dramatic aspects of this series are starting to take off – we’re getting a good solid prison drama with aspects of mystery and science fiction to touch it up. The only problem is the question of how long Steve Gerber can maintain Ethan’s ignorance of his own power without stretching all credulity. It’s already beginning to wear a little thin, and even if Ethan doesn’t know what’s happening to him when his power manifests, sooner or later he’s got to figure out that he’s blacking out each time one of these odd events happens.

Brian Hurtt and Brian Haberlin continue to do a good job with the artwork, although again, I have to bemoan the apparent “house style” that is being used in the DC Focus books. I can understand the desire to make the line stand out, make it distinct from the DC Universe, but I can’t help feeling that making all of the titles look more or less the same is the way to do it. That set, the Brians make very good use of the tools they are given, making Ethan look small and unassuming in the midst of a comic book otherwise populated by brutal rapists, thieves and murderers.

This is a good title, but it still needs a little more of a push to make it a great one. Fortunately, the book has gotten better with each issue, so hopefully the creative team will soon crest that hump and make the flagship of the DC Focus line the solid title the imprint needs it to be.

Rating: 7/10

Lucifer #49

June 14, 2012 Leave a comment

April 21, 2004

Quick Rating: Fair
Title: The Widow (Wire, Briar Limber Lock Part Two)

Lucifer returns, and explains why reality is falling apart!

Writer: Mike Carey
Art: Peter Gross & Ryan Kelly
Colors: Daniel Vozzo
Letters: Jared Fletcher
Editor: Shelly Bond
Cover Art: Christopher Moeller
Publisher: DC Comics/Vertigo

Finally. After reading this issue for five months (of which this is only the second time Lucifer has actually shown up in his own title) I feel like I’m starting to get a grasp of what’s going on here. As the immortals are driven out of Lucifer’s new universe, the fallen angel himself has uncovered a flaw in reality that threatens to destroy the universe. This being a comic book, flaws that threaten to destroy the universe are a dime a dozen, but this one is a pretty clever one that suits the pseudo-religious nature of this title.

While this book still suffers from major accessibility problems, the stuff that’s starting to become recognizable is interesting. The book features an entertaining (if not entirely unexpected) meeting with the incarnation of nature in Lucifer’s universe, several inventive monsters and other clever bits like a waterfall of swords that show the amount of imagination that Mike Carey and the art team have put into the issue.

There are a lot of interesting things here. The problem, as it has been since I started reading this book with issue #45, has been one of putting the elements together in an understandable manner. Too much in this book doesn’t seem to relate to anything else, and that’s a problem. The result is a book that, in general, I want to like much more than I actually do.

Gross and Kelly come back to form in this issue, which looks better than the last few have. Images like Angels in flight, a horse being created from clay, the aforementioned incarnation of nature and the odd gateway that bears Yahweh’s name all have a fantastic look to them, like illustrations out of a classic fantasy novel. Lucifer seems to walk the line between fantasy and horror – this issue is more firmly on the fantasy side, and the artwork reflects that.

I’m still not exactly a fan of this comic book, but I’m warming up to it. With issue 50 coming next month and a rather good cliffhanger in this issue, Carey has the tools to grab people in the very near future if he plays it right.

Rating: 6/10

JLA #107

April 10, 2012 Leave a comment

November 8, 2004

Quick Rating: Good
Title: Maintenance Day (Syndicate Rules Part One)

The Justice League is taking a day for general maintenance, unaware of a growing threat from another world.

Writer: Kurt Busiek
Pencils: Ron Garney
Inks: Dan Green
Colors: David Baron
Letters: Jared K. Fletcher
Editor: Mike Carlin
Cover Art: Ron Garney
Publisher: DC Comics

I’m a little biased here, I’ll admit that up front. New writer Kurt Busiek is one of my favorite scribes working in comics today, and moreso, this is a title in serious need of improvement. The book hasn’t been good on a consistent basis since Mark Waid’s all-too-short tenure ended nearly 40 issues ago.

As the issue opens, the JLA is basically spending the day doing preventative maintenance. Several of them are keeping their eyes on the Cosmic Egg that contains a new universe ready to hatch. (This egg, of course, was a leftover from Busiek’s JLA/Avengers crossover, although he has to be careful never to mention any copyrighted properties of that other publisher by name.) As they do that, Martian Manhunter and The Flash do their regular sweep of various contacts around the globe, making sure no crisis demand their attention, and pay a visit to an old menace they have in containment.

Right off the bat Busiek is doing one of the things I think he, along with writers like Waid and Geoff Johns, do incredibly well. He picks up on the history of the League, tapping into old stories to create the new. Some readers may find things a bit daunting, but the particular threat that occupies our two heroes this issue (although not the main threat of this story arc) is one even I was unfamiliar with, but Busiek gives us everything we need to know to comprehend the story.

Ron Garney’s art is usually very good, but it appears somewhat unfinished here. Just as the last six issues, released biweekly, looked as though he rather raced through them, so did this first issue with his new writer. There’s nothing really bad about the artwork, but it’s not as strong as anyone who has seen his Captain America run knows he’s capable of. It’s possible he just needs time to rest and then get back onto a normal monthly schedule.

After a truly abysmal last story arc (which, admittedly, started with a strong first issue then spiraled into cliché and tedium), this issue is a breath of fresh air. Busiek has said he wants to join the small club of writers who has had long tenures writing both the Justice League and the Avengers. Hopefully this issue is just the start of great things to come.

Rating: 7/10

The Iron Age: Alpha #1

February 20, 2012 Leave a comment

February 4, 2012

Title: The Iron Age: Alpha

Writer: Rob Williams
Art:
Rebekah Isaacs
Letters:
Jared K. Fletcher
Colors:
Andres Mossa
Cover Art:
Ariel Olivetti
Editor:
Thomas Brennan
Publisher:
Marvel Comics

While attending a reception for a library he helped fund, Tony Stark is abducted by a squad of robots, and not even Luke Cage and Iron Fist can save him. Spirited away, he finds himself in the clutches of an old villain he fought once, years ago, who has a new agenda. The Phantom wants to end the world, and all he’ll need to do it is Dr. Doom’s time machine and one of the most powerful threats the Marvel Universe has ever faced.

Rob Williams kicks things off with an interesting concept – a villain who uses time travel to destroy the world, and Iron Man tossed back in time with a chance to prevent it. The format is rather odd – why this was structured as a three-issue miniseries with two “Alpha” and “Omega” bookends rather than just a five-issue miniseries is beyond me. But it’s easy enough to forget about that and just get into the story. Considering what Marvel was working on when this was released last summer, one has to wonder if the reintroduction of Dark Phoenix in this time-travel story wasn’t a warm-up of sorts for Avengers Vs. X-Men. It doesn’t necessarily feel that way, at least not in this first issue, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t weighing on the minds of the creators when they put this book together.

Rebekah Isaacs and Andres Mossa are a good art team, telling the story easily enough and finding ways to visually distinguish between “present” Tony and “past” Tony. All in all, it’s a good set-up. I look forward to reading the rest.

Rating: 7/10

Lucifer #48

February 2, 2012 Leave a comment

March 13, 2004

Quick Rating: Good
Title: The War (Stitchglass Slide Part Two)

Thole the weaver finds a mate.

Writer: Mike Carey
Art: Peter Gross & Ryan Kelly
Colors: Daniel Vozzo
Letters: Jared Fletcher
Editor: Shelly Bond
Cover Art: Christopher Moeller
Publisher: DC Comics/Vertigo

With this issue Mike Carey concludes the intriguing “Stitchglass Slide” storyline begun in issue 46 and skipped over last month for the far less intriguing “Wire, Briar, Limber Lock.” In part one, the weaver named Thole accidentally brought a young human boy through the portal into Lucifer’s realm just as he began preparations to find a mate. This issue, he finds her, and she turns out to be a far less pleasant mate than one may hope for.

Uuna is harsh and cruel, and her interest in Thole’s human friend is far from healthy. The story spirals towards a brutal, inevitable conclusion that, thankfully, does seem to finally come around to the larger arc of the story After reviewing for issues of this title, though, I have to ask long-time readers of the book, does Lucifer ever actually show up in this series?

Gross and Kelly do nice artwork in this issue, making Thole look small and awkward while Uuna looks bulky and imposing – almost like a nastier version of Paul Chadwick’s Concrete. The violent conclusion of the issue is nasty and bloody, and visually, it works very well all around.

The only real problem with this issue is that, even after a few months, I have no idea what this comic book is about. The title character is a constant no-show, the stories bound around without any connection to each other, and when Mike Carey does strike upon an interesting idea like the weavers, he shatters the flow with unnecessary side stories. This is a pretty good issue, but all in all, I’m not a fan of this series.

Rating: 7/10

JLA #103

December 13, 2011 Leave a comment

August 7, 2004

Quick Rating: Below Average
Title: Emerald Warrior (Pain of the Gods Part Three)

Green Lantern’s failure threatens to send him over the edge… again!

Writer: Chuck Austen
Pencils: Ron Garney
Colors: David Baron
Letters: Jared Fletcher
Editor: Mike Carlin
Cover Art: Ron Garney
Publisher: DC Comics

In case you’ve missed JLA #101-103, allow me to sum them up for you: Hero fails to save somebody. Hero overreacts as though this has never happened before. Hero’s teammates remind him that he can’t save everyone. Repeat. Same thing three times in a row, it’s just a different member of the Justice League each time.

This time it’s Green Lantern’s turn. When he hears cries for help from two different directions and can only go in one, he has to live with the consequences of what happens to the situation he had to turn away from. The problem is… it’s all been done before. Last issue. And the issue before. And hundreds of times before that. John Stewart is someone who has had to deal with the guilt of an entire planet being destroyed because he was too cocky to take his job seriously. Are we really supposed to accept he’s going to go off the deep end because he’s forced to choose who to save while being as responsible as any hero possibly could?

And he doesn’t just go off the deep end, he goes nuts, and almost causes another tragedy in the process. He’s been in the superhero game too long to behave like this. One could almost accept this storyline with a brand-new character (it would still be a cliché, but at least it would be more in-character), but not with someone who’s been fighting the good fight and dealt with as much as John.

Even Ron Garney, who is a fine artist in his own right, isn’t quite up to speed in this issue. His pencils took a bit rushed, and I’m forced to wonder how long he had to put out the six parts of this bi-weekly storyline. (Apparently, waiting an entire month for each issue would have been a disaster because we may have forgotten we’ve already read that story.)

Considering how surprisingly good the first issue of this story arc was, this has rapidly become a major disappointment, and next issue’s installment, featuring the Martian Manhunter, doesn’t give me a lot of reason to believe it will be much better.

But at least there was no burning building in this one.

Rating: 4/10